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CU Launches Corporate Social Responsibility Program

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (10/2/13)--Mazuma CU has launched a new corporate social responsibility program that will focus on three key areas: community development, education and the arts. To support these causes, 5% of the year's earnings will go toward local organizations in these three categories.
"We want to make a real impact on the things we value most in Kansas City," said Mazuma President/CEO Brandon Michaels.
An innovative part of the program is an initiative called "40 Hours for Good." It gives all Mazuma team members 40 hours of paid time to volunteer in the community during the year. Similar programs in the industry average 10 to 15 hours.
"We're serious about making our community better, so we're not just throwing money at it, we're volunteering our time as well," Michaels said.
The new initiative builds on Mazuma's longstanding heritage of charitable outreach and community development. It also provides a formal structure for Mazuma team members to more easily continue their self-motivated volunteer activities. "All of us have values we passionately believe in," Michaels said. "So we've created opportunities for our team members to see those values in action."
In addition, Mazuma has launched a new website,, which details the multitude of ways the credit union contributes to the Greater Kansas City-area community. The site also includes an e-mail address,, where organizations can send requests for support of their causes.
"It's all about mobilizing the 'People Helping People' philosophy," Michaels said. "It's been a part of the unofficial credit union credo for decades and falls within our goal of making Kansas City a happier place to live and work."
In the past few years, Mazuma has teamed up to help several local organizations, including the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, Children's Miracle Network, Habitat for Humanity, The Kingswood Foundation, Spofford Home and the Good Samaritan Project.  The credit union has received several awards for its efforts, including first place for the 2012 Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) Desjardins Financial Education Award in the Youth Category.

Social responsibility projects like these help show the value of credit unions to their members and communities. Building awareness of the value of credit unions is part of the Unite for Good campaign, the Credit Union National Association's and state leagues' campaign to work toward the strategic goal where Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner.

CU System Briefs (10/02/2013)

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  • HARRISBURG, Pa. (10/2/13)--Gubernatorial candidate John Hanger (D) visited the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association Monday in Harrisburg, and met with staff and representatives of the area's credit unions.  He shared his vision for the Commonwealth and was interested in learning more about credit unions, said PCUA (Life is a Highway Oct. 1).  From left are: Paul Wagner, CEO of Hershey FCU, Hummelstown; Hanger; Pamala Mohn, CEO of Blue Chip FCU, Harrisburg; and Abby Kiebach, CEO, Lancaster Red Rose CU, Lancaster. (Photo provided by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association) ...
  • KANSAS CITY, Mo. (10/2/13)--The Kansas City (Mo.) Chapter of Credit Unions welcomed 11 lawmakers and staff to its annual legislative breakfast Sept. 19. Advocates from credit unions across the region met and discussed credit union issues with state lawmakers. "It's important for lawmakers to recognize and know the credit union leaders in their own districts," said Amy McLard, senior vice president of advocacy for the Missouri Credit Union Association. "Credit union staff and advocates participated in lots of good discussions with lawmakers throughout the event, and that helps to build and reinforce those relationships (The Missouri Difference Sept. 20) ...
  • FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (10/2/13)--Phyllis Groff, former CEO of Texas Workforce CU, San Antonio, died Sept. 26. The first paid employee of the credit union, Groff served as CEO from 1986 to 1998, said the Cornerstone Credit Union League (Leaguer Oct. 1). She is credited with bringing the credit union from operating out of the bottom of a desk drawer in the Texas Employment Commission to financial institution status.  Although she retired in 1998, Groff continued to volunteer and offer her support to the $9.5 million asset credit union.  Memorial Mass will be at 6 p.m. Friday at St. Ann's Catholic Church, La Vernia, Texas ...

