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Fresh, Fun & Financial. What could be better?

First step to buying a home!  by Tara


Buying a house is a big deal. Big. Huuuuuuge. (Pretty Woman reference, anyone, anyone??) One of the most important steps is getting preapproved. Why? Because the last thing you want to do is go falling in love with a house that you absolutely can’t afford.

Like, I think this house is gorgeous (pool boy is included, right?), but my bank account disagrees:

beautiful backyard with pooloutside of modern mansion

To make sure you’ve got your head in the game and your eye on the right price range, the smartest thing you can do is work with a mortgage officer before you even start daydreaming on the internet. Don’t deny that you’ve been doing it, buddy! Nope, you don’t even have to have a realtor at this point. (We can help you find one if you’re not sure where to start, too!)

So it’s kind of like one of those choose your own ending books of yester-year. You have several options on ways to get preapproved:

  1. Give us a call at 378-0101 ext. 3. Many times we can tell you over he phone in just 10 minutes what you will be preapproved for!
  2. Throw on your PJs and apply online at – fill out as much of the app as you can. A mortgage loan officer will get back to your toute suite!
  3. You can stop into our Blairsferry, Marion or Edgewood Road offices and we can help you get started, face-to-beautiful-face.

Information you’ll want to have available at the time of preapproval (for you AND a co-borrower, if one will be involved): social security number, contact info, employment info, and best estimates of your income and assets.

Taaahhhhhh DAHHH! You’re preapproved! I knew you had it in ya!

Now its time to get out there are find your new home!

Our Glowing Event  by Tara


Balloon Glow 2013-1

We are big believers in family traditions. Every year we share one of our favorite Linn Area family traditions with our community – the Balloon Glow. This well-known event is part of Freedom Festival (it’s our favorite part, but we’re a little biased!). Heck, nearly 17,000 people enjoyed it last year alone!

Yet again, we are sponsoring this family evening. Do note that it’s FREE with your Freedom Festival button and buttons can be bought at the gate. Kids age 5 and under do NOT need a button! Balloon Glow will be held Tuesday, June 20th at Brucemore. Gates open at 5:30 pm. Additional details can be found here (parking, shuttle buses, etc.).

To say that this event “is for young and old alike” may sound super cheesy, but it’s the honest to goodness truth! I remember going on one of my first dates with my now husband to Balloon Glow. I packed us a picnic basket full of yummy treats and some choice beverages and away we went for a lovely evening of music and picturesque views.

And I can’t even explain to you how much the kids LOVE this event. Whether it’s running up for their 5th Linn Area hot air balloon tattoo, grooving along to the music or ohh-ing and aww-ing over the hot air balloons, kids totally dig this family night out.

This year you’ll be entertained from 7:00-10:00 pm by the foot tapping, chair dancing, make you want to DANCE sounds of the Airwaves, an awesome local band. Ready for a taste of what sort of fun is ahead? Check out their website at

Don’t forget to say hi to all the familiar Linn Area faces as you come in through the entrances! We’ll be the ones putting the hot air balloon tattoos on all willing participants! Around 40 of us will be there that night – even some of our very own family members will be lending a hand, as well!

Feel free to take pics and post them to our Facebook Page or Tweet @LinnAreaCU with them.

Tell us in the comments below: What’s your favorite Balloon Glow memory?

Warren A. Morrow Winner!  by Tara


NicoleGraduationWe are ecstatic to announce that one of our very own Linn Area Credit Union members has won a $750 Warren A. Morrow Scholarship! Nicole Schrader just graduated from Linn-Mar and, we have to say, is wise beyond her years.

The Iowa Credit Union League received more than 300 applicants hoping to snag one of these coveted scholarships. Each applicant had to answer the following question:

What are the most important aspects of money management that should be taught when it comes to savings, checking, borrowing or investing for the long term? How can credit unions help you and others with financial education?

Nicole’s essay easily caught the judges’ eyes.

“When I turned 16, my parents helped me open a checking account. I have learned not only how to write out a check, but also to balance my account, track my spending, and review my statements for errors. I know I need to keep tract of my spending to ensure I do not spend more than I have in the account. High school is a good time to learn these skills, while parents are around to help. Once a student is away at college, a lack of these skills can result in money mismanagement problems like overdrafts.”

Nicole, we can’t express to you how proud you’ve made your Linn Area family! Congratulations and best of luck as you continue on your educational and financial journey -one we are excited to be part of for years and years to come!

TV Star: Becki  by Tara


The warmer weather brings us our gardener extraordinaire – Becki! {Special guest appearances made by Sherlock and Olivia.}

“The main thing about Linn Area Credit Union that I have never experienced elsewhere is the fact that they look out for you like a family does. When no one else would look twice at us for that first house loan, they did, because they looked at our individual situation. That is why I will always be faithful to LACU.”

