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News Now

September 30, 2014

Inside Washington (09/30/2014)

Washington
  • WASHINGTON (9/30/14)--The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report regarding Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) efforts to make currency more accessible. This includes adding large, high-contrast numerals to notes, distributing free audible currency reader devices and developing tactile features for touch identification. BEP has also developed a smartphone app that identifies notes. The GAO report states the inclusion of a tactile feature will require a redesign of currency, that the BEP is behind its internal schedule in developing a raised tactile feature and that BEP and Federal Reserve staff have concerns about potential cost impacts. BEP officials stated that they have not yet determined how these concerns might be addressed. The GAO recommends BEP evaluate its currency reader program while it develops a tactile feature in the next redesign of currency...

  • WASHINGTON (9/30/14)--Due to a payroll processing issue, federal salary payments submitted to FedACH Services on Sept. 25 with a payment date of Sept. 26, under routing and transit number 101036009, were issued with reversed checking/savings account transaction codes. Transactions intended for checking accounts were issued with a transaction code of "32" (savings account credit); while transactions intended for savings accounts were issued with a transaction code of "22" (demand credit-checking). Other than the incorrect transaction code being assigned to these payments, amounts and other payment related information is valid. The U.S. Department of the Treasury is requesting, to the extent possible, that financial institutions identify and post these transactions to the appropriate checking or savings account ...
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CU leagues of 5 states call for merchant breach accountability

Washington
WASHINGTON (9/30/14)--The presidents of credit union leagues from Alabama, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island have echoed concerns of the Credit Union National Association in calling for retailers to take responsibility for the costs of data breaches.

Speaking to The New Hampshire Union Leader , Paul Gentile, president/CEO of the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island Credit Union Leagues, called for retailers to take responsibility for the costs borne by financial institutions when such breaches occur.

"They should lose money. They lost their customer data. They're losing money [in sales] because of bad business, not protecting their systems," Gentile told the publication. "Credit unions are impacted for nothing that they did. Their systems are not breached."

The same article in The New Hampshire Union Leader estimated that the Target breach alone caused New Hampshire credit unions to reissue 25,493 debit cards and 2,911 credit cards, at a cost of $5.10 per card, a total of $144,862. That number does not take into account the cost of fraudulent charges.

Patrick La Pine, president/CEO of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions, cited a CUNA survey in his editorial that ran in the Sept. 28 edition of The Miami Herald . CUNA's survey indicated the target data breach cost Florida credit unions more than $1.5 million.

"If the Home Depot breach is larger, you can see that credit unions will have considerable expense on a breach that they did not cause," he wrote. "The merchant does not incur any of these costs and, ultimately, the costs are passed along to consumers."

La Pine, who was also featured in The Gainesville Sun last week, cited a lack of data security standards for merchants as a primary reason for so many breaches.

"Financial institutions, including credit unions, are subject to high data protection standards by law while merchants are not subject to federal data protection standards; there is no merchant financial accountability," he wrote.

CUNA's survey results from all states led to an estimate that the total cost to credit unions is an estimated $30.6 million, including reissuing 4.6 million credit and debit cards, as a result of the Target breach.

Use the resource link below for News Now coverage of CUNA's response to the data breaches. ReadMore

CULAC backs former CU VP Aguilar's House campaign

Washington
WASHINGTON (9/30/14)--With 35 days remaining before the general election, the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) has made its second independent expenditure of election season. CULAC has spent $150,000 on direct mail and digital advertising to support Pete Aguilar, a Democratic candidate running to represent California's 31st Congressional District.

Aguilar is the former vice president of Arrowhead CU of San Bernardino, Calif., $820 million in assets, and the current mayor of Redlands, Calif. He won his June primary election by 209 votes, after CULAC funded a $200,000 independent expenditure on direct mailers, digital advertisements and a website for the primary.

