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News Now

Full Issue: March 26, 2015

NEW: 9 CUNA-back relief bills approved by House Financial Services Committee

WASHINGTON (3/26/15, UPDATED 11:11 a.m. ET)--Nine regulatory relief bills supported by CUNA were approved by the House Financial Services Committee this morning after a two-day markup of a series of bills.

"These bills are a step in the right direction toward removing barriers and allowing credit unions to efficiently serve their members," said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle.

"I look forward to seeing these pieces of legislation that reduce regulatory burden come the House floor for a vote. When credit unions boards and managers--not government bureaucrats--are making decisions about how to provide services, it's the 102 million member-owners of the credit union who benefit."

The bills that passed the committee today include:
  • H.R. 299, the Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act, introduced by Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), corrects a drafting oversight in the Federal Home Loan Bank Act that has resulted in a small number of privately insured credit unions being ineligible to join a Federal Home Loan Bank. This bill passed by a vote of 56-1.
  •  H.R. 601, the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act, introduced by Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), would eliminate the requirement financial institutions currently face to send their members or customers privacy policy notifications annually, and instead would only require such notifications when the privacy policy is changed. This bill passed by a vote of 57-0.
  • H.R. 1195, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Advisory Board Act, introduced by Reps. Pittenger (R-N.C.) and Denny Heck (D-Wash.), would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by law to eastablish the Credit Union Advisory Council, as well as the Small Business Advisory Board and the Community Bank Advisory Council.  These advisory councils had previously been voluntarily established by the CFPB.  The separate Consumer Advisory Board is already codified in statute. This bill passed by a vote of 53-5.
  • H.R. 1265, the Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act, introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), would, in effect, open bureau advisory committee meetings to the public. This bill passed by a vote of 56-2.
  • H.R. 1259, the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Community Act, introduced by Reps. Andy Barr (R-Ken.) and Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas), directs the CFPB to establish an application process determining whether an area should be designated as a rural area if the CFPB has not designated it as one. This bill passed by a vote of 56-2.
  • H.R. 1480, the SAFE Confidentiality and Privilege Enhancement Act, introduced by Reps. Robert  Dold (R-Ill.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), would require that confidentiality protections provided by federal and state laws apply when state and federal regulatory officials with mortgage or financial services industry oversight authority access any information provided to the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry.  This bill passed by a vote of 58-0.
  •  H.R. 1408, the Mortgage Servicing Asset Capital Requirements Act, introduced by Reps. Perlmutter and Luetkemeyer, requires federal banking agencies to conduct a study of the appropriate capital requirements for mortgage servicing assets for nonsystemic banking institutions. This bill passed by a vote of 49-9.
  •  H.R. 1529, the Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act, introduced by Reps. Sherman and Luetkemeyer, would exempt mortgage loans made by financial institutions under $10 billion in assets and held in portfolio for three years from RESPA's escrow requirements and would also exempt mortgage servicers that service fewer than 20,000 mortgages annually from a number of requirements of RESPA.  This bill passed by a vote of 48-10.
  • H.R. 685, Mortgage Choice Act, introduced by Reps. Bill Huizenga R-Mich.) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), would make an important modification to the Truth-in-Lending Act's definition of "points and fees."  This bill passed by a vote of 43-12.
The next step in the House for these bills would be a vote on the House floor.

For more detail on each bill, use the resource link to the News Now story.

CUNA backs CU RBC2 comment efforts with new resource

WASHINGTON (3/26/15)--With 22 working days left until the comment deadline for the risk-based capital proposal--often referred to as RBC2, CUNA is providing new resources in its effort to encourage credit unions to weigh in. Again.
The deadline is April 27.
The National Credit Union Administration abandoned its original RBC plan, issued in January 2014, after it received 2,056 comments from credit unions, lawmakers and others that listed concerns regarding how the plan would impact credit unions and consumers.
The agency issued its second RBC proposal this January, and CUNA has said it is a substantially improved regime--but still a solution in search of a problem.
"With reductions in many of the risk weights found in the original plan, and a reduction to 10% for the well-capitalized requirement, the second proposal is an improvement," says Bill Hampel, CUNA chief policy officer.
However, he emphasizes there are still significant problems with the proposal, particularly as it relates to an additional "capital adequacy" requirement, and the future treatment of interest-rate risk so it is imperative that credit unions stay engaged in this rulemaking process to have as much impact on proposal improvements as possible.
As part of its new resources , CUNA has developed a "comment letter guide" with information regarding the need for and value of commenting on the plan and how to comment.

