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CU System briefs (02/20/2014)

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  • RICHMOND, Va. (2/20/14)--Virginia CU, Richmond, Va., will soon donate more than $30,000 to the Children's Hospital of Richmond thanks to the Virginia Commonwealth University men's and women's basketball teams. The credit union agreed to donate $1 for every assist made by players of both teams during the 2013-2014 season on top of $29,371.46 it gave to the hospital Jan. 7 (Current Feb. 14). At the start of the month, the program had increased the overall donation by $666 with more than 15 games remaining in the regular season. "When the Rams make an assist on the court, they help their teammates succeed. As a credit union, 'making an assist' is what we aim to do for our members," said Jane Watkins, president/CEO of the $2.5 billion-asset credit union. ...
     
  • MONETT, Mo. (2/20/14)--Jack Henry & Associates President Tony Wormington announced Monday he would retire June 30 from the technology solutions and payment processing services provider. Wormington first started at the Monett, Mo.-based company as an installer. He was named COO in 2003 and moved to the president position a year later. David Foss, current president of Jack Henry's ProfitStars division, will succeed Wormington. ...
     
  • HARAHAN, La. (2/20/14)--The Louisiana Credit Union League announced that Vice President Jennifer Green will be leaving Feb. 28 (eNews Feb. 19). For more than 12 years, Green has worked in communications, compliance, education and information technology. Jennifer has been a valuable asset not only for the league, but for Louisiana credit unions," league President/CEO Anne Cochran said. "She has played a significant role in many of the league's programs that are ongoing today." ...
     
  • FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (2/20/14)--Cornerstone Credit Union League executive Linda Winkfein died Monday of a heart attack (Leaguer Feb. 19). She was 66. Winkfein, who was vice president of small credit union development, had been with the league for 16 years. She previously worked for Dallas CU from 1979 to 1988. While at the $46 million-asset credit union, Winkfein served on the Dallas Chapter of Credit Unions, including one year as chapter president. She also served on the league's board of directors for seven years. "Linda was on the board when I came to the league," said President/CEO Dick Ensweiler, adding, "In fact, she was on the CEO Selection Committee." In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation. ...
 

CUNA, CBA Target breach numbers grab media's attention

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MADISON, Wis. (2/20/14)--Several media outlets cited the recent statistics announced by the Credit Union National Association and the Consumer Bankers Association that the Target data security breach has topped $200 million for member credit unions and banks combined.
 
"The tally by the industry trade groups is the most comprehensive so far in identifying the impact on banks and others from the breach that made vulnerable the card accounts of 40 million Target shoppers," a Feb. 18 article in The Wall Street Journal reported. The Wall Street Journal's Corporate Intelligence Feb. 18 blog also cited the same article by reporter Saabira Chaudhuri.
 
The same article also quoted CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney. "Credit unions have replaced or will replace 85% of their cards affected by the Target breach at no cost to their members," Cheney said in a statement. "The combined $200 million cost borne entirely by banks and credit unions shows the extent to which financial institutions will go to protect their customers and members."
 
The Huffington Post also cited CUNA/CBA statistics in a Feb. 18 article. "The more than $200 million in costs doesn't take into account any fraudulent activity, which would push the cost of the data breach to the industry higher as consumers are not held liable," The Huffington Post reported.
 
In another article, "Target hack strips banks and credit unions of $200M," CNet reported, "In all, 40 million credit and debit cards were compromised in the breach. So far, banks and credit unions have replaced 54.5%, or 21.8 million cards. The cost to banks could increase if additional fraudulent activity occurs with the compromised cards."
 
Fox Business noted that the cost to CUNA member credit unions from the Target breach has so far totaled $30.6 million.
 
The National Journal also picked up the CUNA/CBA statistics in a Feb. 18 article. "The Credit Union National Association has updated its calculations of damages incurred by credit unions to $30.6 million, up from $25 million," the article reported.
 
To read the full articles, use the links.

CU's education excellence prize pays teachers' mortgages

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PORTLAND, Ore. (2/20/14)--OnPoint Community CU announced details for its fifth prize for excellence in education, which awards funds to schools and pays the mortgages for one year for two winning teachers.
 
