America First’s FUNDamentals teacher grant contest.

America First Credit Union Announces Winners of $5,000 Teacher Grant Contest

RIVERDALE, Utah – May 14, 2021 America First Credit Union announced winners of the $5,000 grant awarded to ten K–12 teachers elevating youth financial literacy in Utah and Nevada. The grants will help fund projects for teachers.

To wrap up Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3–7, America First Credit Union dropped by West Point Jr. High to surprise Kristy Larsen with a congratulatory announcement.

The following teachers, who are using the free FUNDamentals financial literacy program in their classrooms, have received $500 grants: 

Utah

  • Jacquelynn Merritt Lowder, Belmont Elementary, Alpine School District
  • Mindi Barnes, Boulton, Davis School District
  • Megan Barton, Bountiful Jr. High School, Davis School District
  • Jesse Jones, Syracuse High School, Davis School District
  • Ashley Sawyer, Bluffridge Elementary, Davis School District
  • Kristy Larsen, West Point Jr. High, Davis School District
  • Monika Anderson, Quest Academy Charter School, Weber School District
  • Danielle Kingdon, North Davis Preparatory Academy 

Nevada

  • Savanna Brister, Amplus Academy
  • Adry Kewish, Amplus Academy

“America First Credit Union’s commitment to education is unwavering,” said Thayne Shaffer, president and CEO of America First. “We are delighted to celebrate teachers via our teacher grant contest and we will continue to make financial literacy easily accessible to educators and students.”

An emotional Larsen shared, “I love teaching and I love kids. For America First to give me this opportunity to spend money on my students and things they need is awesome. The FUNDamentals program has prepared lesson plans from America First. All I do is log in and download the hour and half lesson plans. It’s a great tool, especially for a teacher who is short on time.”

Teachers can request access to FUNDamentals by visiting www.education.americafirst.com.

Today’s grant awards are the latest in a series of actions that the credit union has taken to elevate youth financial literacy. In February, the credit union announced FUNDamentals, a customizable financial literacy program created for K–12 students and teachers. (CLICK HERE to read the announcement.) This free program empowers teachers and offers a customizable program, unlike many one-size-fits-all programming dictated by other providers.

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 82 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 126 locations, and is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $15.6 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,184,290 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Jennifer López
R&R Partners
702.318.4203
jennifer.lopez@rrpartners.com

America First Charitable Foundation Student Athlete Scholarship Recipients Awarded

High School Scholarship Program Wins National Cynopsis Sports Media Award For Programming Innovation

Thayne Shaffer
America First Credit Union President/CEO presents 24 Utah high school senior student-athletes with $500 scholarships each at a virtual ceremony held on April 22.

Riverdale, UT – May 6, 2021 – America First Credit Union recognized 24 Utah high school senior student-athletes with $500 scholarships, awarding $12,000 scholarships in total. The students were awarded during at a virtual ceremony on April 22. To date, the credit union has awarded more than $88,500 in scholarships to deserving student athletes.

“We’re excited to be presenting each of these deserving students with this recognition,” said Thayne Shaffer, President/CEO of America First Credit Union. “We want our students to be financially secure, and one way we fuel this is by encouraging higher education through the scholarships we give out each year. Congratulations to each one of these student athletes in all they’ve accomplished.”

Of the 24 honorees, 21 students had a GPA of 3.9 or higher with fourteen 4.0-students There were also three athletes in student government, nine team captains and 14 multi-sport athletes. Each of the students who were awarded were nominated by their school for their involvement in a sport, their 3.5 or higher-grade point average, and outstanding citizenship and community involvement.

In addition, this effort—in partnership with programming by KUTV/KJZZ/KMYU stations in Salt Lake City—was recently named as the national award recipient in the category for PROGRAMMING INNOVATION DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC by Cynopsis Media at their 2021 Sports Media Awards.

