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CU System Archive

CU System

NEW: Governor Signs Oregon CU Act Improvement

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SALEM, Ore. (FILED 1:55 p.m. CT  6/28/13)--Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber signed legislation this week that updates the Oregon Credit Union Act, as he acted quickly to acknowledge strong legislative support for the bill, said the Northwest Credit Union Association.

NWCUA backed the bill because of recommendations by the Oregon State Model Act Subcommittee, chaired by Scott Burgess, president/CEO of Rivermark Community CU in Beaverton (NWCUA's The Anthem June 27).

"The sub-committee put a tremendous amount of work and analysis into the legislation signed by the governor, and we're very pleased with the outcome," Burgess told NWCUA. "As the chairman of the sub-committee, I know I speak for the group in saying that we're all particularly proud that, in Oregon, we routinely open up the Credit Union Act to seek out legislative changes that will help credit unions better serve their members in these challenging times."

The updated Oregon Credit Union Act will:

  • Broaden Oregon's parity authority by allowing Oregon credit unions to invoke parity with out-of-state credit unions and streamline the process for invoking parity with federally chartered credit unions.
  • Clarify the role of the supervisory committee in governance-related matters.
  • Extend additional liability protection to credit union directors and officers.
  • Remove wording in Oregon law that requires a board to "perform other duties as the members of the credit union from time to time direct and perform or authorize any action not inconsistent with this chapter and not specifically reserved by the bylaws for the members."
  • Remove language in Oregon law that permits a credit union to employ a chief operating officer/president and a security officer.
  • Make the declaring of dividends a power that can be delegated under Oregon law; and increase the loans-to-one-borrower limit to the larger of $100,000 or 15% of a credit union's equity.
The updates will take effect Jan. 1.

NEW: CUs Come Out On Top In GoBankingRates.com Savings Rate Study

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LOS ANGELES (6/28/13, UPDATED  2:30 p.m. CT)--A just-released savings rate study comparing credit unions and community banks rates has found that "it is credit unions that do, in fact, come out on top," according to GoBankingRates.com (June 28).

Credit unions offer an average 0.20% annual percentage yield (APY) savings account rate, while local banks provide a slightly lower 0.18% APY, said GoBankingRates.com. Its data averaged rates from 5,000 community banks and credit unions. 

In the top 10 credit unions with the highest rates, two credit unions--Pioneer Muslim FCU, Sugar Land, Texas,  and Rutherford Postal District Employees FCU, Lakewood, N.J.--tied for the highest savings rate of 2.52%.  In the banks' Top 10 list, the two top banks--Atlas Bank and Bank of Bolivar--offered 1.01% rates.

All of the top 10 credit unions had rates of 1.25% and above, as of May 31.  The banks' top 10 list rates ranged from 0.85% to 1.01%.

A similar study in April found that the average savings rate at credit unions was 0.21% APY, while banks' rates averaged 0.19% APY.  Big banks in that study averaged 0.04% (News Now April 25).

The study based the rates on online published rate sheets belonging to the financial institutions for a $10,000 opening deposit. For more information, use the link.

ACUC Kicks Off Sunday In The Big Apple

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NEW YORK (6/28/13)--More than 1,200 people from throughout the U.S. credit union industry will gather in New York City Sunday for the start of the 2013 America's Credit Union Conference (ACUC), June 30-July 3, said the Credit Union National Association.

ACUC will have more than 100 booths from 90 companies at the convention hall at the New York Hilton Midtown.

The convention will feature keynote speakers, thought leadership sessions and 18 breakout sessions in which CUNA is partnering with CUNA Mutual Group.

There also will be some high-profile live events, including a visit Wednesday by CUNA and credit unions hoping to spread awareness on the Today Show.

ACUC keynote speakers include:

  • Sunday: Lt. Col. Robert Darling, retired White House military officer and author of a book about developments in the White House during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. 24 Hours Inside the President's Bunker, 9/11/01: The White House, chronicles a minute-by-minute account of that day's events. Darling now is president of the Military Officers Association of America Heritage Chapter in Quantico, Va., and vice president for business development for Zenetex, an information technology service-management company in Herndon, Va.
  • Monday: Malcolm Gladwell, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine and author of four New York Times best-selling books. They include The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Outliers: The Story of Success, and What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures. He often writes about applications of research and new ideas in the social sciences, making frequent use of academic work in sociology, psychology and social psychology.
  • Tuesday: Lyn Heward, director of creation for Cirque du Soleil, whose presentation and book, "The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire that Lives Within Us All," draw on her experience as former president and chief operating officer of Cirque's creative content division, where she helped create Cirque masterworks. She will help credit unions attending explore the nature and origins of creativity.
  • Wednesday: Adam Grant, an award-winning professor, researcher and author. Grant is the youngest-tenured and highest-rated professor at Wharton, where he teaches organizational psychology--the study of workplace dynamics. He was named one of the world's 40-best business professors under age 40 and has received the Excellence in Teaching Award for every class he has taught. Grant has presented solutions for leaders of organizations including Google, the National Football League, IBM, Merck, the World Economic Forum, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder and the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force. He wrote a new book, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, and was recently profiled in a New York Times Magazine cover story, "Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead?"
For more information, use the link.

CU System Briefs (06/28/2013)

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  • MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (6/28/13)--Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU's 2013 Charity Golf Tournament June 20 hit a hole in one for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Member credit unions and various business partners participating in the annual charity event at Mid-Atlantic's annual meeting raised $11,500 for the hospitals. That amount, combined with past proceeds, brings total financial support to more than $67,000 since the event began in 2008.Children's Miracle Network is affiliated with 170 children's hospitals across the country, and is a favorite cause among credit unions. The proceeds from the tournament will help support the Janet Weis Children's Hospital at Greisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.; The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Saint Vincent Health Center in Erie; Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; and Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital ...
  • BISMARCK, N.D. (6/28/13)--The Credit Union Association of the Dakotas has awarded $5,000 in scholarships to 10 credit union members in North and South Dakota. The graduating high school seniors each received $500 each toward furthering their education. Recipients included members of Dakotaland FCU, HB Telco FCU, Palace City FCU, Service First FCU, Western Cooperative CU, Prairie FCU, Hometown CU, United Savings CU, and Dakota West CU.  Recipients were selected from applicants who were members of a CUAD-affiliated credit union for at least one year and who planned to attend a postsecondary university or technical/vocational school. They wrote essays on one of two topics:  "How, through your involvement in the community/school activities, events, or volunteer efforts, have you shown the cooperative spirit?" and "What can your credit union do to continue providing you with financial solutions for a lifetime?" ...
  • PHOENIX (6/28/13)--Arizona State CU will be celebrating 237 years of U.S. independence July 1-7 by displaying the most common Independence Day symbol--the American flag--in all 27 congressionally approved versions at its Phoenix headquarters. During that week, the $1.4 billion asset credit union will offer a special 36-month auto loan, with annual percentage rate as low as 2.37%  ...
  • GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (6/28/13)--Two credit union CEOs have been elected to serve three-year terms on the CU*Answers board of directors. Incumbent Jeff Jorgensen, CEO of Sioux Empire FCU in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Linda Bodie, CEO of Element FCU in Charleston, W. Va., were elected at the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization's annual stockholders' meeting last week. Four candidates ran for two open board seats ...

CUs To Storm Today Show With Money Rules

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MADISON, Wis. (6/28/13)--A group of Credit Union National Association representatives will "storm" the set of the Today show Wednesday in conjunction with CUNA's America's Credit Union Conference, spreading credit unions' "Unite for Good" message to a nationwide television audience.

"Unite for Good is about action," said Paul Gentile, CUNA executive vice president of strategic communications and engagement. "It's about coming together to help build a better future for credit unions. While in New York we will give credit unions the ability to take action and show their cooperative spirit."

Gentile noted that for those not coming to ACUC, they can still participate by sharing how they are helping Unite for Good on the Uniteforgood.org web site. The site has recently added a new feature that will allow credit unions everywhere to share their stories.

CUNA is inviting conference attendees to meet in the lobby of the Hilton New York at 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday, to join the audience outside the Today show studios. At the studios, the group will hand out hundreds of copies of the book "Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security."

ACUC kicks off Sunday at the Hilton New York in New York City. It ends Wednesday.

The first 50 attendees who show up for the Today event will be provided with a Starbucks gift certificate and free coffee, compliments of CUNA.

Wednesday is T-shirt Day at the ACUC. All registered attendees, including those attending the Today show event, will be provided with Unite for Good T-shirts. CUNA will take a group photo of attendees in their T-shirts during a conference general session on Wednesday.

"Money Rules" author Jean Chatzky will appear on the Today show Wednesday. Chatzky spoke at CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C., in February.

"Money Rules" contains a set of actionable rules that, if followed, will allow readers to enjoy a lifetime of financial security and eliminate their stress about money.

Within the past six months, the National Credit Union Foundation distributed more than 80,000 copies of the book to credit union members and employees through a special initiative by the National Credit Union Foundation.

Some ICU Day Materials Are Already Available

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MADISON, Wis. (6/28/13)--Drive-up envelopes and statement stuffers celebrating the "Unite for Good" theme of 2013 International Credit Union Day (ICU Day), Oct. 17, are available.

More materials, including promotional clothing and this year's poster will be available next week, the Credit Union National Association said.

ICU Day has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October since 1948. The day is recognized to reflect upon the credit union movement's history and to promote its achievements. It is a day to honor those who have dedicated their lives to the movement, recognize the hard work of those working in the credit union industry and show members our appreciation.

Creating awareness about credit unions is part of CUNA's Unite for Good campaign to rally credit unions to support the system's strategic vision in which "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner." For more information about United for Good, use the link.

For more information about materials, use the link.

Michigan League Responds On ICBA Tax 'War Of Words'

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LANSING, Mich. (6/28/13)--The Michigan Credit Union League says claims by a letter from the Independent Community Bankers Association to Congress calling for a hearing on credit unions' tax status are "misleading, erroneous, and intended to simply improve the profits of banks."

League CEO David Adams sent a letter to U.S. Reps. Dave Camp (D-Mich.) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.)--the chair and ranking member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, respectively--and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), a member of the Senate Committee on Finance, as well as every other member of the Michigan congressional delegation.

Adams noted that if banks convinced Congress to remove credit unions' tax status, "it would be extremely likely that most credit unions would cease to exist or would convert to bank charters, at a huge cost to consumers and small businesses." The letter was in response to a letter ICBA sent to the leadership of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Credit unions' not-for-profit cooperative structure has not changed, Adams wrote. The only way they can build capital is through retained earnings, he said, adding that federal credit unions and state-chartered credit unions in Michigan have volunteer boards of directors, every member has a single and equal vote, and credit unions are driven by member service, not shareholder profits. He called on Congress to dismiss the banks' request.

On Wednesday, in letters to President Barack Obama and leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney  deemed as "offensive"  the tactics of  banks and thrifts going to top policymakers to complain about credit unions' tax status, especially since "time and time again [banks and thrifts]  have needed taxpayer-funded bailouts."

CUNA's letters were an immediate response to letters ICBA send the congressional policymakers and to letters that the American Bankers Association sent to Obama.

Cheney noted the tax status has positive benefits to everyday Americans, with evidence overwhelmingly indicating that credit unions fulfill the purpose of their tax exemption. They offer higher returns on savings, lower rates on loans and low or no fees--resulting in more than $8 billion in direct financial benefits each year to 96 million Americans who belong to credit unions. (See related story, CUNA Refutes Banks' Tax Attacks In Hill, White House Letters.)

Both CUNA letters include a white paper with more detail about the benefits consumers receive because credit unions exist in the marketplace. For more on the CUNA letters, use the link.

Evolving Ohio Budget Has Sales Tax, Preserves CU Tax Status

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (6/28/13)--Ohio credit unions would pay 0.25% more for certain goods and services under the latest version of the state's proposed compromise tax plan, but they are in a better position than they were under Gov. John Kasich's original tax proposal, the Ohio Credit Union League said.

"The league has been influential in working to ensure credit union's best interests are protected" in the state budget negotiations, Patrick Harris, the league's director of media and public relations, told News Now Thursday. "The version in conference committee, the latest version, would have an impact on credit unions, but very minimal compared to what the original version would have done."

The commercial activity tax would be changed to an incremental scale based on gross receipts under the latest plan (eLumination Newsletter June 26). The sales tax would increase to 5.75% from 5.5% for credit unions on goods and services subject to the tax. However, to the benefit of credit unions, the latest proposal does not expand the sales tax base. All currently exempt services would not be taxed.

The latest plan is composed of parts of the original budget proposal and the House and Senate versions.

Under the original tax expansion proposed by Kasich, all credit unions that provide or charge fees for services would have been required to collect and remit sales taxes for some services they provide to members (News Now April 12). These included "bank service fees," debt counseling, investment services, and sale of amusement park tickets and entertainment books.  Credit unions would also have been considered "vendors" and would have been required to obtain a vendor's license, plus collect and remit sales taxes to the state for these services. These are not part of the current budget proposal.

Additional changes are possible while the conference committee continues to negotiate, said Harris. The state budget must be finalized by Sunday.

Average Student Loan Amount Up 11% In March

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ATLANTA (6/28/13)--New credit for student loans for first quarter totaled $15.6 billion, a 20% hike over the $12.9 billion borrowed a year earlier, with the average loan amount increasing 11%, said Equifax's National Consumer Credit Trends Report, which covers March 2012 to March 2013.

New student loans originated rose 3.9%--to 2.8 million from 2.7 million--while the average loan amount increased to $6,242 from $5,518.  Consumers who took out  at least one student loan in Marched borrowed 6% more--$9,123--compared with $8,636 in March 2012.

"The total number of student loans outstanding has doubled since 2009, and balances owed have nearly doubled," said Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts. "This trend was primarily driven by large increases in college enrollments and middle-aged adults going back to school due to the scarcity of available positions," she said.

Students who borrow to fund college also are increasing the amount they owe because of deferrals of interest payments  that occur when they leave college without a job or one that doesn't pay enough, she said. "They end up in an income-based repayment plan that doesn't cover the total monthly interest owed."

Federal student loan rates will increase to 6.8% from 3.4% if Congress doesn't intervene by July 1. Those who see their rates rise should consider contacting a credit union for advice on how to limit the impact or to possibly refinance their debts, said the Wisconsin Credit Union League.

"Many credit unions offer private student loans because students deserve reasonable rates as well as an institution that will work with them to manage their short- and long-term finances," said league President Brett Thompson.

"Prudent underwriting and financial guidance to borrowers help credit unions' private student loans perform better than other student loans with a far lower default rate--around 1.6% compared to less than 6% for all private student loans and more than 12% for federal loans," the league said.

The Credit Union National Association's first annual High School  Student Borrowing Survey found that more than half of high school seniors have no idea what they will need for college costs. Roughly 83% did not know the rates, and 77% did not know the duration of their expected or existing college loans. Three-fourths of those who planned to go to college said they would need federal and private loans, family money and jobs to support their tuition. One-fourth expected to take out two or more student loans.

The total balance of student loans outstanding increased more than 16% between May 2012 and May 2013, to more than $879.1 billion, Equifax said.  Write-offs totaled $9.3 billion last month, a 60.3% increase from one year earlier.

New Zealand Bill Would Give CUs Legal Status

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WELLINGTON, N.Z. (6/28/13)--A member of New Zealand's Parliament announced he will introduce a bill aimed at providing legal status to credit unions in that country.

Credit unions operate under the Friend Society and Credit Unions Act of 1982 and are unincorporated entities without their own legal status, said Peseta Sam Lotu-liga, who represents Maungakiekie in Parliament (Scoop Independent News June 27).

The assets of a credit union must held in a trust by credit union trustees, who are also members of a credit union's board, Lotu-liga said, noting that is unusual for a modern financial institution. This adds unnecessary compliance costs, reduces responsiveness of the organization and confuses members of the credit union and public, he said.

The bill would give credit unions their own legal status and would mean they could invest more of their funds in assisting members instead of on compliance.

He noted that the issue was brought to him by the New Zealand Association of Credit Unions, which is a member association of the World Council of Credit Unions.  According to World Council statistics, New Zealand has 22 credit unions serving 195,245 members.

Pa. Foundation Grant Helps Disabled With Money Management

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (6/28/13)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation has teamed with the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) and the Widener University School of Business Administration to develop a specialized guide to money management for people with disabilities.

The guide, Cents and Sensibility, is available in booklet and PDF format through the PATF, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association's Life is a Highway (June 27).  The foundation provided a $10,000 grant to help publish the booklet and said it is the first publication of its kind in the U.S.

"This segment of the population often gets overlooked," said Joe Wambach, foundation executive director, "and this booklet will enable people with disabilities to have a better understanding of smart ways to save money without jeopardizing their government benefits."

Author Of Pro-CU Chalk Writings Faces Possible Jail Time

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SAN DIEGO (6/27/13)--A Bank Transfer Day proponent faces 13 years in jail and a $13,000 fine for writing anti-big bank slogans on the public sidewalks--with water soluble chalk--outside three San Diego Bank of America branches.

A trial began Tuesday for Jeff Olson, 40, who is charged with 13 counts of misdemeanor vandalism.  Olson is a member of California Coast CU in San Diego, was active in the Occupy Wall Street movement, and is a former staffer of a U.S. senator (The San Diego Reader June 2 and the Huffington Post June 25).

Judge Howard Shore ruled Tuesday that Olson's attorney, Tom Tosdal, is banned from "mentioning the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct or political speech during the trial," said Opposing Views.com (June 26).

Several news reports indicate that BofA officials pressured local authorities for months to arrest Olson. They reported several e-mails from one BofA official asking for progress on the case. That official had allegedly confronted Olson and another man in front of a BofA branch, accusing them of running a business outside the bank.

Olson told media he carried a homemade sign promoting Bank Transfer Day outside one branch but decided his time would be better spent at the banks, trying to convince people to ditch their banks for local credit unions. He noted that was the best way to hold executives and corporations accountable for the financial crisis.

A BofA debit card fee in 2011 triggered consumer protests against big bank fees throughout the nation, resulting in Bank Transfer Day, which promoted switching accounts to credit unions and small banks. Credit unions gained more than two million members in the months surrounding that date.

Olson allegedly chalked slogans such as "Stop big banks" and "StopBankBlight.com" in front of bank branches weekly from February to August 2012.

24 CUs Among Top 100 Cards Issuers

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CARPINTERIA, Calif. (6/27/13)--Twenty-four credit unions are among the Top 100  U.S. debit and credit card issuers, according to new research from The Nilson Report.

The Carpinteria, Calif.-based publication noted that more than half of all credit, debit and prepaid card transactions worldwide involving payments at merchants are generated by Visa cards.

Of the 61.76 billion credit cards in play, Visa has 50.1% of the market share, while MasterCard has 33.5% and American Express, 8.5%. UnionPay (5.4%), JCB (2.3%) and Diners (0.3%) round out the list.  Visa dropped 75 basis points and MasterCard dropped one basis point from the last survey, while UnionPay rose 83 basis points.

For the 73.57 billion debit cards issued, Visa generated 76.9% of the market--a decrease of 165 basis points-- while MasterCard captured 18.9% of the market, for a 101-basis points gain.

None of the credit unions are listed in the top 20 debit, credit and prepaid card issuers. That list was topped by JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, American Express, Wells Fargo and Citibank.

Three credit unions are in the Top 50 rankings: Vienna, Va.-based Navy FCU is ranked at No. 22, State Employees' CU, Raleigh, N.C., is at 35 and BECU, Tukwila, Wash., is at 45.

Thirty-one credit unions are also listed in the top 100 issuers of debit cards (by purchase volume) said the report.

For more information about the report, entitled, "Largest Issuers and Acquirers of Payment Cards Worldwide," use the link.

Study: Mobile Users Less Resistant To Service Fees

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BOSTON (6/27/13)--Users of mobile banking devices are becoming less resistant to fees, according to the 2013 ath Power Mobile Banking Study Power from ath Power Consulting, a Boston-based financial services research and strategy firm.

Banks trolling for fee opportunities will see one here, but that also will present an opportunity for credit unions to beat the banks on yet another range of products by extending these as low-cost or no-fee, affordable services to members, said the Credit Union National Association.

Banks also will be use mobile banking services to try to shore up sagging customer loyalty.  That won't happen if credit unions reach their members and potential members first with sophisticated mobile banking services that members want.

The ath Power study also revealed that remote deposit capture continues to be the most sought-after mobile banking feature, and that next-generation capabilities such as voice authentication and mobile photo bill pay would encourage more consumers to adopt mobile banking.

"Retail customers are becoming less resistant to monthly fees for mobile, with one in three now saying they would be willing to pay for mobile banking," said Michael McEvoy, ath managing director. That is up from the one in five during last year's study, he said.  

"With more banking capabilities available to users and its obvious convenience, mobile is quickly becoming the preferred channel for many, with one in two customers logging into their accounts at least twice weekly. This is a clear opportunity for banks to build customer loyalty and potentially drive revenue," McEvoy said.

"Mobile banking is the fastest-growing channel in bank history," said Matt Wilcox, senior vice president and director, interactive services and marketing at Zions Bank. "Banks simply cannot afford to not leverage this medium and its power to serve their clients and connect with them on a greater level.  The challenge will be to innovate and provide the functionality that meets customer demand."

Credit unions also can keep in mind these other findings:

  • Voice recognition would motivate one in three mobile customers to use mobile banking services more, while voice authentication would encourage non-users to adopt mobile banking.
  • Financial institutions risk losing small business customers if their mobile offering is inadequate. Sixty-six percent of small business owners say they are likely to consider leaving their current institution for one with a superior mobile offering. That compares with 44% of retail customers.
  • Nearly one-half of existing mobile banking customers are discouraged from using mobile services such as bill payment and funds transfers because of security fears.
  • Alerts are a relatively untapped means of interacting in real-time with customers.  Two in five mobile users do not receive any alerts from their financial institution.
For more information on mobile banking, use the links.

NEW: ACUC Attendees To Storm Today Show Wednesday

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MADISON, Wis. (UPDATED 2 p.m.CT 6/27/13)--A group of Credit Union National Association representatives will "storm" the set of the Today show Wednesday in conjunction with CUNA's America's Credit Union Conference, spreading credit unions' "Unite for Good" message to a nationwide television audience.

"Unite for Good is about action," said Paul Gentile, CUNA executive vice president of strategic communications and engagement. It's about coming together to help build a better future for credit unions. While in New York we will give credit unions the ability to take action and show their cooperative spirit."

Gentile noted that for those not coming to ACUC, they can still participate by sharing how they are helping Unite for Good on the Uniteforgood.org web site. The site has recently added a new feature that will allow credit unions everywhere to share their stories.

CUNA is inviting conference attendees to meet in the lobby of the Hilton New York at 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday, to join the audience outside the Today show studios. At the studios, the group will hand out hundreds of copies of the book "Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security."

ACUC kicks off Sunday at the Hilton New York in New York City. It ends Wednesday.

The first 50 attendees who show up for the Today event will be provided with a Starbucks gift certificate and free coffee, compliments of CUNA.

Wednesday is T-shirt Day at the ACUC. All registered attendees, including those attending the Today show event, will be provided with Unite for Good T-shirts. CUNA will take a group photo of attendees in their T-shirts during a conference general session on Wednesday.

"Money Rules" author Jean Chatzky will appear on the Today show Wednesday. Chatzky spoke at CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C., in February.

"Money Rules" contains a set of actionable rules that, if followed, will allow readers to enjoy a lifetime of financial security and eliminate their stress about money.

Within the past six months, the National Credit Union Foundation distributed more than 80,000 copies of the book to credit union members and employees through a special initiative by the National Credit Union Foundation.

Creating awareness about credit unions is part of CUNA's Unite for Good campaign to rally credit unions to support the system's strategic vision in which "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner."  For more information about United for Good use the link.

CU Assisting Small Business Owners Through Workshops

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AUSTIN, Texas (6/27/13)--A+ FCU, Austin, Texas, is supporting its local business community by offering a free small business workshop series in July.

Presented by community leaders and small business owners, the workshops will focus on important considerations for business owners and prospective owners, including establishing a small business, taxes, financing options, and minority- and women-owned small business certifications.

"A+FCU has a desire to empower and support our small business community," said Kerry A. S. Parker, CEO. "This is one more opportunity for us to help people achieve their dreams through life-long financial partnerships."

Workshop topics include:

  • July 11--"Top 10 Lessons Learned Establishing a Small Business and Business Tax Matters";
  • July 18--"Financing Options for Your Small Business: Traditional and Non-Traditional Loans"; and
  • July 25--Minority- and Women-Owned Small Business Certifications."

Credit unions maintain they can do even more for small businesses if the cap on their member business loans were lifted. In Congress, separate House (H.R. 688) and Senate (S. 968) MBL bills have been introduced to increase the credit unions' member business lending cap to 27.5% of total assets from 12.25%. The Credit Union National Association has estimated that lifting the MBL cap would create 140,000 jobs and inject $13 billion in new funds into the economy, at no cost to taxpayers.

Fostering service excellence is one of three components driving credit unions' national campaign, Unite for Good, which strives to achieve CUNA's strategic vision for credit unions, where "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial institution.

Canada's Co-ops, CUs Meeting This Week

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EDMONTON, Canada (6/27/13)--More than 250 leaders of cooperatives and credit unions from across Canada are gathered to share their success stories and talk about where the cooperative movement is heading in the future in Edmonton. The meeting ends Friday.

"Sharing our successes; building the future" is the theme of the Congress organized by Canada's two national co-operative associations, the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and the Conseil canadien de la cooperation et de la mutualite (CCCM).

Congress participants will look back on the successes of the 2012 United Nations International Year of Cooperatives, a global celebration of the contribution cooperatives make to the social and economic development of communities worldwide.

Another focus will be the Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade, an action plan produced by the International Cooperative Alliance aimed at making cooperatives the world's fastest growing business model by the year 2020. Participants will explore the themes of the blueprint and their implications for cooperatives in Canada.

Canada's 9,000 cooperatives have more than 18 million members and 150,000 employees. They generate annual revenues of more than $50 billion and have assets of more than $370 billion.

News Now Archived Stories Feature Resource Links

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MADISON, Wis. (6/27/13)--Where are the resource links? With CUNA's new website, News Now readers who missed an issue can read the archived stories, complete with resource links.

For example, if you missed a June 25 story about a National Credit Union Administration press release on its newly proposed derivatives rule issue, you can still access the link directly to the press release from the archived story.

Follow these steps to access the release:

  • Click on the "Washington Archive" link under the "Archive Links" heading on the left side of the News Now site.
  • Click on June 25 on the Calendar on the right side of the page.
  • Click on the headline "Derivatives Rule Included In NCUA YouTube Update."
  • On the next page, scroll down and click on the link to the NCUA release under the "Other Resources" heading.
The process works the same in each News Now section: Consumer, CU System, Market, Products and Washington.

Mid-Atlantic Corporate Elects Board, Officers

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (6/27/13)--Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU in Middletown, Pa.,
announced the election results for its board of directors June 20 at its annual meeting.

"Our board leadership has been instrumental in Mid-Atlantic Corporate's growth and performance, which included 2012 net income of $13.56 million--a 124% increase over 2011," said Jay Murray, president/CEO of the corporate. "We look forward to continuing relationships with those extending their board service."

Returning to the board to serve new three-year terms are:

  • Alison DeTuncq, president/CEO, University of Virginia Community CU, Charlottesville, Va.;
  • Brian J. Vittek, president/CEO, Destinations CU, Baltimore; and
  • David B. Whitehead, president/CEO, Merck Sharp & Dohme FCU, Chalfont, Pa.
Directors continuing current terms are:

  • Dennis Flickinger, president/CEO, First Capital FCU, York, Pa.;
  • Jerry King, president/CEO, DEXSTA FCU, Wilmington, Del.;
  • James F. McCaw, president/CEO, Viriva Community CU, Warminster, Pa.;
  • Joan M. Moran, president/CEO, Department of Labor FCU, Washington, D.C.;
  • Michael P. Pastirik, president/CEO, United Community FCU, West Mifflin, Pa.; and
  • Constance M. Wheeler, president/CEO, Penn State FCU, Bellefonte, Pa.
 Board officers elected include:

  • Chairman--Pastirik;
  • Vice chair--Moran;
  • Treasurer--Whitehead; and
  • Secretary--Vittek.

CU System briefs (06/27/2013)

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  • WASHINGTON (6/27/13)--At 10 a.m. (ET) this morning, the Senate Banking Committee is scheduled to begin its hearing into the nomination of former Oregon State Sen. Rick Metsger (D) to become a member of the National Credit Union Administration board, as well as a host of other nominations.  Metsger was named by the White House in May as a candidate to fill the seat on the NCUA board left open since former member Gigi Hyland exited in October of last year. If confirmed, Metsger will join NCUA Chair Debbie Matz and board member Michael Fryzel to fill out the three-member board. Other nominees on the committee's agenda today include Rep. Melvin L. Watt (D-N.C.) to be director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency; Dr. Jason Furman of New York, to be a member and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; Kara M. Stein of Maryland, to be a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission; and Dr. Michael S. Piwowar of Virginia, to be a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Interested parties should be able to view the hearing at http://www.banking.senate.gov/public/ ...
  • LOWELL, Mass. (6/27/13)--NMTW Community CU, Lowell, Mass., will change its name to Align CU in September. NMTW, which stands for Northern Massachusetts Telephone Workers, was granted a community charter in 2005. Membership is now open to anyone who lives, works or goes to school in communities in eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire (The MetroWest Daily News June 25). The new name is the result of more than a year of research, analysis and planning, the credit union said. The Align name reflects tailoring products and services to each member's needs, said Lauren Robinson, NMTW assistant vice president and marketing director ...
  • WASHINGTON (6/27/13)--Credit unions had an extra reason to celebrate being credit unions Wednesday. On June 26, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Federal Credit Union Act to promote savings and make credit available through a nationwide network of not-for-profit credit unions. It authorized credit unions to be chartered either under federal or state law, a policy that still remains today, and established what is now the National Credit Union Administration, as a satellite of the Farm Credit Administration. The New Deal initiative was based on the Massachusetts Credit Union Act of 1909, said NCUA on its website. At the beginning of 2013, there were more than 6,819 federally insured credit unions with more than $1 trillion in assets and nearly $600 billion in outstanding loans ...
  • NEW BERLIN, Wis. (6/27/13)--Barb Campbell, president of  Dodge Central CU, a division of Landmark CU in New Berlin, Wis., will retire effective Nov. 30. Rodger Mattson, former board chair for Dodge Central CU, made the announcement Tuesday. During Campbell's 18-year tenure as president/CEO, Dodge Central grew from a $2 million asset credit union with a single branch into a $55 million, five-branch operation, including a branch in Beaver Dam High School to help students learn the value of money. Campbell will remain a member of a local community board consisting of all former Dodge Central board members. While serving in her position, Campbell also has been active in charitable organizations--including Children's Miracle Network-- that involved the help of employees and members of Dodge Central. Jay Magulski is president/CEO of Landmark CU ...
  • WOODBRIDGE, Va. (6/27/13)--Tisha Wallace, chief operations officer of Woodbridge, Va.-based Belvoir FCU, was elected to serve a three-year term on the Credit Union Auto Loan Network (CUALN) Board of Directors.  The board consists of nine senior executives from participating credit unions who meet quarter to approve annual budgets and strategy, determine new product offerings, discuss the geography of CUALN's operation, and determine how to better serve credit union members. CUALN is a program where members of participating credit unions can obtain auto financing from the credit union directly at the dealerships.  It was established in 1998 to serve the Maryland, Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia market ...

CU System Briefs (06/26/2013)

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  • BURLINGTON, Vt. (6/26/13)--A federal grand jury in Burlington, Vt., earlier this month indicted the former CEO of Border Lodge CU for embezzlement. Debra Kinney was the only employee of the Derby Line, Vt., credit union, which was closed by the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation in November (Barre Montpelier Times Argus June 25).   The credit union was first chartered in 1963 ...
  • BEDFORD, PA. (6/26/13)--Pennsylvania credit union leaders gathered in Bedford, Pa., last week for the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association's two-day Big Ideas Conference. Theran Colwell, CUNA Mutual Group's director of strategy business development, opened the first-day program and spoke about the use of data and predictive modeling in providing products and services for members. Stan Moeckli, CEO, and Lisa Farnen, vice president, marketing, both of Electro Savings CU, St. Louis, Mo., discussed member engagement and retention strategies. James Giffin, vice president, sales and marketing, North Jersey FCU, Totowa, N.J., shared his insights on member-centric innovation. The day's session ended with a group activity, moderated by Brenda Walker, director, Pacul Services Marketing, on how to take a big idea concept to implementation. On the conference's second day, Ron Shevlin, senior analyst of Aite Group, talked about the future of retail banking, and how the new competitive dynamic will be credit union performance. Also, Chuck Purvis, CEO, Coastal FCU, Raleigh, N.C., discussed the culture of innovation and his credit union's use of video banking to improve member efficiency and service hours (Life is a Highway June 19 and June 20) ...
  • FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (6/26/13)--Community Choice CU, based in Farmington Hills, Mich., has launched a $1 million member rewards program that gives back to members who make the credit union their primary financial institution. GetBigReward$ provides monthly credits to Emerald and Gold Level members, which can be used to offset potential fees. Any remaining credits are refunded annually and can be used for savings or withdrawn. In the program's first month, members collectively received more than $86,000 in credits, said Robert Bava, president/CEO. Eligible members can earn monthly reward credits, plus receive an annual loan interest rebate. In addition to the $108 in annual credits, the program also offers up to 10% annual loan rebate on interest paid on qualified Community Choice loans. Community Choice said it expects that the credits and rebates will total more than $1 million annually ...
  • SAN FRANCISCO (6/26/13)--Great Basin FCU, a $125 million asset credit union based in  Reno, Nev., is establishing its Small Business Administration (SBA) and member business lending program. Great Basin chose J.R. Bruno & Associates, a San Francisco-based consultant to SBA and member business lenders, to work with it during the next two years. It will provide services including underwriting, loan packaging, portfolio management and staff training. So far, the credit union has several SBA and member business loans in the works ...

Sunday Is Deadline To Report Fin Ed Classroom Data

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MADISON, Wis. (6/26/13)--Sunday is the National Youth Involvement Board's (NYIB) deadline for credit unions to report data on financial-education classroom presentations, NYIB said.

The top presenters will be recognized at the NYIB's 2103 annual conference, July 29-Aug. 1, in San Diego. The NYIB conference also recognizes top ranking of states in outreach from data reported through the NYIB website.

NYIB was created in 1972 to create a national system to disseminate information and resources regarding youth participation in the credit union movement. Credit union leaders recognized the need to reach out to young people to ensure a bright future for the movement.

NYIB:

  • Serves as a resource of youth marketing materials and ideas for credit unions;
  • Encourages excitement and commitment to youth financial literacy;
  • Creates leadership opportunities for the credit union movement;
  • Develops strategic alliances that benefit the credit union movement in keeping with the NYIB mission; and
  • Provides an educational conference keeping with the NYIB mission.

Check Fraud, Mortgages Top SAR Filings

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WASHINGTON (6/26/13)--Check frauds and mortgage loan frauds are at the top of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed into the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) database during 2012, but mortgage loan fraud dipped significantly, according to numbers released last month by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's (FinCEN).

More than 1,582 million SARs were filed, an increase of 4% over 2011's reports, said  FinCEN's SAR Activity Review--By The Numbers. The number of legacy depository institution SARs rose roughly 8% in 2012, while non-depository institutions' reports decreased 13%. Non-depository institutions accounted for 42% of all reports filed, down 5% from 2011.

SARs filed by depository institutions totaled 860,858 last year, compared to 798,688 in 2011 and 288,343 reports in 2003.

Fraud-related activities--check,  commercial loan, consumer loan, credit card, debit card, mortgage loan and wire transfer fraud--accounted for 23% of the reports from depository institutions in 2012--a modest decrease, said FinCEN.  However, SARs in two of the seven fraud types--mortgage loan fraud and commercial loan fraud--decreased.

The most dramatic change was in the number of SARs filed for mortgage loan frauds.  This type of SAR dropped 29% in 2012--to 65,819, compared with 92,563 in 2011. Until 2012, mortgage loan fraud was the only summary characterization that had experienced an increase every year since 1996, with the past three years accounting for nearly 46% of all instances noted for this activity in the past decade, said FinCEN.

Commercial loan frauds also decreased--by 19%--to 2,381. In 2011, the category counted 2,945 SARs.

Although other payment systems are overtaking checks in the financial marketplace, check fraud SARs rose 6% in 2012--to 75,319. That gives check fraud the highest number of SARs last year. The total is up from 71,020 in 2011.

Consumer loan fraud, the third highest SAR category, rose 20% to 38,897 SARs, while credit card fraud rose 11% to 37,283 reports. Wire transfer fraud rose 34%--to 20,835, and debit card fraud rose 14% to 7,142.

For the full report, use the link.

ResCap Seeks Denial Of NCUA Claim On Corporate Losses

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NEW YORK (6/26/13)--Attorneys for Residential Capital have asked a federal bankruptcy court in New York to deny more than $200 million in claims filed by the National Credit Union Administration related to losses from residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS) sold to Western Corporate FCU and U.S. Central FCU.

