Holidays for Heroes 2018

Superior Choice Credit Union is partnering with the American Red Cross to offer opportunities to thank, honor, and support our local service members and veterans this holiday season.

Holiday Mail for Heroes

Now through Friday, November 9, stop by any branch of Superior Choice Credit Union to complete a Holiday Mail for Heroes holiday greeting card. Cards will be collected and sent to the American Red Cross Serving Northern Minnesota for distribution to service members and veterans from northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. The American Red Cross asks that you follow these card writing guidelines: 

  • To be meaningful to a wide audience use generic titles such as “Dear Service Member” or “Dear Veteran”.
    • Please consider that cards are not meant for currently deployed service members.
  • We ask that cards do not carry an overly religious theme.
  • Cards containing overly personal information (phone number, address) cannot be accepted.                            
    • Feel free to list where you are from and only your first name (especially for kids, please).
  • Please do make cards personal, for example things you look forward to at the Holidays, special memories or your connection to those serving our country.

Comfort & Care Item Drive

Now through Friday, November 9, all branches of Superior Choice Credit Union will collect NEW men's and women's socks to donate to the American Red Cross Comfort & Care Item Drive to support veterans in need. Socks will be given to the American Red Cross for distribution to local veterans in need.

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Ways to Save in College

young woman lying in bed using laptop in college dorm smallGoing off to college is an exciting time! Your world is about to open wide, providing you with new opportunities to expand your mind, meet new people, and begin the groundwork for your career (or figure it out). One very important skill you’ll need is learning how to save while living on your own. The easy first step is finding out what you don’t need to buy. 

• A printer. They take up too much space, and the cost of ink and paper can add up. Check with your college to see if they have a printer allowance (usually included in the school’s technology fee), giving you access to the school’s printers. Also, many professors prefer that you turn in your papers electronically through the school’s educational portal (e.g., Blackboard or Moodle.)

• Computer software. Most schools have special arrangements with Microsoft to provide the Office Student to their students for free. For virus software, if you have cable at home, virus software is usually available to download through the cable provider.

• Toilet papers and bathroom cleaning supplies. If you’re living in a dorm, you won’t need these products. But if you’re living in a suite style dorm with its own bathroom, check with the school to see if room and board fees include janitorial services.

• Television. First of all, with classes, homework, and studying, you’ll have very little free time to watch TV. Second, your laptop will be able to stream most of your favorite shows. Third, most colleges have TVs in common rooms.

• Ironing board and iron. They take up too much space and you’ll likely use it…maybe never. If wrinkled clothes really bother you, get a small steamer instead.

• A car. You’re going to spend most of your time on campus, so there’s little reason to pay for monthly loan payments, parking fees, gas, and insurance. Use public transportation or a bike to get to places too far to walk.

Another way to save is to keep track of small expenses, like eating out or buying cigarettes. Those expenses add up over time. For instance, just buying a Starbucks latte (around $4.00) every day means you’ll spend $300 on coffee in one semester! Make a budget and do your best to stick to it. It’ll make saving money much easier and make living on your own a little less stressful.

Copyright 2018 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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SCCU Retirement and Financial Advisors: Save and Invest Even if Money is Tight

Save & Invest Even if Money Is Tight

For millennials, today is the right time.

Provided by Wendy Otterness

If you are under 30, you have likely heard that now is the ideal time to save and invest. You know that the power of compound interest is on your side; you recognize the potential advantages of an early start.

There is only one problem: you do not earn enough money to invest. You are barely getting by as it is.

Regardless, the saving and investing effort can still be made. Even a minimal effort could have a meaningful impact later.

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Join us October 18 for International Credit Union Day celebrations!

The credit union movement is steeped in a rich history of collaboration across divides. For nearly two centuries, financial cooperatives have encouraged people of every race, gender and belief to come together and give their all towards the betterment of their communities. It's about people helping people. That's why credit unions always offer a platinum lining.

This year, we're celebrating International Credit Union Day's platinum anniversary, a chance to look back after 70 years and be thankful for the lives and communities that have been improved by the unique principles and actions of our movement.

Join Superior Choice Credit Union in celebrating International Credit Union Day on Thursday, October 18. We'll have treats, a coloring contest for kids, a prize giveaway (enter for a chance to win a $100 On the Rise Certificate), and more. All branches of Superior Choice Credit Union will participate, so stop by to celebrate the financial cooperative movement at one of our 11 branches!

