Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

PFCU is a Leader in Our “Village”

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PFCU’s Veronica Reigelman helps kids at the coloring tables.

The Credit Union motto is people helping people, and PFCU has been doing just that since we were first founded by employees of the City of Pasadena back in 1935.  Over the years we have grown to serve dozens of businesses and organizations in the SGV.  Our partners include many of the key organizations that consistently make the SGV such a great place to live and work.  We serve organizations such as Union Station Homeless Services, Rosemary Children’s Services, The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, Art Center College of Design, The Los Angeles College of Music, Pasadena Museum of California Art, The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, The San Gabriel Chamber of Commerce, and many more.  We have gained a reputation for providing quality financial services to our community and have taught thousands of individuals of all ages financial literacy information such as budgeting, proper use of credit, saving strategies and much more.  In fact, we have teamed up with award-winning children’s financial literacy expert Sam Renick, creator of the lovable Sammy Rabbit character, to teach more than 7,000 girls about saving, budgeting and goal-setting. PFCU is the 2014 Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Corporate Citizen of the Year and winner of the “It Takes a Village” Award from the San Gabriel Chamber. We have been named “SGV’s Best Credit Union by readers of thirteen local newspapers in 2015. PFCU also volunteers to prepare and serve a meal at the Union Station Homeless Services Family Center once each quarter.  Our PFCU Paws for a Cause Wiggle Waggle Walk team has raised thousands of dollars to help the animals at Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA over the years.  We help out at Police and Fire Department events for the cities of Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Gabriel and Sierra Madre.  We participate in the Earth Day Festival, NATHA’s (Neighbors Acting Together Helping All) Lincoln Village Festival,  each year.  We are a sponsor of the San Gabriel Mission Fietsa, The Altadena Sheriffs Summer Concert Series, The Spark of Love Toy Drive, Monte Vista Grove’s annual dinner, just to name a few.  Our new Pasadena FCU and YouTube channel is helping us spread the word about Credit Unions and the way to make smart financial choices.  We educate the community through this blog, our PasadenaFCU Facebook page and our Twitter account. Enjoy this video from our participation in the recent National Night Out Festival in Kings Villages https://youtu.be/qR3Q4_0DJZk

Community Focus: American Cancer Society Relay for Life

Relay for Life

The annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life will be held on May 23-24 at Maranatha High School.

 “You have cancer.”

These have to be three of the scariest words that anyone could ever hear. Thankfully, the volunteers of the American Cancer Society (ASC) are working relentlessly to create a world where no one will ever hear those words again.

ACS is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. Globally, with more than 3 million dedicated volunteers (the largest volunteer health organization in the United States) ACS is making a difference in the fight against cancer. They are helping people stay well, helping people get well, finding cures and fighting back. No cancer-fighting organization has such a comprehensive mission.

In our community, ACS is helping people through the diagnosis, treatments and survivorship of cancer. ACS is there to support patients and families in everything from lodging, to rides to the treatments and in providing community support. ACS hosts programs and services to help people with cancer and their loved ones understand cancer, manage their lives through treatment and recovery and find the emotional support they need. Best of all, it is all free. However, this can only be possible through donations and volunteers.

ACS has many fundraisers throughout the year with many ways for the community to get involved. One of the big fundraising events is Relay for Life. Relay for Life is an event that gives everyone in the community a chance to Celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, Remember loved ones lost and Fight Back against the disease. It is a 24-hour event where Relay for Life teams camp out overnight and take turns walking or running around a track. Relay for Life opens with a very powerful survivor walk that celebrates their victory over cancer. There is also the touching Luminaria ceremony where Luminaria bags and candles are lit to honor the loved ones who have passed or are fighting the disease. This year, Relay for Life of Pasadena will be held at Maranatha High School in Pasadena (located at 169 St. John Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105). It will begin on Friday, May 23rd at 6:00 p.m. and end the following evening on May 24th at 6:00 p.m.

Each year, more that 4 million people in over 20 countries take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds as well as awareness to save lives from cancer. If you would like to be a part of this amazing event, please consider creating/joining a team.