VIDEO: Finalists and Winner!  by Tara


Ready to see the look of surprise from 3 amazing ladies? Join us as we meet all our Nom the Mom finalists and ultimately crown one of them our 2014 Nom the Mom!

VOTE: Meet our 2014 Nom the Mom Finalists!  by Tara


Nom the Mom 2014 VOTE (FB Size)Holy buckets, you guys! We asked for stories about fabulous moms and, ohhh boy, did you ever deliver! We were overjoyed by the response we got for our fourth annual Nom the Mom contest (want to see the pics of some of our nominees? Go here!).

You know how Oscar nominees always say “It’s an honor just to be nominated!” Well, I think that that is particularly true in this contest. What mom wouldn’t want to hear how amazing she is??? So thank you to everyone who shared their lovely moms with us! I wish that we could have selected ALL of those that were nominated! But *sigh* it just isn’t possible.

So once again, I asked for a volunteer committee of five Linn Area employees to each separately review each entry and then submit their top 5 moms to me. I complied their votes 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: Laura

Nominated by: Jill & Christine (her daughters)

Everyone claims their mom is the best. But mine really is. Of course she taught us those all important- and quite useful skills- of walking, talking, and potty training. (Thanks for those mom!) However, the things my mother have taught of the most importance, are things she taught by example. Through my school years she woke in the morning to make her pot of coffee and a batch of muffins before shuffling us out the door for school and then off to work her full time job. After work, she shuttled to and from our sports activities, made dinner, and helped with homework. She spent hours and hours proofing my papers- even through college. After getting us off to bed, she would then do house chores, pay bills, and her own homework (Yes, she even went to school!). When my father began his own business, she was his biggest supporter; she was also the only other employee. Now 14 years later, he has a fleet of eleven semi-trucks, and she still tackles this full-time office position daily.

But these don’t even scratch the surface of describing how wonderful she is. Four years ago on April 11, my brother was in a tragic motorcycle accident. He was taken by ambulance to St. Luke’s where his prognosis was grim. As they loaded him in the helicopter to life flight him to the U of I hospital, my parents were told to be prepared to say goodbye. With a few dozen miracles on his side, he hung in there. My mom stayed by his bedside every moment she was allowed those first days. She literally did not close her eyes for nearly three days, out of fear of missing any of the moments he might have left. He was in critical condition for days, in an induced coma for weeks, and in the hospital for a total of 174 days. His accident left him, a 19 year old, paralyzed from his chest down. It was just 4 days before his 20th birthday that he finally went home. Leaving the hospital was an exciting stage- but not nearly the end of the healing road. My mom tried to go back to work full-time, but was eventually laid off. Although rough, it enabled her to better manage my brother’s needs at the time. After leaving the hospital he still needed assistance with wound care, medications, and mobility. He still had several surgeries ahead. She shuttled him daily to physical therapy, group exercise, and appointments as far as Mayo Clinic.

Now, just past the four year anniversary, he has started driving lessons and gone back to school. I graduated college. My sister started college. I bought a house. She has devoted herself to making sure that we were all set up to succeed- regardless of the situation. She has always been the glue in our family and our biggest fans- and far too often received too little gratitude. She deserves to be pampered because she has always taken the time for everyone else but herself.  (Click here to vote now for Laura!)


The Mom: Jennifer

Nominated by: Amanda (her stepdaughter)

Jennifer, often called J.J by those of us closest to her does everything at 150%. Whether it’s baking cookies, cleaning house, having dance parties in her garage, or fighting the tumor in her brain…she simply doesn’t hold anything back. J.J. came into my life about 17 years ago when I was about 13. My younger sister Ashley and I were unsure at first about Dad’s new girlfriend and eventually fiancé as we are fortunate enough to have an amazing Mother ourselves.

The whole “Step Mom” persona was showing its ugly face and we just weren’t so sure we needed another Mom. But as it turns out, we hit the jackpot in gaining another Mother figure, and better yet friend in Jennifer. I still am not fond of the term “Step Mom”. Maybe I watched Cinderella too many times as a child, but that label makes me cringe. There’s nothing “step” about her. J.J. to me, was that very important woman in my life who I could turn to…a friend.

But one that, on top of my Mom and Dad, played a hand in shaping who I am. After our Dad and J.J. were married they welcomed our youngest sister Olivia into the world. Jen and Olivia had an immediate and special kind of bond. I’ve watched her publicly make a fool out of herself to make her laugh, encouraged her to love the skin she’s in, and created some of the best Halloween costumes and decorations for their favorite Holiday. I could list a million things that are alike about them, or that they’ve done together, or stories about how Jen has gone above and beyond for her mini me. But that wouldn’t be enough.

