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Councils paper on managing HR roles available

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MADISON, Wis. (3/2/09)--Human resource professionals can learn tips and tactics for managing multiple roles and responsibilities in their credit unions in a new CUNA Councils white paper. Many human resources managers are asked to assume multiple responsibilities within their credit unions, including training, compliance, payroll, and accounting--among others. “Managing for Meaning: Wearing Multiple Credit Union Hats” by the CUNA Human Resources/Training Development Council offers tips and tactics for managing time, balancing shifting priorities, organizing information, and communicating throughout the process. The paper emphasizes the importance of taking a thoughtful approach to managing multiple roles, including attending to the needs of employees working in different roles and departments. It offers tools and tactics that enhance workplace effectiveness, and options for tapping outside resources and advice. Successfully wearing the multiple hats that are part of bearing multiple responsibilities will always require weighing today’s to-do list against long-term goals, according to the white paper. By setting clear priorities, communicating with co-workers, tracking progress, and making use of effective tools, credit union professionals can find the time to do the work that matters most, the paper explained. For more information, use the link and select the “HR/TD” tab.

New paper examines innovative loan products

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MADISON, Wis. (3/2/09)--A new white paper examines innovative loan products along with the sales and service approaches of the winners of the ninth annual Excellence in Lending Awards, presented by the CUNA Lending Council and CUNA Mutual Group. “Ahead of the Curve: 2008 Excellence in Lending Award Winners Ready to Help Members Through Tough Times” details the lending programs of US Community CU in Nashville, Tenn.; SAFE FCU in Sumter, S.C.; First Alliance CU in Rochester, Minn.; UW CU in Madison, Wis.; and ASI FCU in Harahan, La. The lending practices of these five credit unions have produced significant gains through the economic downturn and housing market crisis. The paper shares their stories along with their strategies for posting a strong performance while widening market share. For more information, use the link and select the "Lending" tab.

TNB offering personalized cards to CU cardholders

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DALLAS (2/27/09)--TNB Card Services announced this week it will roll out a card personalization tool this spring to its processing and agent issuing clients, including credit unions. The tool will be offered online and would allow credit union member cardholders to personalize their plastic, using digital photographs or graphic elements of their choosing. They also can select from several pre-selected card images. TNB says credit unions can engage members more by offering customization from the credit unions' branded website. Cardholders can use their personal computer to design their card's look. "Nothing moves a card to top-of-wallet status better than personalization," said Mitch Raymond, senior vice president of product development at TNB Card Services. "Cardholders who are emotionally invested in their cards tend to use them much more often, pushing their monthly average balances higher as well as increasing their number of transactions." TNB's service is designed to appeal to a wide member range, including Generation Y. The Dallas-based TNB Card Services also can work with credit unions to market the service. The new tool will be available during second quarter and will be offered through an agreement with Serverside Group, a developer of online digital card design software applications for card issuers.

CU card portfolio sales decline

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PORTLAND, Ore. (2/26/09)--AssetExchange, a credit card portfolio advisory and brokerage firm, analyzed fourth quarter 2008 credit-union credit-card portfolio trends. For the roughly 2,100 credit unions with credit card portfolios of $1 million and larger:
* Credit card portfolio sales have continued to decline substantially. In 2008, about 22 portfolios with balances of about $100 million sold versus about 70 portfolios with $390 million in outstandings in 2007, representing a roughly 75% reduction in portfolio sales. Fourth-quarter 2008 data suggest that only two credit unions with credit card portfolios larger than $1 million sold their portfolios during the quarter, with a combined balance of roughly $3 million. In the fourth quarter of 2007, about 16 portfolios with about $110 million in combined balances were sold. * Outstanding balances grew 8.5% between December 2007 and December 2008 to $32.3 million. Card accounts increased 2% over the same period to 12.2 million. * The percentage of portfolios that rose more than the rate of inflation during the previous 12 months decreased to 67% in 2008 from 86% in 2007 as inflationary pressures eased. The percentage of portfolios that grew in nominal terms decreased to 66% from 69% in 2007. * Total card assets as a percentage of total assets held steady at 4.9%. * Credit card penetration remained flat in the fourth quarter of 2008 at 18%.
Data provided are for credit card portfolios larger than $1 million in each time period and are based on National Credit Union Administration call report data. Inflation values are from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics--0.09% between December 2007 and December 2008.

Products and Services briefs (02/25/2009)

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* LIVONIA, Mich. (2/26/09)--CUcorp, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Michigan Credit Union League, announced it has added Discover Network as its preferred partner for affinity/co-branded credit cards. Discover is a business unit of Discover Financial Services. Under the agreement, CUcorp will promote Discover Network to participating Michigan credit unions interested in issuing the cards. The network includes features such as the ability to cash over or access cash at the point of sale of participating merchants; recurring-bill automatic payments; a points-based reward system; a secure shopping website, and fraud solutions … * ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (2/26/09)--Total Member Care, PSCU Financial Services' call center solution, took 2.9 million calls through the Financial Service Centers Cooperative's (FSCC) Custom Call Center Outlet during 2008. The call volume rose by more than one million transactions in 2008. San Dimas, Calif.-based FSCC provides a shared branch network of credit unions. Call volume increased each month from January's record 175,042 calls to more than 300,000 during October. December set another record at 346,504 calls, an increase of nearly 200,000 calls from the same period in 2007. PSCU Financial Services' call centers service more than 16 million calls annually, supporting credit unions' credit, debit, bill payment products, and lending and member service … * VISTA, Calif. (2/26/09)--Bluepoint Solutions' remote deposit capture (RDC) teller solution has been verified as Citrix Ready, it announced at the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C., this week. Bluepoint provides Check 21 capture, RDC, image-based item processing, electronic document management, and multi-factor identification software technology for financial institutions. The Citrix Ready program helps customers identify complementary third-party solutions for Citrix Application Delivery Infrastructure solutions. It ensures compatibility with Citrix XenApp (formerly Presentation Server) 4.0. Bluepoint plans to pursue certifications for all its products for XenApp versions 4. 4.5 and 5 …

CU data processors conference goes virtual

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MONETT, Mo. (2/25/09)--Jack Henry & Associates Inc., a provider of integrated technology solutions and data processing services for financial institutions, announced Tuesday that its Symitar division--which provides credit unions with software systems and related services--will offer its 2009 educational conference for its Episys clients in a virtual format. The move comes in response to the many unexpected challenges its credit union clients are likely to face as the result of the corporate credit union crisis, the company said. The company traditionally has hosted its annual conference in San Diego. For its Episys clients, Symitar will absorb the conference cost. “We have had numerous discussions with our clients during the past few weeks, and their message is clear--this is no time for business as usual,” said Kathy Hooker Burress, president of Symitar. “Most of our clients are slashing if not entirely eliminating their travel budgets. But they do not want to miss out on the great educational opportunities we provide at our conference. According to Jack Prim, CEO, Jack Henry & Associates: “We work hard to put the needs of our clients first. So while we would like to meet personally with our credit union clients in San Diego, especially in 2009, we believe these clients will be better served this year by a virtual event.” Symitar, a division of Jack Henry & Associates, Inc., is a provider of integrated computer systems for credit unions of all sizes. Symitar serves more than 700 credit unions as a single source for integrated, enterprise-wide automation and as a single point of contact and support.

