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LISA MCCUEVICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
MICHELLE WILLITSManaging Editor
RON JOOSSASSISTANT EDITOR
ALEX MCVEIGHSTAFF NEWSWRITER
TOM SAKASHSTAFF NEWSWRITER

News Now

Full Issue: January 30, 2015

CFPB proposes broader 'small creditor,' 'rural' area definitions

Washington
WASHINGTON (1/30/15)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Thursday proposed a broader definition of "small" credit union and bank, as well as an expanded designation for what comprises a "rural" area.

If finalized, the proposal would increase the number of financial institutions able to offer certain types of mortgages in rural and underserved areas by exempting more small creditors from the CFPB's tough new mortgage rules.

In May 2013, the bureau announced it would study whether the definitions of rural and underserved should be adjusted. In May 2014, the bureau requested public comment regarding the origination limit for small creditor status.

The Credit Union National Association strongly backed easing the regulatory burden of the rules for credit unions. Being exempt from some of the provisions of the CFPBs Ability-to-Repay and Qualified Mortgage (QM) rules can beneficially affect the types of products a credit union can offer its members in what can be underserved areas, CUNA has noted.

CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said after the CFPB announcement Thursday that the changes are significant.

The CFPB's new proposal would define "small creditor" as one that originates no more than 2,000 first-lien mortgage loans, up from a 500 loan origination limit.

It also would expand the definition of "rural" by adding "census blocks that are not in an urban area as defined by the Census Bureau" to its current description.

Nussle noted, "CUNA fervently advocated to the bureau to take another look at these areas, and we thank them for listening to the concerns of credit unions.  More work still needs to be done, but this is an important step in the right direction.
 
"We're working with our mortgage lenders and member credit unions to submit a robust comment letter on these proposed changes. The changes announced today will benefit a number of community lenders, including credit unions, across the country. Ultimately, the real winners are communities.  As credit becomes more available, it's the growth of the communities across America that will develop in the long run."

The bureau also proposes a compliance grace periods for creditors that suddenly push past the loan threshold qualifying for the relief. Among other things, the CFPB proposal considers extending small creditors' exemption from limits on balloon-payment loans by about three months, which would bring it to April 2016, among other changes.

Interested parties have until March 30 to comment.

Other Resources

NCUA to hold session on opportunities in underserved markets

Washington
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/30/15)--Credit unions can sign up to learn about opportunities that exist within underserved markets. The National Credit Union Administration is offering a Feb. 18 webinar, which will launch at 2 p.m. (ET).
 
Among the discussion items on the 90-minute agenda for the session are:
  • What credit union products and services appeal to the underserved market;
  • The revenue potential of those products; and
  • Programs credit unions already have in place to successfully embrace the unbanked and underbanked markets.
Webinar participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about Lower Valley CU's outreach efforts to the underserved market in their community. The Sunnyside, Wash. credit union is known for such things as its Northwest area immigrant asset-building initiative, designed to connect low-income immigrants with quality immigration services and safe, affordable financial products ( News Now Sept. 29, 2014).
 
Online registration is available here . Participants are asked to use the same link to log into the webinar. Registrants should allow pop-ups from this website.

Other Resources

Private student lenders get guidance on graduated payment loans

Washington
WASHINGTON (1/30/15)--The National Credit Union Administration, in concert with the other federal financial regulatory agencies, and in partnership with the State Liaison Committee (SLC) of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, issued guidance Thursday on private student loans with graduated repayment terms at origination.  

The guidance is intended to provide credit unions and other private student lenders with principles that financial institutions should consider in their policies and procedures for originating such loans. 

The joint-regulators' guidance notes that while graduated repayment terms are available under certain federal student loan programs, credit risk associated with loans guaranteed and originated by the federal government differ from that of private student loans.
 
"Accordingly, some extended repayment features offered under the federal student loan programs may not always be appropriate for private student loans," the guidance says.

Also: "Financial institutions that originate private student loans with graduated repayment terms should prudently underwrite the loans in a manner consistent with safe and sound lending practices.

"Additionally, financial institutions should provide disclosures that clearly communicate the timing and the amount of payments to facilitate a borrower's understanding of the loan's terms and features."

The guidance recommends the following principles for private student loans with graduated repayment terms at origination:
  • Ensure orderly repayment;
  • Avoid payment shock;
  • Align payment terms with a borrower's income;
  • Provide borrowers with clear disclosures;
  • Comply with all applicable federal and state consumer laws and regulations and reporting standards; and
  • Contact borrowers before reset dates.

