News Now

April 18, 2014

NCUA a-Twitter with fin. lit. chat

Washington
WASHINGTON (4/18/14)--Interested in sharing best practices for helping members increase their financial literacy? The National Credit Union Administration has set an April 23 Twitter chat on the issue.

The NCUA Financial Literacy Twitter chat is scheduled to take place between 11 a.m. and noon ET. The event will be hosted by Kenneth Worthey, financial literacy and outreach analyst with NCUA's Office of Consumer Protection.

Followers can take part in the conversation by watching the agency's @TheNCUA Twitter feed and the #NCUAChat hashtag. Participants can also submit questions before the chat to socialmedia@ncua.gov.

The Twitter chat is part of the NCUA's National Financial Capability Month activities. This month, the NCUA has also used its consumer-oriented Twitter feed @MyCUgov to share personal finance tips with the public, and hosted a financial literacy webinar to share best practices.

The NCUA Twitter talk will take place during National Credit Union Youth Week, April 20-26. Sunny beaches and rolling waves are a part of this year's theme, which encourages young potential credit union members to "Catch the $ave Wave." During the week, credit unions will engage and encourage younger members to set up savings accounts, learn how to manage money and be more financially literate.

Credit unions nationwide may join in the celebration through April, or even just during National Credit Union Youth Week. ReadMore

Stress testing for large CUs, common bond proposal on next NCUA agenda

Washington

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (4/18/24)--A final stress testing rule for large credit unions will lead the agenda when the National Credit Union Administration holds its April open meeting next Thursday.

Under a proposed version of the stress test regulation released last year, federally insured credit unions with assets exceeding $10 billion would be required to develop and maintain capital plans, and undergo annual stress tests.

The stress test requirements, drafted by the agency's Office of National Examinations and Supervision, would require impacted credit unions to conduct specific capital analyses to evaluate how changes in variables, parameters and inputs used by credit unions in their capital plans could affect their capital. Credit unions would also need to test how interest rate shocks of at least plus or minus 300 basis points would affect their net economic value.

"While we acknowledged the utility of stress testing, we did not feel a new rule was necessary or that NCUA had substantiated the need for it," Credit Union National Association Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn said.

CUNA offered recommendations that would help improve the proposal, including:

  • Stress test results should not be disclosed publicly;
  • Sanctions should not apply if planning or test benchmarks are not met; and
  • Rejection of a credit unions' capital plan should only occur under a formal process.

Other items on the agenda include:

  • A new proposal that would address requirements for multi-group credit unions to add associational groups;
  • A board briefing on a proposed interagency policy statement addressing joint diversity standards for regulated entities;
  • A board briefing on a proposed interagency rule on loans in areas having special flood hazards;
  • The quarterly National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund report;
  • A final rule on the electronic filing of financial reports; and
  • A final rule on liquidity and contingency funding plans.

The Thursday open meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. (ET).

Two federal credit union act requests are on the closed board meeting agenda.

For the full NCUA agenda, use the resource link.

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Carolina CUs, armed with membership numbers, call on lawmakers

Washington
WASHINGTON (4/18/14)--"Preparation is key to effective visits with legislators," Carolinas Credit Union League Director of Government Relations Billy Boylston said this week, highlighting how the Credit Union National Association's Project Zip Code (PZC) helped advocates from Palmetto Citizens FCU, Columbia, S.C., prepare for their visits to the nearby South Carolina State House.

The $602 million-asset credit union provided a summary document that includes membership data by legislative district taken from PZC documentation. "Palmetto Citizens has done a great job preparing and presenting information, and it shows in legislators' responses," Boylston added (In the Loop April 17).

Credit unions can also use PZC to better track their membership and to plan future ATM and branching expansion. Project Zip Code protects the privacy of credit union members, as only membership totals per legislative district and county, and not information on individual members, are transmitted from credit unions to the PZC database.

The number of credit union members matched to their respective legislative districts and counties by CUNA's PZC software has reached another milestone: 82.7 million members. Around 700,000 of these matches have been made in the month-plus since the 2014 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference.

The PZC version 14.0 software was introduced during this year's GAC.

The software, and the data gleaned from it, can give credit union supporters a great advantage as they work to advocate for credit unions and their members. The data will be vital as this fall's election season comes into full swing.

PZC data allows CUNA, the leagues and credit unions to show elected officials how many credit union members are among their constituents with very clear numbers. "The more credit unions that participate in Project Zip Code, the more accurate these membership counts will be," said Kristen Prather, CUNA grassroots manager and day-to-day PZC manager.

