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Free Discovery Webinars tackle mobile lending compliance

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MADISON, Wis. (4/2/12)--CUNA Mutual Group's free Discovery Webinar series continues with two events this month.

John Putman, CUNA Mutual's lending business systems director, will present "Mobile Lending: The Trends and Issues Impacting Your Credit Union," at 12:15 p.m. CT April 11. The presentation will explore trends and issues surrounding mobile technologies and discuss what's driving their rapid pace of adoption with credit unions and their members.

Putman will examine the demographic shift in credit union membership, why members are embracing smartphones for their mobile banking and new mobile-lending needs, and social media's emerging role in how credit unions communicate with members.

Bill Klewin, CUNA Mutual product compliance leader, and Lauren Calhoun, compliance manager, will present "Regulatory Compliance Update" at 12:15 p.m. CT on April 18.

Klewin and Calhoun also will discuss the direction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Credit Union Administration and explain how changes in the regulatory and enforcement structure may affect credit unions.

Both Discovery Webinars are free, 60-minute events that include live question-and-answer sessions. To register, use the link.

Ongoing Operations hosts cloud for NeighborBench

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ROCKVILLE, Md. (3/30/12)--NeighborBench, a provider of compliance solutions for credit unions, recently chose Ongoing Operations, a business continuity and technology credit union service organization, to host its secure, cloud-based infrastructure.

Ongoing Operations is a CUNA Strategic Service provider.

"Our platform was designed to provide community financial institutions with the kind of bench strength they need to tackle complex issues--like compliance--more efficiently," said Ken Wolff, founder/managing partner of NeighborBench. "We needed a partner who was familiar with the strict security requirements of credit unions and were impressed with the depth and breadth of the cloud solutions Ongoing Operations offers."

"One of the most exciting things about our cloud-based solutions is the flexibility and scalability they provide for credit union vendors," added Kirk Drake, Ongoing Operations CEO. In addition to serving credit unions directly, the company provides suppliers with platforms that suit their needs.

NeighborBench's compliance solution combines automated tools with professional expertise and is designed to help reduce the primary challenges of compliance: cost, time, resource requirements, and the disruptive nature of traditional consulting firm solutions, the company said.

Akcelerant Advisors acquires CU Data Miner LLC

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MALVERN, Pa. (3/30/12)--Akcelerant Advisors LLC, a provider of business performance management and analytics, has acquired CU Data Miner LLC to lead its analytics arm.

CU Data Miner is a provider of business intelligence reporting and business process improvement solutions for credit unions.

The company's founder, Kevin Bingham, has signed on to lead Akcelerant Advisors' analytics practice as managing partner.

As part of the acquisition, Akcelerant Advisors will take ownership of all of CU Data Miner's existing products and customers, which will become the basis for the company's analytics practice along with Akcelerant Spotlight, a data analysis, reporting and information collaboration tool.

CUCC selects Innovative Card Services

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INDIANAPOLIS (3/30/12)--Credit Union Card Center (CUCC), a subsidiary of the Indiana Credit Union League's Servicecorp, has selected Innovative Card Services (ICS) to offer Visa gift, travel money and general purpose reloadable cards.

CUCC already works with ICS to offer the Visa payroll card.

"The popularity of prepaid and reloadable cards continues to grow, and more consumers are looking to their credit unions to purchase the cards," said Diana Arnold, Servicecorp chief operating officer, who oversees CUCC.

"This partnership between Servicecorp and ICS will offer consumers the ease of purchasing cards at their credit union and it allows credit unions to take advantage of the networking power of Servicecorp to obtain the cards affordably, expeditiously and conveniently."

Paper To grow CUs must adapt to new consumers

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DES MOINES, Iowa (3/29/12)--A new white paper from Coopera Consulting offers credit unions guidance for initiating a strategic plan to serve the Hispanic market.

That plan begins with asking the right questions, writes the paper's author, Miriam De Dios, vice president of Coopera Consulting, an Iowa-based economic firm focused on the emerging Hispanic market. Coopera is owned by Affiliates Management Company, the holding company of the Iowa Credit Union League, and is a strategic alliance partner of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

"Credit unions realize that the face of the American consumer is changing and that to grow membership, they must adapt to their new consumers, instead of forcing them to adapt to the credit union," writes De Dios.

Credit unions can lower their average age of membership by attracting Hispanic members, De Dios notes. Because it is a largely underserved group, helping Hispanic members navigate the U.S. financial system is an important part of the overall credit union mission.

"Hispanic outreach is an indispensable investment in the future," writes De Dios. "Yet having a Hispanic growth strategy on its own will not generate the kind of success a credit union needs. It is the integration of a Hispanic growth strategy with the credit union's overall strategic future that will ultimately create sustainable success."

The paper offers six questions credit unions can ask in assessing whether to develop a strategic plan to serve their local Hispanic community:

  1. Is the credit union well-positioned to target and serve the Hispanic market?
  1. How many Hispanic members is the credit union currently serving?
  1. What milestones has the credit union already achieved?
  1. How many Hispanic members could the credit union serve and what is the income potential?
  1. What are the opportunities and challenges faced by the credit union?
  1. What are the best-practice strategies that will attract and retain Hispanic members?
To download the white paper, use the link.

Coopera and CUNA have introduced three training products aimed at helping credit unions better serve the Hispanic immigrant market. The products include two on-demand training courses for credit union staff and one seminar in a box kit to help credit unions host financial educational events for the Hispanic immigrants in their communities. To access the products, use the links.

Facial detection features added to Searchlight

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OTTAWA (3/29/12)--March Networks, a provider of intelligent Internet protocol video solutions and video surveillance systems, has added new features to its Searchlight surveillance portfolio.

The newest Searchlight features include a new color detection analytic, improved facial detection, and a new snapshot timeline.

The portfolio consists of financial transaction investigation software, which synchronizes ATM and teller transaction records with quality surveillance video. It also includes skimming detection, image tracker and license plate tracker applications that help financial institutions make centralized searches that correlate video, transaction information, facial images and license plate data.

A new color detection analytic introduces another layer of evidence filtering to aid and speed searches across multiple banking locations simultaneously. Investigators can search ATM lobby footage for a suspect wearing a red shirt, for example, or combine that search parameter with specific banking card numbers or ATM transaction amounts to zero in on evidence quicker.

Searchlight's enhanced facial detection analytic automatically captures the best instance of a member/customer's face during a transaction, providing more reliable identification for investigations and law enforcement.

A new visual timeline, which offers a scrolling line-up of corresponding images for any selected timeframe, helps investigators narrow searches faster.

CU 24 has growth spurt in 4Q

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (3/29/12)--Credit Union 24 added eight credit unions to its credit union-owned ATM and point-of-sale network during March.

Since fourth quarter 2011, 32 credit unions have joined the network, representing more than $10 billion in assets and more than a million credit union members nationwide. 

The eight new credit unions that joined the network during March include:

  • MUNA FCU, Meridian, Miss.; 
  • Northwest Resource FCU, Portland, Ore.;
  • Sears Spokane Employees FCU, Spokane, Wash.; 
  • 3Rivers FCU, Fort Wayne, Ind.;
  • The Atlantic FCU, Kenilworth, N.J.;
  • Unitus Community CU, Portland, Ore.;
  • Universal City Studios CU, Universal City, Calif.; and
  • W-G FCU, Worchester, Mass.

Android support added to CO-OP My Deposit Mobile

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (3/28/12)--CO-OP Financial Services  is adding Android support to its CO-OP My Deposit Mobile service, which means credit union members can deposit checks to their accounts from their phones.

Adding the service "helps credit unions gain a competitive advantage because many financial institutions that have mobile products have not yet deployed a remote deposit function," said Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services.  The new functionality "also adds to a credit union's ability to offer convenient access to accounts for members, which is what all CO-OP products are designed to do."

