Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive

Products Archive

Products

CSS Diebold webinar to address ATM marketing

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis., and NORTH CANTON, Ohio (2/1/08)--CUNA Strategic Services and Diebold will host a free webinar about ATM marketing next month. The webinar, scheduled for Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. CST, will discuss research about what credit union members want at the ATM, theories of marketing, and how to incorporate the ATM into credit unions’ overall marketing strategy to attract new members. Diebold’s Campaign Office v.2.1, which provides the ability to create screens, manage campaigns, segment customers, personalize transactions and manage the master load, also will be highlighted. For more information, use the link.

Council session How food pairing methods build better biz

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (2/1/08)--Credit union professionals can learn how food pairing can help them with business during a session at the 2008 CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council Conference, March 16-19, in Nashville, Tenn. Randy Harrington, a consultant with Extreme Arts and Sciences, and Rogue Creamery’s David Gremmels will lead “Bold, Spicy and Sophisticated! An exploration in leading, selling and innovating using a culinary metaphor.” Attendees will learn how to use experience marketing in formal and informal business communication and improve detail in product and service descriptions. They also will learn about “sensory notes” to innovate and identify potential points for sales impact and about building “business cuisines” for customers. Additional conference sessions will address topics such as measuring success, media buying, business development issues and strategies, growth strategies and more. Best Practice Award winners will reveal the secrets to their success in business development, community outreach, political advocacy and a miscellaneous category during a Monday afternoon breakout session. A recognition dinner and presentations for the Marketing Professional of the Year, Business Development Professional of the Year, and Diamond/Merit awards will take place Tuesday evening. For more information, use the link.

Allpoint Network hits 1000-member milestone

 Permanent link
BETHESDA, Md. (1/31/08)--Allpoint Network serves more than 1,000 financial institutions with surcharge-free access to 32,000 ATMs, the company announced Tuesday. The milestone “proves that ATMs continue to be a major factor for consumers when selecting a financial institution,” said Ben Psillas, Allpoint founder and president. Consumer demand for surcharge-free ATM access is increasing due to rising surcharge fees. The increase of the average ATM surcharge outpaced inflation by 205% in 2007 and continues to rise, the company stated in a press release. Allpoint has created partnerships with credit union organizations and state credit union leagues in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. It also made alliances with Credit Union 24, First Data and Fiserv. Allpoint is a division of Cardtronics.

Cypress Software to offer e-signature technology

 Permanent link
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas (1/30/08)--Cypress Software Systems will offer electronic signature capabilities with its Mark IV automated consumer loan decisioning platform. Cypress also has partnered with Topaz Systems Inc. of Simi Valley, Calif., and will resell its SignatureGem liquid crystal display pads to financial institutions that want e-signature capability, including credit unions. The e-signature feature will be available through Mark IV via signature pads like the Topaz units, with later versions allowing more advanced capabilities, including online e-signatures. Cypress Software Systems is a developer of automated credit application decision support technology. Topaz Systems is a developer and manufacturer of electronic signature software and hardware.

Software uses cell phone cameras to transmit paper checks

 Permanent link
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (1/30/08)--Consumers soon can make mobile payments and deposit checks remotely with their cell phone cameras by using new software by Mitek Systems. The software, ImageNet Mobile Deposit, will go commercial in the second quarter of this year, according to Mitek CEO James DeBello. Mobile banking users will download ImageNet Mobile Deposit on their cell phones and then initiate a mobile banking session. After they key in the deposit amount, they photograph the check using the phone’s camera. The software uses the images to extract the check’s courtesy or numerical amount, and the legally written amount and then transmits the information to the financial institution. To protect users against fraud, Mitek has deployed three layers of security, DeBello said. The first requires users to enter a personal identification number to log in. The second encrypts locally stored data, and the third validates the identity of a web site to create an encrypted connection for sending personal data. ImageNet Mobile Deposit uses the payment industry’s standards for remote check deposit. Several wireless carriers nationwide have adopted similar mobile banking solutions through Verizon Wireless. America First CU, Ogden, Utah, is participating in the program.

CUSP changes jobsite address

 Permanent link
ARVADA, Colo. (1/29/08)--Credit Union Strategic Partners (CUSP) has changed the address of its credit union jobsite to www.creditunionjobnetwork.com. The site offers employers a targeted pool of job candidates with experience in the credit union industry. Job postings cost $197 for 45 days and can be edited at any time. CreditUnionJobNetwork.com recruits employees in the credit union industry in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas and Utah. CUSP is a franchise owner of HRValue Group and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Credit Union Association of Colorado.

CU Resources announces three shared compliance programs

 Permanent link
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (1/29/08)--Credit Union Resources’ Shared Compliance Initiative has introduced three new compliance programs: Policy Review, Web Site Compliance Review and Vendor/Third Party Due Diligence. Each program can be completed off-site. Policy Review creates and updates policies, including those that are missing or incomplete (LoneStar Leaguer Jan. 28). Web Site Compliance Review provides reviews of the credit union website, policies and documentation, including compliance regulations, regulatory issues, best practices and security. Vendor/Third Party Due Diligence aims to help credit unions perform and assemble due diligence on prospective vendors. A risk assessment on seven areas, including an organization’s background, business model, financial health and risks is available.

CashEdge online transfers up 300

 Permanent link
NEW YORK (1/29/08)--CashEdge Inc. transferred more than $38 billion through its money movement solutions in 2007, a 300% increase over 2006. “We are transferring tens of millions of dollars each day,” said CashEdge CEO Sanjeev Dheer. CashEdge’s money movement solutions include TransferNow and FundNow, which allow transfers between accounts at more than 23,000 financial institutions nationwide. TransferNow automates the verification of held-away accounts, manages risk and moves funds through multiple payment networks. FundNow enables financial institutions to increase their new funding rate by simplifying the account funding process. CashEdge provides online financial applications to financial institutions, including credit unions.

