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Combating Elderly Fin Abuse webinar set for Jan 15

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MADISON, Wis., and NEW YORK (12/28/12)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions will conduct a webinar on the third most commonly substantiated elder abuse in the U.S.--financial abuse--on Jan. 15.

The "Combating Elder Financial Abuse" webinar, which will begin at 2 p.m. ET., will feature a panel of experts in the fight to protect financially vulnerable seniors.

The annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is at least $2.6 billion. Credit unions, through education and awareness, can be a first line of defense. However, financial institutions need to know what to look for, how to respond and where privacy requirements and the requirement to act can work in tandem.

Discussing the risks, explaining how to recognize the signs of financial abuse, and looking at effective responses and intervention strategies will be:

  • Hubert Humphrey III, assistant director of the Office of Older Americans at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and former Minnesota Attorney General;
  • Elizabeth Lowey, chief of the Elder Abuse Unit at New York County District Attorney's Office who served as counsel in the trial involving the late Brooke Astor, a well-known New York City philanthropist;
  • Bessie Tolbert, former Adult Protective Services Program manager for the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services;
  • Rhea Flanagan, manager of instructional design at CUNA; and
  • Melanie Stern, senior program officer at the federation and coordinator of Better Directions, a federation program that works with credit unions to build economic security for older members.
For more information, use the links.

Xtend wraps up big year, announces dividend

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (12/27/12)--Xtend Inc., a credit union service organization (CUSO) in Michigan, says it had the largest sales year in its 10-year history, with revenue for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 totaling $1.68 million.

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based CUSO said the figure eclipses its previous high of $1.52 million after its 2011 campaign.

Xtend President Scott Collins noted the milestone, which is a 10.2% year-on-year revenue growth. "We experienced a sales increase in every one of our business units during the year, with most reaching double-digit growth numbers," Collins said.  That and managing its expenses allowed the company to "finish the year right on budget from a net-income standpoint."

Because of the successful 2012 fiscal campaign, Xtend's Board of Directors has declared a 4% stock dividend to its owners. Collins said the dividend is the CUSO's third consecutive dividend and its largest.

Xtend, which is 100% owned by 69 credit unions, serves more than 150 credit unions. It provides managerial, operational, marketing, technical planning and consulting services for credit unions of all sizes.

Catalyst Corporate marks IYC with growth

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PLANO, Texas (12/26/12)--Catalyst Corporate FCU celebrated the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC)  by growing and serving more member credit unions--cooperatively.

During the year, the Plano, Texas-based Catalyst Corporate expanded the number of member credit unions it served by 42%, from just under 900 to nearly 1,300. The corporate now provides service to more than 17% of U.S. credit unions in 21 states.

Nearly 10% of its member credit unions have assets above $250 million, and one-third is in the $25 million to $250 million asset range. More than half have assets of $25 million or less. The total number of "natural person" members represented by Catalyst Corporate member credit unions nationwide is more than 14.5 million.

Regardless of location or size, Catalyst Corporate provides each credit union with cooperatively priced wholesale financial services and helps credit unions stay abreast of technology-based services by using the power created by aggregation, said the corporate. Jointly, member credit unions can do more at a better price than they could as an individual financial institution, Catalyst added.

In a competitive environment, where natural person credit unions can be served by a plethora of for-profit vendors, Catalyst Corporate discovered its membership recognizes the cooperative difference.

In a membership survey conducted earlier this year, credit unions were asked to describe Catalyst Corporate on a seven-point scale, where one equaled "For-Profit Vendor" and seven equaled "Member-Driven Cooperative."  Sixty-five percent of the respondents perceived the corporate as a member-driven cooperative, 3% were neutral and 5% leaned toward the perception of a for-profit vendor.

"Providing service to member credit unions is our sole reason for existence," said Kathy Garner, Catalyst's president/CEO. "One of the critical benefits of the cooperative system is that members are owners. As Catalyst Corporate--and the entire credit union system--rebounds from the financial crisis of recent years, we have been committed to listening to our members. Responsiveness is a core value of Catalyst Corporate--not just during the International Year of Cooperatives--but for the years to come," she said.

The United Nations General Assembly designated 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives with the slogan, "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World." Catalyst Corporate said it took the message to heart, by introducing new services such as mobile banking and real-time teller capture and by continuing to offer sound balance sheet management strategies to its growing membership.

CUDL to represent 1,000 CUs at NADA convention

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ONTARIO, Calif. (12/26/12)--CUDL, which administers the auto lending network for credit unions, will represent more than 1,000 credit union partners at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention for the 10th consecutive year.

