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Products and Services briefs (03/31/2008)

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* RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (4/1/08)--Mary Lou Retton, the first female American gymnast to win an Olympic gold medal, will speak at CO-OP Financial Services’ “Think 2008” April 14-16 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Retton, a 15-year ambassador to Children’s Miracle Network, is the organization’s national chairperson. “We’re thrilled to welcome someone like Mary Lou who shares our admiration and commitment to Children’s Miracle Network,” said CO-OP CEO Stan Hollen. CO-OP donates $2 million annually to the network. redit unions are a major contributor. CO-OP is a credit union service organization that offers ATM network access, processing, debit and credit card services and shared branching ... * SAN DIMAS, Calif. (4/1/08)--Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc. (FSCC) announced speakers for the 2008 Credit Union Retail Delivery Convention June 11-13 at the Renaissance Hotel in Chicago. Speakers include: Jason Boles, president, Jason Boles Consulting; Sarah Canepa Bang, president/CEO, FSCC; Mark Condon, senior vice president of research and advice, Credit Union National Association; John Dyer, vice president, Advanced Products, Cardtronics; Chip Filson, president, Callahan and Associates; Tom Glatt, president/CEO, Continental FCU, El Segundo, Calif.; Gigi Hyland, board member, National Credit Union Administration; Tim Lerew, president, Tim Lerew Associates; Gregory Martin, chief operating officer, Metafos; Scott Post, senior vice president, strategy and delivery, Hanscom FCU, Boston; Ann Rhoades, founder and former executive vice president of JetBlue Airways, and president of People Ink; Ray Springsteen, senior vice president, business development, Callahan and Associates; Joe Sullivan, founder/president, Market Insights; and Josh Sundquist, paralympic ski racer ... * LAKE FOREST, Calif. (4/1/08)--“One More Member,” a song that is a salute to the credit union marketer, was introduced by The Marketing SuperSource at the CUNA Council’s Annual Marketing and Business Development Conference in Nashville, Tenn., March 16-19. The song is available for free download on www.psbonline.com/psbeat ... * KINGWOOD, Texas (4/1/08)--The New Jersey Credit Union League added Strunk and Associates to its V.I.P. Solutions preferred vendors’ resource list. The list contains companies and organizations that provide professional services and cost-saving opportunities to credit unions statewide. Strunk was added as the league’s overdraft privilege provider because it is responsive, explains its program thoroughly and is knowledgeable about regulatory issues, according to Jeanne Chichelo, Pinnacle FCU, Edison, N.J. ... * LATHAM, N.Y. (4/1/08)--Access FCU, Clinton, N.Y.; Achieve Financial CU, Berlin, Conn.; and Tonawanda Valley FCU, Batavia, N.Y., have added CO-OP Network access to their card programs, according to Covera Card Solutions. Through the agreement, the network will add 15 ATMs--seven from Access and eight from Achieve, Covera Card Solutions said last month. Covera provides credit unions in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut with card programs, including credit, debit and ATM. Covera is a partner of the CO-OP Network, which offers access to more than 25,000 surcharge-free ATMs in the U.S. ...

On-site advanced lending school is revamped

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MADISON, Wis. (3/31/08)--The latest lending practices and trends, and how to acquire advanced skills to implement a competitive consumer lending program will be taught during the recently updated advanced session of the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Consumer Lending School in May. “Consumer Lending School: Advanced” takes place May 5-8 in San Francisco, running concurrently with “Consumer Lending School: Foundations.” Advanced teaches the basics and beyond, and provides an ongoing educational opportunity for credit union lending staff and managers. The school’s new topics cover: emerging technologies to boost loan volume, mobile marketing, communicating promotions, supervisory skills, generational management and disaster planning. In Foundations, participants learn about consumer-lending basics, compliance and regulation issues, service-based selling, identity theft and fraud, and tools to help build long-term lending relationships with members. Other CUNA on-site offerings taking place in May are:
* “Bank Secrecy Act Conference,” taking place May 18-21 in Washington, D.C. The conference, offered jointly by CUNA and the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS), will bring together compliance officers, examiners, regulators, and industry experts for discussions on operational compliance, trends, and overviews of common mistakes. New topics include: developing an organization-wide Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) risk assessment, importance of (BSA) due diligence prior to a merger, shared- branching considerations, automated clearinghouse and wire issues, and the potential problems of alternative payment methods. * “CU Finance for Non-Financial Managers and Volunteers” scheduled May 4-7 in Denver, helps volunteers and professionals without a background in accounting or finance to better understand their credit union’s numbers. Students will start with the basics of accounting and transition to financial statements; asset-liability management; and rates, risk and return. * During the “Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Conference,” May 19-21 in San Francisco, security officers, managers, internal auditors, and volunteers can learn to prepare for and handle any potential credit union disaster--large or small. In addition to providing an understanding of business continuity planning, the conference also will explore storm tracking, working with local government, business impact analysis, and communicating with key publics. Participants will become part of a recovery team to work on a business continuity challenge as practice making critical decisions and working with an emergency operations center. * Orlando Magic co-founder Pat Williams will offer his techniques for increasing productivity in a leadership capacity during his keynote address at the CUNA Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Council Conference and Roundtable,” May 18-21, in Fort Myers, Fla. Some additional topics include: loan and deposit pricing, merger accounting, conflict resolution, indirect lending, call reports, software innovations, community involvement, and purchasing insurance coverage.
For more information, use the links.

Open Solutions partners with Mortgagebot

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MEQUON, Wis. and GLASTONBURY, Conn. (3/31/08)--Mortgagebot LLC and Open Solutions have announced a strategic referral partnership. Under the terms of the new agreement, Glastonbury, Conn.-based Open Solutions will recommend Mequon, Wis.-based Mortgagebot’s consumer-direct, Web-based loan origination systems to its clients and prospects (TMCnet March 27). Open Solutions is a provider of integrated enabling technologies for financial service providers in the U.S., Canada and international markets. The partnership provides Open Solutions’ clients with another option to choose from when looking for Web-based software tools that can be used to access the growing online mortgage channel. Surveys show that in some markets, as many as 25% of all lenders are now originating more than half of their loan volume online.

