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News Now

October 20, 2014

Inside Washington (10/20/14)

Washington
  • WASHINGTON (10/20/14)--Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), along with 33 Republican representatives, wrote to the U.S Department of Justice Inspector General to request an "immediate investigation" into Operation Choke Point. Citing a House Oversight and Government Reform report and a DOJ memorandum, the legislators question the legal authority of the initiative, as well as its effect on financial institutions that offer services to the non-deposit lending industry , as well as several others. The letter also says that DOJ memoranda say that staff informed the Attorney General that Operation Choke Point was causing financial institutions to "exit entire lines of business." Luetkemeyer and five representatives previously offered an amendment to a bill that denies funds to Operation Choke Point ...
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CUNA Attorneys Conference kicks off today

Washington
DANA POINT, Calif. (10/20/14)--More than 120 credit union attorneys will be present at this year's Credit Union National Association Attorneys Conference, which is going on through Wednesday.

The conference aims to cover the most timely credit union-specific topics, as well as general legal and financial subjects that attorneys who represent credit unions and credit union organizations can use while representing their clients.

Eric Richard, CUNA's general counsel, will be speaking today about the most significant legal and regulatory trends affecting credit unions. He will be addressing topics such as the National Credit Union Administration's risk-based capital proposal, data breaches and the difference between guidance and regulations under the Administrative Procedures Act.

The session "The New Integrated Mortgage Disclosures" will feature Janet Bonnefin, principal at Aldrich and Bonnefin PLC, and Jared Ihrig, CUNA's associate general counsel for regulatory advocacy. Information on the new mortgage integrated disclosure rules was the most pre-requested by the conference's attendees.

Other highlights of the conference include:
  • Today: A presentation from NCUA Senior Associate General Counsel John Ianno and staff attorneys Sarah Chung and Pamela Yu;

  • Tuesday: "Social Media: Compliance Challenges and Opportunities for Credit Unions," presented by CUNA Mutual Group's Ross Hansen, associate general counsel, and Jennifer Kraus, lead attorney;

  • Tuesday: "New Developments in Bank Secrecy Act," presented by T. Wayne Hood, senior vice president/general counsel, ORNL FCU, Oak Ridge, Tenn., with $1.5 billion in assets; and

  • Wednesday: "ID Theft Response--How to Do It Right," presented by Christopher Gerety, general counsel, APCO Employees CU, Birmingham, Ala., with $2.4 billion in assets.
Stay tuned to News Now throughout the week for more coverage of the CUNA Attorneys Conference.

Use the resource link below for more information.


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Rendell Jones to succeed Woodson as CFO at NCUA

Washington
WASHINGTON (10/20/14)--Rendell Jones has been named the new chief financial officer of the National Credit Union Administration, the agency announced Friday. Jones, who begins his duties today, is replacing MaryAnn Woodson, who served as CFO since January 2008.

"I am pleased to welcome Rendell to NCUA and look forward to working with him," said NCUA Chair Debbie Matz. "The breadth of his experience and the overall excellence he has displayed in his career should serve NCUA and credit unions very well."

The chief financial officer's responsibilities include preparation and management of the agency's budget, finance and accounting functions; administration of credit union operating fees and capitalization deposits; and daily operations of the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

Jones is coming from his position as associate director for management with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). He also served as that agency's acting deputy director from December 2013 to July 2014. Prior to that appointment, Jones served as USCIS's chief financial officer.

He previously served as deputy budget director at the Department of Homeland Security. His career in federal service began in 1996 at the Department of Justice.

Matz credited Woodson for being an integral part of the management team that went through "the most difficult period in the system's history, a challenging time for the agency, and her judgment and management skills have been important to all of us as we steered through the storm." ReadMore

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OFAC consolidates all non-SDN sanctions lists

Washington
WASHINGTON (10/20/14)--With the goal of making is easier to comply with its regulations, the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is offering all of its non-Specialty Designated Nationals (SDN) lists in one consolidated data list. Known as the Consolidated Sanctions List, the files comply with all of OFAC's existing data standards.

