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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.

CUAnswers conference announces business challenge updates

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (6/30/10)--During CU*Answers' Annual Leadership Conference June 23, Randy Karnes, CEO of the Michigan-based credit union service organization (CUSO), made several announcements about future programs and product enhancements. CU*Answers said it:
* Scheduled an event, "Starting a Business Within the CU*Answers Network" on Sept. 22 to explore ways credit unions can maximize potential and provide support and insight on building the innovative businesses of tomorrow. The meeting is for credit unions with excess capacity that have considered outsourcing resources and capabilities to other businesses within the network. Discussions will include building a successful business with a template that includes a business plan, resource outline and day-to-day needs requirements planning for operating. * Will transition 116 of its CU*Base credit unions to the CU*Spy powered by eDOC electronic document vault by year-end. Currently 47 credit unions generate image data to the eDOC solution, with 45 of them archiving e-Receipts, 42 with Photo IDs and five with e-Loan forms. It plans include warranting a new document type for the CU*Spy vault. * Will implement a revamped disaster recovery plan in 2011 that includes continuing to invest in its data centers' computer operations architecture and second shift operator support; migrate its disaster recovery and business continuity plan database to a new Web-based, hosted service; and activate a crisis management notification system for disaster recovery teams. * Awarded $2,500 to Michelle Broderick, an employee of Cumberland County FCU, Falmouth, Maine, as winner of its first Spec Writer Contest, which challenged clients to create project specifications for an integrated software tool for its CU*BASE software, which is in both SaaS online and self processing environments. * Had converted an average of more than 100,000 members annually from 2004 through 2010, peaking during 2009, with more than 135,000 additional members processed by CU*Base. CU*Answers added 77 new clients since 2004.

Autobytel launches AutoPilot buying service

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IRVINE, Calif., and CHATSWORTH, Calif. (6/30/10)--Autobytel Inc., which offers marketing resources for car dealers and manufacturers, has launched AutoPilot, a new car buying service for consumers who receive financing from their local credit union or bank. Autoland Inc., a credit union auto buying service through its AutolandDirect program, will be AutoPilot's premier partner and will help power the program with its call center technology. AutoPilot provides consumers with VIP dealer service and no-haggle pricing, and card dealers with pre-qualified buyers. It also offers consumers, credit union members and customers of other automotive lenders with information via an online shopping experience and the ability to connect with an Autobytel-certified AutoPilot dealer in their area. Its dealers have received training in delivering a VIP experience, which includes pre-approved credit union or other lender financing, pre-set appointments and no haggle pricing. As the premier partner for AutoPilot, Autoland will assist pre-qualified customers in shopping and locating the right vehicles at a participating local AutoPilot dealership.

MBS CU Small Business Summit to feature author

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (6/30/10)--Member Business Solutions (MBS) will host its Third Annual Credit Union Small Business Lending Summit Aug. 4-5 at the Hilton Atlanta Airport. MBS is a jointly owned credit union service organization of Southeast Corporate FCU and Georgia Central CU. Keynote speaker will be Don Yeager, author of "It's Not About the Truth" and "Under the Tarnished Dome," and four-time The New York Times bestselling author. He will present a morning session designed to build confidence in sales and a session on branding. Other topics include:
* Fundamentals of commercial real estate; * Regulatory insights from a National Credit Union Administration examiner specializing in member business lending; * A lender's basic guide to financial statements; * Merchant capture and its role in business lending; * Demystifying business credit scores; and * Effective portfolio monitoring.

Jack Henry rebrands Pemco Technologies acquisition

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MONETT, Mo. (6/29/10)--Jack Henry & Associates Inc., which acquired Pemco Technologies in October, announced that Pemco Technologies will be rebranded as JHA Payment Processing Solutions and will operate as a division of Jack Henry & Associates. Jack Henry, a provider of integrated technology solutions and data processing services for financial institutions, was contractually committed to rebrand Pemco within one year of the acquisition. The acquisition will strategically complement Jack Henry's ATM and debit card solutions with credit and prepaid card solutions. It also positions the company to support financial institutions with a broader array of payment-related solutions that are collectively supporting more than 1,000 banks and credit unions. According to Terry McMullen, general manager of E-Services, "This acquisition supports our goal to provide our clients and prospects with a more complete product offering that includes ATM, debit, credit, and prepaid card solutions, and generates more opportunities to increase our presence and potential in the growing payments industry." He noted that the company will begin selling JHA Payment Processing Solutions, which historically have been available exclusively for credit unions, to banks.

VINtek reaches 1000th customer milestone

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PHILADELPHIA (6/29/10)--VINtek has signed its 1,000th customer, said the provider of automotive collateral management and electronic lien and title (ELT) services for automotive finance lenders, including credit unions. VINtek continues to add multiple clients a day across all its lines of businesses, the Philadelphia-based company said. Driving the growth is its ELT solution, VintekTIME. The solution enables lienholders to receive electronic titles, instead of paper titles, from a state Department of Motor Vehicles. The use of electronic vehicle titles is expanding in the U.S. Fifteen states have implemented an ELT program, with four state legislatures mandating that lenders use the electronic title process. VINtek customers range from small credit unions and buy-here-pay-here dealerships, to to-tier banks. Four of the top five U.S. banks and the world's largest credit union use VINtek for automotive collateral needs. "VINtek's ELT solution has taken market share because it is easy to use, reliable and incorporates the latest in data security and maintenance standards," said VINtek President Larry Highbloom. "We have never lost an ELT record or had to resend previously sent data files. We continually enhance products to keep our customers on the leading edge of lending technology so that they remind the number one vehicle financing source for their customers and members."

