Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive
150x172_CUEffect.jpg
Contacts
LISA MCCUEVICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
MICHELLE WILLITSManaging Editor
RON JOOSSASSISTANT EDITOR
ALEX MCVEIGHSTAFF NEWSWRITER
TOM SAKASHSTAFF NEWSWRITER

Products Archive

Products

FinovateSpring 2014 kicks off today

 Permanent link
SAN JOSE, Calif. (4/29/14)--FinovateSpring 2014, a two-day showcase of the latest financial and banking technology innovations from leading, established companies and hot young startups, begins today in San Jose, Calif.
 
Over the course of two days, 70 companies will each have seven minutes on stage to demo their latest innovations.
 
The conference series debuted in the fall of 2007 in New York, added a West Coast version in San Francisco in the spring of 2008, unveiled a European conference in London in early 2011, and launched its first Asian event in Singapore in November 2012.
 
A networking session at the end of each day provides attendees with an opportunity to speak directly with presenters.
 
Suppliers who serve the credit union industry that are presenting include CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider Digital Insight; Fiserv; and SaveUp, a financial rewards program that motivates people to save money and pay down debt. The program is jointly sponsored by CU Solutions Group and Filene Research Institute.

CU Direct's dealer network hits 11,000

 Permanent link
ONTARIO, Calif. (4/28/14)--CU Direct, administrators of an auto-lending service network for credit unions, has expanded its lending network to include 11,000 dealers.
 
"The increase in dealership participation we have experienced over the last few years further underscores the value dealers see in partnering with credit unions and using our expanding lending network," said Jerry Neemann, CU Direct's executive vice president of automotive solutions. "Our goal is to provide leading products and services to dealers and credit unions that add value to their relationships, grow sales opportunities for dealers and generate loan growth for credit unions." 
 
The company's CUDL auto lending network reached the record mark after hitting the 10,000-dealer milestone less than a year ago. The CUDL network includes dealers in all 50 states.
 
The auto lending network also includes more than 1,100 credit unions, representing 38 million members nationwide. 
 
CU Direct credit unions generated a record $16.3 billion in auto loans through the CUDL network in 2013, while experiencing 21% growth in funded loans thus far in 2014.

Tokenization could slow card-not-present fraud, says TMG

 Permanent link
DES MOINES, Iowa (4/25/14)--A new white paper from The Members Group hails payment tokens, or tokenization, as the solution with the greatest potential to slow the growth of card-not-present (CNP) fraud in the U.S.
 
CNP fraud accounts for 16% of U.S. card fraud, which resulted in more than $5.3 billion in losses in 2013, according to the paper, "What Card Issuers Need to Know About Card-Not-Present-Fraud."  Much of the CNP fraud growth is fueled by consumer comfort with online transactions. By 2017, U.S. consumers are expected to spend more than $430 billion on e-commerce transactions.
 
Tokenization replaces card account data with a single, secure token. The token has zero value for a fraudster because it would have to be decrypted, and the only entities capable of doing so are the major card networks.
 
Today, card data, such as the primary account number (PAN), is static. As soon as a fraudster has obtained it, the data can be used multiple times for unauthorized purposes. Worse, merchants are storing vulnerable data insecurely. Tokenization replaces that PAN data with a unique token, and storage of cardholder data is limited to the tokenization system. This removes much of the burden from merchants, who are increasingly under attack from data-hungry hackers.

Among the most discussed consumer-facing solutions to CNP fraud is a Europay-MasterCard-Visa (EMV) card reader that consumers would use to authenticate their cards online.
 
Tokenization and EMV are similar in that they both use dynamic data to prevent duplication. Unlike EMV, however, tokenization is a technology that is nearly invisible to the cardholder. Cardholders only become aware of the security measures when they have been victimized or when a suspicious transaction has been flagged.
 
Although tokenization is mostly theoretical today, the development of standards is under way. Last month, EMVco, a joint-entity owned by several card brands, released its technical document for implementing tokenization in online or mobile environments. EMVco has said global interoperability of a tokenization standard is its goal. MasterCard, Visa and American Express have also announced a joint collaboration to move the standard forward.