United Technologies gains 3.5 of Diebolds shares

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HARTFORD, Conn., and NORTH CANTON, Ohio (3/31/08)--The company that was rejected in its unsolicited takeover proposal of ATM manufacturer Diebold Inc. says it has acquired 3.5% of Diebold's shares and plans to gather more. United Technologies Corp. (UTC), based in Connecticut, announced Thursday it holds 2.28 million shares of the outstanding common shares of Diebold and believes it is Diebold's sixth-largest shareowner. At the time UTC approached Diebold with its takeover proposal, UTC owned 1.6 million of Diebold's shares. Earlier this month UTC proposed a $40 per share cash offer for all outstanding shares of Diebold, a 66% premium to Diebold's trading price. Diebold's directors rejected the proposal, but UTC remains committed to the offer, according to Jim Geisler, vice president, finance at UTC. Diebold immediately responded with its own press release. "The announcement does not change Diebold's belief that UTC's $40 per share offer significantly undervalues the company and does not reflect significant progress against current strategic initiatives and Diebold's previously disclosed $100 million cost reduction program," Diebold said. UTC's assertions that the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has notified Diebold it is at risk of delisting due to the failure to file timely financial statements are "highly misleading," said Diebold. "Diebold does not believe it faces any threat of delisting until at least Sept. 17, 2008, at which time the NYSE, at its discretion, can grant an extension for an additional six months." Diebold anticipates its financial review will be completed by the end of second quarter, and it will make all appropriate filings as soon as possible thereafter, said the release. Use the links for more information.

Travelex prepaid card named Best Consumer Card Program

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (3/28/08)--The Travelex Visa TravelMoney prepaid card was named the "Best Consumer Card Program" March 7 at a Paybefore Awards Gala during the Prepaid Card Expo in Las Vegas. Travelex has a strategic alliance with CUNA Strategic Services and offers prepaid gift cards and the Visa TravelMoney card to credit unions. The TravelMoney card is used by leisure travelers, but businesses are beginning to adopt it as a tool to fund overseas staff expenses. The card was launched in 2004 in the U.S. More than 160,000 cards worth $150 million were purchased last year. The company expects to issue 500,000 cards in 2008. Use the resource link for more information.

Diebold launches pink and green campaigns

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (3/28/08)--Diebold is launching pink and green campaigns to raise funds for cancer research and the environment, announced the global ATM manufacturer Thursday. DieboldDirect, Diebold Inc.'s inside direct sales organization, has teamed with the Northeast Ohio affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to promote breast cancer awareness by offering pink vacuum air tube (VAT) carriers to customers with drive-thru systems from Diebold or a competitor. One dollar from the sale of each carrier will be donated to the chapter to aid research for a breast cancer cure. Part of the proceeds from the sale of other DieboldDirect pink products also will be earmarked for the charity. Products include ATM receipt paper, deposit envelopes, paper credit card gloves, lanyards and ATM wrap panels. The first customer to employee the pink product was First Ohio Community FCU, North Canton. Kim Lapinski, CEO, said the credit union staff dons pink shirts on Fridays to further show support. Diebold's green campaign will donate 1% of its quarterly Internet product sales to the Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees in the U.S. and abroad. The company also is reducing the number and size of its paper-based product catalog and using recycled stock for catalog hardcopies. It also uses alcohol-free soy-based ink in its direct-mail brochures to diminish emissions in the environment. t uses recycled materials for packaging; offers a print ribbon recycle program to reduce the consumption of plastic; and encourages online orders to save paper. DieboldDirect said it also has a new program to recycle ATM surrounds.

May eSchools explore compliance Spanish for CUs

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MADISON, Wis. (3/28/08)--Gain a thorough understanding of compliance issues or learn credit union-specific Spanish terms in two May eSchools offered by the Credit Union National Association. The 10-session Regulatory Compliance eSchool: Introduction, offered May 7–Aug. 4, provides an in-depth understanding of mortgage and consumer lending, deposit accounts, and general operations regulations and privacy acts. The National Credit Union Administration and federal share insurance are also covered, along with key agency management issues. Attendees may choose to obtain their Credit Union Compliance Expert (CUCE) certification by successfully completing the proctored exams. Front-line staff can gain language skills to help Spanish-speaking members feel welcome in their credit unions by attending the Workplace Spanish for Credit Unions eSchool, May 7–June 25. The eight beginner-level classes examine: Latino culture and your credit union; alphabet, pronunciation, and greetings; days, months, and seasons; times and numbers; member service and credit union terms; checks, identification, and loan applications; developing conversations; and review and application. For more information, use the resource link.

CUNA KRM to deliver exec training webinars

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MADISON, Wis. (3/27/08)--Credit union executives can hear speakers and receive the same training offered by Harvard Business, Kiplinger Washington Editors, and more, in a new webinar series made possible through a partnership between the Credit Union National Association and KRM Information Services. The first two offerings of the new executive series will be taught by:
* Best-selling author and strategic consultant Keith Ferrazzi, who will kick off the series with “Building Your Success One Relationship at a Time” on April 2. Ferrazzi will reveal his formula for success through a combination of marketing acumen and relationship-building savvy. He will explain how to avoid unconstructive behaviors that prevent success and how to leverage new relationship knowledge for increased employee retention. Registrants also will receive a copy of Ferrazzi’s book, “Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success One Relationship at a Time.” * Patrick Lencioni, author of current bestseller “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” who unveils the keys to successful manager-employee relationships during “Turning the Daily Grind Into Daily Fulfillment.” This May 20 webinar pinpoints the core issues that make a job miserable or satisfying and the three reasons that managers don’t deal with these core issues. Finally, he offers the steps to take to bring satisfaction to any job.
During a webinar, students hear and see a presentation, ask questions of the instructor, and refer to handouts, by using a phone and a computer with an Internet connection. For more information, use the link.

Dexmas paperless mortgage package up and running

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PITTSBURGH (3/27/08)--Mortgage company Atlantis Financial Services Inc. has developed a paperless mortgage application process using software developed by a company that provides software for credit unions. Franklin Park, Pa.-based Atlantis tapped Edina, Minn.-based Dexma, which provides software for credit unions, to develop ASAPmortgageonline.com. The site went live in January and can process a mortgage approval in 10 minutes (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette March 19). Borrowers begin the application process with a questionnaire and then the system checks for compliance with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development underwriting standards. If the underwriting is approved, the applicant receives an approval letter which can be printed or sent via the Web to the title company. So far, only half of the applications can be completed completely online, Atlantis CEO Dave Nearhoof told the Post-Gazette. Most applications require some interaction with a representative--sometimes more information is needed, or the borrower doesn’t meet the criteria. Not everyone is comfortable with completing a mortgage application completely online, but unlike humans, the computerized system doesn’t miss a day of work, Nearhoof told the newspaper. Electronic application processes have been coming for a long time. In 1999, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws drafted legislation that would allow states to render electronic signatures as valid, the newspaper said. In five to 10 years, all mortgage processing could be online, Harry Gardner, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, told the newspaper. He noted that a paperless process would not remove the human element and could improve communication between lenders and borrowers.