ResCap filed its objection to NCUA's claims with the court on June 20, seeking to "disallow and expunge the claims filed" by NCUA on behalf of the two corporates, which NCUA liquidated on March 20, 2009.  NCUA had brought the claims as the corporates' liquidating agent.

NCUA filed 11 proofs of claim for about $200 million, according to the court document .Roughly 6,839 proofs of claim have been filed against the company in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.

In suits filed in Kansas and California, NCUA argued that RMBS issuers and underwriters, including Residential Accredits Loans and Residential Funding Mortgage Securities II, abandoned underwriting standards and made misstatements in the funds' offering materials about the safety of the investments.

"The NCUA claims are untimely; the NCUA cannot allege--let alone prove--any material misstatement in the offering materials; and the credit unions' losses were caused by a market-wide collapse, not by any misstatement by the debtors," said ResCap's objection document.

ResCap argued that NCUA's claims don't meet the statute of limitations for filing a claim, that its complaints "contain no particularized factual allegations linking the NCUA's generalized theory about abandonment of underwriting standards to the specific RMBS securities the credit unions purchased, and said the corporates' losses were not caused by the revelation of any alleged misstatement."

It urged the court to "reject the NCUA's belated attempt to recover from the debtors (at the expense of the debtors' other creditors) for losses that highly sophisticated RMBS investors suffered when their ill-timed and risky bets went wrong."

NCUA has until July 12 to respond. A hearing date is set for July 24.

Sen. Stabenow States Support For CU Tax Exemption

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WASHINGTON (6/26/13)--U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) has sent a strong statement supporting the federal credit union tax exemption to the Michigan Credit Union League.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) issued a strong statement supporting the federal credit union tax exemption, said the Michigan Credit Union League. (Photo provided by the Michigan Credit Union League)
"As a credit union member, I know first-hand how important credit unions' services are to people in Michigan and across the country," Stabenow said in the statement to MCUL & Affiliates (Michigan Monitor June 24). "That is why I am committed to preserving credit unions' traditional status as tax-exempt, not-for-profit, community-based organizations."

Congress is considering tax reform, saying it is starting with a blank sheet of paper, meaning any federal tax exemption is at risk, including credit unions'. Stabenow said that Congress has difficult work ahead to reform the tax code, but the credit union tax exemption is one tax break that must stay.

"As we look at how to reform the tax code, outdated or inefficient tax provisions must go," she said. "But tax provisions that are working well and benefitting middle-class families must be maintained. One such provision that I will work to preserve in tax reform is the credit union tax exemption, which ensures that community-based institutions can continue to provide quality financial services to their members."

Stabenow said she believes "there is solid support for preserving the exemption among my colleagues on the committee and in Congress, thanks in no small part to how engaged credit union members and leadership are in ongoing policy debates. Credit unions and credit union members should continue to stay engaged with their members of Congress to highlight the services and economic growth they provide."

Noting that Stabenow is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which is overseeing tax reform in the Senate, League CEO David Adams said "our Michigan senator appears ready to take on the big bank lobbyists as they try to take away the consumer benefits of credit unions.

"Our country is fortunate to have a lawmaker who stands up for credit unions when they are under attack from bankers who, in an obviously self-serving way, lobby for the repeal of the credit union tax exemption," Adams said.

Credit unions are rallying their support for the Credit Union National Association's "Don't Tax My Credit Union" initiative.

For example, the employees at LANCO FCU, Lancaster, Pa., are wearing T-shirts with the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" message on Fridays throughout the summer. LANCO President/CEO Stacey Remick called for member action on LANCO's website and in an e-mail blast, and is promoting it in its upcoming newsletter and statement stuffers (Life  is a Highway June 24).
Staff at LANCO FCU, Lancaster, Pa., are doing their part to promote the Credit Union National Association's and state leagues and association's campaign to preserve credit unions' tax exempt status. They proudly sport their "Don't Tax My Credit Union" T-shirts on Fridays throughout the summer. (Photo provided by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association)


Leagues are also pressing the case for preserving credit unions' tax exemption. New Jersey Credit Union League Director of Government Affairs Chris Abeel on Monday advocated that message with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor during a small lunch in Atlantic City hosted by U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.).

In a Facebook posting after the lunch, Abeel said Cantor "understands the credit union difference. His advice, keep up the grassroots pressure."

The campaign combines traditional online e-mail campaign methods with newer media vehicles such as Facebook, a Twitter handle @CUNAadvocacy and hashtag #DontTaxMyCU, and social media microvideo site Vine.

July 1 Deadline To Nominate CU Rock Stars

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MADISON, Wis. (6/26/13)--The deadline to nominate a credit union rock star is July 1.

Credit Union Magazine is seeking unique individuals who demonstrate innovation in their areas of expertise--and make the credit union movement a better, more interesting place.

Those selected will be recognized and celebrated in a special issue of Credit Union Magazine.

Among the questions to consider in nominating credit union rock stars:

  • How has this person raised the bar on creativity, strategy and execution?
  • What makes this rock star unique?
  • What are the most admirable qualities about this rock star?
 To nominate a credit union rock star, use the link.

CU Miracle Day Elects Mann As Leader

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WASHINGTON (6/26/13)--Theresa Mann, president/CEO of The Partnership FCU, Arlington, Va., is the new chairman of Credit Union Miracle Day.

CUMD is a nonprofit collaboration of credit union organizations engaged in fundraising activities to benefit Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and is the largest national credit union fundraising event for Credit Unions for Kids.

"The team really pulls together and works tirelessly for the kids," Mann said. She previously served as CUMD's vice chairman and chairman of the CUMD Marketing Committee, and is a founding member of CUMD.

Immediate Past Chairman Juri Valdov was lauded by the CUMD board for his 12 years of volunteer leadership to the organization. Valdov, retired president/CEO of Northwest FCU, Herndon, Va., will continue to serve on the board.

Other executive team members elected include:

  • Vice chairman--Charlie Mallon, president/CEO, Congressional FCU, Oakton, Va.;
  • Treasurer--Jan Roche, president/CEO, State Department FCU, Alexandria, Va; and
  • Secretary--Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.
All are incumbent board members.

Continuing to serve the board of directors are:

  • Valdov;
  • Fredda McDonald, executive vice president, PSCU Financial Services; and
  • Sarah Canepa Bang, president/chief operating officer of FSCC LLC and chief strategy officer, CO-OP Shared Branching.
Three board members are stepping down but continue to support and serve on committees or in an advisory capacity:

  • Chris McDonald, president/CEO of Northwest FCU, Herndon, Va.;
  • Chris Roe, senior vice president of CUNA Mutual Group; and
  • Casey Duplantier, retired president/CEO of 1st Advantage FCU, Newport News, Va.

Interactive Kiosks Central To Transforming the Branch

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (6/26/13)--Interactive kiosks are a key to transforming a credit union branch, according to a new white paper by CO-OP Financial Services that investigates and explores the benefits and realities of branch transformation for a typical credit union.

Gen Y will constitute 40% of banking transactions in three years and will have the most spending power of any demographic, says the paper, "Transforming the Branch: Understanding the Self-Service Consumer Landscape."

"With this market shift, progressive credit unions are transforming branch operations opting for interactive automated kiosks," the paper said. "The branch isn't entering an end cycle; rather it is evolving with more of a concentration on sales than service. This will require employees that remain on site to be well-versed in all sales channels as 'teller knowledge' may no longer suffice."

Although traditionally consumers have chosen credit unions instead of banks because of more personalized and competitive services--which is still the case--credit union CEOs are increasingly viewing branch employees as sales associates rather than in their traditional role as service-only personnel, the paper said.   

"How members interact with their credit unions has changed drastically during the last five years, and even more dramatically in the last one or two years in the context of mobile technology adoption," said Raja Bose, senior director of consumer transaction solutions for Diebold Inc. in the paper. "Increasingly, we're seeing members turn to online and mobile channels for most of their transactions."

When the National Credit Union Administration deemed interactive ATMs as regulated service facilities last August, it reflected the fact that the industry is indeed changing, the paper said.

"Credit unions need to embrace new technologies that allow them to improve and expand service," said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz in the report. "Likewise, it is important for us, as the industry's regulator, to stay in sync with changes in the marketplace, including changes in technology. The use of video tellers as service facilities is sensible for both credit unions and consumers."

Technology and the shared-branching movement have, in part, driven the changing marketplace, which has engendered the transformation of credit union branches, said the paper.

"The best technology is the technology that is pushed as far down the food chain as possible, directly to the member/consumer," said Sarah Canepa Bang, chief strategy officer, CO-OP Shared Branching. "You have to offer 24/7 transaction access and remove three friction points: limited hours, humans and lack of convenient locations."

To read the paper, use the link.

Federation Leadership Pilot Extends Deadline To Apply

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NEW YORK (6/25/13)--The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions has extended the application deadline for its Cooperative Finance Leaders for America to July 1.

Cooperative Finance Leaders for America (CFLA): Developing the Future of Credit Unions is an initiative to recruit, train and support 15 new and emerging professionals to be placed in leadership positions in credit unions providing credit and safe banking services to low- and moderate-income communities.  

Participating credit unions will gain a source of staff, drawn from recent college graduates, graduate students, returning veterans and displaced financial workers, the federation said. The  paid fellowship is for six months.

The CFLA's training program will include a two-week summer institute--one week in person and one week online--in August and ongoing support throughout the fellowship.

Also, CFLA alumni will receive long-term support, toward becoming the next generation of credit union CEOs and leaders. Fellowships will begin in September and continue through February.

For more information, use the link.

For questions, contact Pamela Owens, vice president of programs at 212-809-1850, ext. 215, or powens@cdcu.coop, or Jason Chang, program associate at ext. 205 or jchang@cdcu.coop.

NWCUF Opens Nominations For Summit, CUNA Awards

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (6/25/13)--The Northwest Credit Union Foundation is taking online nominations to recognize outstanding credit unions and professionals during the 2013 awards season.

The entry deadline is July 19 for nominations for the state Summit Awards honoring individuals as well as Credit Union National Association's awards recognizing credit unions' positive community impact. Awards will be presented during Amplify, the Northwest Credit Union Association's annual convention Oct. 8-10 in Portland, Ore.

The Summit Awards recognize outstanding achievement in three categories:

  • Young Credit Union Professional, for professionals 35 and younger;
  • Innovation and Impact, a new category showcasing an individual's positive impact on the credit union movement during the past three years; and
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, for a credit union professional whose leadership documents social impact, embracement of the credit union philosophy, effective advocacy and community improvement. Candidates are selected by NWCUA's executive leadership and board, with senior credit union leaders invited to vote if more than one candidate is selected.
State and regional winners of the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award, the Desjardins Youth and Adult Financial Education Awards, and the Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Member Service Awards, move on to the national stage to compete nationally in CUNA's awards program.

N.Y. CU Foundation Officers Elected

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/25/13)--The New York Credit Union Foundation has selected board officers and welcomed its new trustees to oversee the foundation's operations and its mission of "fostering the financial independence of New Yorkers through credit unions" for the year ahead.

They were announced June 13 at the foundation's annual meeting. Officers re-elected include:



Four executives joining the board of trustees include:

  • Board Chairman: Vicki O'Neill, ACMG FCU, Solvay;
  • Vice chairman: Robyn Young, CEO of Great Erie FCU, Orchard Park; and
  • Treasurer/secretary: Brian Clarke, chief financial officer of Bethpage (N.Y.) FCU.

During the meeting the group recognized outgoing trustees John C. Gibardi, president/CEO of Entertainment Industries FCU, New York City; Gerard Herrling, principal at CarPort Consulting; James L. Mack, business development executive at Sunmark FCU, Latham; and Bruno Sementilli, president/CEO of Quorum FCU, Purchase.

  • Laurie Baker, vice president/chief operations officer of The Summit FCU, Rochester and board chair of the Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY);
  • Catherine Benson, lending senior vice president, CFCU Community CU, Ithaca:
  • Tristram Coffin, CEO of Alternatives FCU, Ithaca; and
  • Clara Carlevatti, member development coordinator at Great Erie FCU. She is a member of CUANY's Young Professionals Commission and will represent young professionals on the board.

Delaware Governor Signs Children's Credit Freeze Bill At CU

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DOVER, Del. (6/25/13)--Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has signed House Bill 64--which allows parents and guardians to freeze their children's credit until they are 16 years old, prohibits a consumer reporting agency from releasing the child's consumer record or report and prevents anyone from opening a line of credit using the child's Social Security number.

Click to view larger image Delaware Gov. Jack Martell signed House Bill 64 last week during a visit to Del-One FCU in Dover. Pictured are, from left, Delaware State Rep. Andria Bennet (D-32), prime sponsor of Delaware H.B. 64; Girls State Governor Diana Wilson, who was shadowing Markell for the day; Markell; Del-One Associate Board Member Lisa Strusowski; and Del-One FCU CEO Dion Williams. The bill allows parents and guardians to freeze their children's credit until they are 16 years old. (Photo provided by Del-One FCU)

Markell signed H.B. 64 at Del-One FCU's Downtown Dover branch, the credit union said.  

"The  Delaware Credit Union League was in support of House Bill 64 and we are glad to see it signed into law," Carole Langiu, league communications and governmental affairs director, told News Now. "In addition to helping protect our youth from credit and identity theft, it also will help safeguard our members who are not able to protect themselves."  

Under the law, "protected consumer" means:

  • An individual under 16 years at the time the request for placement of a security freeze is made; or
  • An incapacitated person or a protected person for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.
The representative must provide the consumer reporting agency with sufficient proof of authority to act on the behalf of the protected consumer, said the league.  

The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing the protected consumer's report, any information derived from the protected consumer's report or any record created for the protected consumer, said the league. If the agency receives a request to place a security freeze and does not have a consumer report, it must create a record and apply the freeze.

The security freeze remains in effect until the protected consumer, or a representative, requests it be removed. It also may be lifted due to misrepresentation of fact at the time of request.

Fees, not to exceed $5, to place or remove the freeze do not apply if there is a report of alleged identity fraud against the protected consumer, or if the request is for a protected consumer who is under 16 years at the time of the request and has a consumer report already established at the agency, the league said.

Homeownership Month Brings Focus On CDCUs' Programs

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NEW YORK (6/25/13)--The latest issue of The Bridge, the magazine of The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, celebrates June as National Homeownership Month.

The entire issue is devoted to the efforts of community development credit unions to provide affordable housing to underserved members.

"Bring the American Dream to the Underserved" shares the experiences of three credit union-sponsored, housing finance services: Marisol FCU, Phoenix; A Shared Initiative Inc., New Orleans; and Border FCU, Del Rio, Texas.

Marisol FCU established the Pay Yourself Mortgage that creates an escrow account for borrowers. Borrowers pay an amount equal to 75 basis points of the loan amount for five years. If after five years they have not defaulted on any payments, the money is used to pay down the mortgage.

Border FCU provides home equity loans, land loans and free counseling services. It also partners with several nonprofit organizations for down-payment assistance.

A Shared Initiative is a nonprofit initiative created by ASI FCU, Harahan, La., to more effectively administer the credit union's community development initiatives and combat post-Katrina economic distress in the New Orleans area. Among the services the organization offers is a first-time home buyers program.

Another article, "Manufactured Housing: Good for Your Customers, Good for Your Portfolio," describes the Corporation for Enterprise Development's (CFED) Innovations in Manufactured Homes initiative. The program is designed to recast manufactured housing as a viable asset and wealth-building tool.

"A recent report released by CFED reveals that manufactured home mortgages can perform as well as other mortgages, even when the mortgages are made to borrowers with relatively poor credit and small down payments," wrote Doug Ryan, CFED director of affordable homeownership.

The issue also includes, "Home Sweet Home: Success Stories from the Center for Financial Health (CFH)," a photo essay of families in Lansing, Mich., that have achieved their goal of buying or keeping a home.

The CFH is an affiliate of the federation's network of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved housing counselors. CFH works closely with the Michigan Credit Union League and several Michigan credit unions.

Texas Supreme Court: Regulators Went Too Far On Home Equity

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AUSTIN, Texas (6/25/13)--The Texas Supreme Court, in a partial reaffirmation and partial reversal of a lower appeals court decision, said Friday that the Texas Credit Union Commission and the Finance Commission overstepped in their interpretations of the State Constitution's home equity provision regarding forced sales.

Texas home equity law is unusual because, unlike other states that have protections based in state statutes, Texas' State Constitution protects homesteads from forced sales. A 2003 amendment to the Constitution authorized the legislature to delegate a state agency--in this case the Finance Commission and the Credit Union Commission--under Section 50 of Article XVI  the power to interpret certain of its provisions on home equity lending.

"A homestead may be subject to forced sale to repay a home equity loan only if the loan meets the requirements of Section 50, alterable only by a vote of the people," the ruling said. "The constitutional amendment did not provide for implementing legislation or for administrative interpretation or rule-making."

Once the amendment passed, the two commissions finalized their interpretative rulings, effective Jan. 8, 2004, said the ruling document. Three weeks later, six homeowners challenged several interpretations. A trial court invalidated many of the interpretations..

At issue before the Texas Supreme Court were three interpretations:

1.  Whether the term "interest," which was excluded from the 3% of principal cap to fees to originate, evaluate, maintain, record, insure or serve the extension of credit, means the same thing as interest in the Texas Finance Code, which includes fees paid to the lender, thus removing lender fees from the cap. The commissions maintained it did. However, the court disagreed.

"The fatal difficulty with the commissions' interpretation is that it does not merely adopt the substance of the statute at the time of the interpretation became effective; it adopts whatever definition of 'interest' the legislature may enact from time to time" through amendments," said the high court.  "The commissions' interpretation of the fee cap, tying its meaning to a statute, utterly defeats the clear purpose of constitutionalizing it, which was to place the limitation beyond the legislature's power to change without ratification by the voters. For this reason alone, the commissioners' interpretation is invalid," the court said. 

The court concluded that "interest" as used in the provision means the amount determined by multiplying the loan principal by the interest rate.

2. Whether a loan may be "closed only at the office of the lender, an attorney at law, or a title company," which the commissions argued was intended to prohibit coercive closing of an equity loan at the home of the owner.  The commissions said the provision allowed a borrower to mail a lender the required consent to have a lien placed on the homestead and to attend the closing through an attorney-in-fact.

"The court of appeals concluded that the use of mail to transmit documents and a power of attorney to facilitate execution are so commonplace that had the framers and ratifiers of Section 50 intended to preclude these practices, they would have said so with more specificity …But it is precisely the common use of the mail and powers of attorney in closing transactions that give rise to the danger of coercion" that the section "was intended to prevent," said the Supreme Court. It concluded the commissions' interpretations "contradict the purpose and text of the provision and are therefore invalid."

3. Whether section 50 requires that a loan not be closed before the 12th day after the lender "provides" the borrower the prescribed notice. The commissions interpreted the law to permit a rebuttable presumption that notice is received, and therefore provided, three days after it is mailed. The homeowners maintained that the lender must establish actual receipt of notice in each case.

"But the commissions' interpretation does not impair the constitutional requirement; it merely relieves a lender of proving receipt unless receipt is challenged," said the higher court. "We agree with the court of appeals that the interpretation is but a reasonable procedure for establishing compliance" with the section.

A Year Later: National Convention Leave-behind Project Generates More Good

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (6/25/13)--Building on credit unions' cooperative efforts during leave-behind projects at the 2012 National Presidential Nominating Conventions, the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation (CCUF) will invest equally in a South Carolina children's hospital nearly a year after raising funds in Charlotte, N.C.

North and South Carolina credit unions raised $300,000 for the hospital project in Charlotte in the Credit Union National Association's leave-behind project. 

CCUF is in the process of raising another $300,000 to renovate the lobby area off Greenville (S.C.)  Health Systems Children's Hospital--one of four Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in South Carolina, said the North Carolina League. As of June 20, about $150,000 has been raised (The Weekly Conversation June 21).

The groundbreaking is set for July 10 in Greenville, S.C.

That renovation follows the remodeling of the rooftop garden area of Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte. CUNA's leave-behind projects honored the cities holding the National Conventions. The Democratic National Convention was held at the end of last summer in Charlotte.

The CCUF board--representing the North Carolina and the South Carolina Credit Union Leagues--decided the foundation would be a key part of the Charlotte project, helping raise the $300,000 needed for the Charlotte Children's Miracle Network Hospital.

One hundred percent of the funds raised by credit unions in both North Carolina and South Carolina, business partners and individuals--was used for the Levine project, said the North Carolina league. Other organizations involved included the National Journal Group, CUNA Mutual Group, CO-OP Financial Services and others (News Now Sept. 5).

At Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, the project has converted a rooftop space on the hospital's 12th floor into a play space that includes a touch-activated light and color "bubble wall," outdoor play equipment, and environmental improvements.

A similar leave-behind project was completed during the Republican National Party Convention in Tampa, Fla.

E-Scan: Will Gen Y Alter Housing Market?

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NEW YORK (6/25/13)--Generation Y will be a "game changer," especially in the housing market, according to the 2013-2014 CUNA Environmental Scan Report published by the Credit Union National Association.

CUNA E-Scan's June 14 newsletter noted research by the Urban Land Institute that suggests the millennial generation--people from 18- to 34 years old--prefers living downtown, renting, and having access to public transportation.

Some say their tastes will change once they start earning more income and become parents, but that may not translate to moving to the suburbs.  ULI is predicting this group will move to a more compact, metropolitan development pattern. And it may be because they have no choice: they can't afford the large homes that Baby Boomers have.

How big an impact will this have? One of E-Scan's authors, Chris Braccia, director of product management with Harland Financial Solutions, said Gen Y will be a "game changer," which is one of the reasons Gen Y is "the Holy Grail of progressive credit unions." Currently, the U.S. has 80 million baby boomers and 69 million Gen Xers, while Gen Yers total 100 million.

For more information about the E-Scan, about the Gen Y demographic and what strategies credit unions can use to woo this group, use the links.

Wire Transfers, Mug Shots, IM Scams Reported

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WASHINGTON (6/25/13)--Wire transfers, mug shot extortions, and a new Trojan virus affecting instant messaging platforms are the latest scam alerts from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Credit unions can stay alert to these and warn their members, too.

Businesses reported receiving telephone calls from individuals claiming to be with a wire transfer company's tech support. In one incident, the wire transfer company's name was displayed on the caller ID. 

The callers instruct recipients to go to a website to run an application that allows the caller to remotely access the victim's computer. Once remote access is established, the caller instruct victims to open their wire service program and log in to their accounts so the caller can "update the system," said IC3's alert. The victims are asked to turn off their monitors to avoid interfering with the update. Later, the victims find unauthorized wire transfers made to NetSpend account.

One victim, who became suspicious and turned off the computer, discovered $950 had been loaded on the account's prepaid credit card. Another victim reported transfers to several states and individuals, but was told that no transfers were being processed.

IC3 also received hundreds of complaints from individuals who found their mug shots from arrests--including juvenile arrests under sealed court records--or found false information about them on 20 websites using similar practices. Those demanding removal of the mug shot are told to provide key identification information, such as driver's license, court records or other personal information.Victims are also charged a fee to remove the photo. When victims threaten to report the unlawful practices, the website owners threaten to escalate the damaging information against the victim.

A new Trojan virus called "Liftoh" is infecting computers in Latin America using instant messaging platforms such as Skype, said IC3.  Victims receive a message in Spanish with a shortened URL or web address. The messages appear to come from someone on the user's Skype contact list who is linking to a photo. If clicked, the link redirects users to 4shared.com, which hosts a URL that initiates a weaponized zip file with the Trojan, which can download additional malware.

The IC3 report is based on information from law enforcement and complaints submitted to IC3.

Global Women's Network Spreads The Word In Florida

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ORLANDO, Fla.  (6/25/13)--"Moving up the corporate ladder" was the topic of discussion for more than 60 women credit union leaders convened at a Global Women's Leadership Network luncheon in Orlando last week. The event was held in conjunction with the League of Southeastern Credit Unions Annual Convention and Exposition.

Panelists at the event included network members:

  • Laida Garcia, president/CEO of Floridacentral, Tampa;
  • Pat Wesenberg, board president of the Credit Union National Association and president/CEO of Central City CU, Marshfield, Wis.; and
  • Laurie Maddalena, founder and CEO of Envision Excellence, an executive coaching and organizational development firm.
"From the high degree of participation and positive feedback received, it is clear that the Global Women's Leadership Network is making a positive impact in the lives of program attendees and their members," Garcia said. "Word is spreading about the benefits of connecting with credit union women around the world and of taking advantage of networking opportunities like this one."

The speakers addressed questions related to attaining leadership positions in the credit union industry and provided advice on the professional development of women seeking such responsibilities, including the role of mentoring.

Several participants expressed interest in forming a Global Women's Leadership Network sister society in Florida. Network member Fredda McDonald, executive vice president credit union experience for PSCU, presented the World Council of Credit Unions with funds on behalf of the Florida-based credit union to support further development of regional sister societies and other international networking opportunities through World Council.

The Global Women's Leadership Network connects women from credit union movements around the world and engages them in professional and personal development through social media and educational forums. Sister societies are local groups of the network's members who meet regionally to discuss important issues impacting women credit union leaders and to build local cooperative projects.

There are nine active sister societies in Canada, Fiji, Jamaica, Malawi and across the U.S. For more information, use the link.

Ohio CUs Raise $136,000 For Children's Hospitals

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (6/24/13)--Ohio credit unions have raised $136,000 for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals as a result of their annual statewide fundraising event, Marching Miles for Miracle Kids. Eighty-five credit unions statewide participated in this year's initiative.

"This is another example of how credit unions are making a difference in the communities they serve," said Paul Mercer, president of the Ohio Credit Union League. "When credit unions collaborate, good things happen. And in this case, the collaboration is helping to support the high-quality pediatric care that thousands of families count on."

Spearheaded by the league's Credit Unions for Kids Committee, the annual march raises money for nine children's hospitals that serve Ohioans. Walks were held statewide during April, May and June and include a partnership with the ColorBlaze 5K in Lima, which attracted 1,500 participants.

CU System Briefs (06/24/2013)

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  • HARRISBURG, Pa., and ALEXANDRIA, Va. (6/24/13)--Several Pennsylvania Credit Union Association staff were on hand at Thursday's meeting of the National Credit Union Administration Board in Alexandria, Va. (Life is a Highway June 21).  NCUA Office of Consumer Protection Director Gail Laster gave PCUA staff an overview of that office's functions, and the group enjoyed a brief visit with NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz and Board member Michael Fryzel. They also met with Kelly Lay, Wendy Angus and Mike Ryan of NCUA Region II and discussed operations. "It helps our advocacy and compliance efforts to meet face-to-face with the NCUA," said Rick Wargo, executive vice president/general counsel at PCUA. "We learned a great deal, which our team will put in practice."  Shown are, from left: PCUA Compliance and Operations Officers Heather O'Donley and Denise Sickonic; Fryzel; Matz; and Wargo. (Photo provided by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association) ...

Industry Veteran: How To Make a Political Impact

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (6/24/13)--Credit unions need be politically engaged to beat the banks in the political arena, an industry veteran told more than 300 Minnesota credit union professionals and volunteers at the Minnesota Credit Union Network's Annual Meeting and Convention last month.

The importance of being active in the political process and how to make an impact during elections were stressed by Dr. Paul Withey, vice president of strategic development and public relations at Houston-based Texas Bay Area CU, and Mara Humphrey, MnCUN vice president-governmental affairs.

"People don't often like to talk about it, but the world of politics is extremely competitive, especially when industries have to go head-to-head due to competing interests," Withey said. "The current environment in the credit union industry is such that we need to be able to beat the bankers in the political arena. Strong advocacy and grassroots involvement is the way to do that."

Withey has 16 years' experience with the credit union industry, including leadership posts on the Texas Credit Union League Board of Directors, the TCUL Legislative Affairs Committee, and as a Political Action Committee trustee.

Click to view larger imagePolitical engagement was the heart of the message to nearly 300 credit union professionals and volunteers attending the Minnesota Credit Union Network's Annual Meeting and Convention last month. (Photos provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network)
He outlined three areas where credit unions can have the most impact in their political advocacy efforts:

  • Support political action committees, such as MnCUN's state Credit Union Volunteer Committee and the federal Credit Union Legislative Action Committee.
  • Participate in the Credit Union National Association's Project ZIP Code, which converts a credit union's database into a political tool by counting total membership numbers and calculating how many live in each state legislative and congressional district.
  • Engage in partisan communications to get involved in the election process and create powerful relationships with political allies. Direct mail postcards promote a candidate only to primary voters and registered political party members, and create positive word-of-mouth for credit unions, he said. Postcards do not tell who to vote for, but rather show that a particular candidate supports credit unions.
"Credit unions [in Texas] were initially nervous about endorsing a candidate," he said, but concerns were alleviated as soon as credit unions became involved in the experience. They understood the significance of taking that political step, he said.

Humphrey told the group about the nationwide Don't Tax My Credit Union grassroots advocacy campaign driven by the Credit Union National Association and the state leagues and associations, including MnCUN. She noted that the credit union corporate income tax exemption is under threat in Congress' tax reform.

"This is an all-out grassroots advocacy effort, and we need credit unions to involve their members in this campaign," Humphrey said.  "It is critical that Congress hear from millions of credit union members that they want the credit union tax status preserved."

N.Y. CUs Raise $75,000 For Causes At Convention

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/24/13)--Attendees of the Credit Union Association of New York's Annual Meeting and Convention participated in several fundraiser events, raising nearly $75,000 for three causes: The New York Credit Union Foundation, the state-level Credit Union Political Action Committee (CUPAC) and the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals that serve New York.

Click to view larger image Tracy Conner, left, Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) member relations vice president, and William J. Mellin, CUANY president/CEO, right, present Credit Unions for Kids Senior Director Joe Dearborn with a check for $22,000 to benefit Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. (Photo provided by Credit Union Association of New York)
Nearly 700 New York credit union representatives and system providers gathered for the event.

CUNA Mutual Group presented a check for $31,000 to NYCUF, assisted by sponsor and credit union support for the annual golf tournament, held June 13 and 15 during the convention. Nearly 150 golfers participated. An additional $6,000 was raised for NYCUF through a special reception to honor outgoing CUANY Chairman Lou Jimenez.

By supporting the annual Silent Auction and the first Bingo event, convention attendees raised more than $15,000 for CUPAC, New York credit unions' state-level political action committee.

Sponsorships, donations and a match from CO-OP Financial Services' Miracle Match program helped a Wine Pull raise more than $22,000 for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals that serve New York. A total of 202 "mystery bottles" of wine were pulled during the event.

Assets Up For Third Year At Alabama, Florida CUs

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala., and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (6/24/13)--For the third consecutive year, Alabama and Florida credit unions saw a major increase in assets in the first quarter, according to the League of Southeastern Credit Unions.

"For six quarters now we've seen credit unions gain a greater wallet share from their members," said Patrick La Pine, LSCU president/CEO. "Both states have a record number of assets, and Alabama continues to have a record number of members. Credit unions have been working hard to draw in new members but to also get existing members to fully utilize the credit union as their preferred financial institution."

In 2013, the asset growth rate for Alabama credit unions was 3.2%--equal to the national credit union average, LSCU said. Alabama's 123 credit unions collectively have $18.3 billion in assets, a $569 million jump in assets in the first quarter.

In Florida, asset growth surpassed the national average by 3.9%. Florida's 159 credit unions collectively have $47 billion in assets, a $1.7 billion gain in assets in the first quarter.

Alabama continues its record pace for membership, LSCU said. The state added 15,000 new members in the first quarter, for a record 1.85 million members. Florida added 33,000 new members in the period to reach 4.62 million members. Nationally, credit unions added 777,000 new members to set a record with 96.7 million members, the league said.

The quality and quantity of loans continue to increase in both states, said LSCU. The number of delinquent loans in Florida dropped below 2% (1.98%) for the first time in years. That also represents a 40% drop in delinquencies in three years.

In Alabama, delinquent loans continue to trend down at 1.18%, an18-basis point drop from 2012. Net charge-offs in each state also fell. In Florida, net charge-offs are at 1.12%--a more than 1% drop from three years ago. In Alabama, net charge offs are at 0.63%. Also, credit unions in each state are setting aside less in loan loss provisions.

Loans continue to be the focus of credit unions. In the first quarter, Florida credit unions added $54 million in new member business loans (MBL), while Alabama added $6 million in new MBL loans. Florida credit unions added more than $200 million in new loans to the books.

"Credit unions have been fighting to have the member business lending cap raised so more can make MBLs," La Pine said. "In two years, Alabama and Florida credit unions have made more than $200 million in business loans. With delinquencies and net charge-offs low, it shows quality loans are being made. More small businesses need to check with their credit union for a loan."

If Congress were to raise the credit union MBL cap to 27.5% of total assets from 12.25%, it would generate $13 billion in new loans and create 140,000 new jobs, the Credit Union National Association said.

New York Lawmakers Pass Bill To Enhance CUs' FOM

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/24/13)--Legislation that expands the ability of credit unions to provide vital financial services to New Yorkers and their families has passed the State Senate and Assembly. It provides state-chartered credit unions the ability to include select employee groups (SEGs), associations and communities within the same field of membership.

The new measure, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Griffo and Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, enhances the credit union state charter through expanded membership and investment options, said the Credit Union Association of New York, which advocated strongly for passing the legislation.

The measure also includes a provision that enables state-chartered credit unions to increase investments in their communities and programs aimed at community reinvestment--including projects of state corporations that work with housing projects, slum clearance corporations, small business investment corporations and urban development corporations.

The bill will now be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"We salute the New York State Legislature for passing this legislation, which enhances the state charter and opens the door for more New Yorkers to have a not-for-profit, cooperative financial services option," said William J. Mellin, CUANY president/CEO. "Our  association will continue to advocate for legislation that benefits New Yorkers and promotes parity among state and federal charters."

Several CU Mergers Reported Last Week

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MADISON, Wis. (6/24/13)--Three mergers involving credit unions in Wisconsin and New York were announced  in the past week and a half.

Members of Milwaukee, Wis.-based Veterans Administration CU, which has $15 million in assets and was established in 1932,  approved plans to merge with Summit CU, a $1.8 billion asset credit union in Madison, effective Sept. 1.

After the merger, Summit will have $1.9 billion in assets, 131,000 members and 24 branches. Both the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and the National Credit Union Administration have approved the move. The two credit unions' systems will not be fully converted until February 2014. (The Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal June 11).

The boards of Kimberly, Wis.-based Capital CU and Green Bay, Wis.-based Pioneer CU have agreed to merge the credit unions in 2014.  Capital has $456.7 million in assets and 34,377 members. Pioneer has $570.7 million and 54,430 members. The surviving credit union will be called Capital Pioneer CU and have more than $1 billion in assets, a membership totaling nearly 90,000 members and 25 branches.

Tom Young, president of Pioneer, said that being cooperatives means making decisions "based only on how it affects the members. There are no stock swaps, no big buyouts, no money changing hands." The structure "allows us to take advantage of economies of scale and better adjust to ever-increasing government regulations, maximizing the benefits to our members."

A vote to ratify the merger will be held for Pioneer members later this summer. Capital's members will vote on the name change at its annual meeting in February. They plan to complete the merger in mid-2014.

In Long Island, N.Y., Island FCU and CWA Long Island FCU announced they will merge, effective June 30. All CWALIFCU members will automatically become members of the $900 million asset Island FCU.  They will have access to six--and soon to be seven--Island branches throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and will have immediate access to more than 5,000 shared branches, 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs, Free Online Banking and Bill Payer, as well as 24/7 member service.

Washington CU Regulator To Continue Operations, Despite State Budget Process

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (6/24/13)--Although a budget impasse could cause a Washington state government shutdown, credit unions can expect continued operations from their state regulators, the Northwest Credit Union Association reported Friday.

A second special legislative session had failed to produce a state budget, the league said (Anthem Recap June 21). If a shutdown cannot be averted, the Washington Division of Credit Unions (DCU) and Department of Financial Institutions will continue operations, the league said.

Non-appropriated agencies like DCU continue operations without interruption under a contingency plan, DCU spokeswoman Rhonda Mires informed the league in a memo.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee alerted state workers and taxpayers Thursday to the possibility of a government shutdown and employee furloughs if the legislature does not produce a budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

First Data Survey: Smartphones Are Shaping Mobile Banking

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ATLANTA (6/24/13)--If credit unions need more evidence about the importance of offering mobile banking, another study concludes that consumers want it all--in the palm of their hand.

Consumers expect strikingly similar mobile and technology-powered experiences from financial institutions and businesses, and their expectations are fueled by skyrocketing smartphone use, according to a new study from Atlanta-based First Data..

"They expect a mobile banking app to be as easy to use as shopping online, for example. And they want to be able to pay for purchases with whatever method is most convenient to them," said First Data's executive summary.

Consumers expect three features in their Web-based shopping, payments, banking and money management, the study found:

  • Seamlessness and control--the ability to connect related activities and move among multiple channels, both online and off, and from device to device.  This produces a simpler, more intuitive experience than previous payments and financial services experiences. About 71% of those surveyed expect real-time access to their financial accounts, rating this eight, nine or 10 on a 10-point scale. In the U.S., 76% had this expectation, one of the highest levels among countries in the survey. Nearly half said they would stop using a technology immediately if it was not intuitive, easy and straightforward.
  • Tailored and personalized experiences. Consumers expect businesses they interact with to know them. They demand a tailored experience using information businesses have collected about them to their benefit. Roughly 58% expect their financial institution to do a better job in considering their individual circumstances. Nearly half want businesses to get better at targeting ads and offers to them.
  • Social and sharing.  Technology has changed how communication between businesses and consumers functions, shifting from top-down to peer-to-peer and even bottom-up. Social media and user-generated online content have increased consumers' span of influence. Half of global consumers surveyed post reviews online, more than half consult social media before making a purchase, and about half prefer working with companies that are smart about social media and technology.