To download the white paper, use the link.

White paper touts benefits of full-time mortgage originators

 Permanent link
FAIRBORN, Ohio (4/24/14)--Credit unions with full-time dedicated originators had a conversion rate of 46% vs. 30% at credit unions with non-dedicated originators, according to a new white paper from myCUmortgage, a Fairborn, Ohio-based credit union service organization.
 
"Dedicated Originators Play Critical Role in Mortgage Lending Success" was written to show credit unions how full-time, professional mortgage loan originators can help them serve more members with home loans.
 
Nearly 62% of credit unions currently offer first mortgages, the paper said.
 
"As we talk to credit unions across the country, we see many who are trying to figure out how to maintain the momentum they've built through the refinance boom," said Tim Mislansky, myCUmortgage president. "However, being good at refinance business does not always translate to being good at purchase business."
 
The paper highlights why credit unions need loan originators, including what to look for when hiring loan originators and how to convince credit union leadership of the need to add origination staff. It concludes with three case studies focusing on myCUmortgage client credit unions that successfully moved to utilizing full-time professional originators.
 
One of the case studies features Topmark FCU, Lima, Ohio, as an example of a small credit union that has established an effective mortgage program. The credit union has two dedicated mortgage staff, one originator and one processor.
 
Much of Topmark's mortgage business has been through word of mouth to new members. When the credit union first committed to a full-time mortgage originator, it had 4,350 members and $17.8 million in assets; today it's at 5,900 members and $27.5 million in assets.
 
"Offering mortgages has been critical to our credit union's growth," said Angie Maynard, Topmark FCU CEO. "Nearly all of our business is through referrals, and member feedback shows that we're offering them a different level of commitment and service: They tell us that other financial institutions didn't call them back, didn't answer their questions. Having a staff that's knowledgeable, comfortable with mortgages and committed to creating an exceptional member experience has made all the difference."
 
Credit unions interested in obtaining the white paper can visit myCUmortgage.

PSCU to provide card processing for Ind. league

 Permanent link
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., and INDIANAPOLIS (4/23/14)--PSCU, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based credit union service organization, and the Indiana Credit Union League (ICUL) announced a partnership through which PSCU will acquire the credit and debit card processing and servicing currently provided by Credit Union Card Center (CUCC), a business unit of the league's service corporation.

"The league's focus on supporting credit union success is in complete alignment with PSCU," said John McKenzie, league president/CEO. "Our goal was to select the best long-term solution for the card processing needs of our credit union clients, and PSCU is a proven technology partner that can help credit unions expand the scope of services provided and grow their payment programs."

PSCU will provide credit and debit card processing and servicing for CUCC's 109 credit unions. Because First Data serves as the data processing platform for PSCU and CUCC, cardholders will not experience a system conversion or disruption when the transfer is completed later this year.

"There is tremendous mutual benefit of our two entities coming together as we deliver service at scale with tools and technology," said Michael J. Kelly, PSCU president/CEO.

"Both PSCU and ICUL believe leveraging card, analytics, mobile and social channels will help credit unions nurture and grow their business and ultimately be the most relevant financial services provider choice for members," Kelly added.

CU Service Network partners with CUProdigy core

 Permanent link
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (4/22/14)--CU Service Network (CUSN) and CUProdigy Monday announced a partnership to offer core services to credit unions. 
 
The announcement follows CUProdigy's rewrite of its core software platform.

CUSN provides products and services to credit unions based in the Rocky Mountain and Great Plain states with consulting and product implementation support, while fostering collaboration among credit unions and their partners. CUProdigy encompasses every core processor action, from new member signup to disaster recovery. 
 
"Selecting CUProdigy was the result of an extensive core processor search," said Daniel Burk, CUSN senior vice president of business development. "Working with several of our client credit unions, CUSN invested resources to assist with evaluating cores.

"We wanted to find a solution that was high value at a reasonable cost, but it wasn't just about cost," Burk said, adding that CUSN wanted to find a partner that would colloborate well and create opportunities for credit unions.