If you are not able to participate, please consider donating, because saving lives starts one team, one participant and one dollar at a time. www.relayforlife.org/pasadenaca 

 

PFCU and the Great California Shakeout

Sooner or later, Southern California will experience a major earthquake.  Disaster Preparedness is the best way to gain more peace of mind.  Just as with your finances, the more you know, the more you can protect yourself and your loved ones in the face of such an event. To help Californians prepare, The 2012 Great California Shake Out is occurring statewide on October 18, at 10:18 a.m. There are many ways for individuals, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, and community groups to participate and get prepared for earthquakes as well as sharing what you are doing with others to help them prepare.  In fact, the Shake Out is now an international event with millions of participants worldwide. Pasadena and the greater San Gabriel Valley region reside in “earthquake country.” Should we experience a significant quake, most experts indicate that you and your family will likely be without governmental assistance for more than three days. Will you be prepared?

For more information on the Great California Shake Out, safety tips and advanced preparation please visit their web page at www.shakeout.org.  San Gabriel residents, please click here for an update regarding the event. You can also find preparedness information through the Pasadena City Hall at www.cityofpasadena.net/disaster.

Rest assured, Pasadena Federal Credit Union has a detailed Recovery Plan in place to ensure that our members have access to their money in the aftermath of an earthquake or other event.  (If there’s a disaster recovery page on your site you can link to it).

Now is also a great time to put a PFCU Home Equity Line of Credit, VISA Credit Card, or Overdraft Line of Credit in place to give you quick accesss to emergency funds when you need them.   Apply Now.

Whether it’s a natural disaster or a financial one, disciplined planning and communication can minimize the impact of such events on you and the lives of your loved ones.  We’re doing our best to help keep you safe and secure.  The Great California Shakeout is a powerful way to start!

Protecting Your Group or Organization Accounts

Every day there are thousands of organizations across the country putting enormous time and effort into fundraising. From bake sales to candy bars, from cookies to popcorn, people are always coming up with creative ways to raise money for a good cause. Now, imagine that an unscrupulous leader in the organization who steals hard-earned money raised by the group destroys all of that effort. It has happened to church groups, schools, scouting organizations and sporting clubs. A few clear, simple rules can keep it from happening to your group.

One of the reasons we all participate in such organizations is that we want to have fun and build community. There is a general feeling of good will generated and it’s easy to let our guard down. Unfortunately, many otherwise honest people may succumb to temptation if they fall on hard times. One way to look at it is for all members of the group to be mindful not to put one another in a position where they could become suspect if money went missing. Care of the organization’s funds should be a constant collaborative effort.

• Elect trustworthy individuals as officers, but don’t put anyone in a situation where they are easily tempted to defraud the group
• Keep a system of checks and balances that the group agrees upon
• No one should be offended if anyone in the group wants to look at bank statements, ledgers or other records-books should be open at all times
• Frequent, transparent reporting should be made to the group and verified independently by different group members
• We encourage groups to sign up for online banking and e-Statements so that different members can easily go online any time to review accounts
• Rotating officers frequently can prevent any one individual from getting too comfortable
• When large sums of money are brought in, the group should determine specific actions for use of the funds and initiate procedures for follow-up
• Officers should take care to avoid even the appearance of impropriety
• Use mobile apps like our new Sprig Mobile Banking as a way of quickly checking account activity

Young or old, the members of an organization work hard to raise money for specific purposes. Use the administration of those funds as a way to teach kids about cooperation, money and planning and keep the experience pleasant for everyone. In conjunction with our Free Girl Scout Troop Accounts, for example, PFCU offers extensive financial literacy training with the help of children’s author Sam Renick. After he and his Sammy Rabbit character delight and educate the kids, their parents often tell us they learned a lot, too! Don’t let money ruin friendships, familial relationships and the integrity of your group or organization. Encourage one another to be vigilant in a collaborative way and applaud each other for being cautious.

Danger: Spiders! Keeping Kids Safe on the Worldwide Web

 

Your kids won't see who is preying on them, so vigilance is imperative

Singer/Songwriter Melissa Manchester has a famous song titled A Mother and Father’s Prayer in which she sings

Would you please take them under wing

Watch over them especially

Keeping them safe from everything

This is a mother’s prayer

 

The world can seem overwhelming for a parent trying to protect their child.  However, being proactive can bring back a feeling of empowerment.  One danger parents may not always consider is the potential harm lurking on the internet.  It is real and has the potential to devastate lives..

