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Pa. CUs review personal finance resolutions

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (12/22/08)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) and the CEO from a Pennsylvania credit union reviewed personal finance resolutions for 2009 on Pennsylvania Newsmakers, which was filmed last week. Mike Wishnow, PCUA senior vice presidents of communications and marketing, and Ed Williams, CEO, Discovery FCU, Wyomissing, appeared on the show with host Dr. Terry Madonna, PCUA said (Life is a Highway Dec. 19). Wishnow and Williams reviewed five resolutions:
* Develop a written monthly and annual budget; * Establish a relationship with a credit union; * Review personal debt; * Develop a plan to save and invest; and * Teach children about finances.
The program, which is a part of PCUA’s monthly financial education sponsorship, will air Dec. 28 through Dec. 31 and on Jan. 3. For more information, use the link.

CUs for Kids gift cards order doubles from last year

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SAN DIMAS, Calif. (12/22/08)--Financial Service Centers Cooperative (FSCC) announced Thursday that orders for Credit Unions for Kids gift cards more than doubled from last year. Credit unions can sell the gift cards to their members or any consumer while promoting their products and services. The average dollar amount on the cards ranges from $50 to $100. A portion of the sales benefits Children’s Miracle Network, a credit union-established charity benefiting children’s hospitals. The funds are used for new facilities, equipment, research programs and patient services. Gift cards are gaining popularity with all consumers, and more than 75% of consumers buy an average of three gift cards during the holidays, FSCC said. FSCC provides the credit union Shared Branch Network with more than 5,500 deposit-taking locations in the U.S. and overseas.

Survey reveals CU members preferences

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (12/22/08)--A recent survey by Coinstar, in partnership with Kelton Research, revealed some feedback from credit union and bank account holders regarding their preferences for financial institutions. Some of the answers contrast with long-held beliefs and practices of credit unions, said the Ohio Credit Union League (eLumination Dec. 17). The survey indicated:
* 42% of credit union members say they’d prefer a change of environment at their financial institutions, and would model the change on premium coffee shops or apparel stores known for personal shoppers and exceptional service; * 66% enjoy “personal touch” service, but 34% don’t want their credit unions to know them by name; * 68% of credit union account holders would rather stand in line for a teller than for an ATM; * 64% would take advantage of financial or related services not traditionally provided--including self-service coin counting, postal services and computer printing services; and * 46% say they have dreaded visiting their credit unions at some point.
Overall, bank customers and credit union members are satisfied with the experiences they receive when visiting their financial institution, according to the study. However, there are opportunities for financial institutions to better serve them in today's unpredictable banking environment. Credit unions should consider how the information revealed in this survey could be incorporated into their plans for 2009, the league said.

Connecticut league personally visits each member CU

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MERIDEN, Conn. (12/22/08)-- The Credit Union League of Connecticut’s management staff personally visited each member credit union in the past weeks to thank them for their membership, loyalty, and participation throughout 2008, offering holiday greetings, and hand delivering dues notices for 2009. It is imperative that credit unions strive to find a way to distinctively set themselves apart from the competition, Tony Emerson, president/CEO, said to credit unions. “The best way to accomplish this is through delivering great and memorable member service,” Emerson said. “In many cases, providing superior member service comes down to just good business, and may prove to be the only thing that sets an organization apart from the competition. “The league is no different,” he added. “We also must deliver this caliber of service to our member credit unions. First and foremost, we are a service organization.” In what was a transitional year for the league, broader communications, numerous innovative programs and services that garnered national attention, and more visibility within the state combined efforts to assist Connecticut credit unions in taking steps toward more successfully providing services and opportunities for their own members, the league said. Emerson and the management staff felt that the personal contact showed a deeper sense of appreciation sincerely felt by the league. “I can’t think of a more powerful way to thank someone for their loyalty than looking them in the eye and shaking their hand,” Emerson added. “It’s been a challenging year. Helping our affiliated credit unions grow and thrive is why the league is here. And by the same token, their loyalty is what gives us the strength and enthusiasm to continue moving forward.”

