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CUANY hosts 12 days of giveaways for Facebook users

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ALBANY, N.Y. (11/28/12)--The Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) is hosting a 12 Days of Giveaways promotion to thank New York credit union supporters who have "liked" its Facebook page.

The event, which is exclusively on the association's Facebook page, runs Dec. 3-14. (Use the link).

Member credit union employees or volunteer leaders who are 16 years or older and who have "liked" the association's page are eligible to enter. Those who haven't yet "liked" the page will be prompted to do so before entering.  Entrants fill out and submit a short form on the page by Friday to be entered in all 12 prize drawings.

The giveaways include:

  • Dec. 3:  Starbucks travel mug/ $25 Starbucks gift card;
  • Dec. 4:  Gray cashmere throw from Red Envelope;
  • Dec. 5:  Kindle Paperwhite;
  • Dec. 6:  Golfer's cooler bag from Red Envelope;
  • Dec. 7:  Harry & David Hot Rock Cocoa gift set;
  • Dec. 8:  Thirteen-inch, hi-res digital photo frame from NIX Digital;
  • Dec. 9:  Camel heather cashmere scarf from Banana Republic;
  • Dec. 10: Silicone spatula set and $50 gift card from Williams-Sonoma;
  • Dec. 11:  Harry & David Founders' Favorites Gift Box;
  • Dec. 12:  A Sharper Image wireless Steering Wheel Bluetooth Speakerphone;
  • Dec. 13:  A stocked Red Envelope picnic basket; and
  • Dec. 14:  A Photo Cube Printer.
 

CUANY will post each day's winner on its Facebook page by 10 a.m. ET and contact the winner by e-mail.

"Social media has become an integral part of our communications process," said CUANY President/CEO William J. Mellin.  "We wanted to recognize and thank our members who have chose to receive and share some of their information through our Facebook page, and thought a promotion of this kind was a great way to do so."

CUs grab first third fourth spots in top college cards

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WASHINGTON (11/28/12)--Three credit unions are among the top 10 college credit card agreements with the largest number of new college card accounts opened in 2011.

According to an annual report on college credit cards, submitted in October by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to Congress, the University of Illinois Employees CU (UIECU) opened the largest number of new college credit card accounts during 2011. UIECU 's partner in the venture is the University of Illinois Alumni Association.

During 2011, the credit union opened 3,452 new accounts, which moved it up four notches to the top spot. That compares to 779 new accounts it opened in 2010, when it ranked fifth in the nation.

UIECU's affinity card is marketed to the university's alumni, fans and credit union members, but not students (News-Gazette.com Nov. 27). The credit union received the contract for the card on July 1, 2010, replacing a long-term relationship between the alumni association and Bank of America.

Purdue FCU, working with the Purdue Alumni Association was in the No. 3 spot, with 2,877 new accounts in 2011, compared with 2,642 accounts in 2010, when it ranked No. 1.

The third credit union in the top 10--at the No. 5 spot--was Michigan State University FCU, working with Michigan State University.  It opened 1,115 new accounts in 2011, compared with 302 in 2010, when it ranked 24th on the list.

Rounding out the Top 10 list were:

  • Barclays Bank Delaware (working with the Harvard Alumni Association);
  • FIA Card Services, N.A., which had four spots on the list for its programs at University of Notre Dame, Auburn Spirit Foundation, Alumni Association of the University of Michigan and Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society;
  • Capital One, N.A., working with Georgia Tech Alumni Association; and
  • USAA Savings Bank, working with the Association of Graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
The 10 agreements account for roughly 35% of all new college credit cards opened last year. They opened a total of 15,041 new accounts, compared with 9,065 accounts in 2010.

For the full report, use the link.

Post-BTD coverage continues focus on CU growth

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DENVER (11/28/12)--Colorado credit unions are seeing a rise in new memberships, more than a year after Bank Transfer Day (BTD).

In the past year, credit union membership in the state has risen by 2.4% to 1.46 million--the first increase in three years and the largest since 2001 (The Denver Post Nov. 26).