FSCC launches CIMple for new technologies

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SAN DIMAS, Calif. (2/25/09)--Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc. (FSCC), a credit union Shared Branch Network, announced a new program called CIMple, a collaborative innovation model for credit unions of all sizes. The announcement was made at the Credit Union National Association’s Government Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C. CIMple will allow credit unions to use FSCC’s shared branching interface to gain access to new technologies. It allows credit unions to implement services at a fraction of the cost found elsewhere, FSCC said. The network’s shared branching interface includes integrated services that make up the CIMple program. The services connect through the credit union’s own shared branch interface. Using third-party technology leaders, the network provides low-cost services that serve the access needs of credit unions and their members, FSCC said. Any credit union is eligible to sign up for any of the CIMple products including non-shared branching credit unions, FSCC added. Through CIMple, credit unions can test multiple technology products such as shared branching, remote deposit capture, mobile banking, call center support, disaster recovery services, retail kiosks and more.

Leagues partner to help manage third-party relationships

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (2/24/09)--The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have partnered with Montana-based Digital Compliance LLC to assist credit unions in mitigating risk and reducing cost when dealing with their third-party relationships or vendors. “We chose Digital Compliance as a business partner partly because its services help meet one of the greatest needs of our member credit unions--information security,” said Sylvia Fath, leagues’ senior vice president of business services. “Its Vendor Compliance Management Solution is more than a software program or repository,” Fath added. “It takes the burden from the credit union of requesting, receiving, documenting, digitizing, updating, and reporting complete due diligence and compliance documentation for all of its outsourced relationships.” As part of the solution, Digital Compliance will provide these services for the leagues’ member credit unions:
* Assist in the risk classification of outsourced relationships; * Identify specific information the credit union should get from its outsourced relationships; * Request, receive, review, report, maintain and update information from each relationship; * Provide practical reports and a document guide to assist in review; and * Maintain a secure, centralized access with update notifications.
The leagues and Digital Compliance will kick off the partnership with a webinar in March followed by compliance education workshops in April, June and September. Digital Compliance provides financial institutions and their vendors with an exchange of current due diligence and compliance documentation.

Fiserv unifies brands into single identity

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (2/24/09)--As of Monday, all of Fiserv’s solutions are under a new brand, and some offerings have been renamed. Fiserv is a global provider of financial services technology solutions. “Starting today [Monday], we will be known as Fiserv and only Fiserv,” said Alicia Bell, Fiserv director of Communications. “We will no longer refer to our business strategy as CU7. And the legacy business unit names of AFTECH, CUSA, Galaxy, IntegraSys, Summit, USERS, and XP Systems will no longer be used.” The company’s innovations include:
* Source Capture Solutions, a suite of solutions that enable electronification of all sources of deposits; * Corillian Online (formerly Online Advantage), a next-generation platform for online personal financial management; * Mobile Money, a mobile banking solution that supports all mobile access protocols; * MyMoney, a solution that leverages social networking technology to connect consumers with financial institutions; * Business Analytics for Premier (formerly Viewpoint), a solution that enables proactive business intelligence practices as part of Fiserv’s Premier banking solution; and * Bank Intelligence Solutions (formerly BancIntelligence), online advisory tools that aid financial institutions in decision-making.
The company’s organizational structure has been aligned to streamline Fiserv’s market approach, accelerate product innovation and make it easier for clients to access all Fiserv solutions. All of the company’s businesses have been unified under the new brand and report through two primary operating divisions led by Steve Olsen, former CheckFree chief operating officer and now Fiserv group president, and Tom Warsop, Fiserv group president. The structure will allow further integration of client-relationship management and product-development efforts. According to Fiserv President/CEO Jeffery Yabuki, Fiserv is preparing “for a new digital frontier in banking and electronic commerce that will require unprecedented levels of data analytics and information exchange across the entire spectrum of banking solutions.” The new identity is on display at the Credit Union National Association’s Government Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C., and at BAI TransPay in San Diego. The company also launched a global advertising campaign Monday with new ads appearing in national business, banking trades and local publications.

Digital Mailer CU Realty Services form partnership

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HERNDON, Va., and SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (2/23/09)--Digital Mailer Inc. and CU Realty Services LLC have teamed up to help credit unions grow their mortgage lending business. CU Realty, a Scottsdale-based credit union service organization, connects participating credit unions with approved real estate agents to create home buying and selling opportunities for credit union members. It works with 80 credit unions in 19 states. DigitalMailer, an e-marketing firm serving credit unions nationwide, will work with CU Realty to increase the awareness about participating credit unions. Through the program, DigitalMailer will co-brand members' e-mails to reflect participation by their credit union and CU Realty. "Members want to know they are dealing with their credit union, and now there will be no confusion," said Ron Daly, DigitalMailer's president/CEO. According to Tina Powers, CU Realty's chief operating officer, DigitalMailer will manage the look and content of the program's e-mail component and track information and results. DigitalMailer will use its Automatic Relationship Builder, an e-mail engine that targets members with customized e-mails based on their in-market actions, needs or customer profiles. It also will employ a certified e-mail delivery system to maximize in-box delivery rates and incorporate drip e-mail schedules that regularly place messages in front of members. The CU Realty program builds a bond between credit unions and realtors, who will help educate members about their credit unions' real estate and mortgage programs. Powers said more than 700 real estate agents are on the waiting list to participate. "Our goal is to help credit unions become the first point of contact for members who are considering buying and/or selling a home. We help drive more business back to the credit unions, thereby closing more mortgages and increasing the awareness of our credit union partners," Powers said.

