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Full Issue: October 24, 2014

No NCUSIF 2014 premium, fund sees $26.4M 3Q net income

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/24/14)--National Credit Union Administration staff confirmed earlier indications that there will be no National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund premium for 2014 at the agency's monthly board meeting Thursday. Credit Union National Association analysis earlier this year also concluded that given the health of the credit union system, a premium would not be required.

The fund ended the third quarter of 2014 with a net income of $24.6 million and an equity ratio of 1.3%, which reflects the capitalization deposit adjustment billed in September. Third quarter investment and other income was $54 million, operating expenses were $48.1 million and the provision for insurance losses was reduced by $18.7 million, according to the agency.

The fund's reserves are at approximately $167.3 million.

Shares in CAMEL 4 and 5 credit unions were 1.38% of federally insured credit union shares, an improvement over last quarter's 1.46%. The number of CAMEL 4 and 5 credit unions fell to 288 from the third quarter of last year, a 9.1% drop. Assets for those credit unions declined 10.3% in the past year.
Click to view larger imageA chart showing the percent of CAMEL 4 and 5 credit union shares and how they have dropped over the past several years. Source: NCUA

The number of CAMEL 3 credit unions dropped to 1,450, a 2.2% decline, and with that decline, total assets in CAMEL 3 credit unions dropped 3.4% to $104.7 billion.

According to NCUA staff, there was been 12 credit union failures this year. There were 17 in 2013. Total year-to-date losses due to credit union failures is $30.4 million, $28.6 million of which was related to fraud.

During the report, board member J. Mark McWatters questioned staff about the nature of losses and expenses to the NCUSIF. When staff indicated that they are mostly due to fraud, McWatters raised concerns about the overwhelming emphasis on regulation when a substantial percentage of the losses to the SIF are caused by garden variety fraud that should be addressed in a more aggressive manner by NCUA.

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Nussle in American Banker: CUs, small banks can unite to ease burdens

WASHINGTON (10/24/14)--Credit unions and small banks could work together to accomplish a reduction in regulatory burden, says Credit Union National Association President/CEO Jim Nussle. In an op-ed published in American Banker , Nussle said such burdens make "strange bedfellows."

Nussle praised an American Banker article written last week by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), who said bold regulatory reforms would help credit unions and other small financial institutions. Nussle said Crapo "hit the ball out of the park," and addressed further impacts of regulatory burden.

"Too often, regulators force credit unions and other smaller financial institutions to comply with rules written to address the misdeeds of Wall Street firms and the largest depository institutions in the country," Nussle wrote. "Credit unions did not engage in the practices that contributed to the financial crisis. But the post-crisis reaction of lawmakers and regulators has been to target everyone, thereby missing the point about what caused this disaster."

With gridlock in Congress giving little hope to regulatory reform measures being passed, regulators might feel they have "carte blanche" when it comes to regulation, Nussle wrote. This makes it important for credit unions to seek alliances with other organizations who also strive for regulatory relief.

"I believe credit unions can work with small banks to create momentum and put pressure on both legislators and regulators to reduce unnecessary and cumbersome regulations," Nussle wrote. "This could be a surprise for us to deliver to Congress. We can create a shared agenda and build momentum in a bipartisan way to help reduce the regulatory burden that small banks and credit unions face."

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Press highlights CUNA's strong backing of CU-friendly candidates

WASHINGTON (10/24/14)--The Credit Union National Association's strong commitment to credit-union friendly congressional candidates was highlighted Thursday in Politico and The Hill , two widely read Washington-based political publications that cover the White House, U.S. Congress, politics and policy.

The publications noted that CUNA and its Credit Union Legislative Action Council--CULAC--spent more in the 2014 cycle than in any previous election, backing a bipartisan group of candidates that are attuned to credit union issues.

As part of the $5.6 million spent to date, which CUNA says puts it among an elite group of financial sector campaign contributors during the 2014 midterm elections, CUNA also is sending millions of mail pieces directly to credit union members.
CUNA, the state credit union association, CULAC, and credit unions have deployed direct mail, as well as television, radio and online advertisements for candidates on a bipartisan basis.  In total, $3 million has been spent on direct PAC contributions, $1.2 million on independent expenditures and $1.4M on partisan communications.

Politico notes that credit unions receive bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.  As CUNA leader Jim Nussle said in a recent CUNA release, "There are many candidates and members on both sides of the aisle who are friends of credit unions; the bipartisan makeup of our support demonstrates the strengths of the credit union movement."

