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Syphr Code Green create Facebook Web apps for CUs

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FERNDALE, N.Y. (6/1/10)--Financial technology developers Syphr and Code Green have partnered to create Facebook and Web-based applications to help credit unions drive traffic to their websites. Syphr plans to launch the “apps” in June on select credit union sites. The apps “play a big role in helping credit unions connect and interact with members and potential members to get their sites noticed,” according to Chris Langley, Syphr president (BusinessWire May 25). “We believe apps tied to members’ credit, identity and finances save them time and money--which ultimately adds value to credit unions that implement them.” With Code Green, the apps also give members personalized money-saving opportunities based on their credit rating, wherever they are online. Many credit unions struggle with ways to engage members on their websites. They also struggle with social networking, the companies said. They created the apps on a two-fold approach: to draw members into the process directly from the credit union website through use of interactive web apps, and empower members to tell the benefits story to their friends and family through interactive Facebook apps. “More and more credit unions are entering the social media arena--especially Facebook--to attract a younger generation of members,” Langley said. “We see this trend as an opportunity for us to augment the movement for credit unions, helping them enhance their value for members.”

Shared Branching locator app launched for Android market

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ONTARIO, Calif. (6/1/10)--Financial Services Centers Cooperative (FSCC) has introduced a Shared Branching locator application on the Android market. The “app” was developed by LocatorSearch LLC, is available as a free download, and offers more than 6,400 locations for Shared Branching transactions. The app will provide credit union members a list of the most convenient locations to them, whether they are trying to locate a branch or a 7-Eleven location near their home, work, school or even while they are traveling, said FSCC President/CEO Sarah Canepa Bang. The application also provides addresses, contact information, hours or operation and driving directions to the location of the user’s choice. It has already generated 300 downloads and 5,000 searches since it was added to the Android Market the week of May 17-21. FSCC offers a Shared Branching network for credit unions, and has more than 6,400 deposit-taking locations in the U.S. and abroad.

TMG incentive contest hikes new accounts 56

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DES MOINES, Iowa (5/28/10)--A recent 45-day employee incentive contest generated a 56% increase in new accounts compared with a similar period before the contest, said TMG Financial Services, a credit card issuing agent company for credit unions. The contest encouraged credit union staff to promote the ATIRAcredit MasterCard program to members who did not have the credit union’s credit card. Employees received $10 for each application that was approved, and then received a change to win a grand prize of 100,000 rewards points--valued at $1,000. Ellen Holtz, Nishna Valley CU, Atlantic, Iowa, won the prize. More than 25% of the participating credit unions exceeded their goals, and received a free lunch for the entire credit union from TMG. In the past year, TMG grew balances for portfolios on book by an average of 12%, while industry sources report credit unions saw a 1% increase and national issuers experienced a more than 10% decrease. Driving the growth were the economy; the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosures Act; and a marketing campaign, TMG said. “Consumers were rightly outraged throughout most of 2009 by actions of the country’s largest credit card issuers, and made their voice heard by seeking different options,” said Jeff Russell, TMG president/CEO. “We saw growth throughout the holidays, when many issuers saw declines. When we look at year-over-year analysis of our individual credit unions, we have seen new account growth at each credit union. “Our experience continues to reinforce the idea that most cardholders want to pay their bills and will pay their bills,” he added. “Our delinquencies are well below the overall industry standard, and at or below the credit union industry average.”

Lending depts. CUSO relationships in council paper

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MADISON, Wis. (5/28/10)--A relationship between a credit union and a credit union service organization (CUSO) can leverage expertise, innovation, economies of scale and the aggregate power to make services available to credit union members through their credit unions at a reduced cost, according to a new CUNA Lending Council white paper. “Finding the Right Shoe: Guidelines for a Successful CUSO Fit” explores six guidelines for successful relationships between credit unions and CUSOs:
* Determine if the CUSO’s values and mission sync with the credit union’s; * Choose a partner, not a vendor; * Keep expectations reasonable; * If in doubt, ask, ask, then ask again; * Make sure the underwriter has lots of experience with the types of loans offered; and * Monitor loans--monitoring is critical.
The paper also says that credit unions should seek to create partnerships with the right CUSO, as opposed to just monitoring a transactional relationship. “To ensure success, the credit union needs to be as clear and specific as possible about what they require from a CUSO--operationally, fiscally and professionally, as well as the scope of services,” the paper said. Credit unions must ask questions until they’re completely satisfied with the answers. They also need to look closely at the CUSO’s professional qualifications, including the type and scope of expertise the CUSO has with lending services it is assisting with. Also, review the experience of the staff and underwriters. “If all a CUSO does is underwrite a given loan, then all it is doing is filling an ‘academic’ purpose as a vendor,” said Bill Beardsley, president, Michigan Business Connection LC. “A good CUSO makes sure its work with the credit union is more than academic--its work should help fulfill the credit union’s strategic and cultural objectives.” For more information, use the links.

