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NEW: Gentile Named President/CEO of the Massachusetts CU League

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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (11/22/13, UPDATED: 9:50 A.M. ET)--The Massachusetts Credit Union League (MCUL) Board of Directors has named Paul Gentile as President/CEO effective Jan. 6th.

Gentile succeeds Dan Egan who is retiring after 32 years of service to the League. The Massachusetts Credit Union League has management agreements in place with the New Hampshire Credit Union League and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island. The appointment of Gentile culminates a comprehensive search process that included members of the boards from each of the three leagues.

"Paul is a proven leader. He brings a track record of success in advocacy, communication and product development that will serve our member credit unions well as we strive to meet their changing needs," said St. Jeans CU CEO and MCUL Chairman David Surface.

Gentile currently serves as Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications for the Credit Union National Association. During his tenure at CUNA, he helped launch a number of new national communication vehicles, including The Cheney Report and Inside Exchange.

"It is a great honor to succeed Dan and build on the strong foundation he helped create here. I look forward to working strategically with the dedicated volunteers on the boards and the talented staff to best serve our member credit unions in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island," said Gentile.

Prior to CUNA, Gentile was the President/CEO of the New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL). Under his leadership, NJCUL spearheaded cooperative advocacy initiatives such as the statewide "Banking You Can Trust" consumer awareness campaign and successful passage of public deposit legislation that enabled New Jersey's credit unions to accept public funds. NJCUL also developed a student loan credit union service organization, a shared compliance program, a regional conference (Credit Union Reality Check), and an array of strategic communication tools during his tenure. Before joining NJCUL, Gentile was the Editor/Publisher of Credit Union Times, the nation's largest independent credit union trade publication.

CUNA CEO Bill Cheney wished Gentile well in his new role. "In a short time, Paul has made significant advancements here at CUNA. I am thrilled that he remains part of the CUNA/League system and I look forward to our continued partnership as he brings his leadership to the three associations," said Cheney.

"It has been a great experience at the national association. CUNA has a dedicated team of professionals that are relentlessly advocating for the credit union system. The work being done here in Washington is not easy, and they do it well. From their tireless work on the Hill to their advocacy with NCUA, CFPB and other key regulators, they are constantly moving the ball forward so credit unions have a good operating environment to succeed," said Gentile.

MCUL blazed the trail for league cooperation with the New Hampshire management agreement in 1985 and later with the Rhode Island agreement in 1992. The leagues are managed under the jointly owned New England Credit Union Services.

N.Y., Pa. Leagues Collaborate On IT

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ALBANY, N.Y. and HARRISBURG, Pa. (11/22/13)--The Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) have finalized an agreement to collaborate on information technology support.
 
The initiative builds on previous collaborations between the two associations, including jointly hosted board dialogue sessions and volunteer conferences.
 
"Information technology is a critical function for any organization, and it's an area that can benefit greatly from shared expertise and resources," said William Mellin, president/CEO of CUANY. "Both of our associations are committed to delivering the maximum value possible to our member credit unions, and this partnership will help us achieve that goal."
 
CUANY and PCUA will collaborate on customized network administration, association management system support, helpdesk support, training and data backup/recovery.
 
"More and more credit unions are working together in their back office operations to achieve economies of scale, and both our associations recognize the value of this approach," said Patrick Conway, president/CEO of PCUA. "This is a progressive, unique model of league collaboration, and it's a great opportunity for us to increase efficiencies and reap the benefits of true cooperation."

Alert: Phishing Scheme Claims To Be 'CUNA's Security System'

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MADISON, Wis. (11/22/13)--The Credit Union National Association has learned that some credit unions and credit union members have received fraudulent phishing activity on their cell phones.
 
Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular credit/debit card service providers, social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public.
 
CUNA has learned that some members have received a text message asking them to call 425-606-3663. CUNA tested the number and learned it was an automated system stating it was the Credit Union National Association's Security System. It would then ask the caller to enter debit card information.

