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CUAD Annual Conference Draws Record Attendance

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BISMARCK, N.D. (6/14/13)--The Credit Union Association of the Dakotas held its annual conference last week, attracting the highest attendance since the merger of the North and South Dakota leagues.

Robbie Thompson, president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas, addresses attendees of the group's annual conference last week. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas)

During Thursday's general session, Bill Cheney, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association, provided insight into the state of the industry and discussed the Credit Union National Association's Unite for Good, Don't Tax My Credit Union and Plan to Win initiatives (The Memo June 10).

Cheney said that credit unions do not want to wait until taxing credit unions is part of legislation and then begin to fight it; they must stop it now. "With a shared message and a common vision, nothing is impossible," he said (News Now June 10).

Unite for Good is CUNA's campaign to rally credit unions toward the strategic vision in which "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner."  The campaign's goals are: remove barriers, create awareness and foster service excellence.

CUNA's Plan To Win can help credit unions educate their members and prepare for a national call to action to protect the tax status, if needed. The plan includes four steps:

  • Educate;
  • Participate;
  • Communicate; and
  • Hold lawmakers accountable.

"The enthusiasm, excitement and camaraderie were very high and evident were very high and evident throughout the meeting--we clearly United for Good," said Robbie Thompson, president/CEO of the league.

The conference's golf tournament, when combined with the Miracle Match from CO-OP Financial, raised $4,200, CUAD said.

The Irish auction for scholarships to CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference raised more than $3,700.

CU System Brief(1)

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BALTIMORE (6/14/13)--The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions Thursday announced two initiatives funded by $375,000 in contributions from Citibank's Citi Community Development. A $125,000 grant will fund six-month fellowship programs to help train managers for low-income credit unions around the country. With an additional $250,000, the federation will create uniform, shared procedures for back-office processing and services, including technical support, member service and accounting support teams ...

FDIC Files Brief Supporting NCUA Securities Lawsuits

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WICHITA, Kan. (6/14/13)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. filed an amicus brief Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas that supports the National Credit Union Administration's  eight lawsuits against big banks that sold residential mortgage-backed securities  (RMBS) to corporate credit unions before the financial crisis.

The lawsuits are against RBS Securities Inc., Wachovia Capital Markets LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, UBS Securities LLC, Barclays Capital Inc., and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, and others (News Now May 1).

The FDIC said the court should allow NCUA to extend the statute of limitations regarding the RMBS claims against the banks, arguing that a contrary ruling could limit the FDIC's ability to apply its own statute of limitations extender provisions in suits related to failed banks. 

"In enacting the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) of 1989, Congress sought to strengthen the FDIC's ability to stabilize the banking system by enhancing the financial security of the FDIC's insurance fund," the brief said. "The FDIC also may sue other financial institutions, as the NCUA has done here, for violation of federal and state securities laws.

"One of the tools Congress included in FIRREA is a provision that extends a statute of limitations that would otherwise have been applicable to causes of action of the failed institution, (the "Extender Statute")," the brief continued. "The purpose of the FDIC's Extender Statute is to minimize losses to the FDIC's insurance fund by preserving to the greatest extent permissible by law claims of the FDIC as receiver for failed insured financial institutions.

"The National Credit Union Administration Board has a substantively identical provision ..."

The FDIC has entered into hundreds of tolling agreements since1989, to suspend the running of limitations in the Extender Statute, the brief explained.  The FDIC uses those types of agreements "to preserve claim without filing suit when it has not concluded investigations (for example) it was unable to obtain access to relevant documents in time." 

"Tolling agreements therefore promote judicial efficiency by avoiding the unnecessary filing of lawsuits that otherwise would be settled without the initiation of litigation."

Because of those reasons, the FDIC has a strong interest in the court's interpretation of "the NCUA's parallel statute," the brief explained.

The brief concludes that for all the reasons it listed, the FDIC is asking the court to interpret the Extender Statute to permit tolling agreements.

NeighborWorks American CEO: CUs, Community Development Nonprofits Need Stronger Ties

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WASHINGTON (6/14/13)-- Credit unions and nonprofit community development corporations are natural partners, NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen Fitzgerald said in remarks delivered at the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions conference in Baltimore.  Both are locally-driven organizations, she added, and enhancing their relationship could boost credit unions' ability to attract members and provide resources that help consumers learn more about the financial system.

NeighborhoodWorks American is an organization that works to create opportunities for lower-income people to live in affordable homes in safe, sustainable neighborhoods.

In partnering, credit unions and nonprofit community development organizations could work to expand the availability of financial capability coaching and lower-cost, unsecured personal loans, and improve access to housing counseling and education services, Fitzgerald said last week.

Fitzgerald cited a partnership between NHS of Greater Cleveland and NoteWorthy FCU, Cleveland, to provide financial capability counseling to low- to moderate- income artists in northeast Ohio.

