Friday, January 30, 2015

Firefighters First Credit Union Gives Back Over $2.5 Million to Firefighters and Their Families

 

Firefighters First Credit Union Gives Back Over $2.5 Million to Firefighters and Their Families

January 29, 2015 06:27 PM Eastern Standard Time

LOS ANGELES--At Firefighters First Credit Union, our members are owners and we hold true to our 80-year legacy of firefighters helping firefighters. That is why we return our profits directly back to our members in the form of Extraordinary Dividend Bonuses and Interest Refunds. With this year’s $2.5 Million payout, it brings the total amount we have paid back to our members to over $40 Million in the past 30 years.

“Extraordinary Dividend Bonuses and Interest Refunds are unique benefits of Credit Unions, and many have stopped them altogether. But at the discretion of the Board of Directors, we feel it is an important part of our tradition and our members agree. Payouts vary based on member relationships, but it’s not uncommon to see payouts of over $5,000,” explained Mike Mastro, Firefighters First CU President/CEO.

This year, we added in a special reward for members that had additional services with us through investment accounts, insurance policies, and business loans. Deeper member engagement is an important growth strategy for us and we want to thank them for their business. We continue to focus on member loyalty by delivering exceptional products and services, and personable service. We know our members and go the extra mile to exceed their expectations. That service pays off with member satisfaction.

Constant improvements to our competitive deposit accounts, loan products and convenience-based services have helped grow our member ranks. With that growth, we have grown in strength, agility and reach. With each new fire department and new family member contributing to the success of the Credit Union, the rewards grow for our entire Fire Family. Payouts represent a rebate on the interest paid on loan accounts and a bonus dividend on the earnings on savings accounts. Payouts vary on individual financial relationships and were posted to member accounts on December 31, 2014, proving one thing – the more members bring to Firefighters First Credit Union, the more they receive in return!

For example:

  • If a member had $100,000 in a share certificate and it earned a 2% yield, or $2,000, based on the 2014 Extraordinary Dividend Bonus, they would have received an extra $520.
  • If a member paid $4,000 in interest for the year on a loan with the Credit Union, based on the 2014 Interest Refund, they would have received a refund of $198.

For more information, please visit www.firefightersfirstcu.org/payout.

About us

Firefighters First Credit Union was formed in 1935 as Los Angeles Firemen’s Credit Union and serves full-time, paid professional firefighters and their families throughout the state of California. With state expansion and the evolving Fire Family, we changed our name on March 31, 2014 to better reflect our evolving membership. Firefighters First currently has assets of over $940 million and over 31,000 members in over 280 fire departments.

Contacts

Firefighters First Credit Union
Kelly Ramsay, 323-550-2216
Senior VP, Marketing
KRamsay@firefightersfirstcu.org

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Credit union specialist Tim Harrington to Keynote NCOFCU’s 2015 Annual Conference in Nashville

Photo of Tim High Res RCredit union expert Tim Harrington will keynote the National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions Inc. (NCOFCU) 2015 Annual Conference. He will also address Financial Literacy at the volunteers only session Thursday afternoon, which will help attendees build the skills and knowledge they need to strengthen their credit unions’ bottom lines. The conference will be held October 7-10, 2015 at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, TN.

“Tim Harrington is a dynamic speaker whose knowledge and expertise in this industry will help attendees lead their credit unions to new heights,” “With the continuing challenges facing credit unions, it is imperative that board and supervisory committee members have the specific competencies this conference offers so they can help ensure their institutions’ safe, sound operation and competitive standing in the consumer financial services market.”

Author, consultant and speaker Tim Harrington has worked with credit unions in 48 states, two territories, Canada and Mexico. His progressive ideas and broad knowledge of credit union issues has made Tim a valuable resource for credit unions nationwide. Tim has spoken to tens of thousands of credit union volunteers and staff and continues to inspire them to improve their credit unions.

Since 1996, Tim has been President of TEAM Resources, a firm providing consulting, strategic planning, and training to credit unions from coast-to-coast. TEAM Resources’ clients range from a few million in assets to the billions in assets.

Eisenhower Cover 2nd Edition.pdf FrontTim’s book Eisenhower on Enlightened Leadership has inspired and delighted credit union and non-credit union personnel nationwide. In his presentation on the book, Tim helps people realize that Leadership skills are something people can develop. He uses the fascinating example of General Ike Eisenhower as he inspired American and Allied troops to bounce back after being soundly beaten at the start of World War II and drive toward victory.

