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November 26, 2014

DoD extends comment deadline on lending act proposal

Washington
WASHINGTON (11/26/14)--The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced a 30-day extension of the comment period for its proposed changes to the Military Lending Act. Comments will now be accepted until Dec. 26.

According to the posting in Tuesday's Federal Register , the DOD is "extending the comment period after receiving requests from several organizations. These organizations expressed that they would not have sufficient time to adequately cover their concerns."

The proposal would overhaul the Military Lending Act and could affect credit unions that serve military members and families. Most notably, it would place a 36% cap on the annual percentage rate of interest charged for credit products covered by the regulation, which includes credit cards and payday loans.

Current National Credit Union Administration regulations allow federal credit unions to offer payday alternative loans with an interest rate of up to 28% and an application fee of up to $20.

NCUA Chair Debbie Matz previously expressed concern that the rule could prevent credit unions from making payday loans permitted by NCUA rules. The NCUA finalized a payday lending alternative rule in 2010, and considered existing DOD regulations when constructing it.

"The Defense Department's new proposed rule would broaden the definition of  'consumer credit' under Military Lending Act regulations in a way that would prevent federal credit unions from making payday alternative loans permitted by our rule," Matz said.

The Credit Union National Association and the Defense Credit Union Council are working with state associations and credit unions to develop a comment letter. CUNA is still accepting comments on the proposal. ReadMore

Other Resources

NCUA posts updates on guaranteed notes, corporate resolution program

Washington
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/26/14)--Updated information on the performance of the National Credit Union Administration's Guaranteed Notes program and costs of the corporate credit union resolution program have been posted to the agency's website.

The information was previously covered at the agency's last board meeting; however, the website features the updated figures and new infographics.

According to the agency, the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund assessment range is from negative $2.2 billion to negative $200 million, making it likely that credit unions will not be charged future assessments.
Click to view larger image Total corporate credit union system resolution costs and net remaining assessments, in billions. (NCUA Graphic)

"However, the projections are subject to change based on the performance of the failed corporates' legacy assets, future legal recoveries and economic variables such as interest rates, unemployment and housing costs," reads a statement from the NCUA.

Credit unions have paid $4.8 billion in assessments since the creation of the Stabilization Fund in 2009.

The agency also said the negative balance will not result in refunds for credit unions in 2015, due to the $2.6 billion in outstanding borrowings to the U.S. Treasury, Guaranteed Notes principal and interests, as well as other obligations of the stabilization fund. Refunds are unlikely until at least the expiration of the Stabilization Fund in 2021.

In addition to the updates, the agency has posted a question-and-answer document with detailed information about costs incurred to date and projected future assessment ranges over the life of the Stabilization Fund.

According to the NCUA, it will provide periodic updates on the estimates about the costs associated with the corporate system resolution, the performance of the Guaranteed Notes program and the total anticipated assessments credit unions will pay during the life of the Stabilization Fund. ReadMore

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Inside Washington (11/26/14)

Washington
  • WASHINGTON (11/26/14)--The U.S. Treasury Department has announced a new director of the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. Annie Donovan, former CEO of CoopMetrics, will serve as director, overseeing the expansion of access to capital and financial services in critically underserved urban, rural and tribal communities, where one of the biggest obstacles to economic development is a lack of access to mainstream sources of private sector capital, according to a release announcing the hire. Donovan has experience as a board member of many organizations in the community development finance sector ...
ReadMore

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CFPB ombudsman reports top complaint areas of 2014

Washington
WASHINGTON (11/26/14)--A review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from the agency's ombudsman has been released, highlighting several issues from 2014.

CFPB Ombudsman Wendy Kamenshine said the report aims to highlight ways the ombudsman has resolved process issues with the bureau throughout 2014.

The report includes inquiries by consumers, financial entities, trade associations and through internal engagement with bureau staff.
Click to view larger image The number of inquiries to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ombudsman in FY2014 compared with FY2013, sorted by category. (CFPB Graphic)

The ombudsman received 1,133 inquiries in fiscal year 2014, down from 1,422 in fiscal year 2013. According to the report, nearly all of the decline is attributed to fewer consumer contacts--871 this year compared with 1,219 the year before. The number of individual inquiries from other groups increased by roughly 9% over the year before.

