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CU's 'Harlem Shake' Video Hits Intended Audience

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WICHITA, Kan. (4/29/13)--A credit union's video of folks in the lobby getting down and doing the "Harlem Shake" is hitting its intended audience and has attracted the attention of local media as well as 2,446 (as of Friday) YouTube viewers.

Credit Union of America, a $502.1 million asset Wichita, Kan., in what a local reporter called a "decidedly un-credit-union-like video," is targeting a young adult audience, roughly teens to early 30s, Glenda Burkett, vice president of marketing and business development at CUA, told Wichita Business Journal Online (April 25).

The "Harlem Shake" refers to an electronica song that became an Internet hit when groups of people began gathering in strange costumes and videotaping their group dancing to the song, then posting their videos online.

The video features people in a CUA lobby, who hear the music and start dancing. The video of their dancing is interspersed with short messages--information from the credit union's annual meeting in March--set to Musack elevator music.  The video appeals to the younger set, who get a kick out of the extreme and the absurd, said Burkett.  

The video was the brainchild of CUA Marketing Specialist Amanda Gish. Production costs were minimal. The dancers were CUA staff and board members who provided their own costumes, the studio was a branch lobby,  and Burkett was behind the video camera.  Cox Communications helped with editing the video. The credit union spent $5,000 by giving out $10 iTunes cards to the video's first 500 viewers.

To view the video, use the link.

CU System Briefs (04/29/2013)

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  • OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (4/29/13)--The New Jersey Credit Union Foundation held its third annual Casino Night and Texas Hold 'Em Tournament Thursday night, according to the New Jersey Credit Union League (The Daily Exchange April 26). The fundraising event attracted 65 credit union leaders, such as the folks pictured here, and raised more than $17,000 to support the foundation's mission of providing financial literacy awareness and supporting small credit union initiatives. Texas Hold 'Em Tournament winners were: Francis James, United Teletech Financial FCU, first place; Stephen DiGioia, Symbionce Financial Solutions LLC, second place; and Michele Weiss, Liberty Savings FCU, third place. Midstate FCU member Meredith Puccio was this year's 50/50 Raffle winner. (Photo provided by the New Jersey Credit Union League) ...
  • PEWAUKEE, Wis. (4/29/13)--Jim Drogue, the Wisconsin Credit Union League's senior vice president of credit union development and fundraising, will retire May 15 after a 37-year career with credit unions. Drogue spent nearly 24 years in lending and management at the former Commonwealth CU (now Summit CU) in Madison. He joined the league in 2001 as senior consultant, assisting credit unions statewide with their operations. In 2004, as vice president of credit union development at the league, he worked with Wisconsin credit unions to voluntarily launch REAL Solutions in partnership with Madison-based Filene Research Institute. Today, as the signature program of the National Credit Union Foundation, REAL Solutions involves credit unions in 40 states and helps members nationwide save roughly $6 billion in annual benefits."Jim's work has improved and helped quantify the value that consumers derive by owning the financial institution where they borrow and save," said league President/CEO Brett Thompson. "We wish him the best as well as thanks on behalf of the many consumers whose pocketbooks are healthier thanks to his leadership."...

Results Of CUNA's Student Borrowing Survey Make an Impression

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MADISON, Wis. (4/29/13)--Credit Union National Association's Student Borrowing Survey, which found half of high school seniors have no idea what college will cost, has been duly noted by bankruptcy lawyers, accountants and economic education groups, who are citing CUNA's results as one more reason for financial education.

San Diego bankruptcy attorneys at the Golden State Law Group, which represents businesses and individuals in financial difficulty, in a press release cited most of the survey's findings, saying they "find the results of this survey troubling, as it indicates that not enough people who are going to take out student loans are aware of the true nature of these obligations. Student loan debt is generally not a type of debt that can be discharged in a bankruptcy case in the absence of relatively rare circumstances."

The law firm, seeing a business opportunity, encouraged people struggling with student loan debt to contact it for a free initial consultation.

The accounting industry is also taking note, with articles in CP (April 22) and (April 25). Both cite the survey.

The Council for Economic Education (CEE), which hopes to implement a National Standards for Financial Literacy as a framework for content and skills it believes should be contained in K-12 personal finance curriculum, said that personal finance isn't being taught enough in U.S. schools (

CEE's survey found  that 46 states include personal finance in their K-12 standards but only 36 require the standards to be taught.  It also found that:

  • Fourteen states offer a high school course on personal finance;
  • Thirteen states require taking a course on personal finance before one can graduate; and
  • Five states have tests on personal finance or financial literacy.
The article refers to the CUNA survey findings that indicate more awareness is needed and quotes CUNA Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications and Engagement Paul Gentile.

