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NC CU's new ads to air during Super Bowl

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (1/23/13)--While watching the Harbaugh brothers coach the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl  Feb. 3, some viewers will be treated to the unveiling of a new ad campaign by Charlotte Metro CU (CMCU).

Charlotte, N.C.-based CMCU has unveiled ad campaigns during the Super Bowl for several years. Its newest ad will debut during the first half.

While past campaigns relied on humor, this year's will showcase CMCU as a place that helps members achieve their financial goals. The campaign will run throughout 2013 and include TV, radio, billboard, print and online components. Its four ads are united by the theme, "happy place."

"There are two meanings behind 'happy place,'" said Bob Burns, CMCU president. "First, members tell us their local CMCU branch is a happy place; they enjoy the service they receive. Second, we help people reach their happy place--retirement, a new car, a vacation, a second home--whatever it is. Charlotte Metro helps people prosper."

The ads were filmed locally at sites such as the U.S. National Whitewater Center and feature uptown skyline and aerial views of uptown.

Simple Syrup of Durham, N.C., produced the campaign. "Charlotte Metro CU and its members have a unique relationship," said John Reid, executive director of Simple Syrup. The credit union sees itself as "partners who share in their members' financial successes. And in today's tenuous financial climate, Charlotte Metro wanted to remind people that banking can be a pleasant experience," he added.

While the ads introduce the "happy place" theme, CMCU will continue to use its "Like a Bank. Only Better." Tagline.

Previous campaigns include a fee pig; a woman on a date envisioning having to wash dishes at a fancy restaurant after her date's card is declined (he used CMCU's mobile banking feature to quickly transfer funds); "Don't get suckered," with distinguished-looking men in three-piece suits (traditional bankers) sucking money from unsuspecting people's wallet; and an extraterrestrial opening an account (anyone can open an account at the credit union).

To view the previous ads, use the link.

CU System briefs (01/23/2013)

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  • MADISON, Wis. (1/23/13)--A man wearing a fake fur Bucky Badger hat similar to one worn by a robber in a Jan. 11 holdup of Summit CU, Madison, Wis., has been charged with armed robbery. Randall H. Hubatch, 49, of Madison allegedly told police he wanted to go to prison and needed the money because he has $250,000 in student debt (Wisconsin State Journal Jan. 19).  He also said he thought the credit union would not care and would simply give him $500. The robber used a plastic Star Wars toy gun, wrote a note demanding $500, and told the teller not to stall because he didn't want to hurt anyone. He also wrote he would shoot anyone who followed him to his car.  Hubatch allegedly told police he was trying to mislead them because he doesn't have a car …
  • EAST LANSING, Mich. (1/23/13)--Michigan State University FCU has given a $1 million endowment to Michigan State University to establish a jazz artist-in-residence program (The Daily Telegram Jan. 21). The $2.29 billion asset credit union based in East Lansing announced the gift Sunday at a concert in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.  The program will bring established musicians such as Branford Marsalis and rising figures in the jazz world to East Lansing for a week at a time. They will work with students. The guest artists and the university's jazz groups will also perform around Michigan, with special focus on Detroit …
  • LEOMINSTER, Mass. (1/23/13)--Carol A. Southworth has been named interim president/CEO at Leominster (Mass.) CU, succeeding Paul Gilbody, who resigned after four months in the position.  Southworth is the credit union's senior vice president/retail. The credit union told local media that the board and Gilbody had different visions for the financial institution and decided to go their separate ways. The $600 million asset credit union was founded in 1954. Gilbody, a former banker, succeeded Gordon Edmonds in September (Lowellsun.com  Jan. 20) …
  • SALT LAKE CITY (1/23/13)--Bruce Bryan, Utah regional president of Chartway FCU, has been appointed to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah's board of directors.  Here he talks with a Make-A-Wish child during the ceremony. Chartway's charitable arm, the We Promise Foundation, donated $325,000 to Make-A-Wish, the largest donation ever received by the Utah chapter.  We Promise also received a star to be displayed in the chapter's building. The credit union is the first organization to ever receive a star. Bryan served as president/CEO of Heritage West CU until in merged with Chartway in January 2010. He now oversees not only Heritage West, but also SouthWest Community and Utah Central CUs. The foundations make dreams come true for children struggling with life-threatening illnesses. (Photo provided  by Chartway FCU) …

Banking sector least trusted: At CUs, it's different

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MADISON, Wis. (1/23/13)--Two things--poor performance and unethical behavior--are the reasons why banks are the least trusted financial institutions in the world, concludes a new study. While banks may be the least trusted, consumers have again and again pointed out in other studies that credit unions are the most trustworthy of financial institutions.

