PEP Squad: Partnership Programs and Perks with Mountain America

Welcome back to the PEP Squad! For this episode, the Squad invited Spencer Carver, a representative from Mountain America Credit Union into the studio to discuss the long-standing partnership between MACU and UPEA. The Squad and Spencer highlight some of the perks that UPEA members can take advantage of within this partnership.

Be sure to share the information with your coworkers!

Episode 8 Transcript:

By: Hannah Gorski and Kendle Zdunich

Guest Speaker: Spencer Carver, Mountain American Credit Union Representative

Produced by Christy Berk

Kendle:

Hello everyone! Welcome back to the PEP Squad! Thanks for joining us. We wanted to introduce you all to Spencer Carver today. He is with Mountain America Credit Union (MACU) and we’ve been partnering with them for decades. Spencer why don’t you introduce yourself a little bit?

Spencer Carver:

Thank so much for having me here, it’s such a joy to represent MACU. We love working with Utah Public Employee Association along with our wonderful public employees. I oversee business development for the credit union and have worked for them for over 12 years now. Thank you for the opportunity to be here.

Kendle:

When we started talking about this podcast episode, we were trying to figure out how long we have been partnering together and offering benefits and scholarships. It’s been so long that none of us here were even with either organization when the partnership began. So, it has been at least 2 decades!

Spencer:

It’s been a great partnership and we’re lucky to have each other.

Hannah:

One of the things we work with Spencer and MACU on is the Public Employee Salute (PES). MACU first sponsored the PES in 1999. Several years back now. This partnership began when UPEA’s executive director at the time, noticed that KSL Radio had a segment to recognize Utah teachers called the Teacher Feature, but there was nothing around that was recognizing Utah’s public employees. The following year, the partnership began and now we offer the PES to all public employees for the past 21 years.

Employees or individuals in the workplace can nominate their fellow co-workers who show excellence in the following areas: extraordinary competence in performing functions, creativity and identifying problems, provides solutions that are workable and cost-effective, demonstrates excellent relationships with the public and other employees, committed to serving the public as a client, committed to the economy and efficiency in government, and finally, volunteering time and effort to give back to the community. If you see anyone in the workplace who is doing an excellent job, you should submit their information to the PES. You can submit PES forms on our website under the PES tab. All you have to provide is their name and information with a little summary about what they do so well.  We then go through all those submissions and every two weeks on KSL radio, these individuals are recognized on the air.

Spencer can talk more about how we celebrate the recipients.

Spencer:

Yes! Before I dive in there, I just wanted to add context to Mountain America Credit Union’s overall involvement with state employees. (and you’ll hear me throw out some websites during the podcast as well, so upea.net is the one for the PES). It’s important to know that MACU got its start when the State Employees Credit Union in the 1980s merged. Part of the State Employees Credit Union joined MACU and that merger and acquisition that took place forty years ago, opened the door up for us to serve the state employees. We still have a few MACU employees that were part of the State Employees Credit Union that are still working for MACU.

To answer your question about how we recognize PES recipients: once we received the names of those amazing employees that have been nominated, we then work with their immediate supervisor to arrange for some recognition on the worksite. Whether that is in front of their staff or just to the individual themselves.

I had a wonderful experience several years ago when we went down to an agency in Nephi and recognized 5 winners of the PES and it was awesome to recognize most of that team that was out there. We brought them all lunch and it was a wonderful celebration. In addition to that, we get together once a year to celebrate all of the PES recipients and generally they receive a small gift or appreciation from us, along with a certificate that is signed not only by our CEO, Sterling Nelson, but also the Governor. I understand that this is one of the only certificates of recognition that the governor signs for citizens. It is great to have the support of the Governor as well to show our appreciation of the hard work that employees do. We do a recognition banquet at General Council every year in March. We also have a luncheon in the fall as well. There are a couple different times a year that we get together with Mountain America and all the amazing recipients of the award. We absolutely love it.

Hannah:

Just to reiterate, to nominate a fellow employee please go to our website to the PES tab to fill out the information.

Kendle:

Another great partnership that we have with MACU is our scholarship opportunities. Every year Mountain America offers UPEA members and Mountain America Credit Union account holders either themselves or their dependent a $1,000 scholarship. We offer three every year and applications are due during the month of February. And in early March those are also given out at a recognition banquet at General Counsel. Spencer, please tell us more about the scholarship program.

Spencer:

We have a few separate ways of scoring the applications. We score you based on academic achievements, community involvement, there is an essay portion that we evaluate, and we look at finance-related components overall. Each of those are based out of a 10-point scale. Then we tally those up, each of us on the committee review the applications and then score them independently. Finally, we bring them all together and identify the three individuals that are best deserving of those scholarships.

