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NEW: CUNA members can call in on remittance rule changes today

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WASHINGTON (1/14/13)--Credit unions can dial in today for the Credit Union  National Association's free conference call for CUNA members that offer international remittance services.

The call, also targeted to state credit union league representatives, will explore pending changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's pending changes to its remittances rule.  Comments on the effective date of the proposed changes are due to the CFPB tomorrow.

This afternoon's call will be from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET.

CFPB's Eric Goldberg, who helped draft the rule, will be on the first part of the call.

CUNA members can access the resource link below to reach CUNA"s Regulatory Advocacy home page for information to access the call.

Inside Washington (01/14/2013)

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  • WASHINGTON (1/14/13)--National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors President/CEO Mary Martha Fortney said the National Credit Union Administration's final rule on the definition of "trouble condition" was "an improvement" on the originally proposed rule. "We appreciate that the NCUA listened to NASCUS state regulators and made it clear in the rule that NCUA may only declare a state credit union 'troubled' after an on-site examination and following consultation with the state regulator before making its determination," said Fortney. NASCUS questioned the need for a change to a rule that it said worked in most cases. NASCUS specifically stressed the possibility that with the change federally insured state-chartered credit unions face the prospect of being classified as "troubled" by NCUA without the agency having been at the credit union to become familiar with the institution. The Credit Union National Association is concerned that the change could have an adverse impact on the dual charter system (News Now Jan. 11). "The dual chartering is significant and worthy of being preserved because it facilitates credit union growth and member service by allowing a credit union to determine which regulators, state or federal, facilitate its operations better," said CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney Thursday.…
  • WASHINGTON (1/14/13)--Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) on Friday announced he will not seek re-election when his term ends in 2014. Rockefeller, a 30-year Senate veteran, said serving West Virginia in the U.S. Senate "is an abiding honor and privilege." The senator will continue to serve on the Senate Finance Committee, and Rockefeller said he would be a participant in tax and pension reform discussions …

aSmarterChoice use exploded in 2012, 2013 promises more

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WASHINGTON (1/14/13)--Nearly 385,000 visits were made to the Credit Union National Association's aSmarterChoice.org in 2012, and while those numbers are solid, CUNA is working to sustain--and improve--those numbers in 2013, CUNA Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications and Engagement Paul Gentile said Friday.

Gentile said CUNA is excited that aSmarterChoice.org is a growing resource for consumers to learn more about credit unions, and find a credit union that they can join.

"But there is plenty of room for growth so even more consumers can find their credit union and begin enjoying credit union service and the credit union difference," Gentile added.

aSmarterChoice.org is a joint project of CUNA and the American Association of Credit Union Leagues. It is aimed at helping create consumer awareness of credit unions and building membership.

The 2012 total of 385,000 visits to the website represents an almost 60% rise from 2011's total. These visits were made by more than 250,000 unique visitors, and of those visitors 218,000 completed successful first searches to find a credit union to join.

The strong 2012 numbers came on the heels of 2011's "Bank Transfer Day." That event alone drove aSmarterChoice.org to record more than 240,000 visits from 198,000 unique visitors by that year's end. 2011 featured a near stampede by consumers to find a credit union to join following Bank Transfer Day.

Overall, CUNA's aSmarterChoice.org has received 626,000 visits from more than 450,000 unique visitors since it first launched in February 2011. There have been more than 403,000 searches for credit unions, with nearly 229,000 successful on the first try, since the site was launched.

For more on aSmarterChoice.org, use the resource link.

CUNA CEO launches weekly 'Cheney Report' to member CUs

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WASHINGTON (1/14/13)--Upcoming congressional issues, recent mortgage regulatory releases and the latest National Credit Union Administration board actions are all covered in last week's first-ever edition of The Cheney Report.

The Cheney Report will deliver Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney's latest thoughts on three to four key events and policy developments affecting credit unions into the email inboxes of credit union CEOs each Friday.

"The report gives readers a CEO-to-CEO perspective on each week's major developments, and provides a valuable window into CUNA's actions on behalf of member credit unions. It also reinforces the value of CUNA membership," CUNA Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications and Engagement Paul Gentile said.

Topics tackled in the first edition of The Cheney Report include:

  • The recent unveiling of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new "ability to repay rule," with its qualified mortgage standards;
  • Congress, the fiscal cliff and tax reform; and
  • The NCUA's recently released small credit union definition changes.
Past issues of The Cheney Report will be archived on cuna.org.

