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MeridianLink DigitalMailer team up for online tech

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COSTA MESA, Calif., and HERNDON, Va. (10/3/11)--MeridianLink and DigitalMailer have partnered to integrate their communication, loan origination and online account-opening platforms. MeridianLink is the developer a multi-channel account opening and loan origination platform. Through the partnership, the company is incorporating DigitalMailer’s communication solutions into its two product lines: LoansPQ, an automated lending response system, and XpressAccounts, an automated account-opening process. DigitalMailer helps organizations connect with customers in the online channel they prefer, driving consistent, managed messages that are optimized for communication, convenience, efficiency and promotion of product growth. MeridianLink works with more than 500 financial institutions. Its clients will gain access to value-added e-mail capabilities, text and voice communication solutions provided by DigitalMailer. Available options include next-day, automated surveys that collect feedback and instantly e-mail when low scores are received; personalized first-payment reminders 20 days after disbursement; onboarding new customer activities; and cross-selling opportunities. To launch the program, the two organizations worked with Northwest FCU in Herndon, Va., to incorporate its system into a real-time lending process. The credit union uses the new system to create automated communications and applicant surveys during the online-lending process.

Hispanic outreach HON topic of Webinar series

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DES MOINES, Iowa (10/3/11)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and Coopera, an economic development firm focusing on emerging markets for credit unions, are offering a free webinar series on strategic planning for Hispanic outreach. The series will kick off with “Stop Spinning Your Hispanic Outreach Wheels Series--The Hispanic Opportunity Navigator (HON) Hispanic Member Analysis,” at 2 p.m. (CT) Wednesday. Coopera’s HON is a strategic planning tool that assesses a credit union’s outreach potential. Credit unions use the HON to design custom plans for Hispanic member outreach. During the webinar, CUNA and Coopera will demonstrate the Hispanic Member Analysis component of the tool. Other webinars in the series:
* Oct. 19--Customized Road Map and Needs Assessment; * Dec. 14--Demographic Market Scan and Branch Analysis; and * Jan. 23--The Organizational Culture of your Credit Union.
Coopera is majority owned by the Iowa Credit Union League and is a strategic alliance partner of CUNA.

Fiserv paper CUs banks ideal for mobile payments

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (9/30/11)--Fiserv, Inc., a provider of financial services technology, has published a white paper that outlines the reasons banks and credit unions are suited to support mobile payments. The paper also provides insights on how credit unions and banks can enter the mobile market. In the paper, titled “Beyond Mobile Banking: It’s Time to Stake the Claim for Mobile Payments,” Fiserv argues that financial institutions are positioned to offer mobile payments for five reasons:
* Consumer trust: Consumers trust their credit union or bank for secure financial transactions. According to the 2011 Fiserv Consumer Trends Survey, 40% of consumers trust their credit union or bank to handle mobile payments, outpacing all other entities. * Access to consumer accounts: Banks and credit unions already hold the consumer accounts necessary to fund mobile payments. * Payments knowledge: Financial institutions possess the experience and practical know-how to provide a secure and reliable payment service. * Necessary assets: Financial institutions have access to the assets necessary for payments, including infrastructure, technology and networks, along with the ability to provide customer support. * Existing relationships: Credit unions and banks have the direct and indirect relationships (commercial, merchant and consumer) needed to facilitate mobile payments.
“Banks and credit unions don’t have to wait on the sidelines as non-traditional players move into the mobile payments market,” said Erich Litch, Fiserv, division president, Digital Channels. “There is currently a window of opportunity during which financial institutions can introduce consumers to mobile payments, starting with mobile bill payments and P2P payments, establishing themselves as providers of choice so they can retain the full range of mobile transactions as the space grows to include more payments at the point-of-sale.” A combination of three factors establishes the case for starting with mobile bill payment and person-to-person payments, Fiserv said. One, most financial institutions already are positioned to offer mobile bill payment and P2P because they support these capabilities via the online channel and have the necessary infrastructure in place. Two, consumers are now using--or are interested in using--mobile bill pay, particularly for expedited payments. Completing relatively straightforward transactions such as paying a bill or paying another person will allow consumers to become comfortable with using their mobile device for payments and will increase their confidence in the channel’s reliability. Third, financial institutions can extend security measures associated with existing payments capabilities to the mobile channel and capitalize on new security capabilities the channel offers, such as location-based payment verification. Fiserve said this will alleviate a significant consumer worry--41% of consumers responding to the 2011 Fiserv Consumer Trends Survey said they are concerned about the security of accessing financial information through their phone. The ability to offer a more secure mobile payment solution will give consumers another reason to pick financial institutions over non-bank competitors, the company added. To download the white paper, use the link.

