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NEW: CUAid Activated For CUs Affected By Colorado Flooding

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MADISON, Wis. (9/24/13, UPDATED 4:20 p.m. CT)--The National Credit Union Foundation has activated the online disaster relief system CUAid.coop to raise money for credit union people in Colorado affected by recent flooding.
 
Credit union supporters in every state can make donations at www.cuaid.coop.
 
CUAid is the only program of its kind that enables credit union employees, volunteers, and members, as well as credit unions and credit union organizations across the U.S., to contribute directly to support other credit union people.
 
"Colorado has been severely affected by the recent Colorado floods," said Dan Santangelo, executive director of the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation.
 
"We, at the Mountain West Credit Union Association, initially didn't think we were going to need much CUAid funding, but after we started receiving inquiries, we were able to see the need from credit union members who could use a helping hand. It is estimated that more than 10,000 credit union staff, volunteers, and members are in need of some type of assistance."
 
To donate, use the resource link.
 
"To help alleviate the devastating effects of this disaster, we encourage credit union leaders all across the country to use CUAid.coop as a channel to collect donations from their employees, volunteers, and members," said Christopher Morris, NCUF director of communications.
 
As donations are posted through CUAid.coop, NCUF will coordinate with the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation in the disaster area to distribute money efficiently to affected credit union employees and members.  NCUF said 100% of the donations through CUAid goes to credit union disaster relief. In the event that all donations are not used for Colorado Flooding relief, NCUF will transfer unused funds to its "General Disaster Relief fund" for future disaster relief efforts.
 
CUAid was developed by NCUF in cooperation with state credit union foundations, state credit union leagues, and the Credit Union National Association's Disaster Preparedness Committee in 2006.
 
Organizations and individuals can use a variety of CUAid Web buttons for their websites.  Use the links to the donation form and to easily linkable buttons for the effort.

HELOC Funds a Target For Wire Transfer Fraud

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MADISON, Wis. (9/24/13)--Members sometimes call to ask for help transferring home equity line of credit (HELOC) funds to a checking account. Or they'll request assistance via e-mail or your online banking system's messaging system, sometimes to request wire transfers.
 
It's a perfectly normal occurrence--and that's what thieves count on, according to Credit Union Front Line Newsletter, which provides sales and service insights from the Credit Union National Association for branch staff and managers.
 
Scammers have learned to impersonate members on the phone and through other channels, building profiles through information they find in public databases or acquire by hacking into the member's computer. They can lift signatures from real estate documents available in public records, for use in fake faxed documents.
 
By the time they get in touch with you, they might already have your members' account numbers and passwords, or simply be fishing for them.
 
To combat this threat, consider these tips from Roger Nettie, a senior risk consultant at CUNA Mutual Group.
 
Thieves often use simple bait, impersonating a member who's a bit confused. They might present an urgent need for transferring HELOC funds to their checking account, then ask to execute a wire transfer of that money to another account.
 
They're counting on your ethic of helping members, which is exactly why some criminals prefer working with credit unions. But you can continue to provide excellent member service without compromising security, Nettie said in Frontline.
 
Watch for these red flags:
  • Members call to change the phone numbers or e-mail addresses on their accounts, and/or to reset a password. This could be the first step in perpetrating a HELOC wire fraud. The fraudster could be changing the contact information so that, later, the credit union will send confirmation requests to an e-mail or phone the fraudster controls. Flag these accounts so you can thoroughly examine future wire transfer requests made through remote channels.
  • Members employ a remote channel--phone, e-mail, fax, online banking messaging system--to request a wire transfer of funds previously transferred to the account from a HELOC.
  • You call a member to confirm a request and hear an unusual delay or clicking sound before the member answers. The scammer might have rerouted the member's regular phone number.
  • You receive a wire transfer request with a foreign bank destination.
  • You receive a funds transfer request from a member who has no history of funds transfers.
  • A member whose e-mail or phone number has changed recently requests a funds transfer.
It's important to know the circumstances under which HELOC fund transfers, wire transfers, and other transactions might indicate fraud.
 
