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CUDL Paper IDs Factors In Raising Look-To-Book Ratios

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ONTARIO, Calif. (3/29/13)--CUDL, the auto lending network for credit unions, outlines key factors in helping credit unions achieve high look-to-book  (LTB) ratios on their auto loans in a new white paper detailing best practices and processes to help lead to higher funding rates.

The paper, "Best Practices to Secure Higher Look to Book Ratios," focuses on credit unions from across the U.S., with various asset sizes and loan volume, to show how they established and maintained LTB rates in excess of the national credit union average.

The paper notes these factors:

  • The credit union's ability to build strong relationships with auto dealers and implement a solid, competitive lending program;
  • Fast response times, dedicated staff and program consistency, which helped credit unions foster greater dealer appreciation and interdependency;
  • Lending parameters that are consistent, well-documented and within the grasp of dealerships' vehicle financing staff, which helped heighten awareness of credit unions as a likely "go to" lending option ; and
  • Two-way communication with dealers.
The paper is available on CUDL's website. Use the link.

CUAnswers Network Services Adds ITIL Certification

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/27/13)--CU*Answers Network Services, a West Michigan-based technology solutions provider, Monday announced it has added ITIL Foundation to its list of professional certifications.

ITIL is an approach for providing information technology (IT) service management and uses a practical framework for identifying, planning, delivering and supporting IT services to business, said CU*Answers.

ITIL seeks to align IT to business needs and provides guidance for using IT to facilitate business change. Those skills are available to CU*Answers' credit unions.

Implementing ITIL concepts also can drive transparency into the IT budgeting process, CU*Answers said.

Network Services is refining its internal service management design to more closely align with ITIL concepts and will work with credit unions interested in adopting the framework internally.

Federation Announces 'Critical Issues' Webinar Series For CDCUs

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NEW YORK (3/26/13)--The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions will offer a four-session webinar series about critical issues in the current financial environment for community development credit unions (CDCUs) or those serving members with modest means.

The first begins today. All webinars are held from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT.

Expanding Loan Portfolios to Maximize Loan Profitability will meet today. It will address: How to increase profit potential by "reaching deeper" into the loan market; inherent risks in lending primarily to prime borrowers; how to accurately price loans for each risk grade to avoid unfair subsidies and assure factoring in additional costs of loaning to less-than-prime borrowers into the loan rate; and the importance of using a empirically-based, statistically validated pricing model that uses the credit union's history and data.

Managing Interest Rate Margins to Achieve Profit Objectives is set for April 23. Its topics include: Predictions of ongoing profitability challenges facing credit unions; the importance of a comprehensive forecasting and budgeting process; the profitability potential behind pricing each class of deposits accurately using empirical methods instead of emotions; and  how to assure loan and deposit rates are at their most efficient levels.

Effective Loan Management will be May 28 with these topics:  Challenges facing credit unions as they pursue profitable loan portfolios; why auditing firms and regulators are pressing credit unions to adopt and use credit migration models; how the right models can assist in forming and maintaining effective loan policies and procedures quickly; the methods behind the best credit migration models that accurately identify loans that are improving or digressing in quality; how the best credit migration models can be used to predict problem loans long before they show up on delinquency lists or other predictive reports; and what to look for when comparing credit migration models.

Accurate and Empirical ALLL Placement meets June 25. It will address: why confusion reigns among auditing firms, managers and examiners about the best models to use to predict loan portfolio problems and the correct methods to use to determine the amount to be set aside to fund a credit union's allowances for loan and lease losses (ALLL);  and the advantages in using an empirically and statistically based credit migration model to predict loan portfolio problems and determine what should be set aside in the ALL.

For more information, use the links.

Intuit Quicken Survey: Consumers Use Smartphones For Financial Questions

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (3/25/13)--Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to get answers about their money questions, according to a survey by Quicken.