"These troubling findings suggest not just a lack of awareness of college cost or how debt works but also a lack of basic financial knowledge," he said. "The results suggest that some students could be challenged in managing basic expenses or using such payment tools as credit cards in a consistently responsible manner as they enter adulthood."

CUNA's press release about its survey was also reported, verbatim, in CPAPracticeAdvisor and Manufacturing Close-Up (April 25).  Earlier last week, several news outlets covered CUNA's findings. They included the Huffington Post, Sacramento Bee and in Texas and Oklahoma.

To recap the CUNA survey's key findings:

  • 83% of students surveyed did not know the rates and 77% didn't know the duration of their expected or existing college loans;
  • 74% of those aspiring to attend college said they will need a combination of federal and private loans, family money and jobs to support their tuition; and
  • 25% expect to take out two or more student loans; 13%, one loan; and 60% could not estimate how many they would need.

Maine League Testifies On Fin Lit, Manufactured Homes Bills

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PORTLAND, Maine (4/29/13)--The Maine Credit Union League testified  recently in favor of two bills before state legislature--one to promote the financial literacy of high school students and one to clarify when a manufactured home becomes residential real property.

L.D. 843 would amend the system of learning to require each student in the state to study and become proficient in personal finance. On April 19, league Director of Governmental Affairs Quincy Hentzel testified before the Education Committee, explaining the long history of leadership and support that Maine's credit unions have provided for financial literacy (Weekly Update April 26).

"For nearly two decades, the Maine Credit Union League and a number of Maine's credit unions have had an active role in helping to build awareness and understanding about money management and personal finance with thousands of Maine children," Hentzel said. "We believe that by educating children about money management and personal finance, they are much more likely to become savvy consumers as adults."

She highlighted the success of Financial Fitness Fairs coordinated by the state's credit unions. During the 2012-2013 school year, credit unions are coordinating nearly 25 fairs that will reach nearly 5,000 high school students.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Matt Pouliot attended and volunteered at one fair in Augusta and was "very impressed and enthusiastic about the fairs," the league said.

Last Tuesday, the league testified in support of the manufactured housing bill, L.D. 854, which the league worked on and helped draft.

Ryan Poulin, president/CEO of New Dimensions FCU, Waterville, testifyied on behalf of Maine's credit unions. The Federal Home Loan Bank informed the state's lenders last year that they could not collateralize FHLB loans with mortgage loans collateralized by mobile homes that were titled but not permanently fixed to property.

"This legislation specifically states that if manufactured housing has not been issued a certificate of title, it is considered real property when it is permanently affixed to real property that is owned by the owner of the manufactured housing," he said. "Manufactured housing is an affordable housing option that we want to be sure we can continue to provide financing for to our members."

A work session on the bill is set for Tuesday. No date has been set for a work session on the financial literacy bill.

NWCUA Finds CU 'Branding' Opportunity In Fundraising

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (4/29/13)--The Northwest Credit Union Association is

Click to view larger image Northwest Credit Union Association President/CEO Troy Stang (left) takes Credit Union National Association Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications and Engagement Paul Gentile on a tour of Doernbecher Children's Hospital, in Portland, Ore., to show the level of support credit unions have provided in fundraising efforts and the recognition given those efforts by the hospital. (Photo provided by the Northwest Credit Union Association)
working closely with six regional children's hospitals and its regional Credit Unions for Kids (CU4Kids) ambassador boards, comprised of credit union CEOs in the area, to set goals, establish best practices and develop fundraisers for the hospitals.

The league established a model for the fundraising approach based on its successful efforts on behalf of Doernbecher Children's Hospital, in Portland, Ore. One of the successes the league hopes to repeat is the credit union "branding" opportunity achieved at Doernbecher, where the Credit Union for Kids logo is incorporated into the hospital's signage (see photo).

Kasey Rockwell, director of outreach programs for the NWCUA, said the league and its member credit unions "consider it an honor" to work on behalf of the children's hospitals in the area.  The medical teams, she says, "do so much to improve the lives of sick and injured kids, and the lives of their family members. Helping them is one of the best ways we can think of to live up to the credit union motto of  'people helping people.'"

Rockwell reports that last year the league effort raised $884,311 for the six regional hospitals.  She explained that the CU4Kids ambassadors communicate to credit unions in their region about upcoming events and progress on fundraising goals.

Since efforts began in 1986--credit unions have raised more than $10 million for Doernbecher alone.

Hospital representative H. Stacy Nicholson, M.D., has said, "Credit unions are vital to OHSU Doernbecher's fundraising efforts--their impact is profound. Since 1986, they have funded hospital construction, endowed faculty positions and provided research and program support to a variety of pediatric programs. Their support is critical to our providing the best possible care for patients in Oregon and southwest Washington."