The guidance was issued by the NCUA, Federal Reserve Board, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the SLC.
 
Read more guidance details here .

Other Resources

FIs reminded of CFPB confidential info requirements

Washington
WASHINGTON (1/30/15)--Financial institutions under the supervision of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have been sent a bulletin reminding them of their responsibilities regarding treatment of confidential supervisory information (CSI). The CFPB has supervisory authority over credit unions and banks with more than $10 billion in assets.

The bulletin , issued Tuesday, provides guidance on what types of information constitute CSI and explains that disclosure of CSI is not allowed.

Under CFPB regulations, CSI is defined as:
  • Reports of examination, inspection and visitation, non-public operating, condition, and compliance reports, and any information contained in, derived from, or related to such reports;
  • Any documents, including reports of examination, prepared by, or on behalf of, or for the use of the CFPB or any other federal, state or foreign government agency in the exercise of supervisory authority over a financial institution, and any supervision information derived from such documents;
  • Any communications between the CFPB and a supervised financial institution or a federal, state or foreign government agency related to the CFPB's supervision of the institution; and
  • Any information provided to the CFPB by a financial institution to enable the CFPB to monitor for risks to consumers in the offering or provision of consumer financial products or services, or to assess whether an institution should be considered a covered person, as that term is defined by 12 § U.S.C. 5481, or is subject to the CFPB's supervisory authority.
According to the bureau, examples of CSI include: CFPB reports and supervisory letters; all information contained or related to those documents, including an institution's supervisory compliance rating; communications between the CFPB and the institution relating to the CFPB's examination and other supervisory activates; and other information created by the bureau in the exercise of its supervisory authority.

Other Resources

Registration for CDFI bond application workshops ends Feb. 20

Washington
WASHINGTON (1/30/15)--Prospective applicants to the U.S. Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Bond Guarantee Program are strongly encouraged to attend application workshops in February. As of Dec. 31, credit unions make up 243 of 933 CDFIs in the country.

The Bond Guarantee Program allows the Treasury Department to guarantee notes or bonds issued to support CDFIs that make investments for eligible community or economic development purposes, providing those institutions with long-term, patient capital to CDFIs. The Treasury may guarantee up to 10 bonds per year, each at a minimum of $100 million. Per statute, the total of all bonds cannot exceed $1 billion per year.

According to the CDFI Fund, the workshops are meant to "expand the CDFI industry's knowledge of the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program and the various ways to participate." Fund staff will describe the application process, including how applications are reviewed and evaluated.

Registration is now open for the workshops, which will take place:
  • Session 1, for existing and potential qualified issuers, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (ET) Feb. 26; and
  • Session 2, for interested program participants and potential eligible CDFI applicants, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (ET) Feb. 27.
Both workshops will take place at the U.S. Treasury CDFI Fund, 1801 L St. NW, Washington, D.C. Registration for both sessions closes at 5 p.m. (ET) Feb. 20.

According to the CDFI Fund, information on the fiscal year 2015 round, including opening dates and deadlines, will be released in the coming weeks.

Other Resources

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 0.49% 0.28% 0.21%
Personal Savings $1,000 0.20% 0.10% 0.10%
Personal Interest Checking $2,500 0.37% 0.15% 0.22%
NSF Fee $28.03 $30.70 $-2.67
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 10.11% 10.18% -0.07%
New Auto Loan - 5 Years 2.61% 3.90% -1.29%
Used Auto Loan - 2 year Old - 4 Years 2.76% 4.05% -1.29%
HELOC - 80% LTV - $50,000 4.11% 4.38% -0.27%
HE Loan - 80% LTV - $50,000 - 15 Years 5.63% 5.90% -0.27%

Mortgage Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
30 Year Fixed Conforming 3.65% 3.69% -0.04%
30 Year Fixed Jumbo 3.76% 3.80% -0.04%
5/1 Year ARM Conforming 2.96% 2.89% 0.07%

Credit Card Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Platinum 8.85% 10.43% -1.58%
Annual Fee $25.00 $31.00 $-6.00
Maximum Late Fee $25.51 $31.75 $-6.24
Reward 10.10% 13.02% -2.92%
Annual Fee $28.50 $94.15 $-65.65
Maximum Late Fee $22.21 $33.02 $-10.81

Indirect Auto Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Indirect A Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 3.58% 3.63% -0.05%
Indirect B Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 5.29% 5.20% 0.09%
Indirect C Tier New Auto Loan - 5 Years 7.45% 6.65% 0.80%

Averages displayed are straight averages of all institutions within the Informa Research Services database for the selected region as of Thursday, January 29, 2015. For detailed disclosures click here.

