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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.

Strategies for economy at CFO Council Conference

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MADISON, Wis. (3/31/09)--Credit union chief financial officers (CFO) can discover new strategies to respond and persevere in the struggling economy during the 15th annual CUNA CFO Council Conference and Roundtable, May 17-20, in Las Vegas. During the conference, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Senior Economist Steve Rick will present, “The State of the Economy” about how the recession, the mortgage crisis, and the bailouts will ultimately affect credit union balance sheets and earnings performance. Rick will offer standards against which to measure credit union performance and will examine savings and loan activity trends, and weigh the influence of future 2009 events on growth patterns. “Because of market volatility, the pressure has never been greater on CFOs to vigilantly monitor their balance sheet,” said Erin Mendez, council chair and senior vice president of finance and information technology, SchoolsFirst FCU, Santa Ana, Calif. “Our conference is packed full of sessions designed to help credit unions strategically maneuver through these turbulent times.” Some of the sessions include:
* Liquidity Management--How Much is Enough, Where to Find More and How Much Will it Cost? * Effective Asset Liability Management Strategies for Volatile Markets; * The Ethical Missteps in the 2008 Financial Crisis; * Merger Strategies for Uncertain Times; * Earnings Improvement Opportunities with ABC and Product Profitability Management; * Income Generators and Expense Reducers; * Financial Accounting Standards Board Update: Accounting Issues; and * Extending Liability Duration Using Interest Rate Derivatives.
A special National Credit Union Administration session (NCUA) on May 19 will discuss the corporate stabilization program and other topics. J. Owen Cole, NCUA director of the office of capital markets and planning, will update attendees on the latest regulations coming from the NCUA. For more information, use the link.

NACUSO conference to include NCUA staff

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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (3/30/09)--Attendees of the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (NACUSO) 2009 Annual Conference can speak directly with National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) board and senior staff, NACUSO said. NCUA will share its strategy to deal with the financial crisis, its vision for the corporate system, the role it sees credit union service organizations playing to shape credit unions during recovery, and regulatory changes with attendees. Staff also will answer credit unions’ questions and help them in meeting any challenges related to the corporate stabilization effort, NACUSO said. The conference is scheduled for May 3-6 in Las Vegas.

OnBase helps CUs keep up with member growth

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (3/27/09)--OnBase, an enterprise content management suite by Hyland Software, is helping credit unions keep up with member growth by automating tasks and taking paper out of the processes, the company said in a release Tuesday. “It’s a very interesting time for credit unions,” said Jason King, Hyland director of financial services and insurance. “They know that retaining a member costs much less than acquiring a new one. So, investing in technology that can make them more efficient and effective makes good business sense.” Credit unions that have used the software recently include:
* Langley FCU, Hampton, Va.; * Memphis (Tenn.) Area Teachers CU; and * Premier America CU, Chatsworth, Calif.
OnBase can be used on-premises or as a software-as-a-service.

Diebold CFO others notified of possible SEC action

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (3/26/09)--ATM manufacturer Diebold announced Wednesday that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has notified the company of possible action to address its previously restated financial statements. Diebold is cooperating with the SEC regarding the matter and could enter into a settlement agreement, the company said in a release. Kevin Krakora, Diebold executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO), and other employees received a Wells notice from the SEC. In the notice, the SEC indicated that Diebold may have violated provisions of federal securities laws. After receiving the notice, Krakora stepped down from his role as CFO and is serving Diebold in a non-financial reporting capacity until the matter is resolved. Leslie A. Pierce, vice president and corporate controller, will take his place for the time being, Diebold said.

CUNA courses receive ACE college credit recommendations

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MADISON, Wis. (3/26/09)--Several learning events and self-study courses for credit union professionals from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) recently were recommended for college credit by the American Council on Education’s College (ACE) Recommendation Service. Coursework from several CUNA programs was deemed comparable to college level courses and may be used as transfer credits at many colleges and universities. The programs are:
* CUNA Management School in Madison--the longest-running continuing education program for leaders in the credit union movement. It has a three-year development program consisting of a single two-week session each summer. Designed for management personnel who aspire to achieve senior-level positions in the Credit Union System, the school provides leadership skills and lessons as a strategic step toward career advancement. The recommended credit is available for students with a graduation date of 2007 or later. * Certified Executive Program (CEP)--It provides a comprehensive self-study curriculum for employees in the Credit Union System who aspire to reach leadership positions. CEP programs eligible for college credit include the Certified Credit Union Executive (CCUE) designation, the Certified Financial Services Professional (CFSP) designation, and two Specialty Certifications in Lending and Financial Management. * Business Lending Certification Institutes: Fundamentals, Credit Analysis, Advanced Credit Analysis, and Management Strategies. These institutes explore the complexities of business lending and the needs of business owners to help credit unions serve their members’ small- to mid-size businesses. All four institutes are presented in partnership with the Executive Education, University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Business, Small Business Development Center. * Certified Financial Counselor School and self-study Credit Union Financial Counseling Certification Program. The programs teach credit union professionals to help members prevent financial difficulties with responsible money-management techniques, and how to design and implement a counseling program in their credit unions. The on-site Certified Financial Counselor Schools: Parts I and II were originally developed in 2004 in response to the growing amount of consumer debt. The two-part self-study version of the program, created in 2007, was modeled after the school and consists of four learning modules per part. Both the on-site and the self-study versions of this program offer credit union professionals the opportunity to become certified financial counselors. * Regulatory Training and Certification (RegTraC) Level 2 program--a self-study program for compliance professionals that details the laws and regulations affecting credit unions.
Through the ACE program, college and university faculty evaluate courses offered by corporations, professional and volunteer associations, schools, training suppliers, labor unions and government agencies. They also and recommend college credit as appropriate. Evaluation results are published in the National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs, distributed annually to college registrars and admissions officers nationwide.