Member Connect added to CUBASE system

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/27/08)--Credit unions using the CU*BASE processing system are connecting with members more consistently by utilizing CU*Answers’ Members Connect, the company said. The product was recently announced as a standard CU*BASE feature to make it easier for credit unions to regularly communicate with their members. Member Connect provides a single focal point to access different marketing delivery channels. Member Connect allows clients to export desired data to a single file. The file may then be used to reinforce a credit union’s message to it members, by:
* Creating a free-form text message to members the next time they log in to online banking; * Sending an e-mail message to these members’ e-mail addresses; * Printing mailing labels; * Creating a mailing list database to send to a third-party marketing source; * Preparing for monthly or quarterly selective statement inserts delivered to certain members; and * Creating telemarketing trackers to allow member service staff to follow up with the members over the phone.
Examples of how clients use Member Connect include:
* “Where your members borrow”--A database mining tool designed to report third-party institutions where members borrow, and notify the members about new loans rates; and * “Where your members shop”--Analyzing where members spend retail dollars, and contacting them with special savings at stores they frequent.

Covera offers Pennies for Change program

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LATHAM, N.Y. (3/26/08)--Covera Card Solutions is presenting credit unions the opportunity to offer United Way’s Pennies for Change program to their members. Through this program, members of participating credit unions in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut can opt to donate one penny every time they use their credit or debit cards to make a purchase. The pennies are then donated to United Way to support programs in their credit union’s respective communities. United Way’s Pennies for Change initiative involves no participation or sign-up fees for the partnering credit union or credit union member. The program is easy to implement for participating credit unions because no individual donor information of any kind is required by United Way. All partnering financial institutions will receive marketing templates from United Way to promote the program to their members. A partnering institution also will be listed on United Way’s website as a participant.

DealerTracks network to connect dealers lenders

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LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y. (3/26/08)--DealerTrack Holdings, a provider of software and data solutions for the automotive retail industry, launched DealerTrack Independent Network, which connects independent dealers and financing sources. The platform includes risk-mitigation capabilities that allow dealers to provide financing options to their customers. It also will including ongoing dealer monitoring, vehicle title processing and title insurance. DealerTrack also has allied with VINtek, a provider of automotive collateral management services for credit unions, and Vehicle Title Agency. More than 90% of U.S.-based franchised dealerships and several thousand of the largest independent auto leaders are active DealerTrack users connected with multiple lenders. However, an estimated 42,800 independent dealers have some level of difficulty developing relationships with financing sources, DealerTrack said. “The inability of many independent dealerships to offer financial options to their customers limits their potential revenue opportunities and puts them at risk for losing deals,” said Richard McLeer, DealerTrack senior vice president of strategy and development.

CUAnswers integrates eDoc into CUBASE

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/25/08)--CU*Answers has integrated eDOC Innovations’ (EDI) eDocuments into the CU*BASE system. CU*Answers and EDI recently partnered to offer credit unions affordable access in e-document technology, the companies announced at its annual leadership event. The EDI tools capture electronic receipts with signatures, archive them for approval and scan driver’s licenses for later identification of members. Data is then housed at a CU*Answers data center and organized so credit union employees can access the information easily, CU*Answers said in a press release. About 78 credit union branches with 1,010 terminals use the EDI tools thus far. CU*Answers is a credit union service organization that offers online banking products such as It’s Me 247.

Akcelerant buys FORUM Solutions lending software

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INDIANAPOLIS and MALVERN, Pa. (3/25/08)--Akcelerant Software LLC has purchased the TAPS lending software developed by FORUM Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of FORUM CU. The purchase includes all licenses, rights and support for TAPS customers, the companies said in an announcement Monday. The sale is effective April 1. Transition of sales, support and implementation of the software to Akcelerant will begin immediately. FORUM Solutions developed the first version of TAPS in 1999 to help Indianapolis-based FORUM CU improve its consumer lending processes. Today the product runs on Microsoft's SQL Server using .NET technology. It also has a business process engine built on InterSystems Ensemble. According to Doug True, FORUM Solutions co-founder and senior vice president of technovation at FORUM CU, while TAPS is still a leading lending software platform, continued investment is needed to advance the product to keep ahead of the competition. Akcelerant has the resources and commitment to do so, he said. Akcelerant Software provides Akcelerant Framework software for collections, service, sales and marketing to more than 200 credit unions and banks, including 25 of the nation's largest 100 credit unions. CEO Jay Mossman said the company would integrate TAPS into the Akcelerant Framework and enhance the TAPS business lending and account opening functionality. The company will propose a "no license fee" solution to TAPS and Akcelerant customers for a combined Akcelerant Framework lending and collection solution. FORUM CU has $1 billion in assets. FORUM Solutions will continue operation and will maintain a focus on developing new innovations. "We have a patent-pending new product involving how members interact with the credit union and are excited to turn our full attention to this product's completion and launch," said True.

FSCC network hits 50 million transactions

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SAN DIMAS, Calif. (3/25/08)--Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc. (FSCC), a credit union shared branch network, Monday announced it had topped 50 million transactions by year end 2007, representing a 10% increase over transaction volume posted in 2006. The 50 million transactions reported are based on the volume generated through FSCC’s multiple delivery channels, such as traditional shared branches, shared branch self-service kiosks, 7-Eleven shared branch services and its 24/7 call center outlet. The transactions were consistent with past experience, showing the majority of dollars that pass through FSCC shared branches and kiosks are deposits. The average amount in an outlet was $1,200 for deposits, $560 for payments, nearly $1,000 for advances and almost $600 for withdrawals. The average amount processed for a transfer was close to $1,000. Transaction volume reported on the shared branch kiosks increased nearly 70% over 2006. Those transactions included new access points at 7-Eleven’s Vcom Units, which were deployed last September at more than 2,000 stores. Since implementation, the network has seen an increase of usage at these locations, said FSCC. In less than four months and with limited promotion by credit unions, Vcom transactions had exceeded projections by more than 30% in 2007, said FSCC. The average deposit at a Vcom unit is $660, while the average loan payment is $513, FSCC reported. Services include check depositing, withdrawals, loan advances and payments, transfers, balance and transaction history. The network also reported adding nearly 200 traditional shared branch locations in 2007. FSCC’s 24/7 call center outlet and custom call center services, operated by Digital Dialogue, generated over 1.8 million transactions by year-end, a 50% increase over 2006 totals.