That increase is nearly identical to the national trend, the Mountain West Credit Union Association, which represents credit unions in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming, told the newspaper.   

Credit unions finally are getting their due as the community-involved, member-focused organizations they always have been, Dan Kester, president/CEO of the $262 million asset Sooper CU in Arvada, Colo., told the paper.

A Credit Union National Association survey conducted in February indicated three out of four people surveyed think credit unions look out for the "little guy" compared with 18% who feel the same way about banks, the paper said.  

The article also mentions Ent FCU in Colorado Springs and Bellco CU in Greenwood Village, Colo.

To read the article, use the link.

IC3 lists top nine frauds impacting eCommerce

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MADISON, Wis. (11/28/12)--The Internet Crime Complaint Center's (IC3) most recent Scam Alert issue Monday listed the top nine types of fraud impacting eCommerce.

The report, based upon information from law enforcement and complaints submitted to the IC3, details recent cybercrime trends and new twists to previously existing cyber scams.

IC3 said a payment management company created the list, which also identified the frequency of attack and revenue loss.

In ranked order, the top nine fraud attacks identified were:

  1. Clean Fraud--The term describes the willingness and ability of thieves to provide more and better personal information in card-not-present transactions, information that in isolation gives the appearance of legitimacy to the transaction (electran.org).
  1. Account Takeover--Account takeover is one of the more prevalent forms of identity theft. It is becoming increasingly prominent and is a growing point of financial exposure for businesses and consumers. The takeover occurs when a fraudster obtains an individual's personal information such as an account number, password, username or Social Security number and changes the official contact information (mail/email address) or adds another user to an existing account. By doing this, the fraudster establishes an opportunity to make transactions without the victim's knowledge (kount.com).
  1. Friendly Fraud--Also known as "friendly fraud chargeback,"  this fraud occurs when  consumers make an Internet purchase with their own credit card and then issues a chargeback through the card provider after receiving the goods or services. When a chargeback occurs, the merchant will always be responsible for loss of funds, regardless of what it did to verify the transaction. There is no way to verify the authenticity of the transaction, which is in fact legitimate, because the consumer is the one who is not legitimate (wikipedia.org).
  1. Identity Theft--Identity theft is a when someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name (wikpedia.org).
  1. Affiliate Fraud--In this type of fraud, bogus activity generated by an affiliate attempts to generate illegitimate, unearned revenue. Fraudulent activity by affiliates comes in both automated and non-automated varieties. Automated scripts attempt to mimic the activity of legitimate, human visitors. Non-automated schemes may involve coordinated efforts by humans actively generating excess clicks or registrations (softwareprojects.com).
  1. Reshipping--In reshipping, or postal forwarding, scam victims typically are offered an at-home job that involves repackaging stolen goods--frequently consumer electronics--and forwarding them, often outside the U.S. Scammers ask victims to pay their own shipping charges, and pay reimbursement and compensation with a fake check. In addition to seeing their own paychecks bounce, those who fall for reshipping scams may be liable for shipping charges and even the cost of goods purchased online with stolen credit cards (monster.com).
  1. Botnets--A botnet is a collection of compromised computers under the remote command and control of a criminal "botherder." Most owners of the compromised computers are unwitting victims. They have unintentionally allowed unauthorized access and use of their computers as a vehicle to facilitate other crimes, such as identity theft, denial of service attacks, phishing, click fraud, and the mass distribution of spam and spyware. Because of their widely distributed capabilities, botnets are a growing threat to national security, the national information infrastructure, and the economy (fbi.gov).
  1. Phishing/Pharming/Whaling--Phishing (also called pharming or whaling) e-mails trick people into sending money or providing personal information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details, and Social Security numbers to unauthorized individuals who hijack their information and use it to commit identity theft (dos.ny.gov).
  1. Triangulation Schemes--Triangulation is another method of credit card fraud. The fraudsters operate from a website and offers goods at heavily discounted rates and with shipping before payment. The fraudulent site appears to be a legitimate auction or traditional sales site. The customer must provide information, including name, address and valid credit card details, to the site. Once the fraudsters receive the details, they order the goods from a legitimate site using another stolen credit card number and apply for the goods with the customer's name and address. The fraudsters then go purchase other goods with customer's credit card numbers. This process causes initial confusion for authorities so the fraudulent Internet company can operate long enough to accumulate a vast amount of goods purchased with stolen credit card numbers (people.exeter.ac.uk).
Several legitimate direct sales companies have seen a large surge in fake orders placed with their consultants. The consultants are contacted through the legitimate "find a consultant" link located on sales websites.

