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News Now

August 29, 2014

Inside Washington(1)

  • WASHINGTON (8/29/14)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unveiled a new publication, "Financial Wellness at Work ." The report provides case studies designed to educate employers about practices that can improve employees' financial health and increase worker productivity. "We've been researching how innovative companies are leveraging technology, peer-to-peer relationships, and other promising practices to find low-cost, high-impact ways to promote financial wellness at work," the CFPB said in a release . "Our report is a resource for employers, non-profits, and others interested in promoting financial wellness programs in the workplace" ...

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Wal-Mart to issue EMV MasterCards within next few weeks

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (8/29/14)--Wal-Mart announced holders of its branded MasterCard will be receiving new cards with EMV (Europay-Visa-MasterCard) chips embedded within the next few weeks.

The announcement comes two weeks after the Payments Security Task Force (PST), an organization made up of more than a dozen companies and organizations, announced that 575 million EMV cards will be issued by the end of 2015 ( News Now Aug. 14).

EMV, which stands for the companies that developed the technology, is a new global standard that would replace the magnetic strip on cards with an embedded chip. Instead of swiping, customers insert the cards into compatible point-of-sale terminals.

The chip-embedded cards are considered more secure against fraud since authentication provided by the use of a PIN and cryptographic algorithms are more difficult to duplicate.

The Credit Union National Association is a member of the PST, and Eric Richard, CUNA general counsel/executive vice president for regulatory affairs, said that EMV cards are picking up momentum within the financial industry.

Richard also said that there is still a question about whether the merchant community will be prepared to make the full-time change, as well as a need for all stakeholders to continue working on security strategies to combat data breaches.

In October 2015, organizations deploying EMV cards will be protected from financial liability from card-present counterfeit fraud losses.

Guy Chiarello, president of First Data, a global payment processing firm, said his company is encouraging institutions to launch EMV plans as soon as possible before the October 2015 deadline.

"Issuing EMV now will benefit consumers by making the most secure payment card available sooner, while reducing fraud losses and enhancing payments system security for all," he said.

The EMV Migration Forum has estimated that approximately 100 million EMV cards, approximately 9% of the card base, will be issued by the end of 2014. Javelin Strategy and Research estimates that 52% of point-of-sale terminals will be EMV-enabled by the end of 2015.

Wal-Mart currently has EMV terminals in more than 4,600 stores already, including all Sam's Club locations. According to a statement, terminals in the remaining U.S. stores will be activated by the end of this year. ReadMore

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FTC warns of government impostor scams

WASHINGTON (8/29/14)--Even if a phone's caller ID says "Federal Trade Commission" (FTC) or "Internal Revenue Service" and shows a Washington, D.C., area code, it could still be scammers, the FTC warned in a recent announcement. According to the FTC, scammers know how to display fake information on caller ID systems.

The FTC's warning states that scammers have been calling consumers, saying the caller is from the government and the consumer owes taxes or some other debt. The scammer tells them to put money on a prepaid debit card and then to tell the phony government representative the card number. Others scammers say there is a large sweepstakes prize from the FTC or some other agency, and that the money will be awarded after the consumer pays for shipping, taxes or some other expense.

The FTC's Consumer Information website has released information on how to spot potential scammers claiming to be from the government.

The website says all consumers should be aware of the following:
  • Federal government agencies and employees don't ask people to send money for prizes or unpaid loans. The FTC doesn't supervise sweepstakes, and when the IRS contacts people about unpaid taxes, they usually do it by postal mail, not by phone;

  • Federal government agencies and employees also don't ask people to wire money or use a prepaid debit card to pay for anything. Once a prepaid card is sent or a money transfer is made, the funds are gone; and

  • Do not rely on caller ID. Scammers know how to rig it to show the wrong information. Scammers might have personal information about individuals before they call, so it should not be taken as a sign the caller is legitimate.
Use the resource link below to access the FTC's government impostor scams homepage. ReadMore

N.J. money services biz fined for repeated BSA violations

WASHINGTON (8/29/14)--A New Jersey-based money services business has been fined for "willful and repeated violations" of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), the U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced Thursday. BPI Inc. has admitted its conduct violated the BSA and has consented to a civil money penalty of $125,000.