VINtek offers e-contracting for direct auto loans

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PHILADELPHIA (3/24/08)--VINtek, which provides automotive collateral management services for credit unions, announced that it will offer an electronic contracting solution. TitleMyCar.com is a direct-to-consumer auto loan documentation portal that is used by direct auto lenders with VINtek’s virtual lien services. The solution aims to eliminate paperwork and initiate faster closings. Consumers using TitleMyCar.com can review and execute their auto loan documents, and initiate funding using a paper-based or electronic signature process. If consumers sign electronically, the documents are retained in an electronic vault on behalf of the lender. The document is legal, tamper-proof and eliminates the need for physical paper processing, VINtek said. VINtek is based in Philadelphia.

CUAnswers contest would gather e-mail addresses

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/21/08)--CU*Answers will host a marketing contest aimed at increasing the number of e-mail addresses its client credit unions collect from members. Clients using the CU*BASE processing system are eligible to participate. The contest will help clients update member information by offering members an incentive to provide their e-mail address to the credit union. CU*Answers will award one winner, selected by a random drawing from all e-mail addresses collected during the two-month period, with a Garmin GPS Navigation system. Most credit unions have been relatively passive in securing member information, and acquiring a member’s e-mail address can be the single most effective means for providing timely member contacts and delivering marketing information, the company said. Credit unions who participated in a similar CU*Answers contest had an average e-mail collection increase of 155%.

Mid-Atlantic Corporate signs up for open platform

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MIDDLETON, Pa. (3/21/08)--Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU, Middletown, Pa., has selected Open Solutions’ relational core data processing platform--The Complete Credit Union Solution: DNA. The solution has open architecture and is member-centric to help credit unions streamline front- and back-office operations. Mid-Atlantic also will deploy Open Solutions’ full cVIEW CRM suite, Digital Document Systems, Financial Accounting Suite, ProfitVision and the Channel Management Center Toolkit. With the core data processing platform and Open Solutions products, the corporate will consolidate its member data into one database, said Jay Murray, president and chief operating officer of Mid-Atlantic. Mid-Atlantic serves 1,050 credit unions and has more than $3.3 billion in assets.

Metavante to support NACHAs Secure Vault Payments

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MILWAUKEE (3/20/08)--Credit unions using Metavante payment technology can now offer their members the Secure Vault Payments option, which allows members to use their existing accounts to complete transactions online. Metavante announced Tuesday in a press release that it will begin processing and settling transactions for NACHA’s Secure Vault Payments. The automated clearinghouse-based Internet payments system allows users to conduct e-commerce and bill payment transactions without sharing personal or account information online. The company created an authorization and settlement solution designed to work with the Secure Vault Payments switch. Through the solution, it authorizes, processes and routes transactions, supporting the life cycle between financial institution online banking providers and merchants’ financial institutions. “Secure Vault Payments puts data protection and authentication in the secure and capable hands of banks and credit unions,” said Jeff Lewis, Metavante division president. “While financial institutions welcome the relationship-building opportunity, it would be challenging for many community and regional-sized financial institutions to develop the solution in-house.”

FSCC shared-branch dividends to exceed 1.2 million

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SAN DIMAS, Calif. (3/19/08)--Credit union shared-branch network Financial Service Centers Cooperative (FSCC) announced a patronage dividend of more than $1.2 million for 2007. The dividends will be disbursed to patrons following the release of FSCC’s annual audit next month. The dividends are paid to shareholders for acquired transactions performed in their branches and shared-branch credit union kiosks. The dividends were calculated based on year-end figures of more than 50 million transactions. Shareholders will receive the income generated through the transactions inside 7-Eleven stores. Since September, members made transactions at the kiosks, or Vcom units inside the stores. The company also reported that member acceptance of the Vcom units exceeded projections. The average deposit at a Vcom is $660--whereas deposits at a credit union kiosk averages $528. The average loan payment at a Vcom is $513, compared with a $352 credit union kiosk, the company said. FSCC also added more than 200 traditional shared-branch locations in 2007. FSCC provides 5,000 full-service deposit-taking locations in the U.S. and in five countries. FSCC credit unions represent $133 billion in assets.

CUNA Mutuals 401k ranks high in satisfaction

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MADISON, Wis. (3/18/08)--CUNA Mutual Group’s 401(k) plan has been rated highly in satisfaction by two independent research and information organizations’ client surveys. The first survey, conducted by 401kExchange, ranked CUNA Mutual as the No. 1 plan administrator since 1999 in the less-than-$1 million plan assets category. It also was the No. 2 plan administrator in 2007 for plans in the $1 million to $10 million asset range. CUNA Mutual, who was ranked among 80 providers, also rates No. 3 as a fund manager for plans less than $1 million in assets and No. 6 for plans between $1 million and $10 million. A second study by Boston Research Group measured the ability of 25 providers of 401(k) plans to satisfy sponsors’ needs with plans less than $5 million in assets. CUNA Mutual received top rankings in categories including: “understands needs,” “partners effectively,” “easy to do business with,” “minimizes administration burden” and “helps you meet fiduciary responsibility.” CUNA Mutual provides administration and funding services to more than 4,300 retirement plans for credit unions nationwide. It also is among the 12 largest retirement-plan providers in the country based upon plans serviced, the company said.

TNB Card Services joins security council

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DALLAS (3/18/08)--TNB Card Services has joined the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council to develop the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which aims to improve the security of card processing for credit unions. PCI DSS is a security standard founded by Visa Inc., MasterCard, American Express, JCB and Discover. The council developed requirements for security management, policies, procedures, network architecture, software design and other protective measures. TNB will have access to the latest payment card security standards from the council and can provide feedback on the standards. TNB Card Services has been owned and directed by credit unions since 1976 and serves more than 500 financial institutions.