Harland Clarke teams with OCE digital check printing

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TRUMBULL, Conn. (9/30/11)--Harland Clarke has installed two Oce JetStream 2200 continuous feed inkjet printing solutions and Oce PRISMA workflow software to further automate print production in its payment solutions and marketing services business units. Harland Clarke is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. Oce’s end-to-end inkjet printing solution makes it possible for Harland Clarke to offer full-color variable digital printing of customized checks from plain white stock. This technological advancement replaces monochrome printing on pre-printed security check stock. With the Oce JetStream 2200 production printing system, checks and other applications are printed in full color at high speed in a single-pass operation. The process starts with white paper; adds full-color variable data with embedded security features, including digital pantographs and MICR lines; and ends with in-line finishing. The security features of the business checks meet or exceed U.S. banking requirements. While Harland Clarke’s initial focus for the Oce solution was on a greater level of automation in providing advanced printed check products to its customers, Harland Clarke intends to leverage the customization features of digital color printing to expand its product offerings in other business areas, the company said. Harland Clarke said it can add color logos and brand images to a broader range of marketing-services printed products for its business clients. “Going from a multi-pass to a single-pass printing environment helps us deliver a better solution to the market,” said Brad Wheeless, Harland Clark executive vice president of operations. “The increased automation equates to a higher level of service for our small-business customers.”

PSCU Financial to provide card processing for Corporate America

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., and IRONDALE, Ala. (9/29/11)--Alabama's Corporate America CU has partnered with Florida credit union service organization (CUSO) PSCU Financial Services to provide debit and credit card processing services to the corporate's member credit unions. Corporate America, a $3.3 billion asset corporate credit union based in Irondale, Ala., "reviewed several potential partners before" forming the alliance with the CUSO, said Thomas Bonds, president/CEO of Corporate America. "We believe PSCU Financial Services' commitment in providing superior financial products, unparalleled service and support to credit unions strengthens our goal of providing exception products and services to our membership," Bonds said. Michael Kelly, president/CEO, PSCU Financial Services, said the corporate's member credit unions "can leverage these payment channels to maximize member engagement and satisfaction. This partnership also expands our CUSO's ability to provide credit and debit card processing service and support for credit unions of all sizes." PSCU Financial Services, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., serves more than 1,500 financial institutions nationwide. It is owned by 640 member credit unions representing more than 16 million credit, debit, prepaid, online bill payment and electronic banking accounts.

Catalyst Corporate forum examines future of money

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PLANO, Texas (9/29/11)--An in-depth look at how the near-term economy will affect credit unions and the future of money are among the topics to be addressed at the Catalyst Corporate FCU’s 34th annual Economic Forum, Oct. 25-26 in Frisco, Texas. A trio of credit union-oriented economists will provide a forecast of economic conditions following the year-end national debt reduction efforts. Steve Rick, senior economist at the Credit Union National Association, and Tun Wai, chief economist at National Association of Federal Credit Unions, will join credit union economist Charles Idol during the two-day event. Credit union consultant and futurist Tim Lerew will also analyze technology trends that are changing the way consumers handle their money--and maybe even changing currency itself. Lerew will help credit unions peer over the horizon at new technologies that promise to transform how payments are made and processed. These technologies are critical to credit unions and other traditional banking institutions, because the payment franchise has long been the anchor that marries consumers to their primary financial institution, according to Lerew. “No one expected mobile banking to have the adoption rate that it is now experiencing. Tablets are the next frontier,” Lerew said. “What is your credit union’s role in the new world of electronic wallets, digital payments and changing consumer needs?” Credit unions have an opportunity to move to the front of the mobile payments curve--ahead of big banks, data aggregators such as Google, and cell phone carriers--with innovative product planning and packaging, Lerew said. “Credit unions have always been careful to offer fraud education and protection,” he said. “If credit unions could extend this to the mobile payments world, why wouldn’t your members continue a trusted relationship with you?”

CUNA OpSS Council tackles eServices

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MADISON, Wis. (9/29/11)--A new white paper from the CUNA Operations, Sales and Services Council examines how credit unions are delivering and managing e-services, and forecasts future e-service trends. The paper includes six case studies of credit unions with effective e-services solutions. The e-services offered at each credit union are dependent upon organization goals, said the council. Ideally, a credit union should develop an organization-wide strategic plan, with sub-plans at the functional level listing projects that align with organizational goals, the paper advised. The e-services plan, like the others, should support the credit union’s overall goals. Topics covered in the paper include:
* e-services currently offered by credit unions; * Strategic planning for, and management of, e-services; * Compliance and security considerations; * Balancing member needs with credit union efficiencies; and * Future e-services trends.