CUNA research shows that 65% of credit union members are interested in where their credit union stands on the candidates.
Candidates that have received support during the general election include: Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.); Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ken.); Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), running for Senate; Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), a former credit union employee; Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.); Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.); Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.); Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.); Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.); Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.); Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.); and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.).

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Flood insurance, corporate CU rule changes proposed by NCUA

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/24/14)--A proposal to amend rules regarding loans in areas having special flood hazards was issued by the National Credit Union Administration at the agency's monthly meeting, part of a joint proposal with other federal regulators.

The NCUA, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Reserve board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Farm Credit Administration, all issued the proposal.
From left, CUNA Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn speaks with NCUA Chair Debbie Matz after the agency's board meeting Thursday. (CUNA Photo)

The rule would amend the agencies' regulations regarding loans in area with special flood hazards by implementing provisions of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA). The HFIAA amends the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012, and the regulators' proposal would replace a pending proposal in the Biggert-Waters act.

The proposed rule would:
  • Establish requirements with respect to the escrow of flood insurance payments, as well as implement a HFIAA exemption for certain detached structures from the mandatory flood insurance purchase requirement;

  • Amend provisions that tie the escrow requirement to the origination, refinance, increase, extension, or renewal of a loan after Jan. 1, 2016 and provide additional exceptions to the escrow requirement;

  • Apply a HFIAA mandate for lending institutions to provide an option to borrowers to escrow flood insurance premiums and fees for loans that are outstanding as of Jan. 1, 2016; and

  • Provide a new exemption purchase requirements for a structure that is part of a residential property but is detached from the primary residential structure and does not serve as a residence.
Frank Kressman, association general counsel for the NCUA, said the current proposal is likely to be part of a bigger picture when all is said and done.

"As part of the process, at least at the staff level, there's some disagreement about how to move forward with the private insurance. So there's likely to be a third proposed rule yet to come out to deal with the private insurance issue." He said. "The plan would be, once those proposals make their way through the process, they will all be finalized at once. But we don't know when that will be."

The other proposed rule discussed at the NCUA's meeting Thursday dealt with technical corrections and clarifications of regulatory provisions to corporate credit union regulations. The proposal will clarify the mechanics of a number of substantive regulatory provisions and also make several non-substantive technical corrections, according to the agency.

Some of the changes include:
  • Correcting an error where NCUA staff omitted capturing the retained earnings of a merged credit union when the continuing corporate computes its 2016 or 2020 capital ratios;

  • Allowing corporate credit unions to borrow on a secured basis for 120 days over the current 30 days to better meet seasonal liquidity demands; and

  • Removing a limitation on borrowing that could have impeded a corporate's ability to meet member liquidity needs.
"None of these proposals recommend removing or easing the regulatory constraints and requirements governing minimum capital levels, investment concentrations and maturity limits or asset credit quality standards," said Scott Hunt, director of the NCUA's Office of National Examinations and Supervision. "We continue to believe these elements of the regulation are working as intended, that is, ensuring a healthy and safe corporate credit union system."

Both proposals will be open for 60-day comment periods.

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Inside Washington (10/24/14)

  • VIENNA, Va. (10/24/14)--The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued the SAR Stats quarterly update , which provides information on Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed through Sept. 30, 2014.   The section on depository institutions shows that SARs reporting through September was at 669, 152 reports--just slightly lower than the 713,930 reports filed for all of 2013...

  • WASHINGTON (10/24/14)--In an effort to provide services to those with limited English proficiency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is preparing a Language Access Plan. The plan will describe the bureau's policy and how the bureau's current language access activities are implemented through operations, programs and services. The Bureau will review this plan every three years and revise it as necessary...

  • WASHINGTON (10/24/14)--A look at how fraud affects different populations and scams that prey on specific groups will be the subject of a Federal Trade Commission workshop Oct. 29 in Washington, D.C. The agenda features consumer advocates, regulators, fraud prevention experts, academics and researchers, who will examine experiences of people in various communities, identify areas of concern among them and seek to find actionable remedies through industry fraud-prevention initiatives, community outreach and education. The FTC has posted the complete agenda on its website, as well as registration information...