Fiserv launches integrated mobile banking

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (3/17/08)--Information Technology Inc. (ITI), a business unit of Fiserv, has launched Premier Mobile Banking, an integrated mobile banking solution that allows users to manage their accounts anytime and anywhere. The solution operates on a browser embedded in handheld devices. It is carrier-independent and compatible with any web-enabled device. Users can check account balances, view transactions, receive alerts and transfer funds on their personal electronic devices. “About 83% of Americans now subscribe to a cellular phone service, and Fiserv intends to deliver even more opportunity and value to financial institutions by capitalizing on this important service channel,” said Tom Cypher, ITI president/CEO. Fiserv is a core processor for credit unions.

CUAnswers releases health saving account application

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/17/08)--Health savings accounts (HSAs) are now included as a standard feature within CU*Answers’ core CU*BASE processing system. Clients can set up savings and checking account dividend applications to function as HSAs. CU*BASE is designed to allow users to open accounts, assign deposit and withdrawal codes to individual transactions, verify HSA balances and handle annual tax-related responsibilities, the company said in a press release. CU*Answers is a credit union service organization in Grand Rapids, Mich., offering CU*BASE and Internet development services.

Professional Assurance finds out if mortgage rep is legit

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MOUNTAIN LAKES, N.J. (3/14/08)--Professional Assurance Limited (PAL), an independent consulting service that verifies the credentials of real estate settlement agents and closing attorneys, has created an independent verification service for credit unions. The service, which was developed to help mitigate mortgage fraud and encourage good closing practices, will verify that credit unions are working with professionals who are experienced and insured. Lenders sign a provider agreement and modify their closing instructions to conform to PAL’s pre-closing verification requirements. Approvals are faxed or e-mailed to PAL, which researches the information before notifying the credit union’s closing department of the results. PAL also stores closing agent records, keeping an updated list of qualified and excluded professionals. PAL’s $195 transaction fee is paid by the borrower as a third party charge. “Credit unions probably will wire millions of dollars over the next few weeks directly into accounts and into the hands of perfect strangers, the closing agents,” said Andrew Liput, PAL president and managing attorney. “Our goal for credit unions is to provide an independent verification service that provides the information they need to prevent negligence and fraud in this marketplace.” PAL also provides credit unions with closing practice forms to place into their closing packages. The forms include an attendance sign-in sheet, closing agent evaluation form, settlement-check disbursement list and a closing-attorney checklist.

Fortent How to cut costs of anti-money laundering regs

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NEW YORK (3/14/08)--A white paper from Fortent outlines ways credit unions can lower the costs of anti-money laundering (AML) systems. Fortent developed the solutions to address cost issues, because “the most significant driver by far is how much organizations spend on operating their AML systems and all the workflow that surrounds these systems, including investigations,” said Ray Parodi, Fortent group executive of product management. Steps outlined in the paper include:
* Breaking down enterprise data silos; * Adopting dynamic profiling technology; and * Leveraging AML systems to fight fraud.
“We have put our research and development into finding ways to reduce these costs and have found that using the right technology can lower the total cost of ownership of AML systems by up to 40%,” Parodi said. The costs of investigations and Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) filings are higher than hardware or systems, according to Fortent. Fortent’s white paper will be distributed next week at Money Laundering Alert’s 13th annual International Conference and Exhibition in Hollywood, Fla. To download the paper, use the link.

Products and Services briefs (03/12/2008)

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* SEATTLE (3/13/08)--Pemco Technologies, a payment solutions provider, is offering its customers access to Credit Union 24’s CU Here Premium Program, a surcharge-free ATM network. Credit Union 24 recently added the Allpoint Network to its CU Here program, creating access in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan. About 45,000 surcharge-free ATMs are available including those at retail stores such as Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Sam’s Club, The Home Depot, Texaco, Winn Dixie and Food Lion. Pemco provides the financial industry with credit and debit card processing, ATM services, cardholder award programs, fraud management and gift card programs ... * ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (3/13/08)--iPay Technologies, a provider of electronic bill payment products and services for community financial institutions, has allied with Enhanced Software Products (ESP), a core processor for credit unions. With the agreement, iPay and ESP’s products will be integrated, eliminating the need for credit union members to re-enter their passwords. Credit unions with ESP solutions also can expand bill payment services, including adding features such as Pay a Person. ESP is based in Spokane, Wash. ... * GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/13/08)--Xtend Financial Services, a credit union service organization, now supports more than 36 credit unions through its Shared Resources and Staff (SRS) Bookkeeping Services business unit. SRS is offered to credit unions for $150 per week. The unit is provided to clients using the CU*BASE processing system. Services include balancing member records and change fund, reconciling corporate check and money order, using automated clearinghouse, settling ATM and share drafts, reviewing dormant account activity, compiling exception reports and analyzing mortgage escrow ... * NORTH CANTON, Ohio (3/13/08)--Diebold will offer its Integrated Services outsourcing offerings on the road by holding the Integrated Services Symposium in several regions nationwide. The symposium sessions, scheduled for March and April in California, Massachusetts and Illinois, aim to help current and prospective customers learn more about Diebold’s solutions. Diebold Integrated Services incorporates cross-disciplinary functions into integrated outsourcing solutions, designed to increase productivity and reduce cost ... * DES MOINES, Iowa (3/13/08)--The Members Group (TMG) will hold its 2008 Client Conference July 15-17 in San Diego. Scheduled speakers and topics include: Ron Congemi, First Data, “Debit Industry Trends”; James Dowling, KPMG, “Anti-Money Laundering and its Impact on Credit Unions”; Peter Duffy, Sandler O’Neill and Partners, “The CU Business Model: Challenges, Obstacles and Responses”; and Warren Morrow, Coopera Consulting, “Reach out to the Hispanic Market Through Innovation in the Marketplace” ...

Digital Dialogue clients can join PSCU Financial Services

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (3/12/08)--Digital Dialogue’s credit unions are eligible for membership in PSCU Financial Services, a credit union service organization, PSCU Financial announced Monday. Digital Dialogue is a wholly owned subsidiary of PSCU Financial Services. Under terms of the agreement, Digital Dialogue member credit unions can access credit card, debit, ATM, online bill payment, prepaid and small business solutions. Those who meet revenue requirements also can participate in the cooperative’s annual patronage dividend. The dividends are distributed to member-owners as tax-free dividends. At least 25% is paid annually in cash, while 75% is distributed in equity instruments. PSCU has issued more than $156 million in dividends since 1994. PSCU serves more than 1,100 financial institutions nationwide. Digital Dialogue operates two 24/7 call centers that specialize in member service support, new member acquisition, cross-selling and automated lending solutions for credit unions.

