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25 certified as financial counselors in December

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MADISON, Wis. (2/2/09)--Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor designations were awarded to 25 people by the Credit Union National Association in December. This is the fifth class to receive this award since the inception of the program. To be certified, participants must attend the Certified Financial Counselor School: Parts I and II and successfully complete the exams. The program is designed to teach credit union professionals to help members prevent financial difficulties with responsible money management techniques, and how to design and implement a counseling program within their credit unions. For a list of those certified, use the resource link.

DeposZip gains momentum in shared branches

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BURLINGTON, Mass., and SAN DIMAS, Calif. (2/2/09)--Use of DeposZip, a remote deposit capture (RDC) product, is increasing among credit unions and their members nationwide, Financial Services Centers Cooperative (FSCC) and EasCorp announced Wednesday. DeposZip allows members who have access to the Internet and a scanner to deposit checks from home at any time. Digital FCU, Marlborough, Mass., has signed up more than 16,000 RDC users since its implementation. Hanscom (Mass.) FCU went live with DeposZip last year. “RDC levels the competitive playing field with other financial service providers who have a significant brick-and-mortar branch network,” said Craig Roy, Digital FCU senior vice president of support services. “We have put a deposit-taking option in each one of our members’ homes.” Analysts predict that 30% to 50% of financial institutions will offer RDC capabilities to small-business consumers during the next four years, FSCC and EasCorp said. DeposZip is available to all credit unions, including non-shared branching credit unions. The $2 billion-asset EasCorp is located in Burlington, Mass. FSCC, a credit union Shared Branching network with 5,500 full-service deposit taking locations in the U.S., is headquartered in San Dimas, Calif.

Companies advise updating 09 disaster plans

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HAGERSTOWN, Md., and SAN DIMAS, Calif. (2/2/09)--Financial Services Centers Cooperative (FSCC) and Ongoing Operations (OGO) are encouraging credit unions to update and prioritize their disaster recovery plans to include mobile branch recovery and shared branching. “Offering shared branching is a significant safety net during an emergency or disaster,” said Sarah Canepa Bang, FSCC president/CEO, “But the time to plan for an emergency is before it happens. Our goal is to help get credit unions back to work as quickly as possible after a disaster. There is no question that providing continuity of service during disasters increases the public’s confidence in credit unions.” FSCC and OGO partnered last year to offer mobile branch recovery services. A mobile branch with 56 workstations can be deployed within 48 hours, the companies said in a release. “Credit unions that do prepare for potential catastrophes reduce the overall impact on their members, greatly reduce the potential for fraud and financial losses, and generally learn some very sound business practices for competing in the financial industry as a whole,” said OGO President Kirk Drake. FSCC is a credit union Shared Branch Network that provides more than 5,500 deposit-taking locations in the U.S. OGO provides business continuity solutions to credit unions.

ITAC helps 50000th customer in ID theft

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WASHINGTON (1/30/09)--The Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC) helped its 50,000th customer this month. ITAC's chosen service provider is Intersections, which is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. ITAC’s victim assistance service, which helps consumers recover from identity theft, is available at no cost to consumers who have an account at an ITAC member company. “Consumers are facing hardships right now, but identity theft doesn’t have to be one of them,” said ITAC President Anne Wallace, adding “ITAC’s companies are here to help.” The milestone customer was a 45-year-old doctor from Virginia who left his credit card at a gas station. The incident resulted in account takeover--when a criminal uses account information without the account holder’s knowledge. The doctor’s financial institution referred the case to ITAC, where a trained agent alerted the doctor to other suspicious activity. One client noted that customers want to talk to a real person, someone who understands identity theft. As part of its mission, ITAC shares victim data with the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and other law enforcement agencies to help them investigate and prosecute identity crime.

Products and Services briefs (01/29/2009)

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* BROOKFIELD, Wis. (1/30/09)--CheckFree, part of Fiserv Inc., announced that Corporate One FCU, Columbus, Ohio, has selected CheckFree Advantage Fee for client billing and revenue management. The solution provides transparency of client billing by ensuring accurately calculated fees for services, including ATMs, Check 21, automated clearinghouse, and automated capture and exchange. Fiserv, an information technology provider, is based in Brookfield, Wis. ... * DALLAS (1/30/09)--ALM First Financial Advisors LLC announced that Mike Ensweiler will be its new sales manager. Ensweiler previously was senior business consultant of national accounts for Members United Corporate FCU. He was responsible for key account sales/relationship management for products and services, and its brokerage and investment advisory credit union service organization. Ensweiler began his financial services career in 1992. ALM First Financial is a strategic partner for financial advisory services for credit unions ... * PITTSFIELD, Mass. (1/30/09)--The Greylock Investment Group, a division of Greylock FCU, Pittsfield, Mass., announced that it has more than $50 million in assets. The group offers services ranging from basic financial planning to annuities and full-service investment management. The group also announced that it has hired Brian Astorino as LPL Financial Advisor. Astorino will develop long-term financial strategies. Greylock FCU has $1.05 billion in assets ... * ATLANTA (1/30/09)--The Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Credit Union Resources, announced that they will continue to endorse LEVEL5, a consulting and facilities development firm, for supporting credit union growth through consulting, real estate, integrated design, construction management and branding services. This is the third year TCUL and CU Resources will recognize LEVEL5 as their firm of choice. LEVEL5 has several projects in Texas, including those at River City FCU, San Antonio; People’s Trust FCU, Houston; and United Heritage CU, Austin ... * GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (1/30/09)--WESCO Net, a provider of managed network solutions that services credit unions nationwide, announced the launch of Latitude, its new client portal site. Latitude is a free service for WESCO Net managed server and firewall clients. It provides real-time access to statistics and information about WESCO Net managed devices. WESCO seeks to provide credit unions with status information, historical and live reports, online forms, and a help desk, the company said in a release ...