The bureau as a whole received roughly 240,600 consumer complaints this year, up from 144,000 the year prior.

Inquiries to the ombudsman about the CFPB included questions (41%), complaints (36%), topics of concern (14%), courtesy copies to the ombudsman (6%), and feedback on CFPB and non-CFPB topics (2%).

The ombudsman's office also reviews systemic issues that may be affecting consumers or financial institutions around the country. One of the issues reviewed in FY2014 was what information the CFPB shares with consumers about public actions and what channels are used to connect with the bureau regarding industry developments, and how that information is shared within the CFPB.

The bureau generally releases information about public actions via press release, website, a telephone contact center and, in some cases, letters to consumers.

The ombudsman recommended the bureau standardize all informational documents provided to the contact center so information can easily be found as the staff interacts with the public. It also recommended the bureau make public actions easier to find on the CFPB's homepage.

Other issues reviewed in the report include: setting expectations and the need for transparency, how the bureau shares information and a look into the CFPB caller contact center. ReadMore

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FHFA directive loosens policy on sales of existing REOs

Washington
WASHINGTON (11/26/14)--A change to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's existing real estate owned (REO) properties policy will allow the enterprises to sell existing REO properties to any qualified purchasers at fair-market value. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) directed Fannie and Freddie to make the change Tuesday.

The change is limited to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac REO inventory of single-family homes as of Nov. 25, which is roughly 121,000 properties.

Previously, Fannie and Freddie required homeowners who have been through foreclosure and want to buy their home back to pay the entire amount owed on the mortgage. This applied to anyone buying the home for the benefit of the previous homeowner as well.  

The new rule applies to existing REO properties and allows homeowners who are able to repurchase their home, or a third-party able to purchase on their behalf, to do so under the fair-market value policy that already applies to other purchasers of REO properties. 

According to a release by the FHFA, certain property exclusions may apply and will be handled by the Fannie and Freddie on a case-by-case basis. ReadMore

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Freddie to add loan-level loss data to historical dataset

Washington
McLEAN, Va. (11/26/14)--Freddie Mac will begin including loan-level actual loss to its single family loan-level historical dataset, it announced Tuesday.

According to a release, the enhanced dataset will increase transparency and help investors build more accurate credit performance models in support of Freddie's single-family credit risk offerings.

"It is important for investors to have this expanded view of credit risk, especially as we continue to grow and evolve our credit risk offerings. Having data openly available in the marketplace allows us to expand the amount of risk transferred to private investors," said Kevin Palmer, vice president of single-family strategic credit costing and structuring for Freddie.

"We expect to introduce an actual loss credit offering in our [ Agency Credit Insurance Structure] reinsurance and [ Structured Agency Credit Risk] programs next year. We are releasing this data now to give potential credit investors sufficient time to get familiar with Freddie Mac's actual loss performance," he added.

The dataset, which was first made available in March 2013, also contains loan-level credit performance data on 30-year fixed-rate single-family mortgages. It excludes data on adjustable-rate mortgages, balloon mortgages, initial interest mortgages, government-insured mortgages, relief refinancing mortgages and other affordable or non-standard mortgages.

The dataset covers roughly 17 million 30-year fixed-rate single-family mortgages originated between Jan. 1, 1999, and June 30, 2013. ReadMore

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Balancing act of home prices, mortgage rates: FHFA, S&P

Market
WASHINGTON (11/26/14)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported this week that national contract mortgage rates for the purchase of previously occupied homes climbed to 4.11% from 4.05% in October.

The average interest rate on all mortgage loans rose to 4.11% as well, up from 4.07% in September, and the average interest rate on conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 4.31%, down from 4.33% the prior month.

The effective interest rate, which incorporates all initial fees and charges over the life of the mortgage, came in at 4.27% for the month, an increase of five basis points from 4.22% in September.