BPI was cited in 2005 and 2006 for what FinCEN called "serious concerns with its anti-money laundering program" found by examiners. Federal and state examiners issued warnings and corrective actions at that time.

In 2011, an examination found the same deficiencies were still present. In addition to deficiencies with its internal controls, independent testing and training, examiners also found that, prior to the 2011 examination, BPI had never filed a single suspicious activity report.

In addition, it was found that BPI employees allowed customers to conduct transactions without verifying and retaining required identification information and allowed customers to conduct money transfers by using expired identification documents.

"There is absolutely no excuse for a financial institution to ignore such warnings and render the U.S. financial system vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing," said FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery, noting that BPI had "plenty of notice of its problems" from examiners and an independent auditor.

According to FinCEN, BPI ceased operations as a money services business in March 2014.

Use the resource information to access FinCEN's civil penalty assessment. ReadMore

Next major financial shock will come from cyberattack, says IOSCO head

WASHINGTON (8/29/14)--Cybercrime is a "sleeper issue" with the potential for huge impact on markets, says Greg Medcraft, chairman of the board of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), according to a report this Monday in the Financial Times .

Medcraft predicted that the next major financial shock will come from cyberspace, following attacks on large players in the financial marketplace.

According to the Financial Times , Medcraft believes there needs to be consistency around the world when it comes to identifying and mitigating cyberthreats. This would include a global "toolbox" that would identify risk-management standards for detecting and responding to cyberattacks.

JPMorganChase, and at least four other banks, were struck by coordinated attacks by hackers earlier this month, according to a report from The New York Times . The article states that hackers siphoned "gigabytes of data, including checking and savings account information, in what security experts described as a sophisticated cyberattack."

A report from Bloomberg cites unnamed sources that say Russian hackers likely perpetrated the attacks, and that authorities are investigating whether recent attacks on major European banks using a similar vulnerability could be linked. The Bloomberg report cites experts who contend the attacks, which "plowed through layers of elaborate security to steal the data," appear "far beyond the capability of ordinary criminal hackers."

Businesses have been the target of attacks as well. Last week the U.S. Secret Service issued a bulletin about malware known as "Backoff" that has been associated with several point-of-sale data breaches. The bulletin estimated that more than 1,000 businesses are affected with the malware, which accesses a businesses' administrator account remotely to exfiltrate consumer payment data.

According to the Secret Service, Backoff was not recognized by antivirus software until this month, but bas been detected as far back as October 2013. This means that even computers with the latest antivirus updates and security patches did not recognize Backoff as malicious.

A recent Ponemon Institute study of data breaches showed that that average financial cost to victims of a data breach averages $157 per consumer, when the breach is a result of malicious criminal intent. For companies that are hit with such attacks, the average cost is $3.5 million ( News Now Aug. 21).

And as Charles Lybrand, an information security analyst with TraceSecurity, points out, for any target of a cyberattack financial losses are just the beginning of the damage. There are reputational losses, a possible loss of business, and other costs, such as reimbursement and legal fees. TraceSecurity is a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider.

U.S. financial regulators, as well as the Congress, are grappling with policy issues involving cybersecurity.  There is apparent agreement that the cost and effort required to prevent an attack is lower, and seems more manageable, than the cost and effort to react to one. Beyond that, there is much debate.

However, financial regulators are working to give resources and guidance to financial institutions. For instance, in March the National Credit Union Administration launched a new resource for credit unions--a webpage that provides links to cybersecurity and data security resources. (Use the resource link.)

The Credit Union National Association is pressing federal lawmakers to address data security relative to merchants, who are not held to the same standards of security as credit union and other financial institutions. CUNA is a strong proponent that all payments system participants must be held to comparable levels of federal data security requirements; those responsible for the data breach should be responsible for the costs of helping consumers; and those responsible should ensure consumers know where their information was breached.

