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Corporate America launches mutual fund

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IRONDALE, Ala. (6/1/11)--Corporate America CU, a corporate credit union in Irondale, Ala., has launched a mutual fund for credit unions. Corporate America CU Short Duration Fund was developed by Corporate Financial Solutions, an investment adviser and credit union service organization of Corporate America CU. The fund was created as a credit union investment vehicle that restricts its portfolio to securities and transactions that are permissible for federal credit unions. The fund’s portfolio will be managed by Thomas Bonds, president/CEO of both Corporate Financial Solutions and Corporate America CU. U.S. Bancorp Fund Services LLC will manage fund operations. The investment objective of the fund is to provide high current income while preserving capital and maintaining liquidity by investing in obligations authorized under the Federal Credit Union Act, according to Corporate Financial Solutions. Corporate America CU Short Duration Fund is a no-load fund requiring a minimum investment of $50,000.

Ellie Mae launches Total Quality Loan program

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PLEASANTON, Calif. (6/1/11)--Ellie Mae, a provider of software and automation for mortgage lenders, including credit unions, has launched an initiative to promote total loan quality for loans originated through its Encompass360 Mortgage Management Solution. The Total Quality Loan program centers around a suite of services and secure, tamper-proof technology that helps users share the findings and data from those services with other stakeholders in the industry supply chain. Ellie Mae said it collaborated with secondary market investors to develop an understanding of user needs while shaping the program. Ellie Mae’s Total Quality Loan program includes its Encompass Compliance Service, which provides automatic compliance checks throughout the mortgage cycle, and its newly launched Encompass 4506-T Service, an integrated verification solution that allows Encompass360 users to electronically order tax-return data from the Internal Revenue Service and automatically compare it to the income stated by the borrower. The program also provides access to Fannie Mae’s EarlyCheck, a delivery data-check process identifying issues that could impair a loan’s salability early in the process, prior to loan delivery. Encompass360 users can connect to these services and view scores and results through the Total Quality Loan tool, a central onscreen access point within Encompass360. The tool provides real-time and past information, including the user’s order history and past results. Ellie Mae said it plans to integrate more services into the program, including a credit and collateral fraud prevention service powered by CoreLogic, later this year.

CU Solutions LEVERAGE in marketing agreement

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LIVONIA, Mich. (5/31/11)--A joint marketing agreement has been signed by CU Solutions Group and LEVERAGE, the service corporation of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions for a suite of products for credit unions in Alabama, Florida and nationally. They will offer credit unions marketing, technology, membership enhancements, human resources solutions, vendor management and auto remarketing. The alliance shows the collaborative spirit among leagues to market products nationwide, said the corporations. The three year-agreement means Alabama and Florida credit unions will have access to Livonia, Mich.-based CU Solutions Group products. These include "Invest in America" enhancement solutions with Sprint, General Motors, Turbotax and others; website design, content, security and applications solutions; full-service marketing support; and HRN performance solutions such as Performance Pro, Compease and Policy Pro. CU Solutions Group will market nationally LEVERAGE's Ventelligence vendor management product and its Auto Remarketing solution. The contracts were signed May 23 and will be implemented in the next few weeks.

Patelcorp Save Daily launch CU investment service

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PLEASANTON, Calif. (5/31/11)--Patelco CU's investment and insurance subsidiary, Patelcorp Inc., is launching a new investment savings product in partnership with Save Daily to allow credit unions to make investing easy and affordable to their members. With InvestDaily, members can invest as little as $5 at a time automatically into a select list of mutual funds. Pleasanton, Calif.-based Patelco CU is the first credit union to offer the service. In the program, members can designate the amount and frequency of their investments, which are deducted from any number of accounts they choose, either within the credit union or elsewhere. There is no penalty to redeem the shares and monthly fees are $5.95 per month plus a small asset management fee. InvestDaily's registration process requires completing "suitability" question to determine the member's risk tolerance and investment goals. The tool assists members in determining how they feel about the stock market's fluctuations. According to Scott Waite, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Patelco and CEO of Patelcorp, the service is easy for members to set up and use, and for credit unions to make available. "Until now, many members have felt that they were locked out of investing in mutual funds because of perceived high minimums," said Waite. The solution "opens up the opportunity for everyone to earn a better return on their money and bridge the retirement income gap. It's also a great way for young investors to start building their savings for that first home or auto purchase." SaveDaily is based in Orange County, Calif. Through the partnership, Patelcorp will help promote the SaveDaily platform to other credit unions.

