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The 1 CU Conference offers contest

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MADISON, Wis. (5/3/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) are offering attendees of The 1 Credit Union Conference a chance to win free registration. CUNA and WOCCU are hosting a contest where attendees can win free registration, two free room nights at the MGM Grand Hotel during the conference, or The Executive Book Series’ complete set of books written by conference presenters. The conference, jointly hosted by CUNA and WOCCU for one year only, will be held in Las Vegas July 11-14. To enter the contest, individuals must tell which session interests them the most and why, and share the most compelling reason they have for attending the conference. Entries will be judged on creativity, sincerity and how clearly stated the benefits of attending the conference are for the individual and credit union. Responses should be limited to 100 words and submitted by May 10. Prizes will be awarded May 12. Keynote speakers include authors Jim Collins and Kevin Carroll. Also speaking will be Canadian singer Bernard Lachance. Collins wrote “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... and Others Don’t.” Collins will speak about how credit unions can go from “good to great” in serving their members. Carroll founded Kevin Carroll Katalyst LLC and is the author of “Rules of the Red Rubber Ball,” “What’s Your Red Rubber Ball?!” and “The Red Rubber Ball at Work,” which advocates that organizations and individuals embrace their spirit of play and creativity to maximize their human potential for sustaining meaningful business and personal growth. To enter, use the link.

Ongoing Operations receives NACUSO innovation award

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (5/3/10)--The National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (NACUSO) presented Ongoing Operations with its CUSO Collaboration and Innovation Award.
Ongoing Operations received the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations’ (NACUSO) CUSO Collaboration and Innovation award. From left are: Kirk Drake, CEO, Ongoing Operations; Tom Davis, CEO, NACUSO; and Juri Valdov, board chairman, Ongoing Operations. (Photo provided by Ongoing Operations)
Ongoing Operations provides business continuity solutions for the credit union industry. It was named runner up in 2007 and 2008 in the NACUSO competition. The company is “constantly searching for new ways to deliver value and developing the next generation of technical solutions to help the industry thrive,” said NACUSO CEO Tom Davis. NACUSO was formed in 1985 to help credit unions explore the use of credit union service organizations and the delivery of non-traditional products and services.

Filene offers Debt in Focus assessment tool

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MADISON, Wis. (4/30/10)--According to the Filene Research Institute’s i3 group, consumers are intimidated by financial advisers for three reasons. The reasons are:
* It’s embarrassing to discuss something as personal as finances; * Traditional financial counseling is inconvenient; and * Financial counseling sessions are often so full of industry jargon that consumers end up more confused than when they started.
Filene’s Debt in Focus, an anonymous, online financial assessment tool, seeks to alleviate those fears while helping consumers manage their money. Debt in Focus offers marketing information, tutorials and implementation tips for credit unions. More than 150 credit unions have purchased the tool, and more than 150,000 credit union members have used it. The tool helps consumers navigate their debt with easy-to-understand language, Filene said.

Products and Services briefs (04/28/2010)

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* MADISON, Wis. (4/29/10)--CUNA Mutual Insurance Society will conduct its annual meeting for policyholders May 27 at 9:15 a.m. in Rosemont, Ill. Four board members will be elected. To be an eligible voter, a member must have been a policyholder as of Feb. 28. Eligible policyholders may attend the meeting and vote in person or by proxy. Proxy materials have been mailed to eligible policyholders. Proxies must be received by close of business on May 26 ... * ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland (4/29/10)--Verafin Inc. cofounders Jamie King, Brendan Brothers and Raymond Pretty received the P.J. Gardiner Centre’s 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Verafin, a CUNA Strategic Service provider, employs 90 people in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Verafin provides anti-money laundering and anti-fraud solutions. The company has more than 500 customers, including credit unions, in North America ... *
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (4/29/10)--Staff of CU*Answers, a credit union service organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich., is celebrating 40 years of providing services to credit unions. CU*Answers provides the CU*BASE core processing system, It’s Me 247 Online Banking, and mobile banking options. CU*Answers provides services to 165 credit unions nationally, representing 1.5 million members and $10 billion in assets. (Photo provided by CU*Answers) ...

Calif.Nevada leagues and FTSI to offer RiskWatch services

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ONTARIO, Calif. (4/28/10)--California and Nevada credit unions can receive assistance in information technology (IT) security risk management through a new partnership with the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and FTSI, provider of RiskWatch Services. FTSI is a California-based financial technology services company and offers training, consultations, and software from RiskWatch, a Maryland-based provider of risk assessment software. “RiskWatch will greatly help our member credit unions become compliant with National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) regulations, IT risk assessments, red flags assessments, Bank Security Act risk assessments, as well as compliance with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act,” said Sylvia Fath, league senior vice president of business services. RiskWatch helps credit union management demonstrate compliance with existing requirements and prepares the risk assessment required annually by NCUA, added Susan Napier, founder/CEO of FTSI. The California and Nevada leagues announced the partnership in a press release Monday.

Diebold exceeds expectations for first quarter

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (4/28/10)--Diebold reported first quarter 2010 income from continuing operations at $24.9 million, or $0.37 per share. The amounts are both up 185% from the first quarter of 2009. First quarter 2010 revenue was $619 million, down 6% from the same quarter in 2009, Diebold said in a release. “During the first quarter, we delivered solid results despite a challenging comparison to the same period last year, during which the effects of the global recession had yet to impact our results,” said Thomas W. Swidarski, Diebold president/CEO. “We exceeded our internal expectations during the quarter, as some business closed sooner than expected and we benefited from a more profitable segment mix.” The company is more confident in its full-year outlook and is continuing to focus on emerging solutions and building its infrastructure in key growth markets worldwide, he added. Other items Diebold noted were:
* Global products and services orders decreased 9% compared with the prior-year period; * Global financial self-service orders decreased 10% against first quarter 2009 after a growth of 40% in fourth quarter 2009; * Total gross margin for first quarter 2010 was 25.5%, an increase of 2.3 percentage points from first quarter 2009; * Total operating expense as a percentage of revenue for the first quarter 2010 was 19%; and * Operating profit was 6.6% of net sales in first quarter 2010, a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from first quarter 2009.

