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CUANY Coopera provide new resources to service Hispanics

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DES MOINES, Iowa (5/1/12)--The Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) and Coopera are collaborating to offer the 2012 Hispanic Member Growth Strategy, a program to help New York credit unions increase their memberships within the Hispanic community.

Under the program, Coopera will provide new resources to New York credit unions working to grow Hispanic membership.

With one out of two Hispanics being unbanked or underserved, serving Hispanic members provides significant opportunities for credit unions, Miriam De Dios, Coopera vice president.   

"Hispanics comprise the youngest, fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, making them ideal next-generation credit union members," De Dios added.

Five mid-sized credit unions ($25 million-$250 million in assets) participating in the 2012 Hispanic Member Growth Strategy program will receive a one-time Hispanic Opportunity Navigator (HON) assessment; semi-annual member analysis reports; access to Coopera's library of education tools including marketing guides, templates and webinars; and an annual follow-up to its HON assessment.

Three small credit unions (with assets under $25 million) in the program will receive a one-time member analysis report, and access to Coopera's library of education.

"The mission of the Hispanic Member Growth Strategy program is to help New York credit unions lead their customers down a path to financial responsibility," De Dios said. "Credit unions can provide many products and services to the Hispanic community that larger financial institutions cannot. The program will help New York credit unions identify Hispanic outreach opportunities within their neighborhoods and create affordable banking alternatives to meet the needs of this community."

Seventeen percent of New Yorkers are Hispanic, and by 2025, one in five New York residents will claim Hispanic heritage, according to the CUANY. "Because the Hispanic population is very young as compared to other U.S. ethnic groups, we expect New York credit unions will be interested in investing in service to Hispanic members as a part of their efforts to lower the average age of membership," said Allison Barna, director of the New York Credit Union Foundation and community development for the association.

The Credit Union National Association and Coopera Consulting, a subsidiary of the Iowa Credit Union League formed a partnership to design "El Poder es Tuyo" (the power is yours) a customizable, personal finance a Spanish-language personal finance Website for Hispanic credit union members and potential members. For more information use the link.

Remote payment council announces debit chipPIN working group

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WESTWOOD, N.J. (5/1/12)--The Secure Remote Payment Council (SRPc) has formed a working group to define and adopt a point of sale and ATM solution for chip and PIN acceptance for PIN debit networks. 

The group's goal is to provide interoperable adoption of chip and PIN debit payments to the industry, while supporting innovation, choice, and the proven track record of PIN security in reducing payment fraud, SRPc.

The working group includes leading PIN debit networks STAR, SHAZAM, PULSE, NYCE, AFFN, ACCEL/Exchange, ATH, Credit Union 24, CO-OP Financial Services and Jeanie.

SRPc  is a nonprofit, inter-industry trade association that supports the growth, development and market adoption of debit-based internet e-commerce and mobile channel payment methods that meet or exceed the security standards for PIN-based, card-present payments.  Its members include merchants, financial institutions, merchant processors, issuer processors, payment brand companies, payments authentication hardware providers, payments authentication software providers and payments consultants. 

In February, the SRPc published an open letter on chip and PIN calling on the industry to review the ramifications, understand their risks and come together to ensure that chip and PIN deployment in the U.S. is open to all market participants in an equitable manner.  This working group is a first step in answering that call to action.

The debit networks have a history of working together--especially with regard to improving security--to define standards that maintain the integrity and quality of the U.S. payment industry.

PIN debit is a growing payment method. In 2009, debit cards were used in 35% of noncash payment transactions. They eclipsed checks as the most frequently used noncash payment method, and 88% of debit cards supported both PIN- and signature-based transactions, according to Federal Reserve statistics on the debit card industry.  

