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PSCU earns patent for CardLock fraud prevention

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (2/27/14)--PSCU's CardLock multi-channel fraud prevention solution was formally patented Tuesday.
 
CardLock works in tandem with PSCU's fraud detection and prevention platform. Cardholders can easily block and unblock authorizations on CardLock registered cards and manage transaction authorization via phone, web and mobile.
 
"It provides peace of mind for consumers, who can now play a proactive role in protecting their own accounts," said Steve Ruw, chief risk office of the credit, debit/ATM and prepaid card servicer. "Credit unions also benefit since CardLock is an extremely cost-effective way to help lower the risk of fraud and the expenses associated with managing compromised accounts."
 
If anyone tries to use the card while it has a locked status, they will be contacted by PSCU's fraud prevention staff to notify them of the unauthorized attempt. According to PSCU, CardLock effectively renders stolen account data worthless when a cardholder proactively blocks the account.

Examiner-grade compliance training offered by CU24

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (2/26/14)--CU24 announced its CU24 University compliance-training program for its credit union partners.
 
"CU24 University offers the best-in-class compliance training solution that helps credit unions meet all NCUA requirements," said Kim Cromer, vice president of product management. "In fact, CU24 University offers the same course content that regulatory agencies use to train their examiners."
 
CU24 University will provide online training that will enable credit unions to meet regulatory requirements set by the National Credit Union Administration. Licensed from financial services technology services provider FIS, CU24 University will have more than 260 courses for board members, credit union staff and management.
 
"The challenge to credit unions is to find the time to schedule effective training with minimal interruption to member service. CU24 University provides the answer with timely, effective training, and minimal member service interruption," said Mansel Guerry, CU24 president/CEO.
 
"With all the regulations that come up throughout the year, it's nice to offer a solution to our credit unions that can help them keep up," Cromer said.
 

New CUNA Mutual policies cover 'patent troll,' litigation costs

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MADISON, Wis. (2/25/14)--CUNA Mutual Group introduced new coverage--called Enhance Defense Reimbursement--to help protect credit unions against rising litigation costs stemming from "patent troll" and other suits that commonly aren't covered by liability policies.
 
More litigation risks are emerging that are not covered by traditional liability insurance policies, said John Wallace, vice president of commercial products for CUNA Mutual Group. "Emerging litigation risks continue to plague the financial industry, and even the most vigilant credit unions can fall victim to these lawsuits," he said.
 
The protection falls under its management and professional liability insurance policy, which was introduced in 2009 to protect credit unions against the evolving litigation landscape, Wallace added.
 
Some emerging but typically uncovered risks include:
  • Increased levels of litigation seeking injunctive relief damages (e.g. recent ATM and Americans with Disabilities Act litigation against credit unions);
     
  • Heightened patent troll litigation activity; and
     
  • Growing regulatory risks driven by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule making.
 
"Patent trolls" use low-quality patents to extract settlements from credit unions and other institutions for use of technology's such as mobile banking or even ATMs. A typical patent infringement case through trial could cost from $400,000 to $500,000, CUNA Mutual noted.
 

Member data security strengthened with CSS, Awareness alliance

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MADISON, Wis. (2/24/14)--One of the consequences of the data security breach at retail giant Target is a heightened awareness of the importance of keeping member data safe. A new alliance between CUNA Strategic Services Inc. (CSS) and Awareness Technologies offers credit unions a solution that protects that information on an internal basis.
 
Awareness Technologies' computer- and device-monitoring software provides a compliant method for credit unions to monitor suspicious activity, ensuring that employees don't compromise member data. This can include accessing unapproved social media sites, performing suspicious Internet searches, or trying to outright steal member information. It also protects member information should a company laptop be stolen.
 
"By allowing information technology and human resources professionals to work together to ensure a productive and secure workplace, Awareness Technologies gives credit unions peace of mind and the ability to make informed choices," said Wes Millar, CSS senior vice president.
 
The Westport, Conn.-based company's unified internal threat management solution covers on-site, remote and traveling employees. It allows credit unions and their employees to benefit from working remotely without sacrificing security and regulatory compliance.
 
The alliance was announced Sunday at the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.
 