According to OFAC, the effort is designed to reduce the number of list-related files that must be downloaded in order to maintain an automated sanctions screening program. If OFAC creates a new sanctions list where the action required of a U.S. person does not necessarily entail blocking, the office will add the new data associated with that list to the files if appropriate.

The lists include:
  • Non-SDN Palestinian Legislative Council List (NS-PLC);
  • Part 561 List;
  • Non-SDN Iran Sanctions Action List (NS-ISA);
  • Foreign Sanctions Evaders List (FSE); and
  • Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List (SSI).
In approximately six months, OFAC will cease issuing independent data files for the FSE, the SSI and the NS-PLC lists. OFAC will continue to provide and update PDF and TXT versions of the FSE, SSI, NS-ISA, NS-PLC and Part 561 lists and their respective archive of changes. These file formats will continue to be available after the transition period.

OFAC has also upgraded its Sanctions List Search tool, which provides users the ability to search for a name on the SDN lists and the consolidated list. All lists are available in Sanctions List Search.

Use the resource links below for more information. ReadMore

Half of merchant terminals EMV-ready by end of 2015, says PST

Washington
WASHINGTON (10/20/14)--At least 47% of merchant terminals in the United States will be enabled with EMV chip technology by the end of 2015, according to the Payments Security Task Force (PST).

According to the PST, the estimate is based on forecasts from entities representing approximately 80% of all U.S. purchase volume, including First Data, Bank of America Merchant Services, Citi, Chase Paymentech, Vantiv, Elavon, Wells Fargo and Global Payments.

The Credit Union National Association is a member of the PST, and CUNA Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn said it was encouraging to see the collaborative efforts. However, she also said that it must be a high priority for the PST to focus on a long-term strategy to secure payments across all entities.

President Barack Obama issued an executive order Friday directing both payment terminals and payment cards to employ chip-and-PIN technology like EMV. Starting Jan. 1, all cards issued through the General Services Administration are mandated to contain additional security features.

In August, card issuers estimated more than 575 million EMV chip-enabled cards, which are more secure than the current magnetic strips on most credit and debit cards, would be issued by the end of 2015.

According to the PST, card and terminal forecasts will be updated on a quarterly basis. ReadMore

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CUNA applauds Obama's exec order for greater data security

Washington
WASHINGTON (10/20/14)--As the number of data breaches and the accompanying costs for financial institutions and consumers continue to rise, President Barack Obama issued an executive order Friday aimed at improving the security of consumer financial transactions.

"While the U.S. government's credit, debit, and other payment card programs already include protections against fraud, the Government must further strengthen the security of consumer data and encourage the adoption of enhanced safeguards nationwide in a manner that protects privacy and confidentiality while maintaining an efficient and innovative financial system," the order reads.

Eric Richard, Credit Union National Association general counsel, commended the president for calling on Congress to enact cybersecurity legislation. CUNA previously wrote to Obama to request the formation of a cybersecurity council, as well as legislation to protect American consumers.

"As a member of the Payments Security Task Force, CUNA has been actively engaged with payment networks, financial institutions, retailers and manufacturers to ensure chip cards and readers are accessible and enabled by the end of 2015," Richard said. "Credit unions have been and will continue to be involved in this important conversation, and we look forward to working with the administration on this vital issue."

