Assessing your Data Security

Assessing your Data Security

Your life is fueled by data. Data is estimated that in 2020, the average person will generate 1.5 megabytes of data each second. With each search, click and swipe we sprinkle and leave a little bit of data behind us either personally or professionally online.This data can be used to tell our story, share what we bought, what we wrote and what we’ve filmed and photographed. And just as we work to generate our own data, we also receive data in countless ways. This is the never ending ballet of the information age.

You have agency over your own security and how your data is used and accessed. Within the past five years 45 percent of Americans have reported data compromises; it is important to be informed and aware of your security options and what it all means. There are some universal standards and practices for internet and data security but that only goes so far. Below are a few things to think about and implement.

With security breaches happening more and more each day, do you happen to know all the various websites and apps that you might have an account with? It is important to do an assessment of where your information may be. Ask yourself the following questions: Does that data need to be there (like a recurring subscription, photos in the cloud, etc)? What purpose does it serve? Do you feel OK with your data being stored there? Think about how secure the password currently is. Should you change it? These are all important factors to think about as you try to cast an outside view of your security practices.

Take your list of websites and think about the options they offer for security. Big websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. offer a wide array of account recovery and authentication features. Services such as Two Factor Authentication, where when you log in, a number of techniques could be used to prove it is really you that is logging in. You can be sent a code, a notification to an app where you approve the log in, a phone call, etc. You usually have a short amount of time to enter the correct code before it expires, or you’ll have to do it again. This gives you just an extra layer of control over others trying to access your account. It may be a bit of a pain, but the extra step is worth the security.

As you map out your data and continue to use the internet, there are some tools that can help you keep information secure. There are several great extensions for Google Chrome here. These can help you have a smoother browsing experience. For example, Last Pass keeps all of your passwords secure and will insert them into the proper fields of websites you visit. This also makes using a different password for each website very convenient, further enhancing your security. Keeping your applications up to date also helps protect against possible threats.

Through reflecting on and enhancing your data security, you are able to become a more informed user and protect your information. Hopefully this post helps you as you think about where your data is stored and how secure it is.

Emergency Financial Preparedness Tips

Emergency Financial Preparedness Tips

Emergency Financial Preparedness Tips

The Department of Homeland Security has designated each September as National Preparedness Month to promote disaster planning for families and communities. This month encourages everyone to plan now, and throughout the year, for possible emergencies.
People from all levels of income experience the hardship of rebuilding their lives after a disaster or emergency. In that stressful time, having access to personal documents including financial, insurance, medical and other records is vital for ensuring that your recovery process can start quickly and easily. Ready.gov notes these important items to remember.

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Prepare Now, Save Later

Prepare Now, Save Later

Prepare Now, Save Later

In August, one of the last things we want to do is think about the winter months ahead. However, taking advantage of warm weather now, can save you money and time when the inevitable winter arrives. There are many different tricks and tips for saving on your heating bill, and your friends at NorthRidge want to help prepare you!

  • Install Weatherstripping – You can find affordable options of weatherstripping at hardware stores. You place the weatherstripping inside the door frame, and it can help stop cold drafts from entering your home. One easy trick to testing for drafts is lighting a candle near your door frame, if the flame blows towards you then there is a draft coming from the door.
  • Update to a Programable Thermostat – According to EnergyStar.gov, you can save up to $180 a year on fuel costs. If your home is empty for consistent time periods during the week, you can automatically have the temperature lowered during the workday and brought back up to temp even before you come home from work. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of a new thermostat, even setting the time down as you leave, and increasing it when you arrive home can save you money. Especially if gone for several hours or days.
  • Replace Your Furnace Filter – Having a dirty furnace filter will reduce your furnace’s efficiency and raise your month heating bills. Depending on the quality of your filter, you should change it monthly or every 3 months during the winter. Pleated filters will trap more dirt particles. This also makes your air in your home cleaner and healthier.
  • Plug Household Leaks – We often forget to check for leaks and gaps in our home’s exterior until it is too late, and the temperatures don’t allow helpful repairs. Take advantage of warm weather to inspect your home’s exterior. Check for gaps and cracks in siding, windows and foundation. Then seal those issues with foam gap-sealer or caulk as need be. Even small gaps and cracks can greatly reduce your homes efficiency.
  • Insulate Hot Water Pipes – We often don’t think about the little things like our hot water pipes but insulating them can help improve your water heater’s efficiency. As the warm water travels through your exposed pipes, the water starts to cool down. Which means you will need more water to heat up the pipes alone. Measure your pipes’ diameters and lengths and bring those to the store to get the right size insulation.

