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CO-OP Fin. Services launches merchant-funded rewards program

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (11/1/11)--CO-OP Financial Services is expanding its rewards program menu for credit unions with a standalone merchant-funded offering.

ShoppingFLING, a debit-card reward program that uses an online shopping portal to earn cash back for participants, is being offered in partnership with RewardsNOW Inc. of Dover, N.H.

"CO-OP Financial Services is dedicated to helping credit unions expand profits and maintain long-term member relationships," said Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Services president/CEO. "ShoppingFLING does both by increasing card usage and incremental interchange revenue and increased member engagement in their credit union."

CO-OP Financial Services is offering marketing support as part of the program.

Merchant rebates are designed to offset costs of the program.

ShoppingFLING can also be to enhance an existing rewards program, CO-OP said.

Credit union members access ShoppingFLING directly from a credit union's website. Members earn cash back for shopping online or in store and can take advantage of special deals, by using their credit union-issued debit or credit card.

For members, the program includes cash-back awards and deals; online and in-store shopping at hundreds of national merchants and dining and entertainment; ZIP Code search and mapping capability for merchant locations; and a search by category feature.

CO-OP connects credit union members to their accounts through network, payment processing, e-commerce, shared branching and call center services.

ATTUS offers product update for Fed change

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (10/31/11)--ATTUS Technologies Inc., an affiliate company of Computer Services, Inc. and a regulatory compliance solutions provider, has released an enhanced version of its WatchDOG Wire Software is ready for release when Federal Reserve changes go into effect Nov. 19.

The Federal Reserve Banks will be implementing a new message format to support extended-character business remittance information, an improved cover payments solution, a new field to support payment notification and better alignment with the SWIFT message formats. Several additional minor changes will also be implemented. The Federal Reserve Banks will be implementing software changes on November 19, 2011, so that the new message format will be ready to use at the opening of the funds transfer business day for Nov. 21.

In addition to BSA/AML compliance, WatchDOG Wire handles financial institutions' compliance with the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) with real-time screening of incoming and outgoing wires for potential OFAC terrorist watch-list hits. Failure to comply with BSA/AML or OFAC regulations can result in costly, if not devastating, financial penalties.

WatchDOG Wire helps institutions mark and track any potential risk related to a customer or transfer. It also creates default reports with frequency and amounts of wires by date and customer and wire funds velocity by account number and time period.

"Our entire wire process has been enhanced as we are able to process wires faster and more efficiently--while complying with OFAC," said Melanie Main, of Savings Institute Bank & Trust.

WatchDOG Wire minimizes errors by automatically validating ABA routing numbers, reducing the amount of work and time spent by an institution's staff by streamlining the wire creation and approval process, enabling the creation of wire templates for recurring transactions, and providing quick access to and facilitating the assignment and auditing of all transaction information.

Credit union providers offer FFIEC compliance solutionsbr

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EDISON, N.J. and TEANECK, N.J. (10/27/11)--Two credit union solutions providers are offering tools for for meeting the January Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council (FFIEC) deadline for authentication of online accounts.

On June 28, the FFIEC issued a supplement to its "Authentication in an Internet Banking Environment," updating guidance which was originally issued in 2005. The purpose of the supplement is to reinforce the risk-management framework of the policy, and update the Agencies' expectations regarding customer authentication, layered security, or other controls in the increasingly hostile online banking environment.

Trace Security offers a free recorded webinar on the compliance requirements.

Trace Security is a CUNA Strategic Services provider.

The new guidelines emphasize the necessity for comprehensive risk assessments to be performed or reviewed each year, effective "layered security" for mitigating identified risks, and improved customer and employee awareness programs.

Among the issues covered in the Webinar:

  • Changes to the guidance since the 2005 revision;
  • How the new changes impact credit unions;
  • The new "Best Practice" standards;
  • The necessary steps you need to take to ensure compliance;
  • How to determine a compliance road map; and
  • What examiners will assess after the deadline;
For information of the Webinar, use the link.

Trace also provides a white paper, "What You Need to Know About the New FFIEC Guidance for 2012." This paper breaks down the specifics of the three key components described in the new guidance, plus provides several recommendations on how to best prepare to meet the new compliance standards before the January deadline.

StrikeForce Technologies Inc. and Veratad Technologies have formed a strategic partnership to offer financial institutions nationwide new tools

Veratad is provider of virtual identity verification and compliance solutions. StrikeForce provides solutions in prevention of online identity theft and data breaches for enterprise, financial institutions, government agencies and consumers.

Under the terms of the partnership, the two companies will work together to offer credit unions and banks a comprehensive approach to compliance and mitigation of fraud and identity theft risks.

The guidance outlines several authentication schemes and identifies components of a secure online banking implementation for which StrikeForce and Veratad offer solutions.