A spider weaves elaborate webs to capture unsuspecting creatures so that they can consume them.  While the worldwide web has transformed our lives and placed enormous amounts of information at our fingertips, the comparison of the perilous aspects of its accessibility to a spider’s web is important.  With the freedom of expression and information comes the risk of harm to adults through online fraud scams discussed elsewhere here and to children through online predators.

How can we instill in our kids a confidence and faith in humanity while still protecting them from harm, and even from themselves?  The worldwide aspect of the web means that no single government is able to restrict what people in other countries can post.  Consequently, those who wish to prey upon innocent victims are able to maneuver with alarming ease and can do a lot of damage.  Here are some general rules families should abide by:

  • Think twice before giving kids, even teens,  personal computers with web access in their bedrooms.  They should only be allowed to go online when adults are present and in a shared space such as the living room.  It should be clear that at any time the child’s internet use could be monitored.  Tracking software and parental controls are available.
  • Kids should not be given internet access on cell phones.  Many parents now choose to give their kids mobile phones for emergency and ease of communication between parent and child, but they should not have unfettered access to the internet.
  • Parents should have frequent, ongoing dialogue about the internet with their kids.  The positive attributes of the web should be balanced with detailed explanations of how predators can operate.  Just as kids are taught not to talk to strangers who approach them in public or take candy from them, they should not talk to strangers online.

           

PFCU CFO Robert Norris says he explained to his son that allowing him unmonitored access to the internet would be like placing a stack of adult magazines in his bedroom and asking him not to look at them, and then shutting the door.  “It isn’t fair to him”, he reasoned.

One huge culprit is file-sharing.  In this, the spider is actually spawning many other spiders and they create more webs at an alarming rate, but they all come back to your computer, bringing more hazards!  People love the concept of being able to connect to computers owned by individuals all over the world and quickly gaining access to music, software, images or documents in which they share an interest with others.  Part of the problem lies in the way file-sharing works.  In many cases, you are literally handing control of your computer over to someone else and allowing them to get into all your files, as well as loading anything they want onto your computer.  They can easily upload something illegal onto your database, whether it’s unlawfully acquired intellectual property or even illegal pornographic material.  Once this material is on your computer, it can quickly be shared with others who are connected to the file-sharing network.  This now makes you a distributor of the shared material in the eyes of the law.  One can see how this can quickly become a recipe for disaster. The best way to steer clear of this kind of trouble is to avoid file-sharing sites altogether. 

An article on Kidshealth.org sites the example of a child searching for ‘Lego” and making a typographical error that the search engine auto-corrects to the word ‘legs’.  Now the child may be hit with a barrage of inappropriate images. 

Parental control settings can be a valuable tool but do not rely on them alone. 

Stay involved in your child’s online experience.   The internet can be a wonderful place if approached correctly.  Stay informed and keep your kids informed so that they make the right choices.

Rest assured that PFCU is doing all we can to keep our members safe online. Check out the Kid’s Privacy Policy on our website.  The safety and well-being of our kids is all of our responsibility.

Lyrics from A Mother’s and Father’s Prayer by Melissa Manchester and Karen Taylor-Good

© Copyright 2004 Song Guru Music/Bug/Windswept Music  Used by permission

Time to Escape Banking Fees! Time to Join PFCU!

There's no time like the present to escape bank fees and mediocre service by joining a credit union.

Why a credit union?  Why PFCU?  There are LOTS of reasons! 

Suze Orman, Jane Bryant Quinn and numerous financial websites such as CULookup, Find a Credit Union and creditcardconnection.org  to name a few, have been touting credit unions for years.  The clamor reached a fever pitch recently when big banks announced plans to begin charging people to use their debit cards.  When something has been free and suddenly isn’t, people notice.  Actually, there have been more subtle ways that bank customers have been paying more and getting less for several years.  Even as the economy worsened, many consumers saw dramatic increases in credit card rates over the past decade.  Fees of all sorts increased or appeared seemingly out of thin air.  People are feeling it more than ever and are looking for alternatives.