Mass issuance campaign for contactless debit cards launched

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (1/29/09)--A mass issuance campaign by PSCU Financial Services seeks to boost credit unions’ use of contactless debit cards. Credit unions that register for the product by June 30 can participate in promotional activities associated with the campaign. There is no minimum number of cards that must be ordered by Dec. 31. Both MasterCard and Visa debit cards are included, PSCU Financial said. “Contactless cards are a valuable tool for acquiring and retaining members and creating greater activation rates,” said David J. Serlo, PSCU Financial Services president/CEO. Spending on contactless payments is expected to exceed $800 million by 2011, according to ABI Research. Contactless terminals are available in fast food restaurants, gas stations, airports, train stations and major hotels, PSCU Financial said. PSCU Financial is a credit union service organization based in St. Petersburg, Fla., that serves 1,100 financial institutions nationwide.

MindBlazer FIs sign up for website TV content

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (1/29/09)--MindBlazer, a marketing technology company that leverages interactive video and new media for the financial industry, announced Wednesday that 45 financial institutions have signed up to offer MoneyMinutesTV content on their websites. MoneyMinutesTV launched Oct. 29. It provides credit unions and banks with video segments to help educate consumers about their products and encourage adoption of online financial services. One video explains the role of the National Credit Union Administration for credit unions and insurance of deposits at credit unions. The content can be customized to match each financial institution’s brand, and can be placed directly on high-traffic areas of the website. Content can be leveraged through in-branch use, direct mail or in one-on-one sessions with consumers. “We underestimated the demand for the topic,” said MindBlazer President/CEO Ryan Brown. “Financial institutions that we have spoken with say what they benefit from the most is how the segment enables them to communicate directly with their customers, rather than sending them to another site to find information.” Credit unions and banks can visit the MoneyMinutesTV website to sign up for a complimentary segment and learn about other interactive, education-based video content available. “Many successful financial institutions are diverting resources from traditional marketing outlets and making a greater investment in their online channel,” Brown said. “MoneyMinutesTV removes the ‘heavy lifting’ that comes with planning, producing and implementing media content from scratch.” MoneyMinutesTV’s segments are about one to three minutes in length and cover a range of financial topics.

CUTEK offers new CAMS Alerts solution

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MURRIETA, Calif. (1/29/09)--CUTEK, a financial technology development and consulting firm for credit unions, announced a new Compromised Account Management System (CAMS) alert solution. With the solution, credit unions can:
* Receive one or more alert files; * Process CAMS alert files and place a “note record” on all matching cards in the database; * Process any previous CAMS alerts with options to block cards that were not previously blocked, re-order new cards that were not previously re-ordered or generate a file for notices; and * Run the software on any account with a pending block or reorder--due to a CAMS alert--to immediately block or reorder one or more cards on the account.
When credit unions receive CAMS alerts, they usually must track the alerts for each card, block compromised cards, re-order new cards and notify members, CUTEK said. Credit unions recently signing up for the solution include:
* Clackamas FCU, Oregon City, Ore.; * FAA First FCU, Hawthorne, Calif.; * Technology CU, San Jose, Calif.; and * Silver State Schools Family CU, Las Vegas.

Total Member Care has 95 revenue growth in 2008

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (1/28/09)--Total Member Care, a PSCU Financial Services solution formerly known as Digital Dialogue, ended 2008 with 95% revenue growth, compared with 89% in 2007. Total call volume for the year was 2,271,400--compared with 1,699,300 in 2007. PSCU has hired 122 member service representatives, three trainers, seven account managers and eight information technology staff members because of the increase in demand. It plans to hire 200 more employees this year. Thirty-five credit unions have signed up for the solution since January 2008. Credit unions signing up recently for the solution include: Texas Dow Employees CU, Lake Jackson, Texas; State Employees CU, Linthicum, Md.; and Patelco CU, Merced, Calif. Financial Service Centers Cooperative, a credit union service organization, also signed a 10-year contract extension. PSCU Financial Services is based in St. Petersburg, Fla., and has centers in Phoenix and Detroit, Mich.

CUNA Mutual New tech to transfer fraud claims data

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MADISON, Wis. and JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (1/28/09)--CUNA Mutual Group and core processor Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) have partnered to create a card solution that transfers fraud data from FIS’ card processing system to CUNA Mutual’s claims processing system. The solution will be available to 2,300 credit unions nationwide. Without the solution, credit unions must manually capture, enter and transfer fraud claims data and reports between the companies. “Based on direct input from our credit union partners, CUNA Mutual and FIS recognized the need to streamline this process, formed a partnership and engaged five credit unions to pilot our technology solution,” said Chuck Cashman, CUNA Mutual plastic card product executive. In the pilot, all five credit unions agreed the solution saved them staff time and increased the efficiency of their program. “We estimate this new card services capability will save the credit union about 20 minutes of administrative data processing time per claim,” said Mimi Talicol, electronic funds transfer specialist, BrightStar CU, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “For a credit union that is submitting 50 claims per month, this new process will save a credit union two full days’ worth of work.” Streamlining the data flow also will allow CUNA Mutual to help credit unions evaluate their plastic card fraud losses more quickly, Cashman said. “With a complete view of losses, our risk management professionals can advise credit unions on additional measures for responding to, or even preventing, future plastic card losses. Then, when fraudulent schemes are detected at one credit union, we can also send a RISK Alert notification to all of our credit union partners to help protect the broader industry,” he added. CUNA Mutual provides insurance and financial services to credit unions.

