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Op-ed In Duluth: Don't Tax My CU

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DULUTH, Minn. (9/26/13)--"A federal income tax on Minnesota's member-owned credit unions is an additional tax upon credit union members," said an op-ed written by Larry Champeaux, president/CEO of Northern Communities CU, Duluth, in the Duluth News-Tribune.
Champeaux, who is also a member of the board of the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation, outlined the importance of credit unions' corporate income tax exemption. In 1934, Congress in passing the Federal Credit Union Act, recognized "that credit unions' unique cooperative structure was an important factor in granting them a different tax status than Wall Street-funded banks," he wrote.
"For-profit and not-for-profit business models exist in every industry, and the best part about America is that both of these models are given a chance to succeed side by side in the marketplace," he said.
He also noted that loss of credit unions' tax status "significantly would reduce credit unions' ability to continue their exemplary service to their members and their communities."
"Let's keep our communities growing. Please don't tax my credit union," he urged. To read the entire article, use the link.
The op-ed appeared just as credit unions and their 97 million members are planning a national virtual rally for Oct. 2 to further support the "Don't tax my credit union" campaign created by the Credit Union National Association and the state leagues.
Members and advocates from across the nation will light up social media via Twitter and Facebook with the message to accompany a physical rally at Credit Union House in Washington, D.C., 2 p.m.-3 p.m. (ET). That event will be streamed on and on The Hill newspaper site (News Now Sept. 24). For more details use the links.

CU System Briefs (09/26/2013)

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  • ONTARIO, Calif. (9/26/13)--CU Direct Corp., has appointed Keith Sultemeier, president/CEO of Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based Kinecta FCU, as a new associate director to its board of directors. Sultemeier has more than 13 years' experience in the credit union industry, said CU Direct, which provides lending solutions to the industry. He has been president/CEO of Kinecta since April 2012. Prior to that, he was executive vice president of San Antonio-based Security Service FCU. Also serving on the Board of Directors are: Chairman, John Lund, CEO of American First CU, La Habra, Calif.; vice chairman, Jeff March, CEO, Citadel FCU, Exton, Pa.; secretary and treasurer, Nader Moghaddam, president/CEO, Financial Partners CU, Downey, Calif.; Diana Dykstra, president/CEO, California  and Nevada Credit Union Leagues; David Reynolds, CEO, Security Service FCU, San Antonio; Barry Jolette, president/CEO, San Mateo (Calif.) CU; Sterling Nielsen, president/CEO, Mountain America CU, West Jordan, Utah; Donna Bland, president/CEO, Golden 1 CU, Sacramento, Calif.; Chuck Purvis, president/CEO of Coastal FCU, Raleigh, N.C.; and Joe Brancucci, president/CEO, GTE Financial, Tampa, Fla., ex-officio member of the board ...

Santa Rosa To Bank Locally With Three CUs

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. (9/26/13)--The Santa Rosa (Calif.) City Council this week decided to provide three local credit unions with up to $250,000 apiece to try to keep that money circulating in the local economy.
The three credit unions chosen were Santa Rosa-based Redwood CU, Community First CU and Sonoma County Grange CU. Two local banks also were chosen ( Sept. 24).
The financial institutions were selected because they met criteria to ensure the public funds would be liquid, safe and ensure a fair return, the newspaper said.
The real value in investing the money locally is accrued from its multiplier effect in the local economy--which the credit unions and banks should make available for business and consumer loans, Arvin Look, city financial planner for Santa Rosa, told the publication.
Removing barriers, fostering service excellence and raising awareness about the value credit unions provide their members and communities are the foundation for the Credit Union National Association's, state credit union leagues' and credit unions' Unite For Good campaign toward a vision in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial provider.