Idaho shared branching gains momentum

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. (3/25/09)--Eight Idaho credit unions, with 39 branch locations, will offer shared branching in a strategic move to expand their services, according to Credit Union Service Network (CUSN). Three added in February include Le Bois FCU, Garden City; East Idaho CU, Idaho Falls; and Lewis Clark CU, Lewiston. In October 2004, CUSN signed a marketing agreement with the Idaho Credit Union League to offer shared branching to credit unions in the state. It was the first opportunity for major expansion of shared branching in Idaho that would serve members in rural and underserved areas. CUSN is a shared branching network serving more than 94 credit unions in Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Products and Services briefs (03/24/2009)

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* NORTHFIELD, Ill. (3/25/09)--RP Solutions Inc., a software developer and solutions provider for electronic and image-based payments processing, announced the certification of Digital Check’s CheXpress CX30 check scanner for use with software such as AR Express and RD Express. CheXpress captures two check images at a time for more accurate recognition and also has a programmable inkjet endorsement printer ... * LONG BEACH, Miss. (3/25/09)--Triton Systems of Delaware, Inc., announced it has joined the PCI Security Standards Council. As a member of the council, Triton will have access to the latest payment card security standards and be able to provide feedback on them. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards requires merchants and service providers that store, process or transmit customer payment card data to adhere to information security controls and processes that ensure data integrity ... * LAKE MARY, Fla. (3/25/09)--Harland Financial Solutions has launched Shared Recovery Services for credit unions that use UltraData Enterprise. The service connects credit unions to Harland’s Solutions Enterprise Services Center and establishes a remote recovery site. Credit unions, including Two Harbors (Minn.) FCU and Life Line CU, Richmond, Va., have deployed the service. Shared Recovery Service also assists with meeting guidelines for business continuity testing and planning from examiners, Harland said ... * BURLINGTON, Mass. (3/25/09)--DeposZip, from Eastern Corporate FCU, announced its new Version 3.0, with enhancements including fraud detection and advanced analytics. Specifically, credit unions can flag new users for deposit reviews and set the number of deposits to be flagged; access key data about deposits and a depositor’s history; identify suspicious activities; monitor deposit adjustments; and track and update returns for each member. The version also offers a member-level deposit hold-override, statistical reporting, e-mail content limits; messaging and user alerts; and a new interface ... * SAN DIEGO (3/25/09)--CU Executives, a recruitment and placing service for credit union executives, has partnered with Sheeter Consulting, an employee benefits consultant for credit unions. The partnership will create many opportunities and benefit credit unions, according to Andrew Sheeter, Sheeter Consulting founder and president, and Elaine Boyd, founder and president of CU Executives. Sheeter is based in Windermere, Fla., and wishes to expand its presence to the West coast, the company said in a release ... * GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/25/09)--Xtend, a credit union service organization in Grand Rapids, Mich., reported that its February sales volume broke records. “The success of our two newest business units, Xtension Call Center and Audit Link compliance monitoring, has got us off to this fast start for the year,” said Scott Collins Xtend president. Mortgage Support increased 609% compared with 2008, with increases in SRS Bookkeeping and Member Reach at 13.7% and 12.7%, respectively. Xtend’s new compliance and call center also contributed to the record volume, the company said ... * LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. (3/25/09)--CU*Northwest, a data processing credit union service organization, announced that Spokane (Wash.) Law Enforcement CU (SLECU), has purchased stock in the organization. SLECU converted to CU*Northwest for core processing in October. SLECU has $34 million in assets ... * WESTLAKE, Ohio (3/25/09)--A free webinar, “Surviving Hell Week,” will be offered Thursday at 1:30 p.m. ET as a part of Jim Cardwell’s “Connect With Leaders” webinar series. The 30-minute webinar aims to show attendees how to keep their organization’s team focused and heading in the same direction during troubled times. “There is so much going on with the economy right now,” Cardwell said. “It is mind-boggling.” Cardwell is CEO of Cardwell, a software development and management consulting firm. (Photo provided by Cardwell) ...