Net Deposit CU Business Group to offer remote deposit e-payment

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SALT LAKE CITY and PORTLAND, Ore. (6/28/10)--NetDeposit, a provider of remote deposit capture and payment processing services, and CU Business Group (CUBG), which provides business services for more than 300 credit unions, announced a partnership agreement to bring remote deposit capture (RDC) and payment solutions products and services to the credit union market. CUBG will offer NetDeposit's NDpro Processing Services to its credit union clients and will host a webinar Tuesday to introduce the suite of products. With NetDeposit's NDpro Processing Services, credit unions can offer end-to-end processing technology for payments, including front-end capture applications for commercial RDC, and powerful electronic payment processing applications for automated clearinghouse and card transactions. The service also includes clearing and settlement for all transactions with no host system interface required, and full implementation services from NetDeposit and CUBG, plus ongoing technical support for the credit union and its business members. The webinar, at 12 p.m. CT, will feature Larry Middleman, president/CEO of CUBG, and Mary Hockridge, executive vice president of sales and marketing forNet Deposit.

IOn DemandI discusses training issues

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MADISON, Wis. (6/25/10)--The summer 2010 issue of On Demand magazine by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) discusses a number of training issues for credit unions, including webinars. In the article, “What Training Tool Can Be the Most and Least Effective at the Same Time?” CUNA Marketing Communications Manager Tracy Travis discusses some ways credit unions can ensure they’re getting the most out of their webinars. An effective webinar will capture audience attention at the beginning, list objectives and outcomes, include interactivity, and connect the audience with the topic, Travis said. “A presenter’s lack of confidence or anxiety over details is easily detected, and can interrupt the learner’s ability to understand the content,” she wrote. Credit unions should preview webinars they are using to provide training, and have a plan to ensure the webinar will effectively communicate the information the credit union wants to convey to staff. “Webinars have strengths and weaknesses,” Travis wrote. “Many of the weaknesses can be overcome with active facilitation and interactivity, but not all content is easily delivered through what is primarily a one-way communication channel.” For more information, or to read On Demand, use the link.

CU Village enhances website content management

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LIVONIA, Mich. (6/25/10)--CU Village launched a new version of its content management system (CMS) for credit unions’ websites on June 19. The new version allows credit unions to manage Web pages and files, embed content, optimize search engines, enhance polling and manage multiple sites. It can accommodate nearly any graphic design and offers plug-in modules, such as polling, ad management and customization, said the company. The enhancements aim to increase traffic, functionality and interactivity of clients’ websites, said CU Village. CU Village is a technology and marketing company based in Livonia, Mich.

Purchase of Members United SHARE SYSTEM by CO-OP final

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WARRENVILLE, Ill. and RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (6/24/10)--Members United Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill., and CO-OP Financial Services have completed CO-OP’s purchase of SHARE SYSTEM from Members United. The purchase was announced March 15. CO-OP was selected by Members United as the new provider of SHARE SYSTEM because it serves more than 3,200 credit unions for network, debit processing, shared branching and call center services. CO-OP already has a significant presence in Indiana--in the Midwest, where Members United is located, said the corporate. Members United Corporate FCU has $9.5 billion in assets. CO-OP Financial Services, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is a credit union service organization that provides shared branching and ATM services.

CO-OP working on ATM software for shared branches

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (6/24/10)--CO-OP Financial Services has almost completed phase two application software that will allow members of participating shared-branching credit unions to skip the teller line and conduct nearly all their financial transactions at ATMs. Phase two software can be installed on existing ATMs or kiosks. CO-OP is testing phase two software on an NCR ATM at a service center in St. Clair Shores, Mich. With phase two, which will be available in the fourth quarter of this year, credit union members can deposit cash or checks, inquire about accounts, withdraw funds, transfer funds and make payments. Phase three, scheduled for availability in 2011, will have additional features and the ability to be fully integrated with a single point of settlement. Phase three is installable through software on Diebold and NCR ATMs. With phase three, members will have full account access as if they were at a credit union branch. According to CO-OP, benefits of the shared branching software include:
* Support for a growing trend toward greater member self-service; * Movement of members from teller lines, reducing teller costs; * Enhanced member access and convenience for members because they can perform transactions anytime at an ATM instead of during business hours at a branch; * Increased interchange income through more guest transactions--with members of other credit unions using ATMs with shared-branching software.
CO-OP Financial Services, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is a provider of ATMs and shared-branching services for credit unions nationwide.