Even requiring a member to sign a document in the presence of a notary public might not suffice, as scammers easily can duplicate notary seals.
 
Know whether your credit union has a standard procedure to follow should any of these red flags appear, and when to require a member to visit a branch.
 
If members ask why you're taking extra steps, don't hesitate to assure them your No. 1 priority is protecting their money from criminals.

CU System Briefs (09/24/2013)

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  • ARLINGTON, Va. (9/24/13)--National Credit Union Administration Board member Michael E. Fryzel had praise during Saturday's grand reopening ceremony of Chicago-based Second Federal, a former savings and loan that is now a division of Los Angeles-based Self-Help FCU. Self-Help and Chicago's The Resurrection Project worked together to acquire the thrift and continue financial services in the low-income community.  "Second Federal has been a primary source of financial services for the Little Village community...for more than 130 years," Fryzel said. "Second Federal will continue to be available to help the community grow and prosper because of the commitment of Self-Help FCU."  Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Attorney General Lisa Madigan also participated. NCUA worked with all parties during the acquisition ...
  • MADISON, Wis. (9/24/13)--Summit CU, Madison, Wis., is hosting the third-annual "Co-op Connection" Oct. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The free event, celebrating cooperatives and what they contribute to their communities, kicks off National Co-op Month. The event will feature live music from local musicians, including children's entertainer David Landau, The Disclosures and Pat McCurdy. Mayor Paul Soglin will speak briefly about the environment Madison provides for co-ops to thrive and the role co-ops play in Madison's local economy and quality of life (hngnews.com and The Star Sept. 22) ...
  • HARRISBURG, Pa. (9/24/13)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association has announced the deadlines for nominations to its state-level 2014 Awards and Scholarships Program. The awards honor individuals and credit unions for their accomplishments and leadership, and tprovide scholarship opportunities for professional development. The deadline for all state-level awards and scholarships is Dec. 31, with the exception of the Kanjorski Scholarship, which are due Nov. 15. The Kanjorski winner will be announced in December. Other winners will be announced in spring 2014, said PCUA (Life is a Highway Sept. 23) ...
  • BRIDGETON, Mo. (9/24/13)--Vantage CU has promoted Eric Acree to president/CEO, effective Sept. 18, the Bridgeton, Mo.-based credit union announced. Acree had been serving as interim president/CEO of the $725 million asset credit union since September 2012. He previously was executive vice president of operations, a position he had held since 2005. His nearly 23-year tenure at the credit union also included stints as copywriter in the marketing department, marketing director, and vice president of marketing and customer relationship management. "Eric has been a catalyst in helping Vantage grow into the leading and innovative organization it has become," said Vantage Board Chairman, Dr. Jerry R. Eichholtz, in the announcement on Vantage's website ...
  • HARRISBURG, Pa. (9/24/13)--Jeffrey C. Trelfa, vice chairman of Alpena Alcona Area CU in Alpena, Mich., died at his home Sept. 6, according to the Michigan Credit Union League (Michigan Monitor Sept. 23). He was 67. The credit union said Trelfa was committed to the cooperative spirit of "people helping people" and was active on the board, having served as a credit union volunteer for 15 years. He served on numerous credit union committees. He is survived by his wife, Annette; a son; four granddaughters; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild ...

Tech./Ops Council Speaker: Business Decision-making 'Flawed'

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HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (9/24/13)--Decision-making processes in the business world are seriously flawed, said bestselling author Chip Heath, who opened the joint conference of the CUNA Technology Council and the CUNA Operations, Sales, and Service Council Sunday evening in Hollywood, Calif.
 
Click to view larger image Bestselling author Chip Heath was the opening speaker for the joint conference of the CUNA Technology Council and the CUNA Operations, Sales, and Service Council Sunday evening in Hollywood, Calif. (CUNA photo)
The conference ends Wednesday.

Heath, co-author of "Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard," told attendees that they live with flawed decision-making in their personal and professional lives due to biases and irrationalities.

