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Products and Services briefs (10/31/2008)

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* HOUSTON (11/3/08), sponsored by the PULSE ATM/debit network, was launched this week to offer consumers information about debit cards. The site will be updated regularly to feature articles from financial planning experts, budgeting advice and personal finance recommendations. It “gets to the heart of how debit cards are one of the valuable tools in a consumer’s financial planning portfolio,” said Cindy Ballard, PULSE executive vice president. PULSE serves more than 4,500 financial institutions including credit unions ... * COLUMBUS, Ohio (11/3/08)--Corporate One FCU, Columbus, Ohio, announced it will host the third-annual Credit Union Enterprise Wide Risk Management (EWRM) Conference June 16-17 in Chicago. The conference is open to “C” level executives interested in learning more about risk management. About 50 credit unions from 18 states attended the 2008 conference. EWRM aggregates and organizes all processes and functions to leverage activities for members, and ensure all risks are accounted for and properly evaluated. Corporate One has $5.2 billion in assets ... * ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (11/3/08)--Pen Air FCU reported a 20% increase in balances--to $30 million--at the end of August. The increase is due to targeted marketing campaigns, the credit union said. In September 2007, the credit union converted its platform to PSCU Financial Services. After the conversion, AdvisorsPlus consultants worked with the credit union to launch promotions from February to August. “Achieving a 20% increase in balances in less than nine months is outstanding,” said Ron Fields, Pen Air FCU executive vice president ... * ALBANY, N.Y. (11/3/08)--CUC Mortgage Corp. unveiled its new brand identity with a new logo, product materials and enhanced website. The transformation comes as the organization expands into the Pennsylvania market. CUC Mortgage will continue to work with credit unions, according to Richard Maxstadt, senior vice president and chief operating officer. The company serves credit unions in the Northeast ...

CU Spanish course added to CUNAs CPDOnline

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MADISON, Wis. (11/3/08)--Credit unions can help their employees improve their existing Spanish-speaking skills through a recently released course offered through the Credit Union National Association’s CPDOnline self-study program. Credit Union Spanish: Applying the Basics (A1017) is an interactive course that emphasizes frequently used greetings, phrases, and financial terminology involved in member transactions. The learning module contains five online courses:
* Building blocks; * Using verbs; * Asking questions; * Using object pronouns; and * Present perfect tense.
Other courses recently added to CUNA’s self-study catalog include:
* Managing Today’s Employees (A1020 online and M41 print)--reveals the importance of a planned approach to employee development and provides practical tools for building benchmarks and creating effective employees; * Difficult Human Resources Issues (A1021 online and M42 print)--addresses sensitive issues such as workplace diversity, gender issues, sexual harassment and employment law, and strategies for addressing them; * Encouraging and Instilling Member Service in Others (A1022 online and S1318 print)-- focuses on building and maintaining strong team relationships, creating organizational change, setting clear team performance targets, generating team motivation, and building trust; * Aligning Your Department With CU Strategy (A1023 online and S1319 print)-- improve the way team members interact and solve problems by learning how to decrease stress, turnover and operating costs, and improve the credit union’s public image; * Money and Negotiable Instruments (A1024 online and S1322 print)--demonstrates the methods for handling cash, share drafts, and other negotiable instruments; explains the clearing process; and summarizes the processes for detecting counterfeit money and bad checks; * Reconciling Records (A1013 online and S1315 print)--illustrates how funds move among financial institutions and how to appropriately reconcile cash, share draft, credit, debit, automated clearing house transactions, and investment accounts; * Recognizing Emerging Fraudulent Practices (A1015 online and S1317 print)--learn to spot identity theft, fraudulent share drafts, embezzlement, phishing, other new security breaches, and become familiar with new fraud-detection systems and other security technologies; * Resolving Employee Conflict (A1016 online and M38 print)--outlines the tools necessary for creating a positive atmosphere when rapid conflict resolution is necessary; * Transitioning to Trainer (A1018 online and M39 print)--explores the principles of adult learning and the techniques to make your training memorable, effective, and motivational through interactive, learner-centered activities and technology; * Recruiting Today’s Employee (A1019 online and M40 print)--identifies special skills to write job descriptions, evaluate resumes, select applicants, conduct job interviews, and establish salaries, and teaches legal guidelines that cover these activities; * Regulation CC Training on Demand for Staff (stock number FC104P)--shows how to determine the timing of fund availability, how to recognize the difference between local and non local checks, and what is considered a business day under Reg CC to help fulfill annual training requirements; * Sexual Harassment Training on Demand for Staff (stock number FC106P)--clarifies what constitutes harassment, how it negatively affects morale and the credit union's image, and what can be done to prevent and correct it; * The Basics of Internal Controls Training on Demand for Volunteers (stock number VC111P)--uncovers the complexities of the Supervisory Committee's roles and responsibilities for an effective internal control environment that covers all areas of operations; and * Local Involvement: Marketing Strategy and Community Benefit Training on Demand for Volunteers (stock number VC112P)--helps develop credit union growth strategies that combine successful local involvement techniques with modern marketing strategies.

