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Two NYIB deadlines around the corner

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (7/1/10)--Two deadlines are approaching for members of the National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) related to reporting their classroom presentations and registering for the hotel at the next NYIB 2010 Annual Conference on July 26-29 in St. Louis. Credit unions have until Tuesday to report all their classroom presentations data to the NYIB website (see link) for NYIB's official 2009-2010 figures, said Brandon Pugh, NYIB chairman and director of communications and public relations at the South Carolina Credit Union League. Credit unions who make financial education presentations in classrooms enter the data on NYIB's website. The data are used in NYIB awards, annual report and media releases. Pugh noted that NYIB is close to its goal of reaching 400,000 students. For each presentation, a credit union selects the venue (school) from the list of locations, and enters the number of students under these eligible topics:
* National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Program; * Biz Kid$ (companion curriculum); * Money management; * Credit union careers; * General credit union background; * Credit; and * Other.
"From each user's input, we get a total number of presentations and students reached, and we recognize top performers including those who show the largest percentage increase from one year to the next," Pugh told News Now. "We're also going to add team recognition this year since some credit unions report aggregate rather than individual data," he said, adding that NYIB encourages individual data. The second deadline, July 9, is extended cutoff date for making reservations for the Renaissance Grand Hotel in St. Louis to attend NYIB's 2010 Annual Conference. The conference rate is $119/night.

Texas CUs ready for contingencies from hurricane

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MADISON, Wis. (7/1/10)--While credit unions in Texas battened down their hatches, the Texas Credit Union League, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), and CUNA Mutual Group took measures Wednesday to ensure credit unions were prepared for Hurricane Alex, which hit landfall at 9 p.m. CT in northern Mexico, about 110 miles south of Brownsville, Texas. The Category two hurricane packed 100 mph hour winds at landfall and continued to move inland at about 10 mph, said last night. It was the first Atlantic Basin hurricane of this year's hurricane season. It also was the first to hit during the month of June in more than 15 years--since Hurricane Allison in 1995, and the first to make U.S. landfall in June since Hurricane Bonnie in 1986, said "Past hurricanes have taught us the criticalness of being prepared for a hurricane's arrival, especially in the area of communications before, during and after the storm," Dick Ensweiler, president/CEO of the Texas league, said Wednesday. "We are keeping a close watch on Alex, and are doing our best to keep our credit unions in the potentially affected areas informed. Should Texas be impacted by Hurricane Alex, we will be ready to respond to the needs of our credit unions and their staff," Ensweiler said. On Tuesday, the league e-mailed credit unions in the Tri-Chapter area (Coastal Bend, Magic Valley and Texas Crossroads) to let them know the league was actively monitoring Alex's progress, said Linda Webb-Manon, director of public relations at the league. The league attached a 21-page Disaster Planning Guide that outlines the planning process and plan development. The guide also emphasized the importance of awareness, preparation communication and mitigation, as well as recovery steps and checklists including an Emergency Plan Checklist and Credit Union Disaster Preparedness Operations Checklist, she told News Now. The league's Disaster Preparation website (see link) provided resources and a storm tracker so credit unions could monitor the storm's path. "We do have a disaster recovery team in place, and this team is monitoring Hurricane Alex," Webb-Manon said Wednesday afternoon. NCUA, in anticipation of the potential impact, Wednesday advised credit unions and members in the storm's potential path to "prepare for all contingencies, including the possible interruption of some credit union operations." Members impacted by Hurricane Alex can call an emergency toll-free hotline, which would be activated as needed, said NCUA. It also will have information, including the operating status of credit union branches, on its website (use the link). NCUA will distribute a public service announcement to news media in the states affected with information for consumers about federal deposit insurance coverage for credit unions and how to access their funds. Credit unions in the area were advised to review their contingency of operations plans and business continuity procedures so they could provide financial services for their members. In an evacuation, NCUA encouraged credit unions to take these actions:
* Identify alternate sites and prepare them for potential activation; * Back up systems with backup data stored in a secure location that is accessible outside the impacted area; * Notify the NCUA regional office with the location(s) of the alternate site(s), telephone numbers, and management emergency contact telephone numbers; * Identify any deploying employees and prepare them to take necessary data and/or equipment to the alternate site location; and * Test their backup systems to ensure proper operation.
In addition, credit union staff and members may wish to document important personal family and financial information, NCUA said. See the U.S. Department of Homeland Security link. CUNA Mutual Group also was making preparations for the hurricane, said Phil Tschudy, media relations manager. "As a precaution, CUNA Mutual has contacted policyholder credit unions in Brownsville that carry our property and casualty coverages," he told News Now. "We provided the credit unions with our emergency claim contact information, and we have obtained theirs." "We advised them we will continue to monitor the storm and asked them to contact us if they sustain any damages. Our toll-free disaster hotline (800-637-2676) is answered 24/7. We plan to follow up with the credit unions once the storm passes," Tschudy said.

