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Diebold first-quarter revenue increases 8.1

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (5/1/08)--Diebold reported an estimated first-quarter 2008 revenue of $700.2 million, an increase of 8.1% compared with revised 2007 first-quarter revenue estimates of $647.7 million. Financial self-service revenue increased in Asia-Pacific, led by strong growth in China as the country prepares for the 2008 Summer Olympics, Diebold said. Financial self-service grew in Latin America but remained flat in North America. Security revenue increased slightly, with growth in the financial market partially offset by weak performance in retail. Currency exchange represented slightly more than half of total revenue growth during the period, Diebold said. Diebold’s projected 2008 revenue outlook includes 6% to 8% growth, a drop in security revenue growth to 4% or 5%, election systems revenue at $105 million to $115 million and Brazilian lottery systems revenue at $10 million to $13 million. Diebold is an ATM manufacturer that serves financial institutions, including credit unions.

NACUSO rolls out new ad campaign

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (5/1/08)--The National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (NACUSO) announced its new “BUY CUSO” advertising campaign during the 2008 Annual Conference in Las Vegas yesterday. The campaign aims to increase awareness of credit union service organizations (CUSOs). “NACUSO wants credit unions to consider CUSO solution providers first, and then buy from a CUSO to meet a particular need,” said NACUSO President/CEO Thomas C. Davis. Mountain America CU, West Jordan, Utah; CU*Answers; Member Gateways; and Beyond Marketing each contributed $5,000 to the campaign. BUY CUSO advertisements debuted Monday on several trade publication websites and will continue in print trade publications throughout the spring.

Strohl Systems PLANet offers emergency notification

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KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (4/30/08)--PLANet, Strohl Systems’ online business continuity planning tool for community financial institutions including credit unions, offers an emergency notification feature to contact employees and vendors during a crisis. PLANet notification allows users to make phone calls, send e-mails and use other contact devices to deliver messages quickly to start recovery. Other new features of the offering include:
* Two-way notifications--the ability to receive and process information from recipients; * Delivery methods including mobile phone, landline, fax, personal digital assistant, short message services, BlackBerry or pager; and * An unlimited number of business continuity messages with each subscription.
Credit unions also can employ PLANet to conduct surveys or deliver critical organization-wide employee announcements, the company said in a release.

Products and Services briefs (04/29/2008)

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* DALLAS (4/30/08)--Financial Industry Computer Systems (FICS) promoted Susan Graham to president. She will manage the company’s day-to-day operations, customer relations, product timelines and deployment. Graham joined Dallas-based FICS in 1999 and managed the call center, customer training, consulting and quality control for the company’s origination and servicing solutions. Prior to joining FICS, she was the first vice president in residential and commercial loan servicing and origination for San Antonio FCU ...

PSCU Financial Services gives CUs 20.5 million from Visa IPO

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (4/29/08)--PSCU Financial Services will give its credit unions $20.5 million it received in proceeds from Visa’s initial public offering (IPO), the company announced yesterday. The payments will be made in mid-May. “We are under no legal obligation to return these funds, but the directors agreed that distributing these monies to the Visa-issuing credit unions under our principal umbrella will help these credit unions further invest in new products and services that can drive long-term growth,” said PSCU Board Chairman Craig Esrael, president, First South CU, Bartlett, Tenn. During the past year, PSCU has returned $64 million to its members, including more than $32 million in cash dividends, which is a record, said David J. Serlo, PSCU Financial Services president/CEO. The Visa returns are an added bonus to member-owners, who also received a $24.1 million dividend for 2007, including $5.1 million in special MasterCard dividends from MasterCard’s IPO. PSCU Financial Services is a credit union service organization based in St. Petersburg, Fla. It is owned by more than 500 member credit unions.

CUTEK signs five CUs for address validation solution

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MURRIETA, Calif. (4/29/08)--CUTEK, a financial technology consulting firm and provider for credit unions using Symitar’s Episys core processing system, signed five credit unions in the first quarter to use its Correio Address Validation Server solution. The credit unions are:
* Alaska USA FCU, Anchorage, Alaska, $3.5 billion assets; * First U.S. Community CU, Sacramento, $236 million assets; * Apple FCU, Fairfax, Va., $1 billion assets; * CoVantage CU, Antigo, Wis., $599 million assets; and * Delaware State Police FCU, Georgetown, Del., $97 million assets.
The integration allows credit unions to validate and standardize addresses at the point of entry with the U.S. Postal Service. This mitigates incorrect addresses in the future. The solution accesses the post office’s address database and pushes the member address data back to Symitar’s Episys system. When the credit union’s member service representative types in an address, Correio validates it. If the address is bad, a dialog box appears onscreen alerting the representative. “This added feature saves a credit union money by providing a sharper focus for a member’s address, which saves time during a search,” CUTEK President Ron Murray said.

Products and Services brief

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* NORTH CANTON, Ohio (4/28/08)--Diebold Inc. announced a second-quarter cash dividend of 25 cents per share on all common shares. The dividend will be paid May 30 to shareholders of record at the close of business May 9. Diebold is an ATM manufacturer, with representation in 90 countries. It is headquartered in North Canton, Ohio ...

