After a big storm or other disaster, a criminal element may be drawn to the area. Fraud can range from shoddy repairs to price gouging to people who take the money and run. Here are 4 tips for protecting yourself from contractor scams:

1. Get written estimates. These should be on the company’s letterhead, with clear contact information.

2. Get more than one bid. This will help you decide which offers are legitimate and which may be too high or too good to be true.

3. Use local companies. Make sure to check references and phone numbers.

4. Don’t pay up front. You may be left with new damage to your finances and the same old damage to your property. Good contractors will typically require a partial payment up front to get started, but your final payment should be made after the job is finished.

Information originally published by Texas Department of Insurance at http://www.tdi.texas.gov/takefive/contractorscamsdisaster.html.

Pictured Left to Right: Lonnie Nicholson (EECU President & CEO), Kiana Headland (Alvarado High School), Christian Turnley (Keller High School), Emily Hailey (Fort Worth Christian School), Sydney Peel (Colleyville Heritage High School), Frank Molinar (White Settlement ISD Superintendent and EECU Board Member), Deanna Pierce (Richland High School).
Pictured Left to Right: (back row) Frank Molinar (White Settlement ISD Superintendent and EECU Board Member), Christian Sigala (Trimble Tech High School), Carrigan Hudgins (Mansfield High School), Kyle Samstag (Mansfield Summit High School), Makenna Blassingame (Brewer High School), Lonnie Nicholson (EECU President & CEO); (front row) Kalkidan Alemu (Everman Joe C. Bean High School), Braden Kelley (Richland High School), Brooke Pollard (Arlington High School), Jessica Devous (L.D. Bell High School).

On Tuesday, March 28, EECU announced the 2017 Glenn Mandeville Memorial Scholarship winners at its annual meeting. EECU awarded $40,000 in scholarships to support eight local graduating high school students with their college expenses. The EECU Scholarship Program began 29 years ago and honors former board member Glenn Mandeville, a life-long educator. Since that time, EECU has awarded more than $480,000 in scholarship money to local students.

“EECU has a deep affinity for supporting education,” said Lonnie Nicholson, EECU President and CEO. “Higher education can be an essential springboard to building productive lives, but unfortunately, college expenses also can be a significant burden. EECU is proud to be able to recognize and financially assist these deserving students, and we wish them tremendous success in their academic pursuits.”

The following eight students were named as recipients of the $5,000 scholarships for 2017:

  • Makenna Blassingame, Brewer High School, plans to study Special Education
  • Braden Kelley, Richland High School, plans to study Music Education
  • Brooke Pollard, Arlington High School, plans to study Education
  • Kalkidan Alemu, Everman Joe C. Bean High School, plans to study Biology
  • Jessica Devous, L.D. Bell High School, plans to study International Business
  • Carrigan Hudgins, Mansfield High School, plans to study Biomedical Engineering
  • Kyle Samstag, Mansfield Summit High School, plans to study Business Administration
  • Cristian Sigala, Trimble Tech High School, plans to study Biomedical Engineering

Congratulations to the 2017 Scholarship winners!

Phishing is a technique that involves tricking users into thinking they’re at confidential site in order to steal the user’s confidential information, passwords, etc.

Recently we have been made aware that consumers (not necessarily members of EECU) have received emails purporting to be from EECU. The emails read:

EECU Credit Union Service

Your Contact Information Has Been Updated

You have 1 new Security message from EECU Credit Union to view the update kindly click below.

{LINK}

As this e-mail is an automated message, we can’t reply to any e-mails sent by return.

———————- ———

Copyright (C) 2017 EECU Credit Union.

EECU Credit Union Administrator Service

If you receive a similar email, DO NOT click on the link or provide any of your personal information. This is a phishing attempt and the linked site could potentially contain malware.

If you have received the email, clicked the link and provided your personal information, please contact us immediately at 817-882-0800 or visit your nearest branch so we can take appropriate action on your account.

As a reminder, EECU will never send you an email that requires you to enter personal information. Whether you access eecu.org using a link or by typing eecu.org into the browser, you should always verify that you are on a legitimate site by looking for https://www.eecu.org in the address bar and verifying the security of the site.

At EECU, we continually evaluate the products and services we offer, as well as the systems and vendors we use to deliver those products and services. For several years we have been offering an online security tool called Trusteer Rapport to our online banking users. Recently we conducted a review of this product and determined that it was no longer providing the value to our members that we expected, and have decided to terminate our support for it, effective March 31, 2017.

How does this change impact EECU members?
If you previously used Trusteer, you will not notice anything different. Trusteer functioned as a supplemental security tool for your PC and was never meant to replace standard anti-virus protection. So as always, you should make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware protection on your PC. If you have installed the Trusteer software, it will not cause any harm and can remain on your PC. If you prefer, you can uninstall it using instructions found here.

Trick yourself into saving more this year

You can fool yourself into growing your savings accounts this year.