Use the resource links below for more information. ReadMore

8 CU advisory members, senior leaders named by CFPB

WASHINGTON (8/29/14)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced new members of the Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC), as well as new senior leaders and other advisory board members. The CUAC advises the CFPB on regulating consumer financial products or services, specifically to share the unique perspectives of credit unions.

The bureau supervises credit unions and other depository institutions with more than $10 billion in assets. It does not have authority over those credit unions with less than $10 billion in assets, other than limited authority conveyed by a section of the Dodd-Frank Act.

The members of the CUAC are:
  • Robert Falk, president/CEO, Purdue FCU, West Lafayette, Ind., with $823 million in assets;
  • Jason Lee, executive vice president/chief financial officer, Orion FCU, Memphis, Tenn., with $545 million in assets;
  • Robin Loftus, chief operating officer, Heartland CU, Springfield, Ill., with $243 million in assets;
  • James McDaniel, president/CEO, Heritage Trust FCU, Charleston, S.C., with $487 million in assets;
  • Robin Romano, CEO, MariSol FCU, Phoenix, with $33 million in assets;
  • Ronald Scott, president/CEO, Appalachian Community FCU, Gray, Tenn., with $171 million in assets;
  • David Seely, president/CEO, Kirtland FCU, Albuquerque, N.M., with $674 million in assets; and
  • John Winne, president/CEO, Boston Firefighters CU, Dorchester, Mass., with $193 million in assets.
New members to the council will serve two-year terms.

The bureau also named the following new senior leaders:
  • Patricia McClung, assistant director for mortgage markets. McClung worked at the Federal Housing Administration as a senior housing policy adviser and, since January, has been acting director of program development in single-family housing, with responsibility for the home mortgage insurance, valuation and program support divisions;

  • Janneke Ratcliffe, assistant director for financial education. Ratcliffe has served as executive director at the Center for Community Capital at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 2005; and

  • Will Wade-Gery, assistant director for card and payments markets. Wade-Gery has been serving in the same position as the acting assistant director since January. Prior to being named acting assistant director, he was senior counselor on the card and payments markets team.

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GDP increase of 4.2% reverses Q1 decline

WASHINGTON (8/29/14)--Gross domestic product expanded at a 4.2% on an annualized basis, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), an upward revision of the BEA's previously reported 4% growth and a reversal of the 2.1% decline in the first quarter.
Consumer spending made the largest contribution adding 1.7 percentage points to the expansion. Inventory investment, exports and fixed investment were also sources of growth ( Aug. 28). Inflation accelerated in the second quarter, led by food and energy prices. Real disposable income growth accelerated.
The biggest drag on growth came from imports, which reduced growth by 1.7%.
Revisions were positive with growth revised up, particularly from final sales. Profits rose 8% (not annualized) mostly reversing the first-quarter decline. Gross domestic income surged 4.7% after falling 0.8% in the first quarter.
Final sales, which exclude the support to GDP from inventories, were weaker, rising 2.8%. That increase follows decline of 1%, which was the largest drop since the first quarter of 2009.
The personal consumption expenditures index showed inflation accelerated in the second quarter. It rose 2.3% in the quarter, up from 1.4% the prior three months. Excluding food and energy, inflation rose 2%, up from 1.2% the prior quarter. Neither figure was revised. ReadMore

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Business Rates

Daily Financial Rates -- 2014-08-29

Financial Rates

Friday, August 29, 2014

03:55 AM CDT

(based on the $1 million market)

1 month0.
3 month0.
6 month0.
1 year0.
2 year0.500.510.520.530.53
3 year0.950.970.980.990.98
5 year1.631.651.681.691.68
7 year2.
10 year2.342.372.392.392.40
20 year2.822.852.892.882.90
30 year3.