What does this mean for credit unions? Credit unions pride themselves on how well they know and serve their members, but these findings suggest they must translate this knowledge into their real-time technology to be effective under the evolving expectations for personalized service, said the Credit Union National Association.  Fostering service excellence is one of three components driving credit unions' national campaign, Unite for Good, which strives to achieve CUNA's strategic vision for credit unions, where "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial institution. For more information, use the link.

"When we talk about evolving consumer expectations, what we're really talking about is an expectation of higher levels of service and a drive toward simplicity, with the consumer at the center of it all," said Larry Drury, chief marketing officer at First Data.

"Much of this change in expectations is driven by the proliferation of smartphones, which have fundamentally altered how consumers around the world go about their daily lives. Understanding this impact on consumer behavior has profound implications for doing business today," Drury added.

First Data's online study surveyed nearly 4,000 consumers who had a bank account and either a debit or credit card in 10 markets, including the U.S.

Maine League Elects Table Officers, Presents Awards

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PORTLAND, Maine (6/24/13)--The Maine Credit Union League elected its table officers and announced the recipients of its annual awards at a special ceremony during the league's 75th annual meeting and convention.

Click to view larger imageJ. Hunter King, left, president/CEO of Trademark FCU, Augusta, Maine, recipient of the Maine Credit Union League's James M. Gratto Award for Outstanding Credit Union Manager, and Joann Bisson, vice president of Trademark FCU.
Table officers for 2013-14 include:

  • Chair--Jim Lemieux, president/CEO, Sebasticook Valley FCU, Pittsfield;
  • Vice chair--Richard Lachance, president/CEO, Maine Education CU, Augusta;
  • Treasurer--Phil Moreau, president/CEO, Rainbow FCU, Lewiston; and      
  • Secretary--Luke Labbe, president/CEO, PeopleChoice CU, Saco.
Click to view larger image John Murphy, left, Maine Credit Union League president/CEO, and David Rossignol, president/CEO of NorState FCU, Madawaska, Maine, who received the  League President's Award for Outstanding League Volunteer. (Photos provided by the Maine Credit Union League)
Also, two new board members officially began their terms. Ken Hensler, president/CEO of The County FCU, Caribou, replaced Dave Rossignol, president/CEO of NorState FCU, Madawaska, who is retiring at the end of the month. Roger Sirois, president/CEO of Atlantic Regional FCU, Brunswick, is replacing Gail Richardson, president/CEO, Midcoast FCU, Bath, who retired at the end of the convention.

Awards and their winners included:

  • Alexander Ferguson Award for Outstanding Credit Union Volunteer--Chanel Coulombe, Atlantic Regional FCU, Brunswick;
  • James M. Gratto Award for Outstanding Credit Union Manager--J. Hunter King, president/CEO, Trademark FCU, Augusta;
  • Jeannette G. Morin Award for Outstanding Credit Union Employee--Tina Jamo, vice president of operations, Katahdin FCU, Millinocket;
  • League President's Award for Outstanding League Volunteer--Rossignol; and
  • Diane L. Oceretko "People Helping People" Award--Joel Wegner, quality assurance coordinator, Five County CU of Bath (Maine).

Minn. CUs Share Insight In Establishing In-school Branches

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (6/24/13)--With student-run credit unions a hot topic in Minnesota, three credit unions in the state have received media coverage and high praise for their new in-school branches, said the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN).

Click to view larger image Postal CU employee Marc Buchmayer shared his experiences working at the new student-run credit union at Tartan High School in Minnesota. (Photo provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network)
Student branches of HomeTown CU in Owatonna, St. Paul (Minn.) FCU and Postal CU in Woodbury have opened their doors in the past three years.

MnCUN and the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation hosted an educational session Wednesday for credit unions to share experiences of establishing student-run branches.

MnCUN Vice President-Association Services Kristina Wright, who is the lead staff liaison to the foundation, discussed the benefits of student-run credit unions and various models, saying that personal finance aspects of in-school branches are "just the tip of the iceberg."

"Not only do students receive financial education, but they get experience in life skills, like applying and interviewing for jobs, and learning the finer points of customer service," Wright said. She noted that schools can incorporate the student branches into marketing, math, art and computer classes.

"Student branches also open the doors for credit unions to be more involved in the community, educate students on the credit union difference, and increase your positive reputation among students, faculty and parents," Wright added. "This kind of involvement in the school positions your credit union as a valuable community partner and creates goodwill on a number of different levels," she told the group.

Richard Todd, vice president, community affairs with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, provided an overview of the history and revival of in-school savings programs, which started in Europe in the mid-1800s and spread to the U.S. in the 1870s. Todd noted changes in these programs over the years and the need for good support from financial institutions.

Representatives from HomeTown CU, St. Paul FCU and Postal CU shared their experiences, including hurdles and lessons learned. Each stressed the importance of forming a strong relationship with a school or district, and identifying a financial education champion within the school to help drive ideas forward.

While all the speakers agreed on a few key tenets--choosing a good location, being flexible and engaging with the school in as many ways as possible--each student-run branch is unique in its structure, offerings and demographics, they said.

NEW: N.Y. State Assembly Passes SEG Bill To Enhance FOM

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/21/13--UPDATED: 5:15  p.m.)--Legislation that expands the ability of credit unions to provide vital financial services to New Yorkers and their families has passed the State Senate and Assembly. The legislation gives state-chartered credit unions the ability to include select employee groups (SEGs), associations and communities within the same field of membership.

The new measure, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Griffo and Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, enhances the credit union state charter through expanded membership and investment options, said the Credit Union Association of New York, which advocated strongly for passing the legislation.

The measure also includes a provision that enables state-chartered credit unions to increase investments in their communities and programs aimed at community reinvestment--including projects of state corporations that work with housing projects, slum clearance corporations, small business investment corporations and urban development corporations.

The bill will now be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"We salute the New York State Legislature for passing this legislation, which enhances the state charter and opens the door for more New Yorkers to have a not-for-profit, cooperative financial services option," said William J. Mellin, CUANY president/CEO. "OuraAssociation will continue to advocate for legislation that benefits New Yorkers and promotes parity among state and federal charters."

NEW: Washington DFI To Continue Operations, Despite Budget Process

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (6/21/13, UPDATED 1:45 p.m. CT)--Although a budget impasse could cause a Washington state government shutdown, credit unions can expect continued operations from their state regulators, the Northwest Credit Union Association reported Friday.

A second special legislative session had failed to produce a state budget, the league said (Anthem Recap June 21). If a shutdown cannot be averted, the Washington Division of Credit Unions (DCU) and Department of Financial Institutions will continue operations, the league said.

Non-appropriated agencies like DCU continue operations without interruption under a contingency plan, DCU spokeswoman Rhonda Mires informed the league in a memo.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee alerted state workers and taxpayers Thursday to the possibility of a government shutdown and employee furloughs if the legislature does not produce a budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

TMG Survey Shares CUs' Plans For EMV Migration

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DES MOINES, Iowa (6/21/13)--Sixty-two percent of credit union and community bank respondents to a survey by The Members Group (TMG) said they need to develop a Europay-MasterCard-VISA (EMV) strategy to reduce fraud losses or to meet the liability-shift deadlines put in place by the major card networks.

Satisfying cardholders who live, work or frequently travel overseas was another major motivator. Nearly 14% of TMG's clients cite travelers as the primary reason their financial institution is looking to issue EMV cards.

TMG clients undergoing EMV implementation now are pursuing migration to provide a better member/customer experience, particularly for frequently traveling cardholders--according to Brandon Kuehl, product development architect and a leader of TMG's EMV operations team. These cardholders are increasingly reporting difficulty using mag-stripe cards outside the U.S., Kuehl said.

TMG client Alliant CU of Chicago  has a significant base of members traveling internationally. It began its EMV migration planning in 2012, said Carolyn Hatten-Kissick, Alliant CU senior manager of operations. The primary driver is the member experience overseas, she added.

"More kiosks and unmanned terminals in international locations are EMV-enabled, creating a significant challenge for mag-stripe cardholders," Hatten-Kissick said. "We want to give our members dependable, consistent access to their money and believe EMV is an important step to creating that reliable experience for our cardholders throughout the world."

When it comes to which authentication format TMG clients will pursue, 59% of credit unions and community banks that have already decided chose chip-and-personal identification numbers. However, many financial institutions are uncertain, with another 35% undecided between chip-and-PIN or chip-and-signature formats. Respondents were split about their plans to pursue dual-interface plastics, meaning their EMV cards will be capable of both contact and contactless payments. Among respondents who have made firm decisions, 45% said their cards would support both forms of payment.

About 37% of respondents said their plan includes migration to EMV cards before October 2015, the month Visa and MasterCard will shift fraud liability to the least secure entity. Another 52% were undecided.

Most undecided financial institutions will shift to EMV before the deadline and firm their implementation strategies within the next 12 months, Kuehl predicted.

To help clients navigate to EMV, TMG is sharing strategies and templates with its clients. The payments processor also is offering an EMV Client Forum, so clients can ask questions of TMG experts and peers. Through the forum, blog posts, webinars and podcasts, TMG also provides updates on industry deadlines, implementation timelines and case studies from like-sized financial institutions.

Cardholder education is a major component to migrating a portfolio to EMV, said TMG. More than 75% of clients said they would appreciate educational support. The company is preparing consumer-facing materials, such as card carriers, inserts, labels and in-branch displays.

CU Boston Marathon Team Raises $128,000 For Hospital

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BOSTON (6/21/13)--Members of the Credit Unions Kids at Heart Boston Marathon Team and their families presented a check for $128,000 April 13 to Boston Children's Hospital at the group's Pre-marathon Party in Boston. Now they are looking forward to the 2014 Boston Marathon.

The funds were raised by the credit union community to sponsor the team and are earmarked for pediatric cardiac research.

Click to view larger image Members of the Credit Unions Kids at Heart Boston Marathon Team present a check to Carola Cadley, vice president, corporate development and special events at Boston Children's Hospital Trust, at the Credit Unions Kids at Heart Pre-marathon Party. (Photo provided Credit Unions Kids at Heart)
After the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15, Credit Unions Kids at Heart announced that all members of its team and cheering section were safe and sound. The Credit Unions Kids at Heart families, runners and sponsors are already looking ahead to 2014 with hope that they can honor the victims and their families by rallying together to do even more for the hospital.

"As we find closure to the events that took place during the Boston Marathon, we look forward to all that we can do for Boston Children's Hospital in the future," said Jane Melchionda, president/CEO of EasCorp and founder of Credit Unions Kids at Heart. "We expect to surpass $4 million in contributions to the hospital before the end of 2013."

The Boston Marathon team is the cornerstone of the Credit Unions Kids at Heart program, which is a group of credit unions that collectively raise funds for the hospital and other organizations benefitting children. Each year, runners sponsored by credit unions are paired with a patient partner child receiving care at Boston Children's Hospital. Runners and patient partners often build lifelong relationships that extend beyond the marathon season.

The 2013 team included nine runners: Austin Braithwait, Sue Sonia and mother/daughter duo Kris and Kayla Biagiotti, represented by the Credit Unions Kids at Heart group; Nicole Bedard, sponsored by Jeanne D'Arc, Lowell, Mass.; Tim Burch, sponsored by NASA FCU, Bowie, Md.; Kerri Comolli and Igor Ivno, sponsored by Digital FCU, Marlborough, Mass.; Jay Johnson, sponsored by Callahan & Associates Inc.; and Ray Phillips, sponsored by Hanscom FCU, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.

Louisiana CUs Launch a 'Smarter Choice' Campaign

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HARAHAN, La. (6/21/13)--Louisiana credit unions have united to launch an eight-week advertising campaign to inform consumers they have a "smarter choice" when choosing a financial institution, said the Louisiana Credit Union League.

The campaign was developed by the league on behalf of participating credit unions and launched June 10 (eNews June 19). Statewide media coverage includes radio, billboards, and online and Petro TV  (digital on-the-go ads on gas pumps) advertisements.

The campaign is a cooperative campaign designed to build awareness of credit unions and to assist consumers in finding a credit union that is right for them by directing them to asmarterchoice.org.  It includes messages such as "Watch your savings grow" and "Saving money is a bright idea," which raise awareness that switching to a credit union is "a smarter choice."

Louisiana credit unions launched the first phase of the state level campaign in 2012 and the results were outstanding, said the league. Louisiana rose from No. 32 to as high as No. 4 in total searches on the aSmarterChoice website. More than 2,200 searches for "Louisiana Credit Unions" were made during that campaign--an increase of more than 600% over pre-campaign levels.

The league said that the goal this year is to "build on this success in order to increase awareness of Louisiana credit unions and educate consumers on the benefits of membership."  Twenty-five Louisiana credit unions are participating.

Raising awareness of the benefits of credit unions is one the three key prongs underpinning the Credit Union National Association's and leagues' Unite for Good campaign, which works toward the movement's strategic vision that "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial institution." For more information about Unite for Good and aSmarterChoice.org, use the links.

CU Strategic Planning Appoints Augustine As President

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TACOMA, Wash. (6/21/13)--CU Strategic Planning, a Community Development Financial Institutions grant writing firm, has named Stacy Augustine as the company's new president.

Augustine, who was formerly general counsel at the Northwest Credit Union Association until joining CU Strategic Planning in early 2012, started her new leadership role June 3. She will transition to CEO in 2014.

Augustine's primary responsibilities will include coaching and guiding CU Strategic Planning's staff, along with strategic and financial management. She will oversee daily operations, implement new products, and pursue new prospects in the grant writing space for credit unions.

Her goals are twofold: (1) Continue to build on the strength and capability of the organization, and (2) attract and retain staff that are the best in their fields.

"CU Strategic Planning has undergone tremendous growth over the past five years as it has developed depth and expertise in several core areas," Augustine said. She noted that the company will make sure it can sustain growth.

Prior to joining CU Strategic Planning, Augustine served as NWCUA senior vice president and general counsel, where she managed the association's government relations, compliance, communications, public relations and strategic planning functions for nearly 20 years.

CUANY Young Professionals Plan Initiatives

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/21/13)--Members of the Credit Union Association of New York's Young Professionals Commission (YPC) elected new officers, welcomed new members and began planning several initiatives for the months ahead during a meeting June 13.

Click to view larger image Members of Credit Union Association of New York's Young Professionals Commission gathered June 13-16 at CUANY's Annual Meeting and Convention in Albany.  (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of New York )
These YPC officers were elected:

  • Chairperson--Aimee Johnson, Oswego County FCU, Oswego;
  • Vice chairperson--Cara Carlevatti, Great Erie FCU, Orchard Park; and
  • Secretary/communications chairperson--Stephanie Carl, Corning (N.Y.) FCU.
The group recognized Lisa Totaro, Sunmark FCU, Latham, who was a charter member of the YPC and has served as chairperson since 2010.

Six young professionals were installed as new YPC members. They include:

  • Alexa Bennett, Northern FCU, Watertown;
  • Whitney Cochran, CFCU Community CU, Ithaca;
  • Meghan McGee-Pelkey, UFirst FCU, Plattsburgh;
  • Jennifer Preston, Reliant Community FCU, Sodus;
  • Katie Sugorovskiy, Western New York FCU, West Seneca; and
  • Christin Vincent, The Summit FCU, Rochester.
New this year, the CUANY board appointed YPC members to represent the group on four of CUANY's boards/committees. Appointed were:

  • Awards Committee designee: Adam Amesbury, St. Pius X Church FCU, Rochester;
  • CULAC/CUPAC board of trustees designee: Heather Wood, AmeriCU CU, Rome;
  • Governmental Affairs Committee designee: Stephanie Carl, Corning FCU; and
  • New York Credit Union Foundation board of trustees designee: Cara Carlevatti, Great Erie FCU.
YPC members also are developing initiatives to promote engagement and cross-generational cooperation. They plan to create an alumni group, enabling former YPC members to continue networking and sharing insights with younger peers. They also intend to plan a young professionals only Hike the Hill event in Washington, D.C., this fall.

LSCU Elects Board, Announces Awards

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (6/21/13)--The League of Southeastern Credit Unions announced the results of its board elections and annual award winners at its annual meeting June 12-14 in Orlando, Fla.

Click to view larger image The League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU) Executive Committee includes, bottom row, from left, Chairman Mary Ott Wood, CEO, Florida West Coast CU; Chairman-elect Steve Swofford, CEO,  Alabama CU; and Vice Chairman Tina Williams, CEO, Mobile Educators CU. Top row, from left, Patrick LaPine, LSCU president/CEO; Immediate past president Joe McGee, CEO, Legacy Community FCU; Treasurer A.C. Cowans, CEO, McCoy FCU; and Secretary Brent Lister, CEO, First Florida CU.
More than 110 credit unions from Alabama and Florida were represented, while the exhibit hall hosted 120 vendors, 28 of which were new this year. The LSCU debuted a new AC&E mobile app, which was downloaded by more than 300 attendees.

The meeting also featured Bill Cheney, Credit Union National Association president/CEO; former Blue Angel lead solo pilot John Foley; and National Journal's The Hotline editor-in-chief Reid Wilson.

Kevin Johnson, executive vice president, Suncoast Schools FCU, Tampa, Fla., was seated as the newest board member. Rich Helber, CEO, Tropical Financial CU, Miramar, Fla., stepped down from the board.

Click to view larger image Jim Mitchell, middle, Army Aviation Center FCU, Daleville, Ala., was honored as the League of Southeastern Credit Unions' Professional of the Year award at the league's annual meeting June 12-14 in Orlando, Fla. Mitchell received his award from Patrick LaPine, left, president/CEO of the LSCU and LSCU board secretary Brent Lister, CEO, First Florida CU, Jacksonville, Fla.
Board members re-elected to new terms included:

  • Linda Walker, CEO, Riverdale CU, Montgomery, Ala.;
  • A.C. Cowans, CEO, McCoy FCU, Orlando, Fla.; and
  • Ron Summerall, CEO, Alabama Teachers CU, Gadsden, Ala.
The board's executive committee remained the same. Committee members include:

  • Chairman--Mary Ott Wood, CEO, Florida West Coast CU, Brandon, Fla.;
  • Chairman-elect--Steve Swofford, CEO,  Alabama CU, Tuscaloosa, Ala.;
  • Vice chairman--Tina Williams, CEO, Mobile (Ala.) Educators CU;
  • Treasurer--Cowans;
  • Secretary--Brent Lister, CEO, First Florida CU, Jacksonville, Fla.; and
  • Immediate past president--Joe McGee, CEO, Legacy Community FCU, Birmingham, Ala.
Click to view larger image Patrick LaPine, left, president/CEO of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions, presents Betty Petree, a board member at Pen Air, Pensacola, Fla., with the league's Distinguished Service Award. LaPine and Petree are joined by LSCU board Secretary Brent Lister, CEO, First Florida CU, Jacksonville, Fla. (Photos provided by League of Southeastern Credit Unions)
Other board members include:

  • Sharon Downing, CEO, Alabama River CU, Monroeville, Ala.;
  • Pat Mason, CEO, Sun CU, Hollywood, Fla.;
  • Anice Prosser, senior vice president, Envision CU, Tallahassee, Fla.;
  • Bob Steensma, CEO, Five Star CU, Dothan, Ala.;
  • Jeannette Keller, CEO, Blue Flame CU, Mobile, Ala.;
  • Leianne Harden, CEO, Florida Customs FCU, Tampa, Fla.;
  • Marie Ferngren, CEO at Hialeah (Fla.) Municipal Employees FCU;
LSCU presented seven awards during the general session. Betty Petree, a board member at Pen Air, Pensacola, Fla., received the Distinguished Service Award. Her photo will hang in the Credit Union House Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C.

Other honorees included:

  • Volunteer of the Year--the late Roger Turnquist, Army Aviation Center FCU, Daleville, Ala.;
  • Professional of the Year--Jim Mitchell, Army Aviation Center FCU, Daleville, Ala.;
  • Young Professional of the Year--Brooke Covington, Alabama State Employees CU, Montgomery, Ala.;
  • Credit Union of the Year, under $100 million in assets--Tallahassee-Leon FCU, Tallahassee, Fla.;
  • Credit Union of the Year , between $100 million and $500 million in assets--Five Star CU, Dothan, Ala.; and
  • Credit Union of the Year, more than $500 million in assets--Achieva CU, Largo, Fla.
The AC&E Silent Auction, which benefits Children's Miracle Network and the FedPAC, raised more than $15,000.

CU Cherry Blossom Run Achievements Recognized

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WASHINGTON (6/21/13)--Credit unions were honored for their Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run (The Run) achievements during the Maryland & D.C. Credit Union Association's Annual Meeting and Convention held last week in Ocean City, Md.

Click to view larger image Federal Reserve Board (FRB) FCU, Washington, D.C., was among the credit unions awarded for their Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run achievements during the Maryland & D.C. Credit Union Association's Annual Meeting and Convention last week in Ocean City, Md. Here, Charlie Mallon, left, president/CEO of Congressional FCU, Oakton, Va., and chairman of the CU Cherry Blossom Race Committee, presents an award to Pauline Dunbar-Stevens, president/CEO of  FRB FCU. (Photo provided by Maryland and D.C. Credit Union Association)
"We celebrate the achievements of these three credit unions in our competitions," said Charlie Mallon, president/CEO of Congressional FCU, Oakton, Va., and chairman of the CU Cherry Blossom Race Committee. "While this is a friendly sporting event that raises a lot of money for the treatment of kids, some of our athlete members are very competitive," he said.

Among the credit unions and individuals honored:

  • Fastest credit union running team--Federal Reserve Board (FRB) FCU, Washington, D.C., "Cash Us If You Can" in a credit union team record-breaking time of 2:52:43;
  • Fastest credit union male--Dominic Smith, FRB FCU, 53:00;
  • Fastest credit union female--Andrea Fischione, FRB FCU, 63:22;
  • Most raised in credit union organizational donation challenge--Department of Labor FCU, Washington, D.C., 43 cents per member through its skip-a-pay program;
  • Most raised in credit union member donation challenge--Constellation FCU, Reston, Va., 29 cents per member through an iPad raffle; and
  • Most spirited credit union volunteer team--NASA FCU, Upper Marlboro, Md., at Water Stop No. 2.
The April 7 run in Washington, D.C., was sponsored by Credit Union Miracle Day (CUMD), a nonprofit collaboration of credit union organizations engaged in fundraising activities to benefit Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals) and is the largest national credit union fundraising event for Credit Unions for Kids,

Funds collected by CUMD stay in the credit union's community to benefit the kids served by the local CMN Hospital.

CU4Kids is a nonprofit collaboration of credit unions, chapters, leagues, the Credit Union National Association and business partners nationwide that raises funds to benefit 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Credit unions are the third-largest corporate sponsor of the hospitals, behind only Walmart and Costco.

The 2013 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and Credit Union SacTown Ten-Mile Run in Sacramento, Calif., drew together 100 credit unions from 14 states, 60 business partner organizations, 16,000 runners and over 700 volunteers. They raised more than $483,000 for CMN Hospitals.

CU System Briefs (06/21/2013)

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  • ABBEVILLE, S.C. (6/21/13)--Greater Abbeville FCU surprised dozens of hungry diners with a free
    Click to view larger image Click for larger view
    lunch Wednesday. GAFCU representatives showed up at Theo's restaurant and paid the tab for more than 50 people. "This is amazing," said one diner on a work lunch break. "In times like this, when every penny counts, this is just amazing." Faye Crocker, CEO of GAFCU greeted diners, like the ones shown here, and joined a table for lunch.  "Last year we developed a new mission statement, and that is to be the source of hope for Abbeville County," Crocker said. "In everything we do, we strive to live up to that mission statement. With so many people hurting financially in our community, this is an opportunity for us to put our mission statement in action," she added. A larger initiative that is part of the South Carolina Credit Union League MADTAG Campaign will travel to other parts of the state in July and surprise diners with free lunches in smaller communities. (Photo provided by the Greater Abbeville FCU) ...
  • RALEIGH, N.C. (6/21/13)--State Employees' CU of Raleigh, N.C., held a two-day orientation session
    Click to view larger image Click for larger view
    to kick off its Public Service Internship program for 47 college students and their county mentors. SECU Foundation and North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center officials welcomed the new interns and presented expectations for the summer program. The group also engaged in team building and leadership activities and attended a dinner reception. Day Two's session provided a rolling workshop/study tour of Chatham and Montgomery Counties to learn more about the people, history, culture and economy of rural regions. SECU members, via the foundation, provided funding for the program in partnership with the Rural Center. Originally, 35 interns were approved, but the response to the program prompted SECU Foundation's Board of Directors to expand it to 47 interns. (Photo provided by the State Employees' CU) ...

Canada's Largest CU Deemed 'Too Big To Fail'

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MONTREAL (6/21/13)--Desjardins Group, the largest Canadian credit union, has been deemed too big to fail by the Quebec Financial Markets Authority.

By labeling Desjardins Group as a "systemically important institution," the Quebec authority placed it in the same class as the Big Six banks in Canada (National Post June 20).

Systemically important institutions are financial companies considered to be so big and interconnected that if they failed, it would be a threat to the financial system, according to International Basel financial rules, the Post said.

Such institutions are required to hold a more substantial capital cushion than their peers as a means to handle losses if they get into financial difficulty, under the Basel rules.

At the end of last year, Desjardins Group, which is a network of caisses populaires (credit unions) based in Levis, Quebec, had assets of $196.7 billion--making it the biggest financial group in the province of Quebec, the Post said.

Desjardins has been expanding its reach from Quebec to other provinces during the past few years. For example, it acquired Western Financial, a bank and insurance company based in Alberta, in 2010 (News Now Feb. 6).

In February, Desjardins accumulated a substantial minority stake in Qtrade Financial, a discount brokerage firm with business spanning from Ontario to the west coast of Canada. The move expanded the cooperative's online trading services outside Quebec to complement its discount brokerage, Disnat (The Globe and Mail Feb. 5).

Missing CU Teller Is Suspect In Robbery

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (6/21/13)--A credit union employee who has been missing since May 9 is now a suspect in a robbery that occurred at the credit union on May 7, Milwaukee, Wis.-police said.

Jessica Benson, 22, who had been employed six years at the Milwaukee-based Educators CU, disappeared shortly before her college graduation, and her family had feared she had been a victim of a crime (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel June 19).

However, police suspect Benson and her boyfriend, Nathaniel Robinson, helped plan the robbery, according to a search warrant obtained Friday. The two are still missing, and their apartment had been cleared out.

The credit union last heard from her on May 11, when she called in sick.

The robbery occurred at the drive-through, while Benson was working. Two Milwaukee men, Kevin Blackburn, 25, and Ricardo Perkins, 31, were apprehended and face robbery charges. The robbery demand note contained terminology often used internally in financial institutions, said police.

Benson allegedly was driving a rental car, and a surveillance camera apparently showed her returning the car on May 13 while being followed by a second car and U-Haul truck.

Grant To Mid-Minnesota FCU Expands Personal Finance Classes

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BAXTER, Minn. (6/20/13)--Mid-Minnesota FCU (MMFCU) in Baxter, Minn., will broaden its personal finance offerings this fall by making its educational classes available online, as part of an existing course offered by Central Lakes College in Brainerd, Minn.

Click to view larger image Mid-Minnesota FCU staff teach personal finance courses in several area schools as part of the credit union's "education network," established in 2008.  (Photo provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation)

A grant from the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation funds the classes.

Through its newly established Financial Education Grant Program, the foundation made its inaugural award to MMFCU to assist with the transition to online learning.

"By partnering with local schools and the community, it furthers our vision of helping the community and future members," said MMFCU President/CEO Chuck Albrecht. "Students who are financially well-educated prosper and thrive in the long run."

In 2008, MMFCU launched its Education Network program to educate members on subjects such as identity theft and online banking. The program expanded to Brainerd High School and has since grown to a 13-week personal finance course offered every semester at the school. It touches every junior and senior in the school.

"We want to expand our offerings to provide financial education to young adults at a time when these topics have been cut from schools' curriculum due to budget cuts," said Jill Carlson-Ferrie, MMFCU director of learning and development. "By building relationships with local schools, we have the opportunity to fill that void."

MMFCU provides all the classroom materials, including worksheets, handouts and a folder of reference materials for students to discuss with their parents. Classes cover:

  • The difference between credit unions and banks;
  • Saving, investing and managing money;
  • Establishing and maintaining credit;
  • Identity theft;
  • Applying for a loan; and
  • Buying a car and insurance.

Carlson-Ferrie said that the credit union does not use the classroom exposure to sell the credit union or market to the students, but rather views its community participation as a part of MMFCU's mission and drive.

The knowledge gained by students is evident, through post-course evaluation conducted through the schools, MMFCU said. At the end of the personal finance classes, many of the schools ask students to write a letter to their principal listing the top five lessons they learned. Some schools also have students write letters to their legislators to stress the importance of personal finance education. 

Outreach that raises financial education awareness also raises awareness of credit unions. Raising awareness is one of the three foundations--along with removing barriers and fostering service excellence--of the national Unite for Good campaign aimed at achieving credit unions' strategic vision in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial institution, according to the Credit Union National Association.

UsNet Re-elects Board Officers, Honors Marketing

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/20/13)--Four New York credit union leaders have been re-elected as board officers of Universal Sharing Network (UsNet), a credit union service organization that provides credit unions with access to more than 5,000 shared branches in the U.S. and beyond.

Board members re-elected to one-year terms include:

  • Chairman--Mark Pfisterer, president/CEO, AmeriCU CU, Rome;
  • Vice chairman--Mark Welshoff, president/CEO, Palisades FCU, Pearl River;
  • Treasurer--Christine Peters, CEO, Family First of NY FCU, Rochester; and
  • Secretary--Nancy Kasprzak-Whitmore, executive vice president, Niagara's Choice FCU, Niagara.
Pfisterer and Kasprzak-Whitmore also were re-elected to serve new three-year terms as board members. The board comprises 11 New York credit union leaders and Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) President/CEO William J. Mellin.

UsNet, which is owned by New York credit unions and CUANY, held its annual meeting and organizational meeting June 13 in conjunction with CUANY's 2013 Annual Meeting and Convention.

UsNet also presented Saratoga's Community FCU, Saratoga, with the annual Ralph W. Hillman Award. The award, named for a former UsNet chairman, recognizes the shared-branching marketing efforts of a participating UsNet credit union.

"Saratoga's Community FCU has proactively marketed the convenience and accessibility of shared branching across multiple platforms in order to better serve its growing membership," said Marc Inger, UsNet chief operating officer. The credit union, its members and the entire shared branching network have benefited from its efforts, he added.

38% Of Iowa Members With Student Loans Owe More Than $20,000

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DES MOINES, Iowa (6/20/13)--Nearly a quarter of Iowa credit union members surveyed by the Iowa Credit Union League are carrying student loan debt, with nearly 38% saying they owe more than $20,000 on the loans and 24% saying they are not on track to pay back their debt.

About 25% of those carrying student loan debt said they owe between $10,000 and $20,000, said the league.

Recently the Credit Union National Association's first annual High School Student Borrowing Survey found that nearly half of seniors in U.S. high schools don't know how much money they will need for college and more didn't understand basic student loan terms. The lack of awareness and lack of financial knowledge make it more likely that students will become overextended with heavy student debt. For more information on CUNA's survey findings, use the link.

Emily Caropreso, director of communications and marketing at the league, cautioned people who are deciding where to go to college to consider carefully how much to borrow.  "It's easy to get caught up in finding the perfect college experience," she said. "However, students should investigate the long-term ramifications. In the long run, it may be wiser to choose a less expensive option or work part-time in order to borrow less."

The Iowa league had other tips, which credit unions can share with members considering college:

  • Review all loans. List loans from those with the highest interest rates to the lowest. If possible, pay more than the minimum. Any extra money should go toward the higher-interest-rate loan.
  • Go for graduated payments. A graduated student loan repayment plan means payments start low and go up every two years. The strategy helps if income increases with experience.
  • Consider consolidation.  Combining several federal loans into one may lower interest costs, especially if any have variable rates.
  • Delay with a deferment.  Unemployment, economic hardship or being in school or an internship program may qualify a loan for deferment. Check whether interest will be charged while payments are deferred.
  • Take a job that helps pay back student loans.  Several occupations may help get a student loan debt forgiven. These include those who teach or practice dentistry or medicine in underserved areas, law students working in public interest or nonprofit positions, some federal government jobs and volunteer stints in AmeriCorps, Peace Corps and Volunteers in Service to America.

Matz: How Arrowhead Turned Its Finances Around

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (6/19/13)--The financial turnaround of Arrowhead Central CU, a San Bernardino, Calif.-based credit union that the National Credit Union Administration put into conservatorship in 2010 and whose conservatorship ended in May, is both "surprising" and "inspiring," said NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz in the June NCUA Report.

Arrowhead is the first credit union to successfully emerge from federal conservatorship since 2007. On May 23, the credit union reported a net worth of more than 10.5% and membership of 116,000.

The credit union, established in 1949, served ethnically diverse residents of San Bernardino and the Inland Empire of California and had grown to $900 million in assets serving more than 100,000 members. "Much of the growth came in the last decade as Arrowhead expanded aggressively into side businesses and took on large indirect loans for recreational vehicles (RVs)," Matz wrote in her "Chairman's Corner" column.

However, by 2010, the credit union, with 25 branches became "grossly over-extended. The $154 million RV loan portfolio had collateral values of only half the outstanding loan balances, and borrowers were rapidly defaulting," Matz wrote.

Modified loans apparently masked true delinquencies and four side businesses dragged it further into the red while distracting management from providing efficient member service and managing credit risk, she added. "Net worth was down to 3% and falling fast. The credit union was on pace to lose nearly $4 million. It was in danger of going under."

NCUA conserved Arrowhead on June 25, 2010, despite criticism for acting unreasonably, Matz said. "From day one, we were dedicated to restoring sound operations and safeguarding members' hard-earned money," she added.

NCUA Region II Director Jane Walters, as agent for the conservatorship, contracted with credit union turnaround specialist Kay Woods as interim CEO. They sold or closed 14 branches, reduced staff by 242 in 2010, charged off $70 million in loans over two years, strengthened underwriting, wound down the four side businesses--"our only chance to save this credit union," Matz explained.

In June 2011, Arrowhead began its recovery by focusing on the core business, controlling costs and following the Net Worth Restoration Plan. After net worth topped 5%, NCUA offered the CEO position at Arrowhead to Darin Woinarowicz, then chief operations officer at Kern Schools FCU in Bakersfield, Calif.

Woinarowicz implemented a new Strategic Plan for Arrowhead in 2012-2013. The credit union's top goals included rebuilding relationships with select employee groups and rebranding Arrowhead as member service-oriented.

Meanwhile, NCUA worked with select employee groups and "recruited an Advisory Board of members who aspired to become Arrowhead's new Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee," Matz said. "The executive team organized a two-day 'credit union boot camp' for them and provided monthly training on their fiduciary duties. These 10 dedicated volunteers are now willing to lead Arrowhead into a new chapter in its history."

Matz attributed the success story to the "collaborative efforts of NCUA staff, the California Department of Financial Institutions, Arrowhead's interim and current management teams and staff, the new board, and members who never wavered in their support of the credit union."

Marshall To Lead The Cooperative Trust For Young Adults

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MADISON, Wis. (6/20/13)--James Marshall joined The Cooperative Trust as its leader, the Trust and Filene Research Institute announced Thursday.

Marshall succeeds Brent Dixon, who founded the Trust in 2010 as Filene's young adult adviser. Theresa Hilinski will continue to serve as the Trust's community manager.

"We know that the young adults demographic is crucial to the future of credit unions," said Mark Meyer, Filene's CEO. "The Trust, brought to life with Brent's vision and CUNA Mutual Group's support, has been instrumental in connecting young adults to the credit union industry and the credit union industry to them."  

Marshall will work with Filene to sharpen the Trust's role in helping credit unions engage with young adults and grow membership among this demographic through outputs such as product ideas, crash events and publications that capture key findings of the group. He will also work to strengthen the Trust's foundation of developing young talent in credit unions and cooperatives through leadership opportunities, mentorships and peer-idea sharing.

"Building on the clear vision and momentum achieved by the Trust under Brent's direction, we want to evolve the trust into a self-sustaining organization with long-term value and viability," said Marshall. "We plan to do this by focusing on four key priorities: strengthening our online community; creating mentorship opportunities between young adults and veteran professionals; enabling product and service development around young adults; and hosting a limited number of crash events."

The Cooperative Trust stems from more than 10 years of Filene research examining young adult issues that credit unions and cooperatives face.

In 2010, while serving as Filene's young adult adviser, Dixon organized a group of 25 young credit union professionals called The Crash Network to crash the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). With a three-year funding commitment from CUNA Mutual Group, The Crash Network became The Cooperative Trust in 2012.