The $3.4 billion-asset credit union recognizes one kindergarten through eighth-grade teacher and one ninth- through 12th-grade teacher as Educators of the Year. It pays the winners' mortgages for one school year and donates $1,000 to their schools. One finalist from each grade range will receive $500 for themselves and $500 for their schools.
 
Nominations are being accepted by the Portland, Ore.-based credit union until April 15. Winners will be announced May 22. OnPoint Community CU was founded by teachers more than 80 years ago.
 
"Our annual OnPoint Prize award celebrates extraordinary teachers whose work sparks enthusiasm and passion in students and their parents," said President/CEO Rob Stuart. "This award is an opportunity to recognize educators who make a difference in the lives of students and the communities where we live."
 
Last year, Barbara Nasewytewa, a fifth-grade teacher at Brookwood Elementary School, Hillsboro, Ore., was honored as named K-8 Educator of the Year. Nasewytewa was recognized for her positive impact on students, dedication to school-wide initiatives such as summer science camp and ongoing collaboration with peers.
 
Francesca Morrison, an economics teacher at McMinnville High School, was named 9-12 Educator of the Year for 2013. She was recognized for development of financial literacy lessons including the Entrepreneur Marketplace, "An Interview with History" collection on wartime experiences and her support of Special Olympics and Project Unity.
 

Wash. Post's Singletary offers tips for America/Military Saves week

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WASHINGTON (2/20/14)--Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary this week offered consumers advice for saving during America/MilitaryAmerica Saves Week, sponsored by the Consumer Federation of American.

Singletary is a longtime credit union supporter and has spoken at several Credit Union National Association events.
 
Perhaps just as importantly, Singletary offered empathy to would-be savers. "I know that for many Americans, finding money to save is tough," Singletary wrote. "When experts recommend that you need to save at least six months of living expenses, I see people take a heavy breath."
 
Her advice: Start small. "To start, aim to save one month's worth of expenses," Singletary advised. "Then, as you get extra money, add it to your emergency pot."
 
She offered consumers a daily plan to get started saving during America Saves Week:
 
Monday. She advised consumer to start the week by deciding to save, figuring out where to cut expenses and going on a budget.
 
Tuesday. This is the day consumers should make a plan to pay off their debt. She advised listing all debts and targeting the lowest balance first while making minimum payments on the others to create a psychological boost.
 
Wednesday. Automatically deposit money from each paycheck into a savings account. Even start with an amount as low as $5, Singletary said.
 
Thursday. Review retirement savings goals. Consumers with access to a workplace retirement plan such as a 401(k) should start right away.
 
Friday. Consumers who are receiving a tax refund should earmark some or all of it for savings. Even if consumers have debt to pay, set aside some for savings, Singletary said.
 
Saturday. Assess progress. "If you procrastinated, use the weekend to take some action," Singletary urged readers."
 
To read the article, use the link.

Conn. league adds voice to 'patent troll' reform with Blumenthal letter

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MERIDEN, Conn. (2/20/14)--The Credit Union League of Connecticut has forwarded a letter to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) calling for patent reforms due to the growing impact of abusive litigation.
 
In announcing the letter to its membership, the league cited efforts by the Credit Union National Association and the Main Street Patent Coalition urging lawmakers to pass comprehensive patent troll reform.
 
So-called "patent trolls" use low-quality patents in an effort to extract settlements from credit unions.
 
"Over the past decade credit unions have increasingly found themselves the target of frivolous lawsuits from so-called patent trolls," states the letter, which is signed by league president Jill Nowacki and Kelly Ramsey-Fuhlbrigge, vice president of government relations. "Here in Connecticut, we would like to add our voice to urge the passing of comprehensive reform proposals that address five key areas: transparency, patent quality, demand letters, end users and litigation costs."
 
Transparency can be improved by eliminating the opportunity for trolls to hide behind multiple shell corporations, the letter states. "Legislation must address patent quality by expanding inexpensive review opportunities for unwisely issued patents," the letter adds. "It should make it easier to punish trolls that send fraudulent and abusive shakedown demand letters."
 
Patent trolls enforce questionable claims through demand letters to credit unions and other businesses by threatening to file lawsuits to collect licensing fees for patents, the letter alleges. "Patent trolls often allege that the use of necessary everyday technology violates the patent holders' rights, state vague or hypothetical theories of infringement, often overstate or grossly reinterpret the patent in question, and make allegations of infringement of expired or previously licensed patents," the letter states.
 