“It’s meaningful to win the award for our innovative efforts to highlight the competition in Utah, and to do so in a safe and impactful way for our community. We could have won this national honor without the support of our great partners, and especially out title sponsor America First Credit Union, who shares our vision of supporting students and communities in Utah,” said Kent Crawford, SVP Group Manager, Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Student Athlete Honorees include:

  • Sam Rencher – Farmington High School
  • Averi Hanny – Bingham High School
  • Abby Grundy – Herriman High School
  • Annie Watson – Skyridge High School
  • Josie Shepherd – American Fork High School
  • Peyton Rice – Olympus High School
  • Megan Jewell – Olympus High School
  • Cael Wightman – Bingham High School
  • Myriam Anderson – Ridgeline High School
  • Mason Kilgore – Davis High School
  • Makeili Ika – Lone Peak High School
  • Brandon Grover- Provo High School
  • Joshua Woolf – Bingham High School
  • Creed Thompson – Skyridge High School
  • Diya Rao – West High School
  • McKay Larsen – Corner Canyon High School
  • Mary Santiago – Wasatch High School
  • Reagan Kimball – Brighton High School
  • Austin Hallows – Salem Hills High School
  • Ben Boren – Highland High School
  • Andrew Harmon – American Fork High School
  • Marlee Lotaki – Lehi High School
  • Luke Johnson – Mtn Ridge High School
  • Paje Rasmussen – Corner Canyon High School

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 82 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 126 locations, and is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $15.6 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,184,290 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Kelsey Richardson
R&R Partners
801.913.9454
Kelsey.richardson@rrpartners.com

America First Credit Union Announces New Executive Management Team Members

Scott Ellis (left) is announced as new Chief Information Officer, Troy Stevenson (right) promoted to Chief Digital, Product & Retail Office and Missy Key is America First’s new CFO.

Riverdale, UT – April 29, 2021 – America First Credit Union announces the promotion of twelve of its staff to executive and senior-level management positions. Included in the staffing changes are additions to the c-suite including Scott Ellis as Chief Information Officer, Troy Stevenson as Chief Digital, Product & Retail Officer, and Missy Key as Chief Financial Officer.

With more than 40 years with the credit union, Ellis has risen from the procurement and controls department to Senior Vice President of Information Systems to his current promotion to CIO.  Stevenson has worked for America First more than 22 years in a variety of roles including Senior Vice President of Product & Business Intelligence and as a Market Research Analyst.  Key began her career at the credit union in 1988 as a Student Trainee in Member Service and most recently was Senior Vice President Controller and Risk Officer.

These promotions come after the retirement announcement of CEO and President John B. Lund, and selection of Thayne Shaffer, the credit union’s previous chief information officer (CIO) and acting chief financial offier (CFO) as Lund’s successor.

“I’m very excited to be passing the role of CIO to Scott, CFO to Missy and having Troy join our executive management team,” said Shaffer. “Together, and with all of America First’s employees, we’ll strive to continue to improve the financial well-being of our members and make a positive impact in our community.

In addition, the following people have been promoted to senior vice president and vice president positions within America First:

  • Zach Winegar, Senior Vice President Marketing
  • Craig Budge, Vice President Accounting
  • Brodie Cook, Vice President Product Management
  • Brett Greenwell, Vice President Member & Partner Relations
  • Andrew Qualls, Vice President – Chief Information Security Officer
  • James Romer, Vice President Data Science & Analytics
  • Kent Swenson, Vice President Information Systems
  • Tara Douglas, Vice President of Indirect Lending
  • Kymrie Turner, Vice President of Direct Lending

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 82 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $15.6 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,184,290 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Kelsey Richardson
R&R Partners
801.913.9454
Kelsey.richardson@rrpartners.com

America First Credit Union Renews Multi-Year Partnership Agreement with University of Utah

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

America First Credit Union Renews Multi-Year Partnership Agreement with University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT – April 15, 2021 – America First Credit Union has renewed their multi-year partnership agreement with the University of Utah Athletics through Utes Sports Properties. With this move the Utah-based credit union becomes the Official Credit Union of Utah Athletics.

