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CU Student Choice myCUmortgage form partnership

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WASHINGTON (12/1/09)--Credit Union Student choice, which provides turnkey private student lending services to credit unions, has announced a strategic business partnership with myCUmortgage, a wholly owned credit union service organization (CUSO) of Wright-Patt CU that provides mortgage services to credit unions in the Midwest. “With more than $200 million in loan approvals in the last 19 months, Credit Union Student Choice has proved to be the ultimate solution for credit unions looking to offer private student loans,” said Tim Mislansky, senior vice president of Fairborn, Ohio-based Wright-Patt CU and president of myCUmortgage. He noted the collaborative model will allow its partner credit unions "to offer a dynamic product without the traditional overhead of starting and maintaining a new lending operation." Several key factors influenced the CUSO’s decision to partner with Student Choice. “We feel strongly that an important role of credit unions is to help people improve their lives. And one of the best ways to achieve a better life is by obtaining a college education,” said Mislansky. “Unfortunately, with the ever-increasing cost of college and continued distress in the student lending market, obtaining a college degree is harder than ever for many Americans. The Student Choice solution, however, provides a fair and ethical financing solution for borrowers while returning good loans to credit unions,” Mislansky said.

Net gambling rule elder financial abuse audios soon

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MADISON, Wis. (11/30/09)--Two audio conferences on Internet gambling rules and preventing elder abuse will be offered by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) this week and next. “Are You Ready for the New Unlawful Internet Gambling Rule” will be offered Tuesday at 1 p.m. CST. The audio will provide a brief overview of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and an update on legislative efforts to postpone compliance with the law. In 2008, the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board issued a final rule to implement UIGEA. The final rule was effective Jan. 19 with a compliance date of Dec. 1. Five payment systems are affected by the regulation: automated clearing house systems (ACH), card systems, check collection systems, money transmitting businesses and wire transfer systems. The audio will help attendees:
* Identify what to include in policies and procedures; * Learn how to create a disclosure or an addendum to a membership agreement; * Identify ACH risks for credit unions; * Examine how to avoid risks to a card program; * Discover what to watch for when accepting bank wire requests over the Internet; and * Train staff on the requirements of the new regulation.
“Senior Financial Scams: The CU’s Role in Preventing Elder Financial Abuse” will be offered Dec. 8. The National Center on Elder Abuse defines elder abuse as the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder at risk for harm by another due to changes in physical functioning, mental functioning, or both. Through this webinar, credit unions will:
* Discuss the definition and scope of Elder Financial Abuse; * Learn the characteristics of the typical victims of this crime; * Hear about different types of financial exploitation; * Identify ways of recognizing members who may be victims; and * Determine a plan of action for assisting victims of elder financial abuse.

CU 24 launches bilingual website

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (11/25/09)--Credit Union 24, a credit union-owned ATM and point-of-sale (POS) network, has launched a bilingual website for Spanish-speaking participant credit unions and their members. The Spanish version includes information about products and services for credit unions and their members, including the CU HERE surcharge-free ATM programs. Credit Union 24 also has information available in Spanish on collateral pieces that discuss the company’s services and POS terminal locations in the U.S. and Latin America. Credit Union 24, Tallahassee, Fla., operates an ATM and POS network, with more than 100,000 ATM terminals nationwide.

CUDL signs agreement with Capital Fleet Services

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ONTARIO, Calif. (11/25/09)--CUDL has partnered with GE Capital Fleet Services to help credit unions remarket repossessed assets. Under the agreement, credit unions can access the Remarketing by GE program, which helps credit unions manage their repossessed vehicles, streamline asset recovery and improve returns on vehicles at auto auctions. Outsourcing the remarketing of repossessed assets can help credit unions improve operational efficiency, have a faster sales cycle and receive higher net sale prices for repossessed vehicles than with their own internal marketing, the companies said in a release. GE Capital Fleet is a commercial wholesale remarketer based in Eden Prairie, Minn. CUDL, based in Ontario, Calif., provides auto lending services for the credit union industry.

CU of New Jersey offers furlough dough

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EWING, N.J. (11/24/09)--Credit Union of New Jersey, Ewing, is offering a new furlough loan product to help state employees affected by mandatory furloughs. The product is dubbed “Furlough Dough,” according to the New Jersey Credit Union League. Furlough Dough offers state employees a loan for two weeks of net pay--up to $2,500--at a rate of 6.99%. The product does not require a credit check (The Weekly Exchange Nov. 16). Since the product was announced Nov. 1, more than 1,300 members have applied. The offer has been extended through Nov. 30, and the credit union said it expects to receive 2,000 loan applications. New Jersey state employees are required to take 10 furlough days from May 2009 through June 2010. Credit Union of New Jersey has $277 million in assets.

