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Smart Decisions Magazine Summer 2024 with Walker Kessler

In This Issue


Who We Are

While banks and credit unions may appear similar on the surface, there are important distinctions in our cooperative structure and member-driven purpose. In this section of the Summer 2024 Smart Decision Magazine, we will discuss the main differences between credit unions and banks.

As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, our mission differs from traditional banks. We don’t aim to generate profits for external shareholders. Instead, we provide maximum value directly to our members (customers) by returning excess earnings through lower loan rates, higher savings yields, and innovative offerings tailored to their needs.

At UCCU, our members are more than just account holders. They are the true owners who shape our direction through an elected volunteer board of directors. This ensures we operate in alignment with our members’ values and best interests.

In essence, our cooperative model positions UCCU as more than just a financial institution. We are a trusted partner and advocate, singularly dedicated to empowering our members and their families to achieve their financial goals and dreams.

Dedicated Volunteers

In addition to being owned by its members, UCCU has always been led by a volunteer board of directors. These men and women generously donate their time and expertise to support this credit union’s mission of “People over Profits” by empowering our members with innovative banking technology, helping our members save more, and serving our communities.

Linda Makin

Chair

Linda Makin

Carine Clark

Carine Clark

Michael Orme

Michael Orme

Brent Bingham

Vice Chair

Brent Bingham

Kim Jackson

Kim Jackson

Teri Chatterton

Teri Chatterton

John Stevenson

Secretary

John Stevenson

Steve Mann

Steve Mann

Barrett Slade

Barrett Slade


Love Where You Bank

As a member-owned financial cooperative, the satisfaction and financial well-being of our members are at the heart of everything we do.

UCCU provided more than $45 million in savings to our members in 2023.* We’re proud of these savings because we know they come from the high yields we provide our members on products like savings accounts, money market accounts, and savings certificates, as well as the low rates we offer on auto loans, mortgages, home equity loans, credit cards, and more.

We’ve also “elevated” our checking accounts by enhancing them with more benefits than ever before—including state-of-the-art tools to help safeguard your family against the ever-present threats of identity theft and online fraud. Learn more about the benefits of UCCU’s new Elevated Checking on pages 9 – 10.

Additionally, I’m excited to announce the launch of UCCU Insurance Services, to ensure you and your family have the best options for home, auto and life insurance. Learn more on page 14.

As we continue forward through 2024, I want to reaffirm this credit union’s commitment to being a financial institution that our members can trust. UCCU is well-capitalized, financially sound, and highly diversified across consumer and commercial services with a very conservative risk appetite.

Please remember that you can always count on UCCU to provide tools to help you thrive in any economic climate—from high-yield savings certificates that can help you combat inflation to online budgeting tools designed to help every member of your family progress towards their financial goals.

Sincerely,


UCCU In the Community

Empowering Change through acts of service.

UCCU Assist is a program that partners with local organizations and individuals to provide ongoing help and service to our community.

Sky view of UCCU stadium mockup

Supporting higher education at Utah Valley University
(UCCU Stadium Coming 2026)

UCCU assist team smiling at camera

Team UCCU Assist Helped the Boys & Girls Club package meals for families.

Credit builder logo. Sky background with scale logo

UCCU Saved our Members $45 Million Last Year!

As a not-for-profit financial institution dedicated to helping our members save money, UCCU is honored to once again receive the Datatrac Great Rate Award certifying that we provided more than $45 million in direct financial benefits to our members during 2023.*

Here are some examples of how much our members save and earn when compared to the average rates of banks in Utah.*


Online Fraud in the Age of AI

Online fraud can impact anyone — regardless of age

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) advances, the threat of identity theft and online fraud continues to escalate.

AI’s rapid advancement isn’t just a boon for innovation—it’s also a powerful tool for scammers, making their schemes more sophisticated and harder to spot.

For example, the rise of AI has led to a staggering surge in malicious emails between 2022 and 2023 alone.

While many believe that older adults are more susceptible to ID theft and online scams, the reality is that internet fraud can impact anyone – regardless of age (see graph).

The key to safeguarding your personal and financial information lies in awareness. Understanding the tactics scammers use will help your entire family master the art of detection and fortify their defenses against these digital threats.

Here’s a closer look at some current AI- driven scams, along with some practical tips to stay one step ahead.

Learn more by visiting our Fraud Smart Page

VOICE CLONING: THE FAMILIAR VOICE OF FRAUD

Imagine receiving a distress call from a family member, their voice unmistakable, pleading for immediate financial help. It may sound like science fiction, but fraudsters can now use AI to replicate the voice of someone you trust. Social media is a goldmine for voice samples, feeding the technology needed to execute these scams.

If you get a phone call from a loved one urgently requesting money, hang up and reach out directly to the family member in question, or another trusted relative to verify the claim.

Remember, urgency is the scammer’s ally.

DEEPFAKE DECEPTION: SEEING ISN’T ALWAYS BELIEVING

Deepfakes use AI to add realistic images onto existing videos, creating fake videos that are convincingly real. These videos can be weaponized to impersonate real people to trick you into falling victim to fraudulent scenarios.

