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Colorados First CO-OP self-serve kiosk cuts CUs costs

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (8/29/08)--Red Rocks CU, Highlands Ranch, Colo., has saved money by using CO-OP Fast Branch kiosks. The credit union is the first in the state to use Fast Branch. It went live with four kiosks in July. The kiosks, offered by CO-OP Financial Services, provide services of conventional ATMs, loan payments and advances. They also allow members to conduct transactions outside of normal business hours. “Focusing on these new delivery methods gave us the ability to raise deposit rates and lower rates on our various loan products, including rates currently being paid by members on existing loans,” said David Starck, Red Rocks vice president of member service. “Giving back to members goes back to the original intent of credit unions and the core foundation of Red Rocks--maximizing the economic benefit for the membership.” More than 1,500 members enrolled to use the kiosks. “Tellers are posted nearby to assist members with initial transactions, but there has already been decreased waiting time at the teller line and an increase in the amount of transactions by repeat Fast Branch users,” Starck added. No positions at Red Rocks were eliminated after the kiosks were deployed, the credit union said. CO-OP Financial Services, based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is a credit union service organization that offers 25,000 surcharge-free ATMs on the CO-OP Network to participating credit union members. Red Rocks has $154 million in assets.

LCUL offers its CUs 247 access to compliance info

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HARAHAN, La. (8/29/08)--Louisiana’s credit unions can stay informed about compliance issues through Compliance Connection, offered by the Louisiana Credit Union League (LCUL). “We believe these resources are crucial in the success and daily operations of credit unions across the state,” said Anne Cochran, LCUL CEO. The connection comprises the Compliance and Research Hotline and the Infosight Online Compliance Center. The hotline is available to credit unions with questions on sample policies, salary survey information and industry research. The center is a searchable resource that offers compliance information and Louisiana-specific guidance. The league’s InfoSight Newsletter also features compliance news, highlights compliance deadlines and provides information on upcoming compliance education events.

Strunk and Associates joins MnCUN Vendor Involvement Program

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (8/29/08)--Strunk and Associates recently enrolled in the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s (MnCUN) Vendor Involvement Program (VIP). Strunk is the 21st organization to sign on this year. It is a financial institution advisory service that offers the Overdraft Privilege Service Program to more than 2,000 clients. VIP, created in 2005, offers vendors advertising, annual meeting packages and the opportunity to participate in new MnCUN initiatives.

LenderLive buys assets of Guardian Mortgage Documents

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DENVER (8/28/08)--LenderLive Network Inc. of Denver announced it has purchased the assets of Colorado-based Guardian Mortgage Documents (GMD). GMD has been LenderLive’s exclusive provider of document preparation services for the past 10 years. LenderLive provides business-process outsourcing and technology to the financial industry. “This acquisition takes our longstanding relationship with Guardian management and its staff to the next level, allowing us to capitalize on the tremendous synergies that are already in place,” said Rick Seehausen, LenderLive president. Michael O’Leary, GMD founder, will continue as president of GMD. The company will continue management and operations in Lakewood, Colo.

DeposZip enhances remote deposit service

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BURLINGTON, Mass. (8/28/08)--DeposZip, which allows credit union members to make deposits from their desktops, now is available to Mac and Firefox users. The newest version, Version 2.0, supports Firefox on Microsoft Windows and Firefox and Safari on Mac OS X. “Several credit unions with members in the design and high-tech fields requested that we make the service available for a wider variety of browsers and operating systems, so 2.0 also provides a cross-platform scanning interface using Java technology,” said George Dow, Eastern Corporate FCU assistant vice president, member relations and business development. “Members just sign, scan and send in their checks via their credit union’s online banking program,” he added. “The credit union staff then approves and processes them. That’s all there is to it.” DeposZip was launched by Eastern Corporate FCU (EasCorp), Burlington, Mass., last fall. Wright-Patt CU, Fairborn, Ohio, recently selected the solution. “We’ve been talking about implementing Check 21 for the past two years,” said Cynthia Schroeder, Wright-Patt CU vice president of information technology and support services. “With DeposZip, we are adding consumer home deposit to the mix.”

Citadel introduces AutoSmart

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THORNDALE, Pa. (8/27/08)--Citadel has introduced AutoSMART, its auto-buying website, where users can find a new or used vehicle. Car shoppers can compare vehicles, pricing and incentives on the website. They also can find the value of their current vehicle research articles, warranties, rebates and dealer incentives. In addition, they can be pre-approved for a Citadel vehicle loan on the site. The “Find It” tool provides Citadel’s Preferred Dealer list, where shoppers can build their own vehicle and check the inventory of local dealers. The “Finance It” tool provides Citadel’s current rates and a free credit report. Citadel provides banking, investment and insurance services to financial institutions nationwide. It is a credit union service organization of Citadel FCU, Thorndale, Pa.

Strategic goals ratios addressed in council white papers

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MADISON, Wis. (8/27/08)--Testing strategic financial goals and analyzing credit union financial ratios are the topics of two new white papers by the CUNA Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Council. “Testing a Strategic Financial Vision: Using a Simple Financial Planning Model” explains how to test a credit union’s strategic financial goals over an extended time. Using a simulation model that creates future balance sheets, income statements, and financial ratios, the paper focuses on capturing key financial aspects of the plan in a strategic financial vision. It also outlines key testing issues and includes an operating manual for the model. The second white paper, “Credit Union Financial Ratios: Twenty-Plus Years of Data and Analysis,” explains what can be garnered by analyzing financial ratios over 22 years. It examines the conclusions about financial changes, impacts of competition, changed regulation, and the basic safety, soundness, and competitiveness of the industry. A 22-year listing of more than 50 ratios is included in the appendix. For more information, use the links.