CU Service Corp directors elected

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ATLANTA (4/28/08)--Stockholders of the Credit Union Service Corporation (operating as CO-OP Shared Branching) elected one new and two incumbent board members to the board of directors at the THINK 2008 Conference in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Elected to serve three-year terms were:
* Tom Evers, president, Premier Members FCU, Boulder, Colo., incumbent; * Joe Melbourne, president/CEO, Central Florida Educators FCU, Lake Mary, Fla., new; and * Bill Mellin, president/CEO, New York State Credit Union League, incumbent.
The elections follow a decision by the Credit Union Service Centers National Inc. board, giving credit unions participating in shared branching through CO-OP Shared Branching’s Next Generation Network the ability to opt-out of non-credit union-owned third party kiosks. Credit union-owned machines are not impacted.

FSCC partners with foreign exchange company

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EDINBURGH, Scotland (4/28/08)--Financial Services Centers Cooperative (FSCC), a shared branching network, announced that it has partnered with eZforex.com, an online foreign exchange company. The announcement was made at the Defense Credit Union Council overseas sub council meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, last week. Through the alliance, eZforex will be connected to FSCC’s shared branching interface that connects online foreign currency transaction data to the FSCC Network. Credit unions members can purchase foreign currency in more than 100 countries and pay via FSCC’s network by debiting a checking, savings or other credit account. The currency is then delivered to the members’ homes or offices within 24 to 48 hours, excluding weekends. “Credit union members are traveling the globe in record numbers and conducting business globally,” said FSCC President/CEO Sarah Canepa Bang. “Offering a convenient venue for members to purchase foreign currency or send a wire to Europe in minutes is a value-added service to credit union members that generates new revenues.” FSCC has more than 5,000 deposit-taking locations in the U.S. and five other countries. It also offers access at more than 2,000 7-Eleven Vcom units. eZforex is a foreign exchange service provider for credit unions, airlines and travel-related portals. The company is based in Longview, Texas.

Experian Credit Builders Alliance reporting data for microlenders

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COSTA MESA, Calif. (4/25/08)--Experian, a global information services company, and Credit Builders Alliance (CBA), a nonprofit, have joined to launch a data-reporting partnership so CBA’s members can report microloan repayment data for Experian. Community development financial institutions (CDFIs), microenterprise and housing development organizations, asset-building organizations and community credit lenders can report the repayment history of their borrowers. More than 3,000 loans have been reported to Experian. Experian is the first credit bureau to work with CBA to help small business owners establish a credit history, said Zaydoon H. Munir, Experian senior vice president of marketing, product and data development. Experian is based in Costa Mesa, Calif. CBA is based in Alexandria, Va.

Products and Services briefs (04/24/2008)

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* DES MOINES, Iowa (4/25/08)--Community Business Lenders, a credit union service organization of the Iowa Credit Union League, hired Troy Thompson as vice president of member business lending, and Jenni Danley as accounting specialist. Before joining Community Business Lenders, Thompson was vice president of credit administration for Heartland Financial USA, Dubuque, Iowa. Danley previously worked as a financial accounting specialist with The Members Group and Iowa Corporate Central CU, Des Moines ... * PHILADELPHIA (4/25/08)--Digital FCU, Marlborough, Mass., awarded VINtek its 2007 Business Partnership Excellence Award for the third year in a row. The credit union has been a client of VINtek since 2002, and uses the VINtekTIME title tracking system to manage the credit union’s high volume of auto loan accounts. Each year, Digital FCU nominates businesses that help the credit union deliver value and service to members ... * ST. PAUL, Minn. (4/25/08)--Strategic Solutions is sponsoring a Member Advocacy Pathways (MAP) Trainer Certification Boot Camp May 13-16 in St. Paul. The early bird registration ends May 1, and registrants can receive a discount. The camp is designed for credit unions to help train front-line staff to serve members’ needs ...

VSoft Corp rebrands software launches new website

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DULUTH, Ga. (4/24/08)--VSoft, a global information and technology provider of process improvement solutions for financial institutions including credit unions, launched a new website and rebranded its product line. VSoft will provide products under the Agile and Centrum trademarks. The new website offers:
* Log in--allows clients to access information regarding upcoming releases, support guidelines, release notes and enhancements; * Solution information--provides descriptions of VSoft’s solutions; * White papers; * Partner information--provides links to partners’ websites and allows partners to log in for VSoft information; and * Training courses--provide a schedule of training courses and topics.

NACUSO launches blog improved website

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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (4/24/08)--The National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (NACUSO) announced the launch of its revised website, which features a new blog. The blog, a first for NACUSO, allows the organization to provide up-to-date information, such as regulatory alerts and peer-to-peer insights. The website revisions and blog were made possible through a donation from PSCU Financial Services, said NACUSO President/CEO Tom Davis. “NACUSO also is hiring an industry news professional to write and manage weekly blog journal entries. Any interested person now has the means to communicate and explore solutions, via the new blog, for posting questions and providing answers,” Davis added. The enhanced website completes the third phase of NACUSOMatch development, as part of NACUSO’s National Center. It is designed to provide a mechanism and communication network for finding out “who’s doing what” in the industry so credit unions will consider credit union service organization providers when they have a particular need, NACUSO said.

