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CU System Briefs (11/15/2013)

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  • WEST MILWAUKEE, Wis. (11/15/13)--A suspicious package left by a robber during a holdup of a West Milwaukee, Wis., branch of Landmark CU Wednesday was not a bomb.  Members of the Milwaukee County bomb squad were called to the credit union after it was robbed. The squad deployed its explosive ordinance disposal robot and determined the package to be nothing dangerous.  No other details about the robbery were released (CBS58.com Nov. 13) ...
  • RIVERSIDE, Calif. (11/15/13)--Altura CU has rolled out a new Credit Builder Loan to assist people who need to rebuild their credit score, the Riverside, Calif.-based credit union announced.  During the recession, a disproportionate number of people in the area could not pay their bills, and their credit scores dropped dramatically, said the $689.4 million asset credit union. With the loan, individuals, even those with low scores, can borrow up to $3,000 at a competitive rate. The borrowed funds are placed into a share certificate. Once the loan is paid off, the borrower has access to the funds. "Altura created this loan as a way to offer people a lifeline and an opportunity to rebuilt their score and move forward," said Jennifer Binkley, chief operating officer at Altura. "We look at a low credit score and see an opportunity to help." ...
  • LAUREL, Md. (11/15/13)--Tower FCU joined more than 1.9 million businesses, organizations, families and individuals in southeastern U.S. for the Great American ShakeOut Earthquake Drill on Oct. 17. The drill was held at Tower's Laurel, Md., headquarters. Before the event, the credit union disbursed cardboard boxes around each floor of the building to simulate fallen pictures, broken glass and shifted equipment. During the event, Tower employees dropped to the floor, took cover under a table or desk and held on to the furniture until the "shaking" stopped. They then evacuated the building.  In August 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia was felt in Maryland and shook Tower's building in Laurel, but no one was injured and no damages were sustained. "While we hope to never use these skills, it is better to know what to do in case of such an emergency," said Bill Grantham, Tower's vice president of facilities and administrative services ...

Auto Loan Balances At Record High $782.9B

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SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (11/15/13)--Third quarter outstanding auto loan balances are at a record high, according the Experian Automotive, which began recording the data seven years ago.
 
Outstanding balances on automotive loans reached $782.9 billion, up from $103 billion in the third quarter of 2012.
 
Thirty-day loan delinquencies were down 3.4% from 2012 to 2.58% 2013 from 2.67% the same time last year. Sixty-day delinquencies remained flat.
 
Credit unions also showed auto loan growth, according to Credit Union National Association research and statistics. New-auto loans increased to 10.8% of total loans for the third quarter of 2013, compared with 10.4% in the third quarter of 2012. Used-auto loans rose to 19.8% of total loans, compared with 19.1% for the same period in 2012.
 
Auto loan balances are growing nationwide, according to the Experian report. States with the fastest percentage growth year over year included California (29.3%), Texas (26.3%) and Nevada (26.%). The states with the slowest growth rates year over year were Hawaii (12.4%), Wyoming (12.3%) and Michigan (6.8%).
 
States with the steepest decline in the loan balances currently 30 days delinquent year over year are Hawaii (12.75%), Vermont (11.69%) and Oregon (11.64%). States with the biggest jump in 30-day automotive loan balance delinquencies year over year included Rhode Island (18.53%), Wyoming (11.98%) and Alaska (10.24%).
 
Other findings:
  • Outstanding loans in the nonprime, subprime and deep-subprime segments were up slightly (36% from 35.9% in the third quarter of 2012);
  • The percentage of loan dollars 30 days delinquent rose slightly (2.17% from 2.16%);
  • The percentage of loan dollars that are 60 days delinquent rose slightly (0.52% from 0.5%); and
  • The average charge-off amount for bad loans increased to $7,770 from $7,026.

CU Members Mortgage Names Mortgage Elite Program CU Winners

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DALLAS (11/14/13)--Credit union mortgage services provider CU Members Mortgage has named the winners of its annual Credit Union Elite Partners Club program for its 2012-2013 fiscal year.
 
The winning organizations' achievements were based on CU Members Mortgage's scorecard process, which evaluates its partners' mortgage department annual performances.  The credit union organizations that met their goals include:
 
  • Mortgage Ease 1--Credit Union of Texas, Dallas;
  • Mortgage Ease 2--Riverland CU, New Orleans;
  • Mortgage Ease 3--Eli Lilly FCU, Indianapolis;
  • Mortgage Ease 4--Security Service FCU, San Antonio;
  • Top Credit Union League--Cornerstone Credit Union League;
  • Marketing Achievement--Louisiana Credit Union League; and
  • Marketing Achievement--League of Southeastern Credit Unions.
 
The scorecard process was developed to emphasize how credit unions evaluate the progress, effectiveness, and quality of their mortgage programs.
 
The scorecard takes into account factors such as the ratio of home loans that are purchased compared to home loans being refinanced, average borrower FICO scores, a low percentage of early payoffs and a miniscule default ratio. Additionally, credit unions score points for innovative marketing initiatives and attending educational training sessions.

