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'Minnesota Minded:' Membership message hits the road

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (8/27/14)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) Monday introduced "Minnesota Minded," a report about the growth Minnesota credit unions have experienced since the financial crisis.
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That growth includes the addition of more than 100,000 new members in two years and an increase in nearly every measurement of credit union strength.
Nationally, the Credit Union National Association announced that credit unions had surpassed 100 million memberships in June.
"Minnesota Minded" is designed to illustrate the significant trust that consumers have placed in Minnesota credit unions, which hold over $19 billion in assets and serve more 1.6 million Minnesotans at over 400 locations.
To roll out "Minnesota Minded," MnCUN held a press event on Monday, featuring the community involvement and financial education initiatives led by Affinity Plus FCU, St. Paul, with $1.7 billion in assets, and Wings Financial FCU, Apple Valley, with $4 billion in assets.
"Affinity Plus and Wings are two great examples of the many ways that credit unions throughout the state work within their communities to build a stronger Minnesota," said Mark D. Cummins, MnCUN president/CEO. "Every day credit unions help create a brighter financial future for their members and their communities."
Financial education for youth is a vital component of credit unions' commitment to serving members and communities. "It's important for youth to build financial skills," said Frank Weidner, Wings Financial FCU president/CEO. "In 2014, Wings is partnering with schools throughout Minnesota to teach more than 5,000 students about the basics of financial education, along with the impact that social media and identity theft can have on their future higher education and employment opportunities."
"Minnesota Minded" showcases which illustrates that credit unions are Minnesotans' trusted, local financial partner and that credit unions are closely connected to the communities they serve.
Affinity Plus makes a difference in its community with "Plus it Forward," a program designed to inspire people to perform intentional acts of kindness.
"Being involved in communities is a top priority, and we engage with our 181,000 members to assist in giving back to Minnesota charities," said Dave Larson, Affinity Plus president/CEO. "A great example is our Plus it Forward initiative. On Columbus Day (Oct. 13) Affinity Plus will be out in our communities spreading kindness by doing things like raking leaves for senior citizens and supporting military members and their families."

Additional "Minnesota Minded" press events are scheduled for Brainerd and Rochester in  upcoming weeks.

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Bankrate cites Schenk on 100M membership reach

CU System
NEW YORK (8/27/14)--A article published online Monday cited credit unions' 100 million membership milestone and highlighted the growth of cooperative financial institutions since the financial crisis. Credit Union National Association interim Chief Economist Mike Schenk was interviewed for the article.
"Credit unions are today in a better place than they were four to six years ago,"  Schenk noted. "Credit unions have come through in better shape, relatively speaking, than the banking industry (after the economic downturn)."
Much of that momentum was gained in 2011 through the Bank Transfer Day campaign, which urged consumers to ditch their banks in light of moves by some institutions to add new bank fees.
"Since that time, it has not only maintained itself but accelerated," Schenk told of recent credit union growth. "In the wake of the downturn, as banks were hunkering down and licking their wounds and turning people away, credit unions were actually refinancing some of those unfriendly loans that banks made."
That relative health has enabled some credit unions to purchase struggling bank branches, the article said. The article noted six instances in which credit unions purchased banks or branch facilities in the past several years.
Former customers of those banks may welcome the chance to become credit union members. The article also referenced a February Consumer Banking Insights Study that found lingering resentment among consumers toward big banks over their role in the financial crisis. Two-thirds of Americans say they're still angry at big banks.

Council white paper examines chief lending officer's role

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MADISON, Wis. (8/27/14)--The influence of credit union chief lending officers (CLO) extends beyond lending responsibilities into leadership and business strategy roles, according to a new white paper from the CUNA Lending Council.
The CLO helps establish goals in conjunction with the senior leadership team, and those goals are accomplished through the efforts of employees across the organizational chart, according to the white paper, "The Chief Lending Officer: An Examination of the Role and How to Get There." CLOs should be able to get employees excited about their vision, while at the same time, communicate key policy and product details.
The paper identifies six reasons why a credit union employee would strive to reach the CLO position.
  • Influence . "If your goal is to be a CLO, make sure you're doing it because of the job itself and not the compensation," said Aaron Bresko, CLO at GTE Financial CU, Tampa, Fla., with $1.6 billion in assets. "I like to protect and develop staff. I'm an advocate for the employees and members, and I really enjoy that. At this level, I have the biggest ability to be able to impact those two things."
  • Salary and benefits . Influence aside, CLOs can can expect a six-figure salary and great benefits. "Salary and benefits are obviously very good," Bresko said. "At this level, the salary is just a given, but what you really need to look at are the retirement plans--the senior executive retirement plans, that have the five-year, seven-year, 10-year buyouts."
  • Challenge . CLOs spend their days working on hard problems without obvious solutions. Leadership decisions are rarely binary. The choices they make have cascading and unanticipated consequences. "I could take a lesser job, have less stress," Bresko said, adding, "I like the challenges. I also like being able to influence all parts of the organization."
  • Professional development . "Something about a role, if it is provocative enough to someone, is going to be developmental," said Bill Lothridge, vice president of human resources at Alliant CU, Chicago, with $8.2 billion in assets. "What the organization needs to be comfortable with is will the foundational expectations and deliverables associated with this role be solidly attended to while talent in the role launches at the developmental stage?"
  • Co-workers . People are the difference between a job you love and a job that's "just a paycheck." Bresko advises, "Make sure you're going to be able to work with the CEO, the board, and that team. You spend a lot of time with them and that can make or break it. Know that you'll be able to make a difference and work well with them."
  • Leadership . "Someone who aspires to be the CLO needs to consider if they would elect to be a leader as a living," Lothridge said. "Most of what they either need to come with or cultivate has, in many respects, and over the long term, little to do with lending."
To download the white paper, use the link.