IU.S. NewsI and ITimeI bloggers among those touting CUs

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MADISON, Wis. (7/1/10)--Bloggers for U.S. News and World Report and Time magazine, as well as a item and a segment on a 24-hour news channel in New York, all posted articles extolling the virtues of credit unions Tuesday. The four media hits include:
* Alpha Consumer, the U.S. News and World Report money blog. Blogger Kimberly Palmer noted her bank is ending its free checking accounts and suggested consumers shop around for the best options on fees. She quoted, which said that "consumers might also want to take a closer look at credit unions" for lower fees. The story pointed readers to websites to locate a credit union, including findacreditunion and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) website. The article also appeared on Yahoo! Finance. * Time's money blogger, Brad Tuttle, who wrote that overdraft fee restrictions and tightened credit card regulations have prompted banks to start charging more fees. "But consumers shouldn't roll over and give up on free checking just yet," he said, noting "plenty of resources" to assist in switching to financial institutions that still offer free checking. He referred to a recent Los Angeles Times article, "Dumping your Bank? How to find a new one," which made the case for doing business with credit unions. * article Wednesday on "Spending smart when the euro is cheap." Consumers traveling on the continent and wanting to save on credit card fees can avoid paying transaction fees with a low-fee card. "Credit unions and niche banks often levy lower fees..." said the author, Veronica Crews. *, New York City's 24-hour newschannel on the Web, which featured "Credit Unions Offer Intimate Alternative to Big Banks." Writer Shazia Khan said that "for some, a credit union beats out a bank as the right solution for one's financial needs." The segment discussed the benefits of membership and noted credit unions' low or no minimum checking and savings accounts. "While it is always good to compare fees and interest rates, they tend to be more agreeable at credit unions," said the article.
For the full articles, use the links.

Members United Corporate roundtable looks at trends

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ALBANY, N.Y. (7/1/10)--Members United Corporate FCU hosted three, one-day CFO Roundtable events in Worcester, Mass., Garden City, N.Y., and East Windsor, N.J., bringing together credit union CEOs, chief financial officers (CFO) and chief information officers. The CFO Roundtable featured presentations from National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) representatives who shared NCUA’s perspective on economic trends and areas of focus during future examinations by the agency. Presenters included:
* Marcia Sarrazin, associate regional director, NCUA; * Terrence Adam, supervisory examiner, NCUA; * Mark Cantor, supervisory examiner, NCUA; * Roy Gray, supervisory examiner, NCUA; * Steve Simon, supervisory examiner, NCUA; * Paul Richard, executive vice president/CFO, Webster First FCU; Worcester, Mass.; * Benjamin Dubbrin, manager, business development, Altisource Portfolio Solutions; and * James Zeldin, senior vice president, mortgage services and business development, Altisource Portfolio Solutions; * John J. Almeida, senior director, Financial Product Sales, Balance Sheet Solutions LLC; * James Mathews, senior analyst, Investment Advisory, Balance Sheet Solutions LLC; * Gregg Perry, account executive, Balance Sheet Solutions LLC;
Members United will host another roundtable event Oct. 14-15 in Verona, N.Y.