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Business Rates

Market
Daily Financial Rates -- 2015-01-30

Financial Rates


Friday, January 30, 2015

03:55 AM CST

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

TermFri
1/30
Thu
1/29
Wed
1/28
Tue
1/27
Mon
1/26
1 month0.010.020.020.020.02
3 month0.030.020.020.030.02
6 month0.070.080.080.080.07
1 year0.170.170.170.180.17
2 year0.510.500.540.540.52
3 year0.840.810.870.890.86
5 year1.281.251.341.361.33
7 year1.591.531.621.641.62
10 year1.771.731.831.831.81
20 year2.112.052.152.142.12
30 year2.332.292.402.402.38

TREASURY BILLS

Results of the January 26, 2015 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, 1/26
Week Ago
Tue, 1/20
13 weeks0.0200.025
26 weeks0.0750.075

PRIME RATE

3.25% Last changed December 16, 2008

FEDERAL FUNDS

TermFri
1/30
Thu
1/29
Wed
1/28
Tue
1/27
Mon
1/26
high0.3120.3120.2500.3120.312
low0.0500.0500.0800.0500.030
near closing bid0.0500.0900.0000.1000.060
offered0.0800.1100.2700.1300.270
effective rate20.1300.1300.1200.1400.130

FREDDIE MAC (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

TermFri
1/30
Thu
1/29
Wed
1/28
Tue
1/27
Mon
1/26
30 year0.000.000.000.000.00

FANNIE MAE (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

TermFri
1/30
Thu
1/29
Wed
1/28
Tue
1/27
Mon
1/26
30 year3.1273.2003.1893.1853.218

LIBOR

TermFri
1/30
Thu
1/29
Wed
1/28
Tue
1/27
Mon
1/26
1 month0.237000.239000.239000.236000.23400
3 month0.385000.384000.386000.387000.38500
6 month0.539000.539000.539000.539000.53800
1 year0.839000.839000.839000.839000.83900

COMMERCIAL PAPER (Financial, 90 days)

TermWeek ended
1/27
Week ended
1/21
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.

Other Resources

Mortgage rates failing to propel housing recovery

Market
WASHINGTON (1/30/15)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported Thursday that the national average contract mortgage rate in December fell to 3.98% from 4% the prior month--yet another index to report that interest rates have dropped below 4%.

But the lower mortgage rates have yet to fuel a rise in home sales, as pending-home sales fell 3.7% in December, reversing November's positive gains and pushing sales back to their lowest levels since April, according to numbers from the National Association of Realtors.

The Census Bureau also reported Thursday that the homeownership rate dropped 1.2% in the fourth quarter to 64% on an annual basis.

"Demand from traditional homebuyers continues to be muted, according to both recent mortgage application data and mortgage origination volume data," said Brent Campbell, Moody's analyst ( Economy.com Jan. 29). "Further, according to several indexes, house-price growth continues to slow, as the contribution from institutional investor demand is beginning to wane and traditional homebuyers who use credit have yet to pick up the slack."

All regions posted declines in pending-home sales in December, with the Northeast dropping 7.5%, the West falling 4.6% and the Midwest and South slipping 2.8% and 2.6% respectively.

While pending-home sales remain 6.1% higher than year-ago levels, analysts had expected a gain in sales nationwide, rather than a step back across the board.

One explanation could be the growing preference to rent instead of buy.

The rental vacancy rate fell in the fourth quarter by 1.2% to 7% on a year-over-year basis, and 0.4% on a quarterly basis. Further, the median asking rent for vacant units climbed annually to $766 per unit.

"As house prices keep the upward momentum and get closer to their fundamental values, owning a home becomes less affordable," said Jing Zhang, Moody's analyst ( Economy.com Jan. 29). "Moreover, many households still lack the confidence to buy, and many have not recovered from the credit loss during the housing crisis, resulting in low-purchasing mortgage origination."