For more Project Zip Code information, use the resource link. ReadMore

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New video provides NCUA answers to CUs' RBC questions

Washington
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (4/18/14)--A two-part, 20-minute video has been released by the National Credit Union Administration, one that is intended to help federally insured credit unions with questions about the agency's proposed risk-based capital rule.

The new NCUA resource for credit unions is free and available on its YouTube channel (see resource link).

"NCUA's risk-based capital proposal is complex, but its overall purpose is simple," NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said in a release. The video, she said, clears up "misinformation," explains why the agency believes the rule is necessary, and how it would affect credit unions. It also, she added, helps credit unions understand how and why the NCUA's proposal differs from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s rule and Basel III.

Comments on the RBC plan are due to the agency by May 28.  The Credit Union National Association and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions continue to urge a 90-day extension to the comment deadline.  (See related story: CUNA, NAFCU jointly repeat urging for RBC comment extension.)

CUNA has extensive resources for credit unions regarding the RBC plan.  Use the resource link. ReadMore

CUNA, NAFCU jointly repeat urging for RBC comment extension

Washington
WASHINGTON (4/18/14)--Joining forces, the Credit Union National Association and National Association of Federal Credit Unions Thursday urged a 90-day extension for the comment period for the National Credit Union Administration's risk-based capital plan (RBC), set to elapse on May 28.
 
Both organizations previously asked for just such an extension back in February, and it was denied by the agency. 
 
"We simply do not believe that the comment period provides sufficient time for a number of credit unions to analyze the proposal's impact on their individual operations and prepare their responses,"  CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney and NAFCU President/CEO Dan Berger wrote to the NCUA board members.
 
"Given the health of the credit union system, we do not see the need to rush this rule and believe more time for comments will also benefit the agency through the production of well-reasoned letters," the credit unions leaders argued.
 
The joint letter called the RBC plan the "most significant proposed rulemaking that credit unions will face this year and likely for years to come." It noted that credit unions already are struggling, in some cases, to meet an onslaught of new regulatory requirements this year, and need additional time to provide the NCUA with substantive comments on the RBC plan that reflect their particular situations.
 
CUNA strongly supports risk-based capital for credit unions, but warns that the NCUA's current proposal is not the approach to take. CUNA analysis shows that, as written, the NCUA plan could force credit unions to hold as much as $7.3 billion in additional capital.
 
As described in the Federal Register, the NCUA proposal would revise the risk-weights for many of the NCUA's current asset classifications, require higher minimum levels of capital for federally insured natural-person credit unions with concentrations of assets in real estate loans, member business loans (MBLs) or higher levels of delinquent loans; and set forth the process for the NCUA to require an individual federally insured natural-person credit union to hold higher levels of risk-based capital to address unique supervisory concerns raised by NCUA.
 
It would apply to credit unions with $50 million or more in assets. ReadMore

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April Legislative Update Webcast covers capital, housing, patent reform status

Washington
WASHINGTON (4/18/14)--In the April edition of the Credit Union National Association's "Legislative Update Webcast," CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan gives a quick update on five essential credit union issues: Capital reforms, housing finance reforms, merchant data breaches, patent reforms and regulatory burdens.

This list of issues, when combined with others such as interchange and overdraft protections, represents a number of topics that could come up "on any given day" for credit unions on Capitol Hill. There are plenty of things CUNA hopes Congress will take care of, and other things they hope Congress won't touch, Donovan emphasized.

Each month, CUNA's legislative update webinar breaks down vital information on top congressional concerns into an easy to access and understand format.

The May edition of the legislative update webinar will be released in early May in advance of that month's Hike the Hill meetings.

For the full 15-minute April webinar, use the resource link. ReadMore

Technical difficulty disrupts News Now distribution

Washington
WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (4/18/14)--(Editor's note: Due to technical problems with our website operations Thursday--now resolved--emails of the daily News Now headlines were not distributed as per usual at 5 a.m. (ET). The news on the CUNA homepage was not updated. News Now regrets the inconvenience to readers. Now that the technical problems have been resolved, News Now is back on schedule.) ReadMore

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News of the Competition (04/18/2014)