"Much of the trust people place in the banking and financial services industry rests on two attributes: perceived performance and perceived behavior.  In both, banks have fared poorly," said the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, a global study that noted "severe drops in trust in banks over five years" with "two-thirds of markets now below 50% trust level."

Not so for credit unions, said the Credit Union National Association. Studies that extract separate information about credit unions and compare them to other financial institutions end up shining a spotlight on the credit union difference.  A key factor is credit unions' trustworthiness.

In 2012, more than half a dozen surveys about customer satisfaction and trustworthiness all gave credit unions higher marks for both than they did banks, especially big ones.  Credit unions topped satisfaction and trust surveys conducted the past year by Prudential, ath Power Consulting, the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Prime Performance's   reputation study, Temkin Group's customer service ratings, CUNA's National Voter Survey and others. 

For example, the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index consistently reported more trust in credit unions than in local and national banks, quarter over quarter, since the survey began in December 2008. (For more detail on the studies, use the link to a News Now story summarizing these.)

The Edelman Trust Barometer indicates a worldwide dip of consumers' trust in banks to 45% today from 56% in 2008.  Of the 18 countries for which the barometer has data back that far, trust in banks dropped in nine of them--eight of which are developed countries.

The industry got poor grades in small business lending and in providing home mortgage loans--two areas that credit unions have stepped in to fill when consumers could not get loans approved by banks. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed by Edelman noted last year's banking and financial services scandals. Roughly 59% said were banks behaving badly, with corruption, conflicts of interest, poor corporate culture, poor leadership, changes in the economy, lack of regulation and a too-big size all causing trust deficits.

The Edelman study focused on six areas of banking--lending to small business, providing home mortgage loans, offering credit cards, trading and investing in government debt, ensuring privacy of personal information, and overseeing initial public offerings. Fewer than 40% of informed publics in developed countries rate banks as doing well in five of them, the study said. The one exception--ensuring privacy of personal information--still remains below 50%, Edelman said. 

To read the Edelman study, which surveyed 26,000 respondents ages 25 to 64, use the link.

Grant helps Truliant assist underserved entrepreneurs

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WINSTON SALEM, N.C. (1/23/13)--Through a grant from the National Credit Union Foundation, Truliant FCU teaches business and financial skills to underserved entrepreneurs in rural North Carolina.

Click to view larger image With a National Credit Union Foundation grant, Truliant FCU helps small business owners and entrepreneurs in underserved and rural communities in North Carolina learn financial and business literacy. Students display certificates at a graduation ceremony at the credit union in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Click to view larger imageMarjorie Rorie, Truliant FCU director of community services, chats with students during the credit union's REAL Entrepreneurship class. (Photos provided by National Credit Union Foundation)
The Winston Salem, N.C.-based Truliant uses an experiential entrepreneurship training curriculum, developed by North Carolina REAL Enterprises Inc. to teach the skills.

The credit union received a grant for the REAL Entrepreneurship program last year from NCUF to cover the cost of instruction and materials for program classes.

"Our goal is to work with entrepreneurs in low wealth and rural communities to provide money management skills that improve their financial position and also build their financial strength to access more products and services," said Marjorie Rorie, Truliant FCU director of community services.

Truliant launched a six-week workshop series last year in partnership with local nonprofits. Fifty-four people in underserved areas have completed the workshops.

The credit union collaborated with the Burlington Housing Authority of Alamance County and Alamance Community College to teach the classes.

The CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council named Truliant FCU a Best Practice Award winner for its REAL Entrepreneurship program.

The partnership also received National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials Merit Award for job creation through entrepreneurship training.

PCUA: 3Q a mixed bag

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (1/23/13)--Pennsylvania credit unions reported mixed financial results in the third quarter while the state economy lost four thousand jobs, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association said.

Loan balances increased 1.9% in the third quarter of 2012, an increase from a 1.2% rise in the third quarter of 2011 (Life is a Highway Jan. 23). Almost every loan category grew 2% or more. Mortgage loans and auto lending were the major driving forces for the increase in overall loan balances.

Net membership at Pennsylvania credit unions grew 0.8%--equal to the pace set one year earlier, PCUA said. Net memberships grew by 62,000 in the first nine months of the year to reach 3.7 million.

Asset quality numbers produced mixed results. Overall, 60-plus day dollar delinquencies decreased to 1.12% in the third quarter--a 0.03% drop compared with the third quarter of 2011. But net charge-offs rose to 0.55%--a 0.03% increase compared to the third quarter one year earlier.