UW CU offers financial fitness program

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MADISON, Wis. (1/28/09)--UW CU is offering its members a financial fitness program, BALANCE, to help them muscle through a tough economy. The program offers UW CU members access to financial counseling over the phone. BALANCE aims to help members find ways to pay for college, consolidate credit card payments, create spending and savings plans, and prepare for retirement. The program also offers tips on managing finances in a slow economy, avoiding foreclosure, and what to do when incomes are reduced. “The BALANCE program really puts emphasis on helping people make good financial decisions,” said Mike Long, UW CU vice president of lending. “Some members are being forced to cut certain things out of their budget, and the people at BALANCE can work with them to help decide what some of those things are. “Whether it is preparing a new budget to reflect the economic conditions or advice on raising a credit score to purchase a home, BALANCE has the resources to help,” he added. UW CU, Madison, Wis., has $1 billion in assets.

CO-OP THINK 2009 announces free registration

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (1/27/09)--CO-OP Financial Services announced Monday that it is waiving registration fees for its annual THINK 2009 event April 5-8 in Austin, Texas. The fees were $450 per credit union. “Despite their freeze on conference costs this year, credit unions expressed an overwhelming interest in THINK’s line-up of speakers, including Obama’s campaign manager and the founder of Travelocity,” said Stan Hollen, CO-OP president/CEO. He added CO-OP wanted to make the event “financially accessible for everyone.” Speakers at the event include:
* Scott Bedbury, former worldwide advertising director, Nike; * Michael Bergdahl, former director of people, Wal-Mart; * Terry Jones, founder, Travelocity.com; * Doug Lipp, former head of training, Walt Disney University; * David Plouffe, campaign manager, Obama 2008; * Peter Schutz, retired CEO, Porsche AG Worldwide; and * Robyn Waters, former vice president of trend/design/product development, Target.

New Financial Fitness Challenges Life turning points

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MADISON, Wis. (1/26/09)--The Home and Family Finance Resource Center’s newest Financial Fitness Challenge will focus on a series of major life points--such as a wedding, first house, job loss, and death of a spouse--to help credit unions assist their members’ financial needs. Each month, the resource center will examine a pivotal life event, using a frequently asked questions format and list of resources. “The goal is to help members think ahead to how they’d manage a turning point, and have the information available in the archive should they need it later,” said Susan Tiffany, director of the Credit Union National Association’s personal financial information for adults. “Each turning point highlights appropriate credit union products and services.” The turning points will be weaved into the center’s three-year Financial Fitness Challenge and for a monthly column that includes interviews with experts and individuals who have experienced major life events. Each monthly challenge and turning point also will be highlighted on Home and Family Finance Radio, which airs Sundays at 3 p.m. EST on the Radio America network. The January turning point is “Starting a Business.” February’s will address what happens when individuals lose a job. The center also will give away five $50 Visa cards each month through a random computer draw. Anyone can register to win. For more information, use the link.

PSCU Financial Services to offer CUs mobile banking

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (1/23/09)--PSCU Financial Services will offer its credit unions a mobile banking solution to deliver real-time access to balances, transaction history and other information for checking and saving accounts. “Mobile banking is pivotal for credit unions because it taps into a growing demand from users of mobile devices and boosts member satisfaction and loyalty among all age groups, especially young adults,” said David J. Serlo, president/CEO of the credit union service organization. Future features that PSCU Financial will offer include credit card access, bill payment and prepaid account services. Credit unions can select a Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) or Applet format. WAP uses a mobile phone’s Web browser. The Applet solution uses an application loaded on a mobile phone’s hardware. Mobile banking will reduce contact center calls for balance inquiries, which make up 40% to 60% of all calls. By 2010, roughly 35% of online banking users will also use mobile banking. About 100 million consumers are expected to use mobile banking by 2012, PSCU Financial said. PSCU Financial Services, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., serves 1,1000 financial institutions.

Teller Item Capture installed on DataSafe Platform

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LINDEN, N.J. (1/23/09)--Integrated Media Management (IMM), a document output management and automation technology provider, announced the first installation of its Teller Item Capture (TIC) solution interfaced with DataSafe, First Community FCU’s in-house core-processing system. First Community, Parchment, Mich., deployed the products to eliminate courier costs and reduce back office time. “The teller item capture technology not only assists our tellers with reduced transaction time, but also allows them to balance continuously throughout the day,” said Jeff Cassada, branch operations manager, First Community FCU. “Instant archival of member transactions cuts down on the time spent for future document retrieval and the length of time our members spend waiting.” TIC eliminates having to manually enter the data from deposited checks into the core system. It creates a cash letter from the scanned checks and sends it to a corporate credit union, the Federal Reserve, or another endpoint. A PDF is created for storage and includes the receipt, scanned check identifications and other items. IMM is based in Linden, N.J.

