Guest Commentary: Measured Growth & Shared Strength Drive America First

Rex Rollo – Executive VP / Chief Financial Officer
By Rex Rollo, Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer

Through July, America First achieved double-digit growth in both assets and deposits, generating earnings that elevated the credit union’s net worth to exceed 150% of well-capitalized regulatory requirements.

In total, assets of more than $11 billion make us Utah’s largest credit union and the ninth most substantial in the nation, with 128 branches in Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Idaho. We at America First are privileged to have increased liquidity and an improved efficiency ratio.

Such figures for the first six months of 2019 are indeed notable for any financial institution. What sets us apart, however, is that we achieved these benchmarks while expanding our market presence and broadening our brand recognition, delivering the ability to handle millions of transactions through digital channels. These positive and ongoing results clearly indicate the strength and long-term success of America First Credit Union.

Behind the statistics, ratios & amounts, however, our greatest measurement of success is the growing number of people who join America First every day—membership now stands at over one million. The philosophy of people helping people drives us to perform at the highest level, supporting the America First mission statement: “…our chief concern is the financial well-being of our members.” In like fashion, as members develop financial health by using more products and services, the organization’s collective well-being is enhanced. This is as true today as it was 80 years ago, when 59 individuals founded the credit union we now enjoy.

In almost all respects, we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. Our lives are better because of their efforts and, through their hard-fought gains, we enjoy the view from higher ground. In much the same way, America First always strives to be in the best possible position to help members. Past, present and future, those who have united and will unite to benefit each other fulfills the promise on which we stand. It is with gratitude that we thank you for propelling America First forward, creating strong shoulders for others.

splash pad

Splish at a Splash Pad this Summer

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a waterpark, consider taking your kids to a splash pad. These recreational areas are usually run by the city—so most of them are free—and they include fountains, spray nozzles and other water features to help you cool off. Plus, since there normally isn’t any standing water at these public parks, swimming lessons are not required.

Here are some tips to get the most out of your family trip to a splash pad:

  • Look around – You may have seen a local splash pad nearby, but it’s probably not the only one. Search online to see how many are close to home.
  • Time it right – Mornings at the splash pad tend to be busy. You may find it to be less crowded if you go later in the afternoon.
  • Prep beforehand – Get everyone in their swimsuits and sunscreen applied beforehand, so no one has to wait to play in the water.
  • Don’t forget towels – Even in hot weather, playing in the water can make you cold. And make sure to dry everyone off before the drive back.
  • Bring some bandages – Wherever children and wet concrete meet, slips & scrapes will happen. Keep the fun going with some simple first aid.
  • Keep it clean – Use swim diapers for those who aren’t potty trained yet to avoid contaminating the water supply. Change dirty diapers immediately.
  • Supply some snacks – Nothing keeps your kids happy like a quick break to eat some treats. Keep it simple and keep the cooler at home.
  • Keep ’em hydrated – Playing in the sun will make you thirsty. Bring a couple of water bottles so no one is tempted to drink water from the nozzles.
  • Expect a short stay – Splash pads are fun, but it’s not an all-day event. After an hour or so your little splashers will probably run out of steam.

For Much, We Are Indeed Grateful

By John B. Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer

Last month marked the 75th anniversary of the World War II D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy, France. This historic event has always been of deep personal interest. As a young boy, I remember my father telling me about his brother, who at the age of 20 lost his life during the siege at Omaha Beach. I clearly sensed how much he missed his big brother, who was described as handy, someone who loved working on his cherished car, and always a joy to be around.

Back then, I knew little about wars or the concerns of the world, but I could tell my father wanted me to understand the precious nature of the United States and that the loss of his dearly loved brother wasn’t in vain. Dad later served in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict and was very proud of fulfilling his duty to country.

In my July 2014 report, I wrote in some detail about D-Day, my uncle’s service and his ultimate sacrifice. Afterward, at the top of my bucket list was a visit to Normandy and the chance to gain a greater appreciation for what Uncle Winton and many thousands of veterans accomplished, not just for America, but for the world. The following summer, I was fortunate enough to see that wish come true when my wife and I, along with some close friends, journeyed to France. During our trip, I collected a bottle of sand from Normandy Beach. It now sits on a shelf at home and serves as a small but ongoing reminder of freedom’s true cost.