Celebrate International Credit Union Day! from CUNA on Vimeo.

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Don't be scared to check your credit! Join us Oct. 26 for a FREE Credit Check Clinic.

LSS Credit Check WebsiteBanner 1061X406

Superior Choice Credit Union will host a FREE Credit Check Clinic in partnership with LSS Financial Counseling on Friday, October 26 at the Tower Avenue Branch in Superior. April Sanderson, Certified Credit Counselor with LSS Financial Counseling, will be on hand for free 15-minute consultations. Members who sign up for a free consultation can learn what their credit score is, see what's on their credit report, get tips for improving or maintaining their credit score, fix credit report errors, check for identity theft, and more.

Consultations are available from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Friday, October 26. Members are encouraged to register in advance by calling 1-800-569-4167.

Superior Choice Credit Union and LSS Financial Counseling are proud to have a strong partnership for more than 10 years. Thanks to this partnership, SCCU members have access to free financial counseling, presentations, and events such as this credit check clinic. Click here to learn more about our partnership with LSS Financial Counseling.

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Final acquisition of Dairyland State Bank by Superior Choice Credit Union scheduled for August 31, 2018

Superior Choice Credit Union will finalize the acquisition of Dairyland State Bank at the close of business on Friday, August 31, 2018. After the closing, all Dairyland State Bank assets and liabilities will belong to Superior Choice Credit Union.

To accommodate the business conversion, all branches of Dairyland State Bank will close at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 31. The Dairyland State Bank branches — located in Bruce, Exeland, Sheldon, Gilman, and Holcombe in Wisconsin — will reopen for normal business hours as Superior Choice Credit Union branches on Tuesday, September 4 after the Labor Day holiday. ATM and online banking services will be available over the holiday weekend. Former Dairyland State Bank customers — now SCCU members — will continue to be able to use their accounts, checks, debit cards, online services, and branch services as they normally would.

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Join us Wednesday, Aug. 29 for UMD Hockey Night at our Denfeld branch!

TeamLRCome join us Wednesday, August 29 from 4-6 p.m. at our Denfeld location to celebrate the University of Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey team.

Stop on by to hang out with Champ the Bulldog, take a photo with the 2018 NCAA Championship trophy, enjoy a few treats, and more!

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SCCU Retirement and Financial Advisors: The Snowball Effect

The Snowball Effect

Save and invest, year after year, to put the full power of compounding on your side.

Provided by Wendy Otterness

Have you been saving for retirement for a decade or more? In the foreseeable future, something terrific is likely to happen with your IRA or your workplace retirement plan account. At some point, its yearly earnings should begin to exceed your yearly contributions.

Just when could this happen? The timing depends on several factors, and the biggest factor may simply be consistency – your ability to keep steadily investing and saving. The potential for this phenomenon is apparent for savers who start early and savers who start late. Here are two mock scenarios.

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Donate blood for a chance to win a Miller Hill Mall shopping trip!

Superior Choice Credit Union is proud to partner with the Miller Hill Mall to present a back-to-school American Red Cross blood drive August 23-24.

Visit and enter sponsor code Miller Hill Mall or call 1-800-RED CROSS (733-2767) to sign up for a donation appointment. The blood drive will take place at the Miller Hill Mall Thursday, August 23 from 12 to 6 p.m. and Friday, August 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Present to donate for a chance to win up to $600! All presenting donors will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a $500 Simon Gift Card and $100 Dick's Sporting Goods gift card.

Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. Sign up to help save lives!

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Donate now to help us Stuff the Bus!

stuff the bus logo

Superior Choice Credit Union is collecting new school supplies for the Head of the Lakes United Way's Stuff the Bus school supplies drive. You may drop off donations of new school supplies at our Tower Avenue or Shoreline branches in Superior until August 24, 2018.

Stuff the Bus is a school readiness program that provides backpacks and school supplies to help prepare students for school. Supplies will be delivered directly to the school districts and distributed locally. Requested supplies include backpacks, wide-ruled notebooks, markers, pocket folders, clipboards, scissors, and earbuds.

Together, let’s fight for students and give them a fresh start this school year!