The nation's largest auto dealer convention takes place Feb. 8-11 in Orlando, Fla.  More than one third of all U.S. dealerships attend the convention each year.

During the convention, CUDL will promote its growing credit union network as well as the benefits of a strong credit union and dealer alliance. It also will showcase a suite of products, including AutoSMART program and the CUDL Dealer Portal site.

AutoSMART is a vehicle research website, with more than one million cars in dealer inventory. It connects more than 7,000 participating dealers to more than 1,000 credit unions and their 34 million members nationwide.

The CUDL Dealer Portal is a site that helps dealers secure credit union financing for their customers and access pre-qualified credit union members in the market for a vehicle.

Vero, a CUDL subsidiary, will highlight aftermarket products that help dealers retain customers, improve efficiencies and increase profits, said CUDL in a press release

Credit unions' monthly auto lending market share in 2012 grew to 18% in September from 16.3% in March, said CUDL. Year-to-date, credit union market share stands at 17.6% after closing 2011 at 16.9%.

CUDL credit unions are the eighth largest auto lender in the U.S. and experienced 27.4% growth year-to-date. Through November of this year, they funded 600,000 auto loans totaling more than $12 billion.

"Our participation at the convention continues to focus on increasing dealers' understanding of the benefits of the credit union-dealer relationship, as well as the value of our credit union-based lending network and the many solutions we provide to help dealers grow their bottom lines," said Jerry Neemann, executive vice president, CUDL Automotive.

"Over the last decade, we have seen significant progress in auto dealers' appreciation of credit unions and the advantages of credit union-dealer relationships," Neemann said.

MoneyDesktop CUBUS form partnership

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PROVO, Utah (12/21/12)--MoneyDesktop, a personal financial management (PFM) solutions provider for banks and credit unions, has formed a partnership with CUBUS Solutions, a provider of online banking technology to more than 90 credit unions and two million members.

Livermore, Calif.-based CUBUS Solutions will integrate MoneyDesktop's PFM solutions within the CUBUS Solutions widget-based online banking platform.

This is the 26th industry partnership forged by MoneyDesktop in the past two years.

ICUL Service Corp upgrades prepaid cards

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (12/19/12)--The Illinois Credit Union League Service Corp. (LSC) has enhanced its debit prepaid product line.

Through its prepaid program, LSC provides gift cards, TravelMoney and general purpose prepaid products to more than 2,000 credit unions in 48 states.

Among the upgrades is the availability of more card designs. More than 60 options are offered, an increase from 13 previously. A new option offers the products in a greeting card format, customizable for different occasions. The two enhancements provides credit unions with more opportunities to tailor the products to the demographics of their membership.

The line provides these categories of cards:

  • Abstract;
  • Sports and hobbies;
  • Special occasions;
  • Holiday;
  • Landscapes;
  • Nature and wildlife;
  • Hip and trendy;
  • Style and design;
  • Patriotic; and
  • Currency.
Greeting card carrier options include cards for: birthday, baby, wedding, congratulations, thank you, and any occasion (blank).

Credit unions also can track and verify receipt of shipments online. With some cards, shipping is available six days a week (up from five), with orders reaching credit unions in as little as two to five days, an improvement from between seven and 10 days, said LSC.

"Branded" credit unions will now pay a nominal fee to print their name on all card designs, Previously, there was a fee per individual design. Credit unions also can place an order for as little as one card per design. Previously, a minimum order of 25 cards was required.

LSC also offers more new online reference and training resources to credit unions that purchase prepaid products.  These includes marketing materials such as Web banners, a teller quick reference guide showing differences among the cards, training manuals, and credit union frequently asked questions.

Bluepoint DocuSign form partnership

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HENDERSON, Nev. (12/19/12)--Bluepoint Solutions and DocuSign have formed a partnership to integrate Bluepoint's FASTdocs enterprise content management solution and DocuSign's electronic signature platform.

The integration will speed up transactions and reduce costs, the two companies said. Through the integration, DocuSign documents will automatically be imported, indexed and stored in member or customer files without requiring manual effort.

With DocuSign eSignature, members can sign digital documents remotely or at a branch on any Internet-connected device. Multiple signers do not have to be present in the same location and can sign at different times. Financial institutions can then access that information through FASTdocs for marketing, audit, service and reporting purposes.

