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N.Y. young professionals take voice to Hill

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ALBANY, N.Y. (7/22/14)--For the second straight year, the Credit Union Association of New York will include members of the its Young Professional Commission in visits with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
 
The inclusion of the 35-and-under credit union group is part of the association's role in mentoring the credit union leaders of tomorrow, Mike Lanotte, CUANY senior vice president/general counsel, told News Now . "We believe that it's our obligation to foster the growth of the next generation of credit union leaders and the core offerings of the Credit Union Association of New York."

"We recognize this group should be part of these events, and we're happy to provide the venue for them to do that," Lanotte added. "Over the course of the last few years, since the Young Professional Commission came into existence, this group has been part of the association's governmental affairs conference, and CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference and the advocacy efforts associated with those events, so we thought they should be part of this event as well."
 
After arriving at Credit Union House early Monday afternoon, the advocates, joined by Lanotte and Alison Barna, CUANY vice president of member services and foundation, were briefed by staff from CUANY and Credit Union National Assocation on pressing legislative topics. Following the briefing, the group had visits scheduled with Sens. Charles Schumer (D) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D), both of New York.
 
Today, the group also has visits scheduled with Paul Tonko (D), Louise Slaughter (D), Brian Higgins (D), Bill Owens (D), Richard Hanna (R), Daniel Maffei (D),  Chris Gibson (R), Chris Collins (R) and Tom Reed (R), all of New York.
 
The advocates include:
  • Kayla Barber, Dannemora FCU, Plattsburgh, with $141 million in assets;
  • Angela Hitchcock, Sidney FCU, with $385 million in assets;
  • Meghan McGee-Pelkey, UFirst FCU, Plattsburgh, with $57 million in assets;
  • Cristina Morrissiey, AmeriCU CU, Rome, with $1.2 billion in assets;
  • Jennifer Preston, Reliant Community FCU, Sodus, with $376 million in assets;
  • David Roy, Buffalo Metropolitan FCU, with $90 million in assets; and
  • Brittney Wensley, Sunmark FCU, Latham, with $404 million in assets.
Among the topics the group will address with lawmakers are data security, patent reform, exam fairness, member business lending, supplemental capital and Regulation D.

Other states participating in Hike the Hill visits this spring and summer include Michigan, Minnesota, Maine, Missouri, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina,  Nebraska, Ohio, Iowa,  Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Alabama, Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia, Kentucky, Montana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Worldwide CU growth: Nearly 57K CUs now serve 208M members

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MADISON, Wis. (7/22/14)--By the end of 2013, nearly 57,000 credit unions served about 208 million members across 103 different countries worldwide, according to numbers released by the World Council of Credit Unions this week in its 2013 Statistical Report.

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The report tracks membership and financial data for credit unions and financial cooperatives throughout the world.  

The largest change from 2012 was the jump in membership growth, which climbed by more than 7 million members. The regions that posted the strongest growth in membership were Asia, Latin America and Europe.

Worldwide assets in 2013 came in at $1.7 trillion, according to the report, with savings topping $1.4 trillion, loans $1.1 trillion and reserves $171 billion.

"Large, small, emerging and mature systems, regardless of their differences, all reported the same top challenges: increased regulatory burden, payments innovation, young adult membership growth and small credit union sustainability," wrote World Council President/CEO Brian Branch and Chair Grzegorz Bierecki in their annual report.

In response, World Council continued its work building a global community full of opportunities to share effective strategies and lessons that tackle these global challenges, the pair wrote.

Those efforts included:
  • For regulatory burden, helping defend credit unions in front of international standard-setting bodies;
     
  • For payment innovations, assisting credit unions incorporate shared-mobile technology platforms;
     
  • For young membership growth, conducting workshops, webinars and educational sessions to develop and share best practices for credit unions to effectively reach younger generations; and
     
  • For small credit union sustainability, helping develop collaborative solutions for credit unions such as procuring shared back-office systems and payments platforms.
The Credit Union National Association is preparing to welcome the 100 millionth U.S. credit union membership this summer.  In fact, credit union members can join in the spirit of fun and show "what 100 million looks like" by sending selfies of themselves and corresponding credit union stories to www.americascreditunions.org, as part of a campaign to highlight the industry milestone. (See the resource link.)

