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Federation to host CDFI webinars Wednesday

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NEW YORK (4/28/09)--The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions will host two free webinars Wednesday for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). At 1 p.m. ET Wednesday, it will host a webinar for CDFI-certified credit unions that want to apply to the CDFI Fund's Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Supplemental Round. It will address what's new in the supplemental round application process, tools from the federation to facilitate the application process and federation resources to help submit a competitive grant application. At 3 p.m. ET the federation will host a webinar for credit unions that are not yet certified as CDFIs but hope to apply for certification. It will address the value of CDFI certification for credit unions, the process to obtain the designation, and federation resources to assist with certification. Recently the U.S. Treasury Department released details for the CDFI Fund Recovery Act Implementation Plan, which will provide nearly $400 million in capital to CDFIs by year-end 2010. It is the largest pool of funds ever made available to financial institutions serving predominantly underserved communities, said the federation. The fund also has issued a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the FY2009 Supplemental Funding Rounds of its CDFI Program and Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program,. The program provides an additional $63 million that will be available for financial assistance awards. The FA awards total $55 million for the CDFI Program and $8 million for NACA. The awards are open to any CDFI-certified credit union that did not submit an application under the regular FY2009 round, or those that applied only for a technical assistance award. The federation said that currently, 819 CDFIs exist. Of those, 146 are credit unions. Most are members

Members United Corporate resets financial update webinar

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ALBANY, N.Y. (4/28/09)--Members United Corporate FCU has rescheduled its Financial Update webinar from Wednesday to Monday, May 4, at 11a.m.-noon ET (10a.m.-11 a.m. CT). The change will enable key members of Members United's executive leadership team to attend U.S. Central FCU's Town Hall Meeting, to be conducted Wednesday by U.S. Central's new CEO, James Nance. Some of these individuals are also Financial Update presenters. Part of Monday's Financial Update will include information provided at U.S. Central's meeting, said the corporate. The Financial Update webinar is free and will include:
* A summary of the U.S. Central Town Hall Meeting; * A review of the markets; * An update of financials for Members United; and * A question and answer session.
Credit unions already enrolled for Wednesday's cancelled session are automatically enrolled for the updated Monday session.

CU in Oregon closing four branches in Portland

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PORTLAND, Ore. (4/28/09)--Oregon Community CU, based in Eugene, Ore., will close all four of its branches in Portland during the next month, according to local media. Credit union officials told (April 23) that 26 employees would be affected by the closures. The decision was a business decision--only 15% of members in Portland actually used the branches. Many members do their banking online banking, said the station. Officials emphasized the credit union isn't under financial distress and that the institution is solid. However, the economy has hit Oregon hard with more than 12% unemployment, the nation's second-highest unemployment rate.

St. Louis newspaper CUs tackling payday loans

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ST. LOUIS (4/28/09)--Credit unions in St. Louis are tackling payday lending loans by offering low cost alternatives, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (April 24 and 26). The article features the payday alternatives of two credit unions--St. Louis Community CU and Gateway Metro CU. St. Louis Community CU offers a "Freedom Line of Credit," up to $500 and lasting 90 days, which charges less interest--an annual percentage rate of 25%--than payday loans It places part of the proceeds into a savings account for the member. Gateway Metro offers a "Quick Cash" loan of up to $600 for 31 days. The credit union charges a flat $40 fee and is cheaper for larger amounts. The average payday borrower takes out nine payday loans a year, but the credit unions' programs build up savings so the member eventually will no longer need the payday loan. The loans get the borrowers "off the treadmill," Patrick Adams, president of St. Louis Community CU, told the newspaper. Suzanne Gellman, consumer economics specialist at the University of Missouri Extension Service, told the newspaper that the credit union alternatives are "a significantly better deal."