Diebold net income up 65.2 in third quarter

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (10/31/08)--Diebold’s 2008 third quarter revenue was $890.3 million, an increase of 20.2% from the same time period last year, the company reported Thursday. Net income was $46.5 million during the third quarter--65.2% more than last year. Diebold also reported:
* Earnings for the third quarter were 70 cents per share, compared with 42 cents per share in 2007; * Financial self-service products and services revenue increased 18.3% over the prior period, while total security revenue decreased 6.4%; * Election systems revenue in Brazil totaled $58.6 million, more than 85% of Diebold’s increase in total election systems revenue; and * The net positive currency impact was 3.4 percentage points.
The third-quarter results included restructuring changes related primarily to severance and reorganization costs from the previously announced reduction in Diebold’s global workforce. Diebold also incurred $24.7 million in non-routine expenses in the third quarter, compared with $3.3 million in third-quarter 2007. “We continue to make solid progress on our key initiatives to reduce costs and improve profitability, and this is reflected in our results,” said Thomas W. Swidarski, Diebold president/CEO.

S.W. Corporate rolls out remote deposit service

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PLANO, Texas (10/31/08)--Southwest Corporate FCU Tuesday rolled out Member Capture, a remote deposit product, at its annual economic forum. “Depositing a check no longer means driving to a credit union branch,” said Brad Ganey, Southwest Corporate vice president of item processing services. “Credit unions can add time back into their members’ days. At the same time, credit unions can attract and retain members with this product and ease traffic congestion in their lobbies.” Member Capture processes check deposits from a member’s home or any other location with a computer, Internet connection and a scanner. The application is accessed through a credit union’s home banking program (LoneStar Leaguer Oct. 30). The Plano, Texas-based Southwest Corporate also plans to introduce ATM Image Capture, according to the Texas Credit Union League.

CFSI launches Underbanked Solutions Exchange

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CHICAGO (10/30/08)--The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) announced the first meeting of its Underbanked Solutions Exchange--a network of credit unions and mid-sized banks committed to serving the underserved. The meeting will focus on self-service market opportunities. Kinecta FCU, Manhattan Beach, Calif., is participating in the event. “Kinecta FCU looks forward to sharing our strategies for success in the underbanked market with CFSI participants, and gaining insight into other approaches,” said Randy Dotemoto, Kinecta chief strategy officer. Participating institutions attend twice-yearly meetings and webinars designed to provide learning opportunities from case studies, present real-world tested options and actively engage thinking on how to use existing strategies to attract the underbanked market. The exchange was created to allow credit unions and mid-sized banks to share knowledge with peers, learn the latest best practices, build relationships with service providers, and access tools to expand products and services for viable underbanked solutions.

CUNA Mutual upgrades Choice 401k

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MADISON, Wis. (10/30/08)--CUNA Mutual Group has upgraded and repackaged its Choice 401(k) program to provide retirement plan sponsors with a larger, stronger choice of institutional investments for their employees. Using a low-cost group annuity platform, the program now offers more than 75 different sub-account choices from investment managers, said Tom Eckert, CUNA Mutual vice president of Retirement Plan Services. “We've increased the asset class coverage of Choice 401(k) to provide a great product for plan sponsors and advisers,” Eckert said. “We've got the asset classes covered, but we've kept the number of sub-accounts at a manageable level, so it's not too overwhelming.” Investment accounts include Vanguard, PIMCO, Oppenheimer, MFS, T. Rowe Price, BlackRock, Morgan Stanley, Neuberger Berman, Lord Abbett, Putnam, Aim, Franklin Templeton, MEMBERS Capital Advisors and Dreyfus. The Choice 401(k) also includes target-risk and target-date allocation options that use multiple investment managers within the sub-accounts. Choice 401(k) includes CUNA Mutual’s Principal Guarantee Benefit Rider, which guarantees no loss of principal on the conservative or moderate allocation sub-accounts when held for at least 10 years. The 401(k) product portfolio also includes a Trustee product, featuring a national board of trustees responsible for the plan's investment selection and oversight. The trustees focus on building a plan with broad-based, low-cost, institutional-style portfolios. This plan is designed for plan sponsors who do not have the expertise or time to select and monitor the investment accounts of a 401(k) plan. CUNA Mutual serves an estimated 60% of the retirement plans sponsored by credit unions, representing about 4,300 plans with 129,000 participants.

SAIL platform allows CUs to tap into P.O.S. lending

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AUSTIN, Texas (10/30/08)--Teres Solutions, a provider of direct and indirect lending software to credit unions, announced the availability of its SAIL Merchant Lending module, which aims to connect local lenders with more opportunities to grow their business through the retail finance market. The module allows credit unions, credit union service organizations and finance companies the ability to submit point-of-sale (POS) loan applications. Lenders can respond with automated instant approvals or human-reviewed approvals. Other features include a Web-based interface, two-way communications, document delivery and multi-loan support. Texas Dow Employees CU, Lake Jackson, Texas, has deployed the module. The technology will help the credit union expand its loan portfolio, said Lance Wortham, vice president of business services. The credit union has $1.3 billion in assets.

Dynamic Marketing teams up with New Jersey league

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NORCROSS, Ga. (10/29/08)--Dynamic Marketing Systems (DMS), a provider of Web-enabled marketing resource management solutions, announced an alliance with the New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL). As part of the alliance, the league endorses the use of DMS’s Web-enabled Micro Merchant solution to provide marketing collateral support to credit union marketing programs (BusinessWire Oct. 28). The alliance enables the league’s member credit unions to design and print customized marketing materials online through Micro Merchant. DMS provides training, user support, Web hosting and site maintenance. “We did extensive research and testing of the product,” said Paul Gentile, NJCUL president/CEO. He said it “helps credit unions bring their products to market faster while keeping a cohesive branding message. Branding has never been more important to credit unions as they work to show their value proposition in these turbulent economic times.” “The alliance with the NJCUL offers participating credit unions a way to cost-effectively simplify the way marketing collateral materials are designed and ordered,” said Gordy Cain, CEO of DMS. “This allows users to devote more resources to further enhancing member service.”

