Latest News

Keeping you updated on what’s happening at SF Fire Credit Union.


2015 Employee Pumpkin Contest Winners

Congratulations to our Payment Systems department for earning the most votes in this year’s Employee Pumpkin Contest!

Runners up included Collections & Lending and the California Street Branch.

Thanks to everyone who voted, and to our employees for their creativity! We hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween.

Message from the President: Autumn Update

Autumn has arrived, bringing with it an opportunity to reflect on the summer of 2015, and share what’s on the credit union’s horizon for the coming months. It was certainly a busy summer for our members, with a flurry of borrowing correlated with what I hope was an active and memorable season for all. We appreciated being your travel credit card of choice, and were happy to provide financing to purchase your cars (including at our August Car Sale at the Cow Palace), recreational vehicles, and motorcycles. We exist to meet your financial services needs, and are grateful you give us the opportunity to do just that. A loyal and engaged membership has always been the key to SF Fire Credit Union’s success, and I’m pleased to report that our financial performance remains strong with continued profitability and ability to add to capital reserves.

It was also a busy summer here at the credit union. We completed our launch of EMV chip-enabled credit cards, which provide members with a high level of security as well as greater global usability.
All credit cards have been reissued, and we expect to begin reissuing EMV chip-enabled debit cards
in early 2016. We also remodeled our Stonestown branch, in a manner we believe improves the service experience at that location.

Collecting Funds for Valley Fire Victims

The “Valley Fire,” which originated in Middletown (90 miles north of San Francisco) has burned over 70,000 acres, and destroyed over 1,000 homes/buildings. It has been devastating. 10,000 people have been evacuated, and the situation remains extremely dangerous. California Credit Unions are activating relief efforts, and we will be doing what we can to help.

Collection of Donations with Proceeds Going to Three Funds

Three fire relief funds administered by credit unions, the California Credit Union League, and other organizations have been created to help communities being ravaged by the VALLEY FIRE, and other fires in Northern California. SF Fire Credit Union will participate in these efforts, with the donations we collect being equally divided/donated to the three funds:

  • Lake County Fire Victims Fund (in care of Redwood Credit Union)
    Assists fire victims in Lake County.
  • Middletown Relief Fund (in care of Fire Family Foundation & California Credit Union League)
    Assists fire victims and injured firefighters in the Middletown area.
  • Rock Fire Relief Fund (in care of Mendo Lake Credit Union, North Coast Opportunities, and Lake County Department of Social Services)
    Assists fire victims of the ROCK FIRE and JERUSLALEM FIRE, which have been mostly contained.

How to Donate

Donations have closed. Many thanks to everyone who made a donation or helped to spread the word.

Valley Fire Disaster Relief Loan, 0.00% APR

As we mentioned in our previous article, in addition to collecting donations for our neighbors up north, we are also offering a 0.00% APR Disaster Relief Loan for our members who have been affected by the Valley Fire in Napa and Lake Counties.

The Valley Fire has burned over 70,000 acres, and destroyed over 1,000 homes/buildings. It has been devastating. 10,000 people have been evacuated, and the situation remains extremely dangerous.

Learn more about this loan by clicking here, giving us a call, or visiting us at any of our branches.

To read more about what you can do to help, please click here.

Rules and Regulations: 314(a) Requests - Working with Law Enforcement

The USA Patriot Act of 2001 instituted a handful of provisions and compliance requirements to help hinder terrorist activity in the United States. A component of these efforts included regulations to help identify money laundering and terrorist funding in US financial institutions. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) was created to help law enforcement locate financial assets and recent transactions by subjects of criminal investigations.


Section 314(a) of the USA Patriot Act enables federal, state, local, and foreign (European Union) law enforcement agencies, through FinCEN, to reach out to over 22,000 financial institutions to locate accounts and transactions made by people or entities that may be involved in terrorism or money laundering.

FinCEN receives requests from law enforcement and upon review, sends notifications to financial institutions across the country informing them when new information has been made available. Financial institutions must then query their records for data matches. Financial institutions have two weeks from the posting date of the request to respond with any positive matches.

SF Fire Credit Union Platinum Visa - The Smart Choice

Whether you’re thinking about making an important purchase, planning a trip, or consolidating higher cost credit card balances – our SF Fire Credit Union Platinum Visa® can help make it happen.

Same Low Rate on Purchases, Cash Advances, and Balance Transfers

Our Platinum Visa, with rates as low as 7.25%* is a smart choice for your financial needs. Not a “teaser” or introductory rate, just a straightforward rate that applies to every purchase, cash advance, and balance transfer.

Travel Friendly Features

There’s no better card to take on vacation. Our card features no foreign currency transaction or exchange fees (which normally range between 1-3%). Our card also comes with features including Auto Collision Waiver on car rentals and Emergency Travel Assistance. In addition, we’ve begun issuing EMV chip-enabled cards, which offer enhanced security and usability when traveling abroad. (Existing cardholders: if you haven’t yet received your chip enabled card, you should expect it in the coming weeks!)

Free Points Program**

For every dollar spent using your SF Fire Credit Union Platinum Visa, you earn an Extra AwardsTM point, which can be redeemed for cash, unrestricted travel, and gift cards from hundreds of retailers.

