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NuVision FCU Receives Congressional Recognition For Biz Leadership

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HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (11/6/13)--
Click to view larger image U.S. Rep. John Campbell, left, awards Huntington Beach, Calif.-based NuVision FCU's CEO, Roger Ballard, special congressional recognition for Outstanding Business Leadership on behalf of more than 87,000 credit union members primarily in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. (Photo provided by NuVision FCU)
NuVision FCU CEO Roger Ballard has been awarded special congressional recognition for Outstanding Business Leadership by U.S. Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) during a ceremony at the congressman's offices in Irvine, Calif.
 
"It is an honor to receive this recognition from Congressman Campbell, whose deep knowledge of our industry and tireless work on behalf of the American people is commendable," said Ballard, CEO of the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based, $1.3 billion asset credit union since 2004. "Throughout NuVision's tremendous growth over the past 75-plus years, we have stayed focused on meeting the needs of our members, which I believe is the cornerstone of our success."
 
Campbell is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services and chairs the subcommittee on monetary policy and trade, as well as serves on the House Committee on the Budget.

CU System Briefs (11/06/2013)

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  • BURLINGTON, Vt. (11/6/13)--The Burlington, Vt., Police Department is investigating multiple instances of fraud at an ATM located outside a branch of the New England FCU. On Oct. 29, police received a complaint about two men standing by the ATM, allegedly asking for help from consumers trying to use the machine (The Burlington Free Press Nov. 4). One suspect would approach the victim while the other suspect stood farther away, multiple victims told the police. The suspects would share a story to convince the ATM users they needed cash. Several victims entered their personal identification numbers and allowed the suspects to make deposits and withdrawals. The suspects would place what appeared to be a check into a deposit envelope. However, it was later found the deposit envelopes held deposit slips with fake account numbers ...
  • TAMPA, Fla. (11/6/13)--A man has been charged with robbing a branch of Grow Financial CU, Tampa, Fla.   Hillsbourough County (Fla.) Sheriff's officers arrestedOswaldo Jose Jackman, 42, late Friday (Tampa Bay Times Nov. 3). The Sheriff's Office released a surveillance camera photo of the robber and offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Jackman allegedly handed a note demanding money to a teller. Police did not say how they located him ...
  • MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (11/6/13)--Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU is adding a button to its website to allow credit unions to donate money to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. The website is also featuring a video about Mid-Atlantic Corporate's Children's Miracle Ambassador Sammy Hill, who received care from Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital and CMNH after she was injured by a falling tree branch. Through a telethon, a charity run, and a golf tournament, Mid-Atlantic Corporate staff has raised more than $67,000 for CMNH this year. Since 1996, credit unions have given the childrens' hospitals more than $110 million ...
  • LAUREL, Md. (11/6/13)--Tower FCU sponsored a charity concert to support Maryland Therapeutic Riding, a non-profit organization that uses horses to improve the quality of life of special needs children, adults, wounded veterans and their families. The "Live On The Farm Benefit Concert" was held on Sept. 27 at the charity's 26-acre farm in Crownsville, Md., and featured Grammy Award-winning country music singer Ricky Scaggs and a local act called The Hard Travelers. The event also featured live and silent auctions that raised almost $200,000. "Tower is honored to support MTR," said Carrie Geyer, a representative from the credit union who attended the concert. She noted that MTR's programs "focus on our wounded warrior population as they receive confidence, strength and rehabilitation through therapeutic horseback riding." Tower FCU is based in Laurel, Md., and has over $2.6 billion in assets. In the photo, Maryland Therapeutic Riding Executive Director Col. Kenneth McCreedy (Ret.) accepts a check for $5,000 from Geyer at the concert. (Photo provided by Tower FCU) ...
  • NAPERVILLE, Ill. (11/6/13)--CU America Financial Services Inc. named John Ochodnicky as its new CEO last month after former President/CEO Jerry Haley that he would retire on Oct. 31. Ochodnicky has served as a loan officer and vice president/sales manager for CU America for 14 years, having closed over 1,200 loans for member credit unions. CU America is a credit union service organization jointly owned by six Illinois credit unions. It underwrites, documents and services mortgages for credit unions, and has closed over $1 billion in mortgage loans ...

Eight CUs Collaborate To Build CU Value Awareness

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (11/6/13)--Eight credit unions from across the nation have joined credit union service organization PSCU in launching a cooperative grassroots effort to educate a new generation of consumers about the wealth of benefits that credit unions provide and big banks don't.

The social campaign, called "Make Your Money Matter," centers on a website, www.makeyourmoneymatter.org, and is aimed at Millennials, young, local-minded consumers born in the 1960s or 1990s.
 