eDOC Innovations partners with Corporate One

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MIDWAY, Utah and GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (10/29/08)--eDoc Innovations, formerly Reed Data Inc., announced a partnership with Corporate One FCU. The partnership aims to help Corporate One FCU’s credit unions develop document imaging strategies, according to Lee Butke, Corporate One president/CEO. “We now have the ability to help credit unions develop a comprehensive document imaging strategy through offerings that will encompass these transactions documents, as well as other documents critical to running a credit union,” he added. The partnership brings together Corporate One and CU*Answers. eDOC became a credit union service organization through a majority stock offering to CU*Answers in June 2007. CU*Answers serves more than 150 credit unions with data processing, network services and check processing support. eDOC services more than 400 credit unions through its e-document strategies software, DocLogic, a paperless platform. Corporate One, Columbus, Ohio, has more than $5.2 billion in assets.

MBLs topic of November audio conference

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MADISON, Wis. (10/28/08)--Credit unions can strengthen the basic components of their member business loan programs by listening to two audio conferences offered by the Credit Union National Association. Member Business Lending and the 5 Cs of Credit audio conference Nov. 6 will establish the foundation for making credit decisions--the five Cs of credit--and explain how these relate to the overall potential of a member business loan program. The conference will review the five factors of solid credit decisions:
* Capacity--Identify, using simple cash flow, whether the business borrower has the ability to repay existing and proposed liabilities; * Capital--Explore how capital serves as an indicator of the owner's commitment and financial strength; * Collateral--Analyze and understand that collateral is the tertiary source of repayment; * Conditions--Learn how to objectively look at positive and negative changes in the local economy and globally; and * Character--Reveal the key elements to determine if a potential borrower has the character needed to succeed and the commitment to repay the obligation.
A Nov. 10 audio conference, the Fundamentals of Pricing and Structuring Member Business Loans audio conference, will help credit union professionals discover if they are pricing and structuring member business loans to meet the needs of the market, the credit union, and the members. The conference will explain the basic risk-rating system and identify key elements to assure the credit function is rating loans appropriately and that the pricing matrix reflects the risk associated with providing member business loans. The conference will cover:
* Creating and reviewing a risk rating matrix; * Key elements of structuring member business loans; * How pricing and risk are related; and * How a solid risk-rating matrix improves portfolio management.
For more information, use the links.

Consumer lending course revised for certified exec program

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MADISON, Wis. (10/27/08)--The consumer lending process and development lending strategies in current and future market conditions are addressed in a recently revised Certified Executive Program (CEP) course, the Credit Union National Association’s self-study program for professional growth in the credit union industry. Consumer Lending--course no. 2700--provides an overview of the current and future lending environment, including the impact of economic trends and the importance of financial management on lending operations. It also addresses the basics of credit scoring and risk-based lending, along with human resources and legal issues that impact the lending department. Also, the course covers regulations and compliance issues, including:
* Marketing loan programs; * Completing loan applications; * Loan processing, servicing, and closing; * Collections statutes and regulations; and * Other issues.
The course is required to earn the CEP specialty certification of Certified Lending Specialist. It can also be taken as an elective for two other CEP designations: Certified Credit Union Executive and Certified Financial Services Professional. For more information, use the link.

CUTEK AgilityFour create online member applications for CUs

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MURRIETA, Calif. (10/24/08)--CUTEK has partnered with AgilityFour to create an online membership application solution for credit unions on the Episys system. The application allows new members to join credit unions online. It also enables each field within the application to be automatically written to the host system. The online application also can be customized. AgilityFour began working with CUTEK in March with its AgilityPro solution. The project was completed in September. CUTEK plans to refine the membership application product, and follow it with a new loan application and Internet home banking suite, the company said. CUTEK is a financial technology firm specializing in credit unions that use Symitar’s Episys core processing system. AgilityFour is a consulting and software solutions provider.

Partnership for bill paying at checkout lanes kiosks

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (10/24/08)--A partnership between Fiserv and PayScan will allow Fiserv’s CheckFreePay customers to pay their household bills at retail checkout lanes and self-service kiosks. The solution will use a “smart bar code” on the bill to record processing rules, including payment data from a customer bill such as an account number. By scanning the bill at an existing retail point-of-sale terminal, a cashier or consumer can submit a payment without manual entry. Consumers can bring one or more bills into a participating location, scan it at the checkout lane or kiosk, make a payment and leave with a receipt. The payment will arrive electronically at the biller. “We believe in-lane bill payment services will transform the walk-in bill payment landscape,” said Paul Harrison, CheckFreePay senior vice president and general manager. “For retailers, it will provide a more efficient walk-in bill payment process that leverages point-of-sale bar coding to reduce the chance for error. Billers could realize reduced processing costs, while their customers will enjoy a more convenient payment experience.” Fiserv provides information management and electronic commerce systems solutions to financial institutions, including credit unions. PayScan America develops solutions for bill payment.