I remember a couple of years back we recognized someone that was finishing their law school program University of Utah. So, it was great to be part of that effort to help this individual accomplish a lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer. That individual has now graduated, and it was such an awesome thing to be a part of.

Kendle:

It is so much fun to read through all these applications and it’s exciting to see what their plan is moving forward and what they’re going to do with a scholarship. It is exciting to meet them in-person at General Council, too.

Just to reiterate a little bit, you do not have to be a freshman to apply for the scholarship. You also do not have to be going to school full-time. All that is required is that you are taking some sort of college credit in the fall. (If you’re applying this year, you must sign up for classes for the coming fall). It can be part-time classes if you’re working.

So, if you have children or grandchildren that are starting college or who are already in college, get an application submitted.  We would love to consider them.

Spencer:

There are a couple different ways to apply, so this is another website to remember, you can either go to http://www.macu.com/scholarships or upea.net to apply for those scholarships. They must be postmarked by February 28, 2020.

Kendle:

There is a PDF you can find it at either of those websites, it requires a completed form your transcripts (prefer official transcripts), your ACT or SAT scores, and the written statement of 300 words or less. The statement is brief intro about you, why you need the scholarship, what you’ve done throughout high school or college, if you’ve already taken some classes, and why you think you deserve this scholarship.

Spencer:

Please take advantage of the application. Kendle, Hannah and I talk every year about how this scholarship is one of the best times of the year for us. It’s great to see what people are doing out in the community. We are more and more impressed each year.

Kendle:

One more partnership we have is bringing MACU to the workplace to give presentations and seminars. Spencer, what are typically some popular topics MACU can present on?

Spencer:

We have a vast array of topics, but most popular, especially at this time of year when everybody setting New Year resolutions, are the Budgeting and Debt Management. Hopefully you haven’t given up on your resolutions a few weeks into the year! But in those presentations, we really focus on behavior-based choices. When it comes to finances, everybody can do the easy parts of addition and subtraction and so the basic math of a budget doesn’t really change but the manner in which you approach your budget and the emotions that surround money can greatly affect your budgeting process.

A second very popular topic is the Fraud Protection presentation. With the increased prevalence of credit card theft, identity theft and other scams; it seems like every day we hear about something bad that has happened to someone’s personal finances due to scams. Traditionally, with state employees, their demographic is older due to the great benefits. Because of this demographic, they are thinking about retirement and long-term savings; and it is heartbreaking when I see families that have worked so hard their whole lives that lose large amounts of savings due to scams. MACU is passionate about getting information to the public about tactics to help prevent and offset fraud.

Hannah:

To mention briefly, MACU will be doing the fraud prevention presentation at General Council (March 26th-27th).

Kendle:

I learned a lot in the fraud prevention presentation so it’s not just for older people, anyone at any age will learn a lot from this presentation!

Spencer:

One final thing to add is that with all the new technologies that are out there, it is important to be aware of how to stay safe while using your smartphones. More and more people now use their smartphones to do their personal finance which can lead to a lot of information potentially being stored in an unsafe manner.

Kendle:

If you would like MACU to come to your agency and present on a variety of topics, please reach out to your representative. We would love to set up something with you.

Spencer:

We are happy to go anywhere in the state, whether you’re rural or in downtown Salt Lake City. We love to provide lunch as well because everything is better with food!

Kendle:

Awesome. Our last thing to talk about is the incentive to join MACU. Spencer can talk a little bit more about that.

Spencer:

Currently, we’re offering a $100 incentive when you open a new account at MACU. It’s called a My Style Checking account, there are some conditions and membership eligibility is required on this. As you open those accounts whether during the state benefits fairs that are coming up or if you are just stopping in with one of our branches, feel free to ask about that $100 incentive so you can take advantage of that. There is a specific promotion code for it, “government,” so be sure you provide that for the employees at the credit union. It can be done over the phone or online too.

Kendle:

Awesome, everybody loves free money! Can I close my account and reopen it back up to get the incentive?

Spencer:

That is one of the stipulations, you must be a brand-new client to take advantage of the offer.

Kendle:

Here is the giveaway for our listeners this week: The first two people who send me an email with the two places where you can apply for the MACU/UPEA scholarship will receive $25 gift cards. My email is kendle@upea.net.

Thank you guys, for listening, and thank you Spencer for being here today!

Spencer:

It was great to be here! Please go apply for the scholarships and nominate your fellow coworkers for the PES. They are great opportunities.

Kendle:

See you next time!