The league also has created a Credit Unions for Kids interactive website on the NWCUA site. It features contact information, a place for credit unions to post fundraisers and fundraising results, share fundraising ideas, and much more.

Use the resource links for more information.

CUNA Mutual, Union Reach Tentative Agreement On Contract

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MADISON, Wis. (4/29/13)--CUNA Mutual Group and the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 39, which represents about 700 office workers at CUNA Mutual, have reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract.

The agreement covers three years, from April 1, 2013,  through March 31, 2016. The company and the union have been negotiating since mid-February. The original contract, which expired March 31, was extended several times before the tentative agreement was reached Thursday.

It is now up to the union membership to vote on the agreement.

"We are very pleased that the company's and union's frank discussions resulted in a tentative agreement that each of us strongly supports," said Rick Uhlmann, senior manager, media relations at CUNA Mutual Group. "We believe it reflects the most important issues on both sides."

Research: Consumers Want FI Access, Personalization

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (4/29/13)--What do consumers want from their financial institution?  Credit unions take note: They want personalization to help simplify managing finances over multiple channels and they consider three attributes as key. They also don't mind providing private information to get what they want.

Consumers surveyed identified availability (63%), competence (65%) and efficiency (68%) as key attributes in interacting with a financial institution (FI) or financial adviser, said the 2013 Cisco Customer Experience Report, which surveyed 1,514 banking customers and 405 bank managers in 10 countries.

They indicated they would be willing to exchange more details about their financial habits and have FIs as more active advisers in exchange for:

  • Greater protection from identity theft, 83%;
  • Increased savings, 80%;
  • Personalized service, 78%; and
  • Greater simplicity in managing finances, 56%.
Fifty-four percent wanted automated systems for financial advice or recommendations, and 59% would be more comfortable with location-sensitive recommendations delivered to a mobile device, said the San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco.

Most (71%) were comfortable with the increasing use of virtual communications in addition to in-person financial conversations.

In the U.S., consumers surveyed wanted:

  • More simplified personal financial services, 69%;
  • More identity theft security, 77%;
  • Advice for increasing savings, 73%;
  • More financial education, 67%; and
  • An assessment of their financial status compared with other clients, 47%.
Bank managers surveyed had predicted the consumers' desire for these services would be roughly 20% higher than the actual results.

Of consumers were willing to share private information with FIs, 53% said they would provide a fingerprint or other biometrics to verify transactions and protect against identity theft, while 60% would trade information for simplified money management. However, 57% did not want their FI to share personal information outside the FI--even if it improved quality of service in other areas.

Other findings related to U.S. consumers:

  • 63%  were comfortable communicating with their FI with technology such as texting, e-mail or video (instead of in-person);
  • 48% would be comfortable securing a loan or mortgage using technology like video to communicate with their FI;
  • 21% would favor a smartphone for video conversation with FIs, while 79% preferred a laptop or desktop computer; and
  • 46% would open an account at a completely virtual FI if it offered the best or more secure services.

NC CUs' Help Noted In NBC Poverty Series, National Journal

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DURHAM, N.C. (4/29/13)--Two North Carolina credit unions' efforts to assist people in poverty were featured in a recent NBC News series about poverty, with one of them also featured in a National Journal article about lifting workers into the middle class.

Latino Community CU in Durham, N.C., which was opened partly to help counter a local burglary problem, assisted Sabino Fuentes-Sanchez in overcoming his distrust of financial institutions (NBC News April 22).

Fuentes-Sanchez, who at one time had hidden $25,000 in cash in several locations throughout his home, eventually was down to $500 because his wife's cancer treatments depleted most of his savings. Before she died, she convinced him to open an account at the $115 million asset credit union, NBC News said.

Now with money in the credit union, he saves for his five children and avoids the temptation to spend all his money, said Fuentes-Sanchez.

NBC News also told the story of Kim James, who slid in and out of homelessness for several years, while battling addiction problems. She lived in a halfway house in Durham and knew that if she wanted to move into her own apartment, she would have to find a way to save money for a security deposit.

When James landed a part-time job in January, Duke University student Janet Xiao, part of a group called the Community Empowerment Fund, helped James set up an account with Self-Help CU in Durham. Within a few months, James had deposited enough money in her credit union account to pay a security deposit and the first month's rent for an apartment, NBC News said. Once James has saved enough to purchase a bed, she will move in.

Latino Community CU also was mentioned Thursday in for helping launch Paula Carde's family construction business in a suburb of Raleigh, N.C., in 2011. Carde, her father and brother--all Chilean immigrants--were turned down by three banks because the business was so new, that none of the banks were willing to loan the family enough to get the business started.

Latino Community--which serves an underserved population that most banks pass over--was the only financial institution that took a chance on the Carde family business, National Journal said.

To read the articles use the links.