The average loan amount was $285,000 in October--a $4,000 increase from $281,000 month-over-month.

Home prices, meanwhile, climbed 0.9% in the third quarter, according to the FHFA's home price index. The increase marks the 13th straight month that home prices have risen.

Year-over-year, home prices climbed 4.5% in the third quarter. Though, the seasonally adjusted monthly index for September was unchanged from the previous month.

"Easing interest rates and modestly improving labor market conditions helped to drive up prices in the third quarter," said Andrew Leventis, FHFA principal economist. "The price increases were relatively small in most areas, however, and are consistent with the type of market deceleration that other housing market statistics have shown in recent periods."

Meanwhile, existing-home price appreciation slowed in the third quarter, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, released Tuesday, compared with the third quarter in 2013.

The 10-city index rose 4.8% year-over-year, compared with a 5.5% climb annually in August. The 20-city index showed similar signs of deceleration.

Despite the deceleration, though, each metro area recorded increases in price growth year-over-year, ranging from a 0.8% increase in Cleveland to a 10.3% price gain in Miami. ReadMore

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News of the Competition (11/26/14)

Market
  • WASHINGTON (11/26/14)-- Commercial banks posted a net income of $38.7 billion in the third quarter, a $2.6 billion increase compared with the third quarter of last year , the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) reported this week. The earnings were driven by a $7.8 billion jump in net operating revenue--the sum of net interest income and total noninterest income--which is the largest increase since the fourth quarter of 2009. Nearly two-thirds of the 6,589 insured institutions reported annual growth in quarterly earnings, the FDIC said, and the percentage of banks that did not record profits in the third quarter fell to 6.4% from 8.7% annually. Total loan and lease balances climbed $50.9 billion to $8.2 trillion in the quarter; commercial and industrial loans increased by $10.1 billion; and auto loans rose by $9 billion ...
ReadMore

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3Q GDP beats expectations, up 3.9%

Market
WASHINGTON (11/26/14)--Real gross domestic product (GDP) climbed by 3.9% in the third quarter--a 0.4% increase from the quarter's initial reading, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis' second estimate.

GDP jumped by 4.6% in the second quarter ( Economy.com Nov. 25).

"Despite the slowing in growth in the third quarter, the performance of the economy has shifted to above-trend gains, near 3%," said Scott Hoyt, Moody's analyst ( Economy.com ). "The economy has expanded more than 3% in four of the past five quarters."

Consumer spending added 1.5% to growth, net exports contributed 0.8%--well below the initial estimate of 1.3%--fixed investments added 0.9% and the federal government contributed 0.7%. Inventories slowed GDP, however, as it fell by 0.1%.

Personal consumption trends showed that inflation slowed in the third quarter, as it rose only 1.3% after a 2.3% gain in 2Q. Excluding food and energy, inflation climbed 1.4% after a 2% gain in the prior quarter.

Real disposable income rose 2.3%; the savings rate increased by 5%; and corporate profits only climbed by 2.1% after jumping 8.4% in the second quarter.

Gross domestic income, an alternative metric used to gauge the pace of the economy's growth, climbed 4.5% after a 4% increase in the second quarter.

"The nation's economic prospects are improving," Hoyt said. "However, the divergence between the U.S. economy and that of much of the rest of the world is striking. The euro zone is flirting with recession, Japan is struggling to break free from the pull of deflation, and China and much of the rest of the emerging world are at best holding their own." 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 0.48% 0.28% 0.20%
Personal Savings $1,000 0.20% 0.10% 0.10%
Personal Interest Checking $2,500 0.36% 0.15% 0.21%
NSF Fee $27.92 $30.67 $-2.75
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 10.03% 10.30% -0.27%
New Auto Loan - 5 Years 2.62% 3.90% -1.28%
Used Auto Loan - 2 year Old - 4 Years 2.78% 4.08% -1.30%
HELOC - 80% LTV - $50,000 4.12% 4.38% -0.26%
HE Loan - 80% LTV - $50,000 - 15 Years 5.67% 5.91% -0.24%

