Working Together

October 17, 2008

Last night the Piedmont Chapter of Credit Unions got together.  This group is made up of volunteers, members, and employees from different credit unions across southern Virginia.  It was fitting to meet on International Credit Union Day.  Don Graham from the Virginia Credit Union League talked about how credit unions have grown over the years all over the world and how they come to each others aid in times of need. He shared reports of how this was lived out just last month by Texas credit unions in the wake of Hurricane Ike. (You can still support credit union people affected by Ike, click here.)

Recently we actually lived it out right here.  Last week while visiting a school I ran into a teacher who was already a member of Danville City Employees Federal Credit Union (through her husband).  Since I’ve seen the statistics which say that credit unions only have about 10%-15% of the personal finance market share in America, I really didn’t try very hard to win her business.  Rather, I complimented the other credit union and thanked her for supporting it.   With 90% of people using banks, credit unions don’t need to be fighting over each others members.  It really is for the good of all credit unions that we continue to support each other even when our memberships overlap like this.

Another example happened at last nights meeting. Kevin from Martinsville DuPont Credit Union, shared about what they learned from the recent phishing and vishing attack directed against their credit union.  The information was very valuable and will no doubt find it’s way into one of our upcoming financial education courses.

I’m so pleased to once again be active in our local credit union chapter.  I’m also glad to see the goodwill and cooperative nature of local credit unions being lived out in tangible ways.  If you’re a credit union employee reading, you should certainly consider coming to a chapter meeting.  The next meeting is November 6, 2008 at the Ballou Park Senior Center in Danville, VA.  If you’re a member, you should be proud to be part of your credit union and please let your credit union know what you think of it.  If you’re not a member, you need to find a credit union!

Donate to credit union people affected by Hurricane Ike

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Is Your Money Safe?

August 18, 2008

In light of those bank failures earlier this Summer, here’s a short(1 min) video about the safety and soundness of America’s credit unions.  It’s from the president of the Credit Union National Association, Dan Mica.

Actually at this time Piedmont Credit Union is financially stronger than it has ever been!  This is thanks to the thousands of members who have trusted us and faithfully used our services over the years.


Great Companies to Work For

June 23, 2008

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting our members and potential members at Columbia Forest Products in Chatham, VA. It was perfect timing! On the second day of my visit the management team cooked and prepared a fantastic lunch for the entire plant. It wasn’t cheap burgers and hot dogs either. Mike Lee, the plant manager should open a restaurant when he retires. His barbecued chicken was incredible! It’s great that a big company like this has the desire to do more for it’s employees than just provide a pay check.

Events like this really go a long way towards building a strong and loyal team. But I got the impression during my visit that CFP treats it’s people very well every day. Possibly one reason for this is that Columbia Forest Products is an employee owned company. (Sort of like our credit union is owned by it’s members. When you’re an owner of something you tend to get treated better.) Today they are one of the largest employee owned company in the U.S. Read more about the CFP story here. It’s good. Since 1957 they’ve become the largest producer of plywood and hardwood veneer in the nation. Keep it going Columbia Forest Products! Your credit union looks forward to helping you save money for many years to come!

Another Piedmont Credit Union member company which does this sort of thing (picnics not employee ownership) is Techma-USA. Every Spring they host a great picnic for their entire plant with lots of fun and prizes. They’re located in Gretna and produce parts for many domestic cars. They’ve been recognized time and time again as a very positive influence in the small town of Gretna, VA.

I don’t know if anyone has a “Best Places to Work in Southside Virginia” list, but I would not be surprised to see the likes of Columbia Forest Products and Techma-USA on that list along with many more of our other member group companies. Hmm…I wonder if the benefit of having a good credit union would have anything to do with that?


We Need a Truck-Load of Money! Literally.

May 27, 2008

When I first heard the name “God’s Pit Crew” I thought, “What in the world is that about?” Not being a big NASCAR fan the name didn’t really resound with me. However, when I found out who they are and what all they do, I thought, “Now that is simply incredible” and I was moved to tears at their presentation.

