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Members Health Network convenes HSA CU roundtable

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ALBANY, N.Y. (4/1/09)--Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were the topic of discussion at a recent roundtable hosted by Members Health Network at Allegacy FCU, Winston-Salem, N.C., March 20. The roundtable aimed to create the first working group for credit unions to help the industry communicate and understand HSAs. “We clearly established that real growth opportunity for credit unions, especially in these difficult economic times, lies in delivering HSA services directly to their select employer groups, sponsors and business members,” said Peter Barnard, president of Members Health Network. Roundtable participants included Rodney Hood, National Credit Union Administration vice chair, and Red Gillen, national HSA analyst from Celent. Hood has been a long-time advocate for HSAs, Members Health said. “There is a lot of low-hanging fruit there for credit unions,” including HSAs that can be used to their strategic advantage, Hood told the group. This “strategic advantage” helped Patelco CU, San Francisco, bring in new members. HSAs increased the credit union’s membership by 29,000, according to Marie Gloria, HSA product manager at the San Francisco-based credit union. Patelco has $4.1 billion in assets. “I think the key was the relationship we established with a local health insurance broker in our market,” she said. “By simply making them aware of the unique service levels of our credit union, as well as our better rates, referrals began coming into Patelco rapidly.” Members Health is planning a second roundtable. “It is time for the industry to come together to build sustainable, strategic HSA services that truly compete with the leading banks,” said Kathy Hall, Members Health senior director of strategic business solutions.

VINtek introduces Dealer Monitoring Program

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ORLANDO, Fla. (4/1/09)--VINtek, a provider of automotive collateral management services, has launched its Dealer Monitoring Program, a risk management program for lenders that manages risk and perfects liens from auto dealers. The program helps auto finance providers avoid potential losses due to title exceptions from the liens they fund through their network of dealers. Prior to funding a dealer after a loan is approved, an indirect lender can use the program to ensure the lien will be perfected. The program enables funding of dealers within a day or two of the loan’s approval, but with increased risk management benefits for lenders, VINtek said. “The Dealer Monitoring Program reduces and prevents the accumulation of unperfected liens for auto finance lenders of all sizes,” said Larry Highbloom, VINtek president. “Our process also protects indirect lenders from situations where dealers are closing their doors due to insolvency, yet the lender may be financing a consumer vehicle for purchase with a pre-existing lien that the dealer has not satisfied.” Program fees are variable and can be passed on to the borrowers or dealers at no cost to the lender, VINtek said. VINtek is based in Philadelphia.

TMG white paper discusses card rewards programs

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DES MOINES, Iowa (4/1/09)--The Members Group (TMG) has issued a white paper, “Rewarding Your Members--Reinvent Your Credit Union’s Rewards Program,” about credit and debit rewards programs. Credit and debit market competition has shifted member expectations, making sophisticated rewards programs essential, according to the paper’s co-author Matt Flynn, TMG director of client relations. “While it’s possible that interchange income may soon lessen due to regulation, it’s important to realize the revenue stream still exists today,” Flynn said. In the paper, Flynn and co-author Sara Petty, TMG vice president of strategic initiatives, suggest credit unions evaluate their current rewards programs for ways to enhance them. They also suggest improving ease of use, adding a debit rewards program, partnering with local businesses and restructuring rewards to better fit a credit union’s membership. TMG is a financial services organization owned by the Iowa Credit Union League.