Of the smartphone users surveyed:

  • Two out of three say that being able to check their finances on-the-go gives them peace of mind.
  • 15% say that they prefer to check their financial accounts on a smartphone or tablet.
  • More than half check their financial account balances on their smartphone monthly.
  • One in three people admits to losing sleep over money woes.
"Smartphones are part of everyday life; they're transforming the way people approach their finances," said Barry Saik, Quicken vice president and general manager. "Mobile allows people to make quick and informed financial decisions anytime and anywhere, ultimately impacting their bottom line. We've seen strong adoption of our mobile apps and the study results confirm that people are turning to their phones to manage their money."

Smartphones go beyond tracking spending, checking accounts and monitoring budgets. Consumers increasingly use them to compare prices, with 23% of smartphone users surveyed indicating they wouldn't make a major purchase if they couldn't check their finances from their phone.

CU Direct Partners With First Associates Loan Servicing

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ONTARIO, Calif. (3/22/13)--CU Direct, a provider of lending solutions to the credit union system, has formed a partnership with First Associates Loan Servicing to offer a loan servicing solutions to credit unions.

The new solution will cover CU Direct's core automotive-lending business and provide coverage of other asset classes, such as student loans, solar leases and loans, and personal loans.

"CU Direct is a strong leader in the credit union industry and a great partner for First Associates," said David Johnson, First Associates CEO.

A provider of portfolio back-up solutions for credit unions and other financial institutions, First Associates clients include financial institutions, private equity groups, government agencies and other consumer finance entities.

"Our goal is to provide leading products and services that help credit unions grow their auto lending portfolios, and through our new relationship with First Associates we're able to deliver a cost effective, comprehensive solution that will meet the servicing needs of our credit unions," said Brent Hollingsworth," CU Direct national director of strategic alliances.

Louisiana Corporate Chooses FI Compliance Solutions For ERM

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METAIRIE, La. (3/21/13)--Louisiana Corporate CU has selected FI Compliance Solutions Inc. as its (ERM) enterprise risk management services provider.

"Louisiana Corporate is committed to ensuring its safety and soundness on behalf of our members, which includes having a company-wide focus on risk management," said David Savoie, LaCorp president/CEO.

In accordance with NCUA regulation, Part 704.21, corporate credit unions must implement an ERM policy by April 29.

CU Solutions Group, SaveUp Partnership Attracts 40 CUs

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LIVONIA, Mich. (3/21/13)--Six months into the partnership between Michigan-based CU Solutions Group and the member engagement program SaveUp, more than 40 credit unions nationwide are using SaveUp to target their Gen Y and Gen X members. 

"We think SaveUp is the perfect opportunity for credit unions to engage their members, encourage them to save and target the Gen Y and Gen X demographics," said David Adams, CEO of CU Solutions Group, a subsidiary of the Michigan Credit Union League. "Plus, the program is a natural fit with the credit union mission of promoting thrift and responsible borrowing."

SaveUp helps credit union members achieve their financial goals through behavioral science and game mechanics. Every time members contribute to their savings or retirement accounts; pay down their credit cards, mortgages or other loans; or engage with SaveUp's financial education content they earn credits to win prizes from sponsors such as Virgin America, Banana Republic and GameStop, or a $2 million jackpot.

A pilot program with the Filene Research Institute concluded that SaveUp offers credit unions:

  • Greater engagement--The average SaveUp user visits it three to five times per week;
  • Increased awareness--Roughly 39.5% of users said their awareness credit union products and services had increased;
  • Enhanced trust--Almost all of the SaveUp users--95%--believe that their credit union is interested in their financial health and progress; and
  • Younger demographics--About 35% of SaveUp users were age 25 to 34.
To help further target younger members, SaveUp released its first U.S. Consumer Savings and Debt Report with its major findings focused on the financial habits of Gen X and Gen Y. Average findings for Gen X include:

  • Mortgage debt of $181,706  (21% above the U.S. average);
  • Average student loan debt of $44,270 (82.2% higher); and
  • Average credit card debt of $8,801 (22% higher).
Average findings for Gen Y include:

  • Mortgage debt of over $161,000 (7.5% above the U.S. average);
  • Student loan debt of $40,273 (65.7% higher); and
  • Credit card debt of $4,113 (42.8% lower).
"Our recent data report shows that young people are bearing a disproportionate share of the country's non-asset debt, and if credit unions can engage younger Americans to offer them better terms, and longer-term financial services, there is a real benefit to all sides," said Priya Haji, CEO and co-founder of SaveUp.

