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Box Elder County FCU adds Buzz Points loyalty program

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BRIGHAM CITY, Utah (11/21/14)--Box Elder County FCU has selected the Buzz Points merchant-funded loyalty program for its members.
 
Buzz Points is a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider.
 
The program is free and allows members of the $95 million-asset, Brigham City, Utah-based credit union to earn rewards while supporting the local economy by using their debit cards for everyday shopping.
 
"Box Elder CU is not controlled by the boardrooms of distant companies; we are 100% local and a proud part of our community," said Tonya Gail, Box Elder County FCU marketing director. "We chose Buzz Points because we wanted to reward our [members] for shopping locally, while also nurturing independently owned businesses and supporting our local economy. Buzz Points will make our members' money work harder for them and give our hardworking business owners the data analysis and marketing tools they need to thrive and contribute to the rich fabric of our community."
 
Buzz Points is the only merchant-funded rewards platform that works with community financial institutions and local businesses to engage mutual customers. Credit union members can earn points by using their debit cards whenever they shop, but they earn more points for shopping locally and the most points for shopping with local businesses enrolled in the program.

CSS provider D+H among top 100 cloud service providers

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LAKE MARY, Fla. (11/20/14)--D+H Corp. announced that it ranks 14th among the world's Top 100 cloud service providers (CSPs), according to Penton Media's fourth annual Talkin' Cloud 100 report.

D+H Cloud Solutions is a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider.

The Top 100 CSPs generated more than $23.4 billion in combined cloud services revenues in 2013, up nearly 44% from what they reported the previous year.

D+H climbed to No. 14 on the list this year from No. 41 in 2013.

"This elevated position is a true testament to our cloud computing solution, Compushare C3, and the rapid increase we've seen in cloud computing adoption among financial institutions," said Gerrard Schmid, CEO of D+H. "More than ever, financial institutions recognize the benefits cloud computing can deliver in the areas of operational efficiency, mobility, business continuity and regulatory compliance."

The Talkin' Cloud 100 report is based on data from Talkin' Cloud's online survey, conducted from January through May. The Talkin' Cloud 100 report recognizes top cloud services providers based on such metrics as annual cloud services revenue growth,  both in actual dollars and in percentage growth rates.

New CUNA Mutual dashboard offers risk insights

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MADISON, Wis. (11/19/14)--CUNA Mutual Group has introduced an online tool that provides credit union-specific risk insight to protect fidelity bond policyholders and reduce their loss exposures.
 
The Risk Insight Dashboard elevates a credit union's risk awareness in five key areas, helping guide risk prevention decisions by management and boards. Each credit union completes an initial online assessment by answering a short series of yes/no or multiple choice questions to establish a benchmark. Responses feed a customized dashboard for each credit union to provide executive insight into five key risk areas, which include:
  • Internal controls (cash handling and general ledger);
  • Lending oversight;
  • Employment practice;
  • Data/network security; and
  • Member authentication.
The Risk Insight Dashboard is a value-added benefit for fidelity bond policyholders and is housed online in CUNA Mutual Group's Protection Resource Center. It provides credit unions a custom risk rating of low, moderate or high in each area with a numerical scale of 0 to 100 based on the credit union's completed assessment. Risk awareness in key areas helps the credit union prioritize action steps to prevent, mitigate and manage risks. The dashboard also shows how the credit union compares to peers.
 
CUNA Mutual Group benefits from dashboard results as well. "The Risk Insight Dashboard enables us to capture credit union risk management practices relative to peers, provide customized, consultative advice and deliver solutions they need to mitigate those exposures," said Jay Isaacson, CUNA Mutual Group business protection vice president.
 
Policyholders can access the dashboard via a link on the main navigation of the Protection Resource Center, or it can be accessed directly at www.cunamutual.com/RiskDashboard .
 
Users can reassess their risks anytime, but Isaacson suggests credit unions update their dashboard at least annually, or when they make a significant change to their policies and procedures in one of the key risk areas. In addition, CUNA Mutual Group will regularly update data that defines the credit union's risk score, such as National Credit Union Administration 5300 Call Reports.

CUAnswers announces Cost of Compliance winners

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (11/18/14)--CU*Answers, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization, announced the winners of its first Cost of Compliance contest at its recent CEO Strategies Conference.
 
Contest participants were tasked to create a template that provides a standard way of accounting for an institution's overall costs associated with compliance-related activities.
Nine credit unions participated in the contest.
 
