Tips for Teens – Every Day is Earth Day

Like most people, I like this planet. It gives me fresh air to breathe, water to drink, and many other resources to live on, all of which we often take for granted. Although Elon Musk is still trying to figure out exactly how we’re going to colonize other planets, we only have one that we can call home for now. I want this planet to live a long and fulfilling life, but several human influences have changed its future potential dramatically. Below, you’ll find some tips to minimize your impact on the planet and make it greener every day!

read more >

President’s Corner – US Economy

Jamie Dimon and I don’t hang out together. Dimon is the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the parent company of Chase Bank. Chase’s assets are roughly 3,500 times larger than your Credit Union’s. He hangs out at exclusive country clubs and expensive restaurants. I hang out in bowling alleys and at home eating dinner while watching our local teams’ games. Along with his great lifestyle, Mr. Dimon does not lack for self-confidence.

Recently, he announced in the bank’s annual report that the “too big to fail” issue has been solved. In other words, taxpayers will not pay if one of the major “too big” banks,” such as Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, CitiBank, U.S. Bank, and a few others, fails. In his view, any failure would not harm the U.S. economy.

read more >

Avoid Depositing Checks from Unknown Parties

Consumers should be on the lookout for fake check scams, the National Credit Union Administration, the federal agency that insures 1st Nor Cal members’ deposits, warned after receiving numerous inquiries from consumers.

There are many versions of a fake check scam. However, the result is the same. Scammers lure consumers into depositing a cashier’s check, money order, or other checking instrument from someone that they don’t know and wiring or sending money to the scammers. A check may take considerably longer to clear the financial institution that issued it before the funds can be collected. It could take days or even weeks to discover that the deposited check was fraudulent.

read more >

Mini Motorland

We want to take a moment and thank the City of Martinez for hosting Mini Motorland last Saturday, April 4, 2017, at the Martinez Amphitheater. We had as much fun as the kiddos did, handing out piggy banks, chocolate coins, and raffle tickets! Attendee, Charlotte (lower right photo) won the raffle and took home a tricycle! One of our employees, Zoyla, stopped by with her family (top right photo) to say hi and enjoy the event. Along with the goodies we handed out, we provided information to the attendees about our youth accounts. We can’t wait for next year!

read more >

Attention Visa Credit Card Holders

Regarding your 1st Nor Cal Visa account:

In May 2017, we will transition our Visa accounts to our core system here at the Credit Union. You will be able to see your Visa account and transactions on our Online Banking and Mobile App. You will also be able to make payments directly which will update your balance immediately.

Other important issues:

eStatements will be disabled beginning May 19, 2017.  Users should download and save copies of any previous statements before this date. Cardholders will receive paper statements to their mailing address on file for the month of April. If your account was set up for automatic payments, you will need to reset that function.

read more >

Tips for Teens – The Benefit of Buying in Bulk

Photo of basket of groceriesLately I’ve been buying peanut trays at Costco. Basically, it’s a bunch of different nuts and dried fruit in a tray and there are three trays per package, which costs about $6.00. It wasn’t until I ran out that I realized I was getting ripped off. Instead of buying these trays, I could have bought $6.00 worth of nuts in bulk which would have given me more for the same amount of money. Even better, I could have chosen which nuts I wanted and how much I wanted of each. So it got me thinking, how could I quickly compare bulk items to standard sized items when I’m shopping?

read more >

Alert – Letter Did Not Come from Us

You may have received this letter in the mail that appears to have been sent by us. 1st Nor Cal did not send this letter. The letter was sent by an insurance company soliciting your business. They received the home loan amount through county records since all real estate transactions are recorded and maintained with your local county. Please disregard and shred this notice. If you have any questions regarding your mortgage loan, please contact our mortgage department at (925) 335-3870.

Image of letter that did not come from 1st Nor Cal

President’s Corner – Entrepreneurs

In the 1941 classic “Citizen Kane,” Charles Foster Kane (played brilliantly by Orson Welles) describes business and entrepreneurship in his own way by remarking, “You’re right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at a rate of a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place in…60 years.”

Most small businesses, and even some large businesses, can’t afford to lose a million dollars a year. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of the brightest entrepreneurs in the Bay Area. A few of them are tech whizzes at Silicon Valley startups, but most of them run companies we may take for granted, like office furniture installers, real estate development, and sporting goods.

read more >

President’s Corner – Don’t Buy Gold Based On TV Ads

I try to live my life based on two fundamental tenets: 1) When a pitcher is struggling, always take the first strike, and 2) Don’t buy gold based on TV ads. The basic premise of marketing is to persuade consumers to buy a product without the use of common sense or intuition. Marketing may take the form of humor, inducement, preconceived notions, misapplied facts, and distorted data. How consumers select an institution to handle their finances is highly influenced by marketing.

The notion of a bank or credit union charging fees for their services has caused a lot of angst among consumers and the various state and federal financial regulators. After all, lawyers, accountants, doctors, phone and cable TV companies, and colleges charge fees; why not us? 1st Nor Cal charges fewer fees than just about anyone in our industry, yet, even with constant marketing, it is barely noticeable.

read more >

Tricks & Scams In Debit Cards To Watch Out For

Members are being cautioned to watch for numerous debit card-related scams and tricks in 2017. Fraudsters see chip cards flooding the market and are finding new ways to separate members from their money.

    • Robocalls telling victims their debit cards have been locked, which leads nervous cardholders to follow instructions in the calls, one of which is to key in their card numbers, expiration dates and PINs.
      • Card-cracking artists using social media to lure victims. Millennials are the targets of these scams, which ask debit cardholders to share their cards and PINs as a way of earning extra cash. Scammers deposit fake checks into the associated accounts, make immediate withdrawals and then share some of the cash with the victims. When victims’ financial institutions eventually find fraudulent checks, the debit cardholders are left holding the bag.

      read more >