Your Money is Safe with Us

It’s easy to get swept up in panic during times of uncertainty. COVID-19 has left us with a lot of questions and anxiety. One thing is certain: your SunWest accounts are protected.

It’s easy to get swept up in panic during times of uncertainty. COVID-19 has left us with a lot of questions and anxiety. One thing is certain: your SunWest accounts are protected.

Our interests as a credit union revolve around what is best for our members. While it can be beneficial to keep small amounts of cash on hand for emergencies, experts strongly recommend against withdrawing large sums. It exposes you to major risk.

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Hoarding cash only makes you a bigger target for those seeking to take advantage of the vulnerable during these stressful times. It’s much easier for a thief to grab your wallet or break into your home than it is for them to break into your account. As of March 19, Safewise.com reported 22% of Arizonans have experienced property crime, and 72% have no home security system. Once lost, cash cannot be recovered, whereas your credit union account is automatically insured through the NCUA of up to $250,000. With this insurance, you have one less thing to worry about.

Remember, “This is not a natural disaster like a hurricane or an earthquake where the electricity is out,” states Chief Financial Analyst of Bankrate.com, Greg McBride. You can still pay your bills – and even do your shopping – online. In fact, the more you do online the better, as it brings you into less contact with possible contamination. Digital payment technology is more widespread than ever, making it easier to quickly pay anything, whether it’s your mortgage or that friend you owe lunch to. Now is the time to keep your cash in the bank so you can put that tech to good use.

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SunWest Credit Union is here for your financial needs and support. Our ATM and branch cash supply are continually replenished, and this will not change. We are honored to be your chosen financial institution. We’ve kept your accounts safe for over 83 years, and we will continue to protect your interests at every turn.

Refi For A Reason – COVID-19 Relief

Our Refinance for a Reason program has become a staple in our community and something our staff looks forward to every year. We enjoy supporting local organizations that better our community and know how much of an impact we can make in just a few short months. Our comprehensive refinance program has enabled us to give back to incredible organizations such as Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Special Olympics of Arizona, the Arizona Animal Welfare League, and others. This year, our donations are more important than ever.

Our Refinance for a Reason program has become a staple in our community and something our staff looks forward to every year. We enjoy supporting local organizations that better our community and know how much of an impact we can make in just a few short months. Our comprehensive refinance program has enabled us to give back to incredible organizations such as Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Special Olympics of Arizona, the Arizona Animal Welfare League, and others. This year, our donations are more important than ever.

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The two organizations we have chosen to assist are The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund and Valley of the Sun United Way. Each effort provides relief to the individuals most affected by COVID-19 as outlined below:

  • The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund supports organizations working to diminish the impact of COVID-19 here in Arizona. They fund personal protective equipment for medical employees, food banks, technology for low-income students, and more.
  • The United for the Valley COVID-19 Fund was started to adapt to the emerging and fast-changing needs of health and human services organizations, schools, and the individuals and families they serve. Their support goes to child care, rent assistance, lost wages from business closures, and other pressing needs.

SunWest will make a contribution of $50 for every auto loan refinanced through the credit union. Once the program ends, we will donate half of the funds to the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund, and half to Valley of the Sun United Way. We will also continue to do our part during these difficult times to protect both our members and our employees. From participating in social distancing to accounting for each person’s unique financial situation, SunWest wants you to know that we stand ready to help our community get through these challenging times with a little financial support and a whole lot of love.

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Unfortunately, this pandemic has affected families and loved ones around the world, with many Arizonans facing adversity for the foreseeable future. As a local credit union, we know how critical it is to represent our communities as local people, which is why we are making it our mission to help those who need us the most right now. SunWest may just be another valley credit union, but our staff truly cares about our members, their neighbors, and the communities in which we serve.

Take this time to refinance your auto loan, save money, and give back to your community without leaving the comfort and safety of your own home. In addition to the donations being made, we are offering up to 90 days of no payments, great low rates, and the ability to save up to 2.00% off your current rate.

For more details, and to apply online, go to our website.

Avoiding Scams in a Stressful Time

While the coronavirus outbreak has many people worried about their physical health, some are taking this chance to prey on others’ financial health. The news can be nerve-wracking, and many e-mails are being sent from retailers, doctors’ offices, utilities providers, and more. Amidst the overwhelming flow of information, it’s too easy for someone to sneak in a phishing e-mail – and if you’re not careful, you might get caught up in it.

