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Minn. CU first to sign with fin. counseling program

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (9/4/12)--SouthPoint FCU in Sleepy Eye, Minn., is the first credit union to contract for financial counseling services through LSS Financial Counseling, since the organization formed a partnership with the Minnesota Credit Union Network's (MnCUN) Network Service Corp.

Through the partnership between MnCUN and LSS, Minnesota credit unions can offer members facing financial difficulties immediate access to financial counseling. Through LSS's Financial Choice, credit unions can provide education on money management skills, budget and debt counseling, debt management planning and foreclosure prevention counseling.

"Our alliance with LSS Financial Counseling helps to further differentiate credit unions as the smarter financial choice," said John Ferstl, MnCUN vice president, Network Service Corp. "LSS combines social responsibility with a cost-effective way to provide financial counseling services that equally benefit credit unions and their members."

TMG Prepaid cards can help Gen Y

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DES MOINES, Iowa (9/4/12)--Reloadable and gift cards help community financial institutions (FIs) solidify existing relationships and attract new members, including Gen Y, by tapping the products' ability to offer financial freedom, according to a new white paper released by The Members Group (TMG).

"To ensure the sustainability of their business, credit unions and community banks understand they must find ways to maintain relationships with their 13- to 19-year old customers," said Konrad Christensen, TMG retail payments product manager and author of the white paper. "Enter prepaid products--they are tailor-made for this demographic, offering teens' financial freedom and giving peace of mind to their parents."

Reloadable cards are ideal for Gen Y, Christensen writes in "The Gen Y Power of Prepaid." Offering teens overdraft-free access to funds, prepaid cards allow young people to make purchases without the risk of spending more than they have.

With a reloadable card's direct-deposit feature, parents can instantly deposit more money onto the card through an online application, in an issuer's branch or at many retail and convenience-store locations. The cards also allow teen consumers to build internal credit with their credit union for future loan applications.

But gift cards also offer parents a level of control. Teens can't use gift cards at ATMs. At first blush, this may look like a negative, but some parents are interested in monitoring their child's spending. This can be done with a reloadable card—until the teen cardholder uses his reloadable card to access cash.

Consumers value gift cards. When asked by First Data whether a recipient would rather get a $30 gift or a $25 gift card, nearly 80% opted for the gift card.

CUtopia upgrades core DP system

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ORLANDO, Fla. (8/31/12)--CUtopia Solutions, a division of Worldwide Interactive Services LLC, has upgraded its OASys core data processing system for credit unions to include cloud services.

The OASys 2.0 release focuses on user experience improvement, automation of processing, disaster recovery and compliance issues.

The cloud component is designed to help simplify management and improve oversight and contingency planning.

The OASys core processing system is for credit unions that are limited by their current system, yet require a low cost of ownership. The cloud based/hosted system provides operational flexibility and delivers a fully compliant solution that is configurable to each credit union's unique environment, CUtopia Solutions said.

Corporate Central launches mobile solutions

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MUSKEGO, Wis. (8/31/12)--Corporate Central CU, Muskego, Wis., has launched a "next generation" mobile banking service to its member credit unions through a partnership with Malauzai Software Inc.

Credit union members will be able to check balances, review transaction histories, make internal transfers, pay bills, turn on/off debit cards and deposit checks through their mobile devices.

Mobile SmartApps can be customized for each credit union's brand, and includes access to marketing materials.  

The mobile platform is customizable to each credit union's core processing system.

LSCUs LEVERAGE teams with VINtek on ELTs

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PHILADELPHIA and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (8/30/12)--LEVERAGE, the service corporation for the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU), has enlisted VINtek to be its exclusive electronic lien and title (ELT) partner.

LSCU is the state trade association for Alabama and Florida credit unions.

In March, the Florida legislature passed legislation requiring automotive lenders in the state to use the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' (DHSMV) paperless ELT process by Jan. 1.

LEVERAGE chose to partner with VINtek based on the company's strong presence in the credit union market and partnerships with other leagues, the company said.

ELT is an environmentally friendly alternative to paper-based vehicle titles and enables credit unions to receive digital titles from state DHSMV offices. ELT increases efficiency by saving time and reducing risks of fraud and error, said VINtek.

TMG restructures prepaid card program reduces fee

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DES MOINES, Iowa (8/30/12)--The Members Group (TMG) has lowered the monthly fee maximums of its ATIRAreload prepaid card program.

The newly launched "up to $2.95" monthly maintenance fee model reduces TMG's previous fee maximum by $2. The monthly maintenance fee is charged only if a cardholder fails to load at least $1,000 or spend down the balance of a card in a given month.