CO-OP Financials patronage dividend totals 24.5 million

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (4/23/08)--CO-OP Financial Services announced a patronage pool of $24.5 million for 2007, with a record cash disbursement of $13.3 million. “Many factors contributed to the 10% increase in cash distribution to our shareholders,” said Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Services president/CEO. “In 2007, we brought our members cost-savings with our 10th price reduction in 10 years. We also set another annual transactions record of 1.6 billion, thanks to partnering with Credit Union Service Corporation to operated CO-OP Shared Branching,” he said. The disbursement represents one cent per ATM and point-of-sale transaction. CO-OP, headquartered in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is a credit union service organization that operates CO-OP Network.

SandP affirms AA- rating of CMG Mortgage Insurance Co.

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SAN FRANCISCO (4/23/08)--Standard & Poor's (S&P) has affirmed an “AA-” insurer financial strength (IFS) rating for CMG Mortgage Insurance Co. (CMG MI), but included a Negative Rating Outlook, according to CMG MI. CMG MI said the S&P report stated that “the insurer financial strength rating on CMG MI is based on its leadership position within its niche focus on credit unions, its effective use of operational support from parents, the very strong credit quality of credit unions’ customers and its strong operating performance.” CMG MI has also been removed from S&P’s CreditWatch with negative implications. The mortgage insurance company is a 50-50 joint venture between PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. and CUNA Mutual Investment Corp. CUNA Mutual, in turn, is owned by its member credit union companies and their members. CMG MI said the S&P report specifically declares that the recent downgrade of PMI “will not have a material impact on CMG MI’s financial strength.” Kathy Schroeder, CMG MI senior vice president and general manager, said her company is in a “very strong position.” “As the only mortgage insurance provider that exclusively serves credit unions, we have benefited from the high quality of business originated by credit unions as well as the implementation of risk management and loss mitigation techniques,” she said in the release. Brian Shepherd, CMG MI senior vice president and general manager, added, “Our parent companies’ expertise in combination with CMG MI management experience gives us the advantage of being well-prepared to meet the challenges of the current market.”

Products and Services briefs (04/18/2008)

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* INDIANAPOLIS (4/21/08)--fiVISION, a customer relationship management and account opening technology solutions provider for credit unions, announced that its memberWORKS solution had 1.77 million contacts, 262,000 requests and 34,000 new memberships in 2007. The company had 99.96% system availability. fiVISION also partnered with Integrated Media Management, XP Systems and Members Health Network, a subsidiary of Members United Corporate FCU. It launched its Screen Pop module to integrate voice response units with memberWORKS and processed 500,000 member service tickets with the memberWORKS Relationship Management platform ... * RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (4/21/08)--The California Credit Union League will offer eTrain webinars to Florida Credit Union League member credit unions through a new partnership with the Florida league. More than 50 webinars will be offered, including those on the Bank Secrecy Act, lending and how to market to Generation X ... * ATLANTA (4/21/08)--Customers who own the Equifax Credit Report Control (CRC) do so because they can lock and unlock their credit file in real time, according to an online survey. More than eight out of 10 respondents also said they are concerned about the effects of identity theft. Six out of 10 said they have been identity theft victims or know someone who has. About 600 Equifax customers participated in the survey in February. In October, Equifax added the CRC solution to its Credit Watch, which is a credit monitoring service. Equifax helps financial institutions, including credit unions, manage their credit information ... * NORCROSS, Ga. and LONDON (4/21/08)--Postilion, a provider of software solutions for self-service banking and payments, announced enhancements to its ATM Driving solution. The solution processes transactions across the entire ATM estate through two production systems. It also can provide disaster recovery, the company said. Postilion is a division of S1 Corp. ...

CUSN blocks third-party kiosks

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. (4/21/08)--Credit Union Service Network (CUSN) has blocked third-party kiosk access for CUSN network participants, effective April 16. That means all shared-branching transactions at third-party ATM kiosks will be blocked from CUSN credit union members. New functionality will allow state networks and credit unions to "opt out" of participation with third-party, non-credit-union-owned shared-branching kiosks. CO-OP Shared Branching, CUSN's national shared-branching provider and partner, developed the new functionality. A third-party kiosk is one that is not owned or controlled by a credit union. The block will not affect kiosks that are owned and operated by credit unions. Although kiosks may be a viable tool for credit unions in the future, CUSN said in a press release it believed the current VCOM units were rushed to the market without proper dialogue between the national shared-branching networks and the creation of formal network rules. CUSN said it hoped a dialogue among national networks would occur to address its concerns. If such a dialogue occurs and its concerns are resolved, CUSN will allow its credit union partners to individually "opt in" again to allow members to use third-party kiosks.

Synergent awarded Maine Clearinghouse contract

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WESTBROOK, Maine (4/18/08)--Synergent Check Processing and Support Services has been awarded a new contract by the Maine Clearinghouse Association to electronically submit check image files. Financial institutions participating in the clearinghouse can submit check files to Synergent before they are forwarded to the Federal Reserve. Once participating financial institutions of the Maine Clearinghouse have been converted to a file exchange product, they can join Synergent to electronically transmit their images. Synergent will no longer print substitute checks. The company will work with clearinghouse members over the next three to six months to implement the contract. Synergent is a subsidiary of the Maine Credit Union League.