Results of the August 25, 2014 auction of short-term U.S. government bills, sold at a discount from face value in units of $10,000 to $ 1 million

Mon, 8/25
Week Ago
Mon, 8/18
13 weeks0.0300.030
26 weeks0.0500.050


3.25% Last changed December 16, 2008


near closing bid0.0600.0400.0800.0700.080
effective rate20.0800.1100.0800.1200.110

FREDDIE MAC (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

30 year0.

FANNIE MAE (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

30 year3.6773.7203.7133.7173.733


1 month0.215000.210000.212000.211000.21100
3 month0.371000.364000.366000.362000.36200
6 month0.541000.536000.544000.538000.53800
1 year0.846000.842000.847000.842000.84200

COMMERCIAL PAPER (Financial, 90 days)

TermWeek ended
Week ended
90 days0.230.23

NA: 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. ReadMore

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Consumer Rates


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 0.35% 0.15% 0.20%
NSF Fee $27.89 $32.04 $-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 10.16% 10.41% -0.25%
New Auto Loan - 5 Years 2.57% 3.83% -1.26%
Used Auto Loan - 2 year Old - 4 Years 2.76% 4.03% -1.27%
HELOC - 80% LTV - $50,000 4.14% 4.41% -0.27%
HE Loan - 80% LTV - $50,000 - 15 Years 5.67% 5.99% -0.32%

Mortgage Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
30 Year Fixed Conforming 4.13% 4.14% -0.01%
30 Year Fixed Jumbo 4.21% 4.06% 0.15%
5/1 Year ARM Conforming 2.93% 2.89% 0.04%

Credit Card Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Platinum 9.02% 10.86% -1.84%
Annual Fee $25.00 $65.00 $-40.00
Maximum Late Fee $26.03 $33.81 $-7.78
Reward 10.00% 12.36% -2.36%
Annual Fee $26.71 $101.13 $-74.42
Maximum Late Fee $22.58 $33.22 $-10.64

Indirect Auto Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Indirect A Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 3.60% 3.76% -0.16%
Indirect B Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 5.34% 5.31% 0.03%
Indirect C Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 7.52% 6.76% 0.76%

Averages displayed are straight averages of all institutions within the Informa Research Services database for the selected region as of Thursday, August 28, 2014. For detailed disclosures click here.


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News of the Competition (08/29/2014)

  • WASHINGTON (8/29/14)--Second-quarter results reflect a stronger banking industry and stronger community banks in particular, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chair Martin J. Gruenberg. The FDIC reported Thursday that the commercial banks and savings institutions it insures posted aggregate net income of $40.2 billion in the second quarter, up 5.3% from a year earlier . In its last quarterly banking profile, the FDIC added a section on community banks, which make up 93% of all FDIC-insured institutions. The $4.9 billion second-quarter net income at community banks was up $166 million, or 3.5%, over last year. The report also found that community bank loan balances increased faster than the industry as a whole and that they account for 45% of small loans to businesses ...

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CU System briefs (08/29/2014)

CU System
  • WATERLOO, Iowa (8/29/14)-­- Jean Trainor, CEO and chief inclusion office of Veridian CU, Waterloo, Iowa, announced her departure from the $2.4 billion-asset credit union . Trainor has been with the credit union for 32 years, serving as the CEO for 25 years. She is taking on a new career to help her 29-year-old son--who has a rare disorder that leaves him unable to speak--train others to communicate via keyboard as he has been doing for eight years. Trainor told the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier that she had decided helping Nate take on this task would be her next career (Aug. 28) ...
  • CHARLESTON, W. Va. (8/29/14)-- Pioneer West Virginia FCU, Charleston, W.Va., announced Dan McGowan will succeed Dana Rawlings as president/CEO when Rawlings retires at the end of September . McGowan currently is the executive vice president/chief financial officer of the $179 million asset-credit union ( Charleston Gazette Aug. 27). Under Rawlings' tenure, the credit union rebranded, completed three mergers and expanded its field of membership to 10 counties in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio ...