FSCC CEO joins KioskCom advisory board

 Permanent link
SAN DIMAS, Calif. and TRUMBULL, Conn. (1/28/08)--Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc. (FSCC) President/CEO Sarah Canepa Bang will serve on the board of advisors for KioskCom Self Service Expo, announced FSCC and the expo. The board of advisors focuses on educational sessions, features and programs for the expo and Digital Signage Show. The expo is a bi-annual event that provides a medium for people who work in self-service technology and interactive digital media, including kiosks, digital signage, self-checkout and self-service technologies. The Digital Signage Show will run alongside the expo. The expo and show are scheduled for April 16-17 in Las Vegas. FSCC is a credit union shared branch network with 5,000 deposit-taking locations nationwide and in five countries.

CUMAnet responds to credit crisis with Loan Health Check-Up

 Permanent link
BASKING RIDGE, N.J. (1/28/08)--CUMAnet, a credit union mortgage alliance, has launched “Loan Health Check-Up” for member credit unions in response to the consumer credit crisis. The free service provides credit unions with a solution that allows their members to speak with a home finance consultant who will help them determine the health of their existing or prospective debts. The consultant will review and compare their debt situation to ensure the member is getting the best rates and terms available; ensure that the member is aware of all terms and conditions; help the member find new ways to save; and answer questions about loans. “CUMAnet’s support takes the load off our busy loan department,” said Chris Langley, CEO of Eastern New York FCU, Napanoch, N.Y., which recently deployed the program. “The program is helping to alleviate member concerns about their existing credit obligations and it opens a dialog to offer them other products and services,” Langley added. CUMAnet is a credit union-owned real estate organization that provides residential mortgage and home equity loan products and related services to credit unions nationwide.

CUDL approves 3 dividend totaling 1.3 million

 Permanent link
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (1/28/08)--CUDL’s board of directors approved a 3% dividend on the current share price of $1,000, totaling $1.3 million, for its 83 member credit union shareholders for 2007. The dividend, which equates to $30 per share, is a 50% increase over the 2% dividend paid to shareholders in 2006 and 2005. CUDL also grew its national auto lending network in 2007, signing 127 credit unions and 1,035 dealers. By year-end, CUDL had 660 credit unions participating, representing 20 million members and 9,263 auto dealers. CUDL member credit unions would collectively rank as the seventh-largest auto lender in the country during 2007, said CUDL. Forty percent of loans generated through the CUDL system went to credit union members. CUDL is a credit union service organization that develops applications, training and marketing programs related to indirect lending for credit unions.

Chicago to be site of FSCC Retail Delivery Convention

 Permanent link
SAN DIMAS, Calif. (1/28/08)--Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc. (FSCC) will host the 2008 Credit Union Retail Delivery Convention at the Renaissance Chicago Hotel in Chicago June 11-13. The theme of the convention will be “Reshaping the Playing Field Through Innovative Solutions.” Credit unions have the power to expand and strengthen the credit union movement through retail delivery channels, according to FSCC. Sessions topics include retail marketing, technological advancements, call center optimization, branch expansion, retail strategies, regulation and innovative solutions. Ann Rhoades, one of five executives to launch JetBlue airlines in February 2000, will deliver the keynote speech. Convention speakers and agendas will be announced next month.

Branch placement is topic of IBT Enterprises webinar

 Permanent link
NORCROSS, Ga. (1/28/08)--Credit unions can learn how to choose the best location for new branches at a free IBT Enterprises webinar Thursday. IBT is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. The webinar, “The Art and Science of Branch Placement,” will be held at 1 p.m. CST. Attendees will learn:
* The process, and tools and resources available that lead to better planned and placed branches; * How demographics, trade area analyses and competitive information are best used; * The evaluation and matching of site characteristics, available facility options and formats to meet the needs of intended members; * Identification and evaluation of placement and branch considerations important to particular segments, such as the underserved.
For more information, use the links.

Advanced CU Financial Counselor School in March lineup

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (1/25/08)--Credit union professionals working in financial counseling, collections and loan departments can stay current on financial counseling practices with a new offering on the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) March on-site training schedule. CUNA’s Certified Financial Counselor: Advanced is scheduled March 30 through April 4 in Miami, Fla., to help professionals build on their financial counseling for student loans, delinquent taxes, reverse mortgages, leadership, presentation skills and developing community relationships. The school also meets recertification requirements for the Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor designation. The Certified Financial Counselor School: Part 1 will take place in Miami during the same period. The school will address the role of financial counselors in helping members prevent and resolve financial problems, spending plans, improving credit worthiness, creditors’ rights and remedies, creditor/member relations and designing a counseling program. Students can take part one of a two-part exam for the Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor certification at the end of the school. Other March events include:
* The CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, March 2-6 in Washington, D.C.; * The CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council Conference, March 16-19 in Nashville, Tenn. The conference will cover mobile marketing, media buying, creative business development strategies and current issues, strategic marketing, branding and measuring success; * Collections and Bankruptcy School: Introduction, March 9-14 in San Diego; and * Business Lending and Services Conference, March 12-14 in Tempe, Ariz., which teaches credit union professionals how to build a business learning program.
For more information, use the links.

Diebolds Opteva marks five years

 Permanent link
NORTH CANTON, Ohio (1/25/08)--Diebold’s Opteva ATM is celebrating its fifth birthday. More than 100,000 Opteva ATMs have been installed globally since its introduction. Opteva was designed after Diebold interviewed financial institutions and consumers in 18 countries in 2001. The company worked with the results of its survey to change its ATM service model. Opteva also was designed with more than 14 security features, including a card reader to prevent skimming, or using unauthorized devices to capture ATM card information for fraud purposes. Diebold, an ATM manufacturer, serves financial institutions, including credit unions, in 90 countries.

