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CU System Archive

CU System

Great Basin FCU Approved As SBA Lender

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RENO, Nev. (5/28/13)--The Small Business Administration granted approval to Great Basin FCU, Reno, Nev., to become one the agency's lenders.

The SBA approval allows the $125 million asset credit union to aid in the start-up or expansion of small businesses. Great Basin FCU is the first new SBA lender in Northern Nevada in more than nine years.   

"Our community needs this now more than ever," said Jennifer Denoo, Great Basin FCU chief operations officer. "We believe we can fill a gap in our market to assist small businesses needing loans in the $50,000 to $500,000 range.

"We look forward to being more than just a lender," explained Denoo. "We are here to see the process through from beginning to end. We have always prided ourselves in helping educate our members and support them in reaching their goals. So while we may not be able to give them a loan the day they come in, we will always make the time to listen to their dream and connect them with the resources they need to achieve it."

The Small Business Lending Enhancement Act introduced by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) would increase credit unions' member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets, from the current 12.25% (News Now May 17). Doing so would generate $13 billion in new loans and create 140,000 jobs, the Credit Union National Association said.

CU System Briefs (05/28/2013)

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  • FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (5/28/13)--Generations FCU in San Antonio, Texas, last week held its last event in support of National Financial Literacy Month. More than 40 high school students from Churchill High School participated in the event, a scavenger hunt  at the credit union. Students heard from the CEO, toured the vault, spoke to tellers and learned the day-to-day operations of the credit union. Generations FCU also partnered with the Alamo Community Colleges in the district to bring financial literacy classes to their students. Its Student Life Team taught more than 25 classes to hundreds of students during the month (LoneStar Leaguer May 24) ...
  • WICHITA, Kan. (5/28/13)--Wichita (Kan.) FCU has announced Jane Hammil will become its next president. Hammil is currently senior vice president and chief administrative officer at CU of America, also based in Wichita. She expects to begin her new role as president early next month. Hammil has been with CUA, Kansas' second-largest state-chartered credit union, for more than four years and has 27 years of experience in financial services. Hammil will replace Wayne Warfel, who is retiring after 19 years (The Wichita Eagle via Kansas.com May 23) ...
  • WILLIAMSPORT, Pa (5/28/13)--A member of the board of directors from Williamsport, Pa.-based Horizon FCU will be on the ballot in November for the Republican Loyalsock Township Supervisors seat. Paul Nyman received 579 votes during  lastTuesday's primary election and will continue his political campaign for the November election.  Nyman served as the Susquehanna Valley Chapter president in 2002, 2004, and 2013 and actively participates at the Governmental Affairs Conference and Hike the Hill events, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Life is a Highway May 24) ...

ACUC Speaker Gladwell: CUs Are David To Banks' Goliath

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NEW YORK (5/28/13)--Credit unions are David to the banks' Goliath, and credit unions should look to use their smaller size to their advantage in a financial services arena that is as unsettled as it ever has been, said author and reporter Malcolm Gladwell. He will keynote at this year's America's Credit Union Conference, June 30-July 3 in New York City.

Gladwell was interviewed for a feature article in Credit Union Magazine by Paul Gentile, executive vice president, strategic communications and engagement, at the Credit Union National Association, which presents the conference.

Gladwell is known for turning conventional wisdom on its head as he does in his soon-to-be-released book, "David vs. Goliath."

"I am interested in the idea that a lot of our intuition about what is an advantage and what a disadvantage is are wrong--that we confuse those two things," Gladwell said. "We can make a list of things that help us or hurt us. I think the wrong things are on the list." 

Future success is not ensured by being more powerful in the marketplace, because bigger is not always better,  Gladwell explained.

"They [bigger institutions]  innovate less," he added. "They have less of a need to talk to their customers. They are less nimble. Prestige can limit you. People who are No. 1 in a marketplace have a smaller degree of freedom.

"True innovation comes from the marginal people who push innovation into the center," he concluded.

To read the full article, use the link. For more information about America's Credit Union Conference, use the link.

Minnesota Foundation CU Builder Award Goes To Krall

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (5/28/13)--Gail Krall, a 34-year leader of Minnesota Power Employees CU in Duluth, was honored with the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation's Credit Union Builder Award, which recognizes those who have dedicated time and energy to building the credit union movement.

Nominations for the award are made by credit unions and other organizations in honor of, or in memory of, a significant individual who has been instrumental in their success.

Krall became president/CEO of MPECU in 1979. During her tenure, it has grown to $85 million in assets from $1.9 million. Krall will retire later this year.

Krall has played a leadership role in the Minnesota credit union movement, serving on the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MNCUN) and Network Service Corp. Board of Directors for five years. She also has been a supporter of shared branching, through her role with the Minnesota Credit Union Service Corp.