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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 0.47% 0.28% 0.19%
Personal Savings $1,000 0.20% 0.10% 0.10%
Personal Interest Checking $2,500 0.37% 0.15% 0.22%
NSF Fee $27.91 $30.91 $-3.00
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% 10.28% -0.11%
New Auto Loan - 5 Years 2.61% 3.81% -1.20%
Used Auto Loan - 2 year Old - 4 Years 2.77% 4.00% -1.23%
HELOC - 80% LTV - $50,000 4.13% 4.41% -0.28%
HE Loan - 80% LTV - $50,000 - 15 Years 5.66% 5.92% -0.26%

Mortgage Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
30 Year Fixed Conforming 3.97% 4.01% -0.04%
30 Year Fixed Jumbo 4.07% 3.98% 0.09%
5/1 Year ARM Conforming 2.91% 2.85% 0.06%

Credit Card Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Platinum 8.89% 10.48% -1.59%
Annual Fee $25.00 $31.00 $-6.00
Maximum Late Fee $25.54 $33.45 $-7.91
Reward 10.03% 13.68% -3.65%
Annual Fee $26.71 $99.76 $-73.05
Maximum Late Fee $22.61 $33.62 $-11.01

Indirect Auto Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Indirect A Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 3.59% 3.74% -0.14%
Indirect B Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 5.32% 5.27% 0.05%
Indirect C Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 7.47% 6.73% 0.74%

Averages displayed are straight averages of all institutions within the Informa Research Services database for the selected region as of Thursday, October 23, 2014. For detailed disclosures click here.

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Business Rates

Daily Financial Rates -- 2014-10-24

Financial Rates

Friday, October 24, 2014

03:55 AM CDT

(based on the $1 million market)

1 month0.
3 month0.
6 month0.
1 year0.
2 year0.410.410.380.370.39
3 year0.830.800.770.760.79
5 year1.521.461.441.411.44
7 year1.951.901.881.851.88
10 year2.
20 year2.772.732.722.682.70
30 year3.


Results of the October 20, 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, 10/20
Week Ago
Tue, 10/14
13 weeks0.0200.010
26 weeks0.0500.040


3.25% Last changed December 16, 2008


near closing bid0.0700.0500.0700.0800.070
effective rate20.1100.1000.1000.1100.100

FREDDIE MAC (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

30 year0.

FANNIE MAE (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

30 year3.4963.4663.4733.4833.483


1 month0.229000.229000.229000.228000.22800
3 month0.377000.377000.378000.378000.37800
6 month0.539000.539000.539000.538000.53800
1 year0.839000.839000.840000.839000.83900

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.

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Mortgage rates slide further below 4%: Freddie Mac

WASHINGTON (10/24/14)--Mortgage rates continue to tick lower, as Freddie Mac's primary mortgage market survey revealed that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.92% for the week ending Oct. 23 ( Oct. 23).

Falling to their lowest levels since June 2013, rates dropped from 3.97% last week, and from 4.13% at this time last year.

"Fixed-mortgage rates continued to fall this week after the yield on 10-year Treasuries dropped to (its) lowest point of the year," said Frank Northaft, vice president/chief economist for Freddie Mac. "Existing-home sales beat expectations in September clocking in at an annual rate of 5.17 million units, up 2.4% from August."

Housing starts also climbed 6.3% in September, Northaft said, and building permits rose 1.5%.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 2.91% for the week, which is down 3% year-over-year, while the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rate increased to 3.23% from 3.21%.

"Mortgage rates posted a very slight rebound as financial markets stabilized and tensions about the Ebola virus, corporate earnings and the global economy all eased," said a report from . "Just one week ago, as financial markets were suddenly gripped with worry, volatility spiked with investors stampeding into bonds, driving both bond yields and mortgage rates lower."

The Federal Housing Finance Agency also reported Thursday that house prices rose in August by 0.5% after a 0.2% increase in July.

Year-over-year, house prices have climbed 4.8%, the agency reported.

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News of the Competition (10/24/14)

  • CUPERTINO, Calif. (10/24/14)--The rollout of Apple's new tokenization payment product Apple Pay hit a speed bump this week, as reports surfaced that customers of Bank of America had been double-charged by Apple Pay on various transactions they had made ( Oct. 23). "Today I logged into my debit card account and found that I was charged twice for every purchase I made with Apple Pay," reported Samuel Burke, correspondent for CNN . "A quick search on Twitter found other people with this same problem." When Burke called his bank, Bank of America, they told him it was a problem with Apple Pay. When connected with Apple, the tech giant informed Burke there was nothing they could do because the new technology doesn't allow Apple to record names and transactions for security reasons. Apple eventually released a statement explaining that they were aware of the issue with customers from Bank of America, but that it was only affecting a small number of users, and that a fix would be available shortly...

