1. In a few sentences, can you tell us about Ventura County Credit Union?
Ventura County Credit Union (VCCU) is the oldest and largest community credit union headquartered in Ventura County. Our mission is to deliver unparalleled services — from checking and savings accounts and credit cards to auto, personal, home loans and beyond — in order to improve the financial well being of our members and the community at large. VCCU has almost 70,000 members and over $700 million in assets.
2. What is a recent initiative that Ventura County Credit Union launched to connect with the local community?
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we raised money for the Ribbons of Life Breast Cancer Foundation — a nonprofit dedicated to providing breast cancer education, advocacy and support to Ventura County — throughout October. Employees wore pink every Wednesday and sold buttons to members to raise money. At the end of the month, we had raised a total of $2,545 for the foundation.
We are now in the midst of our can tree donation program, which raises money and food for FOOD Share, Inc. Our goal is to raise $15,000 and to build 30 can trees for the local foodbank.
3. Why did Ventura County Credit Union see a need to get involved with Moorpark Police Department’s “Operation Take Back the Pump”?
VCCU felt it was important to participate in any county-wide action that allowed us to help mitigate/thwart fraud attempts in our community. We are able to trace back several common points of compromise back to skimming devices at local fuel stations, which ultimately resulted in significant fraud losses for the credit union and posed an inconvenience to our members.
4. What feedback has Ventura County Credit Union received from this initiative?
As a result of the initiative, we, along with Ventura County law enforcement, businesses and federal agencies, were able to identify and remove three skimming devices from the community — all within the City of Thousand Oaks. Additionally, the initiative raised awareness on the issue of illegal skimming devices and served as a way to educate our members and the general public on ways to prevent identity theft at gas stations.
5. How can other financial institutions learn from this initiative?
Proactively working with law enforcement has provided relationship-building opportunities throughout the county. VCCU in particular has been able to build connections with our local law agencies. As a result, law enforcement is more apt to help track down other fraudulent reports on our behalf.
6. What results have you seen, if any, since the launch of “Operation Take Back the Pump?”
We still are seeing skimming devices show up from time to time. However, because of the relationships we have built through working with local law enforcement, we are able to identify the skimming location right away and therefore can act quickly to prevent future losses with our cardholders.