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Fresh, Fun & Financial. What could be better?

Teacher Appreciation Winner: Cindy  by Tara


Cindy West from Jefferson High School is walking away with a $50 gift card to Granite City! You are amazing! {Who will be next? Come stop back tomorrow to find out!}

Cindy West

Teacher Appreciation Winner: Jill  by Tara


Congrats to Jill Novotny from Prairie Hill Elementary, our first winner of a $50 gift card to Granite City! Thanks for all that you do!

Jill Novotny

Nom the Mom 2015: Meet the Finalists  by Tara


Nom the Mom 2015 VOTE (Promo)

Every family has traditions that they hold dear. One of ours at Linn Area Credit Union is our contest that seeks out truly spectacular moms. And – hold your hats – this is our FIFTH year! The task of sorting through all the stories of the 43 nominated moms was nearly impossible! (To see ALL of the nominees, just click here!)

If you nominated someone in this contest, I beg of you to TELL HER! Moms need to hear how loved they are! I can personally guarantee that any mom nominated would be floored that you took the time and care to think of them. She might even bake you an Italian cream cake. (Just a friendly suggestion if you’re reading this, Mom!)

Whittling down to 3 deserving moms was tougher than an arm wrestling with Chuck Norris. However, a trusty group of  fellow Linn Areainites carried the weight on their shoulders. Each separately reviewed each entry and then submit their top 10 moms to me. I complied their votes, weighted them, and the top 3 moms emerged to become your finalists in the Nom the Mom contest!

Now YOU have the toughest job of them all – CHOOSING the deserving mom who will win the Elevate Salon & Spa Pampering Prize Package worth $250 (info on HOW to vote is right after the three stories).

Here they are, in alphabetical order:


The Mom: Colleen

Nominated by: Kris (her daughter)

Mom has been there for her family always. As a mother of 11 children she took care of us like a champ! Since she was homemaker and dad supported us financially, mom didn’t have a break and never complained. For 20+ years she was busy changing diapers, going to parent/teacher conferences, fixing our bumps and scrapes and being our biggest supporter. I think of the many sleepless nights and long days she had as several of us would have the stomach flu and mom would be washing out our “sick buckets” and aiding us back to health.

Having to care for so many and delivering child #7 only 2 weeks after the tragic death of our 6 year old brother. Tending to my little sister who had severe and profound special needs and frequent seizures, getting her to every doctor appointment dragging several kids with her to each visit. Coping with the loss of her second child (our sister) while still being the strong stoic mother for all of us. At the end of the day a hot meal on the table by 5:30 p.m. each night.

As a mother myself, I have grown in admiration, appreciation and respect for my mom. I only raised two and know how challenging parenting can be! I cannot fully understand how mom managed raising all of us so successfully. She is the most selfless person I know and continues to put her children’s needs before herself.

In 2009 we lost our dad to a terminal illness just 3 months after he was diagnosed. Mom was an outstanding caregiver to him through it all. Respecting his wishes to pass away at home required care around the clock and mom was strong and amazing through it all and he died a very peaceful death. She lost her husband and best friend of 53 years and continued with her life determined to focus on her blessings.

Mom has always been loving and supportive of all of us through our lives and is still our “go to” when we need support or have excitement to share. I look back on my childhood with fond memories. We didn’t go out to dinner, have a fancy house, take vacations or have the nicest cars, we had a childhood of laughter, backyard games and car rides on warm summer nights. I am blessed to have been born to such an amazing mother and I love her so incredibly much. Thank you mom for all you have given me and our family! (Click here to vote now for Colleen!)


The Mom: Gloria

Nominated by: Stanley (her son)

My Mom is my sunshine. I am her 45 year old disabled son, Stanley, and the things she does for me and helps me with is endless. I’m kind of thinking this contest is for younger people writing about their Moms, but I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity to share my Mom with you and the rest of the Linn Area family.

When it’s time for groceries, I send her a list and she does the shopping and delivers them to my home since I am unable. When hard financial times hit, she’s always there to “bail me out” of the situation and help me get back on my feet, all with Motherly love and patience. When I’m having a bad day I call her to help brighten my day with assurance that this day will soon pass and not to sweat the small things. When she goes to the pet store, she always thinks about my cat, Cairo, and picks him up a toy or some catnip, all without me asking. She regularly invites me over for breakfast, lunch or dinner and fixes some of the best food I’ve had.