While the coronavirus outbreak has many people worried about their physical health, some are taking this chance to prey on others’ financial health. The news can be nerve-wracking, and many e-mails are being sent from retailers, doctors’ offices, utilities providers, and more. Amidst the overwhelming flow of information, it’s too easy for someone to sneak in a phishing e-mail – and if you’re not careful, you might get caught up in it.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has many simply cautious, but there are those that are so affected by the hectic situation that they act irrationally, and aren’t as careful as normal. Since you may be waiting on information from your workplace, the media, or any number of other companies and people, it’s easier for scammers to use that sense of urgency to take advantage of your rush. Some try to lure victims by appearing to be a message from the CDC. Others may seem to be using legitimate software for work-related reasons. No matter what they tell you, you must be wary of all communication at this time.

Some tips to help you remain vigilant include avoiding clicking on links and opening attachments in e-mails you didn’t ask for yourself. Only go to trusted sources such as the CDC or other government websites for fact-based updates on the coronavirus situation. Don’t respond to e-mails asking you for personal or financial information. Before donating to a charity, make sure they are legitimate so you are helping those in need and not just scammers.

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One of the best things you can do right now is to stay positive but vigilant. For more detailed information on what to watch out for, check out the PhishLabs Blog, CISA article, and Credit Union Fraud Prevention Center. By taking care of ourselves and each other, we can get through any situation, no matter how intimidating it may seem. If you have any questions, please leave us a comment so we can help!

 

Surviving Tax Season

Tax season is stressful for almost everyone, but if it’s your first time? It can be that much worse. Instead of feeling overwhelmed as you wonder where to start, don’t get intimidated. Doing your taxes can take up a lot of time, but it’s not as hard as you might think.

Tax season is stressful for almost everyone, but if it’s your first time? It can be that much worse. Instead of feeling overwhelmed as you wonder where to start, don’t get intimidated. Doing your taxes can take up a lot of time, but it’s not as hard as you might think.

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The three main options for filing a tax return are to fill out IRS Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR by hand and mail it, use tax software to file the form electronically, or hire a person to prepare your taxes. There are a lot of factors that go into whether or not you have to file, but you might want to do it either way. You could qualify for a tax refund, and who doesn’t love getting money back?

No matter who’s doing your taxes, make sure to get all your information ready, like your W-2 and your tax-deductible expenses. Then make sure you’ve got the right federal and state forms to fill out! If you’re filing electronically or with a person you’ve hired, it’ll be easier, but it’s always good to double-check.

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If this is your first time doing taxes, or your situation has become more complicated, relax! Just start early so you have plenty of time to make sure you get everything right. If you have the money to hire someone to prepare your taxes for you, that is of course the easiest option, but not necessary.

Whether you’re a student doing your taxes for the first time, you’ve just started a business, or there are other changes in your finances, filing your tax return doesn’t need to be a stressful accomplishment. With a little preparation and research, you can file your own taxes without too much hassle, and not only survive, but thrive!

Keep Your Finances Safe This Season

During the holidays, incidents of fraud increase. Scammers are on the rise as they do their best to take advantage of the busy time of year. Don’t let them sneak past your defenses – be aware of how they might try to trick you, and what you can do to protect yourself.

During the holidays, incidents of fraud increase. Scammers are on the rise as they do their best to take advantage of the busy time of year. Don’t let them sneak past your defenses – be aware of how they might try to trick you, and what you can do to protect yourself.

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SunWest will never ask you to send your personal or financial information in response to or via a link in an e-mail. We will never initiate a phone call asking for financial information such as your account numbers, social security number, or account balances. We will only ask for specific information to verify your true identity when you initiate a call with SunWest, before disclosing any financial information to you.

Many fraudulent schemes also involve asking you to purchase gift cards. SunWest will not ask you to send any gift cards or other monetary equivalent if something is wrong with your account. Also be wary of giving money to online retailers or even charities (you can verify them here) you aren’t familiar with.

Senior Man Working in Living Room

You should always be vigilant around any suspicious calls, e-mails, or even social media messages that seem to come from a financial institution. Elderly people have a higher chance of being targeted, but everyone should be on the lookout. The fraudsters will often try to frighten you into making a quick decision, while legitimate institutions are likely to give you time to think things over.

If in doubt, please call us for verification, or to report fraud or any suspicious activity, at 602-866-1100. For more ways you can prevent fraud, read these prevention tips. We would much rather you be safe than sorry this holiday season!

