The Credit Union Lady, 1914-2017

It is with heavy hearts that we share that Ruth Allan, known as ‘The Credit Union Lady’ has passed away at the age of 102. Ruth affectionately became known as The Credit Union Lady while administering the School Savings program for First Credit Union, formerly known as Powell River Credit Union, beginning in 1957. After 23 years, Ruth retired from the School Savings program in 1980. More than 35 years after her retirement people still stopped her in the community to recount their memories of her and those School Savings program days. It was a legacy she cherished. Central1 captured the essence of Ruth’s story as ‘The Credit Union Lady’ in this short endearing video released last year.

000

Ruth’s impact on the lives of thousands of children was significant and long-lasting. In First Credit Union’s 76 year history no one has influenced the lives of so many or been remembered so warmly; her spirit will live on in the hearts of those she touched.  In honour of her impact and her significance in First Credit Union’s history, a $1,000 scholarship will be introduced in her name. The Ruth Allan Scholarship will be awarded to a member in grade 12 in the Powell River area who has demonstrated the capacity to save for and contribute to the cost of their education, and who has made a commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.

ruth
Image of 3-year old Phil Carriere and Mrs. Ruth Allan with other children from Kelly Creek School, 1963. Photo provided by C. C. Searle Photographs.

 


 

History of How “The Credit Union Lady” Came To Be

(Sourced from: Start Small, Dream Big – The 75 Year History of BC’s First Credit Union by Linda Wegner):

Following the death of her first husband, Ruth Allan and her two sons moved to Powell River to be near her sister. Her first jobs in Powell River included being employed at a local five-and-dime store, at Powell River Paper during World War II, and later, in the Mill’s paper plant. She remarried into a family of credit union members and consequently joined the Powell River Credit Union in 1949. Ruth was once again widowed when her second husband, Peter Alton, died in an accident at the Mill. A daughter had been born to the couple and now Ruth was left to support herself and her three children.

Ruth was asked if she would like to take over the School Savings program in 1957. Ruth recalls the Directors of Powell River Credit Union visiting her to ask if she was interested. It was an opportunity that proved providential in meeting her financial needs and demonstrated yet more evidence of the commitment of the credit union to care for its members. “It was absolutely perfect for me, being able to be home when my daughter came home from school”, explained Ruth when interviewed for the First Credit Union’s 75th anniversary book.

Ruth’s daughter Evelyn recalls that being the child of The Credit Union Lady carried  responsibilities. “Everyone in town knew her and if I was bad they’d tell on me; I could get away with nothing!” she said, laughing.

When she first began with the School Savings program, each student had a card with their name on it. When students brought their money, the appropriate card would be pulled and deposits recorded by hand. With the assistance of other volunteers, Ruth’s responsibilities included visiting ten schools each week. Ruth remembered many good things about her time with the School Savings program including the little boy who used to come, barefoot, across the field to bring her his nickel. Ruth attended his graduation and saw him go off to university.

sdf

At First Credit Union’s anniversary, one former student fondly shared Ruth’s impact on her life. The student developed the habit of saving through the school program. She would bring her twenty-five cents to school each week and saved enough so that when she got married, she had enough money to purchase her husband’s wedding ring.


 

Ruth, The Credit Union Lady, remained as administrator of the program for twenty-three years and a passionate First Credit Union member for the duration of her life. She will be greatly missed, and fondly remembered for her legacy as The Credit Union Lady.

 

Keep or Toss: How Long Should I Hang Onto My Financial Documents?

Every year, it’s nice to do a bit of “financial spring cleaning” and declutter your filing cabinet, your desk drawers, and the various hiding places where miscellaneous scraps of paper tend to accumulate and multiply. Read on to find out what you should be saving, and what’s OK to shred.