CalifNev. leagues introduce Power Learner Passport

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ONTARIO, Calif. (5/27/11)--The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have introduced a subscription program for their training webinars. With the Power Learner Passport, instead of purchasing eTrain webinars on an individual basis, credit unions can buy a subscription for access to more than 50 webinars and 60 archived webinars offered annually by the leagues. Fees range from $500 to $2,500, depending on a credit union’s number of full-time employees. Subscriptions are by calendar year. Individual webinars currently cost $169. “If a credit union pays $500, after four webinars, the subscription has paid for itself,” said Mark Klinkert, senior vice president of education and training and chief operating officer for the leagues. “This makes education more affordable for those credit unions interested in providing training for their staff but also needing to be cost-conscious.” The Power Learner Passport will be available to other state leagues.

Wescom Resources to offer P2P services

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PASADENA, Calif. (5/26/11)--Wescom Resources Group (WRG), a credit union technology provider, has partnered with PayPal to offer person-to-person (P2P) payment services. WRG has integrated the PayPal Send Money for Financial Institutions service into its MemberEdge Mobile Banking solution, which is available to credit unions nationwide. With PayPal Send Money integrated into MemberEdge Mobile, end users can send payments to anyone with an email address or mobile number from their mobile banking application. Tim Dolan, president of WRG, noted that PayPal has “a well-known, trusted brand in the P2P payments industry, and their adaptive payments enabled us to leverage that into our product, for an end solution that is safe, simple, and ubiquitous. Credit unions that deploy this will delight their members and set themselves apart from competitors.” WRG credit unions can offer their users the ability to pay any consumer or business instantly in more than 60 countries where PayPal is accepted, said Dan Schatt, general manager of financial innovations for PayPal. WRG is backed by $2.7 billion-asset Wescom CU, Pasadena. WRG offers an online banking solution with electronic bill pay, mobile banking, remote deposit, eAlerts, multi-factor authentication, member-directed ACH and online account opening and more. The WRG Services Division provides merger support, custom programming, system efficiency studies and consulting services.

MemberTree Consultancy joins MnCUN vendor program

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (5/26/11)--MemberTree Consultancy, a credit union marketing agency, became the 28th organization to enroll in the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s (MnCUN) Vendor Involvement Program (VIP) in 2011. Through market research, data management, plan development and creative conceptualizing, MemberTree provides marketing consultation, development and support. The agency helps credit unions use their databases to discover opportunities and create communications for cross-selling products and services. The VIP, created in 2005, provides service organizations with the opportunity to work with MnCUN and increase their visibility among Minnesota credit unions. The program combines advertising, annual meeting packages and the opportunity to participate in new MnCUN initiatives. VIP participants agree to offer professional service, quality product lines and competitive pricing to Minnesota credit unions, said MnCUN.

Xtend reports growth in several areas

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (5/25/11)--Xtend, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization, reported growth in several operational areas. Among the developments, Xtend noted that:
* The self-managed shared branching consortium carrying the Xtend brand now represents 97 credit unions and more 200 locations nationally; * It added a new support channel to its growing Xtension Call Center business unit when its live chat member-communication service was released to several of its credit union partners earlier this quarter; and *It has transmitted more than one million targeted e-mail and online banking messages to members on behalf of its credit union partners.
Xtend provides managerial, operational, marketing, technical planning and consulting services for credit unions of all sizes. Its offerings include bookkeeping services, member contact services, back-office mortgage services, partnered liquidity opportunities, shared branching, compliance monitoring and insurance services.

CUAnswers adds enhancements to services

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (5/25/11)--CU*Answers, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization, has announced several new enhancements to its services. Among the new developments are:
* A software release of CU*BASE 11.1 for online-processing clients and an announced June 27 and 28 release of CU*BASE 11.2 self-processing clients; * New employee security tools for credit union auditors and management to track changes made to account security, menu security or special security (recording changes made for and by an employee); * Functionality for credit unions to offer principal distribution certificates to their members; * Action links in e-notices that lets members jump to a transfer page for further services; * Functionality to process ATM surcharge fee rebates directly from CU*BASE, rather than requiring a third-party vendor to process them; * Transfer of the opt in/opt out flag control to online banking virtual member service configuration from its previous location in the OPER area in CU*BASE, allowing clients to control the setting themselves; and * A new deposit calculator button in CU*BASE.
CU*Answers also announced that it will be hold its annual leadership conference, stockholders meeting and the 20th annual CU*Answers Golf Outing June 21 to 23 in Grand Rapids, Mich.