28 receive CUNA certification as CU financial counselors

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MADISON, Wis. (4/27/10)--Twenty-eight credit union professionals earned their financial counselor designation in March through the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Certified Financial Counselor School. The school was held in Boston, March 14-18. Attendees learned how to work with members who have financial problems and discovered ways to help them prevent and solve future conflicts. To become a certified counselor, participants must attend CUNA’s Certified Financial Counselor School: Part I or II, or complete the self-study Credit Union Financial Counseling Certification Module. Professionals came from 20 states.

ITAC urges safe data practices

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WASHINGTON (4/26/10)--The Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC), is marking April as financial literacy month by reminding parents that safe data practices should begin early in their children’s lives. Children and young adults who use social networking sites like Facebook can reduce their chances of becoming victims of identity crime by avoiding posting or request for personal information that can be used to establish fake accounts or hijack existing accounts. ITAC recommends parents give children a do-not-share list that includes:
* Address; * Social Security number; * Birth date; * Mother’s maiden name; * Pet names; and * Phone number.
“Criminals are trolling these sites looking for information they can monetize,” said ITAC President Anne Wallace. “Let’s make it more difficult by giving our kids the information they need to protect themselves and make it a part of a lifetime of safe data practices.” ITAC is part of Intersections, a CUNA Strategic Service provider.

CO-OP donates to Childrens Miracle Network

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HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (4/26/10)--During the closing ceremonies Wednesday of CO-OP Financial Services’ annual conference, THINK 2010, CO-OP CEO Stan Hollen announced that the company would donate $5,000 to a Children’s Miracle Network hospital. Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside, N.H., will receive the money, in the name of New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Paul Gentile and his family. The donation was in recognition of Gentile’s role as master of ceremonies at THIN 2010. Gentile’s twin six-year-old sons were born three months premature and spent three months in a Children’s Miracle Network hospital. “I saw first-hard the outstanding care Children’s Miracle Network hospitals give children and the difference it makes in the lives of families,” Gentile said. “It truly is a miracle.” CO-OP’s THINK 2010 was held April 18-21 in Scottsdale, Ariz. CO-OP Financial Services is a credit union service organization in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Products and Services briefs (04/22/2010)

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* NAPERVILLE, Ill. (4/23/10)--OfficeMax Inc. has been recognized as supplier of the year in the non-production category by The Boeing Company. OfficeMax was one of 14 companies honored April 13 for its work with the company. OfficeMax also received a Boeing Performance Excellence Award for 2009 in January. OfficeMax offers business-to-business office products and is a CUNA Strategic Service provider ... * ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (4/23/10)--The Credit Union Association of Mexico is now offering Worldwide Remit global remittance solutions to credit unions in New Mexico and nationwide. Worldwide Remit is an international person-to-person payment application for credit unions to originate low-value payments for cash pickup or electronic deposits at 50,000 locations worldwide. Worldwide Remit allows credit unions to provide global remittances as a new customer service--particularly to the underserved new immigrant community ...

Intuit Freecycle partner on reuse program

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (4/23/10)--Intuit, a provider of business management solutions for financial institutions, including credit unions, has partnered with The Freecycle Network to offer Freecycle@Work, an online application that organizations can use to offer a gifting and reuse forum to employees. The Freecycle Network has more than seven million members and is active in more than 100 countries. The network allows individuals to gift items to others in their community instead of throwing them away. Freecycle@Work allows businesses to find new users among their employees for unused work items, such as office furniture and computer screens. Users create an account in the program to post items. Intuit first introduced its employees to Freecycle@Work in 2008, and has seen widespread adoption since then, the company said in a release.

CO-OP announces 10000 THINK prize

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (4/22/10)--CO-OP Financial Services is calling on innovative thinkers in the credit union industry to share their one wish on how to change the movement. The winner will receive the $10,000 CO-OP THINK prize. “Credit unions are unique in their ability to collaborate and share ideas,” said Stan Hollen, President/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services. “We developed the CO-OP THINK PRIZE to leverage that collaborative ability and aggregate the impressive talent, resources and intellect within the credit union movement.” The award is intended to go beyond competitive issues and produce progressive thinking that all credit unions could apply to their own institution. Entrants will be judged by Filene Research Institute based on the idea’s impact, creativity, aggregation and persuasion. The top three entrants will present their ideas at next year’s THINK 2011 Conference and the winner will be selected by the audience. The finalists will receive an all-expenses paid trip to THINK 2011 to make their presentations. The winning entrant also will receive additional pledges of financial support and business services from THINK 2011 sponsors and Filene Research Institute. Credit unions or individuals can participate by applying online at www.co-opthink.org. CO-OP Financial Services is a credit union organization based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

CUs among NACHAs top 50 receivers

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HERNDON, Va. (4/22/10)--Credit unions are among the top 50 receiving financial institutions of automated clearinghouse payments for 2009. The Electronic Payments Association (NACHA) released its list of top 50 origination and receiving financial institutions for the year. On the receiving side, State Employees CU, Raleigh, N.C.; The Golden 1 CU, Sacramento; America First CU, Ogden, Utah; and Navy FCU, Merrifield, Va., were among the institutions listed. Financial institutions in NACHA’s top 50 receiving institutions accounted for 8.53 billion transactions in 2009, consistent with 2008 numbers, NACHA said. In the top 50 data, NACHA includes all ACH-formatted transactions that financial institutions sent or received from an operation or directly to or form another financial institution. ACH payments include direct deposit, expense reimbursement, Social Security benefits, tax refunds, direct payment of consumer bills, payments made by Internet and phone, check conversion, business-to-business payments and federal tax withholdings.