For credit unions, the new product means they can better appeal to younger, tech-savvy members.  For members, CO-OP My Deposit Mobile eliminates geographic restrictions and allows them to access their accounts anytime, anywhere.

The service is an add-on to CO-OP Mobile, allowing credit unions to capture, proof and clear digital check images submitted by members using their smart phones. The product has been available to iPhone users for more than one year. 

The Android deposit function, which requires deployment of a new Android application, is available to credit unions immediately. It works similar to the iPhone function.  Members take pictures of the check front and back, enter the amount, select the deposit account and upload the images. The interface design and navigation is similar to the Android's browser mode for CO-OP Mobile.

Webinar explains financing manufactured homes

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WASHINGTON (3/28/12)--A free webinar on financing manufactured homes, co-presented by I'm Home, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (NFCDCU) and Fair Mortgage Collaborative, will be held at 3:30 ET April 5.

The webinar will explain the characteristics of the low- and moderate-income market and highlights the approaches taken by two community credit unions--BECU, Tukwila, Wash., and Self-Help CU, a community development credit union based in Durham, N.C.

Credit unions, finance professionals and manufactured home stakeholders can learn about credit union innovations and findings from data analysis of almost $1.5 billion in manufactured loan data reported by I'm Home's Single Family Finance initiative.

BALANCE offers new budgeting tool

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SAN FRANCISCO (3/28/12)--BALANCE, a financial education and counseling service for credit union members, now offers OnTrack, an online budgeting and financial empowerment tool.

OnTrack guides users through the steps of creating a budget that helps them reduce debt or realize goals, such buying a car or a home.

Upon completion of their OnTrack budget, users may submit their information to BALANCE for a counseling session, or opt to inform their credit union that they've completed a money management plan as part of a requirement set for certain products or services.

OnTrack users also can notify their credit union that they would like more information about particular financial products offered by the credit union.

More than 600 credit unions nationwide, representing more than 28 million members, partner with BALANCE to strengthen member relationships, reduce losses, support salary advance or overdraft privilege programs, provide identity theft tools and support, and provide critical financial management tools for their members. Many use the partnership as an outreach tool to serve the underserved in their communities, as an additional selling point to current and potential select employee groups, and to differentiate themselves from other financial institutions.

CUAnswers announces rate analysis software updates

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/27/12)--CU*Answers, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization (CUSO), has introduced core software that provides CU*Answers data processing clients with the ability to share product rates with one another.

With the software series, called "Learn from a Peer," credit unions can click a button and compare products side-by-side with multiple CU*Answers clients.

The rate trending tools are part of the core functionality of CU*Answers flagship data processing software, CU*BASE. The new trending and analysis tools are part of a free software upgrade that CU*Answers has released to its clients.

CU*Answers also announced two additional developments:

  • A rollout of new core functionality to its data processing functionality. The 11.6 software release includes new workflow and member-service updates that give a global member relationship summary across several accounts.
  • A redesign of its loan application screens. The redesign allows credit unions to pull a specific trade line on a credit bureau report with a pop-up window on a core application.

SunCorp. ProfitStars to power its ACH services

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WESTMINSTER, Colo. (3/27/12)--SunCorp has reached an agreement with ProfitStars to power the corporate credit union's automated clearinghouse solutions.

This will replace the U.S. Central Bridge ACH System, APEX, and offer increased user and risk management reporting, more duplicate file-detection features, and integrated Office of Foreign Assets Control screening for international ACH entries, SunCorp said.

SunCorp's new service, named mACH (Members ACH), provides an upgrade in functionality and reporting for its members' ACH services.

"After extensive research and due diligence, we found ProfitStars' ACH solutions to be a great fit for our member credit unions," said Brandt Peterson, SunCorp executive vice president and chief financial officer. "This solution improves on the features of APEX with even more functionality and benefits."

In addition to its enhanced features, mACH includes many of the familiar processes of APEX, including the processing of receipt, return, and origination files through a Web-based solution.

mACH will be accessed through the SunCorp Application Portal, SunCorp's secure and single-sign-on access point. Online help features and multiple training will be provided to help transition current APEX users.

ProfitStars, a division of Jack Henry & Associates Inc., provides services to more than 1,000 credit unions using its ACH services.

Kasasa 360 banking products launched

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (3/27/12)--BancVue has launched Kasasa 360, the latest version of the firm's online personal finance platform.

Kasasa 360 allows consumers to securely aggregate and manage all of their financial products, including those they hold at other financial institutions. 

BancVue introduced Kasasa in 2009 as way for community financial institutions to join forces under a national brand to compete with big banks. To date, a total of 130 credit unions and banks across 38 states have joined the brand alliance to pool their advertising and marketing resources under the Kasasa brand and offer more competitive products to their members and customers.

Nearly 150 community financial institutions nationwide have signed on to offer Kasasa 360.

CUDL paper offers indirect lending strategies

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ONTARIO, Calif. (3/26/12)--CUDL, a credit union auto lending solutions provider and administrator of the largest U.S. auto lending network for credit unions, has released a new white paper that examines the keys to successful credit union indirect auto lending programs.

The white paper, "Successful Indirect Auto Lending Programs Build on Credit Union Strengths in Relationship and Portfolio Management," profiles a cross section of small to large credit unions that had lower charge-off and delinquency rates when compared with the credit union national average.

The paper reveals how the credit unions formulated their indirect auto lending programs and the underlying processes they developed to help ensure a smooth and profitable outcome.

Among the key factors identified for successful indirect programs were consistency, visibility and accountability in all areas--reporting and analysis, communication, dealer relationship management, underwriting, staff development and training, and portfolio management.

Auto lending continues to be a significant portion of the credit union loan portfolio, accounting for 29% of credit union loans outstanding, with indirect auto loans accounting for roughly 43% of credit union auto loans in the third quarter of 2011. Credit union market share within the auto lending arena has remained above 17% since May of 2011 and currently stands at 17.4%, said CUDL.

The paper points out that indirect auto lending continues to provide credit unions with a viable opportunity to increase loan penetration, grow member base, improve loans-to-share ratio and, as a result, diversify and grow their balance sheets.

Some other statistics revealed are:

  • Nationally, auto loans represent $166 billion dollars for credit unions in the third quarter of 2011.
  • As of third quarter 2011, indirect auto loans accounted for 43% of credit union auto loans outstanding, compared with  37% for the same quarter of 2007.
  • In terms of unit loan volumes, vehicle loans account for the largest share of credit union loans outstanding at 32%, in contrast to first mortgages, which comprise 4% of the total loan volume for all credit unions nationwide.

LaCorp signs Lending Tools for correspondent services

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HARAHAN, La. (3/26/12)--The Louisiana Corporate CU has signed an agreement with Lending Tools (LT)  to provide third-party correspondent financial services for the corporate's members, according to the Louisiana Credit Union League.

LT's Private Correspondent Gateway will replace LaCorp's current automated clearinghouse (ACH) system (eNews March 21). Member credit unions will have a custom single sign-on portal for their ACH needs and in the future will be able to consolidate and expand service offerings. Securing the solution will be LT's biometric multi-factor authentication system.

An added service from LT will mean LaCorp can provide member credit unions with their own branded LT cash management systems to business members. Credit unions will be able to easily provide business members with cost-effective ACH services seamless integrated into LaCorp's Private Correspondent Gateway for processing.

David Savoie, president/CEO of LaCorp, noted that LT has had recent success with other corporate credit union deployments.

ESPNs Berman to speak at CO-OP THINK conference.

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (3/23/12)--ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman will speak at the THINK 12 Conference.

THINK 12, produced annually by CO-OP Financial Services, will take place April 29- May 2.

This year, for the first time, the THINK conference will be held on the East Coast.

