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Skylines Direct FED now Direct Fed Payment Solutions

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LOS ANGELES (3/1/10)--A check-processing company for credit unions has a new name, launched at the Credit Union National Association's Government Affairs Conference last week in Washington, D.C. The former Skyline's Direct FED will offer the same technology under a new corporate name, Direct Fed Payment Solutions. Ken Buren, vice president of sales at the Los Angeles-based company, said credit unions are expressing "a growing need to find alternatives to the corporate system when dealing with the Federal Reserve. They were impressed with our ability to electronically scan and verify checks from anywhere in the world and deposit them directly into the Federal Reserve Bank." Direct Fed Payment Solutions has processed more than seven million checks totaling more than $6 billion. Its Remote Deposit Capture allows credit unions to become image-enabled without any capital investment. Direct Fed Payment Solutions' process also eliminates float and assessment fees, and provides fast access to capital while making the most of profits and funds availability, the company said in a press release. Clients receive funds in less than 12 hours. The software enables credit unions to integrate checks into accounting with a single scan.

Bluepoint has strong finish to 2009

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VISTA, Calif. (2/26/10)--Bluepoint Solutions, which provides remote deposit capture, image-based item processing and enterprise content management software technology for financial institutions, announced that 2009 ended strongly for the company. It added four new financial institutions, including three credit unions, during December. New credit union clients are City and County CU, St. Paul, Minn.; South Carolina FCU, Charleston, S.C.; and Honda FCU, Torrance, Calif. They selected at least one module from Bluepoint's ImagePoint solution suite, an end-to-end image-based check clearing to help credit unions and other financial institutions of all sizes to better manage item processing. The platform has three integrated product families:
* ImagePoint Capture for remote capture of items; * ImagePoint Hub for aggregation and forward presentment of items; and * ImagePoint Foundation for central item processing functions and image exchange.

Newtek introduces free site for business owners

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NEW YORK (2/26/10)--Newtek Business Services Inc. is offering a new free website designed to support business owners when they launch, upgrade and maintain their presence in today's online e-commerce market. The site also will assist their growth initiatives with a suite of e-commerce features. The New York City-based Newtek has been a CUNA Strategic Services provider since 2003. "Many businesses today cannot afford, or don't know how to access and create a profitable e-commerce initiative or platform for business," said Newtek CEO/Chairman Barry Sloan, adding that the company is "ready to help small businesses in difficult times to compete and finance their growth. The free website is one of the many ways we are able to demonstrate our support for small businesses in the U.S." The website product--Newtek SiteCenter --will support businesses regardless of size and budget. "The businesses that we expect to flourish the most in 2010 are the ones who understand the importance of e-commerce, and we can build and manage their online presence for them as well as their brick and mortar stores," said Sloane. "By providing an end-to-end environment through Newtek's consolidated merchant processing and Web services operations, Newtek is able to reduce both risks and costs for our customers." The website, at www.newtekwebservices.com, is a bilingual, user-friendly do-it-yourself Web product with more than 1,000 design schemes for business owners to use with their own custombuilt website, with essential e-commerce features, said the company. The design of the site is free. If the business wants additional features, such as a shopping cart application that accommodates Newtek's new NewtPay or NewtPay Pro payment systems, or if Web hosting is provided, there are nominal charges, said Newtek.

CUNAs CPDOnline in first international partnership

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MADISON, Wis. (2/26/10)--The Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) CPDOnline, an online credit union training service, has been chosen to provide the Jamaican credit union movement with training services. The Jamaican Credit Union League is CPDOnline's first international client. "The international credit union community is recognizing the quality and significant value that CUNA's training services and products offer," said Todd Spiczenski, vice president, CUNA center for professional development. CPDOnline will customize the program to meet the league's specific professional development needs, he said. The Web-based training service is designed to help credit unions manage their employee training programs. It draws upon more than 40 years of credit union-specific training and combines the ease of on-demand, self-study training with expertly designed credit union courses and personal assistance when needed, said CUNA. More than 1,200 credit unions have enrolled in CPDOnline. For more information, use the link or call 800-356-9655, ext. 4072.

eDOC Innovations offers new paper conversion service

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MIDWAY, Utah, and MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (2/25/10)--eDOC Innovations, a credit union service organization that provides e-document management and strategic collaboration, announced its new paper conversion service, Image Now, for credit unions going paperless. "As credit unions 'go green,' one challenge they all have is converting their previous internal paper base into secure electronic documents," said Bret Weekes, president/CEO of eDOC Innovations. Image Now "reduces the strain of a self-conducted paper conversion, and enables credit unions to focus on running their business," he said. Progressive CU, a $344 million asset credit union based in New York, N.Y., used the conversion service to convert 90 years' worth of paper operation. "Leveraging eDOC's paper conversion service reduced our projected internal costs by 38%. That translated to thousands of dollars in cost savings, not to mention convenience," said Charles Rogers, Progressive CU chief operations officer.

FSCC Shared Branching has 10th dividend revamped site

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ONTARIO, Calif. (2/25/10)--Financial Services Centers Cooperative Inc. (FSCC), a credit union Shared Branching Network, announced Wednesday it will return $640,000 in patronage dividends to participating credit unions for Shared Branching transactions in 2009. It is the 10th consecutive year FSCC has provided patronage dividends to its shareholders. The latest amount brings the total paid to participating credit unions in the past decade to $14.5 million in patronage dividends, rebates and return of capital. The 2009 dividends will be distributed after FSCC completes its annual audit this spring. Shareholders will receive the dividend for acquired transactions performed in their branches and shared branch kiosks owned by participating credit unions. "2009 has been a difficult year for many of our credit unions," said Steven M. Stapp, FSCC chairman and CEO of San Francisco FCU. "Because FSCC is owned directly by its credit unions, an environment that is challenging for our credit unions is also challenging for us." FSCC President/CEO Sarah Canepa Bang said, "Even with the economic climate we faced in 2009, we continued to expand the network and its capabilities. Being able to pay a dividend in one of our toughest years is an accomplishment." She noted credit unions' commitment to staying connected and providing convenient access to members contributed to FSCC's ability to provide the dividend. Earlier this week, FSCC unveiled its new brand identity and launched a more streamlined website. The identity emphasizes the company's connectivity. The new look is featured on the redesigned website at www.fscc.com.