CO-OP, Alkami bundle bill pay, mobile banking

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif., and PLANO, Texas (2/21/14)--CO-OP Financial Services and Alkami Technology Inc., are partnering to bundle CO-OP Bill Pay with the Alkami ORB Platform, helping credit unions offer member online and mobile banking bill payment.
 
CO-OP Financial Services is also making a strategic investment in Alkami. The minority ownership earns CO-OP a seat on Alkami's board of directors.
 
"The Alkami user interface is an elegant one, and in combination with CO-OP Bill Pay processing, presents a compelling digital banking and bill pay alternative for credit unions," said Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Services president/CEO. "The fact that we have not only chosen to partner with Alkami, but to invest in the company as well, clearly demonstrates our commitment to this partnership and just how important we think our bundled solution is for credit unions."

UsNet reports 2013 shared branching growth

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ALBANY, N.Y. (2/20/14)--Shared branching network UsNet added four credit unions and 20 branches to its network in 2013.
 
"2013 proved to be another successful year for UsNet and our network participants," said Marc Inger, chief operating officer of UsNet. "In a changing industry and marketplace, the cooperative model of shared branching continues to create valuable benefits for credit unions and their members."
 
A combined 57 credit unions representing $34 billion in assets and 2.2 million members now participate in the network. In 2013, more than 1.1 million members visited UsNet's 196 shared branches located throughout New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Florida.
 
UsNet also distributed $27,000 in shareholder dividends, $169,578 in credit union rebates and $40,450 in new credit union discounts, also known as opportunity pool incentives last year. It was the fifth consecutive year that UsNet member credit unions and shareholders received the distributions.

Mid-Atlantic launches risk-management CUSO Sollievo

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (2/19/14)--On Tuesday, Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU, Middletown, Pa., launched a new credit union service organization that offers risk-management products and services to credit unions.
 
Services provided by Sollievo, which is Italian for relief, include enterprise risk management, information security services, business continuity, and training and consulting services.
 
"We hear from credit unions every day about their struggle to keep up with regulatory demands," said Lori Gall, Sollievo president/CEO. "Our mission is to provide peace of mind and help them meet compliance obligations and improve the overall risk posture of their credit union."
 
Gall will continue in her roles as senior vice president, administration; compliance officer; and security officer for Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU.

CU Direct processed $16M auto loans in 2013

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ONTARIO, Calif. (2/18/14)--CU Direct processed a record $16 billion in funded auto loans in 2013, an increase of 25% compared with 2012, the company announced last week.
 
During 2013, CU Direct supported 1,072 credit unions, helping them process more than 2.8 million auto loan applications--a 10% increase in applications compared with 2012.
 
The credit union service organization processed 268,000 auto loan applications in December, a 43% increase over December 2012. The increase was made possible by offering partner credit unions access to more than 60% of the auto dealerships in the U.S, said Bob Child, CU Direct's chief of staff.
 
"Credit unions gained significant momentum in auto lending during 2013," Child said. "Credit union's on the CUDL lending platform during 2013 delivered growth rates double the auto lending market, demonstrating that credit unions can compete with banks and win in the auto lending marketplace."

Wescom Resources tops $10M in revenue for 2013

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PASADENA, Calif. (2/14/14)--Wescom Resources Group, a provider of software and technology service solutions for credit unions, generated $10.7 million in annual revenue in 2013.

WRG signed 28 credit unions to use its products and services.
 
"Technology moves very fast today, and it's our job to maintain that pace for our credit union clients so they can retain their value for their members continued interest," Tim Dolan, WRG president. "It's a challenge, but one that is incredibly rewarding."
 
New products or initiatives WRG executed in 2013 include:
  • An enterprise solutions suite;
  • New, performance monitoring platforms for online applications.
  • Enhancements to network infrastructure and hosting capabilities;
  • Revamped external website; and
  • Early availability of MemberEdge mobile banking 3.0.

Payveris, D3 Banking partner to provide unified digital banking

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WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (2/13/14)--Payveris, an online and mobile digital payments company that serves community financial institutions including credit unions, and D3, a digital banking firm, have formed a partnership to merge their services on to a single platform.
 