Among the facts Heath cited to support this claim:
  • In a survey of 2,000 CEOs, 60% said bad decisions were just as common as good decisions in their organizations.
  • Nearly 85% of mergers create no value for shareholders.
  • Within their first 18 months on the job, 40% of CEOs fail.
  • The first book of the Harry Potter series was turned down by seven publishers.
  • Medical diagnoses are wrong 40% of the time.
Heath outlined a four-step "WRAP" process designed to help people and organizations make better decisions.
  • Widen your options. "Many people let themselves be confronted with 'whether-or-not' decisions," says Heath. "When people assume there are only two options, they're engaging in 'narrow framing.' Don't assume there are only two options. Pretend those options have been taken off the table and look for other possible solutions."
  • Reality-test your assumptions. Heath recommends testing your assumptions before making decisions. "Job interviews are a classic example," he said. "Instead of taking job candidates out to lunch, give them a genuine problem to solve so you can see how well they'd solve problems on the job."
  • Attain some distance. Decision-making is often influenced by short-term emotions, Heath said. "That's why you need to 'sleep on it' or imagine what your decision would look like in five years," he added. "If you're wrestling with a problem, pretend the problem belongs to a friend. And then ask yourself: 'How would I advise my friend on this problem.'"
  • Prepare to be wrong.  Heath recommends setting 'tripwires' for yourself--safeguards that prevent you from getting too far off course, such as limits on cost-overruns for key projects.
Visit News Now and Credit Union Magazine for updates on the joint conference of the CUNA Technology Council and the CUNA Operations, Sales, and Service Council. For more coverage of the conference today, read "Disasters, Security, Product Speed Rounds Highlight Councils' Confab."

Northwest FCU Certified As SBA Lender

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HERNDON, Va. (9/24/13)--Northwest FCU in Herndon, Va., has been certified to provide Small Business Administration (SBA) loan-financing options for community businesses looking to expand, consumers in the market for start-up funding, or realtors with clients seeking commercial properties. 
 
"As an SBA-certified lender, both existing business members and other business owners who want to join us can come directly to the credit union for financing," said Tony Price, the $2.57 billion asset credit union's new SBA manager. "Traditionally, larger, out-of-town financial institutions were the primary sources for business loans. Now members can have their borrowing needs met by an institution that's part of their own community."
 
Price will lead Northwest FCU's new SBA program, generating awareness and building the credit union's brand in the market. His commercial lending experience includes working at a local community bank, at Capital One and at Wachovia/Wells Fargo, where he spent 10 years.
 
"A common misconception is that SBA loans are complex or cumbersome, and they can be when you don't have someone to help guide you and manage the process," he explained. "Northwest Federal can help small businesses find the best loans for their needs, answer their questions and, in many cases, turn the loans around in seven to 10 days. It doesn't have to be complicated."
 
The Credit Union National Association and credit unions are pressing Congress to increase credit unions' member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said.

Georgia CUs' Auto Loans Up, Says GCUA Poll

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DULUTH, Ga. (9/24/13)--Strong job growth and a rebounding housing market continue to drive consumer spending in Georgia, according to a recent report by Georgia Credit Union Affiliates.

The report showed robust automobile demand statewide, with new-auto loans at Georgia credit unions increasing 6.8% in the first half of the 2013, and used-auto loans rising 5.5% for the same period.

That persistent growth in vehicle loans reflects the state's steadily improving economy, which recently added 40,000 new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and observed a 4% rise in average home prices during first quarter 2013--the most recent data available from the Federal Housing Finance Agency  purchase-only index.

"Jobs and housing prices are both key factors in lifting consumer confidence," said Mike Mercer, GCUA president/CEO. "As we see those conditions return to pre-recession levels, we expect lending at Georgia credit unions to expand as well."

GCUA compiled savings and lending data for the quarterly report from June 2012 to June 2013 at 43 credit unions statewide, representing 94% of credit union assets and 88% of members in Georgia.

While automobile financing led the way in consumer spending, the report also displayed a solid overall increase in overall loans at Georgia credit unions. For the first half of 2013, total loan balances were up 2.9%, and second-mortgage loans jumped by 4.4%.

Also, the report reaffirmed Georgia credit unions' traditionally lower interest rates on loans. "These substantial savings advantages continue to fuel growth at Georgia credit unions," said Mercer.