There are many different tips and tricks we can use to prepare for winter, but the best tip is staring early! Often, we wait until the cooler weather arrives, and must power through any last-minute preparations. Use the warmth of August to “enjoy” preparing for winter. If you realize your home could truly benefit from bigger projects, such as more insulation and new windows, don’t forget your friends at NorthRidge Community Credit Union can help you with those bills! There are many different options from a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), 2nd Mortgage, or even a personal loan to help cover your costs. For more tips and tricks, and even a home assessment check out: https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/assessYourHome

Annual Meeting Report 2019

Annual Reports 2019

Management and Chair Report

Dear Members,
2019 was an incredible year for NorthRidge Community Credit Union! The credit union remains healthy, vibrant, and growing. This continual positive momentum is a testament to the amazing members and hard work the NorthRidge team has put forward. We know that our success comes from you, our members, and you have shown us that our focus on the credit union motto of “people helping people” is an important one. The team at NorthRidge works to help every member find the right mix products and services that best fit them by listening to and trying to understand everyone’s unique story.

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Accomplishments of NRCCU

How has my credit union given back?

In 2019, NorthRidge pushed to give back more than ever before to our communities! Throughout the course of the year, the NorthRidge team donated to the Children’s Miracle Network, the Aurora Food Shelf, the Northeast division of Toys for Tots and hosted blood drives at the Virginia office and at the Hoyt Lakes Arena with the Hoyt Lakes Chamber of Commerce. NorthRidge has also been very active with the Hoyt Lakes Water Carnival and has orchestrated the kids races and sand pile for three amazing years.

  • CU Forward Day - This is a day dedicated to volunteering and giving back to our communities which credit unions are known for. 2019 was the first year NorthRidge participated and our teams volunteered with the Virginia Fire Department (Biwabik Branch), at Mesabi East School and with the can collections for the Hoyt Lakes Chamber of Commerce (Hoyt Lakes Branch), the Mesabi Humane Society (Virginia Branch), the Range Regional Animal Shelter (Hibbing Branch), and delivered flowers and presents to the Boundary Waters Care Center (Ely Branch).
  • Miracle Treat Day – During Miracle Treat Day, in conjunction with the Diary Queen’s in Ely, Hibbing and Mt. Iron, NorthRidge handed out free blizzards to the community. On this day Dairy Queen donates to the Gillette Children’s Hospital for every blizzard sold.
  • Habitat Build - The NorthRidge team helped Habitat for Humanity build one of our amazing members her new home in Biwabik. We were honored by the experience to help make someone’s dream of homeownership come true.

Other large community donations were given to Caring for the Kids Community Nonprofit, which is building an all-inclusive splash pad this summer in Aurora. Hoyt Lakes Library also had a need for new chairs, and our membership was able to help take care of that need.

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A Letter to our Members: Branch Reopenings

Dear Members:

Just like you, NorthRidge Community Credit Union is watching the events around COVID-19 unfold. It seems
clear that this unbelievable event will impact us for some time to come. Here at NorthRidge, we have been
assessing the impact on our members, team and business and have been working on the ways to safely
resume business operations. We’ve instituted policies and procedures that follow guidance from the CDC,
Minnesota Department of Health and local recommendations.

As we plan to re-open our lobbies, we are focused on maintaining the safety, health and well-being of our team
and all of our members. In order to do this, we have had to adjust some of our practices and create some
simple restrictions:

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Are my funds at the Credit Union insured? 

Are my funds at the Credit Union insured? 

Many people worry that their funds at a credit union are not insured as securely as a bank insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). However, did you know that no member has ever lost money from an NCUA (National Credit Union Administration) federally insured credit union? That is because FDIC coverage is the same as NCUA insurance coverage. The only difference is that FDIC handles federally insured banks, and the NCUA handles federally insured credit unions. NorthRidge Community Credit Union is insured by the NCUA, but what does that mean exactly? The simple answer is that up to $250,000 per share owner is federally insured. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 placed the $250,000 standard share insurance account in place permanently. Every member’s accounts and insurance values are unique to them in different ways. Here are the basic NCUA coverage limits:

  • Single Ownership Accounts (owned by one person with no beneficiaries): $250,000 per member-owner.
  • Joint Ownership Accounts (two or more persons with no beneficiaries): $250,000
  • Traditional and Roth IRAs: $250,000 per member-owner. 