LEVERAGE Mid-America Service Corp. market tool in Dakotas

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (5/24/11)--LEVERAGE and the Mid-America Service Corp., a subsidiary of the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas, have entered into a marketing agreement to bring credit unions in North and South Dakota Ventelligence, an online vendor management and ePurchasing tool. LEVERAGE is the service corporation for the League of Southeastern Credit Unions. Ventelligence offers a web-based contract database, third-party vendor risk assessments, due diligence templates, and an ePurchasing platform. Ventelligence’s ePurchasing platform is designed to encourage vendors to more aggressively bid against each other for a credit union’s business, according Leverage. Mid-America Service Corp. will have exclusive rights in the Dakotas to market Ventelligence. “This presented a great opportunity for us to collaborate with another state association on a product that can benefit our members,” said Mid-America Services Corp. President/CEO Robbie Thompson. “Credit unions are under severe pressure to decrease costs without sacrificing their future or their service to members. We have seen the significant savings that credit unions in the southeast achieved through past ePurchasing events, and we hope that by bringing this solution to the Dakotas, that our credit unions will see similar savings.”

TMG papers awarded NOVA Best of Show

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DES MOINES, Iowa (5/24/11)--The Members Group (TMG) has been recognized by the Iowa chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA Iowa) for excellence in marketing with two NOVA Awards, including overall best in show. TMG, which also captured best of category in marketing, was recognized for its 2010 quarter white papers showcasing the payments-industry expertise of TMG executives. The company surpassed its white paper download goals by nearly 300% and tripled the number of client prospects it had hoped to earn. Campaign results were triple-weighted in the judging of this year’s awards, according to Georgann Smith, TMG director of marketing and communications. The NOVA Awards credited Smith and two team members, Tana Krumm and Sarah Barthole, and the public relations consulting firm Kelly Moore Consulting, Inc. Established by AMA Iowa, the NOVA Awards recognize marketing programs that achieve results. Competitors for the awards range from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. The competition is held annually each spring. TMG is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Affiliates Management Co., which is owned by Iowa credit unions and their members. A credit union service organization, TMG provides card processing and payment solutions to credit unions and financial institutions across North America.

CRIF Lending Solutions expands to Pa.

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (5/24/11)--CRIF Select, part of CRIF Lending Solutions, has expanded into Pennsylvania, providing state credit unions there with access to outsourced indirect auto lending products. With the expansion, CRIF Select now serves 17 markets with its indirect and direct lending solutions. Expansion into additional markets is planned for later this year. CRIF Select provides credit unions with turnkey technology support to automate their loan-underwriting criteria and rate sheets. Among the services the company provides:
* Dealer management and representation; * After hours underwriting; * Leasing support; * Online auto shopping; and * Merchant lending.
CRIF Lending Solutions supports 650 U.S. banks, credit unions, credit card processors and financial institutions. CRIF’s offerings include loan origination systems for consumer, business, and point-of-sale lending and business-process outsourcing for indirect lending, data aggregation, analytics and account opening.

Harland Clarke Firstmark CU net teleservice awards

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SAN ANTONIO (5/23/11)--Two San Antonio organizations were double winners in the 2011 Professional Teleservice Management Association (PTMA) Excellence Awards. Harland Clarke Corp. and Firstmark CU each took home awards in two categories for outstanding service within their call centers. Harland Clarke is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. The award winners and the categories in which they placed include:
* Best employee engagement practices--Harland Clarke; * Best use of technology--Harland Clarke; * 2011 contact center of the year (more than 75 seats)--Harland Clarke; * 2011 contact center of the year (under 75 seats)--Firstmark CU; and * 2011 contact center leader of the year--Linda Sue Rodriguez, assistant vice president, Firstmark CU.
The competition took place over a three-month period. Nominees completed a rigorous application followed with on-site visits and presentations before a panel of judges recognized as experts in customer contact. “The PTMA Excellence Awards are a testament to the dedication of our leadership and staff to helping members with their financial needs,” said Leon Ewing, president and CEO of Firstmark CU. “PTMA recognized this leadership with the award given to Linda Sue Rodriguez, whose commitment to offering excellent member service and a rewarding work environment gets passed on to her staff every day.” With 21 years of call center experience, Rodriguez has been with Firstmark CU since 2002.

