Submitted by Gene Pelham on Fri, 12/16/2011 - 14:22
One of the opportunities that the financial crisis has afforded us is to truly consider what is important to us. I recently had the opportunity to attend a training session for credit union staff members in Grants Pass. The training session was conducted by the Josephine County Consumer Credit Counseling Service and focused on Holiday Spending tips to help folks create an affordable gift giving plan. Their ideas revolved around making a plan and sticking to it. Once the folks shared their suggestions they asked the audience to provide some ideas on how to make holiday gift giving less about the money and more about getting back to the basics of the thoughtfulness of giving.
Submitted by Gene Pelham on Fri, 10/21/2011 - 10:38
I recently spent two days in Washington DC working to advocate for reasonable regulatory oversight and protect the rights of credit unions so we can continue to offer our members Business Loans. I am still amazed at how accessible our elected officials are in light of the difficult and challenging times they face in leading our nation. However, I also am saddened by the lack of progress on key issues that will create jobs and expedite the nation's recovery.
Submitted by Gene Pelham on Thu, 09/22/2011 - 14:25
As many of you know we have four student branches at Rogue Federal. Starting with our first branch in South Medford High School in 1992, we have expanded to Ashland High School, Eagle Point High School, and added North Medford High School last year. The branches provide a great opportunity for our credit union to reach out to our youth and the folks that are responsible for Rogue Federal being here today... teachers and staff. Yes, Rogue Federal was founded in 1956 by a group of dedicated teachers joining together to help each other out.
The students are hired during the summer and work at Rogue Federal training on our systems, products, and service culture. Then during the school year they run the student branches. A student manager is selected for each branch and we are fortunate to keep many of these students working for us for two to three years of their high school career. The student branches are normally open during the lunch hour and sometimes after school. This is a great opportunity for the students to get a head start on learning valuable skills that will help them succeed as they go on to college and begin their chosen career.
Submitted by Gene Pelham on Fri, 08/05/2011 - 10:52
Many of you know that I blab on and on about the importance of supporting our community and looking local first. I love Southern Oregon and, after struggling for over 18 years to return here, I have gained a personal appreciation of the special things about the valley that you cherish only if you live here.
One of those things we appreciate is the great parks system throughout Southern Oregon. With everyone watching how they spend their money these days, many of us are enjoying “staycations” this year instead of venturing out to places unknown. In Medford, we are fortunate to have some of the best recreation facilities around. Not only are these facilities fun places to visit, they help our local economy and of course I love anything that helps make Southern Oregon a better place to live and work! Just one example is the Medford Sports Park. This venue has attracted teams from all over the country that eat, sleep, play, and spend money in Southern Oregon!
Submitted by Gene Pelham on Fri, 07/08/2011 - 10:30
We celebrate the 4th of July each year to remember our country’s declaration of Independence from Great Britain. As I was sitting at an Independence Day parade, I thought about how we all need to declare our own Independence Day. There are a lot of things that we can declare independence from, but the recent financial crisis has reminded all of us how fragile our financial well being is.
So, how do we prepare for the next financial crisis? Take a close look at how you make and spend money and then build a plan that will allow you to maintain "Personal Independence" from debt and unwarranted spending. Debt, when used appropriately (meaning you have a full understanding of its true cost and you are confident it is helping you achieve your personal financial goals) is a good thing. However, debt to “keep up with the Joneses” or for impulse purchases is usually not a good thing. There are a variety of resources out there that discuss the effective use of debt and I would encourage you to do some research. In the meantime, here is a simple idea to help you move along the path towards financial independence.
Submitted by Gene Pelham on Fri, 06/17/2011 - 08:40
So, have you noticed how everyone’s jumping on the “Local” bandwagon? This is not a bad thing! In the last blog, I explained what purchasing local meant to me – any purchase that returns value to our valley. But really, Living Local goes way beyond just economics. It’s an attitude, a choice! It’s an investment.
Submitted by Gene Pelham on Thu, 05/19/2011 - 10:49
As the economy begins to recover and consumers get more comfortable they will begin to spend money again. One of the benefits that I noticed, throughout the financial challenges of the last couple of years, is that our friends and neighbors realized that we were all in this together. We all knew that if we looked locally for goods and services our community benefited… and if our community benefited… we benefited. One of the greatest fears that I have is that as the crisis subsides folks will return to their online and out of the area sources for goods and services.
I am the first to admit that we simply can’t get everything right here in Medford. However, believe it or not, if we look just a little harder we can find almost anything we need through a local vendor whether it is in their store or they order it from one of their distributors. By buying items online through non-local vendors the profits from that purchase completely bypass our community.
Submitted by Gene Pelham on Fri, 04/01/2011 - 14:57
As a wrap up to the Digital Dollars series I wanted to share some personal thoughts on the balance between the personal touch and remote delivery. I continue to be bullish on the future of our credit union and other community focused financial institutions. That is a big statement in light of the fearsome competition that we face from national financial service providers with resources that easily surpass our humble little organization. Yet, we have a distinct advantage. . . we continue to keep making financial services personal. We know that consumers want the convenience of anytime access, on the platform of their choice, at the lowest possible price. Yet, even with this there is something missing. . . usually the missing link is found when something has gone wrong. Often when you need someone the most, there is no one there to help.
Submitted by Gene Pelham on Tue, 03/08/2011 - 13:18
I am going to take a little detour from the Digital Dollar series to talk about my visit to Washington, DC this last week. Each year credit unions from around the country gather in Washington, DC in late February or early March to celebrate the credit union difference. We hear from nationally known celebrities like Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the famous pilot that miraculously landed his plane in the Hudson River without any serious casualties, and John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives. It is a time to reflect on the power of cooperative ideals and the power that can be generated when folks work together to make their communities a better place to live.
Submitted by Gene Pelham on Fri, 02/18/2011 - 11:23
In the last installment of my blog I spoke about the anticipation and fear of these new technologies. As an individual there is so much to hope for as we free ourselves from the shackles of a wallet full, purse full or key chain full of cards and access devices. Just keeping track of all the individual store rewards cards that we must carry around to make sure that we get the best price can be a challenge. Just imagine not having to worry if you have the card or know the right phone number… because as long as you have your phone with you the system knows that you are a valued customer.