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Business benefits of telecommuting addressed in paper

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MADISON, Wis. (7/9/09)--Credit unions can learn how to use telecommuting to expand business; extend customer service hours; save on building and operations costs; and improve employee recruitment, engagement and retention in a new white paper from the CUNA Technology Council. “Telecommuting in Today’s Environment” takes a look at the benefits and challenges of telecommuting and its function within a credit union. It also offers ideas and case studies to help credit unions with the top three challenges of telecommuting: creating a seamless connection that mirrors what members experiencing in contacting a branch or call center, protecting sensitive member data, and making remote employees feel a part of the credit union’s culture. The paper includes several case studies describing how credit unions used telecommuting to continue business operations during natural disasters such as fires, ice storms, and hurricanes, and how telecommuting could prove similarly effective in the case of a pandemic. “With the specter of a swine flu pandemic on the horizon, telecommuting can be the solution to continued credit union operations when staff members are stricken,” said Rudy Pereira, council chair and senior vice president of operations and technology at Alliant CU, Chicago. “It also reduces occupancy costs and can extend customer service hours in addition to improving employee recruitment and retention.” Also, “Organic Member Growth,” or growth other than that derived by mergers, is the focus of a new CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council white paper. The paper details growth strategies and tactics from successful credit unions, and it explains why so many credit unions are failing to grow. The paper addresses financial needs of various demographic groups and corresponding opportunities to reach these markets. The paper also explores the objections--or indifference--the American consumer has to credit union membership and ideas for overcoming them. For more information, use the links.

Mortgagebot Harland Financial Solutions alliance expanded

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MEQUON, Wis. (7/9/09)--Mortgagebot and Harland Financial Solutions have extended their alliance to offer the Mortgagebot PowerSite point-of-sale platform to Harland clients. PowerSite handles the mortgage application, pricing and approval process for more than 900 lenders nationwide. It integrates a lender’s consumer-direct mortgage website with every other mortgage point of sale: the branch, call center and loan officers. PowerSite users will continue to have the option to implement automated integration software. This enables the application data collected by PowerSite to be transferred to Harland Financial Solutions’ mortgage automation and loan documentation products--including Interlinq E3 and LaserPro Residential Real Estate Mortgage. The expanded agreement comes as demand increases for mortgage loans. “Historically low rates, combined with a rise in housing affordability due to falling real estate prices yielded a big boost in mortgage activity in first quarter 2009 compared to fourth quarter 2008--a 73% jump,” the companies said in a release. Harland supplies software and services to financial institutions and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Harland Clarke Holdings Corp. Mortgagebot LLC provides integrated port-of-sale solutions for mortgage applications.

CO-OP helps CU launch low-income program

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (7/9/09)--Express CU, Seattle, has launched a program to reach low- and moderate-income individuals. It also has partnered with CO-OP Financial Services to provide ATM access and shared branching for cash transactions. Express CU has deployed four community member service representatives to 16 Seattle non-profit organizations to help the underserved access financial services. Visitors to the non-profits can open accounts, deposit checks, apply for loans and receive financial help. The representatives also will provide basic financial education and referrals to formal programs offered through their non-profit partners. Cash transactions are not supported at the non-profit locations, so CO-OP will offer ATM access and shared branching. CO-OP has a network of 28,000 ATMs nationwide--with 1,000 ATMs in Washington. CO-OP’s partnership with Express CU also expands the number of branches that members can use--to 18 locations in Seattle and 155 in Washington. CO-OP Financial Services is a credit union service organization based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Express CU has $8 million in assets.