The average loan amount, meanwhile, climbed to $298,300 in December, up from $293,600 in November, according to the FHFA.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 4.19%, down from 4.24% in November. And the effective interest rate, which accounts for initial fees and charges over the life of the mortgage, dropped to 4.15% in December, from 4.16% in November.

CUs face 'perfect storm' of tech changes in 2015

CU System
ATLANTA (1/30/15)--A sea of forces--investment, innovation and competition--could expand what credit unions, and other financial institutions, will spend on technology in 2015, according to a new report on technology expectations.  

" Bankers as Buyers 2015 ," compiled by William Mills Agency, a financial public relations and marketing services company, could provide credit unions a glimpse into how they might mold their technology budgets, including in the realms of mobile technology, branch transformation and data security.

Based on the agency's forecast, 2015 sets up to be a busy 12 months. Scott Mills, president of William Mills, said the year will usher in a "perfect storm" of robust investment in fintech, competitive pressure from nontraditional financial companies and a wave of innovation.

"From all appearances, more investment is flowing into financial and payment technology companies than I've ever seen in my career," Mills said in the report, which received input from the Credit Union National Association. "Once considered too esoteric for many local and general business media, the fintech industry has become more mainstream.

"Without trying to sound too enamored with it, it is possible we will look back to this time as a golden age of innovation and the beginning of enormous operational change."

Perhaps more than any other area of investment, financial institutions will focus on mobile technology in 2015.

Experts widely agree that mobile is no longer an add-on, but actually should be the first consideration when planning a technology spending strategy, the report said.

Digital banking is the key to attracting and retaining customers, according to Javelin Strategy and Research.

"There will be more mobile banking users than Internet banking users in the next 18 months," said Robb Gaynor, founder and chief product officer for Malauzai Software Inc.

As credit unions and other financial institutions stay on top of new and evolving data security threats, meanwhile, budgets to ramp up technology to protect themselves likely also will expand in 2015.

Financial institutions were asked what their most pressing security concerns for the upcoming year were, and 75.4% listed data breaches at the top.

One area where financial institutions may look to spend more is on technology that requires multifactor authentication for high-risk transactions, according to Javelin Strategy and Research.

Only one in five U.S. financial institutions currently use this type of additional security, such as one-time passwords sent to mobile phones for secondary authentication.

In addition to mobile technology and data security, a number of analysts have said 2015 will be the year financial institutions actually transform their branches and the branch experience, after years of talking and planning.

IDC Financial forecasts that branch transformation, which includes the addition of video banking to automate human interaction, will climb 5% to 10% over the next 12 months compared with 2014.

Wincor Nixdorf AG predicts that by 2017, financial institutions will be spending $16 billion per year to transform their branches and incorporate all the necessary technology.

"With transactions moving to digital channels, the branches aren't as important as they once were, but they are and will continue to be important destinations for complex advice and for problem resolution," said Somesh Khanna, director at McKinsey and Co.

William Mills expects to see more of each of the following in 2015 as well:
  • Interest in the user and customer experience;
  • Security breaches;
  • Mobile technology;
  • Regulatory compliance demands and costs; and
  • Adoption of big data projects with expected return on investment.

Other Resources

Capitol visits raise CU awareness at state level

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (1/30/15)--Credit union leaders from three Midwestern states traveled to their state capitols this week to advocate for key issues on the local level.

Click to view larger image Representatives from Ideal CU and Tartan High School's student-run credit union meet Minnesota State Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-North St. Paul) during the Minnesota Credit Union Network's Credit Union Day at the Capitol. (Minnesota Credit Union Network Photo)
Minnesota's top policymakers headlined the Minnesota Credit Union Network's 2015 Credit Union Day at the Capitol event in St. Paul on Tuesday. More than 150 credit union leaders from communities statewide gathered for the annual event.
 
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, speaker of the House Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (Democratic-Farmer-Labor-Cook) talked about their respective policy and legislative priorities, as well as their outlook for the legislative session. They also emphasized that in-person meetings with elected officials are vital in helping to keep them informed about issues that are important to credit unions.
 
Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, a 2014 recipient of the Credit Union National Association's Desjardins Financial Education Award for State Government Policymakers, spoke about the importance of providing the state's youth with financial education.
 
"The Commerce Department and credit unions share the goal of teaching kids money management skills at an early age," said Rothman. "We want to help set the stage for them to build the financial skills they'll need to be successful in the years ahead."
 