CUNA to offer audios on SAFE Act IRAs ID theft

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MADISON, Wis. (6/23/10)--Within the next week, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is offering three audio conferences, including one this Thursday on the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing (SAFE) Act. Sessions next week will cover individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and identity theft. CUNA will offer an audio Thursday on the SAFE Act and other compliance issues for credit unions from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. CT. The audio will feature Regina Metz, attorney with the National Credit Union Administration and CUNA staff. Topics to be discussed include:
* Regulation Z open-end credit rules that go into effect July 1; * Regulation E overdraft rules for ATM and one-time debit card transactions, effective July 1; * Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) accuracy and direct dispute rule, effective July 1; and * The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosures Act’s credit card and gift rules, which go into effect Aug. 22.
Two back-to-back audios also will be available on Tuesday--“IRA: Rollovers and Transfers,” from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. CT and “Identity Theft--How to Thwart Criminals,” from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. CT. The IRA audio will feature John Baptista Jr., who has more than 30 years of experience in the financial industry. With the audio, attendees will understand what rollovers are, analyze what questions must be asked and answered on transfers and rollovers, review when it is best to do a transfer versus rollover, and learn who can deliver a transfer letter. The identity theft audio will feature Robert Siciliano, an expert on personal security and identity theft. Audio attendees will develop a heightened awareness of scams, understand what ATM skimming is and how to detect it, learn how criminals are circumventing existing systems to commit fraud, and create programming to partner with credit union members and become part of the solution. For more information, use the links.

LenderLive introduces iBenefitsPlus

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DENVER (6/23/10)--Mortgage benefits programs are not as common as retirement or healthcare programs, but there are companies that can help employers--including credit unions--offer their employees homeowner education. LenderLive Network recently introduced its iBenefits Plus plan, which it says aims to build employee loyalty through homeowner education and mortgage counseling services. iBenefits Plus is available through a privately labeled Website that offers advisory tools--such as informational opportunities to professional debt analysis--that can help employees with homeownership decision making. Up to 42% of individuals’ income is allocated for household expenses, according to a study LenderLive cited. “When employees are empowered to appropriately address their financial concerns, it boosts their morale, productivity and sustainability,” said Rick Seehausen, president/CEO. LenderLive noted that through iBenefits, employers can align employees to a preferred lender of their choosing--which could be the employer’s credit union. LenderLive Network Inc., Denver, is a provider of business process outsourcing and technology for the financial industry.

Fynanz offers new rate on private student loans

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NEW YORK CITY (6/22/10)--Fynanz Inc., a provider of private student lending solutions and a CUNA Strategic Services alliance, is offering an interest rate of 2.75% for its new EdAccess loan. EdAccess, which also offers an origination fee of 2.40% across all pricing tiers, was recently reviewed by Student Lending Analytics, an independent research and advisory firm. The loan is listed as one of the lowest rates among all of the private student loans included in the review. Students can apply for the loan at www.cuStudentLoans.org. The loan can be used for all qualifying education expenses and features an automatic 1% interest rate reduction once the borrower enters repayment and pays back 10% of the principal balance. It also includes no pre-payment penalty, no co-signer option, co-signer release option and a 30-day, no-fee return policy. EdAccess is one of the first loan programs to introduce a $25 proactive monthly payment plan, which requires the borrower to make payments while in school. The plan allows the borrower to develop a credit history while receiving a monthly reminder of how much is owed. CU Student Lending comprises credit unions nationwide and was established to build a network of lenders using a common platform to offer student loans.

MBS becomes gold sponsor of CSS VendorTrack program

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MADISON, Wis. (6/21/10)--Multi-Bank Securities (MBS), an institutional broker/dealer, has become a gold sponsor of CUNA Strategic Services’ VendorTrack program. MBS provides credit unions with investment products and services, and offers broad market visibility to buyers and sellers of share certificates. MBS’ online platform has real-time access to market information so customers can generate portfolio balances, accruals and activity reports. Credit unions can review their current portfolio’s National Credit Union Administration CD Insurance Analysis report online. MBS’ prime brokerage accounts allow credit unions to consolidate and monitor their purchases. It also offers premier online portfolio accounting by SunGard, another CUNA Strategic Service provider. MBS features no-cost services such as CMS BondEdge Portfolio Analysis, free safekeeping at Pershing LLC and no online trading fees. “MBS is committed to helping credit unions by giving them the tools they need to make informed and appropriate business decisions,” said Dave Maccagnone, MBS CEO. “VendorTrack is a great way for credit unions to research potential suppliers, as well as track relevant information regarding their vendor relationships.”

CUs workers comp company distributes 350k

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ONTARIO, Calif. (6/18/10)--C-U First Ltd., a credit union-owned and operated workers’ compensation program, returned an additional $350,000 to its policyholders in 2009. For the first three policy terms, the program has returned 29% of premiums to date. Program members also experienced a premium rate decrease of 60% since the program's inception in 2004, said the California Credit Union League. The C-U First Insurance Program chooses the loss control specialist and third-party claims administrator, allowing the member credit unions to manage and control their workers’ compensation losses. Artex Risk Solutions administers the captive and domicile management, while Gallagher Bassett provides claims management and loss control services. Discover Re, a Travelers Company, provides the insurance policies and the excess re-insurance portion of the program. Since each participating credit union’s workers’ compensation premium and future distributions are based on their individual performance, the claims and loss control services are critical. “The results are evident as the group has had an average loss ratio of 19.07% since the program’s inception,” said Sylvia Fath, California league senior vice president of business services. The program also recently welcomed SkyOne FCU, Hawthorne, to the program. Participants include:
* AltaOne FCU, Ridgecrest; * American First CU, La Habra; * Burbank City FCU, Burbank; * Christian Community CU, San Dimas; * CoastHills FCU, Lompoc; * California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, Ontario; * First Financial CU, West Covina; * Fresno County FCU, Fresno; * Orange County’s CU, Santa Ana; and * Pacific Marine CU, Camp Pendleton.