Krall is an advocate for credit unions in the political arena through her work on the MnCUN's Political Involvement Committee, and recently was inducted into the Credit Union House Hall of Leaders in Washington, D.C.

She also was appointed to the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank's Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council.

Krall joins 17 other individuals who have been honored during the past six years with the MnCUF's Credit Union Builder Award.

Popularity, Growth of CUs Reported in Several Dailies

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PORTLAND, Maine (5/28/13)--The Maine Credit Union League's outreach helped secure the placement of two recent articles on the popularity and growth of credit unions in state daily newspapers.

An article that ran in both the Bangor Daily News and the Sun Journal noted that total membership in Maine credit unions had increased by 5% in the past six years, (Weekly Update May 24).

John Murphy, league president, was interviewed by Whit Richardson, Bangor Daily News business editor. In the article, Murphy cited the cooperative structure of credit unions as one of the movement's strengths and among the reasons why credit union membership in the state was 625,000 at the end of 2012, the highest year-end total ever.

Consumers prefer to deposit their money in local institutions, Murphy said.

Richards also interviewed Steve Clark, president/CEO of Bangor (Maine) FCU. Clark said his credit union experienced member growth at the end of 2012, followed by loan growth in early 2013.

Wanted Worldwide: CU Social Media Strategy

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MADISON, Wis. (5/28/13)--
Participants from five countries pose in front of the World Council of Credit Unions headquarters during last week's Build the Brand Workshop to develop strategies for reaching a younger audience through social media.  The workshop was funded by Vancity CU, Vancouver, B.C
Thirteen credit union and trade association marketing executives from five countries met last week at World Council of Credit Union's (WOCCU)  Madison, Wis., headquarters to develop strategies for credit unions to reach a younger audience through social media.

Executives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Korea and the U.S. met for a Build the Brand Workshop funded by a grant from Vancouver, B.C.-based Vancity CU. The event built on last year's inaugural Build the Brand Workshop, which identified credit union messaging that resonates with today's consumers worldwide.

"Social media presents credit unions worldwide with an opportunity to deepen their relationship with members, especially Generation Y," said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO. He noted that the results will be shared with the rest of the global community at WOCCU's  2013 World Credit Union Conference in Ottawa, Canada July 14-17. For more information, use the link.

David Southall, president/CEO of Innovations FCU, Panama City, Fla., and Build the Brand Workshop participants brainstorm ways to provide members relevant and timely social media content. One idea was to use employees across departments.
The day and a half workshop was moderated by Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communication + Technology and an expert in integrating technology into communications strategies. 

Workshop participants from outside the U.S. included:

  • Russell Allert, online communications coordinator, Queenslanders CU, Australia;
  • Daniel Ferretti, chief marketing officer, SICREDI, Brazil;
  • Heather Harmse, digital marketing manager, Vancity CU, Canada;
  • Gail Stepanik-Keber, chief brand and corporate social responsibility officer, Servus CU, Canada;
  • Tania Goodine, vice president brand, Libro Financial Group, Canada; and
  • Kevin Heo, international program officer, the National Credit Union Federation of Korea.
Russell Allert, online communications coordinator, Queenslanders CU, Australia, explains the importance of credit unions employing social media to engage with and listen to their members at the Build the Brand Workshop, hosted by the World Council of Credit Unions in Madison, Wis. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
Participants from the U.S. included:

  • David Southall, president/CEO, Innovations FCU;
  • Tansley Stearns, director of impact, Filene Research Institute;
  • Connie Fedor, communications manager, University of Wisconsin CU;
  • Sean McDonald; director of business development, MidState FCU;
  • Janet Garkey, manager of member education, Credit Union National Association;
  • Tara Bross, marketing specialist, Linn Area CU; and
  • Josh Allison, relationship development manager, Horizon CU.
Participants from all five countries addressed the challenges their credit unions face in meeting consumer expectations for social media engagement with limited resources, including a lack of employee training, relevant content curation tools and technological incompatibility with mobile and tablet devices.

They agreed that credit unions must incorporate a content strategy that articulates cooperatives' social responsibility philosophy, which they found resonates with younger audiences' personal values.

"The difficulty in attracting younger members is not unique to credit unions in the U.S.," said workshop participant Sean McDonald in a blog post after the event. "Our challenges are the same, our focus points are the same, and our goals are aligned."

Members Save $449M In SaveUp Program

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LIVONIA, Mich. (5/28/13)--SaveUp, a member engagement program from CU Solutions Group of Livonia, Mich., has helped users save $449 million and pay down $296 million in debt as of May.