Third price cut for Corporate Centrals Image Deposit

 Permanent link
MUSKEGO, Wis. (1/25/08)--Corporate Central CU has lowered its price by 40% on image exchangeable items for members on the Image Cash Letter service. The corporate attributed its partnerships for delivering Check 21 Image Deposit services. “Our partners provide access to the nation’s largest image exchange networks,” said Bob Fouch, Corporate Central president/CEO. “These networks clear over 60% of all checks in the U.S. We are able to pass the lower cost of image exchange to our members.” The corporate anticipates further price reductions in 2008, he said. About 33% of Corporate Central’s members use the deposit service.

Illinois partners with Pennsylvania iBelong campaign

 Permanent link
NAPERVILLE, Ill. (1/25/08)--The Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) will partner with the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association’s (PCUA) “iBelong” media campaign to increase credit union awareness in Illinois. The Illinois Statewide Image Awareness Task Force has met since last year to develop a program to increase credit union awareness among Illinois consumers. After reviewing several state campaigns, the task force chose iBelong. “Pennsylvania developed a top notch campaign that we believe will play well here in Illinois,” said ICUL Chairman Carl Sorgatz. “Between the research and all the elements that have been created, we feel this is an initiative our credit unions will get excited about and support.” The task force hopes to eliminate misconceptions about credit unions; increase consumer interest in doing business with credit unions; enhance credit union image among lawmakers; and complement and lay the foundation for individual credit union marketing. “We can begin to change the way Illinois consumers think about credit unions,” said John Bratsakis, ICUL vice chairman and task force chairman. Credit union membership is declining among peak borrowers ages 25 to 44, and a majority of credit union members are aging. According to the Credit Union National Association’s Environmental Scan for Strategic Planning (e-Scan), the average member age is 47. The ICUL board set a $850,000 goal for the campaign, and agreed to donate $500,000. The remainder will come from voluntary donations. With the $500,000, the task force will fund two three-week media campaigns including billboard, radio, print and cable television. Credit unions will receive marketing materials that coordinate with the campaign and can “piggy back” on it for local media.

League CUSO to give away 100 grams of gold in promo

 Permanent link
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (1/24/08)--Ascend United (Au), a Washington Credit Union League credit union service organization, will give away one bar of gold to a user who registers on its new website, AscendUnited.com, during a three-week period starting today and ending Feb. 14. The “Au: Gold Standard” promotion will help Au’s rebranding effort and will increase company awareness, said Phillip Slater, Au program manager. “Au just completed the launch of its website, which has undergone an extensive redesign,” Slater said. The website aims to help financial institutions better understand debt sales and how to participate in Au’s aggregated sales, he continued. The website also will host sample contracts, state and federal codes, and articles and opinion pieces about the debt collection and sales business, Slater said. The winner will be announced Feb. 17. Rules for the promotion are available on the website. Au serves financial institutions, including credit unions, with products that facilitate management of third-party collection programs, training, consulting, debt sales and aggregation services.

Products and Services briefs (01/23/2008)

 Permanent link
* COLUMBUS, Ohio (1/24/08)--Corporate One FCU will host its second annual Credit Union Enterprise Wide Risk Management (EWRM) Conference June 24-25 at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. The conference and workshop is geared toward CEOs, chief financial officers and chief operating officers. Speakers will be named at a later date. EWRM aggregates and organizes all processes and functions within an organization to better allow the organization ensure that all risks are accounted for. Corporate One, based in Columbus, has more than $4 billion in assets ... * ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (1/24/08)--PSCU Financial Services announced that Tom Gandre has been named chief debit officer. He will oversee the cooperative’s debit services unit. Prior to joining PSCU, he served as First Data Corp.’s senior vice president of product development and management. PSCU’s debit group services more than 200 credit unions and 700 ATMs, and processes more than seven million accounts that generate more than 500 million transactions annually ... * FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (1/24/08)--TNB Card Services has named Doug Farrell and Andy Bowers as vice presidents of regional sales (LoneStar Leaguer Jan. 18). Farrell will focus on the south central and western regions, and Bowers will focus on the northeastern region. Farrell comes from Remitpro, where he worked in sales of Check21 consumer identity validation solutions, and Bowers comes from Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions, where he was responsible for development of the western and central regions ... * LINDEN, N.J. (1/24/08)--American Airlines FCU has selected Integrated Media Management’s (IMM) TotaleAtlas solution to serve its 210,000 members. With TotaleAtlas, credit union members can visit any branch to sign documents created at a different branch. TotaleAtlas is part of IMM’s TotaleWorks software suite, document output and signature capture. American Airlines FCU, based in Dallas, serves employees in the airline industry and has more than $4.3 billion in assets ... * CLEVELAND, Ohio (1/24/08)--Denali Alaskan FCU in Anchorage has saved more than $96,000 per year using Hyland Software Inc.’s OnBase for check coding and transportation, Hyland said. The credit union deployed OnBase for image capture and remote delivery in its back-office operations. It plans to expand the implementation to include merchant capture, ATM deposits and branch kiosks. Denali has more than $360 million in assets ... * JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (1/24/08)--VyStar CU recently received a license to own a real estate agency, which will run as a business entity within VyStar Financial Group LLC (Jacksonville Business Journal Jan. 11). The agency seeks to help members looking to buy or sell a home. It will open during the first quarter of this year with one broker and four agents, the credit union said. Few credit unions in the U.S. have a real estate agency, Terry West, VyStar president/CEO, told the newspaper ...

FCUL Service Group signs with designimplementation firm

 Permanent link
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (1/23/08)--FCUL Service Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Florida Credit Union League, has partnered with NewGround, a design and implementation company. The alliance will help “credit unions grow in the increasingly competitive Florida market,” said Kevin Blair, NewGround president and chief operating officer. The Florida marketplace has increased its branch locations by 17.6% in the last five years. NewGround offers services such as branch, consult, design, retail, build and culture to credit unions.

