WASHINGTON (10/20/14)--As the number of data breaches and the accompanying costs for financial institutions and consumers continue to rise, President Barack Obama issued an executive order Friday aimed at improving the security of consumer financial transactions.
"While the U.S. government's credit, debit, and other payment card programs already include protections against fraud, the Government must further strengthen the security of consumer data and encourage the adoption of enhanced safeguards nationwide in a manner that protects privacy and confidentiality while maintaining an efficient and innovative financial system," the order reads.
Eric Richard, Credit Union National Association general counsel, commended the president for calling on Congress to enact cybersecurity legislation. CUNA previously wrote to Obama to request the formation of a cybersecurity council, as well as legislation to protect American consumers.
"As a member of the Payments Security Task Force, CUNA has been actively engaged with payment networks, financial institutions, retailers and manufacturers to ensure chip cards and readers are accessible and enabled by the end of 2015," Richard said. "Credit unions have been and will continue to be involved in this important conversation, and we look forward to working with the administration on this vital issue."
Obama's executive order lays out a timeline for increased cybersecurity measures to be taken by the government, as well as increased resources to consumers. This includes:
Government, executive departments and agencies to transition payment-processing terminals and credit and debit cards to employ enhanced security features, including chip-and-PIN technology, with a plan to be developed by the U.S. Treasury by Jan. 1:
Credit and debit cards provided through General Services Administration (GSA) contracts will be replaced by cards with enhanced security features no later than Jan. 1;
The Attorney General, with the Secretary of Homeland Security, will issue guidance to promote regular submissions of compromised credentials to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance's Internet Fraud Alert System by Feb. 15;
The U.S. Departments of Justice and Commerce and the Social Security Administration will begin to identify publicly available agency resources for victims of identity theft and provide the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that information no later than March 15;
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and GSA will assist the FTC in enhancing the IdentityTheft.gov website, including coordination with the credit bureaus to streamline the reporting and remediation process by May 15; and
Within 90 days of the date of this order, the National Security Council staff, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and OMB shall present to the president a plan, consistent with the guidance set forth in the 2011 National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, to ensure that all agencies making personal data accessible to citizens through digital applications require the use of multiple factors of authentication and an effective identity proofing process, as appropriate. Within 18 months of the date of this order, relevant agencies shall complete any required implementation steps set forth in the plan prepared pursuant to this section.
FTC Chair Edith Ramirez said in a statement following the order that she welcomes the opportunity to participate in the new initiative.
Use the resource link below to access the full text of the order.
MADISON, Wis. (10/20/14)--Mike Schenk, Credit Union National Association vice president of economics and statistics, discussed the current state of interest rates in an article that appeared online in
magazine, part of the Time Inc. network.
The article explained how central bankers have called for raising interest rates in the near future. But recent economic data and the huge stock market sell-off has dampened some of that discussion.
Some Federal Reserve officials have said they expect to raise rates by the middle of next year thanks to a modestly expanding economy and stronger job growth, but Schenk opposes this idea.
"Until we see wages expanding faster than the rate of inflation, and significantly so, we won't see much in the way of inflation pressure," Schenk told
. "Why raise rates if you don't have inflation?"
To read the full article, use the link.
DANA POINT, Calif. (10/20/14)--More than 120 credit union attorneys will be present at this year's Credit Union National Association Attorneys Conference, which is going on through Wednesday.
The conference aims to cover the most timely credit union-specific topics, as well as general legal and financial subjects that attorneys who represent credit unions and credit union organizations can use while representing their clients.
Eric Richard, CUNA's general counsel, will be speaking today about the most significant legal and regulatory trends affecting credit unions. He will be addressing topics such as the National Credit Union Administration's risk-based capital proposal, data breaches and the difference between guidance and regulations under the Administrative Procedures Act.
The session "The New Integrated Mortgage Disclosures" will feature Janet Bonnefin, principal at Aldrich and Bonnefin PLC, and Jared Ihrig, CUNA's associate general counsel for regulatory advocacy. Information on the new mortgage integrated disclosure rules was the most pre-requested by the conference's attendees.