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CUNA closed for Labor Day, No News Now

CU System
WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (8/29/14)--The Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wis., offices of the Credit Union National Association will be closed Monday in observance of Labor Day.
There will be no Monday edition of News Now . News Now will resume regular publication on Tuesday. ReadMore

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No bogies: CU golf tourneys raise $172,000

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (8/29/14)--Summer is a perfect time to hit the links, and credit unions take the opportunity to turn the greens into gold for their charities of choice.
Youth financial education is the beneficiary of $41,000 raised by 96 players and 21 sponsors at the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation/CUNA Mutual Golf Tournament, held Aug. 18 in Newport Beach, Calif.
Service 1st FCU, Danville, Pa., raised $30,000 during its 21st annual golf tournament last Friday for the Janet Weis Children's Hospital, Nolan's Heart of Steel and Montour County Veterans Affairs. (Service 1st FCU Photo)
"The funds from this year's successful RMJ/CUNA Mutual Golf Tournament will go a long way toward funding the Bite of Reality, our youth financial education program, which has reached more than 3,500 teens in California and Nevada since its inception in 2012," said Tena Lozano, executive director of the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation.
With a turnout of 130 golfers and 23 sponsors, the Ohio Credit Union Foundation Classic raised $41,000 Aug. 11. The foundation will use the funds to support credit union financial education, outreach projects, professional development and disaster relief needs in 2015 ( eLumination Aug. 20).
The Massachusetts Credit Union League's charity golf tournament benefited the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless to the tune of $27,000 ( Daily CU Scan Aug. 27). During the Monday event, Lois Ferraresso, the coalition's associate director, thanked the 100 golfers and event sponsors for their support.
The Utah Credit Union Association raised about $10,000 for scholarships to Western CUNA Management School with its KSL Golf Tournament ( Association Update Aug. 12).
Service 1st FCU, Danville, Pa., raised $30,000 during its 21st annual golf tournament last Friday for the Janet Weis Children's Hospital, Nolan's Heart of Steel and Montour County Veterans Affairs. "Occasionally, I have veterans who fall into an unfortunate financial crisis through no fault of their own," said Douglas Resseguie, Montour County Veterans Affairs director. "This money will go a long way in helping deserving veterans get back on their feet with some short-term emergency assistance." In addition to the golf tournament, the $233 million-asset credit union held a duck derby as part of its #DoGood campaign.
Erie, Pa.-based Widget Financial FCU's sixth annual Million Dollar Golf Shoot Out raised more than $23,700 for Charities for Children Inc., which supports 14 charities in the Erie area ( Life is a Highway Aug. 28). Approximately 107 golfers and more than 120 individuals attended the Aug. 18 event. Combined with its annual bowling tournament, the $264 million-asset credit union has donated $52,555 in 2014 to Charities for Children. ReadMore

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Branch contact still important, says CU satisfaction index

CU System
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (8/29/14)--The importance of branches to members continues to see-saw, according to the CFI Group's latest Credit Union Satisfaction Index (CUSI). Potential members see them as a key reason to join a credit union. Current members appreciate the way they are treated at their branch but are looking for new channels such as mobile for service.
Click to view larger image CFI Group Graphic
In the second installment of its CUSI, CFI Group found that the branch experience continues to be highly rated at 92--"a reflection of members' ongoing delight with the way they are treated."
At 31%, branch convenience remains a high point for why a member chooses a credit union. Once part of the fold, the member shifts focus to other satisfaction factors such as mobile access or new products.
"As our lives are becoming increasingly technology-centric, it is only natural for members to desire access to their accounts remotely," said Terry Redding, CFI Group vice president of sales and marketing. "Even though the vast majority of members are using online and mobile banking, members still want the convenience of a nearby branch, exceptional service and the ability to access their accounts in-person if they choose to do so."
Expanding the ATM branch experience may fill members' needs. The report notes that there is a genuine appetite for ATM services such as paying credit card bills (38%), making a loan payment (30%), purchasing a CD (29%) and opening an account (28%).
Members' desire for online and mobile services continues to grow across all age ranges, which designers need to take into account. The report noted, "Applications that work well for eagle-eyed and text-savvy young people may not have the same appeal to their perhaps 'fatter-fingered' and glasses-wearing parents."
The CUSI model looks at six satisfaction drivers: products and services, information and communications, branch staff, branch convenience, rates and fees, and online and mobile banking.
Overall member satisfaction is strong at 86--a decline from 90 in the 2013 inaugural report--but banks ticked up one point to 80 from 79 in CFI's Bank Satisfaction Barometer report. ReadMore

