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March 5, 2015

Memberships, loans continue positive trend: CUNA's monthly survey

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (3/5/15)--Loans outstanding and credit union memberships both posted solid gains in January, according to the latest CUNA credit union monthly estimates.

Click to view larger image Click for larger view
Loan growth climbed 0.5% during the first month of the year, and memberships rose 0.4% during the month, bringing total credit union memberships in the United States up to 102.3 million.

"The recent monthly estimates reflected continued overall credit union strength and stability," said Perc Pineda, CUNA senior economist. "Memberships grew at an impressive 4.8% annualized rate in the month, and overall lending activity continued to increase in January, reflected by a 6% annualized increase in loan balances.

"It is not surprising that, over time, more and more consumers are choosing credit unions as their best financial partner. And looking at it from a broader perspective, the services provided by credit unions are clearly supporting the continued expansion of the U.S. economy."

In January, loan growth was driven by new-auto loans (2.1%), other mortgages (1.9%), home-equity loans (1%), used-auto loans (1%) and unsecured personal loans (0.7%). Fixed-rate mortgages and credit card loans fell 0.4% and 1.2% respectively.

On an annual basis, new-auto loans jumped 25.2%, and used-auto loans climbed 12%.

"These positive numbers reveal recent improvements in consumer financial conditions and, more importantly, show credit unions continue to deliver solid value by meeting members' demand for financial products with competitive rates and flexibility," Pineda said.

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Savings balances increased by 0.8% in January, compared with a 0.2% increase the prior month. Share drafts led the way with a 4.6% monthly jump, followed by regular shares with a 1.3% climb and one-year certificates with a 0.04% increase.

Money market accounts declined 0.2%, and individual retirement accounts dropped 1%. 

Further, the aggregate capital-to-asset and loan-to-savings ratios held steady compared with the previous month, Pineda said.

According to fourth quarter data from the National Credit Union Administration, 2014 loan growth at federally insured credit unions jumped to the highest level since 2005. Memberships, assets, deposits and net worth also trended higher.

App puts CUNA's GAC in palms of attendees' hands

CU System
WASHINGTON (3/5/15)--It's hard to imagine--given this year's expected record-breaking turnout--that the entire CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference experience could fit in the palm of your hand.

Click to view larger image The main menu of GAC2015, the conference app for CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference this year. (CUNA Photo)
But with this year's revamped conference mobile app for conference attendees, "GAC2015," it most certainly can.

The conference app, which can be downloaded from both the Apple app store and Google Play, is full of features to inform attendees as they navigate the packed days of the conference.

Those registered for the event--nearly 5,000 credit union leaders--can access the conference's full agenda with GAC2015; search for networking opportunities by scrolling through the full roster of conference attendees; and also check out a map of the exhibit hall.

The app also offers transportation information, bios for the speakers, surveys and a page to read the GAC Daily , the daily conference publication Credit Union Magazine puts together to cover the highlights of the event.

This year, there's also a large social component to the app.

Click to view larger image The conference app contains a number of features, including a bio page for all of the conference's speakers. (CUNA Photo)
On the activity feed, attendees can post photos or comments about what they have enjoyed during the conference. They can even "like" or comment on posts from other attendees, similar to a Facebook feed. The app also can be linked to Twitter or other social media accounts.

"Excited to attend GAC for the first time!!" Krista Raines, loan officer from VW Central CU, Parkersville, W.Va., posted on the feed Tuesday.

"Looking forward to telling our legislators the credit union story, and how we benefit our members and differ from big banks!" said Jacqueline Henderson, vice president of human resources at Rivermark Community CU, Beaverton, Ore.

The Leaderboard feature also tracks who has been most active on the app during the conference. With a number of people already posting on the activity feed, it appears it will be a hotly contested race.

Conference registrants were sent invitations to download the app earlier this week. The app was created by CUNA and is hosted by DoubleDutch.

Maine league testifies in support of fin. ed. bill

CU System
WESTBROOK, Maine (3/5/15)--The Maine Credit Union League re-emphasized credit unions' leadership role in youth financial education statewide during Monday's testimony before the Maine Legislature's Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.
Elise Baldacci, league director of governmental affairs, spoke in support of L.D. 417, An Act Regarding Measures to Ensure Students Can Demonstrate Proficiency in Financial Literacy.
The legislation directs the commissioner of education to develop methods to measure students' proficiency in financial literacy to help ensure they can demonstrate proficiency prior to graduation.
"For nearly two decades, long before financial literacy was fashionable or considered important, the Maine Credit Union League and a number of Maine's credit unions have had an active and leadership role in helping to build awareness and understanding about money management and personal finance with thousands of Maine children," Baldacci told the committee. 

"Since 2004, Maine's credit unions have coordinated more than 100 Financial Fitness Fairs for high school students across the state and, to date, nearly 25,000 Maine high school students have participated in one of these fairs," she added.
Baldacci thanked bill sponsor Rep. Matt Pouliot (R-Augusta) and other legislators for "their continued leadership and efforts on raising awareness and pursuing action on the important issue of financial education among high school students."

ASI FCU, Honduran Consulate partner to assist underserved nationals

CU System
HARAHAN, La. (3/5/15)--Harahan, La.-based ASI FCU has partnered with the Consulate of Honduras in New Orleans to provide financial services and education to underserved Honduran nationals.