On the positive side, delinquency rates fell to 1.15% at the end of 2012, down from 1.6% at year-end 2011, PCUA said. The state credit union loan delinquency rate is significantly less than the 1.80% reported by Pennsylvania banking institutions, PCUA added.

Pennsylvania credit unions reported second quarter earnings of 0.69% of average assets.

Xceed Financial first Silver Benefactor CU for Filene

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MADISON, Wis. (1/23/13)--Xceed Financial CU in El Segundo, Calif., a longtime supporter of the Filene Research Institute, is the first natural-person credit union to support Filene as a Silver Benefactor, by contributing $25,000 annually to the institute.

"As credit unions' think-and-do tank, we rely not just on the financial support but also on the engagement of credit unions," said Mark Meyer, Filene CEO. "Teresa (Freeborn, Exceed Financial's CEO) and her leadership team at Xceed constantly raise their hands to try new ideas. Their decision to support Filene so generously is an extension of their commitment to explore constantly and to find better and innovative ways to serve their members," Meyer said.

The $751 million asset Xceed Financial has:  

  • Provided innovation, marketing and design support to Filene's original Debt in Focus pilot, eventually used by more than 500 credit unions;
  • Worked with Filene researchers on a "big data" project tracing member profitability;
  • Tested the Amazon.com credit card portal with Filene for best practices for online sales; and
  • Collaborated with Filene on a Pepperdine University Master of Business Administration intern program.  
"When we consider which organizations to support we look for tangible benefits," Freeborn said. "We look for organizations that collaborate, that support credit unions' ability to survive and thrive, that provide opportunities for our professionals to engage and make a difference. Filene provides all of this to Xceed Financial and to credit unions across North America."

Freeborn was part of the inaugural i3 innovation team in 2004. Today she is a Filene research council member, helping to guide the institute's research and innovation priorities.

Account takeovers are down, cyberattacks more frequent

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MADISON, Wis. (1/23/13)--Two studies provide credit unions a measure of progress against cyberattacks such as commercial account takeovers and distributed denial of service. On the good side, fewer cybercriminals succeeded at account takeovers in 2012. On the bad: DDoS attacks were more frequent and had more oomph.

Financial institutions became more successful at preventing account takeovers and reducing the likelihood that funds would leave a given account, said the fourth Commercial Account Takeover Survey from the Reston, Va.-based Financial Services-Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), working with the American  Bankers Association

.

The data reflect financial institutions' evolving tactics to detect and prevent losses from these attacks. Among the findings:

  • Cybercriminals made 2.11 attacks per 1,000 commercial customers in first half of 2012, compared with 3.42 per 1,000 in 2011.  About 65% did not involve monetary transactions, compared with 53% in 2011 and 6% in 2009.
  • In 9% of attacks, funds left the institution, compared with 12% in 2011 and 70% in 2009. Of those, 76% were wire transfers, with 4% automated clearing house and 18% check writing or other. That compares with 96%, 4% and 0% respectively in 2011.
  • Of fraudulent transfers from financial institutions, 82% were wire transfers with 14% ACH and 4% check writing and other. That compares with 91%, 9% and 0%, respectively in 2011.
  • Thirty-nine percent of losses involved were wire transfers, 52% were ACH and 9% check writing/other.
The most effective tactics at reducing account takeover fraud, said FS-ISAC,  were:

  • Customer education;
  • Temporary shutdown of affected online customers' access;
  • Manual review of ACH/wire transactions above a certain dollar amount;
  • Analysis of customer login characteristics/patterns; and
  • Interrogation of customer sessions to detect anomalies.
In the second study, DDoS attacks increased 25% during fourth quarter 2012 against a global client base, said Hollywood, Fla.-based Prolexic Technologies. The volume was the highest number of attacks it has logged for a single quarter.

When the results were compared with third quarter 2012 results, the company also saw:

  • A 17% increase in total number of infrastructure attacks and 72% rise in application attacks;
  • A 67% increase in average attack duration --to 32.2 hours from 19.2 hours;
  • A 20% increase in average attack bandwidth from 4.9 to 5.9 Gbps; and
  • China remained as the top source country for these attacks.
When results were compared with those of fourth quarter 2011, the study found:

  • A 19% hike in total DDoS attacks;
  • A 15% increase in infrastructure attacks and 30% rise in application attacks;
  • A 6% decline in average attack duration to 32.2 hours from 34;
  • A 13% increase in average attack bandwidth to 5.9 from 5.2 Gbps.
"The take away for businesses from this Q4 report is to make sure that their DDoS mitigation provider can handle attacks of 50 Gbps in a single location," said Prolexic CEO Scott Hammack. "When attacks are this large, it's important that the provider can mitigate this volume of attack traffic in one place and distribute it effectively so it does not compromise intermediary transit providers and affect others," he added.