Here’s who they are. They’re unpaid volunteers, over 200 of ’em. They’re all gifted helpers and with their combined knowledge & skill they know how to do or build just about anything. They believe in giving their time, energy, & resources towards making other people’s lives better.

Here’s what they do. When tornadoes and big storms come through anywhere around the Southern US devastating entire communities; When homes and churches are in disrepair; When local charities and food banks are low on resources; When economic hardship has sucked the life out of small towns; When people’s lives are de-railed and there seems to be no hope… God’s Pit Crew comes and injects hope into hopeless situations. Their slogan says it all, “Helping People Get Their Lives Back On Track!”

They don’t receive any profits at all for what they do. They do it completely based on faith and the financial support of ordinary people, mostly locals. They get great publicity when tragedy strikes far away and they make the big trip to rebuild places. But equally as impressive is the long list of local work they have done to benefit Southside Virginia and nearby areas in North Carolina. They have a long list of pictures, videos, and letters of thanks on their website, www.godspitcrew.org.

This summer Piedmont Credit Union is heading up a campaign to help God’s Pit Crew purchase a new dually pickup truck. They will use it to haul people and supplies all over the South. We’re calling it “Dollars for Dually”. It’s simple how it works. If you have some dollars we’re asking you to put some in the truck. Literally. The truck will be located at the credit union and other various locations with the window cracked just enough for money to fit through. Several local businesses also have donation canisters at their locations. For more information or to donate online please visit the website www.DollarsForDually.com. Below is a video excerpt of Randy Johnson speaking recently at our credit union’s annual meeting.


2008 Annual Meeting Recap

May 12, 2008

Well I tried to start a recap of our 39th Annual Meeting the night after the meeting but all I could think about was the big Dan River Mills Long Mill Fire. So here is the official Annual Meeting recap: There wasn’t much business to discuss this year. So we mainly focused on celebrating a good year last year and looking towards the future. There was a good meal with good company. Randy Johnson of God’s Pit Crew shared from his heart about the great work they do both at home and abroad for people in need. Wade Hopkins once again amazed kids and adults alike with his great magic tricks. The kids also played a life-sized game of Payday. I was really impressed by the kids who played. They made great decisions with their money and didn’t fall for any the bum deals I threw in.

Here’s a short 3 minute video of our 2008 Annual Meeting.

Thanks for being a member of the credit union! Next year’s will be our credit union’s 40th Anniversary. Ideas for a big celebration are welcomed!


Automobile Warranties & Car Companies

May 8, 2008

This post is about the new Mechanical Breakdown Protection available through Piedmont Credit Union.

I am the classic “do-it-yourself-er”. But when my wife’s Acura started having transmission problems late last year I started to think, “maybe I shouldn’t have hung up on those people who call and try to sell extended warranties?” Acuras are not cheap cars and neither are their parts. Did I mention the warranty had expired several thousand miles ago? So I made the dreadful trip to a nearby Acura dealership and nicely explained that I didn’t buy an Acura to see the transmission go bad so soon, and even though it was outside of any warranty coverage I humbly asked if they could help me out a little. What really impressed me was how they pretty much agreed that Acuras are one of the highest quality cars available and that it should not have had this type of problem at this point of it’s life. So Acura corporate agreed to discount the cost of the transmission but I would not have any further warranty on the discounted parts like they usually give. I was pretty satisfied because it appeared that I would be able to pay for these repairs without too much financial discomfort.

Now for all you readers who think the next part Acurais about how the dealership found other things wrong and boosted the price by a thousand dollars, I hate to disappoint you. When my wife picked up the car, the total price was $800 LESS than what they quoted me and it was going to come with a new 36,000 mile warranty! I’m now an Acura fan for life!

So what’s the moral of this story? I think it’s this: Consider purchasing an extended warranty for your vehicle. When you compare it’s cost to that of major repairs the choice is easy. Do the math.

New non-discounted transmission installed by dealer=$4,500.

Cost of Piedmont CU Mechanical Breakdown Protection=$1,565.

Mechanical Breakdown Protection is very affordable when seen from this point of view. Plans start around $900 and can cover almost any car that runs. You can read more about it on our main website here. Oh, if you decide to buy an Acura, just be sure to do your financing at the credit union!