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January 28, 2015

NW CUs responsible for $6.8B in economic impact

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SEATAC, Wash., and TIGARD, Ore. (1/28/15)--A new economic analysis shows credit unions delivered $6.8 billion in economic benefits in Washington and Oregon in 2014.
Click to view larger image (Source: Northwest Credit Union Association)
Cooperative financial institutions provided more than 15,000 family-wage jobs and delivered $352 million in direct benefits to their 4.9 million members in 2014, according to the analysis by the independent firm ECONorthwest.
The ECONorthwest analysis was commissioned by the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA).
"The ECONorthwest analysis underscores the economic impact of credit unions in Oregon and Washington. In many ways, credit unions are the communities they serve," said Troy Stang, NWCUA president/CEO. "It is the not-for-profit financial cooperative business structure that credit unions operate under that makes them unique--they deliver real, tangible value to the economy."
Not-for-profit credit unions are structured to put their members' interests first, and to ensure that families and small businesses have affordable access to financial services.
Credit union members received an average direct benefit of $76 per individual member in Washington, while Oregon credit union members received an average direct benefit of $63 per individual member. Collectively, credit unions put $352 million into the wallets of their members. That money created buying power of more than $732 million, according to Michael Wilkerson, ECONorthwest economist.
John Tapogna, president of ECONorthwest, compared the economic impact of credit union member benefits to the effect that falling gas prices have recently had on consumers' pocketbooks.

"As people spend less money on gasonline they have more money for everything else they want to buy," Tapogna told News Now . "You have that same kind of stimulus effect when credit unions members pay low interest rates on loans and receive higher returns on their savings. At the end of the year their members have more money they can spend more broadly in the economy."

Credit unions employed 10,415 people in Washington and 4,908 in Oregon. Every credit union job supports another 2.02 jobs for workers in other sectors, according to ECONorthwest, resulting in a total impact of 46,296 Northwest jobs.
"Whether it's the people who work in credit unions, the people who build credit union branches or the businesses small and large that support them, the credit union footprint is found throughout the Northwest economy," said Tapogna.
Credit unions are also foundations for the communities they serve, according to the report. In Northwest rural communities, about 617,500 consumers are members of credit unions, representing 37% of the rural population. Credit unions are often the only financial institutions available in many Northwest communities.
The $6.8 billion economic impact documented by ECONorthwest does not include the additional influence of lending activities such as auto lending, mortgage lending and business lending. A current lending snapshot shows Northwest credit unions have nearly 3 million loans outstanding totaling almost $40 billion.

Data security legislation among FTC recommendations

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WASHINGTON (1/28/15)--Data security and privacy risks are among the challenges facing the "Internet of Things" and the estimated 25 billion connected electronic devices that send and receive information, according to a report from the Federal Trade Commission.
Taken from the November 2013 workshop, "The Internet of Things: Privacy and Security in a Connected World," the report highlights the benefits and risks for consumers.
Consumers could be harmed by the exploitation of security risks that enable unauthorized access and misuse of personal information, facilitate attacks on other systems and create risks to personal safety.
The paper discusses the need for legislation and emphasizes the FTC's previous recommendation for Congress to "enact strong, flexible, and technology-neutral federal legislation to strengthen its existing data security enforcement tools and to provide notification to consumers when there is a security breach." (See related story: Legislators say statutes must ensure merchants protect consumers' info.)
"Reasonable and appropriate security practices are critical to addressing the problem of data breaches and protecting consumers from identity theft and other harms," the FTC said. "Notifying consumers of breaches after they occur helps consumers protect themselves from any harm that is likely to be caused by the misuse of their data."
The Credit Union National Association, along with other financial trade organizations, sent a letter to Congress last week with principles to support potential data security legislation.
Credit unions and financial institutions are subject to significant federal requirements to protect consumer information, and retailers aren't held to the same strict standards when data breaches occur.