SaveUp and CU Solutions Group will have neighboring booths at the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference, which starts Sunday in Anaheim, Calif., and ends Wednesday

2013 CUNA Volunteer Certification School To Be In Seattle

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MADISON, Wis. (3/20/13)--CUNA Volunteer Certification School, Sept. 22-27, in Seattle, is designed set attendees apart with a proven level of competence and dedication, said the Credit Union National Association.

This year's certification curriculum features:

  • Governance strategies and best practices;
  • Current trends and risks in safety and soundness;
  • Hiring and keeping a CEO in the current CEO landscape;
  • Prioritizing members' interests through strategic planning; and
  • Building a board and planning its succession.
Upon successfully completing on-site exams, attendees will earn their Certified Credit Union Volunteer designation, a board-specific certification of financial literacy and credit union operation.

To attend CUNA Volunteer Certification School, registrants must complete three self-study prerequisite courses through the CUNA Volunteer Achievement Program. For more information, use the link.

Digital Mailer Recognizes World Backup Day March 31 With Discounts

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HERNDON, Va. (3/20/13)--DigitalMailer Inc. is recognizing World Backup Day March 31 by offering special discounts this month to users of its My Virtual StrongBox online storage service.

World Backup Day raises awareness of the need to back up digital content. Consumers should save their files regularly--once a year is not enough, according to the World Backup Day website. Working with an online storage provider is "possibly the most reliable way to keep your files safe," the Day site suggests.

Through its Virtual StrongBox product, DigitalMailer seeks to position financial institutions to fill this role.

"Credit unions and banks already serve as gatekeepers of many important financial documents, and they subscribe to high security and authentication practices," said Ron Daly, DigitalMailer's President/CEO. "Also, using general cloud storage providers can carry risk. They provide no ownership rights to store your documents and give you no control over where your materials are stored in the cloud."

Partner financial institutions that offer My Virtual StrongBox can get discounts for upgrading storage space. Institutions can then pass the savings on to their users of the service.

My Virtual StrongBox, a software-as-a-service product, is designed to help consumers safeguard important documents such as wills, deeds, insurance papers, family photographs and other valuable items by loading them into protected online document libraries.

CUNA Mutual, Digital Benefit Advisors Offer Affordable Care Act Webinar

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MADISON, Wis. (3/19/13)--CUNA Mutual Group and its new health-care reform-education partner, Digital Benefit Advisors, will host a free webinar to help credit unions navigate changes created by the Affordable Care Act.

Brad Pricer, senior manager, CUNA Mutual Group employee benefits, and Annette Bechtold, senior vice president, operations and strategic development for DBA, will present "Health Care Reform--Preparing for the New Normal," at 10 a.m. CT April 3 .

"Health care reform is here to stay following the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act and the last presidential election," Pricer said. "Credit unions need to act now to be ready for changes taking effect in 2013 and 2014 to ensure their health plans are in compliance."

The hour-long webinar describes how the Affordable Care Act has changed the benefits marketplace. Participants will learn if they are adequately planning long-term health care strategies. The session also will explore the ramifications for credit unions that stop offering coverage and their ability to attract and retain talent.

CUNA Mutual Group and DBA announced in February they were partnering to provide resources, expertise and education to help credit unions navigate the complexities of the Affordable Care Act and employee benefits strategy.

To register, use the link.