Keep forever

If you’re long overdue for some organization in the paperwork department, start here! This category includes all the super-important life stuff that’s usually issued to you only once (and therefore is total pain to replace):

  • Birth and death certificates
  • Social Insurance cards and ID cards (even expired versions)
  • Passports (even expired versions)
  • Marriage licences and divorce decrees
  • Copies of wills, trusts, and powers of attorney
  • Adoption papers
  • Records of paid mortgages
  • Safe-deposit box inventory

 

Your “keep forever” documents should be kept in a secure place. A locking file cabinet in your home is a popular choice, but consider upgrading to a safer alternative, such as a fireproof safe in your home or a safe-deposit box at your credit union or bank. Also consider scanning these documents and having them backed up on the cloud (and password protected, of course) so that you can access them remotely and quickly in an emergency.

Keep for 6 years

This category includes all supporting documents for your income tax return, plus a couple of other odds and ends. This may seem like a long period of time, but it’s not an arbitrary number—6 years after filing a return is how far back the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can go to audit a tax return.

An audit is an evaluation of your tax return to verify its accuracy and to ensure compliance with tax laws. Many people associate being audited with having committed tax fraud or some other shady financial behaviour but, in fact, a number of taxpayers are audited on a random basis each year. If audited, you are required by law to provide the documentation that supports the claims made in your tax return. In some cases, additional information may be required in order to verify a claim you’ve made—it might just be a matter of providing a cancelled cheque, a receipt or a bank statement. In other instances, the audit may take place on-site (meaning at your residence or workplace) or at a CRA office. Being well-organized is the best way to make the process as quick and painless as possible.

So, what sorts of documents should you hold onto for 6 years?

  • Income tax returns
  • Any forms that support income or a deduction on your tax return (e.g., receipts, cancelled cheques, T4 slips)
  • Records of selling a house or stock (documentation for capital gains tax)
  • Records of paid-out loans
  • Records of sold investments
  • Mortgage documents
  • Medical records (including bills, prescriptions and health insurance information)

Keep for 1 year

This category mostly consists of monthly statements. A good rule of thumb is to keep your monthly statements for the current year, and then shred them once you’ve reconciled them with an annual statement. The exception is any statement needed for tax purposes—those get grouped into the “keep for 6 years” category.

  • Bank statements
  • Pay stubs
  • Quarterly investment statements
  • Cancelled cheques

Keep for 45 days

  • Credit card statements

Shred credit card statements after 45 days, but hang onto those statements that you may need for business, for taxes, as proof of purchase, or for insurance.

Keep for 30 days or less

  • ATM slips
  • Utility and phone bills

ATM slips can be tossed once you’ve checked them against your monthly bank statement. Utility bills and phone bills can be shredded after you’ve paid them, unless they contain tax-deductible expenses.

Keep as long as active

This bonus category is a catch-all for agreements and contracts that are active for varied amounts of time:

  • Warranty information
  • Insurance documents
  • Vehicle titles and loan documents
  • House and mortgage documents
  • Pension records/retirement plans

You’ll want to hang onto the records in this category for at least as long as you own the asset. For major purchases, stapling the original purchase receipt to the user manual or warranty information will keep everything in the same spot, should you need to make a warranty claim. Documents relating to improvements and upgrades on your home or vehicle should also be saved alongside your title and loan papers.

________________

Sorting through financial documents is a pretty straightforward process once you figure out how long you need to hang onto specific types of documents. Doing a periodic cleanup will save you time and hassle in the long run, and will keep your desk drawers and filing cabinets clutter-free in the meantime!

We’re Hiring!

admin-assitantAre you or is someone you know looking for an administrative role with a great organization? We are searching for an awesome new member to join our team as Administrative Assistant at First Credit Union in Powell River!

Do you…

  • have great organization skills?
  • work well independently?
  • exercise good judgement and communication expertise?
  • have post secondary education in office administration?

Our Administrative Assistant position might be the perfect role for you!

Check out our latest posting to apply or for more information.

Finding The Loan That’s Right For You

13_F_Social_02_CDN.jpg

Loans help finance some of our biggest goals in life. They can provide access to possibilities that we can’t afford upfront—possibilities like going to school, buying a home or starting a business (to name just a few).

