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College students benefit to the tune of $15M from N.Y.'s CUs

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/9/14)--The combination of the generosity of the Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) and the state's credit unions resulted in the distribution of more than $1.5 million in total scholarships.
 
Nearly 100 credit unions representing every chapter participated in CUANY's statewide program, and approximately 1,500 applications were submitted. Twenty high school seniors will receive $1,000 scholarships, and 19 will receive $500, for a total of $29,500 for this year. The program was open to high school seniors with membership in a New York credit union who are planning to enroll in a two- or four-year college.
 
"The Credit Union Association of New York is proud to help these hardworking young men and women--our future leaders--pursue a college education," said CUANY president/CEO William J. Mellin. "All of these scholarship recipients should be commended for their diligence and their choice to obtain a higher education."

CU System Briefs (06/09/2014)

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WASHINGTON (6/9/14)-- Eric S. Belsky becomes the Federal Reserve Board's director of Consumer and Community Affairs in August , according to a Friday announcement form the agency. He succeeds Sandra F. Braunstein who retired earlier this year after serving nearly 27 years at the central bank, including a 10-year stint as director of the consumer division. Belsky currently serves as managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University and is a lecturer in urban planning and design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The Consumer and Community Affairs division of the Fed is responsible for carrying out the board of governors' consumer financial protection and community development programs. It also conducts consumer-focused supervision, research, and policy analysis to promote a fair and transparent consumer financial services marketplace ...

WASHINGTON (6/9/14)-- The slides from a webinar on cybersecurity are now available from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council . The FFIEC offered the webinar in May to raise awareness of pervasiveness of cyber threats, discuss the role of executive leadership in managing these risks, and to share actions being taken by the FFIEC. About 5,000 chief executive officers and senior managers from community financial institutions tuned into the May webinar ...

SAN DIEGO (6/9/14)-- Marla Shepard, president/CEO of $1.8 billion-asset California Coast CU, San Diego, will retire in early 2015 after a 42-year career. Shepard began her career as a teller with Santel FCU in 1972 and became CEO of the credit union in 1982. She led the credit union through five mergers and a name change in 2001 to First Future CU.  In 2008, she orchestrated what was the largest credit union merger in the United States, uniting First Future and California Coast. An ardent advocate for credit unions, in the 1990s Shepard led a political effort to get all five of San Diego County's congressmen to co-sponsor H.R. 1151, a bill allowing credit unions to expand their fields of membership ...
 
GREENVILLE, S.C. (6/9/14)-- The Carolinas Credit Union Foundation (CCUF) has launched its re-designed website . With a more modern design, the website now has the capability of processing online donations as well as incorporating videos and other social media content into the site. "The foundation is very grateful to Your Marketing Co., led by Bo McDonald, for donating its web design services," said CCUF President/CEO John McGrail. "Your Marketing Co. has shown its philanthropic colors over and over again from building our new site to providing media materials for the CCUF Awards Gala" ...

Nat'l Journal features 'CU in disguise' helping Latino communities

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WASHINGTON (6/9/14/)--On the outside, Community Trust Prospera looks like an ordinary check-cashing service in a Latino community. On the inside, however, it holds a credit union and a commitment to people helping people--especially the low-income Latinos who live in the East San Jose, Calif., neighborhood.
 
The June 6 edition of National Journal featured the work of credit unions and credit union leaders in California, North Carolina, Iowa and Ohio who are bringing banking services to low-income communities.
 
Community Trust Prospera is a project of Self-Help FCU, $560 million in assets, and its Chief Financial Officer Randy Chambers said it's a "baby step" to get Latinos out of a cash-based world and into one where they can build wealth and credit. The first one opened in 2010, and now all six of the Durham, N.C. -based credit union's specialized divisions count a total 11,000 members and $1.3 million in savings, according to Chambers.
 
Thirty-six-year-old Darwin Moran first used Community Trust Prospera to cash his paychecks and wire money to his mother in El Salvador. At first, he didn't want an account, but, "I started to become friends with them and slowly I started to change my mind," Moran told National Journal.
 
He opened a savings and checking account three years ago and recently added a credit-building loan that increased his score by three points. "Fixing my credit and paying my debts was so important to me," he said.
 
National Journal also noted the relationship between the Credit Union National Association and Coopera, a Hispanic consulting firm located in Iowa.
 
Coopera CEO Miriam de Dios told the Journal she often teaches credit union employees to recognize the different types of foreign government-issued IDs to help the cash-only community become banked. "They have been missing out. By dealing in cash, you can't build credit. It affects what you pay in rent and your insurance," she said.
 
National Journal also highlighted President/CEO Sue Cuevas and Nueva Esperanza Community CU--the first one chartered by the state of Ohio to serve Latinos--in south Toledo, Ohio. Less than five years old, the $1.5 million-asset credit union serves about 400 members with savings accounts and personal and auto loans.

