Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive

CU System Archive

CU System

CU System briefs (01/06/2012)

 Permanent link
  • BOSTON (1/9/12)--Filene's Basement, a Boston-based discount store founded by credit union pioneer Edward A. Filene, officially closed all its 20 remaining stores on Jan. 1. Filene, who is considered the father of U.S. credit unions, founded the store as a way to sell excess merchandise from his father's department store upstairs. Filene's Basement called itself the "store that invented the bargain," said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Life is a Highway Jan. 6) …
  • PORTLAND, Maine (1/9/12)--The Maine Credit Union League and several credit unions from the state attended a breakfast reception hosted by Gov. Paul LePage in Augusta on Jan. 3, one day before the start of the state's Legislative  Session  (Weekly Update  Jan. 6).  Attending were league President John Murphy; league Director of Governmental Affairs Quincy Hentzel; Sebasticook Valley FCU President/CEO Jim Lemieux, who is a league board member; and Ryan Poulin, president/CEO of New Dimensions FCU. Murphy said the event provided "an opportunity to reinforce the important role credit unions have in the Maine economy with the governor and key members of his staff …

Minn. fed court denies ATM disclosure class action

 Permanent link
ST. PAUL, MINN. (1/9/12)--A federal judge in Minnesota has denied a motion to certify as a class action lawsuit a man's claim against a Roseville, Minn.-based bank for failure to provide a fee disclosure on the outside of its ATM.

Like others in multiple lawsuits brought against financial institutions in several states, Adam Johnson claimed that the bank--in this case, U.S. Bank, N.A.--had violated the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) by failing to post a notice of its $3 fee it charges to non-bank customers on the outside of the ATM.  He sought a class certification and the court heard oral arguments on Nov. 10.

Johnson used the ATM on Sept. 23, 2010, and was charged a $3 fee as a non-U.S. Bank customer for withdrawing $40 from the ATM, according to the Dec. 15 ruling by U.S. District Chief  Judge Michael Davis.  Before Johnson withdrew the funds, he saw an on-screen notice that informed him of the fee but chose to proceed with the transaction, the document said.

The ruling noted that Johnson did not meet two of the four requirements of a class action under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, namely:   typicality, "that class representatives' claims or defenses are typical of the claims or defenses of the class," and adequacy--"the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class."

"The court concludes that the plain language of EFTA's actual damage provision requires that the plaintiff prove detrimental reliance. Johnson admits that he read the on-screen notice and , fully aware that he would be charged a fee if he proceeded, decided to withdraw money from defendant's ATM," said the judge's ruling. "He cannot show detrimental reliance. Therefore, his claims and defenses are not typical of the class he seeks to certify, which includes members who seek actual damages," the ruling added.

Although the finding is positive for the financial institution, it is limited to the motion to certify a class. 

The Credit Union National Association early last week alerted credit unions and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of an increasing number of lawsuits brought against credit unions and other financial institutions when ATM notices have been removed, damaged or destroyed (News Now Jan. 3).  CUNA's Center for Professional Development recently re-released a spring audio conference on the topic of ATM fee disclosures to assist credit unions with issues.

CUNA said some credit unions and others have discovered outside notices on ATMs have been removed or destroyed without the financial institution's knowledge and photographs taken to show "noncompliance."  Similar lawsuits charging EFTA noncompliance have been filed in Michigan, Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and other states. Last year, a rash of 12 suits were filed between mid-December of 2010 and January 2011 (News Now April 25, May 24, and Dec. 20).

League president touts CUs on local TV

 Permanent link
HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (1/9/12)--Paul Gentile, president/CEO of the New Jersey Credit Union League, was interviewed on local television this month where he touted the benefits of credit unions and promoted, which helps consumers learn about and locate credit unions.

Well-known New Jersey broadcast journalist Steve Adubato interviewed Gentile on his show, "One-on-One with Steve Adubato" (The Daily Exchange Jan. 6).

During the interview, Gentile addressed the many differences between credit unions and banks, including what makes a credit union a better alternative to a traditional bank. He focused on recently passed state legislation on municipal deposit reform, which will allow more competition in New Jersey, resulting in lower costs for taxpayers.

Gentile also discussed the need to increase the member business lending cap to aid small businesses nationally. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are urging Congress to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said.

To see the interview, use the link.

National CU Fin Ed Report released by NCUF

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (1/9/12)--Roughly 1.6 million consumers received financial counseling and/or advice through a credit union, says a report released today by the  National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) through its REAL Solutions program.

Click to view larger image Click for larger view
The free online report, "Credit Unions: Focused on Financial Capability Across the Nation," is the result of an almost yearlong data collection effort by NCUF with the help of state credit union leagues.