Diebold adds weather alert service

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (6/18/10)--Severe weather can disturb the ability for a credit union to serve its members, and ATM manufacturer and CUNA Strategic Service provider Diebold is mitigating this by providing a new WeatherAlert service to its monitoring capabilities. The service provides immediate, customized alerts for severe weather and potential natural disaster watches and warnings, including tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, flash floods, high winds and hurricanes. The service also can deliver local weather forecasts up to three times daily. Security managers can receive the information through e-mail, text message, or a phone call. “Weather can certainly impact the safety and security of a business, as well as its employees and customers,” said Bradley J. Stephenson, vice president, security solutions, Diebold. “The WeatherAlert service is an additional means for Diebold to help businesses secure their enterprises and better protect people and assets. Prompt notification of forecasted weather events enables security managers to react more quickly to situations that may compromise operations or safety.” Diebold WeatherAlert notifications are based on a business’ exact physical address. Upon receiving an alert, a security manager can take precautionary measures or initiate disaster response and recovery plans. Effective disaster preparation may even involve transfer of local monitoring operations to a back-up monitoring service, such as Diebold's Monitoring Center. If storms or other events compromise normal monitoring operations, the monitoring center could take over, Diebold said. The WeatherAlert service is available to all end users regardless of their service relationship with Diebold. Diebold authorized dealers can offer the WeatherAlert service to their customers through the Diebold Advanced Dealer Program. Diebold is based in North Canton, Ohio.

CUNAverse Twitter contest offers iPad

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MADISON, Wis. (6/17/10)--CUNAverse, the official blog of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), is offering credit unions a chance to win an iPad in its CUNAverse Twitter contest. The purpose of the contest is to spread the word about the blog and its tweet feature on Twitter. Basically entrants are asked to follow CUNAverse on Twitter and tweet this sentence: Win an iPad! Just retweet this and follow @CUNAverse. Details: http://ow.ly/1ZkhL The tweet is an automatic entry. One can enter once a day until June 30, when the contest ends. In addition to the 16GB/Wifi Apple iPad, the winner will receive a copy of CUNA's 2010-2011 E-Scan Report, CUNA's strategic planning guide. For more detail use the resource link.

MyPhotoCard lets cardholders create own brand

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DES MOINES, Iowa (6/17/10)--The Members Group (TMG) is allowing credit union member cardholders to create their own brand through a new payment card personalization tool, MyPhotoCard. The solution was launched Tuesday at the 2010 TMG Client Conference. MyPhotoCard was developed by TMG--a credit union service organization--and CPI Card Group. CPI offers card product and related services. MyPhotoCard allows credit or debit cardholders to design their own cards either by uploading a personal photo or selecting a photo from a prepopulated gallery. When a personalized card is created, additional cardholders on the account can create their own personalized card on the same day. Once the card is approved, it is mailed directly to the cardholder. The platform is available for MasterCard and Visa. “When people talk about card personalization programs, they often refer to the potential for increased customer affinity, loyalty and lower attrition, which in turn can translate into higher card usage and revenue,” said Jeff Falk, TMG director of product development. “With MyPhotoCard, TMG is offering a tool with the potential to deliver on all those fronts. But we want to take the process beyond just personalization to personalization and functionality.” MyPhotoCard uses TMG’s Springboard application. Credit unions can customize levels of user access based on operational needs. TMG is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Affiliates Management Company, which is owned by Iowa credit unions and their members.

Shoreline offers customizable card program for CUs

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LONDON (6/17/10)--Shoreline Business Solutions’ credit union clients now have access to a customizable card program, Make-It-Mine, through a partnership with Severside Group, a global technology provider. Make-It-Mine allows credit unions to launch an online card customization program with a Card Competition application and built-in voting mechanism. Cardholders can use the mechanism to send finished card designs to friends and family and ask them to vote for their designs. The tool will help create more revenue-generating opportunities for credit unions, according to Richard Anderson, president/CEO, Shoreline Business solutions. “In an environment where government regulation is limiting revenue opportunities for financial institutions, it’s now more important than ever for institutions to attract and retain profitable customers,” Anderson said. Make-It-Mine has a reporting tool for real-time analysis of the card program’s performance. It also works with all major processors, and financial institutions can configure the platform to represent their brand, identity and specific card program, the companies said in a release. Severside Group is headquartered in London. Shoreline Business Solutions is a Rhode Island-based personalization bureau.

Illinois CUs offered re-po remarketing services

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (6/16/10)--Illinois credit unions looking to efficiently sell their repossessed vehicles have a new solution to help shorten their resale cycle and compete against larger dealers in the marketplace, according to the Illinois Credit Union League. Creditors Resource Service (CRS) has signed an agreement with Strategic Remarketing Solutions (SRS) to provide recovery, remarketing and title services to credit unions. The partnership will help credit unions obtain more of a front-line position and remarket their vehicles on a more level playing field during a time when the number of repossessions remains high, the league said. As part of the Illinois Credit Union League Service Corp., CRS is a full-service collection agency that provides credit unions with turnkey collection services to reduce delinquencies and recover charge-offs.

