Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive

CU System Archive

CU System

CU System briefs (09/12/2012)

 Permanent link
  • DES MOINES, Iowa (9/13/12)--A suspect in two robberies of the same Des Moines, Iowa-based credit union last month was arrested Tuesday afternoon by Des Moines police after a short pursuit in which he crashed his car into a post and tried to flee the scene (Des Moines Register Sept. 12). Keith A. Schwartz, 41, of Des Moines has been charged in the Aug. 1 and Aug. 29 robberies of Edco Community CU. An officer tried to pull Schwartz's vehicle over around 2 p.m. Tuesday, but the driver fled and was chased 10 blocks before losing control of the car. Schwartz was treated for injuries at a local hospital. He is charged with two counts of second degree robbery, eluding, failure to maintain control and driving without a license or insurance …
  • PORTLAND, Maine (9/13/12)--Paul Garland, 27, of Oakland, Maine, was sentenced to eight years in prison Tuesday in a federal court in Portland for allegedly robbing a credit union while wielding a knife.  The robbery occurred in June 2009 at the Skowhegan branch of the Winslow-based Taconnet FCU. Garland was also ordered to pay $9,147 in restitution and undergo five years of supervised release after the prison term (Portland Press Herald Sept. 11) …
  • ROHNERT PARK, Calif. (9/13/12)--An Oakley,Calif., woman has been arrested in Rohnert Park, Calif., on suspicion of opening at least five bank accounts using stolen identities, including trying to open up accounts on two consecutive days at a Rohnert Park credit union. Denise Michelle Hankins, also known as Denise Wagoner, 42, was arrested at a hotel where police allegedly confiscated a briefcase with stolen IDs, counterfeit checks, forged documents and stolen mail (The Press Democrat Sept. 10).  Hankins has served time in prison for mail and identity theft and is under investigation by police in Petaluma, Calistoga and Brentwood. She has been charged with suspected identity theft, burglary and forgery …

Loanliners mobile platform--from kitchen to success

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (9/13/12)--CUNA Mutual Group said it has garnered 40 new credit unions as Loanliner platform customers since it launched its smartphone loan application last year, and the service has drawn the attention of a publication for technology experts.

The app, which got its start at a kitchen table, has resulted in CUNA Mutual processing roughly 35,000 loan applications and generating more than $335 million in loan application volume, said InformationWeek (Sept. 11).

The app is browser-based instead of being a native app, and it supports Apple and Android devices.

To date, more than 550 credit unions have implemented the smartphone loan app, and CUNA Mutual has partnered with Fiserv, a global provider of financial services technology, to make the app available to an additional 350 credit unions, the publication said.

The app could be a key element for credit unions trying to attract younger members because the average age of a credit union member is 47 years old, while the average smartphone loan application user is 32, the publication said.

In the article, CUNA Mutual Chief Information Officer Rick Roy also discussed the challenges of introducing new technology. The article has run in CMP TechWeb and other technology publications. (See related News Now story, "CUNA Mutual Group No. 75 in InfoWeek 500.")

Council paper--CFOs role is morphing

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (9/13/12)--The chief financial officer (CFO) position at credit unions has evolved into more of a strategic partner and educator for the CEO, the board of directors and the credit union management team, according to CUNA's CFO Council's "The Transforming Role of the Credit Union CFO," a white paper that charts the quiet evolution of the position.

The CFO's role has morphed into a more complicated and demanding role befitting a financial services environment that has also become increasingly multifaceted, said the paper. In an earlier time, the job consisted of financial preparation, payroll, general ledger and accounting for fixed assets. The tools today are more complex--determining net economic value for the balance sheet, accounting for troubled debt restructures and reviewing the amount of interest-rate risk in the balance sheet under different scenarios.

"The CFO used to be the guy in the room waving hands and saying, "too much risk," while other folks saw opportunity," said Scott Waite, chief financial officer and senior vice president, Patelco CU, Pleasanton, Calif. "Today, the whole world is more aware of risk questions and chief financial officers don't feel as lonely in the risk game. The CFO is being used and viewed as a strategic adviser for the CEO and board."