CO-OP Shared Branching hits 4000 locations

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (2/25/10)--CO-OP Shared Branching has reached a milestone with members of participating credit unions now accessing 4,000 Shared Branching locations throughout the U.S. In addition to 4,000 full-service branches, credit union members also have access to their accounts at 2,300 CO-OP Shared Branching kiosk locations. Today CO-OP Shared Branching, from CO-OP Financial Services, ranks fourth in the nation by number of branches, behind Wells Fargo/Wachovia, Bank of America and Chase. "Despite the emergence of new access channels, such as mobile banking, credit union members still want the ability to walk into a branch to handle their financial needs, and they want that branch to be convenient," said Carroll Beach, president/chief operating officer of CO-OP Shared branching. Participating credit unions also can use CO-OP's Next Generation network to serve member needs. They can access CO-OP Network with its 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs; CO-OP Mobile (mobile banking); CO-OP Fast Branch (kiosks); CO-OP My Deposit (remote deposit) and CO-OP Member Center (member and lending service call center).

Calif.-Nevada leagues partner with asset management group

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (2/24/10)--The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have partnered with Orange Coast Title Co.’s National Asset Management Group (NAMG) to assist the two states’ credit unions with their real property services and default administration. NAMG, based in Anaheim, Calif., is a member of the Orange Coast Title Co. family of companies. “NAMG will help our member credit unions save time and money when they have to deal with default real estate issues such as foreclosures, evictions, and real estate-owned (REO) sales,” said Sylvia Fath, the leagues’ senior vice president of business services. NAMG services include:
* Real Property Services--The company provides services to support the valuation, management and disposition of REO property. Services include: full appraisals, review appraisals, property management and repair, eviction coordination, “Cash for Keys” program, and property management and REO property sales. * Default Administration--Through its corporate parent, Orange Coast Title Co., National Asset Management Group provides complete or partial default processing services, including judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure processing, post-foreclosure title resolution, loan modification agreements, and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure. * Document Preparation--Services include assignment and release preparation, national recording services, and replacement title policies.

CO-OP expands check imaging suite

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (2/23/10)--CO-OP Financial Services is expanding its suite of check imaging solutions to include CO-OP My Deposit: Branch, which allows its credit union partners to batch and electronically submit deposited checks for clearing. CO-OP My Deposit: Branch adds provides a server-based application that eliminates many costs associated with handling, proofing, sending via courier and processing paper checks. A certified scanner (included as part of the solution) and a personal computer with Internet access are needed for local setup. The expansion "provides clients with a single-vendor imaging solution for ATMs, consumer remote deposit capture and now branch capture," said Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services. It is aimed at credit unions that look to increase efficiencies, speed transmission, reduce risks and cut costs, he said. CO-OP My Deposit: Branch, which can be purchased as a stand-alone product, is part of the CO-OP check imaging suite that features ATM Check Imaging, Fast Branch kiosks, and CO-OP My Deposit: Home, which enables members to deposit checks online using any twain-compliant scanner.

CUs success continues as focus for CSS

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MADISON, Wis. (2/23/10)--CUNA Strategic Services has added new alliances and expanded others to help credit unions succeed in today's challenging market. The alliances must pass stringent due diligence and request-for-proposal processes. They serve credit unions by increasing operational efficiencies or revenue generation; helping them meet regulatory standards and security concerns; and enhancing their relationship with members, said CSS. The most recent alliances added include:
* American Background Information Services, which is considered a pioneer in corporate security and risk mitigation. It offers background screening services that include employment or vendor screening, criminal background checks, employment and professional verification, and other security services. * John M. Floyd & Associates, which expanded its relationship with CSS to offer JMFA Contract Optimizer. Credit unions can use Contract Optimizer for expert advice on pricing, service, support and conditions related to proposals, contract and agreements--which provides savings for the credit unions. * CU-VO, which provides Internet video overlay technology for credit unions' websites. The technology will help them more actively engage their members with calls to action, advocacy and or information. * Diebold, which has continued its relationship with CSS. Through Diebold, CSS will offer the Magner line of coin and currency-handling products. * Verafin, which provides a compliance solution. Due to the success of and need for its compliance solution, Verafin will continue to assist credit unions in meeting Back Secrecy Act, fraud and anti-money laundering regulations through its relationship with CSS.
In 2009, CSS also added the Illinois Credit Union League Service Corp. to offer prepaid gift cards and reloadable debit cards, and Panini for check-scanning solutions.