Click to view larger image The South Dakota Legislative event was held in Pierre Wednesday with more than 30 credit union professionals visiting the state Capitol. (Credit Union Association of the Dakotas Photo)
The South Dakota Legislative event was held in Pierre Wednesday with more than 30 credit union professionals visiting the state Capitol, the Credit Union Association (CUAD) of the Dakotas reported ( The Memo Jan. 29). Following the Capitol visit, an open forum was held at the Ramkota Hotel.
 
Later, the group attended the Legislative Social with more than 70 South Dakota legislators. The event provided an opportunity for credit union leaders to meet and re-unite with policymakers.
 
"We are pleased with the strong turnout for this annual event," CUAD president/CEO Robbie Thompson said, adding, "Whenever we can show our presence and meet directly with our elected representatives, we strengthen the credit union movement."
 
As part of the Wisconsin Credit Union League's annual Governmental Affairs Conference last week, more than 200 state credit union leaders visited with their state legislative representatives to discuss issues that affect the state's 1 million credit union members ( Iron Mountain Daily Jan. 28).

Ohio, Ga. video: Merchants not watching your wallet

CU System
COLUMBUS, Ohio. (1/30/15)--Across the state, Ohioans on YouTube and Facebook are hearing the demand for merchants to protect their personal information. In a campaign demanding that merchants be held to the same data security standards for protecting consumers' personal financial information as financial institutions, the Ohio Credit Union League is taking the message straight to consumers via a humorous video.
 
Since Dec. 31, the online ads have made 64,462 impressions, leading to more than 33,000 views of the video ( eLumination Jan. 28).
 
Riffing on a well-known marketing campaign, the video created by the Ohio and Georgia leagues features a viking who decides to skip a raid. There's better plunder to be had through data breaches, he says, because, "the merchants ... they're not watching."
 
"Collaboration is an important part of this issue," Katie Walton, league director of marketing and communication, told News Now . "Late last year, the Ohio league worked with the Ohio Bankers League to send a joint letter to Congress urging stronger data security standards for merchants. Knowing that the Georgia league has video capabilities, we partnered with them to develop the video since the fallout of merchant data breaches is affecting all credit unions."
 
The video ends by directing viewers to StopTheDataBreaches.com , a microsite created by the Credit Union National Association that connects consumers with Congress to press for legislative action to hold merchants accountable. Credit unions are encouraged to embed or share the video via online communication channels to keep spreading the word.

CUs teach college students how to handle the plastic

CU System
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (1/30/15)--When starting out, managing credit card use can be tricky, especially in the college environment where young adults are just beginning to make financial decisions on their own.

That fact is made clear based on a recent study from Ohio State University, which found that younger Americans are carrying more debt and paying it off at a slower rate than any previous generation.

"A person born between 1980 and 1984 has credit card debt substantially higher than debt held by the previous two generations: on average $5,689 higher than his or her 'parents' at the same stage of life, and $8,156 higher than his or her 'grandparents,'" the study said ( The Daily Lobo Jan. 29).

Fortunately, credit unions such as New Mexico Educators FCU, Albuquerque, N.M., with $1.5 billion in assets, focus on educating young members about how to approach credit cards when they first open one.

Anneliese Elrod, senior vice president of marketing at New Mexico Educators FCU, told The Daily Lobo that the credit union works with students to help them build credit and teach them how to avoid any pitfalls.

"(Being a student) is the best time to try and build credit," Elrod told The Daily Lobo .

Elrod also explained it's typical of credit unions to work only in a student's best financial interests, as credit unions are not-for-profit, cooperatively owned financial institutions; unlike banks, which are often only interested in their bottom lines.

Credit unions also can tailor cards to the needs of college students, Elrod said.

"Credit is probably one of the most important things you will ever have in your life," Elrod said. "Organizations or employers that are starting to use credit scores, you'll also see things like insurance agencies start to use credit scores. They are already using them."

Other Resources

Dupaco takes at-risk students to HEART

CU System
DUBUQUE, Iowa (1/30/15)--Dupaco Community CU is part of a new alliance that helps potentially at-risk Dubuque-area high school students create sustainable careers.
 
Click to view larger image Dupaco CU's participation in the Housing Education and Rehabilitation Training (HEART) Program will help provide local young adults with skilled labor positions. (Dupaco CU Photo)
The partnership brings together the $1.26 billion-asset, Dubuque, Iowa-based credit union, the Housing Education and Rehabilitation Training (HEART) Program and the Dupaco R.W. Hoefer Foundation.
 
