Why it matters to #BeCyberSmart

Woman and daughter on couch looking at tablet together.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month: A great reminder to “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”

“At First Education Federal Credit Union, we take cybersecurity very seriously,” said First Education President Jim Yates. “We believe protecting our members’ personal information is just as important, if not more important, than protecting their money.”

What is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

Held every October, Cybersecurity Awareness Month raises awareness about the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks. 

This united effort (of which First Education is proud to be a 2021 Champion) helps maintain a safe, resilient cyberspace for everyone to use. 

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a great time to: 

  • Update your online account passwords to long, unique phrases 
  • Enable multi-factor authentication wherever possible
  • Perform any overdue software updates on your computer or phone 
  • Make backup copies of your data, both on and offsite
  • Hold a family “tech talk” and discuss how each family member can protect their devices and personal information
Be Cyber Smart Graphic : October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

We’ll also be sharing weekly cybersecurity tips on Facebook!

Be sure to check in every week through October to see what’s new.

First Education: Supporting Cheyenne Teachers, Students, and Schools!

Along with providing sound financial services, “People Helping People” is what First Education is all about. 

We try to promote this in every aspect of life, including providing sponsorships for the local events and programs listed below.

“Student of the Week” program

Recently, First Education was recognized by the Laramie County School District 1 (LCSD1) Board of Trustees for supporting the Student of the Week Program.  

This is a program we are proud to sponsor. It not only highlights the people that are going to be our leaders, but also shows the results of the hard work our teachers and parents do every day. We thank the Trustees for the recognition, and thank the Administration for the opportunity to sponsor it for the 2021-2022 school year.

The students recognized in the program are not only successful academically, but they are also good people.  A theme in all of their profiles is a willingness to help others. 

If you want to read more about these amazing kids, just Google “LCSD1 student of the week.”

Cheyenne Schools Foundation

Speaking of people helping people and our schools— First Education is also a primary sponsor of the Cheyenne Schools Foundation. This organization provides grants to teachers and other special funding for LCSD1. 

We invite you to join us in supporting two upcoming funding events for the Cheyenne Schools Foundation: Cruise the Legend on July 17th,  and their annual Run for Number 1 on August 28th. For more information on each event, visit https://cheyennechoolsfoundation.org. Alternatively, if your business would like to be a sponsor, please contact me at the credit union.

Wyoming Hunger Initiative

Another organization First Education and the Mountain West Credit Union Association is proud to sponsor is the Wyoming Hunger Initiative. This program, started by Wyoming First Lady Jeanie Gordon, has a goal of ending childhood hunger in Wyoming. This is important for education because a child cannot learn if they are hungry. To learn more about the program, visit nohungerwyo.org for more information. 

“Work hard at learning, and be willing to help others.”

In closing, I ask that you all please follow the example of the students of the week: 
Work hard at learning, and be willing to help others.

Jim Yates, President

First Education Federal Credit Union

COVID-19 Guidelines Update

Effective 6/1/2021, individuals entering the credit union will no longer be required to wear face coverings. However, we strongly recommend anyone who is not fully vaccinated to wear a face covering whenever you cannot maintain at least 6′ distancing from others.

Please continue to practice good personal hygiene including washing your hands often and if you are not feeling well or think they may have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or other contagious disease stay home and contact a healthcare provider.

Thank you for your support in our continuing effort to keep everyone healthy.

A Short Comment on Bitcoin

In its inception, Bitcoin was a good idea; a medium of exchange that could be used across the internet with an understood value independent of national authority. 

It was meant to be isolated from the economic, social, and political forces that cause fluctuations in national currencies and avoid the messiness of exchange rates.

This is not what it is today. 

Bitcoin is not a currency because it is not a medium of exchange. 

Many have tried to make it so but even Tesla recently stopped accepting Bitcoin for vehicle purchases.  It is now only discussed in relation to it value in “real” currencies, most often the US dollar.

At best, Bitcoin is an asset; an asset with a highly volatile value.  The price being impacted by the very forces it was meant to be isolated from.  Even comments made over social media can cause significant fluctuation in its value.

At worst, Bitcoin is a gamble.  No better than the gamble on tulip bulbs in the 1630’s or beanie babies at the turn of this century. 

In essence, you are buying part of a cloud. A cloud many want to own a part of, for now. 

However, there is no substance, no intrinsic value except its “rarity*.”  As much as it is worth today, it could be valueless tomorrow and once it is valueless, it will never recover.

If you think Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies are a good investment or an acceptable gamble, buy them but understand, they are not currency, they are a piece of the cloud. 

You may make millions, but others will lose millions.  Millions of dollars, euros, pounds, yen…  The very things Bitcoin was meant to replace.

Jim Yates
President, First Education Federal Credit Union

* Rare only because there is a B21,000,000 supply limit, although this could be programmatically changed.

2021 Paycheck Protection Program Lending

As with the first round, First Education will be participating as a lender for both First Draw and Second Draw PPP lending. Most of the rules and qualifications remain the same for the first round. There are some important changes and businesses that received a PPP loan in 2020 can apply for a Second Draw loan. More information and the applications are available here. Please send any questions to ppp@firstedfcu.com.

COVID-19 Update

An employee tested positive for COVID-19 on 11/30/2020. Out of an abundance of caution, we required all employees they were in contact with to get tested. All of these employees tested negative.

This combined with our strict social distancing guidelines, leads us to believe the risk of member exposure is extremely low. This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

Remember to stay home if you feel sick, wash your hands often, keep at least 6 feet away from everyone not in your household, and wear a face covering whenever you are in public. Follow the guidelines of the Wyoming Department of Health at all times.

Stay healthy…

Why Masks are Important

Based on the best information we have, wearing face coverings helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. While face coverings may offer some protection for the wearer, they are meant to protect others. You could be infected and contagious and be unaware of it. Wearing a mask helps keep you from spreading the virus to others. Show your concern for others by wearing a mask.

As a sign of our commitment to keeping everyone healthy, we have required face coverings for everyone entering our building since we reopened our lobby. We will continue to do so until health officials advise otherwise.

Please remember to stay home if you or someone in your household feels ill, wash your hand regularly with soap and water, keep your distance, and wear a face covering whenever you are in public.

Thank you, Jim Yates

Celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth — also known as Freedom Day — has been a tradition in the United States for more than 150 years. The holiday finds its roots in Texas, where enslaved African-Americans in the city of Galveston were finally informed of their freedom on June 19, 1865, about two and half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia officially commemorate or observe Juneteenth; Texas, which made it a state holiday in 1980, was first to do so.

Juneteenth presents the perfect opportunity to explore black history and to start a discussion on race relations in America. Talking is a good start but don’t just talk. Make a real effort to make the world a better, more equitable place.

Lobby Now Open Regular Hours

Our lobby is once again open Monday through Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm. We are excited to take this big step toward getting back to business as usual. However, we are taking this step following the guidance of the Wyoming Health Department and as always, our top concern will be your health and the health of our other members and our employees.

We have deep cleaned our building, put up germ guards, and bought reusable-antibacterial masks for our staff. However, the design of our building makes social distancing difficult in our lobby. So, to protect everyone’s health, we will be wearing our masks and we expect you to be wearing a face covering, too.

As long as wearing a face covering is the recommendation of WHD, we will require anyone entering the credit union to wear one. If you do not have yours with you or you prefer not to wear one, please use the drive-up or call us. We will make arrangements to meet your needs.

Stay healthy – keep your distance and wash your hands.

Jim Yates, President