From 2001 to 2006, Tim was the Chairman of the Board of a $150 million credit union in Tucson, Arizona. Tim was appointed to the Board of this troubled credit union in 2001 and served until 2006. During his time on the Board, the credit union evolved from losing over $2,000,000 per year to earning a profit of nearly $2,000,000 by 2006
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Tim was formerly a Partner with the nation’s 3rd largest auditor of credit unions, known today as CliftonLarsonAllen. Mr. Harrington has been working with credit unions since 1989 when he directed the Internal Audit of a large credit union in Tucson, Arizona. Prior to that, he was with a national accounting firm and has been practicing accounting and consulting since 1980
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Because of his knowledge, wit and unpretentious delivery, Tim is a much sought after speaker in the credit union movement. Tim has made presentations for CEO conferences, Directors conferences, Supervisory Committee conferences, lending conferences, marketing conferences, and many more. He is able to bring his wide ranging knowledge to benefit credit union volunteers, senior management teams and staff members on a wide variety of relevant and important topics. Tim is on the faculty of the CUNA Finance for Non-Financial Managers and Volunteers School, The CUNA Volunteer Certification School and CUNA Management School.

Tucson, Arizona has been home since 1980. Tim is a native of Montana and holds a BBA in Accounting from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He has also attended universities in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico and Florence, Italy and speaks several languages.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Firefighter, The Most Stressful Job of 2015

 

The Most Stressful Jobs of 2015

By CareerCast.com

The most stressful jobs of 2015 can be physically dangerous, psychologically taxing—and a great match for those with the passion and drive necessary to succeed in such an environment.

David Barckhoff of Pittsburgh fits the bill. Barkchoff says he became interested in a career as a firefighter, the most stressful job of 2015, at age eight or nine.

“I was interested in the excitement. I remember seeing the truck go down the road with the lights on,” he says. “The idea of rescuing people…and the camaraderie" with other firefighters appealed to him then and now. For some, the job’s challenges might be a deterrent. But not for Barckhoff, who was already used to working in a stressful occupation.

Barckhoff transitioned into firefighting from a stint in the second-most stressful job of 2015, as an enlisted military specialist in the United States Navy. He says the two paths share similarities.

“The fire academy is almost like going through boot camp,” he says. “They take you from the beginning stages, then through all the hazards you could possibly face, with experts teaching from their real-world experience.”

Learning from the experience of others is invaluable in any career, but in the most stressful jobs of 2015, it’s critical. The conditions faced in such stressful jobs as firefighter, enlisted military personnel and police officer constantly change. The most important lesson from the experience, Barckhoff says, is to avoid complacency.

“When you get complacent … that’s when something is going to kill you,” he says. The same mindset is necessary for airline pilots, the fourth-most stressful job of 2015. For the millions of Americans who entrust their safety to them every year, airline pilots must be able to adapt to changing conditions when in flight without losing their cool.

Of course, not all of the most stressful jobs of 2015 find workers responsible for public safety, but they are entrusted with seeing that the expectations of large groups are met without problem.

Event coordinator is one such career. The tight deadlines, the high expectations of clients and the keen attention to detail needed to succeed as an event coordinator land it on the list.

The Most Stressful Jobs of 2015 | CareerCast.com

Oklahoma Fire Fighters Credit Union Celebrate Our History

Firefighters OK 75 logo_art deco

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Six firemen killed when blazing bowling alley collapses in Taiwan | South China Morning Post

We often forget that firemen all over the world serve their communities by offering their lives so that others may live.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families!
NCOFCU

Six firemen were killed today as they fought a blaze that engulfed a bowling alley in northern Taiwan.

The men, all in their 20s, were trapped and killed in a sudden burst of flames which caused the partial collapse of the building in Taoyuan county.

Two of the firemen who died had graduated from Taiwan Police Academy only last year.

The fire broke out in the early hours of the morning when the venue was shut, police said.

Six firemen killed when blazing bowling alley collapses in Taiwan | South China Morning Post

Friday, January 16, 2015

Michigan Passes New Law for Fire Fighters with Cancer

The Michigan Legislature recently passed legislation that will go into effect January 1, 2015, that establishes a fund to cover the cost of treatment and lost wages for Fire Fighters who are diagnosed with certain types of cancers and Governor Rick Snyder is supposed to sign this into law quickly.   

Currently, Fire Fighters who are diagnosed with cancer are not covered under workers compensation unless they can unequivocally determine that the cancer they have came from an on-the-job exposure during an a particular incident.  

The new bill passed by the Legislature establishes the "First Responders Presumed Coverage Reimbursement Fund" which will reimburse Fire Fighters for the cost of their treatments as well as lost wages.  This fund will cover 10 different types of cancers: respiratory, tract, bladder, skin, brain, kidney, blood, testicular, prostrate thyroid and lymphatic cancers. Read more by clicking here.http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/12/29/firefighters-cancer-health-care/21002783/ 

Two Boston credit unions fight over police!

Boston is legendary for its tribal brawls: the Irish and the Brahmins, city police against the state troopers, townies versus college kids. 

Add to that list: The City of Boston Credit Union and the Boston Firefighters Credit Union.