"We believe Pete's background working at a credit union gives him an understanding of the unique role credit unions play in their communities, and will give him unique insight into the challenges faced by the working families of California's Inland Empire," said Trey Hawkins, vice president of political affairs at the Credit Union National Association. "Now we're here to get him through November's election."

This is the second independent expenditure from CULAC for the general election. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate minority leader, is benefiting from $300,000 in television and radio advertising for his race to continue representing Kentucky in the Senate.

CULAC also spent $156,000 on similar advertising earlier this spring for McConnell.

"As we get into the final weeks leading up to the election, we'll be announcing up to a dozen races around the country where credit unions will be contacting their members, CULAC will be spending money on advertisements and we'll be engaging at the ballot box on behalf of credit union champions in both key House and Senate races," Hawkins said. ReadMore

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Three webinars remain on OSCUI's schedule this year

Washington
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/30/14)--Webinars on product pricing, building loan portfolios and improving internal controls will be held over the next few months by the National Credit Union Administration, the agency reminded Monday.

The dates and topics of the webinars are:
  • Oct. 15: "Product Pricing: Getting it Right." How loan size matters to profitability, how to set rates based on internal metrics and how some decisions made "in the name of the member" may be unprofitable;

  • Nov. 19: "Building a Loan Portfolio: Four Keys to Lending." Loan products, pricing, underwriting and collections; and

  • Dec. 17: "Internal Controls." How to build effective internal controls with a small staff, how to minimize employee dishonesty and how to avoid common internal controls mistakes.
The webinars will be hosted by staff from the NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives.  Participants may submit questions in advance at WebinarQuestions@ncua.gov. The subject line of the email should be the title of the webinar.

All webinars are free and will begin at 2 p.m. (ET). Each one will be archived and closed-captioned online approximately three weeks following the live event.

Use the resource links below for more information. ReadMore

NCUA chair to request second risk-based capital comment period

Washington
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/30/14)--National Credit Union Administration Chair Debbie Matz announced Monday that she will request that a revised risk-based capital proposal be issued with a new comment period due to "significant structural changes" being considered. Credit Union National Association President/CEO Jim Nussle commended the NCUA's decision.

"CUNA, the leagues and credit unions fervently advocated for a second comment period given the significance of the proposal and the feedback that it received from both the credit union movement and policymakers," Nussle said. "This is terrific news; we look forward to continuing to work with the agency to craft a rule that meets the needs of the credit union system."

CUNA requested an additional comment period in its original comment letter filed with the agency May 28, and has advocated for it during the three NCUA Listening Sessions over the summer and in meetings with NCUA board members and staff.

Board member J. Mark McWatters called the previously proposed risk-based capital proposal "deeply flawed" and said it merits substantial revision.

"As I stated last week, I will not consider the rules for adoption unless they are re-proposed with a robust comment period of not less than 60 to 90 days," he said. "I articulated this position out of respect for Congress and those members of the credit union community who have enthusiastically voiced their opposition to the proposed rules."

NCUA staff are reviewing and revising the current proposal, and reviewing stakeholder comments, before bringing the revised version to the board. The agency could not confirm when the board might see the revision, but Matz anticipates the board could issue an amended proposal before the end of the year.

According to the agency, the amended proposal will include a longer implementation period and revised risk weights for mortgages, investments, member business loans, credit union service organizations and corporate credit unions, among other changes.

Stakeholders will be invited to comment on an alternative approach for addressing interest rate risk using the supervisory process. NCUA board member Rick Metsger said he believes interest rate risk must be addressed in the risk-based capital rule, but separately from credit risk.

"Weighting credit risk and interest rate risk with a single numerical value created conflicts that ultimately made it difficult to accurately weigh the risk of either," he said. ""I am pleased we appear to be moving in the direction of separating interest rate risk and credit risk and that structural change alone is sufficient for me to believe an additional comment period would be appropriate."

Matz said the changes will pose less of a regulatory burden than the original proposed rule, but some changes will affect the rule's structure.