EPL adds 3 CUs to i-Power

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (11/23/09)--EPL, a CUNA Strategic Service, has added three credit unions to i-Power, EPL’s core processing application. South Carolina National Guard FCU, Columbia, S.C., converted to EPL’s i-Power, Collections, Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering solution, and online lending and account opening. The credit union also selected EPL’s CU Dashboard, an intranet and extranet solution for internal and board communications. Bay Media FCU, San Francisco, converted to i-Power and selected EPLU’s Web Design Hosting and CU Dashboard. Palace City FCU, Mitchell, S.D., converted to i-Power as the first credit union to join EPL in South Dakota. In other news, EPL held its 31st annual client conference in Nashville. This year’s theme was “It’s a Whole New World.” During the conference, EPL focused on the changes credit unions need to consider to thrive in the future and remain relevant to mobile financial consumers of all ages.

Mobile person-to-person payments catching on

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NEW YORK (11/20/09)--U.S. consumers, especially younger consumers, are embracing person-to-person mobile payments, BusinessWeek reported. Mobile person-to-person payments allow individuals to send money to others by using a mobile phone and e-mail address. The service will likely catch on with more people, and financial institutions that can make mobile payments as easy as sending a text message “are going to win,” the magazine said. Many financial institutions--including Boeing Employees CU, Seattle--have added person-to-person payments to their mobile and online banking platforms. Fiserv, a technology services provider that works with credit unions, also recently began marketing a mobile person-to-person bill payment service (BusinessWeek Nov. 23). Banking through mobile phones is relatively safe, according to Robert Varmosi, security analyst with Javelin Strategy and Research. Mobile banking is more secure than online banking because cellular networks are more difficult to hack into, he added.

Products and Services briefs (11/19/2009)

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* MADISON, Wis. (11/20/09)--UW CU, Madison, Wis., partnered with DaneCountyMarket.com to provide loan products and services for members. Potential homebuyers use DaneCountyMarket.com to search for home listings, perform competitive market analysis on available homes and learn about the home loan process. With the partnership, consumers can use UW CU’s mortgage pre-approval system so they can be better prepared for the home buying process. They also can track mortgage interest rates, read financial education articles, and access UW CU’s financial education seminar schedule. UW CU has $1.17 billion in assets ... * BOSTON (11/20/09)--Mobile Money Ventures (MMV), a provider of mobile financial services, announced that it is partnering with Digital Insight, the financial institutions division of Intuit and a CUNA Strategic Service. With MMV’s mobile solution, consumers can check their finances, transfer money, pay bills, find an ATM or branch, and check product rates from their mobile phone using a Web browser. Users can access the service by logging into their accounts, using their online banking username and password (Datamonitor News and Comment Nov. 9) ... * PORTLAND, Ore. (11/20/09)--CU Business Group (CUBG), a provider of business lending, deposit and consulting services for credit unions, donated three wagons full of toys for Oregon’s annual Credit Unions for Kids auction, generating $17,500 for area children’s hospitals. CUBG purchased the wagons and filled them with toys for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Sacred Heart Medical Center and Rogue Valley Medical Center, then donated the wagons to the auction. Two of the wagons sold for $7,000 each, and the third sold for $3,500. From left are CUBG staff members Mark Hayhurts, Derek Anderson, Jared Brown and Rachel Snyder. CU Business Group is based in Portland, Ore. (Photo provided by CU Business Group) ...

CUNA Mutual offers webinar on baby boomers

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MADISON, Wis. (11/19/09)--CUNA Mutual Group is offering a free Discovery Webinar on serving the baby boomer market Dec. 17. Registration for the event begins Monday. The webinar, “Boomers or Bust!” will be held at 1 p.m. EDT. Jeff Hunt, CUNA Mutual consumer program manager, will present the webinar. Attendees of the webinar also will be offered a free white paper that analyzes the retention risk, pinpoints boomers’ needs and lays out a six-step plan to help credit unions evolve into a retiree-focused organization with products, services and guidance to retain the boomer segment. For more information, use the link.

Technology CU offering jumbo home loans

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (11/19/09)--Technology CU announced that it will offer adjustable-rate home mortgages (ARMs) up to $1 million. The mortgages target buyers who seek an affordable home loan in California’s Bay Area housing market. The loan’s start rate adjusts after five years, the San Jose, Calif.-based credit union said. “For the last several years, ARMs have developed somewhat of a negative reputation, but today’s ARM is serving a far different market than it was a year or so ago,” said Steve Donahue, Technology CU assistant vice president of mortgage origination. Tighter underwriting standards often require 20% down, which transforms ARMs into a high-end product for buyers with good credit and significant resources, he added. Homebuyers also are eligible for an $8,000 tax credit for purchasing a principal residence through April 30. A $6,500 credit also is available for repeat homebuyers. Technology CU has $1.2 billion in assets.