CU offers The Greener Side marketing agency for CUs

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INDIANAPOLIS (4/17/08)--LCU Financial Services (LCU), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly FCU, is offering marketing services to credit unions through its own in-house advertising agency, The Greener Side. The Greener Side offers marketing consultation and strategy, branding and creative concepting, copywriting and graphic design, and youth marketing services. The team has semi-customized templates available to credit unions, or it can create fully customized concepts, content and design. Although The Greener Side is based in Indianapolis, it serves credit unions nationwide. The team won five Credit Union National Association Diamond awards in March. “We have a great thing here and we’re ready to share it across the industry,” said Tom Overton, associate vice president of business development for Eli Lilly FCU and LCU. Eli Lilly FCU has $708 million in assets.

Edgeware Analytics enhances ScoreEdge for small biz lenders

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SAN DIEGO (4/16/08)--Edgeware Analytics, a provider of business lending tools, announced that its ScoreEdge Small Business Credit Score includes a data-driven Franchise Risk Score and access to the Small Business Administration (SBA) Franchise Registry. ScoreEdge examines application time data available to loan officers and returns a risk assessment with a score that predicts the loan’s future performance, as well as industry, geography and franchise risk. The SBA’s franchise registry allows lenders to verify a franchise system’s lending eligibility. The link provides real-time searching and reporting on the registry, saving lenders time. Edgeware provides tools used by financial institutions including credit unions.

Triton alleges its data used to form rival ATM company

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LONG BEACH, Miss. (4/16/08)--ATM manufacturer Triton Systems of Delaware Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Global Cash Services and six former Triton employees alleging they misappropriated data to start a competing firm. The lawsuit was filed Feb. 14 in Harrison County (Miss.) Chancery Court for the First Judicial District in Gulfport, Miss. A hearing is scheduled for May 13-15 (ATMmarketplace.com April 15 and ATM&Debit News April 10)). The suit says former Triton president/CEO Brian J. Kett and five other senior executives organized Global Cash Services LLC, a Nevada limited-liability company, and in doing so violated non-compete and confidentiality agreements with Triton (ATM&Debit News April 10). According to the lawsuit filed, Global Cash formed an alliance with China-based GRG Banking Co. Ltd., to manufacture ATMs for Global Cash. Global Cash would compete against Triton in North America and several other countries, said the lawsuit. The suit asked the court to stop the former Triton executives from doing business competing and is seeking undisclosed damages. Triton is a division of Dover Corp., based in New York.

PSCU Financial Services issues 24.1 million in dividends

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (4/16/08)--PSCU Financial Services, a credit union service organization (CUSO), will issue $24.1 million in dividends to its member-owners for 2007, the company announced Monday. This is the fourth year the dividend exceeds $20 million. The dividend also includes $5.1 million in MasterCard dividends that were issued to credit unions that process MasterCard transactions through the CUSO. The dividends result from stock redemptions by MasterCard. PSCU will pay $12.05 million, or 50% of the 2007 dividend in cash. The remaining amount will be paid at a later date. The CUSO also reported 2007 revenue of $565 million--an 11% increase over 2006. The increased revenue was due to a 17% increase in transactions. More than $19.6 million in savings also were passed in 2007 to members. PSCU serves more than 1,100 credit unions.

VSoft Parascript provide image exchange for Synergents CUs

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BOULDER, Colo. (4/15/08)--A partnership with VSoft and Parascript has made life a little easier for the credit union clients of Synergent, a subsidiary of the Maine Credit Union League. Synergent eliminated costs associated with manual item capture, processing and delivery with VSoft’s Branch Capture--which includes Parascript’s check recognition technology. Synergent also eliminated geographic restraints for manual item processing and delivery. “As a result of these efficiencies, we were able to transfer internal resources and employees to business development tasks to increase sales volumes,” said Dawn Paquet, Synergent manager of check processing and support services. “We also are now able to offer image-based technologies to credit unions at remote locations that we couldn’t serve before.” Prior to using VSoft’s Branch Capture, clients depended on couriers, which restricted geographic boundaries for new business and prevented Synergent from accepting checks from distant credit unions. Credit unions also spent $5,000 to $30,000 per year on courier fees. With the image exchange solution, credit unions can exchange images directly. VSoft is a provider of financial technology services for credit unions. Parascript, an image processor, processes more than 100 billion images per year.

MagTek now interoperable with Harland Financial software

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CARSON CITY, Calif. (4/15/08)--MagTek, a provider of electronic payment technology, announced that its IntelliCAT card issuance and personal identification number (PIN) system is interoperable with Harland Financial Solutions’ Ultradata processing software. The IntelliCAT system allows credit unions to offer services for their card products and change members’ PIN on an existing card or for a new account (Wireless News March 26). MagTek also announced that it has partnered with ISTS WorldWide to provide web applications for clients who use its MagneSafe secure card readers. ISTS will work with MagTek to help clients build and integrate applications for gift card personalization and point-of-sale applications, where data are encrypted at the point of swipe.

CUAC launches first application provider service partner

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HOUSTON (4/14/08)--Credit Union Acceptance Company (CUAC) launched its first Application Provider Service (APS) implementation with Credit Union Lending Systems (CULS). CULS will use the CUAC APS to drive indirect lending applications from more than 300 Missouri and Illinois auto dealerships to the 31 credit unions it represents. “The program allows us to help credit union service organizations and credit unions receive applications from auto dealers without the large upfront costs typically associated with connecting to leading indirect lending platforms,” said Adrian Domiguez, CUAC president/CEO. CULS also will use the CUAC CU Member Auto Center to refer more than one million credit union members to enrolled auto dealers. The center is an online marketing tool for credit unions and allows members to research new vehicle model information and shop online for new pre-owned vehicles from dealers who serve credit unions. CULS is based in St. Louis, Mo. CUAC facilitates auto lending services in eight states with 89 credit unions.