CUNAs BSA eSchool begins June 1

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MADISON, Wis. (5/27/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will offer a Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) eSchool in seven classroom sessions starting June 1. The sessions will run through July 27 and are from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. CT. Credit unions attending the school will learn how to complete a suspicious activity report (SAR) and understand current issues in BSA compliance. Attendees can take an exam and earn the BSA Compliance Specialist certification. The school is designed for BSA compliance officers, examiners, regulators or any other credit union staff. The seven sessions are:
* BSA Update from the National Credit Union Administration, Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, June 1; * Money Laundering in the Virtual World, June 15; * BSA Risk Assessment, June 22; * Know What’s New in BSA Guidance and Changes to the Regulations, June 29; * BSA 101, Part 1, July 13; * BSA 101, Part 2, July 20; and * Identifying BSA Red Flags and Completing SARs, July 27.
For more information, use the links.

Healthcare reform law topic of Discovery webinar

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MADISON, Wis. (5/27/10)--CUNA Mutual Group’s next Discovery Webinar will delve into the new health care reform law and the significant changes it will create on the benefits landscape and compliance requirements for credit unions. The free session, “Health Care Reform: Maneuvering the Compliance Maze,” will be held from 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. EDT June 29. Presenters will be CUNA Mutual’s Brad Pricer, employee benefits product leader, and Dale Keener, employee benefits specialist. The complex rules and expectations of the new health care law for employers can be challenging and risky to navigate, said CUNA Mutual. The webinar will provide an overview of the expectations the law places on employers, the risks of being out of compliance and practical steps to meet the new requirements. Pricer and Keener will cover:
* An overview of the new law and its impact on credit unions; * Grandfathered plans--Which rules apply? * What changes will credit unions need to make now? What can wait? and * Practical tips to help meet new obligations.
To register, use the link. Registration ends at 11 a.m. EDT, June 29.

Panini Jack Henry partnership now includes Symitar

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DAYTON, Ohio (5/26/10)--Panini, a distributed check capture provider and strategic alliance provider of CUNA Strategic Services (CSS), has expanded its partnership with Jack Henry and Associates to include Symitar. Symitar provides core processing and technology solutions for credit unions of all sizes. It will offer the Panini Vision X, and will certify and release the Panini I:Deal, the check scanner endorsed by CSS. Panini and Jack Henry have an established partnership that provides distributed capture solutions to the financial industry, said David Foss, president of ProfitStars, a division of Jack Henry that provides performance improving solutions to financial institutions. Jack Henry's ProfitStars and Jack Henry Banking already use the Panini check scanner line, Foss said. Jack Henry Banking provides enterprise-wide technology platforms to community and mid-tier banks. Panini's recently launched Check 21 initiative designed specifically for credit unions will be leveraged by ProfitStars and Symitar to assist credit unions with implementing teller capture (truncating check deposits at each branch teller line), remote deposit capture, or member capture (enabling members to scan and transmit check deposits from their home or office). The initiative provides special promotions throughout 2010, joint marketing programs, a strategic channel program, special resources for credit unions, and Panini's check capture solutions. For more information, use the link.

Synergent partners with Verafin

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WESTBROOK, Maine (5/25/10)--Synergent, a subsidiary of the Maine Credit Union League, and Verafin, a CUNA Strategic Service provider, have signed a strategic alliance to reduce costs and the time credit unions need to deploy Synergent software. Synergent provides compliance, anti-money laundering and fraud detection software to credit unions. “Verafin will eliminate the manual work involved in reviewing core system reports by generating qualified suspicious activity and fraud alerts so credit unions have more time to focus on their members,” said Gary Glenn, Synergent senior vice president. Verafin offers credit unions customer risk scoring, suspicious activity detection, watch list scanning, case management, compliance reporting, record-keeping and vendor management. Synergent provides business and service solutions to credit unions in New England.

CUNA Mutual State National complete account transitions

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MADISON, Wis. and BEDFORD, Texas (5/24/10)--CUNA Mutual Group and State National Companies have transitioned several hundred tracked collateral protection insurance credit union accounts from CUNA Mutual to State National. In July, the two formed an alliance to expand automobile collateral protection insurance (CPI) to credit unions nationwide. CPI protects the collateral on credit unions’ loan portfolios against uninsured physical damage exposures. State National, which carries CPI as its core focus, assumed underwriting, claims processing, customer service and insurance tracking responsibilities for all of CUNA Mutual’s tracked collateral protection insurance business. Tracked programs generate notices to members who are not in compliance with their loan agreement to maintain a minimum level of physical damage insurance. When proof of insurance is not provided, a policy is placed on the collateral to protect the credit union in case the collateral is damaged and has to be repossessed. State National also offers InsurTrak, a tracking and program management platform, and myloaninsurance.com, an online tool that allows members to submit proof of private insurance, which makes the program administration efficient and cost-effective, the companies said.

