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NEW: Fortney announces retirement from NASCUS

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ARLINGTON, Va. (2/21/14 Updated 11:30 a.m. ET)--President/CEO Mary Martha Fortney will retire after 21 years with the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS).

Fortney has been president/CEO for the past 11 years. She joined NASCUS as director of accreditation and communications, where she was responsible for the NASCUS state accreditation program and for NASCUS written communications. 

Fortney was instrumental in moving the association forward in its efforts to promote and ensure the viability of the state credit union system, said today's press release.

Board Chair John Kolhoff recognized Fortney's leadership "over a challenging period for both the regulators and the industry." He added, "Through this period of significant change she has been a leader in establishing strong dialogue amongst federal and state regulators and the institutions they supervise." 

Fortney's career will be honored at the 2014 NASCUS Annual State System Summit Sept. 10-12 in Nashville, Tenn.

The NASCUS board and advisory council have begun the search process for the next CEO. Fortney's replacement is expected to be named during the fourth quarter of 2014.

CUNA Mutual records 7.8% income growth in 2013

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MADISON, Wis. (2/21/14)--CUNA Mutual Group Thursday reported a net income increase of 7.8% for 2013. Net income rose to $162 million, compared with $150 million in 2012.
 
Strong operating results in lending, life, health and property and casualty products helped offset weather-related losses in the company's crop insurance business.  Solid investment performance also contributed to higher net income in 2013, the company said.
 
"Low catastrophic losses in our auto and home and credit union protection products helped offset weather-related losses from our crop insurance business," said Alastair Shore, executive vice president and chief financial officer. "We continue to invest in new capabilities to grow our core credit union businesses, while improving our already strong capital position."   
 
Operating revenue increased by 8.6% in 2013. A better lending environment, and improvements in consumer product lines and the crop insurance business, were key factors driving the year's revenue gain.
 
"CUNA Mutual Group has clear momentum. We are financially strong, investing in our company for the long term, and committed to credit unions and their members," said President/CEO Bob Trunzo. "We remain focused on serving hardworking Americans with the products and services they need to build a strong financial future and protect what matters most."
 
CUNA Mutual Group's total cash and investment holdings as of Dec. 31 were $11.1 billion.  The company's investment portfolio is well diversified with an average credit quality of "A." 
 
CUNA Mutual Group contributed $38 million to support credit union leagues and industry efforts in 2013. The company also invested more than $50 million primarily to strengthen its lending compliance and grow its consumer business. Benefits paid to domestic credit union policyholders in 2013 of $981 million were up 8% over 2012. 
 
Statutory total adjusted capital of CMFG Life Insurance Co., CUNA Mutual Group's lead life insurance company, increased to $1.8 billion in 2013, up $152 million from 2012.  The company's consolidated generally accepted accounting principle surplus ended the year at $2.4 billion, a decline of 4% from 2012 despite strong earnings. Net unrealized gains in the investment portfolio driven by rising interest rates. 
 
A.M. Best recently affirmed CUNA Mutual Group's key insurance companies' ratings at "A" (Excellent), the third highest of 16 financial strength categories, with a stable outlook.

CU System briefs (02/21/2014)

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  • ST. PAUL, Minn. (2/21/14)--The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation is offering $7,500 in grants to assist Minnesota credit unions implement financial education projects. Applications are being accepted through April 1, with recipients notified in mid-April. The foundation's board evaluates applications on credit union value, community impact, collaboration, creativity, and past involvement in and support of foundation activities. ...
  • CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (2/21/14)--Focusing on electronic statements and mobile banking helped Fort Campbell FCU become the first "Green Certified" credit union in the Clarksville-Montgomery County program. The $433 million-asset credit union also launched a large-scale recycling initiative and installed energy-saving light sensors. Fort Campbell FCU also hosts community shred days, and members can access shred bins at any of the Clarksville, Tenn.-based credit union's branches. ...
     
  • BENTON, Ark. (2/21/14)--Alcoa Community FCU, $40 in million assets, announced Stephen Brown as its new CEO. Before joining the Benton, Ark., credit union, Brown was a senior managing director at Acxiom, an enterprise data, analytics and software-as-a-service company in Little Rock, Ark. ...
  • EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (2/21/14)--On Tuesday, members of $4.7 million-asset Sacred Heart Hospital Employees CU in Eau Claire, Wis., voted to merge with Royal CU, also in Eau Claire. The merger will be effective Feb. 28 with the conversion set for March 29. "We are grateful that our colleagues have had the services of a credit union on site for all these years and that they will be able to continue to access these services through Royal CU in the future,"" said Faye Deich, chief operating officer, Sacred Heart Hospital. Royal CU has $1.3 billion in assets. ...

Local govt. officials support Ohio public deposit testimony

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (2/21/14)--Local government officials joined Ohio Credit Union League delegates to support credit unions as depositories of public funds during last week's proponent testimony.