CMG Risk-manager webinars lineup announced

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (1/22/08)--CUNA Mutual Group is offering seven free risk-management webinars designed for credit union bond policyholders. The webinars aim to provide credit union staff with insight and best practices to improve their programs, said Gary Pate, director of insurance compliance and risk management for CUNA Mutual. This year’s sessions include:
* Lender Liability Lawsuits--An Evolving Exposure (Jan. 23 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.); * Disaster Preparedness--Prepare for the Unexpected (March 12 and 16 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.); * The New Wave in Payments--Risks on the Horizon (May 14 and 28 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.); * Director Responsibilities--What Every Director Should Know (July 9 and 23 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.); * Fiduciary Risk--A Sleeping Giant Ready to Awake? (July 9 and 23 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.); * Plastic Card Fraud Trends (Sept. 10 and 24 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.); and * Credit Union Service Organizations--Controlling Risk to Drive Reward (Nov. 12 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.).
Participants will need a computer, an Internet connection, a Web browser and a telephone. Registration opens 45 days before each class. For more information, use the link.

Equifax uMonitor team up on online account services

 Permanent link
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (1/22/08)--uMonitor has teamed up with Equifax to offer financial institutions, including credit unions, a new interface to improve online account-opening practices and expand online channels. The interface uses Equifax’s risk-decisioning technology and uMonitor’s uOpen and uFund online account opening and funding solutions. The interface has identity verification, authentication capabilities, and a pre-screen and cross-sell scoring matrix for financial institutions’ products and services. “Combining our online account opening and funding with its existing infrastructure will improve the levels of accuracy and efficiency available for financial institutions,” said Dinesh Sheth, uMonitor CEO.

Open Solutions expands international reach

 Permanent link
GLASTONBURY, Conn. (1/22/08)--Open Solutions continues to expand its list of international clients by signing Mexico-based IXE Banco to implement Open Solutions’ Complete Banking Solution. IXE Banco also will implement Open Solutions’ cView, StreamLend Velocity and Interaction Management Center. Open Solutions also recently contracted with Asia Commercial in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Bridgetown, Co-Operative CU in Bridgetown, Barbados, as well. IXE has more than $1.5 billion in assets, 120 branches, and 240,000 customers. Open Solutions is a core data processor for financial institutions, including credit unions.

White papers Affordable housing fringe technologies

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (1/18/08)--Credit union professionals can learn about credit union lending programs that help some borrowers from subprime mortgages while offering affordable housing for low-income families in the first of two new white papers from the CUNA Councils. “Affordable Housing,” sponsored by the CUNA Lending Council, is divided into two sections. The first overviews the causes of the subprime mortgage problem, its negative effects on certain borrowers, and how credit unions are responding with “Refi Rescue” programs. The second section offers innovative solutions implemented by credit unions to help lower-income families achieve homeownership through financially sound mortgage products. The second white paper, entitled “Technology on the Fringe,” explores innovation that has reached public attention, but has yet to gain widespread acceptance and use. The CUNA Technology Council-sponsored white paper also examines revolutionary tools that credit unions are adopting to liberate members more, empower them with knowledge, and give them a higher degree of protection. Case studies explore how credit unions use fringe technologies to gain a competitive edge and more effectively serve employees and members. CUNA Council members can receive complimentary copies of the white papers; non-members may purchase the white papers for $50 per copy. For more information, use the links.

CUSO Financial Services adds three investment products

 Permanent link
SAN DIEGO (1/17/08)--CUSO Financial Services has added three new fee-based accounts to a line of products available for its credit union member clients. The additions are part of the CUSO Asset Management (CAM) suite, and include Exchange Traded Funds, Index Plus and Unified Management Account. All products are available to credit union clients and their advisory representatives. CUSO also announced that it has expanded its advisory services staff and reported a 50% increase in fee-based assets for 2007. Fee-based asset management provides investors with alternatives to commission-based relationships with investment advisors. In fee-based relationships, investors pay annual fees based on a percentage of assets managed. Fee-based accounts are used by investors seeking access to portfolios across a broad selection of asset classes and professional money managers, according to CUSO. CUSO provides services to more than 110 credit unions nationwide.

Check image volume up 37 for SVPCO

 Permanent link
NEW YORK (1/17/08)--SVPCO, a paper and electronic check exchange business of The Clearing House Payments Company LLC, reported that a record 2.8 billion images, totaling more than $5 trillion, moved through the SVPCO Image Payments Network in 2007. The growth was largely due to seven new network participants, including Members United Corporate FCU in Warrenville, Ill., said Susan Long, Clearing House senior vice president (dBusiness News Jan. 15). The number of image items increased 376% from a year ago, and total dollar volume increased 167%. The number of processing dates was identical--251--in 2006 and 2007, according to SVPCO. In December, SVPCO reported a 179.3% increase in monthly items compared with the year before, and a 102.8% increase in monthly dollar value, compared with December 2006.

Kentucky Corporate Mid-Atlantic partner on e-bills

 Permanent link
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (1/17/08)--Kentucky Corporate FCU, Louisville, announced it has partnered with MY CU Services LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mid-Atlantic Corporate, to offer electronic bill payment to Kentucky Corporate’s member credit unions. The corporate will market the service to its member credit unions in Kentucky and in other states. Credit unions signing up for the service will use MY CU Services for back-end processing and remittance of payments. MY CU Services provides electronic bill payment services to 700 credit unions in 49 states. Kentucky Corporate serves credit unions in Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.

HealthBankers first client is E FCU

 Permanent link
ALBANY, N.Y., and BATON ROUGE, La. (1/16/08)--Members Health Network LLC, a subsidiary of Members United Corporate FCU, has signed with E FCU in Baton Rouge to offer health savings accounts (HSAs) to the credit union’s members. “We started by giving our employees an HSA plan option in their benefits package,” said Cris Melancon, vice president of marketing for E FCU. “Now, we’d like to bring HSAs to our entire membership.” The HSA program will be based on Members Health Network’s suite of advisory tools and online enrollment. Another feature, the Health Counselor module, allows users to compare the cost and quality of healthcare providers, and includes a library of health information. The module is available to all accountholders. Members Health Network was launched in September 2007. E FCU has $203.7 million in assets.