Invest in America Adds CU Auto Club

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LIVONIA, Mich. (3/19/13)--Discount provider Invest in America has added roadside assistance provider Credit Union Auto Club as its newest partner.

Invest in America is administered by CU Solutions Group, a subsidiary of the Michigan Credit Union League. Members nationwide receive savings on products and services offered by partnering U.S. companies, including General Motors.

Credit Union Auto Club offers roadside assistance services and other benefits exclusively to credit union members, MCUL said.

Credit unions can earn marketing reimbursements when they offer Credit Union Auto Club to their members. Services offered include emergency roadside assistance, fuel delivery, flat tire repair reimbursement, emergency lockout and emergency ambulance expense, traffic court defense and legal fees related to traffic accidents.

Other Invest in America partners include Sprint, Intuit's TurboTax, Dell and DIRECTV, MCUL said.

TMG, CO-OP To Offer Webinar On Prepaid Marketplace

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DES MOINES, Iowa, and RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (3/18/13)--The Members Group (TMG) and CO-OP Financial Services will host a one-hour webinar, "Retail Payments--The Prepaid Forecast," at 1 p.m. CT Thursday.

Konrad Christensen, retail payments product manager for TMG, will discuss the trends that are changing the competitive landscape of the prepaid marketplace and creating increased opportunity for credit unions.

"Prepaid programs have generally targeted the underserved consumer in recent years, but that concept is changing," said Christensen. "Credit unions are finding success with prepaid as a door-opener to entirely new markets, including Gen Y, wealthy travelers and parents of teens who still need help with budgeting."

The webinar will include trends in consumer preferences and behaviors that reflect a growing opportunity for prepaid programs at credit unions. Christensen also will share tips and best practices for optimizing prepaid programs.

In February, CO-OP Financial Services announced it would begin offering TMG's reloadable prepaid cards. "As the payments landscape evolves, it will be critical for credit unions to offer members many different ways to transact," said Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Services president/CEO. "The rising popularity of prepaid cards underscores consumer demand for multiple payment tools, and we look forward to providing this platform to our clients."

To register of the webinar, use the link.

CUNA/Federation Scaling Microfinance Webinar Is Tomorrow

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MADISON, Wis. and NEW YORK (3/18/13)--The Credit Union National Association and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions will host a free webinar, "Scaling MicroFinance--Raising Credit Unions to a Higher Power," at 1-2:30 p.m. CT Tuesday.

The webinar will explore how some credit unions can pursue microenterprise lending as a sustainable source of growth.

From consumer credit to small business and microenterprise loans, most credit unions are in the business of microfinance. As insured depositories, credit unions can offer a full range of savings and asset-building products in tandem with small and micro-loans.

The webinar will discuss how to engage community partners and implement sustainable small- dollar-amount lending programs to meet the needs of low income consumers and underserved micro- and small businesses.

To register for the webinar, use the link.

Xtend Partners With CUSO Financial Services

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/15/13)--Xtend Inc., the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization (CUSO), and CUSO Financial Services LLP, a San Diego, Calif.-based investment CUSO, have formed a strategic marketing agreement to bring investment services to members of Xtend's customer-owners. 

Xtend President Scott Collins called the new partnership "a huge opportunity for our customer-owners" during a recent Web conference introducing CUSO Financial Services to a group of more than 60 credit unions. 

"Many mid-market credit unions have been unable to call member investment services a core competency, compared with their larger industry peers," Collins added. "For many it was simply a lack of investable assets or resource limitations. Others had dabbled with in-house or partnered programs that had moderate or little success. But we remained convinced that offering this service to members would be a must-have for credit unions to stay relevant in tomorrow's marketplace." 

Xtend's data processing CUSO partner, CU*Answers Inc., is helping drive the new initiative through integration with its CU*BASE core application suite, Collins said. "We believe this brings a combination of core software, member awareness machinery and professional investment brokers to the mid-market in a way that it has not been done before," Collins added. "It will be fun to watch these programs gain traction with members."