The partnership includes a top-tier sponsorship with the Red Rocks, one of the nation’s premiere women’s gymnastics teams and the PAC-12 regular season champions, who will be competing in the 2021 NCAA Championship in Fort Worth this weekend. The agreement also gives America First a presence at various athletic events including those help at Rice Eccles Stadium and the Huntsman Center.

Through this partnership, credit union members are able to select the University of Utah marks to proudly display on America First Visa® Debit and Credit cards. America First members that wish to include a University of Utah mark can do so by visiting AmericaFirst.com or any of their 128 branch locations.

“We appreciate America First’s unwavering support of the University, our hard-working student-athletes and our overall athletics programming,” said University of Utah Athletics Director Mark Harlan. “The Utes’ corporate partner family is invaluable, and we’re grateful for those commitments. We’re look forward to continuing our relationship with America First Credit Union and seeing fans proudly carry a co-branded card showing their Utah pride and affinity.”

America First has been a long-standing partner of the University of Utah and has enjoyed a robust relationship and presence at University including seasonal giveaways and has awarded multiple $500 grants to students through the University Campus Store. As part of their involvement with the Crimson Club, America First proudly supports Utes with Wings by making an annual donation to help support their mission of supporting Utah female student-athletes.  In addition, since 2016 the credit union makes an annual donation to the University of Utah to cover tuition of its mascot, Swoop.

“America First Credit Union is always looking for ways to provide value to our members and enhance our communities and we’re thankful to be able to provide that through our partnership with University of Utah Athletics,” said Thayne Shaffer, AFCU President and CEO. “We’ll continue to invest in community members and organizations that support and inspire those in our community to always land on their feet, both literally and financially.”

Utes Sports Properties, which manages the America First Credit Union relationship on behalf of the university, is the locally based Learfield IMG College team solely dedicated to representing the Utes.

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 82 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $14.9 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,176,375 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Kelsey Richardson
R&R Partners
801.913.9454
Kelsey.richardson@rrpartners.com

America First Credit Union Expands Commitment to Elevating Financial Literacy Through New $5,000 Teacher Grant Competition

RIVERDALE, Utah – April 1, 2021 America First Credit Union announced today $5,000 in grant awards to K-12 teachers or school districts that build on their commitment to elevating youth financial literacy.

“Our goal is to make financial literacy easily accessible to educators and students,” said Thayne Shaffer, president and CEO of America First Credit Union. “All too often, teachers lack access to free and customizable programs. Our FUNDamentals program takes that challenge away, and this competition rewards teachers for rising to the occasion.”

To apply for one of the 10 $500 grants, K-12 teachers using FUNDamentals can share a picture of themself and/or their students using the program and complete a short nomination form, starting today through by April 30. Winners will be randomly drawn and will be notified by May 5.

The grants announced today will help fund projects for teachers. Teachers can request access to FUNDamentals by visiting www.education.americafirst.com. Additional information on the teacher grant programs can be found at www.americafirst.com/educators.

This effort is launching in April, during Financial Literacy Month, as organizations across the country conduct initiatives designed to improve financial literacy, especially among youth.

Today’s grant awards are the latest in a series of actions that the credit union has taken to elevate youth financial literacy.

In February, the credit union announced FUNDamentals, a customizable financial literacy program created for K-12 students and teachers. (CLICK HERE to read the announcement.) This free program empowers teachers and offers a customizable program, unlike many one-size-fits-all programming dictated by other providers.

###

ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 82 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $14.9 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,176,375 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Jennifer López
R&R Partners
702.318.4203
jennifer.lopez@rrpartners.com

Pack it Up: How to Save When You Move

No matter what your plans are, when you move it will always come with a price. If you do it yourself, it’s going to cost a lot more time. When you hire professionals, it means spending more money. It’s important to determine what’s of value to you. Regardless of the method you choose, here are some ways to save.