CUNA offers volunteers four new self-study courses

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MADISON, Wis. (10/23/08)--Four new self-study courses have been developed by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) to help credit union volunteers understand important credit union operational issues and their responsibilities as board members. The courses are part of CUNA’s Volunteer Achievement Program (VAP), which provides credit union volunteers with learning opportunities to hone their decision-making abilities. Participants also can complete exams online and receive their results immediately. The new course topics are:
* The Supervisory Committee's Role in Finding Fraud (course V304), which helps committee members keep an eye on potential risk and stay abreast of industry trends so they can spot fraud and potential fraud. The course identifies potential areas of concern, such as: cash, loans, credit cards, share draft accounts, dormant accounts, general ledger accounts, repossessed collateral, investments and the Internet; * The Basics of Risk Assessment for Volunteers (course V305), which explains how to identify risk and determine what the supervisory committee’s priorities are; * Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) for Directors (course V426), which provides a comprehensive overview of BSA, including BSA policy, risk assessment, ongoing training, and suspicious activity report filing. It also details specific board actions to stay on top of this issue; and * The Supervisory Committee's Role in Due Diligence (course V303), which outlines the details to ensure adequate transparency with third-party vendors. It also clarifies necessary ongoing communications with credit union management in regard to this process. The course is set for release in spring 2009.
VAP offers more than 40 core knowledge courses for directors in: credit union and board of director fundamentals, leadership, finance, human resources, credit committee/lending, marketing, planning, regulatory compliance, supervisory committee and technology.

CUNA Mutual white papers address online remote deposit risks

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MADISON, Wis. (10/23/08)--CUNA Mutual Group has posted two additional risk management resources on its website to help credit unions protect themselves against potentially uninsurable risks resulting from new technologies designed to improve member service. “Technology is advancing at lightning speed and permeating every aspect of business and personal transactions, and the accompanying risks are emerging at nearly the same pace,” said Ken Otsuka, CUNA Mutual risk manager. Online Deposits and Remote Deposit Capture are newer services that offer members more convenience but with a heightened risk of fraud. Credit unions can mitigate these risks while expanding services and increasing member convenience by implementing simple fraud prevention best practices, Otsuka said. Online deposit service enables consumers to enter deposits to their accounts through the credit union’s home banking system. “Members typically receive immediate availability to funds and have a certain number of days in which to mail the physical check to the credit union. This convenience may create an uninsurable exposure for the credit union if a member withdraws funds from the online deposit without sending a check,” Otsuka said. Offering this service is a business decision of the credit union, but creates risk exposures that must be assessed and considered when establishing program parameters, he said. To help credit unions assess and prevent risks associated with online deposits, Credit Union Protection Risk Management has developed a white paper titled, "Online Deposits--Reduce Risks For Your Credit Union." Another remote deposit service increasingly offered by credit unions is Remote Deposit Capture (RDC). Though primarily instituted for business members, the service is evolving for use with both business and consumer members. RDC allows members to capture check images and transmit them electronically to the credit union for deposit. A recent study by Celent reported 40% of all U.S. financial institutions will have adopted RDC by the end of 2008. Ultimately, RDC quickens funds availability and offers substantial benefits, such as convenience, reduced transportation risk and cost, and processing efficiencies. “Despite these benefits, RDC creates both operational and risk issues for credit unions, and credit unions must exercise due diligence to understand these risks, as well as related regulations, laws, contracts, operations, and technology issues,” Otsuka said. Credit unions should proceed cautiously with RDC because most losses to business members are not insurable, CUNA Mutual said. Potential loss scenarios include:
* A business unknowingly receives forged, altered, or counterfeit checks and includes them in the deposit image file transmitted to the credit union; * The original payee is changed through alteration or counterfeiting; and * A dishonest employee steals the original checks after imaging and forges the company’s endorsement to negotiate them.
Credit Union Protection Risk Management has also created a white paper for credit unions considering RDC, titled, "Remote Deposit Capture Service--Risk Implications." The remote deposit white paper contains a number of recommended best practices for credit unions to consider when evaluating these services. For more information, use the resource link.

CO-OP selects mFoundry for mobile banking

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SAN FRANCISCO (10/23/08)--Members of participating credit unions will be able to verify balances, view transaction histories and transfer funds using cell phones through a new partnership between CO-OP Financial Services and mFoundry. CO-OP announced Wednesday that it selected the platform of mobile financial services provider mFoundry. The platform will integrate into CO-OP Shared Branching’s Next Generation Network to provide mobile banking to members. CO-OP, a credit union service organization headquartered in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., offers credit unions 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs through its shared branch network.

Members United CUSO Activity levels up 400

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WARRENVILLE, Ill. (10/22/08)--Balance Sheet Solutions, the broker/dealer and investment advisory credit union service organization of Members United Corporate FCU, has seen an increase of more than 400% in marketable securities and a 1,200% increase in jumbo certificate transactions. The increase is through the third quarter of 2008, compared with the same period last year, the company announced Monday. Due to its greater market penetration, increased credit union liquidity during the first half of the year and recent market uncertainty during the third quarter, Balance Sheet Solutions executed almost $8 billion in investment transactions for credit unions. Balance Sheet Solutions provides credit unions with marketable securities, jumbo certificates and corporate credit union deposit investments. Members United, based in Warrenville, Ill., has $10.1 billion in assets.

AAA FCU to host car-buying seminar for women

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DALLAS (10/22/08)--American Airlines FCU, Dallas, will host a car-buying seminar Oct. 23 geared toward women. The 90-minute seminar is free and will be hosted by Barbara Terry, auto expert and off-road race car driver. Terry will cover how much car one can afford, how to research cars, and tips to ensure the purchasing decision is the best one possible. “Women make the final decision when purchasing the automobile, whether it is for their own use or their husband or family,” Terry said. “We’re going to equip attendees with the information to make a confident decision that gets them the vehicle they want at a price they can afford.” American Airlines FCU has $4.8 million in assets.

