WASHINGTON (12/22/14)--Twenty-two cities have joined the list of locations for the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Emerging Leaders executive training series.
will reach 48 cities and communities nationwide in 2015.
"The Emerging Leaders Program is a resource that can open lucrative doors for America's small businesses," said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. "The addition of more than 20 new cities in 2015 will help serve even more entrepreneurs. Graduates of the initiative have measurably increased their revenue, and helped create jobs and drive economic growth in their local communities."
More than 2,400 small-business owners in underserved communities have gone through the training, which has led to the following successes:
- Secured more than $1 billion in government contracts;
- Accessed $73 million in new financing;
- Created nearly 2,000 new full-time jobs;
- Increased revenue for 62% of surveyed participants;
- Maintained or created new jobs for 70% of surveyed graduates; and
- Graduated nearly 400 small-business owners in 2014--the largest graduating class since the program began in 2008.
Local recruitment for the 2015 training cycle is under way at selected SBA district offices, and classes are scheduled to begin in April.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (12/22/14)--Matt Biliouris, the National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA) deputy director of its Office of Consumer Protection, shared information about the agency's planned working group on field of membership (FOM) with Credit Union National Association's Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn last week.
The working group, in addition to one on supplemental capital, was announced at the agency's Dec. 12 open board meeting.
Biliouris said that the FOM group will study current field-of-membership regulatory requirements and how they can be improved without making legislative changes to the Federal Credit Union Act.
The NCUA plans to form the working group in early 2015 with the hope of making a recommendation to the board and staff by the middle of 2015.
The working group will consist of roughly 10 to 12 NCUA staff members who will be responsible for studying the issues and reviewing input from stakeholders, including credit unions, the state credit union leagues and CUNA.
Biliouris said he looks forward to working with staff at NCUA and consulting with stakeholders who not only have extensive experience with field-of-membership matters, but also possess creativity in "thinking outside the box."
While the number has not been determined, credit unions and others will be invited to meet with the working group in a consultative role and to serve as a resource for ideas to address FOM regulatory concerns.
Biliouris said that the agency looks forward to working with CUNA and others to recommend credit unions that want to provide their views directly to the NCUA.
"CUNA has already developed a number of field-of-membership improvements and talked with Matt about sharing our updated list even before the working group is organized," Dunn said. "We welcome the field-of-membership review and will be weighing in with the working group as it is organized and throughout its considerations and the development of its recommendations."
WASHINGTON (12/22/14)--The concept of "free" checking accounts comes with plenty of requirements from federal regulators, a concept the Credit Union National Association's
examined in a recent
Colleen Kelly, CUNA's senior assistant general counsel for federal compliance, broke down the requirements for financial institutions to claim an account is "free."
"Earlier this year the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) penalized a bank for advertising a 'free checking' account without disclosing its minimum activity requirement in the ad," Kelly wrote. "The minimum activity requirement was explained in the one-page disclosure provided to each customer, but not in the advertisements."
The bureau required the bank in question to repay customers $2.045 million in maintenance fees, as well as a $200,000 civil money penalty for violating the prohibition of unfair, deceptiveor abusive actions or practices and the CFPB's Truth in Savings regulation.
The bureau's regulation prevents credit unions from describing accounts as "free" or "no cost" if any type of maintenance fee is charged on the account.
These can include:
- Any fee imposed if a minimum balance requirement is not met, or if the member exceeds a specified number of transactions;
- Transaction and service fees that members reasonably expect to be imposed on an account on a regular basis;
- A flat fee, such as a monthly service fee; and
- Fees imposed to deposit, withdraw or transfer funds, including per-check or per-transaction charges.
Kelly lists several types of fees that are not considered maintenance fees, including check printing fees, balance inquiry fees, ATM fees and stop payment fees.
WASHINGTON (12/22/14)--Updated guidance and procedures have been provided to examiners in connection with the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's (OCC) TILA booklet. The revised
replaces the version last updated in December 2010 and is part of the OCC's Comptroller's Handbook.