CSS adds telecommunications connectivity

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MADISON, Wis. (2/23/10)--Imagine the power it takes to broadcast and distribute an Olympic athlete's feats around the globe. Now imagine a credit union harnessing that massive telecommunications connectivity. Switch Communications, in a new alliance with CUNA Strategic Services (CSS), aims to provide interconnectivity and economies of scale for credit unions with its Network Access Point (NAP) data centers. Las Vegas-based Switch's SuperNAP facility--known as a co-location center--houses servers and storage systems for other businesses. SuperNAP's residents include top technology, media, financial and government entities. One of those businesses is providing the gateway for NBC to stream and broadcast its coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games from Vancouver, B.C. "Adding Switch as a CSS alliance will deliver and supply the interconnectivity, telecommunications, and the most reliable and resilient data center facility services necessary for credit unions to collaborate and gain economies of scale," said Wes Millar, senior vice president of CSS. Switch can provide bandwidth, data centers and connections to companies of all shapes and sizes at competitive prices--particularly important as credit unions need to stay on top of business continuity and security issues, said CSS. "Credit unions will now have access to our consortium buying ecosystem that will extend the buying power of some of the largest companies in America to its member credit unions," said Switch Communications CEO Rob Roy. "With the highest security standards, our patented energy efficient design and leading telecom nexus, Switch will be extending tools that will help credit unions protect their technology assets and substantially reduce costs," Roy said. A new industry trend, called "cloud computing," is pointing enterprises to Switch's SuperNAP. Here businesses use a consumption-based model to access a variety of information technology services over the Internet. This reduces the capital expenditures for credit unions by removing hardware expenses such as on-site servers and server maintenance. Cloud computing puts software applications and computer hardware where they are accessible by users through multiple channels, not chained to a desk. It provides an infrastructure of server and storage capacity. Developers can build Web applications through its platforms. Cloud computing also offers scalability. It grows or shrinks according to the credit union's demand for service. The service is instantaneous, much like turning on a light switch. As with electricity, the credit union pays for what it uses. The CSS-Switch alliance will be a foundation for a technology consortium for credit unions. For more information, contact Julie Esser, CSS director of new alliances, at 800-356-9655, ext. 4213, or at jesser@cuna.com, or Jay Liebe, director, Switch Communications, at 702-283-8024 or jliebe@switchnap.com.

Fynanz-CSS alliance to offer student loan program

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MADISON, Wis. (2/22/10)--A new alliance between CUNA Strategic Services Inc. (CSS) and Fynanz Inc. aims to help credit unions get a piece of the private student loan market, attract new members, and assist borrowers with financing tuition and achieving higher education goals. "Fynanz provides the powerful combination of helping credit unions grow their loan portfolios and increase their reach into the high school and college demographic," said Wes Millar, senior vice president of CSS. "The youth market is critical to credit unions' growth." Private student loans provide value to students needing financing for education while helping credit unions develop lasting relationships with younger members--gaining members for life, said the companies. "Our alliance will help us develop even more customized loan solutions that diversify credit union portfolios and attract new members," said Fynanz CEO/Founder Vince Passione. Fynanz offers both custom private student loan programs and end-to-end solutions. All programs include marketing through cuStudentLoans.org--a private student loan, Web-based marketplace. The program also:
* Uses proprietary Fynanz Academic Credit Score (FACS) to help mitigate risk; * Allows students to apply for a new loan each year to obtain a lower rate if their FACS improves; * Offers in-school servicing with a monthly payment made while students are still in school, which helps students increase financial literacy and build their credit; * Sends monthly e-mail bill and notifications to both the borrower and the co-signer to help reduce default rates and increase awareness of financial obligation; and * Establishes eduLink connections between lenders and schools for funds disbursements.
Fynanz recently closed $6.5 million in Series A funding from investors.

CUDL pays 1.4M in dividends

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ONTARIO, Calif. (2/22/10)--CUDL, which administers an auto lending network for credit unions, announced that the company’s board of directors approved a 3% dividend, totaling $1.4 million to be paid to its 87 member credit union shareholders for 2009. The dividend is 3% of the current share price of $1,000. This is the fifth consecutive year CUDL has paid a dividend to its credit union shareholders. Combined, CUDL credit unions grew market share to become the fifth largest U.S. auto lender in 2009, the company said. CUDL generated more than 518,000 auto loans at dealerships nationwide in 2009. About 32% of the loans went to existing credit union members at the point of purchase. CUDL also signed 136 new credit unions in 2009, totaling more than 750 participating credit unions nationwide. They represent 21 million members. About 6,200 dealers participate. CUDL is a credit union service organization based in Ontario, Calif.

ECS survey drive to benefit CUs for Kids

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COVINA, Calif. (2/19/10)--Executive Compensation Solutions (ECS) will donate a specified dollar amount to Credit Unions for Kids for each credit union that completes ECS’ executive compensation and benefits survey. The Survey 2010 call for participation will be sent in June and will run through August. “We’ve been involved with the Children’s Miracle Network for several years through our work with credit unions and we wanted to step up our efforts,” said Alec Berkman, ECS principal. “If you think about $10 for each responding credit union, and 500 credit unions respond, we can increase our contribution by $5,000.” The campaign is part of ECS’ Community Matters program. Credit Unions for Kids is a credit union-supported program that raises money for Children’s Miracle Network to benefit children’s hospitals.

Palmetto Rosetta team up on image returns

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IRMO, S.C. (2/18/10)--Palmetto Cooperative Services (PCS), a credit union service organization, and Rosetta Technologies, a provider of printers and software solutions, announced that PCS has begun reselling Rosetta’s Image Replacement Document (IRD) Express Pack to credit unions. The pack has a 30-page-per-minute Magnetic Ink Character Recognition printer, IRD paper and toner. PCS developed the image-return product in response to a growing concern among credit union clients about the Federal Reserve Bank’s exit from IRD printing. If the Fed consolidates item printing to one location in Cleveland, credit unions anticipate delays in their receipt of printed IRDs, said PCS. The Federal Reserve also has said it would no longer send advanced notification e-mails to institutions. The e-mails notify institutions of their in-clearing returns so they can extend and hold on the item prior to receiving the printed IRD, which reduced the risk that the item would come off hold and be available to the depositor for funds withdrawal. PCS’ image return service allows members to receive their files daily through e-mail. The Express Pack prints the files, which are processed and delivered to the depositor. The process can be reduced to less than a day, as opposed to 72 hours in most cases, the company said. “In the short time this service has been available, we’ve had a tremendous response from our credit union customers,” said Mark Curran, PCS senior vice president of business development.

