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CCUA hosts NASCUS college for CU directors

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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (2/27/15)--The Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA) hosted the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) Directors College this week, with members from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island all represented.

Click to view larger image David Cotney, Massachusetts Division of Banks commissioner, addresses the NASCUS Directors College, which was hosted by the Cooperative Credit Union Association this week. (Cooperative Credit Union Association Photo)
In addition to the 50 representatives from the Directors College, members of the Massachusetts Division of Banks (DOB), the New Hampshire Banking Department and the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation also attended ( Daily CU Scan Feb. 25).

The Directors College is a daylong event that provides the opportunity for credit union directors to stay on top of critical statutory, fiduciary and regulatory responsibilities.

NASCUS President/CEO Lucy Ito opened the event by outlining advocacy issues and recent NASCUS achievements, including work on the unrelated business income tax, overhead transfer rates, cybersecurity symposiums and risk-based capital.

Ito's discussion on national issues included the challenges facing credit unions that serve marijuana-related businesses.

Paul Gentile, CCUA president/CEO, talked about the importance of director education and the value of volunteer service to credit unions.

Later, David Cotney, commissioner of the Massachusetts DOB, discussed cybersecurity and regulatory burden. He noted the DOB has reduced one-third of its regulations on credit unions and continues to modify and streamline others.

Cotney also expressed that he is a strong supporter of the low-income credit union designation.

Additional highlights:
  • Brian Knight, NASCUS general counsel, directed a training session on the Bank Secrecy Act;
  • Representatives from the three state regulators provided an overview of their departments, current exam issues and examination functions; and
  • Holly Chase, Massachusetts DOB regional field manager, provided a synopsis of cybersecurity and emerging threats.

Boutwell, Houston honored for service by GCUA

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DULUTH, Ga. (2/27/15)--The Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) announced the two recipients of the league's highest honors.
Marshall Boutwell, president/CEO, Peach State FCU, received the Moses C. Davis Lifetime Achievement Award, which goes to a Georgia credit union leader who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the credit union movement over his or her career. Diana Houston, GCUA senior vice president of business development, received the Eloise Woods Distinguished Service Award for her work to advance cooperative finance for Georgia citizens.
Boutwell has been at the Lawrenceville-based credit union for more than 20 years. His involvement includes advocacy at the state and national levels, and he has led the way in providing financial services for the area's Bosnian community. Boutwell also is active with the Georgia-Poland Partnership.
"As a former banker, Marshall has a deep appreciation for the benefits of the cooperative business model," said GCUA President/CEO Mike Mercer. "He cares greatly for people and has been willing to do the work involved to make a lasting difference."
Houston, who has worked with the state's credit unions for more than 30 years, was instrumental in negotiating group contracts on behalf of the state's credit unions and is directly involved with governmental advocacy efforts.
"Diana does not lead from the 'front of the line,'" Mercer said. "She leads with ideas and meaningful consultative support. Her contributions have come in the form of financial benefits and creative advice to Georgia credit unions that now span decades of service."

"The credit union movement, not just in Georgia but nationally and even internationally, has benefited greatly from the contributions of Marshall Boutwell and Diana Houston," said Stacy Tallent, GCUA chair and president of Health Center CU, Evans. "They have devoted their professional lives to strengthening the credit union system and have made indelible marks on our industry."

CU System briefs (2/27/15)

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  • MADISON, Wis. (2/27/15)-- Submissions are now being accepted for proposed themes for this year's International Credit Union Day, set for Oct. 15 . Theme suggestions are due March 5, and top ideas will be put to vote in mid-March. Past themes include "Credit Unions Build a Better World" and "Your Money. Your Choice. Your Credit Union" ...
  • SAN DIEGO (2/27/15)-- Through San Diego County CU's Dining Deals program, members of the San Diego-based credit union have donated nearly 15,500 meals to Feeding America San Diego . The credit union's partnership with MOGL allows enrolled members to receive up to 25% cash back by dining at participating restaurants. When diners are offered cash back, they have the option to donate a part or the entire return to hunger relief ...
  • KANSAS CITY, Mo. (2/27/15)-- Saturday's grand opening of Mazuma CU's new headquarters in Overland Park, Mo., will give the public a glimpse into a new resource for the community . "We've worked tirelessly to reflect our community focus in our new building through the creation of a high-tech and open community room," said President/CEO Brandon Michaels. The room, fully equipped with audio/visual equipment, seats up to 180 people. Community groups will be able to reserve and use the space for free ...

Calif., Nev. CUs REACH for innovation

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ONTARIO, Calif. (2/27/15)--The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues' REACH Innovation Group officially launched last week with a two-day experiential learning session, immersing the 17 participants in the Filene Method of Innovation.

Click to view larger image The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues' REACH Innovation Group officially launched last week with a two-day experiential learning session. (California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues Photo)
The purpose of the 2015 REACH Innovation Group is to develop new ideas and innovations for credit unions. It was launched in coordination with the Filene Research Institute, and modeled after Filene's i3 (Ideas, Innovation, Implementation) program.

During the two-day session, held Feb. 18-19, the participants from credit unions throughout California and Nevada were split into four smaller groups and participated in exercises involving innovating around a problem or opportunity ( CU Weekly Feb. 23).