Honorees included:
  • First place ($2,500): Pathways Financial CU, Columbus, Ohio, with $223 million in assets, submitted by Greg Kidwell;
  • Second place ($1,500): KALSEE CU, Kalamazoo, Mich., with $148 million in assets, submitted by Amber Stevens; and
  • Third place ($1,000): Internet Archive FCU, with $2 million in assets, New Brunswick, N.J., submitted by Jordon Modell.
The contest--sponsored by AuditLink, CU*Answers' compliance division--was open to credit union CEOs and chief financial officers.
 
"We have been hearing loud and clear at many of our CEO-peer events that the cost of compliance is having a large and growing negative impact on credit union earnings," said Jim Vilker, CU*Answers vice president of professional services. "The goal is to create an overall template and implementation schema that credit unions can use that hopefully will become a standard across our industry."
 
A second contest, with another $5,000 in awards on the line, will begin Jan. 1. It revolves around the application of the templates in a real world environment in which compliance expenses are actually accounted for and recognized on the expense statement.

As top 10 fin. tech provider, Diebold plays up service strategies

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NEW YORK (11/17/14)--Named one of the top 10 financial technology service companies last week, global ATM manufacturer Diebold is building on its success by expanding its software focus.
 
Diebold, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider, was No. 7 on the list of 100 top financial tech companies by FinTech Forward, a collaboration between BAI and American Banker that highlights technology trends and innovations in the financial services industry.
 
In readying for 2015, President/CEO Andy Mattes said the North Canton, Ohio, company is realigning its business model to focus more on services and software, which already account for 57% of the company's business. "While we have our feet planted in the physical world of cash, we know where the puck is going," Mattes told American Banker (Nov. 13).
 
Its successes in 2014 include making ATMs more environmentally friendly--its 429 model uses the same amount of power as used by a traditional incandescent light bulb--and protecting ATMs against card skimming with a new card reader.
 
"Skimming is a huge issue at the ATM, and this stops the problem cold," Mattes said. Fraudulent capture of card information costs the financial industry more than $2 billion per year, according to the ATM Industry Association.

Riverways FCU selects Buzz Points for loyalty program

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ROLLA, Mo. (11/14/14)--Riverways FCU, with $35 million in assets, has selected the Buzz Points merchant-funded loyalty program for its members.
 
Buzz Points is a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider.
 
The program is free and allows members of the Rolla, Mo.-based credit union to earn rewards while supporting the local economy by using their debit cards for everyday shopping.
 
Buzz Points has signed 11 credit unions in 2014, and 19 credit unions are currently active with the program.
 
It is the only merchant-funded rewards platform that works with community financial institutions and local businesses to engage mutual customers. Credit union members can earn points by using their debit cards whenever they shop, but they earn more points for shopping locally and the most points for shopping with local businesses enrolled in the program.
 
Buzz Points creates additional revenue for financial institutions and gives local businesses a marketing solution that provides data analysis and targeted marketing technologies to expand their market reach, attract new business and increase the loyalty of existing customers while also helping to offset the higher interchange fees that small businesses are often burdened with.

CUNA Mutual expands TruStage's whole life coverage

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MADISON, Wis. (11/13/14)--CUNA Mutual Group has introduced more robust whole life insurance to complement its other TruStage products for credit union members.
 
The new product, TruStage Essential Whole Life, provides higher coverage amounts than the brand's other whole life offerings.
 
TruStage Essential Whole Life is issued by CMFG Life Insurance Co. and offers lifetime coverage up to $250,000. It is designed to be easy to apply for and usually requires no medical exam. It is intended to be affordable and contains riders to obtain other types of coverage, such as term-life and accidental-death insurance.
 
"We're focused on how we can help credit union members build a better financial future for themselves and their families," said Susan Sachatello, TruStage senior vice president. "Our experience and discussions conducted with more than 2,400 members showed that lifetime protection--including higher coverage amounts--was a need for many members, especially those with key life events ahead of them. This new product is a perfect fit for these members."
 
The 2014 LIMRA Insurance Barometer Report indicates 80% of adults say they need life insurance, yet nearly 40% don't have coverage.
 
CUNA Mutual Group is investing $250 million over three years on initiatives--designed around the consumer--to expand media to reach and educate members; channels to deliver products and services suited to the preferences of individual consumers; and new products designed for those moments in time when families are in greatest need of protection and planning.