In addition to providing a full audit trail and summary report that adhere to PCi Security Council standards, DocuSign integrates a consistent interface across all channels, including in the branch or on a computer, iPad or smartphone. It also provides staff with regular status updates to ensure timely and accurate completion of document signing.

CUAnswers offers client education tools

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (12/18/12)--CU*Answers, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization (CUSO), has debuted an Executive Study Groups website.

The site coincides with the weekly Dashboard Dives web conferences facilitated by CEO, Randy Karnes. Credit unions can blog with each other on questions they may have about content related to the Dashboard Dives sessions. They also can communicate success stories using the data that they have available to them through CU*BASE, CU*Answers' core platform, or other services provided by the CUSO.

The focus of the website and the Web conferences is to promote the management of data that is available through CU*Base. Credit union representatives can work with colleagues and learn Karnes would use the information if he were a credit union executive.

CU*Answers also has published the latest version of its publication, Remember This? The educational series provides clients with a look back at existing features of CU*BASE or other services provided by the CUSO.

In the December edition, the series recounts the Member in Good Standing function available to credit union staff in CU*BASE.

Dwolla offers P2P through Twitter

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DES MOINES, Iowa (12/18/12)--Dwolla, a person-to-person payments solution, now offers consumers the ability to make payments through Twitter, Dwolla announced last week on its blog.

"It is now possible to send money, simply by tweeting," the blog post said. "This makes it easy to send money to friends, nonprofits or even merchants without having to login to the Dwolla mobile app."

To send money, consumers include the recipient's Twitter handle, the dollar amount of the transactions and Dwolla's hashtag in the tweet.

CO-OP releases shared branching ATM

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (12/17/12)--CO-OP Financial Services has introduced an ATM that allows members of participating credit unions to conduct shared branch transactions at the ATM.

The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based credit union service organization and ATM manufacturer Diebold developed the new application software, which means members of CO-OP Shared Branching credit unions can conduct nearly all branch transactions, including loan payments, at Diebold Opteva ATMs.

"CO-OP NextGen ATM gives credit unions the ability to optimize their ATM channel and capital expenditures by using their current ATM fleet to support traditional ATM transactions and shared branching transactions," said Stan Hollen, president/CEO.

CO-OP connects credit union members to their accounts through network, payment processing, e-commerce, shared branching and call center services. The CO-OP network includes 5,000 shared branching centers.

Low-income designation webinar to be held Tuesday

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MADISON, Wis. (12/14/12)--There is still time to sign up for the third webinar in a three-part series on benefits of a low-income designation (LID) and other resources and opportunities available to low income credit unions.

Sponsored by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, "Fuel for Growth: Understanding and Planning for Supplemental Capital" will be held at 1 p.m. CT Tuesday. The webinar is scheduled for 90 minutes.

To sign up for the webinar, use the link.

CUNA Mutual CU protection webinars scheduled

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MADISON, Wis. (12/13/12)--CUNA Mutual Group's 2013 Credit Union Protection Webinar series will feature 10 risk management sessions available exclusively for the insurer's fidelity bond policyholders.

Sessions will address the top risk trends and exposures credit unions need to be aware of and avoid, said Brad Mundine, CUNA Mutual Group senior manager of Credit Union Protection Risk Management.

The one-hour webinars are provided as a no-cost benefit for policyholders.

Webinar dates and summaries include:

  • Jan. 16--Wire Transfer Fraud. Learn how criminals are perpetrating remote schemes and how to prevent incurring large losses associated with this fraud.
  • Feb. 13--Employee Dishonesty. This session will discuss the latest loss activity trends, how to identify behavioral red flags and simple steps to help reduce the risk of employee dishonesty
  • March 20--Electronic Documents and Signatures. Learn where and how to use this kind of technology, and a better understand of the operational risks and compliance and legal issues.
  • April 17--Handling the Aging Workplace and Worker Safety. Presenters will discuss the realities of the aging work force, the impact it can have on safety, and practical ideas to help reduce disabling workplace injuries that cost businesses multi-millions in annual expenses.
  • May 15--Employment Practices. Learn about the latest workplace issues and actionable steps to reduce employment practices liability claims exposure.
  • July 24--Communication, Social Media and Crisis Management. This session will discuss case studies showing the importance of real-time communication, steps to include in a disaster plan and how social media can assist in disaster response.
  • Aug. 21--Insurance Coverage Adequacy. Learn about the coverage adequacy landscape, common risk exposures and the potential impact of uninsured or under-insured coverage and/or limits.
  • Sept. 18--Vendor Management: Due Diligence and Liability. This session will address contractual considerations and insurance requirements related to work and agreements with third-party vendors.
  • Oct. 16--Cyber Risks: Threats and Loss Control. Topics to be covered include malicious and non-malicious threats, top perils impacting a credit union and its members and ways to plan ahead.
  • Nov. 13--Lender Liability. This session will introduce the importance of understanding exposure, illustrate typical case law allegations, and share how to protect the credit union from these exposures.