CU Resources language service continue partnership

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (1/22/09)--CU Resources Inc., a Texas Credit Union League affiliate, announced it will keep its partnership with Washington state-based CTS LanguageLink, a translation, localization and interpretation service. LanguageLink providers multilingual services in more than 240 languages. Currently, 30% of the world’s Internet users are native English speakers. By 2015, that figure is expected to drop below 25% (LoneStar Leaguer Jan. 20). CU Resources provides business solutions to credit unions.

Marketing contest spurs member enrollments

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (1/22/09)--CU*Answers announced that its recent marketing promotion increased enrollment for CU*EasyPay! by as much as 200% for some credit unions. The CU*EasyPay! Contest resulted in a 16% increase in the number of new electronic bill payments in November and December compared with the previous two months. The winner of the contest--WySouth CU, Wyandotte, Mich.--was selected through a random drawing of 1,263 entries from 40 participating credit unions. WySouth CU received a Dell Inspiron Mini 9-inch laptop. The promotion was a part of CU*Answers’ CU*Drive program, which is designed to drive credit union members to new products and services at their credit union. CU*Answers is a credit union service organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich.

eDOC updates branch check image capture

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MIDWAY, Utah and GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (1/22/09)--eDOC Innovations announced that CheckLogic for branch check image capture is available. CheckLogic is an automated Check21 solution for branch check image capturing and electronic forwarding. CheckLogic technology can be adapted to work with any check clearinghouse, and can aid any credit union in Check21 image processing and complete any electronic document management strategy, eDoc said. “So many credit unions are being challenged by systems that create ‘technology islands,’ which really fractures their e-Document strategy,” said Bret Weekes, president/CEO of eDoc. “[CheckLogic] allows the credit union to be more nimble and competitive with clearing costs, since they now can have more clearinghouse relationships.” eDoc also added new in-house clients including:
* Harris County FCU, Houston, Texas; * Dekalb Financial CU, Auburn, Ind.; * Allegius FCU, Burns Harbor, Ind.; * CU Student Choice Credit Union Service Organization; Washington, D.C.; * Heartland CU, Madison, Wis.; * Lake Huron CU, Saginaw, Mich.; * Massachusetts State Employees CU, Boston; * Sentinal FCU, Box Elder, S.D.; * Wauna FCU, Clatskanie, Ore.; * Cumberland County FCU, Falmouth, Maine; and * Meijer Associates CU, Grand Rapids, Mich.
eDOC delivers optical archiving and electronic document management solutions to credit unions and other financial institutions.

Xtension Call Center assists CU after fire

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (1/22/09)--The Xtension Call Center helped IBM Metro Employees CU serve members after a fire Nov. 22. Even though the credit union wasn’t an Xtend client yet, Xtension handled about 5,000 member service calls from its Grand Rapids, Mich., headquarters. The credit union has relocated to another building, but its phone system was damaged. Xtension will continue handling its members’ calls. “This was the first opportunity for us to test our disaster recovery stand-in service, and it was certainly a trial under fire,” said Xtend President Scott Collins. “The teams at the credit union, their core processor CU*Answers, and local credit union partners helped cushion the blow from this potentially devastating situation.” Xtend is a credit union service organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich. It provides technical, managerial, operational, marketing and consulting services to credit unions.

Limiting economys impact topic of CUNA March event

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MADISON, Wis. (1/21/09)--Credit union lending professionals can gain insight into the current mortgage crisis and learn how to limit the impact of the economy on members and their credit union during a March learning event from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). CUNA’s Residential Mortgage Lending School, March 2-5 in St. Pete Beach, Fla., aims to help make credit union lending operations more efficient and successful. The school will explore loan servicing, marketing strategies, appraisals, operational improvements, underwriting, and mortgage regulations. Attendees also will learn about the role mortgages play in member relations and in creating and enhancing a strong bond. Other March learning events from CUNA include:
* CUNA’s Certified Financial Counselor School: Part I and Advanced, which take place simultaneously March 29-April 2 in San Diego, is for credit union staff committed to helping members gain control of their financial futures. Part I examines the role of financial counselors in helping members prevent and resolve financial problems. It addresses spending plans, improving creditworthiness, creditors’ rights and remedies, creditor/member relations, and designing and implementing a counseling program. Advanced outlines financial counseling techniques and helps professionals build on their expertise in student loans, delinquent taxes, building relationships, and bankruptcy; * The Collections and Bankruptcy School: Introduction, which will take place in Tampa, Fla., teaches credit union staff how to communicate and work with delinquent members to keep collection practices sound. During Introduction, March 8-13, students will explore collection basics, bankruptcy, repossessions and member service; * Sales and Service Culture Institute, March 30-April 1 in Charlotte, N.C., which will help CEOs and managers learn how to strengthen member relations and improve the bottom line. Participants will learn to coach and motivate staff, the steps to setting and achieving goals, track results, and build leadership commitment; * The 16th annual CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council Conference, March 11-14 in San Diego, which will analyze industry issues, trends and challenges. Topics include: public relations, branding, increasing product penetration, measuring success, mobile banking, business development issues and strategies; and * The three-session Compliance Fundamentals eSchool, Thursdays March 5-19, will offer compliance newbies a solid understanding of key regulations in the credit union industry. The eSchool provides an overview of more than 25 major regulations that impact credit unions and the potential consequences for non-compliance.
For more information, use the links.

