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News Now

Full Issue: August 28, 2014

New NCUA board member McWatters outlines action priorities

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (8/28/14)--J. Mark McWatters, one day after being sworn in as the newest National Credit Union Administration board member, has announced his top priorities for his term at the agency. In a statement, he named regulatory relief, transparency, accountability, supporting low-income credit union members and promoting greater industry diversity as among items high on his list.
J. Mark McWatters, the newest NCUA board member, is shown here at his Senate confirmation hearing. (CUNA Photo)

"In discharging my duties, I will always welcome advice and counsel from the broader credit union industry, as well as from the management and members of individual credit unions," McWatters said.

"I assure you that I will thoughtfully and respectfully consider your perspectives as I independently analyze the issues presented. While we may differ from time to time in our analysis and conclusions regarding the structure and scope of specific regulatory and administrative actions, I assure you that your voice will be heard and considered."

McWatters said his initial focus as a member of the NCUA board would be in five areas:
  • Providing regulatory relief for credit unions;

  • Incorporating a robust, objective, transparent and fully accountable cost-benefit analysis into NCUA's rulemaking and vetting process;

  • Recognizing the critical role and expanding the scope and financial viability of low-income credit unions within the financial services industry;

  • Enhancing the availability of affordable and readily understandable financial services to credit union members who are economically challenged; and

  • Promoting the role of women and persons of color within the credit union industry.
"Paying close attention to these and other critical issues affecting the credit union industry and providing a fresh, transparent and fully accountable approach toward NCUA's internal and external operations reflects my commitment to ensuring the safety and soundness of the credit union industry and protecting the Share Insurance Fund from losses while allowing credit unions to best serve their members and conduct their affairs through their exercise of prudent, fair-minded and autonomous business judgment," McWatters said.

Credit Union National Association interim President/CEO Bill Hampel said Tuesday that the association looks forward to meeting with McWatters once he is settled to discuss the agency's risk-based capital proposal, examination concerns, the need for regulatory relief and the agency's budget. Regulatory relief for credit unions is among CUNA's top priorities.

The NCUA has a full-time, three-member board appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. No more than two board members can be from the same political party, and each member serves a staggered six-year term.  The NCUA chair is Debbie Matz, and the vice chair is Richard Metsger.

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Gallego wins Ariz. primary with help from CUs

WASHINGTON (8/28/14)--Ruben Gallego, Marine veteran and credit union-supported candidate in Arizona's 7th Congressional District, emerged victorious in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

The district is classified by Roll Call as a safe for Democrats, meaning Gallego will likely be its new congressman, replacing the retiring Rep. Ed Pastor (D).

Gallego, who resigned his position as a state representative to run for the U.S. Congress, received 48.14% of the vote, while his closest competitor, Mary Rose Wilcox, took 36.4% of the vote. Starting out, Wilcox was considered the better-known of the two candidates.

Neither of the other two candidates in the Democratic primary took more than 8% of the vote.

The Mountain West Credit Union Association (MWCUA) endorsed Gallego, with MWCUA Vice President of Political Affairs Austin De Bey telling News Now Monday that Gallego was a "strong advocate and supporter of credit unions" while a state representative, and saying Gallego would continue to be so while serving in Congress.

Five credit unions participated in a partisan communication campaign that included nine mailers that went to almost 20,000 households with credit union members.

"The communication campaign made credit unions a significant player in an election in which only 24,097 voters turned out, and which Gallego won by only 2,838 votes," said Trey Hawkins, vice president for political affairs for the Credit Union National Association.

Libertarian Joe Cobb will face Gallego in November. There was no Republican in the 7th District primary Tuesday, but 876 write-in votes were cast.

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Ed. Dept. adopts new SCRA procedures for FFEL lenders

WASHINGTON (8/28/14)--There are new procedures for Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) lenders to determine if borrowers are eligible for benefits under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), the U.S. Department of Education announced this week.

According to FFEL data, 17 credit unions are in the top 100 financial institutions holding FFEL loans. Those 17 credit unions had outstanding FFEL program balances of $1.562 billion as of Sept. 30, 2013.

Under the new procedures set by the Department of Education, FFEL lenders are now authorized and encouraged to use the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) database to identify borrowers who are eligible for the interest-rate limitation provided military servicemembers under the SCRA and to grant that benefit. This identification can be made without a specific request from the borrower.