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Updates coming to the SCCU logo and website

Superior Choice Credit Union is excited to announce that we will be gradually updating our logo in various places over the coming months. With the credit union entering a new phase in its history, pending the regulatory approval of the acquisition of Dairyland State Bank (originally announced in February), a refreshed logo signifies growth, strength, and new chapter for Superior Choice Credit Union.

Over the coming months you will see our current purple-colored logo replaced with a new logo that boasts a timeless font, bold design, and contemporary color palette. While the update is not a dramatic change from the logo that has served us well for more than 10 years, we are excited to update our brand to better reflect our membership and future growth.

new logo update

You will first see the updated logo and color palette on our website and social media profiles beginning July 17-18. In the weeks and months following the initial website launch, you will see the updated logo in It's Me 247 Online Banking, on our mobile app, on your statements, and on other marketing materials.

Below is a screenshot of what the SCCU website will look like after the updates are made July 17-18. It is important to note that just the logo and some colors will be updated on the website. You will still be able to access the same pages, online banking login, and links that you have been able to access before.

website screen shot

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SCCU Retirement and Financial Advisors: Why Do People Put Off Saving for Retirement?

Why Do People Put Off Saving for Retirement?

A lack of money is but one answer.

Provided by Wendy Otterness

Common wisdom says that you should start saving for retirement as soon as you can. Why do some people wait decades to begin?

Nearly everyone can save something. Even small cash savings may be the start of something big if they are invested wisely.

Sometimes, the immediate wins out over the distant. To young adults, retirement can seem so far away. Instead of directing X dollars a month toward some far-off financial objective, why not use it for something here and now, like a payment on a student loan or a car? This is indeed practical, and it may be necessary. Even so, paying yourself first should be as much of a priority as paying today’s bills or paying your creditors.

Some workers fail to enroll in retirement plans because they anticipate leaving. They start a job with an assumption that it may only be short term, so they avoid signing up, even though human resources encourages them. Time passes. Six months turn into six years. Still, they are unenrolled. (Speaking of short-term or transitory work, many people in the gig economy never get such encouragement; they have no access to a workplace retirement plan at all.)

Other young adults feel they have too little to start saving or investing. Maybe when they are further along in their careers, the time will be right – but not now. Currently, they cannot contribute big monthly or quarterly amounts to retirement accounts, so what is the point of starting today?

The point can be expressed in two words: compound interest. Even small retirement account contributions have potential to snowball into much larger sums with time. Suppose a 25-year-old puts just $100 in a retirement plan earning 8% a year. Suppose they keep doing that every month for 35 years. How much money is in the account at age 60? $100 x 12 x 35, or $42,000? No, $217,114, thanks to annual compounded growth. As their salary grows, the monthly contributions can increase, thereby positioning the account to grow even larger. Another important thing to remember is that the longer a sum has been left to compound, the greater the annual compounding becomes. The takeaway here: get an early start.1

Any retirement saver should strive to get an employer match. Some companies will match a percentage of a worker’s retirement plan contribution once it exceeds a certain level. This is literally free money. Who would turn down free money?

Just how many Americans are not yet saving for retirement? Earlier this year, an Edward Jones survey put the figure at 51%. If you are reading this, you are likely in the other 49% and have been for some time. Keep up the good work.2

Wendy Otterness may be reached at 715-398-8917 or [email protected]


This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members.
Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution.

1 - [6/21/18]
2 - [2/28/18]

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Celebrate 10 years of partnership with LSS Financial Counseling!

Help Superior Choice Credit Union celebrate 10 years of partnership with LSS Financial Counseling! Representatives from LSS will be at our Tower Avenue branch on Friday, July 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stop by to learn more about free financial counseling services, grab a treat, and more. Plus, enter for a chance to win a year of financial coaching from LSS Financial Counseling!

Win 12 free sessions with LSS Financial Counseling for free monthly sessions for a year! These coaching sessions can help you to establish a budget routine you are comfortable with, reach your savings goals, iron out the details of your student loans and best payment plans, etc.  With each monthly check-in you’ll get a customized plan that gives you steps to get closer to reaching your goals along with one-on-one help talking through barriers and identifying your strengths and victories.  Credit Reports will be pulled quarterly and are a soft inquiry so will not affect your credit score.