As part of the partnership, D3 Banking will be integrated with Payveris' digital payments platform, which includes bill payment, money movement and interbank transfer solutions.
 
"Our D3 Banking solution is built on the belief that financial institutions should control the user experience around all types of money movement--bill pay, account to account, person to person--and that all those payment options should ride on a single payment rail infrastructure," said Mark Vipond, CEO of D3 Banking.
 
"Both companies bring an understanding of market needs and the desire to help banks and credit unions to more effectively compete and serve their customers or members, said Fran Duggan, president of Payveris.

Frigid winter makes for busy times at Mich. CUSO

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (2/12/14)--The frigid temperatures that slowed many parts of the U.S. the past two months has resulted in a busy winter for Xtend Inc., the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based cooperative credit union service organization.
 
The CUSO reported that during a recent four-week period, its Xtension Call Center and SRS Bookkeeping business units had provided varying levels of support for more than two dozen credit unions. 
 
"It goes without saying that things have really been hopping in our office for the past several weeks," said Scott Collins, Xtend president. "Just five short years ago we would not have been in a position to help as many of our customer-owners during these anomalies, but we have been steadily investing in both tools and people."
 
Thirty-seven credit unions contract with Xtend to provide daily bookkeeping services for short-term needs, said Collins. Many of those credit unions had at least one day this winter where the weather caused them to close, and the bookkeeping services were needed.
 
Also, Xtend call center agents handle overflow and after-hour member service calls for 34 credit unions. Weather-related closings has resulted in a significantly higher volume of calls during that same period, Collins said.
 

CO-OP offers remote ATM control

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (2/11/14)--CO-OP ATMs are being upgraded to allow remote maintenance performed by CO-OP Financial Services on behalf of client ATMs.
 
The upgrade, called Remote Manager, will be made to CO-OP's Visual Control system, which previously allowed remote control of marketing and operational content.
 
"There are very few things more crucial to an outstanding member experience than what your member sees at the ATM," said Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Services president/CEO. "The addition of Remote Manager to CO-OP ATM Visual Control not only enhances the member experience, but also helps give credit unions a comprehensive tool to help maximize uptime."
 
The new Remote Manager feature provides the ability to remotely:
  • Distribute customized screen branding and images that are part of transactions;
     
  • Troubleshoot ATMs with the remote uploading of event and error logs;
     
  • Acquire important ATM data such as application and operating system versions and configurations for all machines in the fleet; and
     
  • Reboot ATMs.
Introduced in 2011, CO-OP ATM Visual Control provides multi-vendor device support to cost-manage a credit union's ATM fleet with through a Web-based application. Credit unions can remotely manage marketing messages and simplify operations by remotely uploading electronic journal entries and monitoring activities via dashboard reports.

CUNA Mutual, State National provide auto coverage

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MADISON, Wis. (2/10/14)--CUNA Mutual Group and State National Companies are collaborating to inform credit union members of coverage available through the TruStage auto insurance program.

The coverage helps protect more members by making information about car insurance accessible at a time when members are most likely to be looking for it, CUNA Mutual Group and State National Companies said.  
 
When members take out an auto loan at their credit union, they are required to maintain collision damage insurance coverage on their vehicle. CUNA Mutual Group and State National formed a tracked collateral-protection insurance (CPI) alliance in 2009 to protect credit unions in the event borrowers default on a loan and uninsured collateral is damaged.
 
If it is unclear whether a vehicle is insured, State National will send the member a notice requesting proof of insurance. Beginning this quarter, those notices will contain information about the TruStage Auto Insurance Program--which is underwritten by Liberty Mutual--provided the credit union is a CPI alliance customer and also makes the TruStage auto insurance program available.
 
"The cross-marketing initiative will help members learn about money-saving opportunities at a key moment in the credit union lending event," said Stephen Arnold, vice president, CUNA Mutual Group, TruStage Auto and Home.
 
Response rates for the TruStage Auto Insurance Program offer on CPI notices were 2.5 times better in initial testing than usual direct response rates. "Providing members with information about the right product at the right time helps credit unions deliver the most value with their CPI and TruStage auto insurance programs," Arnold said.
 