"Based on discussions with NCUA's general counsel, I now believe it is prudent under the APA to ask for additional comments," she said. ReadMore

Other Resources

CFPB seeks $47.5M, charges Flagstar Bank with mortgage servicing violations

Washington
WASHINGTON (9/30/14)--Violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) new mortgage servicing rules resulted in the bureau ordering Flagstar Bank to pay $37.5 million, according to the CFPB. The Michigan-based mortgage servicer is alleged to have illegally blocked borrowers' attempts to save their homes, and as a result will pay $27.5 million to victims and a $10 million fine, which will go to the CFPB's civil penalty fund. 

The CFPB said in a statement that Flagstar failed borrowers "at every step in the foreclosure relief process."

Flagstar administers foreclosure relief programs provided by the owner of the loan, which are meant to mitigate losses for both the borrower and the owners of the loans by providing alternatives to foreclosure.

CFPB examinations and an investigation found that from 2011 to the present, Flagstar failed to devote sufficient resources to administering loss mitigation programs for distressed homeowners. For example, in 2011, Flagstar had 13,000 active loss mitigation applications but only assigned 25 full-time employees and a third-party vendor in India to review them.

Specifically, the Bureau found that Flagstar:
  • Took excessive time to review loss mitigation applications, often causing application documents to expire. To move its backlog, Flagstar would close applications due to expired documents;

  • Failed to approve or deny borrower applications within the 30 days required by CFPB mortgage servicing rules;

  • Failed to send, or delayed sending, missing document letters to borrowers. Flagstar is responsible for reviewing borrowers' initial loss mitigation applications to determine what documents are missing. It must then tell borrowers what documents are missing, usually by sending a "missing document" letter;

  • Routinely miscalculated borrower income, leading to Flagstar wrongfully denying loan modifications;

  • Denied applications for unspecified reasons, despite the fact that Flagstar's internal systems contained the true reason for the denial; and

  • "Needlessly prolonged" trial periods for loan modifications, causing some borrowers' loan amount under the modified note to increase and, in some cases, jeopardized borrowers' permanent loan modification.
In addition to the fines, the bureau has ordered Flagstar to end all loss mitigation mortgage servicing violations and stop acquiring default servicing rights from third parties.

Use the resource link below to access the CFPB's consent order.

ReadMore

Personal income, spending climb in Aug.

Market
WASHINGTON (9/30/14)--Real consumer spending and personal income increased in August by 0.5% and 0.3% respectively, according to a government report released Monday.
 
The U.S. Commerce Department found that automobile, electronics and furniture sales drove consumer spending, with annualized car and truck sales reaching its highest level since January 2006. ( MarketWatch Sept. 29). The growth in expenditures on services was also "the fastest of the year," according to Moody's ( Economy.com Sept. 29).
 
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department data also showed that rental and transfer earnings were the top contributors to income growth last month, and that wages expanded by a five-month high of 0.4%
 
The savings rate dropped by 0.2%, from a revised 5.6% in July. It has remained greater than 5% for five months in a row. Moody's described the trend as "somewhat of a surprise" when weighed against improving economic conditions and more health insurance coverage. Healthcare spending, the ratings and research firm noted, has been "surprisingly weak," with the Bureau of Economic Analysis reporting negligible real growth over the last two months.
 
MarketWatch said the Commerce Department data imply that the pace of economic growth has remained "moderate" in the third quarter, with consumption comprising more than two-thirds of economic activity in the United States. Lower energy costs and an abatement of food price increases led to a 0.3% fall in nondurable good expenditures. Core inflation only increased by only 0.1% in August, which might lead the Federal Reserve to refrain from ratcheting up short-term interest rates, MarketWatch reported.
 
Long-term consumption appears to be on the rise, according to Moody's, with year-over-year real spending growth at its highest level of 2014 in August.