Market
  • WASHINGTON (4/18/14)--The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has posted a nine-page document meant to give Wall Street firms a blueprint for preparing to address examiners questions about how the firms detect and prevent cyber attacks (Reuters April 16). The document suggest firms should be ready to list when they detected malware, any "denial of service" attacks they've been victim to, or if they have had a network breach since January 2013. By making its examiner questionnaire public, the SEC gives up on the element of surprise that examiners sometimes like to use. The decision instead gives SEC-registered financial firms what the article calls "a rare chance" to prepare. Cybersecurity has been a hot policy topic for a dozen or more years but has come under heightened scrutiny in the wake of recent attacks on major companies, such as Target Corp. and the Neiman Marcus Group ...
  • BENTONVILLE, Ark. (4/18/14)--Wal-Mart is launching a new service that it claims will reduce the fees consumers pay for money transfers (BusinessInsider, Reuters April 17). Called Walmart-2-Walmart and expected to launch next week, Wal-Mart said Thursday that Euronet Worldwide Inc. would run the service through its Ria Money Transfer subsidiary. BusinessInsider reported that Walmart-2-Walmart cusomters will be about to make a $50 transfer for $4.50 and a transfer of up to $900 for a $9.50 fee. The publication said that a $900 transfer could cost as much as $76 elsewhere.  After Wal-Mart broke its news, the shares of Western Union shares dropped 4%,  those of MoneyGram International Inc. were down by 15.6%, and Euronet was up 4.4%, Reuters said ...
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Business Rates

Market
Daily Financial Rates -- 2014-04-16

Financial Rates


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

03:55 AM CDT

TREASURY YIELD CURVE
(based on the $1 million market)

TermWed
4/16
Tue
4/15
Mon
4/14
Fri
4/11
Thu
4/10
1 month0.030.030.040.030.03
3 month0.040.040.040.040.04
6 month0.050.060.060.060.05
1 year0.110.100.090.090.10
2 year0.390.370.370.370.37
3 year0.840.820.800.810.85
5 year1.631.611.581.591.65
7 year2.182.182.162.172.24
10 year2.642.652.632.652.71
20 year3.203.233.223.243.31
30 year3.463.483.483.523.57

TREASURY BILLS

Results of the April 14, 2014 auction of short-term U.S. government bills, sold at a discount from face value in units of $10,000 to $ 1 million

TermLatest
Mon, 4/14
Week Ago
Mon, 4/7
13 weeks0.0350.030
26 weeks0.0500.050

PRIME RATE

3.25% Last changed December 16, 2008

FEDERAL FUNDS

TermWed
4/16
Tue
4/15
Mon
4/14
Fri
4/11
Thu
4/10
high0.3120.3120.3120.3120.312
low0.0600.0500.0500.0500.050
near closing bid0.0500.0500.0500.0600.050
offered0.2800.0800.2800.0800.080
effective rate20.1400.1100.1100.1100.120

FREDDIE MAC (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

TermWed
4/16
Tue
4/15
Mon
4/14
Fri
4/11
Thu
4/10
30 year0.000.000.000.000.00

FANNIE MAE (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

TermWed
4/16
Tue
4/15
Mon
4/14
Fri
4/11
Thu
4/10
30 year3.9063.8773.8663.8983.939

LIBOR

TermWed
4/16
Tue
4/15
Mon
4/14
Fri
4/11
Thu
4/10
1 month0.151400.151700.152200.152500.15090
3 month0.226350.228650.226450.227050.22755
6 month0.320900.322700.322000.324000.32650
1 year0.545500.546500.546000.548500.55300

COMMERCIAL PAPER (Financial, 90 days)

TermWeek ended
4/15
Week ended
4/8
90 days0.230.23

NA: Data not available at time of page generation (shown at top of page)

Sources:
Wall Street Journal
U.S. Dept. of the Treasury


All rates are from the previous business day unless otherwise noted. ReadMore

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Consumer Rates

Market

Daily Rate Comparison

Informa Research Services, Inc.
Deposit Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
12 Month CD $10,000 0.44% 0.28% 0.16%
Personal Savings $1,000 0.22% 0.10% 0.12%
Personal Interest Checking $2,500 0.34% 0.15% 0.19%
NSF Fee $27.74 $30.73 $-2.99
Personal MMDA $2,500 0.17% 0.10% 0.07%
Business MMDA $2,500 0.17% 0.09% 0.08%

Consumer Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Unsecured Personal Loan - $5,000 - 4 Years 10.21% 10.46% -0.25%
New Auto Loan - 5 Years 2.59% 3.70% -1.11%
Used Auto Loan - 2 year Old - 4 Years 2.77% 3.96% -1.19%
HELOC - 80% LTV - $50,000 4.20% 4.41% -0.21%
HE Loan - 80% LTV - $50,000 - 15 Years 5.72% 6.08% -0.36%

Mortgage Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
30 Year Fixed Conforming 4.30% 4.34% -0.04%
30 Year Fixed Jumbo 4.45% 4.25% 0.20%
5/1 Year ARM Conforming 2.95% 2.89% 0.06%

Credit Card Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Platinum 9.07% 10.85% -1.78%
Annual Fee $21.67 $58.20 $-36.53
Maximum Late Fee $25.83 $33.38 $-7.55
Reward 9.87% 12.08% -2.21%
Annual Fee $26.71 $102.13 $-75.42
Maximum Late Fee $22.74 $32.99 $-10.25

Indirect Auto Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Indirect A Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 3.67% 3.71% -0.04%
Indirect B Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 5.41% 5.29% 0.12%
Indirect C Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 7.63% 6.67% 0.96%

Averages displayed are straight averages of all institutions within the Informa Research Services database for the selected region as of Tuesday, April 15, 2014. For detailed disclosures click here.