Two Wisconsin shared-branch networks merge

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GREENFIELD, Wis. (3/24/09)--Two shared service center networks in Wisconsin have merged, effective March 1, to expand service locations for their participating credit unions at a time when many other financial institutions are cutting back. The combination of Wisconsin Credit Union Shared Service Centers Inc. (WCUSSC), serving members in Southeast Wisconsin and the greater La Crosse areas, and Badger Shared Service Centers Cooperative (BSSCC), serving members in the Madison area, will be the fourth largest branch network among financial institutions in the U.S. WCUSSC will manage BSSCC, operating a combined total of 26 branches under the trade name Credit Union Service Centers. Because the branches are part of a national network, members of participating credit unions can access 3,608 shared locations across the country. The entire system serves 1,547 credit unions with about 37 million members. The merger eliminates inner-network fees between the organizations and reduces transaction prices for BSSCC credit unions while offering improved technologies, said WCUSSC.

PULSE to pilot Internet PIN debit technology

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HOUSTON (3/24/09)--PULSE, an ATM/debit networks, has signed an agreement with Acculynk under which PULSE will test Acculynk’s PaySecure Internet personal identification number (PIN) debit technology in a pilot program. Acculynk is a technology provider with suite of software-only services that secure online transactions. The pilot will involve selected PULSE merchant and financial institution participants and is slated to begin in second quarter (BusinessWire March 23). The goal of the pilot is to assess consumer acceptance of Internet-based PIN debit transactions. Acculynk’s technology enables consumers to use their debit cards with a PIN to pay for online purchases. Acculynk’s PIN-pad technology integrates directly into the merchant checkout process. Consumers will be aware of the PIN entry option only if their card is enabled for PIN debit. Consumers will choose either entering their PIN or completing the purchase as a signature debit transaction. Acculynk’s Internet PIN debit service uses security features such as a graphical, scrambling PIN pad for the secure entry of PIN data. The PIN itself is not captured on the consumer’s PC nor is it transmitted over the Internet. Instead, Acculynk captures and encrypts data associated with the PIN entry process, then transmits that encrypted data in a separate message from the message used for the card number. This makes it difficult for fraudsters to capture information that could compromise a consumer’s debit card or account. Also, producing a counterfeit card would be nearly impossible because the magnetic stripe data is not captured during the online transaction, the companies said.

EPL Mobilearth to offer mobile banking

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (3/23/09)--EPL Inc. and TRG Mobilearth Inc. announced they will offer e-banking technology to credit unions. “We recognize that members of all ages are constantly on the go [and] technology dependent, and a growing number avoid conducting business at a branch and simply do it because they have to,” said Todd Proulx, EPL’s vice president of business development. “Mobile banking is a huge opportunity for credit unions because it is a scalable, cost- effective member convenience. Mobilearth’s “approach to mobile banking is easy-to-use, cost-effective and flexible,” he said. “In addition, their culture and commitment to service strongly aligns with our own.” Mobilearth has developed products that allow credit union members to perform standard banking functions from their mobile devices. Account transaction and system generated alerts, multi-factor authentication, a portal page on the mobile phone for marketing, and standard banking functions--account balances, transaction history, bill pay, and transfers--are available by mobile phone, personal digital assistant and computer. Mobilearth also has a text channel using Short Message Service to give credit unions and members real-time banking information. Members can text for balance and history information. This channel also can be used by a marketing department to create custom-text promotions.

CSS goes green gives to Earth Day Network

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MADISON, Wis. (3/23/09)--A record of more than 61,000 units of its debut, environmentally friendly 2009 calendars were sold by CUNA Strategic Services Inc. (CSS) this past year, with 10% of the proceeds donated to Earth Day Network. Outselling any other first-time calendar offering, “goinggreen” features monthly green living tips and is printed on recycled paper. The tips encourage members to make small changes in their lives that can yield big results for the planet. This year, CSS donated $2,800 to Earth Day Network, a non-profit group promoting a healthy sustainable planet through education, politics, events and consumer activism. CSS offers the green calendar again in the recently released 2010 calendar catalog, and will continue its pledge to donate 10% of the net proceeds to Earth Day Network.

CUcorp to market CUDL AutoSMART

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ONTARIO, Calif. (3/20/09)--CUDL, an indirect auto lending network for credit unions, announced that it has entered into a marketing agreement with the Michigan Credit Union League’s CUcorp to market CUDL’s AutoSMART products and services to Michigan credit unions. AutoSMART provides credit unions with a vehicle shopping and research site, which they can brand, customize and market to members. CUDL has 525 credit unions and 5,500 auto dealers participating in the AutoSMART program. The partnership will be valuable for the league’s Invest in America program, according to David Adams, CUcorp CEO. Invest in America is a nationwide credit union auto loan discount program with General Motors and Chrysler. “Credit unions’ share of the auto loan industry is growing, and this new marketing agreement will help match consumers with much-needed credit for domestic vehicle purchases,” Adams said. CUDL is based in Ontario, Calif.