CUs can create own training programs with new portal

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MADISON, Wis. (5/24/10)--Credit union trainers can build customized training programs with the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Credit Union Trainer’s Portal, which will be refreshed regularly with new and updated content. Trainers can access quizzes, activities, worksheets, and audio and video segments that they can download and incorporate into training programs and presentations. Trainers also can integrate the learning elements into online courses or use them as stand-alone training tools. All elements can be downloaded as Microsoft Word, PDF, SWF--Flash--and FLV files. Topics include compliance, financial counseling, human resources, training, lending, management training, sales and service, security, technology and serving Spanish-speaking members. “Many credit unions don’t have the budget or in-house expertise to do their own Flash programming for e-learning,” said Marlo Foltz, CUNA director of blending learning. “The portal fills the need for solid content in ready-to-use formats for both online and face-to-face training applications. Trainers have the flexibility to incorporate these learning elements in whatever manner they deem most effective.” The learning elements were developed by CUNA’s e-learning team, which creates CPDOnline. CUNA is offering the portal at an introductory subscription price for a limited time. CPDOnline Unlimited credit unions receive the portal as part of their membership. For more information, use the link.

NEFE HSFPP announces co-branding opportunities

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DENVER (5/21/10)--Credit unions acting as sponsors of the National Endowment of Financial Education (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP) instructor/sponsor website or the NEFE HSFPP National Network can now co-brand the HSFPP materials and get the materials shipped directly to them. To emphasize their role in delivering quality financial education to their community, credit unions can add their logo to the logos of NEFE and its two partner organizations, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, on the program's materials. No branding is allowed on the front covers of the HSFPP materials. However, credit unions can add their logo and acceptable working such as "Provided Courtesy of" or "Delivered to you by," or "Your Partner in Financial Literacy," to designated spots on the materials. Credit unions ordering the NEFE materials also will see a streamlined process, with the ordering process split into two paths. Starting at NEFE's website (see resource link), click on Instructor's Login and log into the Instructor/Sponsor website. If you need your login information, click the login information retrieval link on that same page. When in the instructor/sponsor home page, click on "Order Materials." You then will see the new entry point for sponsors, which lets you choose either of two ordering paths. In Path No. 1, click on "Order an Information Kit" for marketing materials such as information kids, brochures and limited supplies of instructor's guides and data disks. In Path No. 2, click on "Network" and log in to order classroom materials for schools and organizations where the program will be taught. This path, which is nearly identical to the old ordering system, now will allow you to choose the school and teacher you are working with, or create a record for any teacher not listed. It then provides an option of having the materials shipped either to that teacher at the school or directly to the credit union so it can add its brand and deliver the materials to the school. For more information, contact John Parfrey, director of HSFPP at NEFE, at 303-224-3516 or at jp@nefe.org.

CUNA launches monthly updates on pressing economic issues

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MADISON, Wis. (5/21/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has introduced a new Pressing Economic Issues Series, with CUNA economists Bill Hampel, Mike Schenk and Steve Rick. The series
provides 30-minute monthly updates on the economic issues that affect credit unions. During each update, economists will share their perspectives on the current economic environment in a recorded presentation. The series aims to keep credit union board members, management and staff informed on the most current issues impacting credit unions. Hampel, senior vice president of research and policy analysis and chief economist at CUNA, writes economic analysis columns that appear in several credit union publications. Schenk is vice president of economics and statistics, and conducts economic and financial research. He has more than 25 years experience in the financial services industry. Rick conducts economic research, teaches at credit union schools and conferences, and writes for CUNA publications. He also is a faculty member of the economics department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Credit unions can subscribe to the 12-session series for one year or purchase recorded individual sessions. The May session is free, but credit unions can subscribe now for the June session. For more information, use the link.

CU Members Mortgage lending conference scheduled

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FORT WORTH, Texas (5/20/10)--CU Members Mortgage will host its 14th Annual National Mortgage Lending Conference in Fort Worth, Texas, Sept. 27-28. The conference aims to help credit union representatives stay abreast of industry changes and interact with other mortgage lenders, said Linda Clampitt, senior vice president at CU Members Mortgage. CU Members Mortgage is offering $100 off registration fees for those who register before June 1. Speakers include:
* Jim Whitt, who spent more than a decade in sales and marketing with two Fortune 500 companies; * Glen Ogden, vice president of mortgage lending, Community First CU, Appleton, Wis.; * James Gaines, a research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University; and * Jan Hargrove, an author, body language specialist and educator.
CU Members Mortgage provides mortgage services to more than 1,000 credit unions, credit union service organizations and leagues nationwide. For more information, use the link.

Quicken Loans offers mortgage services for CUs small banks

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LIVONIA, Mich. (5/19/10)--Quicken Loans has introduced Quicken Loans Mortgage Services, a division that serves the home financing needs of credit unions and community banks nationwide. Because of new rules determining who can originate mortgages, financial institutions may want to offer home loans, but they may not be large enough to justify hiring mortgage consultants and underwriters, Quicken said. Through Quicken Loans Mortgage Services, partner financial institutions can meet with existing clients, investigate their current situation and goals, and begin the mortgage application. Credit unions and banks remain the point-of-contact for the client, while Quicken manages the work to complete the loan. The clients then sign closing documents at their credit union or bank. Credit unions can offer Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Administration and Fannie Mae HomePath mortgages through Quicken Loans. Quicken Loans is an online and retail mortgage lender.