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Credit default rates drop across U.S. in March: Experian

Market
NEW YORK CITY (4/18/14)--Credit throughout the U.S. appears to be on the mend, as credit default numbers across the board dropped in March, according to the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices (Experian.com April 15).

The composite index, which comprises all credit types, recorded its lowest post-recession rate last month at 1.2%. First mortgage default rates fell to 1.3%, the lowest since September 2006, and second-mortgage defaults fell to 0.6%.

Both auto loan and bank card credit default rates experienced historic lows in March as well, at 0.99% and 2.73% respectively.

"Along with signs that the economy is improving, consumer credit default rates continue to gradually decline," said David M. Blitzer, S&P Dow Jones Indices Index Committee chair and managing director.

The indices also track five major metropolitan statistical areas: New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Miami. All five saw decreases in credit default rates and have seen substantial improvements over levels in March of last year.  

Improvements in consumer confidence and the labor market, as well as a boost in retail sales, may have driven the decline. Default rates have fallen to pre-recession levels, the report said.

Rising levels of auto and student loans, meanwhile, could lead to higher levels of default in the near future, according to Experian.com. ReadMore

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Jobless claims level off, remain at 7-year low

Market
WASHINGTON (4/18/14)--After initial jobless claims fell to a 7-year low last week, claims inched up by 2,000 this week to 304,000, according to numbers released by the Labor Department Thursday (Economy.com April 17).

Though, with analysts actually expecting a higher increase in claims, the data supports a pervading belief that, while still fairly weak, the job market is strengthening.

"Claims are suggesting a net pick-up in employment relative to last year's average," Jim O'Sullivan, High Frequency Economics' U.S. chief economist wrote (MarketWatch.com April 17).

Added analysts from RDQ Economics: "The jobless claims data also suggest the labor market may be making progress toward the Fed's labor market objective more quickly than many policymakers expect."

The four-week moving average fell to 312,000 from 316,750, and continuing claims for those who apply for unemployment benefits for at least a second straight week fell 11,000 to 2.74 million for the week ending April 5.

Analysts say the data also shows a downward trend in the rate of layoffs, compounding stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that revealed that the layoff-rate sits at an all-time low for the survey used, which dates back to 2000 (Economy.com April 17).

The number of hires continues to rise, but only at a slow pace, as they have only reached mid-2008 levels.

Moody's analysts expect the unemployment rate to bottom at 6.3% at year's end, with monthly job gains above 250,000 per month by that point and just below 300,000 per month by the middle of 2015. ReadMore

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CU System briefs (04/18/2014)

CU System
  • SEATAC, Wash. (4/18/14)--Financial institutions should seek legal advice, assess their staffing capability and anti-money-laundering expertise, consider the practicalities of handling more cash than usual, and think about the possible reputational risks involved before deciding to provide banking services to marijuana businesses, Scott Jarvis, director of Washington's Department of Financial Institutions, and Linda Jekel, DFI's director of credit unions, said at the Northwest Credit Union Association's (NWCUA) Leadership Symposium in Portland, Ore., the NWCUA reported on its blog. Guidance issued earlier this year by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) does not change federal law, Jarvis and Jekel said. But "there is a difference between a law and a decision whether to enforce it," they said. The DFI noted that its position on basic banking services for Liquor Control Board-licensed marijuana producers, processors and retailers is a public safety priority to prevent large amounts of cash being subject to armed robbery and money laundering for racketeering purposes ...
     
  • HARRISBURG, Pa. (4/18/14)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association has agreed to be a supporter of the 2014 Reinventing Older Communities Conference: Bridging Growth and Opportunity, presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (Life is a Highway April 17). The national conference will be held May 12-14 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. More than 450 professionals from financial institutions and community development programs will attend. Credit unions can attend sessions such as "Oh, How the Housing Market Has Changed;" "Entrepreneurs Reinventing Cities;" "Innovations to Promote Financial Inclusion;" New Partners, New Roles;" "Innovations in Funding and Financing" and "New Lending Opportunities in the Changed Mortgage Market." Speakers include representatives of the Federal Reserve, Harvard University, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Brookings Institution, Ford Foundation and Moven  ...