Calif. CUs benefit from reporting bill as legislature winds down

CU System
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (8/27/14)--Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will allow the state's financial institutions to file their California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) weekly reports electronically instead of by mail.
"Even this small change in state law can make life easier for those in our credit unions responsible for submitting this weekly report to the DBO," said Bob Arnould, senior vice president of advocacy for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, which supported Assembly Bill 2298 ( CU Weekly Aug. 26).
Credit unions and other depository institutions must submit weekly reports regarding the total amount of all deposits they hold. The bill, written by Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona), authorizes the weekly report to be delivered to the Administrator of Local Agency Security via email or other approved electronic means.
Arnould also noted, "This fall we will be undertaking a large state-charter review process and looking for fixes just like AB 2298 that provide for efficiencies, modernization and opportunities for state-licensed credit unions."
The two-year session will end at midnight Sunday, and the leagues' advocacy teams continue to track legislation of interest.
It supports Assembly Bill 2293, proposed by Assemblyman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), which clarifies insurance coverage by transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft. The bill seeks to protect consumers by requiring TNCs to provide accident liability protection that covers physical damage.
Although credit unions require insurance for all vehicles they provide loans for, that insurance does not cover all instances when drivers enter their vehicle into TNC services. When accidents occur while these cars are "in service," there is no financial backstop to cover vehicle damages.
Ultimately, credit unions can be left with a significant reduction in collateral value.
"We need to make sure credit unions are protected by ensuring that damage coverage is also required for vehicles used to provide TNC services," leagues President/CEO Diana Dykstra said ( CU Weekly Aug. 11).

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Six up for Carolinas' inaugural CUaware Protege contest

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COLUMBIA, S.C., and RALEIGH, N.C. (8/27/14)--The six regional chapters of the Carolinas Credit Union League (CCUL) selected their candidates for the inaugural CUaware Protege Competition.
"This is our first year of the expanded two-state program, formerly known as the Palmetto Protege Competition in South Carolina," said league President/CEO John Radebaugh. "It's encouraging to see a matched enthusiasm from credit union chapters in both states, and I look forward to the continued growth of this competition."
Each candidate completed a standardized exam and will give a presentation from a list of league-approved topics such as credit union philosophy, economics, viability, activism and promotion.
The six finalists will vie to be the dual-state Protégé representative at the CCUL Leadership Conference in Pinehurst, N.C., Sept. 5.
This year's chapter winners are:
  • Charleston Area: Corey Pace, South Carolina FCU, Charleston, with $1.3 billion in assets;
  • Columbia: Hannah McGee, Palmetto Citizens FCU, Columbia, S.C., with $621 million in assets;
  • Northwest: Jon Hamby, Members CU, Winston-Salem, N.C., with $257 million in assets;
  • Pee Dee: Joshua McKenny, Health Facilities FCU, Florence, S.C., with $25 million in assets;
  • Tarheel: Jenn Moore, Local Government FCU, Raleigh, N.C., with $1.4 billion in assets; and
  • Upstate: Micah Smith, SC Telco FCU, Greenville, S.C., with $266 million in assets.
The protege will serve on the CUaware Leadership Council, and the winner and two runners-up will be awarded a choice of professional development scholarships.

CUNA's fin. management eSchool set for 2 sessions

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (8/27/14)--Starting Thursday, the Credit Union National Association will host a two-part eSchool designed to strengthen the financial decision-making of credit union finance professionals and leaders.
"These days, the financial management of a credit union depends on sound decision-making from executives, board members, managers and others," said Brad Covey, CUNA director of blended learning. "This eSchool ensures that anyone responsible for an aspect of their credit union's finances has the know-how to back up their role."
Each CUNA Financial Management eSchool will be presented over eight Thursdays. Part 1, which runs Thursday through Oct. 16, offers an introduction to financial ratios, asset-liability management (ALM), investments, forecasting and loan strategy. Part 2, set for Oct. 23 to Dec. 18, develops the ALM process further and includes advanced financial ratios and various risk types.

To register, use the resource links.

CU System briefs (08/27/2014)

CU System
  • WICHITA, Kan. (8/27/14)-- The Kansas Credit Union Association (KCUA) announced 21 credit union professionals earned their financial counselor designation. There are now 43 credit union representatives from 16 credit unions who have completed the Financial Counseling Certification Program, coordinated by the KCUA, the National Credit Union Foundation's REAL Solutions program and the Credit Union National Association ...
  • TORONTO and MADISON, Wis. (8/27/14)-- The Filene Research Institute has a new benefactor for its Alpha Lab program. Toronto-based D+H , a provider of banking technology, loan processing and payment services, increased its support of the credit union think tank to chairman's roundtable benefactor from bronze supporter. D+H will be the exclusive supporter of Alpha Lab, which develops and assesses high-potential concepts from Filene's i3 (Ideas, Innovation, Implementation) program ...

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