CUNA Mutual announces CU Protection webinar topics

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MADISON, Wis. (1/21/09)--Topics for CUNA Mutual’s 2009 CU Protection Webinar Series have been announced. The webinars are available free to CUNA Mutual Credit Union Bond policyholders. The series is designed “to help credit union staff understand the latest industry risk trends impacting financial institutions and to help them manage those risks and prevent losses,” said Chad Nitschke, vice president of Credit Union Protection. Webinars include:
* New Technology Drives Emerging Risks (today)--Credit unions can learn to mitigate risks accompanying new technologies as remote deposit capture, online deposits and online account opening and funding; * Spam, Shams and Other Scams (Feb. 11)--Learn how to stay alert, spot and prevent scams targeted at credit unions and members; * Developing a CU Safety Program (March 11)--Learn how to anticipate, identify and eliminate conditions or practices that could result in employee injuries or illnesses; * It’s Not a Plan Without Testing It! (April 22)--Learn how to prepare for and recover from disasters; * Hiring Vendors--The Independent Contractor Exposure (May 13)--Learn contractual considerations and insurance requirements related to work and agreements with third-party vendors; * What Your Supervisory Committee Should Do For You (June 10)--Discusses the roles and responsibility of the Supervisory Committee, as outlined by the National Credit Union Administration, and focuses on the non-financial institution professional serving on a credit union’s board or committee; * Make it 20s and 10s--Robbery (Aug. 12)--Learn how to identify the cost of risk and develop skills to communicate risk financing; * Discrimination Does Not Discriminate (Oct. 14)--Learn how to prevent and address complaints before they become losses; and * Employee Dishonesty--Keeping it Out of Your Credit Union (Nov. 10)--Find out how credit unions are being impacted and what can be done to reduce employee dishonesty.
For more information, use the link.

Papers address social networking change management

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MADISON, Wis. (1/20/09)--Credit unions can learn how to reach members through social networking and how to effectively lead employees through periods of change with two new white papers sponsored by the CUNA Councils. “Social Networking as a Marketing Tool,” by the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council, defines social networking and social media and their potential ramifications for the financial services industry. The paper outlines features of online search advertising, blogs, Twitter, Wesabe and Mint, product reviews on websites, YouTube, Facebook and MySpace. It also details how some credit unions employ the products to reach their targeted audience and results they achieved. The paper provides a selection of books and other resources at the end for further review. The second new white paper, “Leadership and Change Management” by the CUNA CFO Council, examines characteristics of leadership during periods of change. As new national requirements and trends impact and evolve the industry, chief financial officers (CFO) are expected to be role models for change and assist the senior management team and inspire confidence among employees. CFOs also must translate financial arguments into terms understood by employees outside the accounting department and be aware of how actions and decisions impact the human factor within change-management situations. The second paper also includes advice from CEOs and chief operating officers about mergers, leadership succession, and other types of major changes. The paper includes additional resources and a recommended reading list. For more information, use the links.

Mortgagebot bucks trend has record year

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MEQUON, Wis. (1/20/09)--Despite a down economy, Mortgagebot LLC and its automated mortgage solution, PowerSite, reported “another record-breaking year,” said Mortgagebot President/CEO Scott Happ. An underlying industry trend is at the heart of the increase in mortgage activity, Happ said. As big subprime players have disappeared, financial institutions--including credit unions--“have risen up to take their place. After years in the background, these steady, trustworthy and careful lenders are back in a big way--and they’re increasingly using online mortgage technology to grow their businesses, reduce their per-loan costs, and handle their increasing volumes without needing to add staff. “Now consumers are returning en masse to their trusted credit union or local bank to meet their mortgage needs. That’s why our clients’ volumes have increased--and why mortgage applications are flowing through our PowerSite platform at a record pace,” Happ added. Mortgagebot closed 2008 with more than 800 clients, including credit unions. About 230 of those were signed in the last two years. The company’s revenue also increased 17%--to more than $28 million for 2008, Happ said. Use of PowerSite, a Web-based solution, increased 38% compared with 2007. “Around Thanksgiving, when interest rates fell to 5.25%, applications began to really surge through our clients’ websites,” Happ said. Mortgagebot also reported that clients Vermont State Employees CU in Montpelier, Vt., received an industry best practices award in November. The credit union deployed PowerSite in 2007. Its mortgage application volume increased five-fold one month last year, said the credit union. Mortgagebot is based in Mequon, Wis.

Products and Services briefs (01/15/2009)

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* GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (1/16/09)--Twenty-four credit unions are using 247 Lender, an automated decision model tool offered with CU*Answers’ CU*Base, the company announced Tuesday. 247 Lender is the result of a partnership between CU*Answers, Portfolio Defense Consulting Group, and online credit report partner ZOOT. Credit unions using 247 Lender through CU*BASE pay 50 cents each time the model is accessed, instead of an annual fee. CU*Answers, a credit union service organization, is based in Grand Rapids, Mich. ... * LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. (1/16/09)--CU*NorthWest said it will offer credit unions a Financial Service Centers Cooperative (FSCC) interface starting in the third quarter for issuers and acquirers as native solutions within the CU*BASE platform. The offer is at no additional cost. The capability will allow for national shared branch networking through FSCC, and credit unions can use the networks at the same time without contract restrictions. CU*NorthWest is based in Liberty Lake, Wash. ... * DALLAS (1/16/09)--ALM First Financial Advisors, Dallas, announced that it has unveiled its new logo and website. The tagline for the new logo is, “for a partnership built on trust.” The updated website offers streamlined navigation and more flexibility for making updates and adding content, ALM First said. ALM First is a strategic partner for financial advisory services, offering credit unions balance sheet and investment portfolio management ... * NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (1/16/09)--The National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (NACUSO) will launch its Education and Certification Program July 13-15 at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., under the leadership of NACUSO President/CEO Thomas C. Davis. The program is geared toward credit union and credit union service organization executives. The on-site program at Pepperdine will continue with one year of applied team project work. Distance learning will supplement the on-site curriculum. Courses include “Principles of Networked Businesses and Networked Business Design,” “Building the Skill Sets to Manage Collaborations and Networked Business,” and “Trust: The Key to Establishing and Maintaining Collaborative Relationships” ...