Study Shared branching users most profitable CU members

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (4/21/10)--Not only are shared branch users some of the credit union industry’s most profitable members, but the availability of physical branch locations is in surprisingly high demand among younger members, according to a new study. The study was conducted by Raddon Financial Group on behalf of CO-OP Shared Branching. The results were released Monday at the CO-OP Financial Services’ THINK 2010 Conference. Among the findings:
* About 38.6% of households that use shared branching are profitable, which is 10% more than the 28.8% of households that do not use shared branching and are profitable; * The average annual household profit for shared branching users was $90.25, compared with $7.07 of households that do not use shared branching. After applying the direct costs associated with shared branching transactions, the average profit was $47.53; * Roughly 6.8% of member households actively use shared branching. Use among members ranged from 1% to 18% by credit union. The households that use shared branching use it regularly, with 47.9% conducting 25 or more transactions per year; * Younger members are more likely than older segments to use shared branching; * Deposits are the most common transaction type after member verify, accounting for 26.2% of all transactions with an average of $1,226. Withdrawals and balance inquiries were other common transactions; * The highest level of transaction volume occurs between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday is the busiest day; and * Households located more than 20 miles from one of their credit union’s branches account for 36.7% of the households that use shared branching.
Members of credit unions in the two-year study used 509 shared branch locations on average. CO-OP Financial Services is a credit union service organization in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., offering Shared Branching services to member credit unions.

Products and Services briefs (04/20/2010)

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* DALLAS (4/21/10)--Vermont State Employees CU, Montpelier, has selected uMonitor’s uOpen & uFund and uTransfer solutions. uOpen & uFund is an account opening and funding solution with an integrated switch kit. uTransfer allows members to move money in a secure online environment. Vermont State Employees CU has $472 million in assets ... * MADISON, Wis. (4/21/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is continuing to offer its nine life-stage financial education programs for credit unions. CUNA's programs serve more than 2000 credit unions nationwide and have more than two million unique visitors annually. The latest offering, El Poder Es Tuyo, was launched in January and provides credit unions with weekly updates on financial education matters. El Poder joins the suite of online customizable services CUNA provides credit unions that also includes Home & Family Finance Resource Center, Googolplex, MoneyMix, Plan It, Guides to Independence, Anytime Adviser, HomeValueBot, and CU Calculators. These product offerings serve credit union member needs from cradle to grave and are accessible through a credit union’s website ... * GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (4/21/10)--WESCO Net, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based provider of network integration, managed hosting and Web hosting, is opening a new data center in Muskegon, Mich. The new facility will feature ducted equipment cabinets that recycle hot air from equipment into the building’s central heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, Energy Smart power supplies and on-demand computing capacity so equipment is powered down when it is not needed. The facility is set to open in May as WESCO’s third data center. Other centers are located in Kentwood and Grand Rapids, Mich. ...

TCUL CUR merger assistance program goes live

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (4/20/10)--The Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) and Credit Union Resources Inc. (CUR) have developed a program to help credit unions that seek partnerships through which they intend to pursue a merger. The two will offer the following services to credit unions for free:
* Consultations with TCUL representatives about merger rules and procedures; * Registration of interest on behalf of credit unions seeking potential merger partners; * Copies of “Confidential Merger Prospect Fact Sheet” for credit unions that have registered their interest; and * An introductory meeting with CUR when a credit union selects a potential acquirer.
After the introductory meeting, CUR’s services will be fee-based.

Products and Services briefs (04/19/2010)

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* MADISON, Wis. (4/20/10)--CUNA Mutual Group is hosting a webinar, “Employment Practices: Laws and Litigation,” at 10 a.m. Wednesday to help credit unions minimize the occurrence of costly third-party liability lawsuits. The webinar will be lead by John Wallace, who heads CUNA Mutual’s Bond and Management and Professional Liability programs ... * MIDWAY, Utah and MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (4/20/10)--eDOC Innovations, a credit union service organization and provider of electronic document strategies, and Processing Alliance, a credit union service organization that provides Check21 capture solutions to credit union members, will distribute eDOC’s CheckLogic platform to Processing Alliance credit union peers. “Processing Alliance was established during the early stages of Check21 support and has been successful in servicing its 41 credit union participants,” said Bret Weekes, eDOC president/CEO. “They now will be able to extend the next generation of Check21 solutions to their credit union peers, integrating it into a complete eDocument strategy” ... * HAGERSTOWN, Md. (4/20/10)--More than 4.6 million members are using Ongoing Operations’ business continuity solutions, the company said. Credit union clients have more than $53.7 billion in total assets, representing 19% of U.S. credit union industry assets. Ongoing Operations offers products and services for credit unions’ business continuity programs ... * DENVER (4/20/10)--Credit Union Strategic Partners (CUSP) is continuing its partnership with FoolProof Financial Education Systems. The three-year agreement means CUSP will offer the education tool to high schools, community groups, parents, college students, young adults and adults. The program is accessible through a credit union’s website. The program is partnered with 14 state credit union leagues and 97 credit unions ...

