MADISON, Wis. (3/6/14)--A
article highlights how credit unions are helping members save for big expenses through savings clubs.
Savings club accounts, a spin-off on the traditional Christmas Club accounts, help members set aside money on a monthly basis, and then withdraw it at a certain time.
Some banks offer savings clubs, but consumers are more likely to find them at credit unions, because the accounts aren't designed to generate profits, Ben Rogers, research director at the Filene Research Institute, told
. Because credit unions are not-for-profit and owned by their members, they're more likely to offer savings clubs, he explained.
Credit unions offer savings clubs for almost every major expense--tax payments, fuel bills, vacations, weddings, to name a few.
"Putting a little aside for any kind of big expense makes a lot of sense," Mike Schenk, vice president of economics and statistics with the Credit Union National Association, told
The club's also offer a great way to develop a savings habit, said Wes Strickland, senior vice president of marketing at Grow Financial FCU, Tampa, Fla.
And by saving, consumers avoid racking up credit card charges or digging into emergency savings to cover costs, the article reported.
Because some club accounts have specific terms, it's important that consumers understand account requirements. For example, deposits are often required at regular intervals, such as once a month, and withdrawals may only be allowed at a certain time or the account will be subject to closure or interest could be forfeited. Those restrictions help account holders stick to their savings plan.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (3/6/14)--Patrick La Pine, president/CEO of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU), provided an overview of Florida credit unions' state legislative agenda in a March 4
Palm Beach Post
La Pine addressed four issues in his commentary: Public deposits, data security, financial literacy and the Florida Credit Union Act.
Last year, Florida legislators did not consider proposed bills that would have granted credit unions the ability to accept public deposits. "As the 2014 session gets under way, the credit union association is committed to vigorously advocating for any proposal that would bring Florida in line with 33 other states that allow credit unions to accept public deposits and spur competition among eligible public depositories," La Pine wrote.
In the wake of the Target data breach, Florida credit unions are also committed to advocating for reform laws on data security and protection of personal information, La Pine said. "The association intends to advocate for legislation that would work to protect card issuers and financial institutions from data breaches that may result from negligent retailers that fail to maintain security protocols to access devices," La Pine wrote. "The association also supports any effort to require retailers to notify consumers if and when any data breach incident has occurred."
The league also seeks to improve Chapter 657, the Florida Credit Union Act, to help reduce over-regulation and maintain the safety and soundness of all credit unions, La Pine wrote.
Regarding financial literacy, LSCU supports legislation in both the Florida House and Senate that would require high school students to earn a half-credit in financial literacy to qualify for graduation.
To read the full commentary, use the link.
BREMERTON, Wash. (3/6/14)--A Washington-based credit union is about to take the next step in its community-focused fight against poverty.
In less than a week, Kitsap CU, Bremerton, Wash., will host the second installment of its program "Life on the Edge," which addresses local poverty (
The first event, held in May 2012, brought poverty into the light for individual community members by simulating real-life examples of problems that the impoverished face every day.
"People left the event more compassionate, ready to listen first, to gain more understanding," said Cathy Brorson, Kitsap CU's outreach coordinator
Brorson spearheads the project for the $961 million-asset credit union.
This second all-day event, scheduled for Wednesday, will dig deeper into the area's issues with poverty. Those in attendance will be asked to identify priorities and think about programs that could "sustain change."
"For example, how do we successfully marry the structure of regulation with the precarious, emotional needs of someone in poverty at a moment of crisis?" Brorson said in a Q&A with
Brorson plans to package the input and ideas into a report, which she hopes will help guide the direction of the locally sponsored Poverty Alleviation Project. The project will invest $1 million into the community's effort to fight poverty.
The event also will feature a "State of Housing" address given by Kitsap County Commissioner Linda Streissguth, a resource fair and a panel discussion centered on issues those entrenched in poverty often face.
About 9% of residents in Kitsap County and 19% of Bremerton residents live in poverty. Last year, 4.5% of Bremerton School District students were considered homeless.
SALT LAKE CITY (3/6/14)--Nearly two dozen schools across Utah were awarded grant funding recently thanks to the 100% for Kids Credit Union Education Foundation, an organization formed by the Utah Credit Union Association to help schools expand and enhance in-house programs and resources.
This quarter, the foundation spread more than $44,000 among 13 districts and 21 schools. The funding will pay for supplies for core curriculum, according to Liz White, the foundation's director.
"We review several grant applications each quarter, looking for those that will impact the greatest number of students in the greatest possible way," White said.
Thanks to Granite FCU, Salt Lake City, one school received a double-dose of help.
Newly constructed Neil Armstrong Academy, a school just outside of Salt Lake City that emphasizes "STEM" curriculum--or science, technology engineering and math skills--received $2,500 for books, science equipment, musical instruments and iPads from 100% for Kids.
Granite decided to match that amount.
"As a credit union firmly rooted in education, Granite jumped at the opportunity to assist the Neil Armstrong Academy and their unique approach to learning," said Garrett Laws, marketing manager for the $338 million-asset credit union.
Thus far, 100% for Kids has donated more than $5 million to Utah schools. The funding is given directly to teachers for use in their classrooms.
MADISON, Wis. (3/6/14)--The Global Women's Leadership Network, a World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) initiative that addresses the contributions and needs of women credit union leaders worldwide, is offering scholarships to support education and networking opportunities.
The scholarship champions emerging women credit union leaders through access to a network of credit union professional expertise. The application deadline is March 28.
The scholarship will support candidates' projects that further the vision and mission of the network.
"Our objective is to advance credit union women in leadership roles throughout our global community," said Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO.
Applications should include a project description. Successful projects will focus on solving a problem or meeting a need within the applicant's credit union or community. Examples include strengthening the capacity of women leaders in the organization and expanding financial services to underserved community members.
Selected candidates will attend the 2014 Global Women's Leadership Forum and World Credit Union Conference, which will take place in Gold Coast, Australia, July 25-30. During the 2014 Leadership Forum, selected candidates will present their projects to network members, who will vote on which candidates will receive network support for the implementation of their projects. Those chosen will carry out their project from August 2014 through June 2015 and will return to the 2015 Global Women's Leadership Forum in Denver to present their project results.
To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be female emerging leaders in the global credit union movement, which include young professionals and leaders from a developing credit union movement. Successful candidates must demonstrate the ability to effectively implement their proposed projects and suggest appropriate engagement from the network, such as volunteers and training internships.
Scholarships are made possible through funding provided by annual network membership donations and sponsorships, such as that provided by CUNA Mutual Group, a founding level supporter of the network.
MADISON, Wis. (3/6/14)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) FUSE program now offers a professional designation for business development professionals--Credit Union Business Development Professional (CUBDP).
Attendees of the CUNA FUSE: Branch Operations & Business Development School, set for Aug. 18-21 in San Diego, can earn the CUBDP designation.
CUNA FUSE was developed to encourage communication and cooperation between credit union branch operations and business development areas.
The school makes a point "to establish a dialogue between attendees in different fields so that everyone leaves better prepared to build beneficial relationships with--and establish cohesion among--their employees back home," said Kathy Smith, CUNA instructional design manager.