Analysts for the firm said that "consumer fundamentals are healthy," buoyed by low debt burdens, high asset values and job and wage growth, despite the latter remaining modest. They added that confidence is still weak, perhaps due to relatively timid income and job gains throughout the recovery in addition to current global tumult. ReadMore

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Business Rates

Market
Daily Financial Rates -- 2014-09-30

Financial Rates


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

03:55 AM CDT

TREASURY YIELD CURVE
(based on the $1 million market)

TermTue
9/30
Mon
9/29
Fri
9/26
Thu
9/25
Wed
9/24
1 month0.010.010.000.010.01
3 month0.020.010.010.020.01
6 month0.050.030.030.030.04
1 year0.110.110.100.110.10
2 year0.580.590.560.590.57
3 year1.061.081.031.081.05
5 year1.771.801.751.821.78
7 year2.212.242.212.262.23
10 year2.502.542.522.572.54
20 year2.952.992.983.043.01
30 year3.183.223.223.283.25

TREASURY BILLS

Results of the September 29, 2014 auction of short-term U.S. government bills, sold at a discount from face value in units of $10,000 to $ 1 million

TermLatest
Mon, 9/29
Week Ago
Mon, 9/22
13 weeks0.0150.010
26 weeks0.0400.040

PRIME RATE

3.25% Last changed December 16, 2008

FEDERAL FUNDS

TermTue
9/30
Mon
9/29
Fri
9/26
Thu
9/25
Wed
9/24
high0.3120.3120.3120.3120.312
low0.0300.0500.0500.0500.010
near closing bid0.0500.0800.0400.0500.080
offered0.0800.2800.0800.0900.280
effective rate20.1000.1000.0900.1100.110

FREDDIE MAC (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

TermTue
9/30
Mon
9/29
Fri
9/26
Thu
9/25
Wed
9/24
30 year0.000.000.000.000.00

FANNIE MAE (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

TermTue
9/30
Mon
9/29
Fri
9/26
Thu
9/25
Wed
9/24
30 year3.7963.8093.8153.8213.827

LIBOR

TermTue
9/30
Mon
9/29
Fri
9/26
Thu
9/25
Wed
9/24
1 month0.243000.211000.216000.215000.21100
3 month0.378000.369000.369000.371000.36900
6 month0.545000.540000.537000.540000.53900
1 year0.850000.846000.844000.844000.84400

COMMERCIAL PAPER (Financial, 90 days)

TermWeek ended
9/30
Week ended
9/23
90 days0.230.23

NA: Data not available at time of page generation (shown at top of page)

Sources:
Wall Street Journal
U.S. Dept. of the Treasury


All rates are from the previous business day unless otherwise noted. ReadMore

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Consumer Rates

Market

Informa Research Services, Inc.
Daily Rate Comparison

Informa Research Services, Inc.
Deposit Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
12 Month CD $10,000 0.46% 0.28% 0.18%
Personal Savings $1,000 0.21% 0.10% 0.11%
Personal Interest Checking $2,500 0.36% 0.15% 0.21%
NSF Fee $27.90 $32.05 $-4.15
Personal MMDA $2,500 0.17% 0.10% 0.07%
Business MMDA $2,500 0.17% 0.09% 0.08%

Consumer Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Unsecured Personal Loan - $5,000 - 4 Years 10.17% 10.34% -0.17%
New Auto Loan - 5 Years 2.61% 3.87% -1.26%
Used Auto Loan - 2 year Old - 4 Years 2.77% 4.05% -1.28%
HELOC - 80% LTV - $50,000 4.13% 4.41% -0.28%
HE Loan - 80% LTV - $50,000 - 15 Years 5.66% 5.94% -0.28%

Mortgage Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
30 Year Fixed Conforming 4.18% 4.22% -0.04%
30 Year Fixed Jumbo 4.22% 4.17% 0.05%
5/1 Year ARM Conforming 2.95% 2.93% 0.02%

Credit Card Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Platinum 8.97% 10.48% -1.51%
Annual Fee $25.00 $31.00 $-6.00
Maximum Late Fee $25.67 $33.46 $-7.79
Reward 9.99% 13.70% -3.71%
Annual Fee $26.71 $99.74 $-73.03
Maximum Late Fee $22.66 $33.71 $-11.05

Indirect Auto Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Indirect A Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 3.59% 3.78% -0.19%
Indirect B Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 5.32% 5.32% 0.00%
Indirect C Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 7.49% 6.78% 0.70%

Averages displayed are straight averages of all institutions within the Informa Research Services database for the selected region as of Monday, September 29, 2014. For detailed disclosures click here.