Reg environment steering CUs to PolicyWorks

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DES MOINES, Iowa (5/20/11)--PolicyWorks, a compliance solution provider for credit unions, said a difficult regulatory environment was the driver behind the firm’s first quarter increase in new clients. “Credit unions of all sizes are facing various challenges as it relates to compliance,” said Justin Hupfer, CEO of PolicyWorks. “The regulatory environment is complex and our goal is to make it much simpler for credit unions to deal with.” “This is the second year we’ve had PolicyWorks conduct a compliance audit for us and it continues to be very valuable,” said Kimm Proctor, regulatory compliance manager, ESL FCU, Rochester, N.Y. “Their expertise helps us identify and address any gaps we may have to ensure our compliance programs function at the highest level.” In addition to compliance audits, PolicyWorks’ other products include website audits, training, Bank Secrecy Act audits and 24/7 federal compliance support. “What we are seeing is a desire from credit unions to have an expert they can turn to for compliance assistance,” said Andrea Stritzke, vice president of regulatory compliance for PolicyWorks. “We have the legal, examiner and operational experience on our team that allows us to ease the compliance burden, so credit unions can focus on what they do best--serving their members.” PolicyWorks is a subsidiary of the Iowa Credit Union League.

Harland Clarke partners with Memento

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SAN ANTONIO (5/19/11)--Harland Clarke Corp., a payments provider, has partnered with Memento Inc. to offer Harland’s nearly 11,000 financial institution clients Memento’s enterprise fraud and compliance solutions. Memento’s proprietary software helps banks fight fraud related to checks, deposits, automated clearing house and internal issues. In 2008, financial institutions experienced more than $1 billion in losses due to check, deposit and kiting fraud, according to the American Bankers Association’s 2009 Deposit Account Fraud Study Report. In the same year, insider fraud accounted for about 60% of bank fraud cases where a data breach or theft of funds occurred, according to estimates by financial services research and consulting firm Celent. “Harland Clarke’s goal is to continually help our financial institution clients achieve greater success by addressing their needs,” said Dan Singleton, Harland Clarke, president/CEO. “As these needs evolve, so do the solutions we offer. “Memento has proven itself in providing the next-generation technology required to effectively combat fraud and compliance issues faced by banks and credit unions. Its solutions are recognized as offering exceptional accuracy, rapid return on investment and unmatched business value.”

PiggyBanc waives e-check fees

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AMHERST, N.H. (5/19/11)--PiggyBanc, a social networking website dedicated to saving, is waiving its e-check fees. PiggyBanc.com combines social media with payment technology to create a virtual savings portal, securely linked to the member's federally insured deposit account at participating credit unions through Financial Service Centers Cooperative. The PiggyBanc website can be individually co-branded for credit unions. Relatives and friends can join a member’s PiggyBanc network through participating credit unions and use the online system to send birthday gifts, contribute toward college savings goals, or recognize other important events. Teenagers can also accept credit card payments for babysitting and other odd jobs through the PiggyBanc network. Credit unions benefit from more engaged relationships with younger members, according to PiggyBanc, because members are encouraged to return to the credit union's website through automated contribution notices and thank you reminders. “As we continue to add new credit union partners, we’re constantly looking for ways to enhance the system,” says Christopher Jay, founder and president of PiggyBanc Corp. He noted the company is working “to roll out several other significant enhancements over the next few months.”

