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CU System briefs (03/17/2014)

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  • Click to view larger image DEXSTA FCU's Erin Hogan, left, Christine Trincia, Daryl McEwen; David Clendaniel and Connie Sanders, Dover FCU; and DEXSTA FCU's George Fitzgerald, Kathy Murschell and Jerry King met with U.S. Rep. John Carney (D-Wilmington), center, during February's Hike the Hill. (Delaware Credit Union League photo)
    NEW CASTLE, Del. (3/17/14) --Thirty-three Delaware credit union advocates met with their congressional delegation during the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) last month. Connie Sanders, the GAC Crasher from Dover (Del.) FCU, updated U.S. Rep. John Carney (D-Wilmington) on credit union topics. According to the March 14 issue of Together, Carney appeared to be well-versed on the issues including the credit union tax status. The contingent also met briefly with Sen. Tom Carper (D-Wilmington) ...
  • MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (3/17/14)--The Massachusetts Credit Union League is hosting a seminar on elder financial abuse April 15 in Milford, Mass. The first session is the "Massachusetts Credit Union Reporting Project," which provides an outline for identifying and reporting abuse to appropriate parties (Daily CU Scan March 14). Other topics include scams, schemes, homeowner displacement and community outreach ...
  • WESTBROOK, Maine (3/17/14)--A severe winter storm caused the Maine Credit Union League to cancel its annual Maine Credit Union Day at the State House in Augusta last week. Registration is still open for the rescheduled meeting, set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday (Weekly Update March 14). Nearly 80 credit union representatives have registered. "It would be nice to get that number up to at least 100," said Jon Paradise, league vice president of governmental and public affairs. He added, "Having a credit union representative available from nearly every district when legislators visit our event has a powerful and positive impact"  ...
  • LOS ANGELES (3/17/14)-- Los Angeles Firemen's CU will change its name to Firefighters First CU, effective March 31. The $856 million-asset credit union sought a name that would honor its history of serving California's community of firefighters and their family members but reflect the nearly 270 fire departments it serves. It stressed that it is committed to exclusively serve full-time, paid, active and retired professional firefighters within the state of California ...
  • MONTPELIER, Vt. (3/17/14)--Robert Miller, a former deputy commissioner and commissioner of the Vermont Department of Economic Development, has been named the new CEO of Vermont State Employees CU, Montpelier. Currently, Miller is a managing director at Conning Inc., Hartford, Conn. He will start at the $618 million-asset credit union March 31. Miller worked at Citibank units before becoming the Director of Financial Services Development for the state of Vermont. He will succeed Steve Post, who is retiring after 23 years. Post will remain on as president until July 1 when Miller will take on the title of president/CEO ...
 

HELOCs show potential for Ca., Nev. CUs, league economist says

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ONTARIO, Calif. (3/17/14)--California and Nevada credit unions may want to focus on real estate lending--particularly home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)--given the positive outlook for housing, according to the chief economist for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.
 
HELOCs and home equity loans is a stand-out sector, Dwight Johnston said, adding, "With the dramatic improvement in home prices in California and Nevada, the pool of eligible borrowers has increased exponentially. If jobs and wages continue rising, homeowners are more likely to borrow against their homes for improvement" (In the News March 11).
 
He cautioned, "This won't be similar to the boom days. Credit unions will have much more conservative loan-to-value maximums, but the growth potential is there."
 
HELOCs now make up only 12% of all credit union loans in California and Nevada, down from the 2006 level of 17.28% and 40% less than their peak of more than $35 million in 2008.
 
Nationally, home equity loans stood at 6.3% of all loans as of January, according to data from the Credit Union National Association, down slightly from 6.6% a year prior and 6.7% in 2012.

Johnston noted that the small step upward in the last quarter of 2013 "could be just the beginning." Compared with the peak number of 550,000, HELOCs came in at 48,000 in 2013. That in itself was a 48% increase from 2012, according to DataQuick.
 
"There is room to grow," Johnston said. For every mortgage loan a credit union made on a home purchase from 2008 or 2009 until early 2013, that credit union has a member who likely holds a significant amount of equity built in. "That's a great pool to tap into," he said.
 
Auto lending is solid but will roughly be equivalent to its 2013 level, Johnston said. Wage gains should lead to greater demand for credit cards and personal loans.
 
"I would also expect to see greater demand for personal loans," Johnston said. "This is borne out by a surge in person-to-person loans on various websites--loans that should be going to credit unions. But credit unions seem to have lost interest in the 'old-fashioned' loans. This might be the time to get reacquainted."
 

