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New alliance offers Illinois CUs small biz solutions

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WAKEFIELD, Mass. (3/11/10)--A new strategic merchant processing alliance between Primax and the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) Service Corp. (LSC) means that credit unions across the country now have a new avenue to help them serve and strengthen their relationships with their local business community. Primax will serve as a merchant provider and cash advance provider for more than 3,100 credit unions served by LSC in 45 states. Primax offers LSC’s credit unions the flexibility to set up merchant programs for businesses with various outsourcing options. The marketing alliance features an Agent program in which the credit union refers its merchant to Primax, who then takes care of the details and operations support to allow the merchant to be set up and in business. LSC recently hosted a webinar detailing how the program works. By providing processing services for merchant retail, mail order, telephone, and Internet transactions, credit unions assume no liability and at the same time can benefit from a new revenue stream, said the partners. “Local merchants in particular are looking for lower-cost processing options, and these services are a great opportunity for credit unions and can lead to other business relationships,” said George Fiegle, LSC executive vice president. “Our partnership with Primax is another way in which we are fulfilling our mission to help credit unions compete."

CU Members Mortgage offers new online mortgage platform

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DALLAS (3/11/10)--CU Members Mortgage partnered with Lender Processing Services to implement the next generation of online mortgage lending technology, Empower, beginning in the second quarter. The new platform includes a more modern, user-friendly online application, improved tools and helpful calculators for members. The platform includes a side-by-side loan comparison to help members understand their loan options. It also provides delivery of rate alerts and loan status updates, and features electronic upload and distribution of documents. Credit union members will still have the 24/7 loan application ability that will pull credit information and provide an instant loan decision in minutes. CU Members Mortgage will begin training their credit union partners on the new system in April and will begin official roll-out in May. The target completion for the roll-out of all the new sites is May 15, said Wallace Jones, CU Members Mortgage national training director.

Cardwell updates strategy-execution tool

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (3/11/10)--Cardwell, developer of Connections Online 4.0, has updated Connections, a strategy execution tool, with enhanced reporting capabilities. The tool includes updated dialog reports, a new metric report, an updated resource utilization report, and a new all projects report. The updates were made so users could gain easier access to the reporting tools within the software. The dialog reports have been updated for all tabs, and the layout has been improved for quicker access. On the individual dialog report, performance indicators, metrics and project tasks have been added, making performance discussions more productive. The report is used to better manage meetings, which is where most managers spend more than 50% of their time, said Karla Norwood, Cardwell president. Managers can print the new metric report for any metric from any metric module, including organization, department, project or people tabs. The updated resource utilization report allows users to sort by departments, rolled up departments or a single department. The report allows leaders to sort how resources are being used for projects within the organization. The new all projects report lists projects from all departments, allowing users to view project activity in comprehensive mode. Cardwell, based in Cleveland, Ohio, is a software development and management-consulting firm. It helps clients, including credit unions, succeed by improving organization-wide alignment and cross-functional collaboration through its Connections Online strategy execution tool.

Sacher Consulting Callahans to offer ALL consulting

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WASHINGTON (3/11/10)--Sacher Consulting and Callahan and Associates have partnered to offer a comprehensive package to credit unions that includes a customizable allowance for loan loss (ALL) policy, consulting and access to relevant webinars. ALL policies should be part of credit unions’ governance structures, said Alix Patterson, chief operating officer of Callahan and Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based research firm for credit unions. With the struggling economy, credit unions are being impacted by declining home real-estate values and other aspects of the recession, Patterson said. Mike Sacher, principal, offers accounting, governance and education services to credit unions. Premier America CU, Chatsworth, Calif., hired Sacher for is consulting. “We wanted to develop a more structured and reliable methodology to ensure a reasonable funding level that was both realistic and defensible,” said Marge McNaught, Premier America CU chief lending officer. Sacher specializes in credit unions’ needs. It develops ALL methods that are practical and meet generally accepted accounting principles, the firms said.