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CU System Archive

CU System

Southeast CUs beef up business continuity plans

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JACKSON, Miss. (5/29/08)--With hurricane season less than two weeks away, executives from smaller credit unions across Mississippi met to beef up their preparation in a business continuity workshop. Mississippi was one of the hard-hit states when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. The Southeast Corporate's “Build a Plan in a Day” workshop was conducted Ken Schroeder, the corporate’s vice president of business continuity. Working on computers, participants learned how to put more structure around their existing business continuity efforts by completing business continuity templates. “My goal was to teach the credit unions some of the basic concepts of business continuity planning, have them understand the templates as they relate to the situation at their own credit union and leave the seminar with a plan in hand,” said Schroeder. “Of course the credit union will have to evolve the plan based on their mission and organization. The folks that attended left with a host of planning tools in hand and are off to a great start.” The biggest problem smaller credit unions have is depth of staff for both planning and implementation, Schroeder said. Laura Burris, president/CEO of McComb (Miss.) FCU, said, "When I walked in, I knew nothing about how to start the process of writing a business continuity plan." Her credit union doesn't have a business continuity plan, she said. Southeast assisted small credit unions in getting grants to attend the workshop from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). More information about grants is on the NCUA website at www.ncua.org. Southeast Corporate said it'll offer a similar workshop in South Florida later in the year.

Maine league presents Maxwell Herring awards

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WESTBROOK, Maine (5/29/08)--Nine Maine credit unions have been presented state-level 2008 Dora Maxwell Awards for Social Responsibility and the Louise Herring Philosophy In Action Awards by the Maine Credit Union League. First and second place winners of the Dora Maxwell Award in their asset size categories are:
* $20 million-50 million assets: First place, Community CU, Lewiston, and second place, Great Falls FCU, Lewiston; * $50 million-100 million: First place, Central Maine FCU, Lewiston; * $100 million-$200 million: First place, Five County CU, Bath, and second place, University CU, Orono; and * $200 million-$500 million: First place, Atlantic Regional FCU, Brunswick.
Louise Herring award winners are:
* Less than $50 million in assets: First place, New Dimensions FCU, Waterville, and second place, Community CU; * $50 million-$250 million: First place, Maine Highlands FCU, Dexter, and second place, Central Maine FCU.
The Maxwell and Herring awards are a national awards program coordinated by the Credit Union National Association. Winners will compete for national awards in the fall. A Maine credit union has received a first or second place award in the national competition in seven out of the past nine years.

Corporate network topic of free webinar Friday

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MADISON, Wis. (5/29/08)--A discussion of the current market conditions relating to credit unions and the corporate network will be offered in a free webinar 1-2 p.m. EDT, Friday with the CUNA CFO Council and the center for professional development coordinating the event. The webinar specifically is aimed at corporate credit unions, including a review of the financial, health, safety and soundness of the Corporate Network. It will feature speakers from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). The webinar is open and free to all credit unions. The session will include:
* Bill Hampel, CUNA chief economist, providing an economic overview; * Brad Miller, executive director, The Association of Corporate Credit Unions, discussing an overview of the Corporate Network overview points; * Dave Dickens and Kathy Brick from U.S. Central discussing the performance of U.S. Central; and * Kent Buckham, NCUA director of the office of corporate credit unions, providing an agency perspective on the network.
For more information, use the link.

Visa adds fraud recovery protection for PIN transactions

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SAN FRANCISCO (5/29/08)--Visa Inc. is expanding its fraud recovery process to include two ATM networks and PIN transactions, the company announced Tuesday. The process will extend to Plus and Interlink ATM network transactions to help credit unions and banks recoup losses from counterfeit fraud. The extension will be effective on Nov. 1. In 2006, Visa launched a streamlined recovery program called Account Data Compromise Recovery (ADCR) to improve efficiencies and reduce the costs of assigning liability and collecting reimbursement for counterfeit fraud losses and operating expenses incurred when magnetic stripe storage was compromised. Under the enhanced ADCR process, compensation to Visa card issuers is automatically calculated and reimbursed based on the counterfeit fraud the credit union or bank reports to Visa. Recently enhanced Plus and Interlink fraud reporting capabilities extends the ADCR process to PIN-based transactions. Currently the process applies only to Visa signature-authenticated transactions. The enhancements will improve financial institutions' back-office efficiencies, which include automating the process, Visa said. Acquirer liability for compromises associated with violations of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard or PCI PIN security violations will be defined through the ADCR program. The program has a fixed 13-month window of exposure, which allows for improved liability forecasting, Visa said. "Expanding this process to include Plus and Interlink represents a significant improvement over the current recovery process for financial institutions with PIN-based transactions, which may require multiple recovery scenarios for a single compromise event if the event involves Visa-branded or Plus- or Interlink-acquired transactions," said Michael E. Smith, head of Payment System Risk at Visa.