There are many factors that go into how accounts can be broken up to fully utilize the coverages of share insurance through the NCUA. This link can help you make sure you are as protected as you can be: https://www.mycreditunion.gov/insurance-estimator If you have more questions please reach out to your friends at NorthRidge. We are Credit Union Certified Financial Counselors and are always wanting to help you with your financial successes!

  

CARES Act

CARES Act

Life is not how many of us pictured 2020 being. We were coming out of winter hibernation, only to be placed under a “Stay-At-Home” order by the Minnesota Governor. This has affected many of us in our communities and has forced many to be laid off because of the Coronavirus Pandemic.  If you have been affected by COVID-19, there are some changes from Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that may help you through this time. On March 27th, 2020 President Trump signed the act into law. Below are some highlights of the major changes the CARES Act addresses for temporary help:

Tax Relief for Individuals:

  • Extension of Federal Tax Filing: The IRS postponed to July 15, 2020 the due date for both filing an income tax return and for making income tax payments originally due April 15, 2020. 
  • IRA Contribution Deadline extended: The deadline for making 2019 IRA contributions has also been extended until July 15, 2020.  
  • Recovery Rebates: Cash payments called “recovery rebates” are available to U.S. residents with income below certain levels who cannot be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer and who have a Social Security Number. 
  • Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): All 2020 RMDs from IRAs and retirement plans are waived, including RMDs from inherited IRAs (both traditional and Roth). 
  • Tax-favored Early Distributions from Retirement Plans: The CARES Act waives the 10% penalty applicable to early distributions for coronavirus related distributions up to $100,000 from IRAs and qualified defined contribution retirement plans such as 401(k), 403(b), and governmental 457(b) plans. 
  • Retirement Plan Loans: Beginning March 27, 2020 through 180 days thereafter, the maximum loan amount increases to the lesser of 100% of the vested account balance or $100,000 (reduced by other outstanding loans).
  • Charitable Contributions: Individuals who claim the standard deduction may also claim a new above-the-line deduction up to $300 for cash contributions made in 2020 to certain charities. 
  • Student Loans: Payments (principal and interest) on federal student loans are suspended through September 30, 2020 without penalty. 
  • Unemployment Benefits: Unemployment benefits have been expanded to assist those who have lost their job during the current economic crisis. 

Please remember all of us at NorthRidge are here to help you through these difficult times. We are offering different options that might give some light at the end of the tunnel for you regarding current loans, or potential lending opportunities. Our staff are also Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors and would be glad to help you manage your finances at this time. You are not alone, NorthRidge is still open, still serving, and still here for you.  

Please call us at (877)672-2848 or email membersolutions@nrccu.org.

Women of the Credit Union

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     This month we are taking a different direction for Women’s History Month. The names Dora Maxwell and Louise McCarren Herring may not ring a bell with you, but they are two very important women in Credit Union History. 

     Let’s start off with learning more about Dora Maxwell. Dora started her credit union pioneering in New York state. In 1932 she was appointed head of the CUNEB branch in New York, New York. Two years later in 1934 she was a delegate to the 1934 Estes Park conference which established the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Over the next several years she represented and promoted CUNA Mutual Insurance and represented CUNA in the eastern part of the country. She was the go-to connection for groups wanting to start a credit union and helped direct them to their corresponding state credit union leagues. In 1946 she was the director of the Organization & Education Department. Because of her accomplishments during her career, she is the namesake for the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award that CUNA presents each year to credit unions for social responsibility projects in their communities. 

     Louise McCarren Herring was another influential woman in credit union history, she is even referred to as the “Mother of Credit Unions”. Louise was an attendee at the Estes Park Meeting that started CUNA along with Dora Maxwell. Louise was committed to the credit union movement and helped establish five hundred credit unions. She also helped establish the private National Deposit Guaranty Corporation, now known as American Share Insurance.  Louise also co-founded the Ohio Credit Union league and managed the KEMBA Credit Union in Cincinnati. She was later inducted into the National Cooperative Business Association’s Cooperative Hall of Fame in 1983. CUNA rewards each year the Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action. Which is awarded to credit unions that commit to the “not for profit but for service” philosophy. 

     There are many other important women to the credit union history, but these two helped lay the groundwork for the credit union system still standing today. All of this was done in an era that did not receive successful women with the most respect. Many of their early accomplishments were done only a few years after women were granted the simple right to vote in the USA. Credit Unions continue to lead women’s equality. According to a CUNA study in 2018, more than half of credit unions CEOs are female, which is significantly more than traditional banking CEOs. This month NorthRidge wants to thank all our wonderful women who help make the credit union great!