Indiana league selects ad agency

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INDIANAPOLIS (2/23/09)--The Indiana Credit Union League has selected Jackson Integrated as its advertising agency to launch a statewide consumer campaign promoting the benefits of credit union membership. Jackson Integrated has developed a campaign under the “You Belong Here” theme, which taps into consumers’ need in unsettling times for financial security and the advantages of belonging to a credit union, league President John McKenzie said. “The opportunity to help the Indiana league build awareness of credit unions and the advantages that come from membership is an opportunity that arose out of a pretty scary time for a lot of people,” said Dave Reyburn, Jackson Integrated creative director. “This wasn’t a time to be clever or lighthearted; we wanted to send a message that there still are institutions that inspire trust and confidence.”

FSCC shared-branching dividend exceeds 1 million

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SAN DIMAS, Calif. (2/20/09)--Shared Branching network Financial Service Centers Cooperative (FSCC) processed 60 million transactions in 2008--a 15% increase over 2007. That means it will provide a patronage dividend of $1.1 million to its member credit unions. The dividends will be distributed following FSCC’s annual audit this spring. Dividends are paid to shareholders for acquired transactions performed in their branches and shared- branch kiosks owned by credit unions. FSCC’s transactions were made through mobile banking, remote deposit capture, shared branching, shared-branch self-service kiosks, 7-Eleven shared-branch services and FSCC’s 24/7 call center outlet. The average amount for deposits was $1,100, with $496 for payments, $800 for advances and $540 for withdrawals. The average amount processed for a transfer was $870 and the average deposit processed with remote deposit capture was $300, FSCC said. The average deposit at Vcom Units, located at 7-Eleven convenience stores, was $578. Many credit union members used Vcom Units when their local branches closed. “In almost all cases where a credit union has had to close a branch, we’ve had a Vcom or other shared branch nearby, ready to take the transactions,” said Sarah Canepa Bang, FSCC president/CEO. “In one week we saw transactions grow at Vcoms by 6%.” FSCC is based in San Dimas, Calif.

Accolade Investment Advisory hits 500 million assets

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (2/20/09)--Accolade Investment Advisory has reached $500 million in assets, the credit union service organization said Wednesday. Accolade, which is owned by Southeast Corporate, developed for its credit union clients a reporting suite that includes bond accounting, interest rate risk analysis, regulatory reporting and management reports. It also has launched a website, www.AccoladeAdvisory.com. Accolade offers portfolio management services to credit unions. Headquartered in Tallahassee, Fla., the organization is led by President/CEO Gregory Wirthmann.

CUAnswers offers tips to prevent fraud

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (2/19/09)--Since the Heartland Payment Systems data breach and a recent Visa fraud alert about attacks on audio response systems, CU*Answers is advising credit unions how to prevent fraud attacks designed to gain account information via audio response banking. Among its recommendations:
* Monitor personal identification number (PIN) activity. If a member's account is listed repeatedly, it could either mean the member is struggling and needs assistance, or someone is trying to guess the member's PIN. * Review your procedures for resetting PINs. If you do not have a good verification system to identify a member when someone calls and asks to reset a PIN, you are putting your members at risk. Bad guys sometimes have access to a member's name and other personal information. When in doubt, ask the member to visit the branch to verify identity before changing the PIN. * Check your default access settings. Do you automatically grant access to audio response for new members, even if they never elect to use it? Wait to grant access until the member requests it, and set up a confidential PIN while the member is in your presence. * Remind your members about audio response. Once the members are used to online banking, they don't use audio as often. Suggest they use the service periodically and change their PIN frequently.
CU*Answers is a West Michigan-based credit union service organization serving 165 credit unions across the nation with a variety of processing services.

CUNA Mutual to cover foreclosed commercial property

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MADISON, Wis. (2/19/09)--CUNA Mutual Group has partnered with Lee & Mason Financial Services Inc. to offer a stand-alone Commercial Foreclosure Property and Liability insurance policy for credit unions’ member business loans. Today’s difficult economy is straining member business loan (commercial loan) portfolios, said Michael Harty, director of Credit Union Protection Product Distribution for CUNA Mutual. “Commercial and residential property foreclosures are increasing and creating a potential coverage gap in a credit union’s insurance program,” Harty said. “CUNA Mutual’s Bond policy protects a credit union against coverage gaps for residential foreclosures. Our partnership with Lee & Mason now enables credit unions to better manage risks associated with owning an increasing number of foreclosed commercial properties.” Credit unions can choose coverage of property (building, contents, including equipment) and/or business liability. The commercial foreclosure policy features:
* Vacant, partially vacant, and business personal property coverage; * Three-, six-, nine-, or 12-month policy term options; * Single-coverage property, single-coverage business liability or both; * Basic (vandalism and malicious mischief) or special perils (includes basic perils and theft); * Actual-cash-value valuation; and * Deductible, limits of liability, and comprehensive options.
Harty said credit unions should insure a foreclosed property when performing any of the following activities:
* Filing a complaint for foreclosure. The credit union or its legal representative has deposited in the court or recorded with the court a pleading by which a foreclosure action begins; * Perfecting its right of repossession. The credit union has executed the power to evict the current occupant; * Acquiring through foreclosure, repossession, or deed in lieu of the foreclosure. The credit union now owns the property by foreclosure, or takes back the property through repossession, or the property is transferred to the credit union instead of or before the foreclosure occurs; and * Purchasing the property. The credit union has bought the property.
For more information, use the link.

CUSO partners with 247 Member Loyalty Group

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (2/18/09)--PSCU Financial Services announced Monday Member Loyalty Group LLC has partnered to use PSCU Financial's Total Member Care call-center solution for outbound call services. Member Loyalty Group is a credit union service organization (CUSO) created to implement a standardized member-loyalty metric for credit unions of any size. It will use PSCU Financial Services outbound call services to conduct phone surveys. The surveys, used with surveys by mail and e-mail already employed by Member Loyalty Group, will provide credit unions with loyalty data via the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a metric that measures how effectively credit unions and employees serve members. PSCU Financial Services, a credit union service organization based in St. Petersburg, Fla., was chosen as a partner because of its security standards, process scalability and understanding of the credit union industry and its focus on members.

Covera discounts cards for CUs in Heartland breach

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ALBANY, N.Y. (2/18/09)--Covera Card Solutions recently announced that credit unions impacted by the Heartland Payment Systems security breach will receive a special card replacement discount. Any plastic orders placed as a result of the compromise will be discounted by 15%. Card payments processor Heartland Payment Systems announced in January that its processing system was breached last year by a malicious software program in what could be the largest data breach to date, with possibly more than 100 million credit cards compromised (News Now Jan. 21). “In these difficult financial times and in light of the largest account compromise in history, Covera Card Solutions wants to extend a hand to credit unions,” said Chief Operating Officer Kimberly McCumber-Ploof. The information breached included card numbers and cardholders’ names. It did not include merchant data, cardholders' Social Security numbers, unencrypted personal identification numbers, addresses or telephone numbers, said the Princeton, N.J.-based company in a press release. Covera Card Solutions provides credit unions in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut with credit, debit and ATM card programs.