Newtek plans investor outreach campaign

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NEW YORK (3/12/08)--Newtek Business Services Inc. announced that it will initiate an investor outreach campaign to increase its visibility in the investment community. The company has hired Rubenstein Investor Relations and Jayne L. Cavuoto to launch the campaign. Cavuoto previously was director of investor relations at Delta Financial Corp. Cavuoto has more than 10 years of combined experience in investor relations and banking with a focus on financial services, the company said. Newtek, a provider of business services and financial products for the small- and medium-sized business market, offers electronic payment processing, business lending, web hosting, insurance services, web design and development, data backup, payroll, outsourced digital bookkeeping, tax preparation and advisory services and business plan preparation. Newtek is a CUNA Strategic Service provider of business services.

White papers address marketing channels 3rd-party security

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MADISON, Wis. (3/12/08)--How does one differentiate a credit union through emerging marketing channels? And how does one effectively work with third-party information security assessment firms? The answers are in two new white papers from the CUNA Councils. “Emerging Marketing Channels: Blogs, Word of Mouth, Buzz, Viral, and E-mail” is sponsored by the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. It defines each new channel and how it may help differentiate products in today's business environment. The paper also provides examples of how credit unions use each channel and why. It also contains a bibliography of books and references addressing emerging marketing channels for readers interested in more in-depth information. “Staying Ahead of the Bad Guys: Working With Third-Party Information Security Assessment Firms” is a white paper from the CUNA Technology Council. It reviews federal regulations that require financial institutions to provide adequate information security. The paper also explores how credit unions can develop effective partnerships with security assessment providers to evaluate their security measures and to test how well their data is protected. It features a number of considerations in hiring a security firm, plus the checks and balances necessary to ensure the assessments are effective and thorough. CUNA Council members can receive complimentary copies of the papers; non-members may purchase them at $50 per copy. The papers are available by using the link.

Webinar to address securing IDs when outsourcing

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MADISON, Wis. (3/11/08)--Credit union professionals can ensure they have taken the proper steps to secure their members’ personal information when outsourcing to third party vendors--and that they are satisfying regulatory requirements--during a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) webinar June 17. “Vendor Due Diligence--Securing Your Members’ Information” aims to help train any credit union staff directly working with outside vendors. Attendees will examine National Credit Union Administration guidance on vendor due diligence and learn how to perform a vendor risk assessment. The class also will identify the components of a vendor due diligence program and explore insurance issues, internal controls, and the roles of different credit union professionals in a contract review. Other CUNA webinars highlighted during the second quarter include:
* Bank Secrecy Act Training for Directors,” May 8, where volunteers will learn the major elements of BSA and those the board must engage. They will also discover what examiners expect from credit unions in risk assessment, customer identification, transaction monitoring, and reporting; and * “The ABC’s of Individual Taxpayer ID Numbers,” May 15, which walks attendees through the individual tax identification number (ITIN) application procedures to ensure submissions are processed quickly. They will learn the roles of acceptance agents, and then discuss the policies, procedures, and potential problems of developing an ITIN program.
For more information, use the links.

TNB Card Services reports satisfaction survey results

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (3/11/08)--Credit union clients indicated that they are satisfied with their decision to sell their credit card portfolios to TNB Card Services in a recent survey, says TNB. Credit Union Resources Inc. surveyed a group of credit unions in November. Of those, 72% said the change in ownership of their card portfolios met their expectations and goals for the transition. Satisfaction rates increased to 90% for credit unions who sold their portfolios a year or more ago (LoneStar Leaguer March 10). Of credit unions who indicated that they would sell their portfolios again, 86% said they would sell to TNB. About 72% of credit unions who have been in the program for more than one year said they would recommend TNB to their peers. TNB notes that recent industry surveys indicate that 42% of credit unions who sold their portfolios would do so again with the same company. TNB provides credit and debit card processing and ATM servicing. In the past five years, the company has purchased more than 160 card portfolios, all of which were included in the survey.

iTech Northwest offers election software

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EUGENE, Ore. (3/10/08)--iTech Northwest has developed a software solution called Cast My Vote that allows businesses to conduct elections securely over the Internet. Conducting elections over the Internet could reduce printing, postage and design expense. “Our objective was to build a software solution to increase voter participation, reduce environmental impact and cost to businesses,” said Thea Albright, Itech Northwest business relationship manager. “We wanted it to be simple, secure and easy to use.” iTech Northwest is a Eugene, Ore.-based technology solutions company.

CUSN exceeds 200 service center locations

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. (3/10/08)--Credit Union Service Network (CUSN) has exceeded the 200 milestone in Service Center locations in its network, as of February. CUSN focuses on growth of shared branching and ancillary products through partnerships, development and innovation in key areas such as CURe, a disaster recovery program; XPress Accounts, a membership online application; CO-OP Financial Services' My Deposit for at-home deposits; and Fast Branch, a self-service kiosk. CUSN helps credit unions plan and build their shared branching, disaster recovery program and on-line membership application programs. It has Service Center locations in Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.

WESCO Net enhances managed IT services

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KENTWOOD, Mich. (3/7/08)--WESCO Net has installed a new centralized information technology (IT) monitoring, reporting and asset management network at its Kentwood, Mich., processing facility. The network will house its new Deepsite application for credit unions using WESCO Net for managed services. Deepsite is designed to:
* Maximize system uptime for managed servers and devices by monitoring and alerting, allowing support staff to resolve issues before failure occurs; * Increase security by integrating anti-virus providers, patch management and security auditing software with alerting and reporting capabilities; * Analyze trends to identify performance bottlenecks; * Control assets with real time asset inventory capabilities to provide deep visibility into computing and network assets; and * Provide secure 24/7 customer web portal with access to reports on IT assets.
Managed services include WESCO Net's firewall management services and its server assurance program, which ensures a credit union's critical data servers (fileservers, e-mail and database) are configured properly and maintained when new service packs and manufacturer fixes are released. The program also ensures that backup and anti-virus systems are fully operational.