"There remain a number of areas that should still be improved, and they are described in the guide," Hampel says.
"We are asking credit unions to individually tell their stories to NCUA, so the agency understands that their rule will have real impact on real credit unions and their very real members," CUNA's chief policy officer adds.

Other Resources

CUNA-supported amendment added to data breach bill

WASHINGTON (3/26/15)--A data security bill passed the House Energy subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing and trade Wednesday, and it included a CUNA-supported technical correction amendment.

The amendment exempts both federal- and state-chartered financial institutions from the bill because those institutions already are subject to strict security standards under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

The Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015 would require certain entities that collect and maintain personal information of individuals to secure such information. The breached entity must also provide notice to such individuals within 30 days of determining the scope of the breach.

A violation of the act would be classified as an unfair or deceptive act or practice under the Federal Trade Commission Act, and would be enforced by the FTC or state attorneys general.

CUNA has pushed for stricter standards than the current bill calls for, particularly in the area of merchant data security standards. Along with other financial trade organizations, CUNA outlined those principles in letters to Congress last month.

HFSC to vote on reg. relief package today

WASHINGTON (3/26/15)--CUNA continues to monitor the advancement of nine regulatory relief bills being considered by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, which is expected to vote on a relief package today.

Eleven regulatory relief bills in total were marked up by the committee Wednesday.

As previously reported in News Now , a number of the bills passed the committee in the previous Congress, including several that passed without any opposing votes.

"Witness after witness has come before our committee over the last several years to speak about the weight, the volume, the complexity, the cost and uncertainty of Washington regulations," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chair of the committee. "One community banker who appeared before our committee last week called this 'an avalanche of new rules.' It is not an exaggeration to say that America's community financial institutions are withering on the vine."

Members of the committee seemed especially concerned with regulatory burdens that are causing financial institutions to limit products offered, and how such burdens are not only affecting financial institutions, but the consumers who rely on them.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) said a common theme in recent regulatory relief hearings is that small financial institutions appear ready to stop offering products such as mortgages.

"When they leave the mortgage market in those smaller communities, there's no place for the people who live in those communities to get a mortgage loan," he said, speaking in support of the Mortgage Servicing Asset Capital Requirements Act of 2015 (H.R. 1480).

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) said he was especially concerned with regulations that see community institutions as existing on the same level as the largest banks. He cited the Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act (H.R. 1529) as an example of tangible regulatory relief.

The bill would provide safe harbor from escrow requirements for loans held in portfolio for some smaller financial institutions, and exempt institutions that service less than 20,000 mortgages per year.

"Community banks and credit unions that service less than 20,000 mortgages per year should not be subject to the same regulations as an institution that has a $2 trillion servicing portfolio," he said.

All bills will considered during the markup be subject to a recorded vote, which is expected to begin at 9 a.m. (ET).

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Text scam going to consumers from NCUA phone number

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (3/26/15)--More than 40 consumers around the country have received a scam phone text message purporting to use a National Credit Union Administration phone number, the agency announced Wednesday.

Consumers who receive a text from 703-518-6301 asking for personal information should contact the agency's Consumer Assistance Center hotline at 800-755-1030.
The NCUA's privacy policy states that it will never request personal or financial information from consumers.
According to the NCUA, the perpetrators are able to mimic a telephone number to generate text messages. The messages may warn of a debit card reaching its limit or use some other trick to persuade individuals to provide personal information or go to a malicious website.
Consumers should not click on links in the message, provide information to any websites referenced in the message nor attempt to conduct any financial transactions through those websites.
This attempted fraud scam is classified as " spoofing " by the Federal Communications Commission.

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Inside Washington (3/26/15)

  • WASHINGTON (3/26/15)-- Zixta Martinez, associate director of external affairs for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will kick off a public field hearing in Richmond, Va., today to discuss payday lending. The field hearing, scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. (ET), will feature remarks by CFPB Director Richard Cordray; Mark Herring, attorney general of Virginia; and Joe Face, commissioner of the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions. Those remarks will be followed by a panel discussion with consumer groups and payday lending industry representatives. The session will conclude with an open mic session for audience participation ...