NCUF and REAL Solutions conducted a national study of credit-union-provided member and consumer financial education and counseling.

The report is designed to provide credit unions with quantitative data to illustrate how the credit union movement is making a difference through financial education and counseling.

Among the findings in the report:

  • Credit union representatives presented more than 24,000 educational sessions to more than 600,000 students in classrooms nationwide designed in accordance with state and national curriculum standards;
  • 111,500 student members had $34 million on deposit at 1,400 in-school credit union branches that encourage savings and connect financial education with financial access; and
  • Credit unions invested $140 million during 2010 toward improving the financial capability of members and consumers in general.
The report describes 10 financial education/counseling interventions offered to members/consumers by credit unions. It provides cumulative data about member use of and access to credit-union provided financial education/counseling products, tools, and courses, and reveals probable keys to program success.

National data are supplemented by case studies of credit unions and state leagues/associations that illustrate each type of educational intervention.

Data was collected through an online survey of U.S. credit unions from March 2011 through year-end 2011. The report is based on information submitted by 576 credit unions of all asset sizes. They represent 8% of all U.S. credit unions, and 27% of all U.S. credit union memberships as of December 2010.

The full report is available as a single document, and each state section also is available as a separate document. All are in PDF format.

CUs dole out millions in member dividends

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (1/9/12)--Five credit unions have paid out millions of dollars in dividends to their members.

DFCU Financial CU, a $3.05 billion asset credit union based in in Dearborn, Mich., distributed a $21 million patronage dividend among its members on Wednesday. The credit union said on its website that it has returned $110 million to its members since 2006. Qualified members earn one-half percent (0.50%) cash back on average yearly deposit balances.

Wright-Patt CU in Fairborn, Ohio, Wednesday paid its members more than $5 million with a Special Patronage Dividend. The payment followed an announcement made on Dec. 1 that the $2.14 billion asset credit union would return excess earnings to its members for the fourth consecutive year. The dividend, which is $1 million more than the previous year, is possible because more than 215,000 member-owners brought more of their savings, checking, auto loans, mortgages and credit card accounts to the credit union.

Other credit unions returning money to members include:

  • CoVantage CU's board Thursday announced the $907 million asset, Antigo, Wis.-based credit union distributed a $1.5 million patronage dividend to its members (Antigo Daily Journal Jan. 5).
  • AMOCO FCU's board, for the 16th consecutive year, said Tuesday it would pay out this year roughly $1 million in bonus dividends in loan-interest refunds to its membership (CUinsight Jan. 3). Based in Texas City, Texas, AMOCO FCU has $560.6 million in assets.
  • Bay Winds FCU, a $129 million asset, Charlevoix, Mich.-based credit union, announced a $520,764 bonus dividend was distributed to members on Dec. 31.

CUNA to select 12 students to Googolplex youth board

 Permanent link
Madison, Wis. (1/9/12)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will select 12 students from across America to serve one-year terms as youth editorial board members for Googolplex: The Credit Union Guide for Student Moneymakers, CUNA's online financial literacy toolkit.

Requests for applications are being accepted through Feb. 6. The new student board members' terms will begin on June 1.

"Year after year, the insight we receive from these bright students is instrumental in designing financial literacy tools that resonate strongly with children and young adults," says Rena Crispin, Googolplex managing editor. "At CUNA, we believe that it's vital to start financial education at a young age."

Googolplex is a youth-focused element of CUNA's onlineEDGE program, which guides credit union members through financial decisions at every stage of life. Googolplex features interactive games, videos, blogs and other content dealing with money matters and real life issues to promote financial literacy for youth aged six to 18.

Youth editorial board members complete two brief monthly online critiques of stories and games in age-specific sections of Googolplex's award-winning three-in-one website.

At the end of the terms, each board member writes an original story for Googolplex.

Other board-member responsibilities include:

  • Four elementary school-aged students will serve on the Clubhouse Crew for 5-Spot;
  • Four middle school-aged students will make up the Super Youth Team for AJ's; and
  • Four high-school-aged students will be on the Teenage Panel advising C-Note. 
"Our youth board members provide us with feedback that ensures that their peers feel welcome and validated whenever they use Googolplex on their credit union's website," said Susan Tiffany, director of consumer periodicals at CUNA.

Board members must be in grades 3-12 in the fall of 2012 or, if home-schooled, of the same grade-level ages. They will work from home.

Applications are available by request from Corey Pratt, Googolplex youth editorial board liaison. Please state the child's grade level or age equivalent if home-schooled. Requests are due by Feb. 6.