ReadMore

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News of the Competition (09/30/3014)

Market
  • RICHMOND, Va. (9/30/14)-- The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond recently questioned Bank of America executives about a tax burden-reducing scheme called "dividend arbitrage," according to The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 28). Dividend arbitrage involves transferring the ownership of a stock to a company in a jurisdiction with lower dividend taxes and returning it to its country of origin after the dividend is paid. The money that would have gone to tax payments is, instead, split by banks, their clients--often hedge-funds--and the holders of the stock. Fed officials asked Bank of America about specific trades and clients and discussed reputational damage and litigation risk with the bank. The Wall Street Journal said other banks that operate dividend arbitrage include Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley. Bank of America insiders estimated the practice netted the bank at least $1.2 billion between 2006 and 2012, and that it was expected to add $100 million to the bank's income in 2013...
ReadMore

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Illinois young professionals host inaugural gathering

CU System
NAPERVILLE, Ill. (9/30/14)--CU Reach, the Illinois Credit Union League's under-40 organization, held its first Young Professionals Conference, hosting a sell-out group of 70 participants Sept. 15-16.
 
"The YP Conference was a great learning experience," said Brandy Bockewitz, marketing coordinator at Land of Lincoln CU, Decatur, $199 million in assets. "I feel that the conference's agenda was right on par with my new position with my credit union. With tips on networking and goal setting, I am able to incorporate some important things into my new career."
 
Topics discussed at the conference included credit union history and philosophy, social media, and leadership. Participants shared their opinions using a text polling system with responses displayed live on-screeen.
 
During a "CU Executives Panel," participants were given the opportunity to learn and receive advice from industry veterans.
 
"It was nice to have CEOs from different sized credit unions, men and women, share their stories, history, challenges, concerns and advice through a discussion," said Anna Lee, marketing manager at Credit Union 1, Rantoul, with $768 million in assets.
 
"I was honored to share ideas with our movement's young, bright minds," said panelist Patrick Basler, CEO of First Financial CU, Chicago, with $67 million in assets. "For those of us that have been leading credit unions for a number of years, it's great to see the next generation committed and excited about our movement."
 
The Young Professionals Advisory Committee developed, planned and hosted the conference. CU Reach is committed to recruiting and retaining young professionals to inspire life-long careers in the Illinois credit union movement. ReadMore

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CU System briefs (09/30/2014)

CU System
WALTHAM, Mass. (9/30/14)-- RTN FCU, based in Waltham, Mass., with $800 million in assets, raised $29,000 for the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, through the credit union's 2014 Walk Home. More than 125 walkers and volunteers participated in Walk Home 2014, held in three communities with RTN branches: Dorchester, Waltham and Danvers ( Wicked Local Waltham Sept. 29) ...
 
Signal Financial FCU, Kensington, Md., with $323 million in assets, has appointed Francois Verleysen as its new president/CEO. Verleysen will be the fourth CEO in the credit union's history. He succeeds Dan Stake, who served in the same position for 31 years. Verleysen previously served as community relations and membership development executive director at Bank-Fund Staff FCU, Washington, D.C. with $3.8 billion in assets. "Francois has extensive operations and financial management experience and is just the individual to lead us on our continuing journey of growth and new opportunities for the credit union and our members," said Andrew Mecklenberg, Signal Financial FCU board chairman ... ReadMore

Other Resources

CUNA Tech Council announces executive committee members

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (9/30/14)--The CUNA Technology Council announced its new executive committee members and officers last week during the council's 19th annual conference in Las Vegas.

