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FEATUREBy Scott SteinbergBarbara “Barbie” Bethel, a loan officer from the Tulsa branch, has three generations of Credit Union members in her family. She joined in 1999 with daughter Kayla Wingrove coming onboard in 2001. Kayla’s five-month-old baby boy, Maverick, became a member in February. Financial Independence: Invest in your family’s future Team member Barbie Bethel believes sharing financial advocacy and education isn't just a professional calling — it’s something to hand down to your family.Barbara “Barbie” Bethel cherishes the moments she witnesses her grandson, Maverick, conquer a new task. Picking his head up. Rolling over. Watching the joys of discovery and accomplishment — and seeing the awe in his sweet face — she knows he’s on the right track. As a loan officer at American Airlines Federal Credit Union, she’s actively involved in making sure he’s also on the right track financially.
She knows, and tells team members any chance she can, that providing greater financial security for your family is a gift that keeps on giving through the generations. And educating them on how to achieve financial stability allows loved ones to build stronger relationships and more readily achieve lifelong goals.American Airlines Federal Credit UnionAmerican Airlines Federal Credit Union offers a number of products – for each stage of life – that are designed to set members up with a solid financial foundation.
Savings:Whether you’re putting away money for a rainy day fund or setting aside funds to make a big purchase, a share savings account is a great way to start. The Credit Union offers several account options to fit different needs, but every Credit Union membership begins with share savings with dividends earned on every dollar.
uChecking: For younger Credit Union members, ages 13 and 25, this account is designed specifically with their needs in mind. With no monthly service fee with activity, no minimum balance requirement and up to $15 in ATM fee rebates if you meet the requirements, this is the perfect starter account for members who are beginning to manage their own money.
Checking: Checking accounts make it convenient to manage your money and your time. With easy 24/7 account access, direct deposit capability and access to online statements, you can manage your money at home or with your mobile device. Several account options are available to make checking easy and some offer additional benefits. Dream Plan: This long-term savings option offers a smart way to save for those bigger dreams. Whether it’s a down payment on a new car, a computer upgrade or a trip with your friends — you can start small with a $25 initial deposit then contribute at least $25 each month.
Education Savings Account: This account is designed to make contributions which are invested for the purpose of funding a student’s education. Though these contributions are not tax-deductible, they may earn tax-deferred interest until distributed. Bethel personally helps members create that financial stability. She’s a trusted teammate and community advocate who provides information and resources to Credit Union members every day — and that includes her own family. Discover more details here Maverick isn’t 1 year old yet, but he’s already on the right financial track, something his “Nana,” Barbie, and mother, Kayla, are proud to see.The proud grandmother recently helped with setting up a savings account for young Maverick, whose name is either an homage to the lead character in his dad’s favorite aviation movie, Top Gun, or from his mom’s inspiration for an “independent thinker.” It depends on who you ask.
“My goal as ‘Nana’ is to help him be financially stable to prepare for his future education and needs,” she said. “It just makes sense to share the benefits of the Credit Union with our family.”
Bethel is a firm believer in passing a passion for smart money management down through the ages. Not only does she herself hold personal lines of credit (“useful for unexpected repairs and emergency situations”), credit cards (“which provide awesome rewards and no international fees on travel”), and checking and savings accounts with the Credit Union, she also started savings accounts for her son, Justin, and daughter, Kayla Wingrove, when they were youngsters. “I started my savings account at the Credit Union when I was 10 years old and my checking account at 15,” Wingrove remembered. “I learned a lot about spending and saving money with my mom working at the Credit Union. I got my first credit card to build my credit when I went on a missions trip to Ireland. The Credit Union has greatly impacted our lives, and we are so grateful that God has blessed our finances.”
When Barbie helped her children open checking accounts, she knew that providing them the opportunity to make their own financial decisions early while under her care helped them develop sound financial habits.
Maverick’s dad, James Wingrove, is working toward becoming a pilot for American Airlines thanks to a line of credit with the Credit Union that helped finance his education and build his credit history.Likewise, Bethel also aided her son-in-law, James Wingrove, in opening a line of credit that’s helped finance his education and build his credit history. James is a member of Army National Guard and is pursuing an aerospace engineering degree and pilot license. He’s also working toward becoming a pilot for American Airlines. “We have also used the education line of credit that the Credit Union provides to finance James’ flight training,” Kayla Wingrove added. “It has helped him to become a private pilot.”
Bethel’s foresight into financial resources have proven to be helpful during recent demanding financial times the family has gone through. Following her husband’s unexpected furlough amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the birth of their grandson, Maverick, more liquid finances and flexibility were necessary. The preplanning and resources that Bethel uses with the Credit Union allowed them to maneuver the past two years with grace and enjoy Maverick’s arrival and all the precious moments that come with it … like his affinity for all things aviation.
“We like to joke that he’ll have his pilot’s license before he gets his driver’s license,” Bethel said and chuckled. “We’re very proud of all our children and our new grandson and providing financial education and membership to the Credit Union are just some of many ways my husband and I actively work to give back to them — and help them achieve all of their dreams.” “My job as 'Nana' is to help him be financially stable to prepare for his future education and needs.” — Barbara BethelEducating the next generation While Bethel feels her financial lessons are tried and true, she said there’s a new generation that might not have access to that information. That’s where she comes in. As a loan officer and a teacher for new hires who join the company, she loves helping members reach their full financial potential.
“It’s important to give back to others and teach people to live within their financial means,” Bethel said. “It’s important to build your financial strength, especially in challenging times like these.”
Extending membership and sharing the benefits of joining the Credit Union is just one of many ways that you can give back to those you care about, Bethel said. “There’s a huge focus on the family here and helping others in our community achieve their financial goals.”
Bethel said you can see the family atmosphere with the personal touches that members get when engaging personally with team members on the phone; the availability of online assistance with an eye toward money-minded education; and the opportunities they have to access all sorts of financial wellness programs. Scott Steinberg is an award-winning professional speaker and management professional. He is the bestselling author of Think Like a Futurist; Make Change Work for You; and Fast >> Forward: How to Turbo-Charge Business, Sales, and Career Growth.