Brokerage firms nervous about sloppy security practices

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MADISON (6/9/14)--Advanced technology can improve online security but it can't overcome carelessness on the part of financial professionals, and Wall Street brokerage firms are nervous about the potential consequences.

Practices such as taping sensitive passwords to computer monitors and storing them in binders labeled "passwords" compromise the technological advances made in recent years, according to officials from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Wall Street's industry-funded watchdog ( Reuters June 6).
 
Some firms give login information to temporary workers then neglect to cancel their access when the workers move on. Examiners traded anecdotes about how careless brokerage employees were at a recent FINRA conference.
 
The problems are being highlighted as major online security breaches in other industries are giving Wall Street reason to think twice about online security standards.
 
Security breaches could trigger privacy law violations and trouble with financial regulators, which have noted a spate of breaches in other sectors and companies, including eBay Inc., Target Corp, Neiman Marcus Group LLC and other retailers.
 
FINRA and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into measures that brokerages and asset managers have put in place to safeguard against cyber attacks. On June 3, the top Massachusetts securities regulator announced cyberaudits of state-registered financial advisers.
 
The increased focus on cybersecurity is causing some firms, especially smaller ones, to step up prevention measures, said Joseph Rivela, chief strategist for Breach Intelligence LLC, a Farmington, Conn., information security firm. Many smaller firms lag their large counterparts in terms of security policies and procedures, Rivela said.
 
But even employees at large firms are vulnerable. For example, scam artists sometimes pose as customers and make wire transfer requests. FINRA has disciplined sales assistants who transferred funds without first verifying those requests with the actual customers.

Scam artists also send "phishing" emails that appear to be from customers and ask for personal data. Another scenario involves fake wireless hot spots that scam artists set up in public spaces to invade firms' systems.
 
Educating employees about scams is a critical first step, said Rocco Grillo, who heads a global information security unit at Protiviti, a division of California-based Robert Half.

Wis. state CU director Santos appointed to NASCUS board

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ARLINGTON, Va. (6/9/14)--The National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) appointed Kim Santos, director of the Office of Credit Unions at the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, to its board.
 
Santos was selected to fill a vacancy created by last week's departure of John Kolhoff, director of the Office of Credit Unions of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. Kolhoff had been chair of the association for state agencies that charter, regulate and examine state-chartered credit unions.
 
Santos, who has been with the Wisconsin office for more than 20 years, also has served on a number of NASCUS committees and task forces.
 
"Kim is a respected longtime member of NASCUS and the state regulatory community, and she will be a valuable addition to our board," said NASCUS Chair Mike Wettrich, deputy superintendent for credit unions in the Division of Financial Institutions of Ohio's Department of Commerce.
 
"Obviously, as the regulator with a state system the size of Wisconsin's, Kim joins the board with a solid understanding of the diverse issues and challenges our system faces today," said NASCUS President/CEO Mary Martha Fortney.

Report: Massive 401(k) outflows on the horizon

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BOSTON (6/9/14)--Credit unions and other financial advisers will have an opportunity to assist more members and consumers in financial planning and management, as defined contribution plans will experience seismic outflows as baby boomers retire, creating both opportunities, and real challenges.
 
That's the upshot of new analysis from Cerulli Associates that projects distributions from 401(k) plans will outpace new contributions by 2016.
 
"This has significant implications for asset managers and other financial services providers," said Bing Waldert, a director at Boston-based Cerulli. "Distributions create opportunities as money moves from employer-sponsored plans to IRAs. On the other hand, the allure of the defined contribution market fades as the stickiness of assets comes into question, and net flows decline or may turn negative for some asset managers."
 
In its report, "Evolution of the Retirement Investor 2013," Cerulli aggregates data on enrollees' contribution habits throughout their investing life cycle, examining IRA rollovers and enrollees' relationship with advisers as they cash out their 401(k)s and begin to allocate resources for retirement.
 
Cerulli's report suggests advisers redouble their efforts on increasing contribution rates with younger workers in order to counter the massive outflows following boomers into retirement.
 
Over 60% of workers under the age of 30 use their company match as a gauge of how much they contribute to their plans, suggesting that an increase in match would lead to increased contributions. Short of that, Cerulli says advisers will have to intensify their efforts to safeguard their sponsor relationships.

N.Y. young pros volunteer at Ronald McDonald House

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/9/14)--Eight young professionals from New York credit unions volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House in Buffalo last week.

The volunteers represented four credit unions from the greater Buffalo area, including $72 million-asset Great Erie FCU, Orchard Park; $727 million-asset The Summit FCU, Rochester; $40 million-asset Western New York FCU, West Seneca; and $90 million-asset Buffalo (N.Y.) Metropolitan FCU.