Products and Services briefs (06/14/2010)

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* GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (6/15/10)--Xtend is preparing to roll out a portfolio of support services to help credit unions communicate upcoming Regulation E changes to members. Regulation E implements the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. Xtend’s solution includes mailings, electronic member communication, inbound and outbound call support and back office fulfillment. More than 24 credit unions have signed up for at least one of Xtend’s Opt-in services, the company said. Xtend recently hosted a Web conference in response to clients’ demand for support in providing fulfillment services on the back end and in driving member awareness of the upcoming changes using multiple channels. Many of Xtend’s credit union partners began thinking about their Regulation E strategy as early as February, but “we cautioned them to move slowly and thoughtfully through the process so that they could understand the true impact that the change might have on their bottom lines,” said Xtend President Scott Collins. Xtend plans to host another question-and-answer session as the effective date for Regulation E approaches. Xtend is a credit union service organization in Grand Rapids, Mich. ... * DALLAS (6/15/10)--CU Members Mortgage has expanded its presence in Oregon, Washington and Alaska with the hire of Michael Hawks as regional sales manager. Hawks has experience in the mortgage-ending industry and previously worked as senior loan office for the Bank of Oregon. Adding Hawks to the CU Members team will strengthen its reach in the Northwest region of the U.S., according to Linda Clampitt, senior vice president. CU Members Mortgage provides mortgage services to more than 1,000 credit unions, credit union service organizations and credit union leagues ... * SPOKANE, Wash. (6/15/10)--CU*Northwest has converted its first California-based credit union, 1st Valley CU of San Bernardino, to its core data processing system, CU*BASE. The credit union also is using the credit union service organization’s It’s Me 247 online banking, Mobile Web Banking, and CU*Talk Audio Response. The conversion was smooth because of assistance from CU byDesign CUSO, which specializes in supporting credit unions during the transition to CU*BASE, said CU*Northwest, which is based in Liberty Lake, Wash. ... * GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (6/15/10)--Xtend Inc. will host a town hall event with Corporate One FCU, Columbus, Ohio, as a part of its annual stockholder meeting June 22. The event will take place in Grand Rapids, Mich., where Xtend is based. The event will be co-moderated by Xtend President Scott Collins and Corporate One FCU CEO Lee Butke. They will discuss “Navigating Today’s Corporate Minefield” ...

CMG Mortgage Insurance webinars address secondary market

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SAN FRANCISCO (6/14/10)--CMG Mortgage Insurance Company (CMG MI) will conduct two free 90-minute webinars with practical guidance for credit union leaders who want to use the secondary mortgage market to improve liquidity. The webinars, “Fundamentals of the Secondary Market” and “Secondary Marketing Economics,” will focus on alternative approaches, necessary resources, management of investor relationships and best practices for successful participation in the secondary mortgage loan market. The webinars are July 7 and 8 at 2 p.m. ET. Alan Bahr, CMG MI director of secondary markets and national accounts, will conduct the webinars. Bahr has experience at several Wall Street investment firms. “With investor interest beginning to return, the secondary market presents a vital source of new mortgage loan programs and liquidity that credit unions can’t afford to neglect,” Bahr said. “CMG MI is a strong supporter of credit union growth, and their active participation in the secondary market is central to that goal.” During Fundamentals of Mortgage Lending, July 7, lending officers will learn:
* The latest mechanics of the secondary market; * Alternative secondary marketing strategies; * Types of secondary marketing contracts and their potential risks and rewards; * The basics of working with government-sponsored enterprises and the Federal Housing Administration; and * How to manage secondary requirements.
Secondary Marketing Economics, July 8, will cover:
* The key concepts that help determine the relative risks and returns and liquidity considerations of a mortgage business; * The influence of mortgage lending on liquidity management; * The principal drivers affecting the success of secondary versus portfolio execution; * The risks of alternative secondary delivery channels versus portfolio lending; and * Evaluation of the components of effective pricing.
CMG MI is a corporate joint venture between CUNA Mutual Insurance Society and PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. For more information, use the link.

Solutions in Finance creates delinquency goal matrix

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LOS GATOS, Calif. (6/11/10)--Credit unions should know that measuring delinquency roll rates is a powerful tool in determining collector performance and the results of collection department efforts, said Bill Garcia, president/CEO of Solutions in Finance Inc. Solutions in Finance, a Los Gatos, Calif.-based consulting firm that provides service for financial institutions in consumer lending, indirect lending, mortgage lending and collections operations, has created a delinquency roll rate goal matrix. (See chart).
Click to view larger image Click for larger view
Measuring delinquency roll rates means measuring the beginning month delinquency numbers and dollars in the delinquency aging buckets against the month-end delinquency numbers and dollars in percentages. Aging buckets can include 10-30, 31-60, 61-90, 91-120, 121-150, 151-180 and 180-plus. The actual percentage may vary by credit union, region and the credit quality of the loan portfolio. The most common method for measuring collection results for credit unions is the percent of total loan balances over 60 days delinquent. Most credit unions do not measure individual collector performance. The credit unions that do measure collector performance usually measure only dollars collected by the collector and sometimes the percent promises kept, Solutions in Finance said. Some credit unions measure the number of collection calls collectors make daily. While these are good measurement tools, Garcia also recommends measuring roll rates at the department level and individual collector level. “Once you are able to capture the roll rate data, you can establish roll-rate goals for the collection manager and individual collectors,” he said. “We have clients that have established roll-rate goals and integrated them into their collector performance scorecards. This is very effective in improving collection results and your bottom line.”