So how can you know if a video is real or fake?

Watch for unnatural movements, inconsistent lighting (including shadows around the eyes), and out-of-character behaviors—like not blinking, or using strange word choices.

Most importantly, remember that verification remains your best defense. Directly contact the person being impersonated to confirm the authenticity of the message, especially if it involves a financial transaction.

THE DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD OF AI CHATBOTS

Many websites include chatbots; a pop-up chat feature that makes it easy for users to ask questions and receive immediate answers.

While chatbots are great tools, they can also be used by online scammers to engage victims with seemingly legitimate customer support interactions – like sending an unsolicited email or text message claiming that your account has been blocked, or some other error.

Here are some common red flags to watch out for, and how you should react to them:
Unverified Payment Requests: Legitimate organizations will NEVER solicit sensitive information or payments through unverified channels, so be skeptical of unsolicited links—especially if they demand money. Always double-check the source before sending payments.
Subtle Inconsistencies: Whether it’s a cloned voice, a deepfake video, or a chatbot, look for anomalies—like unnatural language, odd behaviors, or anything that just feels “off.”
Urgent Demands: Pressure tactics are a big red flag, so take a moment to confirm a request before sending money. Consider asking a friend or trusted family member for help.

OTHER COMMON SCAMS TO WATCH OUT FOR TECH SUPPORT SCAMS

Never call a number or click on a link from an unexpected pop-up claiming there’s an issue with your device. Odds are, it’s malware trying to lure you into a scam.

Legitimate companies won’t contact you out of the blue for tech support. They also won’t pressure you to use payment methods that are hard-to-reverse like wire transfers, gift cards, prepaid cards, or cash reload cards. Another major warning sign is when a request is made to gain remote access to your computer.

If you genuinely suspect an issue with your device, contact tech support from an official source.

FAKE PRIZE SCAMS

“You’ve won a prize!” Scammers know that excitement over winning a prize can be enough to cloud anyone’s judgment. A big red flag to watch out for is being asked to prepay taxes, fees, or processing before awarding you the prize.

A legitimate prize promotion will not charge you money or request sensitive personal/financial data. If you really did win a major prize, they’ll have clear processes to validate you as the winner without charging you fees first.

VISIT UCCU.COM/FRAUDSMART

A free resource created to help keep your entire family educated and informed about current online frauds and scams, as well as what to do if you should fall victim.

Stay vigilant, stay informed, and together, we can combat online fraud in the age of AI!


Living Life Elevated

Meet Walker Kessler: An interview with the Utah basketball star.

Filming day at the UCCU corporate offices with Walker Kessler

At over seven feet tall, Walker Kessler knows what it means to live life elevated both on and off the court. We sat down with Kessler to get to know him better and learn how a kid from a small town in Georgia became a basketball star in Utah.

I grew up with an older brother and older sister in a little town south of Atlanta, Georgia. I was the baby, so I always got picked on, even at a young age, and I think it made me more competitive. My family, in general, is also extremely competitive. Also my dad played college basketball and also overseas. My brother played college ball as well. My sister played beach volleyball. So we were always competing. Whether it was basketball or “Chutes and Ladders”—it didn’t matter. And I think because of that, I’m where I am today.

I think around middle school is when it became a serious conversation, and I think the biggest sacrifice that I made was just choosing how to spend my time. For me, that meant being in the gym as much as possible and doing everything I could to become great in that regard. Of course, I also made sure I was enjoying life as a kid, because you don’t want to be burned out, either. But that was always the concern; continuing to keep working.

I love it. The first week I couldn’t breathe, but it’s been great. The mountains are unbelievable, and the people are super friendly. The altitude definitely is a big advantage, just with being part of the team here. You know, I feel like everyone comes here, and some automatically just can’t breathe. So being able to play here in front of people, it’s just a lot of fun.

It was a blast. Fun fact about me…in seventh grade, I did theater. I played Santa Claus and I won the theater award at the end of the year. So that was my first career. But you know, basketball works, too.

That’s tough. I mean, it may sound naïve, or silly, or “Hallmark”… but I think it’s waking up every morning to those mountains. I live in a condo on the 24th floor, so I have a pretty good view of the mountains, and in the morning, when there’s a golden hour, and the sun sets, and the skies are clear… you just can’t beat it. For me, that’s the best thing. And the people and fans, of course!

What’s the Big Deal About Elevated Checking?


Elevated Checking Kessler with Walker Kessler

Elevated Checking is a rewards checking account that offers more benefits, more savings, and more online protections than ever before. Paired with the most advanced and comprehensive banking tools, Elevated Checking is a must-have financial product.

ELEVATED CHECKING BENEFITS

Lifestyle Benefits1

Cell Phone Protection

Up to $600 in repair or replacement coverage per incident, max $1,000 per year.

Telehealth

24/7 access to licensed health professionals with zero copay.

Roadside Assistance

24/7 service for towing, flat tire, locked-out, battery, etc.