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Home-state visits connect lawmakers, CU members

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (8/29/14)--Credit unions reported several productive home-state visits with lawmakers this week.
Click to view larger image U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) greets members of the Carolinas Credit Union League's Western Chapter on Tuesday. (Carolinas Credit Union League Photo)
Meeting with lawmakers while they are in their districts is a critical part of the Credit Union National Association's advocacy strategy, Ryan Donovan, CUNA senior vice president of legislative affairs, told News Now.

"It reinforces the local presence credit unions have in virtually every community in the country, and frankly, some of our more productive meetings with representatives and senators take place back home because members have more time to meet with their constituents and understand their concerns," Donovan said.
On Tuesday, the Carolinas Credit Union League's Western Chapter hosted an event featuring Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) in Asheville, N.C., attended by more than 80 credit union representatives (In the Loop Aug. 29)
Click to view larger imagePatti Seymore, vice president at SC Telco FCU, Greenville, S.C., and U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) (Carolinas Credit Union League Photo)
"Your members trust you--and having someone you can trust when making important financial decisions is important," Meadows told attendees.
Currently serving his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Meadows reiterated his support for the credit union tax exemption and shared his concerns about the overregulation credit unions are facing as a result of the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act.
"Many of our credit unions that have been to Washington, D.C., or met individually with Congressman Meadows over the past year have come to appreciate his strong support for credit unions," said Dan Schline, league senior vice president of association services. "Tonight was important because a wider group of western North Carolina credit unions got to hear firsthand about that support."
Click to view larger image U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) speaks with credit union advocates from the Carolinas Credit Union League's Columbia Chapter. (Carolinas Credit Union League Photo)
In addition to signing a joint letter from members of the House of Representatives to National Credit Union Administration Chair Debbie Matz in June, Meadows authored his own letter this month expressing concerns about the agency's risk-based capital proposal.
U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan's (R-S.C.) fourth annual Faith and Freedom BBQ drew more than 1,100 attendees Monday. Special guests included Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson. Credit union advocates from the 3rd District attended a private reception prior to the event and were able to meet with elected officials to discuss credit union issues.
Missouri credit union leaders met with U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) this week. From left: Jay Neathery, executive vice president, United Consumers CU, Independence, Mo.; Rick Schier, vice president of sales and service, CommunityAmerica CU, Lenexa, Kan.; Ron Miller, president, Edison CU, Kansas City; Graves; Dennis Pierce, president/CEO, and Pat Yokley,  chief operating officer, CommunityAmerica CU; Don Cohenour, president/CEO, Missouri Credit Union Association; and Chris McCreary, president, United Consumers CU. (Missouri Credit Union Association Photo)
The Carolinas Credit Union League, along with the Columbia Chapter of Credit Unions, hosted longtime credit union supporter Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) on Tuesday in Columbia, S.C., for a BBQ "Meet and Greet." Credit union members throughout the midlands had the opportunity to speak with Wilson and his staff, in addition to celebrating credit unions' national 100 million memberships milestone.