Products and Services briefs (04/16/2010)

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* FORT WORTH, Texas (4/19/10)--CU Members Mortgage is now a preferred provider for the Texas Credit Union League’s member service organization, Credit Union Resources Inc. The mortgage provider also is the preferred provider for the Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas and Vermont credit union leagues. CU Members Mortgage provides training and marketing support for credit unions that offer their members mortgage services. With the addition of Credit Union Resources Inc., the mortgage company will have partnerships with 1,200 credit unions--nearly 13 million members, said the Texas league ... * FRANKLIN, Mass. (4/19/10)--Saylent Technologies announced Checking 2.0 accounts are available, with Overdraft Forgiveness Checking and All-In-One Checking. Overdraft Forgiveness allows consumers to overdraw their accounts one time per statement with no fees. As an incentive, consumers who do not overdraw their accounts can earn interest and cash rewards. All-In-One Checking seeks to balance service fees, free checking and rewards. The account charges consumers a serivce fee, but the fees can be waived. Saylent, a payment software provider, is based in Franklin, Mass. ...

MasterCard launches RandD lab for payments

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PURCHASE, N.Y. (4/19/10)--MasterCard Worldwide announced the launch of MasterCard Labs, a new global research and development arm dedicated to bringing innovative payment solutions to market. “As the world continues to migrate toward a cashless society, we will be focused on delivering what’s next, faster and more efficient than ever before,” said Ajay Banga, MasterCard president and chief operating officer. Garry Lyons was appointed group executive to oversee MasterCard Labs, effective April 30. He previously served as CEO for Orbiscom. Lyons will be responsible for building payment advancements and leveraging enhanced time-to-market capabilities to drive innovations. He also will assemble the labs’ research and development team, which will work with MasterCard’s Innovative Products team.

CO-OP patronage distribution totals 22.2M for 2009

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (4/16/10)--CO-OP Financial Services announced its patronage pool totaled $22.2 million during 2009, with a cash disbursement to its member credit union shareholders of $12.2 million--12% more for each figure than in 2008. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based provider of access and convenience services for credit unions said the pool brings its total patronage distribution to shareholders to $191.9 million since it became a credit union-owned cooperative in 1996. During 2009, CO-OP achieved total net income of $24.2 million, also a 12% increase over 2008. "In spite of the difficult economy, credit unions and CO-OP continue to make a team that can compete with any national bank and win," said Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services. "We have worked hard to strike a balance between reinvesting in the access and convenience products and services credit union members expect, and distributing a healthy patronage payout to our shareholders. Our goal will always be to help our clients be successful long into the future," Hollen added.

PSCU Financial Services issues 17M dividend cuts fees

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (4/16/10)--PSCU Financial Services announced that it is issuing a dividend of $17.9 million to its member credit unions for 2009. The credit union service organization, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., also cut fees by $6.7 million in 2009--creating a benefit of about $24.6 million for the year. Processing revenue increased by 10% and the cooperative posted double-digit gains in debit/credit and online bill payment transactions. “One credit union executive told me that the dividend payout accounted for more than 20% of the [credit union’s] net income for the year,” said Craig Esrael, president, First South CU, Memphis, Tenn., and chairman of PSCU Financial’s board. “We hope these dividends will enable our members to gain market share during this unique economic environment.” In 2009, PSCU Financial Services also experienced:
* A 17% gain in debit and credit transactions to 1.1 billion transactions; * A 20% increase in bill payment accounts and transactions, with one million bill pay subscribers; and * Inquiries totaling 17.4 million handled by its contact centers.

IMN adds social networking to CU On newsletters

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WALTHAM, Mass. (4/16/10)--IMN has added a trackable social networking feature to its Credit Union On e-newsletter for credit unions. The feature allows credit union members to post content from the newsletter on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The feature offers a bookmark and share invitation next to e-newsletter contact, which encourages members to post the material on their personal profile pages. Readers who click on the content are connected to the credit union’s e-newsletter. The feature also allows credit unions to track which members are posting the information. “Our social media capability will help credit unions to further improve their brand visibility, improve member loyalty and generate leads for cross-selling opportunities,” said Craig Capp, IMN vice president. IMN is a content-driven e-communications company in Waltham, Mass.

Software as Service added to VSofts check solutions

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ATLANTA (4/16/10)--VSoft Corp., a global information and technology provider of process improvement solutions for financial institutions, has added a Software as a Service delivery model for its suite of check processing, document and reporting solutions. The model provides financial institutions with item-capture and image-processing solutions that function like a full in-house deployment while leveraging the infrastructure of VSoft’s data center. Arizona FCU, Phoenix, is using the model for its image-based item processing, the company said. VSoft is based in Atlanta.

Switch Communications 10th largest data center in world

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MADISON, Wis. (4/15/10)--Switch Communications Group, a new CUNA Strategic Services provider that owns and operates data centers, is the 10th largest data center in the world, according to a report from DataCenterKnowledge.com (April 12). Switch provides data center co-location services, infrastructure cloud computing, managed services, disaster avoidance, CU Tech Connect, and telecommunications connectivity with its Network Access Point (NAP) data centers. It provides bandwidth, data centers and connections to credit unions at competitive prices, says CUNA Strategic Services' website. The DataCenterKnowledge.com report noted that when Switch unveiled its SuperNAP in Las Vegas in the spring of 2008, "there were few precedents for the scope of the facility." The 407,000 square foot data center was built to accommodate up to 7,000 cabinets, with 250 megawatts of power capacity. But "SuperNAP is perhaps most notable not for its size but its ability to support power densities of up to 1,500 watts a square foot." The article said Switch has plans to build at least two more 400,000 square foot SuperNAPS at its Las Vegas property. The company also received CUNA Technology Council's "Best of Show Award" during the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference in February in Washington, D.C. For information, use the link.

