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Mobility devices affect productivity

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MADISON, Wis. (7/30/12)--Mobile devices to provide support and enhance worker productivity are a critical priority of 65% of enterprises in North America and Europe, according to a report issued in April.

While some credit unions are already jumping on the mobile bandwagon for members' convenience, they may get an added benefit from these in terms of employees' productivity.

The April survey conducted by Chris Shea of Forrester Research found that 65% percentage figure to be a 15% increase from 2011.

The top five benefits of mobile technology for enterprise and small-to-medium organizations, according to Forrester are:

  • Increased worker productivity (75%);
  • Better responsiveness and decision-making speed (65%);
  • Faster resolution of customer issues (48%);
  • Quicker resolution of internal information technology issues (48%); and
  • Improved customer satisfaction (42%).
A major trend is the rise of the use of tablets. In December alone, the percentage of people who own tablets jumped to 19% from 11%, according to Pew Research. 

Mobile banking and devices are in the news daily. For example, Bank of America (BofA) Thursday unveiled its mobile check-deposit product (American Banker July 26). Currently available on the iPad, Mobile Check Deposit will coming on other devices soon, BofA said.  In Thursday's announcement, the bank also said person-to-person mobile payments will be available in the bank's mobile apps for several devices.

Credit unions and credit union organizations already involved in using mobile technology include:

  • CU*Answers, a credit union service organization (CUSO), which partnered with Tennessee-based CU Mobile Apps. CU*Answers will integrate CU Mobile Apps' smartphone mobile banking application with the It's Me 247 online and mobile banking suite. CU Mobile Apps is the most recent product offered by Member Service Solutions LLC, a provider of insurance and financial solutions for credit unions and financial institutions (News Now June 25).
  • Wescom Resources Group (WRG), a CUSO that provides software and technology service solutions, will offer the Online Banking Solutions' (OBS) Messenger Financial Center to deliver business information and payment services online to its clients. In turn, OBS will offer WRG's MemberEdge electronic banking suite for consumers to credit unions implementing the OBS Messenger Financial Center. OBS Messenger Financial Center is a business e-banking platform supporting real-time account and transaction reporting, e-statement delivery, stop payments, positive pay, account transfers and payment initiation of automated clearinghouse transactions and wire transfers.The OBS Messenger Mobile Banking partner product delivers information and payment services through the mobile channel (News Now June 26).
  • University FCU, Austin, Texas, has registered its 20,000th member for mobile banking, achieving 25% adoption in the first nine months, according to mFoundry, a mobile banking and payments provider. University FCU also is processing more than $2 million mobile deposits per month, mFoundry said (News Now July 13).
  • Oceanside (N.Y.) Christopher FCU, The Catholic Credit Union, announced July 20 that it is accepting entries through Tuesday in its First-Ever Mobile Banking Sweepstakes. One grand prize winner will be named in August and receive a New iPad with Wi-Fi, a $500 retail value.
  • With the launch of its Mobile Solutions portfolio, Texas Trust CU's members will conduct secure financial business remotely through the use of a mobile phone (PRWeb July 19). The Texas Trust Mobile App is the first of many mobile banking services the credit union plans to launch within the next year. With the Texas Trust Mobile App, members of the $726 million asset Mansfield, Texas-based credit union can access account information, check account balances, transfer money between accounts, view their transaction history, and search for surcharge-free ATMs from just about anywhere, anytime, the credit union said.

Tri County Area FCU joins FHLB Pittsburgh

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PITTSBURGH (7/30/12)--Tri County Area FCU in Pottstown, Pa., is the newest member to join the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank).

Tri-County becomes the 26th credit union member of FHLBank Pittsburgh--a three-state financial institution cooperative comprising credit unions, thrifts, commercial banks and insurance companies in Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia (Real Estate Weekly News Aug. 3).

Membership in the privately funded FHLBank Pittsburgh augments Tri-County's liquidity with access to FHLBank's financial services such as low-cost loans (advances), which the credit union can use for general asset/liability management and financing, and community lending, the News said.

The $109.3 million asset Tri County Area FCU serves more than 16,000 members working  in 41 townships and boroughs in three counties.

CU taps social media power on grant to nonprofits

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MILWAUKIE, Ore. (7/30/12)--More than 66,000 public votes were cast on Milwaukie, Ore.-based Avantis CU's Facebook page and website to prioritize and allocate its $50,000 Advantis Grow Community Fund grants to nonprofits.

The public was asked to vote on 12 proposed projects aimed at providing long-term benefits to the community.   