The featured speakers at THINK 12 will be focusing on the topics of cult brand, reinvention and creativity as means of addressing credit union industry issues.

Berman will be tackling cult brand, drawing on the corporate success of the ESPN cable television network.

Real estate channel can up mortgage volume

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (3/23/12)--CU Realty Service LLS , a credit union service organization has released a white paper: "A Credit Union's Guide to Increasing Purchase Mortgage Share Through Real Estate Services."

"With home prices and interest rates at extremely low levels, credit unions are well-positioned to capitalize on these conditions," said CU Realty Services Chief Executive Officer Mike Corn. "Yet, they continue to struggle to capture their share of the purchase mortgage market."

The paper highlights the challenges that members, credit unions and real estate agents face during the real estate transactions. Among the challenges credit unions face:
  • The credit union is not the buyer's first point of contact in the mortgage transaction;
  • The credit union does not have strong relationships with real estate agents;
  • The credit union does not have a real estate marketing channel;
  • Members don't think of the credit union as a place that offers mortgage services;
  • Members pre-qualified by the credit union often end up going to other lenders;
  • The credit union has limited means of saving money for a member on a transaction; and
  • The member chooses a lender before the credit union is aware of the need.
The paper highlights the concept of "first point of contact" within the real estate transaction. An overwhelming number of home buyers and sellers rely on their first point of contact, typically a real estate agent, for everything related to the transaction, and including securing the financing.

This works against credit unions, because agents tend to direct clients to their preferred lenders, according to the paper. One way to overcome this disadvantage is to create a network of real estate agents who understand and service member needs while protecting credit unions' mortgage interests. Doing so, credit unions can increase their mortgage volume by up to 40%, according to CU Realty Services.

CUAnswers teams with Fulvew to provide marketing videos

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/23/12)--CU*Answers, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization, has partnered with Fulvew Productions to provide a series of videos.

Credit unions can incorporate the series, which includes nine videos, into their marketing efforts at a fraction of the cost if they were to be developed independently, CU*Answers said. The videos can be customized to include a credit union's logo, Web address, or professional voice.

Multiple credit unions already use these videos for initiatives, such as linking to a credit union's website, internal lobby monitors, television advertising and YouTube, CU*Answers said.

Each video may be branded by Fulvew Productions to a specific credit union.

The video series is designed to help credit unions better connect with their members and to be even more recognized within their communities, CU*Answers said.

In another partnership, CU*Answers will offer MoneyDeskTop's personal financial management tool. Credit union members can access the tool when using the It's Me 247 Online Banking system. Users will see a "MoneyDesktop," which will provide a direct link to the MoneyDesktop website.

CU Directs Vero introduces ID theft solutions

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ONTARIO, Calif. (3/22/12)--Vero, a subsidiary of CU Direct Corp. and provider of identity recovery and vehicle aftermarket products and services for the credit union and automotive marketplaces, has announced new identify theft solutions for credit unions and their members.

Vero's new suite of solutions--unveiled this week during the Credit Union National Association  Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington D.C.--includes three products designed to provide credit unions, their employees and members with protection from identity theft and fraud. The new resources enhance service offerings, improve member retention, and solve risk mitigation issues specific to Red Flag requirements, the company said.

The company's ID Recovery Pros solution protects members and their families from all forms of identity theft and fraud.

The suite's new IDProSelect solution provides credit unions with protection from data breaches and fraud, while addressing risk management needs and providing recovery services from all forms of identity theft for members and employees.

Vero's VBiz product provides business-to-business protection to help credit unions protect their small-business accounts against all types of data breach and fraud events.

New Akcelerant company focuses on BPM analytics

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MALVERN, Pa. (3/22/12)--The formation of a new company--Akcelerant Advisors LLC--was announced Monday by Jay Mossman, president/CEO of Akcelerant Holdings LLC.

Akcelerant Advisors will have three practice areas:

  1. R2--Will focus on revenue enhancement and risk mitigation strategies; 
  2. Framework BPM--Will assist Akcelerant Software customers in achieving the highest return on their software investment with best practices for business process management; and
  3. Analytics--Will provide a complete analytics product.


"For quite some time our customers have been requesting us to provide additional services to assist them with business process re-engineering and analytics," Mossman said. "The creation of Akcelerant Advisors will allow us to fulfill these types of requests for both existing Akcelerant Software customers, as well as other industry financial institutions."

Also, Jim Simon, senior vice president of SunCoast Schools FCU, Tampa, Fla., will join Akcelerant Advisors as president April 1.

Akcelerant Holdings in Malvern, Pa., is the holding company to Akcelerant Software, which provides connected software applications to the financial services industry through product lines and integration to service providers.

Bluepoint Catalyst team on teller capture mobile deposit

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WASHINGTON (3/22/12)--Catalyst Corporate FCU and Bluepoint Solutions have expanded their partnership to offer Bluepoint's teller capture and mobile deposit application to Catalyst Corporate's member credit unions. The partnership will give members access to Bluepoint's entire suite of Check 21 applications.

Since 2006, the two organizations have provided credit unions solutions for branch capture, remote deposit capture and electronic cashletter processing. With the expanded partnership, Catalyst will resell teller and mobile capture, in addition to branch, merchant, ATM and home capture channels. Bluepoint's ImagePoint Teller is available for purchase directly from Catalyst.  QwikDeposit ToGo is available integrated with Catalyst's current mobile banking application provided by Malauzai Software.

Bluepoint Solutions, based in Vista, Calif., provides remote deposit capture, item processing and enterprise content management solutions to credit unions, corporate credit unions and credit union service organizations nationwide.

Catalyst Corporate, based in Plano, Texas, provides item processing, electronic funds transfers and investment services for more than 1,000 credit unions nationwide.

Corporate America partners with Sallie Mae

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IRONDALE, Ala. (3/22/12)--Corporate America CU has partnered with Sallie Mae to offer a private student loan program to its member credit unions. 

The Smart Option Student Loan, which is designed to supplement federal student loans and other financial aid, assists families in covering the rising cost of college tuition and offers degree-seeking students low interest rates and in-school payment choices to help them graduate with less debt, said the Irondale, Ala. corporate.

The loan rewards responsible borrowers with benefits such as an on-time payment reward and interest-rate discounts for automatic payments. Borrowers can choose from three in-school monthly repayment options. Depending on the option chosen, a typical freshman can save an estimated 17% to 49% in interest charges and pay off the loan three to eight years faster after graduation than a conventional 15-year payment-deferred loan.

Fynanz hits 180-client milestone

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NEW YORK (3/21/12--Fynanz Inc., a financial technology provider of student loan marketing, education, origination and repayment solutions for credit unions and other lenders, has passed the 180 lending partners milestone.

Fynanz, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider, said  five credit unions have become Fynanz private student lending services  clients.  They are:

  • Linn Area CU, $285 million assets, Cedar Rapids, Iowa;
  • City County CU, $300 million assets, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.;
  • Hanscom FCU, $900 million assets, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.;
  • Cornerstone Community FCU, $300 million assets, Lockport, N.Y.; and
  • Sooper CU, $250 million assets, Denver.
Linn Area CU, Hanscom FCU and Cornerstone Community FCU are the most recent clients to build customized programs on the Fynanz platform, with its solutions tailored to the product and credit requirements of each credit union and its members.

City County CU and Sooper CU joined  the cuStudentLoans program, which is managed by Student Lending LLC, a credit union service organization that designed the program using common underwriting and pricing. The solution also includes loan participation to mitigate risk.

MoneyGram Fiserv expand P2P payment capabilities

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DALLAS (3/21/12)--MoneyGram International, a global money transfer company, and Fiserv Inc., a global provider of financial services technology solutions, announced an agreement Monday to expand person-to-person (P2P) capabilities.

Money Gram is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. The agreement will add MoneyGram's money transfer services to the menu of money movement options available to financial institutions and consumers through Popmoney from Fiserv's P2P payments product (BusinessWire March 19).

