Our Mortgages Are Done In-House!

Just an fyi…we’ve had several questions about our mortgage loan origination program. Hopewell Federal Credit Union is in no way affiliated with KB Creative Financial Services Inc. We do our own mortgage loan origination in-house, right here in Licking County.

If you visit our website, you’ll see that we have our own Mortgage Loan Associate. His name is Jeff Harris, he’s local and he’ll go that extra mile to put you in a mortgage that meets your needs. No sub-prime, crazy stuff here. Jeff KNOWS mortgages, he’s the real deal and he works hard for all of our members to get them a mortgage at a rate they can afford.

Rates have never been lower, so whether you’re refinancing, or looking to buy, now’s the time to talk to Jeff! 522-8311 or e-mail him at jharris@hopewellfcu.org.

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Kissing a Camel for a Great Cause!

What is that they say…Pucker Up, buttercup! As part of our 2009 Operation Feed contest, we had an internal employee contest to purchase hearts for 50cents to show your love for your favorite manager…Our own Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, won this dubious honor…and his reward??? He had to kiss a camel! Yepl, a real one… we were all very excited about this contest. Wouldn’t you know today was the big day and they brought two! Sahara and Dana.

Surprisingly enough, the camels were very sweet natured. Even more surprising, Jim kissed it twice! Why? The first time, our camera wasn’t working. He more or less, put an animal cracker in his mouth and Sahara ate it. But I have to tell you, he was a great sport!

The camel drew quite a crowd of passers-by. Who came to feed, pet and take photos.

We love giving back to Licking County, even if it means getting up close and personal w/ a camel. Our thanks to the Newark Advocate, Chuck Moore from the Licking County Food Pantry and of course, our great sport, our own Jim Johnson! Enjoy… -Al

http://tinyurl.com/cwtp2a

Just In Case You Missed It!

 

Hey folks, I don’t mean to be redundant here…but in light of our annual meeting that we held on March 25, 2009…just in case you missed it, I thought I would post my letter from our 2008 annual report. It just gives you a quick update on how things went last year and where things are in 2009. I was going to do a You Tube update and can continue in that format, if you prefer-but since this was already written-cut and paste seemed more simple to me.

Please let me know your thoughts…

Al

What a year 2008 turned out to be!  We saw the greatest challenge to the banking system since the great depression.  Twenty-four banks failed in 2008 and so far 14 have failed in 2009.  Banks stopped lending money to both businesses and consumers in 2008, and the potential losses on their books continue to increase.  Therefore, the Federal Government passed a rescue bill to help prop up the ailing banks in 2008. The auto industry was hit hard as well. Both GM and Chrysler received government assistance in cash loans.  And while Wall Street came tumbling down, Main Street suffered.  Many people lost their jobs and filed for unemployment benefits, putting a strain on state agencies.  State government also has felt the impact of the banking crisis, with revenues falling as the economy continues to weaken. 

 

How did Hopewell Federal Credit Union do in 2008?  At a time when many companies ended the year in the red, Hopewell Federal was in the black, showing a net income of $90,447.  Although our loan losses were more than expected, they remained manageable. Loans outstanding to our members increased by $4.1 million in 2008 or 8.85%.  Your credit union continued to lend money to you, our members in 2008.  Our member deposits also increased in 2008 by $1.9 million or 5.9%.  Members recognized their member-owned credit union is here to help them get ahead financially. 

 

I am also pleased to tell you that while other financial institutions pulled back on their mortgage lending operations, Hopewell Federal had a record year.  Our mortgage loan officer was busy all year, helping our members get into a mortgage they could afford.  It is not our practice, nor is it good business, to put a member in a mortgage that we know they will not be able to afford down the road. 

 

Like many other companies today, we continue to keep a close watch on our cost of operations, while providing the quality service you come to expect from us.  It’s our goal to continue to offer “frosted mug” service to our members by exceeding their expectations. 