A loan is also one of the biggest financial commitments we make in our lifetime. Rushing into a loan without fully understanding how it will affect your budget can create a very stressful situation that can quickly spiral out of control.

The good news is that you can avoid this stress entirely by choosing the loan that’s right for you: a loan you can afford, from a reputable lender, with a payment schedule that makes sense.

Not sure where to start? The five tips below will help you shop smarter for the loan that’s right for you.

#1: Take your time

Reading the fine print is not fun, researching loan options is not exactly exciting and asking financial questions can feel intimidating—but these all play an important part in helping you find the right loan product. The process is not easy, and if you’re tempted to rush through it, just remind yourself that being thorough now can save years of financial stress down the road. You should never feel pressured to sign anything on the spot. Remember: this is your loan and your future—you’re in control!

#2: Be honest about your budget

In order to choose the right loan, you need to have a clear idea of how much you can comfortably afford to borrow. Spend some quality time with your budget (if you don’t have one, now is a great time to make one). You’ll want to come up with a range, so calculate a few different scenarios:

  • If your income and expenses stay exactly the same as they are now, how much of a monthly payment could you afford?
  • If you suddenly lost your job, how many payments could you make before running out of cash? Do you have an emergency fund in place?
  • Is there an area of your budget where you can reduce spending to cover a planned (or unplanned) increase in your monthly payment?

Picturing your loan payment alongside your other budget items will give you a sense of what you can realistically afford so that you can confidently shop for a loan without worrying about the financial effect on your lifestyle.

#3: Give yourself some credit

Your credit score plays a huge role in determining the loan rate you qualify for. Additionally, knowing your credit score before you go loan shopping will save you some time by making it easy to weed out offers you’re not eligible for. In the meantime, keep up those good credit habits: pay your bills in full and on time, and try to use only 10% of your available credit limit each month.

#4: Do some research

Start with brushing up on some basic loan terminology and then move on to learning about different types of loans (such as secured loans, unsecured loans, fixed-rate loans and variable-rate loans). Research loans online to get an idea of the interest rates for the products you’re interested in. When comparing various loans, look at more than just the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). Consider the fees, the payment schedules, the eligibility requirements, and the application and approval process. Also, check out the history and reputation of the various lenders—especially if you stumble upon offers that seem too good to be true.

#5: Check in with your credit union

Credit unions are known for offering competitive rates on loans. You may also qualify for discounts based on your existing membership or because you have other banking products with your credit union.

________________

Once you’ve done your research and you know your budget inside and out, then arrange to meet with a loan officer. And bring a ton of questions with you! Don’t be shy—ask about any wording you don’t understand. Ask for your lender’s opinion and ask if they’ve worked with someone in a similar situation as yours. To really put your loan in context, ask a variety of “What happens if…?” questions:

  • What happens if I miss a payment?
  • What happens if I default?
  • What happens if I want to pay off the loan faster than expected?
  • What happens if I pay weekly instead of monthly?

The most important thing to remember is that taking out and repaying a loan is not intended to be a stressful experience—it’s intended to make large purchases or investments affordable for you. It’s easy to get sucked into horror stories about things like foreclosures and student debt, but a little knowledge and preparation will make your own loan story a lot happier and a lot less dramatic. So study up, focus on your specific needs and ask around—your perfect loan is out there!

We’re Hiring!

job

We are looking for a new member to join our awesome First Credit Union team in Powell River!

  • Do you have great customer service skills?
  • Are you team-oriented?
  • Do you thrive in a fast-paced environment?

Then you should check out our latest posting for a Financial Service Representative:

https://can850.dayforcehcm.com/CandidatePortal/en-US/fcu/Posting/View/11

job

First Credit Union was recently recognized as one of BC’s top 100 fastest growing companies and Employer of the Year. We’re always searching for great people to add to our team; if you’re an enthusiastic, dynamic individual looking for professional growth, think about joining the First Credit Union team. Our flexible, respectful, and engaging environment that facilitates your developing career could be the perfect place for you.