7 Benefits of a Credit Union Credit Card

FFNJ%208160%20m%20platinum%20card%20designs3-resized-600Here are seven reasons why consumers should consider using a credit union credit card:

1. You’re a member-owner. When you join a credit union you are a member-owner, not a customer, and this means you have the privilege of voting for the board of directors – volunteers who help lead the credit union.

First Financial Foundation – 2015 Call for Scholarship Entries

Happy group of studentsThis year, our non-profit organization the First Financial Foundation – will be awarding (4) $500 scholarships to high school seniors who apply on or before 11:59pm on July 3, 2015 for its Erma Dorrer Literary Scholarship. The Foundation will begin accepting entries on Monday, June 8, 2015.

Based on membership feedback, the Foundation Committee has realigned this year’s scholarship requirements and all 4 scholarships will be given to high school seniors, who have been accepted to a 2 or 4 year college and will be attending in the Fall of 2015.

Applicants must answer the following two-part question to qualify (the questions can be answered via written essay or short YouTube video clip):

What is the best piece of financial advice you ever received and why? Who gave you the advice, and how are you using it currently or to shape your financial future?

Applicants can submit either a written essay or video clip to answer the question. Essays should be no longer than two pages, double spaced in 11 point font. Video clips should be recorded and uploaded to YouTube prior to applying, and no more than 2 minutes in length. Creativity is encouraged!

To qualify:

  • Two $500 scholarships will be awarded to two First Financial members (must be a member as of December 31, 2014) who will attend (Fall 2015 Semester) a 2 or 4 year college anywhere within the country.  The student must also be a graduating high school senior from the class of 2015. *Selected recipients of the scholarship will receive the scholarship via a deposit into their First Financial account. No printed checks will be awarded.
  • Two additional $500 scholarships will be awarded to two graduating high school seniors from within the Freehold Regional High School District (Howell, Freehold Township, Freehold Boro, Colts Neck, Manalapan, or Marlboro High School), who will attend (Fall 2015 Semester) a 2 or 4 year college anywhere within the country.  The student must also be a graduating high school senior from the class of 2015. *The student does not have to be a First Financial member to apply for the scholarship, however in order to receive the $500 scholarship – the student will need to open a First Financial membership and should they be selected as a recipient of the scholarship, it will be directly deposited into their First Financial account only. No printed checks will be awarded.
  • Students accepted to trade or technical schools will not qualify for this scholarship.
  • A valid copy of either a college acceptance letter, student schedule, or registration confirmation must accompany all applications.

Winners will be announced and notified via email by 5pm on July 24, 2015.

Deadline for entry submission is 11:59pm on Friday, July 3rd.

*To apply, please email the essay or the link to your YouTube video to the First Financial Foundation at foundation@firstffcu.com, or you may send a printed copy of your essay or flash drive (these will not be returned to you), and supporting documentation to the First Financial Foundation at PO Box 1172, Toms River NJ 08754.  Please be sure to list your contact information on your entry including your full name, address, phone, email, name & location of high school you graduated from in 2015, membership number and date of membership (if applicable), where you will be attending college in the Fall 2015 Semester, any volunteer work you participate in, and a valid copy of either a college acceptance letter, student schedule, or registration confirmation to a 2 or 4 year college. 

**Children or relatives of First Financial employees or members of the Board of Directors, or those living within the same household as a First Financial employee or Board Member – are not eligible to apply for the Erma Dorrer Scholarship.

Good Luck!

First Financial Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for New Freehold/Howell Service Center

Press Release

1st Financial - Howell Grand Openeing

Pictured above: First Financial’s New Freehold/Howell Service Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Wall, N.J. – First Financial Federal Credit Union (www.firstffcu.com), a financial cooperative owned and operated by its members, recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the credit union’s newest branch at 389 Route 9 North (next to the Howell Park & Ride) in Freehold, NJ.

In attendance were several Howell Chamber of Commerce members including 2nd Vice President Tom Comer, Executive Director Susan Dominguez, John McGeehan from CentraState Health Care System, and Linda Apointe from Sam’s Club. Members of the First Financial Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee were also in attendance, as well as President/CEO Issa Stephan, realtor Marshall Kern, Freehold/Howell Branch Manager Dan Dunn, and members of the First Financial corporate office staff and Freehold/Howell branch staff.


Pictured above from left to right: Compliance and Risk Officer Jennifer Spector, AVP of Marketing Jessica Revoir, and E-Marketing Specialist Nicole Andretta

The week of the Grand Opening was highlighted with special offers and prizes for members and the community. “Our first priority is achieving our members’ financial dreams by defining their financial goals and lifestyle, empowering them with financial education, helping them to plan their retirement, and manage their risk – and our newest branch will be a key vehicle in helping us to fulfill this promise with our membership,” said President/CEO, Issa Stephan.

1st Financial - Howell Grand Openeing

Pictured above: First Financial staff with President/CEO Issa Stephan and Board Chair Gordon Holder

This branch will now be a primary banking location for approximately a quarter of the credit union’s 20,000 members and features many important banking conveniences such as a drive thru, drive up and walk up ATMs, and more to come.

More photos from the ceremony are available by following First Financial on Facebook at www.facebook.com/firstfinancialnj.