Offering MBLs leads to growth--Biz Lending Institute

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MADISON, Wis. (5/19/10)--Credit unions engaged in member business lending in 2009 reported higher growth rates for assets, loans, surplus funds, savings, and members than the national credit union average, according to Credit Union National Association (CUNA) market research. This year’s CUNA Business Lending Certification Institutes will help credit unions understand the components involved in offering business lending services and how they can implement them to grow. The institutes are July 19-23 in Madison, Wis. and are presented in partnership with the Executive Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business, and Small Business Development Center. CUNA Business Lending Certification Institutes’ attendees will learn how a business works, what makes a business successful, how to help a business stay on track, and how to identify quality business lending opportunities. “The National Credit Union Administration is moving the bar up and we as lenders need to constantly hone our lending skills,” said Dana Sumner, president of DFTC Inc. and facilitator for CUNA Business Lending Certification Institutes. “The lending environment is getting more difficult and we need to have the skills to originate, approve and service more challenging credits. Most member business lending (MBL) departments I have been involved with generate more revenue per staff member, and even in difficult budgetary times, training is not an area that will benefit from cost cutting, especially in the volatile world of MBL,” Sumner said. The institutes provide the foundation for credit unions to become trusted financial partners for member businesses. Attendees will discover how to use tools and techniques to add value to existing business relationships and identify opportunities for new business, CUNA said. For more information, use the links.

IMM creates iPad app for TotaleAtlas

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ORLANDO, Fla. (5/18/10)--Integrated Media Management (IMM) launched the TotaleAtlas application for the new Apple iPad at the XP2 Education and Technology Forum in Orlando, Fla. IMM’s new application aims to give users a more portable way to complete, review and sign loan documents. The iPad, a tablet computer, offers users a full-size touch screen instead of a traditional keyboard. TotaleAtlas, a document preparation engine, automates the space between a financial institution’s core system and imaging application, and creates secure PDF documents with embedded signatures. Automating the process eliminates paper and manual processes, IMM said. “Credit union and community bank staff work with applicants to complete loan or account origination documents on a computer using TotaleAtlas, then print them out for the potential borrower to review,” said Nish Shah, IMM chief technology officer. “The iPad application ensures that it is a truly paperless process because the applicant can review the documents on the tablet, sign directly on the iPad and electronically complete the process.” IMM, based in Linden, N.J., also will allow financial institutions to send employees off-site to open accounts and complete applications or other documents, have them signed and then download them for archiving.

Efficiency paper first of CUNA Community CU Committee series

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MADISON, Wis. (5/17/10)--The Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Community Credit Union Committee has released the first of four complimentary white papers, the committee announced Friday. "Best Practices in Credit Union Efficiency," the first paper, details cost-structure benchmarks and current best practices for community credit unions operating in an environment filled with anxiety, guarded optimism and pure exhaustion from the tolls of the "Great Recession," the committee said. The white paper comes at a critical time. The mandate for improved efficiencies in community credit unions is clearly supported by industry data, the committee said. Roughly 2,000 of the 8,000 credit unions nationwide have community powers, and there are noticeable differences in the expense and revenue structures of these institutions. For community credit unions, improving profitability and protecting net worth in the years ahead will require a laser focus on ongoing tenacity around efficiency improvement. "Best Practices in Credit Union Efficiency" serves as a guide for credit unions looking to improve operating efficiencies. It focuses on how community credit unions can generate adequate returns by:
* Setting high]level objectives as part of the strategic planning process; * Using benchmarking data to assess efficiency across all areas of the credit union and reporting these measurements regularly; * Setting accountabilities and incentives around efficiency improvement at all levels of the credit union; * Establishing a culture of continuous process improvement to drive new efficiencies with disciplined project management; * Leveraging growing self-service channels (phone, Web, mobile, cards) to deliver financial services in a less labor]intensive manner and actively manage channel delivery costs; * Using sophisticated data mining and contextual marketing strategies to lower the cost of member acquisition, cross selling and retention; and * Developing stronger profitability reporting information at the branch, product and member level, and driving management decisions around this profitability information.
The CUNA Community Credit Union Committee was formed in 2006 to provide support for the growing group of community credit unions. Its purpose is to support and service community credit unions, and those considering a community charter, through representation of their unique: legal, legislative and regulatory needs, and education, resources and information. To download a complimentary copy, visit the link.

Eight-part IRA audio series starts June 1

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MADISON, Wis. (5/17/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is offering an eight-part audio series on individual retirement accounts (IRAs) starting June 1 at 1 p.m. CT and continuing through July 27. Participants will learn about traditional and Roth IRAs and health savings accounts (HSA). New accounts personnel will be taught how to open an IRA, understand beneficiary concerns, complete the required documentation for an IRA, and identify the ages, penalties and requirements for IRAs, CUNA said. Member contact employees will examine the building blocks or foundation that is most critical with IRAs, learn how to answer member questions about IRAs and discover how to refer a member from the teller line to the new accounts desk. The services can be purchased as individual sessions or a group of sessions. Sessions offered include:
* Types of IRAs, Traditional vs. Roth, June 1; * IRA: Documentation Requirements, June 15; * IRA: Contribution and Distribution Rules, June 22; * IRA: Rollovers and Transfers, June 29; * Penalties Associated with IRAs, July 6; * How to Give Advice on IRAs Without Giving Advice, July 13; * How to Promote IRAs and HSAs to Build Member Relations, July 20; and * How to Apply Your IRA Knowledge, July 27.
John Baptisa Jr. will teach the sessions. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the financial industry, 29 years in management and more than 35 years of customer relations experience. For more information, use the link.