The election took place in the months preceding the conference.

Belinda Cailouet, chief operations officer/chief information officer, Spokane Teachers FCU, Liberty Lake, Wash., with $1.9 billion in assets, will stay on as executive committee chair; Guy Russo, chief information officer, CommunityAmerica CU, Lenexa, Kan., with $1.9 billion in assets, will remain vice chair; and Mike Atkins, chief information officer, Bellco CU, Greenwood Village, Colo., with $2.7 billion in assets, will continue to serve as second vice chair.

Idrees Rafiq Jr., assistant vice president of information technology (IT) consulting, Credit Union Resources Inc., was appointed as the league representative.

Ben Morales, chief technology officer/chief operations officer, Washington State ECU, Olympia, Wash., with $2 billion in assets, was re-elected to the committee as well.

Three new members were elected to the executive committee, including:
  • Linda Barker, vice president of IT, Greater Nevada CU, Carson City, Nev., with $474 million in assets;
     
  • Bobby Matthis, vice president of IT, Westerra CU, Denver, with $1.3 billion in assets; and
     
  • Todd Richardson, senior vice president of IT, Park Community CU, Louisville, Ky., with $655 million in assets.
The Technology Council's executive committee also includes:
  • Alex Barker, senior vice president/chief communications officer, Mountain America CU, West Jordan, Utah, with $3.9 billion in assets;
     
  • Jeff Johnson, senior vice president of IT, Baxter CU, Vernon Hills, Ill., with $2 billion in assets;
     
  • Jennifer Robert, vice president of IT, Genisys CU, Auburn Hills, Mich., with $1.6 billion in assets;
     
  • Chris Saneda, senior vice president/chief information officer, Virginia CU, Richmond, Va., with $2.5 billion in assets; and
     
  • Kyle Welsh, vice president of technology services, BECU, Tukwila, Wash., with $12.6 billion in assets. 
ReadMore

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Missouri CUs embrace Bank on More SUV sweepstakes

CU System
ST. LOUIS (9/30/14)--At the halfway point of the Missouri Credit Union Association's (MCUA) "Bank on More SUV Sweepstakes," participation is running hot.

Photo caption: Joplin Metro CU brought in a Jeep Compass to display alongside the sweepstakes' backdrop to create excitement about the promotion. (Missouri Credit Union Association Photo)
More than 500 Missourians hoping to win an SUV have either uploaded photos of themselves to the association's Facebook page or shared them on Twitter and Instagram.

The social media activity, combined with ads and organic posts, can potentially reach about 100,000 people on a weekly basis, with at least 1,200 engagements, according to the MCUA.

"We had a great outpouring of community interest in our SUV Sweeps event," said Janell Roth, loan officer for Horizon CU, Macon, Mo., with $20 million assets.

To enter the sweepstakes, consumers must find the big orange square backdrop at a local credit union, have their photo taken in front of it, and upload it to a social media site with the hashtag #bankonmore.

The sweepstakes is a great way to drive nonmembers to credit union branches, according to the MCUA.

The prize is a 2014 Jeep Compass, and the promotion runs until Oct. 10.

Horizon employees last week served food and offered gas cards in front of the promotion's backdrop located at their credit union. At the end of the event, the credit union had received 120 entries and secured two new members.

The sweepstakes event hosted by TelComm CU, Springfield, with $126 million in assets, was so popular that more than two dozen people entered to win the SUV, according to Lori Johnson, TelComm vice president of marketing and business development.

For a full schedule of where the big orange back drop will be over the coming days, use the resource link below. ReadMore

Bank ATM fees continue to climb

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (9/30/14)--While credit unions continue to charge small or no fees for ATM transactions, banks have pumped up their fees to record highs, according to a recent survey from Bankrate.com .

Among the big banks polled, the average surcharge for non-customers who use their ATMs jumped 6.5% this year up to a record of $2.77.

Banks also charge their customers who get cash from ATMs outside of their networks an average of $1.58 per transaction, also a new high. That means consumers could have to fork over an average of $4.35 per transaction every time they use a bank ATM outside of their bank's system.