Based on the votes, the $928 million asset credit union allocated seven grants to help fund:

  • A shelter for abused women and children; 
  • Equipment for serving hot meals to those in need;
  • Computers to deliver educational services to more than 80 at-risk children;
  • Shower facilities for more than 2,400 homeless people at a rescue mission;
  • New computers to better serve at-risk youth with more robust mentorships;
  • Home-energy diagnostic tools to find solutions for low-income and disabled homeowners; and
  • Equipment for pet food distribution to thousands of low-income pet owners.

Governor signs amended Ill. CU Act gets ovation

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CHICAGO (7/30/12)--Receiving a standing ovation as he did so, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Friday signed S.B. 3217, the Illinois Credit Union League's (ICUL) legislative initiative to amend the Illinois Credit Union Act during a meeting of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL).

Present for the signing of S.B. 3217 by Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn (center) were Dan Plauda, right, Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) president/CEO, and Keith Sias, left ICUL vice president, state governmental affairs. (Photo provided by the Illinois Credit Union League)
Signing of the bill, now known as Public Act 97-0855, took place at AACUL's  summer meeting at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago in front of 150 credit union leaders from across the country. They include CEOs of the state credit union associations, senior association executives, and the executive board of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

During the Spring 2012 session of the Illinois General Assembly, the bill passed unanimously through both chambers (49-0 by the Illinois Senate on March 22 and 117-0 by the Illinois House on May 24).  The bill clarifies that the surviving credit union in a merger is a successor-in-interest and may enforce mortgages and other loans acquired from the merging credit union.  It also addresses board authority to establish age eligibility voting standards and  membership status if a member doesn't have at least one fully paid share.

Quinn highlighted that he is a huge supporter of credit unions and actually belongs to three. He commended conference attendees for their service to their members and recognized that the credit union industry is a movement of which he is proud to be part.  Quinn also encouraged credit unions to continue providing low-cost financial alternatives to consumers and to be a part of the economic recovery. In closing, he signed S.B. 3217 and received a standing ovation from the attendees.

CU System briefs (07/27/2012)

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  • MUNCIE, Ind. (7/27/12)--A Muncie, Ind., man went on trial this week in relation to the theft of $250,000 during a robbery three years ago at Industrial Centre FCU in Muncie. Stanley Dewayne Wills, 33, is charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, criminal confinement and theft. He faces nearly 32 years in prison. The incident occurred on May 27, 2009. One witness testified the holdup men held a gun so tightly to his forehead it left an indentation. Two other employees testified they believed the two bandits intended to shoot them. Also testifying was Wills' co-defendant, John D. Repass, 27, who pleaded guilty in April 2011 to armed robbery. He is awaiting sentencing (The Star Press July 26) …
  • LEXINGTON, Ky. (7/27/12)--The University of Kentucky FCU in Lexington, Ky., which is celebrating 75 years of service, announced it has reached its 50,000th member. It presented a $500 Visa gift card to the 50,000th member, Justin Epperson, who will attend the university this fall and plans to study electrical engineering. "Reaching 50,000 members is a huge milestone for us, and accomplishing this during our 75th anniversary makes it that much better," said David Kennedy, president/CEO of the credit union.  "We've enjoyed strong membership growth again this year, and we expect that to increase as the year continues.  We hear all the time how our members love us, and we have proven that by our growth and their continued trust in us" he added …
  • HARRISBURG, Pa. (7/27/12)--More Pennsylvania consumers are falling victim to a text messaging scam that has hit mid-state. Thousands have received text messages falsely claiming to be from Harrisburg, Pa.-based Belco Community CU. News Now reported earlier in the month on the scam (News Now July 12), which is now making another round, said WHTM.com (July 24). The scam texts say recipients' debit accounts have been deactivated and urges them to call a number, where a recording prompts them to enter their account number and personal identification number. Both members and nonmembers are receiving the messages. The station posted comments from dozens of viewers from as far away as Hawaii who said they had received them. Belco Community reemphasized that it would never ask members for that type of information. It advised viewers to disregard the messages and call only listed numbers for banks and credit unions …

CU Direct appoints Child as chief of staff

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ONTARIO, Calif. (7/30/12)--CU Direct Corp. has appointed Bob Child as its chief of staff, announced Tony Boutelle, president/CEO of CU Direct, Thursday.

CU Direct Corp. provides lending solutions to credit unions through its CDUL, Lending Insights, Lending 360, CUDL Retail and Vero brands.