That $1,000 threshold is reasonable to achieve, particularly when issuers promote the payroll direct-deposit feature available to ATIRAreload cardholders, said Konrad Christensen, TMG's retail payments product manager. To encourage direct-deposit sign ups, Christensen advises client credit unions to waive the monthly maintenance fee for the first six months if the member sets up auto payroll on the card account.

Christensen pointed to the power of a fair fee schedule as the driving force behind a thriving prepaid card program. "TMG has always believed strongly in limited fees on prepaid--this is the reason we've never implemented a loading fee for our products," he said.

"Our new structure takes this philosophy one step further. With a reduced fee model, TMG hopes to encourage greater usage, resulting in the kind of transaction volume that ultimately makes prepaid cards a sustainable offering for community-based financial institutions," he said.

Jack Henry introduces call center solution

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MONETT, Mo. (8/29/12)--Jack Henry & Associates Inc., a provider of technology solutions and payment processing services, has introduced jhaCall Center, a telephone support and customer service solution that automatically captures and authenticates member/customer information.

jhaCall Center captures data using computer telephony integration (CTI) technology and supports multiple implementation options, the company said.

The jhaCall Center software can be implemented in-house for financial institutions that want to retain responsibility for call center operations but have a technology platform that provides case management capabilities and full integration with their JHA core processing system.

Jack Henry & Associates also will offer outsourced alternatives for financial institutions that want to outsource their call center operations, the resolution of member/customer calls or after-hours support.

CU Resources signs SIGNiX for e-signatures

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (8/28/12)--Credit Union Resources, a subsidiary of the Texas Credit Union League, has partnered with SIGNiX to provide online electronic signature services to Texas credit unions.

Credit Union Resources will introduce SIGNiX and digital signatures to more than 500 Texas credit unions through a series of educational articles and white papers starting this month.

SIGNiX, headquartered in Chattanooga, Tenn., offers a patented, standards-based digital signature service that allows users to send and sign secured documents online. SIGNiX's paperless processes are auditable and compliant with U.S. and international laws and regulations. Users can be immediately authenticated online so that documents requiring a signature can be legally executed electronically without the costs, risks, delays or resources of paper processing.

TPG Software investment system expands to cloud

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HOUSTON (8/27/12)--Software systems from TPG Software Inc. are now available via cloud computing, the financial accounting firm announced.

TPG's preferred application hosting services provider, AppTrix, LLC, offers a secure SSAE 16 SOC 2-compliant cloud computing environment.

Clients who license TPG's software solutions may now use them over the Internet as an "on-demand" service through a subscription with AppTrix, removing the need to purchase application servers and provide internal information technology. This is designed to benefit companies seeking an application service provider or software as a service solution rather than housing the application and maintaining the database onsite.

For a fixed monthly fee, AppTrix maintains the servers, the latest applications, and TPG software and data at its Tier IV Hosting Center. AppTrix has hosted enterprise-level applications since 1999.

Symitar adds 28 CUs in fiscal year

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MONETT, Mo. (8/24/12)--Symitar, a division of Jack Henry & Associates, established 28 new core credit union client relationships during the 2012 fiscal year, which ended June 30.

Twenty-four credit unions chose Symitar's Episys core platform, 14 of which opted to implement the system in an outsourced environment. Three of the new Episys clients have assets in excess of $1 billion dollars, positioning Symitar as the primary technology partner for more than 35% of the credit unions with more than $1 billion in assets, the company said.

Four credit unions selected Symitar's Cruise platform. Three of those implemented the system in an outsourced environment.

Jwaala Truaxis offer CUs StatementRewards platform

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AUSTIN, Texas (8/23/12)--Truaxis, a provider of in transaction-enabled services, has been selected by online banking provider, Jwaala, to offer Truaxis' StatementRewards through Jwaala's Better Online Banking solution.

Truaxis' data-driven services platform will allow Jwaala's credit union clients to provide personalized rewards and discounts, funded entirely by retailers, direct to their members within the online or mobile banking environment. Truaxis' platform includes more than 70,000 offers from nearly 40,000 local, regional and national merchants. It uses algorithms to analyze its inventory and match appropriate offers to credit union members in real time.

"We saw Truaxis' StatementRewards technology as a lightweight and seamless addition to our services offered for our credit unions," explains Kelly Dowell, chief operating office of Jwaala. "The entire process--analyzing offers, handling presentment and redemption, crediting the user's account--is handled by Truaxis. It requires minimal interaction from the credit unions and can be easily rolled out across our entire customer base. Our credit unions win because, at no cost to them, they're able to delight their members with savings from their favorite retailers," Dowell added.

Truaxis' personalized transaction-enabled services platform customizes rewards and discounts based on past purchase history, predictive analytics and collaborative filtering. Personalized offers have been shown to lift members' spending and online engagement with their credit union, which deepens the relationship and increases member satisfaction and loyalty, Truaxis said.