Website launched for debt collections sales

 Permanent link
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (1/16/08)--Ascend United, a broker of credit union debt and a credit union service organization of the Washington Credit Union League, launched a website to help financial institutions understand debt aggregation and sales. “Our hope is to demystify the straight-forward world of debt sales,” said Phillip Slater, program manager. “The sale of distressed debt has been a common and accepted practice in the banking industry for years. However, most credit unions have been left out due to the small size of the loan pools and their distrust of the buying community.” The site, Ascendunited.com, will house articles and opinion pieces about the debt collections, aggregation and sales business. “Our goal is to shed light on the current state of the industry, increase the effectiveness of in-house collections departments, and provide an opportunity for all financial institutions, regardless of size, to increase their bottom line or facilitate changes in their lending business by selling their charged-off or performing debt,” Slater said. Ascend offers products for financial service companies, including management of third-party collection programs, training, consulting and debt sales, and aggregation services.

Diebold concludes bill-and-hold talks with OCA

 Permanent link
NORTH CANTON, Ohio (1/16/08)--Diebold has revised its revenue recognition method and will now recognize revenue upon customer acceptance of products at a customer location, the company announced Tuesday. The change will not affect the timing of related billing and collection activity, or the total cash flow from operating activities. Diebold plans to review the impact of the change on its 2006 and 2007 revenue with external auditors, and will provide updated revenue estimates for those periods, the company stated. The review is expected at the end of this month. Preliminary financial results for the second, third and fourth quarters of 2007 also will be made available. Financial statements for the fiscal years ending Dec. 31 during 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003, and quarterly data in each year ending Dec. 31 for 2006 and 2005 must be revised to reflect the revised accounting method, Diebold stated in a press release. Diebold, an ATM manufacturer, has been in discussions with the Office of the Chief Accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission, regarding its prior practice of recognizing certain revenue on a “bill and hold” basis. The company announced Oct. 2 that it would discontinue “bill and hold” as revenue recognition. Diebold said discussions have concluded.

Galaxy CU Solutions deploys scheduler

 Permanent link
PALO ALTO, Calif. (1/16/08)--Galaxy CU Solutions, a business unit of Fiserv, announced that it has deployed Tidal Enterprise Schedule to manage its job processing schedules. “With so many customers to support, we had to streamline, centralize, standardize and automate job scheduling in order to meet service needs and contain costs,” said Vince Fancone, Galaxy’s senior vice president of information technology. The solution allows Galaxy to monitor customer-processing steps and detect problems, using a small team of schedulers. Tidal also announced the availability of Tidal Enterprise Scheduler 5.3.1, which supports standardization of scheduling across heterogeneous and geographically dispersed information technology environments. Galaxy offers credit unions services such as loan processing, online banking and member rewards programs. It hosts applications in a datacenter or provides managed services to credit unions that operate their own applications.

ReadySTATION kiosks to feature walk-in bill payment service

 Permanent link
NEW YORK and BROOKFIELD, Wis. (1/15/08)--Consumers can purchase prepaid cards and pay their bills through a financial service scheduled to be deployed at kiosks in convenience stores nationwide this spring. CheckFreePay, a part of Fiserv Inc., announced an agreement with Ready Credit Corp. to implement the CheckFreePay walk-in bill payment service at all ReadySTATION kiosks in the U.S. ReadySTATION kiosks are deployed at 55 retail, convenience and grocery store locations in six states. Stores using the kiosks include Dollar Tree in Atlanta and Houston, Save-A-Lot in Milwaukee, SUPERVALU stores, and convenience stores in Minneapolis and El Paso, Texas. The stations allow consumers to purchase ReadyCARD Prepaid MasterCards and pay their bills. Bill payments made at the kiosks can be processed the next day for $2.50, or through standard three-business-day processing for $1.50. Ready Credit offers its customers instant-access self-service prepaid financial products and services. Fiserv is a core processor, serving financial institutions, including credit unions.

U.S. Central takes measures to thwart phish attacks

 Permanent link
SAN FRANCISCO (1/15/08)--U.S. Central CU, Lenexa, Kan., is working to prevent phishing attacks after being targeted by a phishing scam last summer. In June 2007, U.S. Central was attacked by the Rock Phish organization. “Within the first few hours of that first attack, we knew we had to do something fast,” said Jean Golka, information technology risk manager for U.S. Central. U.S. Central is one of many credit unions that has been attacked by phishers. Many phishers have improved their technology by hiring automated search or botnet vendors and using tools to make phishing more resilient, so attacks on financial institutions have become more frequent, the credit union stated in a press release. Credit unions were the target of 32.6% of phishing attacks in the third quarter of 2007, according to data from MarkMonitor, an anti-phishing technology vendor that U.S. Central partnered with in June after the Rock Phish attack. U.S. Central has 32 member corporate credit unions, comprising the Corporate Network, which provides liquidity, lending and payment services. The Credit Union National Association also provides anti-phishing technology to assist member credit unions, such as Perimeter CounterPhish.

UsNet reduces in-network verification charges

 Permanent link
ALBANY, N.Y. (1/14/08)--The Universal Sharing Network (UsNet) board of directors announced a 5% reduction in the price of in-network member verification charges. The decrease in price took effect Jan. 1 and is the second reduction in four years. Forty-six credit unions are active in the network. Collectively, they offer 97 UsNet-sponsored CU Service Centers in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. More than 11 CU Service Centers have contracted to open this year. UsNet is part of a national network of credit unions committed to expanding services to their members through CO-OP Shared Branching. Members of participating credit unions can do business from any CU Service Center in New York and in the U.S.--a total of 2,900 locations in 46 states. Shared branching also is available in Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Ecuador and Puerto Rico.