My Mom is also one of the hardest workers you’ll meet (which I hope you have the chance to do so). She holds down a full-time job, Nannies and babysits on the nights and weekends, keeps her two cats in the best possible living conditions (oh how she spoils them!) and yet has the time to do the numerous things that I need for me to get by, all without a single complaint. She is so dedicated to make my life better as time goes by and never, ever gives up even though I may falter from time to time.

As things may have it, I may very well leave this Earth before her, but I look forward to every minute I can be with, talk with and enjoy my Mother’s wonderful and beautiful presence. She is so selfless, I think her picture should be in the dictionary for that word. My Mom’s name is Gloria. In Latin, that means “Glory”. There couldn’t be a more appropriate word for her. Thank you for taking the time to read my entry. It may be short on words, but sometimes words can’t describe the power of a Mom. I think that is the case here. Words just can’t say enough. (To cast your vote for Gloria, click here now!)


The Mom: Rachel

Nominated by: Chad (her husband)

I nominate my wonderful wife of 4 beautiful children who works extremely hard at everything she does. We have a 17 year old son, 6 year old son, 5 year old daughter and 3 year old son. My wife works about 65-75 hours a week and still finds time for her family.

About 6.5 years ago her grandmother had a stroke and Rachel stepped up to the plate and took care of her. She needed 24 hour care and so grandma moved in with us. Grandma required 24 hours a day care and was not able to afford anything else. Rachel made a vow that nobody in her family would see a nursing home and as long as she could she would take care of her family. Grandma passed about July 2014, which was very hard on Rachel. Six years of taking care of her grandma and revolving her world around it she was at a loss. Besides working, taking care of children and grandma she went back to school to better herself.

Rachel doesn’t have a lot of alone time for just her and of course our financial situation doesn’t allow much time to play as well. Rachel is the most passionate person with a heart of gold that you will meet. She takes pride in her job and what she does to help others. She takes pride in her family and how she tries to keep them organized, involved and well respected children. She works two jobs as a Certified Medical Assistant and trains a lot of the new employees at both jobs. She is well respected at her jobs and enjoys her work.

Rachel is caring and loving. She helps are elderly neighbors next door. She will take over meals, clear the driveway, teach the kids to help out as well especially with the trash cans on trash day. She will take the kids over to visit and even take the one neighbor’s dog, Neffy for a walk with the kids. She tries to teach our kids the value of a person and what you can do to make them happy and feel good at a good well respected cost.

Rachel is always around with a smile on her face even on a bad day. I feel she deserves this and much more for all she does. She deserves it for all the hours she works away from home or at home. She deserves this for all the hard work she has done and the values she tries to teach. Rachel deserves this because she is Rachel and if you ever meet her you would know. She has a glow all the time. (Ready to vote for Rachel? Click here now!)

How to vote!

To vote, click here! Anyone at all can vote – whether you have Facebook or not (we made sure of it!). Only one vote per person! We will be watching IP addresses and reserve the right to remove any votes we believe are not in compliance with our rules, so please play fair!

The knock-your-socks-off mom that gets the most votes by midnight on May 9th will win a Pampering Prize Package worth $250! So please go vote and help one deserving mom have the best Mother’s Day ever!

Contest: Nom the Mom 2015  by Tara


Nom the Mom 2015 (em)

She wiped your drippy nose. She was at every soccer game, rain or sunshine. She has inspired you with her quiet (or not so quiet) confidence. She even has eyes in the back of her head. Now it’s time to celebrate her awesomeness!

For the 5th year in a row, we are honored to partner with the lovely folks at Elevate Salon & Spa to provide a relaxing pampering experience to one knock-your-socks-off Mom.

The Pampering Prize Package
(value of $250):

Spa Facial or 50 minute Full Body Massage, Spa Manicure and Spa Pedicure, Hair Style and Makeup application at Elevate Salon & Spa. This package includes a complimentary snack and a “take home” gift.

How to Nom that special Mom

To nominate that super-spectacular mom in your life (your mom, wife, sister, grandma, friend, co-worker, etc.) just fill click here. Be sure to include a picture of the lovely lady you are gushing about and why you think she deserves to be pampered (500 words max, please)! And, NO, you do not need to have Facebook in order to enter!