WOCCU Spanish Immersion Program early deadline Sunday

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MADISON, Wis. (7/1/10)--The World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) Spanish Immersion Program is offering a discounted early bird registration rate. Credit union staff can save $100 by registering on or before Tuesday. The Spanish Immersion Program, which begins Oct. 2, is a total immersion experience that provides participants insight into the language and culture of the Hispanic market. This year’s program is in San Jose, Costa Rica, and includes four hours each day of Spanish language instruction at a certified language school, with an emphasis on business and financial terminology. Participants can apply what they learn from language classes while living with pre-screened Costa Rican host families. The host family will provide a private room and all meals. Along with the experience of being a part of a Hispanic family, participants also will intern at a Costa Rican credit union. Participants can choose a one- or two-week session priced at $1,700 and $2,500, respectively. Prices are good through Tuesday. The program is one of the four qualifying steps in the International Credit Union Development Education training. For more information, use the links.

Calif.Nevada leagues reach high affiliation rate

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ONTARIO, Calif. (7/1/10)--This year, the California Credit Union League has achieved a 76% affiliation rate, and the Nevada Credit Union League has reached an 82% affiliation rate. The high rates are significant given the effects of the recession, which has severely impacted California and Nevada credit unions, the leagues said. Eleven new members have either re-joined or joined the leagues this year. Some--such as Cooperative Center FCU in Berkeley, Calif.; Downey FCU in Downey, Calif.; Los Angeles Electrical Workers CU in Pasadena, Calif.; Media City Community CU in Burbank, Calif.; and Northern Redwood FCU in Arcata, Calif.--had been away for a number of years, the leagues said. The leagues also noted an increase in the number of associate members--those headquartered out of state that provide services or have branches locally. There are 17 new members in 2010, an increase from 14 during a typical year. Alaska USA FCU, Anchorage; Credit Union 1, Rantoul, Ill.; Self Help FCU, Durham, N.C.; and Mountain America CU, West Jordan, Utah; became associate members after merging with a California or Nevada credit union. The Ontario, Calif.-based California and Nevada leagues represent more than 360 credit unions in the two states. More than 10 million California and Nevadan residents are credit union members.

CUs banks expect online-lending growth but barriers exist

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MEQUON, Wis. (7/1/10)--Credit unions, which take one-fifth of their mortgage applications online, said they expect their online applications to grow to 31% of total volume--a 55% increase--according to a survey Mortgagebot released Wednesday. The survey, conducted earlier this year by Lieberman Research Group, analyzed 330 American financial institutions--including 79 credit unions--regarding online lending technology. It confirmed that online mortgage application volume is expected to more than triple by 2013, Mortgagebot said. While 18% of lenders surveyed said they offer an online application, about 82% of credit unions surveyed said they are very or somewhat familiar with online lending technology. Roughly 71% of institutions said they envision needing to offer the technology to borrowers, and 46% said they are actually evaluating or planning to evaluate the applications. Two-thirds said they would implement a solution before 2012. The survey results contradict traditional attitudes that view the Internet as a poor substitute for personal service, Mortgagebot said. Among the lenders surveyed that already offer or are planning to offer a smart, interactive mortgage application, well over half--and nearly two-thirds of those with $500 million or more in assets--said their primary reason for going online is to better serve borrowers. The need to improve efficiency came in a distant second, Mortgagebot said. “Today’s borrowers prefer the Internet as a delivery channel for financial services, including mortgages,” the company added. “Lenders that are fully engaged with their borrowers realize that to compete in 2010 and beyond, they must meet borrowers at their preferred point of sale.” The survey also verified the importance of providing a consistent “borrower experience” by using a single technology solution to integrate all of a lender’s mortgage point-of-sale channels. About 56% of credit unions said they see point-of-sale mortgage technology playing an “extremely important” role in their mortgage businesses soon. Several barriers exist to using online lending technology, according to American Banker (June 30). Credit unions and banks cited concerns about the cost of adopting such technology, the fact they are dealing with a number of regulatory issues and protecting borrowers’ security. Mortgagebot, Mequon, Wis., provides mortgage lending solutions to financial institutions such as credit unions. Those surveyed were not Mortgagebot clients and represented institutions having more than $100 million in assets.