CU Business Group touts record year

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PORTLAND, Ore. (2/18/09)--CU Business Group LLC (CUBG) experienced a record year in 2008. The business services credit union service organization (CUSO) surpassed all performance goals for the year, and experienced record volumes, reviewing more than $500 million in business loans for credit unions. The record is more than twice what it was in 2007 and brings the total value of loans the organization has reviewed to nearly $1.5 billion.
CEO Larry Middleman points out on the CU Business Group LLC (CUBG) headquarters map where the 296 credit unions the CUSO works with are located. (Photo provided by CU Business Group)
CUBG also signed on 35 new credit unions last year, for a total of 286 credit unions in 35 states. The company doubled the number of loan participations it offered members of its participation network and saw a 46% increase in the number of participating credit unions. The number of credit unions using its risk monitoring and documentation services also increased. “2008 was really a break-out year for CU Business Group,” explained Larry Middleman, president/CEO. “Volumes skyrocketed in every aspect of our operations. Credit unions are getting tremendous opportunities in business services these days and it’s very rewarding that CUBG can help them capitalize on these opportunities.” To manage growing volumes, the CUSO added seven new positions last year, bringing its total staff to 24 employees. Partnering with 11 corporate credit unions, CUBG provides business lending, deposit and consulting services to credit unions nationwide.

FCUL Service Group announces ROI with three partners

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (2/17/09)--FCUL Service Group, a subsidiary of the Florida Credit Union League, announced that several of its partnerships have resulted in big savings for the credit unions it serves. Three credit unions in the state saved up to 28% through collaborative buying of computer equipment with Ventelligence, a vendor management solution offered by FCUL Service Group. Community lst CU of Florida, Sun State FCU, and Jackson County Teachers CU joined forces with Ventelligence to create a bidding war for the business of their computer equipment needs. Savings ranged from 7.6% to 28.1%. The collaborative buying process was facilitated in an online, live auction environment and offered an immediate 5% savings to the largest credit union's paper bid from their preferred supplier. In a second partnership, more than 15 credit unions participated in the Sprint cellular program in 2008, which generated more than $117,000 in incentives. At a time when non-interest income plays a pivotal role in financial soundness, Florida credit unions enrolled in the program experienced a positive return on investments (ROI). FCUL Service Group said a key benefit to the Sprint program is the monetary marketing incentive credit unions receive in return for advertising the services to their members. The credit unions also get free marketing materials. A third partnership in 2008 saved more than 1,500 credit unions across the U.S. more than half a million dollars on the Office Depot Business Services Division (GSD) collaborative purchasing program, said FCUL Service Group. The program is free to participate, and credit unions can order four ways. Credit unions work together to maximize reduced-spending opportunities.

Synergent partners with CO-OP Network

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WESTBROOK, Maine (2/17/09)--Synergent has partnered with CO-OP Network to complement the statewide Maine ATM Network, SurF, with CO-OP's access to more than 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs--including 9,000 deposit-taking ATMs--across the country. NorState FCU, a $124,623,441 asset credit union in Madawaska, Maine, is the first of Synergent’s credit union users to sign on to this service. “We believe ‘once a member, always a member,'” said David Rossignol, NorState president/CEO. “That means that we have to be willing to provide our members access to services wherever and whenever they need them. "Access to a nationwide surcharge-free ATM network fills a previously unmet need," he said. "Our members will now have access to cash wherever they happen to travel or live, without being faced with the need to open local bank accounts. This is especially useful for college students at institutions outside the state of Maine. Young people are our future and we must continuously reevaluate our relevance to them.”

Four new courses developed for CUNAs CPDOnline

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MADISON, Wis. (2/17/09)--Credit union employees can learn some of the basics of member service and training through four new courses offered through the Credit Union National Association’s CPDOnline self-study program. Front-Line Basics--Teaches teller fundamentals and professional member service through an interactive course. Online lessons address maintaining the teller workstation, handling cash and negotiable instruments, balancing the teller drawer, operating remote branches, understanding features and benefits of credit union products and services, and translating financial jargon into terms members understand. Managing Member Accounts--Outlines tips and the basic tools for providing member service and staying connected with members via new technologies. Online lessons also cover membership applications, savings and share draft accounts, loans, credit cards, ATMs and other member offerings. Call Center Service Skills--Presents techniques for relating with members and dealing with repetitive tasks. Online lessons also offer tools and technology to increase the success of the credit union call-management center and to handle special situations with ease. Transitioning to Trainer II--Builds on base knowledge in Transitioning to Trainer, including adult learning theory, multi-sensory learning, and motivation. Online lessons also help fine-tune training plans, learner evaluations, and presentation and facilitation skills. Other courses that were added to CUNA’s CPDOnline catalog include:
* Campaign Involvement--Addresses what credit union professionals can do to support credit union-friendly candidates and to get out the vote among their members. It also illustrates ways to get involved with local, state and federal political campaigns to further the credit union movement; * Public Affairs and Communication Strategies--Explores public affairs and effective communications strategies and provides tips for communicating credit union issues to local public officials; * Office of Foreign Assets Control: Training on Demand for Staff--Presents up-to-date information regarding the Office of Foreign Assets Control to ensure requirements have been met before an examination; * Money and Negotiable Instruments: Training on Demand for Staff--Details methods for detecting counterfeit money and recognizing bad checks to help prevent fraud. The course also improves efficiency and accuracy by helping attendees understand the methods for handling cash, share drafts, and traveler’s checks, and accepting deposits; * Subject-Matter Expert to Trainer: Training Basics Training on Demand for Staff--Outlines the basics of training staff efficiently and effectively to prepare subject-matter experts to teach up-and-coming credit union professionals and encourage development in themselves and others; and * Understanding the Audit Report: Training on Demand for Volunteers--Helps a supervisory committee better understand and evaluate the audit report, financial statements, and the auditor’s findings and recommendations to increase the report’s overall value.
For more information, use the links.