Metavante Connect Software announce alliance

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MILWAUKEE (8/27/08)--Metavante Corp. announced that it has partnered with Connect Software Solutions to provide an integrated online banking and bill pay product for credit unions that will be delivered by Connect. The product will allow credit union members to send payments to virtually all billers, the companies said in a release. Transaction growth rates and the number of members actively using bill pay doubled after a pilot program in 2006 and 2007. Connect is a Las Vegas-based credit union service organization. Metavante provides banking and payment technologies to financial institutions, including credit unions, and is headquartered in Milwaukee.

WesCorp tests biz continuity systems live

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SAN DIMAS, Calif. (8/27/08)--Western Corporate FCU (WesCorp) conducted a live exercise of its business continuity plan from its back-up facility in Temecula, Calif. last Friday. All its critical operating systems were run throughout the day from the corporate’s off-site business continuity center after being transferred from its San Dimas, Calif., location. “While most other large financial institutions conduct their continuity plans during the weekend, WesCorp prefers to do these strategic exercises during actual business hours,” said Fred Valentie, WesCorp vice president of operational integrity. Systems tested included WAVE, Member Center, wire transfers, item processing and investment services, and member-related call center activities. WesCorp’s San Dimas staff also traveled to the back-up site two hours away to provide continuity. WesCorp has more than $30 billion in assets.

Agility sponsoring preparedness webinars in September

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MADISON, Wis. (8/26/08)--Agility Recovery Solutions will offer several free webinars in September to credit unions in support National Preparedness Month. All of the webinars will take place at 2 p.m. ET. They include:
* 10 Steps to Business Preparedness, Sept. 3. Attendees will learn how to prepare their businesses with the top 10 basics of business continuity planning and will receive tops to develop a disaster recovery kit; * The Humane Side of Crisis Management, Sept. 10, Gerald Lewis, Ph.D., an author and international consultant in crisis management, will discuss best practices in handling crises; * How Effective is Your Business Continuity Plan? Be Informed! Sept. 17, which will provide best practices for planning and completing a recovery plan simulation; and * Give Back! Easy Steps to Help Prepare Your Community, Sept. 24, which will provide attendees with information on how to help prepare communities for disasters.
Agility is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. For more information, use the link.

FSCC Cardtronics launch California Cruisin Sweepstakes

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HOUSTON and SAN DIMAS, Calif. (8/25/08)--Financial Service Centers Cooperative (FSCC) and Cardtronics announced the California Cruisin’ Sweepstakes to honor the one-year anniversary of FSCC’s shared-branching services at 7-Eleven stores. Shared-branching services at 7-Eleven stores are provided through Cardtronic’s Vcom terminals. The California Cruisin’ sweepstakes will end Oct. 20. One credit union member will receive $5,000 in CUs for Kids gift cards. Credit union members will be entered by authenticating themselves at any Vcom terminal in a 7-Eleven store in California. FSCC is a San Dimas, Calif.-based shared-branch network that provides 5,500 full service deposit-taking locations in the U.S. and overseas. Cardtronics, headquartered in Houston, is an ATM operator.

Digital Dialogue call center volume up 65 over last year

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (8/25/08)--Digital Dialogue, a provider of call center operations and software solutions for credit unions, reported a record call volume at 211,167 incoming calls during July. The figure is a 65% increase July 2007. The previous record was in May, with 171,722 calls. The industry standard for call centers answering incoming calls immediately is 80%. Digital Dialogue’s standard is 87% to 90%, the company said. “The call center experts provide us with a 24/7 call center to manage our members’ calls for less than it would cost to hire and train two full-time employees,” said Bonny Godtland, president, St. Paul (Minn.) FCU. “It is important for us to be available to our members at all hours of the day and night without incurring additional expenses.” Digital Dialogue is a PSCU Financial Services company.

LEVEL5 is No. 51 on Inc. 500 growth list

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ATLANTA (8/25/08)--LEVEL5, a consulting and facilities development firm and CUNA Strategic Service provider, was ranked 51st on the 2008 Inc. 500. The list is measured by percentage revenue growth from 2004 through 2007. LEVEL5 also was ranked second on the Top 100 Construction Companies and Top 100 Businesses in Atlanta lists. LEVEL5 works with financial institutions nationwide to develop and implement growth strategies. The company is named after its five-step process, which includes strategic consulting, real estate, integrated design, construction management and branding.

Diebold CSS free webcast addresses teller branching

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MADISON, Wis. (8/25/08)--Diebold and CUNA Strategic Services will host a free webcast Sept. 11 about teller automation and shared branching. The webcast will be held at 2 p.m. ET. Linda Perconti, director, delivery channel solutions for Diebold, will lead the session. Star One CU, Sunnyvale, Calif., also will discuss its experiences with teller automation and how it assisted the credit union in meeting its branch revolution goals. Topics include:
* Market trends that drive the branch revolution; * Efficiencies of teller automation in the modern branch; * Member-centric tools and resources for implementing teller automation; and * First-hand implementation of strategies and results.
For more information, use the links.