ALM resource addresses CU mergers

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DALLAS (11/18/09)--ALM First Financial Advisors announced the availability of a resource to aid credit unions that are considering mergers with other credit unions. ALM First Merger Valuation Services offers credit unions help evaluating the merit of a merger, the fair value of business combinations and quantifying the required valuation adjustments for mergers at closing. The service has two options: Comprehensive Valuation, which provides credit unions specific information, explanations and valuation; and MacroView Valuation, which provides a high-level view of a credit union’s worth. More credit unions are deciding to merge to take advantage of economies of scale and their combined ability to better serve members, according to ALM. “Current market realities are causing more credit unions to consider merging,” said Emily Hollis, ALM First partner. “At the same time, changes in accounting requirements have made the merging process more complex.” The Statement of Financial Accounting Standards 141-R (SFAS 141-R) requires more consistency in the financial reporting of business combinations among financial institutions. Credit unions must record the fair value of the acquired credit union, instead of pooling the balances sheets with no valuation adjustments. “Since SFAS 141-R took effect this year, many credit unions have found complying with the new accounting rules to be more complicated than in the past,” Hollis added. ALM and Sacher Consulting oversee SFAS 141-R accounting services. RP Financial, as a third member of the team, provides entity valuations to establish an acquired credit union’s fair value. ALM is a financial advisory firm that serves credit unions.

Smart Financial CU increases PIN revenue by 8

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (11/18/09)--Smart Financial CU of Houston announced that it has experienced an average increase of 8% per month in personal identification number (PIN) point-of-sale revenue. The uptick is due to Smart Financial CU’s recent streamlining of debit card processing onto a single network. The credit union partnered with TNB Card Services in April to manage the card operation, and experienced a 10% increase in revenue (LoneStar Leaguer Nov. 17). “Having two processors to manage basically the same card account was very inefficient,” said Corbin Wilson, vice president of electronic service delivery for Smart Financial CU. “Because the networks didn’t talk to each other, we were duplicating work, which was completely unproductive. We saw that consolidating the processing under one roof could eliminate dual entry of card data and simplify the entire process.” “In addition to increased revenue and improved processing efficiencies, by consolidating our debit processing with TNB we were able to increase card security for PIN-based transactions by adding card verification value codes and fraud detection,” she added. “These are features we didn’t have with our former PIN debit processor.” Other benefits of the conversion include the ability to add debit cards at the branch level and viewing transaction data in real time. The quicker posting of transaction data helps cardholders better manage their accounts, TNB said.

CO-OP ATMs at 7-Eleven stores for 5 more years

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (11/17/09)--Credit union members on the CO-OP Network will be able to use ATMs at 7-Eleven stores for another five years, CO-OP Financial Services announced Monday. CO-OP renewed its contract with Cardtronics Inc., which operates the ATMs, through July 2014. More than 3.2 million surcharge-free CO-OP Network transactions take place at 7-Eleven ATMs per month. The CO-OP Network has been linked with 7-Eleven ATMS since November 2005. The network offers 28,000 surcharge-free ATMS nationwide. CO-OP, a credit union service organization, is based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Mint.com launches Money Tweets

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (11/16/09)--Mint.com, an account aggregator, announced that it is using Twitter to deliver personal finance content through “Money Tweets.” “Money Tweets” is an extension of Mint’s personal finance blog MintLife. The tweets will be divided into five categories:
* Topics--information about budgets, saving, investment loans and retirement; * Tweets about Mint.com; * Tweets from Mint.com, which updates followers on the latest product upgrades and content; * Questions, which will offer a question of the day; and * Popular, which keeps readers informed about important financial topics.
Mint.com allows users to view all of their financial accounts in one place and provides users with personal finance information and news.

White paper Demand for mobile banking to soar

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (11/16/09)--The demand for mobile banking is expected to skyrocket, according to a white paper from PSCU Financial Services. The paper, “A Versatile Medium Serving Versatile Needs,” explores the importance of online banking and its implications for the future. The paper notes that Gen Y evaluates online and mobile banking services when deciding on a financial institution. The young and mobile generation requires access to financial accounts and information to be available immediately on the Web, PSCU Financial Services said. Online banking also is important to small-business owners. Many business owners are dissatisfied with banks, and more than half said they would switch financial institutions to obtain online banking and other products. About 65% of small businesses will use online banking by the end of next year, the paper said. “A Versatile Medium” is part of a series of papers that explain how credit unions can optimize and market online banking services. The next paper will discuss what credit unions should consider when selecting an online banking platform for their membership. PSCU Financial Services, St. Petersburg, Fla., is a credit union service organization serving more than 1,300 financial institutions nationwide. For more information, use the link.