In the 10 years of partnership with LSS, SCCU members have enrolled in more than 160 Debt Management Plans (DMPs) and paid back a total of $2,008,350 in debt. Thanks to our partnership with LSS, our members have been able to attend more than 1,500 FREE consultations with LSS Financial Counseling through one-on-one financial counseling sessions, programs such as the Great Debt Pay Down, in-branch credit check clinics, free seminars, and more.

To learn more about SCCU's partnership with LSS Financial Counseling, click here.

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Join us Friday, August 3 for Member Appreciation Day!

Member Appreciation 2018 Web Banner

We want to thank you for being a loyal member of Superior Choice Credit Union! Stop by your nearest branch of Superior Choice Credit Union for treats, giveaways, and a prize drawing. Events start at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 3 until supplies last. First come, first served. 

Each branch will have a first, second, and third place winner! Prizes include:

  • First place: Weber Smokey Joe 14-inch portable grill
  • Second place: Coleman 28-can backpack cooler
  • Third place: Coffee treats with a Superior Choice Credit Union mug

Thank you for your membership!

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LSS Financial Counseling: How to Overcome Barriers to Homeownership

June is National Homeownership Month! Our partners at LSS Financial Counseling can help SCCU members overcome barriers to homeownership. The below post originally appears on the LSS Financial Counseling "Sense & Centsibility" blog. Superior Choice Credit Union members may utilize free one-on-one sessions with LSS Financial Counseling. Click here to learn more.

How to Overcome Barriers to Homeownership

Homeownership is a dream for so many Americans, but a lot of people, especially younger adults, face barriers to purchasing a home. Besides increased house prices in some locations, other major barriers include:

  • Not enough money saved for down payment or closing costs,
  • Debt,
  • Limited options within their budget, and
  • Poor credit history/low credit score.

Get Your Finances In Order

There are steps aspiring homebuyers can take to break down those barriers. A great first step is by getting homeownership counseling, which will help get your finances in order. And the good news is LSS Financial Counseling offers this service for free. Our non-judgmental counselors provide ongoing guidance to:

1. Help you assess your financial situation

First, your counselor will work with you to create a thorough, realistic spending plan so you know where your money is going. When your goal is homeownership, it’s important to build up as much as savings as possible because of the associated expenses like the down payment, closing costs, moving expenses, new furniture, etc. Your counselor will provide suggestions, but ultimately it’s your choice on any spending changes you might need to make.

2. Address barriers, such as credit, debt, or student loansnew home

Your counselor will review your credit report and debts with you to create an action plan with options to pay off debt faster and concrete steps to take to improve credit/pay off debt, including student loans.

3. Determine if you are ready to buy and help you calculate what you can afford

Based on your existing budget and credit, your counselor will help you decide for yourself if you’re ready for a home purchase. And if so, s/he will help you calculate what you can afford for a monthly mortgage payment so you know your house price limit.

4. Connect you with helpful resources

There are mortgage loan programs, first-time homebuyer resources, and down payment and closing cost assistance programs out there to provide even more help. Your counselor will connect/refer you resources that may help you achieve your goal of a home purchase.

In order to be a successful homebuyer, it’s important to plan ahead and be informed.

For your free homeownership counseling session, call LSS at 888.577.2227. We can help you achieve your goals!


Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.


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Advantages and disadvantages of buying vs. renting a home

June is National Homeownership Month! Many times first-time home buyers wonder whether buying a home is worth the investment. Read through the information below for some of the advantages of disadvantages of buying versus renting a home. If you're wondering if home ownership is right for you, set up a time to talk with one of our friendly mortgage originators. Purchasing a home is a big deal! Our team takes the time to work with members to make sure they understand the home buying process and whether or not buying a home is the right financial choice.

Click here to meet our mortgage originator team.

Advantages of buying a home

Every dollar paid toward a mortgages principle represents equity. When you reach 20% equity you have the ability to refinance your mortgage to secure a lower interest rate or longer repayment.

Federal Tax Deductions: As a home owner, you can deduct your property taxes and interest paid on your mortgage, reducing your overall taxes.

As a homeowner, you make the call on updates you wish to see throughout your home. You can paint walls, update kitchen, or finish your basement.

Disadvantages of buying a home

You can expect to pay no less than 5.5% of your home’s value before moving in.