It was launched Monday to tie in with yesterday's Bank Transfer Day, which promoted switching to credit unions from commercial banks.  "Make Your Money Matter" will reach out via Web and social media outlets, encouraging Millennials to make the switch.
 
All financial institutions "have their eyes focused on Millennials and rightfully so," said Andy Dickhut, brand manager for the $487 million, Kansas City, Mo.-based Mazuma CU, one of the eight participating credit unions. "They're going to play a large part in defining how banking is done going forward.  Millennials are passionate about communities, so this is a great joint venture to show them how credit unions share those same values," he said.
 
The campaign features an interactive experience that educates visitors about the differences between big banks and credit unions and highlights how consumers and the local economy can benefit from credit unions. The site features a calculator that compares shareholder profits from consumers' deposits at big banks, and provides forms to make the switch to a credit union. The campaign also empowers local credit unions to spread the message with shareable visual assets that can be seeded across their social channels.
 
Participating with Mazuma  and the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based PSCU, a credit union service organization that provides traditional and online financial services for more than 680 credit unions, are:
  • Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif.;
  • GTE Financial CU, Tampa, Fla.;
  • Baxter CU, Vernon Hills, Ill.;
  • Firstmark CU, San Antonio;
  • Bethpage (N.Y.) FCU;
  • Michigan First CU, Lathrup Village, Mich.; and
  • OnPoint Community CU, Portland, Ore.
This isn't the first time that credit unions have united for good, and it won't be the last.  Even among credit unions competing against each other in the same communities, credit unions have rallied to make consumers and others more aware that credit unions bring value to members and their communities.

Recently, three credit unions from Eugene, Ore., teamed to produce videos that span credit union values, the credit union experience and preserving credit unions' tax status. For more information, use the link.

Mich. House Passes League-backed Bill Vs. Scrap Metal Theft

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LANSING, Mich. (11/6/13)--The Michigan House passed a Michigan Credit Union League-supported two-bill package to combat the theft of scrap metal from foreclosed properties.
 
The legislation would require purchasers to wait three days to pay individuals who sell catalytic converters, copper wire and air conditioners, which are frequently stolen items. HB 4593 also requires additional documentation for scrap metal purchases (Michigan Monitor Nov. 4). 
 
The league has lobbied for the legislation because credit unions have reported recurring instances of metal theft from foreclosed and branch properties in certain areas.
 
Scrap metal loss is a major problem for credit unions because in addition to any costs to repair the damage from the removal of the metal, homeowners must pay to replace the stolen metals to return the property to sellable condition. Meanwhile, the property is still at risk for future theft, the league said.
 
MCUL will continue to monitor the package as it moves through the state Senate. Additional bills may be added to the package in the Senate, the league said.
 
The legislation may become part of an umbrella initiative on blight, which includes stronger regulation of the scrap metal industry to prevent the stripping of metal from residential property, procedures to identify abandoned property and expedite its foreclosure, and possible reforms to the foreclosure process (News Now Feb. 2).

CU League Of Connecticut Names Nowacki New CEO

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MERIDEN, Conn. (11/6/13)--Jill Nowacki is the new president/CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut, the league's board of directors announced Tuesday.

Nowacki has worked in the credit union system for more than 10 years. "Her multi-dimensional experience in the credit union industry will ensure the league's continued success supporting Connecticut's credit unions from the teller counter to Capitol Hill," the league said in a release.

Nowacki first worked for credit unions in communications and marketing at the Montana Credit Union Network.  Her next position was in Washington, D.C. working for the Credit Union National Association as executive director of Credit Union House. She then went to at Maps CU in Salem, Ore. where she was executive director of Maps Community Foundation.

The new Connecticut league president/CEO noted her commitment to philanthropy and giving as a reason for wanting the position. "I love that I get to be part of an organization with a sole purpose that is essentially helping others be successful. That feels like a perfect fit to me."

She commended the league for its work with reality fairs and its commitment to community outreach and education.

Michael Hinchey, who chaired the search committee, stated, "Our nationwide search led us to a candidate with high energy, exceptional skills and a passion for supporting credit unions and their members. Under her leadership we believe the Connecticut Credit Union League will remain a valuable resource for Connecticut credit unions for many years."

Orange County Register: CUs Put Members' Interests First

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SANTA ANA, Calif. (11/6/13)--"The Credit Union Advantage," a 12-page supplement to the Oct. 31 issue of the Orange County Register in Santa Ana, Calif., tells readers "how credit unions can build your financial future."
 