Upon integration, the 1,400 financial institutions in the Popmoney network can offer member/customers the ability to send money through MoneyGram's network, which spans more than 267,000 locations in 192 countries and territories. Consumers receiving funds through Popmoney also can opt to receive cash payments in person at any MoneyGram agent location.

"This relationship provides MoneyGram with access to a wide number of financial institutions that have existing relationships with Fiserv, expanding our reach in an easily scalable way," said Tim Summers, MoneyGram global head of strategic partnerships.

"With Popmoney, financial institutions can provide their customers with a faster, easier and more secure way to send and receive money from their bank or credit union accounts," said Neil Platt, senior vice president and general manager of payments, CashEdge Division, Fiserv. "Working with MoneyGram will allow Fiserv to enhance the Popmoney service with cross-border and cash payment options, and expand consumer choices for managing their money."

Popmoney allows bank customers and credit union members to request, send and receive electronic payments using their existing financial institution account. Consumers only need the recipient's e-mail address, mobile phone number or bank account information to send money.

CUNA Mutual enhances cybersecurity insurance

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MADISON, Wis. (3/21/12)--CUNA Mutual Group has enhanced its Cyber & Security Incident (CSI) insurance package by adding a new online resource. It provides policyholders with front-end education and awareness of cyber liability and data breach risks, and access to a "Breach Coach" and other remediation tools should a breach occur.

CyberRisk Hub will go live April 2, but credit unions got a sneak peek at it this week during the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

The website is available at no additional cost and offers policyholders resources to identify, measure and manage cyber liability and data breach exposures, said Brad Mundine, CUNA Mutual senior manager of risk management.

"CyberRisk Hub offers the latest cyber-related news, articles, best practices, white papers, blogs, and various risk management and compliance tools," he said.

It also offers loss mitigation information in the event of a data breach, and a Breach Coach and Incident Roadmap.

The Breach Coach feature will provide users with information needed to notify CUNA Mutual of a potential data breach, along with contact information at Kroll Fraud Solutions to help assess the breach.

The Incident Roadmap provides a high-level overview of services offered in Kroll's Professional Service Agreement, which is made available to all CSI policyholders.

Credit unions can access CyberRisk Hub from CUNA Mutual Group's online Protection Resource Center, with no additional login required.

The CSI Package, introduced in October 2010, pairs a broad insurance policy with two levels of critical data breach services to protect credit unions and their members in an internal data breach that compromises sensitive member data. CSI now protects roughly 300 credit unions, CUNA Mutual said.

"The evolution of the cyber world and virtual servicing are creating an emerging set of new risk exposures that can damage a credit union's reputation, shake members' trust, and cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair," Mundine said.

CyberRisk Hub adds online tools and resources to help credit unions develop a proactive approach to managing and responding to cyber risk.

Fiserv CUNA Mutual advance mobile lending to CUs

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WASHINGTON (3/20/12)--CUNA Mutual Group announced Monday it has reached an agreement with Fiserv to make mobile lending technology available to about 350 credit unions serving more than 2.5 million members.

The two companies will create a pilot program for users of the Portico account processing solution to integrate CUNA Mutual Group's Smartphone Loan technology, powered by loanliner.com, with Fiserv's account processing and loan origination solutions.

"The agreement between Fiserv and CUNA Mutual Group is one more way we're responding to the digital transformation taking place in the financial services industry," said Albert Ku, senior vice president, Credit Union Solutions, Fiserv. "This pilot program is evidence of how both of our organizations are thinking about members' use of technology in virtually every phase of their lives," he said.

Members of Portico credit union clients participating in the pilot will have access to enhanced mobile lending capabilities, including prefill of their member data and faster decisioning. When members log on to the loan applications from their smartphones, they can connect to CUNA Mutual's loanliner.com mobile technology.

The two organizations' software will interface with Fiserv's Access Advantage services to obtain member data, pull the desired credit bureau report, and evaluate the collected data against credit union-defined underwriting rules. The loanliner.com smartphone technology can use the underwriting response to respond to the member/applicant in seconds. From there, the loan application may go to Fiserv's Loancierge system for finalization, loan document preparation, booking and funding.

"The Smartphone Loan program enables members to apply for loans through their mobile devices with greater convenience," said Dan Murray, vice president, lending at CUNA Mutual. "In addition to streamlining the application process for the member, the solution offered through this pilot program will enable credit unions to grow loans, membership and non-interest income," he added. Credit unions also will benefit from loanliner.com's compliance expertise, he said.

PSCU Financial Services rebrands--now PSCU

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (3/20/12)--PSCU Financial Services is rebranding and repositioning with a new business model, and will now be known as PSCU, the credit union service organization (CUSO) announced Sunday.

The announcement was made in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference, which meets through Thursday in Washington, D.C.

"The status quo is our enemy. We have redefined our organization in order to better serve the credit union industry and our member-owners," said PSCU President/CEO Michael Kelly. "This evolution was a necessary part of our life cycle in order to fully deliver on our promise to be an innovative payments leader that empowers credit unions to compete and prosper."

St. Petersburg, Fla.-based PSCU, whose new positioning statement is "FORWARD,"  streamlined its business operations and created a Credit Union Experience Team to act as the hub of its service model to consult with credit unions on product and portfolio growth solutions based on individual needs.

PSCU will use a new payments strategy called MoPRO, member owner payment revenue optimization, to provide agile operating systems and innovative payment solutions so its credit union clients can increase member engagement and acquisition to generate gains in revenues and succeed in the marketplace.

"Partnerships are not based on transactions," Kelly said. "They are based on results that deliver mutual success. To that end, we've restructured to eliminate inefficiencies in interactions with our credit unions and to deepen and strengthen our engagement with our members."

PSCU has created an Innovation Lab to collaborate with credit unions to bring solutions to the market faster.  Within the first 90 days of opening the lab, three innovative solutions were generated: a PSCU Service Availability App, a Portfolio Performance Benchmarking App and the company's first mobile wallet solution, PSCU's Mobile Container."

PSCU is owned by more than 680 member credit unions representing 16 million credit, debit, prepaid, online bill payment, mobile and electronic banking accounts.

SCMS accepting first-year students

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FORT WORTH, Texas (3/20/12)--Southwest CUNA Management School (SCMS), a three-year program, is now accepting first-year applications for the July 8-18 session, said SCMS Director Janine McBee.

To ensure every student gets maximum benefit from the program, only 55 students will be admitted.

SCMS' curriculum focuses on advocacy, asset/liability management, innovation, leadership and strategic planning/thinking. The program is offered at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Located five miles from the heart of downtown Fort Worth, TCU has a long-standing reputation for excellence in academic teaching and research.

Prospective SCMS students can apply early in order to take advantage of two scholarship opportunities: the SCMS Scholarship (April 27 deadline for application) and the c2c: Connect to Collaborate Scholarship for one credit union professional under the age of 30.

For more information, use the links.

CSS continues to add alliances

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From left:  Barry Sloane, CEO, The Small Business Authority, powered by Newtek; Julie Esser, director of new alliance, CUNA Strategic Services (CSS); Eric Fosselman, vice president of sales, MoneyGram International; Dan Johnson, managing director, Twenty Twenty Analytics; Nakisha Garner, marketing manager, Diebold Inc.; and Mike Moehle, senior vice president of marketing and sales, BuzzBanking powered by fisoc (Photo provided by CUNA Strategic Services)
WASHINGTON (3/20/12)--CUNA Strategic Services (CSS) continues to add to its family of alliance providers and strengthen current relationships.

Recently, BuzzBanking powered by fisoc and Twenty Twenty Analytics became alliance providers with CSS.

BuzzBanking offers member loyalty rewards, and Twenty Twenty Analytics offers loan portfolio analysis, said CSS.