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3 leagues merge to form Cooperative CU Assn. effective Jan. 1

CU System
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (10/24/14)--Massachusetts credit unions voted unanimously to join with the credit unions of New Hampshire and Rhode Island in a merged credit union trade association. The result of that vote, together with similar votes taken earlier this month in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, means that the credit union leagues in the three states will merge to form the Cooperative Credit Union Association, effective Jan. 1 ( Daily CU Scan Oct. 23).
"This historic vote is a tremendous testament to the value our credit unions place on cooperation," said league President Paul Gentile. "The credit unions in our states and our trade associations have a long and proud history of working together. We can accomplish so much more when we work together. I want to offer my sincere thanks to the members of the Boards of all three leagues and our member credit unions for their careful and serious consideration of the merger, and the strong and committed support that they showed it."
Massachusetts Credit Union League Chairman David Surface said the governance structure of the merged association will serve the association well for years to come. "We wanted to be certain that large and small credit unions were represented and that no one state dominated the process. I am confident members will see us delivering more value in each of our three states," said Surface.
In each of the three states, local branding will be maintained with the names of "Massachusetts Credit Unions," "New Hampshire Credit Unions," and "Credit Unions of Rhode Island" being used on the local level for all facets of advocacy and social responsibility. The brands carry the common tag line of "Creating Cooperative Power."

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Mike Mercer recognized with NCUF's Wegner award

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (10/24/14)--For his ground-breaking leadership, innovating contributions, personal commitment and unfaltering dedication to the advancement of credit unions, Mike Mercer, president/CEO of the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA), has been named by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) as the recipient of a 2015 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Mercer will receive the award alongside three other honorees at a special dinner hosted by the NCUF March 9 during the Credit Union National Association's 2015 Governmental Affairs Conference.

"Anyone who knows Mike knows he's an innovator and status quo challenger who has always pushed leaders to rethink old habits and consider new ways of doing things," said John Gregoire, chair of the NCUF Wegner Awards selection committee and president of The ProCon Group. "From his role at the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, time as CUNA chairman, his work with the Polish credit union system and more, Mike always has displayed tremendous insight and innovation."

Among his accomplishments in serving members in the state of Georgia, Mercer was the creator of the Helping People Afford Life outreach campaign that positions members to make good decisions and to thrive financially.

It's also a program that played a part in helping Georgia credit unions save members more than $130 million last year.

"Throughout his career, Mike has preached the power of financial cooperatives, and their ability to empower individuals with the knowledge to succeed," said Doug Fecher, president/CEO, Wright Patt CU, Beaver Creek, Ohio, with $2.8 billion in assets. "He has directly impacted countless individuals across his state, nation and around the world."

No place internationally has felt the effects of Mercer's hard work more than Poland, where Mercer played a key role in creating and implementing a partnership between Georgia and the European country.

The partnership has allowed Polish citizens to improve their financial lives through credit union membership, with more than 62 credit unions now serving more than 1.8 million members.

In 2007, Mercer was awarded the "Order of the Knights Cross," the highest governmental award given to non-Polish citizens.

Additional highlights in Mercer's career:
  • Helping obtain critical support from then-Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, for the Credit Union Membership Access Act in 1998;
  • Working his way up at a credit union to second in command in his 20s, up to a leadership role in the corporate credit union network, and finally to president of the Georgia league in 1985;
  • Serving on the board of the National Cooperative Bank, where he remains the only credit union professional to ever hold the position of chairman;
  • Acting as a mentor for instructional and collaborative training seminars within the GCUA Learning Journey program and the GCUA Idea Institute; and
  • Being recognized for his work on behalf of Georgia's credit unions with a Georgia Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
"Mike's career with credit unions is totally and fully associated with creative an innovative approaches for credit unions to grow and prosper," said Dan Mica, principal of The DMA Group and former president/CEO of CUNA. "To use Mike's own words, his personal vision and creativity make him a 'center of gravity' for all those interested in unique ways to preserve the best of the past and move forward to the cutting edge of the future."

