Member Newsletter, Fall 2021
President's Message
Growing and Investing in You, Our Members

January 3, 2022, will be my last day with American Eagle Financial Credit Union as I move into “‘retirement” mode. Most folks doubt that I will be successful in the quick deceleration expected after 42 years of post-college work in financial services. I will say that the greatest blessing of my professional life was coming to American Eagle, after having spent the first 20 years at some of the larger organizations in our space. It has been an honor to work with the other leaders and teammates here, along with so many teams and individuals in our larger communities.

Howard D. Brady will be taking over for me as President & CEO in January, and you will hear from him in this venue and in other communications in the new year.

We have all been through, and are still going through, a series of challenges and, out of those, we have seen great opportunities too. Despite the COVID pandemic, the team completed a major systems refit, while maintaining steady levels of services across the organization. Our systems are continually being upgraded for better usability and security, providing you with great convenience and peace of mind. Our branch teams have found ways to best serve you with technology and personalized service, while maintaining safety as a number one goal.

Our staff working from home continues to provide a high level of support to the rest of the organization. Working together, everyone has your interests in mind every day by supporting one another and being one team.

Let’s agree…until you are part of the credit union movement, or any other cooperative for that matter, you don’t know what you are missing. While the nearly 5,000 credit unions across the country make up only a small percentage of the banking public’s market share, we like to say that we try to deliver something different; in our mission, in our structure, and in our local community engagement that has flourished over the years. While larger organizations monopolize markets and keep pace with their shareholder expectations, not-for-profit credit unions continue to chug along and serve members and do so over the long term with the membership front and center every day. Different can be better!     

A big thank you to everyone at American Eagle: Our volunteer Board of Directors, the members, the team, our vendors, our trade groups, and all the other constituents that have provided support, input, time and treasure into making the Credit Union into the largest community credit union in Connecticut and one of the top 150 credit unions in membership and total assets in the country.

Bless you all!
Dean Marchessault
President & Chief Executive Officer
Stay on Top of Your Credit Score and Credit Report
New Credit Sense Tool in Online and Mobile Banking
Credit Sense is a new tool available free to Online and Mobile Banking users. Use it to see your current credit score, get access to your credit report, provide credit monitoring alerts, get tips on improving your score, and learn ways to save money on loans.

Your credit score will be updated every month and displayed in your online banking screen. Credit Sense pulls your credit profile from TransUnion, one of the three major credit reporting bureaus, and uses VantageScore 3.0, a credit scoring model developed collaboratively by the three major credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to provide consumers a better picture of their credit health.
Drive Down Your Monthly Car Loan Payments
Rates as Low as 1.79% APR Up to 84 Months
Refinancing your existing car loan may help you save money by reducing your monthly payments. Explore our auto refinancing options available to members throughout Connecticut and Hampden County, Massachusetts:

Get up to 2% off your current auto loan rate when you refinance with American Eagle Financial Credit Union from another lender. It's easy to apply online with a quick turnaround. Use our Auto Refinance Calculator to see how much you could save.
How You Can Help Honor Our Veterans
Submit a Name to Expand Our Honor Roll of Veterans
American Eagle Financial Credit Union continues its support of veterans by recognizing a month-long celebration of veterans, their families, and the organizations that support them.

During November, AEFCU will honor the men and women who have served our country with an Honor Roll of Veterans. Members are invited to submit names of someone who retired from the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, or Navy. These names will appear on AEFCU’s Honor Roll of Veterans on our website throughout November as a “thank you” for their service.
$5,000 Grant to be Awarded to Nonprofit Veterans Organization
AEFCU will award a $5,000 grant from its Donor-advised Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to a nonprofit organization to support veterans and their families in our service areas.

“We can never say thank you enough to the men and women who fought for and protected our country throughout the years. But, by sharing our gratitude and appreciation over an entire month, including the traditional November 11 Veterans Day celebration, we hope to show that we will always remember and honor their service,” said Dean Marchessault, President & CEO of American Eagle Financial Credit Union.
American Eagle Is Soaring in the Community
Over $25,000 Donated in Third Quarter's Cash Back to the Community
American Eagle Financial Credit Union announced the recipients of $25,842 in donations from its participatory funding program, Cash Back to the Community. Year-to-date donations from the program total $76,571.

Congratulations to nonprofit organizations Southington Girl's Softball League, Our Piece of the Pie, and Asnuntuck Community College Food Pantry, that each received a $8,614 donation for earning the most votes in AEFCU’s third quarter Cash Back to the Community program. A total of 163 organizations were nominated and 1,883 votes were cast by AEFCU members and the general public.
Southington Girls Softball League is a volunteer, nonprofit organization serving 600 girls in K-12 with 30 recreational and travel teams. The league is comprised of many committees and activities dedicated to the planning and operation of girls softball.