Craig Peterson, director of client services for CUProdigy, said, "Providing core processing services is a relationship business, and I can think of no better way to express that than announcing our partnership with CUSN."

TMG webinar tackles 'Year of the Data Breach'

 Permanent link
DES MOINES, Iowa (4/21/14)--Payments processor The Members Group (TMG) is presenting a free webinar, "2014: The Year of the Data Breach," for financial institutions at 1 p.m. CT Wednesday.

Hosted by TMG Senior Fraud Prevention Analyst Nicole Reyes, the hour long event will provide insight on current fraud trends and how credit unions should prepare their fraud-prevention policies, procedures and strategies for 2014 and beyond. 

During the webinar, Reyes will detail new fraud trends that credit and debit card issuers are currently experiencing, many of which are a direct result of recent data breaches. She will share her expertise on cyber-crime and how fraudsters use malware and other tricks to siphon and sell consumer information. Best practices for minimizing losses related to these crimes will be discussed as well, so attendees leave the webinar armed with tangible ideas for improving their fraud-fighting strategies.

Attendees of the webinar will also receive a first look at Reyes' newest white paper, "What Card Issuers Need to Know about Card-Not-Present Fraud." The paper, which is the last in a series of four TMG papers covering fraud topics for issuers, takes a look at online fraud, the predicted impact of the Euro-MasterCard-Visa standard on card-not-present fraud and how an authorization method known as tokenization is expected to help.

To register, use the link.

Stage has recovered

 Permanent link
If you are seeing this, it is possible to sync from Stage to Production.

iPay, Bill.com win accolades from NACHA

 Permanent link
ORLANDO, Fla. (4/18/14)--NACHA--The Electronic Payments Association--recently announced the recipients of its 2014 Payments System Awards.
 
iPay Solutions is the recipient of the 2014 PayItGreen Award. Bill.com is the 2014 George Mitchell Payments System Excellence Award winner.
 
"These organizations demonstrate a commitment to increasing the use and promoting the benefits of electronic payments," said Janet O. Estep, president/CEO of NACHA. "We commend iPay Solutions and Bill.com for their leadership and vision in advancing electronic payments and the payments industry."
 
NACHA's Payments System Awards recognize the highest degree of achievement in the development, implementation and advancement of electronic payments. The awards celebrate outstanding accomplishments and superior leadership in innovation, excellence and promotion of the positive environmental impact of electronic payments, statements and billing.
 
The PayItGreen Award honors individual or organizational leadership, vision and innovation in the education and promotion of electronic payments, statements and bills to reduce environmental impact.        
 
iPay Solutions was honored with the PayItGreen Award for developing and implementing an online resource center offering marketing and training materials to help its customers better promote the benefits of electronic billing and payments. Over the past five years, iPay Solutions' Resource Center has helped increase subscriber adoption of online bill pay by 300% and use of electronic payments by 150%, providing significant environmental benefits.
 
The George Mitchell Payments System Excellence Award, named after former vice-chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve George Mitchell, an early proponent of electronic payments, honors an individual or organization that has shown superior leadership in the development, implementation or advancement of electronic payments.
 
The 2014 George Mitchell Payments System Excellence Award is presented to Bill.com for its efforts to increase adoption of electronic payments by small and medium-sized businesses and enterprises. Bill.com is helping to promote ACH payments through a service that automates the end-to-end processes for payables, receivables and cash flow--saving companies up to 50% of time typically spent on financial back office operations.

SHAZAM, Visa reach EMV agreement

 Permanent link
DES MOINES, Iowa (4/17/14)--The SHAZAM Network and Visa Inc. Wednesday announced an agreement that will allow SHAZAM Network issuers to use Visa's common debit application identifier (AID) for Visa- and SHAZAM-branded cards and transactions.
 