CUNA Mutual DocuSign team up on eSignatures

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SAN FRANCISCO (8/23/12)--DocuSign, an electronic signature provider, and CUNA Mutual Group, a provider of insurance and financial services to credit unions, have partnered to offer credit unions electronic signature solutions to speed the lending process and provide options in the wake of recent regulations on multi-featured open-end lending (MFOEL).

DocuSign's partnership with CUNA Mutual Group will help credit unions:

  • Earn interest faster--Credit unions get loan documents completed faster to earn interest sooner;
  • Eliminate "Not In Good Order"-- Guided, error-proof signing means complete documents every time;
  • Meet compliance requirements--Credit unions control the signing process to ensure all data remain secure and every transaction includes a complete audit trail; and
  • Serve members--Members can open accounts and apply for loans in minutes anywhere, anytime, on any device without a trip to the credit union.
The agreement between CUNA Mutual and DocuSign comes shortly after the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) issued its guidance letters on multi-featured open-end lending (MFOEL) and multi-featured lending. The NCUA clarified that open-end and closed-end lending are two distinct regimens and each require their own application, timing requirements and disclosures for the member-borrower.

DocuSign said it is positioned to help credit unions ensure compliance for both types of lending while maintaining the same type of member convenience associated with an MFOEL program.

DocuSign and CUNA Mutual Group will host educational webinars designed to offer credit unions insights, best practices and practical methods to comply with the new NCUA regulations.

Bluepoint AFS join to stop counterfeit checks

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HENDERSON, Nev. (8/22/12)--Bluepoint Solutions has partnered with Advanced Fraud Solutions (AFS) to automate the identification of counterfeit checks by integrating Bluepoint's ImagePoint Teller with the AFS TrueChecks solution.

Kernersville, N.C.-based AFS provides fraud detection and prevention software to the financial industry through a suite of card and check related products. Bluepoint Solutions, a payment processing and content management company, is based in Henderson, Nev.

When scanning deposits using ImagePoint Teller, tellers will be immediately notified if checks are flagged as potentially counterfeit. The database of counterfeit checks is built and maintained by AFS. Before the integration with ImagePoint Teller, tellers were required to manually enter a check's routing and account numbers into a web-based portal to run the counterfeit screening.

The combination of TrueChecks with ImagePoint Teller will save tellers time by combining multiple processes into a single workflow and guaranteeing that checks are not accidentally skipped for screening.

Losses from counterfeit checks account for roughly a third of check losses at financial institutions nationwide, according to the most recent American Banking Association Deposit Account Fraud Survey Report.

TMG in iInc.i magazines Top 500 list

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DES MOINES, Iowa (8/22/12)--Inc. magazine has recognized TMG Financial Services as one of the 500 fastest-growing companies in the nation.

Inc. ranked TMG Financial Services at number 340 on its 31st annual list of 500/5000 fastest growing, privately held companies.

TMG Financial Services is the portfolio purchasing, card issuing and investment credit union service organization affiliated with The Members Group, based in Des Moines, Iowa.

It purchases credit card portfolios from credit unions and then continues issuing the cards through agent-issuer programs with sellers and provides credit unions with investment opportunities in their portfolios.

To make Inc.'s list, companies had to have achieved a minimum of 770% in sales growth, TMG Financial Services said.

The Inc. 500's aggregate revenue is $15.7 billion, with a median three-year growth of 1,431%. The companies on this year's Inc. 500 employ more than 48,000 people and generated more than 40,000 jobs in the past three years, TMG Financial Services said.

Datacard offers instant issuance

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MINNETONKA, Minn. (8/21/12)--Datacard Group, a secure identification and card personalization provider, has released an instant-issue card system.

The CR500 system allows credit unions, banks, retailers and service bureaus to print ready-to-use, flat financial cards on demand. The system, which offers encoding capabilities and image quality with retransfer print technology, turns blank white stock into customized, ready-to-use permanent payment cards instantly, said Datacard.

The CR500 system can print credit, debit or ATM cards. It is integrated with Datacard CardWizard  issuance software, which transfers all cardholder personalization data fully encrypted to the CR500 system--delivering a four-color, one-sided card in 36 seconds or one two-sided card in 65 seconds.

The system has magnetic stripe encoding, contact and contactless encoding options for EuroPay-MasterCard-Visa compliant card issuance, and includes a dual-control security enclosure that complies with industry security standards.

MY CU Services adds two cloud webinars

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (8/20/12)--Based on the turnout for its first cloud computing webinar and current registrations for a second event, MY CU Services LLC has scheduled two additional webinars on the topic.

The three remaining webinars are scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on Aug. 28, Oct. 11 and Oct. 25. 