CUAD testifies in support of N.D. patent 'troll' bill

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BISMARCK, N.D. (1/28/15)--The Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD) is tracking more than 30 bills--including one regarding patent "trolls"--in the North Dakota Legislative Assembly.
On Monday, Jeff Olson, CUAD executive vice president of government affairs, testified in favor of HB 1163, which relates to bad faith assertions of patent infringement and to provide a penalty ( Memo Jan. 27).
Patent "trolls"--a nickname referring to nonpracticing entities--submit demand letters to credit unions and financial institutions to force settlements or payments for technology or services they have purchased as end users.
The bill received a unanimous "do pass" from the Industry, Business, and Labor Committee on Monday.
CUAD also sponsors the North Dakota "Legislature Today" radio show, which features live broadcasts every Monday evening during North Dakota's 80-day legislative session.
Freshman legislator and credit union leader Denton Zubke joined CUAD President/CEO Robbie Thompson during Monday's broadcast to discuss the patent troll bill and other legislation of interest to credit unions.
Zubke (R-Watford City) represents western North Dakota and is president/CEO of Dakota West CU, Watford City, N.D., with $225 million in assets.

Fla., N.D. policymakers notch Desjardins fin. lit. awards

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WASHINGTON (1/28/15)--The Credit Union National Association has named policymakers from North Dakota and Florida the winners of the Desjardins Financial Education Award for State Government Policymakers.
The award, which is determined by CUNA's State Credit Union Subcommittee, recognizes the leadership in financial education at the state level. State government policymakers who promote financial education to individuals of any age may be nominated.
Kelly Schmidt, North Dakota's treasurer, was nominated by the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD) for making financial literacy a "priority for her office."

Schmidt has tackled financial literacy in North Dakota with a number of initiatives, including through a partnership among Visa, the NFL and NFL Players that led to the "Financial Football" money management video game.
Jeff Olson, CUAD executive vice president of government affairs, noted that Treasurer Schmidt is truly passionate about financial education, adding "Her position as the top fiduciary executive in one of the best-run states in the country carries significant clout among our policymakers while promoting financial education in the state."

Olson emphasized that "this distinguished recognition will help in her mission of helping people understand how to better navigate their personal finances and make positive changes in their lives."
The state's treasurer also has served as chair of the National Association of State Treasurers Foundation and was a featured speaker at the National Financial Education Network meeting hosted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where she addressed ways the state and local governments and leaders can provide personal finance to its' citizens.

"Financial education is about the individual," Schmidt said. "You have to make concepts personal so people will care and understand."
Nominated by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU), Sen. Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) is the second recipient of the award.
"Sen. Hukill embodies this award because she recognizes the need for financial literacy for our students," said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine. "She not only filed a bill to require a half-credit of financial literacy for high school students for graduation, but she also filed a bill to help individuals with developmental disabilities get financial education. The league and our credit unions have been working closely with Sen. Hukill to gain support for this legislation."
She introduced a bill that bolsters financial literacy for individuals with development disabilities through the creation of a program that brings financial services stakeholders throughout Florida together to offer assistance to the population.

Hukill also authored Bill 92, the Personal Financial Literacy Education Act, which makes a half-credit, full-semester course in personal financial literacy education a graduation requirement for high-school students.
La Pine said Hukill understands that for consumers to attain financial freedom, they need to have a grasp of their finances, which starts with financial education.
"Personal financial education is an essential life skill that all students need to be learning now," Hukill said. "Preparing our students with these skills will allow them to achieve financial stability through a better understanding of their finances."  

Further, Hukill drove the effort to make April 2015 Financial Literacy Month, when all residents in the state will be urged to recognize that financial literacy is an important part of a student's education "in order to ensure their bright futures."
Hukill also published opinion pieces in state newspapers to help raise awareness of the importance of the issue of financial literacy among young people in Florida and pushed Florida to participate in National Thrift Week.

2015 GAC Crashers represent all 50 states, D.C.

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MADISON, Wis. (1/28/15)--The record number of applicants for the 2015 Crash the GAC program means every state and the District of Columbia will be represented by a young credit union professional at this year's Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC).
For the second year, The Cooperative Trust and CUNA received a record number of applications. This year, the 220 applications came from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
"We have a terrific opportunity to engage young professionals within credit unions," said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. "These new leaders will be key in helping to position credit unions as Americans' best financial partner, and therefore to the future success of the movement."
James Marshall, manager of The Cooperative Trust, noted the work of the state credit union leagues in achieving the record-setting attendance.
"Without the dedication and hard work from the league system, I don't think we would have achieved this incredible feat," he said.
Each crasher receives a scholarship for full conference registration, courtesy of CUNA, for the March 8-12 event in Washington, D.C. All other costs are the responsibility of the attendee and their credit union.
Some state credit union leagues are providing additional travel support for crashers.
The Cooperative Trust also is hosting its annual Thunderpunch event, sponsored by PSCU, on March 9 at a new venue near the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