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Prize-linked savings bill introduced in New Jersey

CU System
HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (10/24/14)--New Jersey Credit Union League-supported legislation to enable state-chartered credit unions and banks to offer prize-linked savings accounts has been introduced in the state Senate.
The legislation would authorize the offering of savings promotions, also known as "prize-linked savings accounts," which treat every deposit as a ticket in a prize-winning raffle ( Daily Exchange Oct. 23)

"Low-income people see lotteries as their best chance to pay their bills or to get out of poverty," said Senator Richard Codey (D-Livingston), who along with Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Newark sponsored the bill. "They don't believe they make enough money to maintain a savings account. This would offer the attraction of gambling without any risk because they don't lose any of their savings. They win even if they lose."
The legislation would authorize state-charted credit unions, banks and savings banks to conduct savings promotions in which a minimum deposit qualifies for a chance at winning a designated prize. The idea has been put into practice in a number of states by non-profits and credit unions.
With each deposit in an amount predetermined by the institution, a participant qualifies for a raffle that can win financial prizes while at the same time they build up their savings. The payments go to certificates of deposit managed by credit unions.
"The success other states have demonstrated with regards to prize-linked savings accounts in encouraging consistent saving by individuals who have not done so regularly in the past, is compelling," Greg Michlig, NJCUL president/CEO, told News Now . "By introducing an exciting element to the sound financial practice of saving, this program can stimulate a healthier financial environment for the people of New Jersey. We are encouraged by the introduction of this bill by Senators Codey and Rice and are hopeful that we will join the other states currently offering this tool to encourage savings habits amongst consumers." 
"This is a way for those with modest paychecks and little or no money in the bank to 'play to win'," Rice said. "It's an incentive to save, which can help provide a way out of poverty for those who haven't had the opportunity to put money away."
The bill would require all participants to be at least 18 years of age, that everyone has an equal chance to win, that all the rules and conditions are spelled out, and that interest rates and fees are approximately the same as other accounts.

Ten states--Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Washington--currently permit credit unions to offer prize-linked savings accounts.  Earlier this session Connecticut legislation to permit prize-linked savings and Oregon legislation to study the feasibility of the programs were introduced but not passed in the state legislatures.

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NYT: States lift subprime lending protections

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (10/24/14)--An Oct. 22 article in The New York Times details how lawmakers in eight states have voted to increase the fees or the interest rates that lenders can charge on certain personal loans used for subprime borrowers.
The overhaul of the state lending laws, in part,  is the result of  lobbying  efforts by the consumer loan industry-those who make unsecured cash  loans  to consumers , according to the Times .  For example in North Carolina, the lenders and their lobbyists overcame fierce opposition from military commanders who wanted to stave off the increases to protect military servicemembers from potential abuses.   
A bill that would have raised the state's interest rate structure in 2011 initially died in legislature, but dogged lobbying efforts by lenders steered eventual passage of the legislation.
Under the previous law in North Carolina, lenders could charge 30% interest on loans up to $1,000 and 18% on a remaining balance of $6,500. The new law allows for rates of up to 30% on the first $4,000 of a loan and 24% on the next $4,000.
Similarly in Missouri, lawmakers passed a law last year that doubled the allowable origination fees to 10% of the loan's outstanding balance, to a maximum of $75. Indiana and Arizona allowed lenders to extend larger loans at higher rates.
The lenders that lobbied lawmakers have benefited from the changes. OneMain, owned by Citigroup, saw its profit increaseby 31% in 2013 from 2012. Subprime lender Springleaf Financial has seen its shares increase 78% since it went public in October 2013.
Credit unions, including those serving members of the military, take a more relationship-based approach to unsecured lending. AllSouth FCU, Columbia, S.C., with $693 million in assets, offers a standard unsecured loan product that can either be closed-end 24-month loan or open-end line of credit with a minimum payment of $25 or 2% of the balance monthly. Loan amounts start as low as $300 and go up to a maximum $10,000. Interest rates range from 9.9% to 18%. Interest rates and approval depend on creditworthiness.
Miramar FCU, San Diego, with $174 million in assets,  offers the Asset Recovery Kit (ARK), a low-cost alternative to predatory lending. ARK is an interest-free, short-term advance, through which borrowers pay only a $5 fee,  no interest for immediate cash advances of up to $500 (or 80% of net pay), and payable in one to six months.
Tinker FCU, Oklahoma City, with $3.2 billion in assets, offers a personal access loan at a 12% annual percentage rate for military personnel. With a $500 maximum, the loan amount cannot exceed 25% of the borrower's monthly income after taxes. The borrower must have the ability to repay the loan in full within the 30-, 60- or 90-day term allotted.
Fort Sill (Okla.) FCU's payday loan alternative product permits members to borrow up to $1,000 at an annual percentage rate, to be paid back within six months. There is no credit check or debt ratio calculated on the alternative payday loans offered by the $256 million-asset credit union. When the loan is disbursed, one-half of the proceeds is deposited into the member's savings account. Funds are frozen until the loan is paid in full. Once the loan is paid in full, member has a savings account to keep them out of the payday lending line.
The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association's (PCUA) Better Choice Program offers a payday loan alternative that includes financial counseling and required saving with a lower-cost, short-term loan. More than 87,000 short-term loans have been issued in Pennsylvania through "Credit Union Better Choice" since the program was launched in 2006---saving borrowers more than $27 million over using a traditional payday lending product, PCUA reported.