According to the Department of Education, it has been determined that the DMDC database provides "sufficient supporting documentation" of an individual's eligibility for the SCRA interest rate limitation.

Once a borrower's status and service dates have been confirmed using the DMDC, the loan servicer may use the information, but must retain that information in the borrower's file.  When the loan servicer applies the SCRA's interest rate limitation to a borrower's account, it must notify the borrower that the interest rate on the loan has been changed.

FFEL lenders that use the DMDC information to confirm a borrower status and maintain the supporting information will not be subject to any program liabilities if any information provided by the DMDC is found to be incorrect. The loan servicer does not need to confirm the information provided by the DMDC.

In a letter to FFEL lenders sent Wednesday, the Department of Education reminded them of two limitations on the application of the SCRA interest rate:
  • The SCRA applies only to loans taken out by a servicemember before the servicemember entered active-duty military service. It does not apply to loans taken out after the borrower's active-duty military service began; and

  • A consolidation loan made after the borrower has started active-duty military service is not eligible for benefits under the SCRA even if the underlying loans were taken out prior to the start of active-duty service.

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Cyberattack simulations webinars available for FIs

WASHINGTON (8/28/14)--Two identical, two-day cyberattack simulation exercises will be hosted by the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) in September.

The annual free Cyberattack Against Payment Processes (CAPP) exercises are held in conjunction with the Payments Risk Council. This is the third year of the program.

Over a two-day period, a simulated attack will take place on payment processes to help organizations assess readiness in the event of such an attack. These events help the industry identify ways to prevent, detect and respond to cyberattacks against payment processes.

According to FS-ISAC, the exercises are meant to:
  • Evaluate current risk mitigation procedures related to cyberattacks and identify potential critical gaps in planning;
  • Engage in a live test of an incident response team's ability to respond to major incidents;
  • Raise awareness and educate staff regarding procedures to respond to complex threats;
  • Benchmark your business practices based on the responses of other firms;
  • Develop appropriate risk mitigation recommendations in response to the types of attacks used in this exercise; and
  • Receive an after-action report highlighting lessons learned from the exercise and category benchmark results.
Participants can choose from one of the two free sessions, one on Sept. 9 and 10, with a registration deadline of Sept. 5, and the other on Sept. 16 and 17, with a registration deadline of Sept. 12. The exercise is scheduled to take approximately an hour each day.

The simulations were announced by Federal Reserve Financial Services, which is the portal to national financial services for depository institution customers of the Federal Reserve System.

Use the resource link below for more information.

Inside Washington

  • ARLINGTON, Va. (8/28/14)--In its latest issue, the FDIC Consumer News features tips on preparing financially for stressful life events, including disability or death. The summer edition of the Federal Deposit of Insurance Corp. (FDIC) publication also offers basic strategies for helping family members or others who are facing a personal hardship. It also reports on enhancements to the FDIC webpages that explain deposit insurance, offers tips for rebounding from a bad credit history, and outlines basics to know about new credit and debit cards that contain a computer chip for added security ...

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Consumer Rates


Informa Research Services, Inc.
Daily Rate Comparison

Informa Research Services, Inc.
Deposit Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
12 Month CD $10,000 0.46% 0.28% 0.18%
Personal Savings $1,000 0.21% 0.10% 0.11%
Personal Interest Checking $2,500 0.35% 0.15% 0.20%
NSF Fee $27.89 $32.04 $-4.15
Personal MMDA $2,500 0.17% 0.10% 0.07%
Business MMDA $2,500 0.17% 0.09% 0.08%

Consumer Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Unsecured Personal Loan - $5,000 - 4 Years 10.15% 10.41% -0.26%
New Auto Loan - 5 Years 2.57% 3.83% -1.26%
Used Auto Loan - 2 year Old - 4 Years 2.76% 4.03% -1.27%
HELOC - 80% LTV - $50,000 4.14% 4.41% -0.27%
HE Loan - 80% LTV - $50,000 - 15 Years 5.67% 5.99% -0.32%

Mortgage Loan Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
30 Year Fixed Conforming 4.14% 4.15% -0.01%
30 Year Fixed Jumbo 4.21% 4.05% 0.16%
5/1 Year ARM Conforming 2.92% 2.89% 0.03%