CUs Offering Help To Furloughed Fed Employees

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MADISON, Wis. (10/2/13)--Once the federal government announced its partial shutdown Tuesday, credit unions lost no time in letting impacted members know their credit unions will provide special rates, skip-a-payments, financial counseling and more to ensure members survive any furloughs with their finances intact.
Many credit unions with federal employees already had in place special programs from past shutdown threats and were ready from Day One of the shutdown.
"Andrews Federal stands ready to provide our members with financial assistance and options to help curb the adverse effects that the government shutdown may cause," said Jim Hayes, president/CEO, Andrews FCU, Suitland, Md.
It will offer a Bridge Loan up to $5,000 at a 0% annual percentage rate (APR) for 90 days. After 90 days, the standard APR will apply. It also will have flexible terms up to a year and offer payment options to manage the loss of income.
The $900 million asset credit union serves more than 100,000 members in the District of Columbia, on bases in Maryland and New Jersey, and military installations in central Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.  It also serves select employee groups in D.C., Maryland, and New Jersey.
Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., sent an e-mail to members Tuesday letting them know the $2.2 billion asset credit union is there to support them. It is placing information on its website.
"RCU's No. 1 priority is assisting our members, especially during times of uncertainty like the current government shutdown," said Robin McKenzie, senior vice president at RCU.  "We encourage members employed by the federal government or agencies impacted by the shutdown to contact us for assistance."  McKenzie noted some of its services include:
  • Payroll replacement/advance assistance;
  • Deferred payments on RCU loans and lines of credit;
  • Early withdrawal of funds from RCU share certificates without penalties; and
  • Money management and budgeting information and tools.
Hanscom FCU at Hanscomb AFB, Mass., which serves federal employees in Massachusetts, said its members will have access to a 0% APR interest line of credit--called a Life Line Loan--for 60 days, equal to one month's net payroll up to $5,000.  The interest-free loan is attached to the member's checking account to provide additional funds to cover checks, ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases.
The $1 billion asset credit union also will waive penalties for premature withdrawals on term share certificates and provide free, confidential financial counseling and education through its BALANCE Financial Fitness.  Members can schedule a one-on-one phone session with a certified financial counselor for help with budgeting, managing credit and assessing their finances.
"We have supported our members affected by furloughs over the summer, and we continue to be here for members," said Paul Marotta, Hanscom FCU's board chairman.  "We are true to our roots and the credit union motto, 'People Helping People.'"
At Jacksonville, Ark.-based Arkansas FCU, "we've been through this before, so we're prepared to do anything and everything we can to make sure the men and women who serve our country will be well taken care of" in a shutdown, said Larry Biernacki, president/CEO. He urged members to call the credit union if the shutdown threatens their well-being.
"Thousands of our members rely on a government paycheck to make their automatic loan payments, credit card payments and more each month," Biernacki said. "We want those members to know we are willing to work out an arrangement on an individual basis if a government shutdown interrupts their normal financial well-being."
Other credit unions offering assistance include:
  • Wright-Patt CU Inc., a $2.7 billion asset credit union in Fairborn, Ohio, which is offering a special "Shut Down" loan that is an unsecured loan equal to the member's normal federal net bi-weekly pay at 6.25% APR up to 12 months for qualified borrowers. If the loan is paid back within a month, Wright-Patt will waive the interest. Its skip-a-payment program charges no fee or late fee, the loan won't show up as delinquent and it will not generate a derogatory report to the credit bureau.
  • Members 1st CU, Redding, Calif., which is offering financial assistance to all federal government employees who live, work or worship in Shasta and Tehama Counties--regardless of whether they are members of the credit union or not. It will provide 0%-interest payroll assistance loans up to $3,000 for 12 months, fee free, and personal loan options with different rate options for terms 24-36 months.  Members with existing loans will have additional flexibility with modified payments or skip payments.  And federal employees will receive expedited review and approval for line increases or new credit lines on their Members 1st credit card.
  • NASA FCU, Upper Marlboro, Md., with assets of more than  $1.2 billion, which is offering 3% APR  on  a line of credit to members with checking accounts and direct deposits and who are subject to the furloughs. The special rate is effective through Dec. 31.
  • Chartway FCU, Virginia Beach, Va., with more than $1.9 billion assets, which told members on its website it has pledged "to do whatever it takes to help you adjust to this shutdown by extending leniency and special considerations to ensure you have the support you need and the money you require."
  • Veridian CU, Des Moines, Iowa. The $2.5 billion asset credit union announced Tuesday it would provide interest-free, 30-day loans to members experiencing delays in payment as a result of the shutdown.
  • Fort Knox FCU, Radcliff, Ky. The more-than-$1 billion asset credit union is offering interest-free loans for one month to cover lost pay, extended terms on existing loans to reduce monthly payments, and the opportunity for early withdrawals up to $10,000 on term share certificates without an early withdrawal penalty.
Credit unions that go above and beyond in looking out for members' interests are demonstrating one of the key tenets of the national Unite for Good campaign: fostering service excellence.  The campaign, launched by the Credit Union National Association and the state leagues, is rallying credit unions to work toward the goal in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner.  Use the links for more information.  Also, see today's related News Now story, For CUs: Agencies' Status During Gov't Shut Down.