"Now the teams will take what they learned and put that learning into action," said Tansley Stearns, Filene Research Group chief impact officer. "They will meet weekly remotely, and every six weeks they will connect via webinars facilitated by Filene. The webinars will include refreshers on the methodology, and each team will present its homework assignments. This will keep the groups on track to move their insights into ideas and their ideas into prototypes to be tested and ultimately presented at REACH 2015."

Participants will present their ideas at the 2015 REACH conference, to be held Nov. 4-6 in Palm Desert, Calif.

Bankrate highlights CU affordability vs. banks: 'No surprise,' says Nussle

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NEW YORK (2/27/15)--Credit unions continue to offer free checking accounts to their members at a high rate, while more and more banks continue to charge for them.

Click to view larger image 's 2015 Credit Union Checking Survey found the nation's 50 largest credit unions bested the banks for pricing on checking accounts. (Bankrate Graphic)
Nearly three-quarters of credit unions (72%) offer free checking, compared with only 38% of the largest banks in the United States, according to a recent report from .

Five years ago, 65% of banks offered free checking, compared with 78% of credit unions.

"As not-for-profit, member-owned, community-based financial institutions, credit unions are focused on providing the best service for their members," said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. "The fact that credit unions by and large offer better deals to their members than other financial institutions is no surprise. With lower fees and better rates, more and more Americans are discovering that credit unions are their best financial partner."

In addition to those that offer always-free checking accounts, 26% more--for a total of 98%--offer accounts that become free when certain requirements are met, such as when e-statements, direct deposit or a combination of both are used, the report found.

Further, 62% of credit unions have no minimum deposit, and those that do require an average of $9.84, compared with $65.83 at banks.

Credit unions also charge members less than banks when it comes to overdraft fees, with the average fee at credit unions at $26.78 compared with $32.74 at banks.

"When evaluating checking accounts, consumers should definitely include credit unions in their search," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst. "They have competitive offerings and many participate in large ATM networks that extend the credit union's reach."

To use out-of-network ATMs, credit unions most commonly charge a fee of $1.50, while banks charge $2.50. However, many credit unions belong to ATM networks that provide access to more than 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide.

CUs as public funds depositories high on Fla. legislative agenda

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (2/27/15)--Public funds depository choice will be the top legislative priority of the Florida Credit Union Association (FCUA), when the Florida Legislature convenes Monday, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU) said.

The first step for legislation to allow credit unions in Florida to become qualified public funds depositories has taken place ( eSignal Daily Feb. 27). Bills have been filed in the Florida House--HB 907 sponsored by Rep. Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton)--and the Senate--SB 1154 sponsored by Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah).

Passing legislation to allow credit unions to qualify as depository institutions for public funds is being sought in Alabama as well.

"We believe this legislation would spur competition among eligible public depositories and create an opportunity for greater savings and returns on deposits," said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine. 

Currently, 33 states allow credit unions to qualify as depositories of public funds.

The FCUA will also press for legislation that requires higher data security standards by which merchants and vendors would be held accountable if they are responsible for compromised data, instead of leaving financial institutions such as banks and credit unions with the bill.

CUNA continues to urge lawmakers to pass legislation that would require merchants to adhere to the same strict payment data security standards that financial institutions must meet. 

Also on the legislative docket is "patent troll" reform that would ban abusive patent demand letters and lawsuits that can harm the financial services industry.

Along with much of the business community, the FCUA is supporting requiring Florida high school students to take a half-credit class on financial literacy and personal finance management.

CUNA, Coopera release new toolkit for outreach to Spanish-speaking members

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MADISON, Wis. (2/27/15)--CUNA and Coopera have announced the latest addition to their partnership product suite, the Spanish Language Seminar in a Box for Members series-- Organice sus Archivos Financieros . The seminar, whose title translates to Organize Your Financial Records, was created to help credit unions better serve their Hispanic members.

CUNA and Coopera formed a strategic partnership in 2009 in order to help credit unions grow by reaching the Hispanic market.

"Member financial education is a core credit union differentiator," said Michelle Dosher, CUNA market research and consumer education managing editor. "Planning these events can be difficult and time consuming for credit union employees, especially when there is a language barrier. Our reusable Spanish language Seminars in a Box allow credit unions to reduce planning time and ensure their members have an opportunity to learn in their preferred language."

The Organice sus Archivos Financieros seminar kit includes a PowerPoint presentation with speaker notes, member worksheets, evaluation forms, a sample newsletter article, a sample press release, an informational video clip, and full-color promotional poster and flyer graphics, in addition to various supporting materials in English. The seminar will answer various financial record-keeping questions including:
  • What documents should I keep?
  • How long should I store my records?
  • Why was my previous record-keeping method ineffective? and
  • What is the best way to get organized?
"Hispanics are the largest, fastest-growing, youngest and most underserved groups in the United States," said Miriam De Dios, Coopera CEO. "Credit unions investing resources in their local Hispanic communities and offering targeted financial education are able to reach this growing market while making a difference in their members' lives."

CUNA and Coopera currently offer two other Spanish language Seminars in a Box: Acceso a Dinero a Traves de Credito (Access to Money with Credit) and Pasos Basicos Para el Control de su Dinero (Basic Steps to Managing Your Money). With the newest launch, CUNA is introducing new bundled pricing: $300 for one seminar, $520 for two seminars and $690 for all three seminars.