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News Now

September 12, 2014

Technical amendments, stabilization fund report on NCUA meeting agenda

Washington
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/12/14)--The National Credit Union Administration has released the agenda for its monthly board meeting, which will be held Sept. 18. The meeting will be the first with new board member J. Mark McWatters, who took office last month.

The agenda includes discussion of a final rule containing technical amendments to parts 701 (organization and operations of federal credit unions), 706 (unfair or deceptive acts or practices) and 790 (description of NCUA; requests for agency action) of the NCUA's rules and regulations.

The technical amendments are likely to involve:
  • An update reflecting the fact that the Dodd-Frank Act stripped the NCUA of rule-writing authority for unfair or deceptive acts and practices;
     
  • An update reflecting changed central office and regional structure; and
     
  • Renaming payday/small amount, small dollar loans "payday alternative loans."
The agenda will also include a request to expand community charter from First Service FCU, based in Groveport, Ohio, with $136 million in assets, and the quarterly report on the Corporate Stabilization Fund.

The meeting will take place at the NCUA's Alexandria headquarters, starting at 10 a.m. (ET).

A video recording of the meeting will be made available in the coming weeks, once the recording is made accessible to the hearing and visually impaired. ReadMore

Inside Washington (09/12/2014)

Washington
  • WASHINGTON (9/12/14)-- The lead Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee said this week that he is still hopeful that chamber will pass cybersecurity legislation before the end of the year. In remarks at a cybersecurity event on protecting the payments system, which was hosted by the Merchant Financial Cyber Partnership and Bloomberg Government, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said he's "cautiously optimistic" the Senate can take up his information-sharing bill during the post-November election, lame-duck session ( American Banker Sept. 11 ). The bill is co-sponsored by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.). Even if passed before end of the year, the Senate still would have to work with House members to reconcile provisions of its competing information-sharing legislation, passed earlier this year. However, Chambliss said that if the Senate passes the bill, Senate and House lawmakers are prepared to go to conference immediately to hammer out final legislation that can be signed into law by the president. The article noted that Michael Daniel, special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator for the White House, said that the Obama administration remains encouraged by the efforts in Congress ...
ReadMore

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Cordray addresses new mortgage forms, eClosing pilot program

Washington
WASHINGTON (9/12/14)--With new mortgage form requirements going into effect in less than a year, and technology offering solutions to make loan paperwork simpler for consumers and lenders, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray took some time to address those issues this week.

"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has enjoyed a great relationship with credit unions. We see eye-to-eye on many things, most of all that we both aim to serve Americans who are not only your members but also the consumers we work so hard to protect," Cordray said, speaking at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions Congressional Caucus.

The bureau's new mortgage disclosure forms will take effect Aug. 1, 2015, and Cordray provided some details of the program.

The new rule is intended to ensure that homebuyers no longer receive overlapping forms from lenders and the government. Under the new rules, consumers will get a single form after applying for the loan, known as the loan estimate, and one form before finalizing the loan, known as the loan disclosure.

"These new forms will enable consumers more readily to spot crucial information that demands their focus, such as the interest rate, monthly payments and total closing costs, as well as any special risk factors that could lead to payment increases over time," Cordray said. "The underlying premise for both the loan estimate and the closing disclosure is that consumers will be better able to understand the mortgages they are buying and the costs they are paying."

Cordray added that, though the forms are not required until August 2015, lenders should already be working on the rule and preparing for the change. The bureau is working on a readiness guide for the regulations to be released in the coming months.

The CFPB has been hosting a series of webinars leading up to the implementation date, and the next one is scheduled for Oct. 1.

Cordray also provided a summary on the bureau's eClosing pilot program, which will include two credit unions, BECU, Tukwila, Wash., with $12.6 billion in assets, and Mountain America CU, West Jordan, Utah, with $3.8 billion in assets ( News Now Aug. 22 and Sept. 4).