Debt collection bill concerns Del. CUs

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DOVER, Del. (3/17/14)--Legislation has been introduced into the Delaware General Assembly that, while appearing to be consumer-friendly, has the potential to have unintended consequences that could negatively affect Delaware's credit unions, the Delaware Credit Union League said.
 
Delaware House Bill 230, the "Family Financial Protection Act," is designed to combat abuses in consumer debt collection that have risen from the growth of the debt-buying industry, robo-signing in debt collection and collection of stale debts.
 
"Delaware's credit unions are all about helping families, and have a long history and track record which supports this claim," said Pat Mahaney, Delaware league president (Together March 14).  "Credit unions have opened a lot of doors for Delawareans--car doors, home doors and school doors."
 
The proposals included in legislation were taken from a model statute first published by the National Consumer Law Center.
 
The proposal, if adopted, would severely limit debt collection activities and increase the exemptions to protect debtors' assets, virtually eliminating a creditor's ability to collect unsecured debt, such as credit cards, the league said.
 
The increased hurdles to collect debts, coupled with the shrinking of available assets for recovery, could suppress consumer lending, the league said. Large segments of the population, including seniors, students, first-time home buyers and subprime borrowers, could find credit more difficult to secure. Some member businesses could also find funding more difficult to secure.
 
Ultimately, consumers will pay the price of increased operating costs as credit availability tightens in response to the limited possibility of recovering "bad" loans, the league said.
 
The league is working with Credit Union National Association counsel and local counsel to ensure the legislation protects the interests of state credit unions.

Envision's card rewards net $10k for students

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (3/17/14)--Envision CU, Tallahassee, Fla., will fill bellies with food all spring break this school year, thanks to the $10,000 it generated through its Swipe for Schools credit card rewards program.

The $10,000 donation, which will pay for students to buy one book and receive three meals per day for the entire 10-day spring break holiday, was presented last week to America's Second Harvest of the Big Bend, a Tallahassee-based food bank (Leon County Schools March 13).

Members of the $268 million-asset credit union earned five cents for the program for every purchase they made with VISA cards throughout the school year.

"We launched the Swipe for Schools program to provide our members with a way to make a meaningful contribution to the students in our community," said Envision President/CEO Darryl Worrell. "We're so honored to be able to send these meals and books home with these students over the holiday."

Envision plans to run the program again next year, due to this year's success. 

"Spring break can be a difficult time for many of our students," said Jackie Pons, Leon County Schools superintendent. "But thanks to Envision, these children will not go hungry."

Treasurer visit caps Mo. advocacy meeting

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (3/17/14)--A visit from Missouri's state treasurer capped off the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) Annual Advocacy Meeting earlier this month, an event full of speakers who took time to discuss the most pressing issues facing the industry.

Clint Zweifel, Missouri treasurer, met with a dozen credit union leaders from throughout the state on the second day of the event, and lauded credit unions for their work helping consumers.

"We appreciate that the state treasurer took time out of his busy schedule to meet with credit union representatives," said Amy McLard, MCUA senior vice president of advocacy (Missouri Difference March 13). "We were able to discuss some of our concerns, to share our successes and reinforce our support for one of his legislative priorities in 2014 (prohibiting public employee retirement benefits from being transferred to pension advance companies)."

On the first day, attendees were treated to several talks from a variety of industry leaders, each covering a different issue concerning credit unions.

Ann Davidson, CUNA Mutual Group senior consultant, spoke about data breaches, explaining that criminals are now regularly looking to exploit non-face-to-face transactions, such as automated clearing house (ACH) and payment cards.

"There were a lot of data breaches last year, like Schnucks (based in Missouri)," Davidson said. "...and it's not stopping. The bad guys have found an open door. We have to be one step ahead of them."

Later, McLard led a session covering federal legislative issues for credit unions; and David Kent, director of state legislative affairs, spoke about state-level bills that could affect credit unions.

Philippines CUs recovering with help of $260K from World Council relief

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MADISON, Wis. (3/17/14)--Immediately after Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed communities throughout the Philippines, the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions--the World Council of Credit Unions' fundraising arm--activated a campaign that raised more than $260,000 from the global credit union community.
 