"Grandview Heights' depository options likely do not mirror other municipalities; however, approval of [House Bill] 221 does one thing: it provides choice," Mayor Ray DeGraw told the Ohio House State and Local Government Committee (eLumination Feb. 19).
 
HB 221, also known as the Community Access and Local Government Choice Act, would permit credit unions to serve as eligible depositories. Lima Municipal Court Clerk Jim Link said the bill "makes sense because credit unions are community-based, reinvesting these funds into member-owners of the cooperative and small businesses throughout the county."
 
League Director of Legislative Affairs Patrick Harris added credit unions' desire to participate in under-utilized, "linked-deposit programs" in partnership with the state of Ohio. "Credit unions, their members, and member businesses should have equal and fair access to these vital programs which can help create jobs and economic development," he said during the proponent testimony.
 
Also on hand were representatives from Bridge CU, Columbus; Desco FCU, Portsmouth; Hopewell FCU, Heath; KEMBA Financial CU, Gahanna; Pathways Financial CU, Columbus; State Highway Patrol FCU, Columbus; Superior FCU, Lima; and Telhio CU, Columbus.
 
Opponent testimony will likely be held in early March.

Target card breach cost Minn. CUs estimated $750,000

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (2/21/14)--An estimated $750,000 in costs have been incurred by Minnesota credit unions because of the Target data security breach, according to the Minnesota Credit Union Network (McCUN).
 
The state's numbers--broken down from the Credit Union National Association's national survey--include 27,000 credit and 117,000 debit cards that were compromised with a cost per card of $5.15.
 
Target is headquartered in Minneapolis.
 
"Credit unions and their members throughout Minnesota have been impacted by the data breach and they are having to cover those costs by themselves," said MnCUN President/CEO Mark Cummins. "Credit unions have incurred all of the costs related to reissuing cards, monitoring accounts for fraud, notifying members and closing and reopening accounts."
 
CUNA's numbers primarily are related to reissuing cards and other administrative expenses, which have cost credit unions nationally an estimated $30.6 million. Fraudulent activity--past or future--is not included in the survey results.
 
"Protecting members' financial and personal information is critical for credit unions--not just because it is required by regulations, but also because credit unions value the trust their members place in them," Cummins said.
 
He urged Congress to consider "legislation that holds all participants in the payments system to comparable security standards, allows for informing consumers about where their data was compromised, and requires merchants to reimburse credit unions for the costs of reissuing cards."
 
CUNA also has urged lawmakers to take a broad look at how consumer data is secured and the improvements that are necessary to prevent future breaches.

Filene colloquium: Payments need to be all things to all members

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MADISON, Wis. (2/21/14)--Credit unions need to be active in the changing market for payments systems despite uncertainty over its future, a Filene Research Institute report concluded.
 
The report, based on a recent Filene colloquium in Salt Lake City, found that members want to increase mobile banking options, even if they are rapidly changing.
 
But while there is far from a consensus on how the dust will settle, the colloquium agreed that demand is robust and isn't currently being fulfilled by credit unions.
 
"Members want to make payments to anyone, from anywhere and through any account," the report stated. "Most credit unions don't currently have the systems in place to make this happen, but they do have strengths that will serve them well in reaching this critical goal."
 
Muddying the waters, speakers said, was the fact that best practices or services aren't yet clear. Credit unions are grappling between different types of IT--namely the choice between near-field communications and cloud technology--and the extent to which services should be outsourced.
 
The report noted that credit unions can get a leg up in the competition for payment service demand by stressing their reputation for "better money management." It added that effective use of transaction data, "developing better ways to deliver plastic" and digital wallet development are prerequisites in this line of branding, however.
 
"Credit unions can't afford to take a wait-and see approach to the payments conundrum," the report concluded.
 
Experts at the event, from both inside and outside the credit union, discussed the digital wallet, emerging payments and how Canadian credit unions are changing with respect to payment services. They discussed the effect of payment services on revenue opportunities and member relationships.
 
A panel discussion also covered significant payment drivers, the importance of data, whether credit unions can compete when price drives consumer and merchant decision-making and why credit unions must embrace collaboration.

PCUA shows its 'Membership in Action'

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (2/21/14)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association released its annual Membership in Action document, a "snapshot" of key activities the league performed for its members. It illustrates 2013 achievements in the areas of legislative and regulatory advocacy, compliance services, communications and public relations, education and professional development and through its charitable arm, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation.
 
