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PULSE launches anti-fraud forum

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HOUSTON (8/1/11)--PULSE, a debit/ATM network, has created a forum to help financial institutions battle electronic fraud. The DebitProtect Forum is a Web-based discussion forum available to participants in Pulse’s DebitProtect Fraud Detection Services for the secure exchange of information and best practices about fraud mitigation tactics and trends in debit security. In the forum, professionals from credit unions and banks can share information about systems security, protecting private information of their cardholders, responding to breaches and strengthening information security. The DebitProtect Forum includes discussion threads on data breaches, ATM fraud and international fraud. Also, participants can consult with PULSE fraud management experts, track topics or threads and link to important PULSE announcements and Web content. PULSE DebitProtect Fraud Detection Services support debit-card security by providing financial institutions with several fraud detection and mitigation tools. In addition to the forum, DebitProtect offers alerts of potentially fraudulent transactions, notifications about fraud incidents and an online educational resource.

Bankers Toolbox introduces WireFraud Manager

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AUSTIN, Texas (7/28/11)—Banker’s Toolbox, a provider of financial-crimes detection and prevention technology, has launched WireFraud Manager to supplement its WirePro suite of wire-processing solutions. The spread of Internet malware and key logging software has led to an increase in sophisticated wire-fraud schemes targeting customers of community financial institutions, the company said. Also, recent court rulings have created legal precedence whereby credit unions and community banks are increasingly expected to have the ability to detect and prevent wire fraud. WireFraud Manager quarantines suspicious wire transactions in real-time, based on a set of comprehensive filters involving both behavioral and transactional analysis. The application automatically looks at the profile of the wire sender to make sure that each new transaction is aligned with what the member or customer is expected to do. This allows the financial institution to review a suspicious wire transfer request before it is processed and prevent a potential fraud loss to the customer's account. “Wire fraud is a clear and present danger in modern banking, said Daniel Cho, founder and CEO of Banker’s Toolbox. “It’s not just the monetary loss when a fraudster attacks your institution. Allowing a fraudster to attack creates reputational loss in the community and diminishes shareholder value in the institution. WireFraud Manager is designed to protect community financial institutions from this risk. By screening all outgoing wire transfers using behavioral profiles, we provide community financial institutions with sophisticated yet intuitive tools to combat wire fraud.” Fraud schemes are an increasing problem for credit unions and all financial institutions. News Now recentlly noted that Verafin Inc., a provider of compliance, anti-money-laundering (AML) and fraud-detection software, reported a 57% increase in customer acquisition in the first half of 2011. Verafin is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. And as far back as 2008, the National Credit Union Administration issued fraud alerts on both key-logging software and wire-transfer fraud.

Symitar offers hosted failover service

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MONETT, Mo. (7/28/11)--Symitar, a division of Jack Henry & Associates that provides core data processing and other technology solutions, has introduced a hosted failover service for in-house users of its Episys core platform. Failover is the capability to switch over automatically to a redundant or standby computer server, system, or network upon the failure or unexpected termination of an application, server, system or network. Developed jointly by Symitar and Jack Henry & Associates’ Centurion Disaster Recovery group, Hosted Failover--as the new service is named--provides an alternative to traditional “warm recovery” services. Until now, Failover, which is Symitar’s data redundancy solution, has only been available as an in-house solution. “In a traditional warm recovery scenario, a credit union’s system might be down as long as 48 hours,” said Doug Childress, general manager of Jack Henry & Associates' Retail Delivery group, which includes the Centurion business continuity and disaster recovery solutions, “Now, with Hosted Failover, that same credit union can be back online in as little as 20 minutes. Failover is a valuable and proven product, but deploying it in-house requires the purchase and maintenance of expensive hardware components. In contrast, Hosted Failover provides the same robust features as the traditional offering but as a convenient, cost-effective pay-as-you-go service.” Hosted Failover is operated by Centurion from a secure, underground facility in Branson, Mo. Jack Henry & Associates’ newest business recovery facility is site-configured to support all OutLink sites and services that could potentially be impacted by temporary business interruptions or unavoidable disasters. The secure business recovery facility is 175 feet below ground and is virtually impervious to natural disasters including hurricanes, floods and tornados. The disaster-recovery center provides two separate electrical transmission lines from different providers and has multiple levels of telecommunications resiliency.