Top 10 News Now Articles For September

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MADISON, Wis. (10/2/13)--An article about the National Credit Union Administration's approval of changes to its fixed-asset regulation was the most-read News Now article in September. Although the amended rule did not make any substantive changes, the Credit Union National Association has said the plain language revisions, new definitions and revised wording could help credit unions with their compliance efforts. It goes into effect Nov. 18.
The top 10 articles in September included:
10. CUNA Don't Tax Tuesday Again Boosts Advocacy Efforts

WASHINGTON (9/11/13)--The newest phase of a credit union social-media advocacy blitz targeted at Capitol Hill to deliver the message "Don't Tax My Credit Union" paid off big Tuesday. It brought the total numbers of hits to the Credit Union National Association's site to over 1 million views since being launched in May and helped the campaign generate an overall total of 850,000 messages to members of Congress.
9. Fed Doesn't Reduce QE3 Spending, Maintains Interest Rates

WASHINGTON (9/18/13)--The Federal Reserve's policymakers today again decided not to reduce its quantitative easing policy of buying $85 billion in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities, saying that although market conditions have improved somewhat, the "unemployment rate remains elevated." Instead, the Federal Open Market Committee "decided to await more evidence that progress will be sustained before adjusting the pace of its purchases."
8. PPI In U.S. News: 'Don't Make CUs Die For Banks' Sins'

WASHINGTON (9/18/13)--Jason Gold, senior fellow for financial markets policy for the Progressive Policy Institute--a Washington, D.C.-based "think tank" established in 1989--took to the pages of U.S. News and World Report this week to urge loud and clear, "Don't makes credit unions die for banks' sins."
7. NCUA Sues 13 Alleging LIBOR Manipulation

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/23/13)--The National Credit Union Administration today filed suit in federal district court in Kansas against 13 international banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase. The suit alleges violations of federal and state anti-trust laws transacted by manipulation of interest rates through the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) system.
6. Matz Announces NCUA To Propose Stress Testing Rule

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (9/18/13)--National Credit Union Administration Chairman Debbie Matz announced this morning that the agency's Office of National Examinations and Supervision is drafting a requirement for annual stress tests at credit unions with assets exceeding $10 billion.
5. NCUA Issues Guidance On Loan Participation Rule

WASHINGTON (9/19/13)--The effective date for the National Credit Union Administration's new loan participation regulation is almost at hand--Sept. 23--and the agency today issued supervisory guidance on the rule.
4. NCUA Identifies States With Greatest Membership Growth

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/5/13)--The newest analysis of state-level data for federally insured credit unions was released this morning by the National Credit Union Administration and among its revelations: Idaho and Virginia were the top states for membership growth in the year ending in the second quarter.
3. CFPB Readies Mortgage Final Rule Changes

WASHINGTON (9/13/13)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this afternoon released some details of yet another final rule amending its Ability-to-Repay, Mortgage Servicing and Mortgage Loan Originator Rules, which were originally finalized in January of this year.
2. NCUA, Fed Agencies Release Elder Abuse Prevention Guidance

WASHINGTON (9/24/13)--The National Credit Union Administration today joined six other federal financial regulators to clarify that financial institutions may report suspected elder financial abuse to appropriate authorities.
1.  NCUA Approves Final Version Of Fixed-Asset Reg Changes

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/12/13)--The National Credit Union Administration just minutes ago approved a final version of fixed-asset regulation changes.

