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Members United partners with Sallie Mae

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WARRENVILLE, Ill. (7/1/10)--Members United Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill., has partnered with Sallie Mae to provide the Smart Option Student Loan program to its member credit unions. The Smart Option Student Loan is a private student loan program offered through Sallie Mae. More than 30 credit unions have signed on to the product, with others evaluating it, Members United said. With the loan, students pay interest while in school, graduate with less debt, and pay off their loans faster than in longer-term private loan alternatives that have no payments until after graduation. Private student loans help students and families cover the full cost of attendance after they have maximized scholarships, grants and federal assistance, the corporate added. Sallie Mae underwrites, funds and services all Smart Option loans. Participating credit unions serve as the referral point through a link on their website. Sallie Mae provides support and marketing materials, including e-mail campaigns, printed pieces, online advertisements and co-branded loan applications.

Celent-CUNA deal offers Celent reports

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MADISON, Wis. (7/1/10)--Credit unions will be able to purchase reports at a discount from Celent through a partnership between Celent and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Celent provides financial research and consulting. Credit unions affiliated with CUNA can purchase Celent reports at up to an 80% discount. The reports cover banking, insurance, securities and investments. One upcoming report, “Core Banking Solutions for Credit Unions,” will provide a vendor analysis of FIS, Fiserv, Jack Henry, Open Solutions, Harland and others. Another report slated for a late summer release will provide information on small business online banking vendors. For more information, use the link.

Regulations mean CU boards must be informed

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MADISON, Wis. (7/1/10)--Legislation could be on its way in 2011 that will impact volunteers who serve on credit union boards and committees. While the exact requirements of the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) proposed regulation won’t be known until it passes, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) offers resources for board directors and volunteers to ensure they understand whether credit unions are safe and sound. NCUA’s proposal clarifies the fiduciary duties and responsibilities of federal credit union directors, including requiring directors to understand credit unions’ balance sheets and income statements (use the link). CUNA recently released a case study, “Investment in Training for Credit Union Volunteers Returns Value.” In it, six credit union volunteers shared their thoughts on the impact and benefits of their experience with volunteer training. Steve Gray, board chair of OnPoint Community CU, Portland, Ore., said in the case study that his board required each member to complete at least six Volunteer Achievement Program modules during the first term. “The stakes are high,” he said. “We are a major player in all our financial markets. We need to be educated.” CUNA offers the Online Volunteer Training on Demand, the Volunteer Certification Program and the Volunteer Achievement Program. In the programs, volunteers learn about:
* Governance and ethics; * Safety and soundness--including income statements and balance sheets; * Strategic planning; * CEO oversight; and * Board operations and development.
For more information, use the links.