Fiserv launches bill payment widget

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (4/15/10)--Fiserv is offering a bill payment widget to help consumers pay bills from their online banking homepage. The service is available to financial institutions, including credit unions, that use Fiserv’s CheckFree online bill pay service. Deployed through Fiserv’s Corillian Online and eCom online banking solutions, the widget aims to increase online bill pay use by raising the visibility of the service within the user interface (Investment Weekly News April 17). Members can schedule payments from their credit union’s online banking homepage--which keeps bill payment “top of mind” for users, said Fiserv. “The average online banking user logs into the service 15 times per month, and the payment widget makes bill payment more easily accessible during these frequent visits,” said Jamie Deterding, senior vice president of Bank Solutions at Fiserv. “This improved accessibility leads to improved convenience for consumers, which can result in substantial increases in adoption and use of the service.” Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv is a global provider of financial services technology solutions for financial institutions.

Rising e-fraud topic of Discovery webinar

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MADISON, Wis. (4/15/10)--Credit unions can learn about current electronic fraud scams impacting them and their members from CUNA Mutual Group’s Discovery Webinar series May 11. CUNA Mutual Risk Manager Ann Davidson will present “Electronic Fraud in the New Decade--Every Credit Union is at Risk,” from 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. ET. Electronic fraud has escalated significantly in recent years, resulting in millions of dollars in losses while damaging credit unions’ relationship with their members, CUNA Mutual said. Fraud schemes, which come in many forms, have increased in frequency due to the weak economy and the ever-increasing speed of electronic data systems. It’s vital for credit unions to be aware of the risks they face and how to mitigate them using fraud detection tools, the company said. For more information, use the link. Registration for the webinar ends at 11 a.m. ET May 11.

Cardwell partners with Birst on strategic tool

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (4/14/10)--Cardwell has partnered with Birst to enhance its Connections Online 4.0 (COL) strategy execution tool, allowing Cardwell to release an enhanced version of COL as Connections Online Professional with an advanced analytics option. The option allows COL customers to interact with analytic dashboards and reports that combine information from multiple data sources, including core financial systems, sales data, marketing data, human resources data or other sources with spreadsheets. With the tool, credit unions can:
* Understand where they have been (analytics); * Document and capture their core strategy, and for their business unit or departmental strategy to understand where they want to go; * Manage strategic projects and how they align with strategy; * Manage all people and accountability for all work throughout the organization; * Track performance; and * Combine data sources to analyze situations such as the effect of marketing promotions on sales results or compare performance across all locations over time.
Credit unions can create a virtual blueprint of their organization, which is inclusive of strategic performance, project portfolios and plans, and employee performance and competencies. Birst is a provider of online business intelligence solutions. Cardwell is a software development and management consulting firm.

Xtend Inc. announces several new services

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (4/14/10)--Xtend, a credit union service organization in Grand Rapids, Mich., has announced several new services for its member credit unions. Xtend has expanded its conversion support services for credit unions converting to the CU*BASE core data processing solution from CU*Answers Inc. The services include fee and no-charge offerings to enhance members’ experience. A new conversion bundle of no-charge electronic communication services available to customers for three months will go live at the end of April at Edco Community CU, Waterloo, Iowa; and Des Moines (Iowa) Police Officers CU. Service offerings include inbound and outbound call center support, electronic member communication, and back office bookkeeping support. Other services Xtend is offering include Negative Situation Monitoring, a dashboard compiled by Xtend’s Audit Link. The service aims to help credit union CEOs and managers stay on top of daily negative balance and delinquency activity; Xtend also is developing a solution to address the latest “opt in” opportunity based on the latest Regulation E revisions. Regulation E addresses electronic funds transfers. “Our vision of the solution includes form letters, targeted queries, electronic member communications, an inbound hotline to handle member enrollments, member confirmation and outbound member calls for credit unions,” said President Scott Collins. Xtend also recently helped more than 50 credit union partners transition to a new electronic bill payment solution. The credit unions had been using CU*EasyPay! from CU*Answers, which used Fiserv’s Custom Care support solution. The credit unions were moved to Fiserv’s PartnerCare platform.

TMG develops cardholder profitability tool

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DES MOINES, Iowa (4/13/10)--In response to client demand, TMG (The Members Group) has developed a data tool that examines the revenue a financial institution earns from each individual account in its credit card portfolio. The TMG Cardholder Profitability Data File is available monthly and includes detailed income information to help credit card portfolio managers determine the actual revenue earned from a cardholder's monthly activity. Data fields include late fees, foreign fees, transaction totals, current balance and interest billed. "You can never have too many attributes when examining a cardholder file," said TMG client Bonnie Fannin, assistant vice president, credit cards, at Orange County's CU, based in Santa Ana, Calif. "Profitability is one attribute among others that will help us in selecting our target audience for a variety of marketing programs." TMG anticipates the product will accelerate evaluation of individual cardholder requests, such as credit line increases and pay-off schedules, ultimately resulting in a more satisfied cardholder. The data also could help managers predict better the profitability of card portfolio upgrades, such as rewards programs and assess the success of recent marketing initiatives. "Cardholder-level reports are becoming increasingly important for credit card issuers who face complex decisions in the new Credit CARD Act environment," said Cindy Tannatt, TMG's director of client services. Fannin, whose credit union recently eliminated overdraft fees and default pricing due to challenges created by the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, says she sees potential for the data to shed light on decisions made inside a changing regulatory environment. "By assigning profit numbers to cardholder accounts, we would be better able to model the profitability outcomes of eliminating or assessing fees," she said.