It’s impossible almost to put into 500 words what makes someone a magnificent Mother. It’s something you’re born with. Something that is just in you. For me, especially in my adult life, she has been a friend, a shoulder to cry on, someone to celebrate with, and someone to turn to. J.J. listens and empathizes and immediately starts to problem solve.

This past August when Jennifer was diagnosed with Glioblastoma we were devastated. But oddly enough, it was HER spirit and HER strength that lifted us all up. Jennifer is superwoman. No REALLY…I think she has a superwoman costume under her clothes and at night when we all go to sleep she is out saving people and fixing things. Between radiation and chemo, she still manages to take care of the people around her. But cancer is just a detail in a very amazing life. Jennifer….J.J… just good. Her spirit and her heart are gifts that aren’t often seen. Olivia, Ashley and I are lucky. Everyone who knows her is lucky. #FaasStrong (Click here to vote for Jennifer now!)


The Mom: Rachel

Nominated by: Matthew (her husband)

My wife Rachel is the most amazing mother I know. When it comes to our two sons Joey and Charlie, she is the most selfless and caring parent a kid could ask for. She is always there for them, whether it is to praise and cheer their achievements, or to console and give advice when things don’t go as planned. She has an undying love and patience with our kids that is both amazing and inspiring all at the same time. In any instance, she has that perfect “mom hug” that makes things feel even better – or lets them know everything is going to be okay.

Always a teacher at heart, she is always showing them how to do things around the house. She does this obviously so they learn responsibility and self-dependence, but in turn it is also helping make them more confident about themselves and their abilities. She also encourages their creative sides, and lets them know it is okay to express who they are and how they feel. She also helps stir their imagination by doing arts and crafts, or by sharing her love for reading and encouraging them to get lost in a good book.

One of the most important lessons she is trying to teach them is that you have to work hard to get what you want in life, and you should never give up. They have not only heard how important it is to get a good education and to make the best of what you have, they have also seen it with their own eyes. Rachel has showed them this first hand herself by going back to college to earn her B.A. degree in teaching. When she graduates in May of this year, Joey and Charlie will have witnessed four years of her hard work, sacrifice, the sleepless nights, the up’s and down’s, and even some of the tears that go with being a full-time student. In the end, they will see the reward when she accepts the diploma she earned and (hopefully) gets a position she wants in her career field. To top off this entire achievement, she has done this while continuing to be a full-time Mom and wife as well. Given the craziness of our household, this has certainly not been a small task.

Our sons are incredibly proud of their Mom, and feel very lucky to have her in their lives. The guidance and inspiration Joey and Charlie receive from her is something I wish all kids could experience in their lives. I know when she becomes a teacher, her students will feel the same as Joey and Charlie – and be that much better for having her in their lives. So because of this, on behalf of Joey and Charlie: I would like to nominate their awesome Mom (and my wife) Rachel for this award. She is very deserving and it would be a wonderful way to thank her for all that she does. (Click here now to vote for Rachel!)


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 2014  by Tara


Nom the Mom 2014 (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 fourth year in a row, we are honored to partner with Elevate Salon & Spa (formerly City Looks Salon & Spa) to provide a relaxing pampering experience valued at $250 to one knock-your-socks-off Mom.

To nominate that super-spectacular mom in your life (your mom, wife, sister, grandma, friend, co-worker, etc.) just go here. Be sure to include a picture of the lovely lady you are gushing about! (No – you do NOT have to have Facebook to participate!)

All entries are due by midnight on Monday, April 28th.

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

TV Star: The Witter Family  by Tara


Meet the busy and super active Witter family! This bunch is made up of a kindergarten teacher, a database manager, a 5 year old and a 3 year old. Oh, AND they own a construction business! How do they get it all done? With a lot of energy and the help of Linn Area Credit Union.

“Having a construction firm is very difficult. There’s a lot of sides to it. There’s always bumps in the road, but when it comes to the financial aspect of it, it’s always a piece of cake. If we have any questions or issues, we just go right to Linn Area and there’s somebody there to help us work through it. So there’s no stress on that part of the business.”

Mmmm, cake!!!

MyMoola Contest Winner!  by Tara



A big, HUGE congratulations to Stephanie! She was the lucky duck who won the $250 gift card in our MyMoola contest. When asked how she planned to spend the money, Stephanie said that she was going to put it towards bills. Ahhh, we are so proud!

If you haven’t checked out MyMoola yet, you should really get on that! It’s 100% FREE and super easy to use! For the scoop (and how-to videos!) on this awesome service, go to

TV Star: Jayden  by Tara


We are so excited to introduce you to one of our most inspirational TV Stars, Jayden {a.k.a. Mr. Wheels}!

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