Fiserv unveils P2P payments service

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (5/14/10)--Fiserv has introduced ZashPay, a person-to-person payments service that will allow consumers to send or receive money with existing online bank accounts. “Consumers are looking for faster and easier ways to send and receive money among their friends, family, neighbors and colleagues, yet current electronic payment options are often a hassle and too slow,” said Erich Litch, senior vice president and general manager of Consumer Services at Fiserv. “ZashPay will be accessible through the online banking sites of participating banks and credit unions.” With ZashPay, consumers can send money to anyone they know using only an e-mail address or mobile phone number. The payment is taken from a sender’s account and deposited into a recipient’s account in one business day (Wireless News May 13). ZashPay will be available to more than 3,100 financial institutions and 16 million consumers who use Fiserv’s CheckFree RXP online bill pay service. Consumers can visit ZashPay.com for a preview of the service or to request that their financial institutions offer it.

CUNA launches research partnership with Celent

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MADISON, Wis. (5/14/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has partnered with Celent, a Boston-based financial services research and consulting firm, to provide CUNA-affiliated credit unions with access to Celent research reports at reduced rates. “There’s demand for high-quality business strategy and technology information,” Doug Benzine, CUNA’s vice president of business publishing. “CUNA looked at a number of providers in the financial services research space and found that Celent stood out above the rest, in terms of the combination of its industry presence, credibility and expertise; the applicability of its information; and its willingness to work with us on a pricing model that would greatly benefit our affiliated credit unions.” Celent research reports provide trends analysis, best practices, and market analysis on banking technology and business strategy. The partnership will provide credit unions with valuable information, enabling them to create and sustain a competitive advantage, CUNA said. For more information, use the link.

Tech Council paper addresses social media technology

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MADISON, Wis. (5/13/10)--Credit unions have begun to use social media and online social networks more frequently, but before they launch a fleet of social media venues to engage potential members, they need to do their homework, said the CUNA Technology Council. The council has released a new white paper, “Social Media from a Technology Point of View,” to address the matter. Credit unions must look at the big picture of how social media fit into their overall marketing objectives and what value specific tools bring to the credit union and its members. They also need to research and take measures to protect their internal systems from security threats, the paper said. Specifically, the paper examines:
* The place of social media technology within the objectives of the credit union’s marketing and financial outreach programs and informal measures to take to make it effective; * Cutting-edge banking applications intended to add transactional capability to Facebook and Twitter; * Risks and dangers associated with social media technology and security measures that can be taken; * Administration tools available to information technology staff; and * Social media applications that can monitor and network employees;
Credit unions generally use social media for brand development, monitoring and social network banking. Social media help credit unions build their brands by going beyond traditional print and e-mail advertisements in a cost-effective manner. They empower credit unions to monitor their image online and address concerns regarding potential attacks on the Internet, the paper said. For more information, use the link.

Diebold launches fire detection solutions

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (5/13/10)--Credit unions that deploy Diebold’s ATMs can take advantage of the company’s fire detection solutions and services. Diebold introduced its Fire Detections Solutions and Services Wednesday, which include fire detection hardware, software, monitoring and services. “We believe fire is a critical element of a holistic approach to security,” said Bradley J. Stephenson, Diebold vice president of security solutions. “Our customer base has been encouraging us to introduce these solutions and services. “If you protect a building from being robbed, but you don’t protect it from being burned down, you’re missing a big piece,” he added. The cornerstones of Diebold’s fire protection solutions are specialized equipment and trained specialists who will deliver advanced monitoring and response technology. Diebold’s monitoring centers are Five-Diamond-certified by the Central Station Alarm Association and UL- and UL-C-certified by Underwriters Laboratories, Diebold said. Diebold’s service and sales associates participated in training required by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies. The company also developed training modules with the Automatic Fire Alarm Association.

28 states and D.C. sign up with private student loan program

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MADISON, Wis. (5/12/10)--Credit union leagues representing 28 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to support Fynanz Inc. and CUNA Strategic Services (CSS) strategic alliance to offer credit unions custom and turn-key private student loan programs. Credit union leagues announcing their support serve the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Nevada, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia. More state leagues are expected to support Fynanz in the coming months, said CSS and Fynanz. “The broad support from the state leagues validates our selection of Fynanz as the sole provider of private student loans through CUNA Strategic Services,” said Wes Millar, senior vice president of CSS. “This additional collaboration at the state level will reinforce our message to credit unions nationwide that private student loans can attract new Gen Y members, and that the Fynanz program offers unique benefits to meet the needs of this important market segment.” “The financial education component of the Fynanz program will appeal to many credit unions,” added Sylvia Fath, senior vice president of business services, California League Services Corp. “The in-school servicing model will also help each participating student as they develop good payment behavior and build a positive payment history.” Fynanz’s financial literacy component can enhance a credit union’s loan offering to members, said Vince Passione, CEO and founder of Fynanz. All programs come with marketing through cuStudentLoans.org, a lending marketplace powered by Fynanz. The programs also:
* Offer a proprietary Fynanz Academic Credit Score (FACS) to help mitigate risk; * Allow students to apply for a new loan each year, so they can obtain a lower rate if their FACS improves; * Provide in-school servicing with a monthly payment made while students are still in school, helping increase financial literacy and build credit; * Includes monthly e-mail billing and notifications to both borrower and co-signer to help reduce default rates and increase awareness of financial obligation; and * Provide electronic loan certification and funds disbursement.