"Thank you to American Eagle for this donation. This money will go a long way to helping us make improvements to our fields and continuing our mission of inclusivity in which we will never turn away a player for financial reasons. A portion of this donation will be available to families who can't afford the league entry. We are also looking to expand our free off-season programs and this generous donation will help fund that growth," said Mike Konopka, President, Southington Girls Softball League.
Our Piece of the Pie is a nonprofit organization in Hartford dedicated to empowering youth since 1975 with the key competencies needed to overcome barriers and succeed in education and employment. OPP’s model is centered on the personal and consistent relationship between each youth and a caring, committed, and proactive adult Youth Development Specialist. The Specialist helps to identify the young person's goals and create a plan focusing on OPP's three pillars of success - Youth Development, Academic Achievement, and Workforce Readiness.
Asnuntuck Community College Food Pantry in Enfield is a place for students, faculty and staff of Asnuntuck Community College to have a convenient place to get food assistance in a friendly environment. The client-choice nonprofit pantry offers traditional canned and boxed goods as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, and frozen meat.

“Asnuntuck Community College is honored to be selected for American Eagle Financial Credit Union’s, Cash Back to the Community program. Food insecurity has been a struggle for many of our students, and it was exacerbated by the pandemic. Donations like these make an immense difference in a significant number of our students’ lives, and they are our community,” said Dr. Michelle Coach, CEO of Asnuntuck Community College.
Fourth Quarter Nominations Will Begin October 25 through November 14, with Voting December 6 through 19.

During 2021, AEFCU is donating one percent of its credit and debit card interchange income to three nonprofit and/or 501(c)(3) organizations each quarter through the Cash Back to the Community program. Funding for the program is generated each time members use an American Eagle credit or debit card. At the end of each quarter, one percent of the total interchange income–the fee paid for credit and debit card transactions–is distributed to the top three nonprofits receiving votes. Since the programs' inception in 2020, the Credit Union has donated $162,996 among 21 nonprofits.
Penny Press Raises $550 for Hartford Yard Goats Foundation
American Eagle Financial Credit Union donated $550 to the Hartford Yard Goats Foundation. The proceeds were generated from American Eagle's Penny Press, located outside the American Eagle Production Booth at Dunkin Donuts Park.

During every home game of the 2021 season, fans donated $0.50 cents to use the souvenir penny press to choose from four Yard Goats logo designs. Look for the Penny Press to return for the 2022 season.

The Yard Goats Foundation is dedicated to providing social, educational, and scholarship opportunities for the youth in our surrounding communities in connection with the Hartford Yard Goats Baseball Club.
$5,000 in Grants Awarded to Hampden County, MA Nonprofits
American Eagle Financial Credit Union awarded $5,000 in total donations to two impactful organizations based in Hampden County, Massachusetts—American Eagle’s first service area outside of Connecticut.

The Ronald McDonald House of Springfield and Springfield Partners for Community Action each received a $2,500 grant from American Eagle’s Donor-advised Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
 
“A few short years ago, American Eagle became the first Connecticut credit union to expand into Massachusetts, and we made a commitment to play the same active role within this community as we do in the rest of our member service area,” said Dean Marchessault, President and CEO of AEFCU. “The Ronald McDonald House of Springfield and Springfield Partners for Community Action provide tremendous assistance, care, and resources to Hampden County families. It’s our hope these grants will bolster their efforts and serve as a reminder of our team’s admiration for these organizations.”
 
“We are deeply grateful to American Eagle Financial Credit Union for their support of the programs at the Ronald McDonald House of Springfield,” stated Michelle D’Amore, Executive Director of RMHC CTMA. “This gift will truly make a difference for our children and their families who will need our ‘home-away-from-home’ while being treated at area children’s hospitals.”
 
“On behalf of the low-income residents that we serve in Springfield, we would like to thank American Eagle Financial Credit Union for their generous donation,” said Paul F. Bailey, Executive Director of Springfield Partners for Community Action. “The funds will be used to support our Scholarship Program efforts, where for the past 18 years we have awarded twelve $1,000 scholarships to low-income high school seniors and adult learners.”
Ronald McDonald House of Springfield
Since 1991, the Ronald McDonald House of Springfield has provided thousands of families with a home away from home, serving the needs of families with children undergoing essential and specialized medical treatment at hospitals and healthcare facilities around Massachusetts—particularly at nearby Shriners Hospital for Children and Baystate Hospital.
Springfield Partners for Community Action
Springfield Partners for Community Action focuses on helping low-income families reach economic self-sufficiency through education, direct assistance, and outreach. Their programs help people obtain assets—such as a home, a business, or a college education—and then maintain those assets through home weatherization, foreclosure prevention, and scholarships. Springfield Partners also facilitates families’ access to health insurance, health care, affordable childcare, food stamps, income tax filing assistance, and many other basic needs.
Employees Donate $11,800 to Charity during Third Quarter 2021
American Eagle Financial Credit Union employees collectively donated $11,800 from their payroll deductions during the third quarter ending September 30, 2021. The American Eagle Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving received $8,339 for future grant distribution to nonprofits in the communities we serve. United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut received $3,461 to support various community programs in our region. Year-to-date employee donations total $33,827.
Credit Union to Sponsor Two Popular Holiday Light Shows
American Eagle is pleased to be sponsoring two popular and family-friendly holiday light shows this winter season.
Holiday Light Fantasia runs November 25, 2021, through January 2, 2022, at Goodwin Park, 1106 Maple Avenue, Hartford. Proceeds benefit the Channel 3 Kids Camp. For tickets and details, visit holidaylightfantasia.org,
Bright Nights at Forest Park runs November 24, 2021, through January 2, 2022, at Forest Park, 300 Sumner Avenue, Springfield. Presented by the City of Springfield and the Spirit of Springfield. For tickets and details, visit brightnights.org.
October Is Cybersecurity Awareness Month
Do Your Part. Be Cyber Smart.
Now in its 18th year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity, ensuring that all Americans, and AEFCU members, have the resources to be safer and more secure online. Here is one article to remind you of the importance of password security.


