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CU System

CUNA survey shows how to attract new members

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MADISON, Wis. (9/22/11)--The Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) recently released 2011-2012 Survey of Potential Members Report--a strategic document that predicts new membership trends among financial institutions--found loyalty to be a chief driver in generating membership for credit unions and customers for banks during recent years. However, only credit unions truly benefitted from this loyalty. “After the meltdown of the banking industry in 2008, the majority of bank advertising focused on portraying an image of a customer-focused, trustworthy institution,” said Jon Haller, CUNA director of corporate and market research. “Credit unions did banks one better. With their additional focus on helping their members meet their financial goals, credit unions fared better than banks.” Credit unions reported higher scores than banks on satisfaction levels, sustaining member loyalty and generating business from member loyalty. The report found that 71% of all respondents who use credit unions claimed to be “very satisfied” with their credit union, higher than the 66% of nonmember bank respondents who were “very satisfied” with their banks. Loyal credit union promoters had more checking accounts, more loans, higher loan balances and a higher average number of products/services than their loyal bank counterparts. “These kinds of findings are very important for credit unions to know--in the credit union industry, loyalty really does translate into increased usage of services,” Haller said. “This is the kind of information that is useful not only in the board room, but on the front line where employees interact with members. There are many opportunities to make a positive impression on members.” The report also sheds light on other important developments in non-member growth. Value, trust and appreciation ranked among the top categories where credit unions had a heavy advantage over banks. Furthermore, the survey revealed that youth and Hispanic markets offer significant growth opportunities. With the information provided by the report, credit unions can better understand the current trends relating to non-members’ financial behavior and act on these trends to increase their member base and improve loyalty for continued growth, CUNA said. For more information about CUNA’s 2011-2012 Survey of Potential Members Report, use the link.

Tower FCU raises 130K to help special-needs people soldiers

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LAUREL, Md. (9/22/11)--Tower FCU, based in Laurel, Md., helped raise more than $130,000 for Maryland Therapeutic Riding (MTR) at a benefit concert Sept. 10. MTR is a nonprofit organization that uses horses to help special needs children and adults, and retired and active-duty wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Live on the Farm! concert featured two-time Grammy winner and environmental activist Kathy Mattea and local favorite The Hard Travelers. The event, held on MTR’s 26-acre farm in Crownsville, Md., featured rider demonstrations, refreshments and live and silent auctions. The charity serves over 500 clients, according to MTR’s Development Director Anne Joyner. The annual concert is MTR’s primary fundraiser, and money raised benefits programs such as Horses for Heroes, a therapeutic riding program specially designed for retired and wounded soldiers. “The success of this fundraiser shows how much the community cares about our soldiers returning from the battlefield,” says Martin Breland, Tower president/CEO. “Therapeutic riding is a unique program that provides support and rehabilitative services for our wounded warriors and we are proud to sponsor this event.” Since 1997, Tower has donated more than $500,000 to local and national charities, Breland said.

New Mexico CU performs flash mob

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ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (9/22/11)--Service members at Holloman Air Force Base, in Alamogordo, N.M., were treated to a flash mob courtesy of Otero FCU on Sept. 9. The flash mob was launched during the Thanks Team Holloman event, which is held annually by the citizens of Alamogordo to thank the men, women and families of Holloman Air Force Base for their service, according to the Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM Update Sept. 16). The idea for the flash mob was proposed by Otero FCU President/CEO Juanita Whiteside, who had seen a similar performance by Innovations FCU in Florida. Whiteside thought it would be a fun event for the OFCU staff to work on and a unique experience for the local community. The flash mob was organized and choreographed by Jesica Sanford, an Otero FCU member service representative. “OFCU always tries to connect with the youth of our communities by conducting financial literacy classes in the local schools and by awarding more than $25,000 in college scholarships in the last several years,” said Greg Shaver, Otero FCU vice president of marketing. “We felt this was a natural way to continue that connection by doing something that was fun and interesting.” The flash mob, which featured on the local KRQE TV news, can also be seen on YouTube. Click the arrow to watch the video.

SECU to promote Citizens Awareness Month

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RALEIGH, N.C. (9/22/11)--State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) has teamed with the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) to promote Citizens Awareness Month, a campaign that provides opportunities for North Carolina citizens to register to vote and also publicizes upcoming elections. Throughout September, all SECU branches statewide have available a supply of voter registration applications. Members can pick up an application at their local branch, complete the form and send it to their local Board of Elections office for processing. In the coming months, dozens of municipalities statewide will conduct elections for city and town officials. Voter turnout is typically very low, primarily due to a lack of awareness that an election is taking place, according to Raleigh, N.C.-based SECU. By partnering with NCSBE, the credit union will provide another 238 locations where voter registration applications can be obtained. SECU also published articles in its August Grassroots member newsletter and its September Money Matterz member newsletter for teens. “Every North Carolina citizen who is eligible to vote should exercise his or her right to do so, but in order to be eligible, you must be registered,” said Leigh Brady, SECU senior vice president of education services. “By providing applications in SECU branches, we hope to make the process of voter registration even more convenient for our members.”