The position requires a move beyond analytics--people want to know what the numbers mean and how they relate to their daily work, the paper said. The chief financial officer interprets the analytics and then provides tactics and strategies, which may mean tightening up procedures and policies.

CFOs need a thorough understanding of sophisticated financial instruments and asset-liability management to be effective. But they also must be able to explain clearly these instruments and financial management--in understandable terms--to other staff and the board.

Education is one of the best defenses against complexity risk, said the council's paper. Complexity risk is the notion that with increasing regulations, innovative technology and products, the financial services industry is becoming overly complicated for members, directors and management, which can lead to bad decisions. Employees and directors need a sense of purpose to fulfill their duties, which they lack if they are confused by the terminology, numbers and their meaning.

Serving as an educator was noted by many of those interviewed for the paper as one of the roles the CFO will play increasingly in the years to come. The CFO can help to educate members of the management team and board of directors so that each participant in the credit union system can help ensure a secure haven for their members' deposits and serve as a resource for reliable financial advice.

Educating the American public about the basics of economics and financial literacy is also a role credit unions and their CFOs can play, to help to prevent future financial calamities, the paper concluded.

The paper is available online. Use the link.

Maine CUs remember 911 with funds for Red Cross pantries

 Permanent link
PORTLAND, Maine (9/13/12)--Maine's credit unions' recognized five American Red Cross chapters in their 11th anniversary 9/11 tribute in Portland.

Click to view larger image Representatives from Maine's five Red Cross Chapters and food pantriesCU System briefs gather with representatives from the Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger, including Maine Credit Union League Governmental and Public Affairs Manager Jon Paradise (center behind check) at the 9/11 Memorial in Portland.  The campaign, which has raised $4.3 million since 1990--including a record $447,000 in 2011--distributed funds to emergency food relief efforts statewide in honor of the 9/11 anniversary.  (Photo provided by the Maine Credit Union League)
The tribute, with the theme "People Remembering & Helping People," honored and remembered the victims of 9/11 and their families, and gave funds to charities.

The Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger, which raised a record $447,000 in 2011, distributed more than $6,000 of the funds raised to the Emergency Food Relief Fund of each Red Cross Chapter in Maine, and to a food pantry located at each chapter.  

"9/11 brought about a tremendous resurgence of community in Maine and across the country, and helping make sure people have enough to eat and receive assistance during an emergency is what community is all about," said John Murphy, president of the Maine Credit Union League. The campaign "has chosen to mark the anniversary of 9/11 in this way each year in recognition of the volunteers who help communities during difficult times."   

The five Red Cross Chapters in Maine that received checks in the amount of $911 each are: the Southern Maine Chapter, the United Valley Chapter, the Mid Coast Chapter, the Pine Tree Chapter and the Pine Tree-Aroostook Chapter.

The five food pantries in Maine that received $311 checks each are: Wayside Soup Kitchen of Portland, Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Food Pantry of Brunswick, St. Mary's Food Pantry of Lewiston, MANNA Food Pantry of Bangor and Catholic Charities of Maine of Caribou.

All funds raised go directly to the cause of ending hunger and stay in Maine. The campaign for ending hunger has raised $4.3 million since 1990.

Unbankedunderbanked increase CUs there for them

 Permanent link
WASHINGTON (9/13/12)--More than one in four U.S. households--28.3%--are either unbanked or underbanked, a slight increase from 2009, according to 2011 statistics released Wednesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).  In other words, credit unions' ongoing efforts on behalf of  low-income members and their outreach efforts to largely unbanked or underbanked populations are needed now more than ever.

The announcement comes just as the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) was announcing that hundreds of  credit unions have accepted its  low-income designation, meaning they can accept supplemental capital and use an exemption from the small business lending cap under certain circumstances to assist their members.

NCUA had notified 1,003 credit unions in August that they were eligible for the program. LICUs are also eligible for Community Development Revolving Loan grants and low-interest loans and may accept deposits from non-members, such as unbanked households relying on payday lenders for financial services.