Visa offered the use of its common domestic AID and Visa Smart Debit Credit Euro-MasterCard-Visa (EMV) chip application, which supports U.S. debit regulations requiring the ability to route debit transactions over multiple, unaffiliated networks. By sharing this AID among all U.S. debit network participants, EMV chip adoption will meet the requirements of issuers, merchants, networks and U.S. regulation while maintaining global international acceptance.
 
"This agreement reflects nearly two years of industry engagement," said SHAZAM Chief Information Officer Terry Dooley. "SHAZAM is proud to have acted as a driving voice in the original SRPc chip-and-PIN working group and the Debit Network Alliance. The network has been active in the EMV Migration Forum, ATM Industry Association, National ATM Council and other industry forums. A collaboration that allowed for merchant and issuer routing choice for contact and contactless payments supporting PIN, no CVM, and signature was our goal, and we believe this agreement provides the terms to accomplish that goal."
 
Visa's common AID will enable point-of-sale debit transactions and domestic ATM transactions on Visa and SHAZAM-branded debit cards.
 
"It remains important for all U.S. debit card issuers to evaluate the business case and the industry as they begin to consider a migration to EMV," said Dooley. "Particularly for smaller issuers, including community banks and credit unions, a cost-benefit analysis that takes into account the institution's current and predicted fraud risk, as well as the potential return on an EMV investment, is a critical first step."

CO-OP, Visa reach EMV agreement

 Permanent link
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (4/16/14)--CO-OP Financial Services has reached an agreement with Visa Inc. to make the Visa Euro MasterCard Visa (EMV) common debit solution available to its credit union clients.
 
"This is a major advance in adoption of the EMV standard for debit card transactions in the United States, providing a clearer migration path to EMV for our debit issuers and ATM owners," said Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Services president/CEO. "CO-OP has been working hard to move the payments industry to an EMV common debit solution, both independently and through our participation in the Debit Network Alliance (DNA)."
 
This long-term agreement between CO-OP Financial Services and Visa enables development of regulation-compliant debit EMV solutions using a common Application Identifier (AID). Some development will still need to be done at both point-of-sale and ATM terminals to choose the common AID, a priority for industry organizations such as DNA.
 
DNA is a collaboration of 10 U.S. PIN debit networks formed to provide a structure for the governance, deployment and implementation of the EMV debit standard. CO-OP helped found DNA in December, and will continue to play a key role in its activities. Michelle Thornton, CO-OP manager of core products, is a member of DNA's board of directors.
 
The Visa EMV solution provides portability for debit card issuers, and network routing choices for merchants and ATM acquirers. It also supports all transaction types, including contact and contactless.

CUNA Mutual Group offers multiple employer 401(k) plan to CUs

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (4/16/14)--CUNA Mutual Group is administering a new multiple-employer plan (MEP) for credit unions providing 401(k) programs to 100 employees or more.
 
A MEP is a single plan adopted by a group of employers that has a common interest but does not have common ownership. By comparison, a single-employer plan covers employees of one employer, or several employers that are part of the same related group of employers.
 
CUNA Mutual Group's Credit Union Retirement Plan Association 401(k) Plan became available Jan. 1.
 
"This is the first national MEP designed exclusively for credit unions and their affiliates," said Paul Chong, CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions senior vice president. "When the U.S. Department of Labor published its Advisory Opinion in 2012 on open MEPs that they are not single ERISA plans, we worked hard to come up with a solution so credit unions could get the full benefits of a MEP, including not having to do an annual audit of their plan."
 
A MEP is ideal for employers with 100 employees or more, Chong said. Advantages include:
  • Elimination of annual plan audit expenses;
  • Reduction of an employer's fiduciary responsibility; and
  • Elimination of annual Form 5500 filings by individual employers.
"The plan administrator appointed by the association is responsible for the annual audit of the MEP, so credit unions can save audit costs, which typically run from $5,000 to $20,000 per year," Chong said.

To be a member of the association, an employer must be a member of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Affiliates of CUNA members, such as wholly owned CUSOs and credit union leagues, are also eligible to join the association. There are no association membership dues.
 
The plan offers index-based investment options and features CUNA Mutual Group's RetireOnTarget guidance system at no extra cost to all participating employers under the plan.