Obama's executive order lays out a timeline for increased cybersecurity measures to be taken by the government, as well as increased resources to consumers. This includes:
  • Government, executive departments and agencies to transition payment-processing terminals and credit and debit cards to employ enhanced security features, including chip-and-PIN technology, with a plan to be developed by the U.S. Treasury by Jan. 1:

  • Credit and debit cards provided through General Services Administration (GSA) contracts will be replaced by cards with enhanced security features no later than Jan. 1;

  • The Attorney General, with the Secretary of Homeland Security, will issue guidance to promote regular submissions of compromised credentials to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance's Internet Fraud Alert System by Feb. 15;

  • The U.S. Departments of Justice and Commerce and the Social Security Administration will begin to identify publicly available agency resources for victims of identity theft and provide the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that information no later than March 15;

  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and GSA will assist the FTC in enhancing the IdentityTheft.gov website, including coordination with the credit bureaus to streamline the reporting and remediation process by May 15; and

  • Within 90 days of the date of this order, the National Security Council staff, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and OMB shall present to the president a plan, consistent with the guidance set forth in the 2011 National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, to ensure that all agencies making personal data accessible to citizens through digital applications require the use of multiple factors of authentication and an effective identity proofing process, as appropriate. Within 18 months of the date of this order, relevant agencies shall complete any required implementation steps set forth in the plan prepared pursuant to this section.
FTC Chair Edith Ramirez said in a statement following the order that she welcomes the opportunity to participate in the new initiative.

Use the resource link below to access the full text of the order. ReadMore

Consumer confidence surges to 7-year high

Market
WASHINGTON (10/20/14)--Despite expectations for a decline, consumer confidence gained a sizable 1.8 points in October, according to a preliminary monthly reading of the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey, released Friday ( Economy.com Oct. 17).

While the 86.4 reading is the highest in more than seven years, forecasters have tempered expectations for the final reading for the month, as recent instability in the stock market and worries over a potential Ebola outbreak could reverse those positive feelings.  

"The better reading on household confidence provides some indication that consumers' attitudes have remained unperturbed by the recent turbulence in the global financial market and the Ebola scare," Millan Mulraine, TD Securities deputy head of U.S. research and strategy, told MarketWatch (Oct. 17). "However, this initial reading is likely to be revised lower when the final print is released later this month."

The survey's headline reading, meanwhile, was driven by a positive overall outlook on the economy, buoyed by stronger hiring numbers, lower gas prices and cheaper borrowing costs, according to Moody's.

The current conditions subcomponent stood pat at 98.9 from the previous month, holding the three-month moving average for that gauge at 99.2.

Shoppers believe prices will climb 2.8% over the next 12 months, a slight drop from last month's expectation of a full 3% increase in prices.

Consumers further expect inflation to average 2.8% per year for the next five years, which is unchanged from September's expectations, according to Moody's.

"It appears that the positive crosscurrents are overpowering the negative, and barring a major shock, consumer sentiment should continue to trend higher over the next year," said Nate Kelley, Moody's analyst ( Economy.com ). ReadMore

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Business Rates

Market
Daily Financial Rates -- 2014-10-20

Financial Rates


Monday, October 20, 2014

03:55 AM CDT

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

TermMon
10/20
Fri
10/17
Thu
10/16
Wed
10/15
Tue
10/14
1 month0.030.040.020.030.02
3 month0.020.030.020.020.01
6 month0.050.050.050.040.04
1 year0.110.100.100.090.10
2 year0.390.350.340.390.45
3 year0.790.750.730.800.89
5 year1.441.391.371.451.55
7 year1.881.821.801.881.99
10 year2.222.172.152.212.31
20 year2.702.662.642.682.77
30 year2.982.942.922.953.03

TREASURY BILLS

Results of the October 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
Tue, 10/14
Week Ago
Mon, 10/6
13 weeks0.0100.015
26 weeks0.0400.040

PRIME RATE

3.25% Last changed December 16, 2008

FEDERAL FUNDS

TermMon
10/20
Fri
10/17
Thu
10/16
Wed
10/15
Tue
10/14
high0.3120.3120.3120.3120.312
low0.0500.0600.0600.0500.050
near closing bid0.0700.0700.0600.0700.070
offered0.1000.0800.0800.0900.100
effective rate20.1000.1000.1000.1000.100