MY CU  Services' first cloud computing Webinar attracted 40 credit union attendees.

"We added cloud computing to our service line because it's clear the future of credit union infrastructures will be cloud-based," said Howard Stein, MY CU Services chief operating officer. 

MY CU Services, Middletown, Pa., a wholly owned credit union service organization of Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU, also updated its website to accommodate its new cloud-computing services.

Symitar offers PowerOn Marketplace for Episys users

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MONETT, Mo. (8/20/12)--Symitar, a division of Jack Henry & Associates, has introduced the PowerOn Marketplace, a collaborative environment for its Espisys credit union clients to exchange programming solutions.

Symitar for years has allowed credit unions to customize Episys with PowerOn, a tool that incorporates an advanced scripting language and an intuitive interface that staff can employ to develop custom applications independent of the core code.

PowerOn Marketplace now provides a centralized community resource, supported by Symitar, for clients to share, review, and adopt ideas and custom programming solutions. It will be open to all Episys credit unions with assets ranging from $10 million to $10 billion in assets.

PowerOn Marketplace will launch with more than 20 solutions, including eSnapshot, a credit union-defined dashboard, and SIGPAD Survey, which converts a common digital signature pad into a member survey platform. Episys clients will be able to download, customize and deploy these and other solutions; upload their own solutions; and rate the PowerOn Marketplace solutions they've tried to assist future users. All the solutions are free this year, and credit unions will have the option to charge for their solutions starting in January.

VSoft Corp. joins Viewpointe Network

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NEW YORK and ATLANTA (8/17/12)--Viewpointe, a provider of electronic content management and exchange services, and VSoft Corp., an information and technology provider of process improvement solutions for financial institutions, announced that VSoft is now a member of the Viewpointe network for exchange services.

The relationship benefits both organizations because they each offer their customers a network of exchange partners, the companies said. It provides VSoft clients with access to a clearing-and-settlement solution with Viewpointe Clearing, Settlement & Association Services rules coverage, common business practices through a single multilateral agreement, and settlement using the National Settlement System.

Through the Viewpointe membership, VSoft clients will have access to three of Viewpointe's principal payment services in the marketplace:

  • Pointe2Pointe--for image exchange services;
  • National Settlement System--for a real-time, Internet-based net settlement system for all electronic transaction types; and
  • Association Services--which provides education and support for all payments network participants.
With the Viewpointe deal, VSoft said it will be able to consolidate its clients' exchange activity through a dedicated channel, eliminating the need to establish a complex structure of connections with each financial institution. An established exchange relationship with Viewpointe allows VSoft to provide each client an economical model for check-image exchange and settlement, Viewpointe said.

CU 24 issues 1.1M patronage dividend

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (8/17/12)--Credit Union 24, a credit union-owned ATM and point-of-sale network, is disbursing $1.1 million in patronage dividends to its shareholding credit unions.

Due to the network's cooperative, credit union-owned structure, Credit Union 24 returns profits to credit unions that own shares of the network in the form of cash and equity certificates.

The company has disbursed $15 million to its shareholding participants since it was established in 1998.

Mortgage Cadence updates mortgage software

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DENVER (8/16/12)--Mortgage Cadence LLC has released prime+ 12.1, an update of its mortgage platform.

The updated platform offers loan officers and production teams 45 new tools and alerts designed to increase efficiency, enhance communication, and speed loan closings, the company said.

prime+ 12.1 will be installed for all customers on Aug. 21 and 23.

Mortgage Cadence's next release of prime+ will take place in December with version 12.2.

CUNA Madison staff complete loyalty service program

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MADISON, Wis. (8/16/12)--All of the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) 164 Madison, Wis., employees have completed the CUNA Creating Member Loyalty (CML) service strategies program.

The CUNA-wide initiative aimed to commit the entire organization to exceptional service for internal and external customers.

Building on credit unions' distinctive strength of focus on service, CUNA Creating Member Loyalty is designed to guide credit unions toward enhancing their sales and service culture. Through a straightforward process, the program initiates a change in both individual and organizational behavior and cultivates a sales culture that exceeds members' expectations.

"It's easier to practice when you break components into smaller parts, and practicing the member-service skills in a training setting provides an opportunity to focus on how these skills can be incorporated into daily routines," said Terry Costin, CUNA senior vice president of sales and marketing.

As part of their service initiative, CUNA employees are encouraged to recognize co-workers using CML principles well and submit those anecdotes. Those recognized are praised company-wide and rewarded. This is part of an ongoing effort to reinforce the importance of CML service skills.

For more information about CUNA CML, use the link.

Webinars for September--National Preparedness Month

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MADISON, Wis. (8/15/12)--Agility Recovery and the U.S. Small Business Administration is hosting four free disaster recovery webinars in September. The September series is presented in collaboration with Federal Emergency Management Association's Ready Campaign, as part of National Preparedness Month. 