Enterprise donates to NCUF for cars sold to CU members

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ST. LOUIS (8/22/08)--Enterprise Car Sales will donate $25 to the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) for every used vehicle purchased by credit union members and employees during “Credit Union Appreciation Month” in September. From Sept. 1-30, every Enterprise used vehicle purchased by a credit union employee will come with a $350 pre-paid gas card as part of a “We’ll buy your gas for a month” promotion. “This is a wonderful opportunity for credit union employees to buy a great used vehicle at a great price, while helping to raise funds to benefit the NCUF,” said Brooke Gilchrist, Enterprise Car Sales national marketing manager. “Credit Union Appreciation Month is Enterprise’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to the thousands of credit union employees who provide excellent service to their members every day.” This marks the third consecutive year that Enterprise has made a donation to NCUF in conjunction with Credit Union Appreciation Month. Enterprise Car Sales offers more than 120 makes and models of late-model used vehicles priced below the Kelley Blue Book. Every vehicle undergoes a 109-point inspection by a certified technician and is backed by a seven-day repurchase policy if the purchaser changes his or her mind about the purchase. Enterprise has helped more than 1,000 credit unions increase their used-car loan portfolio and optimize member loyalty by creating tailored used-car buying programs. Credit unions are guaranteed to receive 100% of used-car loans 100% of the time whenever they refer a member to Enterprise.

Webcast How to leverage member data for marketing

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MADISON, Wis. (8/22/08)--CUNA Strategic Services and Digital Insight will host a free webcast Oct. 7 to teach credit unions how they can use member data for marketing. “Putting Member Data to Work for You to Drive Acquisition, Retention and Cross Sales” is aimed at “C” level decision makers, such as the CEO or chief marketing officer. Lori Alsterberg, marketing director, Digital Insight, will lead the session. Topics include:
* The impact of personalization on the adoption and active use of your online solutions; * How Digital Insight can help credit unions use demographic, psychographic and behavioral activity coupled with timing, frequency and channel to craft meaningful communication for members; and * How relevant member “touches” can drive acquisition, retention and more cross sales.
For more information, use the link.

October learning opportunities plentiful from CUNA

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MADISON, Wis. (8/21/08)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will offer more than a dozen learning events covering a variety of credit union disciplines this October. The Collections and Bankruptcy School: Introduction and Advanced, in Denver, will teach credit union professionals how to work with delinquent members. During Introduction, Oct. 5-10, students will explore collection basics, bankruptcy, repossessions, and tools and tips. Advanced, Oct. 5-8, explores challenges and best practices in collections, along with negotiations, compliance and collection law. Business Development School: Parts I and II will take place Oct. 5-10 in San Francisco to help improve credit union business development programs. Part I addresses building business plans that are aligned with overall credit union strategy. Issues specific to community charters and segmented employee groups also will be discussed. Part II advances a credit union’s growing business development program with new strategies to bring in business and grow existing relationships. Branch Management Institute: Foundations and Strategies will take place concurrently Oct. 6-9 in San Francisco. Foundations teaches financial management skills, compliance, and recruiting/managing to increase employee retention. Strategies focuses on leadership skills, sales, and more. The 2008 Community Credit Union Conference, Oct. 8-11 in San Diego, focuses on the challenges, compliance issues, best practices, and trends that are unique to a community charter. The conference will delve into marketing strategies, community relations, bringing in new members, member business lending, emerging markets, mergers, and performance issues for community credit unions. The Reach Out! Conference: Strategies for Serving Low wealth, Immigrants and Youth will take place Oct. 12-15 in San Francisco. Presented by CUNA in cooperation with the National Credit Union Foundation, the conference will help attendees leverage the credit union “People Helping People” philosophy into an actionable plan for their credit unions. The Bank Secrecy Act Conference (BSA), Oct. 19-22 in Atlanta, will offer topics including: developing an organization-wide BSA risk assessment, importance of BSA due diligence prior to a merger, shared-branching considerations, automated clearing house and wire issues, and the potential problems of alternative payment methods. Management Essentials for Supervisors: Introduction and Advanced in Atlanta will help managers raise their performance and retain and develop staff. Introduction, Oct. 19-24, covers technical management skills, including hiring, interviewing, retaining, coaching, disciplining, and firing. Advanced, Oct. 19-23, will teach ethical leadership, management skills and effective communications. The World-Class Customer Service Executive Institute, Oct. 19-23 in Denver, will provide attendees with an opportunity to gauge their credit unions’ member service skills compared with an organization considered a world-renowned expert in the field: the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. Using the Ritz as a backdrop, participants learn the hotel’s “Gold Standards” and strategies, explore its methods in action, and apply these techniques to the credit union environment. The CUNA Volunteer Institute, Oct. 25-29, takes place in Maui, Hawaii, and helps maximize the board’s knowledge and effectiveness. Sessions on the economy, due diligence for third-party vendors, bankruptcy, and more will be offered. The Experience Learning Live! Conference, Oct. 26-29 in Tempe, Ariz., will teach new training techniques and provide information to increase learning. Sessions will address: the psychology of learning, creativity, multiple intelligences, demonstrating and reporting training value, and more. The Residential Mortgage Lending eSchool, Oct. 14-Nov. 17, enables credit union lending staff to learn how to make their residential mortgage lending programs more efficient and successful during. The seven-session eSchool explores appraisals, loan servicing and underwriting. Participants will learn about applicable regulations, marketing issues and best practices, and how to develop a strategic business plan. For more information, use the links.

Consultant launches Gen Y focus group service

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WILMINGTON, N.C. (8/21/08)--Credit union consulting firm Glatt Consulting announced that it will launch a Generation Y focus group service for credit unions on Monday. The service, created by Gen Y marketing consultant Justin Ho, gathers a virtual group of Gen Y members to whom credit unions can pitch their ideas. The members are from schools such as the University of Southern California, the Wharton School of Business, and Stanford. “Credit unions are making great strides in Gen Y outreach,” Ho said. “Unfortunately, the majority of credit unions do not have an effective means to test their efforts before taking them to market. Ideally, a credit union tests new offers with a focus group, but the dilemma for launching youth-centered products is that credit unions lack solid Gen-Y relationships from which to draw quality focus group participants.” Credit unions can submit product plans and marketing campaign materials to the group, which will assemble a key-findings document with feedback and suggestions for improvement. The credit union will be debriefed by Ho. “A common goal all credit unions seem to share is establishing relationships with youth,” said Tom Glatt Jr., owner, Glatt Consulting. “In almost every planning session, board and management team members will voice concerns about maintaining the relevance of credit unions across generations, yet few have an in-depth perspective on youth needs.”