"This pilot will explore how the increased use of technology during the mortgage closing process could affect consumer understanding and engagement and save time and money for consumers, lenders, and other market participants," he said.

Use the resource links below for more information. ReadMore

Rep. Waters proposes bill to improve consumer credit reporting

Washington
WASHINGTON (9/12/14)--Credit scores play an important role in buying a house, or obtaining a job, and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has introduced an bill designed to help consumers' scores recover faster.

The Fair Credit Reporting Improvement Act of 2014 is meant to enhance requirements for consumer reporting agencies (CRA), as well as those who provide information to the CRAs, with the hope of guaranteeing consumers the ability to ensure their credit report information is accurate and complete.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, 1 in 5, or roughly 40 million consumers, have had an error on one of their credit reports. Approximately 10 million consumers have errors that could increase the cost of credit available to them.

Key provisions in the bill include:
  • Providing relief to millions of borrowers victimized by predatory mortgage lenders and servicers, by removing adverse information about these residential loans that are found to be unfair, deceptive, abusive, fraudulent or illegal; 

  • Shortening by three years that most adverse information can remain on a person's credit report;

  • Giving consumers tools to verify the accuracy and completeness of their credit reports, by mandating that furnishers retain all records for as long as adverse information about these accounts remains on a person's credit report;

  • Eliminating punitive credit scoring practices by removing fully paid or settled debt from credit reports, including medical debt;

  • Giving distressed private education loan borrowers the same chance to repair their credit as federal student loan borrowers, by removing adverse information when delinquent private education loan borrowers make consecutive on-time monthly payments for a certain period of time on their loans.

  • Restricting the use of credit reports for employment purposes; and

  • Setting a dollar amount that a consumer can be charged to buy their credit score from CRAs, while also requiring CRAs to provide consumers with a free annual credit or educational credit score upon a consumer's request.   
Use the resource links below to access the full text of the discussion draft and a summary document. ReadMore

NCUA, AARP team up for fin. ed. initiatives, outreach

Washington
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/12/14)--The National Credit Union Administration has announced a new alliance in the effort to increase the financial literacy of the American public.

The agency said Thursday that it will team up with the AARP to work on a series of initiatives to promote financial education and outreach. The intention is to help consumers achieve financial security and increase access to responsible and affordable financial services.

According to the NCUA, joint activities will include sharing financial education tools and resources, co-hosting events in communities and online and participating in working groups with one another and other organizations.

The two organizations have signed a memorandum of understanding outlining a two-year plan for initiatives that will cover consumer-friendly financial services, anti-fraud efforts, entrepreneurship and financial literacy, among others.

"Promoting financial literacy is an important goal for NCUA and one of the core missions of federally insured credit unions," NCUA Chair Debbie Matz said. "There are many areas where AARP and NCUA can work together to strengthen the financial health of Americans of all ages."

According to the NCUA, activities will include, but are not limited to, sharing of financial education tools and resources, co-hosting events in communities and online and participating in working groups with one another and with other organizations.

The NCUA participated in the AARP's Ideas@50+ event in San Diego last week, providing informational material to hundreds in attendance about credit union services, share insurance coverage, elder financial abuse and the agency's financial literacy resources.

The agency currently offers financial education materials geared toward all populations at its MyCreditUnion.gov website.

Use the resource link below to access previous News Now coverage of the NCUA's financial literacy programs. ReadMore

UBIT Steering Committee receives prestigious Pierre Jay Award

Washington
WASHINGTON (9/12/14)--The UBIT Steering Committee, comprised of the Credit Union National Association, CUNA Mutual Group, the American Association of Credit Union Leagues and the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS), was recognized Thursday for its long and diligent work that successfully persuaded the Internal Revenue Service to issue examiner guidance on unrelated business income tax (UBIT).
 
After almost 20 years of advocacy by the UBIT committee, credit unions in April received a much-sought-after interpretation by the IRS that cleared nearly all credit union products from being subject to UBIT.
 