On the 4th of July, we as a country gather to celebrate our independence, the birth of our great nation, and the blessings we enjoy. Certainly, we have always faced and will always confront challenges and difficulties, but there is no other nation on earth that provides such opportunity. These patriotic remembrances are undertaken in the presence of the nation’s flag, which symbolizes the ideals for which every veteran fought, in the great wars of the past and in today’s conflicts. This is something I feel we can’t afford to forget and I hope that during our holiday activities, we will all pause to remember and give thanks to those who preserve our freedom.

In 2019, we’re also celebrating the 80th anniversary of America First. Much like the nation, our credit union was founded on principles of commitment, hard work, self-reliance and service. I’m proud of our legacy and that our mission continues to be delivering the products, services and information our members need to achieve financial well-being. On behalf of the volunteers and staff, it’s my privilege to express our appreciation for your membership and loyalty. We look forward to a lifelong relationship.

Lagoon discount to keep you entertained this summer

It’s impossible to be bored as an America First Credit Union member this summer! Nicea joined Nicole at Lagoon to talk about all of the deals and discounts America First Credit Union is offering.

If you are a member, Lagoon is offering a $9 discount off of every ticket when you purchase with your America First Visa or Debit Card. Places like Cowabunga Bay, Utah’s Hogle Zoo, and Real Salt Lake are also offering discounts for credit union members.

If you’re looking to entertain your kids and family head on over to americafirst.com/getmore to see all of the exciting deals.

America First Credit Union is also celebrating its 80th Anniversary. In honor of this occasion, they are running a giveaway called 80 days and 80 loan payments. Every day, now through August, America First is giving away a loan payment. To enter, apply for a loan and swipe your card for purchases. There will also be a grand prize of $10,000.

You don’t want to miss out on the exciting deals, discounts, and giveaways! If you are not an America First Credit Union member already, head to a branch nearest you to join!

Source

America First Credit Union Cuts Ribbon on New Rainbow Branch

MEDIA CONTACT:
Nicole Cypers, America First Credit Union
801.827.8655 / ncypers@americafirst.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

America First Credit Union Cuts Ribbon on New Rainbow Branch

America First Credit Union held the official ribbon cutting for its newest branch in Las Vegas on June 21.

LAS VEGAS – June 26, 2019  America First Credit Union (AFCU) officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning for its newest branch in Las Vegas.

The branch is located 1400 South Rainbow Boulevard, near Charleston Boulevard. The opening of the branch marks AFCU’s 15th branch in Southern Nevada (other offices are in Mesquite, Henderson, Overton, Moapa and Caliente)  and its 128th branch is the U.S.

The leading member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution branch is managed by Geri Albores, who has over 24 years of experience in the financial sector.

“Our team is eager to help people address current and future financial needs,” said Albores. “America First Credit Union’s goal is to help support our members’ financial wellness and be a partner for life.”

The branch and property underwent renovations and improvements, which were completed in May of this year. The full-service, 5,197-square-foot branch includes four teller stations; a four-lane drive-up, one lane being an ATM; a coin counter; three loan offices; and two remote expert offices. This branch will help serve more than 107,000 members of the credit union in Clark County.

 

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 80 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First 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 ninth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $11.1 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,021,000 members.

High 5: Pop & Chip With A Neighborhood Icon

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — Every Wednesday for the past 16 years, kids have flocked to Buck Conder’s house in South Jordan for a tradition known as Pop & Chip.

“We picked a day, Wednesday, and then I was going to quit and they got mean and ugly about it.”

It’s a simple offering, bringing together a neighborhood. While some come for the snacks, other come for the stories.

“He was in the Vietnam War, and he tells me about that and his childhood,” neighbor Cade Swensen says.

“He told us once that he didn’t have his first soda pop until he was like in high school and he wanted other people to have that opportunity,” says neighbor Zach Kirkham.

An Army vet, Buck has seen many hard things in his life.

“I got shot up pretty bad,” he says. ” Yeah, I’ve got three Purple Hearts over there.”

The flags in his yard are a reminder of friends lost in Vietnam.