CUNA offers Feed up with Banks webinar

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MADISON, Wis. (10/27/11)--The CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council will hold a webinar, "Consumers are Fee'd up With Banks: Let's Help Them Make a Change! at 2 p.m. (CT) Dec. 7.

It's hard to ignore the public outrage from consumers over rising bank fees, especially Bank of America's latest move to charge debit card customers. Credit unions are being publicized in national trade press as a great choice for consumers.

Grassroots efforts, such as Bank Transfer Day, have shown that people are fed up with fees piling up from the big banks. How can we capitalize on consumer frustration to show the credit union difference?

Webinar participants can learn how peers are taking advantage of the momentum to gain market share, and help educate consumers on the many benefits of credit union membership.

Fannie Mae introduces service initiative

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WASHINGTON (10/26/11)--Fannie Mae has implemented the Servicing Alignment Initiative (SAI) to streamline and simplify servicing processes. 

Fannie Mae is a Strategic Services provider.

SAI is a directive from the Federal Housing Finance Agency requiring servicers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans to align their loan servicing and delinquency management practices to a uniform set of performance criteria.

The goals of SAI include:

  • Improved service to borrowers and greater consistency and clarity in borrower communications;
  • More efficient processing of loan modifications;
  • Consistency, fairness and efficiency in the foreclosure process; and
  • Increased servicer accountability, reinforced by new incentives and compensatory fees.
The new standards affect mortgage loans that either become delinquent or are determined to be in imminent default on or after Oct. 1. Fannie Mae offers detailed implementation guidelines in Servicing Guide Announcement SVC-2011-08R.

SAI sets standards in four areas: borrower contact, delinquency management practices, loan modifications and foreclosure alternatives, and foreclosure timelines.

More specifically, the new standards require servicers to reach struggling borrowers earlier in delinquency--as early as the third day following a missed payment--and more frequently, with consistent written and other communications. Such contact will help the servicer understand the borrower's circumstances, Fannie Mae said.

Servicers will use consistent written communications to inform borrowers about foreclosure prevention options. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide identical borrower information packages to collect information and specify what documentation the borrower may need to provide.

Servicers will evaluate borrowers simultaneously for the Home Affordable Modification Program, Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives and other options. Servicers will use consistent evaluation standards, trial periods and modification terms in assessing borrowers for modifications.

While working to keep people in their homes whenever possible, servicers must move borrowers more quickly to a resolution. When foreclosure is unavoidable, servicers must adhere to uniform processing timelines.

Select servicers receive incentive payments for achieving quality benchmarks and can be assessed compensatory fees for timeline violations.

While SAI means changes for servicers, the initiative will increase transparency and accountability for servicers and borrowers. SAI requirements will help borrowers understand their options and help servicers efficiently evaluate borrowers' eligibility for a loan modification or other workout alternatives.

Fannie Mae introduces servicing initiative

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WASHINGTON (10/26/11)--Fannie Mae has implemented the Servicing Alignment Initiative (SAI) to streamline and simplify servicing processes. 

Fannie Mae is a Strategic Services provider.

SAI is a directive from the Federal Housing Finance Agency requiring servicers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans to align their loan servicing and delinquency management practices to a uniform set of performance criteria.

The goals of SAI include:

  • Improved service to borrowers and greater consistency and clarity in borrower communications;
  • More efficient processing of loan modifications;
  • Consistency, fairness and efficiency in the foreclosure process; and
  • Increased servicer accountability, reinforced by new incentives and compensatory fees.
The new standards affect mortgage loans that either become delinquent or are determined to be in imminent default on or after Oct. 1. Fannie Mae offers detailed implementation guidelines in Servicing Guide Announcement SVC-2011-08R.

SAI sets standards in four areas: borrower contact, delinquency management practices, loan modifications and foreclosure alternatives, and foreclosure timelines.

More specifically, the new standards require servicers to reach struggling borrowers earlier in delinquency--as early as the third day following a missed payment--and more frequently, with consistent written and other communications. Such contact will help the servicer understand the borrower's circumstances, Fannie Mae said.

Servicers will use consistent written communications to inform borrowers about foreclosure prevention options. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide identical borrower information packages to collect information and specify what documentation the borrower may need to provide.

Servicers will evaluate borrowers simultaneously for the Home Affordable Modification Program, Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives and other options. Servicers will use consistent evaluation standards, trial periods and modification terms in assessing borrowers for modifications.

While working to keep people in their homes whenever possible, servicers must move borrowers more quickly to a resolution. When foreclosure is unavoidable, servicers must adhere to uniform processing timelines.

Select servicers receive incentive payments for achieving quality benchmarks and can be assessed compensatory fees for timeline violations.

While SAI means changes for servicers, the initiative will increase transparency and accountability for servicers and borrowers. SAI requirements will help borrowers understand their options and help servicers efficiently evaluate borrowers' eligibility for a loan modification or other workout alternatives.

