WASHINGTON (4/16/14)--Even with the U.S. Congress out of session until April 28, credit unions are keeping the focus on what must be done to improve the country's data security.
The Michigan Credit Union League's efforts in support of consumer data security gained coverage on
, with the league suggesting that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau supervise retailer consumer data protection practices and how those retailers investigate consumer data theft.
"We think retailers should have skin in the game, and they ought to be responsible and have a vested interest in protecting customers' information," MCUL Chief Operating Officer Ken Ross told
. While credit unions and banks are subject to strict security requirements, retailers are not held to the same standards. If one part of the larger puzzle doesn't fit correctly, there can be serious downstream implications, he told
The retailers, Ross argued, must make security a priority, as credit unions and others do.
A data breach at Target stores last year resulted in the theft of 40 million debit and credit cards, and encrypted PIN data, and the names, mail and email addresses, and phone numbers of up to 70 million individuals. Credit unions incurred more than $30 million in losses as a result of the breach.
While a recent Newtek Business Services survey showed that 67% of business owners polled were not concerned about credit card security at their businesses, data breaches and other methods of online theft are becoming all too common. (See March 7
: Survey says majority of business owners unconcerned about card security.)
Around 20% of Americans have been affected by a data breach, a January Pew Research Center report showed. According to the Pew report:
- 18% of online adults have had their Social Security Number, credit card, bank account or other important information stolen; and
- 21% of online adults have seen their email or social networking accounts compromised.
For the MCUL story and more on the data breach report, use the resource links.
WASHINGTON (4/16/14)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing a five-year extension to an exception that minimizes for some credit unions and other financial institutions certain information reporting requirements of its international remittance transfer rule.
The proposal will be available for comments for thirty days from the date it is published in the
. The agency is also proposing several clarifications and technical corrections to the final rule and commentary.
Under the CFPB rule, international remittance transfer providers are generally required to give prepayment and receipt disclosures to the consumer-sender that include the exchange rate, certain fees and taxes associated with a transfer, and the amount of money that will be received on the other end of the transfer.
Remittance transfer providers will also be required to investigate disputes and correct errors. The rule has been in effect since Oct. 28.
The bureau in a release noted that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act explicitly allows federally insured financial institutions, like banks and credit unions, to estimate third-party fees and exchange rates when providing remittance transfers to their accountholders for which they cannot determine exact amounts until July 21, 2015. Insured institutions can only use this exception when they cannot determine the exact amounts for reasons beyond their control.
This exception would continue until July 21, 2020, if the proposal is adopted. The CFPB said it moved to extend the exception when institutions reported that current market conditions would make it impossible to know the exact fees and exchange rates associated with a minority of their remittance transfers.
"Without the exemption, these insured institutions report that they would be unable to send some transfers to certain parts of the world that they currently serve," the CFPB noted.
The Credit Union National Association has repeatedly called on the CFPB to use the full authority granted to it in the Dodd-Frank Act to exempt credit unions from the international remittance transfer rule and other regulations.
"When the remittance rule was finalized, several credit unions stopped offering the service to their members," CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney wrote in a February letter to Congress.
HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (4/16/14)--The New Jersey Credit Union League reported an "overwhelming" response to a recent billboard campaign that supported the "Banking You Can Trust" credit union awareness website.
|A New Jersey Credit Union League billboard campaign displayed the $47,589,899 dollar figure that New Jersey credit unions saved New Jersey residents in 2013 and a unique URL tracked back to the Banking You Can Trust site with an explanation of the number. The campaign helped attract a record 6,000 unique visitors and more than 11,000 page views to the Banking You Can Trust website in the first quarter (New Jersey Credit Union League photo)
The "Banking You Can Trust" website attracted a record 6,000 unique visitors and more than 11,000 page views in the first quarter. More than 56% of the traffic can be attributed back to a secretive billboard campaign the league ran through its Banking You Can Trust advertising program.
The billboard campaign was simple, displaying just the $47,589,899 figure that New Jersey credit unions saved New Jersey residents in 2013 and a unique URL, www.whyitsimportant.com. The URL tracked back to the "Banking You Can Trust" site with an explanation of the number.
During the process of understanding the billboard, 24.5% of visitors searched for a credit union during their visit to the site. Visitors through the campaign also spent significantly longer on the site, over four minutes, compared with visitors from all other advertising outlets.
"We kept the billboard campaign a secret so we could analyze the impact and success of the campaign without too many credit union folks visiting the site upon launch," said Candice Nigro, the league's director of marketing and communications (
April 15). "The campaign began running over Super Bowl weekend and will continue through 2014, but we will change the message throughout."
April numbers are already looking strong for the campaign with almost 60% of visitors coming from the billboards.
MADISON, Wis. (4/16/14)--The Credit Union National Association's information technology team assures that CUNA's customer-facing websites are not impacted by the Heartbleed security issue that has been reported in
and the general press.
CUNA Vice President of IT Tom Nohelty said Tuesday that CUNA is applying all Heartbleed patches to applicable systems, even to environments not currently using the Open Secure Socket Layer (OpenSSL) technology at issue with the Heartbleed "bug."
"This extra measure will prevent any future problems if we choose to implement OpenSSL at a later time," Nohelty explained.