Reverse mortgages fees topic of two CUNA Council papers

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MADISON, Wis. (4/14/08)--Credit unions can learn the inner workings of reverse mortgages in the first of two new white papers from the CUNA Councils. Few credit unions offer reverse mortgages. Those that do generally outsource the servicing. “Reverse Mortgages: A Product Poised for Exponential Growth,” sponsored by the CUNA Lending Council, explores how these mortgages work, their market, and available options. The paper also looks at the product’s potential in credit unions and some pre-launch considerations, including the risks and the importance of member education. The second new white paper, entitled “Generating Non-Interest Income,” examines a variety of different views on the subject. Some credit unions say that non-interest income and fees have become an economic necessity given the current economic environment. The CUNA Chief Financial Officer Council-sponsored paper also offers a member-centric philosophy and approach to fees by stating that the income directly benefits members in competitive savings and loan rates rather than in bank shareholder returns. CUNA Council members can receive complimentary copies of the white papers. Non-members may purchase the white papers for $50 per copy. For more information, use the links.

Products and Services briefs (04/11/2008)

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* BROOKFIELD, Wis. (4/14/08)--Fiserv announced it has launched CheckFree Biller Direct HV, which allows credit unions to integrate electronic billing with their websites. Credit unions can control bill payment presentation and branding, while CheckFree manages bill delivery and payment processes. Members can choose from a variety of payment methods, including on-time, automated and scheduled payments. Biller Direct is the newest solution in Fiserv’s suite of electronic billing and payment solutions. Fiserv provides information management, electronic commerce systems and services to financial institutions, including credit unions ... * WESTBROOK, Maine (4/14/08)--Synergent converted Maine-based Ocean Communities FCU, Biddeford, and Evergreen CU, Portland, to its Episys platform. Synergent is a subsidiary of the Maine Credit Union League. It provides technology, business and service solutions to credit unions ... * CULVER CITY, Calif. (4/14/08)--ValuFinders Inc., which works with mortgage lenders and credit unions, has hired Nancy Harris as vice president of business development in the Western Region division. Harris will manage sales activities for ValuFinders’ Web-based products and services. She previously worked at a brokerage firm as a broker/president. ValuFinders works with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, providing the agency with technology to track and manage its inventory of properties ... * HONOLULU (4/14/08)--PCLender.com has rebuilt its primary corporate website, http://pclender.com. The site includes access to multi-media presentations, white papers, lender testimonials, product specifications and information request forms. It also uses Google for searches. PCLender serves credit unions with its mortgage lending platform, InHouse Mortgage ... * TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (4/14/08)--The Florida Credit Union League’s educational department, KNOWMORE, has partnered with the California Credit Union League to offer a series of educational webinars relevant to credit unions. The program will offer 26 webinars starting this month ...

New stuffer helps students create college budget

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MADISON, Wis. (4/11/08)--College students can get tips and a detailed chart to help them design a spending plan in a new statement stuffer from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). “Create a College Budget” provides a detailed list of potential monthly expenses and income to help college students create an appropriate annual budget. The stuffer also offers important advice--such as avoiding the credit card tables on campus and visiting their credit unions for money management advice. Two other financial literacy pieces were recently created to remind members to go to their credit union for help before they are over their heads in debt. The “When Times are Tough We Can Help” lobby brochure offers ways to cut expenses with adjustable rate mortgages, high interest credit cards, and more. It provides frequent reminders that credit unions are the place to go for consumer-friendly deals. The “We’re Here for You” drive-up envelope also reminds members to see their credit unions for financial help in tough economic times--and the sooner the better. New information and artwork along with up-to-date tables and statistics are featured in CUNA’s revised “Your Budget Blueprint” handbook. Members can learn to plan and budget for the future, and find out how and where to save money. The handbook is part of the seven-booklet “Fundamentals of Personal Finance” series designed to educate members about financial topics. Other recently updated consumer pieces from CUNA include:
* “Budget Blueprint: Design Your Own Spending Plan” statement stuffer, with advice and an extended budgeting table to help members design and track a budget, and create related financial goals; * “10 Questions to Ask a Mortgage Lender” statement stuffer, which helps members gather information they need before filling out a mortgage application, from various fees and costs, to loan and lender specifics; * “Mortgage Refinancing: You Could Save a Bundle” statement stuffer, which spells out the basic costs, market considerations, and types of loans available to members deciding whether to refinance; and * “Refinance Your Vehicle Loan and Save” drive-up envelope, which points out to members that refinancing a vehicle loan at the credit union could substantially reduce monthly payments, and suggests that they call their credit union for information.
For more information, use the links.

Open Solutions to release new platforms for CU solution

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GLASTONBURY, Conn. (4/11/08)--Open Solutions released new platforms for The Complete Credit Union Solution: DNA at its 11th Annual Client Conference and Solutions Expo this week in Orlando, Fla. The solution is designed to streamline front and back office operations. It replaces mainframe systems and combination mainframe and desktop networks. Open Solutions’ conference offered information on other products, including Internet banking, interactive voice response, Check 21, remote deposit capture, item processing, electronic imaging, remittance systems, loan origination systems, document imaging systems, financial accounting systems, customer relationship management, digital documents and client care. A senior executive networking forum, lead by Open Solutions Chairman/CEO Louis Hernandez Jr., was held with Open Solutions’ executive management team. Industry experts also spoke about latest trends and Open Solutions’ product strategy. Open Solutions is a core processor for financial institutions, including credit unions.