Sweeney named N.J. League Legislator of the Year

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (9/22/11)--The New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL) Monday named New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-3) Legislator of the Year during the league’s 77th Annual Meeting and Convention in Atlantic City.
The New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL) honored New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney as its Legislator of the Year Monday. Sweeney (left) accepts his award from NJCUL President/CEO Paul Gentile. (Photo provided by New Jersey Credit Union League)
Sweeney, who represents the Third Legislative District, was recognized for his effort in spearheading the bi-partisan municipal deposit reform legislation signed into law on Aug. 18 to allow credit unions to become eligible depositories for counties, municipalities and school boards. The state’s 40-year-old Government Unit Deposit Protection Act gave banks a virtual monopoly on government banking, and precluded local government entities from utilizing credit unions as depositories. With Sweeney’s lead, legislators paved the way for public entities to seek out the best possible return for taxpayer dollars by allowing New Jersey’s credit unions to serve as eligible public depositories. With the reform, New Jersey’s credit unions will soon be able compete with banks in the $15 billion public deposit market, and public entities will have a new option to consider as they seek out the best yield in these tough economic times. “Senate President Sweeney is a true credit union hero,” said Gentile. “Credit unions will bring new competition to public deposits that will likely drive better returns and ultimately help taxpayers. The passage of the municipal deposit reform legislation is a real victory for not only credit unions, but for New Jersey taxpayers, and Senator Sweeney played a major role in getting that done.”

Cabot Creamery Coop offers Health and Wealth kits

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CABOT, Vt. (9/22/11)--Cabot Creamery Cooperative, a sponsor of the Credit Union National Association’s Home & Family Finance Radio, is offering free “Growing Health & Wealth” kits to credit union members nationwide. The kit, created for families with children ages six to 10 years, encourages parents and grandparents to help kids understand the importance of healthy food choices and money management. Building strong bones and bodies with exercise, dairy, calcium and good nutrition, along with building strong financial values through creative ways to save, spend and share are among the themes the kit emphasizes. The kit--available for download--includes an activity book, family guide and poster. A key component of the Growing Health and Wealth program are Moneyboxes that help children develop personal goals, wishes and positive experiences. Kids can create Moneyboxes out of simple household containers and materials and label them to represent three themes: Save, Spend and Share. Cabot Creamery Cooperative initiated the Health and Wealth program to promote the idea health and wealth are correlated, and the sooner children are taught about the benefits of a healthy diet, regular exercise and money management, the better off they will be. Home & Family Finance Radio is a weekly one-hour program that offers information and advice on consumer finance issues. To download Growing Health and Wealth kits, use the link.

NEW FOMC to purchase 400B of Treasury securities

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WASHINGTON (9/21/11 2:15 p.m. CT)--The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided at its meeting yesterday and today to purchase billions in Treasury securities and leave the target range for the federal funds rate at 0% to 0.25%. Information received since the FOMC met in August indicates that economic growth remains slow. Recent indicators point to continuing weakness in overall labor market conditions, and the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending has been increasing at only a modest pace in recent months despite some recovery in sales of motor vehicles as supply-chain disruptions eased. Investment in nonresidential structures is still weak, and the housing sector remains depressed. However, business investment in equipment and software continues to expand. Inflation appears to have moderated since earlier in the year as prices of energy and some commodities have declined from their peaks. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable. Consistent with its statutory mandate, the committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The FOMC continues to expect some pickup in the pace of recovery over coming quarters but anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline only gradually toward levels that the committee judges to be consistent with its dual mandate. Moreover, there are significant downside risks to the economic outlook, including strains in global financial markets. The committee also anticipates that inflation will settle, over coming quarters, at levels at or below those consistent with the FOMC’s dual mandate as the effects of past energy and other commodity price increases dissipate further. However, the committee will continue to pay close attention to the evolution of inflation and inflation expectations. To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with the dual mandate, the committee decided today to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities. The committee intends to purchase, by the end of June 2012, $400 billion of Treasury securities with remaining maturities of six years to 30 years and to sell an equal amount of Treasury securities with remaining maturities of three years or less. This program should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates and help make broader financial conditions more accommodative. The committee will regularly review the size and composition of its securities holdings and is prepared to adjust those holdings as appropriate. To help support conditions in mortgage markets, the committee will now reinvest principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities. In addition, the committee will maintain its existing policy of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. The FOMC also decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0% to 0.25% and currently anticipates that economic conditions--including low rates of resource use and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run--are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through mid-2013. The FOMC discussed the range of policy tools available to promote a stronger economic recovery in a context of price stability. It will continue to assess the economic outlook in light of incoming information and is prepared to employ its tools as appropriate. Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, chairman; William C. Dudley, vice chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Charles L. Evans; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Daniel K. Tarullo; and Janet L. Yellen. Voting against the action were Richard W. Fisher, Narayana Kocherlakota, and Charles I. Plosser, who did not support additional policy accommodation at this time.