CUNA rolls out Fuming Over Fees drive-up envelope

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MADISON, Wis. (10/25/11)--With bank checking and debit fees in the news, the Credit Union National Association has released a new statement stuffer that reminds members that checking is free at most credit unions.



For members who still have accounts with banks, the Fuming Over Fees drive-up envelope alerts them that banks are considering several new fees tied to debit transactions and recommends switching all their accounts to a credit union.

This new drive-up envelope will be ready to ship to credit unions the week of Nov. 14.

Orders can be customized with credit union name and logo. The back panel has room for a custom imprint or stamp. Minimum custom order quantity is 500.

Agility to host winter weather webinar

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MADISON, Wis. (10/25/11)--Agility Recovery will host a business-continuity webinar, "Preparing your Business for the Winter Weather Season" on Wednesday 2 p.m. (ET).

Agility Recovery is a CUNA Strategic Services provider.

ImpactWeather, a forecasting firm , will detail the next four to six months of winter weather threats for the United States.

Agility Recovery will also share tips and best practices to mitigate the risks posed by winter weather.

"When an organization is affected by adverse weather conditions, they must be prepared to continue to serve those who depend on them," said Bob Boyd, CEO of Agility Recovery. "Our webinar on Wednesday will provide a look at how to prepare for the threats posed by colder temperatures and frozen precipitation. The risk this winter is real and the importance of being prepared cannot be understated."

Corelation partners with Wycom on check processing

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SAN DIEGO (10/24/11)--Wycom's WyChecks technology has been integrated with Corelation's KeyStone core-processing solution through a partnership agreement between the two companies.

Harbor FCU, Carson, Calif., now is using Wycom's solutions--MICR laser check printing, secure signing and archival services featuring an auto-archive capability--to process checks.

Wycom's products also will be implemented in Corelation's upcoming conversions at Cabrillo CU, San Diego, and Oregon Pioneer FCU, Portland, Ore.

Wycom Systems provides check, receipt and document processing for credit unions and accounts payable departments in several industries, serving over 8,000 customers at more than 14,000 sites.

Datawatch launches CU report program

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CHELMSFORD, Mass. (10/24/11)--In recognition of International Credit Union Day, Datawatch, a report management and analytics provider, has launched a program to help credit unions leverage their existing reports to increase operating efficiencies and member service. 

As part of this program, Datawatch is offering special pricing that reflects the challenges of the credit union industry. 

Datawatch's Credit Union Enterprise Report Management Package consists of versions of Monarch Report Manager on Demand and Monarch Report Mining Server (RMS) that are specially optimized for popular credit union processing systems such as Symitar, Fiserv and Open Solutions. Enterprise report management solutions such as RMOD and RMS allow credit unions to store, analyze and distribute statements, documents and reports. 

"Credit unions are facing a 'big squeeze': they must react to and comply with rapidly changing rules and laws, while also making incremental changes to the business to meet any variety of business goals," said Kelley Lynn Kassa, Datawatch director of marketing communications. "Having the right data is vital to making the right business decisions in today's fast-changing financial services market. We're committed to providing report management and report analytics solutions optimized for credit unions."

More than 550 U.S. credit unions use Datawatch's report management and report analytics solutions to store, archive and access high-volume enterprise reports, statements, invoices and other credit union-specific documents.

Diebold receives trusted security award

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (10/21/11)--ATM provider Diebold has been awarded the 2011 Online Trust Leadership Award for Excellence in Security Practices by Online Trust Alliance (OTA). Diebold is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. OTA presents the annual leadership awards to organizations demonstrating committed stewardship for data protection and information security. The OTA Online Trust Leadership Awards recognize exceptional achievements by companies, nongovernmental organizations and individuals dedicated to preserving and improving trust in, and the vitality of, Web-based services. Diebold Web-based solutions and services are designed to protect critical data and infrastructure. To achieve the highest levels of security, the company follows a strict quality assurance program to ensure no application or service is released until it is tested and validated. Diebold also promotes a culture of security within the organization. The company conducts a global Security Education Week annually, during which employees learn about the latest best practices for mitigating information security threats. Also, year-round activities focus on training and awareness initiatives that educate employees about security issues ranging from phishing to social engineering.

TMG adds retail payments department

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DES MOINES, Iowa (10/20/11)--The Members Group, a payment solutions provider based in Des Moines, Iowa, has created a new client-service department, the TMG Retail Payments Team. The department, which will manage prepaid product implementations, support client portfolio growth and provide prepaid cardholder service, was created to address an increase in financial institutions now offering TMG’s ATIRA suite of prepaid products, the company said. The ATIRA suite includes ATIRAreload, a Visa general-purpose reloadable card; ATIRAgift, a Visa open-loop gift card; ATIRApay, a Visa payroll card; and the Coopera Card, a Visa reloadable card designed specifically for Hispanic cardholders.