Credit Card Products Credit Unions Bank Average Difference
Platinum 9.02% 10.77% -1.75%
Annual Fee $25.00 $58.20 $-33.20
Maximum Late Fee $26.03 $33.79 $-7.76
Reward 10.00% 12.25% -2.25%
Annual Fee $26.71 $101.27 $-74.56
Maximum Late Fee $22.58 $33.20 $-10.62

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

Averages displayed are straight averages of all institutions within the Informa Research Services database for the selected region as of Wednesday, August 27, 2014. For detailed disclosures click here.

Other Resources

Business Rates

Daily Financial Rates -- 2014-08-28

Financial Rates

Thursday, August 28, 2014

03:55 AM CDT

(based on the $1 million market)

1 month0.
3 month0.
6 month0.
1 year0.
2 year0.510.520.530.530.49
3 year0.970.980.990.980.95
5 year1.651.681.691.681.64
7 year2.
10 year2.372.392.392.402.41
20 year2.852.892.882.902.92
30 year3.


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

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


3.25% Last changed December 16, 2008


near closing bid0.0400.0800.0700.0800.080
effective rate20.1100.0800.1200.1100.120

FREDDIE MAC (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

30 year0.

FANNIE MAE (Mortgage commitments, 30 days)

30 year3.7203.7133.7173.7333.779


1 month0.210000.212000.211000.211000.20900
3 month0.364000.366000.362000.362000.36100
6 month0.536000.544000.538000.538000.53600
1 year0.842000.847000.842000.842000.84200

COMMERCIAL PAPER (Financial, 90 days)

TermWeek ended
Week ended
90 days0.230.23

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

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

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

Other Resources

Refis push mortgage applications up 2.8%: MBA

WASHINGTON (8/28/14)--Mortgage applications increased 2.8% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) weekly mortgage applications survey for the week ending Aug. 22. 
MBA's market composite index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 2.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the index rose 2% compared with the previous week.

The refinance index increased 3% from the previous week, while the seasonally adjusted purchase index gained 3% from one week earlier. The unadjusted purchase index increased 1% compared with the previous week and was 11% lower than the same week one year ago.
The refinance share of mortgage activity rose to 56% of total applications, the highest level since March 2014, from 55% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity remained unchanged at 8% of total applications.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 4.28% from 4.29%, with points decreasing to 0.25 from 0.26 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000), the average contract rate ticked up to 4.22% from 4.18%, with points increasing to 0.28 from 0.23 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration fell to 3.98%, the lowest since June 2013, from 3.99%. Fifteen-year fixed-rate mortgages saw the average contract interest rate jump to 3.47% from 3.44%.
The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs remained unchanged at 3.10%, with points increasing to 0.52 from 0.44 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.

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Kresge grants support unbanked efforts by CUs, social agencies

CU System
ST. LOUIS (8/28/14)--Three credit unions are wrapping up their first year of financial capability partnerships with human services agencies made possible through a $530,000 grant from the Financial Capability Partnership Initiative.  
The initiative, managed by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and the Center for Financial Services Innovation, promotes healthy financial alternatives for low-income individuals and families. Support for FCPI is provided by the Kresge Foundation.

"Problems faced by vulnerable populations require a variety of interventions. We believe the Financial Capability Partnership Initiative will help people become more integrated into the financial system and provide the tools to help them become self-sufficient," said Kimberlee Cornett, managing director of Kresge's Social Investment Practice.
St. Louis Community CU, with $245 million in assets, works with Kingdom House, an agency that provides social services in St. Louis, to make financial education and affordable financial products available to the agency's clients.
The credit union operates mini-branches in Kingdom House and in other social service agencies, making it convenient for clients to receive one-on-one financial counseling and learn about banking services. Kingdom House social workers include financial assessments in their annual client interviews, and one is trained as a personal finance specialist.
St. Louis Community CU's presence helps fill a gap in a neighborhood that is considered a financial institution "desert," said Scott Walker, Kingdom House executive director.
In Chicago, the Community Builders and South Side Community FCU, with $3 million in assets assists income-earning residents of a Work First Community Housing property with direct financial coaching and access to responsible financial products.
In San Francisco, Self-Help FCU, based on Raleigh, N.C., with $560 million in assets, works with the Mission SF Community Financial Center to offer financial coaching and credit union products to low-income 18- to 24-year-olds who are part of a skills-development program that includes college credit and corporate internships.
The Center for Financial Services Innovation and the federation have also provided support to credit unions and social service agencies in Cleveland; Durham, N.C.; New Orleans; and San Antonio.