League Infosight has new iPhone app

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LIVONIA, Mich. (5/18/11)--League Infosight is offering an iPhone app that helps consumers locate credit union branches and learn about the benefits of membership. The new app, developed by CU Solutions Group, is free to download and includes these features:
* Find a Credit Union--Members and potential members can search using their location or a ZIP code to get branch listings, detailed information and maps on FindaCreditUnion.com. * The Credit Union Difference--This feature highlights what makes credit unions unique and explains what they are and how to join. * Benefits of Membership--This area describes the financial services, personal attention, better rates and lower fees offered by credit unions. * Protecting Your Money--This section describes how credit unions protect their members’ money by being federally insured, observing conservative lending and investment practices, and providing financial guidance.
With more smartphone users accessing information through mobile applications instead of their computers, League InfoSight said it developed the iPhone application to help consumers find the nearest credit union while they were “on the go,” and learn about the benefits of membership at the same. League InfoSight was formed in 2003 and is managed by CU Solutions Group. It is owned by the California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ohio credit union leagues and the League of Southeastern Credit Unions. Its mission is to help leagues provide value in areas of highest priority to member credit unions, and it works in close partnership with the Credit Union National Association, a league InfoSight board member, and more than 30 states.

Wescom Resources launches mobile app for CUs

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PASADENA, Calif. (5/18/11)--Wescom Resources Group (WRG), a provider of technology solutions for credit unions, has released updated its mobile application. The new release, MemberEdge Mobile Banking 2.0 expands on WRG’s Mobile 1.x. Deployed initially on Apple’s iOS operating system, the release features new end-user capabilities and integrates with a credit union’s social media channels. The release is compatible with Apple’s iPad. “It’s not enough for credit unions to deploy ‘me too’ products, said John Best, senior vice president and chief technology officer of WRG. “With Mobile 2.0, we offer a solution that our clients can use to separate themselves out from the crowd of other institutions.”

CUDL announces iPhone app enhancements

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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (5/17/11)--CUDL, the credit union auto lending network and vehicle shopping website administrator, has introduced two new features for its iPhone application. Apply for a Loan and Sell Your Ride have been added to the company’s AutoSMART iPhone App, which CUDL introduced to credit unions and their members in July 2010. The newly enhanced AutoSMART iPhone app was featured during CU Direct’s Lending Redefined Conference for credit unions last week in Newport Beach, Calif. The new Apply for a Loan feature provides credit unions with a mobile solution that helps retain member loan opportunities. Members can apply for an auto loan through their credit union from their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The feature is an extension of CUDL’s SMART Approval solution, through which credit unions can provide their members with an online pre-approval application and loan decision. The new Sell Your Ride element of the AutoSMART app allows members to post information about their personal vehicles--including automobiles, motorcycles, boats and personal watercraft and RVs for sale--to their credit union’s AutoSMART website via their iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Credit union members can post their vehicle’s information and photos to their credit union’s AutoSMART site’s “Private Party” vehicles section, using the site’s inventory program.

Dwolla named Best in Show introduces dashboard

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DES MOINES, Iowa (5/16/11)--Dwolla, a mobile payment platform, was named one of seven “Best in Show” technologies by attendees of FinovateSpring 2011 this week. Dwolla is an online, mobile, social and location-based cash platform that connects to users to social communities and location to share and spend money. The company is supported by the The Members Group, a credit union service organization owned by Iowa credit unions that provides card processing and payment solutions. Each of the 64 companies selected to appear at FinovateSpring was provided seven minutes to demo a product or service in front of financial executives, venture capitalists, press, industry analysts, bloggers and “fintech” entrepreneurs. In addition to demonstrating the platform’s FiSync technology, which allows credit unions and community banks to integrate the payment platform and its technologies into their existing systems, Dwolla founder Ben Milne rolled out FiSync Dashboard. The interactive FiSync Dashboard offers financial institutions a real-time snapshot of their Dwolla users’ consumer behavior. The dashboard offers data such as average age, gender and type of mobile device used and analyzes where and how Dwolla users are spending money with interactive maps and average transaction information. “Knowing customers’ preferred mobile devices or the size of transactions they want to make from their smartphones will inform [financial institutions] as they develop new products and services for the mobile consumer,” said Brian Day, TMG Dwolla product leader. FiSync Dashboard will also help Dwolla maintain a close watch on transactions for the purpose of fraud prevention. “Mining this information and cross referencing it with other data sets, like the location of a transaction and consumer behavior, will create an even more secure atmosphere for Dwolla users and banks,” said Milne. FiSync Dashboard remains in development. Dwolla plans to make it available later this year.