The primary revisions to the updated booklet include:
- Transfer of rulemaking authority for TILA to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, as mandated in the Dodd-Frank Act; and
- Dodd-Frank amendments to TILA that prohibit certain practices and loan terms and expand protections or establish requirements for high-cost mortgage loans; appraisal-related requirements; loan originator compensation and qualifications; higher-priced mortgage loans; determination of the consumer's ability to repay; adjustable-rate mortgage disclosures; mortgage servicing; and pre-loan counseling.
The booklet rescinds guidance issued by the OCC in March and December of 2010, as well as "Interagency TILA/Regulation Z Examination Manual Narrative" and "Interagency TILA/Regulation Z Examination Procedures" contained in an OCC bulletin issued March 14 of this year.
WASHINGTON (12/22/14)--Federal regulators generally coordinate on Dodd-Frank Act rulemaking efforts involving the Volcker rule and rules related to derivatives regulations, a
from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found. Sometimes that cooperation is mandatory, sometimes it's voluntary.
Released Thursday, the report studied how the regulators coordinated on 54 Dodd-Frank rulemakings from July 23, 2013, to July 22 of this year.
The report studied the National Credit Union Administration, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to the GAO, the regulators coordinated on 34 of the 54 reviewed rulemakings.
For the Volcker rule, which prohibits banking entities from trading certain financial instruments using their own funds to profit from short-term price change, "interagency coordination led regulators to adopt a common rule and regulators voluntarily have continued coordination efforts during rule implementation," the report reads.
"For swaps (derivatives) rulemakings, regulators coordinated domestically and internationally," the report reads. "However, such coordination did not always result in harmonized rules, and key differences among some rules have raised compliance and market efficiency concerns among market participants, industry associations and foreign regulators with whom GAO spoke."
The report concludes that, while the full impact of Dodd-Frank cannot be known yet due to rules still awaiting finalization and the lack of time passed since others have gone into effect, some GAO risk characteristics for financial institutions "suggest these companies' leverage generally decreased and their liquidity generally improved since the act's passage."
The report does not contain any recommendations, and according to the GAO, the regulators provided written and technical comments in response, but neither agreed nor disagreed with the findings.
WASHINGTON (12/22/14)--Comprehensive tax reform is expected to play a major part in the 114th Congress, and the Credit Union National Association plans to be an active player in ensuring credit unions' tax status is maintained. That's what Ryan Donovan, CUNA senior vice president of legislative affairs, said in a video interview with
"As we look to 2015 and 2016, credit unions need to take the tax reform discussions very seriously," Donovan said. "We'll be actively advocating for the credit union tax status beginning at the start of the year, through the
Governmental Affairs Conference
and through the course of the entire Congress. Because tax reform won't be done until a president, whether it's President Obama, Clinton, Cruz, Christie, you name it, signs a bill."
In the interview, Donovan mentions three recent tax reform plans from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), incoming chair of the Senate Finance Committee; Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.); and Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), outgoing chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Hatch's plan and Camp's plan are likely to serve as foundations for the way their respective committees might approach tax reform, Donovan said.
"We expect both the incoming chair of the Ways and Means Committee Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and incoming chair of the Senate Finance Committee Orrin Hatch to very actively pursue comprehensive tax reform," he said. "With Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, there's an expectation that they will produce a budget, and that in the course of producing that budget they may give reconciliation instructions to complete comprehensive tax reform."
SEATTLE (12/22/14)--The number of U.S. homeowners with underwater mortgages--where the value of the mortgage is higher than the value of the home--has fallen by 40% since 2012, according to a recent report from the Seattle-based real estate website Zillow.
When the housing market crashed in 2008, more than 16 million homeowners watched their mortgages flip upside-down. But two years removed from the lowest point of the recession, nearly half of those underwater have pulled themselves out of negative equity, Zillow said.
"The market has made terrific strides since bottoming out in late 2011 and early 2012, with millions of underwater homeowners freed in just the past few years, and millions more set to surface in coming months and years," said Stan Humphries, Zillow chief economist.
Many homeowners have reversed their fortunes through the foreclosure process or short sales, Zillow said, while others have simply continued to make mortgage payments until property values improved.
Whatever the case, the housing market could receive a boost with millions more homeowners holding positive equity, as they will be more likely to sell.
Improvements in this area of the housing market have varied across the country, with those geographic areas hit hardest during the financial crisis experiencing the most relief.