QR Lending webinar on optimizing mortgage options

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MADISON, Wis. (5/11/10)--QR Lending will host a free webinar for credit unions interested in providing mortgages May 20 at 2 p.m. ET, titled, “Optimize Your Mortgage Operation and Ease Compliance Worries.” The event will provide credit unions with an understanding of mortgage options available to help them respond more easily to changing market conditions and make the most profit on their mortgage business. Credit union executives will learn how to:
* Start or augment an existing mortgage operation without adding staff; * Determine whether a retail, wholesale streamline correspondent or correspondent delivery channel best fits their credit union’s needs; * Stay current with regulatory changes; * Rely on QR Lending to subservice their portfolio loans and meet the new escrow account requirements; * Meet varying loan demand without impacting internal resources; * Leverage technology without an upfront investment; * Retain strong relationships with borrowers; and * Reduce turnaround time to 48 hours.
QR Lending is based in Madison, Wis.

Jack Henry to acquire iPay Technologies

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MONETT, Mo. (5/10/10)--Jack Henry & Associates Inc. announced Friday it had entered into a "definitive agreement" to acquire electronic bill pay provider iPay Technologies, a portfolio company of Spectrum Equity Investors and Bain Capital Ventures. Jack Henry provides integrated technology solutions and data processing services for financial institutions, including credit unions. iPay is a large independent electronic bill pay provider. Through strategic partnerships with more than 50 information processing and online banking solutions providers, iPay's turnkey online bill pay services and technology support more than 3,600 banks and credit unions. The agreement specifies that Jack Henry will purchase all equity of iPay for $300 million in cash, subject to certain closing and post-closing adjustments. iPay's retail bill payment services include person-to-person payments, account-to-account interbank transfers, electronic bill presentment, the ability to pay bills from multiple accounts, expedited payments, payment tracking, automatic text alerts and payment reminders. Its small-business bill pay suite permits users to delegate and manage payment tasks with strict entitlement controls, enforce dual account signature requirements to ensure established payment approvals, create customized electronic invoices and manage receivables. Jack Henry and iPay have been long-time business partners, and Jack Henry has used iPay's platform to process the electronic bill payments initiated by its NetTeller Bill Pay solution used by more than 1,075 credit unions and banks, said Jack Prim, CEO of Jack Henry & Associates. The acquisition is expected to be complete in June, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

Universal Mortgage Corp. announces closure

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MEQUON, Wis. (5/10/10)--Universal Mortgage Corp., a mortgage bank that counted credit unions among its clients, has informed state officials in Wisconsin it will begin to close permanently this month. The Mequon, Wis.-based Universal told the Department of Workforce Development in a letter that it had been unsuccessful in finding capital or a buyer to forestall closing (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel May 3). The shutdown will begin May 15 and continue through the end of the month. It will eliminate about 100 jobs.

Economy a perfect storm for HRTD managers says paper

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MADISON, Wis. (5/10/10)--Economic downturns can be the equivalent of a “perfect storm” for human resources managers charged with boosting performance and maintaining morale while instituting cost-saving measures that hit employees in their pocketbooks. So says a white paper from the CUNA Human Resources/Training Development (HR/TD). “Employee Relations and Performance Management During an Economic Downturn” explores how credit unions can use a performance management approach to develop a system for evaluating performance and offering rewards even as they adjust compensation and staffing during an economic downturn. The paper is based on information gathered from human resources leaders at six credit unions and an expert from a nationwide consulting firm. IT addresses the need for strong executive leadership, transparent communication, well-defined strategies for adjusting compensation and staffing levels, and the ability to maintain morale with recognition and reward programs, said the council. Participating credit unions say tough times have an unexpected benefit in forcing organizations to examine their values and their operations, including how they relate to employee compensation and performance management. Making difficult decisions about compensation and staffing levels can bring an unexpected clarity to the principles that guide policies, which can be articulated to employees and members, the paper said. For more information, use the link.

Xtend Inc. has best six months in history

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (5/10/10)--Xtend Inc., a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization, said sales for Oct. 1 to March 31 were more than 39% higher than the same period a year ago and surpassed the highest six-month period by more than 23%. Xtend’s bookkeeping services grew 30%, and its electronic communications business grew 14%, said Scott Collins, president. The company also announced that it will host its eighth annual stockholders’ meeting June 22 in Grand Rapids. Collins and board Chairman Brian Turmell, CEO of AAC CU, Grand Rapids, will host the meeting. Collins said he expects as many as 300 industry professionals to attend at least one of the networking events at the meeting. Xtend provides managerial, operational, marketing, technical planning and consulting services for credit unions.

