Winter 2024


Celebrating a Legacy, Embracing the Future: Welcoming Christie Smith as the New President/CEO

Christie Smith, CEO/President
Christie Smith, President/CEO, Acclaim FCU

It is with mixed emotions that we announce the retirement of our esteemed President and CEO, Valerie Marsh, after a remarkable career in the credit union industry since 1980. Valerie joined Acclaim FCU in 2002 as the VP of Accounting and ascended to the role of President/CEO in 2007. Under her visionary leadership, Acclaim has flourished, growing in assets from $23 million to an impressive $60 million in 2022.

Valerie’s dedication, strategic thinking, and commitment to our members have been the guiding lights steering Acclaim’s success over the years. As we bid farewell to Valerie, we are filled with gratitude for her contributions and wish her a fulfilling retirement.

Now, as we transition to an exciting new chapter, it is our pleasure to introduce Christie Smith as the incoming President/CEO of Acclaim FCU. Christie brings over two decades of invaluable experience in the credit union 

industry, with a multifaceted journey at Acclaim since 2016. Her roles in accounting, HR, and operations have equipped her with a comprehensive understanding of our organization.

In 2019, Christie assumed the pivotal position of Chief Administrative Officer, where she demonstrated exceptional leadership, overseeing day-to-day operations and preparing the groundwork for the challenges and opportunities ahead. In 2023, she seamlessly stepped into the role of Interim CEO/President, and we are delighted to announce that the Board has officially appointed her as President/CEO effective January 1, 2024.

Christie Smith is not only an innovator but a forward-thinker who prioritizes the needs and perspectives of our members. Her dedication to providing the products and services that our members both need and deserve reflects our commitment to serving you better.

We express our deepest gratitude to Valerie Marsh for her years of service and welcome Christie Smith to her new role. As we begin this new chapter under Christie’s leadership, we are excited about the fresh perspective and innovative ideas she brings to the table.

Thank you for your continued trust in Acclaim FCU.

Valerie Marsh, Former President/CEO, Acclaim FCU

How do I Prepare for Tax Season?

Prep for Tax Season Success
Q: Help–tax season is coming! How do I best prepare?

A:It’s great that you’ve started getting ready for tax season way before the deadline, but it sure can be overwhelming. No worries, though; we can help! Here’s how to prepare for tax season.

Gather your documents

The first step in prepping for tax season is to gather all the necessary documents. Depending on your personal circumstances, these can include:

  • W-2 forms
  • 1099 forms
  • Receipts and invoices
  • Mortgage and loan documents
  • Investment statements
  • Business income and expenses
  • Other miscellaneous income

Organize your finances

Store all your documents and receipts in a folder, binder or digital file so you can access them whenever necessary. This will help ensure you don’t miss any deductible expenses.

Prepare your personal information

In addition to your income information, you’ll need the Social Security number and date of birth of each dependent you claim. It’s a good idea to have this info, and any other details your tax preparer will need, ready before you start your return. 

Review tax law changes

The tax code changes every year, and some of this year’s modifications may impact your tax situation. Be sure to review the most recent updates so you can take advantage of any new deductions or credits. 

Determine your filing status

Your filing status determines the tax rates and the standard deduction you’re eligible to take. Choose the status that best fits your situation. The most common filing statuses are:

  • Single
  • Married filing jointly
  • Married filing separately
  • Head of household
  • Qualifying widow(er)

Learn the deadlines

It’s important to be aware of tax filing deadlines. For most individuals, the deadline to file federal income taxes is April 15th. If the 15th is on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is typically extended to the next business day. 

Choose your filing method

You can file a paper tax return and mail it to the IRS, use tax prep software like TurboTax or H&R Block, hire a professional tax preparer or e-file your return on your own.

Plan for next year

Finally, use the tax season as an opportunity to plan for the future. Consider adjusting your tax withholding to avoid owing large sums at tax time or receiving large refunds. 

You’re ready to file your taxes!

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Your Complete Guide to Santa Shock Recovery

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Navigating the North Pole Aftermath

The holidays are over, and with the start of a new year, we are often dealt a case of “Santa shock”. Its main symptoms are the result of the house and daily schedule being in disarray as well as those first post-holiday credit card statements haunting you as the ghosts of purchases past!

The good news is, all it takes is some self-care and planning to make a full recovery from Santa shock. Here are four ways you can bounce back from the post-holiday slump.

Declutter and reorganize

Get your house organized! To ease the overwhelm, move all the holiday clutter into one area. Then make a list of all you need to do to get your home looking liveable. Finally, enlist the help of all household members to divide and conquer it all. In no time, your living space will be looking neat and organized again.