CO-OP distributes $30.5M dividend

 Permanent link
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (4/15/14)--CO-OP Financial Services Monday announced a shareholder dividend pool of $30.5 million for fiscal year 2013, a 17% increase in patronage compared with the 2012 figure of $26.1 million.
 
The dividend brings the total shareholder patronage amount for CO-OP to $284.8 million since becoming a credit union-owned cooperative in 1996.
 
"The year 2013 was a good one for the credit union system, with membership, loans and earnings up in aggregate for the industry," said Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Services president/CEO. "At CO-OP, we had record sales and earnings, enabling us to provide our nearly 1,200 member-shareholder institutions with a healthy increase in patronage for the year." 
 
Highlights for CO-OP during the past year include:
  • Zero unscheduled or scheduled downtimes on electronic-fund transfers switches for the second year in a row;
  • During 2013, CO-OP gained new credit processing contracts with two of the top 10 largest credit unions in the U.S.;
  • A record 2.8 billion transactions processed; and
  • 8.7-plus customer satisfaction ratings in all of businesses units 
CO-OP Financial Services is the nation's largest credit union service organization serving more than 3,500 participating credit unions.
 
CO-OP Financial Services will be holding its annual meeting of shareholders May 21 during the THINK 14 Conference in New Orleans.

Northwest FCU acquires MBL equity firm

 Permanent link
HERNDON, Va. and SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (4/14/14)--Northwest FCU, with $2.5 billion in assets, Herndon, Va., has purchased substantially all of the assets of Park Place Equity, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based business finance group specializing in government guaranteed loans.
 
Park Place will continue to do business under its Park Place Equity brand as a division of Northwest FCU.
 
"Over the past two years, Northwest Federal has been developing a government lending platform to serve the needs of our business members," said Chris McDonald, president/CEO of Northwest FCU. "By adding Park Place and the company's expertise to our existing platform, we immediately gain a nationally known brand and substantial, additional experience in this lending field. We expect this acquisition to significantly enhance our member business lending (MBL) products and services and to provide high-quality loan assets to our loan portfolio, thereby strengthening the credit union for all our members."
 
Park Place Equity specializes in the origination of loans under the Small Business Administration's 7a and 504 lending programs along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Business and Industrial lending program.
 
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are urging Congress to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. CUNA and credit unions say that increasing the cap would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in business loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers.

Buzz Points to mine more consumer data

 Permanent link
AUSTIN, Texas (4/11/14)--Buzz Points, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider, is looking to expand the reach of its buy-local loyalty rewards program.

The Austin, Texas-based company, which rewards account holders for using their debit card and for shopping local, is adding mobile marketing technology to increase payments volume for non-chain merchants. 
 
Buzz Points' mix of social networking, card payments and reward redemptions generate a substantial amount of data, and the company plans to add location data to generate new campaigns.
 
The company said it will use embedded mobile technology such as GPS and emerging data management tools to make its core product of socially enabled merchant-funded rewards operate faster and with a more detailed link between the consumer and merchant.
 
The company is developing apps that allow offers to be tied more directly to factors such as a consumer's location in relation to a store, the time of a purchase and other behavior.

Last week, Discover Financial Services announced it was investing $19 million in Buzz Points to bankroll the company as it enters new geographic markets across the country.

Fiserv launches real-time fraud prevention solutions

 Permanent link
BROOKFIELD, Wis. (4/10/14)--Fiserv Inc., a provider of financial services technology solutions, released new real-time solutions to combat automated clearinghouse, wire and other electronic payment fraud.
 
ACH fraud prevention from Fiserv continuously builds intelligence for each customer, account and other entities relevant to the ACH process to support accurate detection on anomalies. Non-transactional data including session data, can also be incorporated based on the level of risk presented by account activity or a specific transaction.
 
Wire Fraud Prevention from Fiserv continuously updates normal behavior profiles for each customer, account and other relevant entities such as the user, originator, account, device, intermediary or beneficiary. Confirmed fraud cases can be escalated to the case management system and include detailed forensic information such as historic payments and device fingerprint information.
 