Although homeownership builds equity over time, home values can still decrease or remain flat.

As a homeowner, you’re responsible for covering the costs of all uninsured maintenance and repair work on your home.

Advantages of renting a home

As a renter, you’re not responsible for home maintenance or repair costs. If a toilet backs up, an appliance stops working, or a pipe bursts, you just have to call your landlord.

In many multi-unit apartments, some or all utilities, such as water, gas, electric, internet, and cable are included.

Renting is much easier than securing a good mortgage rate. Most landlords will rent to you even if your credit score is low.

Disadvantages of renting a home

As a renter, every dollar you pay in rent is gone forever; you can’t build equity. For this reason, if you plan to stay in the same area for more than a few years, buying may be a smarter financial choice.

Renters aren’t eligible for any housing-related federal tax credits or deductions.

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Donate now to SCCU's June food drive to help local community members!

During the entire month of June, Superior Choice Credit Union will be aiding our community’s hungry by holding a food drive at all six branches. During the drive, both members credit union and the community at large are invited to bring non-perishable food items to any branch of SCCU. The food will be collected in boxes, and at the end of the month the boxes will be transported to various local food shelves in close proximity to each branch.

Branches will collect non-perishable food items for food shelves corresponding with each location:

  • The Hermantown branch will be delivering food to the Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank
  • Ashland and Mellen branches will be dropping food off at their local BRICK food shelves
  • The Denfeld location will bring its boxes of food to the West Duluth CHUM food shelf
  • Tower Avenue and Shoreline branches in Superior will be delivering food to the NWCSA food shelf

Donation boxes are available at each Superior Choice Credit Union branch. Click here for a list of locations and lobby hours.

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SCCU Retirement & Financial Advisors: Adjusting Your Portfolio as You Age

Ajdusting Your Portfolio as You Age

As you approach retirement, it may be time to pay more attention to investment risk.
Provided by Wendy Otterness

If you are an experienced investor, you have probably fine-tuned your portfolio through the years in response to market cycles or in pursuit of a better return. As you approach or enter retirement, is another adjustment necessary?

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Beware of telephone phishing scams to prevent fraud on your accounts

Superior Choice Credit Union has seen a recent uptick in fraudulent credit and debit card activity. We believe that this activity is stemming from scam phishing phone calls in which members are being coerced into divulging sensitive private financial information such as a debit card pin, CVV number, account number, or other information.

REMINDER: Superior Choice Credit Union would never call our members just to request or verify sensitive personal or financial information. If you receive a call from someone who claims to be with the credit union and they are requesting your social security number, account number, pin, CVV number (three-digit number on the back of your credit or debit card), card expiration date, address, or other personal information, do not disclose any sensitive private information to the caller and hang up the phone.

Scammers can be sophisticated, and by your phone’s caller ID it may seem that you are actually receiving a phone call from Superior Choice Credit Union’s phone number. Again, SCCU does not call members requesting a pin, CVV code, or other sensitive data.

A great approach when someone calls and claims to be from a business or financial institution and is requesting personal information from you is to tell the caller that you need to call them back. Then, look up the business/financial institution’s official phone number and call back.

It is important to note that member data was NOT compromised from Superior Choice Credit Union. It is likely that member information was compromised in relation to a place where they made a purchase, whether in-person or online.

If you have questions about your account, call Superior Choice Credit Union directly at 1-800-569-4167 or stop by one of our branches.

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June-August Featured Artist: Chelsea Branley

Chelsea Branley Art Wall for web

Every three months, Superior Choice Credit Union has the pleasure of featuring a different local artist at our Tower Avenue branch. Our art wall has seen the likes of photography to water color paintings and everything in between. The Twin Ports region has a plethroa of talented artists who we are so excited to work with.

Our current featured artist is Chelsea Branley, a UW-Superior graduate student in the art therapy program. Chelsea's mixed-media artwork is a great pop of color on our branch walls. Be sure to check out Chelsea's work now through August.

We're always on the lookout for new artists to feature! If you or someone you know is a talented local artist, please reach out to us to learn more about having artwork featured at our Tower Avenue branch. Shoot an email to SCCU's Marketing Manager Brittany Markgren at [email protected] or call 1-800-569-4167 and ask to speak with Brittany.

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