The SRPc and the debit networks are concerned that the current international standards for chip technology do not consider the competitive, newly regulated, real-time payment infrastructure within the U.S. For example, the new regulations on debit card interchange fees and routing now require that issuers support at least two unaffiliated brands on debit cards to provide merchant routing choice--a requirement that will need to be accommodated within chip technology going forward, said the council.  Deployment of a single interoperable chip and PIN solution for PIN debit should put in place one of the biggest remaining puzzle pieces to spur the U.S. payment industry toward adoption of chip technology, said SRPc.

Partnership offers property inspectionpreservation

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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (4/30/12)--GCC Servicing Systems, a provider of mortgage servicing technology, has partnered with Dallas-based MSI, a field services provider, to offer automated property inspection ordering services.

Automating the ordering process allows servicers to avoid unnecessary steps and reduces the amount of time spent manually ordering property inspections. By incorporating MSI ordering into the G/SERV platform, lenders can determine the need for property inspections and order or even cancel them in real-time without leaving the G/SERV portal. GCC customers can also order MSI's property preservation services through the servicing platform.

"It is essential to simplify and automate as many processes as possible for mortgage servicers with the ever-increasing number of regulations and growing workloads," said Jack Bryant, MSI executive vice president of client relations. "Our partnership with GCC provides servicers a simpler, automated ordering process. All appraisals and inspections can be ordered with data uploaded and housed in one location, streamlining the way mortgage servicers and field service providers collaborate."

G/SERV also runs reports that pull all loans needing an inspection and submits the results to MSI for ordering, without any user input. Servicers can assess inspection results directly through the G/SERV platform, alleviating the need to visit multiple websites and compile data from siloed sources.

"As regulations continue to significantly impact appraisals, it is important for mortgage servicers to work with field servicing companies like MSI that are efficient, well trained and adhere to all necessary compliance requirements," said Glenn Liebowitz, GCC president. "Property inspections and preservation services ordering are time-consuming tasks for our clients, but GCC's integration with MSI eases the process by enabling services to order inspections with the click of a button and house all information in one location. This in turn allows servicers to focus their efforts in other business areas to increase profitability and customer service."

SourceLink rolls out REV auto refinancing

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CHICAGO (4/27/12)--SourceLink, a customer relationship management  and direct marketing firm, has released REV, a solution that gives lenders the ability to reach prime prospects by through direct mail and personalized campaign microsites while lowering acquisition costs.

REV is an auto refinance solution that creates multichannel campaigns to target qualified candidates. The integration of direct mail and Web-based marketing with automotive refinance has proven to drive new account activity and expand existing relationships for credit unions and banbank. Using a calculator and personalized URLs, REV uses direct mail pieces to help members make informed decisions on terms and associated refinance savings.

By using SourceLink's data modeling, loan candidates are automatically identified within the institution's lending area. Paired with mail-tracking solution, REV identifies key attributes for maximum conversion and manages the entire delivery cycle. REV also gathers data through campaign analysis and summary reports, strengthening follow-up efforts. This process allows a lender to make informed decisions for current and future marketing campaigns.

Ongoing Operations unveils new website

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (4/26/12)--Ongoing Operations, the expanding business continuity and cloud solutions credit union service organization, recently unveiled its new website.

Ongoing Operations is a CUNA Strategic Service provider.

The new site showcases the company's expanded product line, which now includes a full-range of cloud solutions. Hosted Exchange, Virtual Desktop, and Application Hosting are three of the featured products that will help credit unions take advantage of production-grade, hosted options that meet their strict security requirements.

"What we can offer credit unions has expanded dramatically over the last year or so," said Kirk Drake, CEO of Ongoing Operations. "We're no longer just a back-up solution. Our production-grade options are helping credit unions streamline their everyday IT operations. It's very exciting."

The website--which can be viewed by visiting either www.ongoingoperations.com or www.cloudworks.com--also reflects the new Ongoing Operations logo and brand--which were updated after the company's recent acquisition of Cloudworks, an experienced cloud services provider.

Resources available to current and potential clients now include both business continuity/disaster recovery and cloud reference materials.

