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CUNA open, no News Now on Monday's holiday

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WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (2/14/14)--Monday is a federal holiday (Presidents' Day) and many financial institutions will be closed. However, the Washington, D.C. and Madison, Wis., offices of the Credit Union National Association will be open. 
 
CUNA's News Now will not publish a Monday edition. News Now will resume regular publication on Tuesday.

GAC attendance, exhibitors reaching records this year

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MADISON, Wis. (2/14/14)--With the Credit Union National Association's 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference a little more than a week away, an expected record attendance of over 4,300 people will be convening in Washington D.C.  Additionally, attendees will experience an exhibit hall that will be the largest in the conference's history with over 230 companies represented in the 360 booths on display.
 
Click to view larger image Click for larger view
"The combination of great attendance, a sold-out exhibit hall and an incomparable speaker line-up makes the 2014 CUNA GAC a must-attend event," said Todd Spiczenski, senior vice president, Center for Professional Development at CUNA.  "The spirit of cooperation among credit unions will truly make an impact in Washington, D.C. next week."
 
The conference, to be held Feb. 23-27 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, will include a power-packed list of distinguished speakers, including members of Congress, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
 
Earlier this week, CUNA announced a new media panel featuring journalists who will discuss in-depth how credit unions can better communicate their message to the media. The panel, to be moderated by former Washington, D.C. anchorman Paul Berry, showcases Fox News' Tucker Carlson, the Washington Post's Ylan Mui, and Politico's Lauren French.
 
During the conference, CUNA will showcase the progress of "Unite for Good," CUNA's shared strategic vision, which was unveiled at the 2013 GAC, in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner. "Unite for Good" stories from nearly 100 credit unions will be on display throughout the convention center.
 
A social media hub will provide attendees with an opportunity to share ideas from the conference on social media. Attendees should use and follow Twitter hashtags: #CUNAGAC #UniteforGood #DontTaxMyCU #CrashtheGAC14.

CUs go public with displays of affection for members

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MADISON, Wis. (2/14/14)--Credit unions love their members. Valentine's Day provides them with a fun opportunity to express that affection.
 
Click to view larger image A member of Landmark CU baked rose cupcakes for branch employees. (Photo provided by Landmark CU)
And for a member of $2.3 billion-asset Landmark CU, New Berlin, Wis., that feeling of affection is mutual. She delivered a batch of rose cupcakes to one Landmark CU branch. (We know there are about 98.9 million other credit union members who feel the same way.)
 
Members of $749 million-asset Hughes FCU, Tucson, Ariz., were invited to spend Valentine's Day at the ballpark to celebrate opening day for the University of Arizona baseball team.
 
Mission FCU, with $2.4 billion in assets, San Diego, sponsored the "Share Your Love of Reading" campaign, in which 25 elected officials and celebrities read aloud to underserved children.
 
Sussex County FCU, with $248 million in assets, Seaford, Del., will reward its loyal members with a patronage dividend on Valentine's Day. SCFCU members with multiple accounts will find an extra $100 in their checking account.
 
Box Elder CU, with $92 million in assets, Brigham City, Utah, shared its Valentine's Day sentiment on Twitter with the message: Credit Union's look for opportunities to help others! #CUlove
 
The Missouri Credit Union Association offered these additional ideas for "sharing the love" on social media:
  • Share funny Valentine's Day stories. Post a funny or cute love-inspired graphic and ask fans and followers for their funniest or best Valentine's Day memories.
  • Share posts with Valentine's Day themes. Pose a fun and lighthearted Valentine's Day question. Ask something simple and generic such as "Chocolate or flowers?"
  • Drop a cute statistic. Search for a fun Valentine's Day stat, and share it on social media.
  • Offer last-minute gift ideas. Share them on social media, and don't forget: Valentine's Day isn't just about the ladies. Offers some gift ideas for men.
  • Share staff or branch gifts and decorations. Did any employees receive special deliveries, such as flowers or chocolates? Share them on Twitter or Facebook, along any branch decorations.

Socked by storms again, CUs keep members in mind

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MADISON, Wis. (2/14/14)--Another major winter storm has swept its way from the Southeast up the coast to Maine, leaving in its wake layers of ice, power outages and as much as 20 inches of snow.
 
Many credit unions used social media or their websites to tell members to stay safe. On its Facebook page, Bellco FCU, Wyomissing, Pa., said, "We value the safety of our staff and members, but want you to know that Bellco is still at your fingertips. To access your accounts, please use Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, Text Banking or Phone Banking."
 
MECU of Baltimore was closed Thursday and advised members to check its website this morning for updates. It, as many credit unions did, made sure members knew they could use online, mobile or telephone banking for services.
 
The New Jersey Credit Union League operated in business continuity mode but that didn't stop President/CEO Greg Michlig from engaging credit unions. He tweeted, "#Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow Wonder where your #money goes? Take a look today," directing followers to the league's "Banking You Can Trust" website.

The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association closed its offices Thursday and reported nearly 20 credit unions had called snow days.
 
Early Thursday was relatively quiet as New York credit unions prepared for the storm. Some closed early and others altered their operating hours for today. "This storm has had a more significant impact on a greater part of our state than our most recent snowstorm, as it's impacted branch closings from Long Island to upstate New York,"  Ron McLean, senior vice president, Credit Union Association of New York, told News Now.
 
Massachusetts Credit Union League and New Hampshire credit union leagues and Credit Union Association of Rhode Island also were operating in business continuity mode Thursday afternoon.
 
The Carolinas Credit Union League rescheduled its small credit union roundtable to March, and the Foothills Chapter moved its meeting to next week (In the Loop Feb. 11).
 
Hazardous road conditions forced the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates' Duluth office to close Thursday morning. The South, which took a wallop with freezing rain, ice and wind, is now expected to thaw a bit today with temperatures in the 50s.
 