The advertising supplement brought visibility to the credit union difference through six articles:
  • "People before profit" tells the many advantages and benefits of credit unions. It highlights independent surveys that say credit unions offer better service and higher member/customer satisfaction and cites statistics from the Credit Union National Association and the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.  It discusses key advantages and differences, the cultural shift taking place as credit union membership grows, and the historical roots of credit unions.
  • "Who Can Join?" notes that "getting in the credit union game is easier than you'd think," and offers five questions to ask before joining a credit union.
  • "Crafting a financial plan" discusses why "credit unions are increasingly becoming the financial institutions of choice to plan for retirement."
  • "Bite of reality" discusses financial literacy endeavors of credit unions in the state and their  "Bite of Reality" interactive educational initiative that teaches students about real-world finances.
  • "Giving back" highlights how social responsibility remains at the core of the credit union mission and includes examples from several area credit unions.
  • "Debunking the myths" notes several widely held but false beliefs about credit unions.
  • "Leading Orange County Credit Unions" provides information about Eagle Community CU, Lake Forest; Nuvision FCU, Huntington Beach; Orange County's CU, Santa Ana; SchoolsFirst FCU, Santa Ana; Southland CU, Los Alamitos; and Wescom CU, Pasadena.
To access the supplement, use the link.

Filene Report On Channel Delivery: Branches Still Important

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MADISON, Wis. (11/6/13)--While credit union members increasingly use digital channels for low-value transactions and finding information, they still prefer to receive financial advice in branches, according to a new report from the Filene Research Institute.
 
Branches must be more efficient, and branch leaders must be free to focus more time on high-value behaviors such as advice, product sales, and resolving complex issues, said the report, "Channel Delivery for Tomorrow," which was co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.
 
Despite steady use and preferences for branches, the strongest growth right now is in mobile and online services. That growth, coupled with the cost advantages of distributing information and low-value transactions in digital channels, means credit unions need to seek out and adopt digital channels. Those that do not will not be compelling enough to be the primary institutions for the millennials and digital natives who are now choosing their institutions, the report said.

While credit unions can make gradual changes with current members, it is easier to start migrating new members to preferred channels. The report offers three ways to do that effectively:
  • Offer positive incentives for using the preferred channel (or, sparingly, disincentives for the less preferred). Consumers in one survey would be willing to switch channels for interest rate bumps on loans or deposits.
  • Set positive defaults to encourage preferred channel usage. When members are opening accounts or making changes, set up electronic communications as the default while informing them that they can switch out of the default if they like, the report advised. Most never will. Consider a fee schedule that offers service tiers, with "unlimited, anytime, anywhere" options as the most expensive.
  • Provide a technology concierge to walk members through their first interactions with low-cost channels like mobile and ATM. An initial human demonstration will assuage concerns and prove to most members that electronic channels are often more convenient and faster.
Credit unions must match the right transactions with the right channels to be sustainable, the report said. Good strategy acknowledges trade-offs, and credit unions cannot afford to invest equally in every channel. Most credit unions should focus strategically on digital channels, which will only increase in importance for attracting and retaining members in the next three years.

Ohio League Board Election Results Announced

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (11/6/13)--The Ohio Credit Union League has announced the results of its board elections, with two members elected by acclamation and three elected to positions in their districts (eLumination Newsletter Oct. 30).

Their terms are for three years.
 
Running unopposed and elected by acclamation are: Barry Shaner, CEO of Directions CU, Sylvania, District I,  and Robin Thomas, CEO of Taleris CU, Cleveland, District III.
 
Elections were held for three open seats, which will be held by:
  • Art Kremer, CEO of Sharefax, CU, Batavia, District II;
  • Karen Reams, CEO of Millstream Area CU, Findlay, Membership Category A; and
  • Dan Sutton, chief operating officer of Kemba CU, Cincinnati, Membership Category C.

Savings Study Findings Indicate CUs Could Win Over Young Adults

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WASHINGTON (11/6/13)--Credit unions could make inroads with young adults by offering additional age-specific financial education and savings plans. That is the age group most interested in trying to save, according to a recent survey.
 
The survey--released by America Saves, a non-profit research institution that encourages saving--said that young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 rate themselves as showing the highest amount of interest and putting the most amount of effort into saving money.
 
When asked to rate their own interest and effort on a 10-point scale, 77% of the young adult cohorts reported an interest in saving, while 66% claimed to make an effort to save money.