Calif, Nevada CUs, leagues raise funds for Kenyan orphanage

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MADISON, Wis. (1/23/13)--Credit unions and individuals throughout California and Nevada contributed more than $16,000 in funds, of which the two state credit union leagues matched $10,000, to support the construction of a new facility for an orphanage in Kenya supported by the World Council of Credit Unions.

Click to view larger image Since September 2012, the Busia construction crew has dug a septic tank, installed a clean water system, and constructed several buildings including a community room and boys' and girls' dormitories and bathrooms in Kenya.
Click to view larger image Taylor York, 13, daughter of CoastHills FCU CEO Jeff York, raised $5,150 from California credit unions for the Busia Compassionate Centre in Kenya. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
The improved orphanage, Busia Compassionate Centre, started a credit union to offer formal financial services to the larger community in rural Western Kenya for the first time.

"The California and Nevada credit unions' donations allow us to complete the construction of the new orphanage facilities and to bring financial services to Busia more quickly than we imagined," said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO. "The leagues' generosity and the contributions they have inspired throughout their states will make a lasting difference in the lives of more than 90 orphans and their community."

WOCCU launched the Busia Compassionate Centre campaign in June 2012 to build a better home for the orphans and to establish a credit union that would provide the Busia community's first access to financial services.

Instrumental to raising awareness and funds for the Busia campaign among California credit unions was Taylor York, 13, daughter of CoastHills FCU CEO Jeffrey York. After hearing about the Busia orphanage during a business trip to San Diego with her father in June, she began a letter-writing campaign to credit unions in her state. She helped raised $5,150.

WOCCU is organizing a Global Women's Leadership Network engagement program to Busia, Kenya, in May to visit the newly constructed orphanage and to help the credit union implement a financial literacy program. Engagement programs are open to everyone.

For more information, use the link.

New Jersey league announces board officers

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HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (1/23/13)--The New Jersey Credit Union League board has announced its table officers for 2013.

NJCUL Chairman Lou Vetere, president/CEO Garden Savings FCU, Parsippany, was re-elected chairman, and Ray Del Nero, president/CEO of Merck Employees FCU, Rahway, was re-elected vice chairman (The Daily Exchange Jan. 21).

Mike Reilly, president/CEO of Central Jersey FCU, Woodbridge, and former league board secretary/treasurer, will become treasurer. Linda McFadden, president/CEO of XCEL FCU, Bloomfield, will take on the role of secretary.

The league's membership voted to split the secretary/treasurer position during its annual meeting in October.

Wisconsin CUs saved consumers $1B since recession

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PEWAUKEE, Wis. (1/23/13)--Wisconsin credit union members saved close to $1 billion since 2007, according to the REAL Solutions Scorecard for Wisconsin Credit Unions, a report the Wisconsin Credit Union League released Monday.

Nationally, 93.3 million credit union members save $6 billion a year through more competitive rates and lower and fewer fees, according to the Credit Union National Association's Economics and Statistics Department. 

Since the start of the recession, Wisconsin credit unions also increased their lending to small businesses by 55% to compensate for a lack of business credit from banks.

CUNA and credit unions hope to increase that further by urging Congress to raise credit unions' member business lending (MBL) cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Increasing the cap would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in business loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers.

"Credit unions are united for good," said Brett Thompson, league president/CEO. "The scorecard provides a clear picture of how credit unions build financially strong, self-sufficient families, business and communities in Wisconsin."

Credit unions in the state operate 40% of all the financial institution branches in low-income areas, providing $44 million in savings for lower-income consumers. Most credit unions still offer free checking, the report said.

Wisconsin credit unions also operated 100 in-school branches that helped students save $3 million and provided hands-on business experience. Credit unions delivered 5,500 presentations to 34,000 consumers, purchased 41,330 copies of a personal finance magazine to help 382 teachers at 309 high schools teach money management, said the league.

Cooperative financial institutions also engaged close to 15,000 students in financial decision making through reality fairs and CUNA's online Money Mission game.

Credit unions also outperformed non-credit union lenders by approving 67.7% of home loans for low-income borrowers and 70.4% of home loans for minority borrowers, compared with a 57.1% and 56.5% approval rate by others, respectively.