The program, which rewards members for saving and cutting debt, has completed more than 75,000 financial education session, CU Solutions Group said.

"SaveUp's rewards system is based on behavioral science and innovations in technology to engage members, particularly Gen X and Gen Y," said Priya Haji, SaveUp CEO. "It creates an opportunity for credit unions to be a long-term partner in their members' financial future, while originating new products and services as the member's ally."

More than 40 credit unions nationally incorporate the SaveUp program into their marketing and business development plans.

More than 45% of SaveUp users connect weekly with their credit union branded content, CU Solutions Group said. SaveUp has generated more than 2,600 inquiries for new products and services for credit unions through personalized recommendations. Product inquiries include new credit card applications, refinancing car loans, mortgages, and savings related products, CU Solutions Group said.

CU Solutions Group announced its partnership with SaveUp in October (News Now Oct. 5).

N.C. CU Talks Tax Exemption, MBLs In Newspaper

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (5/28/13)--Bob Bruns, president/CEO of Charlotte (N.C.) Metro CU, discussed the necessity of maintaining credit unions' federal tax exemption and the benefits of raising their member business lending (MBL) cap to better meet local business needs, in a May 21 article in the Charlotte Business Journal.

In the question-and-answer article, Bruns said that maintaining credit unions' federal tax exemption is a more pressing issue at the moment.

"Right now, I'm more concerned about tax-exemption," Bruns told the Journal. "Credit unions are tax-exempt. And they're talking about changing the tax code."

He added: "We're doing a little prevent defense where we're making sure they understand what a credit union is and that we return the benefit to consumers 10-fold. Our motivation is different than the banks. Look at the mess they got in, and credit unions did relatively well. We're hopeful they'll see the light and leave us tax-exempt. I'm afraid if we were taxed, credit unions would be absorbed and you'd be left with just one choice, and that's no choice at all."

CUNA has joined with affiliated state credit union leagues to launch a large-scale, nationwide grassroots-mobilization campaign urging credit union members across the country to deliver a united message to the U.S. Congress: "Don't tax my credit union!" The campaign is being launched at a time when the U.S. House and Senate have made broad-based tax reform a major priority. The initiative will urge lawmakers as part of any final tax reform plan to preserve the federal tax exemption credit unions receive as not-for-profit, member-owned cooperatives.

Bruns was asked if he thought it was necessary to raise credit unions' MBL cap.

"I don't think we should have a cap at all," Bruns told the Journal. "The Treasury did a study and 67% of business in America is small business. If you want to get the economy cooking again, we need to stimulate small-business lending. The big banks consider it too small to be worth it. The community banks are still hurting pretty bad from the downturn and are reluctant to lend. Credit unions stand ready to fill that void. We've just got to convince Congress."

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall's (D-Colo.) Small Business Lending Enhancement Act (S. 968), introduced in the Senate May 16, would increase the credit union member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets, from the current 12.25% (News Now May 17). Doing so would generate $13 billion in new loans and create 140,000 jobs, the Credit Union National Association said.

To read the article, use the link.

CFE FCU Pays $4M To Rename Florida Arena

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ORLANDO, Fla. (5/28/13)--Lake Mary, Fla.-based CFE FCU has acquired the naming rights to UCF Arena, a 10,000-seat facility on the University of Central Florida campus, for $3.95 million.

The deal expands a longstanding relationship between the $1.4 billion asset credit union and the university.  UCF President John C. Hitt announced the agreement Thursday.  The university will receive $3.95 million over the next seven years, and the arena will be renamed CFE Arena.

The arena hosts UCF men's and women's basketball games, concerts by popular artists such as Elton John and Lady Gaga, and university and 20 high school graduation ceremonies each year as well as other events.

"We have been a consistent supporter of education in Central Florida since our founding in 1937 and recognize UCF's unique presence as an ever-expanding community of students, staff and alumni," said Joseph A. Melbourne Jr., president/CEO of CFE FCU, in a press release.

"Our partnership with UCF offers us an even greater opportunity to provide the next generation with lifelong financial management skills and the products and services they will need throughout their lives," he added.

The naming of the arena is the latest initiative in the credit union's focus to becoming more recognized and accessible on the UCF campus.  In November 2011, it acquired UCF FCU, which had a 40-year history with the university, and its on-campus  and just-off-campus locations.

The credit union will open a branch inside the CFE Arena, with flexible operating hours, especially during arena events. It also will install ATMs and its indoor space will include a lounge where arena visitors can sit, study and charge their electronic devices.

"Our branch in the CFE Arena will be more than a place to conduct financial business," said Katie Thomason, director of UCF development for CFE. "We want to create a cafe vibe with a comfortable lounge area and a self-service coffee bar."  The space also will be used for money management coaching and training for students. "Helping our members manage their finances responsibly is a priority for CFE."