PSCU Total Member Care posts 11 growth

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (7/27/11)--PSCU Financial Services, a credit union service organization based in St. Petersburg, Fla., posted 11% growth in its Total Member Care customized member servicing since the beginning of 2011. Year to date, PSCU Financial Services has signed contracts with 11 credit unions, representing one million additional members for its contact centers. Credit unions signing contracts with for Total Member Care this year range in size from $200 million in assets to more than $1 billion in assets. More than 280 credit unions employ PSCU Financial Services Total Member Care, which handles inquiries on financial services during and after business hours, and provides built-in business continuity/disaster recovery. Total Member Care representatives also handle loan and new-member applications, allowing round-the-clock evening and weekend access to financial services. Contact centers staffers also are trained to boost revenue through collections, outbound calling campaigns and cross selling of additional financial services--as determined by each credit union. Total Member Care services more than 18 million inquiries a year.

Jack Henry to offer Microsoft productivity software

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MONETT, Mo. (7/26/11)--Jack Henry & Associates, Inc., a provider of computer systems and electronic payment solutions, has been selected by Microsoft as an Office 365 syndication partner. Office 365 is the cloud-based offering of the Microsoft Office Suite, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Lync. Jack Henry & Associates, the 2010 Microsoft Independent Software Vendor Partner of the Year, was selected to be an Office 365 syndication partner in the financial services sector. Office 365 is a cloud solution that delivers Microsoft’s productivity solutions over the Internet. Cloud-based delivery is designed to reduce the demand on financial institutions’ information technology departments for in-house hardware configurations; software installations; and ongoing support, maintenance, administration; and capacity planning. Office 365 also hosts Exchange, Microsoft’s enterprise mail server. With the Office 365 pay-as-you-go model, financial institutions can provide their employees with business tools such as email services for an established, per-seat monthly fee. Office 365 also offers Microsoft’s uptime service-level agreement, which is backed by financial guarantees.

Dwolla reaches million-dollar milestone

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DES MOINES, Iowa (7/25/11)--Dwolla, a company that combines social networks and location-based technologies with online and mobile payments, is now processing $1 million in transactions daily. Because Dwolla charges a flat 25-cent fee for transactions of all sizes, the milestone calculates to a potential user savings of $30,000 every 24 hours when compared with traditional payment networks, the company said. “We believe this represents a thought shift in the electronic payments industry,” said Dwolla founder Ben Milne. “Consumers and businesses alike are hungry for a new, secure cash option in an increasingly digitalized world.” Financial institutions can now integrate Dwolla’s FiSync to expedite the Dwolla sign-up process. FiSync, distributed by payments provider The Members Group (TMG), which is owned by Iowa credit unions, allows a credit union or community bank to connect the payment platform directly to the financial institution’s existing systems, co-branding Dwolla’s core technologies. Fifteen financial institutions with varying levels of integration have signed on for Dwolla, putting the network in a position to serve more than one million new account holders over the next 12 months, the company said. The most recent financial institution to sign on with Dwolla is $34 million asset Ace Community CU, Ames, Iowa. Members of Ace Community CU can access Dwolla through the credit union’s website. After signing up for a Dwolla account, members can make payment to or receive money from anyone with an e-mail address and their Facebook and Twitter friends.

New fraud prevention tool for card issuers

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DES MOINES (7/22/11)--A new tool from First Data uses near real-time data to inform The Members Group and their financial institution clients the best fraud prevention strategies. First Data’s SpendTrend Insights Fraud Analysis Solution allows TMG credit and debit card-issuing clients to get an inside look at their portfolios and to compare them with First Data’s data. This allows credit unions and community banks to understand if they have higher-than-average incidents of fraud in a specific geographical region or within a particular type of merchant code. The information, which is accessible by TMG staff and by clients, is detailed in a graphical format. The solution also provides an ad-hoc functionality through which TMG fraud specialists can examine credit and debit transactions in near real-time. Specialists can use the tool to model new fraud prevention strategies to see the potential impact of a change. The results of those modeled strategies are available instantly, which allows TMG to make faster recommendations to its credit union and community bank clients. “When a credit or debit account becomes vulnerable to a fraudster, the first few hours are critical to minimizing losses for the issuing financial institution,” said Karen Postma, TMG cards risk senior manager. “The predictive analytics of First Data’s SpendTrend Insights Fraud Analysis Solution speeds up the decision-making process, which is absolutely key in preventing further costly attacks.” TMG is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Affiliates Management Co., which is owned by Iowa credit unions and their members. TMG’s core products include credit, debit, ATM, prepaid solutions, reporting and automated clearinghouse and asset-liability services.