The effort includes hands-on learning, financial education and savings goals, certificate programs and advanced degrees. The program also is intended to address the local economy's growing shortage of skilled workers.
 
Through hands-on revitalization projects, the program teaches valuable trade skills to juniors and seniors who may be at-risk of dropping out of high school.
 
Through the alliance--called HEART Bridge--Dupaco Community CU and the Dupaco R.W. Hoefer Foundation annually contribute staff expertise and more than $10,000 in direct matching contributions and operational support.
 
Through the enhanced HEART Bridge program, Dupaco Community CU opens a savings account and provides financial coaching required by the program to help ensure the participant's goals are met. Students earn a stipend as they learn valuable trade skills during housing and community revitalization projects.
 
Dave Klavitter, Dupaco CU senior vice president of marketing and public relations, said the program will serve several aspects that appeal to the credit union's mission of improving members' financial lives.
 
"It provides young people with a path toward a sustainable career by teaching them these trade skills," Klavitter told News Now . "It employs Dupaco's expertise in teaching people how to manage money and make it last. Also, the program will also revitalize housing in an area that was home to a lot of Dupaco's original members."
 
The Dupaco R.W. Hoefer Foundation will match the savings amount once the goal is attained. Participants can use their savings and matched funds toward certificate programs, degree programs, career equipment or tools.
 
The matching funds represent an investment in local young people, but also the community, Klavitter said. "Our community has low unemployment, so we're facing a looming skilled worker shortage. This has a double effect of helping address that as well. We want to keep our young people here."
 
To help students build skills, the Four Mounds Foundation and its partners--Dubuque Community School District, the City of Dubuque and Four Oaks of Iowa, Inc.--created its HEART Program in 2003 to revitalize blighted neighborhoods and community buildings in Dubuque. The program empowers its participants to take part in community revitalization projects while also working on becoming better leaders and developing viable career paths.

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N.J. CUs open storefront in Junior Achievement BizTown

CU System
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (1/30/15)--When fifth- and sixth-grade students from PS 22, Jersey City, N.J., took part in the financial learning experience BizTown this week, they learned about financial institutions not from a bank, but from a credit union.  

The New Jersey Credit Union League gave a mock-financial institution a facelift last year, turning the bank branch in Junior Achievement's BizTown into a credit union branch. (New Jersey Credit Union League Photo)
Last year, the New Jersey Credit Union League transformed what was previously a bank branch into a credit union branch for BizTown, a hands-on financial learning experience coordinated by Junior Achievement. Students act as citizens of a "real" town and get a feel for employment, earning and spending money, paying bills and running a business.

Credit union representatives again volunteered for this week's event, not only running the "New Jersey Credit Union CU," but also the entire event.

BizTown operates similar to Reality Fair events where kids are handed life situations that they must consider while spending money on things they need and things they want.

In the case of BizTown, however, the students are running an entire town.

The credit union volunteers helped guide the students from PS 22 throughout the day as they managed their businesses, cashed paychecks, voted on important BizTown legislation, paid taxes, bought goods and more.

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CUNA to launch CU system governance survey

CU System
WASHINGTON (1/30/15)--Early next week, the Credit Union National Association will launch a survey of all credit union CEOs regarding the structure and organization of the credit union system.
 
The survey will be emailed to all credit unions, regardless of affiliation status with CUNA.
 
CUNA's System Governance and Structure Task Force has been studying the needs and preferences of credit unions in relation to the current system model for national and state advocacy trade association functions and services.
 
"We want to capture the greatest level of input possible as we recreate the best association support system for the future," the association said in announcing the survey. The responses are essential to successfully developing recommendations for possible organizational changes.
 
The survey--developed by a task force of credit union CEOs, league presidents and credit union volunteers--will be overseen by an independent market research firm, guaranteeing confidentiality and anonymity.
 
Credit unions that don't receive the survey invitation email next week can email CUNA at MktResearch@cuna.coop to receive a customized link.

