September 2021 Newsletter
Letter from the President
I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal the other day on the subject of the latest big data breach, this time at a large telecom company who shall remain nameless. You may have seen the headlines, with the number of 54 million customers exposed as the big take-away. There was a quote deeper in the article that really caught my attention: “Unfortunately, consumers do have to do all the damage control for these companies, which is frustrating”, said an attorney who served as a lead council on several data breach class action lawsuits.
Sadly, this statement is generally true. Sometimes the big firms who have been a part of these data breaches may reach out with an offer of credit protection (for a limited time), but generally you are on your own when it comes to closing cards, getting new account numbers, blocking your credit, etc.
As you’ve probably read here before, I feel that as a credit union, we need to be more than transactional, but transformative – to offer services that serve a member’s whole financial life. In regard to helping our members protect their credit, we have included two distinct products for free as part of our Wealthcare Checking account.
On the “reactive” side of the equation, we include fully managed identity theft recovery and credit monitoring with every Wealthcare account. This is a service that helps our members recover and protect their identity after it has been stolen, giving them expert help to guide them through the process. Additionally, the service contains an insurance policy that covers certain expenses incurred in identity recovery. This is our answer to when you feel all alone after an identity theft incident.
On the “proactive” side, we offer a program embedded in our online banking called Savvy Money. This program allows you to look at your credit report whenever you like – and, importantly, it gives you a breakdown to understand how your score is calculated. There is even a place to simulate what your score would do in certain situations – how much will my score go down if I get a new credit card; how much would it go up if I paid off an auto loan early, etc. I strongly urge members to take advantage of this program and to periodically check on your bureau for any unusual activity. Unlike other “free” services that are out there, you aren’t giving information to a third party that will sell your data. With this program, you are always on the secure side of your Montana Health online banking login. And we never sell your data.
I’ve only just scratched the surface on what these products do, but my important take-aways are, 1) these are free products to our Wealthcare members and 2) we’re going to do our best to make sure you aren’t out there alone when it comes to identity protection. It’s what we’re supposed to do as a credit union.
Dennis R. Wizeman
Savvy Money by Credit Sense
Log into your online banking account and sign up for Savvy Money by Credit Sense. Monitor your credit and learn how your financial choices affect your score. For instructions on how to enroll, click here.