CUNA in the News

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Did regulator cause a data breach?12/17/2014A portable flash drive holding sensitive customer data from Palm Springs Federal Credit Union was lost after it was handed over to an NCUA federal banking regulator as part of a recent examination. Eric Richard issued a comment that CUNA is "deeply concerned about this event. NCUA examiners are charged with promoting the safety and soundness of credit unions, not putting it at risk. NCUA should conduct a thorough review of the situation to see what steps it can take to make sure that nothing like this happens again. Trust in the agency is at stake." 

2014 was the year of the data breach, but 2015 could be worse12/17/20142014 was the year of the data breach, but there are signs that the damage will get much, much worse unless the federal government becomes more active advocates of consumer protection, taking steps to hold companies accountable for data breaches they suffer. The article points out that CUNA and other financial institutions bear a significant cost for these breaches, "As we have documented in two surveys this year, data breaches at retailers have cost credit unions and their members a minimum of $90 million—and those are the costs only for breaches at Target, for $30 million, and Home Depot, at nearly $60 million." 

Podcast: Can you afford 2015?12/15/2014In a podcast, Mike Schenk, senior economist, explains what happens when consumers promise that they're going to be cautious with their spending. And he recommends how to save for the holidays next year. Mike's segment begins at around the 11:50 mark. 

Happy Holidays becomes 'Happy Data Breaches'12/15/2014The leaders of national trade groups representing credit unions (CUNA) and community banks (ICBA) penned an op-ed arguing that the incoming Congress should take the common-sense action of passing legislation to protect consumers by taking steps to enhance data-security standards for merchants. Doing so will help stop cyber-criminals from hitting the repeat button on retail data breaches and better safeguard consumer information. 

Spat escalates between retail, finance industries12/11/2014Retail associations on Thursday attacked the credit union industry about the losses credit unions incur as a result of data breaches. CUNA set the record straight that such statements from the retailer groups are merely attempts "to help merchants dodge responsibility for the losses they cause when they fail to secure consumer's private data," CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle said. "The leaps made in the document are, to us, a curious threat to any perception of reality." 

CommunityAmerica's Pierce: a national reach on credit unions12/10/2014CommunityAmerica CEO Dennis Pierce said he's had a busy and interesting year as the chairman of the Credit Union National Association, the trade group for state and federally chartered credit unions nationwide. 

Congress is about to block the Feds from cracking down on medical marijuana12/10/2014"We have some members that may be interested in serving these [marijuana] businesses," Ryan Donovan, SVP of legislative affairs said. "We've got no position on marijuana. What we want is credit unions to be able to serve their members and to do so in compliance with the appropriate state and federal laws." Donovan noted that Colorado last month chartered what may be the first weed-oriented credit union, The Fourth Corner Credit Union, which is now awaiting a Federal Reserve master account number and is set to open its doors soon. 

Target found negligent in data breach12/10/2014"Data breaches at retailers have cost credit unions and their members a minimum of $90 million--and those are the costs only for breaches at Target, for $30 million, and Home Depot, at nearly $60 million," said Credit Union National Association President and CEO Jim Nussle. "With the many other breaches that have also occurred--at Staples, Neiman-Marcus and others--certainly credit unions have incurred millions more in costs this year." 

How to get, use a low-limit card12/09/2014Michelle Dosher, managing editor for the consumer education department of the Credit Union National Association, lets readers know that a low-limit credit card is definitely an option at credit unions. 

6 ways to stay on budget this holiday season12/05/2014Shopping early may seem overwhelming but it turns out it can be a great defense against impulse buying. If you wait to the last minute you may end up paying more or purchasing more in a fit of desperation. Shopping early "gives you more time to find the 'right' gift and avoid impulse decisions which too often leave you less happy with your purchase," says Mike Schenk, senior economist at the Credit Union National Association. 

Beware of overspending this holiday, pros say12/01/2014"Consumers overspend each holiday season. It's just what people do. What's not OK is to spend recklessly," Mike Schenk, vice president of economics and statistics for the Credit Union National Association, said in an interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell." Schenk believes that using credit card is a safe way to approach holiday shopping as long as consumers quickly pay down the debt to avoid high interest.