In Atlanta, 55% of homeowners were underwater in 2012, compared with just 23% of homeowners in 2014. Phoenix reached 58% of homeowners with upside-down mortgages in 2011, and that number has fallen below 20%.
Daily Financial Rates -- 2014-12-22
Monday, December 22, 2014
03:55 AM CST
TREASURY YIELD CURVE
(based on the $1 million market)
Results of the December 15, 2014 auction of short-term U.S. government bills, sold at a discount from face value in units of $10,000 to $ 1 million
||Last changed December 16, 2008 |
|near closing bid||0.120||0.120||0.100||0.100||0.100|
FREDDIE MAC (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)
FANNIE MAE (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)
COMMERCIAL PAPER (Financial, 90 days)
: Data not available at time of page generation (shown at top of page)
Wall Street Journal
U.S. Dept. of the Treasury
All rates are from the previous business day unless otherwise noted.
COLCHESTER, Vt. (12/22/14)--For the first time, the board of the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU) authorized grant monies for small credit unions to attend the 2015 Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC).
Up to $2,000 in grant funding is available on a first-come, first-served
for member credit unions of less than $35 million in assets (
"This action by the board directly synchronizes with AVCU's primary role as an advocacy organization for credit unions," said league President Joe Bergeron, "and underscores the need for credit unions of all sizes to participate in this important annual advocacy event.
"In addition to all of the fantastic events and speakers for which the GAC is known, I strongly urge recipients of these special grant funds to attend the GAC's Small Credit Union Roundtable," he said, adding, "This complimentary event provides a terrific opportunity to learn about resources, share ideas and collaborate on a wide variety of issues from compliance to succession planning."
The AVCU grants are to be used to defray up to $2,000 in registration, accommodation and travel costs for one officially designated representative from any eligible member credit union in good standing to attend CUNA's signature event.
CUNA's discounted small credit union registration of $595 leaves substantial grant funding available for eligible Vermont personnel to receive a total discount of between 60% and 80% off average GAC attendance expenses.
LIVE OAK, Texas (12/22/14)--Randolph-Brooks FCU (RBFCU), with $6 billion in assets, surpassed 500,000 members last week.
The Live Oak, Texas-based credit union has grown from its founding nine members to the second-largest credit union in Texas and the 13th largest nationwide.
"Our communities see the value of RBFCU membership and continue to choose us to finance their homes and vehicles, and to provide the services they need to manage their accounts," said Sonya McDonald, RBFCU executive vice president/chief of staff. "We continue to welcome record numbers of new members each month because they recognize the many ways RBFCU helps them save time, save money and earn money."
One such way is its rewards program. Since Oct. 1, the credit union has been giving back members 20 cents on each debit card purchase--double its normal rewards level.
In addition to cresting the $6 billion-asset threshold in 2014, the credit union opened its 50th branch and held more than $4 billion in loans.
OMAHA, Neb. (12/22/14)--Nebraska credit unions performed well in a number of areas of growth in the first three quarters of the year, the Nebraska Credit Union League reported last week, with loan, membership and net worth growth all advancing.
The total dollar amount for all loans made by Nebraska credit unions between January and September climbed 2.2% compared with the dollar amount for the first nine months of 2013.
Further, all loan categories recorded increases in growth in September compared with their year-ago levels, with loan growth averaging 10.7% for new-auto loans and 3.6% for other real estate loans.
All loans increased to $2.6 billion in September, an 8.9% jump year-over-year.
"The positive results are not surprising and underscore the enduring value of our cooperative principles of participation and patronage," said J. Scott Sullivan, league president/CEO. "The ultimate goal of credit unions has and continues to be to serve consumers rather than view them as a source of profit. This not-for-profit, member-owned model is proving to be increasingly popular with Nebraskans."
Additional highlights from the data:
- The loan-to-share ratio at Nebraska credit unions climbed 4.5% annually to 80.7% in September--above the national average of 74%;
- The average member relationship, or the total number of loan and share balances per member, increased by 1.6% annually to $12,242 in September;
- Total net worth rose 5.5% to $418.9 million in September, with assets outpacing reserves, pushing the net worth-to-assets ratio 36 basis points higher than this time last year, at 10.9%;
- Nebraska credit unions reached 469,032 members in September--a 3.6% annual increase. The membership expansion outpaced the national average of 2.9% in September; and
- Delinquencies and net charge-offs fell 12 basis points in September and four basis points annually.