CUNA re-releases popular training bundle

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MADISON, Wis. (9/28/11)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will offer credit unions another opportunity to receive its unlimited audio conference, webinar and eSchool training through one cost-saving bundle. Credit unions can purchase the CUNA Training Bundle until Jan. 15. The bundle offers participating credit unions unlimited access to hundreds of audio conferences, webinars, eSchools and recordings of these events. The CUNA Training Bundle features professional, in-depth training on topics such as: compliance, marketing, lending, finance, human resources, training, security, operations, volunteerism and more. CUNA offers two packages: Six months for $2,499 or one year for $3,999. Discounted pricing is available for CUNA CPDOnline members and small credit unions with less than $20 million in assets. “We hear from our credit union members that when times are financially tight, training budgets get severely reduced,” said Marlo Foltz, CUNA director of blended learning. “It can be a tremendous challenge to keep employees motivated and up-to-date on regulations and skills without good training tools. Our CUNA Training Bundle allows credit unions to keep quality training a priority at an affordable price.”

Ga. CU Service Corp. teams with Floyd

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DULUTH, Ga. (9/28/11)--The Georgia Credit Union Service Corp. has signed an agreement with John M. Floyd & Associates (JMFA) to be the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates’ (GCUA) preferred provider of overdraft services. JMFA is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. Eric Jenkins, GCUA senior vice president, said JMFA’s reputation for providing effective performance programs and its expertise in regulatory compliance were key elements in the league’s decision to endorse JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE for use by its member credit unions. “In today’s environment, credit unions must provide their members with fully disclosed products and services that help them maintain their financial well being,” Jenkins said. “With JMFA’s highly reliable performance solutions and expert advice, we can meet this expectation with confidence that we are addressing our members’ needs and maintaining full regulatory compliance.”

Synergent rebates 750K to CUs

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PORTLAND, Maine (9/27/11)--Synergent, a service subsidiary of the Maine Credit Union League, recently returned $750,000 to hundreds of credit unions using its products and services. The rebate amount each credit union received was based on the total volume of business the credit union conducted with Synergent from Aug. 1, 2010 through July 31, 2011. "We fully recognize the environment and challenges in which credit unions are operating within today and realize that, despite these challenges, credit unions must stay competitive and continue to invest in products and services their members expect and deserve," said John Murphy, president/CEO of Synergent and the league. "This rebate recognizes the partnerships that we have with credit unions and the integral role they have in our success," he added. Synergent, which serves primarily credit unions in New England and New York state, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

CUNAs Experience Learning Live speakers announced

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MADISON, Wis. (9/27/11)--CUNA’s Experience Learning Live! Conference has set its final speaker lineup. The conference, Oct. 16-19 in Las Vegas, provides training professionals hands on experience they can use to motivate staff and jumpstart credit unions. This year’s conference features training leaders discussing innovations to maximize staff energy, motivate credit union volunteers and increase the knowledge level of credit union members. Speakers and their topics include:
* Becky Pike Pluth, "101 Movie Clips That Teach and Train." Using movie clips, Pluth will demonstrate how effective movie scenes can help grab classroom interest immediately . Attendees will discover how to follow the clips with questions that garner solid discussion and teach topics in a memorable way. * Jon Aleckson, "Mind Meld: Micro Collaboration--Collaboration Between Designers and Subject Matter Experts ." Aleckson has logged more than 30 years of leadership experience in the educational media industry. He will focus on ways to engage subject matter experts in training projects through techniques to “mindmeld” and share expertise. * Juli Lynch, "Pushing the Limits on What You Know and Do." Lynch will address how success in today’s market requires that people--and training departments--push themselves to the limit; note that leadership lessons gained during training with Navy SEALS in expedition-length endurance races can apply to training departments and credit unions; work with the issues and challenges that keep credit union staff from reaching their potential; and demonstrate how to push credit unions to increase sales, improve service and boost performance--while still keeping motivation and commitment levels high above the competition. * Lance Dublin, "The New 'Blended' Learning." Dublin will share highlights from interviews with 25 learning leaders and organizations for the Chief Learning Officer Magazine. He’ll discuss how these leaders defined what blended learning was and what it is today. His guided tour will cite examples that working and detail lessons learned from those that don't. His session will explain what blended learning design is and how to evaluate what will work best for credit unions. * Robert Richman, "How Can Training Revolutionize Your Organization?" Richman will unravel the secrets behind the Zappos phenomenon. From Zappos Insights, its corporate learning center, he will share what it is doing right and how to bring a little Zappos back to credit unions. * Tom Kuhlmann, "Design Good Courses With the Resources at Hand." Author of the popular “Rapid e-Learning Blog,” this “rock star of e-learning” receives hundreds of questions from readers on a limited budget. They want to know about free tools they can use to build their e-learning courses. A self-proclaimed “junkie” for free stuff online, Kuhlmann will share his best finds and the latest technology. His hands-on lab will provide new ideas, techniques, tactics and strategies to use right away to build better courses.
For more information, use the link, call 800-356-9655, ext. 4249, or e-mailtraining.cuna.coop.

