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CUNA leagues help CUs gear up for Bank Transfer Dayandnbsp

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MADISON, Wis. (10/27/11)--With Bank Transfer Day (BTD) looming on the horizon Nov. 5, it's difficult to forecast how much of the pent-up frustration and anger against big banks will result in consumers switching their business from banks to credit unions.

However, it is abundantly clear that the idea of BTD, originated by California art dealer Kristen Christian, has captured the public's imagination. Therefore, credit unions want to be willing and ready to welcome new members.

Evidence indicates that people are already acting to transfer their business into the more consumer-friendly credit union model. Media outlets nationwide are reporting on BTD momentum, in which people are signing up to leave large banks in favor of credit unions on or before Saturday, Nov. 5. As of a week ago, more than 51,000 people had signed up for Bank Transfer Day on Facebook, and a cause page for the event has garnered more than 15,000 "likes." More than 400,000 Facebook users have been exposed to the idea of Bank Transfer Day via the Facebook page.

Yet, it is also true that the difficulty of transferring all business from one institution to another may impede all but those with the keenest desire from acting on a single day.

Just as National Credit Union Administration issued guidance to bank examiners on how to treat an influx of deposits if they occur on Nov. 5, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has also acted to help credit unions prepare.

In addition to its own extensive and ongoing outreach to the media, CUNA provided materials to the state leagues in advance of BTD that include a "ready sheet" on how to prepare for BTD; question-and-answer pages to help credit unions answer negative questions that banks are feeding reporters to help their customers from moving to credit unions; talking points so credit unions nationwide can share the same position about BTD; and a model press release for credit unions to use to indicate how they are ready to accept new members as a result of BTD. 

Also, CUNA is offering two new T-shirt designs aimed to give credit unions another option to capture the energy of this event. These T-shirts are designed to thank new joiners and reward existing members--in conjunction with Bank Transfer Day or any other time. The T-shirts are available for sale at CUNA's ICU Day website. Use the link.

There also are several drive-up envelopes and statement stuffers on CUNA's website that share the benefits of credit union membership, including one new drive-up envelope created in response to the unhappiness with increasing fees:

In tandem with CUNA, state credit union leagues nationwide have taken action in advance of BTD:

  • The Pennyslvania Credit Union Association used its daily newsletter, Life Is A Highway, to announce Monday that resource materials were posted on its website to help credit unions prepare for Bank Transfer Day. Another article with tips to help new members in transferring their funds will be included in this week's biweekly online newsletter, Keystone Extra. The association knows that credit unions were interested in this material because it received some questions and requests for password access to the information on the website.
  • Northwest credit unions continue to experience a surge in new memberships, due to backlash from recent big bank fee increase announcements and fueled by the BTD organic Facebook movement, said the Northwest Credit Union Association, which represents credit unions in Washington and Oregon. Credit unions are extending hours and outreach in many cases to help new members. The association published an article "Northwest Credit Unions Respond to Bank Transfer Day," in its newsletter today to pique members' interest.
  • The Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD), which represents credit unions in North Dakota and South Dakota, held a conference call for its member credit unions to prepare them for the potential impact of BTD. About 40 Dakota credit unions participated in the conference call that focused on preparing members for potential media inquiries and prospective consumer calls.  Materials were sent to each credit union that provided background information, talking points, a sample press release and other suggestions to ensure that participants are prepared for the influx of new accounts.
  • The Texas Credit Union League established an 11-event calendar of activities running from Oct. 5 through Nov. 5 to inform members and garner support for BTD. The league said it will heavily use social media on all of the calendar activities. Some events are "Blog Talk Radio" in which a special credit union guest talks about BTD; a debit card factoid release for credit unions; and a statewide event, activity or action that still is being formulated for Nov. 5.
  • The Ohio Credit Union League has been working individually with credit unions that are showing an interest in BTD. The league's message to its credit unions has been simple: Take advantage of the heightened media awareness and consumer angst, but do so by sharing positive credit union messages and avoiding bank bashing. It also has heard from a couple of credit unions, so far, planning to run promotions on BTD involving staff and members.
  • The New Jersey Credit Unions League set up a page on its website with various resources. Use the link. It also is running 10-second radio spots this week and next, pointing consumers to to find a credit union to which they can transfer.
  • The Utah Credit Union Association had its president, Scott Simpson, interviewed in two state media outlets, The Salt Lake Tribune and Fox, promoting BTD.  

