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CU System Briefs (09/13/2013)

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  • OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (9/13/13)--Mark Ziegler has been appointed CEO of Y-12 FCU, a $689 million asset credit union based in Oak Ridge, Tenn. He will succeed CEO Tom Hilton, who will retire later this year after holding the president/CEO position for more than 20 years (Oakridgetoday.com Sept. 11). Ziegler has more than 30 years of credit union leadership experience, and is currently chief lending officer at MAX CU, Montgomery, Ala. He is also president of the credit union's wholly owned subsidiary MAX Capital LLC. Ziegler also has served as senior vice president of operations at Allied Solutions, a financial services provider to credit unions, and as chief lending officer at the former Community CU (now ViewPoint Bank) in Plano, Texas ...
  • TEMPE, Ariz. (9/13/13)--Tempe (Ariz.) Schools CU will change its name to Landings CU, effective Nov. 1.  The $132 million asset credit union announced earlier this year that it planned a name change to remove perceived barriers to membership and establish the foundation for future growth. "This name is strong and distinctive, just like our members," said Margaret Hunnicutt, president/CEO.  "The name honors our past and lays the foundation for our future." The new name "pays tribute to the city's founding as a safe landing place for settlers arriving on Hayden's Ferry," she said. For more information, watch a video announcing the name change ...
  • BELLEVUE, Neb. (9/13/13)--SAC FCU, Nebraska's largest locally owned credit union, has reached a major milestone in membership, with 75,000 members. The more-than-$670 million asset credit union also has experienced consistent growth in deposits, loans and assets, it said in a press release. Gail DeBoer, president/CEO of the Bellevue, Neb.-based credit union, attributed the growth "to our commitment to our members. We demonstrate this commitment through our products, services, low fees, competitive rates and excellent member service. We are their financial partner at every stage in life" ...

Texas 'Don't Tax' Efforts Put Advocacy In Limelight

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AUSTIN, Texas (9/13/13)--The Cornerstone Credit Union League has had great success in Texas advocating for credit unions' tax status with a tool that highlights congressional support of credit unions and their tax status. It also shows that credit unions are informed about the legislative process and are closely monitoring events surrounding the debate on tax reform.
 
Click to view larger image Click for larger view
The league publishes a brochure, "Taxation and Credit Unions: Where do your lawmakers stand?" every two years with statements supporting credit unions and their tax status from Texas' governor, lieutenant governor, and all 38 of its members of Congress. Each statement is accompanied by the delegate's official photo.
 
The brochure, released in August, is distributed to all 465 Texas affiliated credit unions, said Tom Haider, Cornerstone's executive vice president and chief advocacy officer. In fact, one of the league's staff is in Washington, D.C., today, visiting members of Congress and handing out the brochures with a cover letter thanking the lawmaker for supporting credit unions.
 
When asked how the league managed to get positive statements from 100% of Texas' representatives, Haider described the process as much like "herding cats." The league started early--in March--in contacting each official. Many had provided statements of support in a similar brochure two years ago. The league sent those statements, asking if the member of Congress still subscribed to that statement or wanted to issue a new one.  With new members of Congress, the league circulated the previous brochure to show what other lawmakers had said.
 
"They are told the brochure is sent to all credit unions in their district. We use it in conjunction with Project ZIP Code to show them how many credit union members are in their district," Haider said. "It helps lawmakers see that it's a good idea to provide a strong statement." The strongest tax-status comments are highlighted in the quotes.
 
"The purpose is to help our members of Congress appreciate that their view on taxation is a critical issue to our credit unions," Haider said. 
 
The brochures also help when credit unions meet individually with their representatives back in the districts.  "When a congressman is at a luncheon meeting with a dozen credit unions, it helps to be able to share the brochure and say, 'here's your statement," with their thanks."
 
It is easy to slip into a sense of awe when visiting a congressional office and let the congressman steer the conversation.  "This is a valuable tool that helps give confidence to credit unions in those meetings. It shows we are informed and aware about what is going on in D.C., and that we're watching," he said.
 
Garnering strong statements of support from key House Ways and Means Committee members is critical because any tax legislation will go through that committee.
 
The league succeeded in getting strong statements from committee members and U.S. Reps. Kevin Brady in District 8 and Kenny Marchant in District 24.
 
"I believe that credit unions play an important role in our communities and are major contributors to the national economy, the financial system, and the communities they enter, and the members and families they serve," said Brady.
"They provide lending opportunities to small businesses, families, and many hard-working Americans that would not otherwise be available. For these reasons, I strongly support the tax-exempt status of credit unions because they serve as not-for-profit banks."
 
