Valley Express News

2013 4th Quarter

Credit Unions Unite for Good logo
» The Value of the Credit Union Philosophy «
» Wisdom from your CEO: Unite for Good «
» Holiday Gifting Plan: Turning Humbug into Ho, Ho, Ho! «
» Watch Out for SNOWSOON «
» Social Security and Your Retirement «

» Printable PDF of Newsletter «

The Value of the Credit Union Philosophy

The challenging economy has been downright discouraging for so many Americans affected by job loss, an increase in credit rationing and an overall feeling of shrinking resources. Businesses and families have downsized and are stretched more than ever before. The idea of coasting through to the next phase of the American Dream simply no longer exists. General expectations for many Americans have dramatically shifted.

The credit union Philosophy of "People Helping People" indicates the purpose of their cooperative structure. They support and invest in their community and members by providing financial education and counseling services, and as not-for-profits, they have lower costs and pass on their savings to members. Listening to members' unique circumstances and conscientious practices have helped increase awareness of credit unions as a viable alternative. During the challenging times our nation faces, many continue to experience what's known as the credit union difference.

Celebrate with Us!

MVFCU is celebrating International Credit Union Week October 14 through 18, with International Credit Union Day on Thursday, October 17.

One of the ways we are celebrating is by holding a food drive at our Kunia Community Office in Hawaii. This is an effort to help feed the hungry; the drive will run October 1 through November 18.

Throughout the community, you'll notice our offices are decorated this week with the underlying theme of "Uniting for Good." This is our way to celebrate the history of the credit union movement and promote its achievements.

Most importantly, at MVFCU, we know that without our members, we would have nothing to celebrate. Thank you for 65 years of keeping this cooperative a reality!

Wisdom from Your CEO: Unite for Good

MVFCU CEO Al StrawnBy Al Strawn

There is a cosmic battle going on throughout the universe between the forces of good and of evil. This battle is not new, but it appears to be intensifying.

It is hard to read the news today without seeing conflict and despair raging in almost all areas of life. So, when this year's International Credit Union Day theme "Credit Unions Unite for Good: A Better Way" was announced, it made me stop and think. What makes a credit union good? More specifically, how can the Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union be a force for good in the communities we serve?

Credit unions are designed to be very different from other financial service providers. As member-owned cooperatives, our purpose is to serve our membership, rather than maximize profits. When people ask me the difference between a bank and a credit union, I always respond that banks are in the money business and credit unions are in the people business. However, the unique ownership structure of cooperatives does not guarantee success, and it certainly does not guarantee that a credit union will be a force for good. Unfortunately, there are many examples of credit union failure.

What are the critical ingredients for a credit union to thrive and be a force for good? The motto "not for profit, not for charity, but for service" is a good starting point. It really comes down to our motivation and core values.

The best credit unions never lose sight of their mission of service and the values that guide every decision, big or small. The best credit unions strive to build positive relationships one member at a time. Trust and respect is necessary, and these credit unions distinguish themselves on the basis of integrity, fairness, compassion and value for their members.

I am naturally a very optimistic person despite all the turmoil surrounding us. My faith is grounded in the sure and unfailing knowledge that in the end, good will prevail!

I think Margaret Mead had it right when she observed:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

"Unite for Good" is a call to action. Together, let's join the battle and stand for good in our homes, our community and throughout the world. » top «

Holiday Gifting Plan: Turning Humbug into Ho, Ho, Ho!

You may have noticed all the Christmas decorations and promotions ALREADY taking place in our local shopping centers. This means it is time to start planning your holiday gifting list. The challenge is keeping that feeling of joy, when giving gifts, from turning into buyer's remorse. This is where a gifting plan comes into play.

Start by making a list of the people you plan to give to, and determine the bottom-line of how much you can afford to spend this year. Then determine how much you can spend on each gift based on that figure.

If money is tight, consider the following:

It doesn't have to come from the store to come from the heart. Some of the best gifts cost next to nothing. Use your talents and your creativity to come up with homemade gifts, like home baked goods, a photo book, or handmade crafts.

When you do go shopping, be sure you have your budget and gifting list in hand, and stick to it. Track each gift you purchase to the extent to which it exceeded or fell beneath the budgeted amount.

Say no to impulse buys and plastic. Those amazing holiday deals retailers dangle are difficult to resist, especially if you are armed with a credit card. But you must resist. The credit card charges you incur from an impulse gift will keep on giving (headaches) into the New Year.

Instead of charging holiday gifts to a high-interest credit card, consider applying for an MVFCU Signature Holiday Loan. We offer rates far below the average credit card, allowing you to make the holidays bright, for less. This promotion will run from November 15 through December 21, and our official rates for this year will be announced early in November and posted on

It may be too late this year, but an MVFCU Christmas Club savings account is a great way to save throughout the year for a relatively painless holiday season next year. Check in with us by November 1 to open yours and visit our web site to learn more about the benefits of this specific type of account.

In the end, reward yourself for sticking to your holiday gifting plan. As good as it feels to give, receiving is not bad either. So buy yourself something nice (but not too pricey) for staying within budget.

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Watch Out for SNOWSOON

Termination dust is creeping down the mountains and into the valley. When it hits the valley floor, watch for our popular SNOWSOON promotion to begin again! We'll be offering special rates to get you cruising through the powder on a great new sled or ATV. Stay tuned to for details.

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Social Security and Your Retirement

Regardless of when you plan to retire, Social Security will likely be an important part of the road ahead. But many individuals don't realize there are options to consider when it comes to collecting Social Security. The decisions you make now could help you get more out of your benefits. Are you looking for more information about how to maximize your Social Security benefits?

Your plans for drawing Social Security are a critical financial decision, and if you know the "rules of the road" it can make a big difference in the success of your retirement journey. Whether it's the timing of starting Social Security or options for you and your spouse to coordinate your income plans, the path you follow could help you get the most out of your benefits. This seminar will address these issues and answer more of your questions:

This no-cost, no-obligation seminar is hosted by Jodie Smith, Matanuska Valley Financial Services Representative at Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union. For more information or to reserve your place, call (907) 745-9182. Space is limited, so make your reservations today.

All guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer. Representative does not specialize in Social Security issues. For questions about your Social Security benefits, contact your local Social Security office. Representative is neither a tax advisor nor attorney. For information regarding your specific tax situation, please consult a tax professional. For legal questions consult your attorney.

Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC , a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members.

Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC Insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution.


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