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Credit Unions Helping Members Shred and Protect This Fall Article Photo

Credit Unions Helping Members Shred and Protect This Fall

As the seasons change and you tackle the task of “Autumnizing” your home, one way to get started is with an annual Fall clean-up. This probably brings to mind raking leaves, planting bulbs, organizing the shed, and stock piling for winter. While this type of outdoor cleaning is certainly useful and necessary, don’t forget about those indoor spaces. Autumn is also the perfect time to attack all of the clutter-prone spots inside your home including closets, basements, offices, drawers, attics, and the like. From old clothing and toys to outdated electronics to stacks of old magazines and papers, you’ll probably collect a plethora of items to purge.

Your credit union can actually help in Operation Fall House-Clean! When it comes to disposing of any personal documents you come across in your efforts, it’s important to do so safely and efficiently – that’s where the CU comes into play. With many credit unions offering community shred events during the fall and spring months, you can free up some much-needed space in your home, protect your identity and lend a hand in your community’s recycling effort, all in one easy step.

Shred More, Stress Less

ID theft is one worrisome problem that never seems to go away. However, as consumers, we can do our best to outsmart these criminals and put our minds at ease - shredding is one simple yet highly effective solution.

In fact, the FTC recommends shredding the following: Expired Credit Cards, Checks and Account Statements, Copies of Credit Applications, Credit Offers You Receive in the Mail, Physician Statements, Insurance Forms, and Charge Receipts. The professional mobile shredders that are onsite at CU-sponsored events give community members the ability to securely destroy these documents.

The Who, What and Where of CU-Style Autumn Shredding

CU shred events provide members and non-members with the opportunity to dispose of personal files and documents easily, safely, and free of charge while also connecting to environmental and community causes.

For example, Veridian Credit Union (Waterloo, IA) has plans to host a Community Shred Day at five branches across Iowa on Saturday, October 3 from 9 AM until noon. Shred trucks from Iron Mountain and On-Site Information Destruction, Inc. will safely dispose unwanted, sensitive documents for attendees. Goodwill Industries will also accept unwanted computer equipment at each site.

“Shredding unwanted documents that contain sensitive information is an easy way to help protect your identity,” said Mark Koppedryer, VP of Operations. “Veridian hosts a Community Shred Day twice a year to promote the importance of keeping personal information secure, and to make that security more convenient in our communities.”

Each location will accept up to 50 pounds of documents per person. All shredded material will be recycled into commercial-grade paper towels, toilet paper and other products. Computer equipment donated to Goodwill at the event will be recycled or refurbished and sold through the Dell Reconnect program, with proceeds benefitting Goodwill’s job-training programs. Goodwill encourages people to erase the hard drive on their computer prior to donating.

“In 2014, Veridian Community Shred Events drew more than 3,900 people to safely discard 99,000 pounds of documents, saving an estimated 1,252 trees,” reported Andrea Hudnut, Public Relations Strategist.

Likewise, State Employees' Credit Union (Raleigh, NC) holds a variety of seasonal community shred days across the state of NC where both members and non-members can bring personal and financial documents to be shredded. Working with Shred-It to coordinated three hour events, usually held on a Friday or Saturday, efforts are made to spread the events around the state making them as convenient as possible. According to Jimmy Goodrum, CUDE, Sr. VP of Member Education & Outreach for SECU, branches sometimes invite local law enforcement departments to participate by talking to attendees about additional ways to avoid ID theft.

“We saw a need for this type of service to help our members avoid fraud and ID theft situations,” explained Goodrum. He reported that members and their neighbors respond in large numbers at each SECU Shred Day event, bringing documents ranging from a small bag to be shredded to a pickup truck filled with boxes. Participants are very appreciative of this free service courtesy of SECU…departing members’ last question is often, “when are you having your next shred day?”

“SECU has 254 branches; at least one in each of NC’s 100 counties. SECU and its members desire to do the right thing and providing Shred Days is just one way to put this desire into action in local communities,” added Goodrum.

For the 3rd year in a row, Chesterfield Federal Credit Union (Midlothian, VA) is also gearing up to host their monthly community shred event that alternates between two of their branches. “We began holding our shred event both as a community service, as well as a branding exercise - members can’t join if they don’t know we exist,” explained Chris J. Miller, VP of Communications & Branding. Working with a local shred company to run the event, the CU passes out valuable information and accepts cash donations to support a local charity each month.

“Our members love it – many plan their cleaning around the event, and the event raises $300+ each month for a two hour event,” said Miller. “As a financial institution, member safety is important. Hosting a shred event not only helps members, it also allows us to complete our own shred.”

2015 is CorePlus Federal Credit Union’s (Norwich, CT) first time hosting Fall shred events since they’re usually held in the Spring. Partnering with a local shred company, the CU invites members and the community to shred docs, stop in the lobby for refreshments and raffles, and learn more about credit union philosophy, and the latest products and services.

According to Susan M. Dombrowski, Director of Marketing & Public Relations, the shred days are usually very successful. “It’s a really nice day - chatting with members, balloons for kids, a very festive atmosphere. It attracts a lot of positive attention as people go by on the road. One high point is that our President & CEO, Nicholas Fortson gets involved - the members get a kick out of seeing him in jeans and a polo shirt, hauling boxes, and helping out. Real people, just helping our members stay safe and secure!” said Dombrowski.

Check out your credit union for upcoming community shred events this fall!

By Cyndi Cohen
Published September 28, 2015
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