Mortgage Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
30 Year Fixed Conforming 3.98% 4.01% -0.03%
30 Year Fixed Jumbo 4.09% 4.01% 0.08%
5/1 Year ARM Conforming 2.95% 2.88% 0.07%

Credit Card Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Platinum 8.86% 10.50% -1.64%
Annual Fee $25.00 $31.00 $-6.00
Maximum Late Fee $25.64 $33.45 $-7.81
Reward 10.08% 13.33% -3.25%
Annual Fee $26.81 $98.57 $-71.76
Maximum Late Fee $22.68 $33.71 $-11.03

Indirect Auto Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Indirect A Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 3.59% 3.62% -0.03%
Indirect B Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 5.31% 5.20% 0.11%
Indirect C Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 7.47% 6.65% 0.82%

Averages displayed are straight averages of all institutions within the Informa Research Services database for the selected region as of Tuesday, November 25, 2014. For detailed disclosures click here.

ReadMore

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Business Rates

Market
Daily Financial Rates -- 2014-11-26

Financial Rates


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

03:55 AM CST

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

TermWed
11/26
Tue
11/25
Mon
11/24
Fri
11/21
Thu
11/20
1 month0.060.040.040.040.04
3 month0.020.020.010.020.01
6 month0.070.080.070.070.07
1 year0.140.140.140.140.15
2 year0.510.530.530.530.54
3 year0.940.950.960.970.99
5 year1.581.621.631.641.66
7 year1.982.022.032.052.07
10 year2.272.302.312.342.36
20 year2.692.742.752.782.80
30 year2.973.013.023.053.08

TREASURY BILLS

Results of the November 24, 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, 11/24
Week Ago
Mon, 11/17
13 weeks0.0200.025
26 weeks0.0700.070

PRIME RATE

3.25% Last changed December 16, 2008

FEDERAL FUNDS

TermWed
11/26
Tue
11/25
Mon
11/24
Fri
11/21
Thu
11/20
high0.3120.3120.3120.3120.312
low0.0400.0700.0400.0700.060
near closing bid0.0400.0800.0700.0800.050
offered0.0800.1000.2700.1000.080
effective rate20.1200.1200.1100.1200.120

FREDDIE MAC (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

TermWed
11/26
Tue
11/25
Mon
11/24
Fri
11/21
Thu
11/20
30 year0.000.000.000.000.00

FANNIE MAE (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

TermWed
11/26
Tue
11/25
Mon
11/24
Fri
11/21
Thu
11/20
30 year3.5203.5623.5633.5573.569

LIBOR

TermWed
11/26
Tue
11/25
Mon
11/24
Fri
11/21
Thu
11/20
1 month0.229000.229000.229000.230000.22500
3 month0.373000.374000.373000.374000.37200
6 month0.539000.539000.539000.539000.53900
1 year0.842000.843000.842000.841000.84100

COMMERCIAL PAPER (Financial, 90 days)

TermWeek ended
11/25
Week ended
11/18
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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CU System brief (11/26/14)

CU System
  • KILLEEN, Texas (11/26/14)-- It was a red carpet evening in Killeen, Texas, for young account holders of Texas Partners FCU's Be Smart checking program. The $139 million-asset credit union rented a theater Nov. 20 for an exclusive pre-release showing of "Mockingjay - Part 1," the third film in "The Hunger Games" series. The guests, age 16 to 18, walked down a red carpet with paparazzi snapping photos along the way. "We chatted about our scholarship program and our refer-a-friend program," Vice President of Marketing Shelley Carlson told News Now. The event also gave Texas Partners the chance to thank its members and get to know them better, Carlson added. Giveaways included VIP name tags, lanyards, cell phone wallets and a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD7. She said the credit union promoted the event on Twitter, with tweets showing on the big screen before the movie began, and posted the red carpet photos on its Facebook page. The Nov. 21 Killeen Daily Herald included the credit union's special evening for its young members and their guests in its front-page coverage of the movie's opening (Texas Partners FCU Photo)...
ReadMore

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Lending Council paper explores member business growth

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (11/26/14)--A new white paper from the CUNA Lending Council explores how credit unions can differentiate themselves in the business lending space.