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to save money in 2017? You’re not alone. “Save more, spend less” and “pay down debt” are two of the top New Year’s resolutions in 2017, according to a study from GOBankingRates.

Making a New Year’s resolution is a lot easier said than done. While the goal is still new, and the year is stretched out before you like freshly fallen snow, take steps now to ensure that you achieve your resolutions later. Keep reading for tips to trick yo
urself into saving more money this year.

Automate your saving. Before you start saving, it’s helpful to track your spending. There are many budgeting tools and apps available that are free to join. Once you link the tool to your bank accounts, it will start monitoring your purchases and automatically assigning them to categories. You can take a hard look at how much you spend at restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores or on utilities and see where cutting back might be needed. These tools and apps will also make recommendations for how much to budget in each category, which you can adjust manually as needed.

Another useful feature of these tools is the ability to set up goals. If you have an amount you want to save this year, whether it’s for an emergency fund, a vacation or a new car, putting your goal in writing is a big first step.

Once you have a goal, it can still be easy to put off saving when other unexpected costs arise. Instead of making the choice to put away money each month, automate your deposits. You can work through your employer to get fixed amounts from your paycheck transferred to savings accounts. You can also set up transfers from your bank accounts to retirement or other savings accounts. Automating this process means that you don’t need to think about it again – that is, until you log in and see how much has accumulated.

Join a cash-back and coupon website. If you’ve ever gone through the checkout process, only to remember five minutes too late that you had a coupon, this tip is for you. Coupon and cash-back websites are free to join, and some even offer convenient browser extensions that tell you how much cash back you can earn on a retailer’s website, or whether there is a coupon code or sale available. This is an easy way to make sure that you’re not missing out on savings when you do your everyday online shopping.

Save your loose change. This tip might seem too easy, or like it can’t make that big of a difference to your savings, but you might be surprised by how much loose change you can collect in a year. If you need some motivation to add change to the jar, start up a competition with family members or co-workers on who can collect the most by the end of the year.

Look into employer discount programs. There’s a possibility that you’re already eligible to save money, and you don’t even know it. If you work for a large company, you may have access to employee discounts or “corporate perks.” Such rewards include fitness memberships, public transportation benefits and daycare centers. If you work for a smaller company with smaller-scale benefits, you still might be eligible for fitness membership reimbursement through your health insurance – perhaps helping to achieve another New Year’s resolution.

Call and ask for reduced bills. Another chance for saving big money this year can be as easy as a phone call. If you think your cable, internet or phone bills are too high, try calling your provider and asking for a lower bill. The retention team will often be able to offer you a discount, especially if they think you might leave to get a better price at a competitor. You can also give your credit card company a call and ask for a lower interest rate – the better credit score and track record you have with the company, the more chance you have at achieving this.

There you have it: five easy ways to save money in 2017. Try one (or all) of these ideas and start watching your savings account grow.

Originally published by U.S. News & World Reports on January 5, 2017

Mandeville Scholarship Blog Header

EECU is now accepting applications for the Glenn Mandeville Memorial Scholarship program for high school seniors. If you, your child or someone you know is preparing for graduation this year and meets the criteria below, download an application and submit it by January 31, 2017, at any EECU office or by mail.

In order to be considered:

  • Applicant must be a high school senior
  • Applicant must be a member in good standing with EECU or parent/legal guardian must be a member in good standing with EECU
  • Applicant must express on their application their intended course of study
  • Recipient of scholarship funds must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 to receive annual distribution of funds
  • The scholarship must be used for the purpose of study at an accredited college or university
  • Academic achievement, character, leadership and personal recommendations will be considered in the selection of scholarship recipients
  • Applicant must include all required documentation and transcripts

The scholarship committee will select six recipients – three who are seeking a career in education and three who are pursuing other areas of study – to receive $5,000 in funds. See application for full details and instructions.

If you’re new to budgeting, figuring out how to manage your money each month can feel overwhelming. Not only do you need to organize, but you also have to make difficult decisions about how to spend your cash. Relying on the experiences of others can help only so much, because your income and expenses are unique. Someone may be able to spend $2,000 per month on rent in Arlington, VA, but that kind of spending may not work for you.

But there’s good news: You don’t need complicated spreadsheets with countless spending categories, and you don’t need to be a financial expert to understand how much money you can spend. You simply need to follow the 50-20-30 Rule.

What is the 50-20-30 Rule?

The 50-20-30 Rule helps you build a budget by using three spending categories:

  • 50% of your income should go to living expenses and essentials. This includes your rent, utilities, and things like groceries and transportation for work.
  • 20% of your income should go to financial goals, meaning your savings, investments, and debt-reduction payments (if you have debt, such as credit card payments).
  • 30% of your income should be used for flexible spending. This is everything you buy that you want but don’t necessarily need (like money spent on movies and travel).