Wright-Patt CU to install video tellers

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DULUTH, Ga. (12/12/12)--In February, Wright-Patt CU will begin using video technology that allows members to conduct remote, teller-assisted transactions.

Wright-Patt CU, Fairborn, Ohio, will begin testing 19 APTRA Interactive Teller units from NCR Corp. in branch lobbies and drive throughs and off-site locations.

APTRA Interactive Teller is part of an assisted service suite of solution, combining the best of video collaboration and remote transaction-processing technology on ATMs. Through Interactive Teller, members can connect and interact with a remote teller in a two-way audio/video experience.

The video tellers help reduce teller wait times during busy times of the day, offer teller services after the branch has closed, and add branch services in areas where the credit union does not have a branch presence, the company said.

Wright-Patt will install 12 walk-up units in branch lobbies and off-site locations, and seven additional units in branch drive-throughs.

Beyond talking to a teller, members can perform secure transactions without using a traditional ATM card. Like branch tellers, remote tellers can provide customers access to cash in their accounts in amounts over the standard ATM daily cash withdrawal limits. The interactive teller can perform about 95% of all teller transactions and the usual product sales and service that a human teller provides, the company said.

Radian Guaranty Mortgage Harmony partner on insurance

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PHILADELPHIA (12/11/12)--Radian Guaranty Inc., a mortgage insurance subsidiary of Radian Group Inc., will provide mortgage insurance on loans through Mortgage Harmony's HamonyLoan platform.

HarmonyLoan is a mortgage feature designed by Mortgage Harmony Corp., a financial services technology company and provider of residential mortgage products to credit unions and banks.

HarmonyLoan can be applied to fixed-rate or adjustable rate mortgages, conventional or jumbo loans, and on new and existing mortgages. It allows borrowers to adjust the interest rate on their loasn without the need for  traditional rate-term refinancing, the companies said.

When there is at least a 25 basis-point reduction in a mortgage market rate, homebuyers can reset their mortgage rates with one click on a personalized, secure, Web-based site.

Intuit enhances GoPayment for small businesses

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (12/10/12)--Intuit Inc. has unveiled a fresh look and feel to its GoPayment mobile payment app to address the needs of small businesses.

The enhanced GoPayment comes with new tools and features that small businesses can use on their smartphones or tablets--helping them to compete with bigger companies, increase sales and expand their business. GoPayment syncs data with QuickBooks financial software, and integrates with QuickBooks Point of Sale to provide a mobile point-of-sale solutions specifically designed to help the nation's 2.8 million small retailers manage and grow their businesses.

Among the tasks GoPayment assists small businesses with include:

  • Personalizing transactions--Customize the GoPayment app to meet specific needs. Receipts can include the store's name, logo and contact information to promote their business and encourage referrals;
  • Tracking cash payments and applying discounts--Record cash transactions and apply discounts;
  • Gaining business insight--Manage one items list that syncs across devices and users, organize items by category or favorites across multiple devices and users, and see all transaction details in one place; and
  • Better managing employees--Control employee access to information and set permissions by differentiating between administrator and associate roles.
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are seeking legislation that also would help small businesses and urging Congress to increase credit unions' member business lending (MBL) cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. CUNA and credit unions say that increasing the cap would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in business loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers. (See related story: CUNA runs ads to urge 'no TAG'  as vote approaches).

Banno ProfitStars partner on mobile bill pay RDC

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (12/7/12)--Banno, a provider of mobile applications, websites and payment card services, has partnered with ProfitStars to offer integrated bill pay and mobile remote deposit capture (RDC) through Banno's financial decision support tool, Grip. 

With Banno's Grip, credit unions and other financial institutions can brand and offer an app providing mobile services. The app, which requires no core integration, analyzes and assesses price, place to buy, time to buy and payment method. It provides real-time, accurate forecasting to replace manual estimates that people make when considering an on-the-go purchase.

The addition of ProfitStars' funds transfer tools within Grip are designed to create a seamless mobile experience, completing the purchase cycle, the companies said.