SBAAgility offer fourth free Webinar

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WASHINGTON (9/26/11)--In the fourth of four weekly webinars offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery Solutions during National Preparedness Month, three business owners who faced losses of property and income after a disaster will share what they learned at 2 p.m. (ET) Wednesday. Bank vice president Scott Jenkins, insurance company president Terry Flood, and Joel Simpson, vice president of a plastics and glass supplier, will described how their companies recovered from losses caused, respectively, by a tornado, water damages from a burst pipe, and flooding. The three will also offer tips on how to protect themselves and their bottom line, based on their own experiences. Agility Recovery is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. SBA has partnered with Agility to offer business continuity strategies for entrepreneurs through the “PrepareMyBusiness” website. Webinars on business and community preparedness and a discussion on best practices hosted by business owners who recovered from recent disasters will be held on Wednesdays during the month.

Fiserv Wells Fargo offer wire transfer solution

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (9/26/11)--Fiserv, a provider of financial services technology solutions, and Wells Fargo & Co., a provider of foreign exchange services, are delivering advanced foreign currency exchange capabilities through Fiserv’s WireXchange, automated solution for completing end-to-end wire transfers. WireXchange wire transfer capabilities are tightly integrated with Fiserv account processing solutions. The interface with Wells Fargo provides financial institutions with the added convenience to initiate foreign exchange transactions, Fiserv said. WireXchange eliminates manual processes and includes one-time data entry, end-to-end wire transfer processing and automated Office of Foreign Assets Control compliance--with single-step transfers for foreign-exchange transactions. “At Fiserv, we continually seek out opportunities to enhance our products and services and provide practical technology tools to support our clients’ day-to-day business operations,” said Dave Selina, Fiserv segment executive. “As the demand for payments in foreign currency increases, financial institutions need solutions to serve that need in a streamlined, cost-efficient way. With this solution, our clients will experience cost savings and operational efficiencies, potentially find new revenue sources, and gain competitive advantages.”

Truaxis debuts merchant tips for statements

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REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (9/23/11)--Truaxis, a provider of data-driven personalized services, has released a tool that gives credit union members and bank customers personalized merchant recommendations on their monthly online statements. Using Truaxis’ StatementRewards platform, the new tool, called Purchase Insights, provides customers with recommendations for merchants that people with similar spend patterns enjoy. Purchase Insights delivers spending summaries that analyze merchant, category and location data to give consumers insight into their spending habits over time, providing perspective on where money is going and how it can best be spent. Purchase Insights includes three features:
* Merchant recommendations based upon customers’ shopping preferences and patterns: helps customers discover new merchants that millions of other consumers with similar tastes frequent. * Social benchmarking: allows users to compare their spending against multiple groups of people, including a national average and people like them. Credit union members and bank customers can compare their spending across purchase categories, specific merchants, time periods or geographic location against U.S. averages, state averages, demographic sectors or even compare their spend against a created, private group of friends and family contacts. * Summary of spending: delivers graphical reports of where consumers are spending their money, including the industry's first merchant-specific reporting, specifically, purchase category, merchant; time period, and geographic location.
The StatementRewards platform includes merchant-funded rewards, personalized bill analysis and a suite of data-driven personalized services that help financial institutions and merchants build relationships with their customers.

T8 Webware releases mobile aggregator app

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NEW YORK (9/22/11)--T8 Webware, a provider of custom-branded mobile applications, websites and personalized payment card services, has released a mobile app that aggregates consumers’ balance and transaction data from an unlimited number of domestic financial institutions into a single, up-to-the-minute collective view. The app, named Grip, does not require core system integration, which allows an almost immediate way for financial institutions to deploy mobile services in as little as three weeks, according to T8. Financial information is solely for the end user and is not shared among other financial institutions. Credit unions and banks offering Grip will have access to an intuitive dashboard that measures member/customer aggregate usage patterns--frequency, time of day, location. Grip is available to financial institutions without any upfront costs, annual fees or minimum user agreements. Financial institutions can brand and market the application under their names, allowing consumers to download it from the Apple App Store or the Android Market.