The Trust celebrated its fourth Crash the GAC event earlier this year. CUNA's Center for Professional Development enables full access to the conference by providing full scholarships for every crasher. PSCU Financial Services also sponsors lodging for crashers and their Thunderpunch party.

BizKid$ Nabs a Second Emmy

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MADISON, Wis. (6/20/13)--Biz Kid$, a credit union-funded public television series that teaches kids about money management and entrepreneurship, has won a national Emmy Award, television's highest honor. The award for Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Editing was presented Friday to Biz Kid$ in Los Angeles.

Jim Golingo, editor for BizKid$, holds the Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Editing at the 40th annual Daytime Entertainment Creative Arts Emmy Awards. (Photo provided by the National Credit Union Foundation)
This is the second Emmy Award for Biz Kid$. The show won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Main Title and Graphic Design in 2009. It has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards in the past five years.

Biz Kid$ has continually garnered attention in and outside of the credit union industry. The show has won the Environmental Media Award for Outstanding Children's Television Series, a Silver Telly Award for Outstanding Children's Financial Literacy Programming, and most recently the Parent's Choice Gold Award. In 2010, it also earned the credit union industry's most prestigious honor, the Herb Wegner Award for Outstanding Program.

The National Credit Union Foundation oversees fundraising, outreach and administrative responsibilities of Biz Kid$. During the past six years, more than 300 credit unions and affiliated organizations have raised more than $13.8 million that has supported the show's production, website and curriculum.

Every Biz Kid$ episode begins and ends with a narrator reminding viewers that: "Production funding for Biz Kid$ is provided by America's Credit Unions, where people are worth more than money."

The Emmy Awards recognize creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. The Daytime Emmy Awards recognize outstanding achievement in all creative fields of daytime television production. The series also was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing and Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing.

For more information about Biz Kid$, use the link.

Canada's Central 1 Names Blackburn Interim President/CEO

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VANCOUVER, B.C. (6/20/13)--Canada's Central 1 CU has appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Senior Vice President of Strategy Helen Blackburn as interim president/CEO, effective Aug. 1.

Central 1 is the central financial facility and trade association for the British Columbia and Ontario credit union systems.

"Helen has been a much respected and valued adviser to the board of directors and to member credit unions," said Terry Enns, Central 1's board chairman. "Her talent and leadership will provide the stability and continuity necessary during this transition period for Central 1."

Blackburn, who will replace President/CEO Don Rolfe, has more than 15 years' experience as a senior executive within the financial services industry. She was instrumental in leading the integration of the British Columbia and Ontario provincial centrals into the current Central 1.

Prior to joining Central 1, Blackburn was senior vice president of strategy and CFO at Credential Financial Inc. and Northwest & Ethical Investments, where she oversaw the strategic planning process and directed the financial affairs of both organizations. She is active on boards in both the non-profit and private sector.

An executive recruitment is underway for the permanent president/CEO, Central 1 said. The search is anticipated to take up to six months.

Nearly 800 Attend Maine League's 75th Convention

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PORTLAND, Maine (6/20/13)--Nearly 800 people attended the Maine Credit Union League's 75th Annual Meeting & Convention Friday and Saturday, in Portland. Also, 57 of Maine's 61 credit unions were represented at this year's convention, which featured several congressional speakers who praised Maine's credit unions.   

Maine Credit Union League President John Murphy, left, and Jim "The Rookie" Morris, one of the featured speakers at the Maine Credit Union League's 75th Annual Meeting & Convention, pose together. This year's convention attracted nearly 800 people and representatives from about 95% of the state's credit unions. (Photo provided by the Maine Credit Union League)
Nearly 40 former league board members and guests attended the Delegates' Meeting and received special acknowledgement from League Board Chair David Rossignol.

The two-day event included several special activities commemorating the league's 75th anniversary, including a special video highlighting the formation of the league to the present, commemorative banners with a timeline of key milestones and events of the league, and a special 75th anniversary booklet with memories from long-time, current and former credit union board members and other credit union pioneers in Maine.

"The league and Maine's credit unions are stronger than ever so we had a lot to celebrate in recognizing our past, present and look ahead to the future," said John Murphy, league president.

Bill Cheney, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association, was among the speakers. Cheney applauded the league on celebrating 75 years and for being "engaged and involved in the political process and having the support of its entire congressional delegation."

Lee Wetherington, director of Strategic Insight for ProfitStars and the convention's opening speaker, focused on the "significant opportunities credit unions have in the marketplace with consumers and mobile technology. Credit unions have data on members that enable you to provide value with integrity, unlike others in the marketplace, and that is a significant advantage because integrity wins every time," he added.

U.S. Rep Mike Michaud (D-Maine), who is exploring a possible run for governor of Maine in 2014, reaffirmed his strong support of credit unions in his speech to convention-goers. Michaud called credit unions "a great example of why using local institutions, focused on helping people, is a great choice."

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) sent video greetings that highlighted the "strength of Maine's credit unions with nearly 630,000 members, the success and commitment of helping communities, specifically through the Maine CUs' Campaign for Ending Hunger, and the important role that credit unions play in the economic success of consumers and small businesses in Maine."

Kansas CUA Kicks Off Innovation And Implementation Lab

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WICHITA, Kan. (6/20/13)--
Click to view larger image Brainstorming at the Kansas Credit Union Association's Innovation and Implementation Lab Kick-off Conference Tuesday in Wichita, are, from left:  Bob Thurman, CEO of Credit Union of America, Wichita; John Beverlin, president, Mainstreet CU, Lenexa; Greg Winkler, CEO, Educational CU, Topeka; and Mark Kolarik, president, Kansas Teacher's Community CU, Pittsburg.
The Kansas Credit Union Association launched its Innovation and Implementation Lab Kick-off Conference Tuesday in Wichita, Kan., with the theme: Inspire. Create. Innovate.

The lab, an initiative of KCUA, was created to encourage ongoing and continuous curiosity to generate revolutionary ideas to serve Kansas credit unions and their members.

The lab will consist of two 10-member teams--the Think Tank team and the Dream to Destination team. The Think Tank team will foster the continued advancement of Kansas credit unions through progressive idea generation. The ideas it generates will be handed over to the Dream to Destination team, which will act as puzzle solver, putting the ideas into action.

The teams, which will be selected in July, will meet regularly throughout the year, said KCUA.

Click to view larger imageSpeakers at the Kansas Credit Union Association's Innovation and Implementation Lab Kick-off Conference included, from left, entrepreneur Wil Schroter, Matt Davis of the Filene Research Institute, and economist Max Wolff, shown here with Chris Wolgamott of Meritrust CU, Wichita. (Photos provided by the Kansas Credit Union Association)
The conference featured experts from inside and outside the credit union industry, including entrepreneur Wil Schroter, Filene Research Institute's Matt Davis, and economist Max Wolff.

Afternoon breakout sessions included brainstorming activities and building a working list for the Think Tank team to develop during 2013.

About 60 staff and volunteers from 23 Kansas credit unions attended the day-long event.

NEW: BizKid$ Adds Another Emmy To Trophy Case

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MADISON, Wis. (6/19/13, UPDATED: 10:30 a.m. CT)--Biz Kid$, a credit union funded public television series that teaches kids about money management and entrepreneurship, has won a national Emmy Award, television's highest honor. The award for Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Editing was presented Friday to Biz Kid$ in Los Angeles.

This is the second Emmy Award for Biz Kid$. The show won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Main Title and Graphic Design in 2009.  It has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards in the past five years.

Biz Kid$ has continually garnered attention in and outside of the credit union industry. The show as won the Environmental Media Award for Outstanding Children's Television Series, a Silver Telly Award for Outstanding Children's Financial Literacy Programming, and most recently the Parent's Choice Gold Award. In 2010, it also earned the credit union industry's most prestigious honor, the Herb Wegner Award for Outstanding Program.

The National Credit Union Foundation oversees fundraising, outreach and administrative responsibilities of Biz Kid$. During the past six years, more than 300 credit unions and affiliated organizations have raised more than $13.8 million that has supported the show's production, website and curriculum.

Every Biz Kid$ episode begins and ends with a narrator reminding viewers that: "Production funding for Biz Kid$ is provided by America's Credit Unions, where people are worth more than money."

The Emmy Awards recognize creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. The Daytime Emmy Awards recognize outstanding achievement in all creative fields of daytime television production. The series also was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing and Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing.

For more information about Biz Kid$, use the link.

New Accounts Have Highest Rate Of Cyberattacks

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SAN JOSE, Calif., and NEW YORK (6/19/13)--New accounts have the highest rate of cyberattacks, with takeover attempts nearly twice that of accounts that are at least six months old, according to Web fraud data compiled by ThreatMetrix Inc.

The data were collected from 1,500 consumers, 9,000 websites and more than 1.7 billion cyberevents from ThreatMetrix's TrustDefender Cybercrime Prevention Platform and ThreatMetrix Global Trust Intelligence Network. The data included new account registration fraud, payment fraud and account takeovers.

Roughly one in every 10 user accounts opened online are originated by cybercriminals applying for new lines of credit, creating profiles on social networking or marketplace sites, and enrolling in authentication schemes, Metrix found. In a recent six-month snapshot ending March 31, attacks on new account registrations using spoofed or synthetic identities had the highest rate of attacks.  Next highest was account logins and payment fraud.

"Account registrations saw the highest rate of attack among the key customer engagement use cases," said Alisdair Faulkner, ThreatMetrix chief products officer.

"This isn't surprising in light of large scale data breaches recently highlighted by Symnatec in its Internet Security Threat Report 2013 and Verizon in its 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report.  These breaches underscore the relative ease of obtaining a person's full identity information sufficient enough to bypass most identity verification capabilities," Faulkner said in a ThreatMetrix blog.

Using botnets and malware, the cybercrooks bypass address-based filters. "The economic impact of these attacks varies by industry," he said, noting that the "common thread is that without automated visibility in the true device, persona, relationship and global behavior, the only alternative is additional verification roadblocks put in front of legitimate customers and extended review and hold-out periods."

What does this mean for credit unions? Take extra precautions with new accounts, especially new online banking accounts and step up verification procedures. And advise members to be extra cautious when making purchases or opening new accounts at vendor over the Internet.

Payments fraud attempts, including online credit card transactions and money transfers, rose to 6.4% from 3.1% during the six months studied, said ThreatMetrix. Faulkner cited these trends as factors:

  • Sophisticated credit card cybergangs adopting banking malware, normally used to hijack banking accounts, to steal full credit card information from consumers as a fake verification step when attempting to log into a bank or credit union account;
  • An increase in the percentage of digital goods sold within the company's customers and expansion of their businesses into new areas, including worldwide business; and
  • An increase in the adoption of Virtual Private Network (VPN) and platform-as-a-service services, which provide "ad hoc tunneling protocols." Cybercriminals favor VPNs because they can bypass blacklisted Internet provider blacklists on these networks.
Account takeover attempts during the period studied nearly doubled (168%). Although these attacks traditionally focused on banking and brokerage sites, they recently have escalated at e-commerce and software-as-a-service companies that store customer data, including credit card details.

ThreatMetrix also noted a rise in account takeovers using more sophisticated "blended" or multi-stage attacks to exploit companies without an integrated solution for malware, device identification and bot protection.

CU System Briefs (06/19/2013)

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  • EWING, N.J. (6/19/13)--The 42,947 members of Credit Union of New Jersey saved more than $3.998 million in 2012, an average savings of $93 per member or $177 per household, said the Ewing, N.J.-based credit union. Loyal high-use households with a deeper relationship with the credit union saved an average $1,122 per household. The numbers are based on statistics from the Credit Union National Association comparing the $332 million asset CUNJ's rates and fees with New Jersey Bank rates and fees related to household balances at the credit union.  The largest savings--$1.79 million--was in home equity/second mortgage loans, with $1.18 million saved in auto loans. "It's in our brand promise to our members, 'We will give you a good deal,'" said President/CEO Andrew L. Jaeger. "Quantifying how CUNJ gives its members a good deal just merely shows that CUNJ stays true to its promise," he added ...
  • ANDOVER, Mass. (6/19/13)--EasCorp President/CEO Jane Melchionda, founder of Credit Unions Kids at Heart, was honored last month with the Community Service Award at The Professional Center for Child Development's (PCCD) Annual Swing into Spring Gala. She received the award for her dedication to helping children and their families, and for Credit Unions Kids at Heart's encouragement of, participation in and financial support of PCCD. Credit Unions Kids at Heart is a group of credit unions that raise funds collectively for programs and services to children receiving treatment at Boston Children's Hospital and their families, as well as other organizations benefitting children ...
  • BOSTON (6/19/13)--
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    Credit Unions Kids At Heart and the Joe Andruzzi Foundation presented a check for $100,000 to Dr. Mark Kieran, director of Pediatric Medical Neuro-Oncology at Boston Children's Hospital to support pediatric brain cancer research. The funds were raised at the foundation's annual New England Celebrities Tackle Cancer Gala, sponsored by Credit Unions Kids at Heart for the fifth year. Andruzzi, an offensive tackle with the New England Patriots from 2000 to 2004, and his wife Jennifer launched the CJ Buckley Brain Cancer Research Fund at the hospital in honor of a patient there. They established the foundation in 2008, after Andruzzi was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Burkitt's lymphoma. Pictured are, from left: Jane Melchionda, CEO of EasCorp and founder of Credit Unions Kids at Heart and foundation board chairman; Sandra L. Fenwick, president and chief operating officer of Boston Children's Hospital; Jennifer and Joe Andruzzi; Dr. Lucy Buckley, pediatric cardiologist at the hospital and foundation board member; Carter Buckley, president of the CJ Buckley Sailing Scholarship Foundation and Andruzzi Foundation board member; and Dr. Kieran. (Photo provided by Credit Unions Kids at Heart) ...
  • ORLANDO, Fla. (6/19/13)--
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    America's Christian CU, a $257 million asset credit union based in Glendora, Calif., was presented the Friend of Adoption Award at the National Council for Adoption Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla., in recognition of its dedication and commitment to children and families. ACCU has helped make more than 800 adoptions possible through its financial assistance. Pictured are Mendell L. Thompson, president/CEO of ACCU, and Chuck Johnson, president/CEO of the council. The award goes to "those who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of birthparents, adoptive families and hundreds of thousands of children who are waiting to be adopted," Johnson said. (Photo provided by America's Christian CU) ...
  • BALTIMORE, Md. (6/19/13)--Post Office Credit Union of Maryland, based in Baltimore, has named Carol Bradley as president/CEO, the $34 million asset credit union announced Tuesday. Bradley has been with the credit union since October 2007 and served as both controller and Bank Security Act Officer in the past. She has more than 30 years' experience in accounting and she has experience in both the insurance and the financial industries. She also has been a business owner. Chartered in 1929, the credit union is the oldest credit union in Maryland ...

Mobile Payments Growth, Deposit Automation Head ATM Innovations

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (6/19/13)--Mobile/contactless payments was identified as the area with the most expected future growth by respondents to the 2013 global ATM Innovation Industry Survey.

About 55% of respondents cited mobile payments as the top area of growth in the ATM Industry Association survey.

"There seems to be no indication of a lack of satisfaction with basic ATM operation and function," the white paper accompanying the survey said. "However, there is definitely an awareness of the need to modernize the connection to mobile devices."

Bill payments, ATM advertising, person-to-person payments, and prepaid cards were all selected by more than 25% of the respondents as other areas of future growth.

Deposit automation was ranked as the top non-core function by respondents, with about 48% of respondents saying it was the No. 1 innovation. Bill payments came in a distant second with 15% listing it as the top innovation.

More than 50% of respondents said that rules and mandates by the primary global card brands are the biggest obstacle to innovation in the ATM industry. "This consensus may continue to rise in the U.S., given current debates about Europay, Mastercard, VISA liability shift and routing choice issues in that country," the white paper said.

Respondents say the area most in need of improvement/modernization is security surrounding the ATM, with 43% selecting that area.

CU Magazine Seeks CU Rock Stars Nominations

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MADISON, Wis. (6/19/13)--Credit Union Magazine is seeking credit union rock stars: Unique individuals who demonstrate outstanding innovation in their areas of expertise--and by doing so make the credit union movement a better, more interesting place.

The Credit Union National Association wants to recognize and celebrate the movement's rock stars in a special issue of Credit Union Magazine.

Among the questions to consider in nominating credit union rock stars:

  • How has this person raised the bar on creativity, strategy and execution?
  • What makes this rock star unique?
  • What are the most admirable qualities about this rock star?
To nominate a credit union rock star, use the link.

Research Details FIs' Efforts To Improve AML Detection

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BOSTON (6/19/13)--Financial institutions (FIs), including credit unions, are responding to intensifying pressure to identify money laundering by improving their anti-money laundering (AML) detection efforts, according to Aite Group and Early Warning  joint research released Tuesday.

"There is a strong need for more dynamic and real-time data-sharing capabilities both within and among financial institutions," said Julie Conroy, research director in retail banking at Aite Group.

"[Financial institutions] should use improvements in technology to eliminate the clunky and often bureaucratic processes that characterize the sharing of data, and become more dynamic and proactive in their AML detection capabilities. Some early movers in the U.S. market are doing this," she said.

At Early Warning's request, Aite Group interviewed eight financial crime executives from the top 30 U.S. depository financial institutions from May 2012 to June 2012, and 11 financial crime executives from eight of the top 30 U.S. depository financial institutions by asset size between March and April.

Most FIs report that they feel regulatory pressure to focus on AML. At the same time, they face challenges to meet revenue growth goals that impact all cost centers, including compliance. In light of that, FIs report that they are continually examining their AML efforts and seeking creative options to improve both their efficiency and effectiveness.

The number of AML alerts worked by financial institutions went from about 5.76 million in 2009 to an estimated 6.89 million last year.  By 2016, that number is expected to rise to about 10.36 million, Aite Group said.

Technology is seen as key to those efforts across the financial enterprises surveyed, because it enables not only a holistic view into customer activity, but also facilitates collaboration between fraud and AML groups, Aite's report said. That in turn creates opportunities for efficiency while also improving detection and compliance.

"This study demonstrates that with the rapid rise and sophistication in criminal activity, it is more critical than ever that financial institutions fully leverage the benefits of advanced analytics, cross-institution collaboration and information sharing," says Paul Finch, CEO of Early Warning.

Rating Website Grades CUs On Consumer Desirability

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (6/19/13)--A new website that will grade credit unions for consumer desirability with a 15-point matrix was introduced at the 2013 Conference of the Marketing Association of Credit Unions in Las Vegas.

MoveCU.com, which was developed and is owned by Orien Investments LLC  of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, Calif., debuted at the convention with the message, "you don't have to be bigger to be considered better."

The company, which also owns CU-Shopper, the search engine that powers MoveCU, said  the Top Five highest rated credit unions in MoveCU's first database compilation average just $31 million in assets and have an average of less than 1,900 members each.

The site helps consumers find the credit union best for them, said Orien. By entering a ZIP code or city name, potential members will see a list of credit unions, with a five-point start system to indicate overall desirability and a map of their branches in that area. Users clicking on specific credit unions are shown more detailed information about the credit union.

The search engine uses National Credit Union Administration 5300 Call Report data to analyze every credit union in the U.S. Unlike financial rating agencies, CU-Shopper uses a 15-point matrix concentrating on price, quality and convenience factors.

Serving The Underserved Topic Of CU Magazine Special Report

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MADISON, Wis. (6/19/13)--How credit unions are reaching out to serve the underserved is the focus of a new Web Exclusives special report from Credit Union Magazine, released Monday.

The report features six articles, including coverage of sessions at the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions' 2013 Annual Conference in Baltimore and at the Center for Financial Services Innovation's Eighth Annual Underbanked Financial Services Forum in Miami, Fla.

The articles include:

  • "Serving Low-Income Populations Requires Innovation."  Community development innovator William Bynum said low-income communities need credit unions to be creative.
  • "Reach the Underserved." Tips for credit unions from Jonathan Mintz, New York City commissioner for consumer affairs.
  • "How to Build Community Partners." A panel's advice: "The only ones that work are those where everybody gets value."
  • "Why Financial Empowerment Matters." Consumer financial education amplifies the impact of other social programs.
  • "Prepare for the 'Tidal Shift' Shaping Financial Services." Mobile banking and hybrid cards are among the changes in services to the unbanked.
  • Scenes from the Federation's 2013 Annual Conference. Speakers urge credit unions: Don't wait for immigration reform to reach out to immigrant community.
Use the links for more information.

Marketing/BD Council Paper Dispels Myths On Marketing

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MADISON, Wis. (6/19/13)--A new white paper from the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council dispels 10 of the most common misunderstandings about the ever-changing role of credit union marketing.

A new credit union marketer is emerging--one who understands how data can drive decisions and one who measures, shows and shares results for marketing initiatives, says the paper, "Marketing is Easy and Other Myths: Strategies to Demystify 10 Misunderstandings That Plague Credit Union Marketing Professionals."

This marketer knows how to collaborate with other credit unions, while maintaining a unique brand identity. The marketer builds internal bridges, manages risk, and is sought after as a potential CEO, the paper said. For the 21st century marketer to flourish, many myths that affect the profession must be put to rest, it added.

The myths are:

  1.  Marketing is easy.
  2.  Marketing is an expense.
  3.  Advertising and marketing are the same.
  4.  Marketing creates brands.
  5.  Other credit unions are the credit union's greatest competition.
  6.  Marketing on rate is the only way to see success.
  7.  Great marketing has to be expensive.
  8.  The chief financial officer is the arch-enemy of marketing.
  9.  Marketing and business development are the same.
  10.  Marketing is not the pathway to a credit union CEO position.
The paper dispels 10 of the most common misunderstandings by asking:

  • How do marketers show overall value to the credit union?
  • In what ways can credit unions work together to gain market share?
  • How can marketers position their messages to make better connections with consumers?
  • What skills are important to create better business development and marketing programs?
  • How can marketers work better with chief financial officers?
Today's marketer is expected to deliver measurable results, analyze copious amounts of data, become experts on new media, promote relevant content to shifting demographics, and create highly differentiated brands in a sea of new and old competitors, said the paper. The marketer occupies a sophisticated position that requires a careful balance of science and art to manage real-time data and construct messages that turn the heads of consumers, it added.

To access the paper online, use the link.

CU System Briefs (06/18/2013)

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  • AMARILLO, Texas (6/18/13)--A former loan officer at Pampa Teachers FCU, Pampa, Texas, was sentenced June 13 to 36 months in federal prison for embezzling $422,973 from the credit union.  Erin Dawn Trevathan, 26, of Amarillo, Texas., also was ordered to pay $442,297 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson, according to a Department of Justice press release. Trevathan pleaded guilty in April to one count of fraud, said the U.S. Attorney's  office for the Northern District of Texas.  Trevathan was the sole loan officer at the branch from July 2008 to December 2010. An audit discovered irregularities. She allegedly admitted making false entries and stealing cash from the credit union's main account for personal use ...
  • DENVER (6/18/13)--Yolanda Marie Gonzalez, 42, of Wheat Ridge, Colo., was sentenced Friday to two years in a jail work-release program for stealing nearly $80,000 from Green Mountain Westerra CU in Lakewood, Colo. (The Denver Post June 14). Gonzalez is the former manager of the branch. The money was stolen while she worked there from August 2011 to February 2012, said the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office. She allegedly moved the stolen cash into family members' accounts, then altered the books to disguise the theft. She also was sentenced to seven years of intensive supervision probation after the jail sentence ...
  • ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (6/18/13)--
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    Credit unions and banks in St. Joseph, Mich., collaborated on hosting an informal gathering with U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to discuss legislation and other issues impacting credit unions and other financial institutions in Michigan's Congressional District 6. The meeting was co-hosted by United FCU President/CEO Gary Easterling and Edgewater Bank President/CEO Rick Dyer to bring together competing institutions with common issues. Many issues, such as the Dodd-Frank Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, have implications that touch all financial institutions, they said. Upton discussed these and other issues including the ability to qualify for mortgages, the cost of growth for companies, the 2014 Senate race and tax reform. Credit unions represented included United FCU, St. Joseph; Consumers CU, Kalamazoo; Country Heritage CU, Buchanan; Dowagiac (Mich.) Area FCU;  Greater Niles Community FCU, Niles; and Honor CU, St. Joseph.  Pictured are, from left: Easterling, Upton and Dyer. (Photo provided by United FCU) ...
  • ALEXANDRIA, Va. (6/18/13)--National Credit Union Administration Board Member Michael E. Fryzel praised the scholarship and student outreach program of the Polish & Slavic FCU, Mt. Prospect, Ill., Saturday at the credit union's 2013 Scholarship Ceremony. "The credit union's commitment to supporting the education of tomorrow's leaders is commendable and to be applauded," Fryzel said. "When the credit union provides scholarships to these students, it's a clear example of the founding philosophy of the credit union movement--people helping people."  Thirty-seven credit union members received scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000. The celebration was part of the credit union's program that awarded 269 winners in Illinois, New York, and New Jersey. The program demonstrated the credit union's strong roots in the Chicagoland community and its role as a strong force in the financial industry, Fryzel said ...

Judge Whose FOM Ruling Was Upheld By Supreme Court Dies

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WASHINGTON (6/18/13)--A U.S. District Court judge--whose ruling that federal credit unions may not take on new members who don't share a common bond was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1996--has died. The ruling led to the passage of the National Credit Union Membership Access Act.

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson died from complications of cancer at the age of 76, according to The New York Times (June 15).

In 1996, Jackson ordered the National Credit Union Administration to rescind 31 credit union expansions based on multiple groups. At issue was the Federal Credit Union Act's limitation of membership to "groups having common bonds of occupation or association or to groups within a well-defined neighborhood, community or rural district."

NCUA had expanded that definition in 1982 to allow small businesses, which were too small to form their own credit unions, to join existing ones.

The outspoken Jackson ordered that credit unions could not expand beyond their core membership, and said NCUA had loosened its rules to expand the charters to circumvent his injunction. He called NCUA a "rogue" agency (L.A. Times Dec. 5, 1996, and Christian Science Monitor Oct. 31, 1996).

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld his ruling, but Congress overturned the Supreme Court decision by enacting HR 1151, the National Credit Union Membership Access Act in 1998.

Jackson was most noted for presiding over high-profile cases including the Microsoft antitrust case, in which he ruled in 1999 that Microsoft should be split in half because it was a monopoly and had coerced the computer market into endorsing its Internet Explorer browser (News Now July 5, 2005). He also presided over the drug possession trial of former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr. in 1990.

65,000 In Northwest Benefitted From CUs' Financial Education

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (6/18/13)--Financial education presentations made by Northwest credit union professionals last year benefitted more than 65,000 people, according to the Northwest Credit Union Association.

"If a credit union hosts a Financial Reality Fair in the community, it is a real value for the students and we've found very fulfilling for the credit union staff, too," said Kasey Rockwell, NWCUA director of outreach programs (Anthem Recap June 11). Rockwell recently organized Reality Fairs during state capitol advocacy days in Olympia, Wash., and Salem, Ore. "It is probably the most effective one-day event you could sponsor that students would remember and benefit from for the rest of their lives."

Despite those numbers, 48 out of 50 credit unions responding to a regional survey last year noted barriers such as availability of presentation materials, difficulty building relationships with schools and time constraints.

The NWCUA's Credit Union Financial Education Committee is providing solutions to those barriers by hosting two Best Practice Roundtable events this summer. The roundtables are funded by a grant from the Northwest Credit Union Foundation.

The agenda for the first workshop includes a mock "Financial Reality Fair" during which attendees will learn how to organize an interactive budgeting exercise. Students select a career, research the starting salary and come prepared to navigate a maze of necessary and luxury purchases such as food, transportation, clothing and entertainment. They must leave with balanced budgets.

Credit union educators Teresa Shivley from Gesa CU in Richland, Wash., and Danette LaChapelle from iQ CU in Vancouver, Wash., will share strategies for in-school credit union branches.

Also on the agenda is Linda Jekel, director of credit unions for the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions. Jekel helps make the Financial Education Public Private Partnership available to credit union educators and classrooms. Her topic is "Helping Teachers with Financial Education."

Terry Belcoe, CEO of North Coast CU, Bellingham, Wash., will share the vision of "One Community, One Voice," a program pooling resources of financial institutions and community organizations in Bellingham, to help under-banked consumers build assets.

In a related topic, a panel of credit union educators will share models credit unions can use to reach adults through community events.

Oregon CU Act Improvement Bill Sent To Governor

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SALEM, Ore. (6/18/13)--A bill to update the Oregon Credit Union Act passed in the state House Wednesday. The Northwest Credit Union Association backed the bill.

The bill passed with 59 "yes" votes and one "excused" vote (Anthem Recap June 13).

Recommendations by NWCUA's Oregon State Model Act Subcommittee resulted in the legislation. The subcommittee is chaired by Scott Burgess, president/CEO of the $569 million asset Rivermark Community CU, Beaverton, Ore.

The bill will:

  • Broaden Oregon's parity authority by allowing the state's credit unions to invoke parity with out-of-state credit unions and streamline the process for invoking parity with federally chartered credit unions;
  • Clarify the role of the supervisory committee in governance-related matters;
  • Extend additional liability protection to credit union directors and officers;
  • Remove wording in the state law that requires the board to "perform other duties as the members of the credit union from time to time direct and perform or authorize any action not inconsistent with this chapter and not specifically reserved by the bylaws for the members";
  • Remove duplicative and unnecessary language in Oregon law that permits a credit union to employ a chief operating officer/president and a security officer; and
  • Make the declaring of dividends a power that can be delegated under Oregon law.

Board Officers, Directors Of CUANY Elected

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/18/13)--The Credit Union Association of New York announced its new board of directors and officers during its annual meeting.

Board officers include:

  • Chair--Laurie Baker, senior vice president/chief operating officer, The Summit FCU, Rochester;
  • Vice chair--Mark Pfisterer, president/CEO, AmeriCU CU, Rome;
  • Treasurer--Marie Betti, CEO, Western New York FCU, West Seneca; and
  • Secretary--Ann Hynes, president/CEO, St. Pius X Church FCU, Rochester.
Click to view larger image The Credit Union Association of New York board includes, bottom row, from left: Chair Laurie Baker, senior vice president/chief operating officer, The Summit FCU; Treasurer Marie Betti, CEO, Western New York FCU; Shirley Jenkins, board member, Municipal CU; Louis Jimenez, CEO/treasurer, Montauk CU; Robyn Young, president/CEO, Great Erie FCU; and vice chair Mark Pfisterer, president/CEO, AmeriCU CU. Back row, from left: Barbara Dillon, CEO, SUNY Geneseo FCU; Alfred Frosolone, president/CEO Niagara's Choice FCU; Michael Tobler, president/CEO, Albany Firemen's FCU; John C. Gibardi, president/CEO, Entertainment Industries FCU; and Secretary Ann Hynes, president/CEO, St. Pius X Church FCU. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of New York)
Baker served as vice chair for the past two years and will succeed outgoing chairman Lou Jimenez, CEO/treasurer of Montauk CU, New York. Jimenez will continue to serve as a board member.

Re-elected to serve new three-year terms on the association board were:

  • Michael Tobler, president/CEO, Albany (N.Y.) Firemen's FCU, representing the asset category of up to $25 million;
  • Alfred Frosolone, president/CEO Niagara's Choice FCU, Niagara Falls,  $25 million to $100 million;
  • Hynes, $25 million to $100 million; and
  • Baker, more than $100 million.
Rounding out the 11-member board are:

  • Barbara Dillon, CEO, SUNY Geneseo (N.Y.) FCU;
  • John C. Gibardi, president/CEO, Entertainment Industries FCU, New York;
  • Shirley Jenkins, board member, Municipal CU, New York;
  • Jimenez; and
  • Robyn Young, president/CEO, Great Erie FCU, Orchard Park.

N.C. League Resolution Supports Immigration Reform

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RALEIGH, N.C. (6/18/13)--North Carolina credit unions approved a resolution last week calling for the U.S. Congress to join with President Barack Obama to pass a comprehensive immigration reform law. The resolution was made at the North Carolina Credit Union League's 78th Annual Meeting.

Drafted and submitted by Self-Help CU in Durham, N.C., the resolution was unanimously approved during the league's business meeting June 11 in Pinehurst, N.C.

It details the impact immigrants have on the state's economy, including $22.9 billion in consumer purchasing power, and the more than $10 billion in receipts generated by and 63,000 jobs provided at North Carolina immigrant-owned businesses. The resolution also points out that North Carolina credit unions have been a leading service provider to immigrant populations through the years.          

Immigration reform has surfaced as a legislative priority in Washington, D.C., in the aftermath of the 2012 election, the league said. The credit union resolution outlines a broad set of values to be included in any legislation that passes, including border security and a process for workers already in the U.S. to obtain earned legal status.

The credit unions also approved language calling upon immigration reform that respects national economic and security interests and fosters legal migration.

The delegates also called on credit unions and credit union organizations nationwide to voice their support for immigration reform.

CUNA ERM Certification Institute Dates Announced

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MADISON, Wis. (6/18/13)--Registration is now available for the CUNA Enterprise Risk Management Certification Institute, taking place Dec. 9-12 in Las Vegas.

The institute is in collaboration with The Rochdale Group Inc., said the Credit Union National Association.

"We are hearing from credit unions that adoption of strategic risk management models is returning significant benefit--organizationally and financially," said Todd Spiczenski, senior vice president, CUNA Center for Professional Development. "Following our sold-out conferences this year, this will be our fourth ERM event with The Rochdale Group."

Credit union executives attending will receive extensive risk management knowledge including tools to incorporate risk management into the culture of their credit unions. They will leave the institute with an understanding of their own risk appetite, risk beyond investments, and how risk management can drive decision making at their credit union.

At the last institute in May, 91 individuals received the Credit Union Enterprise Risk Management Expert (CUERME) certifications. Attendees at the December institute can earn their CUERME designations and be officially certified as credit union ERM experts.

For more information, use the link.

Social Media And CU Help Woman Get Lost $1,000 Back

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ST. LOUIS (6/17/13)--A Facebook message sent to Vantage CU in Bridgeton, Mo., by a Good Samaritan helped a member of the credit union retrieve a lost $1,000 in cash.

A tech-savvy person Tuesday night found an envelope full of cash labeled with the credit unions' logo, left at a New York City restaurant, so he sent the $702 million asset Vantage a Facebook message, saying he found the envelope and wanted to return it to the rightful owner (KTVI June 12).

Although the task of finding the owner appeared daunting, the credit union decided to post a message to its Facebook page and use social media the way the man who found the envelope did, Jenn Cloud, Vantage social media specialist, told KTVI.

Inspired by the altruistic gesture of the Good Samaritan, the credit union's members shared and retweeted the Facebook post to help, the station said.

When Jennie Guenzler saw her cash envelope was gone, she backtracked to the restaurant when she realized she had left it at dinner the previous night. Guenzler then received a phone call from Cloud at Vantage who had contacted the New York restaurant. Cloud put Guenzler in contact with the man who had found her cash.

Guenzler gave the man a portion of the cash as a reward for his honesty, KTVI said.

CU System Briefs (06/17/2013)

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (6/17/13)--A women has been indicted for embezzling more than $60,000 while she was employed by University of Southern Mississippi FCU, Hattiesburg, Miss., as a teller (Hattiesburg American June 14). Helen A. Fitzgerald, 55, was initially arrested on an embezzlement charge Dec. 12 by Hattiesburg Police Department officers. An indictment handed down May 14 accuses her of racking up a total of $60,300 in stolen funds between Oct. 31, 2011 and July 20, 2012 ...

Corporate Central CU Announces Board At Annual Meeting

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MUSKEGO, Wis. (6/17/13)--Corporate Central CU in Muskego, Wis., held its annual meeting Thursday in Waukesha, Wis., and announced its board of directors.

With more than 70 members in attendance, Chairman Greg Hilbert and President/CEO Robert W. Fouch reported that 2012 was another exceptional year for Corporate Central. The Corporate was able to continue adding to retained earnings and building on the strength of a strong capital position that exceeds all regulatory requirements under the National Credit Union Administration  corporate credit union regulations.

"Your commitment and support have positioned us well for the future," Fouch told meeting attendees. "This means that we are able to focus our resources on serving you, developing new services, improving existing services, and welcoming new members as we continue to grow."

At the organization meeting held immediately after the annual meeting, the four board members comprising the Executive Committee were determined. They are:

  • Chairman, Greg Hilbert--Fox Communities CU, Appleton, Wis.;
  • Vice Chairman, Kim Sponem--Summit CU, Madison, Wis.;
  • Secretary, Ronald Vogel--Fort Community CU, Fort Atkinson, Wis.; and
  • Treasurer, James Schrimpf-- Brewery CU, Milwaukee.
During the business portion of the meeting, election results stated the time period in which nominations could be accepted had expired, and no additional candidates had been placed in nomination; therefore, Eric Chrisinger, Sponem and Tom Young were declared directors of Corporate Central CU.

Prior to the annual meeting, members also participated in two education sessions. Anthony Gibbs, regional director from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) presented, "CFPB: Programs, Processes, and Priorities," which provided members with an overview of what regulations are coming into effect and how they will affect financial institutions--specifically credit unions.

Brian Knight, senior vice president and general counsel from the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors, presented, "The Changing Regulatory Landscape: A National Perspective and Mid-Year Assessment," which provided attendees with a review of the first six months of regulatory activity, focusing on rule changes, guidance issues and examination issues from both a national perspective and across the states.

