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SBA Agility webinar addresses crisis communications

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MADISON, Wis. (2/3/12)--The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Agility Recovery Solutions will present advice for planning a communications strategy when a business crisis hits, during a free webinar at 2 p.m. ET on Feb. 14.

Agility Recovery is a CUNA Strategic Services provider.

Bob Boyd, Agility president/CEO, will lead the seminar "Crisis Communications Planning--The Keystone of Disaster Recovery Planning."

The discussion will address assessing organizational needs, identifying a spokesperson and developing fact sheets and talking points.

The SBA has partnered with Agility to offer business continuity strategies through its "PrepareMyBusiness" website.

The SBA provides disaster recovery assistance in the form of low-interest loans to homeowners, renters, private nonprofits and businesses.

Coopera prepaid card for Hispanics builds steam

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DES MOINES, Iowa (2/3/12)--Eight credit unions will begin offering the Coopera Card--a reloadable Visa prepaid card built specifically for the Hispanic community.

Coopera is an Iowa-based economic development firm focusing on emerging markets.

The card is designed to provide financial institutions with a tool for attracting new members and earning additional interchange income.

The prepaid card gives Hispanic cardholders access to a secure financial management tool without fees for check-cashing, money order or money transfer services. A credit history is not required and alternative forms of identity are accepted to obtain the card. 

Credit unions that will offer the Coopera Card in 2012 include:

  • Amarillo (Texas) Community FCU;
  • United Services CU, Asheville, N.C.;
  • Beacon FCU, La Porte, Texas;
  • Kearney (Neb.) Eaton Employees FCU, Kearney, Neb.;
  • EECU, Fort Worth, Texas;
  • Greater Iowa CU, Ames, Iowa;
  • Des Moines (Iowa) Metro CU; and
  • Guardian CU, West Milwaukee, Wis. 

Prospective cardholders should inquire about membership status at the credit union because details may vary at each issuing credit union.

The Coopera Card was developed by Coopera in partnership with sister company and card processor The Members Group (TMG) to help credit unions ease members of the Hispanic community into the financial mainstream.

Secondary account holders can be added to each Coopera Card account to make money available to family within and outside the U.S. The cards can be used anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. Funds can be loaded onto the card through direct deposit of wages, at an issuer's branch, online or at a Visa ReadyLink merchant.

Arna Reynolds, Amarillo CU president/CEO, said the Coopera Card is an effective tool in serving the Hispanic community.

"Many of the Hispanics in our community are foreign-born, first generation, so they lack experience with traditional financial services," Reynolds told the Texas Credit Union League (LoneStar Leaguer Feb. 2).  "I believe this product will help integrate them into the U.S. financial services system."

Offering a prepaid card to a segment of the population that is largely unbanked is both a more affordable and more secure option for members, Reynolds said.

"We see it all the time," she explained. "They get their paycheck, go down to the local check casher and pay a fee to cash their check.  If they have bills to pay, they might purchase money orders, and if the check casher doesn't offer remittances, they'll go somewhere else and pay the fee to wire money to family members abroad.  What's left of their paycheck will go in their back pocket, which poses a security risk."

eDoc partners with CUAnswers on app

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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (2/3/12)--eDoc Innovations has partnered with network solutions integrator CU*Answers Network Services to develop a virtualized appliance for its DocLogic eDocument solutions.

The virtual solution, which will be scalable with continuous backup and disaster recovery capabilities, will accelerate the deployment time of the DocLogic suite as clients expand their internal e-document strategies, eDoc said.

"A virtual system is flexible in ways that physical boxes aren't, said eDOC Innovations CEO Bret Weekes. "This design will give our clients flexibility to tailor the deployment to the architecture they already have deployed without incurring extra expense of dedicated hardware."

The virtual appliance is hardware independent and portable across computing platforms. It is compatible with most existing VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V environments.