CUNorthwest projects profits

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SPOKANE, Wash. (5/13/11)--After completing a mid-year budget revision, CU*NorthWest, a core system provider, is projecting a profitable year. Running a fiscal year from October through September, CU*NorthWest’s management and board of directors ‘recast’ the remaining six months of the fiscal year each March. During that recent planning session with its board of directors, CU*NorthWest management confirmed a profitable forecast for the year. “This is not an easy economy and the financial institutions we serve are challenged as well” said Greg Smith, President and CEO of CU*NorthWest. “We are therefore very pleased to be projecting positive numbers for our stockholders and clients this year.” CU*NorthWest continues to grow in spite of the market consolidation and challenges of serving credit unions in a sluggish economy, Smith said. “Together as partners in CU*NorthWest, our client owners and the management team are achieving fiscal health without the need to raise prices,” he added. CU*NorthWest is owned entirely by credit unions.

WESCO Net announces new security ed program

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (5/12/11)--WESCO Net, a network solutions provider and division of CU*Answers, is offering a new security education series. Among the topics to be covered in the series are computer security awareness, social engineering awareness and avoidance, using network tools security, and business continuity planning. The classes are designed for credit union staff members and seek to improve computer and data security through education. “Security education is an important part of a credit union’s security posture and an essential ingredient in any security awareness program,” said David Wordhouse, vice president of network technologies for WESCO Net. “These classes are designed to elevate employee awareness of various tactics commonly used by attackers and provide solid best practices to thwart them. Arming employees with the knowledge presented in these courses further safeguards member data.” WESCO Net offers the classes through its onsite training facility, remotely via its online classroom, or on site. Classes are offered free of charge to clients of WESCO Net and CU*Answers. Also, WESCO Net has partnered with Cisco WebEx to deliver a support center to WescoNet’s client base “This platform provides improved oversight and reporting on remote maintenance activities, which is an important consideration for anyone using remote technical assistance service or requiring a vendor due diligence policy,” explained Matt Sawtell, systems manager for WESCO Net. “Wesco is independently audited to SAS 70 Level II standards and it is essential that support center activities are fully compliant with those standards,” he added.

Visa unveils digital wallet

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SAN FRANCISCO (5/12/11)--Visa has unveiled its version of the digital wallet, and credit unions will be among the financial institutions supporting the pilot program. On Wednesday, the company announced plans to introduce a one-click payment system through which Visa customers can sign up for a set of credentials that will allow them to pay for items online with a single click. The digital wallet concept simplifies the process of buying online, which can be cumbersome for people who have to re-enter their card numbers and personal information each time they want to make a purchase online. In the press release announcing the product, Visa Chairman and CEO Joseph W. Saunders said Visa hopes the digital wallet will help reduce “abandoned shopping carts,” in which online shoppers select products but abandon the buying process when asked to enter the banking information. The digital wallet also will help expand financial inclusion to mobile users who lack access to traditional financial services, Visa said. Among the credit union organizations supporting Visa’s digital wallet are Card Services for Credit Unions, Pentagon FCU and PSCU Financial Services.

TMG offers online sign up for transaction alerts

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DES MOINES, Iowa (5/11/11)--TMG now offers online sign-up for near real-time transaction alerts. Enrollment is available through TMG’s website or a through a financial institution’s online banking system. TMG has integrated its Visa transaction alerts with Springboard, the Web-enabled cardholder service portal used by TMG’s financial institution clients. Transaction information is delivered directly to a cardholder’s mobile device or e-mail inbox. Also new to the Visa transaction alerts product is the capacity for financial institutions to pilot the program with employees before rolling it out to an entire cardholder base. In addition to helping cardholders keep track of transaction details and spending, Visa transaction alerts also are a fraud prevention tool, according to Brian Day, TMG product development architect. “With text alerts, cardholders become active participants in fraud prevention,” Day said. “The alerts give them a much earlier view of attempted fraudulent transactions as compared to waiting for a statement--or even checking their account online.” Visa transaction alerts are triggered when a transaction meets a cardholder’s pre-selected criteria, including transaction declined; out of country or card-not-present transaction; gas station charges or a transaction exceeding a specified amount. When notified that transactions have taken place, customers can validate the activity or initiate an investigation by contacting their card-issuing financial institution.