Existing customers of the alliance and the TruStage auto insurance programs can access this feature in March. Other credit unions must participate in both programs.

Diebold helps CUs prep ATMs for XP sunset

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CANTON, Ohio (2/7/14)--As the April 8 sunset of Windows XP draws near, credit unions are evaluating their ATM fleets for operating system upgrades or machine replacements.
 
The U.S. has about 420,000 ATMs, and about 95% of those ATMs will be affected by the need to upgrade to Windows 7, according to Dean Stewart, senior director of product management, Diebold. "I've not encountered anyone who doesn't know about it," he told News Now .
 
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Microsoft is discontinuing support for XP, meaning it will no longer provide regular security patches or technical assistance and support. If credit unions don't upgrade ATMs, they face potential problems such as degradation in product and service delivery, application incompatibilities, and increased chances of date theft, according to a statement from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.
 
Older machines don't have the hardware that can support the newer, faster software so some financial institutions will replace some or all of their ATM fleets, he said. "There certainly is a large flurry globally as well as the U.S. for upgrades.
 
"It's part of your capital plan--evaluate your needs, review your fleet, determine your investment. Credit unions should approach it as any other compliance issue," Stewart added.
 
The fear of hackers, malware and other security threats is understandable, credit unions also need to be aware of Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council compliance.
 
"If you are a financial institution, you really want to put this on your to-do list for 2014," Diebold CEO Andy Mattes told American Banker (Jan. 30). "The bad guys won't show up the next morning, but with every month that passes, risk will increase," he added.
 
XP has been the operating system for most ATMs since 2003, but by upgrading to Windows 7, financial institutions also can set the stage for opportunities. Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) adoption is just around the corner in 2015. Contactless near-field-communication (NFC) transactions and multi-touchscreen technologies are in the wings, Stewart said.
 
"A lot of people are looking at adding EMV at the same time as the Windows 7 upgrade," he said, adding that even if they aren't implementing EMV right away, their ATMs will be ready when they are.
 
Diebold, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider, offers Operation 411, a website that addresses operating system upgrades; EMV adoption; PCI Security Standards Council compliance; and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

TMG survey shows FIs making EMV plans

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DES MOINES, Iowa (2/6/14)--More than half (24) of 43 financial institutions surveyed by payments processor The Members Group said they would like to start Europay-MasterCard-Visa (EMV) projects within 12 months.
 
Eleven of the FIs said they would start EMV projects in 2015, while eight said they were unsure when they would like to begin an EMV conversion.
 
Notably, responses were gathered between Oct. 25 and Dec. 4--before the Target data security breach. "Overall most of our clients had an EMV plan in place," Brandon Kuehl, TMG product manager and EMV product leader, told News Now . "What we've seen this year, post-Target breach, is that credit unions want to act faster, and move their plans up, anywhere from one month to four months."
 
Kuehl said chip and PIN is a more secure transaction environment than chip and signature, but it is quite likely PINs would have been compromised in a situation similar to the Target data in an EMV environment. "The transaction data from the card holder is still in the clear when it goes in the terminal" under EMV, Kuehl said. "So it wouldn't have done anything to prevent the actual credentials from being taken. It just makes harder for the criminal to reproduce the card."
 
The next step in card security is tokenization, in which card users enter a series of digits other than their card number to make transactions, Kuehl said.
 
The Credit Union National Association has called on legislators to ensure that consumers know where their information was compromised in the event of a data breach. CUNA has also urged legislators to follow two other basic principles as they consider data security fixes:
  • All participants in the payments system should be responsible and be held to comparable levels of data security requirements; and
  • Those responsible for the data breach should be responsible for the costs of helping consumers.
In the TMG survey, 27 of the responding FIs said they have a reissuance plan. Of those, 22 said they will send out EMV cards on the natural reissue date. The remaining five issuers reported plans to reissue upon request on a per-cardholder basis.
 
The majority of both Visa and MasterCard issuers participating in the survey said they plan to issue contact-only, signature-based EMV cards that can only be authorized online.
 
Six issuers plan to issue dual-interface cards. With this capability, EMV cardholders would be able to take advantage of tap-and-go terminals, which are more prevalent overseas and in some major metropolitan areas of the U.S.
 