Some credit unions may have a four- or five-day weekend with the observance of the Presidents' Day holiday Monday.

Two more CUs file suit against Target for data breach

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DALLAS (2/14/14)--On Thursday, two more credit unions filed a class action complaint against Target relating to the data security breach that occurred late last year.
 
Employees CU, Dallas, $63 million in assets, and KC Police CU, Kansas City, Mo., $107 million in assets, were joined by American Bank of Commerce, Wolfforth, Texas, in filing suit in the U.S. District Court in Dallas, saying they "have incurred (and will continue to incur) damages to their businesses and/or property in the form of...expenses to cancel and reissue compromised payment cards, absorption of fraudulent charges made on the compromised payment cards, business destruction, lost profits and/or lost business opportunities."

"The Credit Union National Association has been working to bring together credit unions looking for legal representation and law firms looking for cases in the data security field, but so far it looks like credit unions are doing a pretty good job of making their own plans," CUNA General Counsel Eric Richard told News Now.
 
The suit is the first to name a third-party vendor--Fazio Mechanical Services, Pittsburgh--as the point of entry for the breach that compromised the debit, credit and personal information of about 110 million people between Black Friday and mid-December (Dallas News Feb. 13).
 
It also cites the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, alleging the retail giant has known since 2007 that its point-of-sale network was vulnerable, thus engaging in what the suit calls "unlawful and intentional schemes to defraud and cheat plaintiffs" by means of false or fraudulent pretenses and/or fraudulent and intentional misrepresentation of its compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards.
 
Other suits against Target--including those by $211 million-asset Alabama State Employees CU and $38 million-asset First Choice FCU, New Castle, Pa.-- were filed in a variety of courts. They will likely be consolidated into a single legal action before a federal judge (CNN Money Feb. 11).
 
With updated projections on the cost of the Target stores data breach, CUNA estimates that credit unions have thus far incurred costs of $30.6 million and reissued around 4.6 million credit and debit cards (see Feb. 13 News Now: Updated CUNA projections show high CU cost of Target breach).

"This continues to be a top issue at CUNA. As our member CUs know, CUNA and the leagues are pursuing every avenue to urge that merchants are held responsible for reimbursing financial institutions when merchants' security lapses cause situations such as this," CUNA's Richard said. "In fact, CUNA was among the first to knock on Congress' door to demand hearings on this issue and on creating a better data security framework."

CUs over big banks? Money Talks News breaks it down to 9 reasons

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MADISON, Wis. (2/14/14)--A Feb. 12 article in Money Talks News provides consumers with nine reasons to make credit unions their preferred financial services provider.  
 
"Are you aware of how credit unions operate and what they entail?" wrote reporter Allison Martin in the article, "9 Reasons Why Credit Unions Are Better Than Banks." "If so, you may be inclined to open up an account at one closest to you or even make the switch from your bank."
 
The nine reasons cited in the article include:
  1. Motives. Credit unions exist for the membership's best interest, not for shareholders, the article said.
  1. Structure. Credit unions are cooperatives, owned and operated by their members.
  1. Fees. Credit unions have lower expenses, so they are able to pass on the savings to their members.
  1. Loan rates. "Every loan I've ever gotten has been from the credit union, even after shopping around at the big boy banks," Martin wrote. "They usually have better rates because they are nonprofit and aren't looking to make their wallets fatter."
  1. Credit card offers. The average interest rate for credit cards was 10.99% for credit unions, compared with 11.82% for banks, according to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
  1. Borrowing. "Been turned down by all the major banks? Try your local credit union, as its borrowing standards are more flexible and they may be willing to work with you," Martin wrote.
  1. Earnings on savings accounts. Saving rates are still on the low side, but credit unions nonprofit status usually means they have better rates then banks.
  1. Member service. Credit unions have built their reputation on putting members first.
  1. Insurance. Similar to most major banks, credit union accounts are insured up to $250,000 by the federal government through the NCUA.
 To read the full article, use the link.

Limited openings available for DE training

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MADISON, Wis. (2/14/14)--Only 10 spots are left for April's session of Credit Union Development Education (DE) classes, and space is limited for the September classes as well.

The six-day immersion training from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) teaches students about credit unions' social responsibility and domestic and international development. Sessions are scheduled for April 23-30 and Sept. 10-17 in Madison, Wis. This is the first time NCUF has held three sessions in one calendar year.

"I learned of the principles on which credit unions were founded and how these principles should remain at the heart of every decision that we make today," said Michael Waylett, president, $44 million-asset Vision Financial FCU, Durham, N.C. "It is not possible to attend this training and not, as a human being, be changed significantly," he added. Waylett earned his CUDE designation at this year's first DE training in January.

Testimonials such as Waylett's are highlighted in a new video from NCUF about the DE program.



The registration fee includes seven nights of single-room lodging, as well as all training materials and meals.

Use the link to see registration and scholarship information.

Share ICU Day theme ideas with CUNA, World Council

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MADISON (2/14/14)--The Credit Union National Association and the World Council of Credit Unions are seeking theme ideas for International Credit Union Day, Oct. 16.
 
CUNA and the World Council encourage credit unions to submit theme ideas focused on credit union contributions to charity causes. Ideas can be e-mailed to icuday@cuna.coop.
 
The deadline for ideas is approaching fast--Feb. 20. When the top suggestions are identified, the public will have the opportunity to vote for its favorite theme in mid-March.
 
Credit unions have celebrated ICU Day since 1948. The day reflects upon the credit union movement's history and promotes its achievements. It is a day to recognize the dedication of those working in the credit union industry, appreciate current members and invite eligible consumers to join.
 
Use the link to view previous themes.