     
  • ALBANY, N.Y. (4/18/14)--State Sen. Terry Gipson (D-Rhinebeck) met with members of the Credit Union Association of New York's Catskill-Hudson Chapter Tuesday. The group discussed prize-linked savings accounts, the importance of strong state credit union charters, municipal deposits and the significant role of community development financial institutions (The Point April 17). Gipson encouraged attendees to continue to advocate on behalf of New York's credit unions as the league readies for its upcoming state Governmental Affairs Conference. "The senator expressed his strong support for credit unions and indicated that he would support many of these bills when they are brought before the Senate," said Rick Mantey, chapter president and president/CEO of Ulster FCU, Kingston, with $104 million in assets. From left, Lisa Morris, director of marketing, Hudson Valley FCU, Poughkeepsie, with $3.6 billion in assets; Ron Flaherty, president/CEO, TEG FCU, Poughkeepsie, with $200 million in assets; Mantey; Gipson; Michelle McCourt, president/CEO, Bridgeway FCU, Poughkeepsie, with $74 million in assets; Mike Ciriello, president/CEO, Hudson Heritage FCU, Middletown, with $301 million in assets; and Kathy Ferrusi, senior community relations coordinator, Hudson Valley FCU. (Credit Union Association of New York photo) ...
     
  • JACKSON, Miss. (4/18/14)--Mississippi FCU, a $94 million-asset credit union in Jackson, announced its replacement for outgoing president Marilyn Hobson (CU Connection April 16). Hobson will retire this summer after 20 years at the credit union. Mike Lightsey, who has been a credit union member for nearly 30 years, was appointed by the board to be the new president. Lightsey has been on the board for 13 years, including three stints as board chairman. He recently retired as chief financial officer from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson ...
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Ky. latest state to enact data breach protection

CU System
WASHINGTON (4/18/14)--As the Credit Union National Association continues to work on data security issues at the federal level, states are making progress with laws to protect and inform consumers about data security.
 
Last week, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed H.B. 232 into law, making Kentucky the 47th state to enact data breach notification legislation. With Beshear's signature, there are only three states left--Alabama, New Mexico and South Dakota--that do not have laws requiring companies to inform consumers about data breaches.
 
Under Kentucky's new law, companies that conduct business in the state and maintain consumer data of state residents are required to disclose data breaches involving the unauthorized acquisition of residents' unencrypted computerized data. Companies are required to disclose the breach in the "most expedient time possible" and "without unreasonable delay." Additionally, companies are required to notify consumer reporting agencies and credit bureaus if the breach affects more than 1,000 individuals.
 
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad recently signed S.F. 2259 into law, which amended the state's Personal Information Security Breach Protection statute (JD Supra April 17). It requires written notice be provided to the Iowa Attorney General's office regarding a breach of security affecting 500 or more Iowa residents no later than five business days after notice of the breach. It also expands the term "breach of security" to include unauthorized acquisition of personal information "maintained by a person in any medium, including on paper, that was transferred by the person to that medium from computerized form."
 
A dozen more states have pending legislation that would amend and enhance existing state laws regarding security breaches.
 
During its recent Government Relations Rally, the California Credit Union League focused on the Consumer Data Breach Protection Act (See Wednesday's News Now: Card, member protection headline Calif. league rally.) A.B. 1710 has similar notification and retailer liability provisions to Iowa and Kentucky's newly enacted laws, but it adds mandatory credit monitoring services for those affected and civil penalties of up to $500 per violation or $3,000 for a willful or reckless violation (National Law Review April 17).
 
The Credit Union National Association found that credit unions incurred $30.6 million in costs directly related to last year's Target data security breach--not including fraud costs--and is pressing federal lawmakers to address data security relative to merchants, who are not held to the same standards of security as credit union and other financial institutions.
 
One of the reasons why the pre-trial activities for the Target class action lawsuits have been consolidated in Minnesota is because of state statutes that prohibit merchants or businesses from retaining magnetic-strip information captured during a transaction, require reimbursement to financial institutions for reissuing cards, and communicate "in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay" if a breach occurs. ReadMore

KCUA notes 2013 success at 79th annual meeting

CU System

WICHITA, Kan. (4/18/14)--The Kansas Credit Union Association (KCUA) celebrated inspiration, creativity and innovation at its 79th annual meeting and convention last weekend in Wichita.
 

The following honors were awarded:

Henry Peterson Professional of the Year James Holt, president/CEO, MidAmerican CU, Wichita, center, with Don Homan, board chair, Kansas Credit Union Association, and Marla Marsh, KCUA president/CEO. (Kansas Credit Union Association photo)

Angie Reed, marketing/business development manager, Kansas State University FCU, Manhattan, won the KCUA innovation contest for credit unions that have created, inspired or innovated in their communities. The $65 million-asset credit union partnered with Flint Hills Community Clinic, a volunteer-supported clinic that serves low income and uninsured people in Riley County. The credit union's efforts increased awareness of the clinic and raised more than $8,500.
 