FREDDIE MAC (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

TermMon
10/20
Fri
10/17
Thu
10/16
Wed
10/15
Tue
10/14
30 year0.000.000.000.000.00

FANNIE MAE (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

TermMon
10/20
Fri
10/17
Thu
10/16
Wed
10/15
Tue
10/14
30 year3.4833.4493.3313.4783.573

LIBOR

TermMon
10/20
Fri
10/17
Thu
10/16
Wed
10/15
Tue
10/14
1 month0.228000.226000.227000.226000.22800
3 month0.378000.378000.376000.378000.38000
6 month0.538000.538000.536000.538000.53700
1 year0.839000.839000.837000.839000.83900

COMMERCIAL PAPER (Financial, 90 days)

TermWeek ended
10/15
Week ended
10/7
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 0.47% 0.28% 0.19%
Personal Savings $1,000 0.21% 0.10% 0.11%
Personal Interest Checking $2,500 0.37% 0.15% 0.22%
NSF Fee $27.91 $32.04 $-4.13
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 10.18% 10.33% -0.15%
New Auto Loan - 5 Years 2.61% 3.81% -1.20%
Used Auto Loan - 2 year Old - 4 Years 2.77% 4.00% -1.23%
HELOC - 80% LTV - $50,000 4.13% 4.41% -0.28%
HE Loan - 80% LTV - $50,000 - 15 Years 5.66% 5.93% -0.27%

Mortgage Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
30 Year Fixed Conforming 3.98% 4.00% -0.02%
30 Year Fixed Jumbo 4.08% 3.97% 0.11%
5/1 Year ARM Conforming 2.91% 2.84% 0.07%

Credit Card Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Platinum 8.89% 10.48% -1.59%
Annual Fee $25.00 $31.00 $-6.00
Maximum Late Fee $25.54 $33.42 $-7.88
Reward 10.03% 13.68% -3.65%
Annual Fee $26.71 $99.76 $-73.05
Maximum Late Fee $22.61 $33.60 $-10.99

Indirect Auto Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Indirect A Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 3.60% 3.75% -0.15%
Indirect B Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 5.32% 5.30% 0.02%
Indirect C Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 7.47% 6.77% 0.70%

Averages displayed are straight averages of all institutions within the Informa Research Services database for the selected region as of Sunday, October 19, 2014. For detailed disclosures click here.

ReadMore

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America's CU Museum leader passes the torch

CU System
CONCORD, N.H. (10/20/14)--Credit union leaders last week celebrated the leadership of Peggy Powell, who is retiring after serving 15 years as executive director of America's Credit Union Museum, based in Manchester, N.H., on the site of the nation's first credit union.
 
Click to view larger image America's Credit Union Museum Chairman Michael L'Ecuyer, left, presents ACUM retiring Executive Director Peggy Powell with a plaque during a recent celebration in her honor. ( Daily CU Scan Photo)
The museum also announced it was hiring Stephanie Smith as its new executive director, the Maine Credit Union League reported ( Weekly Update Oct. 17).
 
Smith joins the museum after spending the past 10 years at St. Paul's School, a prep school in Concord, N.H., where she worked in the development office.
 
Several museum board members, league presidents credit union CEOs, staff and guests assembled with museum Chairman Michael L'Ecuyer, president/CEO of Bellwether Community CU, Manchester, with $389 million in assets, last week to celebrate Powell's leadership.
 
L'Ecuyer highlighted Powell's accomplishments as the executive director, from when the original museum building was donated to the SMB Charitable Foundation by the Lemire family, to the grand opening of the current facility in 2002. Powell and the board transitioned the SMB Charitable Foundation to the New England Credit Union Heritage Foundation, and finally to a national board as the America's Credit Union Museum Foundation. 
 