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Data, privacy take center stage at Cal./Nev. annual meeting

CU System
LOS ANGELES (10/24/14)--A lively discussion about "big data" and its use by credit unions was one of the highlights of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues annual conference this week, as three industry leaders entertained and informed audience members about the subject ( In the News Oct. 22).

Karan Bhalla, managing director for IQR Consulting; Michael Josephson, founder and president of the Josephson Institute; and Michael Popp, vice president of real estate for Golden 1 CU, discuss "big data." (California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues Photo)
The key question raised during the discussion was: When is big data too intrusive?

With Alessandro Acquisti, public policy and information systems professor at Carnegie Mellon University, as moderator, the three panelists talked it out. They were Karan Bhalla, managing director for IQR Consulting; Michael Josephson, founder and president of the Josephson Institute; and Michael Popp, vice president of real estate at Golden 1 CU, Sacramento, Calif., with $8.4 billion in assets.

Big data is a popular term used to describe the exponential availability of data, which, when properly analyzed, may be used to inform business decisions.

"The question is how we should use it, and whether to keep collecting it," Josephson said, noting that while opportunities for utilizing such data could be valuable, the risks are also high depending on the organization's reach and focus.

The panelists agreed that large quantities of big data would be available for purchase in the future.

Josephson also said he believes that in the next five years, lawmakers will pass legislation that will restrict those who can access and use the data.

Before the panel discussion, Acquisti led a session called "The Economics of Privacy, and Why it Matters," where he covered how consumers feel about their personal data, and how credit unions can navigate the tricky world of collecting it ( In the News ).

Acquisti also covered identity theft and how identities can still easily be stolen without a data breach occurring. Through "data accretion," he said, fraudsters can take anonymous photos, and through various processes ferret out sensitive information about a person, including their name, social security number and credit score.

"Right now, this is not a significant issue," Acquisti said. "But 10 to 15 years from now, it may be a different story."

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Cash isn't king anymore, Boston Fed reports

CU System
BOSTON (10/24/14)--Cash registers may be running a little thin lately, as a new report shows that cash usage is continuing to drop, making way for the growing popularity of debit cards ( Oct. 23).

The report, administered by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, found that between 2010 and 2012, the number of cash payments fell by 10%, while the overall share of cash payments dropped by 26.8%.

Though, the number of cash withdrawals in addition to the dollar value of cash holdings by consumers increased in 2012, the report found.

While debit still appears the most popular choice for making payments, credit also seems to be gaining ground.

"Debit cards remained the most popular payment instrument among consumers in 2012, accounting for 29.9% of their monthly payments," according to the report ( ). "But credit and charge card payments experienced the largest increase, reaching 21.6% share in 2012--surpassing its highest level recorded."

A new report by TSYS also details that debit-card use has actually dropped, in large part thanks to consumer fears over security ( News Now Oct. 21).

But cash hasn't been left for dead just yet.

Cash still remains the top payment instrument in several markets, with cash being used the most for retail purchases at 8.7 transactions per month, debit cards right on its heels at 8.2 transactions per month and credit cards at 5.6 per month. 

Also, after checks, the most bill payments made by mail, phone or in person were made with cash at 2.2 per month.