CO-OP TEKchand team up on ATM network management

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (4/13/10)--CO-OP Financial Services has teamed up with Chicago-based TEKchand LLC to enhance CO-OP's managed ATM services suite so credit union clients can remotely control and manipulate marketing messages, and access and research transaction reports. The partnership includes services that allow credit unions to remotely create and manage the ATM marketing messages. The software upgrade also will provide access to electronic journal (EJ) files and the ability to query on-demand ATM transactions. "ATMs are becoming a true extension of a credit union's brand," said Stan Hollen, president/CEO, CO-OP Financial Services. "By allowing credit unions to remotely update ATM graphics and messages, we're providing credit union members a much quicker and very cost-effective way to expand their marketing campaign and create another sales channel," Hollen said. The new application provides multi-vendor device support to seamlessly manage an ATM fleet with one application. It can be purchased either separately or as a part of an upcoming CO-OP ATM Managed Services bundle. The TEKchand application also makes collection and review of data from electronic transaction files easier and more cost effective. The data are more useable because the application allows credit unions to pull the ATM e-file on demand, put the file into a view and perform various searches. EJ files are transaction records sent from the CO-OP host to the ATM. Traditionally, the ATM stores these transaction records on a paper-based file or an e-file, or uploads automatically back to the CO-OP host. Back-office staff often need access to the EJ files to research ATM cash differences. They must request paper or e-based files, duplicate them into a transportable format and store them. Daily reports in these formats are not user friendly, often have limited query capabilities and are hard to navigate, said CO-OP. The addition to the managed ATM services enhances this process. The CO-OP ATM Managed Services suite, available later this year, includes flexible ATM terminal driving, implementation support, cash management, terminal monitoring, IP data communication and options to add features such as check imaging, content distribution and other state-of-the-art ATM functionality. In partnership with TEKchand, marketing management and transaction research will be added to the suite.

Filene launches debt-management tool

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MADISON, Wis. (4/13/10)--Debt in Focus, a Web-based debt management tool, is newly expanded and available for credit unions that want to help members anonymously make smart decisions about their family finances, said Filene Research Institute. The tool, the result of a partnership between the Filene’s i3 group and Ent FCU, Colorado Springs, Colo., was beta-tested by 288 credit unions and 150,000 consumers in 10 months. Feedback led to program enhancements, which were completed April 1. In a small, private launch, the new version already has garnered 126 credit union clients in two weeks. “Americans have amassed about $2.5 trillion in consumer debt, and many of them are looking for what to do about it,” says George Hofheimer, Filene chief research officer. “Debt in Focus is a simple, jargon-free roadmap that helps those consumers who are drowning in their financial situations.” With the tool, members can check up on their financial health anonymously through the Internet, removing the most common barrier that prevents consumers from seeking financial help while eliminating most of the costs associated with providing such assistance. The tool offers:
* Custom branding and keyword mapping to direct users to specific product offerings of the host credit union; * White-label marketing campaigns, collateral, peer-to-peer support, and video content; * The ability for users to opt-in to being contacted by the host credit union, making way for deeper financial counseling and cross promotion; and * Full 256-bit SSL encryption and secure, SAS70 compliant hosting.
Users spent an average of 16 minutes with the tool during testing. The average reported credit score of users is 682, average revolving debt is $18,822 and overall debt load is $150,558, indicating that those who tune in to the tool have real challenges with their finances, Filene said. For more information, use the link.

CUNA Hargrove extend convention contract five years

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WASHINGTON (4/12/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and convention contractor Hargrove Inc. have extended their contract for another five years. The contract extension was signed in March. Hargrove will provide contracting services during CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27 to March 2, 2011. Hargrove is a general contractor that produces tradeshows, events and custom exhibits. CUNA moved GAC to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center three years ago. Hargrove has provided services such as stage design for the general session and evening gala reception, and exhibit hall decor for the trade show component. “We greatly appreciate Hargrove’s commitment to our association’s success with their exemplary service and creativity. We expect our meeting to experience continued growth and look forward to five more successful years with Hargrove,” said CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica. Tim McGill, CEO of Hargrove, added: “We have a great deal of experience with government affairs meetings and a commitment to service that I think makes Hargrove an ideal partner.”

DigitalMailer in 10th year launches opt-in online service

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HERNDON, Va. (4/12/10)--DigitalMailer is celebrating its 10th anniversary and has launched a new online service to address the opt-in compliance requirements of Regulation E, regarding electronic funds transfer. The service includes secure online forms for collecting member opt-in/opt-out information; ready-made emails and marketing collateral; automated thank-you replies to members; and tracking of member responses for credit union records. The service can be customized. Seven Seventeen CU, Warren, Ohio, is among several credit unions that have started using the service. DigitalMailer also is offering free Brown Bag Session webinars through the July 1 compliance deadline for credit unions. The session provides examples of the elements in the opt-in service and features. DigitalMailer has delivered more than 15.9 million electronic statements and more than 24 million e-mail messages since the company’s inception. It works with credit unions to develop online document management programs, disaster communication systems, green solutions and automated marketing strategies.

Talaris partners with DirectFED on e-check processing

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LISLE, Ill. and LOS ANGELES (4/12/10)--Talaris, a provider of teller cash automation equipment to financial institutions and retailers worldwide, and DirectFED payment Solutions, are partnering on Talaris’ electronic-check processing solution, Pronto. DirectFED Deposit was leveraged to create Pronto, a solution that will allow credit unions and other financial institutions to immediately process checks with the Federal Reserve. Talaris first unveiled Pronto in November 2009 at a banking industry conference. Pronto offers a plug-and-play set-up that allows financial institutions to install the solution in a few hours. “Pronto was custom-designed to address Talaris’ specific objective to offer customers fast and easy benefits of Check 21 without financial burden, technology integrations and additional hardware,” said Jeff Korbin, executive vice president of DirectFED Payment Solutions. Talaris was formerly called De La Rue Cash Systems.

