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Carve-o-rama 2012  by Tara


We’re all about family traditions at Linn Area Credit Union and one that many of us share with our kin is pumpkin carving!

In the spirit of Halloween, our social committee challenged each department to carve and/or decorate a pumpkin. The winning department gets nothing, nada, zip, ziltch. You see, we’re super competitive in a sibling rivalry kind of way, so we’re asking for YOUR help in determining who should take the cake (let me be clear that there is actually no cake involved, just bragging rights).

And away we go….


“Eek!” Don’t be scared of our Collections department – they are clearly talented…and seem to be pretty darned good with carving tools… EEK!!!

Consumer Loans

Knock knock. Who’s there? Boo. Boo hoo? It’s just a joke — you don’t have to cry about it. Baw ha ha! Surely no one will be crying over Consumer Loan’s adorable pumpkin!

Edgewood Road Branch

By Jove – is that pumpkin wearing a fascinator?!?! Creepy crawlys are springing from the crown jewel of this bedazzled gem of a pumpkin in an oh-so fashionable way.


Who knew a skeleton face could look so SWEET?!? With flowers for eyes and a sheepish grin, this is one pumpkin that won’t make you cry out for your mama.

Marion Branch

Oh come on, this is the cutest little pumpkin display! Huggable, lovable, kid-friendly pumpkin carvings! Hopefully that’s not a real street sign, otherwise some people are going to be confused when looking for “Marion Street.”


If you need a candy bowl in a pinch and just happen to have a pumpkin and some pipe cleaners laying around, this is your project! (Tip: When transporting your pumpkin from your house to your work for, say, a contest, do not take sharp turns since the pumpkin will most likely ROLL and end up all over the back of your car with wonky ex-spider legs. Not that I have any experience with this…)


Simply spook-tacular. Any ideas on what the boots mean?

MSR/SW Drive Up Branch

Never out of the pop culture loop, MSR/SW Drive up Branch really brought it for this contest. Snooki looks so life-like – even her skin tone is smack on!

SE Branch (Mt. Vernon Road)

The artistry, the attention to detail, the exact replica of our logo! Who knew there was a Master Carver at LACU?!?!

How to vote!

Hopefully you are shivering in your britches after seeing all of our Halloween carvings, now it’s time to vote for the pumpkin that you think deserves bragging rights! There are 3 ways to vote (you can vote one time per social media outlet):

  1. Right here on the Bloggity Blog by leaving a comment below with the name of the department you are voting for and WHY you like their pumpkin the most.
  2. On our Facebook page by leaving a comment under the picture of the pumpkin you are voting for and telling us WHY that department’s carving is the best. (Click here!)
  3. Tweet @LinnAreaCU with the name of the department you are voting for and WHY they deserve to win. (Click here!)

If you don’t give us a reason, the vote doesn’t count! Also, we reserve the right to discount votes from duplicate IP addresses. So no cheating, k?!?!  Voting ends at 4:00 pm CST on October 30th. Muuuuuuuuuuuh ha ha ha ha!

Don’t be a Halloweenie – place your vote now!

Mother Nature Approved  by Tara


We don’t just TALK about family trees – we SAVE them, too! In fact, we’ve already saved 46 of them. (Stay with me, friends, I promise I’m going to tie it together!)

Last year, Linn Area Credit Union vowed to become a more environmentally conscious workplace.  A team of employees joined together and created the Green Team. This team looks for ways that LACU can be kinder to good Ol’ Mother Nature. One thing the Green Team noticed was that we were throwing away A LOT of stuff that actually could be recycled. So they partnered with City Carton to help the staff truly understand what could/could not be recycled. And, boy, what a difference recycling makes!

City Carton provides an awesome service which gives a company an idea of how much GOOD they’ve done for the planet. In just 6 short months, here is what LACU has accomplished:

Tell us in the comments below, do you recycle? Why or why not?

Exclusive interview with the Ugliest Sweater winner!  by Tara


I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat just WAITING and yearning to know who was the big winner of our Ugly Christmas Sweater contest. The time has come to tell you, grasshopper. The votes poured in and the race was tight! But I can tell you that *clearing throat* the winner is FRANK, er, I mean, MALLORY!!!!

Mallory is famliar to many of you loyal blog followers as she is one of our talented contributers! Well it turns out that she can also make a mean ugly sweater. She penciled us in for an exclusive interview where I asked some pretty hardball questions (take that, Barbara Walters!). Enjoy!

What inspired you to make your Grinch themed sweater?
The Grinch has always been my favorite Christmas story so when I Googled ugly sweaters and a picture of the Ginch came up, I couldn’t resist!

That was a pretty crafty sweater you crafted. What sorts of materials did you use? How long did it take you?
I got a sweater at Goodwill and then I bought a lot of felt… too much felt. Then it was just a matter of cutting stuff out and using heat and bond. I used some jewels for bedazzelment, some mini lights and, of course, jingle bells. 

Did you have the “He’s a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” song playing on repeat while creating your sweater?
No, but now I wish I would have.