The survey indicated what appears to be an inverse relationship between age, and both interest and effort in saving, although all age groups reported having a higher interest in saving money than the effort they are currently putting into it.
Among the findings:
  • Respondents ages 35-44 rated their own interest at 73% and effort at 61%;
  • Those ages 45 to 54 rated their interest at 73% and effort at 64%;
  • People between 55 and 64 rated their own interest at 68%  and effort at 61%; and
  • Those ages 65 and older rated their own interest at 56% and effort at 53%.
There also appears to be a direct correlation between income, and respondents' interest and effort effectiveness with regard to saving money.

America Saves said that the "surprising" revelations about age could indicate a generational anxiety about the 2008 financial crisis, the recession that followed and the long-term viability of Social Security.

The organization polled more than 1,000 Americans for the survey.

Lending Council Five Big Ideas To Drive Creativity Results

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PHOENIX (11/6/13)--Creativity is the currency for success in the business world--it's the one thing that can't be outsourced, author and entrepreneur Josh Linkner said during the 19th annual CUNA Lending Council Conference Monday in Phoenix.
 
Click to view larger image No matter how successful your credit union is now, don't think that's a permanent condition, author and entrepreneur Josh Linkner said Monday during CUNA Lending Council's 19th Annual Conference in Phoenix. "Our mission is to be on the forefront and think about what's next, even when we're ahead."
"Credit unions need to double down on creativity," said Linkner, a former jazz musician who draws parallels between that art form and small business start-ups.
 
Like jazz performers, start-up companies often exhibit high energy and creativity, take risks, and explore new ideas instead of rehashing what's already been done, Linkner said. "There's no operations manual we can follow to find success. Raw creativity is driving business forward."
 
Consider the case of DollarShaveClub.com, which took on one-time market leader Gillette by selling low-cost razors online. The owner launched the business about a year ago, spent $4,000 on a creative promotional video that garnered three million viewers--and attracted 17,000 customers in a week.
 
"He was the jazz musician of razor blades," Linkner said. "If that disruption can happen through raw creativity, just think what credit unions could do--and what risks do they face?
 
"The lesson is, no matter how successful we are, don't think it's a permanent condition. Our mission is to be on the forefront and think about what's next, even when we're ahead."
 
Linkner offered five "big ideas" to drive creativity and results:
  1. Encourage courage. Allow staff to be creative without fear of rejection or punishment. "Fear is the biggest blocker of creativity," Linkner said. "If you can make people safe, you will unleash creativity in your organization. You might get some bad ideas, but you'll end up with some good ones. Mistakes aren't fatal; they're the portal to discovery."
  1. Shed the past. You need to hunt down and kill old assumptions, Linkner said. "Get rid of what was in favor of what could be. Think about your own lending: Are you doing the same thing as always or are you looking to the next play?"
  1. Create vivid experiences. This requires more of an investment in imagination than money. "You don't have to be stuffy. If you can tell a story that's different from your competitors', you'll benefit."
  1. Reject bureaucracy and think small. Small companies are more likely to take risks, embrace urgency, and find new ideas instead of protecting old ones. "Think small, like a start-up," Linkner advised. "How would you approach your business if you were a start-up?"
  1. Stand out. Do the opposite of what your competitors are doing. "Sometimes you have to be bold and different to get through the noise."
 
Click to view larger image Before entering into student lending, credit unions must make sure it fits into their business model, said a student lending panel at CUNA Lending Council's conference in Phoenix. From left are: Moderator Paul Gentile, Credit Union National Association executive vice president of strategic communications and engagement; Jon Jeffreys, president of  Credit Union Student Choice; Alice Stevens, chair of Member Student Lending LLC; Mike Long, executive vice president/chief operating officer for CU Campus Resources; Rohit Chopra, student loan ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and Tim Segerson, deputy director for NCUA. (Photos provided by CUNA)
Other highlights during the conference, which was attended by 433 credit union lenders, included these takeaways:
  • Before credit unions enter into the student lending business, they must make sure this type of lending fits their business model, said a student lending panel moderated by Paul Gentile, executive vice president of strategic communications and engagement at the Credit Union National Association. The  panel included Alice Stevens, chair of Member Student Lending LLC; Mike Long, executive vice president/chief operating officer for CU Campus Resources; Rohit Chopra, student loan ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and Tim Segerson, deputy director for the National Credit Union Administration.
  • Survey results indicate 60% of credit unions have addressed payments issues in their strategic plans, and 75% discuss these issues regularly, said Chris Chippindale, vice president of enterprise initiatives and electronic banking for Ent FCU, based in Colorado Springs, Colo. "That's too low," he said, urging colleagues to find ways to make money from payments.
  • Don't take the indirect lending channel for granted--make those members your own with member onboarding and relationship development calls. That was the word from Springfield, Mass.-based STCU's Renee Taylor, Scott Adkins, and Angila Schafer.