Other highlights of the conference include:
- Today: A presentation from NCUA Senior Associate General Counsel John Ianno and staff attorneys Sarah Chung and Pamela Yu;
- Tuesday: "Social Media: Compliance Challenges and Opportunities for Credit Unions," presented by CUNA Mutual Group's Ross Hansen, associate general counsel, and Jennifer Kraus, lead attorney;
- Tuesday: "New Developments in Bank Secrecy Act," presented by T. Wayne Hood, senior vice president/general counsel, ORNL FCU, Oak Ridge, Tenn., with $1.5 billion in assets; and
- Wednesday: "ID Theft Response--How to Do It Right," presented by Christopher Gerety, general counsel, APCO Employees CU, Birmingham, Ala., with $2.4 billion in assets.
Stay tuned to
throughout the week for more coverage of the CUNA Attorneys Conference.
Use the resource link below for more information.
WASHINGTON (10/20/14)--Rendell Jones has been named the new chief financial officer of the National Credit Union Administration, the agency announced Friday. Jones, who begins his duties today, is replacing MaryAnn Woodson, who served as CFO since January 2008.
"I am pleased to welcome Rendell to NCUA and look forward to working with him," said NCUA Chair Debbie Matz. "The breadth of his experience and the overall excellence he has displayed in his career should serve NCUA and credit unions very well."
The chief financial officer's responsibilities include preparation and management of the agency's budget, finance and accounting functions; administration of credit union operating fees and capitalization deposits; and daily operations of the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.
Jones is coming from his position as associate director for management with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). He also served as that agency's acting deputy director from December 2013 to July 2014. Prior to that appointment, Jones served as USCIS's chief financial officer.
He previously served as deputy budget director at the Department of Homeland Security. His career in federal service began in 1996 at the Department of Justice.
Matz credited Woodson for being an integral part of the management team that went through "the most difficult period in the system's history, a challenging time for the agency, and her judgment and management skills have been important to all of us as we steered through the storm."
MADISON, Wis. (10/20/14)--Given how seriously the United States is taking the presence of Ebola in this country, it seems unlikely that a widespread outbreak of the deadly disease could manifest itself at a large scale.
That said, the sensational nature of the disease does serve as a reminder about the importance of preparing for the threat of pandemics of all kinds, such as the flu or other more common viruses.
"Nobody wants to think about pandemic planning," Paul Sullivan, vice president/general manager of Agility Recovery, a disaster recovery solutions company, told
. "The reason they don't want to think about it is because it has no boundaries--it's all about people. And in my mind, credit unions are all about people."
Agility, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider, released a white paper and checklist Friday that credit unions can look to when preparing themselves for potential pandemic events.
Called "Gone Viral: Protecting Your Employees and Your Bottom Line from the Effects of Pandemics," the paper outlines the various viruses the world is currently dealing with; who's most vulnerable; what impacts those viruses can have on an organization; and what steps credit unions can take to cut down on potential risks.
To access both the white paper and Agility Recovery's Seasonal Influenza Preparedness Checklist, use the resource links below.
Among the viruses most likely to be encountered in the United States is Enterovirus D68, an airborne virus that often spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touches commonly used surfaces, according to Agility. Mild symptoms include fever, a runny nose, sneezing, coughing and muscle aches.
Then, of course, there's influenza, the most serious cases of which occur in people 65 years and older.
To ensure an organization is minimizing the risk of an outbreak that could severely affect its operation, Agility recommends that organizations take a number of proactive steps, including:
- Forming health and wellness teams to take the lead on illness prevention for the organization;
- Meeting once a year to stress the importance of prevention and to keep employees informed;
- Encouraging employees to get flu vaccines, or if possible offer free vaccines to employees;
- Placing hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the office;
- Promoting telecommuting when employees are feeling sick; and
- Routinely sanitizing common surfaces such as kitchen countertops, conference room tables and door handles.
Even when a comprehensive plan is followed, however, the truth is that flu season is unavoidable, Agility says, and there's still always a chance an organization could be impacted.
Should a health crisis occur, Agility recommends:
- Developing a work redundancy plan to make sure every employee is trained to cover at least one other person in their group;
- Setting up a communication system that includes voice messages, text messages and emails to be able to quickly alert employees and members about such an outbreak;
- Setting threat-level guidelines that determine when it's appropriate to cancel meetings or travel; and
- Monitoring unusual increases in absenteeism, among other actions.