Consumers stashing cash in checking accounts: Moebs

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LOS ANGELES (7/22/14)--U.S. consumers are keeping their cash in checking accounts at a higher rate than at any time in the last quarter-century, according to report from the bank consulting firm Moebs Services Inc. ( Los Angeles Times July 17).

The Moebs report found that the average checking account balance across the country was $4,436 at the end of 2013, more than double the average seen over the last 25 years.

When the economy was booming prior to the recession in 2008, checking accounts had dropped to an average of about $788, according to Moebs.

"When times get difficult, the consumer sits things out and checking balances get larger, normally upward (of) $3,000 or a bit beyond," the study said ( Los Angeles Times ).

For credit unions, share draft accounts also have seen increases of late. In May, share draft accounts made up 14.2% of a credit union's savings portfolio, a 0.7% year-over-year increase and nearly a 4% jump since 2008, according to the Credit Union National Association's June credit union estimates report.

This trend may reflect that consumers and credit union members are still wary of the economy and of their own finances.

"If the economy is doing well as measured by low unemployment and moderate-to-low inflation and prices, then the average balance in the consumer's checking account falls to about $1,400," the report said ( The Washington Post July 18). "If the economy really heats up, then, in 2007 for example, the balance can fall below $1,000 since household revenue is doing well and need for liquidity is just a paycheck or two away."

While consumers may be holding onto cash to stave off overdraft fees or to meet minimum balance requirements, Moebs believes consumers are actually stockpiling cash to build up an emergency fund in case of future difficult financial times.

"They're saying, 'Let's be cautious; let's not use all of the money,'" Greg McBride, Bankrate.com chief financial analyst, told The Washington Post .

Kids coached to financial field goals at Bayport CU

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (7/22/14)--Grasping personal finance concepts isn't easy, or a lot of fun for most people, but football is almost second-nature to Americans. Bayport CU, with $1.3 billion in assets, Newport News, Va., recently used the game as a tool to teach school-age children about financial education.
 
Fifth- through eighth-grade students from the Boys and Girls Club Suffolks Unit played financial football ( Suffolk News Herald July 19). Participants could choose passing or running plays to move the ball down the field. The more difficult the question they chose to answer, the farther a correct reply would move the ball down the field.
 
But an incorrect answer gave defense a chance to answer correctly--and an opportunity to create a turnover or a loss of yardage against the offense.
 
Like a real game, the financial football contest was preceded by training. The students spent the previous part of the week learning about personal finance from Bayport CU employees. Among the topics addressed were income and expenses, budgeting, the importance of saving, credit and debit cards and information security.
 
The competition provided by financial football gave the kids an opportunity to show how they absorbed some of the financial concepts, Kris Moore, Bayport youth educator, told the Suffolk News Herald .
 

CU Social Good, CafeGive partnership to measure 'return on intent'

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BISMARCK, N.D. (7/22/14)--Two social media resources are partnering to help promote and gauge the work that credit unions do for their communities.
                                       
CU Social Good, a program of the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD), has partnered with CafeGive Social, a company that focuses on measuring the "return on intent" of social media campaigns and community involvement.
 
With CafeGive, CU Social Good will be able to aggregate the data provided by credit unions to generate customized social impact reports, putting real numbers to the benefits that credit unions provide to their communities.
 
The results can then be used for public relations, consumer awareness and legislative and grassroots advocacy.
 
CU Social Good is an online platform that collects stories of the credit union "people helping people" philosophy.
 
CUAD is working with CafeGive on a prototype and anticipates a September launch. 
 
CafeGive Social offers apps that create awareness for causes and encourage community involvement; a dashboard to track social engagement; and a tool for fundraising that includes an element for donation matching.
 
Among its campaigns are "[MOO]ve Against Hunger," currently running at Mid-Atlantic FCU, Germantown, Md., with $279 million in assets; "Make the Match," which helped Educators CU, Racine, Wis., with $1.5 billion in assets, match donations for a Children's Miracle Network Hospital fundraiser; and "Roll On Seattle," a bike loan and social awareness program from Seattle-based Verity CU, with $438 million in assets.