Prime Alliance Solutions Dexma Inc. merge

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TUKWILA, Wash., and EDINA, Minn. (5/7/10)--Prime Alliance Solutions, a provider of mortgage lending solutions for credit unions, and Dexma Inc., a developer of mortgage lending technologies, have merged. Prime Alliance and Dexma have worked together for the past decade. They jointly developed Mortgage Lending Suite, which includes retail lending, third-party lending, loan fulfillment, secondary-market centers and real-time technologies. The companies expect to complete the merger later this year. Operations will continue to be based in Tukwila, Wash., and Edina, Minn.

Gender Generator tool released by CUAnswers

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (5/7/10)--CU*Answers has released a Gender Generator tool available in the 10.0 CU*BASE Software Upgrade. The generator assists in updating membership with an “unknown” gender designation and with an estimated 75% accuracy rate or better. The tool brings membership databases up to date by comparing a list with more than 11,000 names. For gender-ambiguous names (like Chris or Pat), credit unions can decide which gender to flood the unknown memberships with--or leave them unchanged, CU*Answers said. Once the generator is run, credit union staff can then work the membership as needed with accompanying reports from the tool. The gender designations are useful for relationship analysis and other data mining tools in the “Know Your Member” menu. CU*Answers is a credit union service organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich.

CUDL rolls out SMART approval program

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LAS VEGAS (5/7/10)--CUDL, which administers an auto-lending network for credit unions, announced the roll-out of its SMART Approval program, which aims to help credit unions improve member loan retention rates and streamline the loan process for members. SMART Approval allows credit unions to provide members with an online pre-approval application and loan decision through the credit union’s website. The program is customizable, and credit unions can set loan pre-approval standards based on their lending practices and parameters. The solution was unveiled Wednesday before 400 attendees of CUDL’s Prime Alliance Auto and Mortgage Lending Symposium in Las Vegas. CUDL is based in Ontario, Calif.

Synergent campaign prompts shared-branching awareness

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WESTBROOK, Maine (5/6/10)--More Maine consumers learned the convenience of Shared Branching through a Share It! campaign launched by Synergent,a provider of technology, business and service solutions to credit unions. Synergent and Weber Marketing, a strategic branding and marketing consulting agency for financial institutions, created the campaign to increase awareness and use of shared branching. It included statement inserts; radio, TV and lobby promotion, and an online contest and presence. To kick off the campaign, credit unions created a "Top 10 List" on reasons to use Shared Branching. Entries included everything from heartwarming stories to poems, to comedy on videos. The winning entry was by Community CU, a $44.7 million asset credit union in Lewiston, Maine. It created a film with an old-fashioned, black and white movie look, whose characters acted out 10 ways Shared Branching benefits members. It won $500 to share with a charity of its choice. The campaign then spread to credit union members, who shared their favorite sharing moment through video, pictures or words. The competition was promoted through online and social media, and in-branch ads. It received 90 entries. The winner was a member of Maine State CU, a $285 million asset credit union in Augusta, who told of using Shared Branching to help someone in need. In her entry, she wrote, "Without Shared Branching, I wouldn't have been able to help another person. Shared Branching helped a person, help a person, to help a person. What a wonderful thing." She won $500 to share with a friend or charity. Three entrants received second place prices of a GPS System. Synergent said the campaign succeeded in increasing awareness and saw an increase in transactions through Shared Branching during the two months the campaign ran.

Benny Franklin launches SW Corps security awareness drive

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DALLAS (5/6/10)--Southwest Corporate FCU is launching an education program to encourage credit unions to tighten their computer security defense systems. The campaign, “Good Advice is Timeless,” features Benny Franklin, a 2010 update of the famous founding father, Ben Franklin.
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The corporate also will host a webinar June 9 with Digital Defense Inc. to help credit unions respond to security threats. “Securing Your Credit Union’s Workstations,” led by Digital Defense’s Chief Compliance Officer Tom DeSot, will address how to prevent breaches; block malware, spyware and viruses; use firewalls; and establish a process for effective operating system and software patch management. “This webinar is built around the National Credit Union Administration’s security expectations,” said Jerry Delezen, Southwest Corporate senior vice president of information technology. While Southwest Corporate implements a multi-layered approach to security within its own systems, products and services, credit unions cannot be fully protected without controls on their end, Southwest Corporate said. “Internet schemes threaten computer systems daily, so we must do everything possible to secure our workstations,” Delezen said. “You never want to be in a position of having to explain how a key logger or malware got onto your credit union’s computer and enabled funds to be fraudulently transferred.” Southwest Corporate is also offering customizable posters to credit unions with several “Benny-isms.” The Benny-isms include:
* Better secured and assured than hacked and attacked; * If something looks fishy, someone’s probably phishing; * Keep on your guard, or computing becomes hard; and * Be Discreet, CTRL-ALT-DLT.
Southwest Corporate is based in Plano, Texas. Ben Franklin, a statesman, inventor and publisher, is remembered for short pieces of advice, such as “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Marketing Management School focus CUs challenges