CU System briefs (05/28/2008)

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* HERNDON, Va. (5/29/08)--Northwest FCU (NWFCU) Foundation has formed an official Fairfax County business partnership with Louise Archer Elementary School in Vienna, Va. At the launch ceremony at the school, the foundation donated $5,000 to the school to fund professional staff development and purchase two additional SmartBoards for classrooms. The credit union will provide staff volunteers to promote financial education, facilitate reading programs, conduct a "Saving for College" seminar for parents, and participate in school programs and special events. From left are: Kristen Robinson, assistant manager of NWFCU's Vienna branch; Gerrianne Burks, NWFCU president/CEO; Michelle Makrigiorgos, principal of the school; Phyllis Pajardo, assistant superintendent for Cluster II; and Linda Rogus, NWFCU Foundation executive director (Photo provided by Northwest FCU Foundation) … * CLEARWATER, Fla. (5/29/08)--Staley CU, a $101 million asset credit union based in Decatur, Ill., has been awarded a trip for two to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games by Visa, America's Olympic Team Partner. The winner was determined by Visa card portfolio metrix that showed the most overall Visa portfolio success from February through March, said Card Services for Credit Unions, whose member credit unions participated in the campaign. From left are: Bruce McElhinney, head of U.S. and Canada sales, U.S. Sales Visa Inc.; Karen Brown, president/CEO of the credit union; and Robert Hackney, CSCU president. (Photo provided by Card Services for Credit Unions) … * SUITLAND, Md. (5/29/08)--Andrews FCU has launched "Imagine the Possibilities," an advertising campaign that focuses on penetrating the Washington, D.C., market. The campaign debuted on cable television, transit and print outlets with three ads highlighting auto loans, home equity loans and general membership. The $810 million asset credit union acquired the city into its field of membership in 2003. "Our focus is to change many of the false perceptions that have stifled growth among credit unions," said Janine Roberts, vice president of marketing. The 30-second cable ads can be seen on major cable stations including Lifetime, TNT, USA, BET, CNBC, Discovery, Food Network, Fox News, HGTV, The History Channel and TLC. Transit ads will run on 50% of the market with placement in 15 prominent subway stations. The ads encourage the target audience to open an account or apply for a loan online or through the credit union's toll free number …

Minnesota tornado damages CUs roof

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HUGO, Minn. (5/29/08)--Tornados that struck Minnesota and Iowa Sunday damaged a Postal CU branch’s roof. The Hugo, Minn., branch of the $480 million asset, Woodbury, Minn.-based credit union, sustained some minor interior water leaks, a CUNA Mutual Group inspector determined. The inspector said that the roof likely will need to be replaced. “We also sustained some minor hail damage to our windows,” Russell Plunkett, Postal CU president/CEO, told News Now. “We came out [of the tornados] in really good fashion. We’re structurally safe and sound.” The Postal CU branch has power, is fully operational and is open for business. The hardest hit towns were Hugo--a suburb of St. Paul with a population of roughly 12,000--and three towns in Iowa: Parkersburg (population 1,900), New Harford (population 650) and Dunkerton (population 800), according to CUNA Mutual.

Michigan league honors Huston Alvarez

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Michigan Credit Union League President/CEO David Adams, left, joins Robert Huston and his wife, Maggie, at the league’s annual convention. Huston received the Distinguished Service Award with an automatic induction into the Michigan Credit Union League Hall of Fame.
Raul Alvarez, center, received the Michigan Credit Union Foundation 2008 Credit Union Community Volunteer Award at the Michigan Credit Union League’s (MCUL) annual convention. Pictured are Robin Alvarez, Raul Alvarez, and MCUL President/CEO David Adams. (Photos provided by the Michigan Credit Union League)
PLYMOUTH, Mich. (5/29/08)--The Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) honored former chairman Robert Huston and Raul Alvarez, marketing director at Financial Plus CU, during the 2008 MCUL Annual Convention and Exposition. Huston, retired president/CEO at Co-op Services CU, was presented the league’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. The award includes automatic induction into the Michigan Credit Union Hall of Fame. Huston already is a member of the Hall as of 2002, when he finished his term as a league chief elected official (Michigan Monitor May 26). Alvarez received the Michigan Credit Union Foundation 2008 Credit Union Community Volunteer Award. Huston has been active in the international credit union movement, attending conferences in Poland, Australia, Africa, Canada and the Czech Republic. He has provided assistance and training visitors from Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. He also helped the league enter into an international partnership with Macedonia through the World Council of Credit Unions. Alvarez has served on several boards and committees, and has volunteered for community organizations, including schools, Boy Scouts of America, the United Way and Junior Achievement of Mid-Michigan. The MCUL board unanimously approved the recommendations for Huston and Alvarez April 23. MCUL’s convention was held May 15-17 in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Study Bank fees problems drive dissatisfaction