CSS provider manages World Trade Center security system

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (7/22/11)--Diebold Inc., a CUNA Strategic Services provider, is managing the installation, integration and maintenance of a complex security software system for the new World Trade Center (WTC) site in New York. Diebold is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. Diebold’s Situational Awareness Platform Software (SAPS) system will collect, correlate and display information from the WTC site’s critical security systems and provide identity management. Diebold’s integration efforts will connect systems to the WTC security command center through a single interface, giving operators control and views of the entire WTC site. To centralize management, Diebold will integrate devices and technologies, including identity, credential and access management systems; video surveillance systems; intrusion and fire alarms; building management systems; vertical transportation; digital intercom; radio communication; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear detection systems; and vehicle scheduling and management systems. The systems that Diebold will integrate are interspersed among 11 primary buildings and facilities, including five skyscrapers, the third-largest transportation hub in New York City, the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum, a retail venue, a performing arts center, a vehicle security center and critical infrastructure facilities. Security is of utmost importance at the WTC site, both during and after construction. In addition to technologies it is incorporating to secure buildings and systems when the site opens for business, Diebold also implemented a perimeter security video and access-control system to secure the entire site during construction.

CUAnswers sums up 2011 efforts

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (7/22/11)--During its Annual Leadership Conference, CU*Answers, a credit union service organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich., presented attendees with a statistical review of its operating year. Among the highlights:
* The company welcomed 16 new clients from nine different states as users of its CU*BASE cored data processing system. * More than 1.4 million members will be processed by 189 CU*BASE credit unions at the Sept. 30 close of the 2011 business year. * More than 11 new owners have joined CU*Answers in the past year, the biggest gain in that time period since 1999-2000, that brings total shareholders to 94 credit unions nationwide. While ownership is not a requirement, more than 60% of its clients are stakeholders. * CU*Northwest, CU*Answers’ cuasterisk.com network partner and regional provider of CU*BASE, also has 12 credit union owners.

IBT partners with ShareTec

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CEDAR PARK, Texas (7/21/11)--IBT, a provider of process innovation and customer experience solutions, has partnered with software developerShareTec Systems to complement its core offering of teller capture, branch capture and share draft processing. The partnership will allow IBT credit union clients to capture transactions at the branch, receive share files for core posting and use the most current forward presentment and clearing options. Credit unions and their members will have simultaneous access of images and transactions across all customer delivery channels, IBT said. “The ShareTec Systems approach delivers a solution developed internally and through partnerships such as IBT that improve the member services experience while reducing overall operating cost,” said Mark Dittman, IBT CEO.

Self-employed verifications available from Equifax

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ST. LOUIS (7/20/11)--The Work Number, a service of Equifax and a provider of verified employment and income verifications (VOE/VOI), has released self-employed verifications, a solution that helps qualify the nearly one-in-nine American workers classified as self-employed for loans and other forms of credit. The Work Number has provided automated verification of salaried employees for years, but verifying employment for self-employed individuals is usually done manually. Employment and income-related misrepresentation continues to be among the leading fraud types that undermine loan quality, said Equifax. Lenders can receive a VOE for a self-employed applicant, with document images of the individual’s business listing from a state regulatory site, and general business information from a third-party source. The Work Number also can contact the applicant’s tax preparer to provide a report to the lender. The Work Number employs a uniform and auditable research process in completing self-employed VOEs, conducted by a team of employer validation, contact and transcription specialists. All information obtained during fulfillment is systemically recorded and documented. The Work Number offers employer-direct and up-to-date employment and income verifications. The service allows access to more than 200 million records instantly and will manually complete remaining employment and income verification requests within days. The Work Number also provides IncomeChek, a tax-transcript fulfillment service, and DirectChek, an identity assessment and authentication service.

