Traveling Overseas?

August 23, 2007

Visiting another country can be a very rewarding and enlightening experience.  Just ask my father-in-law who went to Honduras on a medical missions trip last Spring and plans to go again next year.  With VISA being accepted virtually everywhere it’s very convenient to simply use a debit or credit card and not worry about carrying cash that usually has to be exchanged for local currency anyway.  (You usually pay a fee for that too.)  Recently our credit union had a member who was traveling overseas and was using his debit card for some big purchases.  Every time a Piedmont Card is used overseas we get a phone call from our card processor to find out if the transaction is legitimate or not.  The card is automatically frozen until they hear back from us.  In fact in some countries that have a reputation for being hotbeds of fraud and identity theft, Piedmont cards will not work at all without special attention from us.

So if you are planning an overseas trip and you expect to use your debit card, just give us a call to let us know so we won’t turn your card off when you try and use it.  Of course if your card is lost or stolen you can call a toll free number that can be found on our website, which can be viewed anywhere in the world!


Electric Cars or Really Fast Golf Carts?

August 17, 2007

Since Piedmont Credit Union started offering one half percent off the interest rate for cars that get better than 40 miles per gallon, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for good deals on fuel efficient and hybrid cars. Here’s one that really caught my eye! Take a look at the newest 100% electric car to hit the U.S. market. Tesla Motors has recently made their new roadster available for pre-order. Currently their website estimates that if you order one today you would receive it by July 2008. But with a starting price of $98,000 I think I’ll be waiting much longer than that to get behind the wheel. The car is rated to go from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds with a top speed of 135 mph. It will go up to 200 miles on a single charge and recharges in about 4 hours. The trunk is just the right size for a set of golf clubs!

Just for fun I calculated what my payments would be for a new metallic orange Tesla roadster with all the options priced at $116,275: At the discounted rate of 5.00% the payments would be $1,872.60 for 72 months. That doesn’t include taxes and registration!

Encouraging words from the President of Swedwood

August 17, 2007

This morning the guest speaker at the Chamber of Commerce’s “Business at Breakfast” was Bengt Danielsson, the President of Swedwood North America. He was here to speak about why Danville, VA was chosen as the site for their new 1 million square foot manufacturing and distribution facility. He talked about the location and it’s proximity to the type of raw materials they need, as well as it’s proximity to the Ikea furniture stores(existing and planned) to whom they supply furniture. But, in my opinion, the best reason for Swedwood choosing Danville was this: He said that the presentation made to them by Danville, Pittsylvania County, and the state of Virginia was much more cohesive than their counterparts in North Carolina. Our city, county, and state were clearly working together so well that it was one of the major deciding factors! This is really… really encouraging to hear someone from the outside say. Because of this our area will benefit from almost 300 new, good paying jobs within the next several months.

Mr. Danielsson also spoke about how successful Ikea, the parent company of Swedwood, has been over it’s 60+ year history. They have proven themselves in Europe and hold a 15% market share. On the average they are opening one new Ikea store every two weeks in North America!

When the new Swedwood plant starts production next January 4, 2008, they will have lots of work ahead of them. Estimates are that, per year, our local Swedwood plant will produce over 6 million pieces of furniture! They also have room for growth. As their business grows there is room at the Danville site for two more production buildings.

Our local economic development departments should be very proud of their successful efforts to bring in another promising major employer. But it’s more than that. Kevin Martin from the city utilities pointed out that it is a community wide effort. You never know who might be sipping coffee next to you in the Yene Fusion Cafe. That was Mr. Danielsson’s first impression of Danville when he was scouting out potential locations. This is an exciting time for our community and we should be proud to be a part of it.

Classic Computers and the CU Movement

August 6, 2007

Some people might remember the old computApple 1er used in this ad which appears on It is an Apple 1, the original model sold by Apple Computer. While Apple’s legendary story was before my time, I can still trace back my affinity of technology and computers to my experiences with with an Apple II in elementary and middle school. I wonder if 30 years from now the computers, laptops, PDA’s, and iPhones of today will look as antiquated as this wooden computer? Maybe wood is ready for a comeback? This would really prove the argument that Apple was ahead of it’s time.

Something else that is ready for a comeback or a resurgence is the credit union movement. In the last 10 months 11 local business have begun to offer PCU to their employees. These are all businesses that are too small to support their own credit union. What will the credit union look like in 30 years? That’s up to our members. And that’s the beautiful thing about credit unions. Members(You) can can exercise their ownership and get involved in the operation of the credit union. With everyone contributing in some way or another we can rest assured that our credit union will always stay relevant to our members and meet their needs.

FYI: While visiting Stuart Elementary School this morning what do you suppose that I found gracing the wall the Kindergarden classroom? Three Apple IIe computers and one Apple IIgs! These old computers are still helping to inspire children.

Update on the 2nd Annual Lego Build-Off

August 4, 2007

Those that fought the heat today and came out to the 2nd Annual Lego Build-Off know that it was well worth it!  The event raised over $4,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association!  At the end there was an added bonus for Morgan Hall, the young man who inspired Mandy Matherly to start the Annual Lego Build-Off.  Several local businesses chipped in to send he and his family off on an all expense paid trip to LegoLand in Carlsbad, CA.  It was a really great time!  I think this event was a shining star for our city and I can’t wait to see how it develops and grows in the coming years.   What a wonderful way to help work towards a cure for Muscular Dystrophy!

Please forgive me for not having any pictures!