U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) reaffirmed his support for maintaining the credit union tax status when he met with Missouri credit union leaders this week, the Missouri Credit Union Association reported.  The meeting took place Monday at CommunityAmerica CU's North Oak Trafficway branch in Kansas City, Mo.  During the meeting, credit union leaders stressed the importance of the credit union tax status when discussing the possibility of tax reform in the next Congress.
Graves, who had served as chairman of the House Small Business Committee, asked about the impact of data breaches on credit unions.
In addition to the league and Lenexa, Kan.-based $1.9 billion-asset CommunityAmerica CU, participants in the meeting included Edison CU, Kansas City, Mo., with $29 million in assets; and United Consumers CU, Independence, Mo., with $123 million in assets. ReadMore

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CU responds with relief, loan program after Napa quake

CU System
NAPA, Calif. (8/29/14)--Redwood CU (RCU), Santa Rosa, Calif., with $2.3 billion in assets, is accepting contributions and offering loan assistance for those affected by Sunday's Napa area earthquake.

All of RCU's 17 branch locations and local call center have been designated as collection sites for the American Red Cross relief fund to assist those affected by the earthquake.
"Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the earthquake, and we want to help however we can," said Brett Martinez, RCU president/CEO. "Accepting monetary donations through our branches and call center makes it easy and convenient for our members and local community to support the American Red Cross relief efforts."
The credit union also is offering special assistance to residents in the Napa area who have been affected financially by the recent earthquake, including an interest-free earthquake relief loan of up to $5,000 for 12 months to help with unexpected expenses resulting from Sunday's earthquake. Other types of loans are also available to assist local residents and businesses with earthquake-related financial issues.
"When natural disasters occur, many people find themselves burdened by unexpected expenses that can cause financial distress," Martinez said. "We are offering assistance through these loans to give local earthquake victims peace of mind so they can resume their normal lives as they recover from this unfortunate event. We're here to help." ReadMore

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World Council encourages charity focus for ICU Day

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (8/29/14)--International Credit Union (ICU) Day's theme of "Local Service. Global Good." gives credit unions a chance to make a difference for the charity of their choice, noted the World Council of Credit Unions.
With that in mind, the World Council is encouraging fundraising this year. Each country will be asked to report charitable donations leading up to and throughout ICU Day, which is Oct. 16.
The World Council will capture the results and share a global report on credit union fundraising efforts at the community, national and international levels.
It suggests a number of campaigns, including:
  • Fundraising events with social media coverage;
  • In-branch coin drives;
  • Corporate matching and office fundraising challenges;
  • Credit union interchange fees for all card transactions;
  • Add-on donation options for members to make through debit/card transactions; or
  • Crowdfunding websites.
In the United States, Credit Unions for Kids will hold Shop for Miracles, a one-day fundraising program to support local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Each time members use their credit union-issued credit or debit card on Oct. 16, participating credit unions will donate a pre-determined amount to their local children's hospital.
The World Council also encourages credit unions to engage with members on Facebook and Twitter with the #ICUDay hashtag. ReadMore

Creative uses for your tax-advantaged accounts

NEW YORK (8/26/14)--Just as with finding unconventional uses for common items--did you know crushed aspirin is great at removing sweat stains?--there are multiple ways to use your tax-advantaged accounts. 
A report released this month from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington D.C., found that the average person contributing the maximum allowed to a health savings account (HSA) could save up $360,000 in 40 years assuming a 2.5% rate of return. That amount jumps to $600,000 after 40 years at a 5% rate of return (The New York Times Aug. 19).
HSAs were created a decade ago to help people with high-deductible insurance plans pay for health-care expenses. The reason financial planners are beginning to recommend them as a potential vehicle for retirement savings is that they're triple tax-advantaged: contributions reduce your taxable income, grow tax free, and can be withdrawn tax-free for eligible expenses. 
And although the max you can contribute annually to an HSA now is $3,300 for an individual and $6,550 for a family, the balance can be rolled over from year to year and invested. 
You can only contribute to an HSA if you're enrolled in a high-deductible health insurance plan, and it only makes sense to use it as a long-term investment if you have enough money to cover your out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.
Here are some other outside-the-box uses for conventional tax-advantaged accounts (Forbes Aug. 14):
  • Make your Roth IRA an emergency fund. Ideally, you'd have an emergency fund equal to three to six months of expenses. What could help get you there more quickly is using your Roth IRA (individual retirement account) as an emergency fund. You can withdraw any money except earned interest, tax-free, from a Roth IRA at any time.
  • Tap your 401(k) for a down payment on a house or for education expenses. You can withdraw up to $10,000 from your retirement account without paying the 10% penalty if it's used to buy a new home--to qualify you cannot have owned a home in the last 3 years--or for education expenses. Both a degree and paid-off home can be huge assets later in life, but make sure you're still on track for retirement without that money.
  • Use your Roth IRA for health insurance in retirement. If you retire before you're eligible for Medicare at 65, you may be eligible for subsidies that significantly lower the cost of buying a plan through a healthcare exchange. Because Roth IRA withdrawals are tax-free, you can use that money to pay for the health plan without affecting your eligibility for subsidies.
For related information, read "Interest Deferred: Beware Zero-Percent Medical Credit Cards" and "Self-Directed IRAs: With Flexibility Comes Risk" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center. ReadMore