Verafin reports 57 hike in clients

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ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland (7/19/11)--Verafin Inc., a provider of compliance, anti-money-laundering (AML) and fraud-detection software, reported a 57% increase in customer acquisition in the first half of 2011. The company has surpassed 700 customers, finishing the second quarter with nearly 750 clients. Verafin is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. The company provides a combined fraud-detection and AML solution that uses artificial intelligence and behavior pattern-based recognition. Bringing fraud-detection and AML (FRAML) processes together alerts compliance officers of suspicious behavior and anomalies while complying with Bank Secrecy Act and AML regulations.

CU Solutions launches Create-a-Site

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LIVONIA, Mich. (7/18/11)--CU Solutions Group (CUSG) is launching Create-a-Site, a template-based platform for credit unions that have not budgeted for a professionally designed website. The platform includes 10 website designs and 15- or 30-page packages. Both packages come with pre-populated content, a rates system, the ability to add related links, an ad banner management system, a search box, and a library of ready-to-use banner ads and images. CUSG will host the site and train clients on its content-management system. The 30-page package includes a loan application, a membership application, a contact form, a shared-site certificate, and the CUSG Financial Resource Center with financial education articles, four youth sites and 15 financial calculators. Credit unions can buy additional pages and website modules to expand and enhance their site.

DigitalMailer taps Vovici for member feedback

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HERNDON, Va. (7/18/11)--Vovici, a provider of enterprise feedback management solutions, is serving as the foundation of e-marketer DigitalMailer’s member feedback solution. DigitalMailer works with each credit union client to translate survey and feedback objectives into a strategy that captures member opinions and sentiment about the credit union’s services. Using Vovici, DigitalMailer executes feedback campaigns and delivers reports that note opportunities for improvement. DigitalMailer also relies on Vovici to augment its help desk. After a help desk call, a client automatically receives a survey link seeking feedback about the experience. “This feedback is crucial to our senior management, who scrutinize the data regularly,” said Greg Crandell, DigitalMailer executive vice president of sales and business development. “Like our credit union clients, we want to provide the best service possible.” DigitalMailer credit union clients serve more than 4.5 million members and manage more than $30 billion in assets.

TMG text alerts integrate back-end fraud prevention

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DES MOINES, Iowa (7/15/11)--The Members Group (TMG) has launched Fraud Text Alerts for cardholders of TMG's financial institution clients. The product advances the individual fraud prevention efforts of credit unions and community banks, explained Karen Postma, TMG cards risk senior manager, during a fraud prevention session at TMG's 2011 Client Conference in Sonoma, Calif. "Fraud Text Alerts are triggered by a financial institution's own unique fraud prevention strategies," Postma said. If a transaction is flagged as risky, TMG "will take a look at the transaction in the context of the account and the financial institution's strategies, and, if warranted, verify the transaction by texting the cardholder." Cardholders can either confirm the transaction as legitimate or report it as a possible fraud. If the transaction is fraudulent, TMG places a "hold" on the account to prevent further transactions. It also sends a second text with a phone number and instructions to call the TMG fraud prevention team for further instructions. "Many financial-management text alerts, including TMG's Visa Transaction Alerts, are triggered by cardholder-initiated settings, which is excellent for budgeting and account management," Postma said. "But when it comes to fraud prevention, you really need those texts to be driven by proven prevention strategies and highly trained specialists." Cardholders must opt-in to receive the alerts, which can be branded with the credit union or bank's name.