How did Frank react to his part in the theme?
Well normally he loves to get his picture taken, but he seemed as thrilled as Max (the dog he was playing) to have the reindeer antlers on.

Do you see yourself donning this sweater again?
I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. It is stashed away with all my other Christmas decorations, just waiting to be unveiled in the future. 

Your sister launched an all-out online assault to lobby for your win. What did you think about that?
I knew my sister had some techy friends because she works at Apple, but I had no idea how far she would take it! I feel like I owe her big time now. 

Did any of your friends of family give you a hard time about your fabulous sweater?
They thought it was great! They are all big fans of Frank. I’m not sure they even saw me in the picture.

How many poses did you try before you settled on the one to submit?
I had to take the picture the morning it was due ,so I had to get my husband out of bed to be the photographer. He was still half asleep so he was not willing to take multiple pictures. I tried to take a few by myself after he went back to bed, but it just wasn’t working out. So what you see is pretty much the only picture that turned out.

Congrats, Mallory!

A big THANK YOU to the LACU peeps that participated in the contest and a very special “Holla!” goes out to all of you fabulous people that voted! Keep your eye on the blog – you never know when that next contest is going to pop up!

In the comments below, tell us about the ugliest sweater you’ve ever worn!

Welcome Home, Andrea!  by Tara


We are ecstatic to announce that our very own hero, Andrea Brandon, has returned from Afghanistan after a year-long deployment! On Saturday, August 6th, Andrea was welcomed home in an emotional ceremony at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. 

We are thrilled that Andrea will be returning to her Linn Area Credit Union family at some point this year. You can look forward to hearing her voice again when you call into Member Services needing help! 

Andrea, we are all so proud of you! Welcome home! 

Now is the time we’d like to show Andrea how much love and support she has! In the comments below, feel free to leave her a message!

A Letter from our LACU Solider  by Tara


One of our very own Linn Area employees, Andrea Brandon, is currently stationed in Afghanistan. She recently – completely out of the blue – set us a letter along with two gifts. We were so incredibly humbled and, quite frankly, teary eyed that we wanted to share it with the rest of our Linn Area family.

Andrea, we are so proud of you and can’t wait for you to come back! :)

Hello everyone! 

I want to thank you for letting me take up a little bit of your time today.  I loosely promise to keep it short.  I can’t promise that it won’t be a little sappy.  I am having Shannon present Management with a little token of my appreciation for all that they have done and gone through for me.  Their unwavering support of me has been and continues to be astronomical.  Today I am revoking their right to be modest about it.

Six years ago a poor and unsuspecting Marcia created a Military Policy.  And so my story begins.  On July 14th2004, ironically Flag Day, I became a part of the Linn Area family.  A family I am proud to say I am a part of.  Since that day Uncle Sam has interrupted my time at Linn Area more times than not.  From time lost due to annual trainings, volunteer missions, state activations and deployments, management has been behind me 100%.  No questions asked, no hesitations. 

It is no secret that the military is a huge part of my life.  It is who I am.  Never once has Linn Area complained about that fact.  Not once have I been made to feel like I am an inconvenience.  Never have I had an employer that cares more about me than Linn Area.  I am truly amazed at the lengths they have gone to make life as simple as possible for me and my family during these times of absence. They have made the transition in and out of civilian work life so painless it is unbelievable.  Their patience when it comes to repeated retraining is above and beyond what one could ask for. 

Now most would think that this is just something they should do. Not so much.  They could make life a nightmare for me.  They could forget about me until I come back.  They could gripe and complain about the time and effort it takes to retrain someone not only to do the job, but also to be a civilian doing that job.  Ask anyone of them and they can tell you it is a pain in the rear and a lot of work. One because it is me, two, well let’s just leave it at one!

Anyway, these words and this gift don’t really convey how I truly feel.  I will never be able to really explain that.  But I hope that you know that I serve in the military for and because of people and employers like you.  Without you the National Guard wouldn’t be able to function.   Soldiers wouldn’t be able to do the jobs we do overseas without employers like you behind us!  And for that I am truly humble, and overly grateful that I have been blessed to have Linn Area as my employer.  You make putting this uniform on literally every day worth it. 

Thank you from the bottoms of my boots to the top of my heart!



The gifts:

Here is the one and only, beautiful Ol’ Glory that I had flown here on Bagram in honor of Linn Area and their endless support of me as a Soldier.  The two coins on the flag are to commemorate OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom).

(Side note: This now hangs in the entrance way at our Blairs Ferry branch!)




The ESGR( Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves) provides these plaques to Soldiers to present to our employers to thank them for their support of us as Citizen Soldiers. 

(Another side note: This plaque hangs on the second floor at our Blairs Ferry branch!)

What’s a Floater? Well it’s not a piece of food floating in your soda!  by Mallory


What’s a Floater? I get that question a lot when I tell people my informal job title, but, honestly, “Member Service Specialist” can be a bit confusing as well – although it does sound snazzy! 