Fiserv files e-payments patent suit vs. FIS

 Permanent link
BROOKFIELD, Wis. (1/9/12)--Fiserv Inc., a global provider of financial services technology solutions, Thursday reported that two of its wholly owned subsidiaries have filed an e-payments patent infringement lawsuit against Fidelity National Information Services Inc. (FIS), and Metavante Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of FIS.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The Fiserv subsidiaries are CheckFree Corp. and CashEdge Inc.

The lawsuit alleges that FIS infringes on Fiserv's patents when it provides customers with certain financial and payment solutions, including FIS's Payment Manager products, which process inter-bank account-to-account fund transfers, process payment instructions, and provide electronic biller notifications as a part of its electronic bill-payment processes.

"Fiserv is a leader in providing innovative and complex technology solutions and has devoted significant resources developing and maintaining an extensive intellectual property portfolio," the company said in a statement.

"These valuable assets, and the patent protection Fiserv has been granted, enable Fiserv to create and deliver cutting-edge technologies that meet evolving market needs," Fiserv added. "We have a responsibility to protect our intellectual property from further infringement and exploitation."

Fiserv is based in Brookfield, Wis.

Maine CUs get out the crystal ball for 2012

 Permanent link
WESTBROOK, Maine (1/9/12)--As credit unions leaders nationwide discuss what changes the new year will bring, Maine credit unions offered a forecast filled with opportunities and challenges.

Maine Credit Union League President John Murphy said he anticipates more consumers will turn to credit unions for financial services as the wave of positive publicity surrounding Bank Transfer Day continues to resonate (News & Views January).

"However, with the current rate environment, regulatory changes and continued economic uncertainty facing many consumers, the year ahead is certain to present its share of challenges, too. How we meet those challenges and others that may arise remains to be seen," Murphy said.

Building on the momentum of 2011 in 2012 will take some work, said Donna Steckino, president/CEO of Community CU, Lewiston.

"Our opportunity is also a challenge because there are still too many consumers who are not informed about the benefits of credit unions," Steckino told the league.

With the economy still recovering, credit unions have an opportunity to fulfill their mission and help consumers of low and moderate income with loan and deposit products, said Norman Dubreil, president/CEO of Maine State CU, Augusta.  "This may mean taking on a little more risk, but we can do it cautiously; it has and will continue to help us build member loyalty," Dubreil told the league.

Ken Hensler, president/CEO of The County FCU, Caribou, said the current strength of the credit union brand provides an opportunity for membership growth. "The credit union brand is strong and getting even stronger so we are in a position to leverage that into building and strengthening relationships," Hensler told the league.

Helping members find their way out of the financial crisis can benefit credit unions in the long term, said Diana Winkley, president/CEO of Capital Area FCU, Augusta. Another opportunity for credit unions is member business lending (MBL), she added.

The Credit Union National Association has estimated that increasing the current 12.25% of assets MBL cap to 27.5% of a credit union's total assets would have a number of beneficial effects on the ailing economy, including infusing $13 billion in new credit for small businesses and adding 140,000 new jobs within the first year of enactment--all at no cost to the American taxpayer.

Co-ops asked to tell your story on Iwww.stories.coopI

 Permanent link
WASHINGTON (1/9/12)--To help mark the start of 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC), cooperative businesses from all sectors in the U.S. and abroad will be asked Thursday to post a story about their co-op on the website,

An international call for the stories will take place Thursday, according to the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), which is spearheading the U.S. cooperative movement's participation in the United Nations-designated IYC.

Using material from the stories posted, the site will feature a co-op story each day throughout IYC on,, and on partner websites around the world.

NCBA is encouraging all U.S. cooperatives, which include credit unions, to upload their stories Thursday to the site.  That date has been set aside as a coordinated day of international action and cooperatives all over the globe will be hosting special events to mark the year. But for those who don't post Thursday, stories can still be posted after that date as well. is an initiative of Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises) and the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) that will result in the world's first digital library of cooperative stories. The site takes the message of the IYC--"Cooperative enterprises build a better world"--to the global public.

Stories can be shared in words, video or in Prezi presentation.  Visit the site to see the stories posted so far and to get tips on how to tell the credit union or cooperative's story. Cooperatives can upload as many stories as they like. Three steps are involved:

  1. Write, film or take a digital image of the story.
  2. Upload it to the site.
  3. Share the story with others.
Stories should be told in English. They can be posted ready for publication or Euricse's  professional writers can assist in writing stories based on information provided by cooperatives. The site also provides tips for telling an effective story. For more information, use the link.