CNP Converts To Alloya Corporate FCU For IT

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (3/14/13)--Core Network Processing LLC, Lenexa, Kan., a credit union service organization that supports the CorPower core data-processing application used by more than 2,000 credit unions for cash-management services, has completed its transition to Alloya Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill., as its information technology (IT) partner.

Worknet Inc., Naperville, Ill., a managed IT services provider, helped design Alloya's IT solution, which is called "Technology Services Powered by Worknet." In addition to the data-center migration, the offering featured IT-infrastructure upgrades, strengthening operations for CNP's members.

CNP's IT infrastructure was previously supported by U.S. Central Corporate FCU.

The environment has been in operation at Worknet for several months, providing hosting and management to CNP's IT infrastructure through private-cloud technology.

Compushare Integrates Cloud Computing

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MADISON, Wis. (3/13/13)--CUNA Strategic Services, Inc., (CSS) has added a new alliance provider--Compushare, a technology management provider for the financial services industry. The Santa Ana, Calif., company is the pioneer of Compushare Cloud Computing (C3), the only fully hosted cloud computing solution designed specifically for the financial services market.

"We know credit unions will be looking for ways to leverage cloud computing in the near future to take advantage of its cost, operational and efficiency benefits," said Wes Millar, CSS senior vice president. "Very few providers have built a cloud environment specifically for financial institutions. Compushare's C3 platform, designed to meet credit unions' growing regulatory requirements, hosts more than 200 applications and is integrated with many of the primary core processors."

Compushare's best-in-class reputation is backed by being named one of the top 25 managed service providers by MSPmentor on its global 501 list, Millar added.

"We have seen the adoption of cloud computing among credit unions increase over the last couple of years and, along with CSS, believe the market is ready for a solution which assists in controlling costs, increasing efficiencies and preparing for increased compliance requirements," said Romir Bosu, CEO and founder of Compushare.

"We are looking forward to working closely with CSS to ensure we continue to bring the right technology solutions to the credit union market," Bosu added.

For more information, use the link.

CO-OP Think Prize 13 Finalists Named

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (3/12/13)--CO-OP Financial Services has named three finalists for its CO-OP THINK Prize 13, a competition to inspire innovative solutions to the issues confronting the credit union industry.

The three finalists and their business plan titles include:

  • Robert Baron, Director of Marketing, Technicolor FCU, Burbank, Calif.: "Virtual Teller System;"
  • Andree Kirk, Online Services Administrator, San Francisco (Calif.) FCU, San Francisco, Calif.: "Shared Member Application Platform;" and
  • Deborah Larson, Branch Manager, Dakota Plains CU, Enderlin, N.D.: "Switch Kit App."
The three finalists were selected from among 25 semi-finalists by judges from CO-OP Financial Services and Filene Research Institute. The winner of the CO-OP THINK Prize 13 will be announced May 2 at the THINK 13 in Chicago.

The winner will be determined based on scoring by the CO-OP Financial Services and Filene Research Institute judges; online voting by credit union employees March 26-April 19, and on-site voting by registered THINK 13 Conference attendees.

CO-OP Financial Services will be working with the finalists to produce a video that helps the entrants to explain their idea. This video will be made available on the THINK website for the online voting period and shown at the THINK 13 Conference.

VINtek Reports 2012 Client And Revenue Growth

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PHILADELPHIA (3/12/13)--VINtek, a provider of collateral management services, electronic lien and title (ELT) services and direct finance processing for automotive lenders, reported a 28% increase in new customer signings in 2012.

"The substantial growth VINtek experienced in 2012 can be seen as a continued commendation of our products and the hard work of the entire VINtek team," said Larry Highbloom, president of VINtek. "We are proud to play a role in the increased adoption of ELT nationwide. Lenders in the 18 operable ELT states are seeing the benefits of switching to an electronic lien process and this is what we hope to bring to more states in 2013 and beyond."