ProfitStars introduces payments dashboard

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MONETT, Mo. (10/20/11)--ProfitStars has released an interactive dashboard for its enterprise payment solutions (EPS) clients. With the dashboard, called SmartSight, financial institutions can graphically view and drill down to member/customer, business segment, and key summary-level information. The SmartSight dashboard offers EPS clients anytime availability of data that historically has required up to several days at month-end to aggregate, ProfitStars said. Information can also be exported as reports or graphical “snapshots” for communication and additional reporting purposes throughout the institution. Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) guidance requires credit unions and banks to monitor remote deposit capture and automated clearinghouse transaction activity and risk. ProfitStars, based in Monett, Mo., provides technology solutions in financial performance, imaging and payments processing, information security and risk management, and retail delivery.

CUAnswers offers 10K grant to CEOs

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (10/19/11)--CU*Answers has earmarked $10,000 in grant money to be shared by up to five client credit unions whose CEOs can best “sell” their idea to their peers at a Nov. 9 CEO Roundtable Session on Nov. 9. The program is being offered to challenge CEOs, who often have great ideas, but lack the funding required to move forward and get their projects kick started, according to CU*Answers. The cuasterisk.com network, a collaborative network of credit union service organizations in which CU*Answers has been a partner, has been a birthplace of many successful ideas, and the company said it would like to continue to foster innovation that creates opportunity for members, credit unions, and the network. Key dates for the grant process include:
* Oct. 21--Deadline for submission of ideas; * Oct. 26--CU*Answers board of directors selects up to five ideas; * Oct. 27--Finalists notified via e-mail; and * Nov. 9--Five- to 10-minute presentation by finalists at CEO Roundtable.
CEOs attending the roundtable will vote for the idea they feel best stimulates growth and innovation. A total of $10,000 in grants will be distributed to the winners in accordance with votes received, and where the money can make the most difference. The distribution may be one grant of $10,000, four grants of $2,500, or tiered by different amounts, according to CU*Answers. Each winner must be willing to share how the grant was used and how it affected the credit union at next year’s CEO Roundtable. CEOs may submit ideas to put grant money to work directly in their credit union, staff, community or members. Winning projects may serve as templates for other credit unions. CU*Answers offers technical solutions for operational needs and includes its flagship CU*BASE processing system and Internet development services.

Patelco enters marketing agreement on mutual fund platform

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SEAL BEACH, Calif. (10/19/11)--Patelcorp, the marketing and insurance subsidiary of $3.6 billion Patelco CU, Pleasanton, Calif., will market SaveDaily’s mutual funds to other credit unions and financial service providers under a newly reached marketing agreement. The SaveDaily mutual fund platform is designed to eliminate the need for high initial invetstments and ongoing contributions to open accounts, so average savers can begin investing. “Patelco has previously helped to successfully launch Sharebuilder’s ETF 401(k) into the marketplace, and we believe SaveDaily has the right product at the right time for a majority of daily savers and investors,” said Mark Hoaglin, Patelcorp vice president of investment and insurance services. “Patelcorp is offering the SaveDaily platform to our customers today, and we believe that there will be a strong demand for this program.” Credit unions, banks and other financial service providers adopting the SaveDaily platform can offer mutual fund investing to their member/customers under their own brand. For a flat monthly charge, investors in mutual funds can have unlimited positions and unlimited changes without transaction fees.

CU Members Mortgage Scorecard winners announced

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DALLAS (10/18/11)--CU Members Mortgage has recognized six of its credit union partners and one league for for mortgage performance. The credit union organizations recognized include:
* Greater Texas FCU, Austin, Texas; * Riverland CU, New Orleans; * Eli Lilly FCU, Indianapolis; * Security Service FCU, San Antonio; * Sandia Area FCU, Albuquerque, N.M.; * League of Southeastern Credit Unions, which serves Alabama and Florida credit unions; and * Eli Lilly FCU, Indianapolis.
The awards were based on the credit unions’ scores using CU Members’ Scorecard. The scorecard process was developed to emphasize how credit unions can evaluate the progress, effectiveness and quality of their mortgage program. The scorecard takes into account factors such as the ratio of home loans that are purchased compared to home loans refinanced, average borrower FICO scores, a low percentage of early payoffs, and a scant default ratio. Credit unions also score points for innovative marketing initiatives and attending educational training sessions. “As the economy continues to flounder, these credit unions have performed on the opposite end of the spectrum--excelling in a time when many are not,” said Linda Clampitt, CU Members Mortgage senior vice president. “They have exceeded in a tough mortgage lending market when they are against some formidable odds. Instead of scrambling during these tough times, they have stepped up and provided their members with a great service that without a doubt has increased their value.” Dallas-based CU Members Mortgage provides mortgage services to more than 1,000 credit unions, credit union service organizations and leagues nationwide.