"Advanced Member Business Lending: Finding Success in the Commercial Lending Space" examines:
  • A brief history of credit unions and commercial lending;
  • Deciding to start a business loan program;
  • Entering the market;
  • Translating indirect lending experience to commercial lending;
  • Keys to success;
  • Focusing on a particular niche; and
  • Partnerships and their role.
For credit unions entering the business lending market or increasing their portfolio, the paper offered these recommendations:
  • Call on other credit unions. "Credit unions are well-known for brainstorming together, for helping each other," said Phil Purcell, vice president of commercial lending for $1 billion-asset Hanscom FCU, Hanscom AFB, Mass. Take advantage of that friendly atmosphere, if you're able, Purcell advised. "I think any credit union considering starting a business lending program would benefit from talking with credit unions that are already doing it;"
  • Do the rest of your homework. Specifically, "spend a great deal of time on an in-depth business case, and spend a great deal of time on an in-depth projection," suggests Ralph Cumbee, senior vice president and chief lending officer/chief information officer of Yakima, Wash.-based Solarity CU, with $530 million in assets. In other words, he said, "First decide what you want to be, then decide what it is going to take to get you there. And then see if your market will support a level of that that will actually have an ROI at the end of the day;"
  • Hire the right people. Troy Casper, director of business services at $257 million-asset MidMinnesota FCU, Baxter, Minn. with $257 million in assets, suggests "the first person you hire, which would be the manager of that department, should have at least seven years of experience, and preferably 10 years of experience." Minimum requirements from the National Credit Union Administration are at least two years of direct experience in business lending, whether it is staff, a credit union service organization, a contractor or some other third party, the paper noted;
  • Additional hiring. Although individual credit unions are sure to differ in this area, Solarity CU is doing its best to avoid hiring people from the "big banks" to staff its business lending department. "My saying is, if you hire a commercial lender from one of the big banks, you've got to send two semis to pick up all of the accumulated baggage they've acquired over the years," Cumbee said. Also, "if I hired someone from the big banks, they would come in and just worry about the next deal," he adds. "I don't think they would be as relationship-focused as we'd want them to be;" and
  • Get your staff up to speed. As important as specific hires are for credit unions that want to succeed in the business lending space, it's just as vital that those credit unions train existing staff in regard to this area. After all, frontline employees and those in other departments can be key sources of referrals.
ReadMore

World Council to U.N.: CUs part of sustainable development

CU System
WASHINGTON (11/26/14)--At separate events this month in New York and Washington, D.C., sponsored by the United Nations (U.N.), the World Council of Credit Unions promoted financial inclusion as a sustainable development goal (SDG).

Click to view larger image Peter Graves, World Council senior vice president of technical services, promoted financial inclusion as a U.N. Sustainable Development Goal at separate events in New York and Washington, D.C., sponsored by the United Nations this month. (World Council of Credit Unions Photo)
The U.N. is undertaking a process to develop a set of SDGs, which will be used to target international development assistance during the post-millennium development goal period of 2015-2030.

At both events, Peter Graves, World Council's senior vice president of technical services, referenced credit union development in high-income countries, including the United States, Canada, Ireland and Australia, to provide examples of how credit unions help generate greater income growth and job creation across a broader spectrum of the population than in societies without them.

He explained how income growth and job creation has led to decreased poverty, reduced malnutrition, better health and education outcomes, and greater gender equality--all universal goals to incorporate in the SDGs.

 The U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals will steer the global agenda on social, economic and environmental development over the next 15 years.

"By providing low-cost access to savings and credit, credit unions can help solve at least five to six of the most intractable global issues we see today," said Graves. "Through our experience, we know that providing people the means to save, financial literacy and expanded loan products, has impact across all aspects of an individual's and family's life, including income, education, food and health."

More than 57,000 credit unions currently exist in 103 countries, providing over 208 million people with access to savings accounts and a variety of loan products to help improve their lives.