Risk expert E-fraud advances require new techniques

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WAIKOLA, Hawaii (4/28/09)--Credit unions, their members and third-party providers of electronic funds transfer services need to improve their online security because of advances in online fraud involving personal and financial institutions computer systems, a CUNA Mutual Group risk management expert said Friday. Electronic fraud losses are caused primarily by consumer account compromises through online banking systems and system intrusions at third-party providers of electronic services, Ken Otsuka, risk manager, told attendees at the Hawaii Credit Union League 71st Annual Convention.
Ken Otsuka, risk manager with CUNA Mutual Group, discusses electronic fraud with attendees at the Hawaii Credit Union League 71st Annual Convention Friday. (Photo provided by CUNA Mutual Group)
"Phishing scams have become a mainstream activity for fraudsters," Otsuka said. "Consumers continue to be duped by this e-mail scam and provide their account numbers and online banking passwords." Account compromises occur when members respond to phishing e-mails by clicking on embedded links that take them to bogus Web sites imitating the credit union's site. "The branding is remarkably good, and consumers are fooled" into providing information that would allow fraudsters to open accounts with the victim's information," he said. Other contributing factors to account compromises include:
* Successful social engineering attempts by fraudsters to have consumers' online banking passwords reset, and * Consumers' computers infected with malicious keyloggers, which monitor keystrokes and return the data to the fraudsters. Otsuka urged credit unions to increase controls over requests for password resets and to notify members of the importance of using up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware security programs to protect their computers.
Once a fraudster hacks into a consumer’s account, funds are transferred to accounts at other financial institutions using the bill pay, ACH, or wire transfer service offered through online banking. "It’s important for credit unions, corporate credit unions and third-party providers of electronic funds transfer services to adopt suitable authentication methods to prevent costly unauthorized transactions,” he added. The common multifactor authentication method that involves a computer’s Internet Protocol (IP) address and challenge questions is no longer reliable due to the risk of malicious software infecting the computer or an entire system, Otsuka said. For example, if the keylogger resided on the member’s computer at the time the member enrolled for online banking, it would return the member’s username, password, and answers to the challenge questions. Otsuka advised credit unions to take these steps to help reduce electronic fraud:
* Take advantage of the authentication method third-party providers of electronic funds transfer services offer; * Restrict IP addresses of credit union users with third-party vendors; *Adopt multifactor authentication, such as tokens; * Implement monetary transaction limits for third-party ACH credit files and wires; * Implement monetary transaction limits for online payment services; and * Avoid resetting member online banking passwords based on telephone requests from members.
Members also play an important role in reducing fraud. Otsuka recommended credit unions pass along these tips to members:
* Install up-to-date software on home computers to prevent infection from viruses, spyware and malware. * Use strong passwords with a minimum of seven characters, alphanumeric, and include special symbols (such as, !,@,#,$,%,<, .="" *="" never="" use="" computers="" accessible="" to="" the="" public,="" such="" as="" in="" libraries="" and="" hotels,="" to="" access="" accounts.="" *="" be="" careful="" when="" using="" a="" wireless="" network="" –="" make="" sure="" it’s="" secure="" before="" accessing="" accounts="" online.="">
Additional loss mitigation and prevention information, guidelines and RISK Alerts are available to CUNA Mutual policyholders in the company’s Protection Resource Center.

Leagues CUs prepare for the flu

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MADISON, Wis. (4/28/09)--Recent reports of an outbreak of a new swine flu strain have some state credit union leagues reviewing their pandemic planning operations. There were 40 confirmed cases in five states--including 28 in New York by Monday evening, sparking such actions as school closings in some areas. Outbreaks have been reported in California, Kansas, New York, Ohio and Texas (USA TODAY April 27). “We haven’t had a lot of communication with leagues yet, but we’re sending out a compliance alert tonight,” Valerie Edgington, compliance manager with the Ohio Credit Union League, told News Now Monday. “The alert will be sent to member credit unions, compliance staff and credit union CEOs. “At a league meeting last week, I had mentioned there were three flu pandemics during the last century, and asked for a show of hands if anyone had [response] plans ready, and there were very few hands raised,” she added. The alert sent out Monday night dealt with pandemic planning and resources, Edgington said. It links to various resources such as a business planning checklist, the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Disaster Preparedness page on pandemic information, and U.S. Homeland Security and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) information on pandemic planning, she added. The Kansas Credit Union Association (KCUA) also is taking steps to prepare credit unions. “We have issued a compliance alert to our credit unions today,” Kim Wheelock, senior vice president of KCUA, told News Now. “We reminded credit unions about the pandemic planning--some of the previous letters--provided by NCUA. We also told credit unions about information from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the U.S. Office of Health and Environment.” The Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) has updated it website with information about the swine flu emergency, and provided several links to pandemic- and disaster-related resources, Linda Webb-Manon, director of public relations for the league, told News Now. TCUL also will publish an article in its daily league publication today to let credit unions know there is information available to them, she added. The California Credit Union League (CCUL) has nothing to report yet, Matt Buck, CCUL communications specialist, told News Now. “It’s too early yet,” he said. CUNA has a long-term business continuity plan (BCP) and has created a BCP Committee, an internal staff committee that addresses the key components of a pandemic or business interruption, Harley Skjervem, CUNA senior vice president of human relations and company pandemic response organizer, told News Now.