Getting Movers

Create a budget beforehand. Figure out all the pre-moving expenses and what it will take to get your new place up and running. Check prices online and get quotes from at least three companies. Be sure to clarify if they charge extra for long hauls, packing, assembly, stairs and storage. Talk to friends in the neighborhood and speak with folks at your destination about who they use.

Choose the off-season if possible. Most people move in the spring and summer months, since school is out and the weather is nice. However, some movers charge less between September and May. Scheduling for weekdays can also bring savings, since the demand is higher on the weekends.

Taking it on Yourself

First, figure out how much stuff you want to take. Sell things you don’t want to bring along to help offset the cost. Or use what you earned from a yard sale to help pay for furniture or electronics at your new home. Of course, it’s also less expensive to move fewer items—you won’t need an extra-large truck for a more modest set of belongings.

Carefully select the vehicle’s size. A larger one may come with a higher rate, but it will be less expensive than multiple trips with a smaller van. You can also rent helpful items, such as dollies or furniture pads, instead of buying them. And try to time your move directly from one location to another, instead of renting a storage shed.

Search for free boxes at local stores. You can also go online and look around your neighborhood for packing materials from those who have recently moved. And while you’re at it, ask friends & family to help. After all, you can usually pay volunteers in pizza.

If you’re changing cities for a new job, some employers will cover the relocation. Also, you can deduct certain expenses, so keep all related receipts. Please consult your accountant or a tax professional for details. Moving is never a fun experience, but careful planning and budgeting can ease your financial burden.

Five Steps to Take Before Buying a Used Car

It’s an exciting experience to buy a used car—especially when you finally find the make, model & color you want—at a price that looks like a good deal. However, before you get caught up in the process and sign the paperwork, here are five steps you should take.

Do your research

Don’t make a final decision the first time you visit a dealership or private seller. First, look up the vehicle online and, if applicable, the dealer. Use NADA or similar guides to check the value and read what others who own the same type of car are saying. You can even find repair records if you have the vehicle identification number (VIN).

Take a test drive

The best way to get to know a used car or truck is to drive it. Create a checklist beforehand so you don’t overlook anything. And don’t just take it around the block, either; see how it handles at various speeds on different roads. Use each of your senses by looking for excessive wear and tear, listening for strange rattles, knocks and squeaks and determining if the heater or air conditioner is generating odd smells. Press all the buttons, flip the switches, and turn on the lights to be certain everything is in working order.

Get a second opinion

While you’re out test-driving, take it to a friend or family member’s house. Talk to them about the mileage, the seller, the price and anything else that’s on your mind. This will give you the valuable perspective of an outsider who might be able to uncover red flags you can’t.

Visit the mechanic

If you’re not well versed in vehicle maintenance, you might consider going to an auto repair shop and getting a pre-purchase inspection. The mechanic can likely discover things you wouldn’t find just from looking under the hood. These normally run around $100, but spending a little upfront could save you from expensive repairs in the future.

Get preapproved

Never wait until the last minute to think about financing. Getting preapproved for an auto loan will help ensure you get the lowest possible rate. Plus, you can choose your lender instead of relying on expensive dealer offers. This will speed up the buying process when you’re ready. America First even delivers instant online approvals so you can get an idea of what you can afford before you even set foot on a used car lot.

Charitable Contributions: Financially Sound Generosity

We all know it is better to give than to receive. And, of course, the point of giving to a worthwhile cause is not expecting anything in return. Nevertheless, there are financial benefits to charitable contributions when you file your taxes. Here are a few tips & guidelines regarding taxes and charity.

WHAT IS DEDUCTIBLE?

The IRS doesn’t allow deductions for funds given to specific individuals or families. Meaning, if you give a friend in need some money to help them pay for a medical issue, it doesn’t apply. The contribution has to be to a qualified organization, such as the Red Cross, public schools, churches and many other non-profit organizations. If you have a question a group’s tax-exempt status, contact the IRS online or call 1.877.829.5500.