TNB buys CUs card portfolio

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DALLAS (8/21/08)--1st CU of Gainesville, Fla., sold its $4 million card portfolio to TNB Card Services. The sale aims to provide 1st CU members with a more competitive card offering and strong rewards program. TNB Card Services, based in Dallas, provides electronic payments processing for credit unions nationwide. “As the economic environment changed last year, we realized in order to offer our members a robust card product and to be able to compete, we were going to have to make major changes to our card program,” said Wendy Richter, chief financial officer, 1st CU. “TNB’s partnership approach allows us to continue to market the card under our brand, and share in some of the decisions about the portfolio,” she added. 1st CU has assets of $44 million.

Ten CUNA self-study courses approved for college credit

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MADISON, Wis. (8/20/08)--Ten courses from the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) self-study offerings were recommended for college credit by the National Program on Noncollegiate Sponsored Instruction (National PONSI). National PONSI grants academic credit for high-quality educational programs conducted by noncollegiate organizations, provided that these experiences are at the college level, and that the credit is appropriate for an individual's degree program. The approved courses come from the Staff Training and Recognition (STAR) and the Management Enrichment Training (MERIT) and are offered in paper-based and/or online formats. The courses accredited are:
* Security--covers employee and member safety and how to prevent losses; * Introduction to Credit Unions--provides an in-depth overview of the credit union movement, with emphasis on the credit union difference; * Basic Accounting--explores fundamental accounting techniques, along with methods for recording transactions and adjustments; * Accounting for Credit Unions--analyzes the major accounts used in credit unions, related procedures and requirements, and the importance of internal controls; * Credit Union Financial Analysis--explains account relationships, along with key financial ratios and how to use them; * Loan Marketing--summarizes product and pricing concepts, product development, and loan design, and how to create a loan marketing plan; * Interpersonal Skills: Understanding Your Impact on Members--reveals the impact of communication and interpersonal style, and supplies tools to enhance critical interpersonal skills; * Developing Exceptional Leadership--teaches skills for developing a progressive leadership style, encouraging staff commitment and achieving success with integrity; * Strategic Thinking and Planning--illustrates planning techniques for long-term projects, overcoming pitfalls, preparing viable budgets and dealing with plan changes; and * Leading and Managing Credit Union Sales--offers a comprehensive guide to developing and managing a sales and service force and instilling a credit union service culture.
Excelsior College in Albany, N.Y., is accepts a number of CUNA-developed courses for college credit. The University of Phoenix Online and Cardinal Stritch University also offer college credit options for select CUNA coursework.

LeaseCompare.com steps into leasing void

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CINCINNATI (8/20/08)--LeaseCompare.com, an online direct-to-consumer auto lender, announced that it can provide leasing to consumers who want to lease Chrysler and other vehicle makes because a number of auto lenders have exited the leasing market. Chrysler announced last month that it would no offer auto leasing (News Now Aug. 8). “Even though Chrysler and other manufacturers are pulling back from leasing, there are still competitive lease options available to consumers if they know where to shop,” said Tarry Shebesta, Automobile Consumer Services (ACS) president. ACS owns LeaseCompare.com. LeaseCompare provides an interactive tool to evaluate new- and used-vehicle leasing options from financial institutions, including credit unions. Some of the top most-requested new vehicles for leasing through LeaseCompare include: the Mini Cooper, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Corvette and Toyota Camry. Top used vehicles include: the Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911, Infiniti G35 and the Honda Civic. “We have seen a huge increase in requests for hybrid models with the Toyota Prius up to over 500% from the last half of 2007,” Shebesta said. “And, for the first time, used hybrid demand is increasing because of the waiting list for many of the new models.”

IMM joins Symitar-vendor program

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LINDEN, N.J. (8/20/08)--Integrated Media Management (IMM), a document output management and automation technology provider, joined the Symitar Vendor Integration Program (VIP) to allow IMM solutions to integrate with Symitar’s Episys core processing system. With the partnership, credit union clients can use IMM’s TotaleWorks--which includes TotaleAtlas, TotaleReceipts and TotaleChecks--in an integrated environment. Heritage Trust FCU, Charleston, S.C., uses all of the TotaleWorks products and will complete a conversion to Episys. “We have 16,000 members using online banking, and as more and more of our membership moves to conducting business via the Internet, we’ll be able to address the demand with TotalAtlasWeb,” said Robin Ward, Heritage vice president of information technology. Symitar, a provider of integrated computer systems, is a division of Jack Henry and Associates.