Illinois League Honors State Winners

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (11/15/13)--The Illinois Credit Union League has named its state-level winners of the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility, Louise Herring Philosophy in Action and Alphonse Desjardins Financial Education awards.
 
"The Illinois awards continue to serve as great examples of excellence in service to their members and their communities," said Dan Plauda, ICUL president/chief executive officer.  "We are very pleased to have one of our credit unions once again place in the national competition this year and our congratulations go to all that participated."
 
The state Alphonse Desjardins Youth Financial Award winners by asset size include:
  • $150 million to $500 million, Financial Plus CU, Ottawa; and
  • $500 million plus, Great Lakes CU, North Chicago.
 The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service award winners include:
  • $50 million to $100 million, Rock Valley FCU, Loves Park; 
  • $100 million to  $200 million, Streator (Ill.) Onized CU;
  • $200 million to $500 million, GCS CU, Granite City; and
  • $500 million to $1 billion, Great Lakes CU.
Streator Onizied CU also placed in second in the national competition.
 
Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action Award winners included:
  • $50 million to $250 million, Gateway Metro FCU, Swansea; and
  • $250 million to $1 billion, Scott CU, Edwardsville.
Recognized for community service, service to members and non-members, and financial education, the award recipients competed for the same awards on the national level. For the Credit Union National Association's national award winners see "CUNA Announces Dora Maxwell, Louise Herring Award Winners" and "Winners Of CUNA's 2013 Desjardins Fin. Ed Awards Announced" in today's issue of News Now. Winners will be invited to attend the 2014 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

CUNA Announces Dora Maxwell, Louise Herring Award Winners

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WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (11/15/13)--The Credit Union National Association announced Thursday the winners of this year's national Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service and Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Awards.
 
"Early this year, we unveiled our 'Unite for Good' initiative, which urges credit unions to come together toward the establishment of a shared strategic vision: 'Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner,'" said Bill Cheney, CUNA president/CEO.
 
"To achieve this vision, we have identified a 'shared agenda' for the credit union movement: To remove barriers, create awareness and foster service excellence. In fact, the winners of this year's awards are among the vanguard of credit unions that are already pursuing this shared agenda--by employing the credit union philosophy, and by taking on social responsibility projects," Cheney said.
 
The first-place Dora Maxwell Award honorees this year are:
  • Keystone United Methodist FCU, for credit unions with between $5 million and $20 million in assets, in Cranberry Township, Pa.;
  • Communicating Arts CU, $20 million-$50 million, in Detroit, Mich.;
  • North Central Area CU,  $50 million-$100 million, in Houghton Lake, Mich.;
  • SPC CU, $100 million-$200 million in Hartsville, S.C.;
  • Merck Sharp & Dohme FCU, $200 million-$500 million, in Chalfont, Pa.;
  • Alabama CU, $500 million-$1 billion, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.;
  • Indiana Members CU, over $1 billion in assets, in Indianapolis, Ind., and
  • Northwest Chapter of Credit Unions, for the credit union association award, in Greensboro, N.C.
The first-place Louise Herring Award honorees this year are:
  • Bridge CU Inc., for credit unions with less than $50 million in assets, in Columbus, Ohio;
  • Five County CU, $50 million-$250 million, in Bath, Maine;
  • Michigan First CU, $250 million-$1 billion, in Lathrup Village, Mich.;
  • Tinker FCU, over $1 billion in assets, in Oklahoma City, Okla., and
  • Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates, for the credit union association award, in Lansing, Mich.
Maxwell was an original signer of CUNA's constitution, and an organizer of hundreds of credit unions and volunteer clubs in the U.S. Herring was also an original signatory to CUNA's constitution as an Ohio delegate to the 1934 national credit union conference.

The winners, who were selected by a national committee, will be honored during a Feb. 26 reception--part of CUNA's 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference, which takes place between Feb. 23 and Feb. 27 in Washington, D.C.

CU Blog Focuses On Corporate Social Responsibility

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (11/15/13)--Kansas City, Mo.-based Mazuma CU's monthly blog is tackling a five-part series on "Community Collaboration," with the first article discussing corporate social responsibility.
 
The series, written by Mazuma President/CEO Brandon Michaels, focuses on the critical role corporate social responsibility (CSR) plays in the future growth of financial institutions and notes that today's marketplace demands that businesses reflect principles of CSR in their strategies for growth. Credit unions in particular offer an inspirational model for the role of CSR in a growing enterprise, said the $487 million asset credit union.
 
"Credit unions have emerged as a bright spot within the [financial services] industry, enjoying higher levels of customer loyalty from members who actually own a part of their institutions," said the first article, "Community-Based Corporate Social Responsibility Platforms: The Next Key Building Block for Credit Unions?" "Member loyalty, in turn, is fueled by community engagement and a proactive CSR platform. Indeed, credit unions are a model for how a financial institution can drive growth through community connections based on CSR."
 