Many of VINtek's new clients signed on for ELT services due to the expansion of ELT nationwide. ELT replaces the traditional paper-based lien transaction between lenders and Department of Motor Vehicles with an electronic data transmission, eliminating the need to issue and mail a paper title.

In anticipation of the impact of Georgia legislation requiring lienholder participation in the Georgia Department of Revenue's ELT program in 2013, VINtek signed eight out of the top 10 credit unions in the state. VINtek also saw client growth in Florida with that state's move to required ELT participation by lienholders.

In 2012 two credit union association endorsed VINtek for ELT services: The League of Southeastern Credit Unions and Credit Union Association of the Dakotas.

Illinois League Subsidiary Partners With Nitro Mobile Solutions

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (3/11/13)--ICUL Service Corp., a subsidiary of the Illinois Credit Union League, has partnered with Nitro Mobile Solutions to provide mobile technology to ICUL Service Corp.'s 3000 credit union clients. 

"Our stated goal for 2013 was to develop a strategy to provide mobile applications for our relevant products and deliver a mobile solution to credit unions," said George Fiegle, ICUL Service Corp. executive vice president and chief operating officer. "We believe that by partnering with Nitro, the best of breed mobile solutions provider, we can provide our customers an alternative that helps them achieve their mobility goals faster and at a much lower cost."

Nitro Mobile Solutions is a Tampa, Fla.-based mobile app development company that offers design, development, project management, strategic and distribution services. Among the products it provides is My App Engine, a tool that allows companies to build customizable mobile apps for iPhone and Android devices.

Coopera, CUNA Offer Free Hispanic Outreach Webinars

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DES MOINES, Iowa (3/8/13)--Strategic partners Coopera and the Credit Union National Association are offering two free one-hour Hispanic growth-focused webinars, including one on Wednesday.

CUNA and Coopera, a Hispanic market solutions company with a focus on credit unions nationwide, are providing the webinars to credit unions interested in expanding Hispanic membership to support growth goals.

"When it comes to attracting members from the Hispanic community, one-size-fits-all financial products and services don't work," said Miriam De Dios, CEO of Coopera.

"It is unrealistic for credit unions to expect the Hispanic community to conform to their traditional products and services--it's got to be the other way around," she said. "This market's cultural and linguistic nuances dictate a tailored approach. The goal of these webinars is to provide attendees with the information their credit unions need to develop programs that build longer-term relationships with this crucial demographic."

The first webinar, "Three Ways to Create an Inclusive Culture to Serve Hispanics," has been archived, and is available through Aug. 20. Use the link.

In the webinar, presenters from Coopera and CUNA offer three strategies for inclusive Hispanic membership growth:

  • Hispanic-market training for employees: Implement a personnel training plan to equip staff with the information and tools they need to better understand the needs of Hispanic members.
  • Organizational-wide communications: Launch a communications plan to keep a credit union's board, managers, staff and members in the know about the progress of its Hispanic growth efforts.
  • A comprehensive approach: Follow a strategic approach to building the right organizational mentality within a credit union to serve the Hispanic market. 
The second webinar, "Four Key Non-Traditional IDs You Can Accept to Open New Accounts, will be held at 2 p.m. CT on Wednesday. The webinar will offer information on accepting individual taxpayer identification numbers, cédulas, matriculas and voter registration cards, and the compliance required to accept these forms of identification. To register, use the link.

Fiserv Offers SpotPay Enrollment Site For Small Biz

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (3/8/13)--Fiserv, a global provider of financial services technology solutions, announced a new website for small businesses to learn more about and enroll in SpotPay, its recently launched mobile card reader and remote check-deposit solution.

SpotPay helps financial institutions offer their small business account holders an anywhere, anytime mobile solution to accept both card and check payments from a smart phone with the SpotPay reader.

Small businesses that enroll on the website will automatically be matched to their participating financial institution. The financial institution will receive all the benefits of the enrollment, including co-branding and incentives.