Ten Tips for Password Security

Passwords are the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your computer, smart phone, or tablet and, even more importantly, to your personal information. The consequences if this occurs can include loss of your valuable data, access to your bank account and money, or even the potential to steal your identity! One of the most simple and common ways hackers break into your devices and computers is by guessing your password. Here are our top ten tips to keep your password secure:

1. Keep your password private - Don’t share your password with anyone under any circumstance! Even if you trust someone, you should never give out your password. Your communications could be intercepted, the other person may write your password down or save it somewhere, or the other person’s computer may be infected with malware.

2. Always use long, complex passwords - Passwords that can be found in a dictionary can be cracked in seconds. Hackers like to use password-cracking programs to guess your password by trying every combination of numbers, letters, and special characters. To guard against these password cracking programs, use long and strong passwords—the longer the password, the harder it is to crack. Make sure it always contains a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters like “&” and “%”. When not using multi-factor authentication (MFA), it is wise to use a password length of 16 characters or more. 

3. Create passwords that can’t be easily guessed - If your password can be easily guessed, it weakens the security and might lead to a costly breach. Don’t choose passwords that use birthdays, children’s names, anniversary, pets' names, hometown, or favorite sports team that could all be easily gleaned from social media accounts or other sources. Attackers search social media websites for personal details like these and try them as passwords.

4. Use a sentence or passphrase - Think of a sentence or phrase that is easy to remember but hard for someone to guess, or turn your favorite quote into an acronym. Longer is stronger, so opt for passphrases rather than passwords. 

5. Consider using a password manager to keep track of your passwords - Do not write your passwords on sticky notes that can be seen by others, or store them on your computer in clear text. Instead, consider using a secure password manager—an encrypted vault for storing passwords that is protected by a master password. Most password managers also have the ability to generate passwords for you. Make sure to use a very long and complex password for your master password.   

6. Do not use simple adjacent keyboard combinations - Also known as keyboard progressions, these are easy to crack. Examples of these include “qwerty,” “12345,” and “1qaz.”

7. Change your password immediately if you suspect it may have been compromised - If you notice strange activity on your account, immediately change that account’s password, and never use the same password for multiple accounts.

8. MFA all the way - Passwords alone cannot always provide sufficient protection. Use two-factor authentication for sensitive accounts. Multi-factor authentication is a special type of security that involves two separate types and stages of authentication. Usually, two-factor authentication uses something you “have” along with something you “know.” ATMs use multi-factor authentication by requesting your ATM card and your PIN. Many online accounts require two factors: a password and a verification of your identity with your phone or another device with a one-time passcode. Other forms of multi-factor security authentication might include a token or a removable media device, such as a USB drive.

9. Do not re-use important passwords. Use unique passwords for each account - If you use the same password for multiple accounts, you increase your overall risk. The breach of a single account could potentially lead to the breach of all of your accounts. When a hacker knows your username and password on one service, the hacker will try the same login information on other services. To thwart these types of attacks, use unique passwords for every account you have and change them often. Email addresses, personal banking, your Amazon account, cable and internet services, mobile devices, personal computers, and all your other online shopping accounts should all have separate passwords.

10. Public computers may be infected with malware or have other security issues. Never enter your username and password on an untrusted computer - Public computers, such as those at hotel business centers, libraries, or Internet kiosks, may not be appropriately secured. They could be infected with malware, which could potentially steal your password. You could also forget to log out, leaving your account vulnerable to intrusion. To avoid this, don’t log into your account on a public computer. When traveling, always use a secure Internet connection.
Federal Holiday Closings
American Eagle Financial Credit Union will be CLOSED
  • Monday, October 11, 2021, Columbus Day
  • Thursday, November 11, 2021, Veterans Day
  • Thursday, November 25, 2021, Thanksgiving Day
  • Saturday, December 25, 2021, Christmas Day
  • Saturday, January 1, 2021, New Year's Day

The Credit Union will close at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, December 24th and Friday, December 31st.
Access your accounts 24/7 with online banking, with mobile banking, and at thousands of Allpoint and SUM ATMs across the U.S. Take the Credit Union with you wherever you go. We're never more than a call or click away.

American Eagle Financial Credit Union
860.568.2020 | 800.842.0145 | americaneagle.org
American Eagle Financial Credit Union will never solicit confidential information about your accounts through email. If you receive a suspicious email asking you to open an attachment or click on a link to provide personal information, do not take action. See privacy and security policy. Federally Insured by NCUA.