Jack Henry announces virtualization support

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MONETT, Mo. (3/20/09)--Jack Henry and Associates, a provider of technology solutions and data processing services for financial institutions, including credit unions, announced that it will offer server virtualization for its client and server-based complementary products. Server virtualization distributes computing power by consolidating multiple independent server environments that consist of operating systems and application software on a smaller number of servers, the company said. Benefits of virtualization include reduced hardware costs and ongoing energy requirements, reduced floor space and cooling requirements, expedited deployment of new business solutions, enhanced disaster recovery and business continuity, and fewer information technology-related operational issues, said the company. “Many organizations have been watching and waiting for the definitive direction of virtualization, and we believe the technology is now mature enough that it cannot be ignored,” said Jack Prim, Jack Henry CEO. “Considering the current economic environment, the timing of our external virtualization initiative could not be better because it can generate immediate and ongoing operating efficiencies and cost savings.” Jack Henry and Associates is based in Monett, Mo.

CUAnswers announces new tools

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/17/09)--CU*Answers, a credit union service organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich., announced several new tools and updates for its member credit unions. Updates and solutions include:
* Teller Receipt Analysis, which provides summary totals and detail for common receipt line items within the It’s Me 247 online banking portal; * Fee Income/Waiver analysis, which finds answers to questions regarding fee earning trends and allows users to view member services fee income and data; * Defense DB, which secures member data; and * Increased integration through CU*BASE and eDOC Innovations to enhance credit unions’ member service departments.
CU*Answers provides services to 165 credit unions nationally, representing 1.5 million members total.

Bluepoint Solutions offers rental program for products

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VISTA, Calif. (3/18/09)--Bluepoint Solutions announced the availability of its new rental program purchasing option for its Teller RDC and Receipt Processing Product Suite. The new company is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner in Check 21 capture, remote deposit capture (RDC), image-based item processing and electronic document management software technology for financial institutions. The rental program was established to help financial institutions gain access to sophisticated, comprehensive technology offerings, while reducing up-front costs and achieving immediate return on investment, said Bluepoint. The program provides financial institutions with a teller line RDC and receipt processing solution for a low monthly per-workstation fee. This transforms capital expenditure into an operational expense. With the rental program, capital is freed, and at the completion of the rental contract, the institution acquires ownership of all hardware, Bluepoint said. The suite provides credit unions and banks system integration, storage and retrieval of all transaction information, resulting in the immediate availability of receipts and check images, institution-wide. The suite improves operational efficiencies, eliminates transportation of physical checks and minimizes teller overtime with continuous transaction processing. Research time is reduced as well, improving customer service and enhancing employee productivity, Bluepoint said.

Products and Services briefs (03/16/2009)

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* NEW YORK (3/17/09)--The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions is offering two free webinars. Today's webinar on "Mastering the Fine Art of Disability Etiquette" begins at 2 p.m. EDT with Tom Foley, director of communications at the Word Institute on Disabilities and editor of Equity, an online disability newsletter, and Angie Franklin, CEO of the Community Development Resource Center, Wichita, Kan. On March 24, at 6 p.m. EDT, a webinar on "The Faith to Keep On, A Candid Discussion on Current Events," will feature CEOs of 10 faith-based credit unions as well as Brian Gately, federation director of technical assistance, and Nick Sanimarco, National Credit Union Administration economic development specialist … * ALEXANDRIA, Va. (3/17/09)--The free CURE Online Advisory Service at www.CURetiredExecs.com reports it had more than 500 unique visitors during its first month of operation. More than one-third were CEOs. The rest were senior executives in credit unions of all sizes across the nation. Holly Herman, executive director, said the number is "a strong showing." Juri Valdov, a founding advisor and former president/CEO of Northwest FCU, noted that the service offers "practical advice and timely solutions that support the credit union mission" during a time of "unprecedented economic crisis." …

dotCoop launches award for co-op excellence website

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WASHINGTON (3/17/09)--dotCoop, sponsor of the .coop domain, has launched a new website where co-ops worldwide can submit entries for the dotCoop Global Award for Cooperative Excellence. The website is at www.globalawards.com. The award recognizes successful businesses that embrace cooperative principles. Entrants are asked to describe and document specific processes and activities they employ that leverage the cooperative business model. An example: using the .coop domain for branding purposes. The deadline for entries for the inaugural awards is May 31. There is no entry fee. Top industries expected to compete include retail, agricultural and worker cooperatives, and credit unions and cooperative banks. “By focusing attention on cooperatives that have created successful, ethical businesses, the award will demonstrate the strengths of the cooperative business model to the global economic community,” said Paul Hazen, president of dotCoop and president/CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association. “Co-ops can be a winning solution for challenges facing the global community in today’s economic realities, he added. “Recognizing these co-op leaders helps people realize that these are not just successful businesses but also successful cooperatives.” Cooperatives can compete in one of three categories, based on size. Winners will be selected by an international panel in late summer and receive funding towards travel to Geneva, Switzerland, in November, where they will accept the award at the International Co-operative Alliance General Assembly.