Agility Recovery is a CUNA Strategic Services Provider.

All webinars begin at 1 p.m. CT and last one hour.

Webinar dates and topics include:

  • Sept. 5--Ten Steps to Prepare Any Organization for Disaster. Credit unions can learn how to evacuate their locations within 15 minutes in the event of a disaster and continue serving their members. Agility Recovery President Bob Boyd will share the top 10 ways to prepare any organization for interruptions.
  • Sept. 12--Protect Your Organization by Preparing Your Employees. While data recovery and business continuity may form the backbone of a disaster recovery strategy, if employees are unable or unwilling to report to work, getting systems back on line may prove worthless. Dan Stoneking, director of private sector at FEMA, will provide strategies and best practices for helping employees prepare themselves and their families for a crisis.  
  • Sept. 19--Using Social Media during a Crisis. Recent disasters have seen an increased use of social media platforms to disseminate news about the disaster and to coordinate responses. Experts from the American Red Cross social media team will discuss the steps and best practices for developing a strategy for effectively using social media for crisis communications.
  • Sept. 26--Surviving a Crisis Large or Small--Real Life Lessons Learned. Regardless of the event, business owners are often faced with difficult decisions in the aftermath of interruptions caused by a disaster. In this session, speakers will recount their businesses' stories of recovery and the lessons learned. From fires to hurricanes, each type of crisis teaches different lessons.  A question-and-answer session will follow.
For more information, use the link.

C-Suite Complete is CSIs new cloud approach

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PADUCAH, Ky. (8/14/12)--Computer Services Inc. (CSI), a provider of technology solutions, has renamed its managed services "C-Suite Complete" to reposition the line to refocus on its cloud capabilities.

C-Suite Complete helps credit unions and banks outsource their information technology (IT) operations to a secure cloud-based environment, said CSI. With the ability to provide integrated telecom services, CSI offers private and secure connectivity, a critical component of cloud technology within the banking industry.

While many financial institutions are ready to fully transition IT operations to the cloud, others are not yet prepared for such a migration. For banks and credit unions still interested in maintaining some operational aspects in-house, C-Suite Complete offers individual managed services in three key areas: Cloud, security and IT Systems. Those three areas account for all aspects of an internal IT team and allow financial institutions to customize IT operations at the level most appropriate for their business, CSI said.

Purvis Moghaddam added to CU Directs board

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ONTARIO, Calif. (8/13/12)--CU Direct Corp., a provider of lending solutions to credit unions through its CUDL, Lending Insights, Lending 360, CUDL Retail and Vero brands, Friday announced the addition of a new associate director and director to its board.

Nader Moghaddam, president/CEO of Financial Partners CU, Downey, Calif., who has served as an associate director since October, has been appointed as a director, to fill the seat vacated by Larry Wilson, retired president/CEO of Coastal FCU, Raleigh, N.C..

Long-standing board members Henry Wirz, president/CEO of SAFE CU, North Highlands, Calif., and Marge McNaught, president/CEO, Premier America CU, Chatsworth, Calif., stepped down from the CUSO's board in January and December, respectively.

Wirz served on CU Direct's board for 12 years, including two years as chairman, from 2005-2007. McNaught served on CU Direct's board from 2003-2011, including two years as chairman, from 2009-2011.

CU Direct's other board members include:

  • Board vice chairman--John Lund, CEO (as of Sept.1), America First CU, Riverdale, Utah;
  • Secretary/treasurer--Jeff March, CEO, Citadel FCU, Exton, Pa.;
  • David Reynolds, president/CEO, Security Service FCU, San Antonio;
  • Barry Jolette, president/CEO, San Mateo CU, Redwood City, Calif.;
  • Diana Dykstra, president, California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues;
  • Donna Bland, president/CEO, The Golden 1 CU, Sacramento, Calif.; and
  • Sterling Nielsen, president/CEO, Mountain America CU, West Jordan, Utah.

Bluepoint Solutions announces 2Q results

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HENDERSON, Nev. (8/10/12)--Bluepoint Solutions reported increased sales of its ImagePoint and QwikDeposit suites of payments solutions for the second quarter.

Twelve new financial institutions were added to its client roster, the company said.

Bluepoint also reported seven new mobile deposit signings, bringing the total number of institutions running QwikDeposit ToGo to 41. 

"Check 21 solutions--particularly mobile deposit and front-line teller capture--continue to drive significant growth for Bluepoint as financial institutions look for new ways to lower transaction costs and improve loss prevention," said Hal Tilbury, Bluepoint Solutions CEO.