In 2004, Powell collaborated with the New Hampshire Credit Union League, museum member credit unions, the museum's Financial Literacy Educational Committee and the Rundlett Middle School in Concord, N.H., to develop the CU 4 Reality Financial Education Program, which since its inception has reached more than 70,000 students in the United States and Germany. The museum also hosted a celebration for the 100th anniversary of the credit union movement and a film premiere in 2008. ReadMore

CU System briefs (10/20/14)

CU System
  • PHILADELPHIA (10/20/14)-- Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) awarded the 2014 Ned Gramlich Award for Responsible Finance to Bill Bynum, president/CEO, of Jackson, Miss.-based HOPE Enterprise Corp. and HOPE FCU, with $187 million in assets . "Bill is one of the industry's most effective and inspiring leaders, as well as a longtime advocate for social, economic and political equality," said OFN President/CEO Mark Pinsky. "At HOPE and through his policy work in Washington, D.C., he is a champion for low-income and low-wealth people in the South--and across the country." OFN is a national network of community development financial institutions. Gramlich, a former Federal Reserve governor, spoke out against predatory lending and strongly defended the Community Reinvestment Act. "Every day at HOPE, we strive to realize Ned Gramlich's vision of responsible finance for our members," Bynum said. "I'm grateful to be part of a movement that is committed to ensuring economic justice for people and communities where there is a dire need for financial inclusion and equality" ...
     
  • HONOLULU (10/20/14)-- Hawaiian TEL FCU, a $517 million-asset credit union in Honolulu, completed its second merger with a Honolulu credit union this year . The $2.8 million-asset Island Tradition FCU, which serves Macy's employees, recently received merger approval from the larger credit union's board ( Pacific Business News Oct. 15). Island Tradition FCU's one branch--located by the shoe department at the Ala Moana Center Macy's store--will close Oct. 31. Earlier this year, Sheraton Hawaii FCU, with $20 million in assets, merged with Hawaiian TEL June 1. Sheraton Hawaii FCU serves Starwood Hotels employees, and its location at the Sheraton Waikiki remains open ...
ReadMore

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Save for Retirement Week time to evaluate goals

CU System
WASHINGTON (10/20/14)--National Save for Retirement Week kicked off Sunday, marking an excellent opportunity for many to think about and develop personal retirement goals, or perhaps more importantly, to find out how close those goals are to being achieved ( AmericaSaves.org Oct. 16).

The national weeklong event, which is endorsed by the U.S. Congress, is the first ever to call on citizens to take advantage of employer-provided retirement benefits.

The week also serves as an opportunity to raise public awareness of how important it is to save for retirement.

"It is important to begin saving today for retirement, or increase your contributions if you aren't meeting your goals," wrote Tammy Greynolds for AmericaSaves.org . "Experts predict that retirees will need from 80% to 100% of their pre-retirement income to maintain their lifestyle after retirement.

"Yet, surveys show that most Americans remain unprepared for retirement."

The National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators Inc., which coordinates the week, recommends that throughout the week employers and others should:
  • Educate employees about the need to save now for the future;
     
  • Promote the benefits of saving for retirement early; and
     
  • Begin forming a culture in the workplace that promotes and values saving, not only personally, but also professionally and in the community.
ReadMore

Spanish-immersion fin. lit. program reaches 20 families

CU System
GRANDVILLE, Mich. (10/20/14)--In its ongoing campaign to ramp up financial literacy in its Hispanic community, Grandville, Mich.-based First United CU hosted a free seminar recently conducted entirely in Spanish.
Participants learn money management at First United CU's free Spanish financial literacy seminar last month. (First United CU Photo)

With more than 20 families in attendance, the "Take Control of Your Finances" workshop was developed to educate young families and the unbanked within the local Hispanic population.

Bilingual staff from the $28 million-asset credit union led the session, where participants learned the basics of budgeting, saving, money management and maintaining good credit. Those in attendance also were able to experience how a credit union works.

The seminar, held at a local library, was made possible in part by a $4,000 grant from the Michigan Credit Union Foundation for the credit union's work serving the Hispanic population.

The credit union plans to use the funds to expand educational programs geared towards the Hispanic market.