ICUL Service Corp. enters agreement with Discover

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (3/16/09)--ICUL Service Corp., a credit union service organization serving more than 2,000 credit unions in 45 states, announced Thursday it has entered into an issuance-referral and service-provider agreement with Discover Financial Services, a credit card issuer and electronic payment services company. The agreement will allow ICUL Service Corp.’s credit unions access to issue credit and debit products on the Discover Network. Under the agreement, the ICUL Service Corp. will market Discover Network products to facilitate credit and/or debit issuing agreements with its participating credit unions. The corporation will process and service each credit union’s Discover Network Card programs. These programs offer credit unions:
* A new brand choice to differentiate their card programs; * Additional revenues with lower monthly fees to improve their bottom lines; * An increase in service use and satisfaction; and * Tools to attract members and strengthen existing relationships.

CU history training first seminar in box for 2009

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MADISON, Wis. (3/16/09)--Credit unions can educate their staff about the history of the credit union movement and build strong credit union advocates with the first of several new training titles from the Credit Union National Association. CU Basics: History of the Credit Union Movement Seminar in a Box traces the history of the movement, key figures and legislation, and important milestones. The course also refers to key historical moments and figures to demonstrate how the movement’s traditions are reflected in credit unions today. The Credit Union Seminars in a Box for Staff series was developed as a time-saving tool for employee training sessions. Each reusable kit contains credit union-specific training content, including facilitator guides, master copies of participant handouts, session materials on CD-ROM, a step-by-step speaker checklist, training tips, and more. Additional Seminar in a Box for Staff titles to be released in 2009 include:
* CU Compliance: Disaster Recovery--Teaches the basics about preparing for and recovering the credit union from disaster. Using the credit union’s disaster recovery plan, this seminar helps familiarize credit union staff with their roles in case of disaster. Credit unions also can add the critical components of their own plan; *CU Compliance: Regulation D Reserve Requirements--Explains the transaction limits placed on deposit accounts by the regulation. It also defines transaction and deposit accounts and how to calculate the six-transfer limit; * CU Compliance: Office of Foreign Assets Control--Details the duty and purpose of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and what it requires of credit unions. The course offers definitions and tools to help with OFAC requirements, including checking members against a Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list; * CU Compliance: Regulation E Electronic Funds Transfer--Outlines what transactions are covered by Regulation E, and offers guidance to determine when a disclosure is required, what it must include, and what form must be provided; * CU Basics: New Employee Orientation--Helps new hires become assimilated into the credit union and their new roles as quickly as possible. The seminar also explains the credit union’s mission, goals, and place in the market; * CU Security and Fraud: Check Fraud--Helps teach staff how to detect credit union and member fraud. It also provides guidance about helping members protect themselves against scams and fraud; and * CU Security and Fraud: Robbery Procedures--Informs staff about the credit union’s plans and procedures in a robbery.
For more information, use the links.

TMG rolls out fraudrisk analysis service

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DES MOINES, Iowa (3/13/09)--TMG (The Members Group) Wednesday rolled out its customizable Fraud and Risk Analysis program to help credit unions better manage credit and debit card fraud. In the program, TMG fraud experts use a custom process developed in house to analyze 12 months of a credit union's fraud cases to pinpoint where fraud is originating. They then make recommendations and help implement new fraud strategies to minimize future risk. In a beta test last year with Vermont State Employees CU based in Montpelier, the new strategies implemented stopped an estimated $20,000 in potential fraud loss for the credit union. According to TMG Cards Risk Senior Manager Karen Postma, the program is best with credit unions having a card base greater than 15,000 and having the flexibility to modify their fraud strategies. A typical program takes six to seven weeks to complete. TMG also recommends an annual analysis to stay on top for trends and to minimize risk exposure.

CUSO Financial Services on top businesses in U.S. list

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SAN DIEGO (3/13/09)--CUSO Financial Services (CFS) has been named as one of the top businesses in the U.S. and in California by DiversityBusiness.com, a business-to-business Internet site. The site's ninth annual list covers top small businesses in California and in the U.S. CFS made the "Top 100 Businesses" list in California, and the "Top 500 Businesses in the U.S." list. The list represents the top multicultural earners among companies ranging from $2 million to more than $2 billion in revenues. CFS, based in San Diego, serves more than 120 credit union, including 25 of the top 100 credit unions in the U.S.

Councils Best of Show uMonitors online switch kit

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WASHINGTON (3/13/09)--The uSwitch online switch kit from uMonitor, which allows members to transfer all their financial relationships to a different financial institution quickly and easily, was the winner of the CUNA Technology Council’s Best of Show Award. The award was presented at the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) 2009 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), held Feb. 22-26, in Washington, D.C. With uSwitch, members can switch any direct deposit transactions, transfer any payments that are automatically deducted from their accounts, switch loan accounts or credit cards, and close other financial accounts. It can be integrated into a new-account opening process and also can be available as a stand-alone service or in the branch or call center. The award is the first Best of Show award ever held at the GAC. Rudy Pereira, council chair and senior vice president of operations and technology for Alliant CU in Chicago, said that uMonitor’s uSwitch was a unique product. “It can save credit unions time and money while building their member base,” he said. Dinesh Sheth, CEO of uMonitor, Memphis, Tenn., accepted the award. Since 2001, the CUNA Technology Council has presented Best of Show awards to conference exhibitors that demonstrate a commitment to delivering technology that will further the growth of products and services in the credit union marketplace. Vendors’ products are evaluated according to affordability, the benefit to credit unions and their members, a commitment to open standards, current product use, and health of the company.