CU Companies introduces correspondent lending

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NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. (7/15/11)--CU Companies has launched its new mortgage channel, Correspondent Lending, to give credit unions a secondary market option for funding mortgages while helping them maintain their primary financial institution position. The Correspondent Lending program is an expansion of the New Brighton, Minn.-based credit union service organization's (CUSO) original mortgage program. It gives credit unions more control over the lending process, which allows them to generate more revenue. The credit union originates, processes and closes the loan while CU Companies underwrites and purchases the closed loan. The program "promotes loyalty," said Brad Crandall, CEO of CU Companies. "We won't back-solicit our partners' members with financial services their credit union already provides. That's a unique feature that we won't compromise." The multi-owned CUSO has provided a retail mortgage lending channel for longer than 25 years, and its servicing portfolio has grown to more than $1 billion in loans. The Correspondent Lending program also offers a website to streamline the lending process, with direct access to on-site underwriters, tools, and technological resources. The program is offered to credit unions in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

JHA to offer CUs EMV chip for fraud protection

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MONETT, Mo. (7/14/11)--JHA Payment Processing Solutions (PPS), a division of Jack Henry & Associates, will offer Visa-branded Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) chip-and-signature cards to its credit union customers. The cards, which have gained wide acceptance outside the U.S., contain an embedded microchip that provides enhanced fraud protection. Credit unions serving cardholders who live or travel abroad are the primary market for the EMV chip-and-signature cards. Cardholders will benefit from reduced card-present fraud, and greater convenience and merchant acceptance. The cards also have a magnetic stripe, for use at any traditional card reader in the U.S. The EMV standard was created to define the functional requirements for chip-card and chip-reading terminals. PPS is piloting its first EMV card deployment with Star One CU in Sunnyvale, Calif.

PayLOGICS launches same-day settlement

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ROCKWALL, Texas. (7/14/11)--Users of Aptys Solutions’ PayLOGICS payment platform can now manage and perform same-day settlement (SDS) through the system’s automated clearinghouse (ACH) function, the payments systems network provider announced yesterday. “Financial institutions continue to focus on generating revenue and reducing costs,” said Sean Pennock, president of Aptys Solutions. “In response to industry demand, Aptys developed PayLOGICS from the ground up to include SDS functionality. By continually bridging legacy and emerging payments, we are providing financial institutions a cost-effective and efficient method of managing their payments platforms today and in the future.” In 2010, the Federal Reserve began offering an intraday service for certain debit transaction types, including converted checks, and Internet and telephone transactions. National Automated Clearing House Association is now exploring new options for expanding the SDS functionality within its rules base. Rockwall, Texas-based Aptys Solutions provides financial institutions with a common infrastructure to support payments processing initiatives, including image exchange, ACH processing, wire processing, Federal Reserve messages, in-network exchange payment processing and mobile payments.

UPLEX Global seeks beta testers for secondary loans

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INDIANAPOLIS (7/13/11)--UPLEX Global, an online loan trading platform, is inviting lending portfolio professionals at credit unions and other financial institutions to participate as Beta testers for its new online commercial loan portfolio management and trading platform at www.UPLEXGlobal.com. In exchange for testing the system for buying and selling whole loans, participations or portfolio assets, UPLEX will offer a free 18-month subscription, valued at $8,100, with no monthly account fee through 2012. Also, any trade made during 2012 will count toward the 2013 rebate of fees. The platform enables financial institutions to buy and sell commercial loans on a global basis. Simulators can experiment with the system, conducting simulated trades with mock loans at no charge. Or they can buy and sell real loans during the Beta period, paying a low per-transaction fee of 0.3% to 0.5%, based on the asset size traded. "We've designed this system specifically to eliminate the high cost and inefficiency barriers most smaller institutions face when looking to buy and sell individual loans, loan participations or loan portfolios," said Paul Giefing, CEO and founder of UPLEX Holdings. The service cuts out the middleman by letting buyers and sellers drive the transaction and the price, he said.

Synergent Symitar sign core-processing agreement

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PORTLAND, Maine (7/13/11)--Synergent and Symitar have expanded their partnership to bring in-house and service-bureau processing platforms to New York state and New England credit unions. Credit unions running the Episys core-processing platform in a service-bureau environment will be served by Synergent. Credit unions operating Episys in-house will be served by Symitar. Synergent is the largest provider of Episys in a service-bureau environment, according to the two companies. Synergent will bring new applications to market in the service-bureau environment, including enhanced member and loan applications from Symitar, said Gary Glenn, Synergent senior vice president. The two organizations also will appear together at trade shows, collaborate on white papers and share additional resources to serve their credit union partners. Synergent, a subsidiary of the Maine Credit Union League, provides credit unions with technology services, shared branching, statement processing, card services, check processing, support services and direct marketing. Symitar, a division of Jack Henry & Associates, based in San Diego, is a core processing solution provider, serving more than 700 credit unions