Agreements recently renewed by CSS include:

  • MoneyGram International;
  • Diebold Inc., which added mobile banking; and
  •  The Small Business Authority, powered by Newtek, which added health and benefits insurance for credit unions' small-business members.
CSS, which is jointly owned by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the state leagues, saved credit unions more than $30 million in 2011 through its alliance programs.

CSS officials met up with several of its service providers Sunday at  CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington D.C. The GAC ends on Thursday.

For more information about each of the providers, use the resource links provided.

CU4Kids CSS calendars net 5K for hospitals

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Joe Dearborn, senior director of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals' Credit Unions for Kids, and Brenda Halverson of CUNA Strategic Services announced at the 2012 Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference that CSS will donate 10% of the net proceeds of its calendar sales to the hospitals.(Photo provided by CUNA Strategic Services)
WASHINGTON (3/20/12)--Credit unions have purchased more than 62,000 calendars through the CUNA Strategic Services (CSS) calendar program, resulting in nearly $5,000 in donations to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

During the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington this week, Joe Dearborn, senior director of Credit Unions for Kids, and Brenda Halverson of CSS announced that this year CSS will donate 10% of its net proceeds of the specially branded calendar to the hospitals.

This is the third year that the CSS has donated proceeds from its calendar sales.  In 2010, when the program began, CSS sold 33,264 calendars; last year, it sold 29,097 calendars.

Children's Miracle Network Hospitals distributes the proceeds to local hospitals located near the credit unions that purchased the calendars.

Credit Unions for Kids is a nonprofit collaboration of credit unions, chapters, leagues/associations and business partners from across the country, engaged in fundraising activities to benefit 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

SocialVolt teams with DigitalMailer

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan., and HERNDON, Va. (3/19/12)--Credit union clients of digital communications provider DigitalMailer can access SocialVolt's social media management system (SMSS) through a new partnership announced by the two companies.

To ensure social media engagement does not come at the expense of compliance and risk management programs, SocialVolt's platform allows DigitalMailer clients to back up and archive social media content with a detailed audit trail, and allows staff to author social media content while ensuring that only trusted administrators retain control over passwords and account profiles.

"Credit unions, like all financial institutions, look at social media as a double edged sword," said Ron Daly, DigitalMailer president. "It can help build potentially lucrative relationships with members, but might come at the expense of remaining in compliance with industry regulations. With its uncomplicated, cohesive platform, strong risk and compliance features, and flexible pricing structure, SocialVolt was an obvious fit for DigitalMailer."

"Given the SocialVolt team's history in banking security and strong understanding of the unique challenges the industry faces, robust risk and compliance features were of the utmost importance when we developed the platform," said Scott Oppliger, SocialVolt CEO. "DigitalMailer's deep expertise in the credit union space will help us reach businesses who understand the importance of social media engagement, but require a platform uniquely suited to their heavily regulated industry."

TMG launches ClearTrend for biz intelligence

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DES MOINES, Iowa (3/19/12)--The Members Group (TMG) has launched a new data analytics tool that will allow its clients to analyze credit and debit-card data visually.

ClearTrend is a proprietary tool available to TMG's card-issuer clients.

ClearTrend data analytics combs through cardholder- and portfolio-level data to reveal patterns and trends in a credit card portfolio. It then presents those trends in graphs and tables within seconds.

Card managers and others can view measures, such as account balance, delinquency growth and cardholder spending. The data analytics tool also can chart the types of transactions made by cardholders and identify trends such as most frequented merchants.

"To achieve higher product penetration and deeper customer relationships, financial institutions need to become intimately familiar with their existing customers," said Shazia Manus, TMG CEO. "Laser-targeted data allow card managers to drill down to that cardholder level to better understand how their portfolios are--or could--perform under specific circumstances. This is precisely what ClearTrend does, and it does so with a quickness to efficiently test new products and ideas before pulling the trigger."

ClearTrend data are available in one of four core areas:

  • Account level views give users information on areas such as portfolio account and balance growth, daily portfolio snapshots, risk indicators and delinquency trending.
  • Financial level views help users gain knowledge on areas such as charge-offs, interchange, late and over-limit and other income, net interest and non-interest income.
  • Reward redemptions views help users comprehend reward-redemption trends, which are broken out by card type and reward type.
  • Transactional views include insight on where transactions are occurring geographically, as well as top merchant lists, trending by Standard Industrial Classification codes and categories, and trending on cardholder monthly spending, averages for transaction amount and counts, and active accounts versus overall account portfolio.

GTE FCU sees 83 hike in loans in last half of 2011

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TAMPA, Fla., and COSTA Mesa, Calif. (3/16/12)--Tampa, Fla.-based GTE FCU increased lending activity by an average of 83% during the last six months of 2011 by enabling both non-members and members to apply for loans online.

The $1.45 billion asset credit union began using a loan origination platform from Meridian Link, Costa Mesa, Calif., in April 2011 for all loan products except mortgages and home equity line of credit (HELOC) loans.

The platform also handles processing for both branch and indirect lending at GTE FCU.

A Meridian Link release stated the new capabilities help GTE FCU implement its strategy of targeting a broader geographic area by enabling consumers to apply for a loan 24/7 from their home or office.

GTE FCU has also used the platform to improve cross sales to new members. Applications for membership are integrated with live credit data by the loan system to qualify applicants for additional financial products and automatically generate offers.

Alloya partners with Core Network Processing

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WARRENVILLE, Ill. and LENEXA, Kan. (3/16/12)--Alloya Corporate FCU will provide technology services to corporate credit union service organization Core Network Processing (CNP) LLC, in an agreement announced Wednesday.

CNP was organized to provide core data processing services and a secure Internet portal to eight corporate credit unions. CNP also helps credit unions perform cash management functions.  

When the National Credit Union Administration announced that U.S. Central Bridge would wind down operations, CNP issued a bid request for a new service provider to replace support from U.S. Central Bridge. Alloya was the successful bidder over third parties outside the credit union system.

"Over the past few years, U.S. Central has provided CNP with exceptional service and support," said Teresa Brent, CNP managing director. "In Alloya, we have found a partner that has the technology expertise to ensure a seamless transition for CNP and ultimately the credit unions that use the system."

SE CUNA Management School taking registrations

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (3/16/12)--Registration is open for the Southeast CUNA Management School, scheduled for June 8-15.

The school is co-hosted by the University of Georgia in Athens and the credit union  associations representing Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia credit unions.

The Southeast CUNA Management School has for forty years included faculty from the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business and the credit union industry. The school's faculty for 2012 includes Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney.

Prospective students must be full-time employees of a league- and CUNA-affiliated credit union and have either management or supervisory responsibility. Enrollment is limited to 45 first-year students on a first-come, first-served basis. Scholarships are available through the host states' leagues for their member institutions.

The school curriculum is delivered in three annual stages, with students in residence for eight days of summer course work each year. Between annual sessions, students apply new knowledge to projects that require strategic analysis of their credit unions and research of relevant industry issues. Once enrolled in the first year, students must complete the three-year series within five calendar years.

Syphr CarLoans.com pilot ad platform for CUs

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FERNDALE, N.Y. (3/15/12)--Syphr LLC, a provider of personalized credit management applications, has contracted with Interactive Financial Marketing Group (IFMG) and CarLoan.com to test-market a digital media network focused on credit union vehicle lending to consumers. 

RateMatch, Syphr's patent-pending, pre-qualification rate and payment discovery technology, and CreditMart, a proprietary advertising platform for lenders, will power the experience and advertising optimization under license to IFMG. 

Experian, a credit-reporting bureau, has authorized Syphr to market its premium pre-qualification report to lenders as part of the test with IFMG. 