Pennsylvania Report Shows Need For Financial Education

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (4/29/13)--More financial education is needed in Pennsylvania's public schools, according to a report from a Pennsylvania Task Force on Economic Education and Personal Financial Literacy Education.  

Mike Wishnow, Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) senior vice president of communications and public relations, served on the task force (Life is a Highway April 26).

"I'd like to commend the task force for its hard work and strong recommendations to increase financial education for all Pennsylvania school children," said Jim McCormack, PCUA president/CEO. "Pennsylvania's credit unions have been actively engaged in financial education with their members, in schools, and in communities for the past several decades."

More consistency is needed in financial education within Pennsylvania's 500 school districts through personal finance graduation requirements, funding for standard curriculums and teacher training, and curriculum guidelines, the report suggested.

The task force spent 14 months studying research, best practices and trends in financial education to make the recommendations on how to improve financial education in the state's schools.

Maine CUs Celebrate Volunteer Week With a Record

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WESTBROOK, Maine (4/29/13)--Maine's credit unions volunteered a record-setting 41,536 hours in 2012--a 19% increase over 2011.

The figures were released in celebration of National Volunteer Week last week.

The Maine Credit Union League coordinates statewide tracking of volunteer time contributed by credit unions through its nationally recognized Credit Unions Share for ME program. 

"By their nature and structure, credit unions are about cooperating and helping others, whether it's members or the community," said John Murphy, league president. "From local staff to a volunteer unpaid board of directors, Maine credit unions give back to their communities on a daily basis--not because they have to, but because it is the right thing to do." 

Based on figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which calculates the value of one hour volunteered in Maine at $17.03, the value of the time volunteered by Maine's credit unions equaled $707,358 in 2012.

The league's 11-year-old program has received several awards and recognition for quantifying the community service efforts of the state's credit unions. Since 2002, the program has documented more than 260,000 volunteer hours by credit union staff and directors.

More than 2,000 individuals, including staff and board members, volunteered in their communities last year, the league said. An average of 374 credit union staff and directors collectively volunteered an average of 3,461 hours each month in 2012.

One of the new aspects of credit union volunteer efforts this year was to encourage younger members to volunteer. The league's Young and Free Maine program for the 18- to 25-year-old demographic began spotlighting volunteer and community-related activities of young adults living and working in Maine each month on its Young and Free Maine website.

CUNA Designates First Certified Marketing Execs

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Click to view larger image Nine credit union marketing professionals recently earned the Credit Union Certified Marketing Executive (CUCME) designation, said the Credit Union National Association. Pictured from left are Angela Meehan, Andrea Lepper, Mark Arnold (instructor), Maria Johnson, Kathy Palumbo, Matt Brophy, Randy Schultz (instructor), Lynn Roth, Michelle Broderick.  Not pictured are Janet Buckalew and Karen Owens. (Photo provided by CUNA)
MADISON, Wis. (4/29/13)--Nine credit union marketing professionals are the first to earn the Credit Union Certified Marketing Executive (CUCME) designation, said the Credit Union National Association.

"It was a great experience watching our first group of credit union marketers earn the CUCME designation," said Meghann Dawson, instruction design manager for CUNA Marketing Management School. "Their hard work and dedication to the coursework, class participation and testing made it clear that they are ready to make a huge impact in their marketing efforts at their credit union."

The certification demonstrates skill in proven core competencies, including: strategic marketing, public relations, retail marketing, advertising management, product and services roll-out, market research, persuasive communication, problem solving and leadership skills.

The new designation can be earned by attending all three years of CUNA Marketing Management School (MMS) curriculum and passing an exam each year. Since the CUCME is new, MMS attendees who completed all three years before 2013 can earn their CUCME by attending a designation boot camp before the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council Conference.

The first CUCME designees are:

  • Michelle Broderick, Cumberland County FCU, Falmouth, Maine;
  • Matt Brophy, Seven Seventeen CU Inc., Warren, Ohio;
  • Janet Buckalew, Pacific Crest FCU, Klamath Falls, Ore.;
  • Maria Johnson, Collins Community CU, Cedar Rapids, Iowa;
  • Andrea Lepper, Superior Choice CU, Superior, Wis.;
  • Angela Meehan, Park Side FCU, Whitefish, Mont.:
  • Karen Owens, First CU, Chandler, Ariz.;
  • Kathy Palumbo, Capital Educators FCU, Meridian, Idaho; and
  • Lynn Roth, DuTrac Community CU, Dubuque, Iowa.
CUNA Marketing Management School's three-year curriculum was developed in collaboration with the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. It provides credit union marketing professionals key skill sets for marketing growth, and a comprehensive overview of the current marketing environment and the personal drive needed to improve and optimize their credit union's marketing efforts.

CUNA estimates that an additional 40 contacts will be certified within the next few years.

To learn more, use the link.