Gladwell To Give First Presentation Of New Book at ACUC

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MADISON, Wis. (6/17/13)--Malcolm Gladwell, a keynoter at the Credit Union National Association's 2013 America's Credit Union Conference (ACUC), will do a first-time presentation on his new book at ACUC, the Credit Union National Association announced. ACUC will be held June 30-July 4 at the Hilton New York in New York City.

The New Yorker staff writer and author of four New York Times bestsellers, Gladwell is known for turning conventional wisdom on its head as he does in his soon-to-be-released book, "David vs. Goliath." 

Gladwell was interviewed for a feature article in Credit Union Magazine by Paul Gentile, executive vice president, strategic communications and engagement, at CUNA, which presents the conference.

Credit unions are David to the banks' Goliath, and credit unions should look to use their smaller size to their advantage in a financial services arena that is as unsettled as it ever has been, said author and reporter Gladwell.

"I am interested in the idea that a lot of our intuition about what is an advantage and what a disadvantage is are wrong--that we confuse those two things," Gladwell said. "We can make a list of things that help us or hurt us. I think the wrong things are on the list." 

Future success is not ensured by being more powerful in the marketplace, because bigger is not always better, Gladwell explained.

"True innovation comes from the marginal people who push innovation into the center," he concluded.

In 2005, he was announced as one of Time's 100 most influential people. He is ranked No. 10 on The Thinkers 50 2011, and in 2007 he received the American Sociological Association's first Award for Excellence in the Reporting of Social Issues.

Filene Paper Links Member Satisfaction, Share of Deposits

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MADISON (6/17/13)--A new paper from the Filene Research Institute addresses how credit unions can translate high member satisfaction scores into improved share of deposits.

Credit unions spend a great deal of time and money trying to improve member loyalty by measuring and managing metrics like satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores (NPSs), according to the paper, "Linking Member Satisfaction to Share of Deposits: Applying the Wallet Allocation Rule in CUs." As a result, credit unions have far higher satisfaction and Net Promoter levels than their retail banking competitors.

However, despite having consistently higher satisfaction and Net Promoter levels, credit unions hold a small percentage of total deposits relative to their retail banking competitors. Part of the reason for this is that metrics like satisfaction and Net Promoter correlate poorly with the share of deposits that members allocate among the financial institutions they use. This fact runs counter to what most credit union managers believe.

The paper introduces the Wallet Allocation Rule, which takes into account the credit union's rank among all the financial institutions the member uses. For example, if a credit union is one of only two financial institutions a member uses for a given purpose, the rule shows that the difference between being the first choice and being the second can have a major financial impact. In such a situation, even being tied has grave consequences: Half of each dollar the credit unions could be collecting from the member is going to a competitor.

To read the paper, use the link.

CUNA Council Whitepaper Examines Collateral Risk Management

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MADISON, Wis. (6/17/13)--A new white paper from the CUNA Lending Council examines how collateral risk management can be used in an environment in which few financial institutions have been immune to recent dramatic economic effects on loan portfolios and the collateral tied to them.

If a loan is secured by collateral--a home, a car or other personal assets--collateral risk is the chance of loss arising from errors in the nature, quantity, pricing or characteristics of that collateral.

This paper, "Collateral Risk: Insights on Loan Portfolio Monitoring and Management," focuses on the causes of collateral risk exposure, how macro- and microeconomic factors affect collateral risk, risks specific to certain loan types, proactively managing collateral risk, implementing systems, policies, and procedures, National Credit Union Administration requirements, data gathering, and bringing the conversation full circle with a discussion about member outreach.               

Contributing factors to collateral risk are more numerous than the types of collateral, the economic times, and the societal factors that change over time, the paper said. While collateral-risk exposure is most commonly associated with real estate, it noted, for any type of secured loan, managing collateral risk must occur at both the loan and portfolio levels.

The four main risk-collateral "channels" the report describes are:

  • Lender selection--Lenders more often require observably riskier borrowers to pledge collateral to reduce after-the-fact frictions.
  • Borrower selection--"Unobservably safer" borrowers tend to pledge collateral more often to signal their underlying quality.
  • Risk shifting--Borrowers are encouraged to shift into safer investment projects when pledging collateral.
  • Loss mitigation--Collateral reduces losses in the event of borrower default, as the lender is able to recover value from the pledged assets.
For all four, the report noted, the channel should be stronger when the observable economic characteristics of collateral are more desirable. For example, "borrower selection" should be stronger when the collateral is more desirable, because the "unobservably safest borrowers" are expected to choose the lowest loan rates and to pledge the most desired types of collateral.

North Carolina League Honors Seven

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RALEIGH, N.C. (6/17/13)--The North Carolina Credit Union League honored Robert S. (Bobby) Hall, who recently retired from State Employee's CU (SECU), Raleigh, N.C., and six other individuals at its annual meeting last week.

Hall received the Larry Johnson Order of Merit Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award, which is the state's highest individual credit union honor, recognizes individuals who have dedicated their careers to promoting the credit union philosophy, and whose leadership to North Carolina credit unions and related organizations has been or was sustained throughout their careers.

Hall served in the credit union movement for more than 43 years--all at SECU.

Four individuals were honored with the Mark of Excellence award, which recognizes sustained leadership among North Carolina credit union people. Eligibility is limited to past winners of the Ronald J. Hutchins Credit Union Person of the Year Award who have at least 25 years of service in the credit union industry.

This year's honorees included:

  • David Campbell, board member, Telco Community CU; Tarboro;
  • Leslie Colin (L.C.) Kelly, board member, Charlotte (N.C.) Fire Department CU;
  • Jack Thornton, board member, Summit CU, Greensboro; and
  • Sam Whitehurst, president/CEO, Summit CU.
David Elliott, the president/CEO of Fort Bragg FCU, Fayetteville, won the Ronald J. Hutchins Award as the outstanding Credit Union Person of the Year. The Ronald J. Hutchins Award is given each year to a credit union professional and volunteer to recognize their outstanding accomplishments, time and effort given in support and promotion of the credit union ideal of people helping people.

Elliott's 35-year credit union career began as a branch manager at Members CU in Winston-Salem. He joined Fort Bragg FCU in 1986 as director of branch operations, and was named CEO of the $409 million asset credit union in 1996.

Wayne Weddington, the chairman of the Internal Revenue Employees' FCU, Greensboro, won the Ronald J. Hutchins Award as the outstanding Credit Union Volunteer Person of the Year.

Weddington, the chairman of Internal Revenue Employees FCU, joined the board of the credit union in 1979, he has served in many positions on the board and as an executive.

Belvoir FCU Annual Web Hunt Offers High-Tech Prizes

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WOODBRIDGE, Va. (6/17/13)--Belvoir FCU's Web Hunt game, now in its fourth year, continues to grow. The Web Hunt increased overall visits to the credit union's website to  189,951 during the game from 176,421 last year, a 7% improvement, and page views exceeded the projected 5% increase.

The credit union awarded seven members with high-tech prizes for participating in its the annual interactive game, which asked visitors of the credit union's website to search and collect eight hidden iPads.

When all iPads had been found, the user unscrambled the letters shown to them and inserted the phrase onto Belvoir Federal's Web Hunt application on Facebook.

The credit union set a goal of increasing its Facebook fans by 81 people. At the completion of the Web Hunt, Belvoir Federal achieved 120% of its projected goal. The fans accumulated during electronic pushes, such as the Web hunt, provide Belvoir FCU with the ability to reach members and potential members via on-demand channels such as Facebook.

Belvoir FCU awarded seven prizes for the 2013 Web hunt, ranging from a Windows 8 Touchscreen Laptop, an Amazon Kindle Fire, and five $25 Best Buy gift cards.

Ohio League Launches Social Media Campaign To Connect Youth With CUs

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (6/17/13)--The Ohio Credit Union League has begun a new social media initiative aimed at bringing credit-union community values to the attention of young consumers.

"There is a disconnect between the next generation of consumers and credit unions," said league Director of Media and Public Relations, Patrick Harris. "Gen-Y and Millenials are itching to get involved, make a difference in their communities, and belong to something. We want to show them there is a movement ready to embrace them."

Your Best Financial Friend, or "Your BFF," looks to connect the community-involvement and sense-of-belonging desires of 18-30 year-old consumers with the philosophical mission of credit unions. The campaign will feature the tagline, "Your BFF would never steer you wrong, and neither should your financial institution."

The Your BFF team strives to create awareness about the social impact of credit unions through three social channels:

  • Facebook: www.Facebook.com/YourBestFinancialFriend will serve as the Your BFF command center, with links to videos of Ohio credit unions serving their communities through charitable events, financial education, reality fairs and seminars. The Facebook page will also share insight into smart financial decisions tailored to a younger audience.   
  • Twitter: @YourBFFs is the real-time hub of activity as the Your BFF team travels statewide, tweeting live updates at credit union events, and upcoming events and important news and updates from the Facebook page.
  • Contests and Events: Your BFF aims to not only push information out to its target audience, but to create interaction. In 2013, Your BFF will challenge its followers to generate a logo and suggest ideas for the "BFF Gift," a one-day statewide charitable event. Also, Your BFF will showcase credit unions in action during a reality-day event at the Ohio Statehouse.
The league is looking to its member credit unions to keep them up to date on events throughout the state. As events occur, the Your BFF team will capture examples of philosophy in action.

"Your BFF is social media in its purest and simplest form," said Stewart. "We are not big budget, but we are full of passion. It is our intention to make sure younger Ohioans see the difference credit unions make in the lives of their members and communities, and help them choose credit unions as their financial partner."

By year-end, Your BFF hopes to garner 1,000 "likes" on the campaign's Facebook page and 500 followers on Twitter.

CUAD Annual Conference Draws Record Attendance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CU System Brief(1)

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

CU Solutions Group Highlighted at Clinton Global Initiative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FDIC Files Brief Supporting NCUA Securities Lawsuits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click to view larger image Click for larger view

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACUC Announces Winner In Guess The Speaker Contest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ohio State-Chartered CUs To See Reduced Assessments

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

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

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

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

Mountain America CU Places Tech Champion In All Branches

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

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

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

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

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

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

FBI: Cybercriminals Using Photo-Sharing Programs

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WASHINGTON (6/13/13)--The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has seen an increase in cyber criminals who use online photo-sharing programs to perpetrate scams and harm victims' computers.

As an example, the bureau cited scammers who advertise vehicles online but will not provide photos in the advertisement. The ad promises to send photos on request, but often the photo is a single file sent as an e-mail attachment, and sometimes the victim receives a link to an online photo gallery.

The photos often contain malicious software that infects the victim's computer, directing the recipient to fake websites that look nearly identical to the real site where the original advertisement appeared. The cyber criminals run all aspects of these fake websites, including "tech support" or "live chat support," and any "recommended" escrow services. After the victim agrees to purchase the item and makes the payment, the criminals stop responding to correspondence. The victims never receive any merchandise.

The FBI urges consumers to protect themselves when shopping online. The agency offered a list of safety tips:

  • Users should be cautious if they lose an auction and the seller makes contact later, claiming the original bidder fell through.
  • Make sure websites are secure and authenticated before purchasing an item online. Use only well-known escrow services.
  • Research to determine if a car dealership is real and how long it has been in business.
  • Be wary if the price for the item is severely undervalued; if it is, the item is likely fraudulent.
  • Scan files before downloading them.
  • Keep computer software, including the operating system, updated with the latest patches.
  • Ensure anti-virus software and firewalls are current; they can help prevent malware infections.

CO-OP Miracle Match Applications Due Sept. 30

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (6/13/13)--Credit unions planning to sponsor Credit Unions for Kids fundraisers in 2013 have until Sept. 30 to apply for CO-OP Miracle Match grants, according to CO-OP Financial Services, administrator of the annual $1 million matching funds program.

CO-OP Financial Services makes the matching funds available on behalf of its 3,500 client credit unions, and all credit unions, chapters and leagues in the United States are eligible. In addition to the Sept. 30 deadline, credit unions must submit their applications prior to the date of their event. 

"This year marks our 15th year of participating in Credit Unions for Kids," said Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Services president/CEO. "The program is national in scope, but dollars raised go to supporting Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in the local service areas of the credit unions holding the events. This is an ideal way for credit unions to uplift the community of their members."

In 2012, more than $3 million was raised by credit unions participating in the CO-OP Miracle Match program and by CO-OP Financial Services through its matching grants. The total number of applications matched for the 2012 CO-OP Miracle Match program was 155, including 42 first-time-ever events. These events benefited 68 CMNH hospitals in 37 states.

CU4Kids is a nonprofit collaboration of credit unions, chapters, leagues, the Credit Union National Association and business partners nationwide engaged in fundraising activities to benefit 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Credit unions are the third-largest corporate sponsor of the hospitals, behind only Walmart and Costco.

Wegner Award Nominations Deadline is June 28

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MADISON, Wis. (6/13/13)--June 28 is the deadline to nominate individuals and organizations for the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards presented by the National Credit Union Foundation.

Winners will be honored at NCUF's annual awards dinner on Feb. 24 in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

"We encourage everyone in the credit union movement to nominate their best and brightest for what are widely considered the highest national honors in the credit union movement," said Josie Collins, NCUF director of donor relations and resource development. "The NCUF Awards and Recognition Committee added new criteria this year so credit union advocates who've made a significant impact locally can also be nominated."

The nominations are for these awards:

  • The Individual Achievement Award honors an unsung hero for their innovative concepts and/or accomplishments that are ongoing and current contributions to the credit union community for their work within the past three to five years. Accomplishments must have had a significant impact or a potential impact on the local or national or international credit union movement with measured results. Nominations must cite a specific subject of achievement such as financial literacy, service to the underserved, alternatives to predatory lending, and/or new products.
  • The Outstanding Organization/Program Award honors an organization, program or business for their innovative concepts or product and services that have had a significant impact on the local or national or international credit union movement with measured results.
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award honors an individual who has dedicated their life to promoting the credit union philosophy, created innovative concepts and provided leadership that has had a significant and lasting impact on the local or national or international credit union movement.
Nominations can come from individuals or organizations. To make a nomination:

  1. Complete the Wegner Awards nomination form on the NCUF website. Use the link.
  1. Gather at least five letters of recommendation citing examples of the nominee's achievements relevant to the award criteria.
  1. Send the nomination form and recommendation letters electronically to NCUF by June 28.
Questions about the Wegner Awards can be directed to Josie Collins at jcollins@ncuf.coop or (800) 356-9655, ext. 4374.

Shred Day Supports Oklahoma Tornado Victims

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OKLAHOMA CITY (6/13/13)--Tinker FCU (TFCU), Oklahoma City, Okla., hosted a special shred day on Saturday to assist victims of the tornado that struck Moore, Okla., May 20.

Tinker FCU employees helped Moore, Okla. residents shred materials damaged in a devastating May 20 tornado. (Photo provided by Tinker FCU)
"Our members had been asking us when our next shred day was going to be so they could safely dispose of damaged personal paperwork they were finding while sifting through the rubble left by the tornadoes," said Matthew Stratton, TFCU senior vice president of marketing. 

"We decided a special event in Moore would be helpful," Stratton added. "We have been urging those affected to properly dispose of any damaged documents they found during recovery and wanted to give them a way to do that easily."

Rite Way Shredding brought a truck to First Baptist Church in Moore, where TFCU employees assisted members and residents.

In addition to the unscheduled shred day for Moore residents, TFCU had already scheduled seven shred days throughout 2013.

Virginia CU Foundation Grant Helps Disabled Go To Camp

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (6/13/13)--The We Promise Foundation, the charitable arm of the Chartway FCU in Virginia Beach, Va., donated $20,800 to St. Mary's Home to send 16 children and young adults with severe disabilities to summer camp.

Click to view larger image Representatives from the We Promise Foundation, the charitable arm of Chartway FCU, visited the playground at St. Mary's Home to present a check for $20,800 to fully fund summer camp for residents of St. Mary's. From left, are:  John Blum, We Promise chairman; Rene Bollinger, Chartway corporate human resources officer; Beth O'Toole, Chartway's vice president of operations; Allison Bough, St. Mary's major gifts officer; Wayne Foshay, Chartway's chairman of the board; William C. Giermak, St. Mary's CEO; Cindy Casteen, We Promise secretary/treasurer; Dallas England, Chartway's board of directors; Brian Schools, Chartway's corporate strategy officer; Mary Helen Hilton, St Mary's director of annual giving; Payten, St. Mary's resident; Amelia, St. Mary's resident; Brandon, St. Mary's resident; and Zach, St. Mary's resident. (Photo provided by Chartway FCU)
"St. Mary's Home will be able to send 16 children and young adults to summer camp this year because of the generosity of the We Promise Foundation," said William C. Giermak, St. Mary's CEO. "Camp is always a big highlight for us."

The foundation is the sole sponsor of St. Mary's participation in Camp Horizon, a program The Up Center runs on the campus of Virginia Wesleyan College. Campers will spend eight weeks enjoying field trips, art sessions, sports activities, music lessons and outdoor games as they experience freedom and independence as a result of access to adaptive items and equipment. 

This is the third year that Chartway's foundation has sponsored summer camp for children and young adults of St. Mary's. The foundation also donated $20,800 to fully fund camp in 2012 and $10,000 to partially sponsor camp in 2011.

We Promise Foundation Chairman John Blum said the foundation is proud to be able to help St. Mary's with activities like summer camp.

"It's been great to have a relationship with St. Mary's, a neighbor," Blum said. "Our employees and supporters are extremely passionate about making a difference in our community so we are honored to provide St. Mary's residents with the chance to enjoy an enriching outdoor experience."

Since 1999, Chartway and the We Promise Foundation have raised more than $5.3 million to help more than 900 children through partnerships with several charitable children's groups.

CU System Briefs (06/13/13)

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  • FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (6/13/13)--The Northwest Credit Union Association will relocate its Washington offices at the end of June to a facility located adjacent to the Sea-Tac Airport. The new offices, located in the Sea-Tac Office Center, will allow members to more easily take day-trips to meetings with the association. The facility is located across the street from Sea-Tac Airport--a walkable distance for some travelers ...
  • RALEIGH, N.C. (6/13/13)--State Employees' Credit Union (SECU) personnel continue to support the March of Dimes March for Babies campaign, with 58 SECU teams raising more than $60,000 during this year's event. That support from members at the Raleigh, N.C.-based credit union resulted in a new record, with 307 participants joining in the annual three-mile march held in Durham. Credit Union branches and operations departments held fundraisers to aid lifesaving research and educational programs aimed at helping women nationwide have healthy babies. SECU teams statewide also participated in walks and fundraising events within their communities to add several thousand dollars to the 2013 March of Dimes SECU total ...
 

U.K. CU Exec Receives Royal Warrant

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LONDON (6/13/13)--Marlene Shiels, the chief executive of Capital Credit Union Ltd. in Edinburgh, Scotland, has received a Royal Warrant from England's Queen Elizabeth.

Shiels is a Certified Credit Union Development Educator. She completed the National Credit Union Foundation program in 2000.

Royal Warrants of appointment have been issued for centuries to tradespeople who supply goods or services to the United Kingdom monarchy.

Specifically, Shiels has been appointed credit union consultant to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

A year ago, News Now reported on the Duchess' visit at Capital CU, where she praised credit unions' work to increase financial inclusion (serve the unbanked) and money management skills in disadvantaged communities (News Now May 14, 2012).  And this past May, the Duchess made news when she became a member of London Mutual CU in Peckham, England (News Now, May 17, 2013).

CU System Briefs (06/12/2013)

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  • OCEAN CITY, Md. (6/12/13)--"The future of credit unions remains bright," National Credit Union Administration board member Michael Fryzel told attendees of the 2013 Annual Meeting and Convention of the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association. Fryzel in his remarks praised Maryland and D.C. credit unions for their strong member service. "Maryland and D.C. credit unions have seen the economic struggles of their members and the toll the housing market has had on them…As growing economic uncertainly continues to plague the region, I commend you for the strides you've taken to meet members' needs," he added. The regulator also addressed the corporate credit union situation, the economy at large, and pending and proposed rules in his remarks ...
  • ROCKVILLE, Md. (6/12/13)--Juli Anne Callis, president/CEO of NIH FCU, Rockville, Md., has announced her resignation. She will leave the $584 million asset credit union July 31. Callis cited family reasons for her departure. She plans to relocate to Southern California to be closer to her family, she told News Now. Callis came to NIH FCU in 2009 from KeyPoint CU, Santa Clara, Calif., where she was executive vice president and chief operating officer …

CU Assoc. Of New Mexico Gets New Board, Officers

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ALBUQURQUE, N.M. (6/12/13)--A new board of directors has been chosen for the Credit Union Association of New Mexico, and a new slate of officers was elected at CUANM's annual convention last week, under revised bylaws adopted this year.

Formerly, directors were elected from eight geographical regions statewide. The revised bylaws created three classes based on the number of members in a credit union. Each class will be represented by two directors, and there will be one at-large director. Class A credit unions have 25,000 or more members, Class B has 3,500 to 24,999, and Class C has 3,499 or fewer members.

New directors are:

Class A:

Harold Dixon, CEO, State Employees CU, Sante Fe; and

Ron Moorehead, Chief Financial Officer, First Financial CU, Albuquerque.

Class B:

Chris Fitzgerald, CEO, Rio Grande CU, Albuquerque; and

Ronnie Johnston, CEO, Artesia (N.M.) CU.

Class C:

Karen Griffo, CEO, Roswell (N.M.) Community FCU; and 

Matt Schmidt, CEO, Los Alamos (N.M.) Schools CU.

At Large:

Judy Carrasco, CEO, Financial Security CU, Carlsbad.

The officers elected under the revised bylaws are Chris Fitzgerald, chair, and Harold Dixon, vice chair. The secretary and treasurer positions are now combined and Ron Moorehead fills that position. They will serve a one-year term.

N.J. CUs Take Financial Reality Fairs to Finance Academy

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ELIZABETH, N.J. (6/12/13)--New Jersey credit unions Friday took the Financial Reality Fairs program to the Halsey Academy of Finance in Elizabeth, N.J., a branch of the Admiral William F. Halsey Jr. Leadership Academy that provides business leadership students with coursework, activities and real-world experiences.

The New Jersey Credit Union League noted that the Financial Reality Fair fit right into Halsey's business leadership curriculum (The Daily Exchange June 10).

Roughly 160 students of all of grade levels completed the fair, which was supported by about 20 volunteers and sponsored by Entertainment Industries FCU--based in Elizabeth, N.J. and New York City--during the course of the full school day.

Students tested their personal finance and budgeting skills, buying cars and furniture, renting apartments, and making a few extravagant purchases along the way. Each student then sat down with a financial counselor to review their experiences. Roughly 75% of the students were within their budgets at the end of the fair, reported the financial counselors.

The fair received coverage from NJToday.net, which featured a story on Friday that explained the program and the students' experiences. The story also highlights Entertainment Industries FCU President/CEO John Gibardi, who whose credit union sponsored the fair. Use the link.

This was the final Reality Fair of this school year. Plans are in the works for the 2013-2014 school year.

Gen Y Notices CU Effort To Turn Rewards Points Into Donations

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TAMPA, Fla. (6/12/13)--TECU CU, Wichita, Kan., offers a credit card with an option for charitable donations targeted to its Generation Y membership.

"We realized our Generation Y members are passionate about giving back to their communities, which aligns well with credit unions' purpose, and so the idea of The Care Card just made sense," said Kelly Martin, TECU CU assistant vice president of operations. "Our goals were to entice our current cardholders to use the card as well as capture the Generation Y audience and make The Care Card top of wallet for them."

Holders of the The Care Card can turn rewards points into charitable donations through Card Services for Credit Union's ScoreCard rewards program. Since offering The Care Card, TECU has more than doubled new credit card accounts year over year, and grown total outstanding balances by nearly 18%, creating increased interchange revenue for TECU.

After identifying the opportunity to turn users of its indirect lending program into direct credit union members, TECU's strategy involved lowering the credit card interest rate and appealing to the age group's interest in philanthropy by giving cardholders the option to redeem rewards points as charitable donations. ScoreCard offers the capability for members to purchase gift cards that can be donated as funds to any charity of their choice through the Charity Choice website.

Maine League Celebrates 75th Anniversary

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PORTLAND, Maine (6/12/13)--The Maine Credit Union League will mark and celebrate its 75th anniversary at its Annual Meeting and Convention Friday and Saturday in Portland, Maine.  More than 750 credit union representatives from across Maine are registered to attend.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) have prepared special videos congratulating the league on its 75th Anniversary.

Also as part of its 75th anniversary, the league has invited a number of past credit union leaders from across Maine to participate in a celebration billed as "a reflection of the past, as well as a strong focus on the future." Other plans include a special video highlighting the 75th anniversary and commemorative banners and displays. 

"We have a lot to celebrate as an organization and as a movement," said John Murphy, league president/CEO. "Our 75th anniversary provides an opportunity to celebrate our past and to look ahead as we begin our next 75 years. It should be a very special convention and meeting."

Other key speakers at the convention include two members of Maine's congressional delegation, U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Bill Cheney, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association, and Jim Morris, the inspiration for the movie, "The Rookie." Lee Wetherington, director of Strategic Insight for ProfitStars, will present an opening session focused on strategic foresight in financial services.

The meeting comes at a time when credit union popularity in Maine is at an all-time high with more than 625,000 members using a Maine credit union, and record totals in most other measurement categories.

Year-end statistics show that total assets at credit unions increased nearly 5% last year, as combined assets at Maine credit unions exceed $5.88 billion. Loans also increased in excess of $225 million, a 6.2% increase, while deposits grew by 5.4% to top the $5 billion mark for the first time.

Small CUs Get Spotlight At N.J. League Conference

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HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (6/12/13)--Collaboration was a key theme as the New Jersey Credit Union League held its fifth annual Small Credit Union Conference Saturday.

Click to view larger image Attorney Guy Messick discussed collaboration at the New Jersey Credit Union League's fifth annual Small Credit Union Conference Saturday (Photo provided by New Jersey Credit Union League.)
The conference was once again available to small asset-size credit unions at no charge because of sponsorships by larger New Jersey credit unions who are members of the league: ABCO FCU, Ramcocas,  Healthcare Employees FCU, Princeton, and Proponent FCU, Nutley (The Daily Exchange June 11).

Morriss Partee of EverythingCU opened the conference with his session, "The Advantages of Being Small." As a conversation starter, Partee asked attendees to write down three actions their credit unions could stop that members wouldn't care about or even notice.

Attorney Guy Messick's topic "Collaboration for Survival" underscored the need for credit unions to work together in their future business models. Messick focused on the why, what and how of collaboration. Credit unions that work together are stronger and can compete with fewer internal resources than large credit unions, Messick said.

John Dawidowski, CEO of Healthcare Employees FCU, continued the collaboration conversation, sharing key data from the National Credit Union Administration that compared New Jersey Credit Union Administration statistics with national averages. He also asked the group to share common challenges.

Debra Cohn, corporate account manager, Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU, discussed products and services that can help small credit unions. She closed her session with a video of FInection, Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU's online video channel that provides financial reporting, economic updates and general information intended to educate and entertain.

Nicola Foggie, NJCUL director of compliance, described the many regulatory areas that demand credit union compliance pertaining to rulings, education and examinations.

Brent Hamilton, CPA  and partner with Fontanella and Babitt, discussed developing a budget in today's economic environment. Hamilton reviewed steps to achieve various goals with examples in income, expenses and ratio goals.

Texas Trust CU Debit Card Features Student Artwork

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MANSFIELD, Texas (6/12/13)--As part of the Texas Trust CU Spirit Debit Reward Card Design Contest, artwork by Tiffany Nguyen, a fifth grade student, will soon be appearing in the wallets of hundreds of debit cardholders supporting the Grand Prairie Independent School District (ISD) Education Foundation.

Click to view larger image As part of the Texas Trust CU Spirit Debit Reward card Design Contest, artwork by Tiffany Nguyen, a fifth grade student, will soon be appearing in the wallets of hundreds of debit cardholders supporting the Grand Prairie ISD Education Foundation. (Photo provided by the Texas Credit Union League)
Nguyen's design was selected as the featured artwork for the new Grand Prairie ISD (GPISD) Education Foundation Spirit Debit Reward card. Her art was chosen from 242 entries submitted by GPISD students in kindergarten through fifth grade (LoneStar Leaguer June 11).

"Schools in Grand Prairie, Cedar Hill, Mansfield and Athens, have earned nearly $255,000 in the last two years through their school Spirit Debit Reward Cards," said Jim Minge, CEO of the $748 million asset Texas Trust CU. "The art on each Spirit card has been designed by a student, which promotes school spirit and pride."

The new card design was recently unveiled during a special event at the Mansfield, Texas-based Texas Trust's Grand Prairie branch. Nguyen was publicly recognized for her award-winning art at the unveiling ceremony.

More than 240 entries were received from more than 25 elementary schools within GPISD. An independent panel of judges selected six finalists, which included an entry from each grade level. Each finalist's artwork was posted on Facebook, where students, parents, teachers and the community voted for their favorite design. More than 17,998 votes were cast on Facebook, and those votes were combined with the scores of the judges to determine the final winner.

Nguyen's design received the top combined score. Her design will be featured on the GPISD Education Foundation Spirit Debit Card, which is used by school officials, administrators and community supporters to help raise money for the foundation. Every use of the GPISD Education Foundation Spirit Debit Reward Card will earn 15 cents from Texas Trust.

The new GPISD Education Foundation debit card is available to any member of Texas Trust. In addition to the GPISD Education Foundation Spirit Reward Debit card, each of Grand Prairie's four high schools offers a student-designed Spirit card. GPISD schools have earned $98,227 since the inception of the Spirit Debit Reward card program. The schools receive a monthly check for the money earned.

Filene Seeks Comment On Credit Union Regulatory Burden

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MADISON, Wis. (6/12/13)--Filene Research Institute and Credit Union Central of Canada are seeking North American credit unions to complete a survey on the burden of increasing regulation on credit unions in Canada and the United States.

Survey responses are due Friday.

The survey will form the basis of a report by Professors Panu Kalmi, University of Vaasa, Finland, and Giovanni Ferri, LUMSA University of Rome, Italy, seeking to quantify regulatory burden for credit unions, especially its differing effects across asset sizes.

The survey will also ask respondents to calculate their time spent complying with specific regulations in an attempt to identify the most burdensome regulations.

To complete the survey, use the link.

CUNA Mutual Transitions Employee Benefits Business To Digital Insurance

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MADISON. Wis. (6/12/13)--CUNA Mutual Group Tuesday announced it is transitioning its Employee Benefits book of business to Digital Insurance, an employee benefits-only agency. The move is a means of providing credit unions with a better employee-benefits product solution.

Digital Benefit Advisors (DBA), the largest division of Digital Insurance, will service the business, providing resources, expertise and education to help credit unions prepare for the complexities of healthcare reform required by the Affordable Care Act.

"At CUNA Mutual Group, we regularly evaluate our products and services to ensure we provide the best solutions available to meet the needs of credit unions, their employees and members," said Robert Trunzo, president, CUNA Mutual Group Insurance & Financial Services Company. "When we are unable to provide the best solution on our own, we have a successful track record of bringing in market leaders like DBA to deliver those solutions to credit unions."

As part of the transaction, several CUNA Mutual Group Employee Benefits representatives will join the Digital team.

The transition builds on a partnership CUNA Mutual Group and Digital created in February, when the companies announced they were partnering to provide healthcare reform education to credit unions.

DBA combines the commitment of experienced, local market advisors with the technology and resources of a national company. Employers receive access to a broader variety of carriers, tools and proprietary products. One advantage includes direct policyholder access to a Customer Advocate Center, where licensed Digital representatives answer benefits and policy questions.

"The transition of CUNA Mutual Group's Employee Benefits book of business enables us to build on the work we've been doing since February," said Adam Bruckman, president/CEO of Digital Insurance. "DBA is now in an even stronger position to help credit union customers address a significant business need, ensuring they are knowledgeable about changes in health care reform and prepared to modify their employee benefits packages accordingly."

Over the next several weeks, CUNA Mutual Group sales representatives will contact their 3,200 Employee Benefits credit union customers to share the benefits of working with Digital and ensure a smooth transition process. In the meantime, credit unions can direct questions to their CUNA Mutual Group account team.

Three Miss. CUs Partner To Focus On Community

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (6/11/13)--Despite the fact they are direct competitors, three Meridian, Miss., credit unions have chosen to define success--not based on individual achievement, but rather on how their cooperation can benefit their community, according to the Mississippi Credit Union Association.   

Last year, 1st Mississippi Federal CU, Meridian Mutual FCU and MUNA FCU initiated, organized and launched The Golden Apple Program, which recognizes area teachers for "going above and beyond the standard teaching methods." 

The idea for the program came from MUNA President/CEO Bo Pittman, who was aware of a similar program in Alabama. Pittman, married to a teacher for 30 years, thought developing a recognition program for Meridian area teachers was a worthwhile project. 

"Seeing the additional time and effort my wife Terisa has put into her classrooms over the years really highlights the heart so many teachers put into this job," Pittman explained. "They rarely get any recognition for these above-and-beyond extra efforts so when we learned about the Golden Apple Program, it was really a simple decision to try to get it started in Meridian."

However, instead of keeping the idea to himself and his own credit union, Pittman knew the program could be better and the outreach larger if other area credit unions were invited to support the program as well. 

"At MUNA, we feel that all of the Meridian credit unions complement, instead of compete, with each other so the Golden Apple program works well for all," said Pittman.

The group reached out to other local businesses for support. The Meridian Family of Stations, which includes the local Fox, NBC, and CBS affiliates, and The Meridian Star newspaper partnered to donate all of the advertising, as well as manage the overall program. This allowed the credit unions to become the key sponsor. Other local businesses became sponsors which provided the needed funding.

The program recognizes one teacher a month during the school year. Nominations come from parents or students. Winner recognition includes a cash prize donated by the three credit unions, media coverage of their award from the program's media partners, and other prizes, such as a school supply shopping spree, which are donated by other program partners. 

The program is an opportunity to highlight a unique characteristic of credit unions, which is their willingness to work together for the mutual benefit of all, Meridian Mutual FCU's President/CEO Dennis Florreich noted.

"The cooperation our credit unions are showing is something other financial industry competitors would probably never consider," said Florreich.

CU System Briefs (06/11/2013)

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (6/11/13)--Lee Benedict, president/CEO Soo Line CU, Savage, Minn., has been designated a Credit Union Builder by the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation. Benedict retired after 45 years of credit union service, 33 as a CEO. He oversaw three mergers, obtained two community charters, and maintained a dual presence in the Twin Cities metro area and in greater Minnesota.

Fiserv Paper Discusses ROI of Mobile Banking

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (6/11/13)--Mobile banking users were found to have deeper, more cost-efficient relationships with their financial institutions than users who had yet to use the mobile channel, according to a new white paper from Fiserv.

The paper, "Next Generation Mobile Banking: Transactions Increase Potential ROI," shows how credit unions and banks can step up their efforts to achieve sustained return on investment from mobile banking.

Among the value that mobile banking users offer financial institutions:

  •  Member retention--Mobile banking members have deeper relationships with their financial institutions and have been proven to be among the least likely to leave the credit union or bank. This increased member/customer stickiness can result in measurable recurring revenue for financial institutions.
  • Reduced channel costs--Mobile banking enables the migration of members/customers from high-cost offline channels, such as the call center and branch, to the lower-cost, higher-convenience mobile channel. To project savings, financial institutions must first know the average transaction costs of each banking channel and determine how the expense will be offset by diversion to the mobile channel.
  • Transaction generation--Mobile banking use encourages value-generating activities such as debit card usage. In a TowerGroup/SunTrust study, mobile banking users demonstrated the propensity to make more debit card transactions per month, likely because they were better able to validate their account balances from mobile devices when making purchases at the point of sale.

Appeals Court Rules Against CUs On Taxi Medallions

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NEW YORK (6/11/13)--The New York State Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court ruling that had blocked a state law that would have allowed the sale of more New York City yellow taxi medallions. That ruling had supported a claim by credit union lenders that the state violated the "home rule" provision of the State Constitution, and the court of appeals decision is a blow to the credit union side.

The six-judge panel of the Court of Appeals, in a unanimous decision last week, rejected arguments by the taxi groups, including credit unions, that the Street Hail Livery Law, or Hail Act, was invalid because it came in the form of a law adopted by the state legislature instead of the city council (Reuters June 6).

"It has not been demonstrated that the act 'repealed, diminished, impaired or suspended' any power in 'a statute of local governments,'" the court stated in its ruling.

New York City challenged a previous ruling by New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur F. Engoron that New York City taxi service is not a matter of substantial state interest or concern and "a law that shifts power from the city's legislative branch to its executive branch, and micro-manages the exercise of that power, fails to bear a reasonable relationship to any such interest or concern."

Taxicab Service Association (TSA)--an association of credit union lenders that finance the yellow taxi medallion purchases in New York--had asked the court to invalidate the Hail Act, which was passed in 2011 to shore up an insufficient supply of taxis in the city and its outer boroughs (News Now Aug. 22, 2012). The Hail Act allowed up to 18,000 new taxi licenses in the city and its outer boroughs, according to court documents.

"As lenders, credit unions were concerned that the influx of medallions would have a negative impact of the current value of medallions that are out there and outstanding,"  Michael A. Lanotte, Credit Union Association of New York senior vice president of association services and general counsel, told News Now Monday.

