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News Now

CU System
Does Facebook pose security issues for CUs
MADISON, Wis. (6/15/09)--With accounts of hackers and spammers infiltrating social networking sites such as Facebook, credit unions will be happy to learn that some of their colleagues using the sites for online banking have not experienced security problems. Parkview Community FCU, McKeesport, Pa., deployed an online banking application, MyMoney, through Facebook last year. MyMoney, by Fiserv, allows Facebook users to manage their credit union or bank accounts through their user profiles. MyMoney hasn’t attracted as many users as Parkview would like, but security has not surfaced as a problem. “We haven’t had anyone say why they don’t use it,” Lechelle Brown, Parkview business development specialist, told News Now. She noted that Parkview’s online banking system, PC Banking, is very popular. “That’s why we decided to use MyMoney,” she said. Parkview plans to keep the product and promote it. The credit union has seen a “boom” in youth opening up accounts at Parkview, and may send out a mass mailing to those members reminding them MyMoney is available. Brown, who uses MyMoney herself, said the application offers multi-layered security. To access MyMoney, a user must log into Facebook with a username and password, and then log into MyMoney with another username and password. Once inside MyMoney, the credit union’s members can view account balances, histories and transfer money--but only to accounts that have been previously approved. Members also can access their PC Banking service by clicking a link on MyMoney. If MyMoney doesn’t recognize the computer used, it will prompt members to answer security questions, Brown said. Because MyMoney allows only certain transactions, it could be tough for someone to steal money. “There’s only limited things you can do,” Brown said. She also noted that MyMoney users cannot see others’ balances or account information when using the application. Parkview tested MyMoney’s security when the application was first deployed to make sure it was safe, Brown said. In Danville, Va., Dan Veasey, Piedmont CU director of marketing, also deployed MyMoney for a trial last year. The credit union experienced no security issues with the application, but some of Piedmont’s younger members were nervous about banking through Facebook. “They knew people who could hack into others’ computers,” Veasey said. Veasey, who is a part-time web developer, said he tested the application’s security and didn’t notice any problems. “The problem isn’t necessarily Facebook--it’s the perception that things are at risk,” Veasey said. SIU CU, which also maintains Facebook, MySpace and Twitter profiles, has had no security issues or negative feedback, said Chris Sievers, marketing director of the Carbondale, Ill.-based credit union. Casey Braswell, marketing assistant at DATCU, Denton, Texas, also told News Now that no security issues have surfaced with Facebook or Twitter. Pioneer CU, Green Bay, Wis., which uses Facebook and Twitter, has not experienced any security problems or concerns from members regarding viruses, Michelle Kozak, Pioneer marketing specialist, told News Now. Pioneer CU does not use an online banking application through Facebook because it is looking into other banking tools, such as account aggregation. Kozak said media outlets often report on hackers and spammers infiltrating sites like Facebook, but said most Pioneer members who use Facebook are Web-savvy and understand that any viruses out there are not specific to the credit union. However, she noted that one member expressed a concern with Twitter. Pioneer, which has nearly 800 Twitter followers, used a community-oriented tool when it first signed up for Twitter to randomly add followers. One of the individuals Pioneer followed happened to be a member. The member contacted Pioneer, concerned that the credit union was specifically seeking out its members on Twitter. “We reassured him that it was completely a coincidence,” Kozak said. “We have more than 750 people who are following--we wouldn’t know or have time to see if they were all members.” Kozak emphasized that a situation like the one Pioneer encountered with a concerned member can be perceived as a good learning experience. Overall, Facebook and Twitter can be excellent tools for credit unions, Kozak said. “It’s a great fit for us,” she said. “We’re credit union people with personalities--not like stuffy banks. It’s what sets us apart.”
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