"Credit unions are all about financial inclusion for all citizens, including the underserved, unserved and the most vulnerable," said Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO. "Credit unions not only provide competition that applies downward pressure on other financial institutions, but they also contribute to financial market innovation due to close relationships with their members. In response to their members, credit unions have introduced new services and products that the wider financial community has quickly adopted."

The U.N. will continue this consultative process with a wide variety of external stakeholders through next year. The General Assembly will adopt the SDGs in September 2015. ReadMore

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CUNA offices closed Thanksgiving, Friday; no News Now

CU System
WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (11/26/14)--The Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wis., offices of the Credit Union National Association will be closed Thursday and Friday, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. There will be no regular issues of News Now those days.

The staff of News Now wishes its readers a happy Thanksgiving and will be back on Monday morning. ReadMore

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Skimming remains biggest threat, says ATMIA global survey

CU System
LONDON and SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (11/26/14)--Increased attacks from a wider range of skimming devices, including increasingly smaller devices, continue to plague the ATM industry, according to the ATM Industry Association Global Fraud Survey.
 
Roughly 43% of respondents cited digital skimming as the predominant technique for skimming, up from 38% in 2013. Criminals have opted to develop smaller, more sophisticated electronic skimming devices.

For physical attacks, more than 50% of respondents reported the most common criminal devices were hammers and crow bars to pry open the ATM, followed closely by gas and explosive attacks.
 
Also, ATM fraud is increasing around the world, but at a slower rate than last year, according to the survey.
 
About 45% of respondents said criminal attacks are increasing, with 12.61% saying attacks were up sharply and 32.77% saying they rose moderately. The 45% figure is down from the 2013 survey where 52.1% said criminal attacks on ATMs were increasing. The rate of increase is back down to the 2012 level of 45%. About 17% said attacks are decreasing, similar to last year's figure.

About 11% respondents said the cost of fraud to ATM businesses had increased sharply. Another 59% said the cost had increased moderately. In 2013, about 16% said the cost of fraud had increased sharply and 44% said the cost was increasing moderately.
 
At the same time this year, about 25% said they were investing much more on ATM security technology than they were six months ago. Roughly 36% said they were investing a little more than six months ago. In 2013, those figures were 14.6% and 38% respectively.
 
Through-the wall ATMs (48%) were the locations most targeted by criminals, followed by those inside stores (43%) and inside a financial institution vestibule or inside a mall (both with 16%).
 
The number of respondents who see ATM security solutions as "very effective" has risen to 52.7% in 2014 from 39% in 2013. ReadMore

Media outlets widely share CUNA-CFA holiday spending outlook

CU System
WASHINGTON (11/26/14)--The holiday shopping survey conducted by the Credit Union National Association, in collaboration with the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), was picked up broadly in the national media Tuesday after a Monday press conference where the results were announced.

Stephen Brobeck, right, of the Consumer Federation of America and Mike Schenk of the Credit Union National Association deliver the 2014 outlook for holiday spending. ( Cronkite News Photo)
CBS Money Watch featured the comments of Mike Schenk, CUNA vice president of economics and statistics, and Stephen Brobeck, CFA executive director, along with the survey results, which found that 87% of shoppers plan to spend either the same or less than they did last year this holiday season.

The 15th annual holiday spending survey also found that only 10% plan to spend more--compared with 13% last year--and that, overall, holiday spending will climb 3% to 3.5% ( News Now Nov. 25).

Spending will rise modestly, but the survey found many consumers have "significant concerns about their personal finances," said Schenk in CBS Money Watch (Nov. 24).

Survey results also were picked up in the Detroit Free Press, Cronkite News, American Banker and by local news affiliates. CNBC, ABC Radio and Voice of America attended the press conference Monday, and several interviewed both Schenk and Brobeck individually.

Because of concerns over finances and weak income gains, "we expect the increase in holiday spending this season to be modest," Schenk told Cronkite News (Nov. 24).  

Added Brobeck: "During the great recession, some consumers were thrashing around financially, but quite a large number were sinking. The rising economic tide has not raised all boats equally."