Taxi medallions are symbols that are usually attached to the hood of New York City cabs. The medallions are licenses that are regulated by the city and allow drivers to pick up curb-side passengers who hail a cab.

Last Chance To Register For Fall Dev. Educator Training

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MADISON, Wis. (6/11/13)--Only a few spots remain for the Fall 2013 Credit Union Development Education (DE) training class taking place Sept. 4-11 in Madison, Wis.

Attendees of the National Credit Union Foundation's six-day total immersion experience will learn about credit unions' social responsibility and domestic and international development through interactive education and professional networking.

"Registration for the training is limited to just 42 attendees, so this is the last chance for a few credit union professionals who would like to attend training this year," said Lois Kitsch, NCUF's national program director. "You won't want to miss it as DE Training is one of the most unique and transformative credit union training events offered."

DE training is open to everyone from new employees who need a credit union orientation, to seasoned executives who need to recharge. Participants cite many benefits of attending DE training:

  • Graduates acquire skills in credit union outreach initiatives, problem solving, technical assistance, team building and public presentations.
  • Graduates earn certification as Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs). They join a networking group including more than 1,000 graduates nationwide and more than 30 other countries.
  • CUDEs realize that local issues are indeed global--and that global issues are local.
  • CUDEs understand that credit unions grow stronger by working cooperatively.
CUDEs return to their jobs with a new understanding of how to promote cooperative principles and credit union values as distinct advantages in today's competitive financial services marketplace.

The training will take place Sept. 4-11 at The Lowell Center on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison, Wis. The registration fee includes seven nights of single-room lodging, and all training materials and meals.

"For those looking for help with funding, many state credit union foundations and leagues offer scholarships to DE training in addition to the national DE Scholarship offered," Kitsch said.

For more information, use the link.

In The Media: Credit Union Growth, Lobbying Efforts, Community Outreach

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MADISON, Wis. (6/11/13)--As credit unions Unite for Good to help American consumers understand the value of credit unions, the Credit Union National Association continues to help credit unions attract media coverage nationwide.

Credit unions are bustling with news, Paul Gentile, CUNA executive vice president for strategic communications and engagement, wrote in an opinion editorial article, "Don't Look Now, But Credit Unions Have Gone Mainstream. Are We Ready?"  It appeared Monday on CUinsight.com.

"From intriguing stats and regulatory developments, to extraordinary advocacy campaigns and new technology, there is no shortage of important story lines. One storyline that overshadows them all is the very real opportunity for the credit union system to experience significant growth," Gentile wrote.

He said credit unions are living up to the storyline of being the white hats that do good things and deliver a great product, but must continue to advance to capitalize on the opportunities. (Use the resource link to read the entire article.)

Among other  recent media spots credit unions have captured:

  • Ryan Donovan, CUNA senior vice president legislative affairs, described how credit unions are fighting to preserve their tax exemption in the June 6 edition of the The Hill. CUNA is launching a grassroots campaign, Don't Tax My Credit Union!, imploring credit union members to tell Congress not to tinker with the industry's exemption.
  • On May 30 RStreet.com highlighted CUNA's Don't Tax My Credit Union! campaign, describing how credit unions are lobbying their 96 million members nationwide to fight lobbying efforts by banks.  Credit union members enjoyed $6 billion of benefits in 2012, while the moderating impact of credit union competition benefited bank customers by roughly $2 billion, according to CUNA. For every $1 in new credit union taxes, the government wipes out $10 in credit union benefits.
  • CUNA was among the national trade groups that plan to send representatives to a cross-industry meeting hosted by the National Retail Federation to discuss patent reform, The Hill reported June 6. Once considered a pet issue for tech firms, changing patent laws has become a priority for financial service providers, retailers, restaurant owners, hoteliers and others who are concerned about the spread of frivolous patent lawsuits.
  • CUNA concerns over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposed changes to mortgage servicing rules, were the topic of a June 6 BankCreditNews.com article. The CFPB recently proposed amendments to the small servicer exemption under Regulation X, the Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act, qualified mortgage rule and Truth in Lending Act. CUNA is concerned about several measures in the proposal that would exempt credit union servicers based on the number of loans they actually service but would disqualify them from the exemption if they use a third-party subservicer to service just one of the loans, if the third party services more than 5,000 loans, Mary Dunn, CUNA senior vice president and deputy general council, told the publication.
  • Mid-Michigan's credit unions and their thousands of members are going head to head in the fourth annual Caring Community Credit Unions campaign, ABC 12 reported June 3. Thirteen credit unions and close to 100 branches are participating.
  • Credit unions are pushing back at tightened mortgage rules for marginal buyers, fearing it will make them targets for bank regulators and plaintiffs' attorneys in cases of default, The Seattle Times reported May 31. While new rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) aim to ensure financial institutions verify borrowers' ability to pay to as part of efforts to battle mortgage abuses that caused the financial crisis, credit unions remain dedicated to serving their members, Diana Dykstra, president and chief executive of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, told the publication.

ABC Consumer News: CUs Offer Better Rates, Flexibility

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NEW YORK (6/11/13)--For consumers who are fed up with banks, credit unions can be a great alternative because they offer better interest rates on financial products and greater flexibility in providing loans by listening to members and looking beyond just their credit scores, said a consumer correspondent Monday on ABCNews.com.

"It's no secret that banks got a bad rap during the financial crisis for their part in risky mortgage lending and for fees that many consumers view as unnecessarily greedy," wrote consumer guru Elisabeth Leamy. "Perhaps that's why last year, credit union membership grew by two million people and credit union deposits topped $1 trillion for the first time ever, according to the Credit Union National Association."

Credit unions are in essence "nonprofit banks" and today everyone is able to join a credit union, which many people don't realize, Leamy said. Her story included a link to aSmarterChoice.org, the website that CUNA and the leagues launched to help consumers learn the basics about credit unions and find one they're eligible to join.

The high visibility of a story about credit union benefits on ABC News.com will help make more people aware of credit unions, a key goal of CUNA and the leagues' Unite for Good campaign. By Monday afternoon, more than 2,600 visitors had searched for a credit union on aSmarterChoice.org, about four times what the site typically experiences on a Monday.

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

In her column, Leamy addressed why people should join a credit union. "Since credit unions are non-profit, they can often afford to offer their members lower interest rates on loans," Leamy said. "They are also more flexible in listening to members' stories rather than just looking at their credit scores."

Leamy added that she researched interest rates for a $25,000 car loans and found banks were charging as much as 11.22% interest on a loan. She found that the lowest rate a credit union was charging for that amount was 4.25%. That lower rate would save consumers $2,000 interest over the course of the loan, compared with the higher bank rate, she added.  

"Consumers have told us they want banking services delivered in a caring, low-fee environment," Shawn Gilfedder, president of McGraw-Hill FCU in East Windsor, N.J., told  Leamy in the article. "Credit unions across the nation help their customers achieve financial wellness ... through a caring, needs-based approach."

Plauda To Exit Illinois League June 2014

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (6/11/13)--Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) President/CEO Dan Plauda will be retiring after 37 years of service to the credit union movement, effective June 30, 2014, the ICUL announced Monday.

Geri Burek, ICUL chairman of the board, noted Plauda's legacy in the league announcement. "Because of his leadership, our league is well positioned for great success for many years to come. He truly will be missed by so many credit unions, executives and other organizations across the country, with whom he has humbly served and fostered an environment of collaboration and embraced the true 'people helping people' philosophy of our movement."

CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney also noted that Plauda "contributed greatly to the growth and success of the Illinois league and the state's credit unions during a distinguished career that has spanned nearly four decades."

Cheney added, "He will leave behind an impressive record of achievement, dedication, and innovation.  Along with all he has done in his state, we are grateful for the Dan's past service nationally on the CUNA board and American Association of Credit Union Leagues executive board.   Dan's legacy will be long-lasting."

Plauda joined the league staff in May 1977, serving at that time as the organization's first general counsel. Before that, he was a partner in a Minneapolis law firm.

In August 1984, Plauda became the fourth president in the 83-year history of the league, and also at that time was named president/CEO of the League Service Corporation (LSC).

The ICUL announcement noted that under Plauda progressive leadership, the Illinois credit union movement has expanded to $35 billion in assets and serves more than 2.84 million members.

During his time at the helm of the league, Plauda also served five years on the CUNA board, and its affiliate, CUNA Service Group.

He also served as chairman of the board of the CU Interchange Group, the national ATM network for credit unions; and on CUNA's governmental affairs and audit committees.  Plauda is also a former member of the executive board of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues.

The league has contracted with D. Hilton Associates, Inc., the largest executive recruiting firm exclusively for credit unions, to conduct the search for its new leader.

NEW: Plauda To Retire From Illinois League In June 2014

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (6/10/13, UPDATED 4:55 p.m. ET)--Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) President/CEO Dan Plauda will be retiring after 37 years of service to the credit union movement, effective June 30, 2014, the ICUL announced today.

Plauda joined the league staff in May 1977, serving at that time as the organization's first general counsel. Before that, he was a partner in a Minneapolis law firm.

In August 1984, Plauda became the fourth president in the 83-year history of the league, and also at that time was named president/CEO of the League Service Corporation (LSC).

The ICUL announcement noted that under Plauda progressive leadership, the Illinois credit union movement has expanded to $35 billion in assets and serves more than 2.84 million members.

During his time at the helm of the league, Plauda also served five years on the board of the Credit Union National Association, and its affiliate, CUNA Service Group.  He also served as chairman of the board of the CU Interchange Group, the national ATM network for credit unions; and on CUNA's governmental affairs and audit committees.  Plauda is also a former member of the executive board of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL).

See News Now Tuesday for more.

CU Merger Trend Continues

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 MADISON, Wis. (6/10/13)--The merger trend among credit unions nationwide continues, with smaller credit unions seeking to offer their members a wider range of products, services and branches, and larger credit unions looking to increase their memberships.

Among the credit unions merging:

  • Capitol Region FCU, Wethersfield, Conn., with assets of about $30 million, will be consolidated with $200 million asset Dutch Point CU, also of Wethersfield. The ability to gain value for members was the reason cited for the merger by Jeanne Kelly, president/CEO of Capitol Region FCU.
  • First American CU, a part of First Community FCU, will merge with E&A CU, Port Huron, Mich. Once the merger is complete, the combined credit union will have more than 100,000 members and assets of nearly $1 billion (Beloit Daily News June 5). First American CU, based in Beloit, Wis., became a part of Parchment, Mich.-based $704 million First Community CU in 2010.
  • WECU CU, with $27 million in assets in Marysville, Ohio, has merged into the $192 million Pathways Financial CU, Columbus, Ohio. This merger follows a strategic merger model that Pathways used in 2012, in which each merging credit union continues to use the trade name associated with their former credit union. Pathways Financial was formed on Aug. 1, 2012, as the result of an unprecedented three-way merger by Members First, Powerco and Western credit unions. As a result of the latest merger, Pathways Financial has $219 million in assets and serves 27,819 members.
  • SELCO Community CU, based in Eugene, Ore., with $1 billion in assets, is merging with $33 million asset Greater Oregon FCU, Burns, Ore (Argus Observer June 1). Greater Oregon FCU members will benefit from the full range of banking, mortgage, business lending and insurance services that SELCO Community CU offers, said Bob Newcomb, SELCO Community CU president/CEO.
  • Tehachapi (Calif.) FCU has merged with Bakersfield, Calif.-based Kern Schools FCU, with $1.24 billion in assets (SNL Bank and Thrift Daily May 22). Tehachapi FCU, with $1.9 million in assets, is facing financial challenges, SNL Bank and Thrift Daily reported.
  • Centel CU, with $23 million in assets, in Owosso, Mich., has merged into the $549 million asset LAFCU in Lansing, Mich. The merger is expected to be completed in the fall (Argus Press May 18).
  • America's Christian CU, with $255 million in assets, in Glendora, Calif., will merge with $27 million asset Lutheran CU, Brea, Calif. (California Dept. of Financial Institutions DFI Monthly Bulletin April 2013).
  • Huntington Beach Calif.,-based, $1.2 billion asset NuVision FCU will merge with $103 million asset Pacific Resources CU, Los Angeles (California Dept. of Financial Institutions DFI Monthly Bulletin April 2013).
  • Alameda (Calif.) CU, with $33.9 million assets, is seeking regulatory approval to merge with Redwood City, Calif.-based, $1.73 billion asset Provident CU, also of Alameda (SNL Bank M&A Weekly May 6). Alameda CU cited rising overhead costs and more complicated regulations as among reasons the merger.
  • Fairfax, Va.-based Apple FCU, with $1.2 billion in assets, has merged with Vantria FCU, $72 million Springfield, Va. (Business Wire May 14). Apple FCU offered Vantria FCU members a greater range of personal banking options, said Robert Sowell Sr., Apple FCU vice president of community relations.
  • Middletown, N.Y.-based Hudson Heritage FCU, with $265 million in assets, is seeking a merger with $27 million MPO FCU, also based in Middletown (SNL Bank M&A Weekly May 22). MPO CU found it difficult to survive in the current environment in which interest rates are low, President/CEO Kelly Bilello said.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Community CU, with $33 million in assets, in Pasadena, Md., will merge into Tower FCU. The expected merger date is June 30. The Office of the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation and the National Credit Union Administration approved the merger April 29. Laurel, Md.-based Tower FCU has more than $2.6 billion in assets and 126,000 members.

Hensler Appointed To Maine League Board

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PORTLAND, Maine (6/10/13)--Ken Hensler, president/CEO of The County FCU, Caribou, Maine, has been appointed to the Maine Credit Union League board.

Hensler's appointment was made by the league's Aroostok Chapter of Credit Unions (Weekly Update June 7). He will fill Dave Rossignol's unexpired term.

Rossignol, who is chairman of the league board, will step down with his retirement as president/CEO of NorState FCU, Madawaska.

Prior to accepting his current position with The County FCU in 2003, Hensler served on the credit union's board for five years.

Cheney Addresses CUAD On Tax Threat

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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (6/10/13)--Bill Cheney, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association, and the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas were in Grand Forks, N.D., last week to rally support for protecting the federal tax exemption and to "Unite for Good" during the annual CUAD Summit.

Click to view larger image Bill Cheney, right, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association, posed with Robbie Thompson, president/CEO of Credit Union Association of the Dakotas, and CUAD's CU on the Road Vehicle, part of its credit union awareness campaign, last week during the annual CUAD Summit.  (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas)
On Thursday, Cheney addressed the general session, and discussed CUNA's strategy in Washington, D.C., meeting the challenges credit unions face, and looking toward a bright future. Cheney expanded upon the three-tiered coordinated efforts of "Unite for Good," the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" movement and the "Plan To Win," which are vital to the success of the credit union movement.

"There is much to be excited about ... credit unions grew over 800,000 net new members so far this year, in just three months" Cheney said.  "Hats off for all you are doing."

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

Cheney encouraged the audience to visit the donttaxmycreditunion.org website.

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

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

  • Educate;
  • Participate;
  • Communicate; and
  • Hold lawmakers accountable.
Addressing the burdens that community based financial institutions and credit unions are facing, Cheney said that "over-regulation could create the next financial crisis ... and we are starting to have some success in getting that message across."

Cheney met with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Cordray and National Credit Union Administration Chairman Debbie Matz recently and said that the tone is different than it was a year ago. "They acknowledge that credit unions did not cause the financial crisis, and are addressing issues with examinations," Cheney said.

Maine CU Friend Named SBA Regional Administrator

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PORTLAND, Maine (6/10/13)--A credit union supporter in the Maine State Senate, who often touted the support he received from his credit union when he started a small business, has been appointed regional administrator of the New England Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, said the Maine Credit Union League.

State Sen. Seth Goodall was appointed by SBA Administrator Karen Mills and will oversee SBA programs and state offices in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Now in his third term, Goodall was Senate Majority Leader in the 126th Main Legislature, said the league (Weekly Update June 7).

"Although we lose a great friend in the Maine Senate," said league President John Murphy, "I believe that the appointment...is an outstanding choice that, long-term, will serve credit unions and small businesses well."

Murphy said he wrote a reference letter on Goodall's behalf.  In it, he cited Goodall's strong support of credit unions.  "Senator Goodall has always been extremely responsive to credit unions and the small businesses we serve across Maine, and he frequently notes the assistance and support he received from his local credit union when his business was just starting out and how appreciative he is of that support. Sen. Goodall has been a good friend of Maine's credit unions."

Goodall will resign when the current legislative session adjourns later this month.

The appointment comes as credit unions are trying to raise their member business lending (MBL) cap in Congress so they can offer more MBLs to help small businesses and the economy. Raising the cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25% would help generate $13 billion in new loans to small businesses and help create 140,000 new jobs, without costing taxpayers a dime, says the Credit Union National Association.

Myth Of Uneven Playing Field Debunked In Report

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (6/10/13)--All major claims made by critics of credit unions about an uneven playing field are unsubstantiated, according to an economic analysis released Friday. The study also found there is "no evidence that state and federal tax policies give credit unions unfair competitive advantages over banks."

"Credit Unions vs. Banks: The Myth of the Uneven Playing Field" is authored by

ECONorthwest's Randall Pozdena, managing director and senior economist, and Michael Wilkerson, senior economist.  The report was commissioned by the Northwest Credit Union Association.

The  independent economic analysis was commissioned after bank trade associations in Oregon and the U.S.  lobbied to eliminate not-for-profit credit unions' tax-exempt status in the state and in Congress.

"In our view," wrote the authors, the difference in organizational forms of credit unions and commercial banks, the asymmetry of powers enjoyed by the respective institutions, and the trends in credit union development are not consistent with the claim that credit unions enjoy unfair competitive advantages."

In the study, they reviewed the theory and historical performance of credit unions then statistically tested where there is a comparative performance difference based on the adoption of the community common bond membership criterion, or credit unions' exemption from corporate income taxation.

"All the major claims made by critics of the credit union industry are unsubstantiated," said the report.  Contrary to the claims of banks, the study concluded:

  • Credit unions' share of consumer deposits have not been growing for more than a decade.
  • There is no evidence that either the community bond designation or corporate tax policy has had any positive statistical effect on deposit or institution share trends.
  • Credit unions' growth and consolidation is mainly a response to the risk and inefficiency of reduced scale revealed by credit union liquidations in the 1970s and 1980s--not a consequence of changes in common bond designation or tax policy.
  • Untaxed credit union net income is not going to higher credit union labor compensation.
  • Consistent with the theory of cooperative banking, credit unions continue to provide superior deposit and loan rates, in addition to greater protection from portfolio risk relative to outside-ownership commercial banks.
  • The channeling of free cash flow to savers and borrowers means that free cash flow does not go untaxed.
  • Credit unions have not abandoned small account holders.
The authors said their "review of the theory, data and formal statistical analysis does not offer support for disturbing the tax policy and provides room for charter enhancements of credit unions. Indeed, to disturb the tax policy and limit the charter evolution of the not-for-profit cooperative may eliminate a small, but important class of institutions that theory says should be able to better manage risk and provide benefits to consumers than investor-owned commercial banks under the right operating conditions."

For the full report, use the link.

Eight Charged In Alabama Tax Refund Scheme

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (6/10/13)--Eight people in Alabama, including a state prison inmate, have been indicted in a five-year-long federal tax refund fraud scheme in which some of the proceeds were deposited into an account at a credit union.

Shermaine "Shade" German, 56, an inmate at Bibb County Correctional Facility in Brent, is charged with leading the conspiracy, which occurred from January 2008 through last month, according to a press release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Birmingham.

He allegedly orchestrated the scheme from prison, where he obtained names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of other people, including fellow inmates on death row and those serving life without parole. That information was used to create false income tax returns under others' names with fabricated tax withholdings.

German also is accused of creating false power-of-attorney forms mailed with the false income tax returns. Others in the ring notarized the documents and used them to cash or deposit income tax refund checks received as part of the scheme, said the law enforcement agencies.

Others charged are: Ronald Webster, 55; Brenda Joyce McDonald, 55; and Yvette Berry Pinckney, 48, all of Montgomery; Marlo Yvette Miller, 46, and Irene King Douglas, 58, of Huntsville;  Cynthia Dianne Ware, 49, of Eufaula; and Barbara Ann Grimes, 62, of Mobile.

Miller allegedly cashed or deposited fraudulent refund checks into Regions Bank and Redstone FCU, a $3.4 billion asset, Huntsville-based credit union.

Ending Hunger a Cooperative Effort, League Tells Public Radio

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PORTLAND, Maine (6/10/13)--Helping to put an end to hunger involves cooperation among many credit unions and members, the Maine Credit Union League told a public radio station in the state.

"One of the reasons behind the success of the Maine credit unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger is that it is a cooperative effort, and that is the kind of effort that it is going to take to make a difference," said Jon Paradise, league assistant vice president of governmental and public affairs, during a recent Roundtable Discussion on Maine Public Radio (MPR) about hunger in Maine (Weekly Update June 7).

The league organized the roundtable to help build awareness about hunger in the state. During the program, the host and several callers lauded Maine CUs for raising funds for ending hunger.

"Since 1990, Maine's credit unions have raised $4.8 million to help end hunger in Maine, representing more than two decades of commitment to this cause. That is a lot of money," said host Jennifer Rooks on MPR's Maine Calling Show, which airs statewide.

Two hunger advocates also appeared on the program: Kristen Miale, president of the Good Shepherd Food Bank, and Brenda Davis, founding director of Cross Roads Resource Center and one of the state's leaders on this issue. Davis and Miale praised credit unions "for showing leadership and tremendous initiative on the issue of hunger in Maine. What the credit unions do for this cause is amazing," they said.

During the 45-minute program, callers statewide phoned in to discuss the issue and reiterated the importance of a cooperative effort, such as the Maine credit unions' campaign.

"This cannot be done alone; we must work together and what credit unions are doing is a great example of what we can accomplish when we do," one caller said.

Illinois, Ecuador CUs Sign As International Partners

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AMBATO, Ecuador (6/10/13)--BCU of Vernon Hills, Ill., and the Cooperativa de Ahorro y Credito OSCUS Ltda. met early this month in Ambato, Ecuador, to establish an official credit union-to-credit union partnership under the World Council of Credit Unions' International Partnership Program.

Click to view larger image BCU, Vernon Hills, Ill., and Ambato, Ecuador's Cooperativa de Ahorro y Credito OSCUS Ltda. signed an international partnership through World Council of Credit Unions' International Partnership Program. Representatives included, from left, Jose Cajigas, BCU regional director; Bob Pondelicek, BCU director of mortgage sales; Federico Cuesta, OSCUS CEO; and Joshua Fetting, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions program manager. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
The partnership means the credit unions will directly exchange information, ideas and best practices in credit union operations.

"Forming a partnership with an organization full of dedicated individuals with shared goals and values only strengthens our pride in the World Council International Partnerships' mission and the industry as a whole," said BCU President/CEO Mike Valentine.

During the visit, Bob Pondelicek, BCU director of mortgage sales, and Jose Cajigas, BCU regional director, visited three OSCUS rural branch offices to observe how the credit union helps underserved communities.

They also joined 800 credit union members and international delegates attending OSCUS' 50th anniversary celebration. During the event, local government presented OSCUS with special awards for its community service, and BCU presented a special congratulatory commemoration.

"This partnership breaks boundaries and marks a milestone in the Ecuadorian cooperative movement," said Federico Cuesta, OSCUS CEO. "Cooperative thought and willpower have built a new path of management and international integration."

World Council's International Partnership Program now has 20 alliances in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, South Pacific and Europe.

"Connecting OSCUS and BCU allows them to leverage their shared commitment to provide the best member experience regardless of whether it's in the suburban communities of Chicago or in rural Ecuador," said Victor Miguel Corro, vice president of Worldwide Foundation of Credit Unions. He oversees the International Partnership Program.

"We will work hard to support this partnership and to continue connecting credit unions around the globe," he said.

CU System Briefs (06/07/2013)

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  • BASKING RIDGE and TOMS RIVER, N.J. (6/7/13)--In their second wave of fundraising, employees of Affinity FCU, based in Basking Ridge, N.J., collected more donations for victims of last October's Hurricane Sandy, reported the New Jersey Credit Union League (The Daily Exchange June 6). A truckload of nonperishable food, bleach, pillows and blankets and a check for $1,438 were presented to the People's Pantry in Toms River. Employees and members not only donated the times but a team delivered the goods and spent the day volunteering at the pantry. "We call it 'walking the dollars,'" said Beth Degnan, executive director of Affinity FCU Foundation. The credit union also raised $1,887 and donated a large amount of goods in December. Pictured are, from left: Sal Galati, Affinity member experience officer;  Pat Donaghue, People's Pantry director;  Ralph Matatea and Ed Burke, pantry volunteers; Grant Gallagher, Affinity external affairs; and Degnan.  (Photo provided by the New Jersey Credit Union League) ...
  • CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (6/7/13)--USO South Texas Inc. has received a $10,000 grant from Security Service Charitable Foundation--the charitable arm of San Antonio-based Security Service FCU--to support active duty military families at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi and Naval Air Station Kingsville.  In the photo, USO South Texas President Nancy Allen accepts the grant from Mike Martinez, senior vice president of military affairs for SSFCU, and Jim Bounds, area director of business development for the credit union's South Texas region and USOSTX board member. They are flanked by representatives of the U.S. Navy and Marines serving at NAS Corpus Christi. (Photo provided by USO South Texas, Inc.)  ...
  • NORTH CANTON, Ohio (6/7/13)--ATM manufacturer and CUNA Strategic Services provider Diebold Inc., has named Andy W. Mattes as president/CEO, effective immediately. He also was named a board director. Mattes has more than 25 years of experience in the information technology and telecommunications industries, primarily with Hewlett-Packard Co. and Siemens AG. He most recently was senior vice president, global strategic partnerships at Violin Mercury, a manufacturer of flash memory computer storage systems. He will remain with Violin in an advisory role.  Also, Henry D.G. Wallace, Diebold's executive chairman of the board, will assume the non-executive chairman role, effective Aug. 15 ...
  • DES MOINES, Iowa (6/7/13)--DianneTaylor, management consultant for the Iowa Credit Union League, will retire on June 21 after 32 years in the Iowa credit union industry. She began her credit union industry career in 1981 at what was then Deere Employees CU. She joined ICUL in 1984 and moved in 1988 to a league-owned data processing company to manage customer service and training. Taylor was ICUL director of education from 1990 to 1998, when she became operations manager at Tri-County CU (now known as Advantage CU). She served as management consultant for the league for the past 14 years. She also was an inaugural member of the CUNA HR Council executive board and served as an Iowa Jump$tart Coalition board member for more than 10 years, including a term in 2007 as president ...

NEW: Report Debunks Myth Of The Uneven Playing Field

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (Filed  6/7/13 at 1:05 p.m. CT)--All of the major claims made by critics of credit unions in terms of uneven playing field  are unsubstantiated, says an economic analysis released today. What's more, there is "no evidence that state and federal tax policies give credit unions unfair competitive advantages over banks."

"Credit Unions vs. Banks: The Myth of the Uneven Playing Field" is authored by

ECONorthwest's Randall Pozdena, managing director and senior economist, and Michael Wilkerson, senior economist.  The report was commissioned by the Northwest Credit Union Association.

The  independent economic analysis was commissioned after bank trade associations in Oregon and the U.S. lobbied to eliminate not-for-profit credit unions' tax-exempt status in the state and in Congress.

"In our view," wrote the authors, the difference in organizational forms of credit unions and commercial banks, the asymmetry of powers enjoyed by the respective institutions, and the trends in credit union development are not consistent with the claim that credit unions enjoy unfair competitive advantages."

In the study, they reviewed the theory and historical performance of credit unions, then statistically tested where there is a comparative performance difference based on the adoption of the community common bond membership criterion, or credit unions' exemption from corporate income taxation.

"All the major claims made by critics of the credit union industry are unsubstantiated," said the report.  Contrary to the claims of banks, the study concluded:

  • Credit unions' share of consumer deposits have not been growing for more than a decade.
  • There is no evidence that either the community bond designation or corporate tax policy has had any positive statistical effect on deposit or institution share trends.
  • Credit unions' growth and consolidation is mainly a response to the risk and inefficiency of reduced scale revealed by credit union liquidations in the 1970s and 1980s--not a consequence of changes in common bond designation or tax policy.
  • Untaxed credit union net income is not going to higher credit union labor compensation.
  • Consistent with the theory of cooperative banking, credit unions continue to provide superior deposit and loan rates, in addition to greater protection from portfolio risk relative to outside-ownership commercial banks.
  • The channeling of free cash flow to savers and borrowers means that free cash flow does not go untaxed.
  • Credit unions have not abandoned small account holders.
For the full report, use the link.

SaveUp Selected As Finalist In Innovators Mega Challenge

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LIVONIA, Mich. (6/7/13)--SaveUp, a partner of CU Solutions Group, Livonia, Mich., is one of 11 finalists competing for the Annual Core Innovators Mega Challenge from Core Innovation Capital and the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI).

The competition will name the most promising new idea in serving the 80 million underbanked American consumers known as the emerging middle class. The winner receives $10,000, broad media exposure and a complementary consulting session with the CFSI Advisory Services team.

SaveUp is a member engagement program that rewards members for saving and paying down debt. CU Solutions Group and SaveUp first joined forces in October to help credit unions build stronger member relationships and generate new leads for products.  As of May, the program helped users save $449 million and pay down $296 million (News Now May 28).

The 2013 Mega Challenge will be featured at the eighth annual Underbanked Financial Services Forum in Miami this month. Finalists will present a demonstration of their products and take part in question-and-answer sessions. The winner will be selected by interactive audience voting.

Filene: Use Design Thinking to Serve Underserved

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MADISON, Wis. (6/7/13)--Using design thinking when planning new products to help the underserved banking population is the subject of a new Filene Research Institute report.

Design thinking refers to a set of methods and a mindset that create empathy by putting people at the center of the design and development process, according  to "Using Design Thinking to Serve the Underserved," authored by design researcher and strategist Julie Norvaisas.

Rather than designing a product that responded to the planners' assumptions about the underserved, Filene's young professionals network workshop participants--members of the Cooperative Trust--met the underserved, talked to them--and perhaps most importantly--learned how to listen and understand their stories without judgment, said the report. From there, creating a product designed around their members' real needs and wishes came naturally.

The process is a highly collaborative, human-centered approach that yields innovative solutions through a flexible but standardized process, the paper said. Design thinking can be applied to any business, but it is particularly critical for credit unions to understand members more deeply for a few reasons:

  • The knowledge gap: The distance between how credit unions think about financial services and how most consumers understand and experience the financial realm is likely vast, said the paper.
  • The emotional gap: While it all seems quite rational to some, managing finances can be emotionally charged and confusing for most people. As a result, many consumers do a poor job managing their finances.
  • The credit union mission: Credit unions are different from other financial institutions--a difference manifested by standing with consumers rather than against them, the paper said. In that light, adopting a design-thinking mindset is an emerging capability credit unions need to develop to remain competitive and relevant, it said.
The paper outlines design-thinking methods, tells the story of how the Cooperative Trust employed design thinking to spark innovation, and introduces the resulting Tru Account product currently in development as a result of participants' efforts.

For more information, use the link.

Auto Leasing At Record High, Says Experian Automotive

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SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (6/7/13)--Vehicle leasing increased by 12.5% to reach the highest level since 2006, Experian Automotive reported this week.

Credit union market share also increased 0.4% from first quarter 2012 to 16.7%, Experian reported.

Leasing accounted for a record 27.5% of all new vehicles financed in the first quarter, up from 24.4% a year earlier, according to Experian's State of the Automotive Finance Market report. The average monthly payment for a new vehicle financed was $459, down from $462 for the same quarter in 2012.

"Consumers tend to shop for vehicles based within the limits of their budget, and leasing is often seen as a viable path to a lower monthly payment," said Melinda Zabritski, Experian senior director of automotive credit. "Lenders have seen overall stability come back to the market since the recession, and leasing has gradually returned as a larger part of many lender strategies."

While leasing a vehicle can help consumers achieve a lower monthly payment, the report also showed the term length increased to 65 months in the first quarter, up from 64 months in 2012, and a decrease in interest rates--4.5% in 2013, down from 4.6% in 2012--that helped to keep payments low for new vehicles financed.

In the first quarter, the average loan amount for a new vehicle financed rose by $628, to $26,648 from $26,020. The average used-vehicle loan increased $461, to $17,532 from $17,071.

The report also indicated that consumers within all credit tiers obtained financing in the first quarter. Loans going to consumers with credit outside of prime (nonprime, subprime and deep subprime) jumped to 45.2% of the overall loan market, up from 44.4%.

For new vehicles, loan share increased to 25.1%, up from 23.2%. For used vehicles, nonprime, subprime and deep-subprime loans accounted for 57.7% market share, up from 56.8% in the same period last year.

In other trends:

  • The average credit score for a new vehicle loan dropped to 755, down from 760;
  • The average credit score for a used-vehicle loan dropped to 657, down from 659;
  • Finance companies had 15.5% market share, up 5.1%;
  • Banks had 39.5% market share, down 1.7%;
  • Captive finance companies had 17.3% market share, up 3.4%; and
  • Buy here/pay here financing had 10.7% market share, down 6.4%.

CUNA To Medill: People Discovering CUs Are Best Choice

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CHICAGO (6/7/13)--A story and video on Medill News Service's Chicago news page shine a spotlight on the credit union difference with a feature about Chicago-based First Financial CU's business model. The Credit Union National Association notes in the article that people are discovering that credit unions are the best choice.

People wary of banks are searching for better interest rates and have been moving toward credit unions like First Financial CU, which mirrors a national trend of increases in deposits, loans and members over the past five years "right through the recession," says the Wednesday article, "First Financial CU Growth in-line with credit union industry."

In it, CUNA Senior Economist Mike Schenk says that "people are reacting negatively to the [bank] fees and discovering credit unions are their best choice." 

First Financial CU CEO Patrick Basler and New Brunswick, N.J.-based Internet Archive FCU CEO Jordon Modell describe features that make credit unions attractive to consumers. They say that credit unions:

  • Never got into collateralized  mortgage obligations, which helped crash the economy in 2008;
  • Are built around their members, not around investors, and are not-for-profit;
  • Have lower overhead costs and fewer branches, which means they have less upkeep and maintenance; and
  • Have "total camaraderie."  "We're the 'It's a Wonderful Life' institution," says Modell.
The article notes recent national statistics on increases in deposits, membership and assets as well as describes results of the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management's Financial Trust Index: 62% of American's surveyed earlier this year trust credit unions. That compares with 28% who trust national banks and 56% who trust local banks.

The story also features a video of Basler describing the credit union's business model. To view the video and read the entire Medill article, use the link.

FBI, Microsoft Remove 1,000 Botnets From Cybercrime Battle

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REDMOND, Wash. (6/7/13)--More than 1,000 of the estimated 1,462 Citadel botnets controlling millions of computers were taken down  week by Microsoft and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in collaboration with a number of groups, Microsoft announced Wednesday.

The Citadel botnets --networks of comprised computers infected by malicious software and controlled by cybercriminals known as botherders--are responsible for more than $500 million in losses among people, businesses, and financial institutions--including credit unions--in 90 countries worldwide. The malware impacted more than five million people, Microsoft said in a press release.

The coordinated effort to take down botnets won't completely eliminate the cybercrime problem, Microsoft said, but it is expected that the loss of so many botnets will "significantly disrupt the botnets' operation, making it riskier and more expensive for cybercriminals to continue doing business."

Disrupting the botnets also allows victims to free their computers from the malware with malware removal or antivirus software to help prevent additional security issues, said Microsoft.

This could mean that credit unions and other financial institutions may see a reprieve in fraudulent activity or a possible decrease in the number of compromised debit and credit cards they reissue because of fraud.

Microsoft also announced it filed a civil suit last week against the cybercriminals operating the Citadel botnets and received authorization from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina to simultaneously cut off communication between the botnets and the infected computers.  And on Wednesday, Microsoft and U.S. Marshals seized data and evidence from the botnets, including computer servers from two data hosting facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

This is the second time Microsoft and authorities have worked together to attack a group of botnets. In March of 2012, Microsoft and a coalition of financial industry players coordinated actions against botnets using the Zeus malware to steal from online banking accounts. The company and its partners in the attack filed a civil lawsuit in a federal court in New York against 39 John Does  (News Now March 28, 2012).

In this week's attack on the botnets, the FBI provided information to foreign law enforcement counterparts so they could take voluntary action against the botnet structure outside the U.S.

"Today's coordinated action between the private sector and law enforcement demonstrates the power of combined legal and technical expertise and we're going to continue to work together to help put these cybercriminals out of business," said Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel and executive vice president, legal and corporate affairs.

Other groups involved in the collaborative effort include the Financial Services--Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), NACHA--The Electronic Payments Association, the American Bankers Association, and several technology industry groups.

Minnesota Foundation Committee Members Honored

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (6/7/13)--The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation recently honored two individuals for their service and contributions on foundation committees.

Click to view larger image Mark Cummins, left, Minnesota Credit Union Network president/CEO, presents Marty Kelly, senior vice president of marketing and business development at U.S. FCU, Burnsville, Minn., Minnesota Credit Unions for Kids Volunteer of the Year Award.
Marty Kelly of U.S. FCU, Burnsville, and Andrea Molnau of United Educators FCU, Apple Valley, were recognized during an awards banquet at the Minnesota Credit Union Network's (MnCUN's) 2013 Annual Meeting & Convention in May.