CU Student Choice bucks private student lending trend

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WASHINGTON (8/19/08)--A new credit union service organization (CUSO) is finding success as a new entrant in the private student loan market. Credit Union Student Choice, launched in May, announced it has approved more than $25 million in private student loans for the upcoming academic year. "We could not have picked a better time to help credit unions successfully enter the private student loan market," said Jon Jeffreys, president of Credit Union Student Choice. "We've enabled credit unions to fill the void for students and families during a time of critical need, as many banks and finance companies have been forced to leave the market," Jeffreys said. "Credit unions are uniquely positioned to excel in private student loans, and we're proving that point," he said, noting that "more than 1,500 students have already been approved for a low-rate, zero-fee CU Student Choice loan with their credit union this season." Sixteen credit unions in 13 states offering the loans through the CUSO's services. With the turnkey solution, credit unions can offer their own full-service private student loan program without adding staff. Credit unions' balance-sheet lending capabilities places them in a power position to gain market share, form long-term relationships with young adults and schools, and provide a valuable financial service when other lenders are struggling with unfavorable market conditions, he said. "Most private student lenders rely on secondary market access to fund loans," Jeffreys said. "Due to the mortgage meltdown and ensuing credit crunch, that market has completely evaporated, forcing many lenders to stop funding new loans or significantly raise their fees and rates." Credit unions partnering with Student Choice are finding the loans are a significant source of Gen Y membership growth. Early results indicate that although they were eligible for membership, more than 80% of the student applicants were not currently members of the credit union. The CUSO's product features zero origination fees, lower interest rates, in-school deferred payment, co-signer release, and graduated repayment option. It is structured as a line of credit, allowing students to make multiple draws during their college years from a single application.

Products and Services briefs (08/18/2008)

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* MURRIETA, Calif. (8/19/08)--The Symitar Educational Conference and Technology Expo will take place Aug. 25-28 in San Diego. Credit union attendees also are invited to a TraceSecurity after-party event Aug. 26 with American Idol contestants William Hung and Renaldo Lapuz. TraceSecurity is a CUNA Strategic Services provider of security compliance and risk management solutions ... * FORT WORTH, Texas (8/19/08)--Fourteen credit unions partnered with CU Members Mortgage to provide members with home loan programs. Recently joining credit unions include: Meadows CU, Arlington Heights, Ill.; Caswell CU, South Burlington, Vt.; Natco CU, Richmond, Ind.; Memorial Herman CU, Houston; SPCO FCU, Houston; Florida Commerce CU, Tallahassee, Fla.; Community South CU, Chipley, Fla.; Russell County (Minn.) FCU; Yakima Valley CU, Yakima, Wash.; Hoosier Farm Bureau CU, Indianapolis; Champlain Valley CU, Essex Junction, Vt.; Hawaii USA FCU, Honolulu; AEA FCU, Yuma, Ariz.; and USC CU, Los Angeles ... * WEST CHESTER, Pa. (8/19/08)--CorePROFIT Solutions signed on new credit union clients this year. The credit unions signed two- or three-year agreements for CorePROFIT’s Behavior-Based costing and profitability solutions. Credit unions include: HarborOne CU, Brockton, Mass.; Virginia CU, Richmond, Va.; ORNL FCU, Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Fort Mill, S.C.; DuPont Community CU, Waynesboro, Va.; Members Choice CU, Houston; and Comstar FCU, Clarksburg, Md ...

Products and Services briefs (08/15/2008)

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* PORTLAND, Maine (8/18/08)--Steven Bailey, Quantrix consulting manager, will speak at the 2008 American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) Finance and Administration Conference Aug. 20-22 in Austin, Texas. Quantrix provides business modeling software to 50 countries including the U.S. Bailey has more than 10 years’ experience in accounting and finance. “This year’s conference will feature a discussion on technologies and best practices for developing high-quality budgets and forecasts,” said Jason Norton, AACUL director of league relations ... * GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (8/18/08)--Xtend, a credit union service organization, and CU Insurance partnered to provide Term Source, a life insurance program, to CU Insurance’s 165 credit union partners. Term Source is an online application and quoting engine for term life insurance. Members can visit their credit union’s website and apply for life insurance. Carriers include MetLife, North American and West Coast Life ... * SECAUCUS, N. J. (8/18/08)--NYCE’s SUM selective ATM surcharging program has expanded into the Chicago metropolitan area. NYCE, a Metavante company, announced that 15 community banks signed onto the network. SUM, which is provided by the NYCE Payments Network, allows cardholders to make surcharge-free withdrawals at 2,900 ATMs nationwide ...

Fiserv launches new approach to capture remote deposits

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (8/18/08)--Source Capture Optimization can help financial institutions dealing with disparate remote deposit capture solutions or changing check volume demands, Fiserv announced Thursday. Source Capture Optimization can “enhance functionality of all sources of deposit gathering. This includes branch, teller, ATM, merchant, regional and consumer capture solutions,” the company said in a release. The solution combines CheckFree--a web-based bill payment application--and existing Fiserv image capture solutions. “[Financial institutions] today are taking deposits from a multitude of sources,” said Christine Barry, Aite Group researcher. “Providing a universal platform would allow those sources to integrate seamlessly.” Fiserv provides information technology services to financial institutions, including credit unions.

Jack Henry announces content management solution

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MONETT, Mo. (8/15/08)--Synergy Express, a modular software-as-a-service enterprise content management (ECM) solution, is now available, Jack Henry and Associates announced Wednesday. The solution will be sold by Jack Henry Banking, Symitar and ProfitStars. Synergy Express allows financial services organizations to capture, retrieve and distribute document images. It incorporates the Synergy ECM platform and leverages Jack Henry’s data center, which supports transaction processing requirements of more than 500 financial institutions. “With Synergy Express, our customers remain responsible for managing their own ECM content, which is pushed to our secure storage facility and replicated to another geographic location for disaster recovery purposes,” said Stacey Zengel, general manager, Jack Henry imaging solutions. Synergy Express users must have workstations with document scanners to capture and index document images, the company said. Jack Henry and Associates provides computer systems and ATM, debit card and automated clearinghouse transaction processing services for financial institutions, including credit unions.