 

Although your credit union has weathered the storm in 2008, I must report this is not the case in our credit union movement.  The mortgage crisis that began in mid 2007 had an impact on our corporate credit union system, the credit union’s credit union.  There are twenty-eight corporate credit unions throughout the country.  These corporate credit unions provide natural person credit unions many services, such as item processing, investment and liquidity, and in some cases, plastic card programs.  Hopewell Federal Credit Union is a member of the Corporate One Federal Credit Union, located in Columbus, Ohio.  The corporate credit unions, including Corporate One FCU, belong to the US Central Corporate Federal Credit Union.  Some of the corporate credit unions have investments in mortgage and asset backed securities. These investments are impacted by the mortgage and banking crisis we are now facing.  What does this mean to Hopewell Federal?  It means if the corporate credit unions, especially the US Central Corporate CU, experience heavy loses on their investments, all credit unions with deposit guaranteed insurance from the Nation Credit Union Share Insure Fund, will be asked to help cover those loses. Credit unions are financially strong and will be able to help absorb these losses.  Never in the history of credit unions, going back until 1909, has the government needed to rescue credit unions.  No taxpayer dollars have been use.  Due to the uncertainly of the corporate credit union investments and the potential losses, our credit union, could experience a one time charge to re-capitalize the share insurance fund.  Our portion of this charge would be $397,774.  A charge of this size will result in a net operating loss for 2009. 

 

Your credit union is well positioned to absorb the share insurance charge, if needed.  Our regulatory capital is 8.5% as of December 31, 2008, and even with this charge, we would still be around 7.9%.   Our regulator, the National Credit Union Administration, considers a credit union “well capitalized” if their ratio is 7.0% or greater.  Neither the management team, nor the board of directors, is pleased with the thought of facing this insurance charge but realize that we must protect the credit union members’ deposits and our credit union movement. 

 

We are up to the challenges that 2009 will present.  We are able to meet the needs of our members and will continue to do so during these difficult economic times. 

 

I want to thank our volunteer directors and our supervisory committee members for their hard work in helping set the strategic direction for our credit union. It’s comforting to know that they have your best interest in mind. 

 

Thank you for being a member of Hopewell Federal Credit Union.  Together, we can accomplish so much and I ask that you consider doing all your banking business at your credit union in the future. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Al Smith   

President & CEO

You Can Sleep Soundly as a CU Member

Folks, we’ve been telling you for quite some time now, but …the NCUA has decided to start running TV ads that just remind all CU members that their funds are insured, safe and secure. I thought it would be a good idea to share with all of you.

Check out the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BB04N7UoVQ

So, who is this Jane Bryant Quinn? Well, she’s a very well-known, American Financial Journalist.

She’s been writing on finance and money management since 1978 and has written several books, including:

Everyone’s Money
Making the Most of Your Money
A Hole in the Market
Making the Most of Your Money-2nd edition published in 1997
Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People
Making the Most of Your Money-Completely Revised 2009, 3rd Edition.

 She writes a regular column for Good Housekeeping and helped develop the top-selling software program “Quicken Financial Planner”. 

Why is she relevant? Because folks, she’s been around for good economic times and bad.

Also, just a reminder, we want you to stay up-to-date with what’s happening at Hopewell FCU, that’s why we signed on to Twitter. We have several people following us already, and even “tweeted” from our annual meeting. But we want you to know, that it’s free and it’s a great way to communicate with us and see what’s happening at your community credit union!

-Al

New Policy in Effect April 1, 2009

By now, many of you have received our Spring Newsletter about our new No Hats, No Hoods, No Sunglasses Policy. We’ve received several questions and concerns about the  new policy, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to clear some things up.

The number of robberies committed in financial institutions is growing and this is a simple way to tackle the issue. By removing hats, hoods, caps and sunglasses, members make it easier for staff and law enforcement to identify any would-be robbers, who often choose these items as a disguise.

Credit unions and banks across the country, including Park National Bank have been asking their customers/members to remove these items before coming into their financial institution.

This dress code security effort has already found succes in Massachusetts and Missouri. So, why adopt it here at Hopewell Federal? Plain and simple folks, we want to make our credit union safer for our members and staff. A growing number of financial institutions are also adopting this policy, including Kemba Financial in Columbus. By adopting this policy, we are also sending a specific message that you can’t come into our credit union wearing a disguise, without being noticed.

Now, will members who refuse to comply with this new policy still receive service? Of course they can. You can always use our drive thru and ATMs.

 We also understand that many people wear transitional lenses, that turn dark out in the sun, myself included. So obviously, we will not ask you to remove them if they are prescription, transitional lenses.  Here’s a good rule of thumb, if it conceals your face or head, you should remove it.