In a piece from NBC affiliate KGNS-TV 8 , Brobeck was quoted during the press conference as saying: "Somewhat shockingly, nearly half of Americans say that they don't have extra funds to cover a $1,000  unexpected expense. These Americans in particular need to limit spending despite expectations that are encouraged by massive and relentless holiday marketing."

The survey found that nearly twice as many of those with low incomes (37%) than those with high incomes (19%) said they would spend less money this year.

Overall, 33% said they would spend less this year, compared with 32% in last year's survey who said they would spend less than in the previous year. In 2008, 55% said they would spend less. ReadMore

National Herring awards distributed for model member service efforts

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (11/26/14)--There is a name for credit unions that materially improve members' lives, and that name is a Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award winner, conferred by the Credit Union National Association.
 
The Herring Award honors credit unions for practical applications of the credit union philosophy within the credit union that benefit its members. These may include:
  • Member programs for groups that are often economically challenged;
     
  • Internal programs or services that help to differentiate the credit union from other financial services providers;
     
  • Programs that do an extraordinary job of encouraging thrift and provide a source of unbiased money management and consumer information, which would be difficult or impossible to obtain elsewhere; and
     
  • Evidence of an exceptional degree of service to members.
As an Ohio delegate to the 1934 national credit union conference, Herring was an original signer of CUNA's constitution. She believed credit unions should work to better people's lives because credit unions were more than just financial institutions.
 
The awards, which are given in several asset sizes, were selected among the winning entries at a league level.
 
Listed by asset size, the credit unions recognized include:
 
Less than $50 million in assets:
  • First place: City Co FCU, Pittsburgh, with $21 million in assets;
  • Second place: Trenton NJ Police FCU, Hamilton, N.J., with $24 million in assets; and
  • Honorable mention: Cove FCU, Edgewood, Ky., with $46 million in assets.
$50 million to $250 million in assets:
  • First place: Carolina Postal CU, Charlotte, N.C., with $86 million in assets;
  • Second place: Jersey Shore FCU, Northfield, N.J., with $125 million in assets; and
  • Honorable mention: Henrico FCU, Richmond, Va., with $203 million in assets.
$250 million to $1 billion in assets:
  • First place: Michigan First CU, Lathrup Village, Mich., with $695 million in assets;
  • Second place: Freedom First FCU, Roanoke, Va., with $331 million in assets; and
  • Honorable mention: FAA CU, Oklahoma City, with $563 million in assets.
More than $1 billion in assets:
  • First place: Hanscom FCU, Hanscom AFB, Mass., with $1.08 billion in assets;
  • Second place: Pen Air FCU, Pensacola, Fla., with $1.24 billion in assets; and
  • Honorable mention: TruMark Financial CU, Trevose, Pa., with $1.5 billion in assets.
ReadMore

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NPR report highlights merchant failures on data breaches

CU System
WASHINGTON (11/26/14)--Merchant data security breaches--their effects on consumers and the reactions of retailers--were highlighted on a recent segment of NPR 's "All Things Considered."
 
Reporter Aarti Shahani followed a security expert who was able to point out how easily a hacker could infiltrate a retailer's point-of-sale network. EMC's Davi Ottenheimer noted a card reader--similar to ones he had at home--connected to a tablet left unattended in a high-end retail store. At another large retailer, no one noticed that he was paying more attention to a computer plugged into the network than to the merchandise.
 
"A lot of times, a lazy approach to security is just to make information difficult to get," Symantec security expert Orla Cox told NPR . "Just because you're not talking about it isn't actually making you any more protected."
 
The incentives are small for retailers to take on more responsibility. They want to keep information technology budgets down, and they don't have to pay, even if they are at fault. Financial institutions pick up the bill, Shahani said.
 
The Credit Union National Association, NPR noted, "is asking lawmakers to intervene, so that retailers are held to stricter security and disclosure rules."
 
CUNA worked with NPR , providing statistics on the costs of the data breaches--costs that credit unions and banks pick up. The text version of the segment links readers to CUNA's Stop the Data Breaches fact sheet .
 