CUTEK creates eAlerts system for CUs

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MURRIETA, Calif. (4/9/10)--CUTEK has developed an eAlerts system, Aviso EAS, which provides credit union members with real-time or batch-based transaction notifications. Numark CU, Joliet, Ill., has already signed up for the system, which allows members to pick eAlerts for their needs. Alerts can notify members when their checking account balances are low. Members can receive the eAlerts through e-mail or text messaging on mobile phones. Other notifications include courtesy pay, overdraft transfers, loan payments that are due, check clearings, direct deposit, debit or credit card transactions, large transactions or high balances. “Members receiving eAlerts--especially on their mobile devices--is a fast-growing trend in the industry right now,” said Ron Murray, CUTEK president. “We saw this as an opportunity to create a system so credit union members can provide their members with a new service that will keep them competitive with their peers, and their members in control of their finances.” Murrieta, Calif.-based CUTEK is a financial technology development and consulting firm for credit unions.

WesCorp chooses Viewpointe for image exchange

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NEW YORK and SAN DIMAS, Calif. (4/9/10)--Western Corporate FCU (WesCorp) has chosen Viewpointe’s Pointe2Pointe for its check image exchange service. WesCorp provides investment credit, funds transfer, payment and settlement services to its member credit unions. Pointe2Pointe allows financial institutions to safely send and receive electronic check images to Viewpointe’s other exchange customers. “We believe that implementing Pointe2Pointe will provide a faster and easier way for WesCorp members to carry out image exchange--increase efficiency and reduce costs,” said Tony Kitt, WesCorp executive vice president of member services. Viewpointe is a provider of check imaging and other multibank infrastructure solutions for credit unions and other financial institutions. WesCorp is based in San Dimas, Calif.

Experian launches Decision Point service

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COSTA MESA, Calif. (4/8/10)--Experian now offers Decision Point, a service that optimizes technology so financial institutions can make better business decisions without a large software purchase and deployment. Decision Point can help companies improve campaign performance, increase profitability, quickly respond to market conditions, reduce expenses, lower attrition and increase customer loyalty, and enhance collection strategies, the company said. Experian noted that with Decision Point, a card issuer experienced a 20% improvement in customer lifetime value, another card issuer gained a $7 incremental profit per account per annum, and an international wireless provider saw an 18% improvement in retained revenues. “As organizations prepare for a return to growth, they need to identify the optimal strategies to deploy across all customer life-cycle decisions to maximize resources and profits,” said Gary Kearns, Experian Decision Analytics president. Experian is based in Costa Mesa, Calif., and provides data and analytical tools to clients, including credit unions, in more than 65 countries.

Corelation new core processor signs first CU clients

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SAN DIEGO (4/8/10)--Corelation Inc., a new core processing provider, has signed its first credit unions onto its Keystone core processing system. The credit unions are: Cabrillo CU, San Diego and Harbor FCU, Carson, Calif. Both will launch their Keystone systems in the second quarter of 2011. Cabrillo will use the member-centric system to enhance relationships with members, said Robin Lentz, CEO of Cabrillo CU. Lentz said the browser-based system, will make it easier for staff to learn and use. “I know our information technology department is very excited about the new back-office capabilities,” she added. As an early adopter, Cabrillo will have a say in what the system will look like and will be able to respond quickly to client feedback, Lentz said. Harbor FCU decided to use the Keystone system after seeing Corelation at a recent conference. “Because of its design, it will be a lot cheaper to add or upgrade programs with Corelation,” said Tina Fugelsang, CEO. “This cost-effectiveness presents more opportunities for us to provide new products and services for our members.” Fugelsang added that Corelation’s system is equipped for imaging, which is an important service at Harbor FCU. Corelation is based in San Diego.

CRIF acquires APPRO System from Equifax

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BOLOGNA, Italy, and BATON ROUGE, La. (4/7/10)--CRIF announced that it has acquired Equifax Enabling Technologies in Baton Rouge, La., which primarily consists of the APPRO suite of loan origination software from Equifax. CRIF is based in Bologna, Italy. CRIF specializes in credit reporting, business information and decision support systems. APPRO is a provider of automated credit risk management and financial technologies for online and traditional lending environments. Equifax, based in Atlanta, Ga., provides information solutions that leverage commercial and consumer data in the U.S. and 14 countries. APPRO will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of CRIF and will be marketed and distributed under the CRIF Lending Solutions brand, along with lending services and technology offerings from other CRIF companies such as Teres Solutions, Aimbridge and FLS Services. “The APPRO acquisition increases our technological capability and flexibility, which will allow us to respond to client and market demands,” said Larry Howell, CRIF International Board chair. “APPRO will help us to greatly expand the breadth and depth of lending automation technology offerings we can provide to banks, credit unions and financial institutions,” said Carlo Gherardi, CRIF CEO.

BECU launches P2P payments service

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SEATTLE (4/7/10)--Boeing Employees CU (BECU) has launched CashEdge’s Popmoney, a person-to-person payments service. The service allows the $8.6 billion asset credit union’s members to send money from their accounts online or by mobile phone to a recipient, using the recipient’s mobile phone number, e-mail or account information (Datamonitor March 24). BECU is offering Popmoney to extend the reach of its online and mobile banking capabilities, said Howie Wu, BECU vice president of virtual banking.