The prestigious Pierre Jay Award was awarded by NASCUS at its 2014 State System Summit in Nashville, Tenn.  
 
NASCUS noted that a turning point in the steering committee's work came in 2009, when Community First CU, Appleton, Wis., prevailed in a jury trial against the IRS on UBIT issues, and when a federal court in Colorado ruled in favor of Bellco CU, Greenwood Village, Colo., in its UBIT challenge. The steering committee had worked closely with both credit unions in support of the litigation.
 
Receiving the award on behalf of CUNA were Kathy Thompson, CUNA's senior vice president of compliance and legislative analysis; Larry Blanchard, CUNA Mutual Group legislative consultant, on behalf of CUNA Mutual Group; Fred Robinson, Tennessee Credit Union League president/CEO, on behalf of AACUL; and Mary Martha Fortney, NASCUS president/CEO, on behalf of NASCUS.
 
NASCUS first presented the Pierre Jay Award in 1997. It's named after Massachusetts' first commissioner of banks, who is considered instrumental in shaping credit union history. ReadMore

MBA survey: Weekly mortgage apps plummet 7.2%

Market
WASHINGTON (9/12/14)--Even accounting for the Labor Day holiday, mortgage applications stumbled this week, sinking by 7.2%, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly mortgage application survey ( Economy.com Sept. 10).

Refinance applications fueled the drop with a 10.7% retreat for the week, while purchase applications fell by 2.6%.

On a four-week moving average, refinance activity has gained 0.5% over the past month, but still sits 25% lower than this time last year. Refinance applications currently constitute about 55% of all applications.

Purchase activity, meanwhile, has declined 1.3% over the last month and falls 11.6% below year-ago levels.

With these latest readings, the overall mortgage application gauge has hit its lowest level since 2000.

"There appears to be little impetus for purchase activity to noticeably improve over the next few months, given that most Americans are just doing OK, but not great," said Gregory Bird, Moody's analyst ( Economy.com ).

Mortgage rates also continue to hover near their record-low post-recession levels.

The 30-year fixed-rate conforming mortgage rate climbed 2 basis points to 4.27% for the week, which is 8 points below the rate seen four weeks ago and 53 points below levels this time last year.

Five-year adjustable-rate mortgage rates fell by 7 basis points down to 3.12%, which is 47 basis points lower year-over-year. ReadMore

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Business Rates

Market
Daily Financial Rates -- 2014-09-12

Financial Rates


Friday, September 12, 2014

03:55 AM CDT

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

TermFri
9/12
Thu
9/11
Wed
9/10
Tue
9/9
Mon
9/8
1 month0.010.010.010.010.02
3 month0.020.020.020.020.03
6 month0.050.050.050.050.05
1 year0.110.110.110.100.10
2 year0.580.580.560.540.52
3 year1.071.071.061.020.99
5 year1.791.791.761.721.69
7 year2.222.222.192.162.14
10 year2.542.542.502.482.46
20 year3.023.012.972.972.97
30 year3.273.263.233.233.23

TREASURY BILLS

Results of the September 8, 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, 9/8
Week Ago
Tue, 9/2
13 weeks0.0200.025
26 weeks0.0450.050

PRIME RATE

3.25% Last changed December 16, 2008

FEDERAL FUNDS

TermFri
9/12
Thu
9/11
Wed
9/10
Tue
9/9
Mon
9/8
high0.3120.3120.3120.3120.312
low0.0500.0400.0500.0500.050
near closing bid0.0700.0800.0700.0600.050
offered0.0900.2700.2700.0800.270
effective rate20.1000.1000.1000.1000.110