Chris Leggett, president/CEO of $989 million-asset LGE Community CU, Marietta, Ga., told NPR that the issuers are bearing the brunt of the expenses. "It sure would be nice if the merchants would be willing to share in the cost of cleaning it up due to their lax security," he said. ReadMore

Financial gifts can improve well-being

Consumer
McLEAN, Va. (11/24/14)--If you really want to give a meaningful holiday gift this year, think beyond traditional items such as clothing and gift cards. A recent survey conducted for Charles Schwab shows that more than half (53%) of those surveyed say cash to help pay off credit card bills would be their top choice as an unexpected holiday gift (USA Today Nov. 12).
 
A holiday gift to pay down debt can help someone save on interest payments as well as help the recipient feel more financially secure as he or she grapples with debt.
 
Other financial gifts to consider:
  • Piggy bank. This simple gift can go a long way toward educating even the youngest children about money. They quickly learn the concept of putting coins in the bank, then using the coins to make a purchase later. Buy a cute bank and fill with coins or a few dollars. Some banks electronically add up coins each time a new one is deposited--seeing the amount grow can be motivating to kids. Another idea: Buy a small three-drawer container and set up a drawer each for saving, spending, and sharing;
     
  • Sessions with a financial adviser. Paying for a sit-down with a financial planner, if only for one or two sessions, can help someone learn personal finance basics and give him or her the groundwork for starting to invest. To locate a fee-only financial planner, visit the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors at napfa.org;
     
  • Cash toward a Roth IRA (individual retirement account). "In addition to using cash to pay off credit card debt, another smart way to use holiday gift money is to encourage a working recipient to put the money into a Roth IRA," said Michelle Dosher, managing editor, Credit Union National Association Market Research and Consumer Education. "Roth IRAs can be really beneficial, especially when people start them at a young age," Dosher said;
     
  • Electronic gadgets. Gadgets such as tablets and smartphones are popular gifts, but you can add a financially savvy twist with personal finance apps, many of which are free or inexpensive. "If you're going to give someone a gadget, also give suggestions of financial apps that could help teach money management skills. Also encourage recipients to download their credit union's mobile banking app," Dosher added. This is a gift that teens and tweens can appreciate as well;
     
  • Books. Help family members and friends learn to manage money by giving them a book about the topic. One idea is "Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security" by Jean Chatzky. It's an easy read, broken up into sections about making and saving money, spending wisely, and investing;
  • A financial jumpstart. Maybe you know a new grad or someone just getting back on his or her feet. You could help by offering your home as a place to stay for a month or two or by helping to pay a security deposit or first month's rent. This would be a great gift for parents to give young adult children as they learn financial independence; and
  • Credit union membership. Let family members know that because you're a credit union member they can be members. Tell them about the benefits of credit union membership and about the ease of using automatic deposits, payments and transfers, and online and mobile banking.
For related information, read "Holidays are Rich With Teachable Money Moments" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center. ReadMore

Visa designates CO-OP as 'engaged issuer-processor' for Apple Pay

Products
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (11/26/14)--CO-OP Financial Services announced that it is a Visa "engaged issuer-processor," authorized to immediately service the enrollment of credit unions in Apple Pay, making it the only credit union service organization with this designation.
 
"CO-OP is ahead of many competing credit and debit processors that have not been granted this designation because they do not have the direct links to Visa as we do," said Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Services president/CEO. "We are working directly with Visa without having to pass through an intermediary."
 
CO-OP has been active with both Visa and MasterCard since the introduction of Apple Pay in September to enroll its clients in the program. The company already has credit unions in the implementation validation process at Visa and MasterCard, and CO-OP expects many of its credit unions to be in the final stages of testing in December.
 
"We believe Apple Pay presents a unique revenue opportunity for credit unions by providing their members with the latest in digital wallet technology," said Hollen. "We are also seeking to bring the lowest aggregated issuers fees to our credit unions."
 
CO-OP is also focusing on industry education concerning Apple Pay. CO-OP conducted webinars in September and November on Apple's new digital wallet--content from which is now available on the company's Tokenization Resource Center . The center also includes an "Ask the Expert" feature for tokenization-related issues. ReadMore

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