GM campaign will connect auto dealers with CUs

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DETROIT (10/21/08)--General Motors has launched a car loan campaign targeting consumers who stopped looking for cars because they fear they won’t receive financing. The program, “Financing that Fits,” will run through Nov. 3. It publicizes a six-year-old database that allows auto dealers to find credit unions and other lenders willing to make auto loans (Associated Press Oct. 16). October auto sales are expected to be lower than sales in September--when fewer than 1 million vehicles were sold for the first time in 15 years, the newspaper said.

Survey Consumers value online financial services

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NEW YORK (10/20/08)--Credit unions may want to note that consumers value online funds transfer services, according to results from a recent CashEdge survey. “Responses reveal an increasing demand for, and adoption of, capabilities that offer them ease-of-use and convenience, particularly online account opening and multiple online funds transfer capabilities,” said CashEdge CEO Sanjeev Dheer. About 58% of respondents said they opened an account online and would like to do so again. Another 25% said they did not open their accounts online but would do so if that option were available, while the majority--82%--said they expect their financial institution to offer the ability to open accounts online. Respondents said they move their money online to transfer to a checking account (66%), savings account (52%) to take advantage of a higher interest rate (49%), or to others, such as friends and family (88%). Nearly 60% of respondents said they felt mobile banking is equally secure or more secure than online banking. About 60% said they would use mobile banking if it was offered by their financial institution. CashEdge, which provides Intelligent Money Movement services, conducted the survey to examine the behaviors and preferences of more than 425 consumers who use online banking.

Northwest FCU draws 1.4 million in loans with relationship builder

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HERNDON, Va. (10/20/08)--Northwest FCU, Herndon, Va., garnered more than $1.4 million in new loans within five days after using DigitalMailer’s Automatic Relationship Builder. The builder launched an e-mail promotion that brought in the loans. Automatic Relationship Builder is an e-mail engine designed to help credit unions build member relationships. It allows credit unions to send customized e-mail messages. “It’s eliminating the production and postage costs associated with direct-marketing programs,” said Gerianne Burks, Northwest FCU president/CEO. E-mail marketing is effective, but is challenging in today’s online world, added Ron Daly, DigitalMailer president/CEO. The mailer provides consistent, manager member contact and includes tracking, e-mail list management features and other marketing capabilities. Northwest FCU has $1.5 billion in assets.

Products and Services briefs (10/16/2008)

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* ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (10/17/08)--PSCU Financial Services announced that it has purchased a two-story building in Phoenix to house its Western Operations Center. PSCU plans to relocate its western regional office, contact center staff and data center in November. The building doubles PSCU’s current rented space and will support 600 employees. The purchase includes 17.5 acres of land, which will allow PSCU to construct a second building. PSCU Financial Services is a credit union service organization headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla. ... * BURNSVILLE, Minn. (10/17/08)--CU*Northwest, a credit union service organization serving Northwestern states, announced that it will hold regional town hall meetings in Washington and Oregon during the next six months. The meetings aim to give credit unions an overview of CU*Northwest’s products and services ... * ATLANTA, Ga. (10/17/08)--Christian Financial CU purchased the Credit Union Family Service Center in Sterling Heights, Mich., “stand alone” facility from CO-OP Shared Branching. The credit union will operate the location as a credit union service center outlet. An outlet structure allows credit unions to welcome guest members of other participating credit unions into its existing branches. Christian Financial CU has $236 million in assets. CO-OP Shared Branching is a shared branching network representing 65% of all national locations and 80% of credit unions participating in shared branching ...

United Technologies Corp. withdraws Diebold bid

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (10/16/08)--United Technologies Corp. (UTC) has withdrawn its unsolicited bid for ATM manufacturer Diebold. UTC offered to purchase Diebold common shares at $40 per share Feb. 29. “Diebold’s board of directors remains confident that the company is on the right path, and is encouraged by the continued improvement it has seen in the company’s strategic initiatives to gain cost efficiencies and increase profitability,” said John N. Lauer, Diebold non-executive chairman of the board. The letter UTC wrote to Diebold announcing the withdrawal of its bid was made public Monday.

Fiserv unveils new origination platform

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (10/15/08)--Fiserv has expanded its Common Origination Platform to include real estate lending support. The Fiserv Common Origination Platform (COP), a next-generation solution to help lenders manage loan origination and production, allows lenders to administer all of their loans holistically, Fiserv said. Fiserv’s platform allows users to update policies, procedures and processes rather than relying on their technical support staff. “Having one solution for all lending verticals and channels can reduce costs and make lenders more nimble in an ever-changing market,” said Jon Burch, Fiserv product manager. The platform is available in multiple deployment models including licensed versions and Software as a Service. The real estate module is the first of three available from Fiserv. Consumer and commercial modules are planned for deployment later this year. Fiserv provides information management and electronic commerce systems and services to financial institutions, including credit unions.

CO-OP partners with Ohio league service corp

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (10/14/08)--The OCUL Services Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ohio Credit Union League, has partnered with CO-OP Financial Services. OCUL Services Corp. will promote CO-OP’s surcharge-free ATM network, which has 28,000 ATMs and 9,000 deposit-taking locations. OCUL Services Corp. provides business solutions to Ohio credit unions, serving more than 2.6 million members. CO-OP Financial Services is a credit union service organization that offers surcharge-free ATM access, processing debit and card services, and shared branching.