Video offers CUNA members advice on fin lit problems

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MADISON, Wis. (12/22/08)--Credit unions can provide quick financial literacy information and tips in the credit union lobby or at an outside event through a new continuous loop DVD from the Credit Union National Association. The Home & Family Finance Resource Center (HFFRC) DVD provides 25 short videos that discuss financial literacy issues, credit union products and services, and benefits of credit union membership. The videos, which were originally featured on the home page of the HFFRC, were compiled into a 41-minute continuous loop DVD. Topics include:
* Purchasing a vehicle--three transactions; * When times are tough your credit union can help; * Refinancing your mortgage; * Credit counselors can help balance the bills; * Use direct deposit and automatic transfers to simplify finances; * What to do when your arm is due; * Managing credit card debt; * Tap your home's equity; * Credit cards on campus; * How to prevent identity theft; * How to get a free credit report; * Buying a home; * Becoming creditworthy; * Build your best credit score; * Autos: new vs. used; * Getting a student loan; * Top 10 reasons to belong to a credit union; * Investing: dollar-cost averaging; * Guard your plastic cards; * Financing your new car; * Mortgages: prequalification vs. preapproval; * Phishing: don't take the bait; * Investing in an IRA; * Getting tax records organized; and * Money and travel.
For more information or to purchase online, use the link. To order by phone, call (800) 356-8010, press 3, and use the stock number as a reference.

CUNA Technology Council gives best of show award to Jwaala

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MADISON, Wis. (12/22/08)--The CUNA Technology Council presented its Best of Show Award to Jwaala for its MoneyTracker personal finance solution.
Members of the CUNA Technology Council present the Best of Show Award to Jwaala at the 2008 Bank Administration Institute’s Retail Delivery Conference in Orlando, Fla. From left: Rudy Pereira, chair of the CUNA Technology Council and senior vice president of operations and technology for Alliant CU, Chicago; Andrew Taylor, chief technology officer for Jwaala; Debbie Bianucci, president/CEO of the Bank Administration Institute; Kelly Dowell, business development director for Jwaala; and Jackie Buchanan, vice chair of the CUNA Technology Council and executive vice president and chief information officer for Genisys CU, Auburn Hills, Mich. (Photo provided by the Credit Union National Association)
The award was presented at the Bank Administration Institute’s (BAI) Retail Delivery Conference Nov. 18-20 in Orlando, Fla. MoneyTracker is a personal financial management application that enables online banking users to budget and track their accounts, spending habits, net worth, and other information. This solution can be added to any financial institution’s existing online banking solution. When announcing the Best of Show winner, Rudy Pereira, council chair and senior vice president of operations and technology for Alliant CU in Chicago, said he was impressed with Jwaala’s innovative products, including MoneyTracker. “With MoneyTracker, online banking applications can add an innovative personal financial management feature that members will find very useful and distinct from other online banking experiences,” he said. Kelly Dowell, Jwaala's director of business development said: “We feel we have a solution that can help credit unions of all sizes deliver something truly unique and valuable. Something that will not only improve member loyalty but something that can differentiate credit unions, all while fostering consumer financial literacy in a time of real need. The CUNA Technology Council's award lets us know that our vision of online banking is on target and shared by others throughout the credit union industry." Since 2001, the CUNA Technology Council has presented the Best of Show award to the exhibitor that demonstrates a commitment to delivering technology that will further the growth of products and services in the credit union marketplace. Vendors’ products are evaluated according to affordability, the benefit to credit unions and their members, a commitment to open standards, currently in use, and health of the company.

CU System briefs (12/19/2008)

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas (12/22/08)--Security Service FCU, San Antonio, Texas, collected more than one million pounds of food for the San Antonio Food Bank. From left are: Jessica Neal, Security Service FCU communications specialist; and Sarrich Scott and Sean Scott from a youth group from Calvary Hills Baptist Church. The group sorted the food during a 24-hour sort-a-thon at the San Antonio Food Bank. The credit union collected the food during a month-long drive in November. With 1 million pounds of food, the food bank will be able to provide about 1 million meals for thousands during the holidays and into next year, the credit union said. Security Service FCU has $4.6 billion in assets. (Photo provided by Security Service FCU) ... *
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (12/22/08)--CU Community CU adopted a second grade class at Boyd Elementary School for Christmas and provided gifts to the students. “It’s truly rewarding to be able to give to the children, especially those who may be in need,” said Mandy Shelton, CU Community CU loan officer. “They are just so appreciative of the smallest things, and the excitement on their little faces is enough to make anyone melt.” The credit union threw the students a Christmas party and the students had an opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and get their pictures taken. CU Community CU supports a different local charity each quarter. CU Community CU has $53 million in assets. (Photo provided by CU Community CU) ...