Meanwhile, of those credit unions who charge fees for using ATMs outside of the institution's network, the median fee charged sits much lower at about $1, according to the Credit Union National Association's 2013-14 fees report. 

Further, only about 6.5% of all credit unions charge transaction fees on ATMs they own. Credit unions charge a median fee of $1 for non-owned ATMs as well.

"Data from every market research firm tracking financial institution pricing reflects the same fact: Credit unions generally charge their members lower fees, lower rates on loans, and higher yields on deposits than those available at banking institutions," Mike Schenk, CUNA vice president of economics and statistics, told News Now .

"Any consumer shopping for financial products and services would do well to include credit unions in that process," Schenk added. "That's one of the many reasons an increasing number of consumers are recognizing credit unions as their best financial partner."

Many credit unions allow free transactions before assessing a fee for using an owned or non-owned ATM. The majority provide about five or six free transactions before assessing a fee, according to CUNA numbers. ReadMore

Mountain America CU among top 100 worldwide in HR management

CU System
WEST JORDAN, Utah (9/30/14)--Mountain America CU, with $3.9 billion in assets, West Jordan, Utah, has been named to the inaugural Workforce 100 list of the world's best companies for human capital management.  And the credit union says its positive employee policies help better serve members in every way.
 
 
Developed by Workforce , a human resources (HR) magazine, the list represents the first-time research and statistical analysis have been applied to ranking the impact and effectiveness of an organization's HR function.
 
"We believe our focus on hiring and retaining quality employees helps us to better serve our members in every way, as the member experience begins and ends with our employees," said Lynn Stephens, Mountain America CU senior vice president of human resources.
 
"We have seen significant value in investing in our employees' training and engaging them in all aspects of our organization. We find a direct correlation between employee engagement and member engagement, and strive to provide a work environment and culture that creates great results."
 
Inclusion on the Workforce 100 list reflects Mountain America CU's exceptional performance in seven core areas indicative of overall HR excellence: workplace culture; employee benefits; diversity and inclusion; employee development/talent management; HR innovation/management; leadership development; and recruiting and talent acquisition.
 
"Companies named to the Workforce 100 truly exemplify the best practices and most effective strategies being used to manage and maximize the impact of human capital today," said Rick Bell, Workforce managing editor. "Workforce is proud to acknowledge Mountain America CU's commitment and accomplishments."
 
In compiling the list, the Workforce editorial staff worked directly with the Human Capital Media Advisory Group, the magazine's research arm, to develop a statistically based formula that could analyze publicly available company information as well as benchmarking and ranking data. The formula was used to generate a score averaged and weighted across the seven core areas, creating a ranked list with comprehensive HR performance as the primary focus. ReadMore

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N.Y. CUs report strong 2Q lending, membership numbers

CU System
ALBANY, N.Y. (9/30/14)--New York credit unions' aggregate membership and loans increased in the second quarter, the Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) reported.
 
Membership expanded by 0.5% throughout the quarter to push the state's total number of credit union members up to 5.03 million. Loan totals increased by 2.6%, up from 0.9% in the first quarte ( The Point Sept. 30).
 
On a year-over-year basis, the second quarter saw membership and outstanding loans grow by 2.6% and 10.4%. The year-to-date membership growth, CUANY pointed out, is almost seven times greater than the state's population growth rate.
 
The smallest credit unions in the state, those with fewer than $20 million in assets, saw loan portfolios grow year-over-year in the second quarter by 8%. Overall, 62.2% of state credit unions said their assets increased.
 
Auto lending expanded by 4.9%, with new auto loans growing by 4.4%.
Outstanding member business loans increased by 4.3% to a year-to-date 13.7% expansion rate. The quarterly growth, CUANY noted, was higher than the national average of 3.1%.
 
Throughout the first half of the year, New York credit unions originated $7.2 in loans, with $2 of that coming from mortgages.
 