The two credit unions that serve city employees are battling about access to the money of some of the highest paid public workers in Boston: law enforcement workers.

Looking to grow its membership, the Firefighters Credit Union last year began courting law enforcement employees — police officers, sheriff deputies, county corrections officers, and state troopers — and in November received permission to expand from the state’s primary regulator, the Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks David Cotney. 

That ignited a turf war with the more established City of Boston Credit Union, which promptly asked a Suffolk County Superior Court judge to stop the firefighters from expanding. A hearing reviewing Cotney’s ruling is scheduled for Friday.

Tussles between competing financial institutions do not usually get this emotional. Banks typically fight for customers with better interest rates or giveaways such as grills and groceries, not by trading accusations of “heavy-handed tactics” and “false and misleading statements” over recruiting customers. 

The two sides have accused each other of distorting the facts and invoking the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing to promote their cause, and they have fired off angry letters to the state’s banking regulator. 

‘It is up to the consumer to determine which financial institution he or she wishes to use.’

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“I’ve never heard of something like this before,” said Larry DiCara, a former city councilor and attorney whose memoir, “Turmoil and Transition in Boston,” was published in 2013. “This is an interesting battlefield. You could never guess they would fight over access to a credit union.”

The battle between the two has become so fraught that even the trade association representing credit unions in Massachusetts tried to intervene, to no avail. 

Not-for-profit credit unions took root in the United States in the 1900s as a way for working-class families to access affordable credit and avoid loan sharks. Massachusetts in particular was a launching pad for the credit union movement, with Edward Filene, best known for building the Filene’s department store chain, pushing laws to encourage these “people’s banks.” 

Many formed around employee groups, since that made it easier to use the worker’s earnings as collateral. Both the City of Boston Credit Union and the Boston Firefighters Credit Union have their roots in serving city workers. Neither are officially part of Boston government. 

The Firefighters union is the smaller, younger sibling of the two. It has just under 7,000 members and about $200 million in assets, compared with the 100-year-old City of Boston Credit Union, which has $320 million in assets, and 22,000 members.

But like many credit unions, these two have been pushed to expand beyond their traditional membership, as they have faced increased competition from banks, higher costs to provide new technology and products, and a deterioration in workplace bonds. This expansion has bristled banks, which argue that credit unions are getting bigger and moving away from their original mission but are still enjoying tax breaks as non-profits.

The City of Boston Credit Union has opened up its membership to people who live and work in Norfolk and Suffolk counties. In 2009, the Boston firefighters allowed any firefighter in the state to join, which brought in 400 new members.

The Firefighters credit union wants to expand further and thought law enforcement workers would be a good fit. The credit union estimates there are potentially 6,000 police officers, sheriff’s employees, and state troopers who could become members. 

Moreover, the union contends it has established an even closer rapport with law enforcement colleagues.

“Since the 2013 Marathon, there has been a new level of mutual respect and cooperation among the first responders,” with the firefighters credit union helping establish one of the first fund-raisers for bombing victims, according to its application to the state last year. “As a result, the credit union came into a point of prominence among the various police unions.” 

With law enforcement workers about 17 percent of its membership, the City of Boston Credit Union said losing them would “cause irreparable financial damage,” Stephen Green, chairman of the credit union and a Boston police officer, wrote to Cotney in November, according to court documents.

Green alleged the firefighters provided “a narrative, full of rhetoric, ambiguities, and outright false and misleading statements,” to win approval of its expansion plans.

The Marathon bombing reference struck a nerve among police members of the City of Boston Credit Union, which rallied several unions and advocacy groups, including the Boston Police Relief Association and the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, to its cause. Both wrote Cotney that they were happy with the city’s credit union. 

“We find the use of the Boston Marathon bombing to somehow say that the firefighters have become leaders in the Boston first responder community to be disingenuous at best,” the Boston patrolmen’s association wrote Cotney. “There were so many first responders and civilians putting themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others that day, to point to one group over any other for personal gain is beyond belief.” 

For its part, the Boston Firefighters Credit Union said it has received multiple requests from police officers to join. It accuses the City of Boston Credit Union of attempting to keep its monopoly on police officers, who account for a third of the institution’s loans. 

“That is a nice idea but it is clearly not in the best interests of the consumer to be denied the privilege of banking where they chose to do so,” said Firefighters Credit Union president John Winne, according to court documents.

Both credit unions and their attorneys declined to comment because of the ongoing litigation.

The firefighters union has yet to begin marketing to police officers because of the court action.

Cotney, too, declined to comment. But in his letter blessing the Firefighters Credit Union expansion, Cotney said competition is important for consumers. 

“Ultimately,” the banking commissioner wrote, “it is up to the consumer to determine which financial institution he or she wishes to use.” 

Deirdre Fernandes 

Monday, January 5, 2015

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