FREDDIE MAC (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

TermFri
9/12
Thu
9/11
Wed
9/10
Tue
9/9
Mon
9/8
30 year0.000.000.000.000.00

FANNIE MAE (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

TermFri
9/12
Thu
9/11
Wed
9/10
Tue
9/9
Mon
9/8
30 year3.8073.8053.7843.7493.757

LIBOR

TermFri
9/12
Thu
9/11
Wed
9/10
Tue
9/9
Mon
9/8
1 month0.209000.211000.209000.209000.20800
3 month0.361000.361000.361000.361000.36000
6 month0.537000.537000.536000.536000.53600
1 year0.844000.846000.844000.844000.84400

COMMERCIAL PAPER (Financial, 90 days)

TermWeek ended
9/9
Week ended
9/3
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

Informa Research Services, Inc.
Daily Rate Comparison

Informa Research Services, Inc.
Deposit Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
12 Month CD $10,000 0.46% 0.28% 0.18%
Personal Savings $1,000 0.20% 0.10% 0.10%
Personal Interest Checking $2,500 0.36% 0.15% 0.21%
NSF Fee $27.90 $32.04 $-4.14
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 10.16% 10.34% -0.18%
New Auto Loan - 5 Years 2.59% 3.82% -1.23%
Used Auto Loan - 2 year Old - 4 Years 2.76% 4.02% -1.26%
HELOC - 80% LTV - $50,000 4.13% 4.41% -0.28%
HE Loan - 80% LTV - $50,000 - 15 Years 5.66% 5.96% -0.30%

Mortgage Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
30 Year Fixed Conforming 4.18% 4.23% -0.05%
30 Year Fixed Jumbo 4.21% 4.20% 0.01%
5/1 Year ARM Conforming 2.94% 2.93% 0.01%

Credit Card Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Platinum 9.01% 10.48% -1.47%
Annual Fee $25.00 $31.00 $-6.00
Maximum Late Fee $25.95 $33.42 $-7.47
Reward 9.99% 13.66% -3.67%
Annual Fee $26.71 $99.74 $-73.03
Maximum Late Fee $22.66 $33.73 $-11.07

Indirect Auto Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Indirect A Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 3.59% 3.78% -0.19%
Indirect B Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 5.32% 5.31% 0.01%
Indirect C Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 7.49% 6.76% 0.74%

Averages displayed are straight averages of all institutions within the Informa Research Services database for the selected region as of Thursday, September 11, 2014. For detailed disclosures click here.

ReadMore

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NASCUS announces board, CU advisory council members

CU System
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (9/12/14)--Three new members started terms and officers were named to the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) board this week at the 2014 NASCUS annual meeting on Sept. 10 in Nashville, Tenn.

Stephen S. Pleger, senior deputy commissioner for the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, was elected chair of the board of directors; Mary Ellen O'Neill, director of the Financial Institution Division of the Connecticut Department of Banking, was voted to be chair; and Jay Bienvenu, deputy commissioner of Financial Institution Supervision with the Massachusetts Division of Banks, was elected secretary/treasurer.

The three state regulators beginning their new terms were previously appointed to terms on the board, however they were recently elected outright to serve full three-year terms, which end in 2017.

The board members include:
  • Bienvenu;
     
  • Rose Conner, administrator of the North Carolina Credit Union Division; and
     
  • Kim Santos, director of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Office of Credit Unions Division.
The remaining board members are John Fields, deputy chief examiner for the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions; Linda K. Jekel, director of the Washington Department of Financial Institutions Division of Credit Unions; and Werner Paul, deputy commissioner for the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions.

Two state credit union CEOs began terms on the NASCUS Credit Union Advisory Council this week as well.

Linda Childs, TNConnect CU, Knoxville, Tenn., with $48 million in assets, will continue representing District 2 during a new three-year term that expires in 2017.

In District 3, Jason Boesch, Energize CU, Oklahoma City, with $27 million in assets, also will continue to serve as a director for an additional three-year term.

