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CUNA in the News


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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.

Credit union pilot targeting subprime borrowers shows promise03/25/2015Since last April, credit unions participating in a pilot program from California to Connecticut have generated 2,600 subprime auto loans worth a total of $34 million, said Christopher Morris, a spokesman for the National Credit Union Foundation. Not a single loan in the pilot program has gone into default.

House marking up key mortgage, regulatory reform bills03/25/2015Reintroduced earlier this year after dying in the last Congress despite bipartisan support, the Mortgage Choice Act of 2015 by U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., would amend and clarify the qualified mortgage definition in the Dodd-Frank Act thereby improving access to credit and qualified mortgages for low and moderate income borrowers while protecting consumers from bad loans. Several trade groups, including CUNA, support the Mortgage Choice Act.

CUNA's Nussle on data security, NCUA's risk-based capital proposal03/19/2015Jim Nussle hits on some of the biggest issues facing credit unions today in an interview with SNL Financial including regulatory relief, mergers, cybersecurity and RBC2.

10 things you should know about credit unions03/17/2015Mike Schenk, vice president of economics and statistics at Credit Union National Association, highlights some must know facts about credit unions including where to find one (www.aSmarterChoice.org) and how loan rates are lower than at other financial institutions.

Credit Unions Help Build More 'Wonderful' Financial Lives03/16/2015Nationally, the average credit union member saves $74 a year, according to the Credit Union National Association. But would that number remain the same if regulatory changes wiped credit unions off the map? NerdWallet takes a look.