Auto Expert reports sales up 35 year-to-date

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (8/10/12)--Auto Expert in second quarter increased its vehicles sales 35% over the same period last year, the company reported. Revenue is also up 38% year over year.

Auto Expert, an affiliate company of Riverside, Calif.-based Altura CU, provides auto-locating and buying services to 17 credit unions in California, which represent one million members. 

After-market sales revenue was up 37% through the second quarter compared with the same period in 2011, the company said.  After-market sales revenue is derived from DVD players, paint sealants, back-up cameras and similar accessories.

The company also reported seeing an increase in measures of customer satisfaction compared with year-end 2011. Its Net Promoter Rating has climbed to 93% year to date from 88.25%. Member satisfaction is up to 97.55% from 96.3% a year ago.

The Net Promoter score asks one question--How likely is it that you would recommend [your company] to a friend or colleague?--so organizations can get a clear measure of their performance through the eyes of their members or customers.

VINtek approved as ELT provider in Wisconsin

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PHILADELPHIA (8/9/12)--VINtek, a provider of automotive collateral management, electronic lien and title (ELT) services and direct auto finance processing, has been approved to offer its ELT services in Wisconsin to assist car lenders with the transition to electronic titles in the state.

As a result of Wisconsin Act 32 passed in 2011, any automotive title with a lien will be sent to the lienholder, not the borrower, as was previously the practice. The change went into effect July 30.

The first phase of the implementation supports electronic delivery of titles with liens for lenders who sign up with an authorized service provider such as VINtek. Lienholders who sign up for ELT can avoid receiving paper titles and instead will receive a digital record with the lien and title information.

Phase two, which is scheduled for implementation by the end of the year, will support lien releases and title print and mail to functionality. Wisconsin is the 17th state to adopt an ELT program, said VINtek. Nationwide, nearly two-thirds of titles issued with liens are in states that can issue electronic liens.

ELT replaces paper titles with an electronic exchange of data between the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and VINtek, which acts as an intermediary for a lienholder. The program reduces operating costs through the elimination of paper and automation of a manual process. It also eliminates exposure to a growing area of fraud that involves falsified lien release letters.

CUNA offers MBL compliance eSchool

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MADISON, Wis. (8/9/12)--CUNA Member Business Compliance eSchool will be held Sept. 24-Nov. 5, the Credit Union National Association announced Wednesday.

Sessions at the new school will be held in six sessions from 1 p.m.to 2:30 p.m. CT.

Sessions include:

  • Understanding Business Structures, Reg CC & the Impact on Credit Union Membership: Part I;
  • Bank Secrecy Act/Office of Foreign Assets Control/Customer Information Program Member Business Compliance Issues;
  • Understanding Business Structures, Reg CC & the Impact on Credit Union Membership: Part II;
  • Member Business Account Collection Considerations;
  • Member Business Services--Compliance Issues to Put On Your Radar; and
  • Deposit Accounts--Checks and Endorsements.
 

CUNA and credit unions have been urging Congress to increase credit unions' member business lending (MBL) cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in business loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said.

CU Companies surpasses correspondent partner goal

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NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. (8/8/12)--CU Companies has added 33 partners since beginning its correspondent lending channel last year, surpassing its goal by 65%.

As a part of the correspondent lending service standards, CU Companies does not back-solicit borrowers. The program includes a website, direct access to on-site underwriters, tools and technological resources.

"Obviously, our pricing gets attention because it allows our partners to earn extra income that wasn't there before," said Brad Crandall, CU Companies CEO.  "They also see that by CU Companies underwriting the file, we also assume the risk. Those two things have always been huge factors in mortgage lending, and even more so in today's financial world."

Currently, the program is offered in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

To finish off its fiscal year, CU Companies added four credit union partners to its correspondent lending channel during June and July. They include:

  • Black Hills FCU, Rapid City, S.D.;
  • First Community CU, Beloit, Wis.
  • Minnesota Valley FCU, Mankato, Minn.; and
  • Prime Financial CU, Cudahy, Wis.

White paper addresses photo card customization

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DES MOINES, Iowa (8/8/12)--Cardholders aren't the only ones with choices in photo card programs, according to a new white paper issued by The Members Group (TMG). Issuers, too, can craft programs tailored to meet the different strategic objectives of their individual card portfolios, wrote Konrad Christensen,  TMG retail payments product manager.

"Credit unions and community banks across the country have rolled out photo cards in a variety of card programs, from credit to prepaid--all in the name of offering choice," wrote Christensen.