TrueCar to power online car-buying programs

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SANTA MONICA, Calif. (10/18/11)--TrueCar Inc., a publisher of real-time new- and used-vehicle transaction data in the U.S. market, will power the online car buying programs for credit unions through its new “Member Showroom” platform. Credit unions launching TrueCar-powered car-buying services are:
* Michigan First CU, Lathrup Village, Mich.; * Baxter CU, Vernon Hills, Ill.; * Congressional FCU, Oakton, Va.; * Fairwinds CU, Orlando, Fla.; * Pacific Service CU, Walnut Creek, Calif.; * Aspire FCU, Clark, N.J.; * Arlington Community FCU, Arlington, Va.; * Northwest FCU, Herndon, Va.; * Pennsylvania State Employees CU, Harrisburg, Pa.; and * Commonwealth One FCU, Alexandria, Va.
Together, the 10 credit unions represent more than a million members in seven states. Using TrueCar’s platform, credit union members can locate a local price for vehicls using the customized Member Showroom--designed to help credit union customers discover what others paid for their car--and receive a better price. To date, TrueCar has facilitated the sale of more than 350,000 vehicles--saving consumers more than $1 billion off the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price. The credit union partnership announcement follows TrueCar’s purchase of ALG from DealerTrack Holdings Inc., a source for automotive residual values, and the recent securing of over $200 million in debt and equity financing to fund the development of new revenue streams, growth and strategic acquisitions.

Tech Council offers Automating the Enterprise paper

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MADISON, Wis. (10/17/11)--A new white paper from the CUNA Technology Council discusses the costs and the benefits of implementing automation in information technology. “Automating the Enterprise: IT Operations and the Data Center--The Last Frontier of Enterprise Automation” is based on information and experiences gathered from data center managers, operations managers and chief information officers/chief technology officers worldwide, including many from the credit union industry. The paper, by Neville Kroeger, also identifies barriers to the adoption of automation, describes the evolution of automated management tools, offers examples of forward-thinking organizations implementing automation in their data centers, and outlines the benefits achieved from their investment. In any information technology organization any manual process should be evaluated to determine if it is a good candidate for automation, says the paper. The attributes of a manual processes that make a good candidate for automation include:
* It is a high-risk process. If something goes wrong during the process, there is a significant negative impact to the organization. * It is a complex process with multiple parallel threads of execution. Humans don’t cope well with managing complex, multi-threaded or parallel processes. Typically they will execute these processes sequentially instead of in parallel and use a checklist to help them keep track of the process. This results in the process taking much longer to complete than if it were automated to run in the most efficient manner. * It is a process that requires manual keyboard input. Keying in information is both error prone and time-consuming when compared with using an automated solution. * It is triggered by an ad-hoc event, such as a file arrival or a display on a console. If the organization doesn’t know when or how often an event will occur that initiates a particular workflow, efficiency is severely compromised by having to manually check to see if the triggering event has occurred. * It is a process that requires specialized knowledge. Credit unions can’t always rely on the required specialized knowledge being available. Embedding that knowledge in an automated system provides insurance against employees being out sick, on vacation or no longer available to the organization.

Five practices FIs can borrow from retailers

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (10/17/11)--A white paper identifying five best practices financial institutions can borrow from online retailers to boost customer engagement and create cross-sell opportunities, has been published by Fiserv Inc., a provider of financial services technology solutions. “Online Banking Meets Online Buying” shares findings from a series of consumer focus groups and a June Fiserv Consumer Insights survey of 3,000 U.S. consumers. To download the paper, use the link. “Consumers don’t expect a financial institution to be the next Amazon.com,” said Nicole Sturgill, TowerGroup research director, delivery channels. “They do, however, expect that their online experience will be intuitive and personalized regardless of whether they are banking or shopping.” The white paper outlines how the consumer mindset differs when banking online and buying online. Consumers hold their financial institutions to a “higher standard.” But opportunities still exist to market products and services online. Adopting these best practices from online retailers can increase cross-sell success:
* Make it easy for users to find what they want. Ease of use is the primary driver of satisfaction with online banking, according to the Fiserv survey. Credit unions and banks can make it easy to locate and accomplish specific tasks by prominently positioning frequently used online financial services. Also, online users are task-oriented and become annoyed if the flow of a task is interrupted, so credit unions and other financial institutions should strive to make related offers as part of the task flow or when a task is complete, said the paper. * Offer a personalized online experience. Personalization does not have to be complex. It can be as simple as providing online users with a personalized greeting or the ability to edit their profile and account information, areas in which the online banking experience lags the online buying experience. * Target the message to the right member, the right way. A best-practice approach is to present products and services to users based on their needs, rather than blanketing all customers with an offer or relying solely on sales goals to define offers. * Position recommendations in a helpful, friendly manner. Online retailers are adept at positioning products for cross-sell opportunities--without appearing to actually advertise the products--by presenting recommendations in a subtle and social manner. Financial institutions also may want to consider adding social elements to their sites as a way to promote products and services in conversations among consumers. * Focus on what you know. When consumers are engaged in online banking, they are most receptive to offers about products and services that will enhance the banking experience or that are related to personal finance. If the financial institution is helping them save money, providing valuable financial management tools or finding ways for them to increase their assets, members are more likely to respond and have a positive reaction.
“Consumers are not opposed to cross-selling within online banking, and a large percentage are receptive to offers they perceive to be targeted and relevant,” said Geoff Knapp, Fiserv vice president of online banking and consumer insights. “The key is to enable users to conduct their banking business quickly and efficiently while leveraging marketing to deliver a more personal and valuable experience.” To download the white paper, use the link.