Celent reports monitor core banking vendors for CUs

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BOSTON (7/13/11)--Celent Banking Solutions has released two reports providing a comparison study of the core processing market for credit unions. As a benefit of affiliation, the Credit Union National Association provides member credit unions with access to research reports from Celent. “Core Banking Solutions for Large Credit Unions” compares solutions among providers who count at least 10% of their clients as credit unions with $500 million or more in assets. Celent has created a map of service providers and ranks them. It presents XCelent Awards to the leading solutions within four categories. The second report, “Core Banking Solutions for Small Credit Unions” compares solutions among providers who count at least 10% of their clients as credit unions with less than $500 million in assets. Last year, around 10% of credit unions studied sought to switch their core system, up from historical averages of 4% to 5%. Opportunity exists where smaller credit unions look to upgrade an outdated legacy system or to consolidate processing to a single vendor following a merger or acquisition, according to Celent. Celent is a research and advisory firm that works with financial institutions in formulating comprehensive business and technology strategies.

Several vendor acquisitions mergers announced

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MADISON, Wis. (7/12/11)--Similar to the credit union industry, the competitive landscape for financial institution suppliers is being reshaped by acquisitions and mergers. Some recent examples are:
* Fiserv Inc. has agreed to buy electronic-payment firm CashEdge Inc. for $465 million in cash (Dow Jones Newswires June 30). CashEdge will add to Fiserv’s existing operations in account-to-account transfers, data aggregation, small-business payments and person-to-person payments. Fiserv already offers person-to-person payments through ZashPay, while CashEdge offers the Popmoney brand. * Visa Inc. will acquire Fundamo, a mobile payments company that focuses primarily on working with mobile network operators and banks in developing regions, for $110 million in cash. Fundamo’s platform enables the delivery of mobile financial services to unbanked and under-banked consumers worldwide--including person-to-person payment, airtime top-up, bill payment and branchless banking services. * S1 Corp, a provider of payments and financial services software, has agreed to buy Fundtech, which facilitates payments, settlements and cash management for more than 1,000 financial institutions in about 75 countries. The combined company will be located in S1 Corp’s Atlanta’s headquarters and will be called Fundtech. * Intuit expanded its mobile banking reach with the acquisition of Mobile Money Ventures (MMV) (Dow Jones Newswires June 27). Purchasing MMV gives Intuit ownership of all the technology used in Intuit’s mobile banking software provided to about 320 U.S. banks and credit unions. Intuit said it would be better able to manage customer support and facilitate faster customer development after the acquisition.

Corporate One expands partnership with ProfitStars

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MONETT, Mo. (7/11/11)--ProfitStars’ Enterprise Payment Solutions clients will process electronic payment transactions through Corporate One in a strategic partnership, ProfitStars’ parent company, Jack Henry & Associates announced Thursday. ProfitStars transactions to be processed through the corporate credit union and consumer remote deposit capture (RDC) transactions, check conversion, and Check 21 settlement options. Through the partnership, Corporate One’s member credit unions nationwide will be able consolidate settlement, expedite transactions, and leverage all Check 21 benefits without added technology responsibilities. Corporate One, with $5.1 billion assets, processes an average of 3.25 million items per month, valued at more than $2 billion through ProfitStars. ProfitStars supports more than 1,500 financial institutions and 155,000 users with commercial remote deposit capture, and more than 2,250 financial institutions and 100,000 seats with branch and teller image capture solutions.