All I Want For Christmas Is…

The holiday season is in full swing – preparations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even New Year’s are already underway for many. Many stores have started playing Christmas music, decorations are being sold, coffee cups have holiday wishes on them. We at SunWest associate this time of year with a tradition close to our hearts: our toy drive.

The holiday season is in full swing – preparations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even New Year’s are already underway for many. Many stores have started playing Christmas music, decorations are being sold, coffee cups have holiday wishes on them. We at SunWest associate this time of year with a tradition close to our hearts: our toy drive.

woman look for soft panda toy

Partnering with the Peoria Firefighters Charities, we collect toys at participating branches. After about a month, we give the firefighters everything that has been donated, and their volunteers sort through the toys that will be delivered to families in need on Christmas Eve. Being able to help the community by assisting the Peoria Firefighters in their mission is a source of pride and passion for us.

This is where you come in! From November 12 to December 12, four of our branches will be collecting unopened toys for ages 0-13. Bring in your donation to our Cactus, Arrowhead, Goodyear, Mesa, or Pantano branches to put in our toy drive box. For more information, check out our Events page here.

girls opening Christmas gifts

We’re sure to put smiles not only on the faces of the kids getting toys, but the parents knowing their children won’t feel left out of this tradition, and the firefighters who get to deliver these gifts of joy to the families. If you have any questions, stop by any of the four branches above, or message us on social media. Together, let’s spread some holiday cheer!

A Little Goes A Long Way

Who doesn’t look forward to not having to work when they’re older? But to make that happen, you must start right away. The sooner you begin saving money, the more comfortable you’ll be in your retirement – or the earlier you can retire. Get your long-term savings ready now so you can relax later!

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Add to your long-term savings every month. Start as early as possible, so your money will have more time to work for you. If you’re in your 20s and save $200 a month, you can make your goal more easily, while if you’re in your 40s when you start, you might need $600 a month to meet the same retirement goal. You don’t want to have to deal with a huge drop in your allowance when you retire and then have to tighten your budget suddenly, so plan now.

You should also be depositing money into your 401k every month. You decide how much money you want moved from each paycheck to your 401k – even starting with 2% could make a huge difference in the long run. Some employers will match your contribution. Take advantage of that offer and sign up for it right away! The difference between this and a savings account is that you can’t easily take money out of your 401k for emergencies, as it’s intended to stay there until your retirement. It’s a great way to make sure you stick to your plan!

Family saving money and banking

Beginning your savings journey by setting aside a little at a time can make all levels of saving much less daunting, and much easier to manage. Watch our Ask SunWest episode on Long-Term Savings, then check out the rest of our series. Have more questions on savings or other financial topics? Send us a message or leave a comment so we can answer it in a future video!

Navigate Life With Confidence

Your extended family is going to go on a long cruise vacation next year. You and your spouse are planning on buying your first house together. Your doctor has recommended you get laser eye surgery to help improve your sight. What do all these have in common? They require medium-term savings!

Your extended family is going to go on a long cruise vacation next year. You and your spouse are planning on buying your first house together. Your doctor has recommended you get laser eye surgery to help improve your sight. What do all these have in common? They require medium-term savings!

Be sure to have your emergency fund set up first. Once you’ve amassed enough short-term savings, you’re ready to start saving up for bigger, planned purchases! We all have some kind of big-ticket item we’ve been thinking about that will take a while to get to because of the large amount of money it requires.

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These purchases add value to your life. Sure, you could survive in your small apartment as you start your family, but why not save up for a nice house in a good neighborhood that has an extra room or two for the kids? You might be fine taking the bus to work every day, but wouldn’t your own car save you time you could spend on something more fun or productive? Not waiting in the heat, rain, or cold winds would be an added bonus!

So, once you’ve built up your short-term savings to a comfortable level, start on your medium-term savings. Preparing to cover your tuition so you don’t have to work as much during college, getting ready for that surgery so you don’t have to take out another loan at the time of the procedure, or wanting to be able to pay your own way through your adventure in another country are all solid reasons to begin planning now.

Start out by determining the total cost, then split it up to see if you can save that amount in the time you have. If your vacation will cost $6,000, and you wanted to go in a year, you would need to save at least $500 a month. If that isn’t doable for you right now, you might want to put off your vacation until you’re sure you can pay for it. The same applies to any other large planned purchase. There are other ways to save as well, such as starting with $10 from your first paycheck and doubling the amount you save at each paycheck ($20, $40, $80, $160, etc.). Find the savings plan that fits your goals and way of thinking best so you will feel motivated to keep it up and not be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of money you are building toward.