Child has more than 20 years of corporate strategy experience in the auto lending and insurance marketplaces, with a focus in product positioning, marketing and program management. He served as chief of staff for Allstate Insurance and Allstate Bank, the second largest auto insurer in the U.S., said CU Direct Corp.

Most recently he was vice president of strategy and business analysis at Aviva Insurance, the second largest auto insurer in Canada and a financial services player in the U.S.

Moorhead merges with Central Minnesota CU

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MOORHEAD and MELROSE, Minn. (7/30/12)--Moorhead (Minn.) FCU, with $6 million in assets, has merged into $657 million asset Central Minnesota CU, Melrose, Minn.

As a result of the merger, Moorhead FCU members will have access to services such as commercial and agricultural loans and other consumer products (InForum July 27).

The former Moorhead FCU branch in Moorhead will remain open.

Membership in Central Minnesota CU is now open to residents of 16 Minnesota counties and two North Dakota counties.

Maine awareness campaign adds channels

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PORTLAND, Maine (7/30/12)--The Maine Credit Union League has stepped up advertising for its Statewide Awareness Campaign this summer.

The campaign added TV advertising spots in August and September. Advertising will appear during the Summer Olympics, which is airing on state NBC channels, according to the Maine Credit Union League (Weekly Update July 27).

The campaign also is among the sponsors for popular annual events, such as the KahBang Festival in Bangor and the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland.

A radio campaign, sponsored by league subsidiary Synergent, was launched July 30. The campaign highlights ATMs, shared branching and the "convenience of credit unions" message.

Mobile ads for apps, iPhone and Android also have been placed.

Consumers get their information from a variety of sources, said Debra Trautman, corporate marketing manager for the Maine league.

"We have a solid mix that is designed to reach different audiences," Trautman said. "Our increased mobile presence is having a positive impact as we are seeing new responses and traffic from mobile Yahoo, YouTube, wmtw.com and bangordailynews.com leading to our microsite."

Young and Free Maine accounts grew 9 in June

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PORTLAND, Maine (7/30/12)--free4ME, an account targeted toward 18-25-year-olds that is offered as part of the Young and Free Maine Program, grew 9% in June.

The growth from May to June represents a 2% increase over the average monthly growth rate, according to the Maine Credit Union League (Weekly Update July 27).

Maine credit unions now hold 3,200 free4Me accounts, with 60% of them representing new relationships. Eighteen percent of the account holders have loans with the credit unions.

Since the Young and Free Maine Program was launched in June 2011, the average age of members at participating credit unions has dropped to 45 years old from 47 years old. Those credit unions saw 7.84% growth in 18- to 25-year-old members.

Overall membership of 18- to 25-year-olds in participating credit unions have rose to nearly 10% from 9.2%.

About 60% of Maine credit unions participate in the Young and Free Maine program.

"Maine credit unions have made a significant investment in the Young and Free Program, and we are seeing that it is making a difference," said John Murphy, league president.

NEW Ill. Gov. Quinn signs CU Act update at AACUL

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CHICAGO (Filed 7/27/12 at 1:30 p.m. CT)--Illinois Governor Pat Quinn this morning signed S.B. 3217, the Illinois Credit Union League's (ICUL) legislative initiative to amend the Illinois Credit Union Act.

Present for the signing of S.B. 3217 by Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn (center) were, from left, Dan Plauda, Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) president/CEO, and Keith Sias, ICUL vice president, state governmental affairs. (Photo provided by the Illinois Credit Union League)
Signing of the bill, now known as Public Act 97-0855, took place at the American Association of Credit Union Leagues' (AACUL) summer meeting at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago in front of 150 credit union leaders from across the country. They include CEOs of the state credit union associations, senior association executives, and the executive board of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

During the Spring 2012 session of the Illinois General Assembly, the bill passed unanimously through both chambers (49-0 by the Illinois Senate on March 22 and 117-0 by the Illinois House on May 24).  The bill clarifies that the surviving credit union in a merger is a successor-in-interest and may enforce mortgages and other loans acquired from the merging credit union.  It also addresses  board authority to establish age eligibility voting standards and  membership status if a member doesn't have at least one fully paid share.

Quinn highlighted that he is a huge supporter of credit unions and actually belongs to three. He commended conference attendees for their service to their members and recognized that the credit union industry is a movement of which he is proud to be part.  Quinn also encouraged credit unions to continue providing low-cost financial alternatives to consumers and to be a part of the economic recovery. In closing, he signed S.B. 3217 and received a standing ovation from the attendees.