SpotPay from Fiserv is available to financial institutions that are part of the ACCEL/Exchange payments network. Using SpotPay, merchants are able to swipe credit, debit and prepaid cards with their mobile device to accept payments. Merchants can deposit checks using a mobile remote deposit capture feature that allows users to take a picture of the front and back of a check and deposit the item electronically.

Credit unions offer a number of services to members with small business, including accounts and member business loans.

Credit unions, the leagues and the Credit Union National Association are urging Congress to help credit unions make even more business loans by raising their member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets, up from 12.25%. Doing so would help boost the economy by generating $14.5 billion in new loans and 158,000 new jobs, says CUNA, with no cost to taxpayers. Raising the MBL cap is one of CUNA's top priorities for 2013.

Autoland Reports Record Profits for 2012

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CHATSWORTH, Calif. (3/7/13)--Buoyed by increased business referral volume from an expanded partner base and sustained car-buying demand, Autoland Inc. posted a year-over-year net profit increase of 174% in 2012.

The credit union service organization also raised its auto loan to vehicle sale retention rate to a combined 82%, driving $93.2 million in auto loans to its credit union partners.

"Auto loan portfolio growth remains a priority for our partners this year, particularly in the new vehicle finance market," said Jeffry Martin, Autoland Inc. president. "With sustained car buying demand, the competition for member loans and aftermarket product sales will be fierce. Autoland's expertise in retaining this business will be essential to the success of our partners reaching their 2013 loan goals."

The company exceeded its sales forecast, added significant credit union partnerships, expanded in-house office locations and retained direct loans for its partners at a record pace, Martin said. "Year-to-date, we've already added three new credit union relationships and with light-vehicle sales projected to rise by one million units this year, we're positioned to service an even greater number of members in 2013," he added.

CO-OP Adds Celebrity Entrepreneurs As Think 13 Speakers

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (3/7/13)--CO-OP Financial Services has added celebrity entrepreneurs Daymond John and Daria Musk to the speaker line-up for its Think 13 Conference. 

Singer/songwriter Daria Musk became an overnight sensation after performing a live concert via Google+'s video chat feature, "Hangouts." She supports her music around the grassroots initiative, "G+niuses."

Catalyst Corporate Rolls Out Mobile Website

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PLANO, Texas (3/6/13)--Catalyst Corporate FCU, Plano, Texas, has launched a mobile-optimized website.

In a survey of its membership, Catalyst Corporate found that 86% of the 363 responding credit union CEOs use smartphones.

"An increasing number of credit union executives on the go want--and need--to connect to their daily activities by smartphones and tablets," said Kathy Garner, Catalyst Corporate president/CEO. "Developing a mobile site that increases convenience for our member-owners is one way Catalyst Corporate can deliver on our promise to provide efficient, innovative products and services."

Catalyst Corporate's member and potential member credit unions can access current rates, upcoming events such as training and conferences, due diligence reports, product information and news on the mobile site.

CO-OP Financial Services, Diebold Test Video ATM At Utah CU

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (3/5/13)--Through a partnership between Diebold and CO-OP Financial Services, West Jordan, Utah-based Mountain American CU is testing an ATM that allows users the option to contact member service representatives through a video connection.

Diebold supports member identification and video services, and CO-OP Financial Services provides network access and terminal capabilities.

Diebold is a CUNA Strategic Services provider.

Diebold's Concierge Video Services have been added to Mountain America CU ATMs in the Salt Lake City area.

During transactions, consumers can initiate a video call to member service representatives to complete activities not traditionally conducted at the ATM, such as account maintenance, new-account setup and savings-product renewals.

"Bringing video support to the ATM offers financial institutions the ability to enhance their self-service capabilities and improve member experiences," said Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Services president/CEO. "It enables greater personalized service and offers consumers a convenient way to interact in a more meaningful manner with their institutions."