DuPages new website helps bring in 58 more members

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FOSTER CITY, Calif. (4/11/08)--DuPage CU’s new website brought in an increase of 1.4 million more hits and 58% more membership applications in February 2008 then at the same time last year. The site, www.dupagecu.com, is designed to appeal to most age groups for members and non-members, with a focus on calls to action. Users need no more than three clicks to join the Naperville, Ill.-based credit union or find information about a service. “Feedback from the members was overwhelmingly positive,” said Roberta Kozlowicz, DuPage senior vice president, corporate development. “Members remarked that the new site is much more intuitive, easier to navigate, the colors are warmer and appealing, information is easier to find, and they like the convenience of being able to log in to online banking from the home page.” The site was launched in December. DuPage partnered with Extractable, a Web strategy consultancy, to create it. DuPage has $254 million in assets.

CUAnswers assisting CUs biz after LaserTech closure

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (4/10/08)--CU*Answers, a core processor for credit unions, is helping Wisconsin credit unions after Madison, Wis.-based LaserTech announced this week it had ceased operations. LaserTech, a printer and direct mail services provider for credit unions, “stole away in the middle of the night,” Scott Page, CU*Answers executive vice president, told News Now. CU*Answers is a core data processor for about 20 Wisconsin credit unions. It is helping some of the displaced credit unions through a partnership with Sage Direct, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based laser printer and direct mailer that also has partnerships with Wisconsin credit unions. CU*Answers has had conversations with about two to four Wisconsin credit unions so far. “It’s not a large number,” Page said, adding that some of the credit unions already had relationships with CU*Answers. The company has “reached out to Sage and expedited the process” of getting credit unions set up for new printing and mail services. CU*Answers also has waived some start-up fees, Page added. “We’re trying to assist credit unions,” he said. Lasertec Inc., based in Sterling Heights, Mich., is not related to Wisconsin-based LaserTech. CU*Answers has five businesses--CU*NorthWest, CU*South, eDoc Innovations and Xtend--four of which are credit union service organizations.

Southwest Corporate signs with SVPCO

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PLANO, Texas (4/10/08)--Southwest Corporate FCU has broadened its image exchange network by signing an agreement with SVPCO, the electronic and check clearing business of The Clearing House Payments Co. LLC. “Expanding the number of image exchange partners will enable credit unions to reduce the number of image replacement documents created, improving both operational and cost efficiencies,” said Brad Ganey, Southwest Corporate vice president of item processing. Southwest’s member credit unions can take “full advantage of the efficiencies created by pairing robust remote deposit service products with an expansive exchange network,” Ganey added. The corporate offers business capture services for its suite of remote deposit services, including branch and teller capture, the company said.

ColoradoWyoming CUs FoolProof launch national fin ed program

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ARVADA, Colo. (4/9/08)--Colorado and Wyoming credit unions have formed a national financial education and literacy partnership with FoolProof Financial Education Systems to deliver a financial education program to credit unions nationwide. “With so many Americans ensnared in the subprime market, there has never been a more important time for credit unions to strengthen their financial literacy platform,” said John Dill, president, Credit Union Strategic Partners (CUSP), which will distribute FoolProof. FoolProof aims to teach people of all ages about money. It has two elements: interactive modules for young people including videos, articles, audio, games, animations and music; and year-round adult and youth consumer websites with videos and podcasts. FoolProof websites feature breaking news and monthly feature segments. Credit unions can use five services:
* FoolProof’s CUHQ, a year-round, interactive website for youth; * FoolProof for High Schools, a financial literacy curriculum for high schools; * FoolProof for Parents and Grandparents, a program that involves parents and grandparents in children’s education; * FoolProof Solo, which targets college-age students and provides credit unions with college students, student groups and other college-aged constituencies; and * FoolProof Information Edge, an adult financial education website.

CUDL announces Auto Lending Symposium

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (4/9/08)--CU Direct Corp. (CUDL) announced the speaker line-up for its 10th Annual Auto Lending Symposium June 18-20 in Las Vegas. The event provides credit unions with the latest industry trends and issues, and the chance to interact with automotive and lending experts. Speakers include: Dr. Robert Kriegel, automotive and financial expert; Richard Apicella, industry consultant; and Ross Shafer, Emmy award-winning writer, comedian, motivational speaker and author. Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of San Francisco Fire CU, will be the emcee for the event’s general sessions. Kriegel is the author of two best-selling books, “If it ain’t broke, break it” and “Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers.” He also is a radio commentator for National Public Radio’s Marketplace program. Apicella has held leadership positions with Deloitte Consulting, Capitol One Auto Finance, Hewlett-Packard and IBM Corp. Shafer authored “Nobody Moved Your Cheese” and “The Customer Shouts Back.” Shafer founded the Customer Empathy Institute with California State University at Monterey Bay. Other speakers include: Jay Johnson, executive vice president, Callahan & Associates; Larry Biernaki, president/CEO, Arkansas FCU; Rick Poulton, president of Better Branches; Bob Boucher, senior vice president of lending at Sikorsky Financial CU; Susie Huss, associate vice president of consumer lending at American First CU; Experian’s Melinda Zabritski, director, Automotive Credit, and John Sidman, automotive consultant. The event offers tracks in marketing, dealer relations, and risk management and collections.