Kelly, U.S. FCU senior vice president of marketing and business development, was honored with the Minnesota Credit Unions for Kids (MnCU4Kids) Volunteer of the Year Award. Kelly became a member of the MnCU4Kids committee in 2006 has been instrumental in the success of the Credit Unions for Kids golf tournament, annual meeting fundraiser and the Bowl-O-Rama event.

Click to view larger image Andrea Molnau, right, vice president of marketing of United Educators FCU, Apple Valley, Minn., was honored with the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation's Family Involvement Council  Outstanding Volunteer award. Here, she receives the award from Mark Cummins, Minnesota Credit Union Network president/CEO. (Photos provided by Minnesota Credit Union Network.)
CU4Kids is a nonprofit collaboration of credit unions, chapters, leagues/associations and business partners nationwide engaged in fundraising activities to benefit 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Credit unions are the third-largest corporate sponsor of the hospitals.

Molnau, United Educators CU vice president of marketing, was chosen for the Minnesota Family Involvement Council's (FIC) Outstanding Volunteer Award for her longtime service on the committee. Currently the FIC's vice chair, Molnau has been a part of the council since 2002, and has also served as secretary.

The FIC mission is to enhance the future of the credit union movement by providing financial awareness to families. It focuses on providing scholarships to Minnesota credit union members to help further their education and to nurture their relationship with credit unions. Council members vote for the Outstanding Volunteer Award recipient.

Cornerstone FCU's Mortgage-free Promo Response 'Overwhelming'

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CARLISLE, Pa. (6/7/13)--Cornerstone FCU in Carlisle, Pa., launched its Win the Race to Become Mortgage Free promotion and received an "overwhelming" response from members in less than one week, the credit union said.

The promotion helped homeowners lower rates on mortgages with smaller balances or shorter terms that may not otherwise benefit from a mortgage refinance program (Life is a Highway June 6).

"We knew there was a need for such a promotion, but we were very surprised and impressed with the immediate response received," said Dave Keffer, Cornerstone CEO.

Cornerstone received about $7 million worth of inquiries and had more than 60 applications in the cue in less than a week, Keffer told News Now. The number of applications and dollar amount to be refinanced had exceeded the allotted program amounts. Due to the overwhelming response, the promotion ended almost as quickly as it had begun.

The program offered terms of 10, 15, and 20 years, with no closing costs, points, or fees usually incurred during a refinance. The promotion advertised that limited funds were available for loans, so members knew to respond quickly.

For members who did not get their applications to the $94 million asset credit union before the lending limits were reached, a waiting list of names has been started in case the promotion is reinstated.

Louisiana, Iowa CUs Report Growth In Key Areas

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HARAHAN, La. and DES MOINES, Iowa (6/7/13)--Credit unions in Iowa and Louisiana reported growth in several key areas in the first quarter, according to National Credit Union Administration call report data.

Iowa credit unions--in the year ended March 31--led the U.S. in asset and deposit growth, and ranked fourth in the nation in loan portfolio growth, according to NCUA data (The Gazette June 5).

The state's credit union assets rose 10.4% in the first quarter, while deposits gained 10.8% and loans rose 9.9%.

Membership growth at Iowa credit unions expanded 2.4% to rank 24th in the U.S.

Louisiana's 209 federally insured credit unions added 5,933 memberships in the quarter--a 0.5% rise from December 2012, said the Louisiana Credit Union League (eNews June 5). Since March, memberships at Louisiana credit unions have increased by 21,490.

Also, assets at the state's credit unions have risen 3.3% to nearly $9.63 billion at the end of the first quarter from $9.32 billion at the end of 2012. In that same time frame, loans at Louisiana credit unions grew 0.2%.

CUs Participate In Underbanked Solutions Exchange(1)

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (6/6/13)--Credit unions were among the financial institutions that participated in the Center for Financial Services Innovation's (CFSI) 10th Underbanked Solutions Exchange.

The group gathered in Miami, which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. recently reported as the most unbanked city in the U.S.  Senior executives from the participating institutions examined strategies to engage and transform the underserved market.

"The Underbanked Solutions Exchange is a one-of-a-kind program designed to offer these financial services providers the opportunity to acquire knowledge about emerging consumers in the U.S. and to learn from each other about winning strategies and solutions to profitably serve these customers," said Karen Andres, CFSI director of networks, advisory services.

Participants will get a first-hand look at the value of consumer-focused marketing and financial technology during a site visit to one of the newest locations of Boom Financial. Boom mobile banking service is the first to completely eliminate the need for traditional cash wire-transfer services.

Boom members use their mobile phones to make low-cost, bank-grade domestic and international money transfers through text messages. Members can also make purchases and withdrawals at thousands of participating Boom merchants and at more than 100,000 Boom ATMs. The visit will highlight the partnership between Boom and Self-Help FCU, Durham, N.C., an exchange participant and the financial institution issuing Boom's prepaid card.

The exchange will also provide participants with time to share updates on their current efforts in the underserved market, examine other financial solutions being introduced by innovators nationwide, and explore recent changes in the regulatory environment.

The exchange will feature a discussion on small-dollar credit. Participants will be offered a special preview of CFSI's upcoming qualitative research on several forms of small-dollar credit, which illuminates the complexity of the needs and circumstances of small-dollar credit customers.

Randy Dotemoto, senior vice president, Kinecta FCU, Manhattan Beach, Calif., and president, Kinecta Alternative Financial Solutions, will underscore this discussion by presenting Kinecta's efforts to effectively address members small-dollar credit needs through innovative product design.

Other credit unions participating in the exchange include:

  • Centris FCU, Omaha, Neb.;
  • ESL FCU, Rochester, N.Y.;
  • Redstone FCU, Huntsville, Ala.;
  • Hudson Valley FCU, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; and
  • Vancity CU, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

CU System Briefs (06/06/2013)

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  • ATLANTA (6/6/13)--Rob Braswell, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, retired June 1. Braswell had held his position since 2005 and served in the department for 30 years. Steven Pleger, the former senior deputy commissioner, has been named interim commissioner. "During the first half of my career I learned so much from supervisors and experienced examiners that acted as mentors to me, and in the second half of my career I have been blessed to be supported by a strong group of dedicated, hardworking professionals that truly wanted to make a positive impact on the entities we regulate and the citizens of Georgia," Braswell wrote in a letter to the department.
  • MADISON, Wis. (6/6/13)--IDG's CIO magazine has announced CUNA Mutual Group is among its 2013 CIO 100 award recipients. The 26th annual awards program recognizes organizations worldwide that exemplify the highest level of operational and strategic excellence in information technology. This year's honored project for CUNA Mutual was for its Retirement Radar mobile annuity planning application. Launched in November, Retirement Radar leverages "gamification" techniques for tablet (iPad), mobile, and PC use. By integrating gamified design and mechanics, Radar creates a clear sales experience for customers and financial advisors. Easy-to-understand icons and visual imagery enable the advisor to illustrate a fun, personalized solution to an otherwise serious, sometimes frightening, and complex topic of retirement income, CUNA Mutual said. This year's award recognition marks the sixth time CUNA Mutual Group has received the CIO 100 honor since 2004 ...

Wis. CU Activists Win Budget Bill Battle

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PEWAUKEE, Wis. (6/6/13)--After working through the evening, the Wisconsin State Legislature Joint Finance Committee (JFC) completed its budget process Wednesday morning without adding any measures that would hurt state credit unions, the Wisconsin Credit Union League reported Wednesday.

The Wisconsin Credit Union League previously lobbied to defeat Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) efforts to eliminate credit unions' independent state regulator as part of the state budget process.

This is a noteworthy development given that WBA was able to add last minute anti-credit union policy into two budget bills in 2009 and 2011, the Wisconsin league said. Credit union activists were able to secure a gubernatorial veto of the WBA provision in 2009.  

Two new credit union examiner positions, which credit union activists lobbied for during the State Government Affairs Conference, are included in this year's final JFC budget.

League President Dan Egan To Retire In December

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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (6/6/13)--President Daniel F. Egan, Jr. of the Massachusetts Credit Union League, New Hampshire Credit Union League, and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island, has announced that he will retire on Dec. 31.

Egan said he will be retiring as the president and CEO of the three trade groups as well as New England Credit Union Services, the jointly owned firm which manages and provides services to the three trade associations.

Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney said of Egan: "Dan's long service for credit unions, and particularly his leadership at the state and national levels, has strengthened and enhanced the credit union movement at all levels. While he will be retiring from the movement, his legacy of service and contributions to the movement will no doubt stand for years to come."

Massachusetts Credit Union League Chairman David Surface added that Egan will be greatly missed: "He has been many things to many people in our credit union community: a leader, an innovator, a consensus builder, and a trusted advisor, to name a few."

He went on to say, "Fortunately, he has constructed a tremendous foundation and we are confident that his successor will build on the many accomplishments we have seen under Dan's leadership." Surface is the president of St. Jean's Credit Union in Lynn, Mass.

Egan reflected on his 32-year career in the credit union movement, saying: "It's been a true privilege to assist the credit unions in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island in their mission to provide outstanding financial services. I'm proud to have had a part in this great cooperative effort to improve the financial lives of working families."

A committee comprised of members of the boards of the credit union trade groups from the three states has selected O'Rourke & Associates, a consulting firm headquartered in South San Francisco, Calif., to conduct a search for a new leader. The firm will begin recruiting immediately and interested individuals should contact Mike Juratovac, CEO of O'Rourke & Associates.

Georgia CU Affiliates, Wells Fargo Studies Shed Light On Student Debt

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DULUTH, Ga. (6/6/13)--More than 22% of respondents to a Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) survey said they have an existing student loan, and 12.8% said they are not on track to pay it back. And a separate Wells Fargo survey indicates about one third of millennial respondents wish they had entered the workforce instead going to college.

More than 5% of respondents owe between $10,000 and $20,000, and 10% of respondents owe more than $20,000, the GCUA survey revealed.

"Falling behind on your student loan payments can be very costly," said Michael Huff, project management manager of Associated CU in Norcross, Ga. "It also damages your credit, which can have negative ripple effects to all aspects of your financial life."

The soft job market has led many people to choose extended repayment plans of up to 25 years, Huff explained. "The extended payment option can turn a $25,000 student loan debt into $52,000 in total amount paid," Huff added. "And 25 years spent in paying off college debt can really impact their borrowing power for future purchases like a new car or home."

As student loan balances increase and job prospects continue to look bleak for young graduates, it is harder for students to repay the money it took to complete their degrees, GCUA said.

Tuition costs have risen by more than 26% since 2005. As a result, student loan debt is rising too, currently estimated at $986 billion, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. A recent study by TransUnion reports more than half of all student loans are now delinquent or in deferral.

While students are borrowing twice what they did a decade ago, they face more challenges in repaying their debt. A study by the Associated Press found 53.6% of Americans under age 25 are either unemployed or underemployed. Many young Americans graduate with their degrees only to find it impossible to repay their student loan debt, GCUA said. More than 13% of graduates default on their student loans within three years of leaving college, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Also, roughly one out of three millennials (between the age of 22 and 32) of the 1,414 surveyed in a recent Wells Fargo study said they now believe they would have been better off directly entering the workforce after high school instead of going to college (LoneStar Leaguer May 29).

The reason for that that about-face is that more than half of those surveyed used student loans to finance their college education, and that many found they created a an overwhelming financial  burden.  Currently, U.S. student loan debt is totaling roughly $798 billion--exceeding U.S. credit card debt.

The Credit Union National Association's first annual High School Student Borrowing Survey, released in April, found that nearly half of high school seniors don't know how much they will need for college costs. That lack of knowledge translates to a greater student-debt burden after college.

In a recent meeting with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials, CUNA said credit unions could do more to help debt-saddled grads if the maximum credit union student loan maturity of 15 years was increased.

MCUL Offers BET Founder Help In Ending Payday Lending

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MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (6/5/13)--The founder of Black Entertainment Television said he wants to offer an alternative to payday lending--and the Michigan Credit Union League says credit unions can help (Michigan Monitor June 3).

Robert L. Johnson, BET founder, in speaking at Detroit Regional Chamber's Mackinac Policy Conference on May 29 (Mlive.com), told the group there is no reason why the nation should allow that kind of lending process to take place if there are alternatives, and he noted "there are alternatives."

Although Johnson is working with a Texas Finance company, credit unions would be a great partner for the program, said MCUL & Affiliates CEO David Adams (Michigan Monitor June 3).

Adams said that "credit unions would be a fabulous partner with him and his organization to provide these alternatives to consumers. Alternatives to payday lenders who--not it all cases but in many cases--take advantage of people."

He noted many credit unions have programs aimed at replacing payday lenders. Community Promise FCU in Kalamazoo was set up specifically to put an end to payday lenders in its neighborhood, he said.

This summer, Johnson plans to announce a new program that offers wage advance lending in partnership with employers. The loans would have lower rates and longer terms than payday lenders and would offer rate discounts for consumers who pass a financial literacy test, set up savings accounts and pay on time.

Study: FI Branch Transactions Down 45% Since 1992

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ATLANTA (6/6/13)--Branch transactions at credit unions and community banks have declined 45% since 1992, according to the 2013 FMSI Teller Line Study. The average cost per transaction has increased to $1.08 from 48 cents. Meanwhile,  mobile banking is on the rise, the study said.

FMSI provides business intelligence systems to financial institutions.

The study is a compilation of statistics from credit unions and community banks in geographic regions across North America. The March 2013 study encompasses more than 17 million teller transactions and compares the same to the previous 21 years of the study.

Regarding mobile banking, the study said worldwide mobile payment transactions surpassed $171.5 billion in 2012, up 62% from $106 billion in 2011. Usage in U.S. increased by 50% since 2011.

However, despite its growth, mobile banking still only accounts for less than 3% of transactions for the majority of FMSI's clients.

Among the reasons for the decrease in branch productivity is that the number of branches have increased at a higher rate than the population, the study said.

The ratio of population to branches had declined dramatically by 2008 from where it was in 1970, the study said.  In 1970, 9,340 people were served per branch; by 2008 that number dropped to 3,683 per branch, according to the report.

"This metric is a result from a nearly 300% growth in the number of branches while the population growth was nearly half of that."

Overall, credit unions and community banks have experienced a 17.9% decline in transactions per teller hour, the study said.

Based on average branch monthly volume, credit unions have seen a 12.1% drop, while banks have seen a 26.2% decline.

Teller processing labor cost per transaction has increased 6.5% at credit unions, and jumped 18.4% at banks.

"It is now more important than ever for bank and credit union management to pay closer attention to their operating expenses. The labor cost savings associated with a focused and dedicated workforce optimization program for branches has become too great to ignore," the study said. "Maximizing the staffing investment through a more sophisticated scheduling approach also leads to improving sales and service levels."

"By paying closer attention to teller idle time, or the time tellers are waiting for transactions, an institution can get more accomplished during these systematically identified lull periods through proactively scheduling outbound selling campaigns," the study concluded.

Michigan CUs See Record Lending, Membership Growth

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LANSING, Mich. (6/6/13)--Michigan consumers strengthened their relationship with credit unions in the first quarter of 2013 as membership continued to grow. Michigan credit unions also continue to finance record levels of loans--all of which helps contribute to the state's economic recovery, according to an analysis of data from the National Credit Union Administration released Wednesday by the Michigan Credit Union League.

"The growth in credit union deposits and lending in the first quarter shows very clearly that families, students, and businesses continue to join credit unions, and to deepen their relationship with credit unions because they understand the value of credit union membership now more than ever," said MCUL CEO David Adams.

"Michigan credit unions provide members access to historically low rates on loans, and lower fees on checking accounts," he added. "This in turn frees up cash for households and allows members to pay down debt, save for the future, and spend more at local businesses."

The data showed these highlights for the first quarter of 2013:

  • Michigan credit union membership is at its highest level, and has grown for seven straight quarters. The state now has 4.56 million credit union members, up 15,776 from the previous quarter. Today, 46% of Michigan residents are credit union members--16 points higher than the national rate.
  • Checking account balances grew more than 9% in the first quarter. Since the end of 2008, checking balances are up over $2 billion, representing 50% growth in slightly more than four years.
  • Michigan credit unions financed more than $1 billion in home loans, up from $882 million from the same period in 2012. Michigan credit unions financed more in fixed-rate mortgages in 2012 than in any previous year.
  • Credit union loans to businesses rose 6.9%, compared with 2.6% growth in the same period in 2012 and more than four points higher than the national rate.
  • Loans for new- and used-automobiles also ticked upward, reflecting the national trend of strong auto sales.
  • The boom in student loans is impacting Michigan credit unions, with total loans having reached $100 million for the first time, with growth of 5.4% in the first quarter.
News Now recently covered the National Credit Union Administration's announcement of first-quarter financial results for credit unions. Use the link.

Corporate One FCU Elects Board

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (6/6/13)--Corporate One FCU, Columbus, Ohio announced the the results of its board elections at its recently held annual meeting.

Charles F. Plassenthal, CEO/manager Dayton Firefighters (Ohio) FCU, and John J. Shirilla, president/CEO, Best Reward FCU, Brook Park, Ohio, were elected to three-year terms.

Plassenthal was re-elected to his fourth term on Corporate One's board of directors. Shirilla, was re-elected to his fifth term.

At the Nov. 30 board meeting, a resolution was approved to reduce the size of the of Corporate One FCU board from eleven back to nine in accordance with Corporate One FCU Bylaws effective as of the Annual Meeting held in April.

Other Corporate One board members and officers include:

  • Chairman--Jerry Guy,  KEMBA FCU, West Chester, Ohio;
  • Vice Chair--Jan Thomas, PSE CU, Warren, Pa.;
  • Treasurer--Shirilla;
  • Secretary--Phillip Buell, Superior FCU, Lima, Ohio;
  • Bob Burrow, Bayer Heritage FCU, Proctor, W. Va.;
  • Lee Powell,  DESCO FCU, Portsmouth, Ohio;
  • Robert Fertitta, Navigator CU, Pascagoula, Miss.;
  • Timothy McMurry, PowerNet CU, Tampa, Fla.; and
  • Charlie Plassenthal of Dayton Firefighters FCU.

CU's Digital Billboards Provide Weather Updates

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (6/5/13)--Consumers CU, Kalamazoo, Mich., has partnered with a local television station to sponsor weather forecasts on several media platforms.

Click to view larger image WWMT's three-day forecast now appears on Consumers CU's digital billboards in Kalamazoo and Holland, Mich. The seven-day forecast appears on the credit union's in-office video education monitors. (Photo provided by Consumers CU)
WMMT Channel 3 will feature three-day forecasts on Consumers CU's digital billboards in Kalamazoo, Mich., and Holland, Mich.

Seven-day forecasts will be featured on WWMT Channel 3 newscasts, Consumers CU in-office video education monitors, and in all WWMT online Web and weather applications.

"In just this past week alone, we've had freeze warnings, tornado warnings, and have gone from hot to cold in a matter of an hour," said Kit Snyder, Consumers CU president/CEO. "We take assisting our members in their everyday lives very seriously. This is one more way we can help members plan for their days."

CU System Briefs (06/05/2013)

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  • LANSING, Mich. (6/5/13)--Three Michigan credit unions' participation in affordable Housing Advisory Council programs were featured in the council's 2012 Annual Report, said the Michigan Credit Union League. The council is part of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis. The bank's member institutions were able to access more than $125 million in grants to help spur more affordable housing and job opportunities. Case CU in Lansing provided a $7,500 Neighborhood Impact Program grant to a member to replace antiquated single-pane windows with new energy-efficient and also to replace a leaky roof. The credit union also provided a $10,000 grant to help a couple replace worn out windows and exterior doors. Communicating Arts CU in Detroit helped a member get a new roof, gutter, downspouts and windows for her home. Also, CEO Bernie Williams of Wanigas CU in Saginaw helped coordinate a revitalization forum for the city of Saginaw to increase awareness of affordable housing programs (Michigan Monitor June 3) ...
  • LEOMINSTER, Mass. (6/5/13)--The board of Leominster (Mass.) CU (LCU) has appointed John J. O'Brien to be the $608 million asset credit union's president/CEO, reported the Massachusetts Credit Union League. He will take over for Carol A. Southworth, who served as interim president/CEO since January. O'Brien came to LCU in 2007 as senior vice president of lending and was responsible for the credit union's consumer, indirect lending and real estate programs, along with collections and loan-servicing operations (Values & Visions May 23) ...

NEW: League President Dan Egan To Retire In December

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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (6/5/13, UPDATED 2:35 p.m. ET)--President Daniel F. Egan, Jr. of the Massachusetts Credit Union League, New Hampshire Credit Union League, and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island, has announced that he will retire on Dec. 31.

Egan said he will be retiring as the president and CEO of the three trade groups as well as New England Credit Union Services, the jointly owned firm which manages and provides services to the three trade associations.

Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney said of Egan, "Dan's long service for credit unions, and particularly his leadership at the state and national levels, has strengthened and enhanced the credit union movement at all levels. While he will be retiring from the movement, his legacy of service and contributions to the movement will no doubt stand for years to come."

Massachusetts Credit Union League Chairman David Surface added that Egan will be greatly missed: "He has been many things to many people in our credit union community:  a leader, an innovator, a consensus builder, and a trusted advisor, to name a few." 

He went on to say, "Fortunately, he has constructed a tremendous foundation and we are confident that his successor will build on the many accomplishments we have seen under Dan's leadership." Surface is the president of St. Jean's Credit Union in Lynn, Mass.

Egan reflected on his 32-year career in the credit union movement, saying, "It's been a true privilege to assist the credit unions in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island in their mission to provide outstanding financial services. I'm proud to have had a part in this great cooperative effort to improve the financial lives of working families."

A committee comprised of members of the boards of the credit union trade groups from the three states has selected O'Rourke & Associates, a consulting firm headquartered in South San Francisco, Calif., to conduct a search for a new leader.  The firm will begin recruiting immediately and interested individuals should contact Mike Juratovac, chief executive officer of O'Rourke & Associates.

Minnesota CUs' Assets Grew 3.2% In First Quarter

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (6/5/13)--Minnesota credit unions improved their financial strength as measured by nearly every indicator during the first quarter, including asset growth of 3.2% during the first quarter.

Credit unions saw growth in the years since the financial crisis, according to the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN).

Minnesota credit unions showed growth in these areas:

  • Asset Growth--Minnesota credit union saw 7.3% growth between first quarter 2012 and first quarter 2013.
  • Deposit Growth--Deposits in Minnesota credit unions rose 3.5% in the first quarter from the fourth quarter and had 7.7% growth year over year from first quarter 2012 to first quarter 2013.
  • Loan Growth (Total Loans)--Year-over-year growth in loans made by Minnesota credit unions increased by 3.3% between first quarter 2012 and first quarter 2013, while loans decreased 0.5%.
  • Net Income--Minnesota credit unions are rated as "well-capitalized" by the National Credit Union Administration, with a net worth of 10.19%.
Consumers and businesses are choosing credit unions as their primary financial institution--much the same as they are choosing local restaurants and food co-ops, local businesses and other community-focused options, MnCUN said.

"Minnesotans have always been strong advocates for the member-owned model of credit unions," Mark Cummins, MnCUN president/CEO. "Consumers trust credit unions more than other financial institutions, as they align with their values of local, and not-for-profit financial institutions."

Credit unions submit quarterly data to NCUA. The summary and analysis was compiled by the Minnesota Credit Union Network based on NCUA's Call Report Data.

Pa. Bill To Legalize Short-Term Loan Alternatives

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (6/5/13)--Legislation that would legalize a new type of short-term loans called "microloans" and place a cap on the loan amount was introduced Friday in the Pennsylvania Senate, reports the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.

The measure, introduced by State Sen. Pat Brown (R-Lehigh County), would provide an avenue for borrowers to earn their way to longer-term, less expensive loan products, said PCUA (Life Is a Highway June 4).

Legislation to legalize so-called payday loans stalled last year in the Senate after passing the House.

The bill would cap the maximum loan amount to 25% of the consumer's gross monthly income, limit interest rates for each loan at 28%, and restrict fees to 5% of the loan amount. Loans could also be rescinded the next day without penalty or fee and an extended repayment option allowed.

PCUA's Credit Union Better Choice program offers a payday loan alternative that includes financial counseling and required saving with a lower-cost short-term loan.  More than 70 credit unions in the state offer 90-day loans with a $500 limit. Since the program launched in 2006, it has loaned more than 64,000 short-term loans--totaling $32 million--to credit union members.

The program has saved borrowers more than $23 million overusing a traditional payday lending product, said PCUA.

CUs Urged To Get Into Mobile Payments

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MADISON, Wis. (6/5/13)--Credit unions are being urged to figure out how they will fit in with mobile point-of-sale (POS) payments--before it is too late, according to a May 28 article in The Financial Brand.

The payments space traditionally has been dominated by credit unions and banks. However, financial institutions already are facing competition from new players in the e-commerce and mobile point-of-sale fields.

While checking accounts still are consumers' key payment mechanism, nearly 15% of online consumers have made a mobile POS purchase in the past 30 days, according Rob Rubin, a partner and head of the banking practice with Novarica and author of the article.

PayPal, for example, has captured 57% of the mobile POS users market because it has courted merchant service providers that provide retailers with POS systems. And Starbucks Corp. has its own mobile payment app to accept payments and allow customers to load money in an account to use at a POS.

How big a threat are these competitors?  Starbucks's mobile card volume has reached 4.5 million payments a week--which it calls a "seismic change" in how consumers use mobile phones and social media (PaymentsSource.com May 29).  The coffee company plans to expand its rewards system to grocery stores. It already is distributing bags of coffee with an attached tag that the consumer uses to earn stars.

"This is just the beginning of integrating card loyalty, social and mobile, in multiple channels of distribution," Starbucks Chairman and President/CEO Howard Schultz told the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference May 29.

In 2009, Starbucks began its dedicated card app that worked in 16 stores. In 2010, it deployed the system in 1,000 stories built within Target retail stores before rolling the system nationwide.

The net effect of consumers' ability to load money to use at a POS is a disaggregation of features consumers once associated with their checking provider, said Rubin in The Financial Brand article. "This represents a tremendous risk for banks and credit unions because it whittles down the value of  'primary banking relationships'--essential to growing relationships and revenues," he wrote.

CUs Rock Consumer Satisfaction With Online Sites

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (6/5/13)--Credit union sites scored the highest in user satisfaction with average scores of 82--or "highly satisfied," in Foresee's Financial Services Benchmark released last week.

The Foresee survey reports on online and mobile customer satisfaction trends for several industry segments, including credit unions, banks, investments and lending companies and miscellaneous financially focused organizations.

The research allows companies to gauge the state of the industry and determine how their online and mobile experiences compare to industry averages. ForeSee, a company that uses technology-driven customer experience analytics, developed the benchmark with data from first quarter 2013 culled from more than 335,000 surveys, in which consumers shared their experiences with online websites, mobile websites and mobile applications.

Overall, average customer satisfaction with financial websites is at 72 on ForeSee's 100-point scale. Scores of 80 and higher are classified as "highly satisfied," while scores of 69 and lower are "dissatisfied." While the industry average score of 72 indicates that many consumers are satisfied with their online banking experience, it leaves room for improvement across the industry, Foresee said.

Investments and lending organizations scored much lower than credit unions with average satisfaction scores of 69 and 70, respectively. Banking and miscellaneous financially focused organizations--such as financial media sites--fell in the middle range, with average satisfaction scores of 71 and 74.

Across all industry segments, highly satisfied customers are more likely to recommend their institution than less-satisfied customers. For example, highly satisfied credit union members are 92% more likely to recommend their credit union, Foresee said.

Highly satisfied customers also are more likely to use the website in the future. Highly satisfied credit union members are 29% more likely to use the credit union again.

Three financial industry segments were measured to calculate customers' "likelihood to use more services," which is a key marker for future growth and long-term satisfaction. Credit union members who are highly satisfied are 75% more likely than less-satisfied members to use more products/services in the future.

To read the full survey, use the link.

Survey Shows CUs Best In All Satisfaction Drivers

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (6/5/13)--Credit unions score consistently higher than banks across the board in six areas that drive consumer satisfaction, says a new credit union industry study from CFI Group, a customer satisfaction technology and analytics firm based in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The 2013 Credit Union Satisfaction Index found credit unions scored an overall 90 on a 0-to-100 point scale, significantly higher thant other industries, including retail banking. CFI Group's report noted that it considers scores in the 70s as good, 80s as excellent and 90s as outstanding.

Credit unions had these scores in six areas that drive member satisfaction:

  • Branch staff, 93;
  • Online banking, 92;
  • Information/communications, 90;
  • Products and services, 89;
  • Branch convenience, 85; and
  • Rates and fees, 83.

The report noted that of the six drivers, four are key and should get credit unions' focus.  Online banking contributes 42% toward increasing member satisfaction; branch staff contributes 31%; branch convenience, 17%; and information/communications, 10%.

The index also tells why members joined their credit union:

  • Benefit through employer, 23%;
  • Someone recommended it, 20%;
  • Good rates and fees, 14%;
  • Offerings are right for me, 13%;
  • Convenient location, 11%;
  • More personalized service, 11%; and
  • Other, 7%.

The survey also looks at penetration of products and services among members. Checking and savings products each account for 94% penetration, and debit cards, 73%.  Other products have 30% or less penetration.

The index is powered by the American Customer Satisfaction Index methodology and surveyed 400 active credit union members from across the U.S. between March 13 and March 17. Use the link to access the full report.

Fostering service excellence is one of the three foundations--along with removing barriers and raising awareness--of the national Unite for Good campaign aimed at achieving credit unions' strategic vision in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial institution, according to the Credit Union National Association. For more information, use the Unite for Good and aSmarterChoice.org links.

Mid-Atlantic Corporate Outreach Models CUs' Efforts

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (6/5/13)--The staff at Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU in Middletown, Pa., has been busy this year modeling the credit union community's "people-helping people" spirit through community outreach initiatives.

"Helping people and their communities is at the heart of credit unions' mission, and it's integral to the credit union brand," said Jay Murray, president/CEO of Mid-Atlantic Corporate. "At our corporate, we offer a wide variety of ways our employees can get involved, but they need little encouragement."

To better organize the activities, the senior team created a community involvement committee for 2013 to develop new ways for the staff to assist in the community.

Among the corporate's 2013 outreach activities organized by the committee are:

  • In February, Mid-Atlantic Corporate hosted a blood drive to support local blood banks. This is an annual, onsite event, and since 1998, it has collected 554 pints of blood.
  • During March, the corporate raised nearly $800 in support of "Daffodil Days," which brings in funding for research and services of the American Cancer Society. Many staffers purchased bunches or pots of daffodils, and 12 employees volunteered their time to sell the flowers in the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building.
  • In April, the corporate offered staff two ways to get involved in National Financial Literacy Month. On April 3, employees who donated $5 or purchased treats at a bake sale could dress in jeans for the day. And April 3-26, staff took part in a "Loose Change Challenge," pitting departments against each other in a coin collection contest. The events collected $728 to support the financial education efforts of the National Credit Union Foundation.
  • Also in April, the corporate celebrated Earth Day and its own "green" initiatives by distributing reusable cups with lids to all staff, sharing a tip sheet offering earth-friendly activities for employees, and planting a tree as a living reminder of the importance of protecting the planet.
  • May offered employees a chance to support the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area. Their efforts resulted in more than 100 items collected to care for and treat pets awaiting adoption.
  • In partnership with the Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club, several Mid-Atlantic Corporate employees and family members volunteered their time to clean and beautify the trail at a work day May 18. The group helped with digging trenches, repairing bridges, hauling shale and removing fallen trees and debris.
This month, the corporate will support Children's Miracle Network (CMN), a key national charity of the credit union movement.

Saturday, employees answered phones and accepted donations at the local CMN Telethon, where the corporate presented its 2012 proceeds in a $15,300 check. On June 15, staff will volunteer and others will run in the Hershey Company's 10th Annual Chocolate Miracle 5K Race to benefit CMN. Also, the corporate's annual golf tournament to support CMN is scheduled for June 20.

Malawai CUs Tackle New Reg Compliance Challenges

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LILONGWE, Malawi (6/5/13)--World Council of Credit Unions and Malawi Union of Savings & Credit Co-operatives (MUSCCO) representatives met with state officials in Lilongwe, Malawi, last week to discuss expanding credit union services to rural areas.

Click to view larger image A group of World Council of Credit Unions representatives met with the vice president of Malawi in Lilongwe last week to discuss credit union expansion to rural areas. Representatives included, from left, Brian Branch, World Council of Credit Unions president/CEO; Sylvester Kadzola, World Council director and Malawi Union of Savings & Credit Co-operatives (MUSCCO) CEO; Emmanuel Darko, Ghana Co-operative Credit Unions Association Ltd. general manager; Ingrid Fischer, Canadian Cooperative Association Africa region director ; Khumbo Hastings Kachali, Malawi Vice President; Faith Mang'anda, MUSCCO chair; Charles Kayesa, Malawi registrar of cooperatives; and Alex Gomani, Malawi principal secretary ministry of industry and trade.
Malawi's credit unions, known as savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs), have taken on new compliance challenges since the country's Financial Cooperatives Bill in 2011 led to a new regulatory framework in April.

Malawi has 46 SACCOs serving 123,540 members and having total assets of roughly $21 million.

Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO, joined World Council Director Sylvester Kadzola, CEO of Malawi Union of Savings & Credit Co-operatives (MUSCCO), a World Council member organization, in a meeting with Malawi Vice President Khumbo Hastings Kachali and Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor Charles Chuka.

"New regulatory forums and structures under new 2012 regulatory framework reflect an increase in regulatory compliance for credit union systems everywhere around the world," Branch said. "National regulatory bodies are working to bring up to international standards the supervision of all institutions that take savings."

Click to view larger image Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor Charles Chuka, left, stressed strong leadership and good governance practices among Malawi's savings and credit cooperatives to Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO.  (Photos provided by World Council of Credit Unions)
During the meeting, Kachali asked for the expansion of SACCO services to rural areas. Chuka encouraged MUSCCO to work on strengthening leadership and good-governance practices among SACCOs. Kadzola stressed the importance of SACCOs in achieving broad-based financial inclusion and building a strong savings base for the country.

The Reserve Bank of Malawi, which acts as SACCOs' regulator and supervisor, issued new regulations in April. Supervision for SACCOs with assets less than $280,000 was delegated to MUSCCO in liaison with the Reserve Bank.

MUSCCO has since instituted regular reporting and examination systems to monitor credit union performance. The new regulatory framework also puts into place a national identification system and credit bureau in which the SACCOs will participate.

Top 10 News Now Articles For May

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MADISON, Wis. (6/5/13)--Two articles about how credit unions were affected by a tornado that devastated Moore, Okla., were the most-read News Now articles in May.

The top 10 articles for the month:

10. Udall Reintroduces Bill To Increase CUs' MBL Cap

WASHINGTON (5/16/13)--Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) today reintroduced legislation that would increase the credit union member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets, from the current 12.25%-of-assets level.

9. CUNA to CFPB: Avoid One-size-fits-all Payday Regs

WASHINGTON (5/3/13)--While oversight of largely unregulated, predatory payday lenders and their products is overdue, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau must take steps to avoid crafting one-size-fits-all regulations that would harm credit unions as it addresses payday loan issues, the Credit Union National Association said in a Thursday letter to CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

8. Calif. DFI Warns CUs About Ads' FOM Language

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (5/14/13)--The California Department of Financial Institutions issued a warning about credit unions using certain language about their fields of membership in their advertising.

7. Ways and Means Releases Working Group Tax Reform Report

WASHINGTON (5/7/13)--A 550-plus page report on tax policy reform created by 11 House Ways and Means working groups and delivered to the Joint Committee on Taxation Monday mentions the credit union tax exemption, as expected.

6. CFPB Proposes CUNA-sought Credit Rule Delay

WASHINGTON (5/8/13)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has favorably responded to the Credit Union National Association's recent request that the agency delay a June 1 effective date relating to the prohibition on financing certain credit insurance charges. The provision is contained within the bureau's mortgage loan originator compensation rule.

5. NCUA Releases CU Derivatives Program Proposal

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (5/16/13)--Well-run federal credit unions would be permitted to use simple derivatives to hedge against interest rate risks under a just-proposed National Credit Union Administration program.

4. Final CFPB Remittance Rule Is Effective Oct 28

WASHINGTON (5/1/13)--Oct. 28 will be the effective date for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's final remittance regulations, the bureau announced Tuesday.

3. 'Don't Tax My CU' Campaign Mobilizes 96 Million Members

WASHINGTON (5/16/13)--The Credit Union National Association and its affiliated state credit union leagues have launched a large-scale, nationwide grassroots-mobilization campaign urging America's 96 million credit union members to deliver a united message to the U.S. Congress: "Don't tax my credit union!"

2. Oklahoma League On Tornado: 'We're Prepared To Get Through This'

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.  (5/22/13)--Three credit unions in Moore, Okla., saw different outcomes when Monday's EF5 tornado swept through with 200 mile-per-hour winds that leveled thousands of homes and businesses in an area as much as two miles wide and 17 miles long.