Travel & Leisure

Exclusive savings on travel, entertainment, shopping, and dining.

Financial Benefits3

Free ATMs Nationwide

At 30,000+ Co-op ATM locations.

Credit Score Toolbox

Full credit report, credit score simulator, and more.

0.25% Loan Discount

On any new loan to UCCU: auto, recreational, vehicle, or personal.

Overdraft Forgiveness

Two reimbursements per year (upon request)

Credit Card Cash Back Boost

Increase your UCCU VISA cash back payout by 10%.

Early Direct Deposit

Receive your paychecks into your account up to two days early.

Security Benefits2

Dark Web Monitoring

Alerts you if your personal information is exposed on the dark web.

Credit Monitoring

Alerts you about changes in your credit report to protect against fraud and dispute errors.

Identity Monitoring

Active scanning of thousands of databases for early detection of possible identity theft.

Identity Theft Resolution

Up to $10,000 in identity theft reimbursement coverage with specialists to assist you.

1, 2, 3 Benefits are subject to change at any time and without notice. Some benefits require registration and activation. Terms and conditions apply. Click here for Elevated Checking details and guide to benefits for coverage and exclusions.

Elevated Checking is FREE with any one of the following monthly actions:

Or only $6 per month.

Automatically waived through age 25!


UCCU offers a robust suite of online banking tools and services. We take great pride in being an industry leader when it comes to the tools we offer our members, and we are always looking for the next great banking tool. Learn more about what the UCCU Online Banking Experience can do for you.

Download the UCCU Mobile App

Make it easy, automate your loan payment today!


(801) 223-8188 | Branch Locations

Available M–F 8am–6pm, and Sat. 9am–2pm*.
*Saturday lobby hours vary per Branch Location


Taking Control of your Credit Score

Having a strong credit score makes it easier to get approved for credit cards, auto loans, home loans, and other forms of credit. A strong credit score means you can expect lower interest rates, higher credit limits, and better loan terms. That’s why UCCU created the Credit Score Toolbox, a comprehensive suite of tools designed to help you take control of your credit score and your financial future! Just take a look at what’s inside
the box…

REAL-TIME ACCESS TO YOUR CREDIT SCORE

View and track your credit score in real time—anytime—without impacting your score.

FULL CREDIT REPORT

Enjoy a full credit report encompassing all the information you’d find on your credit file, like a list of open accounts, details of your payment history, and credit inquiries.

CREDIT MONITORING

Advanced technology that continuously monitors your credit report and immediately alerts you when a significant action is detected such as a new inquiry, a new account opened, a change in address or employment, or if a delinquency has been reported.

Credit Score Toolbox

CREDIT SIMULATOR

An interactive tool that lets you see how various financial decisions—like paying off a credit card or applying for a loan—might affect your credit score. Set goals to reach a target credit score within a specific timeframe and get your own personalized recommendations to help you achieve them.

CREDIT BUILDER LOAN

An innovative loan designed to help anyone as young as 16 to build their credit history, and raise their credit score. Approval is fast and easy, regardless of your income or employment status.

ERROR DISPUTE PORTAL

Provides access to your full credit report and simplifies the process of reporting and disputing inaccuracies directly with the credit bureaus.


The Utah Housing Market

Mortgage rates are still historically low.

The recent rise in mortgage rates, coupled with the rising prices of homes in Utah, have left many people wondering how best to navigate the Utah housing market, and if now is the right time to buy, build, or refinance a home.

But what many people don’t realize is that by historical standards, today’s mortgage rates are still below the 30-year historic average of 7.99%.* Additionally, Utah’s home prices are stabilizing and Utah’s home inventory levels are among the best in the nation.

Most importantly, Utah is stable. In fact, the American Legislative Exchange Council recently announced that Utah was named the state with the top economic outlook for the 17th year in a row!

UCCU CAN HELP YOU NAVIGATE THE HOUSING MARKET

UCCU has experienced mortgage professionals ready to help answer questions and provide you the best options for your unique situation.

Build or Buy

  • Zero Down Purchase Options
  • First-Time Home Buyer Options
  • First-Time
  • Construction Closes
  • Seriously Fast Underwriting and
    Processing
  • Low Rates

Refinance

  • Remodel Your Home
  • Finally Finish the Basement
  • Consolidate Debt
  • Family Vacation

UCCU Launches Insurance Agency

Let’s Drop Your Insurance Rates Today!

Request your free, no-obligation quote or contact a local UCCU representative to learn more about our extensive insurance options.

Introducing UCCU Insurance Services*, a full-service insurance agency dedicated to helping you protect your assets and build your financial future.

This is an in-house team of insurance experts capable of answering all your insurance questions and providing insurance products from the most reputable carriers in the industry, at the lowest prices possible.

From helping you save money on home, auto, and life insurance to providing insurance solutions tailored specifically to your family’s needs…the experts at UCCU Insurance Services have you covered.

*UCCU Insurance Services, LLC headquartered in Provo, Utah is a majority owned Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO) of Utah Community Federal Credit Union.


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