The letter explains that credit unions find they have no choice but to settle patent claims because they find defending themselves in court is too costly, which the trolls are gambling on.
 
CUNA supports a number of proposals currently being considered in the Senate, including the demand letter components of the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013 (S. 1720), offered by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), along with the Patent Litigation Integrity Act of 2013 (S. 1612) offered by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and the Patent Quality Improvement Act of 2013 (S. 866), offered by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) (News Now Feb. 12).

To read the letter, use the link.

CBSI: CUs need to be ready for $30T wealth transfer to Gens X, Y

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ST. LOUIS (2/20/14)--Credit unions stand to lose significant business over the next decade unless they woo more younger members, speakers at a CUNA Brokerage Service Inc. (CBSI) conference said Monday.
 
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The aging baby boomer generation will redistribute significant wealth through inheritance over the next decade, the speakers said, and credit unions will lose out on this transfer if they don't actively engage younger cohorts before it happens.
 
"Research shows 71% of 18- to 24-year-olds have little to no knowledge of credit unions," said David Polet, voice of customer director at CUNA Mutual Group. He added, "That's a problem because this generation will be critically important to the future of your credit union in the years to come."
 
Roughly 30 trillion dollars will be passed down from baby boomers to Generations X and Y over the next three or four decades, according to a 2012 Accenture white paper. Polet and CBSI Vice President Gary Weuve warned that credit unions are increasingly losing out on this money as competition for younger consumers heats up.
 
The pair encouraged credit union professionals to start building relationships with younger members and potential members. Weuve suggested clients "bring their kids into the discussion regarding inheritance."
 
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Polet said that younger adults are interested in financial management, "highly open to seeking advice" and more likely to receive that from a financial institution than an individual. A study published in April 2013 by research and consulting firm LIMRA found that 78% of Generation X and Generation Y members contributed to retirement accounts when they worked with an adviser, while only 43% who didn't have an adviser saved for retirement.
 
Social media and email marketing have been successful in attracting younger members, said Waylon Peterson, wealth management president at Teachers CU, South Bend, Ind. Peterson is part of CBSI's credit union advisory panel.
 
"We're focused on building relationships with the beneficiaries of our current investment members through direct mail, reviews, and seminars," he said, adding that the $2.3 billion-asset credit union has developed a plan using CBSI data to target younger members.

Utah league launches 30-day voter registration campaign

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SALT LAKE CITY (2/20/14)--On Wednesday, the Utah Credit Union Association (UCUA) set into motion a 30-day campaign to get citizens registered to vote by visiting credit union branches or a special website.
 
Rolled out on the steps of the Capitol, "Ready. Set. Vote." can assist Utah's 750,000 unregistered voters prepare for the polls. "We're trying to make that as easy as possible," said Scott Simpson, UCUA president/CEO (The Salt Lake Tribune Feb. 19).
 
Getting registered now means voters will be able to take part in next month's political party caucuses, which begin the long string of elections between now and the November general election. Utah will hold caucuses in March, conventions in April and primaries in June.
 
Simpson said that if someone is not registered to vote, they "really are not part of the dialogue."
 
About 100 credit union members and employees who had just registered stood behind Simpson as he announced "Ready. Set. Vote." in the Hall of Governors at the State Capitol building.
 
Voter participation is encouraged on the campaign's website: "It's your voice for what you want in our community, who you want to lead, and what issues you want resolved."

NCUF encourages going casual for Financial Fitness Day April 2

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MADISON, Wis. (2/20/14)--To kick off National Financial Literacy Month, credit unions are being encouraged to hold a Financial Fitness Day fundraiser April 2.
 
"Financial Fitness Day is a simple way for credit union organizations to make an impact on state and national financial education efforts," said Christopher Morris, director of communications, National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF).
 
The foundation suggests credit unions offer a jeans or casual day for staff or a bake sale. Deduct-a-buck or donate-a-buck programs offer members and staff a chance to contribute by adding $1 donation during a transaction.
 
"Americans spend months getting their physical health into shape as part of their New Year's resolutions," said Danielle Brown, NCUF director of development and donor relations. "Kicking off National Financial Literacy Month in April, Financial Fitness Day is dedicated to helping members get their financial health in shape."
 
Donations made as part of the initiative will be split evenly between NCUF and the state credit union foundation in which the donation was made.