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The Bottom Line blog

<p>Here at Mission Fed, your success is our bottom line. That means keeping you informed about what's going on in the financial industry and how that affects your everyday life. Our contributors are the members of our Mission Fed Senior Management Team, who offer a wide range of expertise from financial topics to community relations to human resources.</p>

While Some Close Their Doors, Mission Fed Adds More

Ron Araujo, Chief Financial OfficerIf you’ve noticed over the past few years that your Mission Fed branch has undergone some changes, you’re not alone. In fact, we are in the middle of our 8th branch remodel or relocation since late 2008, and many of you have told us how much you like all of the new amenities that your updated branch has to offer.

I was asked recently by one of our members why so many banks have been closing branches and reducing branch services at the same time that Mission Fed is expanding nearly everything: services, products and branches. I can’t speak for the big banks as I really don’t know much about their business model (in fact, given recent events in the media regarding the big banks, about the only thing I can say about their business model is that I don’t want anything to do with it!), but I can tell you that for Mission Fed, it’s all about serving our members

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No Doubt—Use Debit

Monica Hoolsema, Chief Operations OfficerIt’s another perfect day in San Diego. You’re running errands, and you take out your Mission Fed Debit Card to buy groceries. Or you use it to shop online. Maybe you’re making a hotel reservation for a much-needed vacation. Or have automatic payments for a gym membership or cable bill set up on your card.

All of these are typical, daily scenarios—and usually smooth sailing.

But what if something goes wrong and you have a dispute with the merchant? That’s where Mission Fed comes in. When you use your Mission Fed Debit Card instead of writing a check, you’ve got an entire department of Mission Fed employees dedicated to assisting members if and when they have disputes with merchants. There are rules that merchants must abide by when they accept debit and credit cards, and we utilize them to assist our members in getting their funds returned.

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The True Value of Travel…Priceless

Neville Billimorian, SVP Membership/Marketing and Chief Advocacy Officer“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
–Albert Einstein

As summer vacations wind down and we ramp up for a new school year, my family and I found some time to both experience and reflect on the joys and wonder of travelling.

Now that my wife and I are back at work and the kids prepare for a new school year, I want to relive some of the lessons learned this summer while on vacation—in addition to the eminently useful benefits of Mission Fed’s products and services to manage our finances during an international vacation.

To borrow from Rick Steves, whose travel guides have become useful resources on many of our trips, and whose ideas about travel can be applied to our personal journey wherever we find ourselves—even in our hometown: Travel is freedom.

Committing to fitness—physical and financial

Ron Araujo, Chief Financial OfficerI don’t know if it’s a sign of the times or not, but if you do a Google search for “financial fitness,” you get over 20 million results. Kind of a daunting number, but then again, this is a pretty important topic. Think about it—other than maybe your medical provider, the businesses that you have the most personal relationships with are probably the financial institutions you rely on to guide you through the modern day financial maze. And financial management really is a maze, with so much complexity that it is sometimes hard to know even the simplest things, like “How do I get started?” and “Am I on the right track?”

This thought crossed my mind when I was reading an article on health club membership in, of all places, The Wall Street Journal. The article says (click here to view the PDF of the article) that of the 50.2 million people who belong to a gym in the U.S., over 60% of them visit less than twice a week. About 30% of total gym members in any given January are new, so many people start out strong, but then their interest wanes. How does this connect to financial fitness? Going to the gym and getting your finances in shape are both routinely listed as top New Year’s resolutions. And the similarities don’t end there.

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Going out on a Limb for What Matters

Neville Billimorian, SVP Membership/Marketing and Chief Advocacy OfficerI believe it is true when they say that life is a contact sport. Sometimes you meet great people with a great mission, who rope you in with their compelling story—to the point that you want to support their cause, and are quite literally ready to go out on a limb to model what you both stand for.

I have this experience quite often and do my best to act on this service impulse, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because the more positive energy you give, the more energy you get back.

This happened recently when I learned about Kids Included Together (KIT), and their cause for INCLUSION, through one of Mission Fed’s 50 in 50: Mission Acts of Kindness as part of our 50th Anniversary celebration. Tricia, a work colleague, is also on the KIT Board, and was just honored with their Board Innovator of the Year Award.