All entries are due by midnight on Sunday, April 26th. On Friday, May 1st the top 3 submissions (as selected by Linn Area Credit Union) will be announced. Area residents will then be able to begin voting immediately. The mom who receives the most votes will win the Pampering Prize Package. Voting will end at midnight on Thursday, May 7th. The winning Mom will be announced on Friday, May 9th.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to Nom YOUR Mom! Click here!


CONTEST: Throwback for $50!  by Tara


Throwback Offerpop banner

As our construction projects at Linn Area Credit Union begin to wrap up, we’ve become a wee bit nostalgic. While we’ve grown and expanded, so have all of you! Linn Area Credit Union wants to see how your family has blossomed over the years. Show us a “throwback” picture of your family/kids/fur-babies and then an updated one! If we use your throwback pics on our social media, in our annual report or on our website, you’ll get $50 and bragging rights. Go here to enter now!

This is what we need from you:

1) your throwback picture

2) a more recent picture 

3) a general idea of when you became part of our Linn Area Credit Union family

Because we need 2 pics, you’ll need to fill out our “submit an entry” form twice – once for your “throwback” picture and another for your “updated” photo. We’ve made the entry form pretty quick so that it isn’t too much of a hassle. Enter now here!

You only have until Monday, April 6th at midnight to get your entries in, so no dilly-dalling! We are super excited to see how you’ve grown!

If you do NOT have a Facebook account – no worries! You can still use the same entry form to upload your pics. If you have a Facebook account, you can use any pics that are already on your page. Makes entering really simple!

Be a gem and make sure to “like” us on Facebook, if you haven’t yet! You’re going to FREAK OUT over some of the fun stuff that’s coming up!

Goodbye, Winter! Hello, New home!  by Tara


new home

Has being cooped up all winter given you the itch to buy a new home? According to our Director of Mortgage Lending, Larry Potter, you’re not alone.

Larry Potter Director of Mortgage Lending

Larry Potter
Director of Mortgage Lending

“We always see an increase in home sales in the springtime,” he says. “This year we expect to see even more activity due to the unusually low interest rates.”

When getting ready to venture into the housing market, the very first thing you need to do is get a preapproval letter. Often, realtors won’t show you houses without one! A preapproval letter simply states the maximum amount that you are preapproved to spend on a home. From there, realtors are able to skillfully guide you to homes within your price range.

During this process, your Linn Area mortgage loan officer will provide you with estimated monthly payments as well as total cash needed to close. The preapproval process is shockingly easy.

“Just give us a call at 378-0101, ext 3. We can usually get you preapproved over the phone in just 10 or 15 minutes!”

If the chatting on the phone isn’t your gig, feel free to apply online at or stop on by our Blairs Ferry office to get one-on-one personal service from one of our helpful mortgage loan officers.

Contest: Set a goal & possibly win $1000!  by Tara



No Excuses: Set a Financial Goal This Year and Achieve It.

That’s right, this year we want to help you make your financial New Year’s resolution happen. Whether you want to save cash for a new car, or pay down debt, use MyMoola to do it and you could win as much as $1,000.

Using online financial management tools like MyMoola has helped people like you save an average of $100 monthly, just by setting and tracking financial goals. We want you to see how easy it is to build those positive habits and gain more control of your money. In fact, you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing to win if you use MyMoola to set a financial goal before February 28th, 2015.*

Get started using MyMoola today. Just log in to eBranch and click on the MyMoola tab and then select “Goals” from the menu.

How to Set a Goal to Take Decisive Financial Action

MyMoola makes it easy to set goals and track your progress. Follow these easy steps:

Step 1: Click on the “Goals” tab in MyMoola and click “Add a Goal”. Then choose the type of goal you want to create – Savings or Debt Reduction. Keep it SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based). The great thing about MyMoola is that its goal-setting tool automatically guides you.

Step 2: Set amount and account. MyMoola asks you to link your goal to an account. If one of your goals is to reduce debt, be sure you have added the account to MyMoola to make the goal realistic.

Step 3: Select completion and notification method. Choose a goal completion date. Then MyMoola will calculate how much you need to save/pay each month to achieve your goal. Or specify how much you can apply to your goal each month and MyMoola will estimate the date you will achieve your goal.