ALM First now managing 11.2 billion in funds

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DALLAS (2/18/10)--ALM First Financial Advisors, an advisory firm for credit unions, now has more than $11.2 billion in funds under advisement. In the past year, ALM added 27 new credit unions, representing 134 clients from 31 states. The firm also began offering regional education sessions. “Our clients have told us how much they appreciate the knowledge and experiences we share during our interactions with credit unions,” said ALM First Partner Angela Calvert. “Due to this positive feedback, coupled with the current economic climate, we plan to expand this program during 2010, providing a chance for clients to learn and interact with our staff firsthand.” Consumers’ flight to safety has caused credit unions’ liquid assets to grow significantly, contributing to their need for sound financial advice, Calvert said. A current hot topic right now is determining when it makes sense for credit unions to explore merger opportunities. Also, new financial legislation will affect credit unions, she added.

CO-OPs GAC exhibit to feature video games demos

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (2/18/10)--CO-OP Financial Services will have interactive video games, demos and offer prizes at its booth at the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C., next week. CO-OP will be located at Booth 309 in the exhibit hall of the Washington Convention Center Sunday through Tuesday. The GAC starts Sunday and ends Thursday. CO-OP’s five business lines will each be supported by a video game and demo. Drawings for an Amazon Kindle e-book reader also will be held. The booth will feature displays on network services, payment processing, e-commerce solutions, CO-OP Shared Branching and call center services. Also debuting at the GAC is CO-OP Mobile’s Multi-Mode Platform, which will support text banking, a mobile Web browser and downloadable applications for devices such as iPhones. CO-OP is a contributing sponsor of the Gala Reception and Dance at the convention center, which begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday. CO-OP, a credit union service organization that offer 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs, is located in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Direct Fed to launch new name at GAC

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LOS ANGELES (2/17/10)--DirectFED will re-launch as Direct Fed Payment Solutions at the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C., next week. Direct Fed Payment Solutions is a check-processing company that services credit unions. “Our branch and remote deposit capture software enables credit unions to electronically scan and verify checks from anywhere in the world and deposit them directly into the Federal Reserve Bank,” said Ken Buren, Direct Fed executive director. Clients using Direct Fed receive funds in fewer than 12 hours. CUNA’s GAC kicks off Sunday and ends Thursday at the Washington Convention Center.

Wonderlic announces ASAP for CUs hiring platform

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (2/17/10)--Wonderlic, a provider of recruiting, assessment and retention solutions, announced the launch of ASAP for Credit Unions, an automated staff acquisition platform to help credit unions hire talented employees. ASAP for Credit Unions is Web-based, and evaluates a candidate’s skills and abilities for a specific position. The solution presents the results in a color-coded format so the credit union can quickly compare all candidates and select the best ones to interview. ASAP for Credit Unions can reduce the time managers spend interviewing candidates by 75%, the company said. The solution includes an online career page that allows candidates to apply for positions 24/7. It also provides behavioral interview guides for positions of branch manager, assistant branch manager, loan officer, loan clerk, teller and member services representative. Wonderlic is based in Libertyville, Ill., with a new branch office in Charleston, S.C.

ShiftHound updates scheduling tool

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SAN DIEGO (2/16/10)--ShiftHound, a Web-based scheduling and open-shift management solution provider, has released version 1.5 of its online staff-scheduling tool. The tool helps credit union staff assist management by requesting and filling open shifts online, eliminating the daily stresses of scheduling, the company said. “ShiftHound allows managers to view staffing information across multiple locations and departments online 24/7 through the interactive manager dashboard,” said Ian Chaplin, ShiftHound president and founder. The solution provides instant visibility into a branch’s shifts and schedules, employees, risk areas, and budget and labor cost impacts. Staff members also have Web access to their assigned schedules and open shifts for which they are qualified to work. The tool is accessible to any employee through any Web browser. ShiftHound runs, maintains and enhances the software for its clients for a monthly fee.

Corporate One partners with Multi-Bank Securities

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (2/16/10)--Corporate One FCU, Columbus, Ohio, has partnered with Multi-Bank Securities in Pleasant Ridge, Mich., to offer investment products and other securities-related services to credit unions. Corporate One plans to expand its credit union securities offerings to include negotiable certificates of deposit and funding resources. The partnership also will offer credit unions free safekeeping through an independent third party; free portfolio analysis reports through BondEdge; access to Multi-Bank’s fixed-income accounting tool, SunGard; and other investment products. Corporate One has annual sales of more than $500 million and provides securities investment services to more than 160 credit unions nationwide. Multi-Bank Securities is a broker-dealer that serves more than 2,500 credit unions.

WesCorp offers guide to fighting fraud

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SAN DIMAS, Calif. (2/15/10)--Western Corporate FCU (WesCorp) has published an instructional document to help credit unions mitigate fraud threats posed by hackers and phishers. The guide was issued after the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) released guidance about fraud and electronic transfers. The document, “Information Security and Risk Mitigation Guide,” offers information on ways to reduce risk of technology intrusions, regardless of the type of application credit unions are running. NCUA sent a letter to credit unions in September about fraudulent electronic transfers. The Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) Network grew 1.6% in the third quarter of 2009 compared to a year earlier. About 3.77 billion transactions worth $7.3 trillion were conducted during the quarter, according to the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA). NACHA expects that more than 25 billion transactions will be made this year. “Unfortunately, such explosive growth in the transfer of electronic funds almost always paves the way for more fraudulent activity,” said Robert Brown, WesCorp director of Internet security. Brown and his team led the WesCorp effort to develop and write the 28-page guide for the corporate credit union’s members using its ACH services. “Anyone who would log in and use an electronic funds transfer could be subjected to fraud,” Brown explained. “All it takes is the wrong click that installs a piece of malicious software stealing your user names and passwords, and the bad guy very quickly has control of your electronic funds.” The guide helps credit unions to identify the top threats and risks to their systems and some of the controls they can put into place to mitigate those threats, specifically around ACH and electronic funds transfers,” he added. WesCorp is based in San Dimas, Calif.