Open Solutions launches DNA core processing

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GLASTONBURY, Conn. (3/7/08)--Open Solutions Inc. announced the launch of its latest core processing solution, brand-named DNA. DNA features an updated user interface that improves workflow, provides easier access to information and further enhances processing capabilities (BusinessWire March 3). The user interface of DNA was designed after consulting with Open Solutions’ clients from the credit union and banking industries. It uses .NET technology. “Focus groups were held with clients, as well as non-clients, and the product was independently tested with banking and credit union groups,” said Michael Rawlins, director, human factors engineering, Open Solutions. “Using human factors research and usability testing, Open Solutions has created a streamlined, yet feature-rich, user experience that improves navigation and productivity.” Four credit unions are using DNA: 1st Financial CU, St. Charles. Mo., $166 million in assets; Spirit of Alaska FCU, Fairbanks, Alaska, $87 million; USA CU, Auburn Hills, Mich., $573 million; and Vermont State Employees CU, Montpelier, Vt., $367 million.

CO-OP license program to help CUs ID card-use patterns

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (3/7/08)--CO-OP Financial Services has licensed Saylent Technologies' portfolio optimization program to help member credit unions identify and analyze card-usage patterns. The solution delivers information about cardholder usage and portfolio trends. The program will be delivered via the CO-OP website and offered in two modules: Enhanced Reporting and Business Analytics. Credit unions and their credit unions service organizations can use it to report on, analyze and increase card use and interchange income. Credit unions can review detailed network and merchant-level reporting, estimated interchange, custom campaign management and profitability metrix. "To increase revenue, credit unions need an intimate understanding of the individual member usage and the requisite tools to gather the data to meet member needs and make the most of their accounts," said Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services. The program is built to support multiple transaction sets. Although it is initially being rolled out to support credit union debit programs, it can also be applied to other areas such as ATM, shared-branch transactions, credit usage and more.

CUSN CO-OP Shared Branching to offer XPress Accounts

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. (3/6/08)--The Credit Union Service Network (CUSN) and CO-OP Shared Branching have partnered with EPL Inc. and MeridianLink to offer XPress Accounts to their subscriber credit unions. Powered by MeridianLink, XPress Accounts helps financial institutions enroll new applicants by automating the process. It offers an instant "apply now" functionality to the existing website so applicants can apply for membership online and fund the new accounts in the process. On the back-end, XPress Accounts consolidates the applicant's data from all existing information from Web, branch, call center, indirect and kiosk channels. This increases productivity, reduces fraud, and increases member satisfaction, said the companies.

Mobile banking offered by FSCC PSCU Financial Services

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SAN DIMAS, Calif., and ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (3/6/08)--Credit unions may get a new mobile banking platform as early as May, according to Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc. (FSCC) and PSCU Financial Services. The two credit union service organizations have formed a long-term alliance to further expand their business relationship, and will cross-sell each other's products. Their first collaborative offering is aimed at mobile banking. The new mobile banking platform would join PSCU Financial's mobile technology with FSCC's interface and delivery channel. Officials at both companies report that test transactions have been successful and are confident of a spring rollout. The service will provide users access to share, checking, bill pay, credit card, and prepaid account information anywhere and anytime via a mobile device/cell phone. Members also will be able to make funds transfers, pay bills and check their transaction history. The service is designed to easily integrate into credit unions' internal systems. Credit unions on the FSCC network can use their existing shared branch interface to offer the service. This eliminates costly implementation fees and/or host system programming.

CUSCNI elects officers

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WASHINGTON (3/6/08)--The board of Credit Union Service Centers Network Inc. (CUSCNI) elected officers and set direction at its 15th Annual Meeting Sunday in Washington, D.C. CUSCNI creates reciprocity between two shared-branching networks: CO-OP Shared Branching and Financial Services Centers Cooperative (FSCC). Its objective is to set policies and procedures for standardizing shared-branch transactions between the networks. New officers are:
* Chairman, Kris Mecham, CO-OP Shared Branching; * Vice chairman, Steve Dahlstrom, FSCC; and * Secretary-treasurer, Gary Wolter, CO-OP Financial Services.
Leaders from the two networks noted that a record 27 new credit unions joined the networks in the first two months of 2008. The networks now have more than 3,200 branches and about 2,000 kiosk access points. The board also adopted language to its policies that encourage all shared-branching networks to allow for opting-out of non-credit union-owned, third-party shared-branching devices.

Products and Services briefs (03/04/2008)

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* RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (3/5/08)--CO-OP Financial Services has named Patrick Wright as national relationship manager. He will oversee the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern region, building partnerships with credit unions. Wright worked in the financial services industry for 10 years, including eight with a large credit union in Virginia, where he managed the self-service delivery channel. He will be based in Richmond, Va. CO-OP is a credit union service organization based in Rancho Cucamonga ... * PHILADELPHIA (3/5/08)--VINtek, a provider of automotive collateral management services for financial institutions including credit unions, recorded a record customer growth of 80% in 2007. The company also opened a second facility in Las Vegas and completed Electronic Lien Transform certification with the Departments of Motor Vehicles in George and South Carolina. VINtek’s growth can be attributed to the auto lending industry’s push for cost reductions, efficiency gains and reduced exceptions in the current credit environment, said VINtek President Larry Highbloom ... * PORTLAND, Ore. (3/5/08)--CU Business Group (CUBG) LLC representatives attended the Credit Unions for Kids Magic and Miracles auction held by the Credit Union Association of Oregon. CUBG bid on a Sony Playstation video game with a plasma monitor for $1,000. After winning the bid, the group offered the game and monitor back to Credit Unions for Kids so it could be donated to the Rogue Valley Medical Center children’s ward. Larry Middleman, president/CEO of CUBG, visited the hospital and delivered a $500 check from the Credit Union Association of Oregon to buy additional games for the children. CUBG also gave $1,000 in cash to Credit Unions for Kids. CUBG provides business lending, deposit and consulting services to credit unions nationwide, including 11 corporate credit union partners ... * WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (3/5/08)--CU*Answers, a credit union service organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich., has partnered with a solutions provider to offer its clients a solution to exchange information in a safe environment. Through its alliance with Passageways, CU*Answers will offer its clients the Passageways Corporate Portal Framework. The framework allows credit unions to organize and manage documents, content, websites and other knowledge bases ...