Reestablish routine

Getting back into a normal post-holidays routine can be challenging, but the sooner you start, the easier it’ll be to get back into real life. Set a regular sleep schedule, plan balanced meals and reintegrate exercise into daily life. Returning to a structured routine will help you feel more grounded and reduce the disorientation that often accompanies the post-holiday season.

Help your budget recover

Get your budget back on track after the holidays with these tips:

  • Consider a no-spend month. Resolve to only spend money on what you truly need for an entire month after the holidays. This will help your budget get back on track quickly.
  • Assess your holiday spending. Take a look at how much you spent so you have an idea of how much you’ll need to pay off sooner than later.
  • Make a plan for any carryover debt. If you put a bit too much on credit (meaning “borrowed money”) during the holidays, make a plan to pay it off as soon as possible. 
  • Consider opening a holiday club account for next year. A holiday club account will allow you to spread the cost of the holidays across the rest of year to help pay for all of the season’s expenses without taking on debt. 

Prioritize self-care

The holidays can leave you feeling drained. To fully recover from Santa shock, prioritize self-care in the weeks after the holidays. This may mean reading a book, meeting friends for coffee or indulging in a spa day. Whatever revives you!

Follow the tips outlined here to recover from Santa shock and transition smoothly back into real life.

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Your voice matters

Acclaim FCU will hold its Annual Meeting of Members on Friday, March 22, 2024, at 12:00 PM. This year’s meeting will be in person with a virtual option. If you would like to attend this meeting, please email Admin@AcclaimFCU.org for registration information. Elections will be held at the meeting to fill three seats on the Board of Directors. The nominating committee has made nominations for vacancies on the Board. The election will not be conducted by ballot and there will be no nominations from the floor when the number of nominees equals the number of positions to be filled. However, additional nominations may be made by petition prior to the meeting.

To be nominated by petition, a completed petition signed by at least 56 members must be submitted to the Board Secretary no later than Sunday, February 11, 2024 at the following address:  

David Dalton, Nominating Committee, Acclaim FCU, PO Box 29527, Greensboro, NC 27429. 

If you would like more information about submitting a petition, please contact Christie Smith at the credit union office. 


Keith Taylor, Incumbent

Keith retired from Kontoor Brands as a customer service professional. He’s been a board member since 1999 and the Acclaim Treasurer since 2001. Keith has also been an ALCO member since 2001 and currently serves as ALCO chair. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration concentration in Accounting from ECU.

Bruce Wiley, Incumbent

Bruce retired from VF as Director of Forecasting and Planning and obtained CPIM and CSCP certifications. He served on the Supervisory Committee from 2003 to 2004 and has been a board member since 2005. Bruce has served as Board, Chair, Board Vice Chair and has been on the ALCO committee since 2007. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Masters of
Business Administration.

Tommy Riggins, Incumbent

Tommy is an Account Executive at Dynamic Quest who is the managed IT provider for Acclaim. Tommy has worked with Acclaim for their IT needs and consulting over the last 15 years. He’s been an Acclaim board member since 2018 and an ALCO member since 2019. Tommy is a resident of Trinity, NC where he volunteers as a Scoutmaster for a local Boy Scout Troop. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and minors in Marketing and Management from Appalachian State University.

Budget-friendly Meals Under $8

Cheesy Baked Tortellini with Meat Sauce
cheesy tortellini bake
A delicious, easy dinner option that will have everyone begging for doubles!


  • 20 ounces tortellini
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 24 ounce jar of pasta sauce
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • ½ cup parmesan, shredded


  1. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 baking pan.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef, breaking apart large pieces with a wooden spoon. 
  4. Drain beef and stir in pasta sauce and cream cheese. Let mixture simmer for a few minutes until the sauce is well incorporated. 
  5. Gently toss the cooked tortellini with the sauce mixture and pour into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan. 
  6. Bake uncovered on center rack for 20 minutes. Turn oven to broil and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until cheese turns golden brown. 

Yield: 6 servings 

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 30 min


January 1, 2024 - New Years Day

January 15, 2024 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

February 19, 2024 - President's Day
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Address: P.O. Box 29527
Greensboro, NC 27429
Telephone: 336.332.5302
Toll-Free: 888.794.1001
Email: Admin@AcclaimFCU.org

Lost/Stolen Credit Card: 888.241.2510
Lost/Stolen Debit Card: 888.241.2510
Fax: 336.332.4103

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