League of S.E. CUs get kudos from AlabamaFlorida CUs br

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (10/27/11)--The results from the League of

Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU) second annual member survey show a positive trend:

credit unions in Alabama and Florida approve of the job being done by the league and

more are seeing the value for their dues dollars, LSCU said.

When asked about their satisfaction with the new league, 92% of responding credit unions indicated that their satisfaction increased or stayed the same over last year. This is an increase of four percent from 2010. Also, 89% said the promises of the consolidation of the Alabama and Florida Leagues are being realized. That is a 20% increase from a year ago.

The memberships of the Florida Credit Union League (FCUL) and the Alabama Credit Union League voted overwhelmingly in March 2009 to combine the leagues into one entity, LSCU. "Credit unions from both states will benefit in this consolidation," Rich Helber, FCUL chairman said at the time of the merger. "Coming together as the League of Southeastern Credit Unions will create a stronger, more strategic position for all of our credit unions in numerous areas" (News Now March 6, 2009).

"For many credit unions, we knew it would take a year for them to not only see the

improved service from the new League, but to feel it" said Patrick La Pine, LSCU President/CEO. "We've made over 700 in-person visits with our credit unions. We sit down and listen to them and assist them with their needs. The survey numbers I'm most proud of show that 98% feel our staff is responsive and 98% feel our staff is professional and knowledgeable. We've worked hard over the last two years to develop a culture of superior member service, and our credit union community is seeing and experiencing the LSCU difference."

Almost across the board, credit unions are seeing an even higher value from LSCU.

When asked if the league is a good value for its dues dollars, 92% said yes, a 15% increase from 2010. Also, 93% said the league is meeting their needs, an increase of 5% from last year. One hundred percent of responding credit unions say the league keeps them well informed--a 6% increase from 2010.

Advocacy always ranks high for credit unions when it comes to affiliation, the league said. When asked if the LSCU does an effective job at the state capitols, 94% agreed it does; a 2% increase from a year ago. As for advocating in Washington, D.C., 95% feel the league is doing a good job, a 6% increase from a year ago.

Many more credit unions are looking to the League for regulatory help. Eighty-eight percent say League InfoSight is a useful tool; a 16% increase from 2010. While, 93% said the league is helpful with their compliance questions. This is a 20% increase from a year ago.

"We have ramped up our governmental affairs team to include two new state legislative

directors this year," La Pine said. "Subsequently, our credit unions are seeing an increased emphasis on state-chartered credit union issues in Montgomery and Tallahassee, as well as in Washington, D.C. Our regulatory staff has a wealth of knowledge and we're doing more to

communicate with credit unions on regulatory and compliance issues and put our credit

unions in front of their state and federal regulators."

LSCU added more workshops and webinars in 2011 and that translates to 89% that said the league is meeting their educational needs, an increase of 18% from 2010. All of the workshops and webinars feature online registrations. Ninety-five percent of credit unions say the LSCU website is informative and useful; this is an increase of 19% from last year.

When the members survey was facilitated in 2010, LEVERAGE, the League Service

Corporation, had just changed its name. A year later, 89% said LEVERAGE is a

trusted business partner. When asked if LEVERAGE provides a good value to credit

unions, 86% credit unions say it does--a 6% increase from a year ago.

"The results of the survey show that the league is on the right track," La Pine said. "We have more work to do in some areas, but it's nice to see that credit unions are working closer with the league for products and services. We're working hard to meet their needs during these tough economic times."

Mid-Atlantic Corp. continues to add members capital

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (10/27/11)--Having reached the necessary capital levels to continue to operate under the National Credit Union Administration's new corporate regulation over 15 months ago, Mid-Atlantic Corporate continues to add more capital and new members.

More than 700 credit unions have committed over $129 million in capital--$119 million of which is in perpetual contributed capital (PCC)--to Mid-Atlantic Corporate CU.

"As the first corporate to develop a new business plan to achieve the necessary regulatory capital levels, we've been able to spend the last year focusing on new ways to save our members money by "group buying" electricity, office supplies and other back office support functions," said Jay Murray, Mid-Atlantic Corporate president/CEO. 