Fynanz signs 150th private student lending client

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NEW YORK (9/21/11)--Fynanz, Inc., a financial technology company that develops customized private student lending solutions and powers the cuStudentLoans private student loan program, has raised its total client list to more than 150 partners. Fynanz is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. Maroon Financial FCU, with $29 million in assets, Chicago; ORNL FCU, with $1.3 billion assets, Knoxville, Tenn.; Caltech Employees FCU, with $1 billion in assets, La Canada Flintridge, Calif.; Corning (N.Y.) CU, with $900 million in assets; University First FCU, with $567 million in assets, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Pioneer FCU, with $302 million in assets, Mountain Home, Idaho, are the most recently signed credit union clients. “In just six months, Fynanz has increased its client base by 50% and total client assets by more than $10 billion,” said Jim Merrill Fynanz senior vice president of sales. “The speed of reaching this next milestone is a testament to our existing client base and credit unions nationwide understanding the need for a new asset class to drive member growth.” Fynanz technology puts lenders into the private student lending business without the need to purchase or install any software. The end-to-end solution includes complete origination, underwriting, servicing and marketing. Fynanz currently serves more than 150 credit unions nationwide.

Agility SBA host third of four disaster prep webinars

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WASHINGTON (9/20/11)--As part of National Preparedness Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Agility Recovery Solutions will host the third in a series of disaster preparedness webinars in September at 3 p.m. (ET) Wednesday. During the free webinar, “Resilient America--Personal and Community Preparedness,” Tom Heneghan, manager of preparedness at the American Red Cross, will detail strategies and best practices for helping employees prepare themselves and their families for a crisis. Families and individuals can take a few simple steps to become more prepared and engaged in community preparedness and response efforts. Agility Recovery is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. SBA has partnered with Agility to offer business continuity strategies for entrepreneurs through the “PrepareMyBusiness” website. Webinars on business and community preparedness and a discussion on best practices hosted by business owners who recovered from recent disasters will be held on Wednesdays during the month.

Fiserv to integrate IMMs teller item capture

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (9/19/11)--Fiserv Inc., a provider of financial services technology, has partnered with Integrated Media Management (IMM) to integrate Fiserv’s Teller Source Capture as part of IMM’s Teller Item Capture solutions. The partnership replaces a third-party capture solution that IMM had been using. The IMM suite of teller solutions is integrated with Fiserve account processing solutions such as XP2, DataSafe, Spectrum and Advantage. IMM item processing customers can leverage from Fiserv the entire portfolio of source capture solutions from Fiserv, which includes branch (back office), merchant, consumer, mobile and ATM source capture. IMM clients also can join the Fiserv Clearing Network (FCN) for image exchange and settlement. FCN offers transit, receipt and return item capabilities, and an alternative to check-image exchange.

MAP launches card customization platform for CUs

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SEATTLE (9/19/11)--Member Access Pacific (MAP), a Visa debit card processing aggregator for credit unions, has launched a card personalization platform. “Design A Card” is powered by patent-protected technology from Serverside Group. Through the online card “designer,” credit union members can create their own payment personalized cards using either stock images or personal photos. Credit unions also can choose from online card marketing tools provided through the MAP customization platform, through which they can track response rates in real time. “Industry research shows that personalized cards boost usage by as much as 15% to 20% and build stronger relationships with members,” said Cyndie Martini, MAP president/CEO. “This increased loyalty leads to stronger transaction volumes and reduced attrition--key elements in building greater revenues from credit unions’ credit and debit programs.” The first credit union to employ the customization service is Unitus Community CU, headquartered in Portland, Oregon. “We believe the ability for cardholders to put a custom image on their credit or debit card is a great value-add for our program and should help to further bolster member loyalty, retention and usage, ” Paul Kirkbride, Unitus Community CU, vice president of credit services. A credit union service organization, MAP works directly with Visa, offering turnkey debit, credit, ATM, prepaid-reloadable and gift solutions.

Tech Council offers data storage management paper

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MADISON, Wis. (9/16/11)--"Safety and integrity of data are No. 1 in any storage scheme credit unions explore. Yet, security concerns shouldn't prevent credit unions from planning to obtain greater efficiencies and cost savings of the latest technologies such as cloud computing," says a new white paper released Thursday by the CUNA Technology Council. IBM, Armonk, N.Y., highlights cloud computing among current storage trends, the paper says. "Cloud computing--loosely defined as combined and redistributed computer resources--is growing in appeal due to its seemingly unlimited computational resources, planning and forecasting capabilities, and flexibility," the paper says. It discusses security concerns regarding data storage, benefits and drawbacks of outsourcing storage management, and types of cloud storage arrangements. Also, two credit unions describe how their data storage has evolved, eliminating backup tapes and implementing a private cloud. CUNA Council members can get complimentary copies of this and more than 300 other white papers. Non-members can use the link for pricing information. For more information, use the link and click the "Tech" tab.