Security Service FCU first to implement new MasterCard debit IPS

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PURCHASE, N.Y. (4/8/08)--Security Service FCU, San Antonio, Texas, is the first financial institution to deploy MasterCard Integrated Processing Solutions (IPS), a debit processing platform. MasterCard will provide the credit union with branded debit network and issuer processing. IPS also provides financial institutions with services such as personal identification number, signature and ATM driving. The platform offers a customer interface and a MasterCard Portfolio Viewer, which allows financial institutions to package cardholder data into reports. IPS uses a parameter-based system to design and deploy payment products and services that can be customized at local, regional and national levels. Security Service FCU has $4.5 billion in assets.

Products and Services briefs (04/07/2008)

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* SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (4/8/08)--Member Business Lending (MBL), a credit union service organization for small business lending services, has completed an SAS 70 Type II audit--which means that MBL’s controls, objectives and systems are in line with industry best practices. The exam was conducted by Crowe Chizek and Company LLC. Participation in the audit is voluntary. “The SAS 70 Type II audit verifies that MBL has the processes and safeguards in place to protect the valuable data our credit union partners entrust us with,” said MBL President/CEO Kent Moon ... * WESTBROOK, Maine (4/8/08)--Synergent Print and Creative Services has developed a new “Feeling the Squeeze” campaign to help credit unions pass along advice on how to relieve economic stresses. The campaign has five parts, with brochures on car loans, savings accounts, home equity loans, building credit and mortgages. “I ordered these brochures because everyone seems to be feeling the squeeze right now, and more members are expressing their concerns over how tight their budgets are, due to the cost of gas and oil,” said Wendy Brochu, marketing representative for Maine Education CU, Augusta. Synergent serves credit unions with technology, business and service solutions ... * LATHAM, N.Y. (4/8/08)--More than 60 credit union professionals attended the second-annual Plastic Card Forum in Ledyard, Conn., hosted by Covera Card Solutions, New England Credit Union Services and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association. The two-day forum, “Build Your Best House of Cards,” focused on what credit unions need to ensure success in their cards area. Topics included how to stop phishing, what a credit union needs to know before deciding to keep or sell its card program, and how to diversify ATMs. Caroline Lane (center), vice president of corporate development at CO-OP Financial Services, spoke at the forum and answered questions from attendees during a break (Photo provided by Covera Card Solutions) ... * MINNEAPOLIS (4/8/08)--Credit unions can take advantage of new standardized and customizable motor vehicle lease agreements available electronically. The documents, created by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, meet Federal Reserve Board regulations and can be tailored to a lender’s business practice and policies, the company said in a statement. “We are facilitating e-contracting by offering the new lease agreements in an electronic format or Web-based DocOne document engine, which helps easy the burden of compliance and document maintenance,” said Kevin Kopp, director of indirect lending at Wolters Kluwer ... * MONETT, Mo. (4/8/08)--Jack Henry and Associates announced that 720 financial institutions--including credit union clients supported by the company’s Symitar division--have selected its Remote Deposit Capture solution. The solution allows financial institutions to scan, submit and deposit checks electronically. It also converts paper checks to electronic transactions, processes them through automated clearinghouse or Check 21 image exchange networks, automates returned check representment, generates real-time reporting and supports risk management, the company said ...

iPay forms alliance with Connect Financial Software Solutions

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ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (4/7/08)--Credit unions can integrate Connect Financial Software Solutions’ online banking application with iPay Technologies’ consumer and business bill payment solution to create a single, credit union-branded Web site for members. iPay and Connect recently partnered to offer the service. “Offering both online banking and bill pay is a powerful way to retain members’ business,” said Kelli Schultz, president of iPay. “Credit unions are increasingly finding value in having the primary accounts of their members, and these primary accounts typically have online banking and bill pay connected to them.” Connect, a credit union service organization created by Nevada FCU last year, provides online banking solutions for credit unions. iPay is an independent provider of online bill pay services.

Open Solutions teams up with uMonitor

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GLASTONBURY, Conn. and MEMPHIS, Tenn. (4/7/08)--Open Solutions and uMonitor have partnered to offer online account opening and enhanced online banking services for credit unions. With the agreement, the comapnies’ clients can deploy uMonitor’s uOpen, uFund services and uTransfer with their core processing platform, online banking service or loan decisioning system. “This partnership creates unique opportunities for both companies to address the growing demands from financial institutions to expand online services,” said Dinesh Sheth, uMonitor CEO. “We believe the timing is right for rapid deployment of our combined offerings.” uMonitor offers online solutions such as uPresent, uView and uAdvise. Open Solutions offers data processing technologies for credit unions.