CUNA does not house any credit union credit or debit cardholder accounts and would not solicit this information in any way. Any call or email claiming to be "CUNA" and asking for credit, debit or any other personal information is fraudulent. If you receive a text, email, phone call, or voice message that rouses any sort of suspicion, it is most likely a phishing or fraudulent attempt to gain unlawful access to your credit, debit, or other credit union-related accounts. 
 
Phishers want consumers to react immediately and include upsetting or exciting statements which trigger fear or happiness. They may falsely claim suspicious withdrawals from a banking account, present victims as winners of a lottery or play on the victim's passion for politics or religion. Consumers should never give any account information on the web, or in an unsolicited phone call such as the one described above.

 

Delaware League Unites For Good At the Harness Races

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DOVER, Del. (11/22/13)-- < As host of the National Credit Union Administration's Region II Fall meeting at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino this week, the Delaware Credit Union League (DCUL) took a unique approach to spreading the credit union message: Harness racing.
 
Monday's 14th race at Dover Downs, with a purse of $6,000, was titled, "Credit Unions--Unite For Good" in the evening's program, under sponsorship of the DCUL.
 
As the race took place, meeting attendees dined at the Winner's Circle Restaurant overlooking the racetrack.
 
"As the trotters raced around the track, the tote board lit up with our message," Jane Bailey, DCUL executive vice president, told News Now.
 
At Tuesday's meeting, executives from the region's credit union leagues, including Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland/DC, Pennsylvania and California, met with NCUA Region II Director Jane Walters and her team to discuss credit union issues and NCUA hot topics.
 
Among the topics discussed were small credit union issues; new regulations; examination changes & trends; member business lending; credit union service organizations; foundations; enterprise risk management; supplemental capital; due diligence; proposed diversity standards and charitable accounts.
 
NCUA Region II's staff and state credit union associations meet twice a year to share information and address challenges in the region.
 
The next meeting will be held in West Virginia in June.

'Big Data' Offers Great Promise

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MADISON, Wis. (11/22/13)--Many credit unions won't get involved with big data because of a lack of resources, but that's a short-sighted approach.
 
Click to view larger image When tracked properly, big data allows credit unions to customize service based on members' specific financial situations and needs, according to Peter Halenar, vice president of strategic partnerships for MoneyDesktop. (CUNA photo)
Don't let the magnitude of "big data," or uncertainty over how best to use it, paralyze your credit union's ability to take advantage of its great promise, the Credit Union National Association's Credit Union Directors Newsletter reports.
 
Large corporations and financial services competitors already rely on big data. Increasingly, they use it to siphon away business opportunities with your members, according to Peter Halenar, vice president of strategic partnerships for MoneyDesktop.
 
"I would highly suggest that you start to have the conversation internally," Halenar told attendees of the recent CUNA Community Credit Union & Growth Conference. "You can either start to address it now, or after it's passed you by and you have to play catch-up. That's not a situation you want to be in."
 
The world produces as much data in two days as in the previous 5,000 years, Halenar said, offering a treasure trove of information if interpreted properly. Predictive policing helps departments target areas where crime is on the rise. Netflix analyzes usage patterns of the 31 million customers who stream its movies to recommend other content for their queues. Retailers target advertising to customers based on their recent purchases.
 
"Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine," Halenar said, quoting Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president and global head of research at Gartner.
 
Financial institutions can use big data to track when members are due for a car loan, or when they need a mortgage. Credit unions also can determine which members bank elsewhere and customize offers explaining how much money they'd save if they brought all their business in-house.
 
"When you learn to corral that information, and turn it into actions that benefit your credit union, you'll gain wallet share, increase membership, and turn more members into primary financial institution (PFI) members," Halenar said.
 
Many credit unions won't get involved with big data because of a lack of resources, Halenar said. Personal finance management (PFM) products like MoneyDesktop sift external and internal data sources and provide customized, user-friendly reports without taxing information technology (IT) departments.
 
Big data can free up your IT department to let it concentrate on other things that are mission critical, he said.
 