“My second month over there in December of 1966, we ran into an ambush and there were 35, and 27 were killed.”

And before that: “I was in Germany in 1961 when the Berlin Wall went up and my unit was there.”

While Buck is known for his stories, he’s also known for being a good neighbor.

“Buck makes this neighborhood feel like there is unconditional love no matter what, no matter where you come from you’re loved,” says Apryll Carter.

Which is why when word got out that he was getting the KSL High 5, everyone wanted to be a part of it.

“You are the perfect example of the High 5 and what it’s about,” KSL’s Shara Park says. “Its about celebrating those in our community making a difference, and we can’t thank you enough for doing that and making such a difference to them as well.”

We also had a little surprise for Buck from our friends at America First Credit Union.

“You’ve obviously had a great influence on those who are here present today, and as a thank you we would like to present you with a $500 gift card from America First, thank you for all you do and the positive influence you are.”

So why does Buck do this? Why buy the pop and chips each week, and wait for the little ones to come?

The answer is simple: It’s friendship.

“Every time I leave he always says thanks for being my friend, and it’s really happy for me,” Julia Thompson says.

“He teaches them how to be a friend, he teaches them what to listen for, he teaches them how to care about other people, how to have a friendship, how to be a true person who cares about other people,” says Lynette Williams.

If there’s a lesson in life you want them to know, what is that?

Buck answers, “Just be nice.”

Source

geocaching

Geocaching—Treasure Hunting with the Family

Did you know there are hidden treasure boxes all around you right now? If you’re looking for a fun, inexpensive summer activity you can do with the whole family, try geocaching—all you need is a GPS-enabled device and a sense of adventure.

Geocaching is the process of using GPS coordinates to find containers (or “caches”) concealed above the ground in forests, fields, caves, bodies of water and city streets. You’d probably be surprised to discover how many are nearby. According to geocaching.com, there are more than three million caches in over 190 countries. Some are as small as film canisters while others are large buckets. They have been placed there by the community of geocachers to give the others something to find.

Once you pick a cache and locate it using the listed coordinates, you’ll normally find some sort of logbook and some trinkets or small toys. The rule of geocaching is that if you take something, you’re supposed to leave something of equal or greater value. These real-world treasure hunts vary in difficulty, so all ages can enjoy it.

It’s easy to participate:

  • Step 1: Register for a free account at geocaching.com or download the free app. This will allow you to see coordinates for various caches, get clues from other geocachers and log your finds.
  • Step 2: Choose your cache by searching near your location or destination. If you’re just starting out, select a regular-sized or large cache with a low difficulty rating.
  • Step 3: Use your GPS-enabled device. Once you’ve successfully located a geocache, sign the logbook and then return it to its original location so the next treasure-seeker can find it.

Have fun outdoors and get some exercise by geocaching!

America First Credit Union Continues Expansion into Southern Nevada Market

MEDIA CONTACT:
Nicole Cypers, America First Credit Union
801.827.8655 / ncypers@americafirst.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

America First Credit Union Continues Expansion into Southern Nevada Market

Las Vegas – June 12, 2019  America First Credit Union (AFCU) opened its 15th branch in Southern Nevada  and its 128th branch is the U.S.  at 1400 South Rainbow Boulevard, centered in the southwest part of the valley.

The full-service, 5,197-square-foot branch includes four teller stations; a four-lane drive-up, one lane being an ATM; a coin counter; three loan offices; and two remote expert offices. This branch will help serve more than 107,000 members of the credit union in Clark County. In addition to the South Rainbow location, AFCU has 14 other branches in Southern Nevada, including one in Mesquite. The credit union, with its headquarters’ location in Ogden, Utah, also plans to an additional location by the end of the year on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The leading member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution branch will be managed by Geri Albores, who has over 24 years of experience in the financial sector. Albores, who was promoted to market manager in 2013, will have a staff of eight.

Since the branch officially opened on June 3, a steady stream of new and current members has visited to take part in the monthlong celebration, complete with raffle prize giveaways. One lucky Vegas Golden Knights (VGK) fan who visits the branch June 3 to June 29 will win a signed VGK jersey. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for Friday, June 21 at 8 a.m.