The paper explores four areas that provide issuers with strategic choices. They include:

  • Cardholder behavior. Initiating a photo cards program can have far-reaching impact. Beyond offering choice to draw in more members or to create affinity , photo cards can help attain different, more portfolio-specific goals. For instance, credit union hoping to increase income can offer photo cards free to debit cardholders who sign for their purchases at least five times per month, thus encouraging higher revenue behavior.
  • Fees. The unique member base of each card-issuing credit union has its own threshold for fees. Photo cards offer issuers the flexibility to determine whether the product works best as a completely free service, a value-add for certain cardholders or a fee-based program.
  • Image libraries. Although frequently referred to as "photo card" programs, many customizable plastic services offer other options, such as company logos for small-business cardholders. While some cardholders may appreciate the ability to customize, they may not have photography skills or access to a large library of personal images. They may prefer to select their custom image from a catalogue of striking images.
  • Approval procedures. Issuers and cardholders must follow rules in generating customized plastic. These include adherence to copyright and trademark guidelines, which can be challenging when cardholders seek to upload images that include logos of their favorite sports teams, for example. Issuers often have the option to assign approval of cardholder-uploaded images to a partner, said TMG.

COMPASS 4 CUs celebrates second anniversary

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WASHINGTON (8/7/12)--COMPASS 4 CUs LLC, a credit union service organization (CUSO) of Woodbridge, Va.-based, $282 million asset Belvoir FCU, celebrated its second anniversary Wednesday.

The CUSO was founded to offer cost-effective, preventative and credit union-focused compliance solutions to credit unions throughout the nation, said its press release.

Since August 2010, COMPASS 4 CUs has served more than 34 clients--credit unions, state leagues and associations. It has built its retainer client base to more than 17 credit unions. The CUSO also added two new regulatory compliance experts to its team and helped credit union clients protect more than $2 billion in member assets.

"We understood from the beginning that COMPASS 4 CUs needed to be different from any other regulatory compliance provider in the market," said Gaye DeCesare, president/CEO of COMPASS 4 CUs.

"We provided external compliance officers whose service is customized and personal, taking time to get to know each client's needs instead of offering a cookie cutter approach. We are credit union professionals who serve only credit unions, so we 'talk the talk and walk the walk.' We maintain a pure brand that's focused only on regulatory compliance for credit unions," DeCesare added.

eDOC TV launched showcases videos

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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (8/6/12)--eDOC Innovations has introduced eDOC TV, a new Web page showcasing videos about eDOC solutions and the credit union cooperative model.

eDOC has collaborated with credit unions to showcase their media on the new site.

The company is working with Deluvian Productions, a Vermont-owned video production studio, to create more content for eDOC TV. New videos will be posted in the coming months.

"Credit union members are visual," said Bret Weekes, eDOC Innovations president/CEO. "We want to create an avenue where our peers and credit union owners, even members, can learn more about solutions and the industry as a whole, visually. The overarching goal is to drive the universal message of cooperative business design, participation in a network of cooperatives, and drive sustainability for the future of credit unions to the next generation of mobile members."

EPL introduces CUe-ORB at client conference

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (8/6/12)--EPL, a credit union-owned core system provider, introduced a new online banking solution, CUe-ORB during its 33rd Client Conference in Lake Geneva, Wis.

The conference theme, Chart Your Course, focused on leveraging the collective power of EPL's core processing system, i-POWER, and partnered solutions to deliver credit union services with high efficiency and modern, convenient member access through an integrated digital channel, said EPL. 

"We had very good customer participation; more than we've seen in recent years and our partners' support was great," said Denise Taylor, EPL executive vice president. "The energy and excitement relating to the remote services channel and our full suite of solutions is at an all-time high."

NCB implements enhanced ACH solution

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ARLINGTON, Va. (8/6/12)--National Cooperative Bank, which serves cooperatives nationwide, has implemented an enhanced automated clearinghouse solution for credit union correspondent-banking customers and commercial cooperatives.

The new technology provides customers with immediate economic benefits, greater functionality and advanced data security, NCB said. 

NCB's ACH solution offers new tools to handle more complex ACH transactions; extensive management reporting features; the ability to incorporate existing workflow and templates into the new software; and customizable configurations.

Enhanced security measures include multiple permission and approval levels, a full set of auditing controls and risk management reporting with clear tracking of user activity.

The new features are available to clients through a Web-based system.

CUAnswers announces ERM strategy upgrade

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (8/3/12)--CU*Answers, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization (CUSO), is developing a full enterprise risk management (ERM) strategy to be built into its CU*BASE core data processing software.

The software update is being developed in conjunction with AuditLink, CU*Answers' auditing and compliance managed services division, and CU*Answers' internal writing team.

"Today, credit unions are being pressured by auditors and third parties to identify their ERM program," said Randy Karnes, CU*Answers CEO.  "The National Credit Union Administration wants credit unions to be able to demonstrate a grasp of portfolio risks and trends. We want to give credit unions the tools to drive down the cost of risk mitigation."