EMV dilemma explored in TMG paper

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DES MOINES, Iowa (4/2512)--Even as the terms "EMV" and "chip-and-PIN" became nearly synonymous over the past few years, some players have chosen a different route--namely, chip-and-signature. That is the subject of a new white paper from TMG, "Chip Card Debate: U.S. Weighs Benefits of PIN and Signature Formats."

Chip & PIN is the brandname adopted by the banking industries in the United Kingdom and Ireland for the rollout of the EMV smartcard payment system for credit, debit and ATM cards.

Chip-and-signature technology features both an embedded encrypted chip and traditional magnetic strip to accommodate merchants in the United States

The paper follows updated roadmaps to EMV migration from Visa, Mastercard and Discover. Throughout, author Aris Jerahian,TMG vice president of client relations, compares the benefits and limitations of each and discusses the elements to the Europay- Mastercard-Visa (EMV) standard migration that smaller issuers, like credit unions and community banks, need to take into account.

"Until such a time as EMV achieves critical mass in the U.S., issuers must consider leaving mag-stripes on all EMV plastic," writes Jerahian. "Even with Visa's 2015 deadline, merchants across the country are still evaluating whether or not to invest in chip-card terminals now. And after they inevitably make the decision, switching point of sale and back-office systems to the new technology will take time."

Magnetic stripe technology is essentially insecure, Jerhian explains in the white paper. Because fraudsters are unable to skim data from a chip card, EMV in the U.S. is predicted to greatly reduce losses from the sophisticated skimming rings already operating within our borders.

Indeed, the U.S. has gained international attention for its failure to adopt EMV as a standard. The U.S. accounted for 47% of global credit and debit card fraud as of December 2011, according to Global Card Fraud. The stat is even more troubling when taken in the context that Americans only generate 27% of the total volume of purchases and cash.

Jerahian concludes the paper with five considerations for financial institutions thinking about a migration to EMV, including current and future fraud losses, cardholder convenience, interchange income, portfolio segmentation and education.

New online discussion forum on CUNA Volunteer Network

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MADISON, Wis. (4/23/12)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA)  has opened an online discussion forum, available exclusively on the CUNA Volunteer Network.

CUNA's new online discussion forum, designed in partnership with Passageways for the CUNA Volunteer Network, provides a safe, convenient online atmosphere where board volunteers can share their ideas and connect with one another without being in the same room. Members can distribute volunteer materials, hold board meetings, join in conversations and conduct their day-to-day board volunteer business. 

Passageways is a strategic alliance provider of CUNA Strategic Services.

The CUNA Volunteer Network's new online discussion forum features:

  • Alerts and notifications;
  • No automatic email notifications;
  • Interactive discussion boards;
  • Document access and search;
  • Google, dictionary and thesaurus search; and
  • Network Members exclusivity.

DigitalMailers CU clients grow eStatements 25

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HERNDON, Va. (4/23/12)--DigitalMailer's credit union clients collectively grew their eStatement users by 25%  in 2011, resulting in savings of nearly $1 million.

"Credit unions can't control the cost of postage, but they can control the number of mailings sent to members – and the number of members who receive their statements electronically,"said Ron Daly, DigitalMailer, president/CEO.

As statements grow heavier to include additional types of transactions, the cost to mail paper statements will rise, possibly moving credit unions into the higher-priced, multi-ounce mailing category, Daly said.

Earlier this year, DigitalMailer recognized Carter FCU in Springhill, La.; Warren FCU Cheyenne, Wyo.; and TopLink FCU in Maple Grove, Minn., as its top eStatement leaders in the annual "Move It and Lose It" competition. Client credit unions were challenged to increase the number of members switching from paper to electronic statements using creative campaigns, simple usage changes and product coupling.

Dliminating paper statements has many positive effects on the environment and financial benefits: reducing the use of paper and gasoline, lessening greenhouse gasses and waste water, and helping to preserve U.S. forests, according to PayItGreen, a NACHA-led coalition promoting electronic billing and payments.