SWIFT sanctions screening has also been enhanced to leverage Fiserv's watch-list filtering engine and its anti-money laundering and fraud solution.

CU24, Visa announce EMV license agreement

 Permanent link
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (4/9/14)--CU24 has entered into a licensing agreement with Visa to enable Europay-Mastercard-VISA (EMV) card transactions to route over the CU24 network.
 
With the Visa US common application identifier (AID) in place, CU24 credit union debit cards can be included among a merchant's routing options, and be fully compliant with both EMV secure technology and the routing rules under the Durbin amendment.
 
"Simply put, CU24 credit unions, merchant participants and ATM deployers can proceed to implement the protections of EMV knowing that they will be fully supported by our network," said Denise Grace, CU24 vice president of operations.
 
"It's taken a while for the industry to sort itself out," continued Grace, "but we have been monitoring events closely. Now that consensus is emerging, we can proceed with EMV technology to help decrease fraud and enhance product flexibility across the payments landscape."

ATM association creates underbanked forum

 Permanent link
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (4/8/14)--The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) announced the creation of the U.S. Underbanked Forum to help foster development and deployment of ATM solutions addressing the needs of the unbanked and underbanked.
 
The new forum will serve as a vehicle for facilitating collaboration among the ATMIA member constituencies, in an innovative and non-competitive environment, ATMIA said.
 
"The ATM is the perfect platform for linking traditional and nontraditional financial transactions," said David Tente, ATMIA USA executive director. "And financial institutions, independent operators, networks and processors all share a very high level of interest in creating new solutions to serve this market."
 
Tente cited a 2012 Forbes magazine article that referenced a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. survey indicating that 28.3% of U.S. households conduct the majority of their financial transactions outside of the traditional banking system. "The need for ATM-based solutions targeting underbanked consumers is greater than ever," Tente said.
 
Growing interest in cardless transactions at the ATM may also help accelerate the development of payment options targeting the underbanked, who generally don't possess a debit or ATM card, Tente noted. Quick response codes, one-time personal identification numbers and other token-based applications are already being piloted in a number of U.S. markets.
 
ATMIA's U.S. Underbanked Forum is scheduled to hold its first meeting April 30.

CUAnswers Invests in Chatter Yak!

 Permanent link
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (4/7/14)--CU*Answers, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization, announced that it has established an ownership/partnership relationship with Chatter Yak!, the Oshkosh Wis.-based CUSO that specializes in marketing, social media, website development and branding.
 
Randy Karnes, CU*Answers CEO, described the partnership as "a walk-the-talk investment." 

"We pull ourselves towards the future by committing in the present to get vested in new ideas and service requirements," Karnes said. "We see social media, not as a tangent to member service and contact, but a core competency need for the future."
 
Added Kevin Ralofsky, Chatter Yak! co-founder and president/CEO of CitizensFirst CU, Oshkosh, Wis.: "We have always pushed a culture of curiosity to challenge the way credit unions should think about their relationships with members and their communities. With this partnership we hope to drive a deeper and more meaningful understanding of how credit unions blend everyday business with social data and the member experience."

Mid-Atlantic CUSO partners with Strohl for ERM

 Permanent link
MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (4/4/14)--Sollievo, Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU's risk-management credit union service organization, and Strohl Risk Solutions, formerly FI Compliance Solutions, a provider of risk management services for financial institutions, have announced a new partnership.
 
Under the agreement, Sollievo will offer Strohl Risk Solutions' ERM 365 software to its credit union clients.

"The partnership between Sollievo and Strohl Risk Solutions enables us to offer valuable, cost-effective, risk-management services to credit unions," said Lori Gall, Sollievo president/CEO. "Combining our team's nearly 90 years of experience with the power of ERM 365 means Sollievo clients will have the information they need to guide them toward success."
 
Sollievo offers a full array of risk-management products and services, which include enterprise risk monitoring, vendor management, information security and business continuity.