Murray said Mid-Atlantic prepared itself for new regulatory realities and other marketplace changes. "Based on discussion with NCUA, we knew  more capital would be needed to offer all services that we do and and, most importantly continue with our lines of credit. The purpose of corporate credit unions is to provide liquidity and you can't do that without a balance sheet."

As for whether Mid-Atlantic Corporate will continue to add new credit unions, Murray said it has received interest from credit unions nationwide and has the infrastructure in place to assist those credit unions that need to find alternative solutions to their current service providers. 

"The NCUA's new corporate regulation has created a more stringent operating environment," Murray said. "However, we've created a business plan that will allow us to continue to add members without creating a negative impact to our balance sheet.  And because of our membership's support, we are well-positioned to continue to serve the needs of credit unions for a long time."

Western CUNA Mgt. School adds board member

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POMONA, Calif. (10/27/11)--Kevin Foster-Keddie, president/CEO of Washington State Employees CU, Olympia, Wash., has been named to the Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) Board of Trustees.

The board--comprising nine credit union CEOs, two league presidents, the WCMS president, and WCMS provost--is responsible for oversight and direction of the school.

Foster-Keddie has been a frequent recipient of industry recognition and accolades, including the Credit Union National Association's Bergengren Award for High Achievement and the California Credit Union League's Kim Bannan Eternal Flame Award.

"Kevin's long-time involvement with the credit union movement as well as his knowledge of WCMS makes him a great addition to the board," said Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, chairman of the WCMS Board of Trustees and president/CEO of Travis CU in Vacaville, Calif.

WCMS serves credit unions in the 13 western states and is sponsored by the associations for those credit unions, including the Alaska Credit Union League, California Credit Union League, Credit Union Association of New Mexico, Hawaii Credit Union League, Idaho Credit Union League, Montana Credit Union League, Mountain West Credit Union Association, Nevada Credit Union League, Northwest Credit Union Association, and Utah Credit Union Association, in cooperation with Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.

Missouri CUs take a closer look at SBA lending

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ST. LOUIS (10/26/11)--Credit unions community-focused brand of financial services makes them good candidates for Small Business Administration (SBA) lending programs an SBA district director told News Now following a training session with Missouri credit unions.

Ten representatives from seven St. Louis area credit unions and Heartland Business Services participated in Small Business Administration (SBA) lender training on Oct. 19.

The session took place at the office of U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.), who suggested the event during an in-district meeting in August, and was organized with the SBA and the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA).

"We were thrilled to see so many credit union loan officers display their interest in starting or expanding small business lending to their entrepreneurial members as this is what drives economic development and the creation of jobs in our communities," Dennis Melton, district director for the Small Business Administration told the MCUA.

"I think part of the reason the SBA is a good fit for credit unions is because some credit union members are small business owners," Melton told News Now.  "Anytime you provide business owners access to capital you are helping economic development in your community, and credit unions are community oriented."

Participants received an overview of loan programs available through the SBA and learned how credit unions can get involved in SBA programs.

SBA does not make direct loans to small businesses. Rather, it sets the guidelines for loans, which are then made by its lending partner, such as credit unions. The SBA guarantees that these loans will be repaid, thereby eliminating some of the risk to the lending partners.

When a member comes in and says he wants to start or expand his business, the SBA program gives the credit union can give the credit union more opportunity to help him out.  The idea is that get lender can dig into credit pool then would have without the SBA, because the SBA offers protection on a portion of exposure".

During the workshop, Mike Nickel from Altra FCU in La Crosse, Wis. shared his credit union's SBA lending experience and best practices.

"With the current legislative challenges credit unions face in increasing the arbitrary limit on credit union business loans, SBA loans can be a vital component in helping credit unions manage the member business lending cap," said Scott Brothers, commercial business development officer for Neighbors CU, St. Louis.

Attendees asked questions and shared successes, concerns and challenges they face while working on SBA loans for members.

Among the credit unions that participated in the event:

  • Alliance CU, Fenton, Mo.;
  • Anheuser-Busch Employees' CU, St. Louis;
  • Arsenal CU, Arnold, Mo.;
  • Electro Savings CU, St. Louis;
  • Gateway Metro FCU, St. Louis;
  • Neighbors CU, St. Louis; and
  • West Community, O'Fallon, Mo.
MCUA said it will work with the SBA to develop follow-up programs.

CUNA and credit unions are urging the U.S. Congress to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% from the current 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create about 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, according to CUNA.