Online Discovery Conference materials available until July

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MADISON, Wis. (10/14/11)--Registrants for CUNA Mutual Group’s second annual, daylong Online Discovery Conference, which was held Oct. 4, have access to all conference materials until July 4. Registrants can view or revisit the 13 credit union-focused sessions, download all conference materials, visit the expo hall and network with peers by continuing to download virtual business cards for up to nine months at no expense, CUNA Mutual said. Online Discovery is CUNA Mutual Group’s free Web-based conference. The event attracted a national and international audience of more than 1,800 credit union and league staff. The archive feature continues to provide Online Discovery participants with full control of their conference experience, according to Steve Johnson, CUNA Mutual senior vice president, marketing and credit union strategy. “The cool thing about the conference was participants made it their own,” Johnson said. Three conference participants each won a $1,000 show prize from CUNA Mutual Group for their credit union. The three winners were:
* Joshua Howes, Maine Savings FCU, Hampden, Maine; * Rnel Sohl, University of Nebraska FCU, Lincoln, Neb.; and * Janelle Higgison, River Valley CU, Ada, Mich.
To view the other prize winners, use the link

Fiserv sees surge in CU check imaging

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (10/14/11)--Fiserv Inc., a provider of financial services technology, has signed more than 30 new credit union clients for its check image-capture solution in the past 10 months. “We attribute this trend to the widespread adoption of imaging, coupled with the ongoing changes in the corporate credit union environment,” said Gary Brand, director, Source Capture Solutions, Fiserv. Velocity CU, Austin Texas, with assets of $568 million, is using Branch Source Capture from Fiserv to truncate deposits at the branch level, electronically correct and balance deposits, reconcile to the teller system and, present data and images to item-processing systems to clear, settle and post to core seamlessly. “Branch Source Capture from Fiserv allows us to offer a later cut-off time for same-day posting of deposits, which our members will appreciate,” said Velocity CU CEO Debbie Mitchell. “It also promises to reduce our check transportation costs and lower our per-item processing costs.” Source Capture Solutions is designed to enhance the reliability, versatility and scalability of image capture and check processing with a common Web-based platform. It includes branch, merchant, teller, ATM and a consumer and mobile capture on a common Web platform that allows for remote deposit capture.

Diebold mobile service helps secure cards accounts

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (10/13/11)--Diebold Inc. has released new service that allows consumers to lock their bank cards against unauthorized or fraudulent use by sending a text message. Diebold is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. MobiTransact Card Lock allows consumers to lock and unlock their bank cards to permit or deny account use at ATMs and point-of-sale (POS) devices. Part of Diebold's MobiTransact mobile banking offering, Card Lock uses the mobile channel as an out-of-band authentication tool for ATM and POS transactions. Users send text message commands that control the usage status of their ATM debit cards. By texting “lock” to a designated number, the user locks his or her card for all future ATM and POS transactions, preventing use until he or she unlocks the card. Texting “lock ATM” locks the card for only ATM withdrawal transactions. Sending an “unlock” command opens the card for use in any transaction until the user locks it again. The mobile banking platform also informs mobile banking users about all transactions attempted with their ATM debit card. The alert message explains that a transaction has occurred or why the transaction was denied. The message also serves as a tool to alert a cardholders of suspicious or fraudulent activity and allows them to stop unauthorized withdrawals by locking their card. MobiTransact also includes mobile banking sign-up at the ATM. This allows ATM users to complete mobile banking enrollment at the terminal. Financial institutions can push customized screens to terminals, encouraging users to initiate the sign-up process. Users then enter their mobile number at the ATM and receive a six-digit code that they text back to the financial institution. To ensure security, the sign-up process provides multi-factor authentication via the account holder’s ATM card, PIN and mobile device.