“We are delighted with the reception from community,” said Albores. “The Golden Knights grand prize drawing has definitely brought the fans. We are eager for the opportunity to serve new clients and offer a place where members can not only solve any financial problems, but also get advice and learn valuable financial information. At America First Credit Union, we believe that informed members make for stronger communities.”

The new open-space offices provide for a more robust digital experience and open engagement.

The full-service branch will be open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The branch is closed on Sundays.

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 80 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First 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 ninth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $11.1 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,021,000 members.

Our Real Heroes

By John B. Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer

Over many years, I’ve been privileged to meet and chat with famous athletes and sporting icons, often referred to as cultural heroes. Such individuals include professional basketball players, members of the PGA Tour golf elite, soccer stars, gymnasts, even a few music & entertainment luminaries. The talent with which these folks are blessed and what they accomplish in their endeavors is certainly impressive and appreciated by hundreds of thousands; they inspire and provide us with thrilling memories.

However, as I think further about the concept of heroes and how it applies to the real people surrounding us, the exemplary America First staff comes to mind. Our team strives diligently to help members fulfill their dreams, develop & maintain financial well-being, alleviate stressful circumstances, and simplify their lives. I will share three quick examples.

A gentleman recently visited a local branch with his autistic grandson, whom he hoped to assist in finding a job at Deseret Industries. The immediate problem was that the grandson did not have any government-issued identification, which is necessary for both employment and receiving pay to be deposited at a financial institution. The grandfather was indeed worried and frustrated but, long story short, our branch manager worked directly with this member and found a solution for getting his grandson ID and an account. I was blessed to get a wonderful letter that expressed sincere appreciation for our manager and her willingness to go above and beyond in helping this young man secure his first identification card, savings account and, I’m happy to report, job—he was all smiles when his first check arrived!

I also learned of another terrific branch leader who spent countless hours assisting a single mother research and meet the requirements to qualify for her very first mortgage. The happiness and joy exhibited by this mother in having a home of her own to raise this child was evident in her thankful note.

Lastly, I was in a restaurant in the Salt Lake airport, having a bite to eat because my flight was delayed. My server immediately noticed the America First logo on my shirt and exclaimed, “You saved my life!” I had never met her, let alone saved her life. Yet this kind woman explained that she was referred to our credit union by a friend and we found a way to consolidate her bills so that she was able to save hundreds each month, putting some money away for her son’s college education.

These are simple, powerful, potentially life-changing experiences our credit union was able to facilitate—all by helping each America First member, every single day. The people who work here are the real heroes in my eyes and in the sight of those they serve. We are truly grateful for your membership, loyalty and stories. We look forward to a lifetime relationship.

America First Credit Union Holding Shred-Your-Stuff Saturday

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

America First Credit Union Holding Shred-Your-Stuff Saturday

Riverdale, Utah – (May 29, 2019) – On Saturday, June 1, America First Credit Union (AFCU) will be helping members of the community enhance their personal security during its Shred-Your-Stuff Saturday events.

All community members can bring their financial documents and personal information and personal information they want shredded and AFCU will take care of it at no cost.

The following AFCU locations will be participating from 9 a.m. to noon:

  • Clinton Branch – 1724 N 2000 W, Clinton, UT
  • Harrisville Branch – 358 North Harrisville Road, Harrisville, UT
  • Herriman Branch – 5438 W 13400 South, Herriman, UT
  • Orem Branch – 1356 S Main St., Orem, UT
  • Providence Macey’s Branch – 50 N Highway 165, Providence, UT

“AFCU’s mission is to help our members and the community achieve financial well-being, and shredding documents is an important part because identity theft could cost you,” said John Lund, President & CEO. “You should shred anything that has personal information like your name, address, phone number, social security number, or bank account information. This might include a few documents you don’t initially think about, including ATM receipts, credit card receipts, bills, and even used airline tickets.”

Individuals are allowed up to 5 boxes of materials at a time for shredding. If they have more, they’re allowed to get back in line for further service.

For additional information on America First Credit Union, visit americafirst.com, or follow America First on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 80 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First 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 127 locations, and is the 9th largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $11.1 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,021,000 members.