So why a credit union?  There are lots of very good reasons.  First, a credit union is a non-profit financial cooperative owned by members, not stockholders and run by a volunteer Board of Directors from the local community who are also members, rather than a board, which receives compensation and may not otherwise be connected to the people who bank there.  Consequently, credit union earnings which exceed operating expenses are returned to the members in the form of lower rates on loans, higher rates on savings, and fewer fees.  The difference can be quite stark.  The credit union motto is “People Helping People” and we take that very seriously.  That’s why you will see credit union employees out in the community teaching financial literacy, volunteering for community service, and offering sensible, low-cost financial services to our area, including those who under-served by other financial institutions. 

If you are thinking of joining a credit union, Pasadena Federal Credit Union is an outstanding choice!  It’s no accident PFCU was voted “2011 Best Bank/Credit Union in the San Gabriel Valley” by the readers of the Pasadena Star News, Whittier Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and LA Times.  We have outstanding loan and deposit products and exemplary service our members rave about. 

Take credit cards for example.  Suze Orman refers viewers and readers to www.creditcardconnection.org, a site that has ranked all of the credit cards for banks and credit unions nationwide.  PFCU has received five out of five stars and made the “Dean’s List”.  Our card has no annual fee, no cash advance fee, no balance transfer fee, no over-the-limit fee and no default rate.  Wait until you see our low APR, which is well-below even the low end of the national average quoted in a recent AP article

PFCU has the same low rate for new or used car loans.  We allow deposits of at least $1,000 at a time to Share Certificates.  We don’t charge you to use your debit card.  You can use our Coinstar™ machine to deposit up to $100 in coin each day for FREE as a member

PFCU is also more convenient than you might think!  Although there is one branch with our name on it, it’s like we have more than 4,000 branches nationwide because we team up with other credit unions.  Go to www.cuswirl.com to find a shared branch location near you that allows you to deposit and withdraw from PFCU accounts and make PFCU loan payments as long as you have your account number and ID with you.  There is also an iPhone or Droid app to make finding a branch even easier. 

PFCU does not charge to use ANY ATM machine.  You may incur charges at a bank ATM, but with more than 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide including 7-Eleven, Costco and Bank of the West, you won’t need to use one of those machines.  Just text an address, intersection or zip code to 692667 (MYCO-OP) or go to the locations tab of our website.  There are free phone apps and navigation apps as well. 

What are you waiting for?  The time is NOW to join a credit union.  PFCU is a smart choice you will be happy about for years to come.

Pasadena is Art, Inside and Out!

Convergence by Jon Seeman to be displayed at Washington and Glen, traffic island

We often like to say that PFCU is Another Reason to Love Pasadena.  Many of our members agree!  That phrase works, of course, because there are so many reasons to love our city.  Blessed with some one of the most beautiful geographical locales on earth, the city starts off with some stunning views of the San Gabriel Mountains and lush vegetation.  Then a lot of brilliant architectural visionaries have added some amazing buildings, many of which are depicted in our 75th Anniversary mural Building Pasadena by Art Center College of Design alumnus Jerry Ortega.  Add to that a number of wonderful museums, and an art aficionado could stay busy indefinitely trying to take it all in.

Now, our members and their colleagues in the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division are taking some of that artistic vision to the streets by introducing the work of local, regional and national  artists to Pasadena’s great outdoors.  On September 1, 2011, four colorful, vibrant and unique  works of art will be installed at various locations around the city as part of its new Rotating Public Art Exhibition Program.   Five more will be in place by the end of the year.  The exhibitions activate unusual locations such as traffic islands and medians, transforming small, often unnoticed areas into exciting and stimulating destinations for visitors and residents.

Lt Mustardseed's Timeless Joy, to be displayed at Washington and Marengo, SW corner

 

The first four works of art are pictured here, with more to come.

The nine locations host a changing display of artworks that are kinetic, interactive, and have multi-sensory sound and lighting components.  Come discover the urban outdoor gallery  that boasts a broad range of forms, subjects, styles and color schemes–artworks made of bronze, aluminum and resin.