Marchant said, "I was a champion of credit unions for 18 years in the Texas State House of Representatives, and I remain one today as a U.S. Congressman. Credit unions are unique in that their sole purpose is to serve the financial needs of their members, as opposed to maximizing profits. Any taxation of these financial institutions could result in an end to the important services they provide. Therefore, I do not support a change of any kind in the status of credit unions as tax exempt."
 
Other strong statements of support came from U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (District 35) and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, who serves on the Senate Finance Committee, which will oversee the tax issue in the Senate.  Check the resource link to see their comments and those of the other Texas representatives.

10 Million Data Points Show Members' Mobile Log-inTrends

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PLANO, Texas (9/13/13)--By knowing more about how members are using mobile banking, credit unions can not only help improve the member experience, but also possibly leverage the time that members spend using smartphones into profitable business, according to Robb Gaynor, chief product officer at Austin, Texas-based Malauzai Software.
 
Rather than predict where mobile banking is heading, Gaynor uses data gleaned from more than 170,000 registered users from 115 credit unions and community banks to determine where mobile banking is right now--minute by minute.
 
Gaynor provided a "State of Mobile Banking" presentation to some 80 credit union executives and board members during the Cornerstone Credit Union League's Leadership Conference held last week in San Antonio.
 
"Ten million log-ins later, we have a lot of data about what your members are doing with mobile," Gaynor said.
 
Among the findings:
  • Members log in about three times a week and generally spend about 90 seconds online per visit.
  • Once logged in, members check their balance and transaction history 70% of the time.
  • Seventeen percent of the time, they deposit checks remotely.
  • Ten percent of the time, they follow links to additional marketing information.
"Credit unions need to make sure their members, once logged in, have been given something to consider," Gaynor said. Members may check their balances initially, but while they are out and about, they could be encouraged to stop in at a local car dealer if the credit union markets an encouraging offer. And with smartphones in hand, members can even locate car dealerships that are nearby, he said.
 
While credit unions can use mobile banking opportunities to cross sell their own services or generate advertising revenues, members can use mobile banking to protect themselves from financial loss. Gaynor told the Leadership Conference audience that another popular feature with mobile users is the ability to turn off and turn on debit cards. By keeping the card inactive, except when it is needed, members can take an active role in helping to stop fraud, he said.
 
Catalyst Corporate FCU has partnered with Malauzai to develop quick-to-market mobile banking solutions for credit unions. Malauzai builds customized apps to help members connect to their credit union via smartphones and other mobile devices.

CUNA Council Paper Develops Strategies For Community-based CUs

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MADISON, Wis. (9/13/13)--A new white paper from the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council offers strategies community-based credit unions can use to meet marketing and business development challenges.
 
Credit unions are finding that switching to a community-based charter does not necessarily mean automatic growth, according to the paper, "Developing Strategies for Community-Based Credit Unions," which offers suggestions and examples from the industry.
 
To stand apart, a credit union must find its market niche, the paper suggests. "Credit unions simply cannot be all things to all people," writes the paper's author, Mark Arnold, a credit union brand expert and strategic planner. "As exciting as community charters are, we must learn that trying to please everyone only really results in watering down who we are and what we do best. You must identify this niche market and do all you can to best serve it."
 
Arnold suggests credit unions use these strategies to identify their market niche:
  • Be clear. Do you know why a consumer is likely to desire membership with your credit union? What consumer needs does your credit union fulfill? What benefits and differentiators do you bring to the table to help you stand out from the crowded financial services field?
  • Be focused. Think from the perspective of a potential member. How often do you see marketing messages promoting local banks and credit unions claiming they can do it all? They may get some business, but could earn more if specialize in performing one or two things well, building a strong reputation and fine-tuning the marketing message. This is why you need a marketing niche strategy--it will focus on you.
  • Be tailored. After identifying its niche market, the credit union must craft a message that reaches and speaks to that market while reinforcing the credit union's brand identity. The message should explain what the credit union has to offer, why its different, and why potential members should join.
To download the white paper, use the link.

Missouri Launches Final Stage Of Consumer Awareness Campaign

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ST. LOUIS (9/13/13)--Consumers in Missouri are learning more about the benefits of credit union membership because of a statewide consumer awareness campaign, Bank On MOre, said the Missouri Credit Union Association.

Bank On MOre is a multi-pronged consumer awareness crusade that targets non-members in Missouri. Research and strategic planning began in August 2012 with the campaign's website (see link), social properties and advertising officially launched in March (The Missouri difference Sept. 11).

The third and final stage began Aug. 26 and includes radio ads, billboards, digital and print media. The ads will run through Oct. 19.