Members Cooperative CU joins cuStudentLoans.org

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NEW YORK (11/13/09)--Members Cooperative CU, Cloquet, Minn., has joined the Fynanz network, cuStudentLoans.org--the private student loan network’s first credit union partner in Minnesota. Fynanz helps credit unions offer and originate private student loans by providing them with turnkey private student lending solutions and technology for the cuStudentLoans.org network. Private student loans bridge a funding gap that students experience when they exhaust sources of federal financial aid and scholarships. “Credit unions have historically not been very involved in the private student loan marketplace, and this has hurt their ability to retain and attract young members,” said Robbie Thompson, Members Cooperative vice president and general counsel. “We think that this program, coupled with a number of our other youth-focused initiatives, will help us better meet the needs of younger members.” The loans offered by Members Cooperative and other credit unions in cuStudentLoans.org are available to students enrolled at least half-time in degree-granting programs. The loans offer competitive interest rates, in-school deferred payment, no-cosigner option for certain students, a co-signer release and a 1% interest rate reduction during repayment, Fynanz said. Members Cooperative CU has $277 million in assets.

Blue Oaks Analytics enhances CUs loan management

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ONTARIO, Calif. (11/13/09)--Blue Oaks Analytics has enhanced its Lending Performance Management System program, a set of online monitoring and reporting tools to help credit unions’ lending, finance and collections executives manage their loan portfolios. The enhancements allow credit unions to perform total risk-management and loan-portfolio assessment, according to Mike James, Blue Oaks managing general partner. The program’s Best Practices Reports provides credit unions with 20 key risk-management reports focusing on managing and monitoring risk in Static Pool Analysis, Performance Reports, Dynamic Reports and Performance Metrics. The reports offer a CUDL Market function, which allows credit unions to compare their auto loan portfolios with more than 680 CUDL participating credit unions. The CUDL Benchmark function uses CUDL data to review market data in terms of quality, volume, dealer and types of vehicles sold. Blue Oaks Analytics provides business intelligence solutions to credit unions. CUDL is an auto lending servicer for the credit union industry.

Perimeter E-Security names new CEO

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MILFORD, Conn. (11/12/09)--Perimeter E-Security, a CUNA Strategic Service, announced that it has named Tim Harvey as CEO. Perimeter offers financial institutions--including credit unions--hosted e-mail, encrypted e-mail, firewall management and monitoring, vulnerability scanning, host intrusion and prevention, remote data backup, e-mail archiving, and e-mail services to prevent viruses and spam. Harvey previously worked as president/CEO of XAware, a provider of commercial open source data integration software and services. He joined XAware after working at S1 Corp. as senior vice president of sales, marketing and product management.

Products and Services briefs (11/11/2009)

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* WASHINGTON (11/12/09)--Credit unions saw a 1.8% membership growth in the past year--the highest rate in five years--according to statistics of a recent credit union industry report. The report, the Callahan & Associates 2010 Credit Union Directory, also found that one in five auto loans was originated by credit unions; credit unions more than doubled their share of first mortgages, capturing 5.2% of the market; and credit union member business loans posted the fastest year-over-year growth rate among loan categories. Callahan is a Washington, D.C.-based firm focused on credit union issues ... * WASHINGTON (11/12/09)--S1 Corp., a provider of global financial services and payments software solutions, announced that Computer Services Inc. (CSI) has chosen S1 to replace its payment system. S1 will offer CSI an open-systems payments solution that supports card management and ATM driving. The solution will manage online connections to ATMs, networks, card associations, host and settlement systems; provide sophisticated monitoring of real-time management information; provide a browser-based portal from which CSI can configure services for their issuers; and offer a bridge approach to enable a phased migration from their current environment. S1 provides solutions for credit unions, banks, retailers and processors. CSI delivers banking, payment processing, Internet, card services and other solutions to the financial services industry ... * BOSTON (11/12/09)--Open Solutions announced a reseller agreement with uMonitor to sell uMonitor’s switch kit solutions to financial institutions. Open Solutions will resell all thre deployment options for uOpen and uFund; the Go-to-Market Solution; the Plus Solution; and the Total Solution. Other offerings include uTransfer, uView and uSwitch. uMonitor and Open Solutions offer banking solutions to the financial services industry, including credit unions ... * TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (11/12/09)--Fifty credit unions have joined Credit Union 24, a credit union-owned ATM and point-of-sale network. The addition breaks previous records of new shareholders joining the network in a single stock offering. Credit Union 24 is owned by 286 credit unions serving more than 8.7 million members and totaling $68.8 billion in assets ... * LINDEN, N.J. (11/12/09)--Integrated Media Management (IMM) reported a 48.7% hike in the value of orders it received in the third quarter compared with third quarter 2008. The increase resulted from IMM’s 25 customer contracts during the quarter--a 19% jump from last year. Twelve of the 25 contracts came from new customers. Several contracts enlisted IMM for multiple offerings, which resulted in 57 product orders--up 26% from last year ...