Other Resources

CU System briefs (1/30/15)

CU System
  • LENEXA, Kan. (1/30/15)-- Lisa Ginter, chief operating officer of CommunityAmerica CU, Lenexa, Kan., will become CEO following the retirement of current CEO Dennis Pierce, effective March 1 . Pierce, who is board chair of the Credit Union National Association, will retire after 22 years. Ginter has been with the $1.9 billion-asset credit union since 1995 ...
  • HERNDON, Va. (1/30/15)-- James Morrell, president/CEO, Peninsula Community FCU, Shelton, Wash., with $148 million in assets, was elected to serve on the board for NACHA--The Electronic Payments Association . His three-year term began Jan. 1. Morrell is also on the board of NACHA member WesPay, an association that promotes the development and best use of electronic payments. "Jim brings a wealth of experience and an important credit union perspective to the board," said Russell Oatman, NACHA board chair. Other credit union representatives on the board are Chet Kimmell, president/CEO, Neighborhood CU, Dallas, with $348 million in assets, and Tynika Wilson, vice president of transaction and document processing, Navy FCU, Vienna, Va., with $58 billion in assets ...
  • RICHMOND, Va. (1/30/15)-- Forty-two teenagers who are serving as pages and messengers for the Virginia Senate clerk's office received hands-on budget advice this week from Virginia CU, Richmond, Va. Cherry Hedges, financial education director at the $2.5 billion-asset credit union, led the students through an hourlong exercise that asked each student to develop a realistic budget based on randomly assigned careers such as child care worker, legal secretary or physician ...

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Entrepreneurs: 4 decisions ensure financial success

Consumer
DULLES, Va. (1/27/15)--Entrepreneurship can be rewarding at all life stages, from the young adult years to retirement and beyond. But before you invest your time, energy and resources into the entrepreneurial unknown, make these four money decisions to ensure you reach financial success (Daily Finance Jan. 21).
  • Keep spending down. You'll be tempted to spend whatever it takes to ensure the success of your new business. While investing in the business is key to its growth, when you're starting out find ways to cut back on personal expenses and to save.

    Build up your savings even before you launch, then focus on increasing your business' sustainability and improving cash flow--two things vital to business success;
  • Invest in yourself. Think about your retirement. Start by maxing out a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) if you need the tax break. If you can afford to pay taxes, consider contributing to a Roth IRA while you still qualify--your taxes probably will be lower now than when you retire. Contributing to both is a good hedge against unknown future tax rates.

    Once your business is consistently doing well, look at setting up a SEP-IRA or Solo 401(k), both designed for the self-employed. If you hire employees, consider setting up a SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match PLan for Employees) IRA;
     
  • Outsource. Weigh your strengths and weaknesses, and outsource the jobs that don't come easy for you. You might hire a bookkeeper, an accountant, a handyperson, someone to answer the phone, or just a freelancer for special projects. Don't waste time and money trying to figure out or do things that someone else can do more efficiently; and
     
  • Stay with the basics. To stay afloat, adopt these basic financial principles:
    • In your business as well as your personal life, spend less than you earn.
    • Build up your savings accounts to help you get through emergencies and lean times.
    • Set money aside to pay taxes throughout the year.
    • Use a bookkeeping system to track expenses and income. Xero and Quickbooks Online are good examples of online accounting software.
 For related information, read "Uneven Income Calls for Proactive Money Strategies" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

PULSE's new brand expands on payments offerings

Products
HOUSTON (1/30/15)--Debit/ATM network PULSE has unveiled a new corporate logo and acceptance mark.

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"PULSE and the debit landscape have both changed considerably in recent years, and it was time for our brand identity to reflect those changes," said PULSE President Dave Schneider. "At the same time, millions of cardholders know to look for the familiar PULSE logo at the point of sale and on ATMs, so our new look builds upon our existing strong brand equity."
 
The rebranding preserves many elements of PULSE's original marks while also identifying the network more closely with its parent company, Discover Financial Services. The new logo and acceptance mark are more contemporary and feature the familiar Discover color orange.
 
"PULSE and the debit landscape have both changed considerably in recent years, and it was time for our brand identity to reflect those changes," said PULSE President Dave Schneider. "At the same time, millions of cardholders know to look for the familiar PULSE logo at the point of sale and on ATMs, so our new look builds upon our existing strong brand equity."
 
In recent years, PULSE has expanded beyond PIN debit to support the processing of the full range of cardholder verification methods (CVMs), including PINless Bill Pay, Internet PIN Debit, signature, no-signature and no-CVM transactions in both single- and dual-message environments. PULSE also has worked to advance new technologies such as mobile payments, EMV-chip cards and tokenization.
 
PULSE participants may begin using the new acceptance mark on cards, signage and other materials immediately.

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