CUNA in the News

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Credit Union difference blindsides bankers05/21/2015CUNA's Jim Nussle responds to ABA's recent attack on credit unions. "The fact of the matter is Congress provided credit unions a federal tax-exemption because of their not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative structure" explains Nussle. The credit union structure benefits everyone especially to those with a low to moderate income.

Don't punish credit unions for big banks' sins05/11/2015Credit unions need regulatory relief. CUNA's Jim Nussle says that for far too long, credit unions have been caught in the mix as regulators target the predatory and profit-driven practices of Wall Street's mega-banks following the financial crisis.

Best benefit ever: Economic updates for credit union experts05/05/2015Members of the Credit Union National Association can stay up to date on the economic issues affecting credit unions with CUNA's new monthly Economic Update videos. Economics is a vast, complicated field, and not all of the developments within it trickle down to everyone in the credit union industry. But with the Economic Update videos, CUNA members can get the latest news that's most pertinent to them in a quick, digestible format.

Taking Stock05/04/2015Jim Nussle discussed the economy and what needs to be done to raise the cap on member business lending. He explained that credit unions are ready to do more to help small businesses by responsibly moving more capital into local communities.

CUNA’s Nussle on banks and cybersecurity04/24/2015Jim Nussle discusses how credit unions and other financial institutions have been affected by merchant data breaches with Bloomberg Radio. "We're saying that somebody has got to put the merchants into a more responsible position, they should be responsible for the data if people are coming and using their credit cards, that needs to be protected," said Nussle. "The same way every credit union and bank must protect the information of its customers, merchants need to do the same."

Create, restore credit with a credit-builder loan04/23/2015Credit builder loans are small loans, made by some credit unions and a few banks, designed to help consumers establish or boost a credit profile. About one in five credit unions offer credit-building loans to members, says Mike Schenk, vice president of economics for the Credit Union National Association.

Wary homeowners offered new ways to finance their next move04/17/2015CUNA's Bill Hampel says: "People typically underestimate the likelihood of getting a [home] loan. There's no question that it's harder today to get a loan than it was 12 years ago, but it's a little bit easier than it was three years ago." Hampel goes on to explain how portfolio loans offer flexibility.

How the housing market is changing to meet millennials where they're at04/16/2015When they do take the plunge and try to buy a house, they're especially cautious and particularly distrustful of banks. CUNA notes that last year credit unions grew their membership by 3%. Of those roughly 3 million members, about two-thirds were Millennials. While CUNA's Mike Schenk says that credit unions are a bit more flexible in their underwriting than banks and avoided the mortgages that gave banks fits during the housing crisis. Millennials have been choosing credit unions for mortgages largely because they're looking at the bigger picture.

Target, MasterCard settle over breach04/16/2015CUNA's Jim Nussle criticizes the delay in the Target, MasterCard settlement. "It is about time that Target steps up to its responsibilities in this breach," Nussle says. "And it is long overdue for merchants to start living up to their responsibilities in protecting customers' sensitive information by adopting higher security standards."

Are credit union credit cards better?04/15/2015The difference between a credit card from a credit union and one from a retailer or bank is often the interest rate. Credit unions have an average APR of 8.87%, compared to the 10.36% average APR of platinum cards issued by banks. "On a $10,000 balance, for example, a consumer would save $150 per year for having a card at a credit union," said CUNA's Mike Schenk. "I think the main thing is if you're in the market for a credit card, do a little shopping," Schenk said, "[and] include a credit union in those shopping plans."

Houses passes Mortgage Choice Act of 2015 by 286-14004/14/2015A bill to reform mortgage industry regulations was approved by the House of Representatives. The Mortgage Choice Act was supported by CUNA along with a number of housing and financial trade groups because the legislation would improve access to credit and qualified mortgages for low- and moderate-income borrowers while protecting consumers from bad loans.

Have no willpower? 4 tips to build savings anyway04/13/2015In addition to the traditional savings account, another option is a money market account, says CUNA's Michelle Dosher. "Some money market accounts have a limited number of withdrawals allowed monthly," she says. It's a good feature for those who fear they'll raid reserves for impulse buys.

Fed: February credit card balances down 5 percent04/07/2015The trend of decreasing credit card balances may be in part due to a lack of high-interest investment options, as households look for a place to put extra money amid a strengthening economy, according to CUNA's Bill Hampel. "As people start to accumulate a little extra funds, in the old days if their checking account was getting bigger, they would transfer some over to savings and then maybe from savings to CD, but since interest rates are so low right now there's not much value in that," he said. "Instead they are putting money toward credit card debt. I think that's been inhibiting revolving credit growth for a while and will continue until short-term interest rates rise."

How to expect the unexpected from your personal finances04/06/2015Susan Tiffany with the Credit Union National Association advises that folks consider the actual cost of potential financial setbacks. She recommends a series of stress tests that can give you an idea of just how much some of your most-feared events can cost you including gas costs soaring, employers no longer matching 401(k) contributions and losing overtime.

Budget fight prefaces 2016 war04/06/2015Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have armed themselves for the 2016 elections with votes on dozens of amendments to the GOP budget. "You and I could write the commercial today," former House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle (R-Iowa) said of the amendments. "Senator X voted against children and voted against senior citizens in granting them their Medicare benefits. He voted to completely kill Medicare as we know it today," said Nussle, now president of the Credit Union National Association.

Numbers lend optimism to credit unions' rebound04/05/2015That consumer comfort is apparent, said Bill Hampel, chief policy officer and chief economist for the nonprofit Credit Union National Association. The annual rate of credit union lending growth now is about 11%, he said, a level not seen since the mid 2000s. Hampel said the recent recession had the worst impact on consumer confidence since the Great Depression. Although the economy has been steadily recovering for several years, loan demand has been slow to catch up because of an observed reluctance by people to make several big-ticket investments. Cars were being driven longer. Home upgrades became afterthoughts. But that's finally turning around today.

Hiring slowed in March, with 126K jobs added; unemployment rate at 5.5 percent04/03/2015Wage growth continued to be modest, with average hourly earnings up seven cents from the previous month and up 2.1 percent from last year. In addition, job growth for January and February was revised downward by a combined 69,000 positions. "The economy is hitting some speed bumps," said Perc Pineda, a senior economist at Credit Union National Association.

How to bank your child's money04/02/2015Your best bet where your children bank may be where fees would be determined by your overall balance and you could link accounts – this includes credit unions which are among the last bastions of free checking accounts. "The difference between credit unions and banks is that credit unions are not-for-profit and owned by depositors," says CUNA's Mike Schenk, vice president of economics.

Don't allow shame to make your financial setbacks worse04/01/2015Susan Tiffany suggests a three-pronged approach for addressing financial problems early: set a goal, make a decision once and automate it, and sleep on it. "You're not born having self-confidence about managing your finances ... If you really don't know where to start, all you need is someone to give you a template."

Credit unions see growth in banking industry03/26/2015Credit Union membership grew 3.6 percent in 2014, the biggest jump in 20 years, according to the Credit Union National Association, and loans from the institutions increased 10.2 percent, the most since 2005. "It's kind of a joke that credit unions are the best kept secret. I think our secret is finally getting out," said Jannell Eichstaedt, vice president of member services for Kettering-based Day Air Credit Union, established in 1945.