Two CUs To Change Their Names

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MADISON, Wis. (5/28/13)--Two credit unions in Massachusetts and North Carolina announced last week they are changing their names.

After 57 years, Greensboro (N.C.) Health Care CU will become HealthShare CU, effective July 1. Also NMTW Community CU, Lowell, Mass., will change its name to Align CU in September.

Greensboro Health Care CU CEO Genice DeCorte said its board members did not make the change lightly, according to the North Carolina Credit Union League (Weekly Conversation May 24). They believed the existing name did not truly reflect its field of membership and they are seeking to align its name with current membership and its strategic plan.

The $30 million asset credit union serves members throughout North Carolina and the country. "With more services being offered electronically, members don't necessarily bank where they live," said DeCorte.

The name HealthShare CU is a broad reflection of its field of membership--health care employees and their "share" of ownership in the credit union.  The new name will also position the credit union for future growth in the health care industry, it said.

In Massachusetts, the $543 million asset NMTW Community CU, which originally served Northern Massachusetts Telephone Workers, changed its charter in 2005 to a community charter. It is open to anyone living, working or going to school in communities in eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire (framinghampatch.com May 22).

NMTW Community President/CEO Ken Del Rossi emphasized that the name is the only thing changing. The credit union has partnered with Single Source Marketing of Danvers to develop a collaborative brand.

The new name reflects the credit union's core of what sets it apart and its member-driven approach, and is about providing the right products and services, tailored to each member's need, said Lauren Robinson, assistant vice president and marketing director.

Both credit unions emphasized they are not involved in any merger or acquisition.

CUs Rallying To Raise Funds For Tornado Victims

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MADISON, Wis. (5/28/13)--While Oklahoma credit unions and staff, volunteers and members try to rebuild their lives after last week's tornados in Moore and Shawnee, credit unions around the country are doing what they do best: putting the cooperative, people helping people philosophy in action.

Many credit unions and state-level credit union foundations are working to collect funds to assist in the recovery. Foundations from other states are approving contributions for the recovery to assist the Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation in helping roughly 26-30 employees who have so far reported damages or have lost their homes.

The Louisiana Credit Union Foundation told Louisiana credit unions it made a donation on their behalf and would continue to work with Oklahoma's foundation (eNews May 22).

The Ohio Credit Union Foundation announced it had approved a $5,000 grant to assist.  "We know the need by our credit union friends in Oklahoma is great," said Stan Barnes, chair of the OCUF Board of Trustees. "The images from the scene are heartbreaking. It is the hope of the (Ohio) foundation that this contribution can help in the recovery process, and assist with the immediate needs of credit union members and staff impacted by this tragedy."

Those wishing to donate funds to assist credit union people in Oklahoma should make checks payable to the Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation, mark them designated for the Tornado Disaster Relief Fund and send to:

Credit Union Association of Oklahoma

631 E. Hill Street

Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For more information, contact Carrie Buchholz at 405-702-8622, ext. 215 or at carrie@cuaok.org.

The Texas Credit Union Foundation also is taking online donations and assisting the Oklahoma foundation in its disaster relief grant process.

Several credit unions have announced they are raising funds for victims.  Meritrust CU in Wichita, Kan., said last week it was delivering a corporate donation totaling $10,000 to the Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation this past Friday.

"Standing back and not helping our neighbors who are suffering in Oklahoma was not an option," said James Nastars, president/CEO of the $860 million asset Meritrust. "It's times like these when we all need to rally together. These donations from our members, staff and board of directors are coupled with our thoughts and prayers," he said.

The credit union's branches became donation sites for needed supplies, including water, baby formula, diapers, wet wipes, non-perishable food, pet food, paper towels, blankets, flashlights and batteries. Meritrust expected to deliver those Friday to the Credit Union House in Oklahoma City, where the Oklahoma foundation will distribute the items.

Clear across the country, Focal Point FCU, a $46.4 million asset credit union in Syracuse, N.Y.,   set up a relief fund and invited members and the community to make donations to be sent to the Oklahoma foundation. (Syracuse.com May 24).

It said it was prompted to assist after seeing photos posted by Tinker FCU of its destroyed Moore branch on its Facebook page. The branch's safe deposit box vault--with 22 people hunkered inside--was the only thing still standing after the storm. That story made headlines across the nation.

Focal Point's branches in Syracuse, Chittenango and Canandaigua are raising money for the victims. "Credit unions have a unique kinship so, for us, it's one of our own that is in trouble," said FocalPoint CEO Marilyn Marra-Crolick in a press release.