CUs Have Unique Opportunities, Says Member Centricity Speaker

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TAMPA, Fla. (9/26/13)--Credit unions possess competitive opportunities such as a common bond among members and a unifying cause to better their members' financial lives, customer centricity expert Don Peppers told more than 100 credit union attendees at CUNA Mutual Group's one-day Symposium on Tuesday.
Click to view larger image Credit unions' sense of community presents a strategic opportunity, customer centricity expert Don Peppers told more than 100 credit union attendees at CUNA Mutual Group's one-day free Symposium in Tampa, Fla. Tuesday. (Photo provided by CUNA Mutual Group)
Peppers headlined the free event, "Battle for the American Consumer: A Symposium on Member Centricity," open to credit unions. Peppers is considered an authority on customer centric strategies. An author of several books on the topic, he has been recognized by the Times of London as one of its "Top 50 Business Brains" and on Accenture's list of the "Top 50 Business Intellectuals."
Peppers spelled out ways credit unions can strengthen the trust and loyalty members have in them and compared credit unions' sense of community to that of the relationship financial services giant USAA has with its customers.
John Lass, CUNA Mutual Group senior vice president strategy and business development, led off the discussion on how credit unions can win the battle to become their members' primary financial institution. "The event provided some great insights for credit unions," Lass said. "Our challenge now is where we go with what we've heard today."
Also presenting at the daylong event was Michelle Eten, vice president of digital marketing at REI. One of the largest retail consumer cooperatives in the world, REI has built a customer centric retail model while remaining true to its cooperative roots.
Dorothy Leaderer and Jennifer Norr of CUNA Mutual Group's customer operations unit also presented on measuring the customer experience and using data to become more member centric.

44% Of Wisconsin School Districts Require Fin Lit Course

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MADISON, Wis. (9/26/13)--Roughly 44% of all Wisconsin school districts now require a course in personal financial literacy (PFL) in order to graduate from high school, according to the survey results released Tuesday by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).
Credit unions in the state will be glad to see a healthy percentage of schools with a financial literacy requirement, and will stand ready to help grow that number by assisting educators in addressing the financial literacy issue, said the Wisconsin Credit Union League in response to the survey results. 
Credit union financial educators reached 400,097 students nationally in 12,243 classroom presentations involving financial literacy during the 2012 school year, according to data from the National Youth Involvement Board.
The survey of Wisconsin school districts also showed that of those school districts that do not require a personal financial literacy course, 27% are considering adding such a requirement in the near future.
"The need to be financially literate has never been more important," Gov. Scott Walker said.  "While more than 40% of our school districts are requiring their students to take a PFL course in order to graduate, there is more we can do to teach all Wisconsin young people this important life skill." He encouraged educators across the state "to do their part to continue to integrate personal financial literacy instruction into our schools."
The survey was initiated and funded by DFI, in collaboration with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), and conducted by  St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute of De Pere.  DFI, which is the regulator of state-chartered credit unions in the state, is charged with providing administrative support and guidance to the Governor's Council on Financial Literacy, which was created by the governor's Executive Order #24.
"DFI is committed to assisting the Governor's Council fulfill its mission of measurably improving the financial knowledge of Wisconsin's citizens, especially our K-12 students," DFI Secretary Peter Bildsten said.  "This survey provides a benchmark by which the DFI, DPI and the council will be able to measure the results of our efforts to promote the integration of personal finance into our schools.  We intend to 'move the dial' on this important topic."
The survey, which included responses from 415 of Wisconsin's 424 school districts, showed:

"Wisconsin led the nation in the development of rigorous standards around personal financial literacy," said State Superintendent Tony Evers.  "It is important that school boards and district leaders continue to expand and enhance opportunities for students to meet these standards, whether it is through a required course, robust elective options, and/or integrating this content in grade levels as young as kindergarten."
For more detail about the report, use the link.  See related story, Fin. Lit. Is Fundamental, Cordray Says in today's News Now.

  • Seventy-four percent of districts include PFL content integrated within courses other than a discrete PFL course;
  • Sixty percent of school districts report offering PFL content at grade levels other than high school; and
  • In districts with a required course, 89% have aligned their PFL course to Wisconsin's Model Academic Standards for Personal Financial Literacy.