Metavante acquires Nomad Payments

 Permanent link
MILWAUKEE (1/14/08)--Metavante Technologies announced that it has acquired London-based Nomad Payments Limited for $58 million. Nomad will now operate as Metavante Technologies Ltd., part of the Metavante International Group. The acquisition is expected to add 1% to Metavante’s revenue. Nomad offers processing services for payment providers of gift cards, money share cards and general purpose prepaid cards. Metavante delivers banking and payments technology for financial institutions including credit unions.

Eight CUs share Hispanic strategies in new CUNA report

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (1/14/08)--To attract more Spanish-speaking members, credit unions must first speak Spanish. But even English-speaking Hispanics can see that a credit union with Spanish-speaking employees is making an effort to reach them, say executives from credit unions featured in a new Credit Union National Association (CUNA) report. Credit Union Magazine Best Practices: Serving Spanish-Speaking Members studies the programs, strategies, products and services of eight credit unions that have attracted Spanish-speaking members. The executives, from credit unions with assets ranging from $55 million to $6.7 billion, agreed that credit unions planning to reach out to Hispanics must be prepared and have enough Spanish-speaking employees to handle the traffic on Day One. They recommend looking for bilingual employees within the Hispanic community. They also advise credit unions to go into the community and meet potential Hispanic members rather than expecting Hispanics to flock to the credit union. The report shares their stories on how to achieve this. Other CUNA best practices reports discuss succession planning, serving members of modest means, growing youth membership, business services providers, consumer lending, credit counseling, disaster recovery, risk-based lending and more. The report is available in print or PDF downloadable format. For more information, use the link.

Passageways sees record growth in 2007

 Permanent link
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (1/14/08)--Passageways announced record revenue growth of 56% in 2007 and the addition of more than 40 new portal community financial institutions, including credit unions. Other highlights of Passageways’ growth:
* Completed the acquisition of Engineered Business Solutions (EBS), with two EBS clients--USU Charter CU in Logan, Utah, and TruMark Financial CU in Trevose, Pa.--signing up for a migration to Passageways portal within the first 90 days of the acquisition; * Launched new products such as e-Forms Builder, Executive Dashboards, Learning Management, Knowledge Management and Lobby Management; * Reached 100 clients; * Added American Airlines CU, Fort Worth, Texas, and Alliant FCU, Chicago; * Increased participation in Passageways’ PowWOW Advanced User and Developer Conference to more than 100 attendees; * Formed relationships with Callahan and Associates, Members Development Group and the Indiana Credit Union League; * Increased staff by eight new employees; and * Accepted a best practice award for implementing portal-based automation projects at Kitsap FCU, Bremerton, Wash.

Products and Services briefs (01/10/2008)

 Permanent link
* BROOKFIELD, Wis. (1/11/08)--Fiserv announced that it will use the Viewpointe archive to expand its current image storage offerings to 1,600 check processing clients. The company also will employ Viewpointe’s ImageShare product, which allows it to share check images. Fiserv will continue to use its current image archive for delivery of products such as image statements, CD-ROMs and DVDs. Fiserv is a check processor, and Viewpointe is a provider of check image exchange and archive services for financial institutions, including credit unions ... * MEMPHIS, Tenn. (1/11/08)--uMonitor, a financial solution services provider for banking customer acquisition and retention, announced a 60% growth in revenue for 2007. The company also has moved to a larger facility and increased the number of employees. “We deployed twice as many systems as the previous year, processed 50% more automated clearinghouse transactions and 50% more new account applications resulting in 100% growth in dollars transferred through uTransfer, and 300% more money invested in new accounts via uOpen and uFund,” said Dinesh Sheth, CEO. uMonitor solutions include uSwitch, uBenefit, uView, uAdvise, uPresent, uVerify and uDocument. uMonitor technology is used by financial institutions including credit unions nationwide ... * NORTH CANTON, Ohio (1/11/08)--ATM manufacturer Diebold Inc. announced that it has partnered with Rent-A-Center, a rent-to-own company, to install seven Diebold Express Cash Recyclers (ECRs). Under the agreement, Rent-A-Center will purchase 500 units for its retail stores through the next two years. The cash recyclers count, authenticate and safeguard cash deposits. The ECRs serve high- and low-volume transactions, expedite customer service and eliminate manual cash counting. Rent-A-Center is headquartered in Plano, Texas ... * FOSTER CITY, Calif. (1/11/08)--Extractable, a Web strategy consultancy, has won seven WebAwards from the Web Marketing Association. One of the awards was for Best Credit Union Website. Extractable has recently secured business from Citizens Equity First CU, Peoria, Ill. Extractable also works with America First CU, Orange County, Calif., and redesigned the credit union’s website to improve visibility of products and services ... * HOUSTON (1/11/08)--Personix, a business unit of Fiserv, announced that it has installed the Datacard Artista retransfer color printing module. The technology gives Personix’s financial institution clients the ability to print full-color, custom cards. Datacard produces photo cards, foil printing, fine line details, metallic inks and microprinting. Personix will use Datacard to print photo cards, and debit, credit and prepaid cards for its financial institution clients, including credit unions ... * RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (1/11/08)--Members 1st FCU, Mechanicsburg, Pa., and Citadel FCU, Thorndale, Pa., have joined the CO-OP Network, the surcharge-free ATM network operated by CO-OP Financial Services. Through the partnership, the credit unions’ members will gain access to 626 CO-OP Network ATMs in Pennsylvania and 25,000 ATMs in the U.S. Eighteen Pennsylvania credit unions have joined the CO-OP Network since the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association announced its partnership with CO-OP in April, said CO-OP President/CEO Stan Hollen ...