Intuit Payroll helps small biz with HIRE Act

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (4/7/10)--Intuit Inc. is updating its payroll service, Intuit Online Payroll, to help small businesses receive every new tax credit for which they are eligible under a new jobs bill. Payroll tax credits are delivered to eligible employers through reduced Social Security taxes, which lower payroll taxes for the employer. On March 18, President Barack Obama signed into law the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, according to Intuit. The $17 billion jobs bill will provide employers with incentives to hire unemployed workers and retain those workers for one year. The bill has two provisions that impact hiring employers--a Social Security tax exemption and business tax credit. Intuit will post information for its customers about the new jobs bill (See resource link). Intuit also will offer businesses a free 30-day trial of Intuit Online Payroll. The act includes a credit for businesses that keep qualified workers for more than 52 weeks. Benefits can provide up to $6,621 in payroll tax credits and $1,000 in business tax credits per employee (VerticalNews.com April 3). Intuit provides credit unions and other institutions with business and financial management solutions, including payroll processing.

Products and Services briefs (04/05/2010)

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* PHILADELPHIA (4/6/10)--VINtek, provider of automotive collateral management services for banks, credit unions and other auto finance lenders, now has electronic lien and title (ELT) management services in 13 financial institutions in Louisiana. Louisiana passed legislation in 2008 that mandates participation in the Louisiana ELT program effective Jan. 1. ELT is an environmentally friendly alternative to paper-based titles, VINtek said. The program saves on postage, storage and supply costs--and reduces chances that the titles are lost ... * DALLAS (4/6/10)--ProfitStars, a division of Jack Henry and Associates, has launched an online Branch Deposit Automation Knowledge Center. The center offers content to financial institutions on branch image capture and deposit automation solutions, with articles, white papers, product information, reference materials, and tradeshow and event information. An archive with webinars, video and a free return-on-investment assessment also is available. The center also supports the recent rebranding of the Alogent Deposit Automation Solutions; Alogent Front Counter; Alogent Back Counter and Alogent Payments Gateway ... * SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (4/6/10)--Meta Payment Systems is offering an eco-friendly prepaid card that is manufactured on recycled card stock (VerticalNews.com April 2). The new card is made of a 65% polyvinyl chloride (PVC) core sheet. The PVC components are 100% recyclable. Meta is the first company to offer such a card within the Agent Bank retail channel and the card will be available to credit unions participating in its prepaid gift, reloadable, travel and youth card program. The card features a “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” logo and is available for order in time for Earth Day April 11 and National Arbor Day April 30 ...

Synergent introduces remote member capture

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WESTBROOK, Maine (4/6/10)--Synergent Check Processing and Support Services now offers Member Capture, a remote service that allows users to deposit a check anytime and extends the convenience of electronic deposit capture and transmission to home or small office. Member Capture is a browser-based application. Users log on securely and remotely via the Web. A small scanner is needed to capture images and data from deposit documents. Items are then sent to Synergent, and Synergent requests approval from the credit union before forwarding them to the Federal Reserve, the company said in a statement. The service is being piloted by Maine credit unions Atlantic Regional FCU, Brunswick; Maine Savings FCU, Hampden; and Maine State CU, Augusta. Synergent is a subsidiary of the Maine Credit Union League.

Products and Services briefs (04/02/2010)

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* HAGERSTOWN, Md. (4/5/10)--Ongoing Operations has become a Gold Partner of the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (NACUSO). Ongoing Operations has been involved with NACUSO since the company’s formation, said Kirk Drake, Ongoing Operations president. NACUSO aims to drive collaboration and innovation for the sustainability of credit unions and the industry, said Tom Davis, NACUSO CEO. Ongoing Operations provides business continuity and disaster recovery solutions to more than 125 clients nationwide, including credit unions ... * ONTARIO, Calif. (4/5/10)--Financial Service Centers Cooperative (FSCC) announced that call center outlets at Water and Power Community CU in Los Angeles and First CU, Chandler, Ariz., won the network’s “Ultimate Tailgate Sweepstakes” by generating significant growth in Shared Branching transactions during the contest period. The call centers promoted Shared Branching at Vcom machines inside select 7-Eleven stores. FSCC is a credit union Shared Branching network that provides more than 6,400 full-service, deposit-taking locations in the U.S. and in four foreign countries ... * NAPERVILLE, Ill. (4/5/10)--The Sprint Nextel Credit Union Member Discount Program is now available to Illinois credit union members through Invest in America, announced the Illinois Credit Union League. The program aims to help credit union members save on their monthly phone bills and for credit unions to earn financial benefits for promoting the program with minimal marketing effort. Participating credit unions can receive free marketing materials. Under the agreement, members receive a 10% discount on most individual liable monthly recurring charges, a 15% discount on corporate liable monthly recurring charges, and discounts on corporate liable accessories. Activation fees on new lines and upgrade fees also will be waived, the league said. The discount includes nationwide coverage, simplified calling plans, national rates with no roaming and long distance charges. Members can keep their existing phone number ...

Lending Council offers free webinar on loan portfolios

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MADISON, Wis. (4/2/10)--The CUNA Lending Council is offering a free webinar, “Loan Portfolio Solutions: Tools for Credit Unions, ” Tuesday at 2 p.m. CT to help credit unions manage their loan portfolios. Presenting will be Ralph Bonner, vice president, Investor Channel-Fannie Mae. Credit unions will learn how to assist portfolio decision makers by identifying risks and discovering opportunities that may exist in loan portfolios. The webinar targets finance executives, mortgage lenders and anyone who works with the credit union’s mortgage loan portfolio. Credit unions will learn how to:
* Create liquidity in balance sheets; * Effectively deploy capital; * Identify and manage credit and interest-rate risk; and * Discover ways to generate revenues.
For more information, use the link.