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Consumer Rates


Informa Research Services, Inc.
Daily Rate Comparison

Informa Research Services, Inc.
Deposit Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
12 Month CD $10,000 0.49% 0.27% 0.22%
Personal Savings $1,000 0.20% 0.09% 0.11%
Personal Interest Checking $2,500 0.36% 0.15% 0.21%
NSF Fee $28.04 $30.71 $-2.67
Personal MMDA $2,500 0.18% 0.10% 0.08%
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 10.08% 9.81% 0.27%
New Auto Loan - 5 Years 2.60% 3.65% -1.05%
Used Auto Loan - 2 year Old - 4 Years 2.73% 3.88% -1.15%
HELOC - 80% LTV - $50,000 4.11% 4.34% -0.23%
HE Loan - 80% LTV - $50,000 - 15 Years 5.62% 5.83% -0.21%

Mortgage Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
30 Year Fixed Conforming 3.75% 3.70% 0.05%
30 Year Fixed Jumbo 3.86% 3.76% 0.10%
5/1 Year ARM Conforming 3.02% 2.93% 0.09%

Credit Card Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Platinum 8.86% 10.45% -1.59%
Annual Fee $25.00 $31.00 $-6.00
Maximum Late Fee $25.47 $31.57 $-6.10
Reward 10.23% 13.70% -3.47%
Annual Fee $38.33 $93.87 $-55.54
Maximum Late Fee $23.10 $33.35 $-10.25

Indirect Auto Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Indirect A Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 3.55% 3.57% -0.02%
Indirect B Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 5.25% 5.17% 0.07%
Indirect C Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 7.47% 6.66% 0.81%

Averages displayed are straight averages of all institutions within the Informa Research Services database for the selected region as of Wednesday, March 25, 2015. For detailed disclosures click here.

Other Resources

Business Rates

Daily Financial Rates -- 2015-03-26

Financial Rates

Thursday, March 26, 2015

03:55 AM CDT

(based on the $1 million market)

1 month0.
3 month0.
6 month0.
1 year0.
2 year0.590.580.600.600.63
3 year0.940.910.930.950.99
5 year1.411.371.411.421.48
7 year1.731.681.711.731.79
10 year1.931.881.921.931.98
20 year2.
30 year2.502.462.512.502.54


Results of the March 23, 2015 auction of short-term U.S. government bills, sold at a discount from face value in units of $10,000 to $ 1 million

Mon, 3/23
Week Ago
Mon, 3/16
13 weeks0.0200.040
26 weeks0.1050.145


3.25% Last changed December 16, 2008


near closing bid0.0700.0700.1100.1100.070
effective rate20.1400.1300.1300.1300.130

FREDDIE MAC (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

30 year0.

FANNIE MAE (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

30 year3.2133.2473.2613.3073.267


1 month0.234000.237000.236000.236000.23600
3 month0.389000.386000.388000.388000.38700
6 month0.536000.536000.539000.539000.53900
1 year0.839000.839000.839000.839000.84000

COMMERCIAL PAPER (Financial, 90 days)

TermWeek ended
Week ended
90 days0.230.23

NA: Data not available at time of page generation (shown at top of page)

Wall Street Journal
U.S. Dept. of the Treasury

All rates are from the previous business day unless otherwise noted.

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Refis drive up mid-March mortgage apps: MBA

WASHINGTON (3/26/15)--Mortgage application activity perked up last week as the composite index for the Mortgage Bankers Association's mortgage application survey jumped 9.5% after a nearly 4% drop the prior week ( March 25).

Refinance applications, which climbed 12.3% for the week, spurred the resurgence. Though, the purchase index also marched higher by 4.9% after falling last week as well.

"Last week brought positive news regarding mortgage application activity, as both purchase and refinance applications advanced during the week ending March 20," said Michael McGrane, Moody's analyst ( ). "Lower mortgage rates likely fueled much of the gain in refinance activity, but this will prove fleeting as the economy heats up and the Fed's first interest rate hike since 2006 comes into focus."

The four-week moving average for refinance applications has fallen 24.2% over the past month, but remains 19.7% higher on an annual basis. Refinancings comprised 60.5% of all applications for the week ending March 20.

Purchase applications have dropped by 3.4% over the past month, but remain 1.5% above their year-over-year pace.