The report initially will be available through Syphr's direct-to-consumer property, SaveOnMyCarLoan.com, as a sub-domain of one of IFMG's auto loan lead generation websites: CarLoans.com.

The pre-qualification report is being marketed to consumers under the Syphr brand name, "Real Payments. Real Rates." on these sites. The pilot test will evaluate e-mail and organic traffic channels as part of a 90-day strategy to validate the offering and establish conversion metrics for the credit union marketplace.

For the pilot, Syphr will validate data provided by consumers and connect the most qualified consumer with relevant credit union loan offers on a pre-qualified basis. RateMatch, which filters consumer credit trade-line data and makes matches to various lender attributes, is the analytic that will support the "Real Rates. Real Payments." experience on CarLoans.com and SaveOnMyCarLoan.com.

The pilot test is scheduled to launch April 2.

MDT Bluepoint offer home mobile capture

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WARREN, Mich. and VISTA, Calif. (3/15/12)--Member Driven Technologies (MDT), a Michigan-based credit union-owned service organization (CUSO), and Bluepoint Solutions, a provider of remote deposit capture, item processing and enterprise content management solutions, have formed a partnership to provide MDT clients with access to Bluepoint's remote deposit capture solutions.

MDT will provide QwikDeposit Home and ToGo remote deposit capture (RDC) solutions to about 50 credit unions.

"In the past two years, online and mobile banking have emerged as our most sought-after offerings," said Larry Nichols, MDT's CEO. "As self-service channels continue to grow in popularity among consumers, so too does the demand for the ability to make deposits from multiple channels."

QwikDeposit will be offered through MDT's online and mobile banking offerings, allowing credit union members to make check deposits from home using a scanner or from their smartphone. Members key in the deposit amount and then either scan or take photos of the front and back of each check deposited. Deposits from both capture points are then included with the credit union's cash letter and processed for posting and clearing.

"CUSOs are vital to the credit union movement, especially as providers of new and innovative solutions that keep their member credit unions on the leading edge of technology," said Hal Tilbury, CEO and founder of Bluepoint Solutions.

Mortgage services provider announces guaranteerebate program

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DALLAS (3/14/12)--CU Members Mortgage is making a "CU Home Promise" to close mortgage loans within 40 days of receiving documentation or give members a $500 credit toward their closing.

The CU Home Promise service guarantee applies when CU Members Mortgage processes a mortgage loan for direct lending partners. The program also educates members about home loans throughout the mortgage process and provides value-added benefits, the company said.

A CU Members Mortgage release stated the guarantee was offered to say "thank you" to credit union partners as part of the company's celebration of 30 years in business.

CU Members Mortgage also introduced CU Home Advantage, a real estate services program that connects credit union members nationwide with a "member advocate" who helps them purchase or sell their home. Participating members are referred back to credit unions for home loan transactions.

Members who participate in the free program can receive a 20% rebate of real estate agent fees in states where rebates are permitted. They also benefit from a CU Members Mortgage partnership with Altair Global Relocation, Plano, Texas, said, said the mortgage services provider.

Minn. partnership expands mortgage options

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (3/14/12)--Minnesota Credit Union Network's Service Corp. has formed a partnership with AmeriCU Mortgage.

AmeriCU Mortgage is a full-service real estate financing firm that specializes in working with credit unions to help members buy, build and improve homes and investment properties. It offers services ranging from correspondent services to outsourcing, as well as conventional, Federal Housing Administration, homepath and reverse mortgages.

Through its outsourcing option, AmeriCU Mortgage staff work as part of the credit union's team, operating as employees and promoting established mortgage products. 

"AmeriCU Mortgage's expertise will be a great asset to our credit unions as they navigate the often complicated processes and procedures of real estate financing," said John Ferstl, MnCUN vice president, Network Service Corp. "Their loan experts serve as valuable resources that help credit unions maximize the mortgage service to members while minimizing expenses."

Intuit Bottomline to offer expanded solutions

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (3/14/12)--Intuit Inc. and Bottomline Technologies have formed a partnership to integrate Bottomline's services-oriented architecture with Intuit's open platform architecture.

As part of the partnership, Bottomline will acquire the commercial banking business from Intuit's financial services segment when the transaction closes.

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close within the next few weeks, were not announced.

The companies said they will work together through cross promotions, referrals and joint sales efforts to deliver solutions for financial institutions of all sizes.

"Improving the solutions and services small businesses and consumers receive from their financial institutions is more than an Intuit strength, it's in our DNA," said CeCe Morken, senior vice president and general manager of Intuit financial services. "This relationship enables us to further concentrate on helping financial institutions better engage these important customer segments and grow. At the same time, our commercial banking customers will benefit from Bottomline's focus and expertise in cash management."

Bottomline will transition its commercial banking solution set to a cloud computing, said Rob Eberle, Bottomline president/CEO. "This will allow us to better serve not only the large banks we currently focus on, but also to offer an extremely attractive proposition for the many medium sized and smaller financial institutions, which make up the majority of the banking market today," he said.

Intuit Inc. is a provider of business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses; financial institutions, including banks and credit unions; consumers and accounting professionals.

Bottomline Technologies provides collaborative payment, invoice and document automation solutions to corporations, financial institutions and banks worldwide.

White paper discusses card portfolio potential

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DES MOINES, Iowa (3/13/12)--A new white paper from TMG Financial Services underscores the importance of how credit unions should evaluate their credit card portfolios--even if they are not considering selling them.

"There is tremendous merit in taking a step back and evaluating your portfolio as if you were preparing to sell it," said Jeff Russell, author of the white paper, "Sale or no Sale: Maximizing the Value of Your Credit Card Portfolio," and president/CEO of TMG Financial Services (TMGFS). "This gives you a chance to look at the overall performance objectively, something you may not be doing on a regular basis."

Russell discusses how his company, a third-party agent issuer, takes a broad look at how pricing, risk management and marketing strategies can help--or hurt--a credit card portfolio.

"We have certain metrics that we look at when we evaluate a credit card portfolio for purchase," Russell said. "Those metrics are aligned with measuring how well your portfolio is performing, so even if credit unions aren't preparing to sell their portfolio most want to ensure they are maximizing the potential of the portfolio. Often times, there are just simple adjustments that can mean the world of difference, but the credit union hasn't had the time or resources to devote to periodic review."

Credit unions should address three areas: pricing, risk management and marketing, Russell said.

Competitively pricing credit cards is more than simply offering the lowest interest rate. The new reality dictates that credit unions must make continual adjustments to their pricing so they are ready when rates begin creeping up, the cost of funds increases or the cost of administering cards rises.

When credit unions take a proactive approach to risk management they not only make their credit card programs more profitable, they increase the number of accounts because they offer different rates to members with different credit scores, the company said.

One characteristic all successful portfolios share is strong marketing support. Credit unions should make an investment to ensure members not only know they offer a credit card, but why it is better than other offers arriving daily in their mailboxes. Just as credit unions have made savings and checking accounts a priority, credit card marketing should not just be lumped into the loan category, TMGFS said.

New CSS alliance provider analyzes loan portfolios

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MADISON, Wis. (3/12/12)--A new alliance between CUNA Strategic Services, Inc. (CSS) and Twenty Twenty Analytics will offer analysis services to identify strengths and weaknesses in credit union loan portfolios.

The Clearwater, Fla., company has more than 60 collective years of credit union industry knowledge, providing risk analysis of commercial and consumer loans, and identifying regional factors that affect credit union portfolios.

"Twenty Twenty Analytics' strength is derived from the fact it works exclusively with credit unions," said Wes Millar, CSS senior vice president. "Additionally, the company has experience working face-to-face with examiners, helping credit unions successfully navigate challenging exams."