Federation offers Community Reinvestment seminar

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NEW YORK (11/11/09)--A seminar next month will address topics related to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) initiatives to collect data on credit union outreach and service to underserved communities. The seminar will be in Alexandria, Va., on Dec. 3, and sponsored by National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. "Our goal is to help credit unions stay ahead of the curve," said federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal. "Legislation to extend CRA beyond banks to other financial institutions, including credit unions, has more than 50 co-sponsors and will be debated in Congress in 2010," he said. "NCUA is also nearing completion of a year-long data collection initiative, so while the financial crisis has pushed these issues into the background in 2009, we think that will begin to change next year, and we want credit unions prepared with the facts." The federation opposes mandatory CRA for credit unions in favor of voluntary initiatives such as its Community Development Partners Program. The seminar will include best practices of credit unions, and a debate about CRA, featuring John Taylor, president, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and CRA critic Prof. Lawrence White of New York University, and moderated by Credit Union Times Editor-in-Chief Sarah Snell Cooke. Seminar topics include CRA 101; NCUA's data gathering efforts on serving the underserved; demographic and economic data on credit union services analyzed by economists at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU); federation tools to help assess and expand service to the underserved; and new certification standards to enhance the credit union brand and position in the mortgage marketplace. Other speakers include Bill Zavarello, staff to the House Financial Services Committee; Frank Pollack of Pentagon FCU; Jim Blake of HarborOne CU; Ed Jacob of North Side Community FCU, CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel, NAFCU Chief Economist Tun Wai; Timothy Burniston of the Federal Reserve Board; Gary Kohn of NCUA; and David Cotney of the Massachusetts Division of Banks. For more information, use the link.

CUDL Yamaha team up to offer financing tool

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CYPRESS, Calif. (11/11/09)--Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., has teamed up with CUDL, a point-of-purchase and indirect auto-lending network for credit unions, to make it easier for Yamaha dealers and consumers to secure retail financing on Yamaha powersports products. The refinance tool initially will be offered to Yamaha dealerships in Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont and Washington, with more states to be added shortly, said a joint press release. The partnership means CUDL credit unions can expand their presence in the recreational vehicle market and provides members with a resource that will help drive member financing and loan portfolio growth. Products in the new program include Yamaha motorcycles, all terrain vehicles, side-by-side vehicles, snowmobiles, personal water craft and jet-powered boats. The partnership "will provide our dealer partners with another retail finance option for their customers, particularly the millions of credit union members already in the CUDL network," said Ian Harper, Yamaha's general manager of financial services. CUDL will offer its services to dealers at a reduced rate, Harper said. "This gives our customers more purchasing options along with the ease and convenience of accessing credit union financing directly at their local Yamaha dealership," he said. CUDL partners with more than 700 credit unions that serve nearly 20 million members nationwide. Many CUDL credit unions already offer powersports financing. Jerry Neeman, CUDL executive vice president and chief sales officer, noted the partnership provides an opportunity for dealers and credit unions to "grow their bottom lines" and for credit unions to "capture member loan activity."

CUAnswers Firethorn to deliver mobile banking services

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (11/11/09)--CU*Answers will offer Firethorn’s Mobile Banking application and SMS service for its 165 credit unions starting in second quarter 2010. Participating credit union members can check their balances, pay bills, transfer funds and receive offers from their mobile phones. The solution also allows members to receive account alerts or provider messages, and initiate requests for transaction history or balance information. Firethorn offers a mobile commerce platform with banking, payments and commerce solutions for mobile services. CU*Answers is a credit union service organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Equifax introduces account management solutions

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ATLANTA (11/11/09)--Equifax announced the launch of a new solution, InterConnect for Account Management, to help financial institutions drive increased return on investment from portfolio reviews. The product is part of Equifax’s Technology and Analytical solutions. InterConnect allows financial institutions, including credit unions, to automate their account segmentation and risk decisions for credit line adjustments and cross-sell offers. The goal is for institutions to identify individuals most likely to accept product and service offers, resulting in increased cross-sell acceptance rates and improved customer retention. InterConnect provides a consolidated view of individuals within a portfolio and segments them based on behavioral and transactional data. The solution also automates account-level decisions for:
* Credit-line assignments; * Exception handling and compliance reporting; * Implementation of new risk policies; and * Cross-sell and product optimization.
Equifax is based in Atlanta.