Harland Clarke Harland Fin. Solutions launch P2P network

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LAKE MARY, Fla. (10/13/11)--Harland Clarke and Harland Financial Solutions have collaborated to launch their own person-to-person payment (P2P) network. Harland Clarke is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. As part of the launch, the two companies are offering a free charter membership program for financial institutions. The network, called Direct Payment Exchange, includes both desktop and mobile applications, called DPXPay, and provides a common P2P platform for the companies’ more than 11,000 clients. With the application, credit unions can offer their members the ability to send and request electronic payments to and from another person using only their e-mail address or mobile phone number. Members can also use DPXPay for account-to-account (A2A) transfers between accounts at different institutions. Harland Financial Solutions and Harland Clarke said the network will satisfy consumer requests for easier, more secure methods to send and receive money. It has the potential to generate profitable, transaction-based revenue for their clients, they said. The charter membership program includes waiver of membership fees, access to consumer marketing support and name recognition in promotional campaigns. More than 3,000 financial institutions are enrolled in the Direct Payment Exchange network, according to Harland Financial and Harland Clarke. “With this service offering, financial institutions will reinforce to consumers their commitment to remaining on the forefront of technology, supporting customer acquisition and retention, while providing opportunities for improving performance,” said Dan Singleton, Harland Clarke president. Harland Clarke Corp. is a provider of integrated payment solutions, marketing services and security solutions. Harland Financial Solutions Inc. supplies software and services to thousands of financial institutions.

CUAnswers announces new tools fee reductions

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (10/12/11)--CU*Answers, a company that provides technical solutions for credit union operational needs, has announced three new tools for its clients and fee reductions for clients using its CU*BASE processing fees systems. The new tools released by CU*Answers include:
* A new iteration of the CU*BASE Demo Guide. The guide is a reference tool that provides an overview of automated workflow components and uses of various features provided within the CU*BASE system. Two major areas of focus for the CU*BASE Demo Guide include presentation workflow and explanation of feature benefits. * An added level of protection against ATM and debit card fraud. CU*Answers will offer clients the capability to set daily online limits. * An Exercises for Success workbook for credit unions using the CU*Base processing system. The workbook is designed to provide credit union employees with practice exercises to use with its Bedrock CU online learning tool.
CU*Answers also would provide fee reductions for several services, including:
* A 10% reduction in electronic funds transfer posting fees; * A 50% reduction in the contract cost of living allowance; * A waiver of the monthly minimum $5,000 resource utilization fee; and * A two-year, 100% waiver of the Lender*VP service fees that pertain to various CU*Base lending processes and third-party integration.

OpenClose launches iPad version loan origination software

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (10/12/11)--Lenders can now originate loans using OpenClose’s Web-based loan origination software (LOS) through their Safari Web browsers on iPads and Macs. That means credit unions can take an iPad into the community and perform on-the-spot loan originations. “Originators today need to be able to do business in real time, anytime and everywhere, all the while connecting with their borrowers and associates in a social way,” said Jason Regalbuto, OpenClose CEO. “OpenClose on an iPad makes that happen like no other solution can.” Loan originators using OpenClose’s Lender Assist employ a 3G-connected iPad to check rates, originate a loan, pull credit, lock the loan and get live responses, Regalbuto said. OpenClose offers software as a service computing solutions for the financial industry.

CUNA offers revised ID theft stuffer

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MADISON, Wis. (10/11/11)--The Credit Union National Association has revised its “ID Theft: How to Prevent It and How to Get Over It” statement stuffer. In June, when the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council set new security expectations for online banking activities, it identified essential elements for financial institutions' consumer awareness efforts. The revised brochure/stuffer addresses many of those changes. The brochure:
* Prepares members for challenge questions during online transactions; * Explains that the credit union will not contact them by e-mail or phone for personal information; * Encourages ways to protect accounts, including strong passwords; * Offers resources for more information on ID theft prevention and recovery.
A sample brochure can be found online. Use the link.

Akcelerant SWBC enhance loan origination platform

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MALVERN, Pa. (10/7/11)--Akcelerant, a provider of software applications for the financial services industry, has integrated its SOLUTION.LENDING loan origination software with SWBC’s Unity cross-selling application. The new “connector” allows Akcelerant customers to support cross-sell opportunities during the loan generation process for guaranteed-asset protection, extended warranties, credit insurance and debt cancellation. The Unity application is integrated to SOLUTION.LENDING through the addition of a new workflow step that allows loan protection products to be presented and sold to each new loan applicant. This eliminates the need for multiple software programs and decreases the risk of human error associated with double data entry, said Akcelerant. SWBC, headquartered in San Antonio, provides insurance mortgage, and investment services to financial institutions, businesses and individuals. Akcelerant is based in Malvern, Pa., and Vancouver, B.C.