ERM 365 is a Web-based risk management application that allows institutions to monitor risk through dashboards, email alerts and notifications.
 
"A crucial element to managing risk is getting information in a useful and timely fashion," said Eric Strohl, Strohl Risk Solutions president/CEO. "Partnering with Sollievo allows us to help more credit unions effectively monitor their risk."

Discover Financial Services backs CSS provider Buzz Points

 Permanent link
AUSTIN, Texas (4/3/14)--Discover Financial Services is backing loyalty rewards startup Buzz Points Inc., filling out a $19 million round to bankroll the company as it enters new geographic markets across the country.
 
Buzz Points is a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider.
 
The company, which has raised $26.5 million to date, was valued around $65 million in the recent round, VentureWire reported. The company closed the first tranche of the Series D round in September, with lead investor Lead Edge Ventures and participation from existing investors including KEC Ventures and Greycroft Ventures.
 
Backing Buzz Points is a relatively rare event for the credit card and e-payments company compared with its active venture counterparts at Visa Inc. and Citi Ventures, which have each invested in more than a dozen startups including Square Inc. and Platfora Inc.
 
Founded in 2009 and based in Austin, Texas, Buzz Points offers a reward system for consumers by linking community banks, credit unions and other financial institutions in local communities with their local merchants. When those merchants offer rewards, financial institutions promote them to consumers with the goal of giving them incentive to shift their spending to those linked cards.
 
Buzz Points changed its name from Fisoc Inc. in late 2013.

Newtek surpasses 500,000 client referrals with NewTracker

 Permanent link
NEW YORK (4/2/14)--Newtek Business Services Inc., The Small Business Authority, has surpassed 500,000 client referrals through its proprietary web-based technology, NewTracker, since it became fully operational in 2006.
 
Newtek Business Services is a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider.
 
"We believe this technology gives us a competitive advantage over our industry peers as it eliminates total dependency on human capital, which is utilized by other companies to acquire small- and medium-sized business clients," said Barry Sloane, Newtek's president/chairman/CEO. "We are able to significantly leverage human capital using the NewTracker system." 
 
Alliance and referral partners use NewTracker technology to refer their independent business clientele to Newtek to offer them the products and services they cannot or do not care to provide. NewTracker allows referral and alliance partners to track the progress of their own business referrals through the entire sales and marketing process. 
 
Newtek likens the transparency and tracking capability of this platform to putting a barcode on the business service process, similar to what delivery-, transportation- and logistics-services companies do for packages.

Suncoast CU, Diebold, FIS team up on cash recycling

 Permanent link
NORTH CANTON, Ohio (4/1/14)--Diebold and Suncoast CU, with the support of FIS, will offer cash recycling through Diebold's Opteva Flex Performance Series ATMs.
 
Suncoast CU, with $5.5 billion in assets, Tampa, Fla., will work with Diebold and FIS to reuse consumer-deposited cash for future ATM withdrawals, reducing the frequency and cost of cash replenishment. Following testing and certification, Suncoast CU plans to implement the ATMs with full cash recycling and deposit automation capabilities at select branches.
 
Diebold is a CUNA Strategic Services provider.
"Diebold and Suncoast have been leading the evolution of the self-service channel to a more efficient platform for consumers and financial institutions," said Mychal D. Kempt, Diebold. vice president of North America operations. "FIS' involvement adds full support from a leading processor, bringing fully automated cash recycling to fruition in the U.S."
 
"The ability of an ATM to process deposited cash and reuse it later is an exceptional innovation that will streamline self-service cash management and improve our ATM uptime," said Dulcey Hordge, Suncoast CU vice president of document services. "We foresee impressive savings potential for our locations that experience heavy cash transaction volumes."
 
FIS, a banking and payments technology provider, is designing and implementing the back-end processing required to facilitate full cash recycling.
 
"FIS will address the complexities of enabling cash recycling by integrating accounting, balancing and processing functions between the ATM and Suncoast's systems," said Bruce Lowthers, FIS executive vice president of North American card solutions. "We anticipate a successful launch of the technology."