In each instance, the suspects place large orders and agree to pay by check. The consultant receives the check for a much larger amount than the total cost for the products. The consultant is instructed to cash the check and send the difference back to the buyer via wire transfer. The IC3 has received several complaints filed by consultants from companies affected by this scam.

CU System briefs (11/27/2012)

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  • WESTBURY, N.Y. (11/28/12)--NEFCU, a credit union based in Westbury, N.Y.,  and serving all of Long Island, is partnering with Roslyn's Educational Advancement and Development Foundation (READ) to help boost funding for the district. For the first time, NEFCU is introducing a Visa Platinum loyalty credit card program. The card will give a 1% cash rebate to the READ Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that funds programs and capital projects within the Roslyn School District. The READ Loyalty Credit Card Program will give residents, families and supporters of the district the opportunity to apply for the loyalty program. NEFCU will automatically donate 1% of card users' total purchases to READ. The card, designed by NEFCU specifically for the program, will feature the READ and Roslyn bulldog logos ...
  • OTTUMWA, Iowa (11/28/12)--Philip Van Mersbergen, president/CEO of  Ottumwa, Iowa based Community 1st CU, has been appointed to serve on the Iowa Credit Union League's Governance Task Force for 2013. Van Mersbergen joined the $400 million asset  Community 1st CU in 2008 as chief financial officer and was appointed president/CEO in 2011.  By serving on the league's task force, he represents the collective interests and future of Iowa's 125 credit unions and nearly one million members. He will be working with other Iowa credit union leaders to develop initiatives that will better serve members and advance the industry, Van Mersbergen said …

Money Rules book by Chatzky available from NCUF

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MADISON, Wis. (11/28/12)--Copies of the new book "Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security" by personal finance author Jean Chatzky are available from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF).

"Money Rules" contains a set of rules that will help readers to work toward financial security and eliminate their stress about money, said NCUF.

Chatzky will be one of the keynote speakers at The Credit Union National Association's upcoming 2013 Governmental Affairs Conference, Feb. 24-28.

Through the special initiative sponsored by NCUF, credit union organizations can order the book for a reduced rate to distribute to:

  • Staff;
  • Members;
  • Attendees of community events, particularly financial education-related events; and
  • Teachers/libraries/resource centers in each school of the districts in which they serve.
"'Money Rules' is a simple yet powerful money management book," said Bucky Sebastian, NCUF executive director. "People of almost any age can pick it up, read from any page and learn something profound from Jean Chatzky's simple but important rules. It's a great handbook to help consumers achieve financial freedom and we hope it spreads throughout the credit union movement."

"In these trying economic times it is more important than ever to learn all we can about our personal finances," Chatzky said.

Orders of 1,000 or more will also include the donor organization's name on a sticker on the front cover. Each book already comes with "Compliments of: NCUF" printed on the cover. Books can be ordered on a non-returnable basis, for promotional purposes only and not for resale.

An award-winning journalist and best-selling author, Chatzky is the financial editor for NBC's Today, the host of Money Matters with Jean Chatzky on RLTV, and director of education for SavvyMoney. Among other achievements, Chatzky was honored by the Consumer Federation of America with the Betty Furness Consumer Media Service Award for nearly two decades of pioneering personal finance education.

For more information on the book, use the link.

CUAid total tops 230K for hurricane victims

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MADISON, Wis. (11/28/12)--More than $230,000 has been raised so far through CUAid.coop for credit union people affected by Hurricane Sandy, said the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) Tuesday morning. Damage estimates from the storm rose Monday to more than $71 billion.