From left, Roberto A. Martinez, Consul General de Honduras; Mignhon Tourne, ASI FCU president/CEO; Sally Hoffstadt, ASI FCU vice president of marketing; and Rafael Saddy, Latin American Civic Association of Louisiana. (ASI FCU Photo)
The agreement between the credit union and the consulate will allow interested individuals to learn about secure ways to send money to Honduras, fair pricing on money transfers and how to open accounts at financial institutions.

Individuals also can attend workshops and financial education seminars catered specifically to Honduran nationals living in the United States.

"A significant difficulty exists in the Honduran community when it comes to accessing fair, affordable financial services," the credit union said in a press release.

Credit union staff will be at the consulate in New Orleans on Fridays to provide financial education. Individuals also can get free assistance completing their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number forms at the consulate and at two other credit union branches.

"There is no greater purpose in the world than to be of service to those in need," said Mignhon Tourne, ASI FCU president/CEO.

High tech, high touch at McGraw-Hill's new fin. wellness center

CU System
NEW YORK (3/5/15)--Financial literacy and wellness driven by state-of-the-art technology is the focus of McGraw-Hill FCU's new Financial Wellness Center in New York City.

Click to view larger image McGraw-Hill FCU President/CEO Shawn Gilfedder, left, and Androy Forrest, McGraw-Hill FCU member experience lead associate, explore some of the new technology in the credit union's New York financial wellness center.
Marking a dramatic departure from the traditional financial services branch, the financial wellness hub provides a fully immersive non-teller, paperless and technology-driven concierge environment that goes beyond providing low-cost and convenient "banking."

"We are a not-for-profit member-based credit union that is fiercely committed to providing exceptional service within a low fee environment that will help them reach their financial goals," said President/CEO Shawn Gilfedder. "The Financial Wellness Center is the physical realization of our industry-changing approach. There is no location like this in New York or anywhere else in the nation; it is truly a new paradigm in providing members with financial wellness." 

The core mission of the center is to help consumers learn budgeting, savings and money management skills for improving their financial lives while assisting them with setting and meeting short- and long-term financial goals.

Every member is provided with a financial services consultant--not a "bank teller"--who will stand side-by-side with them to understand and explore their personal financial position and goal.

Click to view larger image McGraw-Hill FCU's financial wellness center offers state-of-the-art touch-screen technology. (McGraw-Hill FCU Photos)
Consultants are armed with tablet devices to introduce members to ideas and explain how to use credit, secure better rates, implement savings strategies and learn how to leverage different kinds of debt.

For self instruction, the center provides large touch-screen kiosks for access to the "Financial Wellness University" educational tools, resources and videos.

The credit union, which is hosting a weeklong grand opening celebration through Friday, also will offer financial wellness programs to employers.

N.J. foundation creates small CU grant in honor of South

CU System
HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (3/5/15)--In honor of longtime board chair Ann South, the New Jersey Credit Union Foundation (NJCUF) created a new fund to help small credit unions.
NJCUF will earmark $5,000 annually toward the Ann South Small Credit Union Assistance Fund, which will be used to aid smaller-asset credit unions in improving their business, creating operational efficiencies or better servicing their membership.
"As the foundation's board chair, as well as a board member, Ann worked diligently developing the foundation you see today," said Michael Hou, current NJCUF board chair and board member, United Teletech Financial FCU, Red Bank, N.J. "Ann was instrumental in the creation of our current fundraisers, our internal Reality Fairs program, as well as our successful partnership with the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education and many other initiatives throughout her tenure."
The foundation noted South initiated grant programs for small-asset credit unions such as remote deposit capture and the sunsetting of Microsoft's XP system.
"It is truly an honor to have these perpetual funds named after me," said South, who is also president/CEO of Novartis FCU, East Hanover. South recently stepped down from the board after more than 10 years, during most of which she was chair.

CU System briefs (3/5/15)

CU System
  • BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (3/5/15)-- For its 2015 charity of choice, Post Community CU, Battle Creek, Mich., is setting out to raise $12,500 to help the Battle Creek Police Department acquire a new police dog after one of its current K-9 dogs retires . "We would like to have an ongoing fund for the Battle Creek Police Department's canines," Assistant Manager Laura Hammock told the Battle Creek Enquirer (March 4). As part of the fund drive, the credit union also is running a contest to name Dash's replacement: Ace, Cash, Keti or Felix. "I think it's great and an incredible opportunity," said Lt. Steve Bush in a statement. "Any time citizens are involved it helps them understand what we do and gives them ownership of a small part of the department." The contest to choose the name of the new Belgian Malinois ends March 31 ...
  • MUSKEGO, Wis. (3/5/15)-- Jim Schrimpf, president of Brewery CU, will retire from the Milwaukee-based credit union, effective in April . His credit union career began in 1978 at Allen-Bradley Employees CU, Milwaukee, and he has been president at Brewery CU since 1999. Steven Janssen, currently vice president at Brewery CU, will succeed Schrimpf . Janssen began his career in 1979 as a loan officer at the credit union. Schrimpf also announced he would step down from his board position at Corporate Central CU , Muskego, Wis. The corporate's board unanimously selected Jay Magulski, president/CEO, Landmark CU, New Berlin, Wis., to fill the vacant board position ...
  • BREA, Calif. (3/5/15)-- Evangelical Christian CU President/CEO Mark Holbrook will retire May 31 after 36 years at the Brea, Calif., credit union . Holbrook expanded the 50-year-old credit union to more than 11,000 members and ministries in 130 countries. One of his changes was to evolve the credit union to serve individual members of the evangelical Christian community, in addition to the churches it has served for decades, the credit union said in a statement ...

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