1. Tinker FCU Branch Destroyed, Assisting Staff And Members

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (5/22/13)--For nearly two dozen staff and members of Tinker FCU's branch in Moore, Okla., Monday afternoon had its moment of reckoning. A half-mile wide tornado bore down on the branch and they took cover in the credit union's safe deposit box vault. After it was over, they were safe and sound, and the only thing left standing was the vault.

Tornado Victims Receive CU Relief: 'Outpouring Of Generosity Is Humbling'

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (6/5/13)--Credit unions have contributed more than $66,000 to the Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation's Tornado Disaster Relief Fund to assist credit union people who were impacted by a rash of tornados near Oklahoma City the past two weeks.

Tinker FCU's Moore, Okla., branch, gutted by an EF-5 tornado on May 20, will be rebuilt in the same location,, Tinker's senior management and board announced. The branch made national news when 22 people survived the tornado inside a safe deposit box vault--the only thing left standing. The branch is expected to be completed before the end of the year. (Photo provided by Tinker FCU)
"And more more checks are still coming in," said Gary Jones, president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma. So far, the association has delivered $24,000 in grants.

"In the three back-to-back events, we used a short form to get $500  within 12 to 24 hours into the hands of CEOs or management to deliver to individuals, so they have cash in hand for personal things like showers and toothbrushes," Jones told News Now. "Then we prepare a more robust form" to distribute the other funds for longer-term needs.

In the three back-to-back tornado events that hit Shawnee May 19, Moore May 20, and El Reno Friday, the only serious damage was to the Moore branch of Tinker FCU, which was destroyed, said Jones. Other credit unions had interruptions in power, utilities and water and minor damage that did not adversely affect credit union buildings.

However, the human stories are more telling. The Supervisory Committee chairman of a credit union near El Reno told him that after one tornado passed, he and his wife left their shelter only to be confronted with a second storm that tossed them back into their shelter and took their home. They suffered scrapes and bruises but are OK, he said.

Another credit union told him that a comptroller's sister and brother in law were caught in a tornado. While he was putting a mattress over her, he was swept up by the twister and killed.

CUAOK has received an outpouring of generosity from around the country," Jones said, noting generosity of regulators, peers and vendors. "Please convey my sincere gratitude to people across the country. It has been humbling." He told of one credit union in Wichita that arrived with a van full of nonperishable food  and a $10,000 check for the fund.

"I try to personally deliver each check and I see the gratitude of the staff."

Meanwhile, Tinker FCU's senior management and board of directors announced that they would immediately start the process of rebuilding the Moore branch in the same location it previously was located. The facility was destroyed in the EF-5 tornado that hit Moore on May 20, killing two dozen people. Twenty-two people in the credit union survived by seeking shelter in a safe deposit box vault--the only thing left standing once the storm was over.

TFCU officials said they hope to have the new branch completed before the end of the year. The property has already been cleared of debris and the old foundation removed, said Tinker's website.

The new floor plan being finalized will have improved traffic flow, while offering the same services to members as before. The new building will have more than 6,000 square feet, with a safe deposit box vault, a Personal Finance Café, Investment Center and children's play area inside and six drive-thru lanes and an ATM outside.

"I am thrilled we are beginning the construction process so soon," said Assistant Vice President/Branch Manager Jan Davis. "I love the Moore community and the people we have served at that branch since opening in 2005. We're very excited to be staying in the same area."

To contribute to the Tornado Disaster Relief Fund, make checks payable to the Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation, mark them designated for the Tornado Disaster Relief Fund and send them to:

Credit Union Association of Oklahoma

631 E. Hill Street

Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For more information, contact Carrie Buchholz at 405-702-8622, ext. 215, or at carrie@cuaok.org.

NCUF: Over 80,000 Money Rules Books Distributed

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MADISON, Wis. (6/4/13)--More than 80,000 copies of the book "Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security" have been distributed to credit union members and employees through a special initiative by the National Credit Union Foundation the past six months.

Click to view larger image Click for larger view
"Money Rules," by bestselling personal finance author Jean Chatzky, contains a set of actionable rules that, if followed, will allow readers to enjoy a lifetime of financial security and eliminate their stress about money, NCUF said.

Through the NCUF initiative, credit union organizations can receive the book for a reduced rate--through a donation to NCUF. Large quantities of the book have been requested by credit unions and state credit union associations, such as Fox Communities CU in Appleton, Wis., and the Michigan Credit Union League in Lansing, Mich.

Other credit unions are distributing the "Money Rules" books at community events, offering it to new members as part of their on-boarding program, and giving copies as thank-you gifts to members and volunteers.

When an organization requests 1,000 or more copies of the book, the donor organization's name will be included on a sticker on the front cover. Each book already comes with "Compliments of: NCUF" printed on the cover. All the books are sent to credit union organizations on a non-returnable basis, for promotional purposes only and not for resale.

For more information, use the link.

CU System Briefs (06/04/2013)

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  • WASHINGTON (6/4/13)--
    Click to view larger image Click for larger view
    Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney and CUNA Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications and Engagement Paul Gentile last week briefed reporters at Bloomberg Government, also known as BGOV, on legislative, regulatory and policy issues that face today's credit unions. BGOV, launched January 2011, has a growing presence in Washington, D.C. as it provides aggregated news, data, information and analysis to policy makers, media, lobbyists and business leaders. Shown here, BGOV staffer David Boyajian grabbed a quick shot of Cheney during the briefing and thanked the CUNA leader on Twitter for addressing the reporters' breakfast meeting ...
  • YORK, Pa (6/4/13)--A 28-year-old man has been sentenced to more than 87 years in federal prison for robberies of a credit union and two banks in 2007. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Tristan Green also was ordered to pay $217,178.45 in restitution and serve a two-year sentence for a parole violation (York Daily Record May 31). The sentences were added to his current 30-year sentence for an earlier robbery at Fulton Bank in Etters.  Green and three others were accused of robbing the Heritage Valley CU on Sept. 20, 2007; Sovereign Bank, York, on Nov. 14, 2007; and Sovereign Bank, Harrisburg, on Dec. 6, 2007 (The Sentinel June 1). Two have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing while the other has been sentenced to almost 13 years in prison and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine ...
  • DES MOINES, Iowa (6/4/13)--The Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) was recognized by the Central Iowa Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the American Marketing Association (AMA) at their PRIME and NOVA awards ceremonies this spring. At the PRSA PRIME Awards Ceremony in April, ICUL received the Award of Excellence for the redesign of its website and the Award of Merit for its 2011 Annual Report. The PRIME awards recognize excellence in Central Iowa agencies, organizations and individual professionals' public relations efforts. The AMA also awarded the league's website redesign third place in the Nonprofit Marketing category at its NOVA awards in May. The Nonprofit Marketing category recognizes marketing programs intended to change behavior, grow membership, increase awareness, raise funds and generate support ...
  • MADISON, WI (6/4/13)--Members of the UW CU in Madison, Wis., now have the convenience of depositing their checks into their savings and checking accounts by taking photos with their mobile devices. It launched Mobile Deposit to help members save time and give them the convenience of banking on their own schedules. "We're committed to giving members access to the latest technology to make banking as convenient and accessible as possible, " said Eric Bangerter,  vice president of E-Commerce and Internet Services at the $1.6  billion asset credit union. "Mobile Deposit saves members a trip to a branch or ATM since they can deposit checks whenever they want, day or night." Mobile banking is a free service ...

Filene Studies Leadership of Canadian CUs

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MADISON, Wis. (6/4/13)--A new Filene Research Institute Report finds that good leaders combine both transactional traits--such as goal setting and rewarding exceptional performance--and transformational traits, such as trust, respect and the ability to motivate employees.

The report, "Leadership and Results: A Study of Canadian Credit Unions," recommends training and talent rotation to nurture both types of traits.

The report was compiled from a study of 22 of Canada's 30 largest credit unions. The study included the collection and analysis of 485 leadership surveys, and data on growth in membership and assets under management for each credit union. The study answered three core questions:

  1. Are there differences in leadership behavior and leadership effectiveness across the credit unions?
  1. What leadership behaviors do the most effective leaders exhibit
  1. Is there a relationship between leadership effectiveness and financial results?
Among the recommendations for credit unions the report offers:

  • Integrate transactional and transformational leadership into existing talent practices. Establish an expectation of both transactional and transformational leadership behaviors at all levels. Consider tracking, monitoring and rewarding these leadership behaviors through annual organizational and individual goal setting, 360 feedback and employee surveys, compensation practices, and learning and development programs.
  • Offer training programs and peer coaching options to develop key leadership behaviors. Create a training program or enhance existing programs to focus on key transformational and transactional leadership behaviors such as coaching, motivating, goal setting and performance management. Given the experience level of credit union leaders, it may be worthwhile to offer both refresher and more comprehensive training programs.
  • Boost new role/assignment opportunities. Provide opportunities for leaders to enhance their transformational and transactional leadership behaviors through special projects, short-term assignments, or a temporary transfer to another area in the credit union.
  • Consider the benefits of becoming larger. Whether through organic growth or through mergers and acquisitions, becoming a larger credit union correlates not only to more effective leadership but also to better financial results, the report said.
 

To download the report, use the link.

Study: Overdraft Revenue Fell $1B In First Quarter

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LAKE BLUFF, Ill. (6/4/13)--Overdraft revenue for financial institutions dropped at an annual rate of nearly $1 billion or 2.8% during first quarter 2013 from first quarter 2012, according to a quarterly study by a Chicago-area economic research firm.

Total deposit service charges fell 2.9% on an annualized basis, which is the first quarterly drop since fourth quarter of 2011 and the second drop in two years, said Lake Bluff, Ill.-based Moebs Services.

Overdraft revenue for first quarter 2013 was $31.1 billion. That compares with $32 billion in fourth quarter 2012; $31.8 billion in third quarter 2012, $31.5 billion in second quarter 2012, and $31 billion in first quarter 2012, said the firm. Since these are all annual rates, that means that overdraft revenue fell from $8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012 to just under $7.8 billion in this year's first quarter.

"Overdraft revenue is starting to act like a barometer of sluggish economy," said Michael Moebs, economist and CEO of Moebs Services. "With the net pay of Americans suffering a jolt under the Affordable Health Care Act's provisions of increased taxes starting Jan. 1, savvy checking account users are fine tuning their finances and reducing expenses especially deposit service charges."

"The tax issue, coupled with the seasonal nature of overdrafts helped dampen OD revenue," he added. February and March are historically low months for overdraft transactions because consumers are trying to recover from holiday spending, he said. "With the reduction of net pay right after the holidays, February and March moved up a month sooner, making the first quarter of 2013 bad."

Although population, household formation and newly opened checking accounts continued to grow, overdraft transactions fell to the lowest level since 1999, said the firm.

Moebs also noted these factors:

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's decision to delay potential overdraft regulations so it could study the issue.  "This threw banks and credit unions into a quandary over how to position price changes on overdrafts," Moebs said, adding, "most financial institutions decided to keep the prices the same while the consumer was overdrawing less--median national charge for an overdraft is $29."
  • Marketing by financial institutions to give waivers on the first six overdraft transactions in a year or to forgo small overdraft balances of less than $5.
  • Lower prices offered by financial institutions.  "Our data show financial institutions that lower prices to help the consumer reduce fees actually increase revenue from having more volume of new checking accounts and transactions," Moebs said.
The study indicates that overdraft revenue in the past six months reflects economic behavior, legislation, regulation and social/cultural changes, Moebs said, adding that the  same changes occurred in the 1990s and 2000s while overdraft revenue continues to grow.  Currently about 30% of the 135 million checking users range from underbanked to less than 600 FICO scores, and the percentage was the same 20 years ago, he said.

"This seems to tell us the consumer and small business person need a financial safety net and want overdraft service. Banks, thrifts and credit unions also appear ready to provide the overdraft safety net, hopefully in a transparent, low price way, free of market restrictions, " Moebs said.

Judge To Comcast: Divulge IDs To CU Targeted By Phish Scam

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (6/4/13)--A federal judge in Columbia, S.C., has granted AllSouth FCU's request for a court order requiring Comcast Cable Communications LLC to disclose certain subscriber information to assist AllSouth in identifying who targeted it for a phishing scam.

AllSouth, a $666 million asset credit union in Columbia, had sued unidentified "John Does and Jane Does" on April 17 in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division, after more than 125 members reported they had revealed personal data to a text-message SMS phishing scam (News Now May 9).

The scam used the credit union's identity in the messages. The suit alleges violation of the credit union's trademark, racketeering and violation of state laws.

U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. Wednesday ordered Comcast, pursuant to the Cable Communication Policy Act, to disclose subscriber information relating to Internet Provider (IP) addresses 74.96.117.190 and 173.166.26.90 from April 1 to April 20.

Information to be disclosed includes: name, address, length of service (including start date), types of services used, telephone or instrument number or other subscriber identity (including any temporarily assigned network address), and means and source of payment (including credit card or bank account number).

Comcast will have seven calendar days after the subpoena is served to notify the subscribers that their identity is sought by the plaintiff. Those subscribers will have 21 calendar days after the Comcast notice to file any papers contesting the disclosure of the information.

The credit union will pay Comcast reasonable costs of compiling the requested information, providing pre-disclosure notifications to subscribers and all other reasonable costs and fees incurred in responding to discovery, said the order.

If the information is no longer available for the period involved, Comcast is then to provide the earliest available subscriber information closest to the original requested dates, the order said.  The information given to the credit union is to be used solely for purposes of protecting its rights under the Trademark Act of 1946, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and state laws applicable to the suit.

Last month the court had granted AllSouth FCU the ability to subpoena third parties to get the information.

Fastest Annual Pace For CU Loan Balances Since 2008

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MADISON, Wis. (6/4/13)--Over the past year, credit union loan balances are up 5.2%--the fastest annual pace since 2008, according to an analysis by a Credit Union National Association economist of CUNA's monthly sample of credit unions for April.  

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"Credit unions reported strong financial performance in April, as well as the first four months of the year," Steve Rick, CUNA senior economist, told News Now. "Loan balances rose 0.63% in April 2013, compared with 0.57% in April 2012. New- and used-auto loan balances continue to surge with April growth rates of 0.96% and 1.1%, respectively."

CUNA released its Monthly Credit Union Estimates Tuesday. Credit union loans totaled $621.1 billion in April, compared with $590.3 billion in April 2012. Credit union loans outstanding grew 0.6% in April--the same as in April 2012. Leading loan growth were adjustable rate mortgages (2.1%), unsecured personal loans (1.1%), used-auto loans (1.1%), new-auto loans (1%) and credit cards (0.3%). Fixed-rate mortgages and other mortgage loans declined 1.2% and 0.3%, respectively.

"Despite the recent pick up in loan growth, the average credit union loan-to-savings ratio fell from 67.2% in April 2012 to 67% in April 2013, due to slightly faster growth of savings compared to loans," Rick said. The ratio was 66% in March.

The liquidity ratio--the ratio of surplus funds maturing in less than one year to borrowings plus other liabilities--fell to 20% in April from 21% in March. "This excess liquidity is keeping downward pressure on credit unions' net interest margins and overall earnings. Credit unions' return-on-assets ratio came in at 0.85% in the first four months of this year, below the 1.02% average set in the 20 years prior to the Great Recession."

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Credit union savings totaled $927.2 billion in April--or $48.4 billion more than the $878.8 billion in April 2012. Credit union savings balances declined 0.4% in April, compared with a 0.7% decrease in April 2012. One-year certificates and individual retirement accounts grew 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively, while share drafts declined 2.4%, money market accounts fell 0.5%, and regular shares declined 0.2%.

Regarding asset quality, credit unions' 60-plus-day delinquency rate fell to 1% in April from 1.1% in March.

"Improving loan quality is reducing provision-for-loan-loss expense, and therefore offsetting somewhat the tighter net interest margins," Rick said. "The delinquent-loans to total-loans ratio fell to 1.02% in April, down from 1.37% in April 2012. This is the lowest loan delinquency rate since August 2008. We expect the credit union delinquency rate to fall to 0.9% by the end of this year and 0.8% by the end of 2014. The credit union loan delinquency rate will then be approaching the 0.75% average set in the 20 years prior to the Great Recession."

Total credit union membership grew 0.2% during April. As of April, credit union membership totaled 96.7 million.

The movement's overall capital-to-asset ratio remained at 10%. The total dollar amount of capital is $112 billion.

Iowa and Nebraska. Leagues Partner With CoOportunity Health

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DES MOINES, Iowa (6/4/13)--Credit unions in Iowa and Nebraska will partner with CoOportunity Health to offer affordable, cooperative health insurance options for individuals, families and businesses starting this fall.

Like credit unions, CoOportunity Health is a not-for-profit organization. It is a new health insurance consumer operated and oriented plan (CO-OP) created as part of the Affordable Care Act to create new competition and new choice.

It is one of 24 CO-OPs approved nationwide, but the only one to serve Iowa and Nebraska. CoOportunity Health is managed by and for its members. Any savings will be used to increase member benefits and lower premiums, similar to the mission of credit unions.

Iowa and Nebraska credit unions will be the exclusive financial institution distribution channel for CoOportunity Health when open enrollment for health insurance begins Oct. 1. Between the two states, there are more than 180 credit unions serving about 1.45 million members.

"CoOportunity Health's mission and philosophy are perfectly aligned with credit unions and we believe that by working together, we can have a tremendous impact by educating Iowans and Nebraskans on the pending changes in healthcare while providing them a new, member-focused choice for health insurance," said Dave Lyons CoOportunity Health CEO.

The partnership among the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL), Nebraska Credit Union League (NCUL) and CoOportunity Health has been in development for more than two years. It is believed to be the first of its kind among cooperatives nationwide. It will give participating Iowa and Nebraska credit unions the tools to provide member outreach and education on healthcare reform while making CoOportunity Health's insurance options available to individuals, families and businesses.

Among the priorities for the leagues is helping members credit unions decrease the average age of members and increase market share. Through the partnership, potential target markets will be young adults, the uninsured, Hispanics and small businesses, the leagues and CoOportunity Health said. 

"Credit unions know that financial well-being is directly linked to overall health and well-being. We believe this link will only increase in the months and years ahead," said Patrick S. Jury, ICUL president/CEO. "Credit unions serve as trusted advisors in their local communities. Through our partnership with CoOportunity Health, our members and those who seek out membership will have access to vital information and new health insurance options at a time of great confusion and need."

Under the partnership, credit unions can establish Health Savings Accounts when a prospect enrolls in a qualified high-deductible health insurance plan through CoOportunity Health.

Group Benefits Ltd. (GBL) will serve as the preferred broker for the credit union/CoOportunity Health partnership in both states. Based in Urbandale, Iowa, GBL has been in business for nearly 20 years and manages benefits for 2,000 employer groups and 30,000 individuals.

"Credit unions have a long-standing relationship with GBL and they will be an excellent partner in offering CoOportunity Health products to our membership," said Scott Sullivan, CEO at the Nebraska league. "Through our partnership with CoOportunity Health and GBL, Iowa and Nebraska credit unions will be able to help our members closely pair the expense of healthcare with their financial well-being."

Credit unions in both states also are looking into CoOportunity Health's group health insurance plans as an option for their employees.

SECU Student Loan Rehab Program Reaches $7M

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RALEIGH, N.C. (6/4/13)--State Employees' CU has purchased $7 million in loans from the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) to provide financial support to state college students.

The purchase of student loans through NCSEAA's Loan Rehabilitation Program provides funds to NCSEAA that are used to assist other student loan borrowers and aid in the development of educational offerings.

"The Loan Rehabilitation Program continues to be successful in giving student loan borrowers an opportunity to succeed," said Mike Lord, chief financial officer of $26 billion asset SECU. "Sometimes success requires a second chance and through the purchase of these federally insured student loans, SECU is helping NCSEAA give more opportunities to those in need.

"Investing in our state's students is a good thing and our partnership with NCSEAA is truly beneficial for all involved," Lord added.

Authorized under federal law, the Loan Rehabilitation Program was put in place to help student borrowers who defaulted on Federal Family Education Loans earn a second chance to repay the loans, repair their credit histories and improve their lives.

Program participants must meet certain qualifications, including remittance of nine consecutive voluntary payments at an amount the borrower can sustain in the future. Upon qualifying, new repayment terms may be available, eligibility for federal and state financial aid is reinstated and a defaulted loan status is removed from the student's credit record.

The Credit Union National Association's recent Student Borrowing Survey found that half of high school seniors have no idea what college will cost (News Now April 29). The survey has been noted by bankruptcy lawyers, accountants, economic education groups, and national media who are citing CUNA's results as one more reason for financial education.

Eight CU Pros, Volunteers Honored With CUANY Awards

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/4/13)--Eight individuals have been named winners of the Credit Union Association of New York's  2013 Recognition Awards for professionals and volunteers. The winners will be honored June 14 at CUANY's Annual Meeting and Convention in Lake George.

The judges looked for individuals and credit unions that show an ongoing dedication to the credit union philosophy, community involvement, volunteerism, professionalism and youth financial education.

The award categories and recipients include:

  • New York Credit Union Hall of Fame Inductee: John Felton, CEO, Southern Chautauqua FCU, Lakewood;
  • Outstanding Volunteers: Donald Bruning, board president, Great Erie FCU, Orchard Park ($50 million to $250 million in assets); Don Briner, associate board member, Hudson River Community CU, Corinth ($50 million to $250 million in assets); and Ann Tyler, board chairman, AmeriCU CU, Rome (more than $250 million in assets);
  • Outstanding Professionals: Marsha Brauer, manager/CEO, Clarence Community & Schools FCU, Clarence (up to $50 million in assets); William Carhart, CEO, Oswego County FCU, Oswego ($50 million to $250 million in assets); and Lisa Whitaker, president/CEO, CFCU Community CU, Ithaca (more than $250 million in assets); and
  • Outstanding Young Professional: Lisa Totaro, marketing associate, Sunmark FCU, Latham.

Lake Mich. CU's Checking Featured In USA TODAY

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (6/4/13)--Lake Michigan CU in Grand Rapids, Mich., offers a high-yield checking account with rates as high as 3% on up to $15,000 in savings--or $450 in interest--in its Max Checking product, according to a Saturday USA TODAY article based on a Bankrate.com study of 56 high-yield checking accounts.

The article, "Finding cash-yielding reward checking accounts," by Susan Tompor, said savers need to have some cash to stash and patience to find a credit union or other financial institution that offers high-yield or rewards checking accounts.

The $2.73 billion asset credit union requires members to check their accounts online at least four times each month among other requirements, USA Today said.  

The Bankrate.com survey indicated that, for the financial institutions it surveyed, the average balance cap is $17,102 for rewards checking products.

Also, 61% of the high-yield checking accounts in the survey are available nationwide, Bankrate.com said.

The survey also indicated the average interest rate on the high-yield checking accounts studied fell to 1.64% this year from 2.05% in 2012. That is better than average yield on a one-year certificate of deposit--which from Jan. 2 to May 8 was 0.26%, Bankrate.com said.

To read the USA TODAY article and Bankrate.com survey, use the links.

Excellence In Lending Award Entries Deadline Is Aug. 30

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MADISON, Wis. (6/3/13)--Entries are being accepted for the 14th annual Excellence in Lending Awards until Aug. 30.

The Excellence in Lending Awards recognize outstanding lending results and practices by credit unions. The CUNA Lending Council and CUNA Mutual Group established the Excellence in Lending Awards in 2000.

The awards identify and share examples of lending excellence within the credit union movement by recognizing individual credit unions for their ability to serve members while sustaining sound financial performance.

"Being recognized with an Excellence in Lending Award validates all the effort a credit union puts into its lending program," said Bill Vogeney, Lending Council chair and executive vice president/chief lending officer at Ent FCU, Colorado Springs, Colo. "In addition to sharing your success with peers, it's a great endorsement of the value you bring members in the communities you serve."

Credit unions may be nominated for the 2013 award in the following categories:

  • Consumer Lending Excellence (Assets less than and more than $250 million);
  • Mortgage Lending Excellence (Assets less than and more than $250 million);
  • Low/Modest Means Excellence (Any asset level); and
  • Business Lending Excellence (Any asset level).
The Excellence in Lending Awards will be presented at the CUNA Lending Council's 19th Annual Conference, Nov. 3-6, in Phoenix, Ariz. Airfare, hotel and conference registration for one representative of each winning credit union is included with the award.

The CUNA Lending Council is a community of credit union lending professionals dedicated to being the primary source of best lending practices and educational opportunities for the credit union industry.

For more information, use the link.

CU System Briefs (06/03/2013)

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  • MERIDEN, Conn. (6/3/13)--The State & Federal Issues Government Affairs Conference of the Credit Union League of Connecticut attracted nearly 100 members Thursday in Hartford.  Speakers who addressed issues affecting credit unions and gave state updates included: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D) and Chris Murphy (D), U.S. Rep. John Larson (D), and Connecticut Department of Banking Commissioner Howard Pitkin. "This annual event is an outstanding opportunity for Connecticut credit union leaders to discuss issues of importance to the industry with leaders in government," said Kelly Fuhlbrigge, league vice president-government relations. "It is one of our goals as the credit union state trade association to provide our members with opportunities for face-to-face interactions with lawmakers and policymakers." Pictured here are Fuhlbrigge and Gov. Malloy. (Photo provided by the Credit Union League of Connecticut ) ...
  • KINGSPORT, Tenn. (6/3/13)--Kingsport, Tenn., police are investigating fraudulent purchases on 60 First Kingsport CU member accounts impacted by debit card fraud over the holiday weekend.  The Kingsport Times-News (May 31) reported fraudulent purchases on transactions made in Nevada and Florida. First Kingsport CU manager/CEO Beverly Bowling said the credit union is issuing new cards to members and reimbursing the fraudulent purchases, which range from $25 to $900. The police department is investigating how the account information was obtained ...
  • MOBILE, Ala. (6/3/13)--A man who allegedly stole $6,261 from Mobile, Ala.-based New Horizons CU was sentenced to almost six years in prison Thursday. Charles Edward Cammon Jr., 27, pleaded guilty in February after U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade refused to accept his attempt at a "best interest" plea bargain. In a best interest plea, the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict. Cammon will serve five years and 10 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release for the Dec. 5 robbery (Mobile Press-Register May 31) ...

Entries For CUNA ELLy Awards Due July 31

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MADISON, Wis. (6/3/13)--Entries for the CUNA ELLy Awards, recognizing the ideas and achievements of credit union training professionals and programs, are due July 31, says the Credit Union National Association.

The ELLy Awards will be presented at CUNA Experience Learning Live!, Oct. 20-23 in Seattle.

"I am inspired every year by our applicants' take-charge approach to originality and effectiveness in training," said Marlo Foltz, CUNA director of blended learning. "These credit union training and learning development professionals deserve to be recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in professional development."

CUNA ELLy Awards are awards presented to trainers whose innovative and unique initiatives contribute to the forward progress of the credit union movement.

Among the awards to be presented:

  • Chi Phi Delta X II Award--Representing the best development of a credit union university, and its effect on staff learning and performance;
  • eLearning Award--Presented to participants who demonstrate how technology-based training has enhanced their credit union training initiatives;
  • Training Champion Award--Recognizing senior managers who go beyond the call of duty to support and develop their credit union's training program;
  • Training Professional of the Year Award--Honoring exceptional achievements in performance and learning by a credit union training professional or department; and
  • WOW Award--Presented to the credit union with the best overall training curriculum or training event that energizes, empowers and excites participants.

Washington DFI Begins Rulemaking On Compensation Issues

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (6/3/13)--The Washington Department of Financial Institutions has scheduled a stakeholder meeting for June 20 to begin the rulemaking process that gives the state credit union regulator authority to allow compensation for credit union directors, the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) said.

On April 22, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5302, which will allow credit unions to offer board compensation and other updates to the state Credit Union Act (Anthem Recap May 31). The changes will take effect July 28.

The updates were identified by the Washington Model Act Subcommittee and are designed to advance the charter and operating environment for credit unions in the state.

Nearly 120 credit union advocates attending credit union day at the Capitol supported the legislation. More than 200 advocates wrote or contacted their legislators to support the measure, NWCUA.

Among the compensation issues to be considered are the qualification requirements for board member or supervisory committee members, disclosure to members of compensation, the nomination process, election methods, the process if an election is contested and updating the bylaws, NWCUA said.

Currently, credit unions in nine states can pay at least one member of the board while 12 others allow for more comprehensive board compensation, according to the Credit Union National Association.

NWCUA intends to provide state credit unions with research and information on how other states and cooperatives handle board compensation, said John Trull, NWCUA director of regulatory affairs.

The league has aggregated data on state statutes and is examining applicable rules in other states, Trull said. NWCUA is working with National Cooperative Business Association to gather information on how other cooperatives address board compensation, and with other credit unions.

NWCUA supports a transparent process and is encouraging state-chartered credit unions to participate in the process, Trull said.

In The Media: MBLs, Public Deposits, Unbanked Latinos

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LOS ANGELES and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (6/3/13)--Two articles in an Alabama publication and a report by Los Angeles's largest National Public Radio station provide more examples of why credit unions are of value to small business owners who can't get loans from bank, why they should be an option for public deposits in Alabama, and why one credit union offers above-and-beyond services to unbanked Latinos.

BusinessAlabama.com  posted two articles in its May issue, including one interviewing small business owners about getting member business loans (MBLs)  from credit unions when their banks let them down. The article explained that credit unions, unlike banks, didn't get caught up in making risky loans. While banks pulled back lending during the recession, credit unions didn't.

The League of Southeastern Credit Unions told the publication that business loans at Alabama credit unions rose 13% during 2012 to roughly $54 million in business loans-- twice the national average. During the past four years, they added $76 million in new MBLs and now hold $480 million in outstanding MBLs. LSCU Vice President of Communications Mike Bridges noted that credit unions work more with the business on its plan and goals, "rather than looking at it as an opportunity to make money."

The article cited information from the Credit Union National Association and noted that credit unions are urging Congress to raise their MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%.

The publication's second article noted that Alabama law limits public deposits by municipal groups such as local governments, school boards, utilities and other public agencies to federally insured banks.  Credit unions are seeing an increase in requests from public entities for deposit accounts. "We hate to have to turn them away, because our mission is to serve the community," Steve Swofford, CEO of Tuscaloosa-based Alabama CU, said in the article.

Listerhill CU, Muscle Shoals, said its branch office at the University of North Alabama received  a request from the university administration about joining the credit union but the current law prevents that.  Credit unions and the League of Southeastern Credit Unions are working to amend the state law to include credit unions.  Jared Ross, vice president of government affairs at LSCU, said that 33 states allow credit unions to take public deposits and that the league is educating Alabama lawmakers on the topic.

In the third media report, CUNA and the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues helped locate a credit union for NPR affiliate KPCC to interview about serving immigrants. Communidad Latina CU in Santa Ana, which opened in 2007, has as its mission to serve the Latino population, which often doesn't use mainstream banks.

According to the segment, which aired Tuesday, that means the credit union:

  • Doesn't require a taxpayer ID number of Social Security number when the member opens a savings account--to show that everyone can have access to a credit union.
  • Expects potential members to visit the branch three times before opening an account so the members "get to know who we are, who we are as people," said CEO Terry Agius; and
  • Spends more time educating its new members about the finer points of transactions, including how to write checks and how a banking account operates.

For the full reports of these stories, use the links. 

The articles bring more awareness about credit unions and their value, which is one of the foundations of CUNA's, leagues, and credit unions' Unite For Good campaign to move toward their strategic vision where "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner."  Use the link for more information.

Herrera Wins White House Award

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WASHINGTON (6/3/13)--John Herrera, founder of Latino Community CU, Durham, N.C., was awarded an Immigrant Innovator Champions of Change Award by the White House last week.

Herrera is senior vice president of Self-Help Services, a national financial institution affiliated with Self-Help CU in Durham, N.C. (NBC Latino May 30)

He also serves on the Latino Community CU's board of directors. Currently, he is the board vice chair.

An immigrant from Costa Rica, Herrera was part of a group that co-founded the first fully bilingual financial institution in North Carolina in 2000. The group identified a need to offer financial services to the growing Latino immigrant population in the community.

Many Latinos felt shut out of the traditional banking system or did not know how to gain access to services, said NBC Latino. Some were victims of robberies.  Without any experience in financial services, Herrera and his colleagues started the Latino Community CU.

Today, Latino Community CU serves more than 56,000 members through 10 branches, Herrera said. The credit union offers members an opportunity to "dream and grow," he added.

Latino Community CU will always be "his baby," Herrera said.

Maine CUs' Work Vs. Data Breach Bill Cited By Lawmakers

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PORTLAND, Maine (6/3/13)--Due in part to the lobbying efforts of the Maine Credit Union League, a data breach bill that would have negatively impacted credit unions was defeated in the Maine Senate last week.

The Maine Credit Union League testified in opposition to the bill, which was ostensibly aimed at the way TD Bank handled a 2012 data breach (Weekly Update May 31). The measure, which passed the state House, was opposed 33-2 in the Senate. The Insurance and Financial Services Committee voted the bill 7-6 Ought Not to Pass.

Quincy Hentzel, the Maine league's direct or governmental affairs, spent many hours in Augusta speaking with legislators before to the vote. Legislators cited the work of the league and state credit unions as one of the key reasons why the bill was defeated in the Senate.

One lawmaker commended the league for articulating how the measure would harm small financial institutions, Hentzel said.

Among the league's primary arguments in opposition to the bill was that it would unnecessarily expand the definition of breach of the security system, by expanding the classification of a breach and would result in "over-notification" of Maine residents at a great cost to credit unions.

The league also maintained that the measure would have made Maine the only state to require notice to the appropriate regulator with 10 days after the discovery of a breach and require notice if law enforcement delayed its investigation.

The bill was well-intended, but fraught with unintended consequences, John Murphy, Maine league president said.

CUs Part Of Pa. Lawmaker's Small Biz Seminar

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (6/3/13)--Two Philadelphia area credit unions participated in a Small Business Opportunities & Resources Seminar hosted Thursday by Pennsylvania state Rep. W. Curtis Thomas (D-Philadelphia) in Philadelphia, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.

Representatives from $1.278 billion asset American Heritage FCU and $1.4 billion asset TruMark FCU participated in the event at Temple University's Fox School of Business (Life is a Highway May 31).

Thomas is minority chairman of the House Commerce Committee and an advocate for credit unions, said PCUA.

The seminar attracted 100 small business owners and those looking to start a business. It provided entrepreneurs with information on city, state, federal and private opportunities for contracting, certification, financing, tax credits, economic zones, technical assistance and special programs/initiatives.

Credit unions are looking for more opportunities to provide members with small businesses services such as member business loans (MBLs). The Credit Union National Association, state associations and credit unions are urging Congress to raise the 12.25%-of-assets cap on MBLs to 27.5%. Doing so would generate about $13 billion in new business loans and 140,000 new jobs into the economy without costing taxpayers a dime.

CSS Provider Intuit Small Biz Grant Goes To Salon

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (6/3/13)--Intuit has awarded its latest $5,000 grant to an eco-friendly Chicago area salon and spa Jonathan Kane Salon as part of its Love Our Local Business program's spring campaign.

Intuit Financial Services is a CUNA Strategic Services provider that provides on-demand solutions and services to help consumers and businesses manage their money. Intuit provides business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses and financial institutions, including credit unions.

The salon owner, Jonathan Kane,  said he plans to build on the salon's efforts to be a Zero Waste salon and will spend the money "to do what it takes to get closer to that goal."

At the start of its spring program, Intuit invited small business owners to submit wishes for their businesses and describe how granting the wish would have a transformational impact on business.  Fans were encouraged to vote for their favorites on the Love Our Local Business website. The site received a record 19,500 applications and more than 1.6 million fan votes.

Based on impact and feasibility of the businesses' wishes, as well as the number of fan votes, a panel of Intuit judges chose the 15 finalists and awarded them with $5,000 grants.

So far, Intuit has invested $1.2 million in the program. Among the spring winners were a cookie company, a florist, beekeepers, farms, theaters, art schools, laundromats, cafes and more.

Louisiana League's Hurricane Prep Ad Touts Shared Branching

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HARAHAN, La. (6/3/13)--A 2013 Hurricane Preparedness ad campaign will make Louisiana consumers aware of the convenience of Credit Union Shared Branching during hurricanes and other disasters, said the Louisiana Credit Union League Friday.

The campaign reminds state residents that in case of an evacuation, members can access credit union accounts at any of the 130 shared credit union branches in Louisiana or more than 5,000 across the country.

The campaign, which has radio and online ads, will run for two weeks in June, July and August, with additional air time purchased when there is an immediate threat, the league said.

One of the lessons learned during Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, was that hundreds of credit union branches directly impacted or closed by the storm's flooding were still able to serve members, even evacuated members, through working together and sharing branches. While many banks were shut down and could not serve customers, credit unions were able to demonstrate the cooperative difference to members during the emergency. Since then, shared branches have become more popular in areas subject to natural disasters.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted an "extremely active" hurricane season this year, with the potential for three to six hurricanes with wind speeds above 100 mph, said the league, which encouraged credit unions and their members to take precaution early.

"As we prepare for this year's active storm season, we are armed with the knowledge that preparation is key, especially when it comes to access to financial resources during an evacuation," said Anne Cochran, LCUL president/CEO. "We urge our members to plan ahead and utilize our resources to find shared branch locations well in advance of a severe weather event."