PCUA launches loan trader

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (10/13/08)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) has launched Loan Trader--an online service that allows buyers and sellers of member business loans (MBLs) to connect and exchange information. Loan Trader will go live Oct. 28. “As credit unions become more involved in member business lending, there is a need for credit unions to connect with one another,” said PCUA President/CEO Jim McCormack. “Some credit unions are bumping up against MBL caps, while others are seeking out quality loan participations. This product brings these parties together.” Loan Trader was developed with input from the PCUA Business Services Professional Group. It lists loans available for purchase by industry type, type and location of collateral and other factors. The National Credit Union Administration requires that credit unions considering purchasing any loan participation perform their own due diligence and re-analyze the credit as if they were originating the loan. At the request of any buyer, sellers can release the data necessary to complete the analysis. Loan Trader allows for the exchange of this critical information, PCUA said. To view an online tutorial about Loan Trader, use the link.

Seattle Metro selects Complete CU solution

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GLASTONBURY, Conn. (10/13/08)--Seattle Metropolitan CU selected Open Solution’s The Complete Credit Union Solution: DNA for its information technology operations. “With this technology, we will be able to send much more targeted messaging to members in our efforts to provide relevant financial solutions when communicating with members through marketing and on the front line,” said Jill Vicente, Seattle Metropolitan chief marketing officer and vice president of planning. The Complete Credit Union Solution: DNA is built on a centralized Oracle relational database designed to be an open architecture application. The platform helps credit unions streamline both front- and back-office processes and creates a centralized view of members, employees and business partners. Seattle Metropolitan will also implement Open Solutions’ StreamLend Velocity, cView ReportWizard, Financial Accounting Suite and the Workload Automation Suite provided by alliance partner UC4 (formerly AppWorx). Seattle Metropolitan has $500 million in assets. Open Solutions is a core data processing applications provider for financial institutions, including credit unions.

Diebold retail banking webinar Tuesday

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (10/10/08)--ATM manufacturer Diebold is presenting a webinar, “Surviving and Thriving Amid the Turmoil” with guest speaker TowerGroup Tuesday at 12 p.m. EDT. TowerGroup is a research and advisory services firm focused exclusively on the global financial services industry. The webinar will focus on outsourcing. According to Diebold, outsourcing enables financial institutions to:
* Keep talent focused on high-margin opportunities instead of process management; * Concentrate on core business issues such as generating profits, managing customer relationships; * Transfer the time-consuming complexities of channel management to channel experts; * Access cutting-edge technology on a continuous basis; * Mitigate risk and navigate regulations and compliance; and * Lower costs, especially as they relate to channel management, personnel and information technology support.
The webinar also will feature a real-life case study on outsourcing, and a live question and answer session. To attend the webinar, reservations are required. For more information, use the link.

Jeffco CU guards against phishing scams

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. (10/10/08)--Jeffco CU, Lakewood, Colo., is guarding against phishing attacks with PhoneFactor, a security product offered by Positive Networks. “It is our responsibility to continually monitor and implement additional safeguards to protect our members’ information,” said Jeffco President/CEO Tom Theune. PhoneFactor is a phone-based authentication technology. When a user logs in with a username and password, the phone rings instantly. The user then enters a personal identification number. If the login is not validated, Jeffco is alerted. PhoneFactor works with any phone, including mobile phones. The technology integrates with any virtual private network or website and no devices or software installation are required. A hacker would need to know a user’s log-in and have physical possession of the user’s phone to gain access, according to Positive Networks. Positive Networks is a provider of hosted virtual private networks, remote access and endpoint security. Jeffco CU has $160 million in assets.

Northwest FCU recognized by league CUNA for youth products

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HERNDON, Va. (10/9/08)--The Credit Union National Association and the Virginia Credit Union League recently recognized Northwest FCU (NWFCU), Herndon, Va., for its contributions to youth financial education and savings.
Click to view larger image
Click to view larger image Northwest FCU staff prepare Youth Club carnival games for a “Carnival of Savings” event for members. The credit union was recently recognized by the Credit Union National Association and the Virginia Credit Union League for its youth savings products and services. (Photo provided by Northwest FCU)
NWFCU received first place in the Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action and third place in the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Awards for its youth products. The credit union recently introduced Youth Club accounts to benefit members up to age 18. Four different club levels, segmented by age, aim to teach youth about the importance of saving money. “When we began developing our youth programs, it was important for us to focus on the unique needs of every age group,” said Joelle Hahn, NWFCU senior marketing specialist and project manager for the credit union’s youth-based initiatives. “The skill levels and interests of a five year-old are vastly different from those of a 15 year-old, and we wanted to reflect those differences in the club benefits.” Since the program was launched this year, NWFCU has opened 670 Youth Club Accounts. Youth saved more than $739,000 as of Aug. 30. Rewards are incorporated into each Youth Club account. The program rewards ‘saving what you can’ with every in-branch deposit. After 10 deposits, Youth Club members receive a gift. NWFCU also encourages Youth Club Account savings by paying a higher dividend rate on the first $500 saved. In addition to bonus dividend earnings, Youth Club Account members are also eligible to purchase special add-on certificates. The certificates offer a one-year term, a $100 minimum, and the ability to deposit additional funds. Youth Club accounts include:
* The Sweet Pea Account, for ages 0-3, a custodial account for parents and grandparents to encourage youth to start a savings. The custodian manages the funds until the child reaches adulthood; * The Westies Kids Club, for ages 4 to 8, a savings account for elementary-aged children; * Plan-it Now, for children age 9-12, a share savings account. Youth receive a membership kit that includes basic lessons on money management, a Plan-it Now decal, savings account register and a tracker card to track their deposits; * First Rewards, for ages 13-17, offers youth bonus dividends on their first $500 saved. When a First Rewards account reaches a $500 balance, the member receives a $25 bonus. The First Rewards membership kit includes a money slide guide--a quick reference guide providing tips on goal-setting, budgeting, smart shopping and credit.
When Youth Club Account members outgrow their clubs, their account automatically migrates to the next club level. Along with a birthday card, members receive a new membership kit. Parents also are given a brochure that offers specific guidance on how to teach their children about money. They receive a subscription to The Family Green, NWFCU’s quarterly newsletter exclusively for parents of Youth Club Account holders full of articles that help parent and kids build valuable money skills. “Our Youth Club accounts give parents the tools to teach children the difference between wants and needs, the importance of saving and how to make saving a life-long habit,” said Gerrianne Burks, NWFCU president/CEO. “We live in a society of dual-income families, overscheduled activities, and educators who must teach to meet minimum standards, leaving little time for learning such basic concepts as paying yourself first, saving for your future, and spending money wisely,” added Juri Valdov, former CEO and present executive senior vice president of external affairs at NWFCU. “Someone needs to make learning money management skills a priority, and who better than America’s credit unions?” Valdov leads a global credit union initiative focused on savings, serving on the Financial Literacy Task Force for CUNA’s Personal Finance Initiative.