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New CU branch saves library

CU System
SALINAS, Calif. (10/24/14)--A new credit union branch is a welcome addition to every community, bringing access to well-priced financial services.  But allUS CU's announcement of construction of a new headquarters this week was especially welcome because it also helped preserve a local library.
The $35 million-asset credit union's new building will be constructed on land leased from the city of Salinas, with the first 40 years paid in advance. The $1.4 million payment will be used to fund expansion of the town's library.
"We feel the role of the library is critical to our community and together with the city of Salinas, led by Mayor [Joe] Gunter, the credit union will play an important role in reaching the goal of funding a new library at the El Gabilan location," allUS CU President/CEO Patrick Redo said at a press conference announcing the plan.
"allU.S. Credit Union believes in private and public partnership and developed the idea to prepay its lease to the city of Salinas in order to help the library system, as we feel when the community prospers, we all prosper."
The new building gives the credit union a new identity, Redo said. A library is synonymous with community and education, which are compatible with the credit union's mission.
The new credit union building will feature a community room that the library and other nonprofits will be able to use for monthly events or educational forums. Previously, it was housed on the site of a former Sizzler restaurant.
A groundbreaking ceremony will take place in March with an anticipated opening date of October 2015, Redo said.

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Mobile payments: Avoid impulse buying

NEW YORK (10/21/14)--At the dawn of a "frictionless payment" revolution, many consumer advocates are worrying these new technologies could lead to more people sliding further into debt. Already Americans struggle to control credit card debt.
One landmark 2001 study showed that people who pay with credit cards, in some situations, are likely to spend twice as much as they would have if they were paying with cash, in part because the pain of actually handing over hard-earned money for the item is delayed (The New York Times Oct. 10).
Multiple studies since then have confirmed that credit cards encourage people to spend more than they would if they were paying with cash.
With the new Apple Pay system, iPhone owners won't even need to get out a credit card to buy something in the estimated 220,000 stores currently equipped to accept this payment method: Paying will be as simple as hovering their smartphone near contactless readers. If iPhone owners are shopping online or in an app, a single touch can buy anything they see.
Credit cards transformed the way consumers spend, and new mobile-payment platforms are poised to do the same. With phones being transformed into computers, GPS locators and now payment methods, companies will have unprecedented opportunities to encourage consumers to spend (Slate Oct. 9).
These payment platforms make sense for companies like Apple and Amazon that are offering them, because it gives them access to reams of consumer spending data. But for consumers, they could encourage unprecedented levels of overspending by widening the gulf separating shoppers and the physical act of spending money.
If anything you see in real life or encounter online can be purchased in a split second, saying no will be harder than ever. So if you're excited about ditching your wallet and embracing a new smartphone-based payment platform, take precautions to avoid overspending:
  • Use technology. Exert impulse control with apps that help you stick to a budget and meet savings goals. Your credit union might offer its own money management app;
  • Check your balance. The reason paying with your phone is dangerous is because it takes the sting out of spending money, but a smartphone also makes seeing your balance easier than ever, too. Before making a purchase, take a second to log into your checking account and remind yourself that whatever you buy, you'll eventually have to pay for; and
  • Commit to a waiting period before any major purchase. Saving and delaying a purchase cannot only help you make a better decision, but it often results in a more satisfying experience.
For related information, read "Gotta Have It? Check Impulse Spending" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

ProfitStars introduces new branch capture platform

MONETT, Mo. (10/24/14)--ProfitStars has introduced a web-based branch capture platform that helps financial institutions provide  members and customers with a unified banking experience regardless of the channel they choose.
Alogent Interactive Capture supports existing--and future--branch teller stations, universal associate applications, tablets, self-service kiosks and regional processing centers. The platform manages transactions based on each user, rather than the workstation, enabling transactions to be shared, paused and/or continued at any point of contact.
"This is the next evolutionary step in branch capture," said Russ Bernthal,  ProfitStars president. "We're not trying to reinvent the wheel; rather, we have designed an engine with the necessary infrastructure and flexibility that meet our industry's evolving demands.
"There are many opinions about what the future of the branch and self-service banking will require. Alogent Interactive Capture positions Tier 1 financial institutions to power their vision of the branch of the future and make easy adjustments for years to come."
The core architecture of Alogent Interactive Capture enables Tier 1 financial institutions to make enterprise-wide enhancements in weeks, rather than years. Its centralized infrastructure supports new points of contact and self-service solutions without the need for additional rules or training.
The consolidated format improves reporting, duplicate detection, fraud detection, risk mitigation and integration capabilities while reducing the overall workstation footprint. Alogent Interactive Capture can also be configured to run in concert with out-of-the-branch systems such as ATM and kiosk solutions.

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