CUNA: Loan Growth Leads a Strong August

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MADISON, Wis. (10/2/13)--Credit union loans, membership and savings all went up in August, according to the August monthly sample of credit unions by the Credit Union National Association. Loan growth year over year is the quickest in five years, said a CUNA economist.

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CUNA released its Monthly Credit Union Estimates Tuesday. Credit union loans totaled $643.8 billion in August, compared with $605 billion in August 2012. Credit union loans outstanding grew 1.1% in August, led by adjustable-rate mortgages (a 1.9% growth), unsecured personal loans (1.8%), new-auto loans (1.5%), used-auto loans (1.3%), fixed-rate first mortgages (1%) and credit card loans (1%). Other mortgages and home equity loans each declined 0.2%.
"Credit union loan growth is surprisingly on the upside with balances increasing 1.1% in August and 6.4% year over year," Steve Rick, CUNA senior economist, said Tuesday. "This is the fastest pace since the 6.7% increase in 2008. With car sales reaching more than 15 million units this year, credit union new-auto loan balances are surging. Over the past year, new-auto loan balances increased 11.9%--the fastest growing credit union loan category.
"Credit unions are holding more fixed-rate mortgages on their balance sheet rather than selling them off into the secondary market," he added. "Fixed-rate first mortgage loan balances rose 1% in August and 10.5% year over year.
"Deleveraging in the home equity loan category is slowing as balances fell only 3.7% over the last year, compared with a 4.1% decline in the year ending August 2012," Rick continued. "With home prices rising 8% to 10% across the country, home-equity loan balances should start rising again in 2014."
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Credit union savings balances totaled $932.6 billion in August--or $40.3 billion more than the $892.3 billion in August 2012, said CUNA's report. Credit union savings balances grew 0.9% for the month, compared with a 0.5% decrease in July. The increase is a reflection of three paydays during August with the last payday landing on the last day of the month, CUNA said. Share drafts grew 6.9%, money market accounts were up 0.5%, and regular shares grew 0.1%. On the decline were one-year certificates, which dropped 0.3%, and individual retirement accounts, with a 0.1% decline.
"Savings-balance growth is surprising on the down side in 2013, with year-over-year growth of only 4.5%," Rick said. "Pent-up demand for durable goods, negative real deposit interest rates, 5% higher fuel costs and the expiration of the payroll tax cut are all reducing the pace of savings growth."
Total credit union membership grew 0.4% during August and now totals 98.3 million.
The movement's overall capital-to-asset ratio remained at 10.2%. The total dollar amount of capital is $110 billion.
Credit unions' 60-plus-day delinquency rate has remained at 1% for the past six months.
With loan growth outpacing savings growth during August, the loan-to-savings ratio increased to 69% in August from 68.9% in July. The liquidity ratio--the ratio of surplus funds maturing in less than one year to borrowings plus other liabilities--is 17.8%.