CSS selects Panini for check scanning

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MADISON, Wis. (11/10/09)--Panini, a provider of check scanners for distributed capture, has been added to the stable of credit union products and services available from CUNA Strategic Services (CSS). "Panini will provide credit unions with the power to more efficiently turn a manual paper process into a digitally enhanced one," said Wes Millar, senior vice president of CSS. The Panini Vision X, the company's scalable check scanning solution, is used by financial institutions for branch image capture and remote deposit capture. The compact check scanners feature:
* ISO: 9001 certification; * Capture capabilities in MICR reading, document handling and image quality; and * Investment protection with system scalability that allows the scanner to adjust as customer needs change.
Panini has North American headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, and is based in Torino, Italy. It recently launched a check scanner for small business remote deposit capture, called the Panini I:Deal. For more information, use the link.

Fiserv launches P2P payment service

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (11/10/09)--Fiserv Inc. announced plans for a new personal payments service to allow individuals to send or receive money person-to-person using their existing online banking relationship. The service will be available initially to Fiserv clients using the CheckFree RXP online bill pay platform during the first half of 2010. More than 3,100 financial institutions--including credit unions--can use the service through the Fiserv online payment network. Consumers can send money to any recipient using an e-mail address or mobile phone number. Payments are deposited into a recipient’s account and confirmation of payment is sent to the recipient’s e-mail address or mobile number. Payments will be processed through Fiserv’s payment network. “Consumers are showing an increasing preference for managing their finances online, and it is natural for them to turn to their trusted financial institution for any payment service, whether it is a bill payment or a personal payment,” said Erich Litch, Fiserv senior vice president and general manager of consumer services. Fiserv, Brookfield, Wis., provides financial services solutions such as payment technologies to financial institutions, including credit unions.

Corelation to display new KeyStone core system

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SAN DIEGO (11/10/09)--Corelation Inc., a core processing developer for credit unions, announced that it will display its new KeyStone core processing system during the 2009 California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ annual meeting and convention Nov. 16-18 in Las Vegas. KeyStone is slated as “person-centric” with updated features and functionality. Some of KeyStone’s features include:
* Automatic, unattended warm start after a power or operating system failure; * A fluid, browser-based user interface that operates similarly to the Internet, using tabs, keyboard and mouse navigation; * Monetary, file maintenance and general ledger transaction history, which are integrated and stored as a set; * Simultaneous access to work areas; * An unlimited number of share and loan types, collateral types, purposes and branches; * A single transaction posting engine for all activity; and * Simultaneous posting of multiple transactions.
Corelation is based in San Diego.

Student CU Connect grows in first seven months

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (11/9/09)--Student CU Connect CUSO LLC reported that more than 5,400 students have received $40 million in loans to finance their education through a partnership between Student CU Connect and ITT Technical Institutes, a technology post-secondary education program. The credit union service organization (CUSO) was founded seven months ago by seven credit unions to help students receive education loans from credit unions. Student CU Connect specifically works with ITT students. The loans help pay tuition and other expenses not covered by student aid. Credit unions make a three-year commitment to fund a pre-specified amount of student loans each calendar quarter and an ownership capital contribution to the CUSO. They also are required to maintain an active relationship with a local ITT campus. Eli Lilly FCU, Indianapolis, is the originating entity and holds 10% of the loans. ITT Educational Services guarantees the repayment of loans that are charged off above a certain percentage, based on annual dollar volume. The other founding credit unions include:
* Bellco CU, Greenwood Village, Colo.; * CommunityAmerica CU, Lenexa, Kan.; * Workers’ CU, Fitchburg, Mass.; * Directions CU, Toledo, Ohio; * Veridian CU, Waterloo, Iowa; and * Credit Union of America, Wichita, Kan.
The Rochdale Group, Inc., a credit union service provider, administers the program.

Product and Services brief

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* DAYTON, Ohio (11/9/09)--Panini, a global payments processor, has been ranked among the top 100 companies on FinTech 100, an international listing of top technology vendors for the financial services market. Panini is ranked on the list with financial technology companies that were judged according to their global revenues. The FinTech 100 represents companies that receive at least 33% of their revenue from the financial services industry. Panini was founded in Turin, Italy, and provides check capture solutions including teller capture, back-counter capture, corporate capture, merchant back office conversion, cash vault, microfilm replacement and remittance processing ...