FIS offers Web-based signature solution

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (3/5/08)--Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) has a new Web-based loan modification and electronic-signature solution built into its ClosingStream e-mortgage technology platform. The solution aims to help lenders cut costs by limiting adjustable-rate mortgage reset servicing costs, while reducing the loan modification and electronic signature time frame from the typical eight-to-10 days to minutes. ClosingStream’s solution is available in a service model or as a private-label application. It is applicable to most types of document presentation and signing events, including the delivery of disclosure documents, said FIS. FIS is a core processor for financial institutions, including credit unions.

PSCU Financial Services debuts Contactless cards

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (3/5/08)--PSCU Financial Services announced Tuesday it has launched the Contactless cards program for credit and debit platforms. The credit union service organization's (CUSO) member owners can begin ordering new cards immediately from Visa and MasterCard. PSCU Financial says it is the first CUSO to launch the cards. The initial market for them is small transactions at time-sensitive locations such as fast food outlets, convenience stores, gas stations and movie theatres. The card activates within two to four inches of the terminal. The consumer doesn't have to position the card so the magnetic stripe can be read. A computer chip in the card securely communicates the information, using CVV, said PSCU Financial Services. MasterCard Paypass preliminary research data indicate an average 30% increase in purchases and 19% increase in transaction volumes, with 17% growth in activation rates at pilot sites where Contactless cards were offered to inactive cardholders. Several credit unions were pilot sites for the program. Insurance costs are higher than traditional cards because of the embedded chip, but that expense is offset by increased usage and higher interchange fees, said PSCU Financial. Contactless transactions are processed as signature accounts, although no signatures or receipts are required for transactions under $25.

Harland Financial Solutions launches mobile banking

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LAKE MARY, Fla. (3/5/08)--Harland Financial Solutions Inc. announced Monday the launch of Cavion Mobile Banking Professional, a Web-based mobile banking solution that helps credit unions and banks offer account access and transactions to consumers via mobile devices. With the application, credit union members can perform transactions such as viewing balances and cleared-check images, make account-to-account transfers, and pay bills in real-time via a secure core system integration, said Harland Financial. The service also provides real-time, integrated-account alerts, stop payments for checks and information on the closest ATM location. Harland Financial said the product requires no application downloads, setup or special hardware. It also does not rely on ATM networks, which saves fees for the consumer.

CU 24 FSCC shared branch network join forces

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TALLAHASSEE and SAN DIMAS, Calif. (3/4/08)--Credit Union 24 and Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc. (FSCC) Monday announced an alliance to explore ways to help credit unions maximize services and service delivery. Credit Union 24 is a national credit union-owned point-of-sale (POS) network based in Tallahassee. It was one of the first deposit-taking credit union ATM networks in the nation and is the only national POS network owned and controlled by credit unions. FSCC is a pioneer in shared branch and operates the nation's largest credit union shared branch network. Both organizations are credit union-owned service cooperatives. "Our two organizations are remarkably similar," said Credit Union 24 President/CEO James Park. "Both Credit Union 24 and FSCC are member-owned cooperatives and have a history of innovation to empower credit unions. We share the common goal of helping credit unions face the challenges of an increasingly competitive environment, and we'll explore opportunities to share our technologies and partners to strengthen the credit union community. "Most important, this alliance is about bringing together our respective strengths to focus on the needs of credit unions, not on growing our own organizations," Park said. "None of us can do this alone," said Sarah Canepa Bank, president/CEO of FSCC, "and in fact, when we work together, we achieve things that even the largest companies couldn’t imagine. It's a little harder, and it requires long-term thinking, but it's definitely worth it. CU 24 has technology we can use and vice versa. Without spending shareholder dollars to own it, we can take advantage of each other's expertise for the benefit of everyone."

CUNARBS Lynk alliance offers CU-branded gift cards

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MADISON, Wis. (3/4/08)--Credit unions can offer prepaid gift cards to display the credit union brand to their members through a new alliance between CUNA Strategic Services and RBS Lynk, an electronic payment services provider. The cards are accepted worldwide, come embossed with the America’s Credit Unions logo, and can be instantly loaded with denominations ranging from $10 up to $500. The new program is quick and easy to implement, with free marketing materials available. There are no up-front costs for credit unions; the cards are paid for when they are sold to credit union members. Also, each credit union has the ability to set its own retail price for the cards to its members. Credit unions are not responsible for liability or fraud associated with cardholder activity. “As we searched for a gift card provider, we were impressed with how easy it was for credit unions to roll out and deliver this program to their members,” said Wes Millar, senior vice president of CUNA Strategic Services. “Credit unions also can take advantage of RBS Lynk’s free training information and dedicated account managers, who are available to help with every aspect of this program.” “RBS Lynk and CUNA have common values focused on community, innovation, and personalized customer service, as well as expertise and capabilities,” said Asif Ramji, RBS Lynk senior vice president of prepaid and loyalty sales. “We look forward to providing a wide range of prepaid products, backed by personalized service for credit unions.”

Diebold rejects unsolicited takeover bid

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (3/4/08)--The board of directors of ATM manufacturer Diebold Inc. has unanimously rejected an unsolicited takeover proposal from United Technologies Corp. (UTC), Diebold announced Monday. The board is recommending that shareholders take no action related to the proposal. UTC, an electronic security business provider specializing in aerospace and building services, including Otis elevators, is based in Hartford, Conn. It first approached Diebold two years ago. The company said Sunday the bid was for $3 billion, which amounts to $40 a share in cash or a 66% premium over Diebold's closing price of $24.12 on Friday, according to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (March 3). Diebold, a CUNA Strategic Services provider, is the maker of Opteva and other ATMs used by many credit unions. In a press release, Diebold said the board recently completed a review of the company and its prospects. It met at least three times in the past month to discuss the proposal. Diebold said it has not filed financial statements since the company's 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2007, which was reported previously, and that it is working to become current in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Its board "believes that now is not the right time--and that it would not be in the best interests of the corporation or its shareholders--to pursue discussions with UTC." John N. Lauer, non-executive chairman of the board at Diebold, said, "The board strongly believes that UTC's proposal significantly undervalues the company and fails to reflect Diebold's strengths and significant upside potential." He called the proposal "an opportunistic attempt to buy Diebold at a time when shareholders do not have sufficient data to evaluate the offer" and noted it would be "irresponsible to engage in discussions with UTC at this time." Last week, Diebold said it would cut 800 jobs--roughly 5% of its work force--in anticipation of a slowing demand for ATMs. After the takeover bid was announced, Diebold shares soared more than 60% at the opening of trade Monday.