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ACUC speaker explores generational mix

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MADISON, Wis. (4/25/12)--For the first time in history, four generations work, compete, purchase and--often--clash in the marketplace. That trend will only continue as Baby Boomers extend their working years and Nexters-- those born between 2000 and the present--assimilate into the marketplace.

Businesses, including credit unions, have a stake in understanding the differences, nuances and commonalities of each generation.  In her presentation at America's Credit Union Conference, What Makes the Generations Tick and What Ticks Them Off, Anna Liotta, creator of Generationally Savvy Communication Solutions, will describe how credit unions can leverage this understanding to improve the performance of their organizations.

"A lot of money is spent work around people's personalities when a better perspective of what shaping and informing their decisions would provide more value," Liotta told News Now. "This talk will help people understand why the approach one person takes may seem so ineffective to you but comes naturally to them. "

Most generational clashes are unintended, and most of the parties involved have no idea how they are rubbing the other party the wrong way, Liotta said.

She offers the different approaches of Generation X—those born between 1964 and 1979 and Baby Boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1963.

"Gen Xers want to get right to the bottom line," Liotta explained. "Gen Xers don't think there's any business conversation that should take any longer than 20 minutes."

Baby Boomers, on the other hand are all about relationships, she explains. "They want to know where you're from and how many kids you have and where you went for vacation," Liotta said. "This drives Gen Xers crazy."

As for Generation Y,  those born between 1980 and 1999? "They like to tell you about their accomplishments," Liotta said.

Credit unions offer a value proposition that resonates with Boomers, Xers and Gen Y.

For Boomers, many of whom helped form credit unions,  they offer great financial value, a better deal than the banks, Liotta said.

For Gen X, credit union offer a transparency and a spirit of individualism that Xers can relate to with big financial institutions. "Xers are looking for boutique-type organization and that independent credit union brand appeals to them as both consumers and employees."

Gen Yers, who are always looking for a cause to align themselves with, prefer credit unions community based approach, Liotta said.

Liotta said credit unions must communicate who they are and what they do within a framework that identifies the values of each generation.  Her ACUC presentation will help credit unions understand those values.

"We will learn what shapes each generation's world and what it looks like on a day-to-day basis as they make decisions," Liotta said. "Then we'll explore  how credit unions can be effective in communicating to them at a level that appeals to each generation."

Gov. signs public deposits bill supported by Minn. CUs

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (4/25/12)--Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed legislation late last week after the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) and its governmental affairs department were successful in a push for credit union inclusion in the language of a bill involving deposits from public entities.

The public deposits bill (H.F. 2174) was part of an advocacy effort led by MnCUN's governmental affairs team to include credit unions as approved financial institutions able to redeposit funds from the state's cities and counties. The bill unanimously passed in the state House in March and the state Senate last week. It now includes credit unions alongside other financial institutions.   

H.F. 2174 was a key focus for MnCUN's governmental affairs team this legislative session. The MnCUN-supported bill provides additional flexibility to financial institutions in Minnesota that accept public deposits.

"The signing of this public deposits bill recognizes the important role credit unions play in our communities," said MnCUN President/CEO Mark D. Cummins. "This bill equips credit unions for the future in enabling them to promote products and services associated with accepting these deposits."

Several other states also allow credit unions to accept deposits from public entities or else have legislation pending, including California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Washington.

Another top priority for MnCUN's governmental affairs team was continuing to ensure that credit unions' tax-exempt status was protected as the state House and Senate considered tax reform legislation. The current state legislative session is expected to conclude soon.

Design thinking the focus of first crash the ACUC

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MADISON, Wis. (4/25/12)--For the first time, attendees of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) America's Credit Union Conference (ACUC) will be joined by a select group of 15 young credit union leaders, known across the industry as the Crashers, according to the Filene Research Institute.

The Crash trend was born from a 2010 Filene Research Institute project in which a group of young credit union professionals crashed the Credit Union National Association (CUNA)s Governmental Affairs Conference and the CUNA/World Council of Credit Unions The 1 Credit Union Conference. Three crashers of those events helped create the Washington, D.C., event. This Crash builds on the original program.

This Crash, like previous events will coincide with the basic conference agenda established by CUNA--including scholarships for registration--but the projects, as a result of the experience, will be different.