CUNA Mutual now sole owner of crop insurer ProAg

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MADISON, Wis. (11/9/09)--CUNA Mutual Group has closed on its purchase agreement with Producers Ag Insurance Group to become sole owner of the crop insurer. ProAg, based in Amarillo, Texas, provides multi-peril crop insurance coverage to family farmers and agriculture producers nationwide. The sixth-largest writer of multi-peril crop insurance in the U.S., ProAg will operate as a stand-alone subsidiary of CUNA Mutual. The acquisition supports CUNA Mutual's need to identify new growth opportunities and diversify the risks it insures, said a joint press release. The agreement with ProAg will also enhance CUNA Mutual's flexibility and financial strength while enabling ProAg to continue expanding its business. Michael Connealy will serve as president/CEO of ProAg. Kendall Jones has been named chief operating officer. Both men have been with ProAg since May 2006. Russ Klein of CUNA Mutual will serve as ProAg's chief financial officer, and Deb Casurella, also of CUNA Mutual, has been named chief information officer. "The decision on ProAg and our recent acquisition of CPI Qualified Plan Consultants build on our expertise and strengthen our financial position," said CUNA Mutual President/CEO Jeff Post. "These acquisitions build off our core competencies, help diversify our business, and provide revenue streams that give us flexibility to invest and grow in the future, while remaining focused on credit unions." "CUNA Mutual's commitment to our way of doing business makes it the natural provider of the institutional support we need to reach our goals of becoming a market leader," said Ben Latham, ProAg chairman. Since 2006, when their partnership was formed, ProAg has grown from 70 employees doing business in 25 states to 390 employees serving more than 40 states. ProAg is on pace to generate more than $530 million in premium during 2009, the companies said.

Products and Services brief (11/05/2009)

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* NAPERVILLE, Ill. (11/6/09)--OfficeMax, an office supplier and CUNA Strategic Service provider, earned the Highest Customer Satisfaction for the Call Center Award from Service Quality Measurement Group (SQM). SQM provides quality assurance services for benchmarking, tracking, evaluating and improving call centers. OfficeMax earned the award based on high marks and the rating it received from customer satisfaction surveys conducted by SQM. About 94% of customers rated their experience with OfficeMax as “very satisfied.” The award is the sixth honor OfficeMax has received this year for exceptional customer service ...

PSCU Financial Services adds iPhoneiPod touch apps

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (11/6/09)--PSCU Financial Services’ mobile banking platform, mBanking, can now be used on the iPhone and iPod Touch, the company announced this week. The new capability will help credit unions attract Generation Y and other member segments that use iPhones and iPods. “iPhone and iPod Touch users represent a significant percentage of mobile banking customers,” said John Pembroke, PSCU Financial Services chief marketing officer. PSCU Financial Services, St. Petersburg, Fla., serves more than 1,300 financial institutions nationwide.

CO-OP mobile software now on iPhone

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (11/6/09)--CO-OP Financial Services announced that CO-OP Mobile Banking is now available on the Apple iPhone. CO-OP Mobile integrates into CO-OP’s Next Generation Network (NGN). Members of credit unions in NGN can use CO-OP Mobile to verify balances, view transaction history and transfer funds between accounts. iPhone support began live testing last month. iPhone users can deploy CO-OP Mobile by downloading the CO-OP application from the Apple iTunes Store. Apple’s iPhone is a multimedia smart phone. Apple has sold more than 7.4 million units this year, CO-OP said. “Adoption of mobile banking services is essential for credit unions to attract and retain members, especially among the young, tech-savvy, high income, upwardly mobile and the underserved,” said Stan Hollen, CO-OP president/CEO. CO-OP Financial Services, a credit union service organization based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., offers ATM and debit processing services, shared branching, check imaging, mobile payments and access to 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

Diebold reports 3Q financials

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (11/5/09)--ATM manufacturer Diebold reported its third quarter income from continuing operations at $24.5 million, or 37 cents per share--down 49% from third quarter 2008. Third quarter revenue was $645.2 million, which is 26% less than third quarter 2008. Nine-month year-to-date 2009 income from continuing operations attributable to Diebold, net of tax, was $65.2 million, or 98 cents per share. That is a drop of 28% from the same period last year. Nine-month year-to-date 2009 revenue totaled $1.99 million, down 13% from 2008. Non-generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) earnings per share from continuing operations attributable to Diebold, net of tax, in the third quarter 2009 were 39 cents, down 67% from third quarter 2008. Nine-month year-to-date 2009 non-GAAP earnings per share accounted $1.36, a decrease of 40% from the same period in 2008. All results from operations reported, including prior periods, reflect Premier Election Solutions as a discontinued operation.

Agility Recovery Solutions offers free H1N1 webinar

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (11/5/09)--Agility Recovery Solutions is offering a free webinar for credit unions to help them prepare for a potential pandemic of H1N1, also known as swine flu. The webinar will take place Nov. 18. at 2 p.m. EST. Dr. William Lang, former associate chief medical officer at the Department of Homeland Security, will provide attendees with steps they can take to prepare for a possible pandemic. President Barack Obama has declared H1N1, a national emergency. The Center for Disease Control reports flu activity is widespread in 46 states, Agility said in a release. Agility is a CUNA Strategic Service provider.