The announcement also comes as more credit unions and leagues try creative ways to attract the unbanked and underbanked.  These include prize-linked savings programs such as Michigan's Save to Win and the Filene Research Institute's SaveUp program, which is being piloted by 20 credit unions in 12 states  to evaluate the emotional effects of rewards programs on influencing consumers to make positive financial decisions.

Other credit unions offer better rates on short-term loans to combat exorbitant fees charged by check cashers and payday lenders; have outreach efforts for Hispanic membership; and are active in financial literacy programs.

Servicemembers and their families, although not unbanked, often are underbanked and are prey to check cashers and payday lenders that are typically located near their bases, and credit unions that are members of the Defense Credit Union Council often provide special services to support the troops and their families. (News Now will feature a separate story on the efforts of a number of defense-related credit unions Friday.)

More than 821,000 more U.S. households have become unbanked since the first survey in 2009--a 0.6 percentage point increase, according to the FDIC's 2011 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households. More than half of all unbanked households say they do not have an account because they believe they do not have enough money or that they do not need or want an account. Three in 10 households in the U.S. do not have a savings account.

Other key findings:

  • One in 12 U.S. households--8.2%, or 10 million households--are unbanked. Roughly 17 million adults live in unbanked households.
  • One in five households (20.1% or 24 million households with 51 million adults) are underbanked.
  • Of the households, 29.3% do not have a savings account, while about 10% do not have a checking account. Nearly two-thirds have both savings and checking accounts.
  • One-fourth of households say they have used at least one alternative financial service such as non-bank check cashing or payday loans in the past year. Nearly one in 10 used two or more types of these services. Also, 12% of households said they have used these services in the past 30 days, including four out of 10 unbanked and underbanked households.

Tinkers Kloiber named to DCUC Hall of Honor

 Permanent link
OKLAHOMA CITY (9/13/12)--Tinker FCU (TFCU) President/CEO Michael D. Kloiber was inducted into the Defense Credit Union Council's (DCUC) Hall of Honor on Aug. 21 in Denver.

For his "passionate advocacy on behalf of the credit union movement and his steadfast support of the defense community," Tinker FCU President/CEO Michael D. Kloiber was inducted into the Defense Credit Union Council's Hall of Honor in Denver. (Photo provided by Tinker FCU)

Click to view larger image
The council's Recognition Task Force selected Kloiber for his "passionate advocacy on behalf of the credit union movement and his steadfast support of the defense community."

The Hall of Honor award highlights outstanding accomplishments of leaders, volunteers, management and staff, whose efforts and support of the credit union movement and DCUC epitomize the council's values and philosophy of "Serving Those Who Serve Our Country."

Kloiber has been TFCU president/CEO since 1996. His service on several organizations' committees and boards demonstrates his leadership in the credit union community, the committee said.

He is vice chair of the DCUC Midwest Sub-Council, a position he has held for six years. Kloiber is often praised for his ongoing support and assistance to smaller credit unions, even though he leads Oklahoma's largest credit union.

Under Kloiber's leadership, Tinker FCU is a strong supporter of Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City, Okla., and Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Okla. He and his staff at those bases work closely with base personnel to help meet the special needs of military personnel.

The DCUC's Hall of Honor was established in 2000 to recognize individuals whose contributions have made a "significant and noteworthy difference" in the defense credit union community.

Tinker FCU has more than $2.8 billion in assets and in excess of 250,000 members.

Texas speaker to CUs Get politically engaged

 Permanent link
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (9/13/12)--Credit union leaders must engage with policymakers in ongoing, effective relationships, Tom Haider, chief advocacy officer for the Texas Credit Union League (TCUL), told attendees at the Political Engagement breakout session at TCUL's Leadership Conference last week in San Antonio.

Connections with lawmakers will make a difference when credit unions face tough battles over legislation, Haider said.

He encouraged attendees to explore avenues beyond visits to lawmakers' offices, such as hosting "meet and greets" in the credit union, working on campaigns and being active in local civic organizations (Lone Star Leaguer Sept. 12).