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Setting aside a little money at a time will help you navigate through life with more confidence and less stress! Watch our Ask SunWest episode on Medium-Term Savings, then check out the rest of our series. Have more questions on savings or other financial topics? Send us a message or leave a comment so we can answer it in a future video!

Being the Change We Want to See in AZ

Giving back to our community isn’t just some ploy to attract your attention—it’s ingrained in who we are. Here at SunWest, we have made it part of our mission to help those who need it most. And what better way to do that than through volunteering with organizations that directly affect our Arizonan community?

Giving back to our community isn’t just some ploy to attract your attention—it’s ingrained in who we are. Here at SunWest, we have made it part of our mission to help those who need it most. And what better way to do that than through volunteering with organizations that directly affect our Arizonan community?

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We want to go beyond helping just our members and work toward the betterment of the community our members live and work in. Volunteering allows us to uplift the community in different ways – at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, we prepared goody bags for families staying with their child that might otherwise not get a chance to have fun snacks. We’ve walked and washed dogs at the Maricopa County Animal Shelter that have been cooped up waiting for love. We’ve gone around Lake Pleasant in kayaks, scooping up trash so the lake can be enjoyed by people and animals alike.

While we have enjoyed helping out how we can, the gratitude of the places we’ve volunteered at motivates us to do more and go even farther. At Andre House, both the people organizing everything and the people coming for the food service were so grateful, we knew we had to come back more often. At the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, helping out with the children’s crafts and seeing their excitement at being able to participate in a simple, fun activity warmed our hearts.

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The smiles of those we’ve directly affected are worth so much more than all the time and money we put into these projects. Plus, being able to volunteer together brings SunWest employees closer to each other and to the community – at the Phoenix Zoo, we helped clear so many weeds as a team that we were able to get a choked-up stream to flow freely again, and completely changed the look of the whole area.

At the House of Refuge, a whole branch and their family members helped put on a barbecue and movie night for single moms on their kids. Everyone had a ton of fun, but one of our favorite stories was that “after the movie was over one of the moms came over to thank my sister and I, it was her son’s 2nd Birthday and she really wanted to do something special for him but that she only had $15.00 to her name, so she decided to buy a cake for him, and then she said to have over 50 people singing happy birthday to him, the dinner, the movie, the glow sticks and the treat bags, she said he thinks that this “party” was for him. She said I know he’s too young to remember, but I needed you to know that I will be forever grateful, this will be one the most spectacular memories for me.”

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These are the events that will affect not just our community – but us at SunWest. Our employees will keep these memories in their hearts forever. We have already volunteered more than 430 hours so far in 2019 – and can’t wait to expand our volunteer program in 2020. We’re ready to make more connections and improvements and continue to care for our neighbor – because we know that the more we can do for those in need, the better our community will be as a whole.

Wherever You Go, We’re There For You

You’re on your way to work, and you need to deposit a check. There’s an event on campus today, and you want to withdraw cash to spend at some of the booths. You need to transfer some money to your roommate to pay the rent this month, and they need it right away. You’re on vacation across the country, and you realize you forgot to cash a check.

You’re on your way to work, and you need to deposit a check. There’s an event on campus today, and you want to withdraw cash to spend at some of the booths. You need to transfer some money to your roommate to pay the rent this month, and they need it right away. You’re on vacation across the country, and you realize you forgot to cash a check.

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The hustle and bustle of everyday life is enough to keep anyone on their toes and we understand you don’t always have time to stop by one of our branches. Luckily, SunWest is part of the CO-OP Shared Branch program, which means you have a multitude of options when it comes to accessing your account. Even if you’re nowhere near a SunWest branch, you can still access your account through ATMs and other credit union branches that are part of the network.

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Credit unions care about our members, so we work together to offer you more convenience. Take care of your finances at over 5,600 branches and 30,000 fee-free ATMs. That’s more than most banks! You can move away from our branches – you can even move out of Arizona. You can go on that vacation to Colorado or New York or Florida. There’s no need to worry about not getting to a branch – wherever you are, we’ve got you covered.

You can find a co-op near you with the CO-OP locator. Never stress about access to your account again!