Fynanz at 50th CU partner milestone

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NEW YORK (6/11/10)--Fynanz, a CUNA Strategic Service provider, has achieved a milestone by partnering with 50 credit unions for its nationwide private student-lending network. The two most recent partners are Princeton (N.J.) FCU, and Dort FCU, Flint, Mich. Princeton FCU, with $112.5 million in assets, is using the EdAccess turnkey option, and Dort FCU, with $427 million in assets, will have a custom-built program. Fynanz has more than doubled the number of its credit union partners in three months. The expansion “will allow us to meet the education financing needs of even more students nationwide,” said Vince Passione, Fynanz CEO and founder. Fynanz provides custom, private student-lending programs and solutions. It also powers cuStudentLoans.org, a private student-lending marketplace.

CSS partner TraceSecurity featured in IL.A. TimesI

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LOS ANGELES (6/9/10)--The chief technology officer of a CUNA Strategic Service (CSS) provider, TraceSecurity, was featured Sunday in a Los Angeles Times article about protecting credit. Jim Stickley of the Louisiana-based risk management firm breaks into financial institutions and steals consumers’ private information as part of his daily job. Stickley, however, returns the information he obtains to the financial institution--along with a stern warning to the institution about protecting such information. TraceSecurity has been hired by more than 1,000 financial institutions to test security measures. Not one financial institution has able to prevent the intrusion, the newspaper said. After gaining access to the institution--sometimes posing as a pest control technician or electrician--Stickley said he proceeds to steal items such as backup tapes and other data. Sometimes, a financial institution employee will accompany him on his “job” while in the branch, but most often, the employee leaves him alone, giving him the opportunity to steal sensitive information. Because of potential security compromises, Stickley advised consumers to watch their accounts; look for warnings, such as a big spike in mail offering credit cards; check credit reports; and place a fraud alert on file if anything on an account appears suspicious.

Invest in America adds Shop America as new partner

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LIVONIA, Mich. (6/8/10)--Invest in America has added online mall Shop America as a partner. Shop America, which offers access to more than 1,200 online merchants, will offer discounts of up to 15% for credit union members. “Invest in America’s suite of member-benefits programs continues to grow and encourage support for American-owned businesses,” said CUcorp President David Adams. CUcorp is a marketing company based in Livonia, Mich., and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Michigan Credit Union League. “Bringing different merchants together through Shop America creates a backbone for the whole Invest in America program.” Shop America features merchants such as Apple, Target, Best Buy, Gap, Barnes and Noble, Macy’s and Office Depot. The discounts range from 1% to 15% and members will be mailed a check when the accumulated cash back from all merchants is $10 or more. Access to the mall is available through the Invest in America website, according to the Michigan Credit Union League. Credit union members also will have access to comparison shopping features to help them find the best deals. Searching by product will bring up the prices from different merchants, allowing the member to find discounts and the best possible deal. Each participating company will offer special member discounts through Shop America. The mall will be run by Incentive Networks, a provider of merchant-funded loyalty programs. Credit union members also will have access to Incentive Networks’ customer service center. The initial contract runs for three years.

Products and Services briefs (06/04/2010)

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* COLUMBUS, Ohio (6/7/10)--Corporate One FCU has partnered with Sallie Mae to offer the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan to 800 member credit unions. The referral program allows credit unions to earn fee income when their members receive a Sallie Mae-funded 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. The loans are underwritten, funded and serviced by Sallie Mae. Participating credit unions bear no risk because they serve as a referral point primarily via a link on their website. Credit unions receive a percentage of the principal amount for each loan granted and any subsequent loans to the member. Sallie Mae provides support and marketing materials including co-branded loan applications, online Web ads or "tiles," lobby posters, e-mail campaigns and statement stuffers. The loan is for students and families looking for private student loans to help them cover college after they've maximized scholarships, grants and federal assistance. Loan rates are based on LIBOR, the borrower's or co-signer's creditworthiness, and other factors. Silver Sword Capital Partners, a consulting firm that assisted in putting together the program for credit union, has offered marketing consultation to Corporate One members who offer the Smart Option Student Loan program ... * PHILADELPHIA (6/7/10)--Credit Union Resources Inc., the service corporation of the Texas Credit Union League, has selected VINtek as its preferred provider of electronic lien and title (ELT) services. VINtek is a provider of automotive collateral management and direct auto finance solutions for credit unions and other automotive lenders. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) launched a statewide ELT program in November, and VINtek will assist Texas credit unions with the conversion to paperless titles. ELT is a cost-effective, environmentally friendly alternative to paper-based vehicle titles that enables credit unions to receive digital titles from their local DMV ...