Cardtronics posts net income of 1.5M

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HOUSTON (2/15/10)--Cardtronics, an owner and operator of non-bank ATMs that serves credit unions, announced that it earned a net income of $1.5 million during fourth quarter 2009. The $1.5 million income compares with a $58.5 million net loss the company had in the fourth quarter of 2008. The company attributes the growth, among other things, to its renewal of a contract with CO-OP Financial Services, which also provides ATM services to credit unions. Cardtronics also reported consolidated revenues in the fourth quarter 2009 of $124.8 million, up 6% from the fourth quarter of 2008. Revenue grew about 8% for the company’s core business operations, and gross margins increased 31%, compared with 24% in the fourth quarter of 2008. Revenue for the year ended Dec. 31 was $493.4 million. Other results Cardtronics cited:
* Total cash withdrawal transactions and cash withdrawal transactions per ATM per month increased by 8%; * Total transactions per ATM per month increased by 10%; and * ATM operating gross profit per ATM per month increased by 43%.
Cardtronics renewed its contract with CO-OP through July 2014. The contract includes ATMs located in 7-Eleven convenience stores, in which members conduct more than 3.2 million surcharge-free transactions per month, on average.

XetusOne eases Member Advantage Mortgage RESPA changes

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PALO ALTO, Calif. (2/15/10)--The XetusOne Loan Origination System helped Members Advantage Mortgage, which is owned and operated by seven credit unions, transition easily to new Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) requirements. The program helps lenders become compliant with RESPA changes, which alters the disclosure process for residential mortgages. In the case of Members Advantage, the changes required new versions of the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and the HUD-1 Settlement document. “We didn’t have to figure out anything with this change,” said Jennifer Durham, chief operating officer of Members Advantage Mortgage. “We simply had to turn on the computer and the loan origination system handled everything.” XetusOne does not require users to install or maintain software, and it provides videos to make the regulations easy to understand, the company said. “Some of our loan consultants took classes through title companies in their various states and had gone away terrified and nervous about the changes, but Xetus’ videos gave them a better grasp of the subject,” Durham added. The interface allows loan officers to convert loans initiated prior to 2010 to the format required by the new RESPA regulations. It also compares GFE and HUD-1 changes, and tracks the cost changes from the initial disclosure to the closing. Members Advantage Mortgage is a wholly owned subsidiary of CUSO Development LLC, which is owned and operated by seven credit unions in New Hampshire, Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Nevada and the District of Columbia. Xetus provides software as a service to the mortgage industry.

Registration open for Southeast CUNA Management School

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ATHENS, Ga. (2/12/10)--Registration is open for Southeast CUNA Management School.This year’s school will be held June 11-18 at the Georgia Center in Athens, Ga. Registration for a one-year enrollment in the school is $1,445. Payment received on or before May 13 will qualify for a $100 discount. Lunches, breaks, the graduation banquet, continuing education units, all educational materials, and classes are included in the fee. First-year students should anticipate a one-time class activity fee of no more than $150 in addition to tuition. Scholarships are available. The school is one of four management schools CUNA offers. CUNA Management School provides students the opportunity to develop leadership capabilities that they can use to contribute to the success of their credit unions. The curriculum is delivered over a three-year period with students in residence for course work each summer for eight days. When not in class, students apply the knowledge gained from the school to projects. For more information, use the link.

Paper addresses managing card services through merger

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DES MOINES, Iowa (2/12/10)--Whether a credit union is preparing for a merger or simply looking to weather the economic storm, consolidating portfolios with one dependable card processor is a smart move, according to a new white paper from The Members Group (TMG). The paper, “Stronger in the End,” offers tips on evaluating card portfolios of merging credit unions for profitability and growth potential. It also discusses consolidating card services with one vendor. “Converting card services from one card processor to another generally involves minimal cost,” the paper said. “Production and mailing of new plastic requires the majority of the necessary investment.” Communication with members will involve the most planning and participation on the part of a credit union. Card processors with years of successful conversion experience can help guide the messaging strategy--but the function of the conversion will need credit union staff input and contribution, the paper added. “Stronger in the End” is co-authored by Aris Jerahian, TMG vice president of client relations, and Brian Scott, vice president of sales. The paper is available for free download on TMG’s website. TMG, Des Moines, Iowa, is a credit union service organization and a wholly owned subsidiary of Affiliates Management Co., which is owned by Iowa credit unions and their members.

Products and Services briefs (02/11/2010)

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* NORTH CANTON, Ohio (2/12/10)--ATM manufacturer Diebold declared a first-quarter cash dividend of 27 cents per share on all common shares. The dividend is payable on March 8 to shareholders of record at the close of business Feb. 22. The new cash dividend, which represents $1.08 per share on an annual basis, is an increase of 3.8% over the cash dividend paid in 2009 and marks the company’s 57th consecutive annual increase ... * INDIANAPOLIS (2/12/10)--Technology platform services provider fiVISION added three new products in 2009--Web Loan, Wire Transfer Automation and Health Savings Account (HSA) Enrollment--along with some enhancements to its current product line. Web Loan integrates the process of new membership and receiving a loan approval at the same time. autoENROLL, fiVISION’s HSA enrollment product, allows members to apply for an HSA account in five minutes. Applications can be made in person, over the phone or online. Wire Transfer Automation aims to simplify the processes associated with capturing, approving and sending wire transfer requests from members. fiVISION also signed and expanded services with several credit unions: Truliant FCU, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Digital FCU, Marlborough, Md.; Liberty Bay CU, Braintree, Mass.; and SB1 FCU, Philadelphia ... * PHILADELPHIA (2/12/10)--VINtek, a provider of automotive collateral management and electronic lien and title services for lenders, experienced record growth in all of its business lines in 2009--including direct-to-consumer lending; electronic loan transfer; outsourced automotive collateral management; and risk management services. VINtek added 137 clients to its roster, a 20% increase from 2008; grew revenue by 67%; and increased earnings by 161%. VINtek also launched a new version of VINtekTIME, its Internet-based system for paperless and paper-based automotive collateral management. By fourth quarter 2009, about 800 lenders used the service. The company also increased volume on its D2C platform by 40% over 2008, helping California pass legislation that requires all vehicle liens in the state to be paperless by Jan. 1, 2012. And it filed liens on more than 135,000 units of trucking rolling stock, securing a $1 billion credit line ... * GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (2/12/10)--Xtend Inc., a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization, announced that sales during the three-month period ending Dec. 31 finished 68% above the same period in 2008. The record sales performance was due to strong sales across the board for all key business units, said Xtend President Scott Collins. Xtend services are used by 120 credit union organizations in 15 states ...