Access Softek OFX server OK for Symitar auto launch

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BERKELEY, Calif. (8/15/08)--More than 500 Symitar credit unions can now provide service to members using Quicken, Microsoft Money and QuickBooks after Access Softek’s OFX server, which runs on the Symitar Episys core processor, was approved for auto launch by Intuit and Microsoft. Typical OFX server certification can take up to six months and cost $30,000 to $50,000. Users also have to receive certification from Intuit and Microsoft prior to launch. “We just finished a rush OFX conversion project with Access Softek,” said Shannon Doiron, Kinecta FCU, Manhattan Beach, Calif. “Their auto-launch certification saved us a tremendous amount of time and money.” Access Softek is based in Berkeley, Calif. Its customers include more than 75 banks and credit unions.

EVault grows CU base 50 partners with Harland

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EMERYVILLE, Calif. (8/14/08)--EVault, a provider of online backup and recovery, announced it grew its credit union customer base by more than 50% this year. It also said Harland Financial Solutions signed more than 40 of its existing UltraData Enterprise core system clients to use EVault’s Data Storage Solutions. EVault has partnered with Harland since June 2007 to help credit unions back up business-critical data. Credit unions that use EVault’s recovery solutions include: Tower CU, Wausau, Wis.; Travis CU, Vacaville, Calif.; NASA FCU, Bowie, Md.; and City County CU, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. “Credit unions want to know that all their data are secure, protected and most importantly, quickly recoverable in case of disaster,” said Shail Khiyara, senior vice president, EVault Seagate Services. EVault is a subsidiary of Seagate Technology.

Synergent strengthens statement processing

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WESTBROOK, Maine (8/14/08)--Synergent, which provides technology, business and service solutions to credit unions, installed another new Bowe Bell & Howell BH 2000 and two Xerox DocuTech 128 high speed color laser printers for statement processing. The new machines have a high level of security, according to Synergent. To protect data and information, credit union data files are exchanged in a protected environment through a secure server. Files are encrypted with a 128-bit SSL secure certificate. “We store back-up of each credit union’s data on magnetic tapes. These types are encrypted using FIPS 140-2 validated 256-bit AES, the new federal standard for encryption,” said Tim Gilman, Synergent operations manager. Otis FCU, located in Jay, Maine, is using Synergent for statement processing. Because its inserts are printed at Synergent, the credit union pays no courier costs for the service. Synergent is a subsidiary of the Maine Credit Union League.

Agility Fifth Third Processing team up on disaster recovery

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (8/14/08)--Agility Recovery Solutions and Fifth Third Processing Solutions partnered to promote Agility’s disaster recovery and business continuity solutions to Fifth Third’s clients in North America. Agility, a CUNA Strategic Services provider, offers the ReadySuite Financial solution for credit unions, which provides a mobile branch with teller counters, manager’s office, computers, servers, satellite for Internet and phone, power generator and more. “In the wake of the recent floods in Iowa, many businesses realized how vulnerable they were by only having a data back-up plan,” said Bob Boyd, Agility president/CEO. “Your data may be ready to use, but what will you do if your building is flooded?” Fifth Third processes more than 26.7 billion ATM and point-of-sale transactions each year for more than 2,880 financial institutions.

Diebold financials justify not taking buyout offer

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (8/13/08)--On Monday, ATM manufacturer Diebold justified rejecting a buyout offer for United Technologies Corp. when it released its second-quarter earnings, revealing a revenue increase of 11% compared with the previous year. Diebold reported revenue of $771 million and net income of $25.6 million, which supported the company’s decision not to accept the unsolicited offer, according to Diebold (American Banker Aug. 12). Diebold, who was approached by United Technologies with the proposal in March, said the bid was too low. United Technologies may respond with a higher offer, said Kartik Mehta, analyst with FTN Midwest Securities Corp.

New company FI Strategies LLC launched

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CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (8/13/08)--FI Strategies LLC, which offers strategic planning, products and call center improvement for credit unions, has been launched by industry consultant Denny Graham. FI Strategies helps credit union clients build on best practices and improve upon weaknesses. “Every credit union has different markets, goals, people and members, so the ‘do it our way’ approach used by many sales development firms is often not effective,” Graham said. Graham previously worked as national sales manager for Schneider Sales Management. He also speaks on sales, service and human resource topics.

Digital Dialogue launches online database query tool for CUs

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (8/12/08)--Digital Dialogue has launched DigiKnow, an online knowledge base and query tool that organizes credit union information in a database, which members and staff can access through a basic question format. “DigiKnow is being used as an alternative to a help desk,” said Laura Wygle, vice president of contact center and deposit services for TruWest CU, Tempe, Ariz. TruWest recently deployed DigiKnow. “Staff members now have a central repository for submitting policy, procedural and human resource questions, receiving an instant response,” she said. Digital Dialogue developed DigiKnow so credit unions could offer members an alternate resource for information from the credit union. It tracks all questions asked and the level of satisfaction with each response. Once members submit a question and receive a response, they rate their satisfaction. TruWest uses the reports twice a month to determine which questions and responses are most helpful. Digital Dialogue is a PSCU Financial Services company that provides financial call center operations and software solutions for credit unions.

MemberEdge now includes TraceSecurity external security test

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BATON ROUGE, La. and PASADENA, Calif. (8/12/08)--Wescom Resources Group (WRG) clients who deploy the MemberEdge Online Banking system will have access to TraceSecurity’s external penetration testing as a precautionary tool for online banking security. WRG and TraceSecurity partnered to offer credit unions the measure to protect their members from identity theft. TraceSecurity’s testing simulates real attacks to expose potential vulnerabilities so security holes can be identified and fixed. “Data breaches and identity theft can be devastating to a credit union and its members,” said Jim Stickley, TraceSecurity chief technology officer. WRG is backed by Pasadena, Calif.-based Wescom CU, which has $3.8 billion in assets.