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WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (5/29/08)--Customers' overall satisfaction with retail banks has declined, largely driven by banks' poor problem resolution, long wait times and additional fees, according to a study released Wednesday. Overall satisfaction with the retail banking experience has decreased considerably since 2007--down 26 index points on a 1,000-point scale to 737 in 2008, said the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Retail Banking Satisfaction Study. The study did not include credit unions. However, the results show yet another opportunity for credit unions to tout their strengths and the credit union difference. Dissatisfaction with fees is the most commonly reported problem by customers surveyed and the second most-cited reason for switching financial institutions, the study concluded. Also, bank customers are experiencing an increase in the number of problems experienced and problems that go unresolved, an increase in wait times to see tellers or speak to phone representatives, and declines in the ease of accessing branches. These all contribute to the drop in satisfaction, said J.D. Power and Associates. "Many retail banks are experiencing a decline in their brand image, especially in the current economic climate, where many consumers hold banks responsible for the current housing and mortgage crisis," said Rockwell Clancy, executive director of financial services at the research firm. "With customers experiencing more problems, longer wait times and more fees, that negative view is intensified," said Clancy. Those retail banks that do provide higher satisfaction levels have more highly committed customers, which are essential to financial growth, the study found. It noted that increasing the number of customers who are highly committed by 5% can lead to incremental deposit growth of 3% annually. "As banks struggle to meet shareholder demands, the common reaction is to focus on short-term financial gains by increasing fees and reducing staff--leading to longer wait times and poor problem resolution," Clancy said. Taking a page from what sounds like a manual in credit union philosophy, Clancy suggests banks try to "differentiate themselves from competitors by focusing on customer service and convenience." This year, the study also analyzed consumer-generated online conversations about banking issues. Most conversations revolved around consumers' daily banking activities rather than national issues such as subprime lending. This indicates that overall ratings of banks are most often driven by personal experiences, said J.D. Power. Topics consumers discussed the most: increased fees and increased annual percentage rates. The survey was conducted with 19,602 households on six factors: transactions, account statements, account initiation/product offerings, convenience, fees and problem resolution.

CU discusses smartphone risks in IWall Street JournalI

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NEW YORK (5/29/08)--What would happen if a credit union member lost a smartphone that was filled with personal and financial information? That’s a question that Miriam Neal, vice president of information systems for South Western FCU, La Habra, Calif., is afraid to answer. Neal was interviewed for a May 28 article in a Wall Street Journal that addressed the risks smartphones can pose to companies or financial institutions. Smartphones allow users to check their e-mails and surf the Internet, among other tasks. Many financial institutions, including credit unions, offer their members mobile banking options--which means that some smartphone users are performing financial transactions on their phones. Some risks include malware, which infects phones through text messages and e-mail. Malware can be used by hackers to eavesdrop, and to look at call histories or text messages. There are about 300 to 500 versions of malicious software circulating, the Journal said. Third-party applications such as downloading games and ringtones also can put a smartphone at risk, the newspaper said. To prevent problems, some companies are limiting the access smartphones have to internal networks to protect important data. Neal told the Journal that her credit union is committed to protecting member data. “We need to protect the privacy of our members,” she said.

MCUAs communications net bronze Quill Awards

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ST. LOUIS (5/29/08)--The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) received two Bronze Quill Awards for its strategic communication efforts from the International Association of Business Communicators’ St. Louis Chapter. MCUA won the highest achievement--an Award of Excellence--in the Issues Management and Crisis Communication category for its 2007 “Save Missouri Credit Unions!” campaign. Missouri Courier magazine received an Award of Merit (second place) in the Publications category. MCUA public/legislative affairs staff members Amy McLard, vice president of public/ legislative affairs, and Larry Deutsch, director of communications, received the awards at a May 22 ceremony. The competition attracted 94 entries from communications professionals in the St. Louis area.