Twenty Twenty Analytics' services include:

  • Specific loan grading;
  • Collateral valuation for real estate, consumer loans, commercial machinery and commercial properties;
  • Portfolio stress analysis;
  • Loan loss probability analysis;
  • Loan loss validation;
  • Concentration of risk assessment;
  • Residual reserve for leases; and
  • Customized loan modeling.
CSS "has a proven track record of staying in the forefront of credit union needs, and we could not ask for a better business relationship in this dynamic environment," said Steve Miller, director of operations for Twenty Twenty Analytics.

Coopera revamps Hispanic outreach online resource for CUs

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DES MOINES, Iowa (3/12/12)--Coopera Consulting has revamped its CooperaConsulting.com site to provide improved online resources for credit union staff seeking educational materials and affordable products for reaching the emerging Hispanic market.

Coopera Vice President Miriam De Dios said the site aims to help credit unions better understand the Hispanic community while also offering best practices for tailoring products and services for Hispanic outreach programs.

All site visitors can access the Coopera blog written by employees and credit union staff to provide financial industry trends, Hispanic community highlights and tips from credit unions.

Visitors can also sign up for a free monthly e-newsletter, "Hispanic Outreach Insights," to gain practical ideas for working with local Hispanic communities.

Other site features include information about new products, including the reloadable, prepaid Coopera Card. The site offers consumer tools developed in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), such as Spanish-language Web sites and training seminars.

Fiserv combines P2P for PopmoneyZashPay

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (3/9/12)--Fiserv, a financial services technology provider, will combine two of its person-to-person (P2P) payment solutions to create a P2P network that includes 1,400 financial institutions and 35 million consumers.

The company will combine ZashPay, the P2P payment product it launched in 2009, with Popmoney, a P2P product it gained with its acquisition of payments and aggregation company CashEdge in September. The combined service will be called Popmoney.

Through the service, consumers will be able to request money from individuals or groups, import contacts to a payee list and send e-greetings along with electronic transfers. All existing ZashPay and Popmoney customers will be upgraded to the newly combined and enhanced platform by the middle of 2012, according to Fiserv.

"The combination of Popmoney and ZashPay will accelerate the momentum underway in bank-focused person-to-person payments," said Sanjeev Dheer, president of the personal payments division at Fiserv, in a news release. "Consumers strongly prefer the convenience of their banking relationship for conducting these types of transactions. The expanded network enhances the usability of the service and accelerates adoption among consumers and small businesses."

PCUA LSCUs Leverage to offer ePurchasing

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TALLAHASSE, Fla. (3/9/12)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association will offer the League of Southeastern Credit Unions' (LSCU) service corporation's vendor management and ePurchasing platforms to Pennsylvania credit unions.

Ventelligence is a vendor management system tool offered by Leverage, as the LSCU service corporation is known, for contract management and contract procurement.

The contract management tool tracks information through a Web-based database. Risk assessment and due diligence are performed on all third-party vendor relationships and placed into three categories: high, moderate and low. Categories are based on the complexity of each relationship and emphasize National Credit Union Administration-identified risk areas.

With the ePurchasing platform, competing companies are invited into a live bid environment and are encouraged to more aggressively bid against one another to win the credit union's contract. The savings through ePurchasing averages more than 20%, according to Leverage.

More than 500 Pennsylvania credit unions will have access to the vendor management and purchase platforms.

Online policy database offered by CUANY

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ALBANY, N.Y. (3/8/12)--The Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY)  is now offering CU Policy Pro--an online policy database previously offered on a subscription basis for $825 per year--as a membership benefit.

"In the current compliance environment, the development and maintenance of effective credit union policies is critical--but it's also very time-consuming," said William J. Mellin, president/CEO of the association. "CU Policy Pro makes the process much easier for credit unions."

With CU Policy Pro, authorized credit union employees can securely access, view, print and update their policies from any Internet connection, said CUANY. More than 200 customizable policies are available in the database--all written by regulatory experts and updated semi-annually to ensure compliance.

Nearly 100 credit unions have registered for the program since the association's announcement.

MnCUN inks deal to offer policy assistance

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (3/8/12)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) will offer PolicyAid, an online policy library resource developed by the Iowa Credit Union League.

PolicyAid subscribers receive access to more than 65 sample policies available for download in Word format.

Policy templates include topics such as social media, liquidity and Truth In Lending. Policies are updated quarterly to reflect any new and amended regulations.

"The Minnesota Credit Union Network understands the compliance burden on credit unions today, which led to the development of this partnership with PolicyAid," said  John Ferstl, MnCUN vice president, network service corporation.

"Every year credit unions spend tens of thousands of dollars in time and resources as they work to maintain compliance with regulations. This affordable resource will help relieve some of that burden and enable credit unions to focus their attention on what they do best--serving their members," he added.

Minnesota VIP program total is 21 for 2012

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (3/7/12)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) welcomed three new  credit union suppliers into its Vendor Involvement Program (VIP) in 2012, bringing the total participants in the program to 21.

VIP is a program in which service organizations work with MnCUN and increase brand visibility among Minnesota credit unions.

Designed to optimize business relationships with Minnesota credit unions, the advertising program offers annual conference packages that provide the companies exposure to a target audience, an online company listing and an advertisement on MnCUN's website.

Participants also receive opportunities to participate in new MnCUN initiatives. 

New vendors include:

  • Range Printing;
  • sbaStrategies; and
  • Skilcraft Plus.
"At a time when companies are looking to get the most out of their advertising budgets, this program provides specific opportunities to target potential clients and can help create brand loyalty among credit unions," said John Ferstl, MnCUN vice president of network service corporation.

Participants in MnCUN's VIP agree to offer professional service, quality product lines and competitive pricing. The companies must appreciate the qualities that make credit unions unique and understand the importance of providing the best service possible to Minnesota's credit union members. Participation in VIP does not constitute an endorsement by the MnCUN.

2012 CUNA Management School registration info available

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MADISON, Wis. (3/7/12)--The 2012 CUNA Management School, offered in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin Graduate School of Business, will be held July 8-20, in Madison, Wis., the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) announced.

All students, upon successful graduation from the three-year program, will earn their Certified Credit Union Executive designation.

CUNA Management School faculty is made up of professors from the University of Wisconsin, credit union professionals, attorneys and industry experts. With extensive background in the credit union movement, faculty members speak on subjects such as:

  • Credit union management;
  • Financial counseling;
  • Crisis management;
  • Financial accounting;
  • Filene Research Institute's i3 innovations; and
  • Strategic marketing.
CUNA Mutual Group, past graduates of CUNA Management School and CUNA contribute financial assistance for qualified students. Scholarship applications must be submitted by April 15. Use the link.

Biz Kid DVD Box sets available from NCUF

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MADISON, Wis. (3/7/12)--Box sets of the first four seasons of Biz Kid$ are now available from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF). 

Biz Kid$ is the Emmy Award winning--and credit union-funded--public television series that teaches kids about money management and entrepreneurship.

"Leveraging Biz Kid$ is a great way for credit unions to teach financial literacy concepts in a fun and engaging way in their community," said Danielle Brown, NCUF's national coordinator for Biz Kid$. "With these new box sets, credit unions now have a wealth of episodes on a wide variety of topics at their disposal."

Each Biz Kid$ box set includes DVDs for each episode and a CD with PDFs of the corresponding curriculum for each episode.  Late last year, the foundation also made available Biz Kid$ starter kits, which contain core DVDs and materials to teach Biz Kid$. 

Each box set or starter kit is available for a donation of $60 to NCUF. 

NCUF oversees fundraising, outreach and administrative responsibilities for Biz Kid$, which recently started its fifth season. During the past six years, more than 290 credit unions and affiliated organizations have raised more than $13.2 million to support the show's production, website and curriculum.

Every Biz Kid$ episode begins and ends with a narrator reminding viewers that: "Production funding for Biz Kid$ is provided by America's Credit Unions, where people are worth more than money."