Diebold revenue increases 11 for second quarter

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (8/12/08)--Diebold reported Monday that its second-quarter revenue of $771.0 million was an increase of 11%, compared with revenue for the same time period last year. Net income was $25.6 million for second-quarter 2008, compared with $26.9 million for the second-quarter 2007. Financial self-service revenue increased 15.1% over the previous period. Diebold also reported that it is in track to achieve its three-year, $100 million cost-reduction target by year-end. The company committed to eliminate an additional $100 million of expenses from its ongoing annual cost structure. Thomas Swidarski, Diebold president/CEO, said demand for Diebold solutions remains strong. One out of every two Opteva full-function ATMs shipped in 2008 has deposit automation technology, a trend Swidarski expects to continue. Diebold is headquartered in North Canton, Ohio, and provides ATMs to credit unions. It is a CUNA Strategic Services provider.

PSI Corp. launches e-Banking Kiosks in CUs

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NEW YORK (8/11/08)--E-Banking Kiosks are now available at credit unions in New York City and New Jersey, PSI Corp. announced this week. Credit union members can use the kiosks’ ATM, bill pay and check cashing services (Science Letter Aug. 12). Members have already begun using the kiosks, according to PSI CEO David Foni. By month’s end, the company expects six kiosks to be in operation.

Open Solutions partners with Andera on online technologies

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GLASTONBURY, Conn. (8/11/08)--Credit unions affiliated with Open Solutions will receive online account-opening capabilities through a partnership the company recently signed with Andera. As a result, members can apply and be approved for multiple banking products in one session. The online solution also offers real-time core integration, integration with third-party risk and data providers, electronic signatures, and intelligent cross-selling and funding via automated clearinghouse, debit or credit card (NewsRx.com Aug. 13). Eight mutual Open Solutions and Andera clients already have selected the program.

Illinois Service Corp. to hold card forum

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (8/11/08)--The Illinois Credit Union League Service Corp. will present a plastic card forum Sept. 23-24 in Las Vegas. Topics will include information on how credit unions can run successful debit and credit card programs, best practices, strategy, profitability, and how to attract and retain members by offering rewards programs. Futurist David Pearce Snyder will present the opening session, “Cybertunity’s Knocking! Strategies for Credit Unions in Revolutionary Times.” General sessions include:
* Decoupled Debit; * Winning With Payments--Turning Competitive Challenges into Strategic Advantages; and * Peer Panel: Credit Union Success Stories.
Breakout sessions include:
* So Many Prepaid Choices ... So Little Time; * Rewards; * Cards Marketing: What works? * Best Practices and Best Services ... Why Should I Be Online? * Building a Better Fraud Trap; and * Emerging Plastic Card Risks.

Institutes tackle security facilities fraud technology

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MADISON, Wis. (8/8/08)--How can credit union staff know if they're taking the right actions to protect their members' information? One way is to attend two new CUNA Security Certification Institutes, presented Sept. 21-26 in Seattle by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Attendees can expand their knowledge and skills and earn the new Security & Fraud Expert Certification or the Security Technology Expert Certification. The institutes will provide optional testing for attendees pursuing their certification. CUNA Security Certification Institute: Facilities and Fraud is for staff responsible for the facility security and fraud issues within the credit union. It will feature two speakers:
* Dwight Greene, who has trained, educated and written about security procedures for more than 15 years. A former hotel security specialist, bank security procedures analyst and credit union security consultant, he serves as a security consultant to local credit unions in his area. * Jim Rechel, president of risk consulting firm The Rechel Group Inc. Rechel, a certified financial security officer. Rechel is on the board of The Institute for Criminal Justice Education and a former vice president for Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, where he held positions in retail and lending, and as security director. He was a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for three years.
CUNA Security Certification Institute: Technology is designed for staff responsible for developing and implementing security procedures and practices that guard the credit union from intrusions and threats. It will feature two experts:
* Jim Stickley, chief technology officer and vice president of engineering for TraceSecurity, a CUNA Strategic Service provider. He has uncovered numerous security vulnerabilities in firewalls, PKI servers and online banking applications. He has worked as a consultant for numerous financial institutions, Fortune 100 corporations, legal firms and insurance companies. His fraud prevention strategies have been featured in Fortune Magazine, Business Week, NBC's "Nightly News" and "The Today Show." * Kevin Prince, chief security officer for Perimeter eSecurity, another CUNA Strategic Service provider, has helped hundreds of financial institutions understand the threats to Internet security. He leads training on firewall security, remote access, virtual private networks, and intrusion detection and prevention systems. He previously was CEO of Red Cliff Solutions, which provided managed security services to credit unions and was acquired by Perimeter eSecurity in 2006.
Attendees also can attend CUNA Security and Fraud Institute: Introduction, which will be held Sept. 21-26 in Seattle. For more information, use the resource links.

Connecticut league trains CUs on vendor management software

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MERIDEN, Conn. (8/8/08)--The Credit Union League of Connecticut has trained more than 50 affiliated credit unions on its comprehensive vendor management software solution. The free software was developed by Buckley Technology Group (BTG), the league’s strategic business partner for information-technology compliance and vendor management-related products. Kris Buckley of BTG provided the training. The software program is part of the league’s new strategic plan, which also includes a guide on identity theft, a full-time compliance and regulatory “answer person,” monthly compliance newsletters and regulatory updates for credit unions.