OpenClose social media software available to CUs

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (9/16/11)--OpenClose, a developer of Web-based mortgage software solutions, has entered into an agreement with Open Solutions, a financial services technology provider, to refer OpenClose’s loan origination software, loan pricing, and social media software to banks and credit unions. Through its referral agreement with OpenClose, Open Solutions can offer its credit union and bank clients a new mortgage suite that includes loan origination, loan pricing and a decisioning engine. The loan origination software can be used in multiple branches, grow with an institution and includes a compliance program. Open Solutions clients also can use OpenClose Social to monitor social media. OpenClose Social lets financial institutions know what members, customers, competitors, the media and others are saying in online forums like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress and other Websites, blogs and newswires. The program empowers financial institutions to respond with informed, strategic and targeted social media campaigns that position banks and credit unions as trusted financial partners.

DataMentors new CUSO tailored to CUs

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TAMPA, Fla. (9/16/11)--DataMentors, a data quality and management solutions company, has formed a strategic partnership with a newly formed credit union service organization, CU Knowledge Solutions. CU Knowledge Solutions will offer data and processing packages tailored to the credit union industry. DataMentors said the data packages have been designed to:
* Increase member loyalty, retention and membership; * Identify cross-sell and new loan opportunities; * Identify loyalty risks; and * Improve marketing return on investment.
“DataMentors truly understands the unique needs of the credit union market,” said Bonnie Ciuffo, South Carolina Financial Solutions president and chief information officer of South Carolina FCU, North Charleston, S.C.

CUDL has new AutoSMART app for Android devices

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WASHINGTON (9/15/11)--CUDL, the administrator of a credit union auto lending network and the CUDL AutoSMART vehicle shopping website, unveiled an application for Android mobile smart phones and devices during is Lending Redefined conference in Washington D.C.
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The CUDL AutoSMART app replicates features of the CUDL AutoSMART website for both Android smart phones and Android tablets. CUDL introduced its first AutoSMART mobile app in July 2010 for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The AutoSMART mobile phone app gives credit unions a tool that helps them stay connected to their members through the entire vehicle buying process. It improves member loyalty and credit unions’ ability to retain member financing in-house and drive more member loans. Free to Android mobile phone owners through the Android Market, the new app gives members and consumers the ability to perform selected steps of the vehicle-buying process from their Android phones and tablets, from initial vehicle shopping and research, to applying for a loan through their credit union, accessing their pre-approved credit union loan, and connecting with an auto dealership in their area. Members can access the Android Market and download the AutoSMART app through links provided on credit unions’ individual AutoSMART websites. Members can also download the app directly from the Android Marketplace. The mobile app includes a “Sell Your Ride” feature so members can post their personal automobiles for sale through their credit union’s AutoSMART website. The AutoSMART app connects credit union members looking to purchase and finance a vehicle with both their credit union and more than 6,000 dealers posting live inventory to CUDL’s AutoSMART website. Members can use the new mobile tool to shop the more than 650,000 vehicles listed nationwide on the website. CUDL is a flagship brand of CU Direct Corp.

Ongoing Operations to host Dwolla infrastructure

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (9/15/11)--Dwolla, an online payment platform, has selected Ongoing Operations, a provider of business continuity and technology solutions to credit unions, to host its infrastructure. Ongoing Operations is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. The Ongoing Operations credit union service organization recently celebrated its fifth anniversary and has expanded beyond business continuity and disaster recovery services to also provide secure hosting solutions for credit unions and their vendors. Ongoing Operations’ facilities are located in Hagerstown, Md.; Middletown, Va.; Phoenix; and Longmont, Colo. Some of the services Ongoing Operations provides include a Web-based business continuity planning platform, data back-up and recovery, co-location, workspace, connectivity, hosted exchange and virtual desktops. Also, Urbandale, Iowa-based Midland CU has implemented Dwolla’s online, mobile, social and location-based payments solution. The credit union’s members can access Dwolla through the Midland website. After signing up for a Dwolla account members can make payments to anyone with an e-mail address and their Facebook and Twitter friends. Members also can download the Dwolla mobile application.

CPI Card Group PSCU Financial ready for EMV demand

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LITTLETON, Colo. (9/14/11)--PSCU Financial Services, one of the nation’s largest credit union service organizations, has partnered with card producer CPI Card Group to equip credit unions with a Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) card program for overseas members. CPI has produced several million EMV cards in the last year and is working on pilot programs with major U.S. banks and credit unions for traveler’s cards. It offers EMV card support and solutions to financial institutions and is one of the first to provide EMV card production and personalization in multiple North American sites, providing security and disaster recovery options to EMV card issuers, CPI said. PSCU Financial Services, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., offers services such as credit, debit, ATM and prepaid cards, bill payment, electronic banking and contact center solutions. CPI, based in Littleton, Colo., is EMV-certified in Canada and the U.S., and offers a range of services from card production to personalization and fulfillment.