Total membership at the state's credit unions grew by 1.8% in the first half of 2013 and by 2.6% in the year ending June 2013.

NASCUS Elects Michigan Regulator As Chairman, Tierney As Advisory Council Chair

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ARLINGTON, Va. (9/24/13)--The National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) elected its board officers and advisory council officers, while three sitting board members officially began new three-year terms, during its 2013 Annual Meeting Sept. 18 in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho.
 
New board officers are:
  • Chairman, John Kolhoff, director for the Michigan Office of Credit Unions;
  • Chairman-elect, Michael Wettrich, deputy superintendent for credit unions, Division of Financial Institutions, Ohio Department of Commerce; and
  • Secretary-treasurer Mary Ellen O'Neill, Financial Institutions Division, Connecticut Department of Banking.
Kolhoff appointed Jay P. Bienvenu, senior deputy commissioner with the Massachusetts Division of Banks, to a one-year term on the board.

Three sitting NASCUS board members will begin serving three-year terms that end in September 2016:
  • John  Fields, deputy chief examiner with the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions;
  • Linda Jekel, director, Division of Credit Unions with the Washington Department of Financial Institutions; and
  • Steve Pleger, senior deputy commissioner with the Georgia Department Of Banking and Finance.
Other sitting members of the board include Orla Beth Peck, supervisor of credit unions, Utah Department of Financial Institutions; and Werner Paul, deputy commissioner, Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions.
 
Also, two state credit union CEOs began new three-year terms on NASCUS' Credit Union Advisory Council, a group of 11 directors composed of credit union executives from around the country. They are: Lori Rush, Universal 1 CU, Dayton, Ohio, representing District 1, and Parker Cann, BECU, Seattle, Wash., representing District 4. Their terms expire in September 2016.
 
The Advisory Council also elected its officers.  Catherine Tierney, Community First CU, Appleton, Wis., will continue as chairman.  Linda Childs, Knoxville (Tenn.) Post Office CU, was elected chair-elect, and Patty Idol, Mountain CU, Waynesville, N.C., was elected secretary.
 
Other Advisory Council members include:Jason Boesch, Oklahoma RE&T Employees CU,  Oklahoma City;
  • Bob Fouch, Corporate Central CU, Muskego, Wis.;
  • Michael J. Kurish, Associated School Employees CU, Youngstown, Ohio;
  • Ron McDaniel, California CU, Glendale, Calif.;
  • Terry West, Vystar CU, Jacksonville, Fla.; and
  • Mike Williams, Colorado CU, Littleton, Colo.

Disasters, Security, Product Speed Rounds Highlight Councils' Confab

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HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (9/24/13)--Disaster preparation, security and productivity, and new products were highlighted Monday during a joint conference of the CUNA Technology Council and CUNA Operations, Sales and Service Council in Hollywood, Calif.

The conferences opened Sunday and continue through Wednesday.

"You can't realistically prepare for every possible type of disaster, so you prepare for the most likely worst-case scenario," Rich Griesser,  vice president of information technology (IT) for Hughes FCU in Tucson, Ariz., told attendees Monday morning.
 
It's important to differentiate business continuity planning from disaster recovery, Griesser said. Business continuity planning is about recovering all your services whereas disaster recovery is about your IT systems and functions.
 
Click to view larger image MShift's Andrea Robles and Jeff Chen demonstrated their AnywhereMobile mobile banking app at the joint conference of the CUNA Technology Council and the CUNA Operations, Sales and Service Council Monday morning. MShift was one of five technology companies selected to make seven-minute presentations in Monday's "speed round."
"Our goal was to build a disaster recovery center with sufficient capacity to support all mission-critical applications," said Griesser. "Our course of action was to identify needs, understand risks, assess criticality of data and apps, assess impact of hardware failures and downtime, and assess methods of recovery.
 
"Once I had a plan to achieve our goal, I had to present it to the board and senior leadership," he said. "I explained that our disaster recovery center would need to be an extension of our operating environment and it had to be ready at all times. I told them to think of it as a secondary branch that could process all transactions and serve all members--and that it wouldn't be cheap."
 