PSCU Financial Services debit transactions up 22 in 09

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (6/7/10)--PSCU Financial Services’ member credit unions saw annual debit transactions surge 22% in 2009 and go up 16% for the first quarter 2010--mainly because of an aggressive promotional strategy, the credit union service organization (CUSO) said. Its strong growth set it on pace to reach one billion debit transactions by 2011, the CUSO added. PSCU Financial Services will conduct seven direct mail usage campaigns in 2010 and periodic sweepstakes promotions. It funds many of the campaigns and leverages its relationships with card companies to ensure that most of the campaigns carry no cost to credit unions. “Since debit interchange plays such a large role in credit union revenues, we have a specialized team that designs campaigns for our credit unions,” said Tom Gandre, group executive, PSCU Financial Services. “We also negotiate with MasterCard and Visa to offer special sweepstakes promotions conducted specifically for our credit unions. The card companies provide very attractive prizes that drive increased participation, which ultimately leads to increased card usage and greater revenue for our credit unions.” So far this year, PSCU Financial Services has conducted two MasterCard debit campaigns with response rates of 14.5% and 6.6%. “We have been extremely pleased with the results of PSCU Financial Services’ debit promotions,” said John Stegner, chief financial officer, Y-12 FCU in Oak Ridge, Tenn. “We had more than 450 accounts go from completely inactive to an average of 24 transactions a month.” A Debit Advisory Group, made up of 20 member-owner credit unions of all sizes, provides input to the cooperative’s product development and marketing teams to ensure the DebitAdvantage platform addresses current and emerging needs of credit unions. The DebitAdvantage platform supports both signature and personal identification number transactions to simplify processing and enhance fraud protection. Cardholders gain 24/7 member support through the CUSO’s Contact Center. Also, AdvisorsPlus professionals are available to help credit unions analyze their card portfolios and conduct their own promotional campaigns.

TMG partners with MShift to expand mobile banking

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DES MOINES, Iowa (6/4/10)--TMG and MShift Inc. have partnered to expand their portfolio of products to include mobile banking and transaction alerting solutions. They are working with Visa Inc. “Customers now expect the ability to transact with their financial institution via their mobile phone to be a given,” said Scott Moeller, CEO of MShift. “Phones are no longer just for talking.” The MShift Mobile Banking platform provides mobile technology for Android, Blackberry, Nokia, iPhone and other mobile devices. Through this platform, cardholders can view data and transactions on the desktop through their phones. The platform can be integrated into a credit union’s existing Internet banking solution without changing its core processing system. With the TMG Mobile Transaction Alerts solution, Visa cardholders can receive transaction alerts in real-time so accountholders can take action if they believe a fraudulent transaction is taking place. Alerts are triggered based on accountholder preference. For example, alerts can be sent when a transaction is declined or has exceeded a specified amount. The alerts also help consumers better manage their money, TMG said. “Rather than waiting to see transactions either via Internet banking or a monthly statement, transaction alerts provide real-time spend tracking to the cardholder, which has become paramount in today’s economy,” said Jeff Falk, TMG director of product development. MShift provides mobile platform technology for the financial services industry. TMG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Affiliates Management Co., which is owned by Iowa credit unions and their members. It provides card processing and payment solutions to credit unions.

Harland launches service to streamline mergers

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LAKE MARY, Fla. (6/4/10)--Harland Financial Solutions has introduced UltraData Enterprise Merger Services to help credit unions streamline the data conversion process when merging with or acquiring another financial institution. The service is offered in three tiers--Manual, Guided and Premier. Manual is for small credit unions merging and provides management and guidance with data conversion. Guided offers increased hands-on involvement and project management, while Premier is suited for larger, more complex mergers where the bulk of the responsibility and workload of the data conversion process is removed from the institutions. Credit unions using the service include California Agribusiness CU, Buena Park, Calif., and Genisys CU, Auburn Hills, Mich. California Agribusiness has $32 million in assets and Genisys has $1.3 billion. Genisys said it appreciated the solution because it had the opportunity to simulate the “go-live” day in a controlled environment, said Jackie Buchanan, president/CEO. Harland Financial Solutions, Lake Mary, Fla., supplies software and services to financial institutions including credit unions. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Harland Clarke Holdings Corp.

Free economic webinar from CUNA June 29

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MADISON, Wis. (6/3/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will offer a free webinar June 29 on the state of the economy and its impact on credit unions. CUNA also is offering several other economic-related events, including a conference, for credit unions. The webinar, “Economy & Its Impact on Credit Unions” will be offered from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. CT. Credit unions will receive an update on current events, issues, and statistics to help plan for the future. Participants also can comment in an open forum on local conditions and how they’re affecting the organization. Feedback from credit unions will help shape the CUNA Economics and Investments Conference in August, CUNA said. The Economics and Investments Conference will be Aug. 8-11 in Boston. Attendees will learn key factors shaping the U.S. economy, obtain practical tools for managing credit union finances, gain investment strategies to stay competitive, develop asset-liability management techniques and understand regulatory issues affecting credit unions. CUNA also is offering the Pressing Economic Series, featuring Bill Hampel, CUNA senior vice president of research and policy analysis and chief economist; Mike Schenk, CUNA vice president of economics and statistics; and Steve Rick, CUNA senior economist. The series has 12 sessions in a 30-minute update during the first week of each month. Credit unions can purchase one subscription to attend all sessions or purchase individual recordings of the sessions. To view the June session for free, use the link.