Discovery: Growing Investment Programs Benefits CUs, Members

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MADISON, Wis. (10/2/13)--Investment and insurance products are the largest potential untapped source of member-friendly, non-interest income for credit unions, attendees of CUNA Mutual Group's fourth annual Online Discovery Conference were told Tuesday.
"Growing your credit union's investment program is not only good business, but it's good for business," said Hendrix Niemann, managing director of practice and wealth management services for CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc.
Niemann's session, "Growing Your Investment Program to Increase Non-Interest Income and Member Loyalty," provided insights into why credit unions should offer an investment program.
To grow a credit union's investment program, the credit union must:
  1. Obtain senior management and board buy-in and commitment;
  2. Dedicate time and resources to member education; and
  3. Market the investment program to current and potential members.
"Offering a strong investment and insurance program pays dividends in multiple ways," Niemann said.
Credit unions lose an average of $165 on certificates of deposits but make an average of $177 by providing investment products to their members, according to recent Raddon Financial Group research. That means converting CDs to investment accounts can potentially result in a substantial increase to bottom-line revenue, while improving the capital ratio, Niemann told attendees.
Credit unions attract about 3% of their members' investment dollars, while almost half (46%) of members have investment accounts elsewhere, he added, citing Filene Research Institute statistics for 2012.
However, a recent Kehrer Saltzman & Associates study found that members who purchased investment and insurance products from their credit union were 40% more loyal than those who did not, and were two-thirds more likely to consider the credit union their primary financial institution.
"The importance of this 'stickiness factor' cannot be overemphasized," said Niemann. "Offering an investment program will lock in additional revenue for many years to come, and it's beneficial for members, too."
Older members need to be educated on retirement income planning and healthcare planning while younger members need help getting started with investing, he said.
"Who's going to give your members sound financial advice if you don't?" Niemann asked. "Credit unions need to start treating their investment programs as core products."
Niemann emphasized that marketing the program is key to its success. According to recent Raddon Financial Group research, 54% of credit union members did not know if their credit union offered an investment program, and 16% were not aware of their credit union's investment program.
"The statistics and demographics are in our favor; whether credit unions take advantage of this opportunity is yet to be seen, though," Niemann concluded.
Online Discovery is an annual conference sponsored by CUNA Mutual Group that attracts a national and international credit union audience of more than 1,300.

Online Discovery Conference: Mobile's Impact On Business Models

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MADISON, Wis. (10/2/13)--To succeed in a competitive financial services marketplace, credit unions need to adopt a "mobile first" digital strategy, Kevin Miller, CUNA Mutual Group's vice president of information technology, urged Online Discovery credit union attendees Tuesday.
The dramatic rise in smartphone and tablet use is changing customer expectations, putting longstanding companies out of business while providing fertile growth opportunities for others, said Miller.
The explosion of digital devices has changed the landscape of many industries, negatively affecting stalwart companies such as Eastman Kodak, Borders Books and Blockbuster Video, among others, he added.
"These were big, respected companies with powerful brands and histories run by talented and smart individuals," Miller said. "Yet, new technology devices stressed their business models and overwhelmed them. Unfortunately, many ran out of time to fight back."
Miller offered attendees these tips:
  • Embrace digital disruption--The rules have changed. Whereas the big used to eat the small, the fast now eat the slow. Barriers to entry are smashed, the cost to compete is low and everyone can exploit the same economics. Anyone can win.
  • Expect and recognize evolving consumer expectations--Start with the customer and work backwards to solve their problems, recognizing their needs will change quickly.
  • Develop a "mobile first" digital strategy.
  • Enjoy winning AND failing--Ideas are often killed by concerns with viability or cost. Even if an idea doesn't work today, it could lead to new ideas in the future.
  • Recognize it's not "either/or" but "all." Maintain and modify existing business models while adding new ones.
Big technology trends--social media, big data, analytics and cloud--all converge with mobile. "The No. 1 mechanism for participating in social networks is via a smartphone," Miller explained. "Most cloud application designs have a 'mobile first' approach and an expectation that mobile devices are the primary user interface.  Likewise, people want big data insights delivered to their mobile phone."
To avoid the fate of some other companies, credit unions need to be aware of technology trends and the impact on their business models. "Banking is moving toward a contextual, customer-centric view as competitors better leverage proximity, preference, and proliferation of engaging experiences," Miller said. "We are moving away from banking relationships defined by the goal of being a customer's primary financial institution to one where we focus on becoming their primary financial application."
Online Discovery is an annual conference sponsored by CUNA Mutual Group that attracts a national and international credit union audience of more than 1,300.