Members United Corporate breaks processing record

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WARRENVILLE, Ill. (10/9/08)--One day this summer, Members United Corporate FCU processed 300,821 items through its electronic branch capture--a record for the corporate. The corporate’s virtual item processing (VIP) program allows checks to be scanned at a credit union branch and transmitted electronically, and is catching on, according to the corporate. “Our electronic branch capture program benefits our members in many ways--most notable is the quicker funds availability, which allows for faster identification of fradulent funds and lower pricing,” said Terry Faurote, Members United vice president of payment operations. By the end of the year, the corporate will receive all of its members’ images from the Federal Reserve or an Image Exchange Network in electronic format. The VIP program aims to reduce courier costs, as the average credit union spends $1,300 a month on fees. Members United processes 19 million items monthly (about five million weekly) for its member credit unions. More than 330 members and 950 individual credit union branches are served by the VIP program. The corporate serves more than 2,300 credit unions nationwide.

TMG joins PCI Security Standards Council

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Des Moines, Iowa (10/8/08)--The Members Group (TMG) announced today that it has joined the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council as a new participating organization. TMG will work with the council on PCI Data Security Standard (DSS) and other payment card data protection standards. The PCI DSS, endorsed by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa Inc., requires merchants and service providers that store, process or transmit customer payment card data to adhere to information security controls and processes that ensure data integrity. TMG will now have access to the latest payment card security standards from the Council, be able to provide feedback on the standards and become part of a growing community that now includes more than 500 organizations. TMG is a credit union service organization owned by the Iowa Credit Union League.

TraceSecurity provides security advice on Today Show

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NEW YORK (10/7/08)--TraceSecurity Chief Technology Officer Jim Stickley recently appeared on The Today Show to provide advice about how consumers can avoid identity theft. Stickley is the author of “The Truth About Identity Theft: Why Be Me When I Can Be You?” TraceSecurity is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. Consumers should protect their Social Security numbers and pay attention to the credit card companies that they apply to, Stickley said. He encouraged applicants to research the companies and not to trust the applications they receive in the mail. “If you don’t recognize the bank, that’s not good,” he said. He also encouraged consumers to delete suspicious e-mails. If a financial institution or company wants to contact a consumer, it will usually do so through a phone call or by mail. Stickley also warned against companies that advertise free credit reports. Most of the credit report offers aren’t free because the companies charge hidden fees, he said. He suggested consumers use, which offers three free credit reports per year.

Mortgagebot CUs buck mortgage meltdown trend

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MEQUON, Wis. (10/6/08)--Credit unions are bucking the mortgage meltdown trend and are adopting the online mortgage channel, according to Mortgagebot, a mortgage technology provider. “The online mortgage channel has truly arrived,” said Scott Happ, Mortgagebot president/CEO. Mortgagebot provides direct point-of-sale mortgage origination solutions to credit unions. “It’s especially obvious among America’s credit unions. New research from Deloitte Consulting indicates that seven out of 10 mortgage shoppers start their searches online,” he added. Mortgagebot has gained nearly 50 credit union clients in the past 18 months. More than 80% of them have less than $500 million in assets, Happ said. “America’s smaller credit unions understand that the market has changed--and they don’t want to be left behind,” he added. Mortgagebot’s PowerSite helped Tampa Bay (Fla.) FCU triple its mortgage application volume and reduce processing time by 33%, the credit union said. “With subprime lenders out of the way, and few mortgage brokers on the street, more mortgage applications are coming straight to the credit union,” said Dean Clark, Tampa Bay FCU real estate lending manager. Tampa Bay FCU has $318 million in assets. Callahan and Associates research also indicates that credit union mortgage originations in the first quarter of this year were up by 53% compared with last year. Credit unions serve their members when other financial institutions have left the mortgage market, added Chip Filson, Callahan and Associates president. “They have healthy balance sheets, and remain active lenders with ample liquidity,” he said.