As for mortgage rates, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate fell by 9 basis points during the week to 3.9%, which is 9 basis points lower on a monthly basis and 66 basis points lower on an annual basis.

For 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgages, rates fell 5 basis points to 3.89%. The five-year adjustable-rate mortgage rate fell by 2 basis points as well.

Pew report: Auto-title lending riskier for borrowers

CU System
WASHINGTON (3/26/15)--Car-title loans, where borrowers hand over the title to their vehicles as collateral to secure a cash advance, cause many of the same problems seen with payday loans, The Pew Charitable Trusts has found in a new report.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the product, which more than 2 million Americans use every year, is that the loans can lead to unmanageable balloon payments that can push borrowers deeper into debt.

"We found that auto-title loans share the same harmful characteristics as payday loans," said Nick Bourke, Pew small-dollar loans project director. "They require balloon payments that borrowers can't afford, and most consumers end up having to re-borrow the loans repeatedly."

What's more, a car-title loan can carry even higher costs than payday loans, as a borrower faces the additional risk of losing their car, which for some is their only form of transportation, Bourke added.

The report did note, however, that some credit unions serve members who have damaged credit by offering low-rate installment loans that can be secured with car titles.

"Depository institutions are better positioned to offer lower-cost title loans than are stores that sell only a small variety of financial products to a limited population," the report said.

Still, Pew hopes the findings will encourage the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to enact regulations that either prohibit high-interest, small-dollar loans or at least make them more transparent, affordable and safe through key reforms.

Key findings from the report include:
  • Title-loan customers spend roughly $3 billion annually, or $1,200 each, in fees on loans, which average $1,000;
  • Annual interest rates for title loans average roughly 300% APR;
  • The average lump-sum title-loan payment gobbles up 50% of an average borrower's gross monthly income. The average payday loan consumes 36%;
  • Between 6% and 11% of title-loan customers have their car repossessed every year, and one-third of all title-loan borrowers have no other working vehicle to rely on; and
  • Half of consumers report using title loans to pay for regular bills, and more than nine in 10 loans are used for personal reasons.

Tax services from CUs return value to communities

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (3/26/15)--Filing tax returns can be challenging and a little scary. Credit unions, with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, step up to help consumers file their taxes properly and receive the tax credits they've earned.
VITA programs offer free tax-preparation assistance to economically eligible populations as well as elderly, disabled or non-English speaking taxpayers. Certified preparers also help identify eligibility for earned income tax credits (EITC) and navigate new rules under the Affordable Care Act ( News Now Jan. 26).
During its five-day VITA program, Firstmark CU helped 163 families prepare and file their 2014 income taxes for an estimated $400,000 in refunds, the San Antonio, Texas, credit union reported.
"We saw a high turnout each day which validates the need for this kind of assistance," said President/CEO Leon Ewing.
By the first part of March, Montana credit unions and Montana Credit Unions for Community Development partners had electronically filed more than 2,120 tax returns at VITA sites. More than a third were filed at credit union-sponsored sites, and the certified volunteers helped Montanans claim more $987,000 in federal refunds, including $313,586 in EITC ( President's Report March 6).
In addition to its 12 branch locations, Bethpage (N.Y.) FCU will take its VITA program to local libraries and community centers. Last year the credit union secured more than $700,000 in earned income tax credits for eligible families, according to Rob Suarez, assistant vice president of community development. Bethpage also completed 2,489 VITA tax returns and helped taxpayers claim refunds of more than $2.8 million, a 23% increase from 2013. 
CORE FCU, East Syracuse, N.Y., tapped seven students from East Syracuse-Minoa High School to serve as certified tax preparers. The students work under the supervision of credit union employees and IRS-certified volunteers.
"They pick up tremendous math and financial accounting skills," CORE FCU President/CEO Bill Sweeney told WSYR-TV (March 14). "They also get an opportunity to be community leaders and not only learn from the program, but also give back to the community."

Other Resources

CU Hero: Lewis leads CU staff, community by example

CU System
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (3/26/15)--Gail Lewis, director of consumer lending/credit manager at 121 Financial CU, Jacksonville, Fla., learned very early in her long career in financial services the importance of leadership in the workplace.

During a work-study program in high school, she landed a job reconciling business accounts at a bank. Her boss was the one who first imbued this idea in her.

"I had a great supervisor who set many of the standards I hold today--mostly, that a leader's role is to grow and develop people," she told Credit Union Magazine .