Ga. members lend voices to 100M membership video

CU System
DULUTH, Ga. (8/28/14)--The Georgia Credit Union Affiliates highlighted the credit union movement's 100 million memberships milestone recently by recording interviews with members of Georgia United CU who described in their own words what consumers like best about credit unions.
The $981 million-asset credit union in Duluth was the impromptu stage for GCUA's Jason Golden, who asked members, "What's the one thing you love the most about your credit union?"
Auto loans, member service, shared branching, low rates and convenience, the members responded.

One member even shared his experience of improving his financial standing. "They gave me a lot of good advice on how to help my credit and build my credit. I'm looking really good credit-wise because of them," he said.
"It's a little more hometown, and a little more personal," another said. "I think they are just a little bit more about the individual."
The video is only part of GCUA's celebration of the movement's milestone. On Monday, the league will select the winner of its Facebook selfie contest. Contestants shared a photo of themselves on GCUA's creditYOUnion Facebook page with the #100MM hashtag for a chance to win $100.
GCUA also encouraged members to upload their photos to the national 100 million memberships site, .

$5 coffee? Cash or card depends on age, says

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (8/28/14)--Consumers, especially the younger generation, are using credit and debit cards for the smallest of purchases, such as cups of coffee and packs of chewing gum, according to a new survey by .

About 1 in 3 consumers typically use a credit card or a debit card for in-person purchases of less than $5, according to a national telephone survey of 983 adult U.S. credit card holders. Roughly 11% prefer credit cards, 22% use debit cards, and 65% still pay with cash.

The penchant for plastic is stronger with the 18- to 29-year-old demographic. About 51% of consumers in that category prefer plastic to cash, the only age group to do so. A preference for cash becomes stronger in each advancing age bracket, until at age 65-plus, 82% prefer cash.

The younger consumers are, the more likely they are to reach for a card. Among consumers 49 years old and under, 52% prefer cash, and 46% prefer debit or credit cards. Among those 50 or older, 77% still prefer cash, with 21% reaching for debit cards or credit cards.

Those who graduated from or attended college are more comfortable than others using plastic for small purchases.

A combined 39% of those with college degrees prefer debit cards (21%) or credit cards (18%) over cash (59%). Only 16% of those who have not attended college usually use debit cards for purchases of less than $5, along with only 6% who prefer credit cards for that purpose.

Consumers with full-time jobs were more likely to use credit cards and debit cards for small purchases (42%) than those employed part time (34%) or than those who were unemployed (23%). People with children are more likely to use the cards for small purchases (41%) than those without children (30%).

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Council white paper: Psychographics discover 'why' of purchases

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (8/28/14)--Marketers may know the "who" and "where" of their target market, but it's the elusive "why" that will key them in to what people buy and use.
A new white paper from the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council looks at psychographics, which classifies people based on lifestyles, attitudes, habits, interests and opinions opposed to geographic data ("where") and demographics ("who").
The power of psychographics allows credit union marketers to build better connections with members by getting inside their heads and understanding how they think and what is important to them.
Psychographics helps marketers understand what will grab members' attention and, more importantly, what may turn them off, the paper noted.
How can a credit union discover its members' distinct voices? Begin by asking them five questions, the paper advised:
  • What made you decide to join/do business with us?
  • What do you like about our competitor and their product?
  • What are your interests, hobbies, and pastimes?
  • Are you extroverted or introverted? Are you analytical or emotional?
  • What kind of environment do you thrive in?
Psychographics brings a personal and emotional connection to the relationship. FAA CU, Oklahoma City, with $563 million in assets, collected data from its core processing, marketing customer information file and customer relationship management programs.

Instead of a sweeping communication, the credit union created personalized URLs to give members with a free credit score analysis. By focusing on member service, the credit union and its See Your Score Soar campaign saved members more than $10 million over 18 months ( News Now May 12).
Use the resource link to access "The Power of Psychographics: Segmented and Targeted Marketing Strategies."