The executive council also appointed its officers:
  • Chair: Childs;
     
  • Chair-elect: Patty Idol, Mountain CU, Waynesville, N.C., with $162 million in assets; and
     
  • Secretary: Terry West, VyStar CU, Jacksonville, Fla., with $5 billion in assets.
ReadMore

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Minn. biz loans outpace national Q2 trends

CU System
ST. PAUL, Minn. (9/12/14)--Business lending is thriving at credit unions in Minnesota, posting a 14.4% annual improvement in business loan growth for the second quarter, according to numbers released by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) in its quarterly data review this week. 

Minnesota credit unions also beat the national average for business lending of 12%.

"Credit unions are more willing to make smaller loans that help businesses get off the ground," said Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) President/CEO Mark D. Cummins. "With these loans, Minnesota credit unions are helping not only businesses, but also families and communities (to) grow."

The credit union movement in Minnesota also experienced rising levels of membership growth in the second quarter, climbing by nearly 10,000 to reach a new state high of 1,636,000.

Credit unions in the state have seen positive membership growth since 2011 and steady asset growth each year since 2007, according to MnCUN.

Nationally, overall median growth rates for assets and shares slowed year-over-year, according to the NCUA's numbers, while national membership growth climbed in the quarter ( News Now Sept. 10).

In Minnesota, credit unions witnessed dropping levels of delinquent loans in the second quarter, decreasing 5% from the same time last year.

Delinquencies remained steady throughout the country, according to the NCUA.

"Minnesota consumers and businesses are feeling more confident about their long-term financial picture," Cummins said. "And they're continuing to choose credit unions because they are trusted, locally owned financial partners." ReadMore

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CU System briefs (09/12/2014)

CU System
  • COLUMBIA, S.C., and RALEIGH, N.C. (9/12/14)-- Micah Smith of SC Telco FCU, Greenville, S.C., was named the CUaware Protege during the Carolinas Credit Union League leadership conference Saturday . Smith, who is a member service specialist at the $266 million-asset credit union, will serve for one year as dual-state spokesperson for young credit union professionals. "The CUaware Protege Program has proven itself as an excellent avenue for enabling young professionals to develop themselves," Smith said. He will have a position on the CUaware Leadership Council. Troy Hall from South Carolina FCU, Charleston, S.C., with $1.3 billion in assets, introduced a new Protege-aligned mentorship pilot that partners chapter proteges with credit union leaders ... 
  • ST. LOUIS (9/12/14)-- Missouri credit union staff and volunteers met with two members of the House Financial Services Committee during the in-district work period ( Missouri Difference Sept. 9). U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D) welcomed credit union leaders to his Kansas City office Sept. 2. Top photo, from left: Chris McCreary, president, United Consumers CU, Independence, with $123 million in assets; Ron Miller, president, Edison CU, Kansas City, with $29 million in assets; John Pinzino, vice president of financial services, United Consumers CU; Brandon Michaels, president/CEO, Mazuma CU, Kansas City, with $488 million in assets; Pat Yokley, former chief administrative officer, CommunityAmerica CU, Lenexa, Kan., with $1.9 billion in assets; Janice Smith, Kansas City CU, with $28 million in assets; Cleaver; Dennis Pierce, president/CEO, CommunityAmerica CU; Amy McLard, senior vice president of Advocacy , Missouri Credit Union Association; Eric Jones, president/CEO, Kansas City CU; and Laura Eblen, assistant vice president of operations, Mazuma CU. On Sept. 3, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R) visited the Missouri Credit Union House in Jefferson City. Bottom photo, from left: Bill Mustain, CEO, Employment Security CU, Jefferson City, with $62 million in assets; McLard; Randy Yeck, executive vice president, Vantage CU, Bridgeton, with $737 million in assets; Johnny O'Hare, president/CEO, Mid Missouri CU, Fort Leonard Wood, with $212 million in assets; Luetkemeyer; Rick Nichols, president/CEO, River Region CU, Jefferson City, with $99 million in assets; Dana Alderman, business development director, River Region CU; Carol Minges, president/CEO, 1st Financial FCU, Wentzville, with $202 million in assets; and Brent Sadler, president/CEO, United CU, Mexico, with $142 million in assets (Missouri Credit Union Association Photos) ...
     
  • FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (9/12/14)-- The Cornerstone Credit Union League and its member credit unions food drive will help feed more than 26,000 people ( Leaguer Sept. 11). At its food drive during last week's leadership conference and expo in San Antonio, conference attendees were asked to bring one can of food or $1. Attendees and conference exhibitors donated 655 pounds of food and $1,610. Cornerstone matched the donation with $1,000 for a total donation of $2,610 (Cornerstone Credit Union League Photo) ...
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Consumers have bleak view of U.S. economy, finances, reports find

CU System
LOS ANGELES and PHILADELPHIA (9/12/14)--Two recent studies--one by GOBankingRates.com and one from the Pew Research Center--capture the sentiment that Americans continue to be stressed about the economy and fearful for the financial futures.
 
A third of respondents to a recent GOBankingRates.com poll said they worry about their finances "all the time."
 
When asked to select their top three fears from a list of 10, four financial fears--always living paycheck to paycheck, falling into serious debt, becoming homeless and losing a job--made up 66% of the responses.
 
"When money problems comes up, we are forced to consider every aspect of our lives falling apart instead of just one or two. It is all subconscious but it is huge," said Leisa Peterson, certified financial planner and founder of WealthClinic.
 
Of the financial fears, being unemployed led with 27%--the most common fear among 18- to 24-year-olds at 30%.  The next highest fear of never getting out of debt--26%--was selected most often by those older than 45.
 
Although the employment market is improving slightly, overall consumer sentiment about the economy is bleak, according to a new national survey by the Pew Research Center.  
 
Incomes that are lagging behind the cost of living concern 56% of the respondents, which is almost in line with those who said their incomes were falling behind--57%--in October 2008 during the financial crisis.
 
Among those families with less than $30,000 per year, 66% have confronted as least one serious financial problem such as becoming unemployed or having hours cut, being unable to pay for health care, struggling to pay rent or mortgage, or having been contacted by a collection agency. Overall, 45% say they have experienced one or more such serious financial hardships over the last year.
 
Cost of living concerns run along the lines of income differences. Of those with family incomes of $75,000 or more, most say they are at least keeping pace with the cost of living. Among those with incomes of $100,000 or more, 48% are staying even.
 
However, in the two lowest income categories, respondents say they are not keeping up. More than half of those with family incomes between $30,000 and $75,000 say they are falling behind, and just under 40% are staying even. For those with incomes under $30,000, 70% say they are falling behind. ReadMore

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Millennials eschew credit cards, put future credit at risk

CU System
NEW YORK (9/12/14)--Millennials are carrying around much less plastic than their older counterparts, a study from Bankrate.com has found, as 63% of people ages 18 to 29 don't possess a single credit card ( USA TODAY Sept. 11).

While this choice could steer many away from the pitfalls of overwhelming debt, the decision to swear off credit cards could inevitably hurt this younger generation, personal finance expert Jean Chatzky told USA TODAY .

Credit scores play critical roles in determining whether a consumer can secure a car loan, how much a consumer will pay for car insurance, or even how he or she will look to prospective employers.

"They are widely considered a mark of how responsible you are as a member of society," said Chatzky. "As far as for car insurance goes, your credit history is a better indicator of risk than even your driving record."

On the other side of the coin, as consumers get older, credit card use climbs. The study found that only 35% of adults 30-and-over don't possess a credit card.

The reason for the disparity, perhaps, is that millennials simply don't want credit cards.

"I don't really feel like there's a need for one in the way I live my life," Melissa Pileiro, 24, from Vineland, N.J., told Bankrate.com . "The idea with a credit card is you're essentially putting money down that you don't have."

Further, a Gallup poll from earlier this year found that Americans' reliance on credit cards in general has declined over the past few years since the economic downturn.

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 also made it more difficult for those under 21 to gain access to a credit card.