CUNA Council membership surpasses 1000

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MADISON, Wis. (1/16/09)--The CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council (CMBDC)’s membership has surpassed 1,000 members. “Even in the face of tough economic times, the council is recognized as a critical resource for credit union marketing and business development professionals,” said Anne Legg, council chair and vice president of marketing at Cabrillo CU, San Diego. To celebrate its milestone, the council ran a promotion in which members sent in their success stories for the opportunity to win a $1,000 Visa gift card. Members were asked to explain how council membership helped them or their credit unions, or about a particular CMBDC experience or event that stands out in their minds. The winner was Revonda Golden-Dean from $58-million-asset Lowland CU in Morristown, Tenn. “The Marketing and Business Development Council has been a life saver at times. Being a one-person department is really stressful--some days I can't even think,” her entry said. “The members on the listserv seem like friends I haven't met--yet they think like I do. They have great ideas and they love to share them. Some of their insight is uncanny and amazing at the same time. This is the whole credit union philosophy ‘People Helping People,’” she said. “The success stories highlight the value of networking among members and the benefits of leveraging the many available council tools and resources,” Legg said. For more information, use the link.

uMonitor revenue grows 30 in 2008

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (1/15/09)--uMonitor, a provider of online solutions for financial institutions, announced 30% revenue growth and a 60% increase in its employee base for 2008. New account applications increased more than 90% last year, and the number of automated clearinghouse account-to-account transfers grew 30%. The amount of money transferred increased 40%. “Today’s market has helped financial institutions recognize the important need to take further advantage of their online channel to [bring] onboard new customers,” said Dinesh Sheth, uMonitor CEO. The company also signed new clients--including Visions FCU, Endicott, N.Y. New uMonitor strategic partners include Equifax, Fidelity, Open Solutions, Experian, Fiserv, TransUnion, ACI and NCR. uMonitor expanded options for uOpen and uFund, which offer credit union members a self-service method to open and fund a new account themselves. Both uOpen and uFund were upgraded and offer three new deployment selections--Go-to Market Solution, Plus Solution and Total Solution.

THINK 2009 includes Obama campaign manager Travelocity

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (1/15/09)--The campaign manager for President-elect Barack Obama and the founder of Travelocity.com are slated to speak at CO-OP Financial Services’ “THINK: Change Your Mind” event April 5-8 in Austin, Texas. Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, will present “Adapting in a Changing World: Building a Grassroots Movement in the 21st Century.” Travelocity founder, Terry Jones, will present “The Business of Innovation.” Other speakers include:
* Scott Bedbury, former Nike worldwide advertising director, speaking about “Differentiation and Branding”; * Michael Bergdahl, former director of “people” at Wal-Mart, “Own Your Category--Change/Challenge/Choice”; * Doug Lipp, former head of training, Walt Disney University, “The Magic of Exceptional Customer Service”; * Peter Schutz, retired CEO at Porsche AG Worldwide, “Getting Beyond a Commodity Business”; and * Robyn Waters, former vice president, trend/design/product development at Target, “Reinvention: Trend/Countertrend.”
CO-OP also will host a question-and-answer blog and podcast this month with some of the speakers. A 25% discount will be offered to credit unions that register by Jan. 30. CO-OP Financial Services, a credit union service organization, offers 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs to credit union members nationwide.

TNB Card paper focuses on consolidated processing

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (1/14/09)--Credit unions should consolidate to a single processor for credit card transactions, debit card personal identification number transactions and debit signature transactions, said TNB Card Services in a free white paper. The paper, “The Case for Consolidation,” notes that there has never been a better time for credit unions to maximize potential in their card portfolios through a single processor. Processors should offer:
* Lower cost and increased efficiency; * Fraud protection and risk management; * Relationship reward programs; and * Improved member support.
The partner also should be able to handle transactions in real-time, offer services through a single account executive and client support team; provide members with access to a multilingual call center; offer experience with fraud prevention; and ensure savings are passed onto the credit union, the paper said. TNB Card Services partners with 500 credit unions nationwide to offer card portfolio services.

Xtend announces 2009 stock pricing

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (1/14/09)--Xtend announced that it will offer its $13,500 stock pricing through 2009. Xtend is a credit union service organization owned by 45 credit union partners in Grand Rapids, Mich. It offers ownership to credit union and credit union service organizations. “Although our final 2008 results reflected a modest earnings decline due to developing our new call center, we felt it was important that our 2009 offering price remain consistent,” said Glenn Kretchmer, Xtend board chairman and chief operations officer of ATL CU, Wyoming, Mich.

DeposZip remote capture starts year strong

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BURLINGTON, Mass. (1/14/09)--DeposZip, a remote deposit capture service, announced that it collected more than 87,000 deposited items totaling $76 million in 2008. The average deposit value was $1,151. The number of active credit unions grew 24% each month. The service also added four credit unions to its list of participants: Farmers Insurance Group FCU, Los Angeles; Liberty Bay FCU, Boston; MBTA Employees FCU, South Boston, Mass.; and Ohio Healthcare FCU, Dublin. DeposZip, which represents 30 credit unions in 13 states, is a part of Eastern Corporate FCU, Burlington, Mass.