New York credit unions finished the second quarter with a cumulative net worth-to-asset ratio of 10.9%.
The CUANY quarterly report is developed with the Credit Union National Association of America. ReadMore

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Divorcing? Pay attention to financial details

Consumer
SAN FRANCISCO (9/30/14)--If you didn't play a role in managing family finances during your marriage, you could be at a disadvantage if you're going through a divorce ( USAToday.com Sept. 23).
 
It's important for both spouses to understand their current financial situation and postdivorce needs. Address these items to stay on top of your money situation:
  • Cash flow --Understand immediate cash-flow needs; if you'll need access to cash right away, look at liquid assets such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. If you won't need cash immediately, look at long-term assets such as retirement plan accounts.
  • Insurance coverage-- Check for coverage gaps and ways to cut costs. Don't find out after a disaster that coverage was cancelled for lack of payments by your spouse. Remove your former spouse from your auto policy to protect yourself from liability if he or she is involved in an accident and is sued. Consider life insurance as part of the final divorce decree to cover financial obligations. If the spouse providing alimony and child support dies, this may mean a significant loss of income.
  • Taxes --Review the tax impact of investments. Even if two assets or accounts have equal value, their economic values could be very different once you factor in taxes. Keep unrealized capital gains on taxable investments in mind, since taxes will be due someday. Review the past three years to five years of taxes you filed as a married couple. This shows combined incomes and if there are tax assets that need to be considered in divorce negotiations. Tax assets, such as charitable contribution carry-forwards, provide a reduction in future taxes and should be considered an asset when splitting the marital estate.
  • Retirement assets --Handle these transfers with care. The divorce decree should classify these items in a specific way. Consult a tax adviser for assistance.
  • Account passwords --Make sure you have information for all financial accounts. You and your spouse eventually will have separate accounts for most items, but you still might need access to accounts such as college savings plans for children.
  • Joint liabilities --Cancel jointly held credit cards, pay outstanding tax liabilities, and refinance your mortgage if possible. Settle all liabilities before your divorce is final by either paying them off or by transferring them to the spouse taking responsibility for the debt.
  • Beneficiaries --Check your will, all insurance policies, and financial accounts such as pensions and 401(k)s to change beneficiaries.
  • Digital assets --Though some of these assets might not have financial value, they have emotional value. If you and your spouse shared profiles on social networking sites, now's the time to create individual ones. Make sure you have passwords to access the sites in the meantime. If you have an estate plan for digital assets if you die, change the digital executor if needed.
For related information, read "Breaking Up: Your Finances in a Legal Separation" and "Life Changes Trigger Financial Changes" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center .
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CUAnswers completes 10 CU conversions, 6 mergers in FY 2014

Products
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (9/30/14)--CU*Answers announced it completed 10 new core processing systems for credit unions and six merger conversions, together representing the addition of 175,000 members to its CU*BASE core processing system in the 2014 fiscal year.

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization fiscal year runs from October through 2014.
 
CU*Answers also said it will integrate its credit score history dashboard with other analytical dashboards to strengthen each credit union's ability to design marketing programs. Previously, the credit score history dashboard was a stand-alone.
 
CU*BASE comes standard with analytical tools and dashboards that can create population segments based on activity, products and services. Now, before acting on the information found--for example, where members are shopping or whether they're enrolled in bill pay--a credit union can take that population segment and view their credit score history to see how their scores are trending as a group.
 
CU*Answers also said it began a beta-test on a new suite of budget calculation and analysis tools, integrated into CU*BASE. The redesigned software has been in development for more than a year and additional enhancements are in development for the next phases to be released 2015, the company said.
 
"What's unique about this project is the amount of direct client involvement in the testing process," said Keegan Daniel, CU*Answers professional services manager, who is coordinating the beta project.
 
Participating in the beta are Frankenmuth (Mich.) CU, with $306 million in assets, and Service 1 FCU, Muskegon, Mich., with $100 million in assets.

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