Bachus joins GAC power lineup

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WASHINGTON (1/14/13)--Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala), immediate past chairman and still a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, is the latest big name added to the growing Credit Union National Association 2013 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) lineup.

Bachus has been named chairman emeritus to the committee this year. He will speak at the GAC at 11 a.m. ET on Feb. 27.



Thousands of credit union representatives are expected in Washington for this year's GAC, and Capitol Hill visits are always a pivotal part of the event. The GAC Hill visits in February are perfectly timed for impact on credit union issues as Congress continues discussion on tax and spending issues.

CUNA's GAC, from Feb. 24-28 at the Washington Convention Center, is the credit union movement's premier political event and its largest national conference. Each year, the GAC draws more than 4,000 credit union executives and board members to hear from influential leaders from Congress, presidential administrations and federal regulatory agencies.

This year's GAC theme, "Powerful Cause, Positive Effect," reflects the credit union commitment to the 95 million working Americans who rely on credit unions every day.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), and credit union champion Rep. Ed Royce (R-Ca.) joined the GAC lineup in recent weeks, and more policymakers' names will be announced in the weeks ahead.

The 2013 GAC will also feature a point-counterpoint political discussion between former GOP and Democratic National Committee chairmen Haley Barbour and Terry McAuliffe. NBC News anchor and best-selling author Tom Brokaw and award-winning personal finance journalist and author Jean Chatzky are also scheduled to speak on that same stage.

ABBA tribute band ABBA The Concert will kick off the 2013 GAC on Feb. 24, and more speakers and session topics will be added to the 2013 GAC lineup in the weeks to come.

For more information, follow the @CUNAverse twitter hashtag #CUNAGAC. Use the resource link to register for the GAC.

Member service will be focus of NCUA LICU webinar

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/14/13)--National Credit Union Administration staff will advise low-income credit unions on how they can improve and increase member service in an upcoming free webinar.

The webinar, entitled "Strategic Issues for Serving Low-Income Members," is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

During the webinar, NCUA Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives and Office of Consumer Protection staff will discuss:

  • How credit unions can strategically assess their current services to low-income members;
  • What changes can be made to improve services to low-income members; and
  • How the low-income designation can enhance their credit union's reputation and outreach.
NCUA representatives will also address the unique regulatory issues that LICUs using non-member deposits and secondary capital to serve the underserved may face.

Participants may submit questions ahead of the webinar by emailing WebinarQuestions@ncua.gov. The agency asks that participants use "Low-Income Strategies Webinar" in the subject line of their submitted questions.

To register for the webinar, use the resource link.

Collaboration model will be rewarded with $50K NCUA grant

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/14/13)--Some clever innovator could soon be rewarded with a $50,000 National Credit Union Administration grant for submitting a good idea on how low-income credit unions can collaborate and better serve their members.

"Pursuing collaborations and developing new and innovative best practices can assist small credit unions competing in today's marketplace and add value to their membership," NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said announcing the grant. She said that some of the best solutions to credit union issues can come directly from members or employees.

To qualify for the grant, a low-income credit union--or LICU--will need to partner with at least one other credit union. State credit union leagues and associations, additional credit unions, credit union service organizations and third-party vendors may also be added to the collaborative effort, the agency said.

The NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives will evaluate grant applications based on the following criteria:
  • Substantial reduction of expenses for core credit union activity through collaboration;
  • Scalable collaborations that continue to grow;
  • Innovative collaborations that break new ground; and
  • Replicable ideas or projects that other credit unions can adopt.
Other factors will also be considered.

Applications will be accepted between Feb. 15 and March 15. The winning proposal will be announced no later than April 12, the NCUA said.

Funding for this grant is provided by the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund. For more on the NCUA grant program, use the resource link.

Credit unions of all sizes are looking for collaboration opportunities and partnerships in 2013. News Now late last year reported on the creation of Shared Service Solutions (S3), a groundbreaking collaboration among Bellco CU in Greenwood Village, Colo.; Bethpage FCU in Long Island, N.Y.; and State Employees CU in Linthicum, Md.

These credit unions have joined their call center operations into a single point of contact. They also plan to merge residential mortgage, consumer loan, credit and debit card and deposit processing resources. The initiative is expected to deliver savings of millions of dollars annually and to improve the membership's overall experience. (See Dec. 14 story: CUs' call center collaboration to cut costs, improve service)