The 2013 leg of the campaign will conclude with "Make the Switch Week" Oct. 13-19. In conjunction with International Credit Union Day on Oct. 17, the week will include activities for participating credit unions such as:
  • Two "Make the Switch Week" flash mobs in Kansas City and Columbia;
  • Piggy cutouts that encourage members and non-members to pose with the pig and share photos on social media platforms;
  • Trick-or-treat bags for credit unions to give to parents and youth during the weeks leading up to Halloween; and
  • T-shirt giveaways that include The Credit Unions of Missouri brand and Bank On MOre messaging.
Consumers are noticing the ads and visiting the Bank On MOre website, which connects potential members to credit unions, said MCUA. In just 10 weeks, the campaign garnered 14,000 unique visits to its website and 186 million impressions.

To view the ads, use the link.

CUNA Advice In USN&WR: Don't Delay Buying Home To Get Better Rate

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MADISON, Wis. (9/13/13)--First-time homebuyers got some advice from the Credit Union National Association in Wednesday's U.S. News & World Report about what not to do when buying a home.
 
One mistake homebuyers should avoid is delaying the buying process in hopes of obtaining a better rate, said Mike Schenk, CUNA's vice president of economics and statistics, in the article "Here's How A New House Goes From 'Solid Investment' To 'Worst Decision Ever.'"
 
Adjustable rates are now at rock bottom at 3%, Schenk said. If a homebuyer is ready to make the commitment, talk to a lender about securing a loan at an adjustable rate instead of a fixed rate, the article said.
 
Other mistakes first-time homebuyers make, said the article, include:
  • Searching for the dream home before getting prequalified for a loan;
  • Thinking short-term, instead of about the resale value of the home;
  • Making an emotional decision that ignores problems; and
  • Overlooking hidden costs, such as maintenance, utilities and property taxes.
The article also appeared in Businessinsider.com. Use the link to access the full article.

Study: CU Financial Advisers Produce More Revenue

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MADISON, Wis. (9/13/13)--Credit union financial advisers are more productive than broker-dealers in community and regional banks, according to a study released this week by Kehrer Saltzman & Associates.

The average adviser in a credit union produced gross revenue of $262,972 last year--about 8% more than the average bank adviser, said Tim Kehrer, the director of the survey and a senior research analyst at Kehrer Saltzman (FA Magazine September).

The 2012-2013 Kehrer Saltzman Credit Union Investment Services Benchmarking Study collected data from 798 credit unions with investment services and a survey of 45 credit unions about their investment services.

Though credit union advisers trailed advisers from the largest banks in average annual revenue, credit union advisers performed better than advisers in banks of comparable size and structure, said Kenneth Kehrer, a principal with the firm.

Maine's CUs Make Three-year, $75K Pledge To End Hunger

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AUBURN, Maine (9/13/13)--The Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger made a $25,000 donation as it announced its three-year, $75,000 commitment to the Good Shepherd Food Bank's efforts to end childhood hunger in Maine.

Click to view larger image Maine's credit unions announced a $75,000, three-year commitment to Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn, Maine, to help expand childhood hunger programs in schools statewide. Pictured at the presentation of the first installment on behalf of the Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger, which has raised $4.8 million since it began in 1990, are, from left, John Murphy, president of the Maine Credit Union League; Luke Labbe, chair of the league's Social Responsibility Committee; Jon Paradise, league assistant vice president of governmental and public affairs; and Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank.  (Photo provided by the Maine Credit Union League)

 
The announcement was made Monday at the food bank in Auburn, Maine. The funds will support the food bank's BackPack and School Pantry Programs. The food bank conducted the first BackPack packing session for the 2013-2014 school year, following the announcement. The BackPacks were assembled by volunteers from Maine's credit unions. The funds distributed for the program are part of the record-setting $471,000 the credit unions raised in 2012.

"Maine's Credit Unions are dedicated to 'people helping people' of all ages," said John Murphy, president of the Maine Credit Union League. "The problem of childhood hunger in our state is extreme. With one in four Maine children being food-insecure, Maine ranks first in New England in terms of child food insecurity. It is our hope that through this joint effort with the Good Shepherd Food Bank, we will make great strides towards ending childhood hunger in our state, both through providing much needed funds, and raising wide-reaching awareness."

The BackPack Program provides children with nutritious, easy-to-prepare food to eat during weekends and school vacations when crucial school meals are unavailable. This school year, the Good Shepherd Food Bank will operate the BackPack Program in 20 schools in five counties, serving 800 kids per week. The contribution will provide about 185,000 meals to children during the school year.
 
The School Pantry program allows school staff to provide children in danger of hunger with nutritious food to take home to their families. By the end of this school year, the Good Shepherd expects to have 16 School Pantries statewide, with a goal of providing 90,000 meals this year. The funds will benefit existing food pantries and allow the opening of future food pantries in schools across Maine.
 
Since 1990, the Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger has raised $4.8 million to help end hunger in Maine including a record-setting $471,000 in 2012.