1st Financial - Howell Grand Openeing

Pictured above: President/CEO Issa Stephan and Board Chair Gordon Holder cut the grand opening ribbon.

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About First Financial Federal Credit Union:

First Financial Federal Credit Union (formerly Mon-Oc Federal Credit Union) is a not-for-profit financial cooperative whose goal is to provide the highest level of quality products and personalized services while maintaining financial integrity and stability.  Our vision is to be a long-term financial partner with our Members. While First Financial has a highly trained, professional staff using the latest technology, we also pride ourselves on our personal touch. Unlike huge banking conglomerates, policy setting and overall strategic direction of First Financial are overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of credit union members. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA. For more information on First Financial, visit www.firstffcu.com.

Learn How to Walk Out of the Dealership with a New Car and Your Wallet this June 2015

Looking to purchase a new vehicle, and still want to get a great deal and not burn a hole in your wallet? You’ve come to the right place – register for our upcoming FREE seminar where you will learn the in’s and out’s of car buying from negotiating price to financing your car. Join First Financial’s Lending Team, as they show you the ways to prepare for car shopping, how to avoid allowing your emotions from getting involved in the transaction, and much more.

Attending this seminar, you will learn:

  • How to prepare and do your homework before car shopping
  • Ways to handle aggressive sales people
  • How to watch for aftermarket add-on’s

Join us on Tuesday, June 9th at 6:00pm for our free consumer seminar titled, How to Walk Out of the Dealership With a New Car AND Your Wallet, presented by the experts at First Financial. The seminar will be held at our new Freehold/Howell branch located at 389 Route 9 North (Next to the Howell Park & Ride). We invite you to bring a guest but space is limited, so make sure you sign up today!


Local Alert: Skimming Device Found on Brick NJ Bank ATM

Woman entering her PIN at an ATMA skimming device was found on a local ATM in Brick, New Jersey at Ocean First Bank this past weekend.  To read the full article from the Asbury Park Press, click here.

Please be careful of such devices and be sure to protect yourself and your bank account by using the following steps:

  • Use secure ATM machines under video surveillance or inside of a bank lobby. They’re less likely to be tampered with!
  • Pay careful attention to what the card reader and keypad normally look like on the ATMs you use most frequently.
  • Don’t use an ATM if the card reader appears to be added on, fits poorly, or is loose. Some thieves place a fake box over the card slot that reads and records account and PIN numbers.
  • Call the customer service number on the ATM immediately if a machine appears suspicious or if it does not function properly.

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Check out First Financial’s ID Theft Protection products – with our Fully Managed Identity Recovery services, you don’t need to worry. A professional Recovery Advocate will do the work on your behalf, based on a plan that you approve. Should you experience an Identity Theft incident, your Recovery Advocate will stick with you all along the way – and will be there for you until your good name is restored and you can try it FREE for 90 days!*

Our ID Theft Protection options may include some of the following services, based on the package you choose to enroll in: Lost Document Replacement, Credit Bureau Monitoring, Score Tracker, and Three-Generation Family Benefit. To learn more about our ID Theft Protection products, click here and enroll today!**

*Available for new enrollments only. After the free trial of 90 days, the member must contact the Credit Union to opt-out of ID Theft Protection or the monthly fee of $4.95 will automatically be deducted out of the base savings account or $8.95 will be deducted out of the First Protection Checking account (depending upon the coverage option selected), on a monthly basis or until the member opts out of the program. 

**Identity Theft insurance underwritten by subsidiaries or affiliates of Chartis Inc. The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.

Learn About Marketing and Sales for Business at This Free Seminar in May 2015

Concept of trendAre you looking to learn new techniques to drive sales and publicize your company? Jack Gottlieb, President of the Total Solutions Group, Inc. will be providing top-notch information to help you market your business in this technological and aggressive economy. We invite business owners, those interested in starting a business and professionals in the marketing and sales fields to attend this informational seminar.

During this seminar, you will immerse into and apply the key elements of building a marketing strategy that will provide the foundation needed to build a business in today’s more competitive environment. This will include knowing your customer’s true needs, branding and gaining consistent leads as a result. From there you will develop a more strategic approach to maximizing sales opportunities and relationships with key customers.

Join us on Tuesday, May 12th at 8:30am for networking and a light breakfast followed by our seminar, “Marketing and Sales for Business.” The seminar will be held at First Financial’s Corporate Office located at 1800, Rt. 34 North, Building 3, Suite 302, Wall, NJ. Space is limited – register below.


Jack Gottlieb is the President of The Total Solutions Group, Inc. a strategic consulting, training and coaching firm committed to driving a sustainable increase to an organization’s results, value proposition and culture. Jack brings 14 years of proven high level success along with the collective capability of his team and advisory board. Jack has also been one of the highest ranked speakers at various state wide SHRM (Society of Human Resource Managers) Annual Conferences as well as the New Jersey Organizational Development Annual Conferences for the past 7 years. Jack also serves on the Executive Board Collegiate Empowerment which is an educational firm committed to driving systemic change and impact for Colleges and Universities. Jack also is actively involved with two universities. The first is Kutztown University where he is one of the key leaders of the College of Business Advisory Board to support their efforts in further development and expansion. The second is with Rider University with their Center for the Development of Leadership Skills.