The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

SLCCU Has The Tools To Help You Build A Strong Financial Future

On July 28th, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by

The only four-letter word I ever taught my kids was PLAN.  To have a plan is an essential piece to one’s success.  Whether it be education, a professional career, your finances, or even a trip across town, it is imperative that you know what you want to accomplish.

I don’t think anyone can argue with the importance of knowing what you want the end result to look like.  So we always recommend that our members have a financial plan – both short term and long term – to help them get to where they want to be.

For the purpose of metaphor, let’s call your financial plan a tool box: the encasement of ideas that you carry with you into the future.  And let’s call what St. Louis Community Credit Union offers in the way of financial services and products the tools that fill up your tool box.  And might I add…they are some of the very best tools in the market today!

We have countless tools – savings, checking, loans, investment products – that are all priced to benefit you and your family.  St. Louis Community Financial Services has helped hundreds of our members with retirement planning.  Likewise, BALANCE helps develop budgets for short-term financial goals.

We also have unprecedented convenience: branch offices, free ATMs, home banking, and 24-hour phone service.  Get your Credit Union car loan at Enterprise car sale lots all over town.  Also, our car loans are available at countless auto dealerships throughout the city and county.  What else?  Very low fees, debit cards, direct deposit, bill pay services, electronic statements, mortgage loans, drive-thru services, convenient hours, and even extended Saturday hours in select locations.

With all these tools, you may need a bigger tool box!

Use the Credit Union’s tools, and you can build a strong financial future for you and your family.  But it all starts with a PLAN.  Now that’s a four-letter word worth repeating.

Good News…We Practice DWYSYWD!

On July 21st, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by

DWYSYWD.  What the heck is that?  Pronounced “dwizzie-widd,” these seven letters say more than you might think.  The term speaks to the integrity and character of those with whom you associate.  You want friends, co-workers and the people you come in contact with in the business world to adhere to this odd-looking phrase.  That means you want St. Louis Community Credit Union to practice DWYSYWD.  Great news…we do!

DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL DO!  That’s what that silly-looking acronym means.  A very serious message tucked inside a very funny set of letters.  Our members count on us.  They trust us with their money.  They instill great confidence in us to help them manage their money.  With the exception of their kids, money is way up there on the list of things that draw one’s utmost attention.  So folks definitely expect us to “dwizzie-widd,” and we do.

I recently read a J.D. Power & Associates survey in which the banking industry got punched in the stomach with a few hard-hitting results.  The knockout blow dealt to big banks everywhere was that their customers said they were “unhappy due to issues with problem resolution.”  Ooops!  That’s a hole in the bankers’ “dwizzie-widd.”  The message is simple, and it’s loud and clear: banks don’t do what they say they will do, and you just can’t do that to people.

At St. Louis Community Credit Union, we do what we say we will do – and there’s a reason for that being the case.  We’re a cooperative financial institution in which our only reason for existence is to make our members’ life a lot better.  That’s what we say, and that’s what we do!

Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About Bank Profits?

On July 14th, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by

Big Oil” is in the news as gas prices continue to hover in the $4.00 per gallon range. Nobody is happy with the profits earned by major gas and oil companies at the expense of the little guy. “The rich get richer…and the poor get poorer” is the discussion on news reports, at congressional hearings, and most certainly in the break rooms at workplaces throughout our region.

Interestingly, I have yet to hear or witness any prominent discussion among consumers regarding the fact that the banking industry has set record profits year over year over year – for what seems like decades. That might be a stretch, but more years than not in recent times, banks have annually set new profit marks. How come nobody’s talking about this?

Well, I’ll talk about it. Consumer fees continue to increase, and a major portion of bank revenues come from fees. In the interest of fairness, we make fee income too, but not because we charge high fees (ours are some of the lowest you’ll find anywhere).

The difference is that we return the income we make to our members in the form of better services, better rates, fewer fees, fewer account restrictions, more free services, etc. etc. That’s what not-for-profit cooperatives do. The banks…well, they give their profits to stockholders. That’s their motivation every morning…increase stockholder value. Who pays for that increase in value? The little guy. Sort of sounds like “Big Oil” to me.

Wait a second…aren’t banks struggling right now because of the economy? Not according to the 8th Federal Reserve District located in St. Louis. They report that this region’s banks are performing at just under last year’s levels in return on assets (i.e. profitability) for the 1st quarter of 2008. At who’s expense? I think we all know the answer to that one.

Watch Out For Offers That Sound Too Good To Be True

On July 7th, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by 1 Comment

Small print frustrates me.  My pet peeve is getting excited about an advertised special only to find out that, in order to fully benefit, I have to comply with a ton of restrictions.  The implication, of course, is that there really is no special offer for me.  Where are these restrictions and qualifications found? In the small print, of course.

What’s the old saying?  If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Well, that is great advice these days as it relates to so many offers from area financial institutions.  The fancy advertising talks about how you’ll get enough money to fill up your gas tank a couple of times – just for opening a checking account.  That’s all it takes.  Just walk in and open a checking account.  Really?  Yep, and out you go with at least $100.  Really?

Our credit union members are smart.  How in the world can a financial institution afford to give someone $100 for a small balance checking account?  Well, (1) there are rules…in many instances, lots of them; (2) fees are punitive if you break those rules; and (3) it’s easy to break the rules.

Sadly, some institutions count on you to mess up. And you know what? We’re all human, so (even with best intentions not to) we mess up according to their plan.  Think of the “too good to be true” offer like this: It’s like going to a casino to get rich. You rarely beat the “house.”