"The foundation believes in our work with the Hispanic population and the importance of providing financial education," said Mark Richter, First United president/CEO, adding, "We've served this community since 1937. Providing financial education is part of our 'people-helping-people' philosophy."

In addition to financial education seminars, First United also employs full-time bilingual staff who can help Spanish-speaking members open new accounts and take out loans, using Spanish through the entire process.

Locals have taken notice of the work the credit union has done lately to help serve the Hispanic community.

"We're thrilled to see more organizations, like First United, embrace the Hispanic market and take steps to provide a fair financial alternative," said Yeli Romero of La Mejor Radio in Grand Rapids, Mich. "By encouraging the financial well-being of our neighbors and the Spanish-speaking community, all of us benefit." ReadMore

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U.S. Ebola cases reminder for CUs of pandemic prep: Agility

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (10/20/14)--Given how seriously the United States is taking the presence of Ebola in this country, it seems unlikely that a widespread outbreak of the deadly disease could manifest itself at a large scale.

That said, the sensational nature of the disease does serve as a reminder about the importance of preparing for the threat of pandemics of all kinds, such as the flu or other more common viruses.

"Nobody wants to think about pandemic planning," Paul Sullivan, vice president/general manager of Agility Recovery, a disaster recovery solutions company, told News Now . "The reason they don't want to think about it is because it has no boundaries--it's all about people. And in my mind, credit unions are all about people."

Agility, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider, released a white paper and checklist Friday that credit unions can look to when preparing themselves for potential pandemic events.

Called "Gone Viral: Protecting Your Employees and Your Bottom Line from the Effects of Pandemics," the paper outlines the various viruses the world is currently dealing with; who's most vulnerable; what impacts those viruses can have on an organization; and what steps credit unions can take to cut down on potential risks.

To access both the white paper and Agility Recovery's Seasonal Influenza Preparedness Checklist, use the resource links below.

Among the viruses most likely to be encountered in the United States is Enterovirus D68, an airborne virus that often spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touches commonly used surfaces, according to Agility. Mild symptoms include fever, a runny nose, sneezing, coughing and muscle aches.

Then, of course, there's influenza, the most serious cases of which occur in people 65 years and older.

To ensure an organization is minimizing the risk of an outbreak that could severely affect its operation, Agility recommends that organizations take a number of proactive steps, including:
  • Forming health and wellness teams to take the lead on illness prevention for the organization;
     
  • Meeting once a year to stress the importance of prevention and to keep employees informed;
     
  • Encouraging employees to get flu vaccines, or if possible offer free vaccines to employees;
     
  • Placing hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the office;
     
  • Promoting telecommuting when employees are feeling sick; and
     
  • Routinely sanitizing common surfaces such as kitchen countertops, conference room tables and door handles.
Even when a comprehensive plan is followed, however, the truth is that flu season is unavoidable, Agility says, and there's still always a chance an organization could be impacted.

Should a health crisis occur, Agility recommends:
  • Developing a work redundancy plan to make sure every employee is trained to cover at least one other person in their group;
     
  • Setting up a communication system that includes voice messages, text messages and emails to be able to quickly alert employees and members about such an outbreak;
     
  • Setting threat-level guidelines that determine when it's appropriate to cancel meetings or travel; and
     
  • Monitoring unusual increases in absenteeism, among other actions.
"With proper planning, education and services such as the flu vaccine, an organization can minimize sick days and reduce health costs, while ensuring that productivity and quality care are maintained," Agility says. ReadMore

Money: CUNA's Schenk talks interest rates, inflation

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (10/20/14)--Mike Schenk, Credit Union National Association vice president of economics and statistics, discussed the current state of interest rates in an article that appeared online in Money magazine, part of the Time Inc. network.
 
The article explained how central bankers have called for raising interest rates in the near future. But recent economic data and the huge stock market sell-off has dampened some of that discussion.
 