MnCUNs vendor program attracts 11 new vendors

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (1/14/09)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) welcomed 28 participants to its 2009 Vendor Involvement Program (V.I.P.) Jan. 1. V.I.P., created in 2005, provides service organizations with an opportunity to work with MnCUN and increase their visibility among Minnesota credit unions. Designed to optimize business relationships with Minnesota credit unions, the advertising program offers annual meeting packages, exposure, and exclusive opportunities to participate in new MnCUN initiatives. Of the 28 total organizations, 11 are new, and 17 have renewed their participation for 2009. New vendors are:
* Bankers Equipment Service Inc.; * CASE; * Crankyape.com; * CU Succeed; * Edina Realty Title; * Fidelity National Information System; * ICUL Card Services; * Metro License Services; * Midwest Dental Benefits; * Symitar; and * Zayo Managed Services.
“It’s clear that vendors see value in our program, and I’m pleased that the number of new and repeat participants continues to grow,” said Mark D. Cummins, MnCUN president/ CEO. “Minnesota credit unions learn more about V.I.P. vendors with each passing year, providing increased exposure and significance to participating organizations.”

UsNet announces price cut in verification

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ALBANY, N.Y. (1/14/09)--The Universal Sharing Network’s (UsNet) board of directors announced a reduction in the price of in-network member verification charges. The decrease in charges represents 8% in savings, effective Jan. 1. The board voted on the reduction in December. The cut is the third in the last five years. It will not adversely impact net revenue earned by member verification by acquirer credit unions, UsNet said. “The board continues to recognize the ever-increasing level of credit union support for shared branching,” said Mark Pfisterer, board chair, UsNet and CEO, AmeriCU CU, Rome, N.Y. About 47 credit unions are on the network. UsNet provides credit unions with national shared branching and are partnered with CO-OP Shared Branching.

SEDONA Share One team up on relationship management

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KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (1/13/09)--Share One’s credit union clients can use SEDONA Corp.’s Intarsia and Member Relationship Management (MRM) services on their core processors, the companies announced last week. Share One provides technology solutions to 60 credit unions nationwide. Its core processor, NewSolutions, can be integrated with SEDONA’s Intarsia system, which allows Share One clients to use MRM services. Intarsia and MRM credit unions services including profit management, market analytics and business process management, said Daryl Tanner, Share One president/CEO. Share One, a credit union service organization, is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn. SEDONA is based in King of Prussia, Pa.

CU Retail Delivery Conference set for June

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HAGERSTOWN, Md., ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., and SAN DIMAS, Calif. (1/13/09)--Financial Services Centers Cooperative (FSCC), PSCU Financial Services and Ongoing Operations announced that registration for the 2009 Credit Union Retail Delivery Convention is open. FSCC, PSCU and Ongoing Operations are jointly hosting the conference June 10-12 in Las Vegas. This year’s theme is: “Cooperative Connections: Technology, Service and Members.” Speakers include Albert Mensah, who will talk topics including innovation, Generation Y, peer-to-peer payments, underbanked consumers, Bank Secrecy Act, due diligence, disaster recovery and call center operations. FSCC is a credit union Shared Branch Network that provides 5,500 full-service deposit-taking locations nationwide. PSCU Financial Services is a credit union service organization that serves 1,100 financial institutions. Ongoing Operations, a credit union service organization, provides software and processing solutions.

Technology CU offers services online

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (1/12/09)--Technology CU (Tech CU), San Jose, Calif., has partnered with an online network, businessownerspace.com, to offer its Business Services Suite, a package of financial services to help small business owners manage their companies. Businessownersspace.com provides information and services to small business owners in the Silicon Valley area. It was launched as a collaborative partnership among two dozen public, private and nonprofit agencies in Silicon Valley and San Jose. “Many startups and small business owners are feeling the pressure of this economy and are looking for resources that will help them continue to grow despite the down market,” said Sarah Samuel, Tech CU associate vice president of small business services. Tech CU offers checking and savings accounts, business loans, business lines of credit, business credit cards, payroll services, merchant processing, data storage and digital bookkeeping, small business planning and preparation, health savings accounts and tax preparation services. Tech CU has $1 billion in assets.

Products and Services briefs (01/08/2009)

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* GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (1/9/09)--Audit Link, a new division of credit union service organization CU*Answers, announced that 20 credit unions are either using Audit Link or are contracted to start using it during the first quarter. Audit Link was created last year to help credit unions using the CU*BASE system. CU*Answers offers online banking products, member check processing and Internet development services to credit unions. CU*Answers and Audit Link are based in Grand Rapids, Mich. ... * LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. (1/9/09)--CU*Northwest announced the completion of the New Gold Standard for its processing suite, CU*BASE GOLD. The version uses current and robust integration programs written in C#, a Microsoft.NET language supported by Microsoft. Credit unions served by CU*Northwest were upgraded to CU*BASE GOLD without charge. CU*Northwest is a credit union service organization in Liberty Lake, Wash. ...