Agility SBA host second of four disaster prep webinars

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WASHINGTON (9/13/11)--As part of National Preparedness Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Agility Recovery Solutions will host the second in a series of disaster preparedness webinars in September at 2 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday. James Rivera, SBA’s associate administrator for Office of Disaster Assistance, will talk about the essentials a business should include in its business continuity plans. The presentation, entitled, “10 Basic Steps toward Business Disaster Preparedness,” will include an overview on preparing a supply chain, developing a communications plan and assessing risk. Agility Recovery is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. SBA has partnered with Agility to offer business continuity strategies for entrepreneurs through the “PrepareMyBusiness” website. Webinars on business and community preparedness and a discussion on best practices hosted by business owners who recovered from recent disasters will be held on Wednesdays during the month.

First Carolina Corporate to offer private student loans

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (9/12/11)--Through an agreement with a private student-lending provider, First Carolina Corporate CU now offers a solution for credit unions looking to help their members pay for college. The corporate now offers CampusDoor’s Private Student Loan Solution to its members. “With increasing tuition costs, limited federal aid, and tighter family budgets, a growing number of students are seeking assistance to fund college expenses,” said David Brehmer, president/CEO of First Carolina. “Through the First Carolina-CampusDoor program, credit unions can support these efforts, making it possible for more members to receive a higher education.” Students and families will borrow an estimated $12 billion in private educational loans this year, according to CampusDoor.

Gila Group launches SmartDialz for CUs

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AUSTIN, Texas (9/12/11)--Gila Group, a provider of outsourced collections payment processing and call center services, has launched SmartDialz, a targeted-dialing service for credit unions. The service uses outbound dialing algorithms to consistently predict best available contact times, according to Gila Group. “This technology allows us to implement specific strategies for each credit union, maximizing right-party contacts to delinquent credit union members, thus lowering delinquencies,” said Jason Schmer, Gila Group vice president of new services.

Maine CUs program helps 234 families own homes

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PORTLAND, Maine (9/12/11)--Since its launch in early 2010, CU Promise, a loan program from CUSO Mortgage, has provided $40 million in home ownership loans to 234 Maine families. CUSO Mortgage is owned by the Maine Credit Union League and eight Maine credit unions. “CU Promise was created to bring awareness in the market place that credit unions are competitive in the purchase money arena, and to increase purchase money market share,” Karen Reed, CUSO Mortgage vice president told the league. “We’ve created our own secondary market, so to speak, by putting these loans in the portfolios of participating credit unions. The participation diversifies and reduces the risks to the credit unions, Reed said. “With this product we’ve also been able to expand the guidelines by offering up to 90% loan to value with no mortgage insurance and allowing funds to close to come from any source,” she added. The program offers three guarantees: a same-day loan decision, a closing date, and local servicing, Reed said. “If one of the promises is not met, we pay the member $500,” she added. “We have never missed a promise.” Another factor that led to the creation of CU Promise was that historically 80% of CUSO Mortgage’s business had been refinance transactions, Reed said. “With the changing marketplace, CUSO recognized the need to create a product that was unique in the industry to draw the interest of the real estate professionals and provide a product that was beneficial and unique for the credit union members,” she added.

BizKid starter kits available

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MADISON, Wis. (9/9/11)--Supporters of the television show Biz Kid$ can now receive a new Biz “starter kit” filled with DVDs and materials to teach Biz Kid$ to schools in their area. Biz Kid$ is the Emmy Award winning and credit union-funded public television series that teaches kids about money management and entrepreneurship. Each Biz Kid$ starter kit includes:
* DVDs with five core Biz Kid$ episodes plus one four-minute promotional DVD to introduce the series; * compact disc with PowerPoint training document and PDFs of the curriculum for the five episodes included; * “Guide for Success in the Classroom” training and tips document; * One curriculum package for one episode; * 40 Biz Kid$ pencils; and * 40 Biz Kid$ stickers.
The kits are available for a donation to the National Credit Union Foundation at a suggested level.