CUTEK partners with TraceSecurity

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MURRIETA, Calif. (2/11/10)--CUTEK Inc. has partnered with TraceSecurity, a provider of security compliance and risk management solutions. The agreement aims to enhance the security of CUTEK’s Nova Membership and Loan Applications. CUTEK, Murrieta, Calif., is a financial technology development and consulting firm for credit unions. Each time a credit union implements the CUTEK applications, TraceSecurity runs a penetration security test for each application to ensure its safety. The objective of the test is to provide an analysis of the current security posture of web applications and counter measures implemented by CUTEK for Nova applications. “An Application Penetration Test emulates an attack by an external entity attempting to breach an application from the outside, a typical hacker’s perspective,” said Jim Stickley, TraceSecurity chief technology officer and vice president of strategy and solutions. “The test covers both unauthenticated and authenticated attack positions, using existing users, administrators and others.” Initial testing indicates that Nova received an above average score. “It is rare that such an application receives such a high rating on its first test conducted by TraceSecurity,” Stickley said.

Fynanz Inc. closes 6.5M in Series A funding

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MADISON, Wis. (2/10/10)--Fynanz, which provides private student lending services, has closed a $6.5 million Series A round in venture funds from a group of investors. The investors are led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and DFJ Gotham Ventures with participation from the Brazos Group, Zelkova Ventures and JBR Media Ventures. The financing follows a previous investment led by DFJ Gotham Ventures that included Brazos and Zelkova. Fynanz will use the funds for continued national expansion of www.cuStudentLoans.org, a credit union private student lending marketplace. Private student lending fills the gap left by federal programs that have pulled out of the lending market due to tightened credit. The private student loan market has grown by more than 500% over the past decade--to $22.8 billion in 2007-2008, Fynanz said.

CUREs online service is a year old

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (2/10/10)--Credit Union Retired Executives (CURE) is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its online service that provides free and confidential advice to credit union professionals. The service connects CURE advisers--retired credit union executives--with credit union professionals who have questions about the credit union industry. CURE’s 26 advisers have answered more than 250 questions from credit union professionals nationwide. More than 10,000 visits to the service’s site, www.curetiredexecutives.com, were recorded during December, with more than 375,000 hits recorded in the first year. Executives volunteer their services and are “enthusiastic and happy to be able to help,” according to Holly Herman, CURE executive director. CURE is a resource that can provide customized, targeted advice that addresses credit union professionals’ real-world concerns, added Juri Valdov, CURE chairman and adviser. “It’s a way for retired executives to continue to use their knowledge and history,” he said. The service is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

CUNA Mutual to offer fraud webinar Wednesday

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MADISON, Wis. (2/9/10)--CUNA Mutual Group will host a webinar Wednesday to help credit unions improve their risk management skills and lessen potential fraud losses. The webinar, scheduled for 10 a.m. CT, will be hosted by Ann Davidson and Ken Otsuka, CUNA Mutual risk managers. They will identify:
* The latest automated clearinghouse (ACH) and wire transfer fraud warning signs; * How credit unions can implement loss mitigation techniques to protect themselves and their members; * Regulations that govern wire and ACH transfer transactions; and * How liability is assigned.
About 1,000 CUNA Mutual policyholder credit unions have enrolled so far. A surge of ACH fraud committed by criminals stealing online banking credentials of small and midsize businesses resulted in about $100 million in attempted losses through the first 10 months of 2009, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics. Webinar registration is available in the Protection Resource Center at http://www.cunamutual.com/CUProtectionWebinars, or by contacting the Credit Union Protection Response Center at 800-637-2676. A user ID and password are required to access the Protection Resource Center and register.

TransUnion has multiple income models for ability-to-pay

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CHICAGO (2/8/10)--With less than two weeks left before provisions of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosures (CARD) Act go into effect, TransUnion reminds its clients that it offers two models--the Income Estimator and Debt-to-Income Estimator--to predict a consumer’s ability to pay as required under the act. The final rule states that card issuers may use empirically derived, demonstrably and statistically sound models that reasonably estimate a consumer’s income or assets to assess ability to pay. Reasonable policies and procedures to consider ability-to-pay include the ratio of debt obligations to income; the ratio of debt obligations to assets; or the income the consumer will have after paying debt obligations. The Income Estimator can help credit unions:
* Estimate income when it is not supplied by the consumer and validate consumer-supplied data and previously captured consumer income; * Reassess existing customer income and ability to pay in an account management environment; and * Segment the optimal populations for which consumer income or consumer proof of income should be requested.
The Debt-to-Income Estimator provides an estimate of the ratio of debt obligations to income and can be used to consider ability-to-pay, TransUnion said. Both models are available for batch and online delivery or as a credit report add-in. TransUnion is a provider of credit and information management headquartered in Chicago.

VolCorp launches merchant capture product

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (2/8/10)--Volunteer Corporate CU (VolCorp) completed a successful beta testing of its merchant capture product with Collegedale (Tenn.) CU. The product, ezcapture, is a Web-based remote deposit solution available to member credit unions. Ezcapture--an alternative to branch capture--allows credit unions to review and approve merchant deposits prior to transmission to VolCorp and to have the ability to set deposit limits per item, deposit or daily total. Credit unions can use the tool with their business members, too. VolCorp is based in Nashville, Tenn.