Earlier this month, the National Credit Union Administration reported that credit unions nationwide experienced strong numbers in the third quarter as well.
The median growth rate for loans outstanding climbed to 3.5% for the 12 months ending in the third quarter, a 1.8% increase from the year ending Sept. 30, 2013.
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (12/22/14)--Since immigrating to the United States from Nigeria in the 1980s, Amy Ahanotu has not only established himself as a U.S. citizen, he has distinguished himself as his city's figurative No. 1 citizen. Ahanotu, a branch manager at $2.3 billion-asset Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., recently took over as mayor of Rohnert Park, Calif.
Ahanotu was first elected to the City Council in 2010 and won re-election in November. Soon after, he was selected by his fellow council members to serve as mayor of Sonoma County's third-largest city for the upcoming year. As mayor he will set the City Council's agenda, run meetings and represent the city at public functions.
Ahanotu became involved in local politics about eight years ago when he thought his business acumen could help bridge the gap between local government and local businesses. Indeed, his credit union background has informed his political career, he told
"Part of Redwood CU's mission is to passionately serve the best interests of our members, employees and the communities," Ahanotu said. "This is my way of serving the community. Our service standards say we will be ambassadors. As mayor, I promote the credit union philosophy within the community."
Ahanotu said the leadership provided by Redwood CU President/CEO Brett Martinez within the community has provided him with a great example in promoting credit union ideals.
"Brett Martinez makes it easy to promote businesses as the good partners for the city and its citizens," Ahanotu said.
And Ahanotu is bringing Redwood CU's culture to city hall. For example, one area of focus has been customer service--and that it means more than saying please and thank you, Ahanotu said. "You cannot be a roadblock to providing projects and services," Ahanotu added. "Things are going to go wrong. Own it, solve the problem and move on. That is what works for us at Redwood CU."
But perhaps the most important credit union principle he has stressed in his political career is fiscal responsibility. Ahanotu is proud to be a member of a City Council that has achieved a balanced budget for the first time since 2008.
"It's taking the credit union philosophy of financial management to the public sector," Ahanotu said. "It's very simple. If you don't have the money you cannot spend it."
PROVIDENCE. R.I. (12/22/14)--Rhode Island credit unions last week participated in a cybersecurity exercise hosted by the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency along with the Banking Division of the Department of Business Regulation (DBR).
"Operation Firewall" was a tabletop exercise designed to address relevant cybersecurity planning in the public and private sector (
Daily CU Scan
The exercise was the first of its kind in the state.
Cybersecurity preparedness is a top priority for DBR, which also developed and sponsors a working group on the issue. It also created a network to distribute alerts, guidelines and practical tips.
Operation Firewall consisted of a review and in-depth discussion of four real-life scenarios: financial institution phishing and malware; domain name system server and denial of service; item processing failure; and corporate account takeover.
Other topics covered included intelligence and information sharing, operational coordination, operational communications and public information and warning.
The program provided a baseline check on communication levels within credit unions as institutions that operate between the private and public sector in Rhode Island.
The Credit Union Association of Rhode Island will continue to coordinate and serve as a clearinghouse with DBR's cybersecurity working group and other local resources, such as the Rhode Island State Police, to provide additional opportunities for information sharing, training and immediate assistance to credit unions for cybersecurity preparedness.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (12/22/14)--The Ohio Credit Union League announced 10 of its chapters will become credit union outreach alliances beginning in January.
The restructuring, announced in October, will give credit unions the freedom to focus on the community outreach areas of financial literacy, scholarship funds or charitable giving (
The 10 chapters are Butler County, Central Ohio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Lake Erie, Mahoning Valley, North Central, Northeast, Northwest and Stark County.
The alliances are charged with coordinating community outreach initiatives for participating credit unions (league members and potential members) drawn from the geographic area previously served by a chapter; credit unions in neighboring areas not served by an alliance; and other credit unions interested in an alliance's community outreach initiative (
Alliances are currently developing their 2015 scholarship programs, which will operate independent of each other and the Ohio Credit Union Foundation. Current chapter board officials will serve on alliance steering committees. Community outreach initiatives will be finalized in the first quarter.