Digital Insight survey underscores consumers needs

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CALABASAS, Calif. (10/6/08)--Credit unions may want to note that trust and familiarity are two important factors consumers consider when managing their money on the Web, according to a Digital Insight survey. About 68% of consumers rated their credit union or bank as the most trusted place to keep their online financial information secure, while 66% picked a website hosted by an established company as their second choice. “People want a trusted place to view all of their accounts, make better decisions about where they spend their money, and pay their bills with peace of mind that their information is safe and secure,” said Sasan Goodarzi, Digital Insight president. Other findings included:
* About 25% of consumers switched financial institutions because of a recommendation from friends or family members; * Roughly 61% said the most important financial management feature is the ability to manage and pay all bills in one place; and * Nearly all survey respondents banked with an institution that offers online banking, but only 24% of these said their financial institution provides valuable information. About 87% said their credit union or bank only helps them pay bills.
Digital Insight offers FinanceWorks--powered by Quicken--which allows consumers to manage accounts across more than 5,000 financial institution and credit card sites. FinanceWorks aims to help middle-market credit unions and banks meet the needs of their members/customers to be competitive with larger financial institutions.

SEDONAs CRM solution leverages CU marketing

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KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (10/3/08)--SEDONA Corp. announced that its customer relationship management (CRM) solution, Intarsia, is helping credit unions remain competitive and expand their membership base despite a shaky economy. Intarsia can provide balance swing reports to relationship officers daily. Officers are kept informed of large changes in account balances--increases and decreases--to better service accounts. “Challenging times call for financial institutions to be ahead of the curve in [member] relationships so as to attract, foster and retain profitable [members],” said SEDONA President/CEO Scott Edelman. SEDONA Corp. provides member relationship management solutions and services to financial institutions.

CSS ally TraceSecurity to be on NBCs Today Show

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MADISON, Wis. (10/3/08)--Jim Stickley, chief technology officer and co-founder of TraceSecurity, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider, is scheduled to appear on NBC’s Today Show as an expert on security and identity theft issues. Stickley is scheduled to appear live Monday to promote his new book: The Truth About Identity Theft. The book provides eyewitness accounts of identity theft attacks to demonstrate how easy it is for thieves to steal personal information. It also offers commonsense solutions to avoid becoming a victim. TraceSecurity is paid by credit unions and other financial institutions to assess security vulnerabilities. In the past, Stickley has dressed like a pest inspector, a fire inspector, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector, and numerous other identities to gain entry into the inner sanctum of business. The fake heists help financial institutions find and fix holes in their defense. For more information, use the link. integrates with PMI CMG MI

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HONOLULU (10/3/08), a web-based software and services solutions provider for financial institutions, integrated its in-house mortgage enterprise lending platform with the PMI Group and CMG Mortgage Insurance Co. The integration will allow a complete transfer of required data from an origination platform directly into an insurer’s rate quote and application portals, eliminating the need to re-key information. It also allows clients to obtain “an exact rate quote for mortgage insurance that can be used for their disclosures prior to ordering mortgage insurance,” said Scott Romesburg, CMG Mortgage Insurance Co.’s director of information technology. CMG Mortgage Insurance Co. is a joint venture between CUNA Mutual Investment Corp. and PMI Mortgage Insurance Company. The company provides private mortgage guaranty insurance to protect credit unions against losses in borrower default. PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. provides residential mortgage insurance to mortgage lenders nationwide.

247 call center helped members during Fay Gustav

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (10/3/08)--Digital Dialogue provided call center services to Coastline CU, Jacksonville, Fla., during Tropical Storm Fay, and LA DOTD FCU, Baton Rouge, La., during Hurricane Gustav. Digital Dialogue is a PSCU Financial Services company and nationwide provider of 24/7 call center operations and software solutions for credit unions. Tropical Storm Fay made landfall Aug. 19 and displaced Coastline employees because of flooding. Stephen Strum, vice president of Coastline retail sales and delivery, had to rescue three employees from a downtown branch. During the storm, Coastline’s emergency broadcast system directed incoming member calls to Digital Dialogue. This enabled Strum to stay connected to his members while working from home. “Although we could not conduct service at any of the physical branch locations, we wanted to ensure our members did not experience a lapse in service,” Strum said. “Coastline was able to leverage Digital Dialogue’s 200 employees to meet our members’ needs.” When Gustav interrupted service at LA DOTD FCU, Baton Rouge, La., Digital Dialogue kept members and staff informed by providing phone lines from which staff and members received status updates. Text messaging was the only way Tracy Dreher, LA DOTD call center leader, could receive information from the credit union. “My contact at Digital Dialogue provided me with her cell phone number prior to the storm,” she said. “Digital Dialogue’s willingness to provide us with their personal contact information before the storm enabled us to stay up to speed with member interactions and staff whereabouts via text messaging and website updates.” Coastline has $753 million in assets. LA DOTD has $94 million in assets.

Diebold raises its earnings outlook

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (10/2/08)--ATM manufacturer Diebold Inc. has raised its earnings outlook for full-year 2008, according to reports filed by the company Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That means Diebold will resume its normal reporting schedule beginning with the third quarter after adjustments during an internal review of its previous accounting had delayed its second-quarter reports. Current guidance indicates that earnings per share for 2008 will be $1.62-$1.52, an increase from previous guidance that indicated earnings would be $1.47-$1.37. Under non-generally accepted accounting principles, earnings for 2008 are at $2.40-$2.45, up from $2.25-$2.30. The increase in expected earnings is a result of Diebold’s cost-reduction initiatives, improved profitability from the company’s Brazilian voting and lottery businesses, continued demand for the company’s solutions in the global financial markets and a lower anticipated effective tax rate. “Our global sales environment remains solid despite the well-publicized challenges facing the financial industry in the U.S., as demonstrated by some of the recent orders we’ve announced,” said Thomas W. Swidarski, Diebold president/CEO.