Toolkit allows social network developers expand to mobile

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LAS VEGAS (4/4/08)--Credit unions looking to reach younger generations through social networking applications, such as Facebook, can expand their web applications to mobile devices with a toolkit from Frengo Corp. Frengo, a provider of social mobile services (SMS), announced Wednesday it has released its OpenSocial Mobile Toolkit. The kit is a platform that allows developers for social networks to extend their Web-based applications to mobile devices. Mobile phones are a central component of social networking, keeping members of online communities connected. Teens and young adults have shown a strong demand for mobile networks to stay in touch with their social circle, Frengo said. OpenSocial Mobile Toolkit’s platform supports all major U.S. carriers and most global mobile carriers. It can reach more than one billion phones worldwide, the company said. The toolkit includes SMS alerts, notifications and mobile web services--including wireless application protocol (WAP) hosting, and handset recognition and transcoding. Frengo provides photo and image handling from the mobile handset, so users can send and share pictures on their social networks. Several credit unions, such as Christian Financial CU, Roseville, Mich., and Piedmont CU, Danville, Va., have begun using applications in Facebook to reach younger members. The credit unions recently deployed MyMoney, a Fiserv product that allows members to access their accounts online through Facebook (News Now March 24).

CUNA offers new volunteer certification program

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MADISON, Wis.(4/3/08)--Credit union volunteers can receive credentials that recognize their training and educational efforts through the new CUNA Volunteer Certification Program, presented by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). The Certified Credit Union Volunteer designation has two training tracks:
* Board of Directors track, which includes oversight of the entire credit union operation and strategic planning. Specific areas of study cover safety and soundness, governance, CEO oversight, board operations and development, and strategic planning; and * Supervisory Committee track, which explores audits, risk assessments and related credit union issues. Areas of study focus on credit union knowledge and committee governance, annual audit requirements, risk assessments and audit plans, internal audits, and board operations and development.
Volunteers may choose either a self-study or an on-site training format to earn their certification. Those who prefer the on-site setting may attend the CUNA Volunteer Certification School, which is next offered Sept. 7-12 in San Diego. The self-study learners have the option to choose their learning activities. Certain previously earned credits from CUNA coursework may be eligible as transfer credits to apply toward the program. For more information, use the link.

Project New Age website provides Gen Y insight

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (4/3/08)--Credit unions can gain insight into Generation Y’s financial preferences by visiting a new website created by PSCU Financial Services. The site, www.projectnewage.com, provides information about what Gen Y wants from a financial institution. For instance, Gen Y values interest rates over other factors when evaluating credit cards and is twice as likely as the average consumer to apply for a card or open an account online, PSCU Financial said. Information about Gen Y’s brand and media preferences, and use of blogs, social networks, and viral communications also is on the site. Project New Age features products and services that appeal to the age group, including online bill pay, gift and reloadable prepaid cards, online account enrollment and digital plastics with customizable graphics. “Attracting Gen Y members is critical to the long-term successes of credit unions,” said John Pembroke, PSCU Financial chief marketing officer. “Credit unions need to reach out to this generation while they are in their early teens, from 12-15 years of age, because studies show they already have established long-term financial relationships by their early 20s.” PSCU Financial Services, a credit union service organization, provides services to more than 1,100 financial institutions nationwide.

Harland Clarke offers new product portfolios

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas (4/2/08)--Harland Clarke has released new portfolios of checks and related payment products that were created last May when Clarke American and John H. Harland Printed Products merged. The Harland Clarke 2008 Check Product Catalogs have more than 50 products, with 58 designs, including licensed brands and checks that support social and environmental causes. “Each line--personal and business--was developed after analyzing extensive research about consumer behavior and ordering trends garnered from our relationships with thousands of financial institutions and their customers,” said Gwen Cuffie, vice president of product marketing and emerging businesses. The company also released its new logo--a blue and green icon that symbolizes the joining of the two companies. A new base printing stock was developed for 2008, with embedded security features and a fugitive ink printing process. The features aim to minimize check washing and counterfeiting. Harland Clarke provides payment solutions to financial institutions, including credit unions.

Online disaster recovery solution announced by Jack Henry

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MONETT, Mo. (4/2/08)--Jack Henry and Associates announced a tapeless data vaulting service that can be used by credit unions. The solution, Centurion jVault, is an online backup that can help credit unions store important data off-site, the company said. Centurion jVault mitigates risks associated with physically transporting tapes, complies with regulatory requirements and provides financial institutions with an audit trail, the company said. Centurion Disaster Recovery solutions provide service through 12 regional sites. Centurion Business Continuity Planning enables financial institutions to restore their operations with procedures and testing. Jack Henry provides computer systems and card processing services for financial institutions.

Fiserv launches CheckFree Account Certification

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (4/2/08)--Checkfree has launched an automated financial reporting control framework that can help organizations implement financial governance strategies and ensure regulatory compliance. CheckFree Account Certification helps organizations automate the scheduling, preparation, review, approval, analysis and auditing of reconciliation information--which is critical to financial close and period-end reporting. “Organizations increasingly have a lot at stake when it comes to regulatory compliance,” said Mark Cappell, CheckFree senior vice president and general manager of operational risk management. “The cost of non-disclosure is high and can lead to reduced shareholder value, loss of reputation, high audit fees and potential fines.” In a recent review of material weaknesses disclosed under Sarbanes-Oxley requirements, 20% of weaknesses were related to failures in account reconciliations, review procedures or compliance with control policies, Cappell added. Many businesses do not adhere to standard procedures, which can lead to internal fraud, untimely reconciliation of financial data and unreliable financial reporting, said Andy Mellor, CheckFree product manager of operational risk management. CheckFree, a unit of Fiserv Inc., is a core processor for financial institutions, including credit unions.