KEEP DETAILED RECORDS

If you deduct charitable donations on your return, you’ll need more than just a scribbled note on a napkin. There should be a written communication from the organization, including its name, the date and the amount you contributed. Detailed receipts will ensure you have accurate data and are invaluable in case of an audit.

HOW MUCH CAN I DEDUCT?

You can actually deduct up to 50% of your adjusted gross income when it comes to charitable contributions. It’s one of the few itemized deductions that doesn’t have a floor, or lower limit, meaning you get to deduct every dollar that you give to qualified organizations until you reach half of your income level. Every dollar that you donate to charity beyond that 50% of your income will still give you warm fuzzies, but you don’t get to deduct it on your taxes.

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT MONEY

Cash contributions aren’t the only things that can lower your tax bill. You can also deduct the value of donated clothing, furniture, vehicles and more. To do this right means you have to get a receipt when you donate and determine fair market price of the item — which is, essentially, a reasonable price if you were selling it. There are also cases when you can deduct the cost of travel to and from a place where you volunteer your time, the price of a volunteer uniform and other endeavors.

Please remember that this article is for information only. We recommend consulting your tax advisor with questions regarding specific deductions and charitable donations. However, if you want to start donating today, the America First Community Assistance Program is a wonderful — and tax-deductible — effort you can join. Simply log in to your online banking account and make your contribution.

Free financial literacy program designed for K–12 children launched by America First Credit Union

 

People in a broadcast

America First Credit Union is thrilled to announce the launch of FUNDamentals, a new, free financial literacy program designed for K-12 children. It helps youth become financially savvy and empowers educators with customizable, quality content. FUNDamentals is designed to make learning about finances fun and engaging. By teaching youth about money matters it puts them on the path to financial success.

The program includes various full-lesson plans that address ten critical life skills, including spending, saving, getting a loan, and other financial subjects. Each subject includes engaging animated videos, handouts, presentations, lesson plans, printable certificates, and other useful resources to inform students while keeping them entertained. Understanding that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever, the program, including scheduling virtual guest speakers who can teach the curriculum, can be done online.

Teachers can request access by visiting www.education.americafirst.com.

Once access has been granted by credit union staff, school districts and teachers can log into the online portal to use and customize the content. Teachers can rest assured our lessons are aligned with Utah State Financial Literacy graduation requirement; Common Core Math, and Common Core English Language Arts requirements.

Those wanting additional financial instruction for students can request a free virtual or in-person visit from an America First Credit Union guest speaker by completing the form at America First Credit Union Education.

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3 helpful tips to protect yourself against fraud, scams, and identity theft

People in a broadcast

America First Credit Union is celebrating National Consumer Protection Week by giving you the best tips on avoiding scams. America First Credit Union is dedicated to the financial well-being of their members and they want to help protect you from fraud, scams, and identity theft. National Consumer Protection week is a time to help people understand their consumer rights and make well-informed decisions about money.

Here are three helpful tips to help you protect yourself against fraud, scams and identity theft:

Privacy

Before submitting your email address or other personal information online, you need to be sure that the privacy of that information will be protected. To protect your identity and prevent an attacker from easily accessing additional information about you, be cautious about providing your birth date, Social Security number, or other personal information online.

Avoiding Scams

Do not give sensitive information to others unless you are sure that they are indeed who they claim to be and that they should have access to the information. Keep your personal information to yourself. Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect. Legitimate businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is a scammer.

Never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service. And never deposit a check and send money back to someone. Before you do anything else, tell someone — a friend, a family member, a neighbor — what happened. Talking about it could help you realize it’s a scam.

Preventing Identity Theft

Identity theft, or identity fraud, is a crime that can have substantial financial and emotional consequences. Take precautions with personal information. If you become a victim, act immediately to minimize the damage.

Next week is a good time to review and remind yourself and loved ones of how to protect themselves from fraud, scams, and identity theft. Be sure your children, parents and grandparents have all the information needed to protect themselves.

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