The 2012 Crash the ACUC will be taking on a unique approach when it comes to problem-solving. Starting June 17th, the selected Crashers for Crash the ACUC will be partake in a day-long Design Thinking Workshop led by Julie Norvaisas, design researcher and strategist.

The team of 15 will initially focus on learning the concepts of design thinking and its applications to solving real-world problems.  During the week, the selected 15 will apply design thinking methods and theory to spark innovation. The result will be a viable business concept for credit unions. Pre-conference assignments will be required to engage the topic and to feed intense research and discovery sessions. In the end, the group will create something wholly new and applicable in the credit union system.

Sparking the conversations on Sunday will be a focus on community development.

"The time is ripe for credit unions to be bold," Norvaisas said. "The unbanked and under-banked are a dreadfully underserved market; they commonly fall prey to predatory business practices and struggle to deal with financial transactions that most of us take for granted. Together the group will understand their needs and motivations and discuss the constraints that make it difficult to serve them in traditional financial services businesses, such as credit unions, so we can rise to the challenge."

There is increased commitment this time around, both from extended on-site time and required homework in advance. With this added investment, Crashers can guarantee their time out of the office will be valuable, as they return home with a real-world solution for their credit union and their community, Filene said.

In addition to Crash the ACUC, The Cooperative Trust has three national and four regional events planned alongside new opportunities, including year two of The Collider innovation tournament.

The Cooperative Trust is a grassroots organization hosted by the Filene Research Institute and supported by CUNA Mutual Group. The Cooperative Trust connects and enables young people fighting for the future of socially responsible finance through meet-ups, mentorships, and collective action. For more information, use the link.

Two CUs settle ATM lawsuits in Michigan federal courts

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DETROIT (4/25/12)--Two Michigan credit unions, ACC Community CU in Grand Rapids and Lenco CU in Adrian, have settled separate ATM class-action lawsuits brought by area retiree Nancy Kinder who has filed nearly 40 lawsuits against credit unions and banks under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA).

The ACC Community case was settled in U.S District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The Lenco CU case was in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Michigan couple Nancy Kinder and Ray Harrison of Fowlerville, Mich., who are both retirees--have driven around the country looking for ATMs without proper fee notification signs. The two then photographed ATMs that lack legal signage and filed class actions against the credit unions and banks that own the ATMs, saying that nondisclosure of fees for ATM transactions violates EFTA, according to court records. In 2010 and 2011, Kinder and Harrison filed dozens of lawsuits in Michigan, New Mexico and Texas (News Now May 24). 

The EFTA requires ATM owners to post a fee notice on the outside of their machines. As stated in the settlement documents filed with the court, both credit unions dispute that the plaintiffs have suffered any actual harm or damages as a result of the absence of an on-machine posted fee notice, and acknowledge that the ATMs are equipped with on-screen fee notices that permit the customer to cancel the transaction before incurring a fee.

However, given the expense of litigation, both credit unions agreed to settle the cases against them. Under the settlement, both credit unions have agreed to pay nonmember users of specific ATMs up to $250 to settle EFTA violations.

Each credit union also will pay $1,000 to Kinder, and $15,000 in legal fees. Lenco CU has agreed to set aside $23,500 to satisfy the claims of up to 1,155 potential claimants--based on the number of nonmember transactions that took place at a specific credit union ATM in Adrian between April 19, 210 and April 18, 2011. Each nonmember withdrawing from that ATM is eligible for a pro-rata share of the settlement fund, but no claimant may receive more than a $250 payment.

After all individual claims have been settled, any money remaining in the settlement fund--up to $5,000--will be donated to Kinder's designated charity--the Karmanos Cancer Institute.

ACC Community CU agreed to put aside $27,000 to satisfy the claims of up to 1,844 claimants, which is based on the number of nonmember transactions that took place at ACC's ATMs in three locations between April 26, 2010 and April 25, 2011. Each nonmember withdrawing from that ATM is eligible for a pro-rata share of the settlement fund, but no claimant may receive more than a $250 payment. Any funds remaining after the claimants are paid--up to $7,000--will be donated to Kinder's designated charity--the Karmanos Cancer Institute.