"A dual-interface configuration is considered the Cadillac among EMV cards and will demonstrate a credit union or bank is ahead of the market," said Kuehl. "However, it may require as much as double the budget to issue dual-interface EMV cards as compared to contact-only."
 
As opposed to PIN-based EMV cards, signature cards are what Kuehl calls a "best practice" for community-financial institution credit card issuers, mainly due to credit card holder familiarity with signature authentication. "Consumers are not used to entering a PIN when swiping their credit cards," he said. "PIN also adds an additional layer of complexity for the issuer. When it comes to EMV issuance, TMG advises clients to start simple and add complexity in the future if necessary. The availability of PIN as an authenticator can always be added at a later date."
 
None of the survey respondents reported plans to issue EMV cards that authenticate offline. While European EMV cards typically allow for online and offline transactions and authorizations, U.S. cards will benefit from wide connectivity and a healthy telecommunications infrastructure. More terminals in the U.S. will be able to communicate with authenticating parties.
 
"For issuers without a significant number of international travelers, online-only EMV cards will be sufficient," said Kuehl. "It's also important to understand that offline EMV cards require a significant amount of upkeep."

MnCUN V.I.P. adds 22 participants for 2014

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (2/5/14)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) added 22 participants to its Vendor Involvement Program (V.I.P.) for 2014.
 
Designed to optimize business relationships with Minnesota's credit unions, V.I.P. combines advertising with exclusive benefits at MnCUN's major conferences, as well as speaking engagements and opportunities to participate in new MnCUN initiatives.
 
V.I.P. was created in 2005 to provide service organizations that are committed to serving credit unions with an opportunity to work with MnCUN and increase brand visibility. Participants include:
  • CUNA Mutual Group;
  • Alloya Corporate FCU;
  • American Deposit Management Co.;
  • AmeriCU Mortgage;
  • Bullseye Collection Agency;
  • CliftonLarsonAllen;
  • CO-OP Financial Services;
  • CU Companies;
  • CUDL;
  • DAYTA Marketing; 
  • Emergent Networks;
  • First Class Mortgage;
  • FIS;
  • The League Service Corp.;
  • Locknet IT Solutions;
  • LSS Financial Counseling;
  • Minnesota Housing Finance Agency;
  • MnCUSC Shared Branching;
  • MnIPC;
  • Murnane Brandt, P.A.;
  • Repossessors Inc.; and
  • Wipfli.

Kansas league to use Nitro for mobile banking

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WICHITA, Kan. (2/4/14)--Shared Financial Solutions (SFS), a subsidiary of the Kansas Credit Union Association, has announced a partnership with Nitro Mobile Solutions, a mobile banking solutions company.

The partnership will enable SFS to offer branded mobile banking applications powered by Nitro's mobile platform. The companies plan to jointly market and provide mobile banking solutions to credit unions. SFS is the latest partner to join Nitro's original equipment manufacturer partner program that provides the ability for partners to license and market Nitro's mobile banking applications under their own brand.

"Mobile banking is a must-have for credit unions in order to compete and continue to provide the personal services credit unions are known for," said Melissa Baptista, KCUA director of research and development. "KCUA provides guidance for vendors that have met the association's high standards. Nitro Mobile's solution is exactly what we were looking for and gives us all the tools we need to deliver an affordable full-featured mobile banking platform in as little as 30 to 60 days."
 

Slack named COO of Palmetto Cooperative Services

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IRMO, S.C. (2/3/14)--Credit union service organization Palmetto Cooperative Services (PCS) has promoted John Slack to chief operations officer.
 
Slack, a 23-year credit union system veteran, joined PCS in 2010 and has led the organization's sales division since then. In his new role, he will oversee operating and support functions within PCS.
 
"John's promotion is well deserved, as he has been critical to our success and growth to more than 450 credit unions and financial services entities in 23 states," said PCS president/CEO Brad Miller. "His experience, relationships and work ethic are invaluable to our company."
 
Prior to PCS, Slack served as president/CEO of the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation for four years. He also spent a decade at CUNA Mutual Group.