"Put that technology into your hands, so you can parse, slice, and dice the data in ways that are meaningful to you," Halenar said. "It makes your organization more efficient."

Indiana CU Weathers Tornadoes

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KOKOMO, Ind. (11/22/13)--In her 42 years with Financial Builders FCU, Cindy Brock had never needed to put the credit union's disaster recovery plan into action. That changed Sunday when two tornadoes ripped through Kokomo.
 
The National Weather Service said the tornadoes hit wind speeds of 111 to 135 mph. Indiana reported no deaths, but Sunday's storms injured 32 people in the Kokomo area (Kokomo Journal Nov. 20)
 
Financial Builders single branch was damaged extensively. Brock, president/CEO of the credit union, believes most of the damage was caused by debris. A lobby sun-roof and other windows were broken, the credit union drive-through was rendered inoperable and other areas of the branch had water damage. Debris was strewn everywhere on the property and power was out throughout most of the area, Brock said.
 
When she first saw the damage, Brock thought the credit union would be operating out of a portable branch on at least a temporary basis.
 
"To be honest, I was just happy the building was standing, looking at the damage around us," Brock said. "The bank across the street was leveled. But they have other branches their customers can go to. This branch is all we have."
 
After consulting with her disaster recovery consultant, Agility Recovery, a CUNA Strategic Services provider, it was determined that the branch remained operable. The credit union arranged for delivery of a generator.
 
The credit union was closed Monday and Tuesday, but its lobby re-opened Wednesday morning. The drive-through remains closed.
 
"The generator got here Monday night," Brock said. "Tuesday we got the computers back up and running. We were able to open [Wednesday] morning. The thing I was most worried about was serving my members--and we had long lines Wednesday morning."
 
Insurance adjustors were at the facility Thursday morning. Brock doesn't yet have an estimate of when the damage will be fixed.
 
"Actually, we're very thankful our building is just standing," she said. "It happened on a Sunday afternoon, so no one was injured. Considering the amount of damage that Kokomo suffered we are very blessed."
 
 

Rosenthal To Depart CFPB

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WASHINGTON (11/22/13)--Cliff Rosenthal, the former CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, will leave his current post with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in March, the CFPB confirmed Wednesday.
 
A CFPB spokesperson would not provide a reason for Rosenthal's departure.
 
Rosenthal left the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions in May 2012 to take a job with the CFPB (News Now March 5, 2012). At the time, he said the government position would allow him to "pursue the mission that has guided me throughout my career: providing financial access and a route to economic self-sufficiency for low-income people."
 
When Rosenthal joined the federation, its existence was in question. At the time of his departure, the organization included than 200 credit unions in its membership, with total assets of some $13 billion and membership of 1.7 million.

CU System Briefs

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  • DECATUR, Ala. (11/22/13)--A woman who allegedly defrauded a Redstone FCU branch in Decatur, Ala. this month was arrested Tuesday (Decatur Daily Nov. 20). Demisha Donsha Eggleston, 22, a resident of the town, is accused by police of depositing forged checks into an account at the credit union on Nov. 6 and withdrawing the money on the same day. She was charged with two counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument. Redstone FCU is based in Hunstville, Ala., and has about $3.3 billion in assets ...
  • DENVER, Colo. (11/22/13)--Westerra CU announced last week that it's giving $37,979 in grant money to Denver Public Schools, Jefferson County Public Schools and the Douglas County School District. The donations are being made as part of Westerra's 2013-2014 School Grant Program. It has given money to Denver and Jefferson County Public Schools for four consecutive years and has given to Douglas County schools for two consecutive years through the program. Between $400 and $700 will go to supporting school supplies, musical instruments, classroom materials, sports equipment and after school programs at 26 schools in Denver, 27 schools in Jefferson county and six schools in Douglas County. "Westerra is an education and community credit union, and we are honored to support our schools in their efforts to help students achieve academic and personal success," said Westerra President/CEO Alan Peppers. Westerra CU is based in Denver and has about $1.2 billion in assets ...