CardWizard instantly reissues breached cards

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (2/16/09)--Dynamic Card Solutions’ (DCS) CardWizard software is instantly reissuing debit cards to credit union members whose accounts were comprised by the Heartland Payment Systems breach. United Heritage CU, Austin, Texas, is using CardWizard to reissue the compromised cards. Members had the option of receiving cards instantly in-person at the branch, or waiting seven to 10 days for delivery in the mail. Of the 948 cards United Heritage re-issued, 60% were instantly reissued with CardWizard. “Instant issuance has given us the ability to ease many of our members’ concerns by securely reissuing them a replacement card right away, cutting back on the disruption to daily lifestyles many of these cardholders could otherwise experience,” said Michael Ver Schuur, United Heritage executive vice president and chief financial officer. Credit unions using instant issuance eliminate the time it takes for cardholders to receive replacement cards and reduce costs, DCS said. United Heritage has $590 million in assets.

CMG MI offers CD-ROM on mortgage-lending value

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SAN FRANCISCO (2/16/09)--CMG Mortgage Insurance Co. (CMG MI) has released a new CD-ROM focusing on the value that mortgage lending gives credit unions. The CD-ROM, “Increase your Credit Union’s PFI Opportunities with Mortgage Lending,” was created by Mortgage Insight Panel, an advisory group of credit union executives sponsored by CMG MI. It focuses on ways to support credit unions seeking to provide mortgage lending services to members. The CD-ROM explains the value of mortgage lending to credit unions and credit union organizations that currently do not offer these products to members,” said Brian Shepherd, CMG MI senior vice president and general manager. “Mortgage lending is an important service for credit union members, especially now that it’s much harder to get a mortgage loan from a bank or other financial institution. CMG MI believes mortgage lending can be key to strengthening member loyalty over a lifetime,” he said. Glen Ogden, vice president of mortgage lending at Community First CU in Appleton, Wis., initially proposed the project to the panel and CMG MI. “Positioned with the right partner, even the smallest credit union can take advantage of the current market conditions and build member satisfaction and loyalty by offering mortgage services,” he said. CMG Mortgage Insurance Co. (CMG MI), a joint venture between CUNA Mutual Investment Corp. and PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., provides private mortgage guaranty insurance to protect credit unions against potential losses in the event of borrower default. Credit unions can request a free copy of the CD-ROM by emailing mortgagevalue@cmgmi.com.

Winter storm prompts Agility disaster recovery response

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (2/13/09)--Agility Recovery Solutions will host a webinar Feb. 25, “Best Practices for Recoveries Powered by Generators,” to provide credit unions with information about power-related disaster recovery. Agility recently helped 21 businesses in four states by providing generators after a winter storm cut their power in January. Power failure is one of the most likely scenarios of a business interruption, Agility said. During the storm, Agility provided generators to businesses in Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois and Florida. One business used a generator to open and provide community members with a free soup kitchen, wireless Internet and beds. Agility provides similar services to credit unions and also offers mobile office units, computer services and technology. The materials can be delivered to a site within 48 hours of a disaster, Agility said. “Agility restored organizations’ operations [after the winter storm] within 12 to 24 hours of receiving each disaster declaration,” said Bob Boyd, Agility president/CEO. For more information, use the link.

CO-OP offers mobile banking contactless card service

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (2/13/09)--CO-OP Financial Services is offering mobile banking and contactless card payment services to credit unions. Mobile banking allows credit union members real-time access to verify balances, view transaction history and transfer funds. Credit unions can offer members mobile banking by integrating the mFoundry platform into CO-OP’s Next Generation Network switch. Credit unions do not have to change their host or home banking system to participate, CO-OP said. Mountain America CU, West Jordan, Utah, adopted mobile banking three years ago and is partnering with CO-OP to offer the service to members. “We knew mobile banking would pick up in a big way, and we didn’t want to lack the ability to compete,” said Tony Rasmussen, Mountain America senior vice president. CO-OP’s contactless payment service will debut during the Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference Feb. 22-26 in Washington, D.C. The service supports MasterCard’s PayPass service. CO-OP plans to support other payment forms, such as key fobs, watches or stickers. Contactless card payments do not require physical contact between the payment device and point-of-sale terminal. The consumer holds the card or device near the terminal, and the transaction is communicated through a radio frequency. Money is then debited from the consumer’s account. CO-OP, based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., provides ATM network access, processing, debit and credit card services, and shared branching to credit unions.

Auto loan best practices for weak economy new report

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MADISON, Wis. (2/13/09)--Credit unions’ strategies to bolster their auto lending in the current economy are featured in a new best practices report from the Credit Union National Association. “Credit Union Magazine Best Practices: Strong Auto Lending in a Weak Economy” outlines the successes of eight credit unions who increased their auto lending programs when the pool of new-car buyers seemed to be shrinking. The profiled credit unions--ranging from $1.1 million in assets and $216,000 in auto loans to $8.5 billion in assets and $2.1 billion in auto loans--have doubled their auto loans in the past three years while keeping delinquencies low. One credit union increased its auto loans to $6.3 million in 2008 from $2.5 million in 2005 with a delinquency rate of 0.02%. Best practices reports also are available on serving baby boomers, succession planning, serving members of modest means, growing youth membership, business services providers, consumer lending, credit counseling, disaster recovery and risk-based lending. For more information, use the link.