Bill Cheney, president/CEO, Credit Union National Association, and U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Wichita) were invited speakers.
 
The executive committee and board members were elected at the business meeting:

  • Henry Peterson Professional of the Year: James Holt, president/CEO, MidAmerican CU, Wichita, with $219 million in assets;
     
  • John Michener Volunteer of the Year: Ronald Kelley (posthumously), Catholics United CU, Hutchinson, with $173,000 in assets;
     
  • Political Involvement Award: Greg Winkler, president/CEO, Educational CU, Topeka, with $185 million in assets;
     
  • KCUA Hall of Fame: John Michener (1894-1986), co-founder and president of the Kansas Credit Union League, and founder of Wichita City Teachers CU; and Henry Peterson (1893-1984), co-founder of the Kansas Credit Union League, founder of CU of Dodge City and organizer of more than 200 credit unions in Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado.

Other board members are Garth Strand, president/CEO, Hutchinson CU, ; James Nastars, president/CEO, Meritrust CU, Wichita; Jim Holt, president/CEO, MidAmerican CU, Wichita; Denise Bonner, manager, Wakarusa Valley CU, Lawrence; Brenda Kliewer, manager, McPherson CO-OP CU; and Rosa Saenz, senior vice president, Golden Plains CU, Garden City.
 
Homan also is chair of Shared Financial Solutions' board.
 
Tied to its annual meeting, KCUA shared its 2013 annual report that noted the league offered more than 190 training opportunities, provided nearly $9,400 in scholarships, launched a redesigned website, created an Innovation and Implementation Lab, and recognized 137 credit union staff and volunteers who earned 497 certifications from CUNA's self-study programs.

  • Chair: Don Homan, Frontier Community CU, Leavenworth;
  • Vice chair: John Beverlin, president/CEO, Mainstreet CU, Lenexa; and
  • Secretary/treasurer: Vickie Hurt, president, Quest CU, Topeka.
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Weokie CU battens down hatches with new storm shelters

CU System
OKLAHOMA CITY (4/18/14)--An Oklahoma-based credit union hasn't only promised to keep its members' money safe, it's also pledged to keep the members themselves safe as well (The Journal Record April 11).

The board of directors at Weokie CU, Oklahoma City, with $929 million in assets, recently voted to install storm shelters at nearly all of the credit union's branches to protect members in an area quite vulnerable to tornadoes.

Brent Taylor, Weokie president, said the idea to build the shelters was spurred by the events of last May when a tornado ripped apart a Tinker FCU branch building, while eight credit union members and 14 employees took cover inside the safe deposit box vault.

Tinker, with $3.1 billion in assets, is also based out of Oklahoma City.

"The board was pleased that we were doing that type of work to provide protection for our staff and customers," Taylor told The Journal Record. "Based on what I saw last year, all the devastation in Moore, it really makes you think: What's going to happen with your team if something like that comes through?"

Taylor wouldn't divulge how much it will cost the credit union to fix its Oklahoma City area branches with the shelters.

Nine of the branches that will receive the renovations will have doors upgraded to meet storm shelter standards, while the credit union's two smaller "express" locations with drive-thru lanes will be equipped with above-ground storm shelters.

Weokie leaders had considered building the shelters in spaces separate from the safe deposit boxes and cash safes, but ultimately they decided the vault would be the most appropriate place.

"We won't turn people away in a storm situation," Taylor said in The Journal Record. "We won't lock the doors." ReadMore

Low-income CU financially empowers N.Y. neighborhood

CU System
LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y. (4/18/14)--The credit cycle, especially for the impoverished, can pull people and their finances down into what seems like an inescapable abyss.

One New York-based organization, with its very own credit union, has decided to replace that downward cycle with a system of its own, one that is helping some of the most economically disadvantage climb out of those deep holes (NY1.com April 17).

The cycle is orchestrated by Urban Upbound, a nonprofit based out of Long Island City, that aims to position residents of public housing neighborhoods to achieve economic mobility and self-sufficiency, and to break the cycle of poverty.

To accomplish this, the organization bundles together and offers residents five types of services, including financial counseling, employment services, youth development and college access, community revitalization, and finally financial services through Urban Upbound FCU, Long Island City, N.Y., with $780,000 in assets.

Together, the programs teach residents how to improve their financial health, help them secure employment and advise them on how to manage their income once they've landed that new job, among other services. 