MADISON, Wis. (12/22/14)--The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) picked up three new additions to its board last week, as elections were held at its meeting Dec. 15.
will be Bill Cheney, president/CEO, SchoolsFirst FCU, Santa Ana, Calif., with $10.3 billion in assets; Patrick La Pine, president/CEO, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions, Tallahassee, Fla.; and Larry Middleman, president/CEO, CU Business Group LLC, Portland, Ore.
Cheney will fill a vacant board seat, while Middleman will take the seat most recently held by John Gregoire, president of The ProCon Group, Madison, Wis. Cheney is the former president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association.
La Pine will fill the seat reserved for the American Association of Credit Union Leagues representative. The seat was previously held by John Radebaugh, NCUF vice chair and president/CEO of the Carolinas Credit Union League, Greensboro, N.C., who termed out.
The new board members will begin their terms Jan. 1.
In addition to the new members, the NCUF also re-elected three previous members, including:
Edwin Williams, president/CEO, Discovery FCU, Wyomissing, Pa., with $131 million in assets;
- Laida Garcia, president/CEO, floridacentral CU, Tampa, Fla., with $400 million in assets; and
- Christopher Roe, senior vice president of corporate and legislative affairs, CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, Wis.
DETROIT (12/16/14)--The holidays are synonymous with giving, as seasonally warm feelings for humanity combine with charities searching for a year-end boost to their bottom lines.
While this is mostly a good thing, potential givers should be careful: Many fraudsters and unscrupulous organizations are looking to take advantage of their good intentions. A few simple questions and a quick online lookup are usually all it takes to determine if a charity is legitimate.
Ask about the charity's history, location, and tax ID number--if the answers seem fishy or vague, don't open your checkbook (The Detroit News
Dec. 10). If someone is soliciting money in person, don't be afraid to pause and research the organization on your smartphone before deciding to donate.
Even better, take steps to avoid feeling guilt for declining just because someone asked you to give. The New York Times
offered these tips last week for creating a giving plan.
Decide how much you want to give--either a dollar amount or percentage of income. Then choose an organization.
Pick a charity that aligns with your beliefs and will spend your donation responsibly. The website Give Well has analyzed thousands of charities and provides information about their pros and cons.
Decide how often you want to give and then follow your plan. By budgeting your generosity, you'll know exactly how much you've given and to whom come tax time.
When asked for a donation by other organizations, simply explain you've already given another way.
For related information, read "Financial Gifts Can Improve Well-Being" and "Holidays Are Rich With Teachable Money Moments" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center
CUPERTINO, Calif. (12/22/14)--At least eight credit unions have signed up for Apple Pay, the new mobile wallet from Apple.
With Apple Pay--rather than using a traditional plastic card in stores--consumers can pay with their iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. They can also make purchases online within apps with Apple Pay using the newest iPhones and iPads.
"We're committed to giving our members access to the latest mobile payment technology to make banking simple," said David Mickelson, vice president of retail delivery operation at UW CU, Madison, Wis., one of the credit unions that recently enlisted in the service. "Apple Pay will save members time, making their cards even more convenient to use at stores."
To get started with Apple Pay, members add their card information to an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch. When checking out, they hold the device near participating merchants' card readers with a finger on Touch ID, which completes the transaction. The process is secure because the actual credit and debit card numbers aren't stored on the device or on Apple servers.
Other credit unions signing up for Apple Pay, according to Apple's website, include:
- America First CU, Riverdale, Utah, with $6.2 billion in assets;
- Black Hills FCU, Rapid City, S.D., with $995 million in assets;
- Dupaco Community CU, Dubuque, Iowa, with $1.1 billion in assets:
- Idaho Central CU, Pocatello, Idaho, with $1.6 billion in assets;
- L&N FCU, Louisville, Ky., with $862 million in assets;
- National Institutes of Health FCU, Rockville, Md., with $559 million in assets;
- Navy FCU, Vienna, Va., with $58 million in assets; and
- UW CU, with $1.8 billion in assets.