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ALM resource addresses CU mergers

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DALLAS (11/18/09)--ALM First Financial Advisors announced the availability of a resource to aid credit unions that are considering mergers with other credit unions. ALM First Merger Valuation Services offers credit unions help evaluating the merit of a merger, the fair value of business combinations and quantifying the required valuation adjustments for mergers at closing. The service has two options: Comprehensive Valuation, which provides credit unions specific information, explanations and valuation; and MacroView Valuation, which provides a high-level view of a credit union’s worth. More credit unions are deciding to merge to take advantage of economies of scale and their combined ability to better serve members, according to ALM. “Current market realities are causing more credit unions to consider merging,” said Emily Hollis, ALM First partner. “At the same time, changes in accounting requirements have made the merging process more complex.” The Statement of Financial Accounting Standards 141-R (SFAS 141-R) requires more consistency in the financial reporting of business combinations among financial institutions. Credit unions must record the fair value of the acquired credit union, instead of pooling the balances sheets with no valuation adjustments. “Since SFAS 141-R took effect this year, many credit unions have found complying with the new accounting rules to be more complicated than in the past,” Hollis added. ALM and Sacher Consulting oversee SFAS 141-R accounting services. RP Financial, as a third member of the team, provides entity valuations to establish an acquired credit union’s fair value. ALM is a financial advisory firm that serves credit unions.

Smart Financial CU increases PIN revenue by 8

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (11/18/09)--Smart Financial CU of Houston announced that it has experienced an average increase of 8% per month in personal identification number (PIN) point-of-sale revenue. The uptick is due to Smart Financial CU’s recent streamlining of debit card processing onto a single network. The credit union partnered with TNB Card Services in April to manage the card operation, and experienced a 10% increase in revenue (LoneStar Leaguer Nov. 17). “Having two processors to manage basically the same card account was very inefficient,” said Corbin Wilson, vice president of electronic service delivery for Smart Financial CU. “Because the networks didn’t talk to each other, we were duplicating work, which was completely unproductive. We saw that consolidating the processing under one roof could eliminate dual entry of card data and simplify the entire process.” “In addition to increased revenue and improved processing efficiencies, by consolidating our debit processing with TNB we were able to increase card security for PIN-based transactions by adding card verification value codes and fraud detection,” she added. “These are features we didn’t have with our former PIN debit processor.” Other benefits of the conversion include the ability to add debit cards at the branch level and viewing transaction data in real time. The quicker posting of transaction data helps cardholders better manage their accounts, TNB said.