Biz Kid$, which premiered in January 2008, has aired on more than 340 public television stations in all 50 states with a viewership reach of 271 million people. The show has the highest recorded carriage of any children's program ever released by American Public Television, with a viewing audience of more than 1.2 million per episode. The Biz Kid$

website receives more than 100,000 unique visitors a month.

March Discovery webinars set

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MADISON, Wis. (3/6/12)--CUNA Mutual Group's free Discovery Webinar series continues in March with two events hosted by CUNA Mutual executives.

On March 14 at 12:15 p.m. CT, Brad Pricer, CUNA Mutual Group's human resources process leader, will present "Simplify Human Capital Management" to help credit unions analyze work force strengths and vulnerabilities, while identifying opportunities and strategies to proactively manage human capital.

On March 28, Dave Colby, CUNA Mutual Group's chief economist will share two possible scenarios of what's on the economic environment horizon and what it means for the nation's credit unions. The presentation, "Firmly Balanced on the Edge: An Economic Update," will begin at 12:15 p.m. CT.

Both Discovery Webinars are free, 60-minute events followed by live question-and-answer sessions.

To register for the webinars, use the link.

Future 2012 Discovery events include:

  • April 11--Mobile Lending: The Trends and Issues Impacting Your Credit Union, presented by John Putman;
  • April 18--Regulatory Compliance Update, presented by Bill Klewin;
  • May 2--Mobile Financial Services: The New Frontier, presented by Ann Davidson;
  • May 23--Member Business Lending: Get the Volume Without the Noise, presented by Brad Mundine;
  • June 17-20--Seventeen Discovery sessions will be offered at Credit Union National Association's America's Credit Union Conference; and
  • Oct. 9--Third Annual Online Discovery Conference.

CUSOs roll out loan-leads service

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/6/12)--Two Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union services organizations--Xtend Inc. and CU*Answers Inc.--have jointly released a new solution designed to increase the number of loan leads delivered through the lending pipeline.   

CU*Answers Retailer Direct loan origination tool has been integrated with Xtend's call center resources.   

"When our Xtension Call center needed a streamlined solution to get loan leads into our clients' lending factories, we reached out to our partners at CU*Answers," said Xtend President Scott Collins. "Although we were familiar with Retailer Direct as a front-end solution for non-traditional indirect partners like landscaping companies and furniture stores, it wasn't until the two teams sat down to design a more effective way for my agents to deliver loan leads to our clients that we connected the dots."

Collins said he believes that the new solution will be a catalyst for more credit unions to use the Xtension Call Center as both an outbound and inbound partner. "Our No.1 goal is to help drive more lending activity for our credit unions, and to do so at a price point that is hard to ignore," he said. "We are confident this new tool will help us do both."

PolicySwap to assist in compliance

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/6/12)--CU*Answers, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization, has developed a collaborative website to help credit unions navigate the compliance process and to reduce the compliance cost for each institution.

On the website, called PolicySwap, credit unions can share policies and procedures. For instance, if a credit union is looking for a Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) policy that matches its goals, it can browse PolicySwap for other credit unions' BSA policies to find the best match.

Every uploaded policy is reviewed for quality, CU*Answers said. However, the company cautioned that no policy manual, however well-intentioned and closely followed, can guarantee that a credit union will pass every regulatory audit. Rapidly changing conditions in the regulatory landscape may quickly invalidate the policies and procedures, and each credit union has final responsibility for understanding the most current regulations and ensuring their credit union is in compliance, CU*Answers said. 

CU*Answers is encouraging other credit unions within the network to share policies. As incentive, credit unions that share their policies within PolicySwap are eligible to collect CollabRebate points, which may be redeemed for cash rewards. 

PolicySwap represents CU*Answers' most recent collaborative effort in allowing credit unions to share information with each other to save time and be better prepared for the next examination. The company previously developed the ExamShare website, a resource for exam information from credit union peers.

CU Roots launches CU Vitality and audit division

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ONTARIO, Calif. (3/5/12)--CURoots Cooperative--a credit union service organization (CUSO) launched by several credit unions and the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues--are introducing a new collective health-benefits solution for credit unions and an internal audit services division.

CUVitality features medical benefit plans offered by Kaiser Permanente and United Healthcare.

"Many of our member credit unions have long expressed an interest in a solution to help offset the rising costs of health benefits," said CURoots CEO Lucy Ito. "In response, CURoots Cooperative and the leagues have joined forces to provide CUVitality."

CUVitality will eventually offer a full portfolio of employee benefits, Ito said. Dental and vision coverage and ancillary benefits such as life, long-term and short-term disability, and long-term care will be added later this year.

Credit unions will have several choices for internal audit services:

  • Ongoing management controls of auditing, including loan reviews; employee, official, dormant and closed account reviews; and cash counts;
  • Specialty (one-off) audits and risk assessments, including Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/Office of Foreign Asset Control, automated clearinghouse, and ATM personal identification audits; and
  • A deluxe internal audit package providing ongoing management controls and specialty audits.
 

CURoots continues to provide shared compliance services including the development and maintenance of an ongoing compliance program, policies and procedures, BSA programs, and vendor due diligence.   

"With the growth of the CUSO, it was important to separate the shared compliance services and internal audit services into different divisions in order not to compromise the independence of the two functions," Ito said. "In addition, CURoots' compliance and internal audit services are now open to non-members at non-owner pricing."

CU24 survey to ID productsservices trends

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (3/5/12)--Credit Union 24, a credit union-owned ATM and point-of-sale (POS) network, has launched its fourth annual credit union industry survey to identify trend in financial products and services. 

The survey also seeks to identify industry challenges and recent developments.

The 14-question survey can be accessed online until 6:30 p.m. (ET) March 20. 

Individuals also can complete the survey in-person--using the two iPad2s that will be given away to randomly drawn winners--at Credit Union 24 booth 359 in the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference exhibit hall, March 18-20 in Washington, D.C. Those who complete the survey and provide their contact information can also win two pre-loaded Visa gift cards valued at $100 and $50.

The company said it will release the results of the survey in the second quarter.

Xtend streamlines loan services

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/2/12)--Xtend Inc., a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union service organization, has introduced a new front-office lending service to support its Xtension Call Center.

The new service, which has been deployed at Pontiac, Mich.-based Affinity Group CU, streamlines the process of moving loan leads into the credit union's loan origination pipeline when initiated by call center agents. 

The new service helps "pave the way for a new, low-cost delivery channel for our credit union owners and partners,  said Scott Collins, Xtend president. "As our call center grows, our mission is to look for additional ways to help our credit unions survive and thrive. Helping them get more loans into their pipeline is imperative, and doing so at an affordable price point is consistent with our disruptive pricing strategy.

"This latest solution does both of those things--it allows our agents to push leads into the lending queue quickly and effectively, which means we only need to charge a nominal fee," he added.

TMG reloadable prepaid cards aim to reach underserved

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DES MOINES, Iowa (3/2/12)--The Members Group (TMG), a provider of card processing and payment systems, has added instant issuance to the list of features on ATIRA- and Coopera-branded reloadable prepaid cards to assist credit unions in reaching the underserved market, TMG said.

"It's difficult for someone without a traditional banking relationship to hand over his hard-earned cash and then wait five to seven days for his card to arrive," said Konrad Christensen, TMG's retail payments product manager. "Being able to supply that card immediately will help financial institutions clear one of the major hurdles that come with introducing underserved communities to the financial mainstream."

TMG has modified its program so financial institutions no longer need to secure a Taxpayer Identification Number from a reloadable prepaid card applicant. This will make it simpler for financial institutions to begin offering vital financial services to immigrant populations, Christensen said.

Instant issuance will be available on TMG's ATIRAreload product and the  Coopera Card, a reloadable prepaid card, built specifically for the Hispanic market, offered by Coopera in partnership with TMG.