Campbell Named Filene's Director Of Innovation Labs

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MADISON, Wis. (9/26/13)--Filene Research Institute announced Wednesday that Cynthia Campbell has joined the nonprofit as its director of innovation labs. Campbell will lead Filene's new accessible financial services incubator.    
Campbell previously served as vice president-financial empowerment program manager at Tinker FCU (TFCU) in Oklahoma City, Okla.
"She brings a wealth of experience in serving low- and moderate-income consumers," said Mark Meyer, CEO at Filene. "A critical piece of innovation is execution. Cynthia's inquisitive mindset, success in building programs from scratch and program implementation skills position her to drive meaningful change for underbanked consumers through the incubator."  
While at TFCU, Campbell developed and implemented the Financial Empowerment Program, with nearly 20,000 financial education workshop attendees, free financial counseling, REAL solutions products, online budgeting tools and learning modules.
Her prior experience includes management and training, sales, and partner relations. Campbell is also a volunteer, lending her expertise to organizations such as Oklahoma Council on Economic Education, Oklahoma Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, National Youth Involvement Board and YWCA.
Funded with a $700,000 Ford Foundation grant, the incubator will test, package and scale financial products that benefit low- and moderate-income U.S. consumers. The goal is to commercialize at least one product among mainstream financial institutions, using credit unions to test viability and adoption.

Councils Announce Best Of Show, Award Recipients

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HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (9/26/13)--
Click to view larger imageCUNA Technology Council's Best of Show Award was presented Tuesday by Heather Moshier, council chair and executive vice president of information technology at San Diego County CU, to Wescom Resources Group. Receiving the award are Gina Kovacs, product specialist, and Jacob Clouse, sales engineer.
The CUNA Technology Council and the CUNA Operations, Sales and Service Council presented recognition awards this week at their meetings in Hollywood, Calif.
The CUNA Technology Council presented its Best of Show Award to Wescom Resources Group.  Conference attendees voted on the award following 15 seven-minute "speed demos" of products and services by service providers Monday and Tuesday at the conference. 

Gina Kovacs, Wescom product specialist, and Jacob Clouse, sales engineer accepted the award, on behalf of Wescom.
The council also handed out several awards of excellence Tuesday.  (See News Now related story, CUNA Tech Council Hands Out Five Excellence Awards, in Wednesday's issue.)
Click to view larger image The Best of Show Award presented Tuesday by CUNA Operations, Sales and Service Council, went to Red Canoe CU and Empower CU. From left: Ken Kelly, manager of training & development; Michelle Trekas, manager of sales & service training; and Rod Snyder, AVP of sales and branch performance. Accepting the award for Empower FCU was Justin Roth (right), director of cultural affairs.
At the CUNA Operations, Sales and Service Council conference, Best of Show Awards were presented Tuesday to Red Canoe CU, Longview, Wash., and Empower FCU, Syracuse, N.Y.

Accepting were Red Canoe's Ken Kelly, manager of training & development; Michelle Trekas, manager of sales & service training; and Rod Snyder, assistant vice president of sales and branch performance.

Accepting the award for Empower FCU was Justin Roth, director of cultural affairs.
The OpSS Council also presented Awards of Excellence to seven of its member credit unions:
  • Nymeo FCU, Frederick, Md., for branch design for credit unions in the $150 million to $500 million asset category;
  • Click to view larger image The CUNA Operations, Sales and Service Council presented eight awards to these council members Tuesday at its meeting in Hollywood, Calif. Eight credit unions received awards in seven categories. (Photos provided by CUNA)
    Numerica CU, Spokane Valley, Wash., for credit unions with more than $500 million in assets;
  • General Mills FCU, Minnetonka, Minn., for credit unions in the $150 million to $500 million asset category;
  • Neighbors FCU, Baton Rouge, La., for credit unions with more than $500 million in assets;
  • Element FCU, Charleston, W.Va., for branch design among credit unions with less than $150 million in assets;
  • TwinStar CU, Olympia, Wash., for call center e-support among credit unions with more than $500 million in assets.