Forget the toys; give a financial gift this year11/28/2014Michelle Dosher, managing editor at the Credit Union National Association, gives advice on financial gifts. She advises grandparents to start with something as simple as a piggy bank with money in it for young children – they will love unwrapping it, it’s a gift they can continue to add to throughout the year and it’s a great way to teach them about saving. For young adults who are graduating college, Dosher says a unique gift, and one that will come in handy as they head out into the real world, is to purchase one or two sessions with a financial advisor. They can get the basics on investing and savings which will undoubtedly come in handy.

Holiday shopping may not be all ho ho ho11/25/2014As they head into the holiday season, many consumers are maintaining a tight grip on their wallets. A survey by the Consumer Federation of America and the Credit Union National Association found 33 percent of respondents said they plan to spend less during the holidays, while 10 percent said they would spend more. Last year, 13 percent said they would increase their purchases, and 32 percent said they would cut back. These figures are marked improvement from 2008, during the height of the financial crisis, when 58 percent said they would spend less. Spending will rise modestly, though the survey found that many people have "significant concerns about their personal finances," according to Mike Schenk, CUNA senior economist.

As hackers hit customers, retailers keep quiet about security11/24/2014The Credit Union National Association is asking lawmakers to intervene with retail data breaches so that retailers are held to stricter security and disclosure rules. When credit card data are stolen, retailers don't typically have to pay. Even if the retailers' lax network security is at fault, financial institutions typically pick up the bill. That includes credit unions, like LGE Community Credit Union in Georgia. Its president, Chris Leggett, says he is tired of paying for replacement cards after a hack. "It sure would be nice if the merchants would be willing to share in the cost of cleaning it up due to their lax security," he says. "The issuers are paying the brunt of the expense."

Credit unions ranked number one in consumer satisfaction11/19/2014The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) ranks credit unions ahead of similar financial institutions in 2014, and has for seven years in a row. Credit unions significantly outpace all other financial services in customer satisfaction, which, for me, means that credit unions are American's best financial partner. Whether you're looking at service, value, loyalty or expectations, credit unions rank substantially better than traditional banks on every component. 

3 Senate bills that could strengthen credit union mortgage lending11/18/2014Credit unions are enduring a crisis of creeping complexity with respect to regulatory burden, and the Credit Union National Association believes at least three bipartisan bills currently before the U.S. Senate could alleviate some of that drag. "The enactment of these bills would represent a small step in the right direction toward removing barriers to credit union service," said Jim Nussle, president and CEO of CUNA. "As the Senate reassembles for the remaining weeks of the 113th Congress, we urge passage of these important bills." 

Credit unions step in to fill lending void11/17/2014 In June, the nation's 6,557 credit unions surpassed 100 million memberships. And nearly two-thirds of credit unions offer mortgages. "We've seen a very strong increase in originations over the course of the last several years," Mike Schenk, vice president of economics and research at CUNA, told the Los Angeles Times. 

Americans still don't trust big banks11/16/2014A new Harris Poll found that consumers have high trust levels in credit unions. "It's not surprising that credit unions have the highest level of trust among consumers – a position credit unions want and expect to keep," says Vicki Christner, media relations manager for the Credit Union National Association. Indeed, credit unions continue to flourish. This past summer, they surpassed 100 million memberships nationwide, roughly equal to one-third of the U.S. population. 

Banks vs. credit unions: Where's the best place to get a mortgage?11/14/2014Ever since the mortgage bubble burst, largely precipitated by irresponsible lending by big banks, lending virtually disappeared. One bright spot was credit unions. That's because, Schenk noted, credit unions operate in a manner not unlike a small financial institution. "We're more likely to listen to your story," he said. Big banks, by contrast, rely on underwriting formulas and highly automated underwriting systems that put a premium on turn-times. "We're more likely to make an exception or adjustment based on your unique circumstance," Schenk added. 

Banks: Lack of retail regs raises risk of hacking11/12/2014The top banking and credit union trade groups, sent a letter to U.S. Senate and House leadership urging for retailers to adhere by Federal laws or regulations that will require them to protect personal financial data and notify consumers when that data is breached.