Northwest CUs for Kids wine auction raises over 157000

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VANCOUVER, Wash., and SAN DIMAS, Calif. (4/28/09)--The sponsors of the 2009 Oregon and Washington Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction announced Friday they had raised more than $157,000 at the event April 17. “Our goal was $150,000 and frankly, we weren’t sure we could achieve that this year,” said Roger Michaelis, CEO of iQ CU in Vancouver, Wash., and the event’s main sponsor. “To say we are overwhelmed is an understatement.” The national Credit Unions for Kids program, which originated in Oregon, Southwest Washington and Texas, raises money for 179 Children’s Miracle Network hospitals including Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Sacred Heart hospital in Eugene, Ore., and the Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford, Ore. More than 5,000 of the nation’s 8,000 credit unions participate. The NW Wine Auction is one of program’s biggest events. The auction was held at the Governor Hotel in Portland with about 150 attendees. Co-hosts Roger Michaelis and Sarah Canepa Bang, CEO of Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc., entertained the crowd. Bang shared her perspective on spending, “Whenever I’m worried about spending too much money on something, I ask myself, ‘When I die, how long will I be dead,’ and then nothing seems too expensive.” Auction Coordinator was Lisa Stokman, iQ CU, Vancouver, who is frequently called upon by other event coordinators for “best practices” for similar auctions. The NW Wine auction, which follows the California Credit Unions for Kids wine auction and the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile race in Washington, D.C., is the third in a series of Credit Unions for Kids fundraisers. In less than one month, these three events have raised nearly $1.4 million for children’s hospitals nationwide.

CU System briefs (04/27/2009)

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* SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (4/28/09)--The Third Annual Vermont Credit Union Legislator Appreciation Reception Wednesday was "tremendously successful," says the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU) (Newslines Express April 24). According to AVCU President Joe Bergeron, the event "was packed with legislators and credit union leaders…The number of engaged conversations I witnessed shows that now more than ever, legislators are really looking to credit unions to help Vermonters." Bergeron presented State Rep. Michel Consejo (D-5) with a Garmin GPS Navigation device Consejo won in a drawing during Credit Unions in the Statehouse Day March 19. The reception and the statehouse day events are critical parts of AVCU's overall advocacy plan. (Photo provided by the Association of Vermont Credit Unions) … * COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (4/28/09)--Ent FCU, a $2.595 billion asset
Click to view larger image Click for larger view
credit union, awarded its 2009 Youth Endowment Series (YES) program grants to 17 local Colorado Springs non-profit organizations last week. The program, established in 2000, provides grants to organizations that benefit youth in the Pikes Peak region. Since its inception, the program has provided more than $370,000 in grants. This year's grants program received 54 applications. The credit union also received 13 applications from Pueblo non-profits for its Pueblo YES grant program. Those grants will be announced later this week. Pictured are: members of the Ent volunteer employees panel that evaluated the applications (bottom three rows); representatives of the organizations receiving the grants at a reception Thursday; and Ent's board and senior managers (back row). (Photo provided by Ent FCU) … * GREENSBORO, N.C. (4/28/09)--The Carolinas Credit Union Foundation (CCUF) has granted a $10,000 Micro Community Grant to Generations Group Home, a residential group home for at-risk boys. The home, founded in 1991 by Kathleen Reynolds, houses up to 58 youth ages 10-19 caught in a cycle of abuse and who exhibit inappropriate behaviors. Generations has treated more than 600 boys since it opened and reports a 98% success rate. CCUF's funds will enable Generations to purchase and install security grates and fencing for its campuses to help residents and employees feel safe and secure. "As credit unions, it is our nature to care about our communities," said CCUF President/CEO John Slack. "These are wonderful young men who just need a chance." The Piedmont Chapter of the South Carolina Credit Union League and Greenville FCU assisted Generations with the grant proposal. Since it began in 2005, the grant program has awarded more than $750,000 to agencies in North and South Carolina …

Minnesota committees announce volunteers of year

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (4/28/09)--The Minnesota Credit Unions for Kids (MnCU4Kids) and Minnesota Family Involvement Council (FIC) committees recently honored two credit union individuals for time and effort spent on their respective committees. Steve Oien of Minnco CU, Cambridge, and Lynn Meisner of City-County FCU, Brooklyn Center, received their volunteer awards April 18 at a banquet during the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s (MnCUN’s) 2009 Annual Meeting & Convention.
During the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s (MnCUN) Awards Banquet on April 18, MnCUN President/CEO Mark D. Cummins presented awards to Lynn Meisner, Family Involvement Council Volunteer of the Year, and Steve Oien, Credit Unions for Kids Volunteer of the Year. (Photos provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network)
Oien has served as president/CEO of Minnco CU for 18 years. He joined the MnCU4Kids committee in 2003 and was co-chair from 2004 to 2008. Oien received the honor for his involvement in the committee’s golf, annual meeting, and Bowl-O-Rama subcommittees and other activities, and regular meeting attendance. Meisner earned the FIC award for her service on the committee, which she joined in 1991. She has been the accounting manager at City-County FCU for eight years. Meisner served as vice chair of the FIC from 1996 to1999 and secretary from 1999 to 2005. Meisner also received the committee’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 1997. Today, she is instrumental in coordinating the FIC’s Start 2 Go program, which assists credit unions in creating kids, teens and seniors clubs. She is also involved in the committee’s silent auction, scholarship program and other projects.