Auto mortgage lending focus of symposium

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ONTARIO, Calif. (6/3/10)--Auto and mortgage lending topped the agenda of CUDL and Prime Alliance’s recent Driving Home Auto and Mortgage Lending Symposium for credit unions in Las Vegas May 4-7.
Click to view larger image CUDL President/CEO Tony Boutelle addresses credit union attendees during the CUDL and Prime Alliance Auto and Mortgage Lending Symposium in Las Vegas.(Photos provided by CUDL)
More than 400 individuals from 150 credit unions attended. Speakers included Jason Jennings, an author and business authority; Jason M. Dias, a trainer consultant and Generational Marketing and Management expert; Patrick Adams, president of St. Louis Community CU; and Steve Rizzo, personal development guru and motivational speaker. Other presenters included:
* David Lo, director of financial services, JD Powers; * Mike James, chief operating officer, Lending Insights; * Kelly Kent, senior product manager of decision sciences, Experian; * Melinda Zabritski, director, automotive credit, Experian; * Jeff Lazerson, president, Mortgage Grader; * Howard Banker, executive director, Fair Mortgage Collaborative; * Jon Schrock, national accounts director, Manheim; * Mark Coleman, national sales manager, GE Capital; * Tom Millon, president/CEO, Capital Markets Cooperative; and * Jeff Harry, executive vice president, Capital Markets Cooperative.
These credit unions were awarded the 2009 CUDL Best Practices Award:
* Erie (Pa.) FCU; * Hermantown (Minn.) FCU; * OnPoint Community CU, Portland, Ore.; * Security Service FCU, San Antonio; * Texans CU, Richardson, Texas; and * Tulsa (Okla.) Teachers CU.
Click to view larger image Jason Dias, president of Eloquent Online, talks to credit unions during a keynote session at CUDL-Prime Alliance Auto and Mortgage Lending Symposium.
Citadel FCU, Thorndale, Pa., and The Golden 1 CU, Sacramento, were presented the CUDL Diamond Award for advancing their auto lending programs. Prime Alliance honored First Tech CU, Beaverton, Ore.; Ent FCU, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Member Mortgage Services, Farmington Hills, Mich., and Tower FCU, Annapolis Junction, Md., for their achievements in mortgage lending. Prime Alliance is a credit union service organization that focuses on credit union mortgage lending. CUDL is a provider of auto lending solutions for credit unions.

Diebold to add skimming protection to ATMs

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (6/3/10)--Diebold is adding protection solutions to its ATM machines to prevent card skimming, which is one of the largest fraud threats against ATMs worldwide. Skimmers are devices--often undetectable--that criminals attach to ATM card readers to record the information stored on a card’s magnetic stripe. The information is used to create cloned cards and conduct fraudulent transactions. Diebold’s ATM Security Protection Suite offers anti-skimming and monitoring, with five levels of protection to guard against skimming, specifically:
* Level one offers basic protection and includes ATM card reader security features specially designed to deter skimmer attachments; * Level two provides skimming detection technology that generates an alert when a fraudulent device has been added to a terminal; * Levels three and four prevent the capture of card information by emitting an electromagnetic field to interfere with a skimmer’s ability to capture data; and * Level five includes Diebold’s ATM SkimmingAlert Monitoring Service, which provides e-mail alerts and text alerts to card owners from the Diebold Monitoring Center.
Diebold, a CUNA Strategic Service, is based in North Canton, Ohio.

Products and Services briefs (06/01/2010)

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* WESTBROOK, Maine (6/2/10)--Synergent, a subsidiary of the Maine Credit Union League, received a satisfaction rating of 100% from its partner credit unions in a recent quarterly survey. About 56% of Synergent’s credit unions responded to the survey, which was conducted for the quarter ending April 30. The survey asked users to rate their satisfaction with Synergent in quality, delivery, professionalism, growth and responsiveness. All respondents gave Synergent a 100% satisfaction rating in all categories ... * TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (6/2/10)--Credit Union 24 (CU 24), Tallahassee, Fla., announced it will continue its relationship with the Ohio Credit Union League Services Corp., based in Columbus, Ohio. The corporation is the Ohio Credit Union League’s primary business subsidiary for Ohio credit unions. The partnership between the two groups facilitates collaboration and enhanced service offerings for Ohio credit unions, CU 24 said. CU 24 is a deposit-taking ATM and point-of-service (POS) network with multiple processor links, hundreds of thousands of POS locations at national retailers and local merchants, and more than 100,000 ATM terminals nationwide ... * WINDERMERE, Fla. (6/2/10)--Sheeter Consulting, an employee benefits consultant and executive recruitment firm for credit unions, has changed its name to The Sheeter Group. The company recently expanded its services by joining forces with CU executives Inc., a San Diego-based executive search firm. Founder Elaine Boyd will be national business development manager for The Sheeter Group, which is based in Windermere, Fla. ... * HOUSTON (6/2/10)--Auto Financial Group, Houston, an online provider of residual-based financing products for credit unions, has extended terms for its DrivingSense program. DrivingSense is an auto-financing product that offers lease-like benefits of a balloon loan to credit unions and their members. It allows credit unions to “build” a vehicle for their members, compare payment terms with conventional loans and offer members lower payments--as much as 40% lower. Also, it offers flexible two- to six-year terms, actual ownership of the vehicle and several end-of-term options. The new extended terms will be available in three-month intervals between regular 12-month terms. For example, the new extended terms are available at 39, 42 and 45 months instead of 36 or 48 months, the company said ...