The $230,000 compares with the more than $185,000 that had been raised through CUAid, the credit union movement's disaster relief fund, by Nov. 15. NCUF administers the fund for credit unions. The relief funds are distributed to credit unions' employees, volunteer leadership and members impacted by the storm.

"We continue to work with the New Jersey Credit Union League and Credit Union Association of New York to distribute the funds to those who need assistance," said Christopher Morris, NCUF director of communications.

The National Credit Union Administration has estimated that 818 credit unions were impacted by the Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 storm, mostly in closures due to power outages.

Hurricane Sandy was downgraded to a tropical cyclone on Oct. 29, just before it made landfall south of Atlantic City, N.J., and destroyed the coastline in New Jersey and New York. New Jersey, New York and Connecticut were heaviest hit.

Damage estimates released this week indicated that the storm caused more than $71 billion in damages--higher than the $50 billion estimated right after the storm.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said damages in his state totaled $42 billion. The estimate includes $9 billion for prevention expenses for future storms. The state will request federal disaster aid, he said (Voice of America Nov. 26.)

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg estimated that the city suffered $19 billion in damages, which are included in Cuomo's statewide estimate (Christian Science Monitor Nov. 26).

Last week New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie estimated that state sustained $24 billion in damages, while Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said more than $360 million in damages were sustained by businesses, homes and public property in his state.

More than a month after the huge storm, people were still homeless, with some sleeping in tents where their homes used to be.

Sandy was particularly damaging because it combined with a cold front from the northwest and a high pressure storm system moving in from Greenland. The result was a monster storm that encompassed an 800- to 1,000-mile wide stretch of high sustained winds and flooding across several states in the North East.  It also flooded lower Manhattan in New York City, cut power to an estimated 6 to 8 million people, and destroyed shorelines in New Jersey and New York.

Wis voter poll 80 support raising MBL cap

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PEWAUKEE, Wis. (11/28/12)--Eighty percent of Wisconsin voters polled support raising credit unions' member business lending (MBL) cap, according to the Wisconsin Credit Union League, which conducted the poll.

"A whopping 80%" say they support The Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill, legislation in Congress that would add $ 408 million of new credit for Wisconsin businesses through credit unions, the league said. The bill would add $13 billion in new small business loans throughout the nation, said the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

The legislation, H.R. 1418/S. 2231, is expected to come up for a vote by the U.S. Senate during the Lame Duck session of Congress. The session ends on Dec. 21, said CUNA.

The bill proposes to raise the arbitrary MBL cap to 27.5% of total assets, up from the current 12.25%.

The league listed these reasons that the bill has gained steam:

  • Small businesses say there's a credit cap. Research indicates 90% of small firms surveyed agree. A 2011 Pepperdine University study indicated banks deny 60% of loan applications.
  • Credit unions have done all they can.  Since the recession began in 2007, Wisconsin banks decreased their business lending by 2% while credit unions in the state grew their MBLs by 55% to compensate.
  • Credit unions' hands are tied from offering additional help. Nearly all credit unions either deny loans because of the cap or can't offer any because the cap prevents cost recovery.
  • The legislation would add jobs--Nearly 5,000 jobs in Wisconsin the first year, said the league. CUNA said raising the MBL cap would add nearly 140,000 across the nation.
  • Raising the cap helps Main Street. Half of credit union MBLs help families with incomes under $50,000.
  • It costs the taxpayers nothing. U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado), the bill's lead author, as well as Forbes, have called raising the cap a "no brainer."
  • Federal regulators support it. Credit unions have made safe and sound business loans. In Wisconsin, credit unions have had a lower rate of business loan delinquency and losses than banks for more than a decade and have made those loans safely for 100 years, said the league.
  • A bipartisan coalition of more than 30 organizations supports it. The coalition represents small businesses, the self-employed and the insurance, textile, realty, construction, automotive and technology industries.
  • It won't hurt banks. Banks hold 95% of U.S. business loans, said the league. Raising the MBL cap for credit unions won't dent banks' market share. Almost half of banks support the legislation, said the league.