State leagues bestow social responsibility awards on CUs

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (8/28/14)--Three state credit union leagues recently announced their winners of credit union philosophy and financial education awards.
The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award is given to a credit union or credit union group for external activities supporting social responsibility projects within the community.
The Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Member Service Award goes to a credit union for its practical application of credit union philosophy to internal programs and services that benefit membership.
The Desjardins Youth and Adult Financial Education Awards honor credit union efforts for personal finance education of members and nonmembers.
The deadline for states to submit winners to the Credit Union National Association for national consideration is Friday.
During its recent annual convention, the Louisiana Credit Union League presented its awards to the following credit unions.
Desjardin youth financial literacy awards went to:
  • Less than $200 million: Lafayette (La.) Schools FCU, with $173 million in assets; and
  • More than $200 million: Barksdale FCU, Bossier City, with $1.1 billion in assets.
Desjardin adult financial literacy awards were bestowed on:
  • Less than $200 million: Greater New Orleans FCU, Metairie, with $116 million in assets; and
  • More than $200 million: Neighbors FCU, Baton Rouge, with $670 million in assets.
Ouachita Valley FCU, West Monroe, with $176 million in assets, received the Louise Herring award. The Dora Maxwell award went to Lafayette Schools FCU, in the less than $200 million-asset category, and Neighbors FCU, in the more than $200 million-asset category.
The Minnesota Credit Union Network released its list of winners from 27 credit unions that submitted entries this year.
Winners of the Dora Maxwell award, by asset size, are:
  • $20 million-$50 million: Star Choice CU, Bloomington, with $47 million in assets;
  • $100 million-$200 million: Lake State CU, Moose Lake, with $188 million in assets;
  • $200 million-$500 million: Richfield-Bloomington CU, Richfield, with $258 million in assets; and
  • $500 million-$1 billion: SPIRE CU, Falcon Heights, with $626 million in assets.
Minnesota's Louise Herring award winners, by asset size, are:
  • Less than $50 million: Star Choice CU;
  • $250 million-$1 billion: TopLine FCU, Maple Grove, with $352 million in assets; and
  • More than $1 billion: Affinity Plus FCU, St. Paul, $1.7 billion in assets.
Winners of the Desjardins adult financial education award, by asset size, are:
  • Less than $50 million: Cook Area CU, Cook, with $29 million in assets;
  • $50 million-$150 million: United Educators CU, Apple Valley, Minn., with $151 million in assets;
  • $150 million-$500 million: TopLine FCU; and
  • More than $500 million: Wings Financial CU, Apple Valley, with $4 billion in assets.
Desjardins youth education awards went to $153 million-asset Great River FCU, St. Cloud, in the $150 million to $500 million-asset category; and $950 million-asset Hiway FCU, St. Paul, in the more than $500 million-asset category.
Top achievers from the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU) also were announced this week.
LSCU's Dora Maxwell award winners, by asset size, are:
  • $100 million-$200 million: PBC CU, West Palm Beach, Fla., with $123 million in assets;
  • $200 million-$500 million: First Commerce CU, Tallahassee, Fla., with $400 million in assets;
  • $500 million-$1 billion: Alabama CU, Tuscaloosa, with $640 million in assets; and
  • More than $1 billion: CFE FCU, Lake Mary, Fla., with $1.4 billion in assets.
The Louise Herring award went to $1.2 billion-asset Pen Air FCU, Pensacola, in the more than $1 billion-asset category.
Desjardins youth financial education awards went to $43 million-asset Tallahassee-Leon FCU, Tallahassee, Fla., in the less than $50 million-asset category; $407 million-asset Legacy Community FCU, Birmingham, Ala., in the $150 million to $500 million-asset category; and $5.7 billion-asset Suncoast CU, Tampa, Fla., in the more than $500 million-asset category.
In the more than $500 million-asset category, the Desjardins adult education award went to Army Aviation Center FCU, Daleville, Ala., with $1.1 billion in assets.