Diebold: Consumers Expect More From FIs

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (10/2/13)--According to new research from Diebold, financial services providers have not completely met consumers' expectations for secure, convenient access to those services. Consumers want a more personalized relationship with their credit union or bank that allows them to be confident about their financial decisions without putting in a lot of extra effort, Diebold's research found. 
Diebold is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. 
 Diebold, in partnership with Lextant, an ideal experience consultancy, conducted research with more than 100 consumers in eight countries to produce qualitative data about how they want to interact with their financial institutions.
Consumers surveyed said they want control of their finances regardless of the channel they use, expect seamless interactions that offer the same interface and information--in real time--via mobile, online, ATM, call center or the branch.
Services respondents expect but don't always receive included:
  • Absolute accuracy of information;
  • Security of financial account and personal info;
  • Reliable access to their money and account information;
  • Personalized help for troubleshooting; and
  • Professional interactions with competent financial institution personnel.
Consumers aren't using banking channels--specifically the branch--the same way they used to, according to the research. They want a hybrid service model that offers face-to-face and self-directed options, Diebold said.
Consumers said they expect accuracy and updates in real time, regardless of the channel. Accurate account tracking is one of the most important consumer expectations a financial institution can meet. For example after consumers deposit checks at an ATM, they should be able to verify an updated account balance through a mobile device immediately. All banking channels should operate off the same back-end system, Diebold said.
Reliability and security from their credit union or bank also were high in consumers' expectations. Financial information must be secure and accessible to consumers through varying, convenient access points, Diebold said. Consumers said they are concerned about cyberhacking, fraud and other breaches and depend on their financial institutions to keep their money and information secure.

'Data Craze' Gets In-depth Look In CUNA Tech Council Paper

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MADISON, Wis. (10/2/13)--A new white paper from the CUNA Technology Council describes how credit unions are using big data and predictive analytics to improve their business intelligence potential.
"The Data Craze: Perspectives on Big Data, Predictive Analytics, and Business Intelligence," covers the benefits of data-driven decisions, applying data and business intelligence strategically, the types of data at the credit union, cautions and pitfalls, the human element, whether the data craze signifies a culture shift, implementing plans, finding data management solutions, and working with vendors.
How and why credit unions use business intelligence to mine, analyze, report and apply data to make business decisions varies depending on the needs of the specific credit union at a specific point in time, according to Datawatch Corp. Among the examples of data sets used by Datawatch clients used for business intelligence:
  • ATM settlements. Credit unions can mine data from optimization reports to identify transactions that appear in one report and not another, to complete daily ATM settlements much faster.
  • Accrued interest reports. Credit unions can filter out specific loans--for example, those that are 60-plus days delinquent--to automatically calculate the correct accrual under generally accepted accounting principles.
  • Certificate offerings. Using a share certificate trial balance report, and selecting and creating new fields or columns of data, credit unions can categorize certificates based on different ranges of interest rates. Using information optimization, the data allows "what if" analyses and "accounting intelligence" scenarios.
  • Daily teller reports. Business intelligence and data analytics systems allow credit unions to take voluminous reports with thousands of transactions and summarize by branch, member, or any other type of data.
  • Internal auditing. With specific business intelligence tools, credit unions can mine data from historical loan origination reports and pull it into data tables for sorting, filtering, or new calculations. Credit unions can create summaries to see subtotals and grand totals by fine detail--such as Top 10 loan products, loans and loan amounts by loan officer, loan term, risk assignment and charge-offs.

CUNA Implements OneID For Login On

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MADISON, Wis. (10/2/13)--The Credit Union National Association announced Tuesday the implementation of OneID, a digital identity provider that delivers a secure, simple way for users to log into the need for usernames and passwords.
OneID is a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider.
"Passwords and login can be a frustration point with users," said Tom Nohelty, CUNA vice president of information technology. "CUNA was looking to improve our user experience while maintaining security. By working with OneID we are able to deliver both."
To set up a OneID, users can click on the login button on the home page, then follow the directions to set up an account. Once validated, login names and passwords will no longer be required each time a user accesses Users will click or tap to immediately access their account, and with stronger security than the traditional username and password system can offer.
"CUNA had many of the same requests that we hear from its member credit unions: Help me offer the most convenient experience for my users while strengthening my protection against today's sophisticated threats," said Steve Kirsch, OneID founder and chief technology officer.  "As we roll out with credit unions across the country, our presence on is the perfect showcase for how OneID streamlines login from any device."
OneID provides its users with a digital identity service beyond  With OneID, users can log in wherever OneID is accepted--all without the need for usernames and passwords.  By downloading the QuickFill browser extension, OneID users can avoid the hassle of form-filling on any site on the Web.