Jump-Start Your Auto Financing Plans

Thinking about buying a new car, or trading yours in?

Now is a great time to take advantage of aggressive manufacturer pricing and rebates on a new car or acquiring a pre-owned car with our low rate financing plans. We offer rate-competitive loans to help you buy your next new or pre-owned car.

Getting Started

You can start your search by using AutoSmartTM, a great website that can help you find a new or used vehicle, compare and contrast different models, and check the value of your trade-in.

Visit Us, Give Us a Call, or Apply Online

SF Fire Credit Union is committed to helping you make the most of your hard-earned money so you can reach your financial goals. If you need assistance or would like to discuss other borrowing needs, we’re always willing to help.

To get started, click here to chat with one of our representatives.

Rules and Regulations: The Financial Institution Record Match (FIRM) Program

In January, 2012, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) began its systematic roll-out of the Financial Institution Record Match (FIRM) program. This program exists to authorize financial institutions (including banks, credit unions, insurance and brokerage companies) located in California to assist the FTB in matching the files of “debtors” in the Franchise Tax Board’s system against the accounts at their institutions.


The Financial Institution Record Match (FIRM) Program identifies delinquent debtor accounts through a record match process. FIRM is an enforcement tool used to collect delinquent taxes and non-tax debts of individuals and business entities.

Coupled with FIRM is a second program called the FIDM (Financial Institution Data Match). Here, financial institutions compare their files with the State Child Support programs and conduct data matches to identify accounts of those who are delinquent on their child support.


Each quarter we upload a file to a state contracted company that runs our data against the list of individuals or entities who owe state taxes or other things the FTB is in charge of. If there are matches then we would move forward with a request for funds in the form of a garnishment from those individuals or entities.


If you have questions about the FIRM program, FTB or how we comply with these programs, please contact Chris Van Sickle, our Compliance Officer at, or by mail at our California Street address.

Message from the President: Summer in San Francisco

It’s summer in San Francisco, having arrived on the heels of a spring which I’d certainly describe as being out of the ordinary. Many of us were euphoric over the success of the Golden State Warriors, who won their first NBA Championship since 1975. Regrettably, our members recently experienced a significant service failure, an event I would also consider to be out of the ordinary. Many of you are aware of (and were negatively impacted by) an ATM/Debit card network failure we experienced on the weekend of June 6th. First off, and on behalf of all of us at SF Fire Credit Union, I apologize for the inconvenience this caused. Having communicated with many of you during the outage, I know first-hand the stress this imposed on our membership. Failures such as this are unacceptable, and do not meet the level of service you expect and deserve, let alone meet the level of service we strive to deliver. I’d like to assure members that we’ve identified the cause of the failure, and have implemented safeguards to prevent this type of outage from occurring in the future.

Moving beyond these events, there’s certainly additional news and updates I’d like to share. I’m pleased to report that our financial performance remains strong, with continued profitability and ability to increase capital reserves. This is a direct reflection of our loyal membership, and being their financial institution of choice. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to meet your borrowing needs, be it a credit card, car loan, or mortgage. We also held several events which have proven popular with members, including a car sale (at a new Treasure Island location) and sensitive document shred days at all branches.

More is in store this coming summer and fall. We’re remodeling our Stonestown branch, with the goal of improving the ‘flow’ of the branch to improve the service experience at that location. Micro-chipenabled Visa Platinum credit cards, which offer a higher level of security as well as global usability, are ramping up in production. We’ve begun issuing chip-enabled cards to new cardholders, and expect to reissue all of our existing cards over the course of the next few months. A new Online Banking system is on the horizon. It will offer enhanced security, including unique user IDs for joint owners as well as two-factor authentication. And finally, our member events will continue, the next being at car sale the weekend of August 15th at the Cow Palace.

I hope to see you soon, be it at the Car Sale or at the Main Branch. If our paths don’t cross, know that I always welcome your questions or comments and encourage you to contact me via our website (“Ask Darren”), Twitter (@SFFireCU) or mail at our California Street address.

Darren Herrmann, President & CEO

Update Regarding June 6th ATM/DEBIT Card Network Failure

Many of our members were impacted by an ATM/DEBIT card network failure the Credit Union experienced the weekend of June 6th. As an organization who understands the importance of exceptional service, we recognize that this event and our recovery fell short of the service experience we strive to deliver. We apologize for the inconvenience this undoubtedly caused, as well the difficulty in reaching us due to the high volume of incoming calls and web chat sessions to our Contact Center during this time.

Cause of Failure

There are many ‘moving parts’ involved with a successful debit card transaction, which require various systems and entities to communicate with each other. We experienced a system error that disrupted this flow of data communication, which caused the network failure.

Measures to Prevent Future Occurrences

We’ve identified the origin of the system error which caused the failure, and have implemented safeguards to prevent this type of disruption from occurring in the future.

Review of Member Communication Channels

We’ll be evaluating the systems by which members currently communicate our Contact Center (phone and web chat), to provide faster response times during periods of high volume such as we experienced during this service failure.

Member Data is Secure

While the system outage involved a disruption of data communication, it’s important to know that this event did not compromise any account information and SF Fire Credit Union’s member data is secure.