SW Corporate paper addresses remote deposit

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PLANO, Texas (11/5/09)--Remote deposit has benefited credit unions because of operational efficiencies and cost reductions, according to a new white paper from Southwest Corporate in Plano, Texas. The paper, “Five Years Later: A Perspective on Check 21 and the Remote Deposit Industry,” explores the changes that have taken place in the remote deposit industry and their effect on credit unions. Remote deposit was made possible after the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, Check 21, became effective in 2004. Check 21 authorized financial institutions to create a legal equivalent, or substitute check, printed from electronic images of the original check. As a result, financial institutions can exchange images of checks with other financial institutions without physically transporting the checks. The paper notes efforts by early credit union adopters of remote deposit. For instance, Digital FCU, Marlborough, Md., enrolled 3,000 users in the first week and saw figures surge to 16,000 users in the first five months of using remote deposit, the paper said. Southwest Corporate offers credit unions Branch Capture and Teller Capture. Brad Ganey, Southwest Corporate senior vice president of payment services, encouraged credit unions to do their homework when choosing remote deposit products. “It’s important that 11th-hour decisions are not made in a vacuum,” he said. “We’ve seen decisions made too quickly because the Fed was closing the site nearest to the credit union, or a service provider told the credit union it was not going to service paper anymore. “Credit unions need to talk strategically about how a product fits into their long-term plan. Is this a product that offers the ability to attach other applications to it in the future or will it have to be thrown away later? Can the credit union use the same channel to deploy multiple applications?” Ganey said. The paper concluded that the future will further push remote deposit toward credit unions and members. “Many benefits are available to credit unions that perform their due diligence and launch them with proper planning and appropriate safeguards,” the paper said. “The industry has come a long way in five years, and evidence suggests the next five will evolve just as quickly.”

CO-OP completes acquisition of LoanLink Center

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (11/4/09)--CO-OP Financial Services has finished acquiring the LoanLink Center, which provides member and loan services to members of roughly 350 credit unions. The planned acquisition was first announced Oct. 7 by LoanLink’s original owner, CUNA Mutual Group. The transfer was completed at the end of business Saturday. CO-OP LoanLink will continue to operate in Fort Worth, Texas. No immediate changes are planned for business except a rebranding effort to recognize the service as a CO-OP offering. CUNA Mutual Group and CO-OP will partner in CO-OP LoanLink Center sales. CO-OP LoanLink employs more than 300 individuals. The center has an exclusive agreement to use CO-OP’s Next Generation Network (NGN) platform, which offers credit unions other CO-OP NGN services, including CO-OP Mobile and CO-OP My Deposit. CO-OP Financial Services, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is a credit union service organization that provides credit unions with ATM access, processing, check imaging, shared branching and mobile payment services. The CO-OP Network offers credit unions access to 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

Syphr launches lead generation site

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FERNDALE, N.Y. (11/4/09)--Credit union service organization Syphr has launched a new loan evaluation website, SaveOnYourLoans.com, which aims to reduce the time consumers spend gathering their billing statements and comparison shopping for reduced loan payments by securing refinancing with a local credit union or community bank. Syphr built the website with partners EQUIDATA and Innovative Software Solutions to shift the burden of comparison shopping for mortgages and car loans from consumers to retail financial institutions. “Ultimately, the goal is to reverse the traditional seller-centric methods used by sites like LendingTree and Bankrate, changing the lead generation game as we know it,” said Chris Langley, Syphr president. The website officially launched Monday.

CUs get expanded FinanceWorks for online banking

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CALABASAS, Calif. (11/3/09)--Digital Insight announced that FinanceWorks, an online financial management solution, is now available for credit unions that do not use Digital Insight’s Internet banking platform. FinanceWorks, powered by Quicken, gives users control over their financial decisions by accessing account information from more than 12,000 financial institutions and credit card sites. Users receive a view of their cash flow and spending habits, and can manage their budget. FinanceWorks’s data on early users indicate that they:
* Are up to four times more profitable than the average credit union or bank customer. They have twice as many accounts, 30% higher loan balances and higher incomes; * Log into online banking twice as often as active online banking users, and are more active online bill payers--61% versus 41%; * Are likely to recommend their financial institutions based on the solution.
About 80% of Americans say their financial institution’s online channel is the best place to manage their finances, yet 27% say they manage their finances online, Digital Insight said.

CO-OP Network contract renewals are brisk

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (11/3/09)--CO-OP Financial Services received 21 contract renewals from credit union clients for its CO-OP Network Full Processing service since July 1. The service provides credit unions with electronic funds transfer processing for ATM transactions. Credit unions renewing their contracts include:
* San Diego (Calif.) County CU; * Addison Avenue FCU, Palo Alto, Calif.; * South Carolina FCU, North Charleston, S.C.; and * Honda FCU, Torrance, Calif.
Many clients who renewed their contracts also use CO-OP’s Signature Debit Card Processing. Many chose to renew the debit service, CO-OP said. CO-OP Financial Services, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., offers 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs through the CO-OP Network.