CUAnswers conference stresses community cooperation

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (7/8/11)--As part of its 20th Annual Leadership Conference, June 21-23 in Grand Rapids, Mich, CU*Answers challenged participants to take their traditional credit union communities and transform them into true cooperatives. In delivering this message, CU*Answers President/CEO Randy Karnes discussed the differences between “cooperation” and a true cooperative business design. Cooperation is about getting along, while a cooperative business design is about leveraging and maximizing a business design to get ahead, Karnes said. A true cooperative model seeks to gain a competitive advantage for a credit union’s membership, Karnes said. Building on the conference’s theme, “My Credit Union is a Community,” Karnes challenged attending CEOs to consider what constitutes a community. He said a credit union community includes:
* Location--where credit union members and employees live, work and play; * Members--of all credit unions; * Professionals--employees of CUs, regulators, trade associations, credit union service organizations, consultants and vendors; and * Volunteers--of all credit unions;
Each community member must work to build trust and respect, working together to serve the greater good of the credit union membership, he said. To represent the ideal of community support, conference attendees were each presented a check for $10 to donate to one of five community-related charities. The popular choice was Credit Unions for Kids, which received $650. Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, Salvation Army and Big Brothers Big Sisters received donations totaling $810.

Paper explores lending to newly credit-challenged

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MADISON, Wis. (7/8/11)--A new white paper from the CUNA Lending Council, “Lending to the Newly Credit-Challenged: A Second Chance for First-Time Defaulters,” examines a back-to-basics approach for exploring loan options with members who’ve experienced credit setbacks for the first time. These potential borrowers--many of them victims of the economic downturn and who are turning the corner on their personal financial crises--represent a significant portion of total credit union membership. One in 10 Americans fell behind on their loan payments for the first time during the recent recession, according to a 2010 survey by the Deloitte Center for Financial Services. Working with members to restore their credit and financial standing presents an opportunity for credit unions to bolster loan volume and build loyalty. It also requires a time investment in revisiting loan policies and practices and retraining staff to look beyond credit scores in assessing members’ ability and willingness to repay, according to Bill Vogeney, senior vice president/chief lending officer for Ent FCU, Colorado Springs, Colo. This approach to lending is “relationship-driven,” Vogeney said. “It’s all about the story of each individual member. We need to know what borrowers have to say about their past situations as we make loan decisions.” The CUNA Lending Council white paper explores the trends behind the current economic climate and relates them to lending with interview scenarios. It also examines the need for staff training, the reasons behind the organizational shift to centralized lending and the benefits of financial counseling. The white paper also provides additional planning and action steps to help members regain their financial footing and to help credit unions put their “people helping people” mission into action in a way that sets them apart in the financial services marketplace without increasing delinquencies and charge-offs.

Experian launches Precise ID for customer management

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COSTA MESA, Calif. (7/7/11)--Experian, an information services company, has launched an addition to Experian Precise ID, its suite of authentication and fraud detection services. Experian’s Precise ID for Customer Management helps organizations reduce fraud losses by applying a point-in-time fraud-risk assessment that incorporates activity that may have occurred since the account was opened. Through a risk-based approach, the tool evaluates and scores identities and associated identity elements through an identity transaction network to reveal up-to-date identity use and associated fraud threats. The network adds more than two million identity transactions per day, revealing up-to-date fraud threats associated with inconsistent or high-risk use of numerous identity elements. Precise ID for Customer Management’s identity-fraud risk score assesses the likelihood that a customer’s or member’s identity has been compromised and poses a risk of fraud loss. The score ranges from 1 to 999, providing a basis for account segmentation and allowing reviewers to change decision thresholds and account treatments over time.

CUNA council paper offers fin lit training

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MADISON, Wis. (7/6/11)--The CUNA HR/TD Council is offering a "Financial Literacy Training for Directors" white paper to assist credit union directors with new requirements from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). NCUA established a set of guidelines for federal credit union directors to ensure they have "a base level of financial skills, consistent with the size and complexity of the credit union operation they serve." The requirements under NCUA Regulation 701.4 took effect on Jan. 27. The council's white paper outlines the new regulation and how credit union human resources and training staff can help make sure directors are successfully meeting their duties. CUNA Council members are entitled to complimentary copies of the council's white papers. Non-members can purchase the papers for $50 per copy. The papers are available in the white paper section of www.cunacouncils.org by selecting the "HR/TD" tabs.