SpendSpace means consumers can compare their spending

 Permanent link
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (1/10/08)--Consumers can compare their spending with others in any major U.S. city or state through a new website feature from Mint.com. Mint.com, a free website that allows users to track their money online, announced that SpendSpace, a consumer spending tracking solution, is available. With SpendSpace, consumers can see how much they spend on items such as food or mobile phones, compared with other consumers in their area, said Aaron Patzer, founder/CEO of Mint. “It’s helpful information to have when setting budgets, and it’s just kind of fun to know where you stand,” Patzer said. Mint.com users register anonymously with a valid e-mail address, and then connect online to their financial institutions. The website downloads transaction data from more than 3,500 financial institutions daily. An alert system lets users know about suspicious activity, low balances, bank fees and charges and upcoming bills. Mint also provides money-saving suggestions. It says the average user can find up to $1,000 in savings in the first session. All aggregations are anonymous, the company stated. In a customer survey from December 2007, 87% of respondents said they better understood their spending through Mint, and half had changed their spending behavior. The most frequent change cited was eating and drinking at home more often. Mint.com also has been awarded PC World’s Most Innovative Products Award.

New white papers discuss team environment innovative products

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (1/10/08)--Two new CUNA Councils white papers can help credit create and thrive in a team environment. “Thriving in a Team Environment: Leading the Finance Team to Support Credit Union Strategy” from the CUNA Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Council outlines how a CFO or manager can create and maintain a team environment and lead the finance team to support credit union strategy. The paper also addresses broader aspects and applications of teamwork in credit unions and the different skills that managers must foster to thrive in a team environment. “Innovative Products That Generate Revenue” from the CUNA Operations, Sales and Service (OpSS) Council discusses product and service offerings that can help credit unions stand out in the financial services industry and attract new members. The paper contains credit union case studies of payday lending alternatives, family credit cards, online savings, student loans and more. CUNA Council members can receive complimentary copies of the papers. Non-members can purchase copies for $50 each. For more information, use the links.

New guide tells how to tap remittance market

 Permanent link
SAN FRANCISCO (1/10/08)--Credit unions looking to tap the remittance market can consult a new guide which explains why many immigrants don’t use banks. “Banking in a Global Market,” by the Appleseed Network, a non-profit group, provides information for setting up a remittance program. It also compares current models that financial institutions use, such as offering dual ATM cards or partnering with money transfer operators (San Francisco Chronicle Jan. 8). Western Union and other money transfer companies currently dominate the remittance market, although financial institutions, including credit unions, have begun to participate. Many credit unions offer remittances through the World Council of Credit Unions’ International Remittance Network (IR Network). Many immigrants say large financial institutions target only the wealthy, and as a result, immigrants carry their money and are then targeted by thieves. Moving away from cash-based transactions can benefit immigrants, but it takes time to change consumer behavior, said Ann Baddour, one of the guide’s authors. Financial institutions who don’t serve the remittance market will lose out, she told the newspaper. The average amount of money immigrants send back to home countries has increased. In 2006, immigrants transferred $300 billion, with $23 billion moving from the U.S. to Mexico, the newspaper stated.

WesCorp Digital Mailer team to expand tech footprint

 Permanent link
HERNDON, Va., and SAN DIMAS, Calif. (1/9/08)--Digital Mailer Inc., a digital communication company serving more than 120 credit unions, is partnering with Western Corporate FCU (WesCorp). The two organizations will work to extend online communication tools and create more e-communication products to help member credit unions. “We’ll serve as a type of ‘innovation arm’ for WesCorp,” said Ron Daly, DigitalMailer president. WesCorp, based in San Dimas, has $30 billion in assets

PSCU Financial Services to offer mobile banking

 Permanent link
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (1/9/08)--PSCU Financial Services, a credit union service organization, announced it is adopting mFoundry’s mobile financial platform. Services will be available in the second quarter of this year. mFoundry’s Spotlight Financial Platform offers financial services for financial institutions, including credit unions and wireless carriers. The platform incorporates mobile banking and payments into one platform. PSCU also will use its relationships with Digital Dialogue, First Data Corp., CheckFree, eFunds Prepaid Services and core data processors to create a mobile banking application. “Our mobile banking solution will support multiple technologies and devices to equip credit unions to attract new members, appeal to the needs of Gen Y, increase member satisfaction and retention, and showcase brand differentiation for our credit unions,” said David J. Serlo, PSCU president/CEO. PSCU’s information technology staff can customize the branding of the application for each credit union. PSCU serves 1,100 financial institutions nationwide. The company provides financial services, including debit, credit, ATM, prepaid, bill payment and contact-center solutions.

TNB Card Services acquires 4.4 million in card balances

 Permanent link
DALLAS (1/8/08)--TNB Card Services has purchased the credit card portfolios of York County FCU, Sanford, Maine; and Tower CU, Wausau, Wis., adding $4.4 million in card balances to TNB’s portfolio. York County sold its portfolio to TNB to offer more products and a rewards program to members. The credit union has $159 million in assets. “By selling the portfolio, we can now offer a more attractive card product, including a Platinum card and rewards, which we don’t have today,” said Jim Nelson, York County CEO. Tower CU sold its portfolio, which reduced risk and reallocated staff resources to support more critical aspects of its operation, said Hal Osborn, Tower CEO. Tower has $45 million in assets. TNB is a provider of electronic payments and processing.

How will purchase of CheckFree affect Fiserv

 Permanent link
BROOKFIELD, Wis. (1/7/08)--Now that it has acquired CheckFree, Fiserv will have all of the components it needs, including bill payment, online banking and core banking, to serve financial institutions, according to an industry analyst. Fiserv, which acquired the Norcross,Ga.-based CheckFree Corp. in a $4.4 billion deal in December, can develop a future-generation, modern bank system, said Franco Turrinelli, analyst with William Blair and Co. in Chicago (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Dec. 30). Jeffrey Yabuki, Fiserv chief executive, said the CheckFree acquisition wasn’t transformational, because Fiserv has always provided account-keeping functions for financial institutions including credit unions. But the purchase is a catalyst for the company to become a top vendor for products and services, he told the newspaper. Through the deal, Fiserv also has acquired some large banks, such as Bank of America. Bank of America currently accounts for 20% of CheckFree’s annual revenue and will account for 5% of Fiserv’s, the newspaper stated. Fiserv co-founder Norm Balthasar, who announced his retirement as senior vice president and CEO last month, told the newspaper that the acquisition has “re-energized the whole organization.” Fiserv has had more than 140 acquisitions since its founding in 1984. It is a core processor for financial institutions, including credit unions.