 

Community participation is an essential component of the program. The Cultural Affairs Division invited the community to a series of meetings to help launch the program.  Participants were informed about specific locations for artwork and encouraged to spread the word.

Ongoing community participation is ensured by including residents and stakeholders in the periodic artwork selection processes.  To confirm representation from every part of the City, Council members nominate community representatives from their respective districts who, along with public art professionals, vote for artworks for placement at each of nine sites.

Handstand by Daniel Stern to be displayed at Sunset and Mountain, NW corner

In addition to these nine, new locations to experience public art, eight 30-60 minute Public Art Walking Tours are available in Downtown and Old Pasadena which allow you to enjoy the variety, diversity and breadth of what Pasadena public art has to offer.

Diversity by Cecilia Lueza to be displayed at Sierra Madre at New York, Traffic median east of intersection

To learn more about the artists and artworks currently on exhibition, to view maps and bus routes of the artwork locations, and to see more public art in Pasadena, please visit the website www.cityofpasadena.net/arts or call the Cultural Affairs Division at 626-744-7062.

Now you have another reason to love Pasadena!

Arroyo Time Bank: People Helping People

Time is money
Time can be a valuable currency

The credit union motto is “People Helping People” and that’s what our new community partner, Arroyo Time Bank is all about.  Learn more in this informative Guest Blog:

What is Time Banking?

At its most basic level, time banking is simply about building community one hour at a time by doing something for someone else in the community. That hour is recorded in the time bank, then you get an hour to spend on having someone help you. It’s a simple idea, but it has powerful ripple effects in building community connections. Have you ever wished you had someone to help you get something done during your day? In a Time Banking community, your neighbors help you get it done.

Our Relationship with Money and PCFU

Pasadena Federal Credit Union (PCFU) and the Arroyo Time Bank (ATB) both value community and work to strengthen the community as a whole, which is why we chose Pasadena Federal Credit Union as our financial institution. 

    Currency, at its most basic level, is a medium of exchange, a way to get things or get things done. As such, using time as a currency is complementary to what you do with your regular currency (U.S. dollars). Instead of banking on the gold standard, time banking uses the “friendship standard” to create an alternative currency. Your investment in your relationships creates your earning and spending capacity.

As a banking institution, PFCU supports and builds the community through community oriented lending practices and community service. A time bank like ATB builds one-on-one relationships in the community through reciprocity. This reciprocity is tracked through the earning and spending of time credits. 

Time banking is not intended to replace money. It is intended to build community, providing a safety net of friendship for us all.

Five Core Values

There are five core values in time banking. First, we are all assets. We believe that every human being has something to contribute.

Second is redefining work, the concept that some work is beyond price; valuing whatever it takes to raise healthy children, advance social justice, and make the planet sustainable. That kind of work needs to be honored, recorded, and rewarded.

Third is reciprocity. Helping works better as a two-way street. We can help each other build the world we both will live in.

Fourth is building social networks. We need each other. Networks are stronger than individuals. People helping each other reweave communities of support, strength and trust.

Fifth is respect. Every human being matters. Respect underlies freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and everything we value. Respect supplies the heart and soul of democracy. When respect is denied to anyone, we all are injured. Time Banking honors the unique gifts, talents and resources that each of us has to share, regardless of age, employment or ethnic background.

Our Projects
      The Arroyo Time Bank pioneers and supports several community-wide projects to fit the needs of our diverse community. These include the following: the Neighborhood Fruit Picking Project, the Altadena Urban Farmer’s Market, and the Neighborhood Resilience Project at the Armory’s Madison Casita.
 

For more information on Arroyo Time Bank events, projects, and for instructions on how to join, please visit the Arroyo Time Bank website  AND, Arroyo Time Bank members are now eligible to join PFCU!

Safety First at the ATM

ATM, PIN, Safety, Security

Don't Let Others See Your PIN

On Sunday night, March 27, a young Moreno Valley woman was killed at a drive-up ATM machine.  As we grieve for her tragic loss,  it serves as a reminder to each of us to do what we can to protect ourselves and others as we go about our daily activities. 