CUDL acquires Blue Oak Analytics

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ONTARIO, Calif. (3/12/09)--CUDL, which administers a point-of-sale and indirect auto lending network for credit unions, has acquired Blue Oak Analytics, a provider of analytic tools and business intelligence solutions for credit unions. The acquisition will help enhance and solidify credit unions' underwriting for their lending portfolios. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Blue Oak Analytics, based in Roseville, Calif., will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ontario, Calif.-based CUDL. The new company, Blue Oak Analytics LLC, will continue to develop solutions, leveraging the company's proprietary technology, designed to help credit unions create a competitive advantage in the auto lending market. Established in 2006, Blue Oak Analytics developed the Lending Performance Management System (LPMS) program for managing and monitoring credit union loan portfolios, which is used by lending, finance and collections executives. The LPMS suite features:
* Static pool analysis; * Dealer management; * Performance metrics; * Origination metrics; and * Benchmarking industry metrics.
Mike James, vice president of strategic alliances, lending and training at CUDL, will become the managing general partner of the new subsidiary, announced Tony Boutelle, president/CEO of CUDL. James has more than 30 years of lending and operations experience in the financial services industry.

PSCU Financial prepaid card program grows in 08

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (3/11/09)--PSCU Financial Services, a credit union service organization, says its prepaid card portfolio posted large gains in 2008, delivering more than 100 reloadable programs and closing the year with $12.2 million in assets. More than 120 credit unions offer the cards. The number of reloadable cards issued by its members last year increased 4.6 times, and initial load amounts were higher by a factor of five. Its members also bought 465,937 gift cards in 2008--a 74% increase over 2007. "With the recent rash of store closings and retailer bankruptcies, consumers are shying away from merchant gift cards," said Denise Stevens, director of prepaid card services for PSCU Financial Services. "In this environment, both gift and reloadable cards are proving popular not only for their flexibility but also as an ideal solution for students, travelers and the underbanked," said Stevens.

CMG Mortgage Insurance names co-general manager

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SAN FRANCISCO (3/11/09)--CMG Mortgage Insurance Co. (CMG MI) has named Joe Dillon senior vice president and co-general manager. He replaces Brian Shepherd, who left the company. Dillon comes to CMG MI from CUNA Mutual Group, where he served as a products executive for the company’s Credit Union Protection division, managing the financial aspects of the company’s Bond, Special Insurance Package (SIP), Collateral Products, and Property & Liability programs. Prior to joining CUNA Mutual, Dillon worked as an underwriting executive at two major insurance companies and as an insurance broker. CMG MI is a joint venture between PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., and CUNA Mutual Investment Corp., and employs two senior vice presidents/general managers according to the terms of a joint-operation agreement. Dillon will oversee marketing, sales, legal and product development. Mark Berkowitz continues to supervise insurance operations, including risk management, underwriting, customer service and loss mitigation.

CUs add member accounts after automating financial services

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COSTA MESA, Calif. (3/10/09)--Associated CU, Norcross, Ga., and First Entertainment CU, Hollywood, Calif., experienced an increase in new member accounts after automating their financial services. First Entertainment accepted 154 new accounts, and Associated added 1,790. Also, “we’ve seen an increase in volume in our mortgage lending and secondary products like home equity loans,” added Jeffrey Bergum, Associated CU. Associated offers primary savings and checking accounts online, but hopes to expand to retirement accounts, holiday accounts and other products, Bergum said. Both credit unions automated their financial services through MeridianLink’s Opening Act, which can read and integrate live credit union data to improve document underwriting and opportunities to cross-sell products. MeridianLink, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., provides business solutions for the financial services industry.

Two leagues webinars on prepaid cards start today

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (3/10/09)--The Illinois Credit Union League is offering a series webinars on its prepaid card program starting today. The league offers credit unions Visa TravelMoney through its CUMoney program. The Missouri Credit Union Association also is offering the webinars to its member credit unions. Two webinars will be held today--one from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. CDT and another from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Another webinar is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursday. The webinars aim to educate credit unions about the prepaid card industry. The cards--which are good at 25 million merchants worldwide, can be instantly issued, and are reloadable and dispensable, according to the league. Prepaid cards have been the fastest growing form of payment in the past 20 years, the league said. The prepaid industry is expected to grow to $236 billion this year.