Calyx software PRMS team up on risk management

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DALLAS (7/6/11)--Calyx Software, a mortgage origination solution provider, and Precision Risk Management Systems (PRMS), a provider of risk management services for mortgage industry, have formed a strategic alliance. Calyx said an increasing number of its clients are making the move from “best efforts” to “mandatory” loan execution. The alliance with PRMS addresses the increased risk that transition creates for lenders, Calyx said. When moving to bulk warehouse lines, investors typically require the lender to work with a reputable risk management firm to get the line approved. Historically, Calyx was not able to address the risk management needs of its clients. The alignment with PRMS gives Calyx clients that option. Moving from best efforts to mandatory delivery allows mortgage banking operations to increase the earnings of their secondary marketing department without increasing loan volume. By using PRMS risk management solutions, lenders will have decision tools and support to maximize trades and profits. "Calyx has experienced rapid growth with mortgage banks and financial institutions that produce significant mortgage volume each month," Wade Brantley, national product sales director for Calyx Software said. “When these operations start producing more than $10 million-$15 million per month, they typically desire to move from selling best efforts to mandatory because the additional margins are significant. In PRMS, we found a vendor that does both extremely well."

TMG PayFusion announce new CEOs

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DES MOINES, Iowa (7/6/11)--Two Des Moines, Iowa-based companies that provide services for credit unions have announced new CEOs. The Members Group (TMG) announced that Shazia Manus will join TMG as CEO of the card processing and payments solution company. Manus most recently served as CEO the past six years of Greater Iowa CU, a $260 million asset credit union based in Ames, Iowa. She replaces former TMG CEO Tom Kuehl, who recently announced his retirement. Manus started her career with Greater Iowa in 1999. As CEO, she engineered a significant turn-around of the institution, achieving substantial profitability and membership growth. She also led a multi-million dollar business acquisition. In a separate announcement, PayFusion, a debit card consulting firm serving credit unions and community banks, announced it has hired Thomas "TJ" Riha as CEO. He formerly served as business development director of First Data, where he worked closely with financial institutions with more than $6 million in assets. Riha, who will be based in Omaha, helped clients optimize several payment product lines, including debit and credit card processing, plastic card embossing, and PIN debit networks. He joined First Data in 1999, and held a variety of positions, including debit project analyst. Both companies are owned by Affiliates Management Co., a wholly owned holding company of the Iowa Credit Union League that was formed to better integrate and align the league's operating companies.

ProfitStars introduces mobile flatbed RDC

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MONETT, Mo. (7/5/11)--ProfitSars, a division Jack Henry & Associates Inc., a computer systems and electronic payment provider, has introduced a solution that allows credit unions to offer members the option to deposit checks from a smartphone, camera-enabled tablet device or flatbed scanner. The hosted technology features end-to-end security and accuracy and compliance services that will be maintained and updated with changing regulations. Remote Deposit Anywhere can complement financial institutions’ existing Enterprise Payment Solutions platform or be implemented as a stand-alone solution. It can be customized based on business-sized and personal-sized checks, velocity preferences, and limits for mobile-based transactions and traditional deposits. ProfitStars has a Remote Deposit Capture Knowledge Center available online to assist customers and prospects with achieving all of the benefits of remote deposit capture. The knowledge center disseminates information to any financial institution interested in offering remote deposit.

CUTEK assists CUs with mergers

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MURRIETA, Calif. (7/5/11)--CUTEK Inc., a financial technology services provider and consultant, helps merging credit unions integrate Symitar Epysis systems. The technology consultant recently completed its second merger in four months with $317 million-asset SkyOne FCU, Hawthorne, Calif., and assisted $358 million CBC CU, Oxnard, Calif., with its recent merger. CUTEK provides a blueprint or a conversion that brought every department into the merger process, according to Jim Susha, CEO of CBC FCU. CUTEK recommended strategies for mapping, conversion and testing of Symitar data and strategies and suggested ideas for dealing with automated clearinghouse and draft files, Susha said. “They have previous experience with the Symitar merge program that was extremely beneficial,” Susha added. “CUTEK convinced us we would be in a stronger position following the Symitar path than using another vendor’s proprietary approach.” “Each merger--two with SkyOne and one with CBC--was performed with different options,” CUTEK President Ron Murray explained. “CBC was mostly consulting in a ‘how-to’ role. SkyOne’s first merger was a full-service merge where we did analysis crossovers and programming. In SkyOne’s second merger, they took what they learned from us in their first merger and did their own analysis and crossovers, while we provided programming and support.”