CO-OPs GPS downloads give members directions to ATMs

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (8/7/08)--Credit union member cardholders who belong to the CO-OP Network can now employ their global position systems (GPS) devices to find the nearest surcharge-free ATM. More than 1,000 cardholder members have used the service, which can download the CO-OP Network database of 25,000 surcharge free ATMs. Members receive free turn-by-turn directions to the ATMs. Members also can text their address, intersection and zip code to 692667 (MYCOOP) from any mobile phone to find an ATM. The service replies to messages with ATM locations within one minute. So far, more than 25,000 text messages have been sent and received by 13,000 cardholders use the service. “When every dollar, every gallon of gas counts, our cardholders will save precious time and money by being able to download the location of the nearest ATM into their GPS navigation messaging device,” said Stan Hollen, president/CEO, CO-OP Financial Services. CO-OP Financial Services is a credit union service organization that provides ATM network access, ATM processing, debit and card services, and shared branching to credit unions and member cardholders.

Products and Services briefs (08/05/2008)

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* SAN DIMAS, Calif. (8/6/08)--Financial Service Centers Cooperative has added the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) FCU, Cambridge, Mass., and U.S. Senate FCU, Alexandria, Va., to the Shared Branching Network. MIT FCU has $231 million in assets, and U.S. Senate FCU has $405 million in assets ... * LAKEWOOD, Colo. (8/6/08)--Credit Union Service Network announced several new credit unions and locations added to its shared branching. Ent FCU, Colorado Springs, Colo., added three new branch locations in July as service centers. Security Service FCU, Denver, opened three locations in Denver and Littleton, Colo. as service centers. Public Service CU, Denver, opened a new office in Aurora, Colo. U.S. New Mexico FCU, Albuquerque, N.M., has joined shared branching, and Guadalupe CU, Sante Fe, N.M., opened a new branch in Sante Fe as a service center. Midland CU, Urbandale, Iowa, joined the network, and Tradesman Community CU, Des Moines, Iowa, opened a new location in Des Moines ... * ALBANY, N.Y. (8/6/08)--Covera Card Solutions announced that Crouse FCU, Syracuse, N.Y.; North Rockland Educational FCU, Stony Point, N.Y.; and UMICO FCU, Utica, N.Y., have signed contracts to participate in Covera’s FlexDebit program, which combines debit and credit programs. “By dealing with only one processor instead of two, credit unions will find it easier to streamline their debit card operations,” said Kimberly McCumber-Ploof, Covera vice president ...

CU Business Group has record-breaking second quarter

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PORTLAND, Ore. (8/6/08)--CU Business Group signed on 19 new credit unions and reviewed more than 215 business loans during a record-breaking second quarter. In May, the credit union service organization (CUSO) added 13 new credit unions and reached more than $1 billion in loan packages. CU Business Group gained another 81 packages in June. “Much of this increase is due to an expanded presence in the southern U.S. with the addition of Southwest Corporate as one of our corporate owners,” said Larry Middleman, CU Business Group president/CEO. The CUSO serves 277 credit unions in 34 states.

Filene developing solution for singles

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MADISON, Wis. (8/5/08)--The Filene Research Institute has developed a web resource, Single Again, so credit unions can help members reorganize their finances after losing their spouse or significant other. About 90% of Americans can expect to marry--but at least half of those marriages end in divorce. More Americans will eventually lose their spouse or significant other due to separation or death, Filene said. A recent survey conducted by Filene indicates that credit union members who experienced a separation would have appreciated more assistance from their credit union. Single Again includes checklists to help members reorganize finances, and frequently asked questions about how to start over after a separation or loss. It also links to local agencies where members can receive support. The program was implemented in March at Point West CU, Portland, Ore., and American Airlines CU, Dallas. Each credit union adapted the Single Again content for its website and sent an e-mail to a portion of its membership. About 16% of the e-mail messages were opened. Ten percent of Point West and 2% of American Airlines’ member recipients clicked through the Web content, Filene said. For more information, use the link.

GCUA hits 2008 goal for shared branching

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DULUTH, Ga. (8/5/08)--Georgia Credit Union Affiliates has met its 2008 shared branching goal by extending the state’s credit union Shared Branching network to include 10 new locations. That makes 87 shared branches now available to state credit union members. The 10 recent additions to the networking include:
* Associated CU, two locations; * CMAR CU, three locations; * CORE CU, one location; * Delta Community CU, three locations; and * GeoVista CU, one location.
Nationwide, there are 3,398 Shared Branching locations that credit union members can access.

Products and Services brief (08/01/2008)

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* NORTH CANTON, Ohio (8/4/08)--ATM manufacturer Diebold announced a third-quarter cash dividend of 25 cents per share on all common shares to be paid Sept. 5 to shareholders of record at the close of business Aug. 22. Diebold is headquartered in Canton, Ohio ...

New kit from CUNA offers self-guided strategic planning

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MADISON, Wis. (8/4/08)--Credit union board members and senior management can be guided step-by-step to complete their credit union’s strategic planning process with the Credit Union National Association’s 2008-09 Credit Union Environmental Scan (E-Scan) Strategic Planning Kit. The E-Scan Strategic Planning Kit walks credit unions through a strategic planning process that yields actionable, measurable goals and strategies. The kit consists of the E-Scan Strategic Planning Guide, the E-Scan DVD and 12 copies of the E-Scan report. The Strategic Planning Guide includes a complete planning outline and suggested agenda for the planning session facilitator, plus process information for senior management. Handouts and worksheets cover each step of the planning process. They lead groups from what-if scenarios through goals, tactics, and implementation. The guide is in a PDF format that contains live fields, so the credit union can enter its data directly into the document. “CUNA created an easy-to-follow planning guide that will deliver goals and strategies to take credit unions into the future,” says Doug Benzine, vice president of CUNA’s Market Research department. “You don’t have to be a planning consultant to use it.”