Some Federal Reserve officials have said they expect to raise rates by the middle of next year thanks to a modestly expanding economy and stronger job growth, but Schenk opposes this idea.
 
"Until we see wages expanding faster than the rate of inflation, and significantly so, we won't see much in the way of inflation pressure," Schenk told Money . "Why raise rates if you don't have inflation?"
 
To read the full article, use the link. ReadMore

Full JetStream staff certified as community development fin. counselors

CU System
MIAMI LAKES, Fla. (10/20/14)--To serve its membership at every touch point--and meet its own expectations for what it means to be a certified financial development financial institution (CDFI)--JetStream FCU has become one of the few credit unions nationwide to certify its entire staff in the Community Development Certified Financial Counseling (CDCFC) training program--certified by the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA).
 
Click to view larger image JetStream FCU has become one of the few credit unions nationwide to certify its entire staff in the Community Development Certified Financial Counseling training program--certified by the National Cooperative Business Association. (JetStream FCU Photo)
Essential for credit unions serving moderate-to-low-income populations, the CDCFC training, testing and certification ensures credit unions can better serve their members who may experience financial challenges, according to Vanessa Ortega, CDFI program manager at the $163 million-asset, Miami Lakes, Fla.-based credit union.
 
Created by CU Strategic Planning, a CDFI grant writing and marketing consulting firm, CDCFC training enables JetStream FCU employees to better serve the credit union's members when they face financial difficulty.
 
Oretega said certifying the entire staff was a natural extension of JetStream FCU's CDFI certification. With the knowledge gained from the training, JetStream employees are better equipped to bring members into the financial mainstream.
 
"In many cases, members may not even know they need help," Ortega told News Now . "It's up to the employees to decipher what kind of training and assistance is needed."
 
About 75% of JetStream's members in Miami Dade County and Puerto Rico reside in low-income ZIP codes, Ortega added.
 
According to Ortega, every employee should possess the tools to help members effectively manage their finances.

The areas in which employees can assist members include:
  • Budgeting and money management;
  • Managing credit or debt;
  • Credit cards;
  • Buying or leasing an automobile;
  • Homeownership; and
  • Predatory lending.
Employees are able to use their skills outside of the workplace as well. Ortega said: "We've had employees tell us they've used what they've learned to help themselves personally, and to help their friends and family." ReadMore

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Wegner winner Hall an unsung hero of fin. lit., civil rights

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (10/20/14)--Clarence Hall Jr. may not be a household name in the credit union movement, but the work that he has done for financial literacy and civil rights is a legacy that is being recognized by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF).
 
Hall, CEO/chairman of $1 million-asset Issaquena County FCU, Mayerville, Miss., will be honored with the Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in March. The 90-year-old credit union and civil rights advocate is one of four honorees this year ( News Now Oct. 7).
 
Hall's work has been "absolutely inspiring in building a better life in a downtrodden part of our nation," said John Gregoire, chair of NCUF Wegner Awards selection committee and president of The ProCon Group. "Roy Bergengren used to say that the credit union's real job is to prove the practicality of the brotherhood of man, and Clarence's achievements align perfectly with those words."
 
Hall's belief in the "people-helping-people" philosophy is reflected throughout his life. However, he also takes to heart the credit union values of promoting thrift and providing loans for provident and productive purposes.
 
He takes the opportunity to teach financial skills at the same time he is providing opportunities to low-income members to borrow money. "In a county recognized as one of Mississippi's poorest, Clarence has been very instrumental in helping citizens acquire loans that they had been denied through other traditional financial institutions," said Spencer Nash, president/CEO of the Delta Foundation.
 
During his career, Hall advocated for voting rights, early childhood education and the right for African-Americans to be elected to public office.
 
"Clarence has not only suffered, he fought hard for what we would all consider to be basic rights and equality for all Americans," said Charles Elliott, president/CEO of the Mississippi Credit Union Association, which named Hall to the Mississippi Credit Union Hall of Fame.
 