Free financial aid webinar Tuesday

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WASHINGTON (5/10/11)--A free webinar will be held today to help college-bound families decode the lingo of financial assistance and make informed financial decisions. The webinar will be led by Melissa Hunt, vice president of client relations and education for Student Choice, a credit union service organization that offers higher education financing solutions. Webinar attendees will gain a deeper understanding of common types of financial aid and learn what to consider when comparing award letters, how to determine true need, and how to appeal to an award letter. Consumers can register online via the cobranded website of any Student Choice partner credit union.

Dwolla to strut its stuff at Finovate

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DES MOINES (5/9/11)—Dwolla--the online, mobile and social payment platform supported by The Members Group (TMG)--has been chosen as one of 63 financial innovators to be featured at the 2011 FinovateSpring, a showcase for financial technology companies. The two-day FinovateSpring event will feature a mix of short, fast-paced demos from handpicked financial technology companies, according to conference organizers, The Finovate Group. Founded in 1995, The Finovate Group is best known for its research publication, Online Banking Report, and its blog, NetBanker.com. Companies take part in a competitive application process to get a demo slot at Finovate events. Each selected company receives seven minutes to demo a product or service in front of financial executives, venture capitalists, press, industry analysts, bloggers and “fintech” entrepreneurs. Dwolla founder Ben Milne plans to show off the platform’s FiSync feature, which allows credit unions and community banks to integrate the payment platform into their existing systems. Milne also promises to announce “something entirely new” for Dwolla at the event.

Xtend presented with NACUSO award

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (5/9/11)--Xtend, Inc., a credit union service organization (CUSO) based in Grand Rapids, Mich., was presented the Collaboration & Innovation Award by the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (NACUSO). Xtend, which offers managerial, operational, marketing, technical planning and consulting services, was recognized for excellence and innovation in its use of the collaborative model to deliver services to credit unions and their members. “I think our CUSO’s success is living proof of how strong the collaborative business model is, what credit unions can create when they work together, and that no task is too small for us to handle for one of our customers,” said Scott Collins, president of Xtend, as he accepted the award at the 2011 NACUSO Annual Conference. “Xtend truly demonstrates the type of thought leadership and value creation we wanted to showcase through this award,” said Jack Antonini, CEO of NACUSO. “Not only is it growing by serving more credit unions, it is constantly searching for new ways to deliver value and help credit unions increase their competitive advantage through strategic products, services and partnerships.”

New CO-OP Mobile Text banking launched

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (5/6/11)--CO-OP Financial Services is offering its member credit unions text banking as a stand-alone service for 12 cents per transaction, with no extra account-verification fees. Credit unions using the CO-OP Next Generation Network switch for shared branching, check imaging and other services can implement CO-OP Mobile Text immediately. With CO-OP’s text banking, a credit union member sends a text message for an account inquiry and receives information back. The service lets members verify balances, view transaction history and transfer funds within their accounts. CO-OP Mobile Multi-Mode Platform is the company’s full-service mobile banking solution, supporting text banking, mobile browser, downloadable applications and remote mobile deposit for iPhones.

Mass. league CUNA join on loyalty training

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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (5/5/11)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has partnered with Massachusetts Credit Union League to offer CUNA’s Creating Member Loyalty (CML) system to credit unions in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Currently used by more than 200 credit unions, CML uses service to drive sales. It initiates a change in both individual and organizational behavior to cultivate a sales culture that exceeds members’ expectations. Creating Member Loyalty is segmented into three competency areas:
* Sales Strategies--Staff learn how to uncover member needs, suggest the correct product or service and generate a commitment from the member to use the recommended solution. * Service Strategies--Employees learn specific behaviors to make the member feel valued and understand the credit union’s offerings. * Sales Leadership Strategies--Managers are trained transition their staff from an operations focus to a sales-management focus.
One of the options to deliver these programs is the “train-the-trainer” model, where one or two credit union employees learn to deliver the material to the rest of the staff. For those credit unions without an internal resource, CUNA has partnered with the league and has certified Bill Nagle, senior vice president of credit union training at the Massachusetts Credit Union League, to deliver end-user content directly at state credit unions.