CU Central of Canada Desjardins Group create investment firm

 Permanent link
TORONTO, Ontario (1/4/08)--Credit Union Central of Canada and the Desjardins Group have created an investment firm to increase the distribution of The Ethical Funds Company and Northwest Mutual Funds products. The firm will have $5.5 billion assets under management. Northwest and Ethical will be 50% owned by the Provincial Credit Union Centrals and 50% by Desjardins. Both organizations will continue to offer products under their corporate brands, and through their partner’s distribution network.

First Advantage purchases Fiservs CredStar

 Permanent link
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., and BROOKFIELD, Wis. (1/4/08)--First Advantage Corp., a global risk mitigation and business solutions provider, has purchased the assets of CredStar, Fiserv Inc.’s mortgage-credit-reporting business unit. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed (PR Newswire Jan. 3). The purchase expands First Advantage’s presence in the U.S. mortgage credit reporting industry. It already services 19 lenders, according to the company. CredStar is based in Los Angeles and operates satellite offices in Arlington Heights, Ill.; Phoenix; and Philadelphia. It provides credit information solutions to its mortgage lender clients via WebStar, a Web-based platform. Fiserv, a core processor for credit unions and other financial institutions, is based in Brookfield, Wis.

Diebold sells more than 6000 Opteva ATMs in China

 Permanent link
NORTH CANTON, Ohio (1/4/08)--ATM manufacturer Diebold Inc. announced that since July, it has finalized agreements to sell more than 6,000 Opteva ATMs to Chinese banks. The financial institutions include: the Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Postal Savings Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction bank each ordered more than 2,000 units, according to Diebold (PR Newswire Jan. 3). Bulk cash recycle machines (BCRMs) are a popular choice in the Chinese banking region, the company stated in a press release. BCRMs allow users to make envelope-free cash deposits or withdraw up to 100 bills at once. The machines also validate, denominate, count and deposit currency. Diebold also recently announced that it has signed an agreement with Chinese oil supplier Sinopec Corp. and local commercial banks to deploy ATMs at Sinopec fuel stations in Beijing.

USERS receives CMMI Quality Level II appraisal

 Permanent link
BROOKFIELD, Wis. (1/3/08)--USERS Inc., a credit union industry core processor and business unit of Fiserv, announced that it has attained Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level II. CMMI is a model for process improvement, developed by the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute. A CCMI Level II designation means that the organization has achieved managed processes, as tracked by the CMMI model, for product development, acquisition and service-related processes that can be compared and measured with industry practices. USERS will work toward requirements of the CMMI Level III designation, said Jay Kamp, USERS’ chief technology officer. About 1,200 organizations have received CMMI Level II or higher. Fiserv is a provider of core processing solutions for financial institutions, including credit unions.

WOCCU redesigns website

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (1/3/08)--The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) has launched its redesigned website, with resources on research and best practices in credit union development. “Our new website better communicates what it is we do and how others can get involved in the international movement,” said Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO. Highlights of the new site include:
* Information on WOCCU’s programs, international remittances, partnerships and credit unions statistics in any given country; * An expanded section on WOCCU’s international partnerships; * Access to free publications and research in credit union development; * Online subscriptions to WOCCU’s Credit Union World magazine and electronic newsletters; and * Web pages mirrored in Spanish.
The site will continue to evolve, employing two languages: English and Spanish, according to WOCCU. The pages devoted to WOCCU’s 2008 World Credit Union Conference in Hong Kong will be available in Chinese. For more information, use the link.

Products and Services briefs (01/02/2008)

 Permanent link
* STOCKTON, Calif. (1/3/08)--Community First CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., has joined four other credit unions in a consortium to offer online banking services to members (Central Valley Business Times Dec. 27). Credit Union Shared Resources comprises Allied CU, Stockton; First FCU and Community Trust CU, Modesto; and Tracy FCU, Tracy, to purchase hardware and other applications that the credit unions could not afford individually. The cooperative system could handle another 20 similarly sized credit unions, according to Frank Michael, Allied CU CEO. The credit unions average $50 million in assets … * ALBANY, N.Y. and GLASTONBURY, Conn. (1/3/08)--Rivermark Community CU of Beaverton, Ore., announced that it selected StreamLend Velocity, an end-to-end loan origination system by IA Systems. The company is an Open Solutions business unit and provider of lending software. With Velocity, Rivermark can make instant offers to new members for credit cards or auto loans. The system offers security and compliance tools to keep data safe, and integrates with supporting programs or websites such as Kelley Blue Book. Rivermark Community CU has $370 million in assets … * SAN DIEGO (1/3/08)--The Mortgage Licensing Group (MLG) announced that LicenseTracker is now available. Mortgage lenders using LicenseTracker can track and manage their company license process. The solution notifies companies of their license renewals and deadlines and tracks the process of each license on company, branch office and loan officer levels. The application will maintain licenses while staying compliant with regulatory developments through LicenseReady. MLG provides licensing services to lenders nationwide … * RIVERSIDE, Calif. (1/3/08)--Altura CU, Riverside, has previewed a new product by Websense to protect the data of its members by focusing on the data, not the devices and ports. The solution will provide new levels of protection, said Glen Chzras, Altura vice president of technology. The solution is an Open Endpoint Initiative that integrates the Websense Content Protection Suite. Altura currently uses the Content Protection Suite to guard its data. Websense also announced that it has partnered with Lumension Security and is expanding its Content Protection Suite to the endpoint. Websense products protect an estimated 42 million employees from external and internal computer security threats, according to the company …