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MADISON, Wis. (5/4/10)--The 2010 CUNA Marketing Management School will focus on how to leverage the credit union difference and grow business during a time of bank bailouts, corporate bonuses, a sluggish economy. The school will be offered in Orlando, Fla., June 14-17. CUNA’s Marketing Management School offers three segments based on experience and job responsibilities. New to the school this year are facilitators who will lead each of the three marketing parts. They serve as mentors to help ensure that attendees maximize their training experience. Part 1- The Basics will be facilitated by Randy Schultz, vice president of marketing for the Weber Marketing Group. Mark Arnold, senior vice president for Neighborhood CU, Dallas, and a former Marketing Professional of the Year Winner for the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council, will facilitate Part 2: Beyond the Basics. “The financial industry landscape has changed drastically, and now more than ever, credit unions need to be communicating why they are the best choice for consumers,” said Arnold. Part 3: Innovate, Strategize, Lead will be facilitated by Jeff Rendel, president of Rising Above Enterprises. Keynote speaker Bill Capodagli, best-selling author and internationally acclaimed speaker, will kick off the school with Dreams & Dreamers: Walt Disney & the Pixarians based on the book, “Innovate the Pixar Way: Business Lessons from the World’s Most Creative Corporate Playground.” On the last day, the three parts’ facilitators will join Matthew Purvis, Northwest Community CU, Eugene, Ore., to provide feedback on attendees’ marketing materials. For more information, use the link.

PSCU Financial Services offers Visa transaction alerts

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (5/5/10)--PSCU Financial Services announced today that it will offer its credit unions near-real-time alerts for Visa credit transactions. The alerts will be delivered through Visa’s transaction alerts platform and sent within seconds of transaction authorization and can be delivered by e-mail or text. Members can choose to receive alerts on declined transactions, out-of-country or card-not-present transactions, gas station charges or transactions exceeding an amount set by the cardholder. The alerts contain information such as the purchase amount, time and date of transaction, and information relating to the merchant, such as name and location. Cardholders can enroll in the service through the credit union’s website. PSCU Financial Services is a credit union service organization based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

CUNA offers new CU training bundle

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MADISON, Wis. (5/4/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is offering credit unions an opportunity to lock in unlimited audio conference, webinar and eSchool training through a new economical bundle. The bundle gives credit unions unlimited access to training throughout 2010 and into 2011. Topics include compliance, marketing, lending, finance, human resources, training, security, operations, volunteer development and other topics. Credit unions can purchase the bundle until June 30. “Credit unions today are faced with tightening budgets often by shrinking training initiatives,” said Marlo Foltz, director of blended learning at CUNA. “It’s a long-standing and unfortunate criticism that when times are financially tight, training is the first budget to get cut and generally the last to be restored. “This is particularly true today, with so many financial pressures causing credit unions to look closely at every budget line item. That’s why we created the bundling concept. For one affordable price credit unions can increase their training to all their staff across all disciplines. They can increase efficiency and stay abreast of the latest regulations and standards.” CUNA Training Bundle options include:
* Six-month package for $267 per month--$1,599 for six months; and * One-year package for $250 per month--$2,999 per year.
Discounted pricing is available for small credit unions with less than $20 million in assets. For more information, use the links.

Tech CouncilNCUA webinar speakers to address online services

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (5/4/10)--Five credit union technology experts will join Debbie Matz, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) chairman, Wednesday for a NCUA/CUNA Technology Council webinar on how to improve online services. The webinar, which will run from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET, will offer best practices and ideas for credit unions to better serve existing members and attract new members--especially young consumers. “This webinar will offer credit unions real-life experiences of their colleagues about how they meet the needs of consumers who want a financial institution that’s always open, everywhere, electronically,” Matz said. Speakers include:
* Ed Langel, director of electronic services, Alliant CU, Dubuque, Iowa; * Kyle Welsh, vice president of technology services, BECU, Seattle; * John Best, chief technology officer, Wescom CU, Pasadena, Calif.; * Loretta Weller-Mowers, senior vice president of e-commerce, San Diego County CU; and * Bryan Sims, CEO, brassmedia Inc.
The speakers will discuss remote-deposit capture, channel normalization, personal financial management, mobile banking, user experience, social media and Generation Y. For more information, use the link.

MarketingBD Council paper Make most of MCIF systems

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MADISON, Wis. (5/4/10)--Credit unions that use their marketing customer information file (MCIF) system only for compiling mailing lists are significantly underestimating its potential, according to the new CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council white paper, “Making the Most of MCIF Systems.” The white paper collected information from three credit unions and three vendors to reveal how an MCIF system can help credit unions explore households’ profitability, identify niche markets, promote their strengths, explore their neighborhood, track the results of marketing efforts and educate leaders about current and potential members. The MCIF experts say that taking advantage of the full value of MCIF systems requires listening to the data, rather than approaching MCIF reports with preconceived notions. When credit unions are open to learning from data, they can unleash MCIF’s full power, the white paper says. “It’s like having a car you think is great and then uncovering a new knob and discovering all this extra power you never knew you had,” said Christopher Kennedy, supervisor of marketing research, Mountain America CU, West Jordan, Utah. At Mountain America, “we’re often finding out new things we can do that help us to be successful.” The council also will host a webinar on the topic July 27. For more information, use the link.