In both cases, after all claims have been satisfied, and any charitable contribution up to the allowed amounts have been paid, any remaining funds will go back to the credit union or CUNA Mutual Group, which is its insurer. CUNA Mutual, under its bond, is funding the settlement.

One nomination received for CUNA Board election

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MADISON, Wis. (4/25/12)--The Credit Union National Association is holding a special election for the District 5, Class C Board of Directors position, previously held by Harriet May, who resigned March 31. 

Tony Budet, president of University FCU in Austin, Texas has been nominated for the position.

Credit unions in this category were notified of the special election on April 3. 

All nominations must be received by close of business on Friday.  If contested, ballots will be sent and voting will take place from April 30 to May 25. 

The term of office will begin immediately upon election and will continue through the adjournment of the 2014 CUNA Annual General Meeting.

Class C credit unions are those with at least 86,000 natural person members. 

To request additional information or file a nomination, call 800/356-9655, x4013 or email

Kansas CUs honor five

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WICHITA, Kansas (4/25/12)--More than 350 Kansas credit union representatives gathered in Wichita last weekend to mark the Kansas Credit Union Association's (KCUA) 77th Annual Meeting and Convention, and to witness five of their colleagues receive honors. 

Click to view larger image Larry Eisenhauer, left, president/CEO of Kansas Corporate CU, Wichita, received the Henry Peterson Professional of the Year Award at the Kansas Credit Union Association's (KCUA) 77th Annual Meeting and Convention .  Pictured with Eisenhauer are KCUA staff Marla Marsh, Bob Mayes and Elizabeth Stuart.
The two-day event featured industry speakers and a variety of educational and networking opportunities. The keynote presentation by Mark Sievewright, president of CU Solutions at Fiserv, addressed the ever-changing financial landscape.  Other sessions included social media, member relations, credit bureau fraud and sessions specifically for young professionals.

The five credit union leaders honored at the event included:

  • Larry Eisenhauer, president/CEO of Kansas Corporate CU, Wichita, received the Henry Peterson Professional of the Year Award.
  • Larry Duntz, chairman of the Board for Central Star CU, Wichita, and Robert Reeves, chairman of the Board for Kansas State University FCU, Manhattan, were honored as the John Michener Volunteers of the Year.
  • Henry Buset, Kansas Teachers Community CU, Pittsburg, was inducted into the KCUA Hall of Fame.
  • LeeAnn Marker, Hutchinson CU, Hutchinson, received the Political Involvement Award.
Mid American CU was also recognized for winning a first-place award in the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Program. The Wichita-based credit union won the award for teaching a financial literacy course to more than 500 students as part of a summer youth program in some of Wichita's most culturally diverse and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Click to view larger image From left, Bob Corwin and Rick Dodds of Meritrust CU with John Smith, Kansas Department of Credit Unions at the Kansas Credit Union Association Annual Meeting. (Photos provided by Kansas Credit Union Association.)
As part of the association's business meeting, KCUA conducted its annual board elections. The Executive Committee was elected. It includes:

  • Chairman--Jim Holt, president/CEO of Mid American CU, Wichita;
  • Vice Chair--Don Homan, Frontier Community CU, Leavenworth; and
  • Secretary/Treasurer--Vickie Hurt, President of Quest CU, Topeka.
Newly-elected board members include:

  • Rick Blue, president/CEO of White Eagle CU, Augusta;  and
  • Denise Bonner, manager of Wakarusa Valley CU, Lawrence.
KCUA board members continuing their terms include:

  • John Beverlin, president/CEO of Mainstreet CU, Lenexa;
  • Larry Damm, president/CEO of Cessna Employees CU, Wichita;
  • Rosa Saenz, senior vice president of Golden Plains CU, Garden City; and
  • Garth Strand, president/CEO of Hutchinson (Kan.) CU.

Media highlights MBL progress

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MADISON, Wis. (4/25/12)--Credit unions continue to reap media attention for their efforts to increase member business lending (MBL) authority.

A pending Senate bill (S.  2231), like its counterpart introduced in the House (H.R. 1418), would increase the MBL cap to 27.5% of a credit union's assets, up from 12.25%, under certain conditions.

Within the first year of enactment, the increased MBL authority would help to inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA estimates show.

Senate leadership remains committed to a floor vote on the credit union legislation to increase the member business lending (MBL) cap, a pledge reiterated Monday by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate.