Now open in Second Life CU Island

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MADISON, Wis. (2/12/09)--Credit Union Island, an interactive financial education game for teens, officially opened to users within the teen grid of Second Life after a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday. Credit Union Island is a collaboration between the Filene Research Institute and its i3 group, the Ohio University Virtual Lab and Members United Corporate FCU. About 30 participants attended the conference by logging into Second Life. Each participant was assigned an avatar--a customizable character used by players in Second Life--to explore the island. Speakers at the ceremony included: Scott Moriarty, innovation consultant for Members United Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill.; Denise Gabel, Filene Research Institute chief innovation officer; Dr. Chiang Liu, director of Virtual Lab at Ohio University; and Roger Shelor, finance professor at Ohio University. The ceremony began at the island’s auditorium, where participants watched several videos that introduced them to the game. It continued at the auto dealership--where teen users will be able to purchase cars when playing the game--and concluded at the beach. During the conference, participants asked the presenters questions about the game through a chat function in Second Life. They also had the ability to change their avatar’s looks--such as clothing, hair, eyes and body types--and interact with others attending the conference. Credit Union Island is aimed at teaching teens how to manage their money in a safe environment without real-world consequences. Using Second Life currency, or Linden Dollars, players can make financial decisions such as purchasing a car or renting an apartment. Throughout the game, players’ income and credit scores are tracked, according to Moriarty. The virtual island includes a housing development, auto dealership and a credit union. Players can buy a car, drive to the homeownership development to purchase a house or rent an apartment, and use the credit union to make financial transactions, Moriarty said. Credit Union Island’s developers--a group of Filene i3 team members--are working with credit unions that have adopted the game and provide feedback to help shape its effectiveness. Last week, Athens High School in Ohio tested the game for usability with 75 to 100 students. A second generation of the game will be developed for launch later this spring, and will charge users for access. Credit unions should familiarize themselves with Second Life not just because of the Credit Union Island, but because they can use the virtual world for meetings and other credit union functions--such as setting up a virtual branch or testing out new services, Moriarty added. “You can launch a product in Second Life and see if people are interested,” Moriarty said. “[Credit unions should] get their feet wet, learn in a safe environment and see the variety of ways they can leverage Second Life to reach members. “Credit Union Island is a powerful education tool,” he added. “Using 3-D worlds is critical to reaching the next generation.” One aspect of Second Life is that its users may be wowed by the virtual world experience, but then lose interest if they can’t find something to do. Credit Union Island is different, Moriarty said. “The game is designed to be more than just a place for people to come to,” he said. “We give them something to do.” Credit Union Island is located in the teen grid to protect users. To gain access, users must have an avatar and a background check. Credit unions wanting to get involved with the island can introduce the concept to their local educational institutions. They also can add a link from Second Life to Credit Union Island on their websites. For more information, contact Scott Moriarty at scott@nextworks.org.

CU Retired Execs online advisory service launched

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (2/12/09)--Credit Union Retired Executives (CURE), a secure, vital network of retired credit union executives who volunteer their time to support those working in the credit union movement--has launched its free online advisory service. Credit Union Info, founded in 2008, aims to share the experience and knowledge of retired executives with credit union professionals. The 24/7 service, located at www.CURetiredExecs.com, offers advisers who provide confidential, customized answers to questions about the credit union industry within three days. The advisers offer suggested solutions, alternatives and new perspectives, Credit Union Info said. “In these especially difficult times for all of us, we’re confident that this service will prove invaluable in tackling and overcoming the challenges of the day, to ensure that credit unions everywhere can continue to offer the best in financial services to their members,” said Holly Herman, CURE executive director. CURE will have a booth at the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C., Feb. 22-26.

Swoboda joins The ProCon Group

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MADISON, Wis. (2/11/09)--Former Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President Ralph Swoboda has joined The ProCon Group as a principal and co-owner. ProCon, founded by John Gregoire in 1997, aims to help credit unions strengthen their leadership. Procon also helps credit unions uncover strategic opportunities and build more effective board governance. The group will continue to focus its efforts on high-performing credit unions and build on Swoboda’s global experience, ProCon said in a release. Swoboda served as CUNA’s chief executive until 1995. Afterward, he served as chair of the management committee of the Association of British Credit Unions, and head of international operations for CUNA Mutual Group. Gregoire has held senior executive positions with CUNA and the California Credit Union League. He is a director of the National Credit Union Foundation and was a founding member--with Swoboda--of the Filene Research Institute.

CUSOs online bill payment services increase 38

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (2/11/09)--The number of PayLynx subscribers increased 38% in 2008, ending the year with 783,000 subscribers, according to PSCU Financial Services. PSCU Financial Services signed new agreements with 22 member credit unions for PayLynx, including Keesler FCU, Biloxi, Miss. Eight of the new agreements are with credit unions offering the service for the first time. “One of the biggest advantages [of PayLynx] for our members is the ability for funds to be withdrawn on the day payment is due,” said John Goff, senior vice president, Keesler FCU. “We wanted to deliver online bill payment free to our members and the cooperative’s affordable pricing structure allowed us to do this.” More than 470 financial institutions use the bill payment service. PSCU Financial Services is based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

CU first to offer corporates Member Capture

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PLANO, Texas (2/11/09)--VyStar CU is the first credit union to implement Southwest Corporate FCU’s new Member Capture remote deposit solution. Member Capture allows members to deposit checks for processing from their homes. The service is expected to help out-of-town college students, military members, senior citizens and business owners, the corporate said. “We have members scattered across 15 counties in northeast Florida and throughout the U.S.,” said Melissa Thomas, VyStar vice president of automated services. “Member Capture will help members without a branch or an ATM nearby to make deposits, especially those members who mail in deposits and have to wait for them to be processed.” Member Capture is integrated into VyStar’s Digital Insight home-banking application. “The Member Capture service is a single sign-on, meaning that members can only access it by logging into our Internet banking application, and that requires multi-factor authentication,” Thomas added. Southwest Corporate is based in Plano, Texas.

Products and Services briefs (02/09/2009)

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* NORTH CANTON, Ohio (2/10/09)--ATM manufacturer Diebold reported that its fourth quarter revenue dropped 6% from fourth quarter 2007 to $823.0 million. Income from continuing operations was $15.3 million, up 323% from fourth quarter 2007. Full-year 2008 revenue was $3,170.1 million, up 8% from 2007. Diebold said it is concerned about the challenging economy, but noted that more than half of its revenue comes from services. “Market demand for financial self-service solutions remains relatively stable,” said Diebold President/CEO Thomas Swidarski. Diebold is developing infrastructure to reduce costs, the company said in a statement ... * AUSTIN, Texas (2/10/09)--Teres Solutions announced that it partnered with Lending Solutions Inc. (LSI) to allow loan officers at LSI to use the Teres SAIL lending platform. The SAIL platform provides automated decisions on some applications. An LSI specialist can be notified of a pending application in the system and provide a decision within minutes. LSI’s system also can interface with the SAIL platform to transmit the applications to a credit union’s system. LSI provides lending center services and consulting programs for financial institutions. Teres develops direct and indirect lending software products for financial institutions, including credit unions ... * LONG BEACH, Miss. (2/10/09)--Triton announced plans to produce a new off-premise ATM, the RL1600, in March. The new ATM will be previewed at the ATMIA Conference in Nashville, Tenn., this week. The ATM comes with a printer, business cabinet, Talaris MiniMech dispenser and customizable back-lit graphic sign. ATM owners can create marketing messages and coupons for the ATM, the company said ...