"And it makes sense," says Lenese Vergara, director of the Urban Upbound Workforce Development Program. "We're seeing more and more employers are checking credit, screening our candidates because of their credit."

Often, residents with rougher credit scores start at the organization's Financial Empowerment Center, where they receive free one-on-one counseling on how to budget and reduce debt.

From there, the individuals are sent just around the corner to Upbound FCU, where they can apply for a credit consolidation loan; a program that already has demonstrated tangible results.

"(Members' scores can rise) 100 points higher in just one month, just from that one loan from the credit union," Robin Wilson, director of the Urban Upbound Financial Fitness Program, told NY1.com, adding that people aren't able to access that kind of product through a mainstream bank.

With improved credit, then, the individuals are rerouted back to the workforce development program, which has found hundreds of people new places of employment.

"Our average wage is about $11 an hour, so that's excellent for the people we are working with, with only a high school diploma," Vergara said.

The next step in the cycle directs the residents back to the credit union where they not only can obtain checking and savings services--often an unreachable goal for the impoverished in this community, as 30% of the residents are unbanked--but they also can learn how to manage their income through the free one-on-one consultation.

Thanks to the availability of the credit union, the residents can avoid check-cashing outfits, which often charge high fees for their services, while also learning healthy financial habits.

"In a six-block radius, there is no financial institution around," said Ash Exantus, Urban Upbound FCU CEO. "Most people are used to going to the check-cashing place. They don't go to the check-cashing place because they want to. They were going to check-cashing places because they had to.

"We want to see elevation, and as we see the city around us and the tide rising, all small ships have the capacity to rise together, and that's what we want to see," Exantus said. ReadMore

Mass. commissioner urges comment on RBC proposal

CU System
BOSTON (4/18/14)--Massachusetts Banking Commissioner David Cotney advised the state's credit unions to comment on new regulations, including the National Credit Union Administration's risk-based net worth proposal.
 
Metro-Boston and Tri-County North Chapters of the Massachusetts Credit Union League held a question-and-answer session with Cotney Wednesday.
 
The session was moderated by Massachusetts Credit Union League President Paul Gentile (Daily CU Scan April 17).
 
The Massachusetts Banking Division has asked NCUA to extend the comment period for the risk-based net worth proposal beyond the May 28 deadline, Cotney said. The division will send its comments as part of a broader comment letter filed by the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors.

The Credit Union National Association and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions Thursday jointly sent a letter to the NCUA urging an extension for the risk-based net worth proposal comment period (See related story: CUNA, NAFCU jointly repeat urging for RBC comment extension).
 
Regarding last week's Heartbleed incident, Cotney noted that each individual credit union must make its own decision on how and whether to notify members, but he cautioned that going forward more security issues are likely. He suggested that credit unions develop guidelines so they don't overwhelm members by alerting them to every attack. 
 
Cotney said four Massachusetts mutual savings banks have filed applications to convert to stock-owned--the most applications the division has received since the early 1980s.  He also encouraged credit unions to evaluate whether they can become low-income designated, as it has a number of advantages.
 
The meeting raised $700 for the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. ReadMore

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Mercer: Ohio CUs need to be tougher to sell a powerful idea

CU System

COLUMBUS, Ohio (4/18/14)--While Ohio credit unions are doing an "amazing" job in serving their memberships, they must market better to sell their "beautiful, powerful idea," Ohio Credit Union League President Paul Mercer told the annual Invest 48 audience last week.
 
Mercer noted that Ohio credit unions had gained less than 2% market share in the state in 19 years, to 7.6% in 2013 from 5.9% in 1994 (eLumination April 16). "That's not good enough," Mercer said. The cooperative credit union model is an ideal fit for consumers, communities and small businesses, he noted. "You are places where people do matter more than money, and when people understand that, we will win more market share," he added.
 
A briefing with State Rep. Lou Terhar (R-Cincinnati), co-sponsor of House Bill 221, which would give credit unions authority to serve as public depositories and access loan programs through the Ohio Treasurer's office, was attended by more than 80 credit union representatives. In subsequent meetings with legislators, credit union officials urged lawmakers to support the legislation. Many legislators said they supported credit unions and would vote for the bill. Others expressed reservations, which provides league staff an opportunity to follow up.
 
Ohio Department of Commerce Director Andre Porter outlined three major concerns for credit unions to navigate in today's economic environment. First, credit unions must continue to plan and manage the risk associated with their changing loan portfolios. Porter also encouraged credit unions to find more ways to participate in today's digital age. He also said that succession planning is critical to keeping the industry strong in the long term. As a regulator, Porter pledged that his department is "here to help with these challenges."
 