Step 4: Set where and how you want to be kept informed of your progress. A great way to stay connected with your goal is through automatic notifications. Putting the goal on your MyMoola dashboard can also help keep the goal top of mind.

Step 5: Confirm the Goal. MyMoola will show you a Goal Summary complete with current status and estimated completion date. Click the green Create Goal button and you are on your way to achieving a real financial goal in 2015!

Start Now

It’s simple. Log in to eBranch and click on the MyMoola tab to get started. Try at least one of these things by February 28, 2015 to make those financial resolutions into solid plans for 2015.

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) and Puerto Rico, 18 years and older. Ends 2/28/15. For Official Rules, including odds, alternate method of entry, and prize descriptions, go to Void where prohibited.

Free Money for college!!!  by Tara


Warren AIf you are a high school senior, currently in college or continuing your education – this is your chance to snag one of six Warren A. Morrow Memorial Scholarships! These scholarships are made possible by the good people at Iowa Credit Unions through the Iowa Credit Union Foundation. Here is one important piece of info upfront: Applications are due on Friday, February 6th, 2015, so there’s little room for procrastination (What? Who does that?!?).

There are two different scholarship programs are available:

1. High School Scholarship – Scholarships for high school seniors with a projected graduation date of 2015. The high school scholarships include a first-place prize of $1,500; second place of $1,000; third place of $750 and fourth place of $500. Click here to apply for the high school senior scholarship.

2. Post-High School Scholarship – Scholarships for post-high school, continuing education students and current college students. The post-high school scholarship category includes two $1,000 scholarships. Click here to apply for the post-high school scholarship.

Make sure to read all of the scholarship guidelines and follow the application process (go here for more info). It is very important to note that you must be a credit union member in good standing to be considered. Each applicant is required to answer the following question in no more than 500 words. Essay questions are designed to encourage learning about the credit union movement and its mission.

2015 Warren A. Morrow Memorial Scholarship Essay Question:

Student loans are a common way to help fund college education. Upon graduation, many students are left with a huge amount of debt they need to repay. What can you do to help offset the expenses of college? How can your credit union assist?

Ready to do this? Of course, you are! These scholarships are going to go to six people – one of them might as well be you! Click here for more information and to fill out the application!

VIDEO: Happy Holidays 2014  by Tara


Fresh, fun, financial & FESTIVE! That’s what we’re all about at Linn Area Credit Union. If you’re a member here already, you know that we are anything but ordinary. In true Linn Area fashion, here is our way to say HAPPY HOLIDAYS! {Be sure to wait for the bloopers at the end!}

Protecting our elders  by Matt


Helping handsAs much as we try to avoid sad topics, occasionally they just can’t be avoided. There is a growing trend of scams and schemes that are targeted against older Americans, and more and more of them are finding success. Not only are these schemes coming from the usual sources such as junk mail and e-mail, but there has also been a rise in scams or financial abuse perpetrated by the victim’s own family or friends. As the nation’s average age continues to trend upwards, this group is getting larger and becoming more vulnerable to slick talkers and clever scams designed to rob them of their hard-earned money.

Elder abuse occurs all too frequently in the financial services world, where people’s concern, confusion, or generosity is exploited to gain access to their money. This can occur through phone calls where a scammer might claim to be a relative (often a grandchild) of the victim who is either injured or imprisoned in a foreign country and needs money wired to them to help bail them out or pay medical expenses. This can occur through phony emails or junk mail that seek out banking information as well. Other times, it is a relative seeking to take advantage of someone that may not understand what they are doing. They abuse the trust that comes with being a family member, and use that to get the elderly to write them checks, or give them access to their bank accounts or other property using deceit or abusing the perhaps diminished capacity of the victim.

The State of Iowa is working on advancing laws against this type of crime, and hopefully will continue to take actions to heighten the penalties, and increase awareness as well. But there are things that can be done today if you believe that something is going on with an elderly person in your life. It may be a neighbor, or relative, but you may be their best chance to stop things before they get worse!

If you need more information on this topic, check out Iowa’s Department of Human Services page on Dependent Adult Abuse to find resources (here), and ways to report, or call them at 1-800-362-2178.

For more information on common scams:
National Council on Aging: Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors
FBI: Common Fraud Schemes Targeting Senior Citizens

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