The Beauty of Co-ops

The traditional business model provides products and services in hopes of making a profit—but another model is available to consumers: the co-op. “The Great Recession has caused a lot of people in this country to rethink their relationships with big businesses,” says Michael Beall, president and CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association. Washington, D.C. This rethinking is shining a bright light on cooperatives.

Member owners
Cooperatives are organizations where members contribute to the capital of the business and democratically control its operations, explains Brendon Smith, director of communications at Willy Street [Grocery] Co-op in Madison, Wis. Members are more than just consumers—they are owners who shape the organization itself.

The cooperative business model crosses many different types of activities—from agriculture to health care, housing to banking. Hopewell Federal Credit Union is a cooperative. “Throughout the United States, approximately 29,000 cooperatives serve 100 million members,” explains Bill Oemichen, President and CEO of Cooperative Network.

Building community
Co-ops like Hopewell Federal are, by design, formed and run to benefit not only their own members’ bottom lines, but the health of the community in which they operate as well. By taking a long view when it comes to goals and mission, co-ops make a positive impact on neighborhoods and cities.

“People want a couple of things,” sums up Beall. “They want to deal with people locally and know that they are helping to keep jobs in their local community. They want good service. They want to be sure that what they are consuming is organic, in a sense.

Hopewell Federal is proud to be cooperatively run and proud to call you our members. Stop by or call today at 740.522.8311.

Simple Steps Enhance Computer Privacy, Security

The significant consequences that can arise from connecting an unprotected computer to the Internet vary depending on whether a computer invader takes something, such as information that enables a thief to create a false identity, or whether the invader leaves something behind, such as a virus or program that allows the invader to return to take control of your computer for dubious purposes.

The first step to take in protecting your identity is developing an awareness of the type of information that identity thieves need to pretend to be you. Regard account numbers of any type as sensitive information. That goes beyond credit union/bank accounts to utility accounts and cell phone accounts. Hackers who sneak into your computer to “steal” your identity also are interested in any type of relationship that offers significant personal information, which can then be used to stage an impersonation.

Computer users with high-speed or broadband Internet connections carry additional risk, since hackers are drawn to their enhanced online capabilities. Fortunately, you can take simple steps to protect your home computer.

* Use antivirus software. Antivirus software identifies infected e-mail attachments and other virus carriers before they have a chance to damage your computer. Bundled software packages combine antivirus software and personal firewalls for $60 to $80.
* Regularly update antivirus software. Since new viruses emerge every day, the companies that make antivirus programs allow computer owners to subscribe to updates to catch the latest versions.
* Create strong passwords. Hackers easily can steal the information used to create common passwords such as your birthday or a pet’s name. They also have access to programs that will plug in every known word from the dictionary in an attempt to crack your passwords. Strong passwords avoid personal information, login names, or adjacent keyboard symbols. Instead, they combine numbers and letters in passwords that contain at least eight characters.
* If you have a high-speed connection, install a personal firewall. This hardware blocks hackers who attempt to locate your computer or access your files.
* Be wary of unsolicited e-mail. Viruses often are sent as attachments, and identity thieves may attempt to use e-mail to get personal information by masquerading as an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or another vendor. Always confirm the identity of the e-mail’s author before opening attachments, never send sensitive personal information to anyone using e-mail, and always verify that an e-mail request for sensitive material is genuine before sharing personal information.

Yes, You Can Be a Member

If you thought you couldn’t join Hopewell Federal Credit Union, think again. Our credit union has a community charter, which means anyone living, worshiping or working in this community can join our credit union.

You might already know that there are many benefits to being a credit union member–such as low fees and loan rates, excellent member service, and democratic control.

Community-chartered credit unions offer those benefits and more: greater membership diversity, a wider variety of services, and larger pools of qualified volunteers.

We also offer encouragement and education about saving, and help in making sound personal financial decisions and habits. As a member-owner you’ll also have the opportunity for your opinion to be heard and to vote for the board that guides how your credit union should be managed.

If you’re interested in joining, stop in or call Hopewell Federal Credit Union at 740.522.8311.

Direct Deposit Trims Your To-Do List

We’re a nation on the go. There’s work time, fitness time, child time, spouse time, parent time, friend time, and–if you’re lucky–some quiet time.

Wouldn’t it be nice to worry about one less thing? Try direct deposit.

With direct deposit, you authorize your employer or federal agency, like the Social Security Administration, to deposit your check directly into your Hopewell Federal Credit Union account so you can count on access to funds without visiting the credit union. Instead of a check, you receive a paper record of the transaction. Employers, for example, provide an earnings statement on payday showing net deposit and how much was withheld for taxes, company savings plans, or any other withheld amounts.

And direct deposit isn’t just for paychecks. If you’re receiving Social Security checks, you can easily switch those to direct deposit as well.

The Internal Revenue Service also is getting into the act. Direct deposit now delivers tax refunds to accounts of both electronic and non-electronic tax filers.

No matter where your check’s coming from, direct deposit takes the worry out of:

* Stolen or misplaced checks. The Treasury Department reports that more than a million mailed Social Security and government pension checks are lost, stolen, or late every year. And, more than four million paychecks are lost or stolen each year.

* Delayed deposits. Your funds are deposited regularly, and on time. You get paid even if you’re not at work on payday, or can’t make it to Hopewell during business hours.

* Losing potential dividends. With direct deposit you earn dividends on funds as soon as possible. If you have to deposit funds in person, any delay postpones when your money starts making money.

* Lost time. One estimate says direct deposit can save up to 24 hours a year otherwise spent going to the credit union to cash or deposit your paychecks.

As Banks Boost Fees, Credit Unions Are an Even Better Deal

Tell your friends it’s time to switch to a credit union. Why now?

As national studies report soaring bank fees on checking accounts, ATM use, and overdrafts, the data show many credit unions still offer no- or low-fee checking accounts, with no or low minimum balance requirements. On average, to avoid fees, banks require a $585 minimum balance on noninterest-bearing accounts, and a staggering $5,857 balance on interest-bearing accounts.

The studies also show:

* Credit union overdraft fees are consistently lower–$5 to $10 lower–than bank fees for nonsufficient funds.

* More credit unions than banks offer at least one free ATM transaction outside their networks.

* Credit unions’ ATM fees to nonmembers are commonly $1 lower than bank fees to noncustomers.

* Credit unions offer lower fees on loans and credit cards and higher rates on savings accounts.

* Credit union members saved $6.3 billion last year by not doing business with banks.

* In every service and performance satisfaction category, credit unions ranked higher than banks and, overall, ranked seven points higher than the financial industry average.

As member-owned nonprofit cooperatives, credit unions’ mission is to provide members with affordable financial services, while banks exist to make profits and satisfy shareholders. And credit unions provide members nationwide access. Through national ATM networks and shared branch alliances, credit unions offer nearly 30,000 cash machines and the ability to conduct in-person transactions at almost 4,700 branches.

Your friends are bound to agree. It’s time to switch to a credit union.

A credit union could be your best source for a mortgage

Great article from…

Financial institutions have pulled back on mortgage lending since the housing bubble burst, but credit unions have increased their mortgage lending substantially. According to, credit unions originated 60 percent more first mortgages during the first nine months of 2012 compared to the first nine months of 2011.

Click here to read the full article

What to Look for in Credit Union Checking

Check out this informative article from Fox Business.

by Heather Larson  /  Published August 20, 2012  /