Keep in mind that the percentages for essentials and flexible spending are the maximum you should spend. Falling under those guidelines can leave more money for other financial goals.

Woman-At-Table-On-Computer-070416-HERO_f

How to start a 50-20-30 budget

Figure out what’s currently happening with your finances. First, look at your pay stubs to determine exactly how much money you bring home each month. That’s your income and what you’ll base your 50-20-30 split on. (If you’re self-employed, be careful to track your earnings and understand your average income per month so you can budget accordingly.)

Next, track your spending. Yes, that means keeping up with every last cent, from the big stuff such as rent to the coffee that you grab on the way to work. Then divide your spending into one of the three categories: essentials, financial goals, and flexible spending. From here, adjust your spending to ensure you’re falling into the 50-20-30 parameters. If you’re overspending on stuff you want but don’t need, it’s time to cut back to save more.

Why the 50-20-30 Rule works

It keeps your personal finances simple so you can pay your bills, add to your savings, and have the freedom to use some money just for fun. It’s also a good starting point for the budgeting novice. There’s no uncertainty, your action steps are clear, and it even provides for savings, investments, and other financial goals. This makes it much more likely that you’ll stay the course over time, ultimately reaching your desired financial stability.

The 50-20-30 Rule also offers some flexibility. You can bend it a bit by altering the percentages to make it work better for you. “It’s not about the exact percentage breakdown, because all budgets will be slightly different,” says Eric Roberge, a financial planner who specializes in helping professionals and entrepreneurs at Beyond Your Hammock. “The key is to take action and use a system to help you stay consistent in managing your money every month, and making sure you’re covering your expenses, being responsible by saving for tomorrow, and giving yourself some room to enjoy life today.”

– Published by Forbes on June 11, 2016

angeltree

Thanks to EECU employees and members, underprivileged Fort Worth children from 80 elementary schools will be celebrating the holidays with presents. Starting Thanksgiving week, please stop by the Fort Worth branch at 1617 W. 7th Street in Fort Worth to pick an “angel” from the lobby Christmas tree.  All the angels have been identified by their school counselors as disadvantaged.

Some important program details:

  • All gifts should be returned to the Fort Worth Branch at 1617 W. 7th Street by December 15
  • Gifts should be wrapped and tagged with the angel’s number that is on the tag you choose from the tree. Please be sure to log your name and phone number on the form in the Angel Tree book next to the Christmas tree
  • And, finally it is nice to provide articles of clothing and a few toys – remembering this may be the only Christmas gift your angel might get!

If you can’t make it into the branch to select your angel, please contact Donna Thomas at 817-882-0160 or community@eecu.org and she will be glad to find an angel for you.

EECU has been a Christmas angel for Fort Worth Independent School District children via this program for 25 years.  Thank you for brightening the lives of our neighbors in need.

TAFB-Food-Drive

Tarrant Area Food Bank provides nearly 2 million meals each month across 12 counties surrounding Fort Worth through the donations of generous people and businesses. EECU supports this cause each year through a food drive.

Now through December 16, bring non-perishable food items to any EECU branch to donate to our annual food drive. All donations will be delivered to Tarrant Area Food Bank immediately following the drive, and we want to wow them with the generosity of our donors.

Annual Food Drive Pounds of Food Donated
2016 Goal: 3,800
2015 3,600+
2014 1,500+
2013 1,300+
2012 769
2011 818
Most Requested Food Items
  • Canned Meats (Tuna, Chicken, Ham, etc.)
  • Canned Fruit
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Peanut Butter (no glass jars)
  • Dried Beans
  • Cereal
  • Boxed Pastas
  • Rice
  • Boxed or canned soups
  • Boxed or canned juices

List of Accepted Items (Non-Perishable Only)

Phishing is a technique that involves tricking users into thinking they’re at confidential site in order to steal the user’s confidential information, passwords, etc.

Recently we have been made aware that consumers (not necessarily members of EECU) have received emails purporting to be from EECU. The return address of the email is a btconnect.com address, and the email reads:

You have received this email because you or someone have tried to access your account from different locations.

In order to safeguard your account, we require that you confirm your EECU Credit Union online account details.

As a precaution, we have limited access to your EECU Credit Union account in order to protect against future unauthorized transactions.

{LINK}

If this is not completed by September 26, 2016, we will be forced to close your account.

We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

EECU Credit Union Service

If you receive a similar email, DO NOT click on the link or provide any of your personal information. This is a phishing attempt and the linked site could potentially contain malware.

If you have received the email, clicked the link and provided your personal information, please contact us immediately at 817-882-0800 or visit your nearest branch so we can take appropriate action on your account.

As a reminder, EECU will never send you an email that requires you to enter personal information. Whether you access eecu.org using a link or by typing eecu.org into the browser, you should always verify that you are on a legitimate site by looking for https://www.eecu.org in the address bar and verifying the security of the site.