CUNA to continue designating BSA compliance specialists

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MADISON, Wis. (9/9/11)--The Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Bank Secrecy Act Compliance Specialist (BSACS) certification will be available in October. Attendees of CUNA’s Bank Secrecy Act Conference, to be held Oct. 30-Nov. 2 in San Diego, can become certified by completing the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) 101 session Oct. 30 and passing the exam. Established in 1970, the BSA was enacted by Congress to help in the investigations of money laundering, tax evasion and other criminal activity. Comprising a combination of various statutes that require credit unions to record and retain certain records and report certain financial transactions to the federal government, the act has become an essential piece of regulation for all credit unions to know. The BSACS certification and the CUNA Bank Secrecy Act Conference are designed to help professionals stay current on the changing laws and regulations that make up the BSA and help safeguard credit unions. For the first time, CUNA’s conference will conduct a study session to prepare past certified professionals for recertification as BSACS. Renewal is required every three years. Previously certified professionals can renew their BSACS certification by attending the conference in October and successfully passing the recertification test. Attendees of the CUNA Bank Secrecy Act Conference will also hear from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the National Credit Union Administration and the Office of Foreign Assets Control on what can be expected in the next year.

N.J. league marketing toolkit offers Spanish option

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HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (9/8/11)--The New Jersey Credit Union League’s (NJCUL) “Banking You Can Trust” Toolkit, which allows member credit unions to create customized marketing materials and advertisements, now has a Spanish language option. All of the pre-written text and slogans available through the toolkit can be added to “Banking You Can Trust” marketing materials in Spanish. The league introduced member credit unions to its toolkit last year. The toolkit’s advertisements and marketing materials focus on key product areas within credit unions: savings accounts, checking accounts, mortgages, personal loans and auto loans. Access to the toolkit is available to member credit unions through the NJCUL’s website. When creating an item in the toolkit, credit unions can choose “Spanish” in the language drop-down menu and the chosen slogan will appear on the materials in Spanish.

CUNA HRTD Council offers talent management white paper

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MADISON, Wis. (9/8/11)--A new white paper from the CUNA HR/TD Council offers strategies for managing internal talent to increase competitive advantage and operational efficiency. “Tools, Techniques, and Technology Improve Credit Union Talent Management” is based on information gathered from human resource managers, trainers, and vendors in the credit union industry. The white paper discusses measures credit unions can take to improve their practices throughout the talent management life cycle, including:
* Improving the bridge between hiring and training, known as “onboarding”; * Augmenting training with tracked autonomy methodology; * Making lifelong learning part of the culture; * Harmonizing compensation programs to facilitate career pathing; and * Adopting software solutions that tightly integrate all the components of acquisition, training, management, promotion and knowledge transfer in one interface.

Diebolds new ATMs redefine performance

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (9/7/11)--ATM manufacturer Diebold has introduced its most robust series of ATMs to date. Diebold is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. Diebold’s Flex Performance Series brings together advanced self-service functionalities such as cash and check deposits, cash dispensing and full recycling. The two ATMs offered within the series, the Opteva 828 lobby ATM and the 868 through-the-wall ATM, can configure the terminal with a recycling module and separate cash dispenser. The combination increases terminal uptime, extends the cash replenishment service cycle and provides a clear upgrade path from basic cash-in and cash-out operation to full recycling. With a cash capacity that is three to four times greater than standard deposit automation ATMs, the Opteva 828 and 868 decrease deposit pulls, reducing the personnel requirements associated with managing and replenishing the ATMs. The Opteva 828 and 868 also provide secure note-handling, including validation of both incoming and outgoing notes, counterfeit note detection and note-fitness checking, cash sorting and denominating. The recycling-ready deposit automation module can be configured in deposit-only, cash-in and cash-out or full-recycling modes. The cash dispensing capacity and note denomination support can be extended with an optional four-cassette cash dispenser.

Webinar Surviving first 72 hours of disaster

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WASHINGTON (9/6/11)--To kick off National Preparedness Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery Solutions will host the first in a series of disaster preparedness webinars during September. R. David Paulison, former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will present tips on how to be self-sufficient on the days following a natural disaster or other emergency during a webinar at 2 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday. Agility Recovery is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. SBA has partnered with Agility to offer business continuity strategies for entrepreneurs through the “PrepareMyBusiness” website. Webinars on business and community preparedness and a discussion on best practices hosted by business owners who recovered from recent disasters will be held on consecutive Wednesdays during the month.

SHAZAM partnership supports mobile payment technology

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DES MOINES, Iowa and FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (9/2/11)--The SHAZAM Network has partnered with Adaptive Payments to develop a new mobile point-of-service application. The application, called Pentagon, allows merchants to accept mobile PIN- and signature-based transactions using their iPhones. SHAZAM will make the technology available to its nearly 1,500 credit unions and community banks and its merchant customer base. The technology that supports the Pentagon mobile payments application uses Adaptive Payments’ five-factor, dual-channel authentication technology to verify PIN debit transactions. Pentagon also can process signature-based credit and debit transactions. Pentagon is “an open platform” designed to be accessible to all merchant acquirer processors, allowing financial institutions to use the product without changing processors and to customize it.