5 Mich. CUs win Best, Brightest designation

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WARREN, Mich. (1/28/15)-­-Five credit unions in Michigan are among the 101 companies on the "Best and Brightest to Work for" list for excellence in human resources practices and employee enrichment.
On the 2014 list:
  • Consumers CU, Kalamazoo, with $517 million in assets;
  • DFCU Financial CU, Dearborn, with $3.6 billion in assets;
  • Lake Michigan CU, Grand Rapids, with $3.2 billion in asset;
  • Michigan First CU, Lathrup Village, with $695 million in assets; and
  • Michigan State University FCU, East Lansing, with $2.6 billion in assets.
The National Association of Business Resources' competition assesses organizations' work-life balance, employee education, diversity, recognition and retention.
Lake Michigan CU has been honored seven times in the west Michigan market and was recognized in the Detroit region before landing the national designation.
"This is wonderful validation of our corporate culture, and how it applies equally to both our members and employees," said Nora Swart, Lake Michigan senior vice president of talent ( Monitor Jan. 27). "We strive to make each member experience positive and favorable, and we work just as hard to make sure every employee feels valued."

Cornerstone adds 3 associate director spots to board

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (1/28/15)--In recognition of roles played by volunteers and the young professionals in the credit union system, the Cornerstone Credit Union League board of directors has added three associate directorship positions to its board: one associate directorship for the volunteer, one for the young professional and a third to be either a volunteer or young professional.
Completed applications must be received by noon Feb. 20 ( Leaguer Jan. 27)
Associate directors will be encouraged to participate in all board discussions and deliberations as non-voting members of the league board, will hold two-year terms, and their lodging and travel expenses for attendance at board meetings will be reimbursed.
For information on eligibility and expectations, along with the application and instructions for completing the application, refer to the Cornerstone website .

CU System briefs (1/28/15)

CU System
  • MADISON, Wis. (1/28/15)-- The winter storm that struck the Northeast Monday and Tuesday left less of an impact than expected in certain areas . Many downstate New York credit unions were closed Tuesday, the New York Credit Union Association reported, although upstate credit unions were not expected to be majorly affected. On Tuesday morning, the Cooperative Credit Union Association reported that Shrewsbury, Mass., had more than 30 inches of snow ( Daily CU Scan Jan. 27). Blizzard warnings remained in effect into Tuesday for parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island with up to 3 feet of snow in the forecast ...
  • ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (1/28/15)-- The Michigan Credit Union Foundation named Jeff Curry as the credit union community volunteer of the year. Curry, who is vice president of operations at $1.6 billion-asset United FCU, St. Joseph, Mich., was recognized his exemplary volunteer service outside of the credit union system . "Not only is Jeff a top performer while on the job but he gives 100% of himself to the community as a volunteer as well," said United FCU President/CEO Gary Easterling. Curry's volunteer service includes the Lake Michigan College Foundation, Fun Financial Literacy Institute, Niles Community School District board of education, Michigan Gateway Community Foundation's Buchanan Area Fund, Great Southwest Strategic Leadership Council, Kinexus Bridge Academy, United Way of Southwest Michigan, Niles-Buchanan YMCA and Buchanan Lions Club ...
  • STOCKTON, Calif., and RALEIGH, N.C. (1/28/15)--For the second year in a row, Stockton, Calif.-based Financial Center CU will distribute an extraordinary dividend of more than $4 million . The board approved the $4.2 million bonus in celebration of the $380 million-asset credit union's 60th anniversary as well as a successful 2014. VIP program members of Coastal FCU, Raleigh, N.C., with $2.2 billion in assets, will receive more than $2.1 million in patronage dividends . The VIP program rewarded members who performed 144 withdrawals from their checking accounts in 2014. They also could earn loan rebate dividends and deposit bonus dividends by also having either two or more loan types, or two or more deposit types ...

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