"The credit union refers members who have applied for a loan and are likely to be denied to NHS of Greater Cleveland for financial counseling," Fitzgerald said. "NHS counselors meet one-on-one with the customer, develop a written plan of action, and follow up."

The partnership results in consumers with better credit profiles who are prepared to build their own financial futures, she said. NHS of Greater Cleveland earns a fee for the service.

Fitzgerald also discussed a guaranteed loan program between NeighborWorks Montana, a NeighborWorks America affiliate based in Great Falls, where the nonprofit provides a loan guarantee that enables its credit union partners to make unsecured loans to borrowers who would usually obtain credit from high-cost payday lenders. The NeighborWorks Montana and credit union partnership helps consumers obtain unsecured personal loans at a rate close to 16% annually, well below the triple-digit rates offered by many payday lenders.

Opportunities for credit union and nonprofit community development partnerships also exist on the homeownership and housing counseling fronts, areas where NeighborWorks America and the NeighborWorks network have been leaders, Fitzgerald said. In 2012, NeighborWorks America helped its network provide homeownership services to more than 300,000 families.

For example, a partnership exists between West Side and Black Rock-Riverside Neighborhood Housing Services in Buffalo, New York and SEFCU, based in Albany, N.Y. SEFCU is a credit union sponsor of the nonprofit's homebuyer education workshops, and SEFCU staff present information about the mortgage process in classes.

ACUC Announces Winner In Guess The Speaker Contest

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MADISON, Wis. (6/14/13)--The winner of the 2013 America's Credit Union Conference (ACUC) Guess the Speaker contest is Sarah Brenner of University of Illinois Employees CU in eastern Illinois, said the Credit Union National Association.

For correctly guessing that revolutionary success expert, Adam Grant, as the fourth keynote speaker at this year's ACUC, Brenner will receive free admission to the conference.

"This is such an exciting time to be involved with the credit union movement," said Brenner on her victory. "I'm looking forward to connecting with people and seeing so many innovative thinkers."

The 2013 ACUC Guess the Speaker contest asked participants to submit their predictions for the conference's unannounced fourth speaker based on the four clues provided.

"We're pleased to provide this opportunity and know she'll make a contribution to this year's event," said Todd Spiczenski, senior vice president, CUNA Center for Professional Development.

ACUC features the nation's best business innovators to deliver ideas for growth and the inspiration to drive positive change for credit union movement. At this year's conference, Brenner and other attendees will have access to an exciting line-up of keynote presenters, a packed agenda of breakout sessions and four days of networking opportunities to cultivate game-changing ideas, CUNA said.

For more information or to register for ACUC, use the link.

Texas, Colo., Kan., Fla. CUs Reflect Nation's Growth Trend

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MADISON, Wis. (6/14/13)--Credit unions in several states nationwide reported first quarter growth.

Texas credit unions finished the first quarter above the national average in the return on average assets category, the Texas Credit Union League said (Lone Star Leaguer June 6). While the national average was 71%, Texas managed to fall above average within the 75-80% category, with 80% and higher being the highest category. Texas credit unions also experienced one of the lowest delinquency rates in the nation. While the national average sat at 1%, Texas fell into the 0.7 or less category (the lowest delinquency rate category).

Colorado credit unions ranked higher than the national average in many key metrics, according to National Credit Union Administration data. Colorado credit unions experienced a 6% increase in year-over-year asset growth, and a 5.8% increase in deposit growth (North Colorado Business Report June 5).

Total assets for Kansas state-charted credit unions climbed 6.51% to $4.87 billion from the first quarter of 2012. In that same period, total loans grew 5.47% to $3.06 billion, according to the Kansas Department of Credit Unions First Quarter 2013 Call Report (The Wichita Eagle June 6).

The National Credit Union Administration reported that Florida-based credit unions grew their deposits 4.1% in the 12 months ended March 31. Florida-based banks increased their deposits only 2.4% over the same period (South Florida Business Journal June 5).

CU Solutions Group Highlighted at Clinton Global Initiative

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LIVONIA, Mich. (6/14/13)--CU Solutions Group partner SaveUp  has been chosen to be a "commitment maker" at this year's Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting.

Established in June 2011 by former President Bill Clinton, CGI America is an annual event focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the U.S.

The goal of SaveUp's Commitment to Action is to reach 250,000 more Americans and help them create $5 billion in asset growth by December 2014. Currently, SaveUp's users have deposited $486 million into savings and paid down $320 million in debt since 2012. SaveUp uses game mechanics, financial education and real prizes to motivate people to make positive financial choices.

CU Solutions Group and SaveUp plan to work together to build new partnerships with credit unions to help more Americans and successfully achieve the commitment's goals. SaveUp helps drive increased member engagement and deepens wallet share for credit union partners.