Since joining 121 Financial in 1983, Lewis has reinforced her belief in the importance of leadership many times over, including through the development of staff within her department.

As the lead on consumer and indirect lending, Lewis encourages and challenges her staff to grow within their roles at the credit union.

"Many people are satisfied in their positions, but they can't just be content," Lewis told Credit Union Magazine . "They're always learning--whether it's serving new members with different situations, understanding the regulatory environment, or handling changing times or a shifting economy."
Lewis also leads by example, especially in her community.

On her own time, the longtime credit union employee conducts financial education workshops, teaches financial counseling through the Credit Union Education Program and also serves on the education committee for the Northeast Florida Chapter of Credit Unions.

"Credit unions are about the community," she told Credit Union Magazine . "We say that and we back it up. I love that credit unions stand for helping and caring about people."

Lewis is one of three nominees for this year's "CU Hero of the Year" award , presented by Credit Union Magazine . The award recognizes those in the credit union movement who relentlessly promote the credit union philosophy, dedicate themselves to credit union principles, and make a difference in their communities.

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N.Y. CUs building on 2014 momentum: Mellin

CU System
ALBANY, N.Y. (3/26/15)--New York credit unions ended 2014 with significant increases in memberships, which now top 5.1 million, and loan volume that outpaced the prior year.

"2014 was an encouraging year for the New York credit union movement, and we are continuing to build on that momentum this year," said William J. Mellin, New York Credit Union Association president/CEO.

"Last year, the state's credit unions continued to provide important products, services and loans that directly benefit their members and their communities. As a result, there are now more credit union members than ever in New York, because credit unions put New Yorkers first."

The year-end credit union profile, developed in partnership with CUNA, also reported:
  • Memberships expanded by 2.9%;
  • First mortgages increased by 10.9%, surpassing the national average of 9.1%;
  • New-auto loans surged 17.4%, a significant rise from 7.6% in 2013;
  • Used-auto loans increased by 11.4%, compared with 3.4% the year prior; and
  • Member business loans grew by 13.4% in 2014, topping the national average growth rate of 12.4%.

Other Resources

NWCUA to host town halls at CMN Hospitals

CU System
SEATAC, Wash. (3/26/15)--There's perhaps no better place to inspire people to continue carrying on the credit union philosophy of "people helping people" than at a Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospital, an organization to which the credit union movement has financially dedicated itself through Credit Unions for Kids.

That's why the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) has decided to host six town hall meetings this year at each of the six CMN Hospitals found in Washington and Oregon, rather than at traditional credit union branches.

The new setting will allow credit union leaders from the region to see firsthand the difference they make in the lives of children and their families, the NWCUA said ( Anthem March 23).

"I'm incredibly excited for this year's town halls," said Troy Stang, NWCUA president/CEO. "These town hall meetings have proven to provide a strong bond throughout the credit union movement of the Northwest, and hosting these events at Children's Miracle Network Hospitals will add an extra layer of meaning and purpose to each of the gatherings."

The NWCUA's town hall meetings provide attendees the chance to network with fellow credit union professionals, gain insight into opportunities developing in the Northwest, and learn more about resources offered by the Northwest Credit Union Foundation, according to the league.

The town hall meeting schedule includes:
  • April 21: Sacred Heart Children's Hospital, Spokane, Wash.;
  • June 11: Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, Medford, Ore.;
  • June 25: Yakima (Wash.) Valley Memorial Hospital;
  • June 30: Seattle Children's Hospital;
  • July 1: Sacred Heart Medical Center, Springfield, Ore.; and
  • Aug. 20: Doernbecher Children's Hospital, Portland, Ore.

Other Resources

CU System briefs (3/26/15)