AAA GroovCar new Invest in America partners

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LANSING, Mich. (3/9/09)--AAA Michigan and GroovCar, a Long Island, N.Y.-based automotive resources, have joined the Invest in America program. The program is run by CUcorp, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Michigan Credit Union League. Invest in America is an auto loan discount program for credit union members who buy from auto manufacturers General Motors Corp. (GM) and Chrysler Corp. The program started in December as a four-state pilot program for GM and a 12-state pilot for Chrysler. AAA’s program will give Invest in America’s participants an upgraded membership, including 100 miles of free towing and coverage for motorcycles and recreational vehicles. GroovCar’s new website will draw consumers to Invest in America, said CUcorp. “We recently launched our website and scaled up our call center staff in order to support credit unions around the country,” said David Jacobson, GroovCar’s president and founder.

WESCO Net offers network encryption auto-backup

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/6/09)--WESCO Net is deploying no-cost, real-time network data encryption services and automated network backup solutions to users of CU*Answers' CU*NextNET. WESCO Net, a provider of network integration and security services is based in Grand Rapids, Mich. CU*NextNET is a credit union MPLS communications network constructed with Qwest for credit unions on the CU*Answers CU*BASE platform. First deployed in 20076, WESCO Net is making end-to-end investment upgrades to include real-time encryption of sensitive member data traversing the network. Data will be protected using AES-256 encryption technology. "It's no surprise that auditors are looking with increasing scrutiny at how member data is protected," said Fred Damstra, CCNP and senior network engineer at WESCO Net. He noted that layering encryption technology on top of other controls already in place ensure privacy and integrity of member data. WESCO Net also is deploying a secure, fully automatic Internet-based virtual private network (VPN) backup solution for users of the CU*NextNET network, allowing credit unions to reduce costs by leveraging existing Internet connections to back up their main circuit. Dynamic routing protocols will automatically detect failures of the main circuit and reroute traffic over the VPN within about 15 seconds.

CUDL Prime Alliance announce lineup for symposium

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ONTARIO, Calif. (3/5/09)--CUDL and Prime Alliance announced speakers for their Auto/Mortgage Lending Symposium May 12-15 in Las Vegas. This year’s theme is “Driving Home.” Speakers include:
* Jason Jennings, author and lending business authority; * Charles Goss, vie president of lending, Security Service FCU, San Antonio, Texas; * Tom Weaver, vice president of lending, Northeast FCU, Portsmouth, N.H.; * Tracy Bremmer, director of product management decision sciences, Experian; * Jason M. Dias, trainer consultant and generational marketing and management expert; and * Steve Rizzo, personal development guru and comedian.
Topics discussed at the symposium include: portfolio management strategies, risk management and collections, best practices in marketing and operations, dealer relations, keys to pricing mortgage loans, and technology offerings from Prime Alliance and CUDL. CUDL is an indirect and point-of-sale lending service for credit unions. Prime Alliance is a credit union service organization that offers mortgage services.

Products and Services briefs (03/04/2009)

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* DES MOINES, Iowa (3/5/09)--TMG (The Members Group) announced that the TMG Client Conference, originally scheduled for July 13-15, has been postponed until July 12-14, 2010. The company did not give a reason for the postponement … * CHICAGO (3/5/09)--Those attending the 1009 Pricing Institute for Financial Institutions, conducted by Moebs Services at the University of Chicago May 18-22, have an extra incentive. Moebs says it will pay the airfare of attendees registering for the event during March. "We are doing this for two reasons," said CEO Mike Moebs. "This year's Pricing Institute marks the 50th Institute Moebs Services has conducted in the past 25 years, and we wanted to mark the occasion with something special." Also, "we understand the impact today's economic crisis is having on financial institutions--particularly community banks and credit unions. Budgets are under scrutiny, as well they should be." The course is for c-level executives and other managers involved in pricing. This year's focus is "how to price for survival and success." Other topics: pricing fees, attracting small business deposits and lowering prices to increase revenues. … * GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/5/09)--CU*Answers, a credit union service organization (CUSO) that provides data processing solutions to credit unions, announced a new savings tool: Donate Your Dividends. The new automated dividend payment feature allows members to donate part or all of their share product dividends to a charity via a new dividend repayment code. Members select what percentage to donate. The credit union can set up multiple charity choices. It pays the dividends to the member's account, then transfers the designated portion back out of the account and into a designated payable account to be sent to the appropriate charity … * DES MOINES, IOWA (3/5/09)--To get credit union leaders thinking about growth during trying economic times, TMG (The Members Group) has issued a white paper, "Reloadable Cards--It's all in the Marketing," available for download at TMG's website. TMG Director of Product Development Jeff Falk, the paper's author, says reloadable cards are not only a new product for existing members, but a springboard to attract new groups of members--in particular, the travel, teen and underserved markets. "In this climate, creating products for people who don't qualify for traditional checking accounts can be a smart move," Falk said, adding reloadable cards can also be marketed to members in good standing as a budgeting tool …

Registration for Southeast CUNA Management School open

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HARAHAN, La. (3/5/09)--Registration is open for Southeast CUNA Management School, which will be held June 12-19 in Athens, Ga, at the University of Georgia’s Center for Continuing Education. The curriculum is delivered over a three-year period with students in residence for course work each summer for eight days. When not in class, students apply the knowledge gained from the school to projects, said the Louisiana Credit Union League. Topics at the school include:
* Personal leadership; * Managerial ethics; * How to interpret and use a budget; * Financial markets and financial analysis; * Management of risk; * Working effectively with your board; * Employment law; * Resolving conflicts among members or employees; * Developing business presentation skills; * Asset liability management; * Strategic planning; * Performance management; and * Project planning and pricing.
For more information, contact Jennifer Green at jgreen@lcul.com or use the link.