ATM machines are convenient and easy to use.   As we drop by an ATM to get cash quickly, it can be easy to let our guard down.  Here are some quick and easy tips to help keep you safe:

-If the ATM you’re about to use doesn’t look right, don’t use it.  If you are at all uncomfortable, find another ATM.  PFCU members can text an address, intersection or zip code to 692667 to locate surcharge-free ATMsDroid and iPhone apps are also available to locate 7-Eleven V-Com machines available indoors, 24/7.

– Be wary of anything about the ATM that looks out of the ordinary, such as odd-looking or unfamiliar equipment.

– Be leery of a jammed ATM or persons surrounding the ATM, pretending to be technicians.

-If possible, use an indoor ATM machine, especially at night.  PFCU members can use any 7-Eleven, Costco, or Bank of the West ATM machine free of surcharges.  One of our ATMs is also located inside the Pasadena Police Department lobby.

-If you must use an outdoor ATM at night, ensure that it is well-lit, and that there are no shrubs or bushes or other large objects a person can hide behind nearby

-Bring someone with you when you use the machine, if possible

-Stay alert, look around you as you perform your transaction, multi-tasking is admirable, but this is not the time to be distracted with a cell phone call

-Have your ATM or Debit card in your hand and ready to use before approaching the machine

 -Leave your wallet in your pocket.

-If anyone suspicious starts to approach you, cancel your transaction and leave immediately

-If anyone follows you after you withdraw from an ATM, go to a crowded area and call the police

-If you use a machine in an enclosed area that requires your card to enter, do not allow anyone to follow you in

-Even though it’s a quick stop, don’t leave your engine running, your car doors unlocked or your keys in the ignition

-Immediately put your cash, ATM card and receipt away upon receiving them.  Do not count your cash at the machine, even inside a store or restaurant.  You don’t want anyone nearby to see how much cash you have.  Save your receipt. 

– Check your accounts regularly to make sure there are no unauthorized transactions.

– If your ATM card is lost or stolen, or you suspect fraudulent activity, promptly notify the Credit Union

-When using a drive-up ATM, ensure that all doors are locked and passenger windows are shut

-Try to avoid a drive-up ATM situated in such a way that your car is “trapped” from being able to drive away quickly if necessary.

-Using your free hand, shield the pin pad from the view of others when entering your PIN (Personal Identification Number)

-Memorize your PIN and never write it down

-When traveling, make sure you know the numeric version of your PIN, as some foreign ATMs do not include letters on the keypad

Debit cards are a safe, convenient alternative to carrying cash and are accepted at most stores and restaurants.  Traveler’s Checks are also great when going out of the country.  As much as possible, plan ahead.  When visiting a branch, try to anticipate instances when you will need cash and withdraw accordingly.  Many grocery stores will allow cash back on an ATM or debit card transaction and there is usually no fee.  Pick up a few incidentals or a pack of gum to receive cash in a secure location. 

Your safety is important to us.  Use common sense and don’t take chances.  It’s just not worth the risk.

The Savings Plan by Sammy Rabbit

The Savings Plan by Sammy Rabbit 

Hello friends!  

It is smart to have a money plan and do all you can to work that plan. It is smart to know where you want your money to go so it gets there and just doesn’t end up anywhere.  That’s what a plan can do – help you put your money where you want to. If you stick to it, you can do it. 

Here are a few things to know about plans: A good plan is in writing. A good plan is clear and easy to understand. A good plan has a start and an end date. A good plan includes small steps. A smart person puts energy, enthusiasm and pep into working each of those steps. A smart person reviews their plan regularly. A smart person gives their plan time to work. A smart person adjusts their plan when they know for sure the plan is not working. 

Anyone can have a plan and smart people do. So should you. You are smart too. You can do it! Now, go get to it! 

Your friend,

 

 PFCU has lots of ways to help kids save.  Check out the Kid’s Club at www.pfcu.org and become one of Sammy’s Pals!

 Make your Savings Plan today!  Download and print your goal setting sheet for free.

  http://www.pfcu.org/site/KidsClubSaving.pdf
 

Learn more about Sammy and his mission to help kids get in the habit of saving money and make dreams come true at www.itsahabit.com

© 2009 The It’s a Habit Company, Inc.