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TMG sets client conference for July

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DES MOINES, Iowa (4/4/11)--TMG (The Members Group) has set the agenda for its 2011 Client Conference July 11-13 in Sonoma, Calif. This year's theme is "Changing Times. Changing Visions. Advancing the Future." The conference--tailored to financial institutions interested in enhancing their credit, debit and prepaid card programs--will kick off July 11 with a golf event, evening reception and keynote speaker Kelly McDonald of McDonald Marketing. McDonald will give a 90-minute presentation on how to keep members rushing back for more, then sign copies of her new book, How to Market to People Not Like You. July 12 events will include a presentation on alternative payments by Dwolla founder Bel Milne and Jeff Russell, TMG executive vice president; a Debit Interchange Panel discussing the impact of new regulations on community-based financial institutions; a presentation by First Data on how rewards can be used to drive loyalty in a challenging environment; and important compliance topics presented by Andrea Stritzke of PolicyWorks. July 13 speakers include Jeffry Pilcher of The Financial Brand, who will discuss social media, and a representative from Visa, who will share insight on the credit card environment. TMG also will present tools and solutions to keep up with today's card market competition, and TMG fraud expert Karen Postma will host a fraud workshop offering interactive analysis of attending financial institutions' fraud trends.

Calif.Nev. league partner Autoland in turnaround year

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ONTARIO, Calif. (4/4/11)--2010 was a turnaround year for the Chatsworth, Calif.-based Autoland, a partner of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. Autoland's financials improved 93% from the previous year and 2011 looks better, said the leagues, which partnered with the auto-buying service last year to help credit union members in both states bypass the hassle of car-buying and to drive loan business to the credit union. Autoland consultants engage members to discuss vehicles and options, research and locate the car, negotiate the price on behalf of the member, take care of trade-ins, coordinate the loan either directly through the credit union or through an indirect channel such as CUDL, and deliver the car to the member's home, work, or nearest credit union branch. The past few years' economic downturn led Autoland to explore other business models. However, it concluded that its high-touch "concierge" model of the past 40 years "truly differentiated" it from others in the industry and delivered the most value for credit union partners and their members, said Marcia Francisco, Autoland senior vice president of marketing and business development. It defined best practices from its most successful relationships and worked to integrate those in all of its partnerships. "Our partners responded," said Francisco, noting the company had successful business development efforts with a team of "brand evangelists" promoting it. "We believe Autoland is positioned for an excellent year in 2011, thanks to its partnership with the leagues. And we were recently endorsed by the NorthWest Credit Union Association as a business partner," she added. In the past six months, Autoland netted eight new credit union partners and has opened two additional in-house locations at credit unions.