Concierge Video Services also allows institutions to engage in one-to-one marketing using Diebold's Agilis Campaign Office self-service marketing solution. For example, the software can notify an ATM user about promotional savings rates and offer to connect the user to a representative via video to explore options.

Mountain America CU's pilot follows a similar trial conducted by Missoula (Mont.) FCU with walk-up ATMs.

PSCU Partners with MasterCard On MasterPass

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (3/4/13)--PSCU has entered an agreement with MasterCard to offer the MasterPass digital payment service to the credit union service organization's nearly 700 member-owner credit unions.

The service allows consumers to use any payment card or enabled device to make a purchase and enhances the shopping experience online, in-store or through a mobile device. MasterPass elminates the need to enter detailed shipping and card information with every purchase during the check out process. Consumers register their payment cards with MasterPass through their credit union's branded MasterPass site to store their payment, billing and shipping information.

PSCU will implement the online wallet functionality this Spring. In the future, MasterPass may allow consumers to go beyond plastic and use an enabled device for in-store purchase transactions.

Lake Trust CU, Lansing, Mich., will pilot the MasterPass for PSCU.

CU Direct Corp Announces Keynote Slate For Lending Conference

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ONTARIO, Calif. (3/4/13)--CU Direct Corp. has announced the keynote speaker line-up for its 2013 credit union lending conference, May 21-22.

Keynote speakers include: 

  • Todd Buchholz, former director of economic policy at the White House, best-selling author, and award-winning economics professor at Harvard;
  • Steve Williams, financial industry consultant and author, and co-founder of Cornerstone Advisors; and
  • Neil Goldman, senior partner with Goldman Consulting & Strategy.
Buchholz will provide an economic outlook forecast, and describe its impact on the credit union system. 

Williams will share the latest trends and industry opportunities, and provide advice on how credit unions can create more value for their members.

Goldman will present new research findings on trends in consumer shopping, mobile technology trends and lending, and how credit unions can influence their members' decisions.

CO-OP, TMG To Offer Reloadable Prepaid Cards

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (3/1/13)--CO-OP Financial Services announced it will offer The Members Group's (TMG) reloadable prepaid cards to its client credit unions. The move is a further extension of CO-OP's partnership with TMG announced last year.

The TMG reloadable prepaid cards allow credit unions to offer their members a convenient means for general purpose purchasing, to budget for travel, or to limit spending by children. Credit unions also can use the cards to reach underserved members who don't have traditional credit or debit cards.

The cards are Visa branded and can be used at ATM and point of sale locations requiring either a personal identification number or signature. A deposit account is not required.

Credit unions that adopt the TMG product will sign contracts directly with TMG, who will be responsible for the sale, implementation, support and invoicing.

CO-OP and TMG work together to provide card processing programs and other payment solutions to the credit union industry. The TMG reloadable prepaid cards are in addition to the load-once prepaid gift cards CO-OP already makes available.

LendKey Expansion Includes CU Support Center

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CINCINNATI (3/1/13)--LendKey (formerly Fynanz), a cloud-based lending-technology company in New York City, has opened a second office in the suburbs of Cincinnati, which will include a credit union support center. LendKey is a CUNA Strategic Services provider.

"We've experienced tremendous growth and have outgrown our current space in New York City," said Vince Passione, LendKey CEO. "This growth has provided an opportunity to put in place a LendKey controlled data backup and redundancy plan by transitioning a portion of our business to Ohio and helping to ensure quality for our 235 lending partners that we service."

LendKey will continue to use its Manhattan office for its management, sales, marketing and technology operations. The Ohio location will focus on the financial operations of LendKey's core-lending services, including borrower loan servicing and financial control, and a new introduction of a credit union support services center to provide ongoing support for its 235 credit union lending partners.

LendKey, which previously operated with 50 employees, expects to create more than 70 new jobs in the next three years through its Ohio-based operations. It was recently awarded a payroll tax credit for its commitment to create jobs in the state.