"With proper planning, education and services such as the flu vaccine, an organization can minimize sick days and reduce health costs, while ensuring that productivity and quality care are maintained," Agility says.
WASHINGTON (10/20/14)--At least 47% of merchant terminals in the United States will be enabled with EMV chip technology by the end of 2015, according to the Payments Security Task Force (PST).
According to the PST, the estimate is based on forecasts from entities representing approximately 80% of all U.S. purchase volume, including First Data, Bank of America Merchant Services, Citi, Chase Paymentech, Vantiv, Elavon, Wells Fargo and Global Payments.
The Credit Union National Association is a member of the PST, and CUNA Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn said it was encouraging to see the collaborative efforts. However, she also said that it must be a high priority for the PST to focus on a long-term strategy to secure payments across all entities.
President Barack Obama issued an executive order Friday directing both payment terminals and payment cards to employ chip-and-PIN technology like EMV. Starting Jan. 1, all cards issued through the General Services Administration are mandated to contain additional security features.
In August, card issuers estimated more than 575 million EMV chip-enabled cards, which are more secure than the current magnetic strips on most credit and debit cards, would be issued by the end of 2015.
According to the PST, card and terminal forecasts will be updated on a quarterly basis.
MADISON, Wis. (10/20/14)--Clarence Hall Jr. may not be a household name in the credit union movement, but the work that he has done for financial literacy and civil rights is a legacy that is being recognized by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF).
Hall, CEO/chairman of $1 million-asset Issaquena County FCU, Mayerville, Miss., will be honored with the Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in March. The 90-year-old credit union and civil rights advocate is one of four honorees this year (
Hall's work has been "absolutely inspiring in building a better life in a downtrodden part of our nation," said John Gregoire, chair of NCUF Wegner Awards selection committee and president of The ProCon Group. "Roy Bergengren used to say that the credit union's real job is to prove the practicality of the brotherhood of man, and Clarence's achievements align perfectly with those words."
Hall's belief in the "people-helping-people" philosophy is reflected throughout his life. However, he also takes to heart the credit union values of promoting thrift and providing loans for provident and productive purposes.
He takes the opportunity to teach financial skills at the same time he is providing opportunities to low-income members to borrow money. "In a county recognized as one of Mississippi's poorest, Clarence has been very instrumental in helping citizens acquire loans that they had been denied through other traditional financial institutions," said Spencer Nash, president/CEO of the Delta Foundation.
During his career, Hall advocated for voting rights, early childhood education and the right for African-Americans to be elected to public office.
"Clarence has not only suffered, he fought hard for what we would all consider to be basic rights and equality for all Americans," said Charles Elliott, president/CEO of the Mississippi Credit Union Association, which named Hall to the Mississippi Credit Union Hall of Fame.
NCUF will present the Wegner awards during a March 9 dinner at the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C., and held in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference.
WASHINGTON (10/20/14)--With the goal of making is easier to comply with its regulations, the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is offering all of its non-Specialty Designated Nationals (SDN) lists in one consolidated data list. Known as the Consolidated Sanctions List, the files comply with all of OFAC's existing data standards.
According to OFAC, the effort is designed to reduce the number of list-related files that must be downloaded in order to maintain an automated sanctions screening program. If OFAC creates a new sanctions list where the action required of a U.S. person does not necessarily entail blocking, the office will add the new data associated with that list to the files if appropriate.
The lists include:
- Non-SDN Palestinian Legislative Council List (NS-PLC);
- Part 561 List;
- Non-SDN Iran Sanctions Action List (NS-ISA);
- Foreign Sanctions Evaders List (FSE); and
- Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List (SSI).
In approximately six months, OFAC will cease issuing independent data files for the FSE, the SSI and the NS-PLC lists. OFAC will continue to provide and update PDF and TXT versions of the FSE, SSI, NS-ISA, NS-PLC and Part 561 lists and their respective archive of changes. These file formats will continue to be available after the transition period.
OFAC has also upgraded its Sanctions List Search tool, which provides users the ability to search for a name on the SDN lists and the consolidated list. All lists are available in Sanctions List Search.
Use the resource links below for more information.