An article in the April 22 edition of The Wichita Eagle described how two Kansas credit unions, reaching current MBL thresholds, may have to start saying 'no' to small businesses seeking loans because of the current 1225% cap.

"Our small business members have been hearing the message we may have to say 'No,' because this arbitrary cap is upon us," Garth Strand, CEO of Hutchinson (Kan.) CU, told the Eagle. "Short of being out of compliance and being out of regulation, we don't have any choice but to comply."

Strand stressed that increased business lending should not be framed as a banks-versus-credit union issue.

"It's really a small-business issue," Strand said. "Our economy is struggling, and we need as many jobs as we can get. We should be looking for solutions and not roadblocks."

In the same article, Bob Corwin, CEO of the state's largest credit union at $820million in assets,  Wichita-based Meritrust, said member business loans account for about 5% of its asserts right now.

"We think, just from the principle of the thing, credit unions should not be restricted in any kind of lending without any real rationale or justification for it," Corwin told the paper.

Haley DaVee, vice president of governmental and public affairs for the Kansas Credit Union Association, noted in the article that an MBL cap increase would not  mean an immediate explosion in business lending by credit unions. She noted the bill would lift the cap only for credit unions that:

  • Have five years of experience making member business loans.
  • Employ loan officers on staff with at least two years of commercial lending experience.
  • Maintain a member business loan portfolio that totals 80% of the 12.25% cap for at least four quarters preceding the credit union's request to increase its lending cap.

Hutchinson Strand concluded the article expressing hopes the bill passes because he doesn't want to be forced to turn away from his small business members' needs:  "We are trying to find a solution for them, and we are stuck," he said.

The current MBL cap also prevents some credit unions from entering the business lending market, Scott Earl, president/CEO of Mountain West Credit Union Association told the Colorado Springs Business Journal  (April 23).  "It was not a big enough part of their lending portfolio to hire experts in small business lending," Earl said. "But, with a higher cap, credit unions that had been reluctant to get into small business lending may embrace it.

Mountain West Credit Union Association represents credit union in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming.

"That is where we could see the biggest change happening," Earl said. "Most (credit unions) would find it appealing --if it fits into their business plan, they would think about this."

In an article in Finance & Commerce, Patrick Pierce, CEO at the City and County CU in St. Paul, stressed that the MBL legislation would improve the economy at no cost to tax payers.

"Congress wants to see the economy grow, and we want to get more loans out to businesses that will put people back to work," said Pierce said. "If they let credit unions do what we do well, we'll help create jobs, and it's not going to cost the government a dime."

Ryan Donovan, senior vice president of legislative affairs for the Credit Union National Association, explained in the Finance & Commerce article that credit unions increased  their business lending efforts during the recession, while commercial lending at banks declined.

Data from regulators showed business lending at Minnesota credit unions grew between 1.1 % and 11.8% between 2007 and 2011. Meanwhile, business lending (excluding commercial real estate) fell 11.3% at Minnesota-chartered banks in the 2009- 2011 period.

In a April 22 NewsOK article, Gary Jones, president of Credit Union Association of Oklahoma, said allowing credit unions to make more business loans would create more jobs and enhance the U.S. economy.

"The members of the credit unions have not been able to get money from the commercial banks because generally they're not of a size that they (the banks) are even interested in," Jones said. "Our members have come to us and said we'd like to have some money for our business, and there is an artificial cap on what we can loan that we know is restricting our ability to respond to these requests from our members."

Bill Hammond, president/CEO of the Texas Association of Business contributed an opinion editorial to the Houston Chronicle in favor of the legislation. Hammond also noted that business lending at banks has plummeted in recent years.

"But there has been one bright spot in the tough lending picture, and that is credit unions," Hammond wrote.

"Credit unions have been not-for-profit for more than 100 years and still have less than 5% of the business-lending market," he added. "It's unlikely that raising the cap will do anything other than provide more small business owners the chance to succeed while filling gaps in the marketplace."

Mike Beall, Missouri Credit Union Association president/CEO, contributed a letter to the editor to recent edition of the Springfield Business Journal.  Beall described how the MBL legislation would create jobs and help small businesses in Missouri.

"It's time to do all we can to raise capital safely and soundly for small businesses," Beall wrote in his letter.