"Grip already satisfies the real-time purchasing ability that consumers demand in mobile services, and now it enables financial institutions to cost effectively extend competitive funding and payment options through a single, turnkey solution," said Wade Arnold, Banno CEO. "Mobile banking and mobile personal financial management solutions have not previously been aligned with how the masses intend to use their smartphones and tablets. We can help people answer questions like 'Where did my money go, and how much can I spend?' and provide the power (and funding) to execute transactions."

CUAnswers CEO Week includes grant roundtable

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (12/6/12)--CU*Answers CEO Strategies Week included presentations from finalists of the credit union service organization's Innovator Investment and Grant Program and a CEO roundtable that attracted 60 participants.

The Innovator Investment and Grant Program encourages credit unions to develop strategies for delivering new products or services. Four finalists were each given 35 minutes to present an idea to the group and field questions from attendees.

The winner of the grant, which could be as much as $10,000, will be announced by the CU*Answers board by Jan. 31.

The CEO roundtable included an interview with Jack Antonini, CEO of National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations, who provided insight on several issues including new opportunities and projects, such as targeted new investment strategies.  

This year's session also included CEO workshops for better understanding and use of the CU*BASE processing system.

CUNA ERM Certification Institute set for May

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MADISON, Wis. (12/5/12)--The CUNA Enterprise Risk Management Certification Institute, held in collaboration with The Rochdale Group Inc., will take place May 5-9, at Orlando, Fla., the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) announced.

The second offering of the institute will provide credit union executives with risk management knowledge, including tools to incorporate risk management into the culture of their credit unions. Enterprise risk management (ERM) consultants of The Rochdale Group Inc., will help attendees understand their own risk appetite, risk beyond investments and how risk management can drive decision making at their credit union.

The institute is presented through the CUNA and The Rochdale Group, Inc. collaboration.

The CUNA Enterprise Risk Management Certification Institute will also give attendees an opportunity to earn their Credit Union Enterprise Risk Management Expert (CU-ERME) designation, certifying them as credit union ERM experts.

Filene announces experiential learning colloquium

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MADISON, Wis. (12/4/12)--The Filene Research Institute will offer a free experiential learning colloquium on financial literacy, thanks to support from CO-OP Financial Services and the National Credit Union Foundation.  

The program will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT Jan. 31 in Atlanta. It is is designed to explore the foundations of financial literacy and help credit unions ensure that the money they spend reaching out to members helps members to make better financial decisions.

Presenters and topics at the colloquium include:

  • Professor Lou Centini, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia. Centini will explore the theoretical foundations of experiential learning. He will offer examples of experiential learning and its application in helping make better personal finance decisions.
  • Tim Vandenberg, Young Tycoons: A Better Way to Teach Math. Vandenberg, an accomplished Monopoly player and sixth-grade teacher, will explain how he uses gamification to bring a record number of disadvantaged students past state standards and teaches them to love math along the way.
  • Jason Young, Revolutionizing Financial Capability through Mobile Gaming. Young, the founding partner of Mindblown Labs, will discuss how the app revolution makes it easier and more fun than ever to learn financial life skills.
  • Life Simulation, National Credit Union Foundation. The Life Simulation experience is designed to help credit union employees, volunteers and leaders understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive from month to month.

Ignite sparks CU Centers venture on Facebook

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INDIANAPOLIS (12/4/12)--The 4G working group from Ignite, an Indiana Credit Union League innovation program, has handed over the management of its shared-branch Facebook page project to shared-branching vendor Credit Union Centers (CUC).

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The Facebook page was developed as part of a yearlong project from the 4G group as part of the Ignite program.

The project was designed to help boost the visibility and benefits of credit union shared branching--particularly with university-based credit unions.

The four Indiana credit unions in the 4G Ignite group include:

  • Crane CU, Odon;
  • Energy Plus CU, Indianapolis;
  • Finance Center FCU, Indianapolis; and
  • Interra CU, Goshen.
CUC's Facebook page includes videos of shared-branch benefits, client case studies and testimonials, advice articles on how shared branching can enhance member service, client conversation, and nationwide shared-branch locations.

The group chose shared branching as its project to help promote the service across a new media channel--and to educate credit union staff and members on how shared branching works, said Cari Palmer, a 4G team member and operations analyst at Energy Plus CU.

CUC provides branch locations for members to use on nearly every major college campus in its market. With that in mind, the group saw that social media would be an ideal way to reach out to student members and help them connect with shared-branching centers in their areas, Palmer said.