Events such as Rotary Club luncheons should include a credit union presence that matches that of community bankers, he told the audience. Civic organizations often are the proving ground for community activists with political aspirations. Establishing a relationship early in a politician's career can provide long-term benefits, he said.

Credit unions also must communicate with lawmakers on the issues that affect them, Haider said. Among the most pressing issues for credit unions is the increased regulatory burden, he added. Citing a recent proposal from the Labor Department to limit children working on family farms, he noted that more than 80,000 people sent in comments, which led to repeal of the proposal.

By comparison, credit unions often send legislators a few dozen comment letters on some issues. Haider urged attendees to mobilize their efforts when new rules are proposed for credit unions. Communications can be simple and straightforward. Regulators are interested in hearing about real-world problems caused by new rules, he said.

Haider also encouraged credit unions to implement TCUL's Credit Unions: Ready, Organize, Activate, Respond program to initiate their own government relations program.

Community CU of Year Award to highlight CUNA conference

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (9/13/12)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will honor four credit unions with its 2012 Community Credit Union of the Year Award, presented at the CUNA Community Credit Union & Growth Conference, Oct. 23-26 in Denver.

The award honors credit unions that consistently excel in advancing of the ideals of the credit union movement, are proactive in their community and provide a wide array of services that meet the needs of their communities.

The awards committee comprises a panel of judges from the CUNA Community Credit Union Committee, recently completed review of the entries and remarked on the quality of submissions.

"It is inspiring and energizing to see so many credit unions doing great things in their community," said Todd Spiczenski, CUNA Center for Professional Development vice president. "It was difficult to choose from so many outstanding credit unions that embody the principles of the credit union movement."

The four honored credit unions are recognized with a first place and honorable mention winner in each asset category of less than $250 million and more than $250 million.

Session topics and speakers at the CUNA Community Credit Union & Growth Conference will include:

  • The Spark, the Flame and the Torch: How inspiration has become the most important distinctive advantage for modern organizations--Lance Secretan, teacher, management guru, Fortune 500 executive, author;               
  • Capitalizing on Small Business in Your Community--Doug Benzine, vice president, publishing, CUNA;
  • Get off My Lawn!: How to Monetize Social Media for Business Results--Jay Vanjalu, CEO and board member, Buzz Banking;
  • Product and Marketing Strategies to Attract and Create the Loyalty of the Hispanic Community--Miriam De Dios, CEO, Coopera;
  • Legislative & Regulatory Update--Ryan Donovan, senior vice president, legislative affairs, and Mary Dunn, senior vice president and deputy general counsel, CUNA; and
  • Best Practices from Successful Community Credit Unions--Jeff Rendel, president, Rising Above Enterprises.

ASI announces special premium assessment

 Permanent link
DUBLIN, Ohio (9/13/12)--Private share insurer American Mutual Share Insurance Corp. (ASI) has announced its board approved a special premium assessment for 2012--in the amount of nine basis points, or 9% of 1% of total shares.

The premium will be assessed of all its primary insured member credit unions of record as of Sept. 30, 2012. Subject to final regulatory approvals, the assessment will be based on total shares reported as of June 20, 2012, and invoiced on or about Sept. 30.

The assessment means the Dublin, Ohio-based ASI will end the year sustaining its equity ratio of 1.6%, said ASI in a press release.

The assessment does not apply to excess share insurance policyholder credit unions insured by Excess Share Insurance Corp. (ESI) or ASI.

"Record-low investment yields, combined with the need for ASI to continue funding loss reserves in light of the slow recovery in select markets, is what drove the ASI Board of Directors to make this decision," said ASI President/CEO Dennis Adams. 

The ASI board "closely monitored ASI's earnings and reserves throughout the year and reviewed its options for an assessment with ASI's Primary Insured Credit Union Advisory Council before arriving at nine basis points," Adams said.

The ASI Advisory Council comprises 20 CEOs from primary insured member credit unions and provides a venue for member credit union input on critical issues, said ASI.

ASI, a credit union-owned share guaranty corporation, provides share insurance for members of 143 state-chartered credit unions in nine states. It insures these members' savings up to $250,000 per individual member account.