Revenue increases for data processor COCC

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AVON, Conn. (2/10/09)--COCC, a data processor that provides services for financial institutions, announced that its revenues increased 9% in 2008 to $59.6 million. Average client ratings were “excellent” for the 23rd consecutive quarter, the company said. The company increased its account processing clients by 12, ending 2008 with 170 clients. It also sold 274 strategic products last year. COCC’s largest client, HarborOne CU, Brockton, Mass., upgraded to the .Net version of COCC’s core account processing system. The credit union’s 15-year-old system took three years of development to rewrite, COCC said. COCC has tripled the number of products offered to financial institutions in Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee since Richard Leone became president/CEO in 2002, the processor said. COCC is headquartered in Avon, Conn.

New white papers tackle CU security issues

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MADISON, Wis. (2/10/09)--Credit unions can learn how to prepare for a technology audit and how to make a case for hiring a chief security officer in two new white papers sponsored by the CUNA Technology Council. “Preparing for an NCUA Technology Audit: Making Risk Assessment a Full-time Job” outlines the steps and procedures to strengthen information technology (IT) security and to prepare for a technology audit. The paper identifies three areas of growing weakness and common security issues. It then outlines a security inventory process and the basic steps to prepare for an IT audit. Regulatory requirements are included, along with resource links for more information. “Credit Union Security: Making a Case for Hiring a Chief Security Officer” addresses the increases in security threats against financial institutions and the need for credit unions to protect against security breaches. The paper covers security trends at credit unions and the increases in demand for security, explores the guidelines and objectives for making the decision to hire a security office, and provides a selection of articles and resources for further review. For more information, use the links.

CUNA Council keynoter How to create change

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MADISON, Wis. (2/9/09)--Credit union professionals can learn to create change in their lives and their organizations at the 2009 CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council (CMBDC) Conference March 11-14 in San Diego. Comedian and motivational speaker Judson Laipply will address "Life is Change" as keynoter for the conference. He will help attendees discover their power of choice and how that influences their lives and show how to fuse their power and implement a formula for happiness in everyday life. Laipply also will present one of the most-viewed videos of all time on YouTube, "The Evolution of Dance," which illustrates how much dance and music have changed the past 50 years. The video was originally developed as a humorous way to reinforce his "life is change" message. Laipply and the video have been featured in USA Today, on ABC's "Good Morning America," and on NBC's "Today Show". "A lot of change is cast upon credit unions today, and marketing and business development professionals need to help their organizations and members cope and adjust to these changes," said Anne Legg, CMBDC chair and vice president of marketing at Cabrillo CU, San Diego. Additional sessions during the 16th annual conference will address topics such as public relations, branding, increasing product penetration, measuring success, mobile banking, business development issues and strategies, and more. The conference also will present the prestigious Marketing Professional of the Year, Business Development Professional of the Year and the Diamond/Merit awards. Best Practice Award winners also will be announced.

CUDL pays 3 dividend

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (2/9/09)--CUDL, a point-of-sale and indirect auto lending network for credit unions, paid a 3% dividend to its 85 member credit unions for 2008. CUDL said it has 704 credit unions on the network, representing 20 million members, and 9,894 auto dealers. The company generated more than 560,000 auto loans at dealerships nationwide during 2008. About 32% of the loans went to credit union members who were identified at the point-of-sale in the dealership. New credit unions that signed onto the platform include:
* Citadel FCU, Thorndale, Pa.; * Texans CU, Richardson, Texas; * Pennsylvania State Employees CU, Harrisburg, Pa.; * Summit CU, Madison, Wis.; * Partners CU, Strum, Wis.; and * APCO Employees CU, Birmingham, Ala.
CUDL is based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

SEG sponsor closes shared branching helps CU

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. (2/9/09)--When the corporate office of one of Des Moines, Iowa-based Cornerstone CU’s sponsor groups shut down in Birmingham, Ala., the credit union decided to use Shared Branching to serve members there. Cornerstone retained the majority of its southern membership and attracted new members with Shared Branching, which the credit union uses through the Credit Union Service Network (CUSN). “When traveling on vacation or just wanting to walk into a financial institution to make a transaction, our members use shared branching locations,” said Gary Key, Cornerstone CEO. “They want to be able to walk into a location to actually see their money go into a financial institution.” Cornerstone’s transaction volume has increased since the credit union joined CUSN, with members conducting transactions in 30 states. The credit union has branches in Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb. Cornerstone has $14 million in assets. CUSN is based in Lakewood, Colo.

Products and Services briefs (02/05/2009)

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* FAIRFAX, Va. (2/6/09)--Realtors FCU, Rockville, Md., has chosen its website host and developer. Realtors FCU is slated to open in May and will be the nation’s first Web-only credit union. Realtors’ website will be hosted by American Technology Services Inc. Also, L9, a credit union service organization in Vermont, will develop Realtors’ website. L9 was formed through a partnership between Level 9 Inc. and New England FCU, Williston, Vt. American Technology Services hosts websites, specializing in financial institutions ... * MADISON, Wis. (2/6/09)--The Filene Research Institute will offer free online access to its research to credit unions under $5 million in assets and access to credit unions between $5 million and $49 million for $99 (Focus Newsletter Feb. 2). Membership allows credit unions to download reports and access Filene’s research library ... * GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (2/6/09)--CU*Answers announced that its core processing system, CU*BASE, has been upgraded to include a trending tool in its Contingent Liability Report. Contingent liability analysis searches areas where a credit union has commited to members to extend credit. It alerts credit unions when members are not using their credit limits. The tool helps credit unions increase loan balances by tracking their progress with lines-of-credit lending, the credit union service organization said. CU*Answers is located in Grand Rapids, Mich. ... * WACO, Texas (2/6/09)--Profiles International named Y-12 FCU, Oak Ridge, Tenn., as its client of the year during Profiles’ 2009 World Conference in Fort Worth, Texas, Jan. 15-17. Y-12 partnered with Profiles to increase revenues and reduce job turnover. Each year, Profiles honors clients who have taken a progressive approach to improving their employment issues through Profiles assessment and human resources management tools ... * SAN FRANCISCO (2/6/09)--CMG Mortgage Insurance Company (CMG MI) named Scott Romesburg director of underwriting, operations and information technology. Romesburg will supervise underwriting, claims, loss mitigation and quality control while developing, implementing and managing the company’s business applications and e-commerce functions nationwide. Romesburg joined CMG MI as director of information technology in 2007. He previously worked in information technology at PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., one of CMG MI’s parent companies. CMG MI operates as a corporate joint venture between CUNA Mutual Investment Corp. and PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. ...