Finally, it could be that because many millennials grew up during the recession, they saw the problems credit cards could create, according to David Pommerehn, senior counsel with the Consumer Bankers Association ( Bankrate.com ).

"There was great concern about jobs and debts and paying off bills," he said.

But no matter the reason for shying away from credit cards, paying with plastic remains one of the top ways to build a solid credit score.

Millennials "have to understand that it costs you money not to use credit, just as it costs you money to use credit," Mike Sullivan, director of education at nonprofit credit and debit counseling agency Take Charge America, told Bankrate.com .

No or low credit scores won't help consumers qualify for low loan rates, he said. ReadMore

100M memberships celebrations brings in the major leagues

CU System
WASHINGTON (9/12/14)--No strikeouts here--just solid home runs by credit unions as they celebrate the movement's 100 million memberships milestone at big league baseball parks.
 
Sunday has been designated as Credit Union Day at U.S. Cellular Field when the Chicago White Sox take on the Minnesota Twins at its home ball park. Look for Illinois Credit Union League President/CEO Sean Hession to take the mic for the singing of the "National Anthem." Hession is a former principal first tenor and tenor soloist for the National Men's Chorus in Washington, D.C.

The game also will honor World War II veteran Dick Lockhart as "Hero of the Game." Lockhart has been a lobbyist for the league for more than 50 years.
 
The hits keep coming Tuesday when the Baltimore Orioles host the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards for "100 Million Membership Day." Ticketholders get a 100 million memberships T-shirt to wear at the game, too.
 
For the Washington Nationals home game vs. the Florida Marlins Sept. 26, the Credit Union National Association and other credit union sponsors will have a giveaway for game-goers, a booth inside the stadium to educate spectators about credit unions and the credit union difference, and between-innings announcements that focus on the milestone.
 
Nationwide, credit union leagues have teamed up with local minor league teams to celebrate as well. Utah Credit Union Association President/CEO Scott Simpson tossed the first pitch at the Aug. 9 Salt Lake Bees vs. the El Paso (Texas) Chihuahuas game (News Now Aug. 14)
 
In early August, CUNA sponsored another entertaining event---a food-truck festival called Truckeroo where CUNA staff and credit union volunteers distributed "Credit unions are a smarter choice" T-shirts and slap koozies to keep beverages cold (News Now Aug. 11).
 
All of the activities have been celebrating the 100 millionth membership which occurred in June, according to CUNA credit union data. ReadMore

See who's 1st to earn CUNA's new biz development designation

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (9/12/14)--So emerges the first-ever group of credit union professionals to receive the newly offered Credit Union Business Development Professional (CUBDP) designation--developed by the Credit Union National Association--CUNA announced this week.

The group of 40 individuals earned their new credentials by demonstrating exemplary knowledge and expertise during CUNA FUSE: Branch Operations and Business Development School last month.

"CUNA FUSE lit the fuse for the group of business development professionals eager to engage, share and promote one another in a dynamic setting," said Natalie Bradley, Ventura (Calif.) County CU, with $677 million in assets. "Having been in this industry for almost a decade, I walked away with fresh ideas, new resources, a supportive business development posse and a strategic focus for my credit union."

CUNA FUSE is an annual event that gives attendees the opportunity to discuss and deliver innovative ideas alongside credit union branch managers and business development professionals to fuel growth and increase efficiency at their individual credit unions.  

The CUBDP designation, created in collaboration with the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council, is available to anyone who attends CUNA FUSE's entire business development track and successfully completes the exam.

The designation demonstrates that the professional possesses the initiative and pertinent expertise needed to be a credit union business developer.

"Early on it was clear that we'd done the right thing in creating this designation," said Kathy Smith, CUNA instructional design manager of learning events. "Every one of the new CUBDPs has shown that they have what it takes to step up and be an authority on business development and a representative of their credit union."