The update release is slated for this fall, and will include tools to monitor credit, interest rate, transaction, compliance, liquidity and concentration risks. 

CU*Answers also announced that its online data processing clients received the new 12.0 software upgrade for its flagship data-processing software, CU*BASE on July 22.  The upgrade is the second of three major software upgrades CU*Answers will deploy to its data-processing clients in 2012. It will deliver product enhancements to back office, management, member service and lending areas, said the CUSO.

CUANM in compliance partnership with PolicyWorks

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DES MOINES (8/3/12)--The Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM) has partnered with the credit union compliance firm PolicyWorks to enhance its compliance services for member credit unions.

Through the partnership, the association will provide its member credit unions with a compliance hotline for regulatory questions and access to up-to-the-minute compliance news and information.

The compliance hotline, staffed by seven PolicyWorks attorneys and compliance officers, will provide member credit unions with e-mail and/or telephone answers to their questions on regulatory requirements, policies and general compliance inquiries.

Other benefits accessible to CUANM member credit unions include:

  • A monthly e-newsletter detailing compliance trends and issues;
  • Compliance bulletins requesting comment on proposed regulations and summarizing final regulations; and
  • Monthly frequently asked questions on hot compliance topics.
CUANM members also will have access to PolicyWorks' full suite of compliance services, available for an additional fee. Those services include:

  • Lending compliance services;
  • Bank Secrecy Act and SAFE Act independent testing;
  • Website compliance audits;
  • Full-scale compliance audit services;
  • Regulatory training; and
  • Marketing/communications reviews.

CMG MI Quarterly report on housing mortgage market

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SAN FRANCISCO (8/3/12)--The latest quarterly Housing & Mortgage Market Review issued by CMG Mortgage Insurance Co. (CMG MI) presents a U.S. housing market on the upswing and potentially past the bottom for both home sales and prices.

The report, written by economist Ralph DeFranco, University of California, Berkeley, analyzes key regional and national market data to support the view that leading indicators of home sales continue to trend upwards  and that growing pent-up demand, record affordability and a rapidly falling supply of houses for sale point to a sustainable turnaround in home prices.

Although the report cautions that the continuing European economic crisis may negatively impact the recovery, DeFranco writes that many of the frequently mentioned housing market concerns are overblown. He predicts that "the housing market rebound will be stronger than conventional wisdom is forecasting, at least in many markets."

The report also presents the latest Housing Appreciation Risk Index and a regional roundup of employment, delinquencies and house prices.

"CMG MI's Housing and Mortgage Market Review is a valuable tool for real-estate-lending credit unions," said Jill Estep, CMG MI senior vice president and co-general manager. "It delivers an expert analysis of the various data and makes sense of what's going on in the industry, especially at this crucial time."

To view the report, use the link.

Banno introduces responsive website features

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (8/2/12)--Banno, a provider of mobile applications, websites and personalized payment card services, announced that the websites it develops are driven by a new responsive design format that adjusts for online, mobile and tablet users.

Responsive design offers a single URL address that automatically responds to any type of device or browser and its screen size to better prepare financial institutions for mobile-focused services and multichannel banking. Combing access also eases the burden of compliance, archiving and site updates, Banno said.

Daleville, Ala.-based Army Aviation Center FCU, with $1 billion assets, is one of the first client websites to go live. In its first month, the credit union received more than 250,000 visits to its site. Nearly 10% were from mobile devices. Apple iPad was the most frequently used device, with 7,739 visits, followed by the iPhone with 4,723 visits. Mobile visitors spent an average of two minutes browsing, in which they had access to the full website and its full range of capabilities.

"It is clear that mobile device usage is increasing and will continue to increase exponentially," said Lisa Hills, Army Aviation Center FCU vice president of marketing.

Credit Plus launches Equifaxs undisclosed-debt monitor

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SALISBURY, Md. (8/2/12)--Credit Plus Inc., a credit information provider, is offering a new mortgage fraud prevention tool called Undisclosed Debt Monitoring powered by Equifax.

Developed to help lenders meet Fannie Mae's Loan Quality Initiative recommendations and check borrower credit activity during the processing of a mortgage, the tool offers users continuous monitoring and daily proactive alerts on potential risks, said Credit Plus.

One of the major benefits of the mortgage fraud prevention tool is pipeline protection, the company said. Loan officers are notified when mortgage inquiries occur on their borrowers' accounts, alerting them to rate shopping, undisclosed mortgage loans and possible fraud. The feature enables lenders to proactively work with borrowers throughout the mortgage process and reduce loan fallout.

Credit Plus customers can continuously monitor borrower credit activity during the "quiet period" between the time of the original credit file pull and the closing of the loan by using Undisclosed Debt Monitoring.