Tinker FCU running in virtual environment

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (2/5/09)--Tinker FCU announced Tuesday that it is now operating in a virtual environment--which has helped the credit union save about $225,000 a year, extend branch hours by five hours and improve energy efficiency, the credit union said. Tinker is running EPISYS, a core information processing platform used by credit unions, with a virtualized Storage Area Network (SAN) environment. The virtualization allows the credit union to run multiple operating system environments on the same computer. Using the new architecture, Tinker has reduced its number of servers to 40 from 160. “We don’t have to keep growing data centers because we now store information on disk, rather than tape,” said Steve Mooney, Tinker vice president of information system operations. “This type of system is the future in technology.” Tinker has seen a 40% to 45% increase in performance with overnight processing of transactions, and a 50% to 55% improvement in backup processing. Symitar, which owns EPISYS, assisted the credit union with the virtualization. Symitar might offer the same type of environment to smaller credit unions who could not previously afford it, Tinker said. Oklahoma City-based Tinker FCU has $1.8 billion in assets.

CUNA redesigns elementary level online youth magazine

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MADISON, Wis. (2/5/09)--New interactive features were recently added to the elementary school level of the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) online youth magazine, Googolplex. 5-Spot now allows elementary school readers to earn pretend clubhouse dollars by answering quiz questions, taking an instant poll, playing games and reading stories. Readers also will become more familiar with saving, spending and sharing when they use their clubhouse cash to decorate their clubhouse and give to charity. There also are new flash calculators and weekly “Natalie” comic strips. A new instant poll features questions for kids to answer, or they can also submit their own questions for consideration. Googolplex offers credit union-specific consumer stories and games designed to make youth of all ages feel welcome on credit union websites. New content is added weekly throughout its three separate reading and interest levels:
* 5-Spot--addresses basic money concepts such as saving and spending for elementary students; * AJ’s--helps middle schoolers tackle popular topics such as making friends, getting rich, and shopping; and * C-Note--contains financial and personal advice on common interests for high school students such as cars, college, shopping and preparing to become independent.

Minnesota expands shared branch locations to 27

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (2/5/09)--Minnesota expanded the number of its Shared Branching locations to 27 after St. Paul (Minn.) FCU added two new locations to the network. “The Shared Branching network is expanding throughout the nation, and the growing number of service centers in Minnesota reflects that trend,” said Peter Skaalen, Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) executive vice president. Shared Branching allows credit union members to use other credit unions to conduct transactions similar to those they conduct at their home credit union. There are more than 3,500 service centers nationwide, allowing credit unions to compete with the largest banks in the U.S., MnCUN said. “While other financial institutions may be closing branches, Shared Branching is continually adding to the number of service locations that its participants can use to serve members,” Skaalen added.

New iBelong TV ads tout safety soundness

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (2/4/09)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) introduced two new ads to its iBelong credit union awareness campaign. As with previous spots, the commercials feature members expressing why they belong to a credit union. The ads feature several safety and soundness messages, including that credit union deposits are insured up to $250,000. To view the ads, use the link. “The iBelong campaign has proved successful in increasing awareness and favorable perceptions of credit unions in Pennsylvania,” said Jim McCormack, PCUA president/CEO. “In these uncertain economic times, we’re able to extend the iBelong brand to address consumers’ concerns regarding the safety of their money with a credit union.” The new spots will run statewide beginning this month. PCUA also has made the ads available to the Illinois and Mississippi leagues, which licensed the campaign from Pennsylvania and are running the ads in their respective states.

CUcorps CUCare Group sold to Salus

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LIVONIA, Mich. (2/4/09)--CUcorp’s CUCare Group has been sold to Salus Group, which will increase healthcare and benefit options for credit unions, according to the Michigan Credit Union League. “CUCare is designed for mid-sized credit unions,” said David Adams, CUcorp CEO. “The new Salus will be better positioned to handle the health insurance needs of credit unions of all sizes in a more cost-effective way.” CUCare, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Michigan league, has managed a credit union health insurance program through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network. By acquiring CUCare, Salus will offer credit unions more products, including healthcare and pension options. Salus also will offer packages to select employees groups (Michigan Monitor Feb. 2). Michael Brillati will remain Salus president/CEO. Jim Fournier will be Salus executive vice president and chief operating officer. Salus is a credit union service organization started in 2005 by Brillati and five Michigan credit unions. It has business in Michigan and several other states.

CUSN study Members use shared branching

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. (2/4/09)--A survey reveals that credit union members who use shared branching as a delivery channel for credit union services are among the most profitable members.
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The survey was conducted by Lakewood, Colo.-based Credit Union Service Network (CUSN). Among the findings:
* Shared branching is an important delivery channel as evidenced by the frequency of use. Thirty-two percent of members visited shared branching service centers four or more times per month, while 27% visited twice a month. * Members continue to use shared branching as a delivery channel once they have discovered its convenience. * Users of shared branching are profitable members as evidenced by the number of accounts they hold with their credit union.
"Many of the misconceptions of shared branching are dispelled with the results," said Doug Burke, CUSN president/CEO. Respondents were asked how long theys had used shared branching service centers. Fifty-three percent reported using the centers for one to five years. Only 25% had used the service center less than a year. Those unfamiliar with shared branching often assume members use service centers primarily for withdrawals. However, when CUSN tracked financial transactions for 2008, it found that only 25% of the dollars passing through shared branches were withdrawals. Roughly 69% were deposit dollars.
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Another common misconception--that members using the service have only one account, a share account, with their host credit union--was also dispelled. Eighty percent of members surveyed reported having two or more accounts with their credit unions, and 46% reported three or more accounts. The survey also evaluated service level at the service center. Of the respondents, 89% indicated the service was "excellent" and 11% reported it was "good." More than 1,500 members, representing 377 credit unions nationwide, responded to the survey, which was distributed through service centers in Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. Of the respondents, 56% were women and 44% were men. The highest percentage of respondents were from the 45-54 age group with 24%, followed by the 25-34 and the 35-44 age groups, each with 22%. CUSN is affiliated with CO-OP Shared Branching.

Arizona State CU offers mobile banking

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PHOENIX (2/3/09)--Arizona State CU, Phoenix, is offering its members the ability to use cell phones to manage their finances. Mobile banking allows members to check information from the main credit union website. Members also can receive text message alerts about their account balance and transaction history, the credit union said (BusinessWire Jan. 29). Arizona State CU’s mobile banking site uses the same features as its online banking site. Members enrolled in online banking can use mobile banking from their Web-enabled mobile device. “It’s an especially great service for our members who are often traveling or on the run,” said David E. Doss, Arizona State CU president/CEO. Arizona State CU has $1.3 billion in assets.