"CU Solutions Group and SaveUp have a shared mission of helping credit unions serve the American community," said David Adams, CU Solutions Group president/CEO.

CGI America brings together leaders from the business, foundation, non-governmental organizations, and government sectors to develop solutions that increase employment, advance access to education and skills development, strengthen energy security and promote an environment for business growth and innovation.

CU Solutions Group and the member engagement program SaveUp first joined forces in October to help credit unions build stronger member relationships and generate new leads for products. With a gamification approach, SaveUp is also helping credit union members achieve their financial goals while having fun.

Mountain America CU Places Tech Champion In All Branches

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WEST JORDAN, Utah (6/14/13)--Mountain America CU in West Jordan, Utah, has placed a trained "technology champion" in each of its 76 branches to assist members and answer questions as members take advantage of Mountain America's mobile and online banking services.

The reason behind the move is to clarify those benefits and help more people experience the convenience of secure mobile banking sooner, said the $3.37 billion asset credit union.

By 2017, an estimated one billion people will have used their mobile devices for banking purposes, according to analysts. Today, however, many Americans are still unfamiliar and somewhat distrustful of mobile banking technology, missing out on the benefits of using personal technology to manage finances.

"There's nothing like hands-on help with technology, so we've turned every branch into a mini tech haven for our members who have questions or need a demonstration," said Rob Cummings, senior vice president of online and mobile banking for Mountain America. "Considering that more transactions are performed every day via Mountain America's online and mobile services than in all of our branches combined, we can see our members are rapidly embracing technology solutions.

"In addition to helping members, our technology champions are also a valuable conduit for member feedback, allowing us to improve our online and mobile offerings faster and more effectively," he added.

In the first third of 2013, Mountain America saw more than 35,000 new mobile app downloads, with nearly 85,000 active app users currently. Also, the credit union is averaging more than 8,000 new users monthly of its "My Money Manager" online personal financial management tool.

Ohio State-Chartered CUs To See Reduced Assessments

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (6/14/13)--Ohio state-chartered credit unions will see a reduction in their July assessment from the Ohio Division of Financial Institutions (ODFI) as a result of the state's Credit Union Council action last week.

"The assessment is our sole source of funding for examination and supervision functions," said Mike Wettrich, deputy superintendent for ODFI's credit union section. "Our credit unions expect us to be good stewards of their assessment. The decrease will bring the operating fund in line with our reserve goal of three-months' expenses."

The amount assessed to state chartereds for fiscal year 2014 will be $2,208,245, a decrease of $520,370--or 19% less than fiscal year 2013 (eLumination Newsletter (June 12).

The Credit Union Council, comprising six CEOs from across Ohio who are appointed by the governor, and chaired by Wettrich, voted to decrease the annual assessment--given that ODFI's credit union section has sufficient funds in reserve to cover any unanticipated expenses.

Strong Results, Interactive Features Highlight CUNA's 2012 Annual Report

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WASHINGTON (6/14/13) --The 2012 Credit Union National Annual Report is being distributed today to credit unions in a new online format that features live, interactive links throughout to additional background information, more detailed financials, video clips and more.

"Online distribution is not only more efficient, the interactive elements allow us to convey far more to our members than they would typically find in the print

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edition," notes Paul Gentile, CUNA executive vice  president of strategic communications and engagement.  "We encourage our members to take a few moments to explore all that this year's report has to offer."

The theme of CUNA's 2012 Annual Report is Unite for Good.  "Our theme reflects the vision and goals we share with the credit union movement, and our excitement about all we can continue to accomplish by working together," said CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney.

In the report's "President's Message," Cheney notes that CUNA had a strong year financially and in terms of the advocacy, information and educational services the association provides to its members.

Highlights from the past year include passage of legislation that provided credit unions with regulatory relief from duplicative ATM disclosures; credit unions' defeat of the bank-sought Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) bill (voted by The Hill newspaper as one of the year's top lobbying wins); improvements in the National Credit Union Administration's troubled debt restructuring rule; strong national media coverage of credit unions and a significant increase in traffic to the CUNA/league consumer web site www.aSmarterChoice.org; extraordinary success in support of credit union-friendly candidates during the 2012 elections; high-visibility "leave behind" projects during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions; high-level attendance of nearly 10,000 at CUNA training programs, webinars and e-schools; and extensive guidance to CUs on compliance matters through online resources like CUNA's popular CompBlog.

Financially, CUNA saw a positive operating margin of more than $2.9 million in 2012 and a change in unrestricted net assets of $1.56 million.  "CUNA's strong financial results in 2012 extended a recent trend, continuing to ensure that your trade association has the durability to meet your credit union's needs," said CUNA Treasury Rod Staatz, CEO of SECU in Linthicum, Md.

The CUNA treasurer's message also notes that the association continues to follow a policy in which dues revenues are dedicated to supporting legislative, regulatory and other key advocacy functions.