PSCU Financial sweepstakes hikes online bill payment

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (10/6/11)--Financial institutions that participated in PSCU Financial Services’ “Win $10 Grand and You Can …” Bill Pay Summer Sweepstakes achieved an overall 15% increase in new subscriber enrollments and a 14% gain in activation. Subscribers making more than three monthly payments also increased 5%. The sweepstakes offered a $10,000 grand prize; a $2,000 travel certificate for first place; and two Apple iPads 2 for second place. Each of the 135 participating credit unions also was guaranteed one $100 winner. The two-month promotion ran from June 1 to July 31. Each subscriber who made at least three online bill payments in June and July was entered into the contest, and received subsequent entries for additional payments made each month. The $10,000 grand-prize winner was from Achieva CU of Largo, Fla. The first-prize winner was from Lockheed FCU of Burbank, Calif.; and second-prize winners came from Citadel FCU, Thorndale, Pa., and Belvoir FCU, Woodbridge, Va. Winners were drawn randomly. PayLynx, PSCU Financial Services’ bill payment product, has more than 1.23 million subscribers and is deployed at 263 institutions, including more than 250 credit unions. Its subscribers make more than 4.4 million payments online each month. PSCU Financial Services is a credit union service organization based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Experian QAS launches data cleansing services

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BOSTON (10/6/11)--Experian QAS, a part of Experian Marketing Services and a provider of address verification software and services, has announced three new data cleansing services for its e-commerce website. The new services allow for online NCOALink processing, advanced address correction, and deceased and prison suppression that matches deceased and incarcerated individuals from extensive databases. The products provide a scalable, 24-hour service that allows companies to upload data files through the Experian QAS website so that contact details against any of the data files within 48 hours. Returned files permit businesses to update and correct outdated contact data to create a more complete customer view. “Contact data is a dynamic piece of information for any business, and that data need to be updated on a regular basis,” said Thomas Schutz, senior vice president, general manager of Experian QAS. “The goal of these new products is to provide a quick, convenient way for businesses to clean existing contact data files to increase marketing conversion and improve business analytics.” The services are hosted and automatically updated with the latest data available, allowing businesses to free up internal information technology resources that would otherwise be spent managing and rolling out on-premise products and services. Experian QAS is an address data quality software pioneer. The company’s products capture, validate, cleanse, standardize and enrich customer contact information.

OfficeMax Google Wallet offer smartphone shopping

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (10/5/11)--OfficeMax, a provider of office supplies, technology and services, has opened checkout terminals in more than 100 stores that let customers pay with Google Wallet through their mobile phones. Office Max is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. These new contactless payment terminals, powered by MasterCard PayPass, are available in OfficeMax stores throughout the greater New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., markets. OfficeMax said it is the first office supply retailer to implement the full range of Google Wallet features--payment, coupon redemption and loyalty programs. It’s also the first national office supply retailer to accept mobile payments through Google Wallet, the company said. Google Wallet, which is available on Sprint Nexus 4G phones, is an app that turns consumers’ phones into wallets. The app securely stores virtual versions of a consumer’s payment and rewards credentials, which can be used in stores with a mobile phone. Google Wallet employs near field communication (NFC) to make payments secure by tapping an NFC-enabled phone on any MasterCard PayPass-enabled terminal at checkout. The new mobile payment terminals at OfficeMax featuring PayPass Tap & Go will accept payments through Google Wallet and other contactless payment devices with radio frequency identification and NFC.

Harlands PhoenixEFE receives Celent tech award

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LAKE MARY, Fla. (10/4/11)--Harland Financial Solutions’ PhoenixEFE enterprise solution has received an XCelent Technology Award from Celent, according to in a recent research report about core banking solutions for large credit unions. The company’s solution received the award for its leading performance in advanced technology. The study examines 12 providers in the financial services sector using the Celent ABCD Vendor View to show the relative position of vendors in categories of advanced technology, breadth of functionality, customer base and depth of client services. The report cites current trends among credit unions, including the need for multi-channel technologies that help attract members and secure member loyalty, and increased integration that provides a single view of the member. Both are areas of strength for PhoenixEFE, which brings together Harland Financial Solutions’ real-time core processing solution with the company’s specialized applications. Its capabilities span the functions of a financial institution’s entire enterprise. “Credit unions are finding it necessary to develop competitive technological offerings, and therefore prefer core banking solutions with multi-channel options like ATM, mobile, Internet, and interactive voice response to attract customers and engender customer loyalty,” says Bart Narter, senior vice president of Celent’s Banking Group and author of the report. “Harland Financial Solutions’ PhoenixEFE is strongly positioned to help credit unions meet those technological challenges.” Harland Financial Solutions, Inc. supplies software and services to financial institutions of all sizes, offering its solutions in an in-house and service bureau environment.

Symitar adds 37 CU clients in fiscal year

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MONETT, Mo. (10/4/11)--Symitar, a provider of core data processing and other technology solutions to credit unions, added 37 credit unions to its client roster during the 2011 fiscal year, which ended June 30. The credit unions decided to replace competitive platforms with Symitar’s Episys or Cruise systems. Of the new clients, 25 chose Episys and 12 selected Cruise, which is designed for small- to mid-sized credit unions. Following a trend toward outsourced services, 20 credit unions chose an outsourced delivery model, while 17 credit unions opted for an in-house solution. Symitar is a division of Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.