Diebold announces 4Q 2009 financials

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (2/5/10)--ATM manufacturer Diebold has released its fourth quarter 2009 financials. Diebold reported fourth quarter 2009 income from continuing operations attributable to Diebold at $7.9 million, or $0.12 per share. The amounts are down 55% and 54%, respectively, from fourth quarter 2008. Fourth quarter 2009 revenue was $724.9 million, down 8% from the same period in 2008. Full-year 2009 income from continuing operations was $73.1 million, or $1.09 per share, both down 32% and 33% respectively from 2008. Full-year 2009 revenue was $2.7 billion, down 12% from 2008. “We delivered solid operational results during the fourth quarter, despite a number of challenges the financial industry continues to face,” said Thomas W. Swidarski, Diebold president/CEO. Diebold also said it is planning to eliminate 350 full-time jobs in its North American operations. “Our business related to bank branch construction in North America, remains especially challenging and will likely not return to historical norms in the near future,” Swidarski said. “To improve our ability to invest in key growth initiatives, we are realigning our organization and resources to better support our opportunities in the emerging growth markets.”

CUAnswers sponsors two contests

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (2/5/10)--CU*Answers, a credit union service organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich., is offering two contests for its credit union clients. The first contest, which CU*Answers has sponsored for the past two years, aims to broadcast the credit union message. Credit unions are challenged to create a video that best promotes the topic, “Your Credit Union is Everywhere.” The winning credit union will receive $1,500. Entries are due Feb. 15. The winner will be announced at the CU*Answers Leadership Conference on June 23. The winning video will be premiered at the conference. Videos will be judged by CU*Answers staff, board members and Fulvew Productions. Use the link to view past winning videos. CU*Answers also is sponsoring its Spec Writer contest, which will reward $2,500 to the person who designs the best spec for an integrated CU*BASE tool. A good project spec requires imagining and clearly explaining big-picture, high level overview of the project and including details that define how the software will behave and what the end-use experience will be, CU*Answers said. Specs must be submitted by April 30 in Microsoft Word documents, and include an introduction that can be adapted for a release summary when the project is implemented. Detail and structure guidelines for the specs are available on CU*Answers’ website. Suggested project ideas include creating an on-demand process for members opting into a credit union’s skip-a-pay program, a configuration and work process to handle common wire transfers, and integration of a savings bond redemption flow into teller processing. Original ideas are recommended, said the CUSO. For more information, use the links.

Products and Services briefs (02/04/2010)

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* TEMPE, Ariz. (2/5/10)--LemmonTree Marketing Group’s new website highlights video interviews with 10 credit union executives and marketing professionals on what this year will offer for credit unions. The site is called “Credit Union Sustainability, 2010 and Beyond” ... * LINDEN, N.J. (2/5/10)--Integrated Media Management, a document output management and automation technology provider, announced that it has received 11 orders for TotaleChecks in the past two months, bringing the number of check orders to date to 182. TotaleChecks aim to help financial institutions eliminate manual storage and retrieval of paper checks, and reduce security risks ... * GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (2/5/10)--CU*Answers, a credit union service organization will release its 9.6 CU*BASE Software upgrade Feb. 14. The update will add security enhancements to CU*Answers’ online banking platform, It’s Me 247. The enhancements include requiring security questions at login and expanding the minimum online banking password length to six characters. A password strength meter also has been added ... * GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (2/5/10)--Sixty-three credit unions are participating in CU*Answers’ Risk Management Report Generator website. The tool is an Internet-based due diligence product developed with WESCO Net. CU*Answers aimed to sign up 50 credit unions to the site by the end of 2009. Xtend, a credit union service organization in Grand Rapids, Mich., helped drive awareness of the tool with an outbound call campaign ...

CU Student Choice partners with CFS

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WASHINGTON (2/4/10)--Credit Union Student Choice, which provides turnkey private student lending services to credit unions, announced a strategic business partnership with Collegiate Funding Solutions (CFS), a provider of Web-based college funding solutions and college planning software for the financial services industry. The partnership will provide cross promotion by each organization and an integrated package to credit unions that offer both programs, according to Mike Weber, vice president of marketing for Credit Union Student Choice. This will result in new marketing channels and much-needed rationale and context for private student loans as part of a coordinated college-funding plan, he said. To introduce the sponsorship for credit unions, the two organizations will host informational webinars on Feb. 17 and Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. ET. For more information, use the resource link. Credit Union Student Choice, a credit union service organization, serves nearly 100 credit unions across the country.

CU Retail Delivery Convention June 30-July 2

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ONTARIO, Calif. (2/4/10)--Financial Services Centers Cooperative (FSCC), PSCU Financial Services and Ongoing Operations will co-host the Credit Union Retail Delivery Convention in Chicago June 30-July 2. Headlining the event is Chris Sacca, Twitter adviser and former head of special initiatives for Google. Sacca will engage credit unions to build empowering and innovative workplace cultures. The conference aims to help credit unions discover new ways to enhance their product offerings, communicate and connect more effectively with members, and grow business. FSCC’s credit union Shared Branching network has 6,300 full-service, deposit-taking locations in the U.S. and abroad. PSCU Financial Services provides online bill pay and a contact center for credit unions. Ongoing Operations offers credit unions software and processing solutions.