CU System
  • SALT LAKE CITY (3/26/15)-- The Utah Jazz and Mountain America CU, Salt Lake City, wrapped up its $25,000 "Pass It Along" program with the fifth and final donation of $5,000 to Utah Foster Care . During the season, fans nominated local charitable organizations to receive game tickets, on-court recognition at a Jazz game and a visit from the team. This year's other recipients include The Sharing Place, South Davis Community Hospital, Neuroworx and Camp Kostopulos.  "Fan participation and partnerships with like-minded companies such as Mountain America CU allow the Jazz organization to make a greater impact in the community," said Utah Jazz President Randy Rigby ...
  • EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (3/26/15)-- Young and Free Royal distributed more than $2,000 through its " Cash Bash " program to Eau Claire, Wis., area collegiate groups . "It's so important to support student organizations on campus because these are the people who are dedicated to changing their communities and their campuses," said Shadoe Settle, Young and Free spokester for Royal CU, Eau Claire, Wis. "These are the kids who are one day going to change our world." The first-place winner, the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Eau Claire Behavioral Applications Regarding Canines internship program, received $1,000. Other winners were UW-Eau Claire Women's Concert Chorale, UW-Stout F.A.B. magazine, UW-Eau Claire Delta Tau Delta and UW-Eau Claire National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Contestants had to submit a video detailing their group's purpose and how they would use the funds ...
  • OSHKOSH, Wis. (3/26/15)-- Two Rivers (Wis.) Community CU and Verve, a Credit Union, in Oshkosh, Wis., announced their intention to merge . Two Rivers Community's members approved the proposed merger, which awaits approval from the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Office of Credit Unions and the National Credit Union Adminstration. "More than just offering enhanced products and services, Verve has the culture--the enthusiasm and drive--that we're looking for," said Two Rivers Community President Fran Honzik. Verve is the new name of CitizensFirst CU, which merged last year with Lakeview CU, Neenah, and Best Advantage CU, Brillion ...

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Protect yourself against credit-rating agency errors

ARLINGTON, Va. (3/24/15)--After more than a decade of filing complaints about errors--and getting nowhere--consumers are about to get relief. Under a new agreement, credit rating agencies will be required to conduct independent reviews of complaints, correct the reports and change the way they treat medical debt (PBS News Hour March 9).

The three largest credit rating agencies (CRAs)--Equifax, TransUnion and Experian--were relying on lenders to provide data, without conducting independent reviews. Consumers would find errors in their credit reports and submit documentation of proof to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but nothing would change.

The new agreement, which begins in six months and lasts three years, brings the changes consumers have been waiting for: The agencies will be required to use specially trained employees to conduct an independent review of every complaint.

In addition to independent reviews, consumers can expect:
  • Help with complex issues. A special team of people will deal with issues like identity theft or file mix-ups.
  • Improved data quality. Lenders, credit-card issuers and collection agencies will use consistent standards for reporting credit data, monitored by the CRAs. 
  • Help with tickets or fines. The CRAs will stop reporting debts such as tickets or fines that do not arise from an agreement to pay.
  • More time to deal with medical debt. Consumers will have more time--180 days--to resolve conflicts over unpaid medical debt. Medical debt accounts for 52% of all debt on credit reports.
  • Favorably resolved medical debt will disappear from reports. After an insurer pays a medical debt, the CRAs will remove the debt from the consumer's credit report.
  • Expanded educational material. Consumers visiting to obtain an annual free credit report will see expanded educational material and, if they dispute a report, no longer will have to wait a year for another free report.
The FTC estimates that 10 million Americans have errors significant enough to affect the cost of borrowing.

Request your free credit report from all three agencies once a year. Always make your requests from, the only site sanctioned by the FTC, or, call 877-322-8228. Better yet, monitor your credit report year round by making one request every four months in rotation among the three CRAs.

For related information, read "Six Slam-Dunk Ways to Trash Your Credit Score" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

CU Direct, Carlypso put car buyers behind the keyboard

SAN CARLOS, Calif. (3/26/15)--Online automotive marketplace Carlypso has announced a partnership with CU Direct, a provider of lending solutions to the credit union market.
Currently available in California, Carlypso offers auto sellers and buyers a new method of purchasing used cars. Carlypso generates a fair market price for vehicles based on millions of vehicle transactions each month and coordinates all of the logistics for the seller, including finding buyers, coordinating test drives and delivering the vehicle.
"Now, in a few easy steps we can give an instant loan approval to our consumers at a very attractive rate," said Nicholas Hinrichsen, co-founder of Carlypso. "This paired with the great deal they are getting by buying a car online with Carlypso Deals makes purchasing a car a very affordable option for the savvy car shopper."
CU Direct's Matt Brown added: "Carlypso has quickly become a go-to destination for people looking for a quick way to find the best deals on cars online. By partnering with Carlypso we can help smart car shoppers get their loans approved quickly and easily online so they get first mover advantage on those great car deals."

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