To Buy or Lease—That is the Question

Sherry Carr, Senior Vice President, LendingI am often asked by my friends and family, “Should I lease a car or buy a car?” Before we even go there, let’s talk about making the decision on what type of car.

Getting a car is not just a financial decision—it’s very emotional and personal. Why do you think there are so many makes and models to choose from?! We have green, economical Smart cars to black, shiny, chromed-out Hummers, and everything in between.

Everyone can remember their very first car, whether it was an old beater that you saved up money for or a new car that Mom and Dad bought you for your birthday. I can remember my first car: it was a baby blue Chevy Camaro that my Dad bought for me when I graduated from high school. I know…what a lucky girl! My dad is a “new car” guy. He would never buy a used car; he wanted that new car smell and he loves to haggle with the car dealers. He always got a “great deal”—in his eyes. I was very appreciative of my dad’s gift, but the Camaro was better suited to him than to me. I am small in stature (downright short, actually) and a car with bucket seats and a long hood did not quite “fit” a person of my height. I had to sit on a pillow to see over the hood, and for that reason, got into a few fender benders. After the third bent bumper, I handed the car over to my brother.

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Get Engaged—At Work!

Paula Morgan, Senior Vice President, Human ResourcesHere I sit daydreaming of an evening just a year ago. It was a warm night in a quaint restaurant near the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy. The crumbling brick walls and steep staircase set the stage for my imagination to run wild with visions of ancient times in the Eternal City. It was a lovely night with family, great food and lively conversation that ended with a surprise marriage proposal. Yes, I became engaged on that warm night in Rome.

No, this isn’t an ad for European travel, an online dating service or your local diamond store. It’s a story of engagement in the most personal sense. A bond or promise between two people to spend the rest of their lives together in marriage—a commitment. It was preceded by a period where we got to know each other, found that we had similar backgrounds, goals and aspirations, and ultimately, that we wanted to “team up” to bring our shared dreams to reality.

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Manifesting the SUPERHERO in YOU!

Neville Billimorian, SVP Membership/Marketing and Chief Advocacy OfficerI don’t know if it is the nature of our challenging times, juxtaposed with our aspirations for heroic work, but the topic of Superheroes keeps coming up.

It came up at a Circle of Excellence luncheon earlier in the year for some of the staff at Mission Fed, where our guest speaker, Mary Johnson, invited the attendees to consider, “If each of us were a Superhero and had Superhero powers, what powers would we like to have?”

It came up at the 13th Annual American Marketing Association Cause Conference in San Diego which Mission Fed sponsored and I had the privilege to participate in. The theme of the conference was “Innovative Solutions to Save the Day - Put the Pow, Bam, Zap back into your organization’s cause.”

Is Now a Good Time to Purchase a Home?

John Cooke Senior Vice President, Real EstateThe short answer to the question in the headline is yes—but of course, it’s never that simple. It’s important to make the decision of homeownership based on your goals and objectives, but you should also use the information that follows as part of your research.

Homeownership continues to be part of the American fabric. The benefits to owning your own home should provide value beyond trading stocks or bonds and the adrenalin rush from betting on commodity futures such as oil, pork bellies or precious metals.

To me, home represents family, friends and a sense of community. My home is in the neighborhood where my sons go to school, where I walk my three dogs with my wife and where I coach the sports teams my sons play on. And now, it is realistic to consider the possibility that my college-bound son should be buying an affordable condominium in our community—assuming that he wants to live that close to us and that my wife and I can provide a little assistance with the down payment.

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Tune Up for Your Great Performance

Neville Billimorian, SVP Membership/Marketing and Chief Advocacy OfficerThis week’s post focuses on optimizing great performance both personally and professionally. It is from a good friend of mine, Eric Klein. Eric is a bestselling author, leadership expert and wellness teacher. As the author of You are the Leader You’ve Been Waiting For and Awakening Corporate Soul, Eric has worked with individuals and teams in a wide variety of settings including Fortune 500 companies, healthcare, municipal, governmental and non-profit organizations, as well as mid-size companies. His passion is human motivation and he helps people become more engaged, more accountable and more innovative at work. His websites are www.dharmaconsulting.com and www.wisdomheart.org

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