CMG MI ACUMA mortgage workshop soon

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SAN FRANCISCO (5/5/11)--CMG Mortgage Insurance Company (CMG MI) will co-sponsor the American Credit Union Mortgage Association’s (ACUMA) first Mortgage Success workshop Monday and Tuesday. Topics to be covered include the S.A.F.E. Act, working with Realtors, boosting mortgage volume and successful strategies for the purchase market. “ACUMA has created this regional workshop series to help credit unions meet the challenges of the current lending environment and identify opportunities,” said Bob Dorsa, ACUMA president. “We wanted to ensure that most of our speakers were not only experts in their fields but also drawn from credit union backgrounds, so they could specifically address the credit union experience on regulatory issues and growing share in the marketplace.” Licensed in all states, CMG MI operates as a joint venture between CUNA Mutual Insurance Society and PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. The company provides private mortgage guaranty insurance to protect credit unions against potential losses if borrowers default.

Ongoing Operations launches biz continuity workshops

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (5/5/11)--The first of Ongoing Operations newly formatted business continuity workshops, P3--Plan, Prepare, Protect--will be held June 1 at SAFE CU, Sacramento, Calif. Ongoing Operations is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. “These new sessions will be much more interactive in nature and feature dynamic agendas that incorporate the best of our old Business Continuity Boot Camps along with the most pressing issues credit unions are facing today,” said Kirk Drake, CEO of Ongoing Operations, a business continuity credit union service organization. The new sessions will provide business continuity resources and opportunities for participants to share best practices after local events. The new P3 Business Continuity Workshops will be open to all interested credit unions, not just current Ongoing Operations clients.

CO-OP Total Revelation launched for debit portfolios

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (5/4/11)--CO-OP Financial Services has released CO-OP Total Revelation, an update to a tool that helps credit unions improve the efficiency of their debit and ATM portfolios. Initially introduced in November 2008, CO-OP Revelation is a Web-based application available to CO-OP Debit Signature and personal-identification number clients. The product now includes pre-built management summaries and custom report templates; data analyses, including alerts, benchmarking and profitability modeling; and outsourced consulting to help credit unions determine cardholder segmentation strategies, profitability analysis and marketing campaign management. CO-OP Total Revelation provides insight into credit union members’ ATM and debit transaction behavior and demographics, identifies fraud patterns and vulnerabilities and creates management reports, said the company.

Shared Branching networks gain in Minn. Utah Texas

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. and ST. PAUL, Minn. (5/3/11)--Shared branching networks have extended their reach in Texas, Utah and Minnesota. San Antonio-based Security Service FCU, with $6 billion in assets, will expand its shared branching network in Texas and Utah through CU Service Network. In Texas, Security Service FCU will add 36 locations to the shared branching network. With the recent acquisition of Beehive CU, Salt Lake City, and Family First FCU, Orem, Utah, Security Service FCU will also increase the number of CU Service Network shared branching locations in Utah during the next several months. In Minnesota, SPIRE FCU, with $535 million assets based in Falcon Heights, Minn., added 10 new location to the CU Service Centers Shared Branching Network, bringing the number of credit union service centers to 34 statewide.

Q2ebanking conference attracts 200 CUs banks

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AUSTIN, Texas (5/3/11)--Q2ebanking attracted 200 attendees, including credit union clients, to its Live and Unplugged conference, held April 10-13. Q2 President Matt Flake kicked off the conference by sharing Q2’s accomplishments, growth opportunities and product enhancements with attendees. Flake encouraged all participants to “learn, share, ask and network,” and to take advantage of all resources conference offered. Keynote speaker Lee Wetherington, director of Strategic Insight at ProfitStars, South Dallas, Texas, discussed the future of e-banking and shared statistics about online banking, social networking sites, smartphone adoption vs. personal computer use and how mobile banking will mature. During his session “Shadowing the eMob,” Brian Krebs, editor of Krebs on Security, explored threats posed by cyber crooks and how banks and credit unions can avoid becoming victims. John Abraham, security evangelist/CEO at Redspin, Carpinteria, Calif., highlighted the top security risks facing financial institutions today and reviewed practical risk management strategies. Eric Weikart, senior director at Cornerstone Advisors, Scottsdale, Ariz., discussed key trends in electronic delivery and how to better compete with mega-banks by using the Internet, bill pay and mobile channels. Weikart also explained how financial institutions can increase efficiencies while providing revenue-enhancing features in the e-delivery channel.