The Heartbleed threat is a flaw in the OpenSSL technology that is used to establish secure links between servers and users. Although CUNA and many credit unions have been able to assure their web users in the face of the security threat, Heartbleed has reportedly exposed millions of usernames, passwords and other information.
In general, Nohelty said, CUNA would recommend that all users of its website change their passwords on a routine basis to protect themselves and their personal data as these kinds of security issues will continue to present themselves.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (4/16/14)--The collective voice of California credit unions was heard loud and clear in Sacramento April 7-8, as industry leaders from throughout the state took part in the California Credit Union League's (CCUL) 2014 Government Relations Rally.
More than 75 participants traveled to the state capitol to meet and build relationships with the state's lawmakers (
In the News
Among other issues, card security and consumer protection headlined discussions between industry leaders and legislators during the event, as, of course, problems with data breaches persist.
"It's important for the credit union industry to come together and be a stronger voice for consumers," said Donna Bland, CEO, The Golden 1 CU, Sacramento, with $8.2 billion in assets. "I would hope that today's issue regarding card security would be common ground for all financial institutions. It's not a political issue, it's about consumer protection."
Several bills, including those concerned with the 2015 Europay-Mastercard-Visa (EMV) chip deadline for card issuers and retailers; personal privacy protection; tax credits; and the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) loan payments, also received considerable attention.
"If we don't show up, we could face the unintended consequences of bad legislation," said John Cassidy, CEO, Sierra Central CU, Yuba City, with $671 million in assets. "Our capacity of communicating our message to legislators has never been better, but it needs to continue to grow. Engaging with lawmakers is the way to accomplish this."
"It's crucial you are here and tell your story," added Jan Owen, California Department of Business Oversight commissioner, before the event kicked off (
In the News
Deputy Commissioner of Credit Unions Erick Orellana, in a session co-hosted with Owen, spoke about the financial health of state-licensed credit unions.
While the state-licensed credit unions carry a bit more risk than the average California credit union, Orellana said, they continue to be stable and strong. Financial data keeps improving as well, he said.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (4/16/14)--Wedding season is around the corner, and if your wallet has the wedding bell blues, it may need a visit to the Minnesota Credit Union Network's (MnCUN) Bankziety website.
The average wedding budget skirted a record-high $30,000 in 2013, according to wedding website
, which surveyed 13,000 brides and grooms married last year, and MnCUN's consumer education website has tips for this year's newlyweds in waiting.
Bankziety's "wedding planning woes" section offers tips to get off on the right foot while walking down the aisle:
- Make a list of short- and long-term needs and wants. Is there a new car or house in the future? Set a savings goal to cover a down payment.
- Build an emergency fund, pronto.
- Develop and stick to a budget that includes financial goals. Make sure to revisit it to reassess the goals' status.
Consumers can check their symptoms of house-buying headaches, baby budget blues and retirement restlessness--all of which can be cured with a helpful credit union that Bankziety can help locate.
MnCUN's website defines Bankziety as "uneasiness, distress or mental apprehension, usually over an impending interaction with a bank; anticipated financial stress; concern over banking fees and rates."
The refreshed site, which was launched two years ago, also features stories from members who have been "cured" of using banks.
"Today's uncertain economic times have left many consumers confused about who they can trust when it comes to their money, but Minnesota credit unions have the cure for their Bankziety," said league president/CEO Mark Cummins.
HAMPSHIRE, U.K. (4/16/14)--The value of payments completed through mobile devices worldwide will reach around $507 billion this year, a rise of nearly 40% year-over-year, according to a new report from Juniper Research.
The growth will be driven by purchases of physical goods, according to the report, "Mobile Payment Strategies: Remote, Contactless and Money Transfer 2014-2018." Average transaction sizes made with tablets are already exceeding those via desktop PCs in many markets. While spending on smartphones is increasing sharply, their primary function in retail lies search-and-discovery devices, with the final purchase being made on the tablet.
Meanwhile, the scale of digital transactions received a boost through mobile ticketing applications, with metro and transit authorities in Europe and North America that have already deployed services experiencing high levels of adoption.
However, the report observed that progress in contactless mobile payments had been slow, with few commercial launches. Nevertheless, it argued that the prognosis for the medium term was brighter, following the emergence of cloud-based solutions which offer the opportunity for reduced time to market for near-field communication solutions.
WASHINGTON (4/16/14)--Back by popular demand, Credit Union National Association compliance staff are posting new audio updates on the hottest compliance topics.
The new audio posts are broken into smaller chunks, down from their former 60 to 90 minutes, and will be posted more frequently than before when they were offered on a quarterly basis. The new format allows users to pick and choose the topics they listen to.
"We have heard from many in the credit union system over the past year requesting that CUNA's compliance staff bring back the quarterly 'Pressing Issues' conference calls, and we are really happy to do that," CUNA Federal Compliance Counsel Colleen Kelly said.
"However," she added, "many have also told us that as the unprecedented deluge of regulations continues, they rarely have 90 minutes to spare to participate on a scheduled conference call. So, in response, we are rolling out a new format."
The first editions of CUNA's newly formatted audio conference cover:
- Mortgage lending;
- The latest National Credit Union Administration developments;
- The Bank Secrecy Act and the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control; and
- Other federal regulatory issues.
Printable handouts will also be provided as part of the CUNA programs. Short recordings on other topics will be posted in the coming months.
For the new CUNA resource, use the links (members only).