VolCorps Branch Capture program grew in 2008

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (1/9/09)--VolCorp’s Branch Capture program grew “tremendously,” with 117 installations in 2008, the company said Wednesday. VolCorp also increased its item processing volume by 31%. Out of the 13.2 million checks VolCorp received for collection from Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2008, roughly 8.6 million were received as images. As of December, VolCorp was receiving 80% of member deposits as images. VolCorp scans all paper checks from member credit unions and submits them electronically. VolCorp, a corporate credit union in Nashville, Tenn., serves 266 credit unions and has $1 billion in assets.

Details about vendor risk management tool available

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MADISON, Wis. (1/8/09)--More details are available about VendorTrack, a new CUNA Strategic Service (CSS), which will be the topic of several online demos this month and in February. VendorTrack is a Web-based vendor risk management solution offered by CSS and powered by TraceSecurity. It will be the focus of several webcasts offered Jan. 21, Feb. 4 and Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. CT. VendorTrack aims to help credit unions ensure that their third-party vendors comply with regulatory responsibilities and best practices when dealing with sensitive information. VendorTrack’s basic functionality is available to credit unions for free. VendorTrack will:
* Secure uploads and store data for documents such as policies, procedures, financials, SAS 70 and other due diligence information; * Create and maintain a list of current vendors and the importance of each relationship; * Upload third-party contracts and receive e-mail notifications to track contract dates; * Access vendor due diligence files that contain responses to CSS’ due diligence questionnaires, or due diligence files and information uploaded by credit unions; * Receive e-mail notifications for due diligence updates; * Offer a resource to prospect and compare potential new third-party relationships; and * Use other due diligence resource information including request for propoals, business plan and risk management updates.

Corporate Central announces events schedule

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MUSKEGO, Wis. (1/8/09)--Corporate Central CU, Muskego, Wis., announced several upcoming events. On March 17, the credit union will host a risk management and compliance seminar at the corporate’s headquarters in Muskego. On May 7, it will host the Corporate Central Annual Meeting at the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee. The credit union’s Executive Summit will take place June 17-18. Its Strategic Balance Sheet Management Conference is scheduled for Aug. 12 at the corporate, and its Economic Outlook will take place Oct. 7. Locations for the Executive Summit and Economic Outlook will be announced later.

CUAnswers to offer cost reductions for CU clients

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (1/8/09)--CU*Answers is offering cost reductions that could save its credit union clients $300,000 annually. Credit unions using CU*Base in 2009 are eligible for the cuts. “Dividend checks are nice, but price cuts and delivering increasing value everyday is more in line with how I see the credit union model,” said CU*Answers CEO Randy Karnes. CU*Answers experienced several successes last year that allowed the company to offer the reductions. During 2008, CU*Answers provided $1.14 million in combined dividends back to its credit union owners, generated $29 million in sales and increased its stock value by 33%. CU*Answers is a credit union service organization in Grand Rapids, Mich.

CUs on FSCC network can receive discounted services

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SAN DIMAS, Calif. (1/7/09)--Financial Service Centers Cooperative (FSCC) is offering credit unions on its network the ability to use other FSCC services at a discounted rate. The services include remote deposit, mobile banking, disaster recovery, business continuity, self-service kiosk deployment, foreign currency exchange and loan collection. Through a “plug and play” interface, credit unions can connect to the network and deploy the tools. Any credit union, including non-shared branching credit unions, is eligible to sign up for any of the products. “Credit unions can economically experiment with new technologies and continue to expand access for their members even in the toughest economic times,” said Sarah Canepa Bang, FSCC president/CEO. FSCC is a Shared Branch Network that provides 5,500 full-service deposit-taking locations for credit unions in the U.S. and abroad.

Aimbridge Route One effort connects auto dealers CUs

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FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (1/6/09)--RouteOne customers can now send and receive auto loan applications to credit unions served by Colorado-based Aimbridge because the two companies have integrated. Aimbridge is a credit union aggregation service. RouteOne, formed in 2002 by Chrysler Financial, Ford Motor Credit Co., GMAC and Toyota Financial Services, allows automotive dealers to submit credit applications to indirect lenders and request credit reports through RouteOne’s free Dealer Reporting suite. RouteOne and Aimbridge announced the integration this week. It will be completed in two phases. The first phase includes dealers in Colorado, Michigan, Georgia and Ohio. The second phase is planned for launch at the end of first quarter.

CUNA Strategic Services adds VendorTrack

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MADISON, Wis. (1/5/09)--CUNA Strategic Services is offering a new product--VendorTrack--to help credit unions centralize vendor due diligence information, manage relationships, assess vendor risk and ensure compliance with policies and controls. CUNA Strategic Services is developing webcasts slated for Wednesday as well as Jan. 21, Feb. 4 and Feb. 18 to help credit unions understand VendorTrack. VendorTrack is powered by TraceSecurity. For more information, use the link.

CUs can re-price deposit rates with online tool

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SAN ANSELMO, Calif. (1/2/09)--Credit unions that subscribe to Market Rates Insight can use MyRI to price and re-price deposit rates more frequently. MyRI is a Web research portal with a set of deposit and loan-rate reports that can be organized by competitor, retail, small business, commercial bank products or geographic market. MyRI uses a forward-programming algorithm that matches specified deposit products to the terms and tiers of the nearest competing product, which gives credit unions an apples-to-apples view of the competitive landscape, the company said. “The velocity of rate changes makes it harder to stay current using traditional static rate reports,” said Rick Barnham, founder/CEO of Market Rates Insight. “With our new MyRI portal, subscribers can get competitive data when they need it.” Market Rates Insight provides credit unions and other financial institutions with accurate market intelligence on deposits, loans and fees, the company said.