CUNA HRTD Council Conference set for April

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MADISON, Wis. (2/4/10)--Registration and conference information is now available for the 16th annual CUNA HR/TD Council Conference. The conference will be held April 11-14, in Orlando, Fla. General sessions include an economics update by Mike Schenk, vice president of economics at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA); “Heading Towards Virtual: The Concept Of Personal Bankers” by Tony Ward Smith, president, Ward & Company: Performance Counsel to Credit Unions; and leadership sessions from Kirk Weisler, speaker and author, and Dave Timmons, leadership artist. “In today’s fast-paced economy, time is of the essence when planning strategies for success,” said Jennifer Morse, vice president, human resources at Empower FCU in Syracuse, N.Y. and chair of the CUNA HR/TD Council. “Credit unions must invest in the potential of every employee, and this year’s conference will help credit unions succeed by strengthening their most important asset: people.” Attendees can earn up to 15 recertification hours toward their Professional in Human Resources, Senior Professional in Human Resources and Global Professional in Human Resources recertifications through the Human Resource Certification Institute. Three certification credits are offered to attendees of the pre-conference workshop and 12 to those attending general sessions and breakouts. Additional topics include:
* An introduction to social media for human resources; * General employment law update for 2010; * Business continuity; * Team building and coaching workshops; and * Compensation trends.
The council serves human relations and training development professionals at credit unions. For more information, use the link.

Calif.Nevada leagues team up with Autoland

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ONTARIO, Calif. (2/3/10)--The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have partnered with Autoland to help credit union members with auto buying. Autoland is an auto buying service based in Chatsworth, Calif. Autoland can help credit union members find the car of their choice without extensive hours of research and visiting multiple dealerships, the leagues said. “Autoland consultants can do the research, locate the car, negotiate the price on behalf of the member, take care of trade-ins and coordinate the loan either directly through the credit union or an indirect channel like CUDL, plus deliver the car to the member’s home, work or nearest credit union branch," said Sylvia Fath, league senior vice president of business services. CUDL is an auto lender for credit unions. Autoland provides services to credit unions in 17 states.

Blue Oaks Analytics now called Lending Insights

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ONTARIO, Calif. (2/3/10)--Blue Oaks Analytics has changed its name to Lending Insights. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of CUDL, a credit union auto lender. Lending Insights also integrated four new tools to its Lending Performance Management System (LPMS), including Mortgage Lending, Revolving Credit, CUDL Origination Benchmark Reporting and Portfolio Analysis. LPMS is a set of online monitoring and reporting tools to help credit union lending, finance and collections executives monitor loan portfolios. Lending Insights develops analytic and business intelligence tools to help credit unions in the lending marketplace.

CU 24 surveys industry on products services challenges

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (2/3/10)--Credit Union 24, a credit union-owned ATM and point-of-sale (POS) network, is conducting an industry survey to identify trends in products, services and challenges. Credit union representatives can complete the survey and be eligible to win $1,000. The 15-question survey is accessible until the conclusion of the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). Use the link. Individuals also can complete the survey at the Credit Union 24 booth during the conference Feb. 21-23. The GAC takes place Feb. 21-25 in Washington, D.C. Survey questions address member behavior in using ATMs and POS terminals, including personal identification number and signature-based debit transactions, and social marketing. The survey also seeks to identify challenges that credit unions are experiencing in attracting new members, marketing strategies and tactics, and products and services. Those who complete the survey will be entered to win pre-loaded Visa cards valued up to $1,000. The drawings for the cards will be Feb. 23.

CU Suppliers Conference set for Feb. 19

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WASHINGTON (2/2/10)--The Credit Union Supplier’s Conference will be held Feb. 19 in Washington. D.C. The conference is geared toward credit union vendors, suppliers and credit union service organizations. The conference, sponsored by Callahan and Associates, will include sessions focused on top priorities for credit union CEOs, legislative reform affecting the industry and techniques for market segmentation. Two roundtables will be featured--one executive roundtable, and another to share information on creating credit union advisory groups to enhance products and services. Callahan CEO Chip Filson will speak on new credit union opportunities afforded by the challenging economy and the positive media focus on the industry. The conference precedes the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference, Feb. 21-25 in Washington, D.C.

Products and Services briefs (02/01/2010)

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* MURRIETA, Calif. (2/2/10)--CUTEK signed 47 clients in 2009 to use its products and services--and 50% of those clients were repeat business customers. CUTEK is a California-based financial technology development and consulting firm for credit unions. The firm also noted that it delivered roughly 3,000 programming consulting hours to its clients and hired four new employees ... * MEMPHIS, Tenn. (2/2/10)--uMonitor, an online technology solutions provider, ended 2009 with more than 15% revenue and profit growth. The company expanded its client base by more than 20% and provided solutions and upgrades to almost half of its client base. uMonitor has experienced profitable growth since 2003 and continues to do well despite a tough economic environment, the company said. Other achievements last year included doubling money transfer volumes; introducing Release 5.0, a switch kit associated with uOpen and uFund; and partnering with Open Solutions, Haberfeld Associates, T8 Webware and BANKDetect ... * AUSTIN, Texas (2/2/10)--Jwaala, which offers the online banking solution MoneyTracker, announced that it has added Twitter and Skype alerting capabilities to MoneyTracker. The alerts allow credit union members to use the tool to receive from their financial institutions information such as security notices, transaction information or other custom alerts. Twitter and Skype send private messages to the user within the application. Jwaala is based in Austin, Texas ... * DES MOINES, Iowa (2/2/10)--The Members Group (TMG) has rewarded these credit unions for top holiday gift card sales: Tradesman Community CU, Des Moines, Iowa; Affinity CU, Des Moines; and IH Mississippi Valley CU, Moline, Ill. TMG also named Cornerstone CU, Des Moines, Most Improved for 2009 for ATIRAgift Sales. All credit unions offering TMG’s ATIRAgift card could participate in the sales contest, which counted sales from Nov. 1 to Jan. 2. TMG also noted that five Iowa credit unions have opted to add ATIRAgift card to their existing offering. The clients include: ACE Community CU, Ames; Casebine Community CU, Burlington; Mercy-City-Lehigh Family CU, Mason City; Metco CU, Cedar Rapids; and Meridian CU, Ottumwa. TMG is a credit union service organization ...