High Point FCU Donates $7,000 to Local Food Pantries

High Point FCU has donated $7,000 to support seven local food pantries in their field of membership. As a community-focused credit union, High Point FCU is committed to making a positive impact in the lives of their neighbors. The Olean Food Pantry, Creekside Chapel, Portville Community Food Pantry, Harvest Field Outreach Center, CAC Food Pantry, YWCA of Bradford, and Hinsdale Ischua Food Pantry each received $1,000 donations.

“We believe in the power of community and the importance of lending a helping hand,” said Rich Yeager, President & CEO. “By partnering with these local food pantries, we hope to make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and families facing food insecurity.”

High Point FCU would like to thank the dedicated staff and volunteers at the food pantries for their tireless efforts in serving the community. Their commitment to making a difference is inspiring.

High Point FCU is the 2nd largest credit union in Western New York, with assets of over $400 million. The credit union currently serves over 20,000 members with four branch locations, 1201 Wayne Street and 206 North Clark Street in Olean, 180 West Main Street in Allegany, and 160 South Main Street in Portville.

High Point Federal Credit Union Installs Life-Saving AED Machines and Certifies Staff in CPR

Recently, High Point Federal Credit Union took an important step towards safeguarding the health and well-being of their members and staff by installing life-saving AED machines in all their branch locations and operations center. A sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, but with an AED on hand, the heart’s rhythm can be analyzed, and if necessary, an electric shock can be administered, which can help re-establish an effective rhythm.

To complement the installation of AED machines, over 35 High Point FCU staff members have become certified in CPR and AED in accordance with the American Heart Association (AHA) training program. “We have many people coming in and out of our branches daily. Considering most cardiac arrests happen away from hospitals, having our staff trained and these machines available will provide life-saving support in the event someone experiences a major medical emergency,” said Rich Yeager, President & CEO.

Funding for the project was received through the New York Credit Union Foundation’s IMPACT Grant, which helped cover the costs of implementation. The foundation supports credit union efforts in various areas, including technology enhancements, security upgrades, and efforts to support emerging and underrepresented markets.

Financial Preparation for The New Year

The new year is almost here. Are you ready?

Usher in the new year with plans for financial improvement and resolutions to do more.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Tune your budget

It’s great to start off the new year with a plan. A budget is just that — a plan — that starts with the income you expect and your fixed expenses such as your mortgage, insurance, and utilities. The plan incorporates your savings goals, and the remaining money is designated for your other expenses. A realistic budget will help you set your financial goals and will remind you to stick to them. Now is the perfect time to assess last year’s budget or create a new one if you don’t yet have one in place.

Reviewing how you spent last year’s money will help you make better financial decisions for the year ahead. While thinking about it, include a method for tracking your spending. You can do this on a spreadsheet or tag items in your checking account.

Even with a solid plan, there can be surprises along the way, so be sure to build an emergency fund into your budget.

Plan ahead to meet your goals

Consider how you will accomplish your goals. You might have shorter-term goals, such as purchasing a new home, as well as longer-term goals, like retirement. Each set of goals requires different kinds of planning and saving.

Financial planners recommend setting up a separate savings account for each goal. This way, your progress toward that goal is clear.

It’s best to work backward for determining how much you need to save for each goal. Determine the cost of your goal and then establish a reasonable timeframe as well as how much you’ll need to save each month to reach it.

Spend mindfully

Make your financial future more secure this year by identifying your wants and needs. Your needs are necessary for survival and include food and shelter. Your wants are simply things you desire-like a luxury car. Tend to your needs first. Then, if there is money remaining, consider your wants.

This might sound obvious, but for many of us, the lines between wants and needs are blurred.

Maximize tax contributions

Tax deductions can be a valuable source of savings. If you have employer-matching funds available, take advantage of them. Also, verify with your HR contact and your accountant that you are contributing the optimal amount to your 401(k) and IRA.

Check your flexible savings account (FSA)

If you have unspent money in your FSA, now is the time to use it. Your pre-tax dollars in such accounts typically need to be spent before the end of the year or they are lost.

Put the brakes on holiday spending

Avoid going overboard on holiday spending or you might spend the beginning of the year trying to pay it all back.

These are just a few of the many ways you can prepare financially for the coming year. With a little attention to some often-overlooked details, a little perseverance, and a little mindfulness throughout, you’ll be moving forward with a strong foundation and positive outlook.

6 Naughty Holiday Scams to Beware of This Season

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Unfortunately, though, not everything about the holiday season is all happy and nice. As always, scammers are on the scene, ready to turn the joyous season into a nightmare. Here are six naughty-list scams to watch out for this holiday season. 

Online shopping scams

In this classic scam, a shopper is lured into a bogus site that appears to belong to a popular retailer and proceeds to purchase an item that does not exist. Alternatively, a too-good-to-miss deal will be heavily promoted through pop-up ads and emails. In either scenario, the shopper will never receive the ordered item and won’t be able to reclaim their lost funds. In some cases, the product will be delivered to their home, but it will be of inferior quality, in poor condition or completely different from the advertised item. 

Protect yourself: Only shop reputable websites. Check the URL of each landing page you visit to ensure you are still on a trusted site. Also, if a deal seems too good to be true, it likely is.

Charity scams

Here, a charity targets do-gooders in the weeks leading up to the holidays, asking for donations. Unfortunately, though, the charity is completely bogus, and the money will go right into the hands of scammers. Sometimes, scammers will impersonate a well-known charity and use its name and/or logo to appear authentic. 

Protect yourself: If you want to donate money to a specific charity, seek it out yourself instead of following a link or an ad. It’s also a good idea to verify charities on sites like Charity NavigatorGuideStar or CharityWatch

Gift card scams

Gift cards have always been a popular choice for holiday gifting, but scammers have found ways to exploit them. In a gift card scam, fraudsters convince victims to share their gift card codes by pretending to be tech support or another believable contact. 

Protect yourself: Never share sensitive information with an unverified contact. 

Porch pirates

In this simple but devastating scam, thieves stake out private residences and snatch up delivered packages from porches soon after they arrive. Scammers may even follow UPS and Amazon trucks so they can pilfer more easily. They’ll wear hats, hoodies or masks to avoid detection via security camera, and once they make off with the goods, there’s virtually no way to recover the packages. 

Protect yourself: Track your ordered packages, and once notified that an item has been delivered, bring it inside immediately. If you aren’t home when an item’s been delivered, ask a neighbor to take it in for you. 

Travel scams

Traveling during the holidays can get expensive, and scammers know this. In holiday travel scams, they’ll offer vacation packages, or what looks like a dream vacation rental at rock-bottom prices. Then, they’ll disappear once the victim has paid. Alternatively, the victim will arrive at their vacation to find it is quite different than the way it was promised. 

Protect yourself: Don’t believe travel deals that are far too cheap for what they are offering. Research any travel agency you are using and be wary of sites and/or ads containing poor grammar and/or lots of spelling mistakes. Finally, be sure to read reviews on vacation rentals before booking and to do a reverse image search on the rental to see if it’s an authentic pic or a stock photo. 

Romance scams

The holiday season can be lonely for some people, and romance scams tend to pick up this time of year. In this scam, a love interest will build a relationship with an unsuspecting target, and then ask the victim for funds to help them out of a financial tight spot. 

Protect yourself: Be wary of anyone who wants to build a relationship very quickly. It’s also a good idea to do a reverse image search on any photos a new love interest has shared with you to determine if it’s authentic. As always, never wire money to an unverified contact. 

Don’t let scammers be your Grinch this Christmas. Watch out for these and similar scams, and use the tips outlined here to stay safe!

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