Next year, CUNA FUSE will take place Aug. 17-20 in Seattle. For more information on CUBDP or to register for CUNA FUSE 2015, use the link. ReadMore

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Suss out features of college-payment strategies

Consumer
WASHINGTON (9/9/14)--College students who borrow to attend college graduate with a debt load equivalent to a new-car purchase or a down payment on a house, averaging $25,000. Some borrowing might be inevitable, but also explore the features of other college payment strategies (Kiplinger Aug. 26).
 
529 savings plans
  • Pros: Your savings grow tax-free and earnings escape federal tax if you use withdrawals for qualified college expenses. Your state might give you a tax break for contributions; you may invest in other states' 529 plans.
  • Cons: If you use the money for non-college expenses you'll have to pay taxes and a penalty on earnings. A state-appointed firm manages the account you so lose direct control.
Prepaid tuition plans
  • Pros: You can lock in tuition at in-state public colleges years in advance. The tax benefits are the same as for a 529 savings plan. If your student goes to an out-of-state or private school instead, you can transfer the value of the account or get a refund.
  • Cons: Not all states participate. If you use the money for non-college expenses you'll have to pay taxes and a penalty on earnings.
Coverdell education savings accounts
  • Pros: The tax benefits are the same as for a 529 savings plan, and Coverdells expand the definition of "qualified" to include tuition at private elementary schools and high schools.
  • Cons: Your contributions can't exceed $2,000 a year and the beneficiary must be younger than 18; contributions are limited by your modified adjusted gross income.
Roth IRAs
  • Pros: The money in a Roth grows tax-free. Withdrawals are not limited to qualified education expenses. You can avoid taxes on withdrawals as long as they don't exceed your contributions; you can avoid a 10% early withdrawal penalty on earnings if you use the money for educational expenses.
  • Cons: If you are younger than age 59 1/2, you will owe tax on any earnings you withdraw. If you are 59 1/2 or older you must have held the account for five years to avoid taxes on earnings you withdraw. The ability to contribute to a Roth IRA is governed by modified adjusted gross income limits.
Custodial accounts
  • Pros: You manage the account until the child reaches 18 or 21, depending on your state. After that your adult child owns the account (this could be a con). There are no limits on how the money can be used. There's no limit on how much a parent can put into a custodial account. Full-time students younger than age 24 pay no tax on the first $950 of unearned income and pay the child's rate on the next $950. Earnings above $1,900 are taxed at the parents' marginal rate. Investment choices aren't restricted.
  • Cons: If your contributions surpass $13,000 a year you'll have to pay a gift tax. Large balances in a custodial account can hurt chances for financial aid.
Private scholarships
  • Pros: The money is free, and many scholarships are awarded to students based on need or special interests.
  • Cons: Schools might reduce aid if scholarships and aid combined are more than a student's calculated need.
With soaring tuitions, borrowing is often necessary even after accounting for savings and scholarship money. Investigate government-sponsored loans, federal work-study programs, state programs, and institutional aid with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. Consider federal PLUS loans as well as a private loan from your credit union. Private student loans come into play after all other resources are exhausted.
 
For related information, read "Parental Income Dings a Student's Financial Aid" and "Parents: Borrow for Kids' College, Jeopardize Retirement" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center. ReadMore

CUProdigy, Payveris partner for digital payments

Products
WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (9/12/14)--Mobile digital payments and core processing are coming together with the partnership of Payveris and credit union service organization CUProdigy.
 
The partnership will use Payveris' modular, API-driven digital payments platform with CUProdigy's browser-based core banking system.
 
"In deciding to partner with Payveris, we were impressed not only by the payments technology that Payveris brings to the table, but by the team at Payveris and their dedication to helping credit unions to succeed," said Craig Peterson, CUProdigy director of client services.
 
Payveris' cloud-based platform provides a full range of bill payment, money movement and interbank transfer services. CUProdigy is introducing the Payveris team at its annual meeting this week in Orlando, Fla. ReadMore

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