Changes to the OCUL's board structure and code of regulations were approved by affiliated credit unions at the league's annual meeting. Thirty-three percent of eligible credit unions voted, and 95% favored the changes, which take effect Jan. 1. The key changes included:

  • A decrease in the size of the league board to nine directors, with a seat dedicated to small ($0-$50 million in assets), medium ($50 million to $250 million), and large ($250 million or more) categories and the others elected at-large;
     
  • "Interlocking" seats reduced to maximize the number of credit union leaders engaged in league leadership;
     
  • Officers streamlined to three positions--chair, vice chair and secretary/treasurer;
     
  • Uniform director eligibility requirements and customized qualifications;
     
  • League board empowered to direct the governance and oversight of the organization and its affiliates;
     
  • Committee structure designed to foster effectiveness and expand engagement opportunities; and
     
  • Board Succession Planning Committee leveraged to proactively monitor representational interests and recruit high-quality candidates.
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Quash fuel-economy myths

Consumer
SAN FRANCISCO (4/15/14)--Choosing a fuel-efficient vehicle, maintaining it, and combining trips will help you get good gas mileage. Other efforts could be just a waste of your time (MarketWatch.com March 29).
 
There are lots of fuel-economy myths and overstatements, but here's the truth, according to fuelconomy.gov:
 
Myth: All vehicles are tested for fuel economy. Current fuel-economy testing regulations only require "light-duty" vehicles weighing 8,500 pounds or less to be tested. Several models exceed this limit and aren't tested and have no official weight limit. Passenger vehicles--vans and SUVs--that are model year 2011 and newer weighing up to 10,000 pounds also are required to have fuel-economy labels. The Environmental Protection Agency doesn't test motorcycles, or four-wheel vehicles that aren't legal for highway driving.
 
Myth: Small cars always get the best fuel economy. About half of the top 10 most fuel-efficient vehicles for model year 2014 are midsize or large cars and wagons. Technologies such as diesel engines, direct fuel injections, hybrid drivetrains, low-rolling tires and aerodynamic design make several standard-size autos very efficient.
 
Myth: As cars get older, fuel economy decreases. If you properly maintain your vehicle it will retain its fuel efficiency for years. Fuel economy typically improves over the first several years of ownership. Even vehicles that are 10 to 15 years old experience little decrease in fuel efficiency if properly maintained.
 
Myth: Using premium fuel improves efficiency. Unless your vehicle is specifically designed for premium fuel, you most likely won't receive a benefit from using premium fuel. Check your owner's manual to see if premium is recommended for your vehicle and under what conditions.
 
Myth: Replacing the air filter increases efficiency. This might be true for older vehicles, but modern engines have computers that automatically adjust the fuel-air ratio to the proper level. Changing a dirty air filter might, however, improve your engine's performance.
 
For related information, read "Find the Best Low-Cost, High-Value Car" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center. ReadMore

iPay, Bill.com win accolades from NACHA

Products
ORLANDO, Fla. (4/18/14)--NACHA--The Electronic Payments Association--recently announced the recipients of its 2014 Payments System Awards.
 
iPay Solutions is the recipient of the 2014 PayItGreen Award. Bill.com is the 2014 George Mitchell Payments System Excellence Award winner.
 
"These organizations demonstrate a commitment to increasing the use and promoting the benefits of electronic payments," said Janet O. Estep, president/CEO of NACHA. "We commend iPay Solutions and Bill.com for their leadership and vision in advancing electronic payments and the payments industry."
 
NACHA's Payments System Awards recognize the highest degree of achievement in the development, implementation and advancement of electronic payments. The awards celebrate outstanding accomplishments and superior leadership in innovation, excellence and promotion of the positive environmental impact of electronic payments, statements and billing.
 
The PayItGreen Award honors individual or organizational leadership, vision and innovation in the education and promotion of electronic payments, statements and bills to reduce environmental impact.        
 
iPay Solutions was honored with the PayItGreen Award for developing and implementing an online resource center offering marketing and training materials to help its customers better promote the benefits of electronic billing and payments. Over the past five years, iPay Solutions' Resource Center has helped increase subscriber adoption of online bill pay by 300% and use of electronic payments by 150%, providing significant environmental benefits.
 
The George Mitchell Payments System Excellence Award, named after former vice-chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve George Mitchell, an early proponent of electronic payments, honors an individual or organization that has shown superior leadership in the development, implementation or advancement of electronic payments.
 
The 2014 George Mitchell Payments System Excellence Award is presented to Bill.com for its efforts to increase adoption of electronic payments by small and medium-sized businesses and enterprises. Bill.com is helping to promote ACH payments through a service that automates the end-to-end processes for payables, receivables and cash flow--saving companies up to 50% of time typically spent on financial back office operations.
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