Click to view larger image VICTO National will help rebuild nine credit unions in the worst-affected region of Eastern Visayas through the Worldwide Foundation's grant. Pictured here is the typhoon's aftermath at Ormoc Vendors MPC. (World Council of Credit Unions photo)
Now, nearly four months after the storm, local credit unions have begun rebuilding their offices while thousands of credit union members struggle to access basic financial services.
 
Through the foundation's reconstruction grant, VICTO National Co-operative Federation and Development Center will coordinate the rebuilding of nine associated credit unions and their branches that were significantly damaged in the Eastern Visayas region--the Nov. 8 typhoon's worst-hit area. Funds will finance the purchase of rebuilding materials and institutional-capacity items such as office equipment, generators, computers and furniture.
 
"Thanks to partners like CUNA Mutual Group, Credit Union Foundation Australia and the Irish League of Credit Union's International Development Foundation, as well as contributing credit unions and individuals worldwide, World Council will reignite financial services for over 240,800 credit union members in an effort to help strengthen resiliency during this difficult time," said Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO.
 
World Council has led relief and rebuilding efforts for past international disasters including the 2006 Philippines landslide in Leyte, after which the foundation's relief efforts supported the administration of microloans to help credit union members and employees rebuild their homes and businesses. World Council's technical services team, including Peter Graves, senior vice president; and Luis Sasuman, consultant and former World Council employee, will monitor Typhoon Haiyan's reconstruction efforts.
 
There are 1,320 credit unions in the Philippines serving 4.3 million members, according to according to World Council's 2012 Statistical Report.

Marketing rock stars have 3 chords for success: CUNA Council

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MADISON, Wis. (3/17/14)--To achieve lasting success, credit union marketers and business developers must be more than good. They need to be "rock star" good, business performance expert Ryan Estis told CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference attendees last week in Orlando, Fla.
 
"When the world changes around us, we must change with it," Estis said. "A lot of what got us here today won't get us where we're going."
 
Click to view larger image Marketing executives must be prepared keep in step with the pace of change, business performance expert Ryan Estis told CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference attendees last week in Orlando, Fla. (CUNA photo)
Rock star marketers, Estis said, do three things consistently well:

1. Collaborate. "Success today is a team sport," he said, adding that collaboration builds high-trust, high-value organizations. Successful collaboration requires marketers and business developers to "master the art of active listening," Estis said, which involves asking insightful questions. "Without collaboration, people miss out on opportunities to build connections." The goal, he says is to "first understand, then be understood."
 
2. Serve as change agents by being open-minded, sharing best practices with others, embracing continuous learning--and learning to be uncomfortable. "When you're uncomfortable, that means you're growing and getting better," Estis said. "Ask yourself: 'Am I learning and getting a little better every day?'"
 
He advised conference attendees to become change agents by implementing and executing three new ideas in the next 30 days. "Use this moment to decide where you're going and take action."
 
3. Champion the organization's culture by connecting with its purpose and aligning their actions with its values. Doing so--and not doing so--has a direct impact on an organization's performance. "Culture is a catalyst," Estis says, "for either growth and success or a barrier to achieve goals."
 
 The Mayo Clinic is one organization where employees truly embrace the culture, which boils down to seven words: The needs of the patient come first.

Canadian CU teams up with Filene for channel workshop

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MADISON, Wis. (3/17/14)--As technology continues to blossom, so will the number of channels through which consumers can access their financial institutions.

Keeping track and maintaining these channels--mobile banking, online services, ATMs--can spread credit unions thin, if they're not careful.

To help credit unions stay on top of this issue, Filene has partnered with Toronto-based Credit Union Central of Canada to host a one-day workshop to offer guidance on how financial institutions can track and make decisions about channel delivery.

The workshop will take place on April 14 in Montreal, Canada.

"Credit unions and banks are better off having five A+ channels than 20 mediocre ones," said Ben Rogers, Filene research director. "Through case studies and discussion, we'll look at the channel challenges faced by financial institutions and strategies for selecting the channels with the best fit now and several years down the road."

Attendees will be taught by Harvard Business School Professor and Filene Research Fellow Dennis Campbell to move away from simply thinking about the consumer experience and towards tracking it. Participants also will learn how to isolate and track "key member drivers" and how to use the resulting metrics to make decisions about channel delivery.

The one-day session will build on a previous channel delivery workshop that featured Campbell last year.

"His case studies from Commerce Bank and TD Canada Trust, along with his work with credit unions, show the importance of strategic decision-making and tradeoffs," Rogers said.

For more information or to register for the event, use the resource link.