Griesser recommended being upfront with senior leadership on what it's going to take to be successful. "Anticipate your hardware, communications, cooling requirements and power needs, and understand all of the interdependencies between your systems," he said.
 
Click to view larger image eScope.net's Richard Williams and Darren Suprina demonstrate the company's Stonesoft intrusion-detection system and anti-evasion technology during Monday's seven-minute "speed round" presentation at the joint conference of the CUNA Technology Council and the CUNA Operations, Sales and Service Council. (Photos provided by CUNA)
In a second morning session, Andrew Jaquith, chief technology officer with SilverSky, delivered this message: Security and productivity are usually diametrically opposed to each other.
 
"Most organizations think about security considerations first and then they think about how that might affect productivity," he said. "Rarely does an organization think about how security and productivity might reinforce each other."
 
To help security and productivity fit well together, Jaquith offered these recommendations about security measures:
  • Make sure they don't interrupt workflow or unintentionally impose performance penalties.
  • Build sensible defaults into them that fit 90% of the cases.
  • Make sure security features blend into the environment so well that they're almost invisible.
  • Security features should contain opt-out features rather than opt-in features.
Also, five technology companies were selected to give seven-minute presentations in Monday morning's "speed round." The demonstrations included:
  1. MoneyDesktop's Shane Mount and Alec Gustafson, demonstrating its Insight and Target enhancements to its personal financial management program. The enhancements help consumers measure progress toward their personal financial goals and help credit unions track the success of their share-of-wallet initiatives.
  1. MShift's Andrea Robles and Jeff Chen, with their AnywhereMobile mobile banking.To encourage adoption of its m-banking app, MShift offers incentives to all participants in the transaction--members, merchants and credit unions. Members receive discounts on their purchases, merchants benefit from lower interchange fees, and credit unions reduce their transaction costs, said Chen.
  1. eScope.net's Richard Williams and Darren Suprina, with their company's Stonesoft intrusion-detection system and anti-evasion technology. The software detects "disguises," which is an emerging form of cyberattack, said Suprina.
  1. Digital Insight's Jeff Lauterer, who discussed the company's payments app for small businesses. The app helps credit unions' small-business members track their payments and receipts, and keep their books organized for tax purposes.
  1. MaaS360 by Fiberlink's Clint Adams, who talked about his company's mobile data management product that lets employees access company data from personal devices. Adams said research indicates that half of all employers will demand their employees to participate in bring-your-own-device programs in the near future. "Credit unions are faced with the challenge of providing access to their internal data on devices they don't own," he said.
Credit Union Magazine's Steve Rodgers is at the conference. Watch for updates in Credit Union Magazine and News Now this week.  See also related story, Tech/Ops Council Speaker: Business Decision-making 'Flawed,' in today's News Now.

One Way To Reach Youth: Tailgate Parties

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TOPEKA, Kan. (9/24/13)--Educational CU, Topeka, Kan., is connecting with local Millennials by
Click to view larger image Educational CU, Topeka, Kan., is connecting with local Millennials by traveling to area high schools and throwing free tailgate parties during the football season. Here a local high school student helps a classmate dye her hair.
traveling to area high schools and throwing free tailgate parties during the football season.
 
In a partnership with MVP magazine, WIBW radio, and Pepsi, ECU is throwing parties that includes, hot dogs, Pepsi products, snow cones, cotton candy and T-shirts.
 
The event also features face painting, a photo booth an inflatable obstacle course, and tailgating games for the students, their families and administration before their football game.
 
"The tailgate parties are a fun way for the students to get ready for the football game, and a way to promote school spirit," said Dan Wiggs, Educational CU marketing manager.
 
Click to view larger image Kansas high school students show their school spirit during an Educational CU tailgate party. (Photos provided by Educational CU)
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, represent an opportunity for growth for credit unions.

Roughly 86 million consumers strong, the group is 7% larger than the baby-boom generation, and accounts for about 27% of the U.S. population, according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute (Barron's April 29).

Millennials account for 21% total U.S. consumer spending, according to Christine Barton, a partner at the Boston Consulting Group.