"The marketplace expects financial institutions to respect the communities in which they operate. Doing good and giving back is no longer a luxury. A well-developed CSR program addresses those issues, and functions as a valuable corporate asset. To that end, a proactive CSR platform will support an overall business model," Michaels wrote.
 
Six elements drive an effective CSR program: Mission, alignment, engagement structure, communication and sales, and evaluation. "To lead the marketplace and rise above competition from other financial institutions, a credit union CSR and community investment platform should embrace all six key elements," Michaels said.
 
Credit unions "have a unique opportunity to deliver value to consumers that elevates the credit union brand through integrating CSR into business strategy," he concluded.

Future articles will address:
  • "Financial Education for Young Adults: A Community Imperative";
  • "Why Giving Your Employees Financial Education Makes Smart Business Sense";
  • "Small Business Growth Strategies: The Unique Advantages of a Credit Union"; and
  • "Creativity and the Growth of Business: Why a Credit Union Should Care About the Arts."
To read the article, use the link.

Winners Of CUNA's 2013 Desjardins Fin. Ed Awards Announced

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WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wisc. (11/15/13)--The Credit Union National Association announced Thursday the winners of awards to credit unions with outstanding financial education programs in 2013.

Recipients of the Desjardins Financial Education Awards included nine first-place winners in youth and adult education categories, and several second-place winners and honorable mentions.
 
"Nine first-place winners are a testament to the commitment of credit unions in providing their members, and their prospective members, a solid understanding of the challenges and rewards of fully understanding their financial positions," said Bill Cheney, CUNA president /CEO.
 
First-place honorees in the youth education category were:
  • Community CU, in Lewiston, Maine;
  • CORE FCU, in East Syracuse, N.Y.;
  • Silver State Schools CU, in Las Vegas, Nev.; and
  • Topline FCU, in Maple Grove, Minn.
Second-place honorees in the youth category were:
  • Clarence Community & Schools FCU, in Clarence, N.Y.;
  • CommunityAmerica CU, in Kansas City, Mo.;
  • Education CU, in Amarillo, Texas; and
  • Public Service CU, in Romulus, Mich.
Honorable mentions for the youth category were:
  • Altra FCU, in Onalaska, Wis.;
  • Central City CU, in Marshfield, Wis.; and
  • HealthCare First CU, in Johnstown, Pa.
First-place honorees in the adult education category were:
  • Bayport CU, in Newport News, Va.;
  • Community CU, in Lewiston, Me;
  • Electro Savings CU, in St. Louis, Mo.; and
  • St. Louis Community CU, in St. Louis, Mo.
Second-place winners in the adult category were:
  • CommunityAmerica CU, in Kansas City, Mo.;
  • Greater Minnesota CU, in Mora, Minn.; and
  • Topline FCU, in Maple Grove, Minn.
Honorable-mention winners for the adult category were:
  • University of Michigan CU, in Ann Arbor, Mich.; and
  • US FCU, in Burnsville, Minn.
CUNA also honored The Maine Credit Union League with a Desjardins Financial Education Award for its efforts to improve financial literacy among children and adults.

The awards are named after Alphonse Desjardins, who founded the first credit unions in the U.S. and Canada. Desjardins also founded youth savings clubs, in-school banks, "caisses populaires," and cooperative savings and loan companies tailored to the needs of the working class.

Winners will be honored at a Feb. 26 award ceremony that will be held amid CUNA's 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference--scheduled to take place between Feb. 23 and Feb. 27 in Washington, D.C.

Dallas FCU Scavenger Hunt Educates About Products/Services

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (11/15/13)--Easter came early for the members of a credit union in Dallas, Texas, this year.
 
As part of a promotional effort, the $45 million asset Dallas FCU staged a virtual scavenger hunt on its website, enticing members into searching for 10 hidden puzzle pieces online--or Easter Eggs, in programming parlance.
 
The credit union hid the pieces--pictures of automobile parts--on a variety of pages on its website, and promised that members who found all 10 would be entered into drawings for a $1,000 cash grand prize, and 10 $100 gift card prizes (Leaguer Nov.12).
 
Dallas FCU representatives told the Cornerstone Credit Union League that the promotion drew in 330 players, 5% of the credit union's membership, and led to a spike in website traffic--a 19% increase in unique visitors and a 41% increase in page views.
 
Other parts of the website saw different increases during the promotion. Pages that spiked in traffic included:
  • The membership and member testimonials, by 1,217%;
  • "About" page, by 321%;
  • Loan rates, by 144%;
  • Loans and credit cards, by 130%; and
  • Apply online, by 119%.
The credit union also saw Facebook "likes" increase by 42% throughout the promotion.
 
Shellye Carpenter, a Dallas FCU marketing officer, said that members responded positively to the informative aspects of the contest. "We've had several members tell us they didn't know about products like GAP and Extended Warranty coverage," she said, "but learned about them through the scavenger hunt."