NCUF will present the Wegner awards during a March 9 dinner at the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C., and held in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference. ReadMore

Easy money: Take advantage of 401(k)

Consumer
McLEAN, Va. (10/14/14)--Long gone are the days of traditional pensions. With many companies offering 401(k) plans, how successful you are in saving for retirement is up to you (USAToday.com Oct. 8).
 
Here's advice to help you engage in your 401(k) and how to maximize this opportunity:
  • Take advantage of your company match. Contribute at least as much as you need to get your employer's match. If you don't, it's like leaving free money on the table.
     
  • Play catch up. If you're age 50 or older, take advantage of the catch-up provision which lets you contribute an additional $5,500 into your plan each year.
     
  • Increase your contribution each year. Even by increasing your contribution by 1%, this amount will add up quickly. Also consider bumping up your contribution percentage each time you get a raise or a bonus.
     
  • Don't forget about 401(k)s at former employers. If you leave your job you have several paths you can take with your 401(k): Leave savings with your former employer, roll over your plan to a traditional or Roth IRA (individual retirement account), move savings to your new employer's plan, or cash out and pay taxes. Each scenario will require research to determine what's best for you. Cash out your plan only as a last resort.
     
  • Don't take early withdrawals. Experts advise not borrowing from your 401(k). Think about whether you'll be able to contribute to your 401(k) while you're paying back your loan. If you can't, this is derailing your savings even more. If you leave your job, you're responsible for paying back the loan usually within 60 days. If you can't pay it back you'll be subject to taxes and penalties. A better alternate for borrowing money is getting a low-interest loan from your credit union.
     
  • If you delay retirement, keep your 401(k). Once you turn 70 1/2 you have to start withdrawing a minimum distribution. If you're still working you don't have to take the distribution until you actually retire.
     
  • Aim to save 10%-13% of your gross pay. This includes your employer match if you get one. If you're already saving enough in your employer's retirement plan to get the company match, consider opening a traditional or Roth IRA at your credit union as well.
For related information, read "Did You Leave a Retirement Plan at a Former Job?" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center. ReadMore

Love My CU Rewards adds ADT to discount list

Products
LIVONIA, Mich. (10/20/14)--CU Solutions Group's Love My Credit Union Rewards program is expanding its ADT credit union member discount nationwide.

The exclusive offer from ADT includes a free ADT monitored home security system valued at $850, and $425 in credit union member savings on additional equipment.

More than 3.6 million credit union members have saved over $1 billion with Love My Credit Union Rewards. The program has generated in excess of 340,000 auto loans for credit unions totaling more than $7.5 billion.

Formerly known as Invest in America, Love My Credit Union Rewards offers credit unions four bundles of products to help save credit union members money on the products and services they use every day. The bundles make it easier for credit unions to market the programs to members and to link to core products and services. The four bundles include All, Auto, Home and Invest in America:
  • The All bundle allows credit unions to holistically participate in the program and market discounts to members with streamlined marketing requirements. The All bundle offers discounts from Sprint, GM, TurboTax, Credit Union Auto Club, ADT, DIRECTV, Allied Moving Services and Love to Shop;
  • The Auto and Home bundles were put together for credit unions to use in conjunction with their low loan rates and to add value to special promotions, such as auto loans, mortgages or home equity lines of credit. The Auto bundle includes discounts on GM vehicles and roadside assistance from Credit Union Auto Club. The Home bundle includes discounts from Sprint, ADT, DIRECTV and Allied Moving Services; and
  • The Invest in America bundle offers discounts from American companies, including GM, Credit Union Auto Club, TurboTax, DIRECTV and Allied Moving Services.
The nationwide expansion of ADT will be offered under the All and Home bundles of Love My Credit Union Rewards, as well as an individual program. The ADT credit union member discount offers exclusive savings to credit union members and creates opportunities for credit unions to drive core product growth as well as earn non-interest income. ReadMore
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