Among the accomplishments the league highlighted:
  • More than 28,000 legislative contacts were made through the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" initiative to help preserve the credit union tax-exempt status.
  • Political action committees raised $130,000 and contributed to 80 credit union-friendly candidates.
  • Association compliance officers responded to more than 2,800 email and telephone inquiries from members.
  • Online compliance resources, such as InfoSight, attracted 22,000 visits from credit unions, while the online policy library Policy Pro logged more than 4,000 visits.
  • The cooperative advertising campaign iBelong continued to build awareness of credit unions, with 22,893 visitors helping consumers locate a credit union they could join.
  • In 2013, more than 2,800 registrants attended in-person events, and webinar attendance exceeded 1,300 registrants.
  • As the PCUA's philanthropic arm, the foundation on raised $255,500 in contributions. During the year, it awarded 33 unrestricted grants for $143,500, including eight financial literacy grants for $69,000. It also monitored 65 grants and successfully completed 27 grants in 2013.

Jones to retire from Okla. CU Assn.; Webb to succeed

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (2/21/14)--Gary Jones will retire as president of the Oklahoma Credit Union Association, a division of the Cornerstone Credit Union League, effective March 31.
 
Jones was instrumental in the consolidation of the Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas leagues in 2013 (Leaguer Feb. 20).
 
Nate Webb, a partner with the lobby firm Capitol Gains LLC, has been selected to replace Jones. Capitol Gains has previously represented the Oklahoma Credit Union League.
 
From 2007 to 2011, Webb was chief of staff in the office of U.S. Rep Mary Fallin (R-Okla.), who is now Oklahoma's governor. From 2003 to 2006, he served as chief of staff when Fallin was lieutenant governor. U.S. Rep. Steve Largent (R-Okla.) selected Webb as his communication director when Largent was a candidate for governor in 2002.
 
Webb graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma majoring in journalism and political science. Also, from 1975 to 1979, he served in the U.S. Navy.

29 named 'Women of Distinction' by CBSI

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ST. LOUIS (2/21/14)--At the company's annual FOCUS 2014 Conference, CUNA Brokerage Services Inc. (CBSI) honored 29 financial advisers with Women of Distinction awards in recognition of their superior performance, value to their investment and insurance programs, exceptional client service and overall contribution to the financial services industry and CBSI.
 
A program created by women, for women, Women of Distinction is an award recognizing the top performing female financial advisers within CBSI's broker/dealer operation nationally.
 
"Their contributions to the clients they serve, the financial services industry and to the women they mentor are exemplary and worthy of recognition," said Jim Metz, president/CEO of CBSI.
 
Candidates are nominated by industry peers. Then, selections are based on the nominee's annual performance and outstanding contribution to their clientele, the credit unions they service, as well as the financial services industry as a whole.
 
Award recipients participate in a national mentoring program to work with other female advisers who are new to the industry as well as those who want to improve in their profession.
 
2014 Women of Distinction recipients include:
  • Melissa Acher, Purdue FCU, West Lafayette, Ind.;
  • Helen Alexander, Red Canoe CU, Longview, Wash.;
  • Emmor Boslet, Belco Community CU, Camp Hill, Pa.;
  • Julie Brand,  FirstLight FCU, El Paso, Texas;
  • Jane Brockway, University of Illinois ECU, Champaign, Ill.;
  • Jody Brown, Summit CU, Madison, Wis.;
  • Marilyn Burell, CEFCU, Pekin, Ill.;
  • Cindy Sforza Buss, Schools First FCU, Fountain Valley, Calif.;
  • Kathy Chesney, Pacific Marine CU, Oceanside, Calif.;
  • Janeen Crane, Teachers CU, South Bend, Ind.;
  • Wendy Cundari, San Diego Metropolitan CU, San Diego, Calif.;
  • Carol Diest, First Community FCU, Kalamazoo, Mich.;
  • Joey Dylla, Randolph Brooks FCU, Live Oak, Texas;
  • Bethel Ellis, The Tennessee CU, Nashville, Tenn.;
  • Marioreen Gibson, Neches FCU, Port Neches, Texas;
  • Leigh Glover, Southeast Financial CU, Brentwood, Tenn.;
  • Kim Hamblin, America First FCU, Ogden, Utah;
  • Tiffany Haupert, Beacon CU, Wabash, Ind.;
  • Joni Hootman, CEFCU, Canton, Ill.;
  • Anna Kamp, Anheuser-Busch ECU, St. Louis;
  • Mary A LaFerriere, Novartis FCU, East Hanover, N.J.;
  • Juanita McCormick, Weokie CU, Oklahoma City, Okla.;
  • Wanda Miller, CFP, First New York FCU, Schenectady, N.Y.;
  • Stephanie Morales, Vantage West CU, Tucson, Ariz.;
  • Kim O'Donohue, CEFCU, Lincoln, Ill.;
  • Pamela Schwartz, Alcoa Tennessee FCU, Alcoa, Tenn.;
  • Kim Shirk, Heritage FCU, Newburgh, Ind.;
  • Jennifer Wagnerowski, Teachers CU, Mishawaka, Ind.;
  • Suzi Williams, Solarity CU,  Yakima, Wash.
The FOCUS 2014 conference featured 26 sessions designed to deliver motivation, knowledge and best practices to more than 500 financial advisers and executives.