CUNA offers 'Must-know Mondays' for directors

CU System
MADISON, Wis. (8/28/14)--The Credit Union National Association has announced a new seven-part webinar series that satisfies the yearly training requirements of credit union directors.
"Must-know Mondays--Required Training for Directors" will explore topics that credit union directors are required to revisit year after year, each sprinkled with humor and insights from presenter David Reed, a speaker and facilitator who has served as both an outside attorney and an in-house credit union general counsel.
Each session will also give attendees the opportunity to ask questions or make observations of their credit unions' situation gain additional insight into each topic.
"As our industry becomes more complex, credit union directors are held responsible for more and more ongoing training each year," said Lynne Bjorgo, CUNA manager of learning events. "Rather than ask them to track down each training requirement individually, we're assembling one comprehensive package and covering one topic each month from now until spring."
Session dates and topics include:
  • Sept. 29: Board Governance Refresher;
  • Oct. 20: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Director's Bond Coverage;
  • Nov. 17: The Ins and Outs of the Bank Secrecy Act for Directors and Volunteers;
  • Dec. 15: What a Director Needs to Know About Fair Lending;
  • Jan. 26: Creating a Transparent Board--Understanding and Dealing with Conflicts of Interest;
  • Feb.16: Examination Guidance for Directors; and
  • March 23: The Director's Guide to Effectively Working with the Supervisory Committee.
Recordings of each session are included with the webinar series.

CU System briefs (08/28/2014)

CU System
  • SUITLAND, Md. (8/28/14)-- Next week, Andrews FCU, Suitland, Md., will join the Steak Team Mission for the first of its three fall events that provide steak dinners to servicemembers around the world. The $1 billion-asset credit union will bring the second Steak Team Mission to Mons, Belgium, for 600 servicemembers for a Labor Day celebration Wednesday. The following week on Sept. 9, the credit union will host a dinner for all military attaches assigned to Paris at the U.S. ambassador's residence. And, in honor of Veterans Day in November, a steak mission will be held in the Sinai Peninsula for the 2,000 soldiers serving there as part of the multinational peacekeeping mission. Since 2002, Steak Team Mission has prepared and served more than 50,000 steak dinners with all the trimmings. "There is never enough we can do in support of our troops," said Jim Hayes, Andrews FCU president/CEO. "This contribution is just our way of saying thank you for all that you do." ...
  • GLENDORA, Calif. (8/28/14)-- Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) selected Mendell Thompson, president/CEO, America's Christian CU, Glendora, Calif., as a 2014 Angels in Adoption awardee for his advocacy of adoption efforts . The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute honor is an opportunity for congressional delegates to recognize their constituents' work on behalf of foster children and orphans. The $284 million-asset credit union has helped place more than 1,000 children with families through its adoption loan program, which helps cover adoption costs such as travel to foreign countries ...

Other Resources

Creative uses for your tax-advantaged accounts

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

GPS amped up for 3SI cash tracking

EXTON, Pa. (8/28/14)--3SI Security Systems, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider, enhanced its NextGen3 Electronic Satellite Pursuit (ESP) GPS tracking solution.
The new platform uses smarter technology to provide more flexibility in deployment and improved data storage and organization. The first product in the platform is the Cash Tracker. The device's smaller size--36% smaller than previous versions, with the profile of a standard No. 2 pencil--makes it easier to conceal from criminals.
The new platform leverages common functionality for multiple security and tracking applications to increase apprehension (70% of cases) and asset return (87%) rates.
"Using the latest and most innovative technologies provides the best means of protecting people and assets: for instance, institutions using our cash tracker realized criminal apprehension and cash return in the vast majority of cases," said Mary Pifer, 3SI vice president of international marketing and product management. "Our arrest and recovery rate is impressive, but we will never rest on our laurels. We will use evolving technology to continue to improve our products' performance."
Other key features of the new product include:
  • Multiple ways to trigger the device;
  • Improved storage; and
  • Self-test check and maintenance improvements.
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Ill. @GovernorQuinn signs patent troll law via @CrainsChicago
12 hours ago
.@MBAMortgage : Mortgage apps increased 2.8% from one week earlier for week ending Aug. 22.
13 hours ago
Franchise businesses may face higher breach risk with POS systems HT @briankrebs
13 hours ago
About 1 in 3 consumers use plastsic for in-person purchases of less than $5, according to @CreditCardsCom survey.
15 hours ago