CUNA Mutual launches autohome insurance site

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MADISON, Wis. (3/4/09)--Through its MemberCONNECT channel, CUNA Mutual Group is launching a public website for credit union members to research insurance information from their homes. The Internet is the most commonly used channel to research auto insurance in the U.S., according to a recent report by Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. Of U.S. adults who researched auto insurance in the past year, 49% used the Internet, compared with 36% by phone, 28% in person and 10% by mail. “Adding the convenience of the website to our MEMBERS Auto and Home product area is all about meeting the needs of credit unions and their members,” said Shad McKnight, vice president and product executive at CUNA Mutual. “By linking our insurance products to the channel used most frequently by consumers, we’re providing our credit union partners with a valuable tool for their members and greater awareness of the products available to them through their credit union.” In addition to being solely for credit union members, the site is designed for members of credit unions that are part of the MEMBERS Auto Home Program. When credit union members visit the site, they’re asked to provide their credit union’s name before obtaining insurance information. They select the name from a drop-down list of all credit unions that endorse the MEMBERS Auto and Homeowners Insurance Program. CUNA Mutual is encouraging credit unions to add Web links to their site for greater exposure to members. The company will announce additional e-commerce enhancements later this year. “We recognize the prominent role the Internet plays for people shopping for and buying insurance, so providing an enhanced e-commerce platform to better serve credit union members is critical,” said McKnight. “Rather than trying to shift member behavior, we’re shifting our approach to align with their behavior.” For more information, use the link.

New on-demand course is on share insurance rule changes

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MADISON, Wis. (3/4/09)--Credit unions can learn about the changes in federal share insurance rules and how to explain these changes to members with a new training segment in the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) series of on-demand trainings for credit union staff and managers. Share Insurance Rules Training on Demand addresses the changes affecting federal share insurance rules and how these changes affect credit unions and their members. The course details the recent adjustments to coverage limits, how accounts can be maintained to maximize coverage, and how to calculate the share insurance coverage on the types of accounts available at credit unions. Each downloadable Training on Demand package consists of a 30-45 minute video-like training presentation, printable workbooks and five online exams for optional testing. The presentations can be saved to a computer, DVD, or USB drive and used an unlimited number of times. CUNA also plans to expand its library of Training on Demand for Volunteers with several new titles throughout the year. Additional volunteer offerings debuting this year include:
* Overseeing the Annual Audit by Outside Parties. It helps the supervisory committee select an auditor and receive the most benefit from the audit and auditor; * Effective Governance: An Overview. It explores effective governance practices including setting a course and mission for the credit union. It also offers tips for modern, progressive governance practices in terms of strategy, leadership, core values and communication; * Volunteer Self-Evaluations. It explains how to make the process of board self-evaluation manageable and beneficial; * Communications Strategies for High-Performing Volunteers. It offers ideas to engage in honest, candid, and spirited deliberation to help volunteers work effectively for the credit union. Volunteers also learn how to make their voices heard, gather and use information in an efficient manner, and know what to ask; * How to Think About Strategic Planning. It helps volunteers establish goals and the plans to set the culture of the credit union and the tone of the operation; * Business Continuity Planning for Volunteers. It details the role of volunteers in business continuity planning, so their credit unions are properly prepared to respond to critical disruptions of any kind; and * What the CU Volunteer Needs to Know About Harassment in the Workplace. It outlines information for volunteers to develop strong written sexual harassment policies and procedures. It also explains how to best-protect the organization and its interest, and how to set the correct tone.
For more information, use the links.

CO-OPs THINK 2009 podcast launches March 16

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (3/3/09)--CO-OP Financial Services will launch a podcast March 16 on its website with pre-conference interviews from speakers scheduled to appear at CO-OP’s THINK 2009 conference April 5-8 in Austin, Texas. Speakers include:
* Michael Bergdahl, Wal-Mart’s former director of “people”; * Terry Jones--founder, Travelocity; * Doug Lipp, former head of training, Walt Disney University; * Peter Schutz--retired CEO, Porsche AG Worldwide; and * Robyn Waters--former vice president of trend/design/product development, Target.
Each speaker’s 15-minute podcast ends with remarks from Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services. Hollen briefly explains why CO-OP waived the registration fees for THINK, and the relevance of the conference in today’s economic climate. “We can’t stress enough the urgency of the challenges facing our credit unions, this year and beyond,” Hollen said. “By having our speakers available even before our conference, we hope to prepare attendees for the new ideas, new visions and limitless solutions that the speakers will be presenting at THINK.” CO-OP Financial Services, a credit union service organization, is headquartered in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.