Three of the volunteers--Cara Carlevatti, Katie Sugorovskiy and Angelina Incorvaia--are members of the Credit Union Association of New York's Young Professionals Commission.

Together, the volunteers participated in the Cook for Kids program, which included going grocery shopping, cooking dinner and cleaning for 20 temporary residents currently staying at the house. The families have children receiving medical treatment in Buffalo-area hospitals.

"After spending most of the day at the hospital, a simple home cooked meal can really go a long way," said Sugorovskiy ( The Point June 6). "I am grateful for the opportunity through the commission to provide a helping hand to those who are going through a difficult time."

Bloomberg's Brusuelas to keynote CUNA Economics and Investments Conference

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MADISON, Wis. (6/9/14)--Joseph Brusuelas, senior economist with Bloomberg LP and the Bloomberg Briefs newsletter group, will deliver a keynote presentation at this year's CUNA Economics and Investments Conference, Aug. 17-20 in Boston, the Credit Union National Association announced Friday.
 
Preparing leaders to thrive in today's economy, the CUNA Economics and Investments Conference digs into the numbers with industry economists and introduces strategies for approaching investments in the year to come.
 
Brusuelas has more than 20 years of experience in finance and economics, specializing in analysis of the U.S. economy, monetary policy, labor markets, fiscal policy, economic indicators and the condition of the U.S. consumer. As co-founder of the award-winning Bloomberg Economic Brief , he was recently named as one of the 26 economists to follow by the Huffington Post . He regularly appears on Bloomberg Television, Bloomberg Radio and is frequently quoted by the financial press on the U.S. and global economies.
 
"Bloomberg is at the top of the class when it comes to economic analysis and forecasting, "said Kevin Smith, CUNA director of learning events.

During his keynote session, "An Overview of the Current Economic Climate--The Big Picture," Brusuelas will examine the major indicators and statistics behind current economic trend insights.

League exec advocates team approach to social media success

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ST. LOUIS (6/9/14)--A credit union's social media profile should be more than the face of the credit union--it should be the many faces of the credit union.
 
Nora Holloway, PR and online community director for the Missouri Credit Union Association, advises a team approach to fostering a social media relationship with members--both current and potential ( Missouri Difference May 28).
 
More than half of consumers are more likely to trust an average employee than a CEO, Holloway said, citing the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer. "When a frontline staffer comments on an update the credit union posted, it shows fans (or followers) that real people work at the credit union AND that they enjoy working at the credit union," she wrote.
 
Also, content shared by employees receives more clicks, likes and comments than that shared from the brand or business site.
 
Chances are employees already are advocating for the good work credit unions do, Holloway said, urging, "Get them to take their support online."
 
On visual platforms like Facebook, photos are a big draw to readers. Highlight a new employee, or take a hint from $35 million-asset CSD CU, Kansas City: Draw big signs that congratulate a local school district on its 100th anniversary and have employees hold them up for a photo. Not only did it get many likes, but it also drew comments such as, "Absolutely love CSD credit Union ... You are the Best!"
 
Holloway advised credit unions to create a social media policy and request that employees sign a photo release. Encourage employees to participate whether it's with a simple reminder email or an incentive program, she added.
 
However, keep update duties to a limited team: "If too many people have access to the social channels, it can get messy," she advised.

Cornerstone CU Foundation 'granted my wish' with networking opportunity

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SAN ANTONIO (6/9/14)--Thanks to an educational grant from the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, one credit union professional was able to take part in some serious networking with industry leaders recently, while taking critical steps in advancing her career within the credit union movement.

Last year, the Cornerstone Credit Union League's charitable arm awarded Sarah Rosas from Generations FCU, San Antonio, with $519 million in assets, with the opportunity to attend the Credit Union National Association's Operations Sales and Service Council (OpSS) Conference in Los Angeles.

Needless to say, she made the most of her time.

"It was a little overwhelming at first, but such an amazing experience," Rosas said ( Leaguer June 6). "I got to meet and greet with credit union executives from across the nation, and it really broadened my horizons. And I got to experience this because the Cornerstone Foundation read my story and granted my wish."

The OpSS Council Conference is a networking and educational event for operations, sales and service professionals in the credit union industry.

Rosas took the opportunity at last year's conference to shake every hand she could and exchange contact information with everyone she had conversations with.

The Generations FCU employee also said she appreciated the gift that Cornerstone gave her and, inspired by the event, suggested that other follow in her footsteps if they can.

"My advice to other young professionals who are looking for career advancement would be to become involved with your local credit union chapter, and jump on any networking events within the organization to find opportunities such as (this one)," Rosas said.

This year's conference is Sept. 21-24 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. See the resource link.