Plus, by reducing the time law enforcement agencies must devote to these types of crimes, more effort can be spent on more important concerns and investigations in our local community.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to respond to me personally through the blog or give us a call, we’d be happy to talk with you. This policy does work and most importantly, we want our members to know that their safety is our number one priority. The policy goes into effect April 1, 2009.

-Al

On the Ball Update

Well, well, well… It’s me, Cammie Morrow, and I thought I’d take this opportunity to update everyone on  my ball as an office chair experience. I’m actually sitting on the ball, right now. It’s been a little over a month and I think it actually works. But let’s backtrack a bit.

Okay, so I brought the first ball in and it was too small, I was sitting really low. So, I bought another ball. As if I didn’t get ridiculed enough, right? Nah, my fellow coworkers still get a chuckle, but you’d be surprised how many of them actually want to sit on the ball themselves. I’m serious. I may look silly sure, but it’s actually been a very fun experiment.

After the first two days, man, was I sore. I could feel it  in my stomach and my legs. The ball is hard work. Trust me. I think from that aspect, it does take some work, because you’re sitting straighter, your controlling the ball with your legs to sit still and any slight movements, you can feel your stomach muscles working.  That being said, what’s the verdict on it replacing a gym, right?

Well, it isn’t cardio or weight training, but I do think the ball is effective. I definitely feel better about myself at the end of the day, being on the ball then not on the ball. When I go home on weekends and come back, I tend to be a bit sore on Mondays.  But do I think it’s as hardworking as a gym? No.  I will say that it’s a great way to get some toning in while your at the office. Plus, it’s really comfortable on my back.

Believe it or not, in the past month, I’ve had NO ball mishaps, I haven’t rolled or fallen off the ball. But sometimes, I even hop on it like a hippty-hop, remember those? I’m dating myself here. But it sure makes my work day more fun. From the comments, smiles and coworkers, shaking there heads, it’s made somewhat of an impact. Some have even gone home and sat on a ball watching t.v. or playing video games, like my husband. When I came home and shared with him what I was doing, he tried it and found he was actually sore too.

So I would say, overall this experiment is a success. It won’t replace your gym but it will help with toning your abs and lower body while your sitting at your desk all day. I even had some vendors catch on to the idea and they went out and bought balls too! I also saw a story on FOX news about schools that have tried the balls for ansy kids.

My best advice, for only $10-$20 a ball, don’t knock it, until you try it, get on the ball! I’m going to stay on mine a little longer to see if I get even better results. Plus, I just love to see people smile as they walk by my office.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Help Us, Help those in Need …

Hi Folks,

I just wanted to give you an update on some of the things happening here at Hopewell Federal. It’s Operation Feed time again, and wow, have we got things going on…First off, to help with the cause, we’re having a used book sale tomorrow , Friday March 13th, at our Heath Office. Stop by and pick up some gently-used books at great prices, talk about keeping america green!

Also, we have the WHO DO YOU LOVE contest, this one’s a doozie. Our employees can purchase hearts for the supervisor they love the most to… KISS A CAMEL! That’s right, a real, live, honest-to-goodness CAMEL! Can you believe it? I’m not sure that I can either, but “Tippy” the CAMEL will be here on Friday, March 20th, to PUCKER UP to one of our lucky managers! Feel free to make a donation.

Now…you probably already know that we’re a drop off point for food-so bring us your canned goods! We’ll take them! But we’re also involved in Hopewell Federal’s Operation Feed Round Up! When you bring your coin in to one of our coin machines, you of course, get out of it, exactly what you put into it, because using are coin machines is FREE to all of our members. (Non-members get charged a 5% fee…better than a grocery store, you might want to stop in.)

Anyway, whatever you bring in, we’ll round your change up to the nearest dollar and give those proceeds to Operation Feed. Pretty cool huh? It’s our great Operation Feed Round Up, so yee-haw, come on! Dig for coins in your cars, couches and so on and bring them in for a great cause!

Friday, March 20th-we’ll be in the drive thrus as well for a SQUEEGIE Day! We’ll wash your windsheilds for you!

On a more serious note, given today’s current state of economy, people right here in Licking County are using our food pantry now more than ever. So, I encourage you to help out this year’s campaign now more than ever and help us, help those in need, right here in our own backyard!

Thanks,

Al