Registration open for Oct. 15 CUNA Mutual Discovery Conference

MADISON, Wis. (8/29/14)--CUNA Mutual Group's fifth annual, daylong Discovery Conference, scheduled for Oct. 15, offers 12 free credit union-focused sessions online.
The Discovery Conference is the Web-based equivalent of a face-to-face conference without the associated expenses or time away from the office. "The beauty of participating online is the convenience," said Christy LaMasney, manager of Discovery for CUNA Mutual Group. "It requires absolutely no travel, hotel or time away from the office, and it's free for everyone."
The conference offers live chats, networking opportunities, message boards, an exhibit hall and prizes. In addition, registration includes access to conference materials after the event is over.
John Lass, CUNA Mutual Group senior vice president of strategy and business development, is the keynote speaker. Lass will speak on how retail financial services could be disrupted by new technologies and business models, and what actions credit unions could take to mitigate the impact. In addition, the conference will feature several industry thought leaders:
  • Ben Rogers, research director at Filene Research Institute, "Gen Y Personal Finances: A Crisis of Confidence and Capability;"
  • James Robert Lay, president of CUGrow, "Digital Marketing for Business Development;"
  • Gary Weuve, CUNA Brokerage Services vice president of the Center for Advisor Excellence, "The Rules of the Retirement Game Have Changed for Members--The Credit Union's Role;"
  • Tim McAlpine, president of Currency Marketing, "Better Together: Uniting Marketing and IT for Success;"
  • Steve Rick, CUNA Mutual Group chief economist, "U.S. Economic Outlook and Its Impact on Credit Unions;"
  • Brad Keller, The Santa Fe Group senior vice president and program director, "Building and Maintaining an Effective Third Party Risk Program;"
  • Theresa Reinke, CUNA Mutual Group compliance consultant, "TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosures--It's a Whole New World;"
  • Jay Isaacson, CUNA Mutual Group vice president of commercial products, "Cyber Exposures: Rules, Regs, and Risk;"
  • Bryce Roth, co-founder of ChatterYak!, "What You Need to Know About Compliance and Social Media;"
  • Steve Hoke, CUNA Mutual Group director of loan growth, "Exciting Trends in Auto Purchasing;"
  • Stephen Arnold, CUNA Mutual Group vice president and direct-to-consumer business leader, and Eric Hallinan, senior consultant for MarshBerry, "The View from Here: An Eyes-Wide-Open Approach to Insurance Distribution Models;" and
  • Chris Silveira, Guardian Analytics manager of fraud intelligence, "Mobile Banking: Trends, Threats, and Fraud Prevention Techniques."
Each thought-leader session will feature video, audio and a question-and-answer portion.
The online event is designed for CEOs and senior leadership teams of credit unions, but all credit union and league employees are welcome.
"Attendees can come and go from the conference as they please," said LaMasney. "This provides great flexibility to allow many staff members from the same organization to attend, if even for just a few hours." ReadMore
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