I have been a floater here at Linn Area for one year and I love it. This position was created to fill in for people who are sick, on maternity leave, on their regularly scheduled day off, out on vacation, or for those days that we that just need extra help.  Most weeks I’m not doing the same thing two days in a row. From answering phones in the call center to rolling coin on the teller line, I’ve been trained to pretty much do it all!  

But what does this mean to you? Well, one day I may be helping you at the new Edgewood Branch and the next, I could be answering your question about online banking over the phone. I was even given the opportunity to assist our Business Development Manager with a “Lunch and Learn” (when we go out into the community and teach different financial seminars over the lunch hour). I got to eat pizza, play bingo, and talk about finances. I’m not going to lie – it was not a bad way to spend a Tuesday!

Altogether, there are five floaters, one of which who is a floating head teller that goes to a different branch each day of the week. A challenge that comes with the job is not always knowing where I will be working when I show up to the main office. For example, when I report for duty at the main branch first thing in the morning, I could be told to head to the Marion branch because someone came down with the flu. Having that unknown isn’t for everyone, but I enjoy it!

The upside is that my LACU co-workers are great! They train me extremely well so I can help – no matter where I’m at.

Now I realize that some members are uneasy about seeing a new face at their normal branch. No worries, I assure you that I know what I am doing and I am happy to help.  I am a talker so if you ever see me at a branch, please say hi!

An Insider’s View of the Edgewood Branch  by Nick


This week we have been celebrating the Grand Opening of our new Edgewood Road office. Since we’ve been open for a little over a month, I thought I’d give you great folks out there a little update on how it’s going and, for those of you who haven’t been able to make it out yet, a description of what it’s like here! (Be sure to click here to check out our Facebook Page to see more pics!)

Our new branch has a different feel to it. It’s so great when members come in and are as excited as we are to be here! They love the warm greeting mixed with prompt friendly service. What more could you ask for? 

My favorite part about being here is the innovative look. I have visited many financials in my life and, believe me, this is very different. It seems we have taken a ride into the future and jumped ahead twenty years or so. 

For us at Linn Area, it’s about taking your experience as a member to the next level. For example, instead of a teller wall, we have individual pods to make transactions a little more personal. Members have mentioned how happy they are with the new and improved experience. It makes them feel like they are more than just a number; they truly are family. 

To make things even better, our building is very energy efficient. It’s almost like a twilight zone experience. You walk down the hall and all the lights turn on as you move along. You walk into a room and the lights turn on. One of my fellow employees said that it can be a little odd at night because a light may randomly turn on because it sensed some motion, and yet nobody was around that particular area. *insert Twilight Zone music here* 

The new branch also has a great business center. This can be used for businesses that partner with Linn Area Credit Union. If you have any questions about this, please call 378-0101 and talk with Lori Vana or Alice Hagerman.  

Although the building has changed, our staff hasn’t. Come on in to enjoy a cup of coffee and see Val, Marlene, Bonnie, Amanda, Michelle and myself. We look forward to helping you with all your financial needs!

Have you visited the new Edgewood branch yet? If you have, what did YOU think about it???

Leading us into the future!  by Tara


Picture: Leadership University Class of 2010

 At Linn Area Credit Union, we’re always striving to be the BEST! Last week was the culmination of a management training program called Leadership University. I thought that the program was so cool and innovative that I wanted to make sure you guys all knew about it! Patricia, our Training Specialist and one of the people who taught Leadership University, was kind enough to write a summary of the program:     

As Linn Area Credit Union strives to be the Employer of Choice, we see our Leaders as the voice of our culture. The concept of the leadership training program originated many years ago as our organization renewed our determination to be the best employer possible.  We believe that our managers are our most vital link in connecting our employees to the vision and mission of the credit union by helping them be engaged and motivated.  Managers are not born with innate leadership qualities, but rather learn the needed skills through the process of education and experience. So this year we set out on a Leadership Journey.   

With 12 leaders in our company, with varied levels of experience, Leadership University classes set out on the trek of learning. We explored, learned and practiced many skills.   

  • We started with the map to success with our personal & professional visions of leadership.
  • We explored the key leadership qualities and how we can use them every day. 
  • Then the climb took us to; thinking of our co-workers, how we best understand them, communicate with them, assist them on their climbs to success.
  • At one base camp we re-grouped and examined how coaches impact the journey. We then planned how we can become the coach for our teams.
  • As we navigated the climb by engaging team building and success into our routines.

There were times the leaders felt the steep incline of the growth by looking at themselves, skills and daily interactions. There were times during the journey we all stopped and celebrated the many wonderful CORE Values and how they can guide the individuals to the summit.  The journey was long, weather was good and the climb made us Think Huge (by Mark Arnold) while practicing how to Bringing Out the Best in Others (by Thomas K. Connellan, PhD.).  Want to join the climb?  

** A big thank you to Patricia for sharing the details of Leadership University with us! I seriously LOVE being part of a company that doesn’t just “talk the talk.” The above is just one example of the way that Linn Area Credit Union encourages their staff to continue developing their skills. No wonder we just keep growing and growing – and people never seem to leave! And that’s a very good thing. We don’t have openings very often, but when we do, you can find them here!

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