The group reports that if 10% of U.S. households made the switch, nearly 7.5 million gallons of gas would be saved. The greenhouse gases prevented would be equal to preserving 535 acres of forest from deforestation.

"Helping members switch to eStatements is both pro-environment and pro-bottom line," said Daly. "When you consider the cost of postage, printing and marketing materials, clients are saving approximately $8 to $12 a year per switched user, on average. And that adds up quickly the more members switch."

VINtek serves 80 of Texas CUs with ELT Services

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PHILADELPHIA (4/23/12)--VINtek provides electronic lien and title (ELT) services for 104 of the 128 Texas credit unions participating in the state's ELT program, representing an 82% share, the Philadelphia-based company said.

VINtek was selected as the preferred product provider of ELT services by Credit Union Resources, Inc., the service corporation of the Texas Credit Union League, in 2010. Through the partnership between VINtek and Resources/TCUL, credit unions have been provided with the education, guidance and technology needed to replace paper vehicle titles with electronic titles.

ELT programs allow credit unions to receive digital titles from the Department of Motor Vehicles instead of paper titles with liens. ELT reduces paper use, title storage, manual processing and postage costs; eliminates exposure to lien release fraud; and improves member service by eliminating the chance of losing a title.

CUNA FUSE--Branch OpsBiz. Development School announced

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MADISON, Wis. (4/20/12)--CUNA FUSE--Branch Operations & Business Development School will be presented July 30 to Aug. 2 in Las Vegas, with the theme, "People, Passion and Process," said the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

The school provides credit union branch managers and business development professionals with an opportunity to meet and explore blended approaches to their specific credit union duties. Participants will discuss ideas to fuse responsibilities, and drive efficiency and growth.

The theme centers on people to help professionals learn what motivates their staff; passion to push them to do more and make an impact in the future, and process to help their teams think like entrepreneurs and find the most efficient way to operate.

"This school embodies what sets credit unions apart from other financial institutions," said Courtney Cantwell, manager of instructional design at CUNA. "The idea that sales and service are not competing ideals but components of the same cooperative spirit is distinctly a credit union value.  Every year we see branch managers and operational professionals leave more in tune with one another, and charged with an unmistakable enthusiasm for the credit union cause," she added.

CUNA FUSE--Branch Operations & Business Development School will also feature a pre-conference event with international productivity expert, Neen James, to be held on July 29 in Las Vegas.  The pre-conference is designed to help credit union professionals focus attention and manage their time.  Neen will discuss topics such as:

  • Strategies to increase your personal productivity by 30%;
  • How to achieve strategic clarity;
  • Energy management versus time management; and more.
Use the links for more details about and registration information for the school and the pre-conference workshop.

MnIPC supports CFC Technologys Mobile Deposit

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MINNETONKA, Minn. (4/19/12)--Minnesota Item Processing Corp. (MnIPC), a check processor serving credit unions and financial institutions, is now supporting CFC Technology's Mobile Deposit solution.

CFC's Mobile Deposit solution allows consumers and small-business owners to deposit checks into their checking or savings account by taking a photo of the front and back of their checks with their smartphones, then submitting the images to their financial institution through a secure smartphone software application. 

Credit unions will benefit from Mobile Deposit's ability to reduce check transactions at the branch, strengthen existing member relationships and attract new deposit members, the companies said.

Akcelerant teams with ESA on collateral insurance

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MALVERN, Pa. (4/19/12)--Akcelerant, a provider of connected software technology, and Evans, Simpson and Associates (ESA) have entered a partnership to develop integration between ESA's collateral protection insurance services (CPI) and Akcelerant's multiple product lines.

Joint customers using either the Akcelerant Framework or Akcelerant Elements for collections will soon be able to administer their CPI program from one centralized system.

Through the ESA partnership, Akcelerant's financial institution customers can automate CPI claims management, view lender-placed and borrower insurance details, generate reports, and more from a single, real-time interface while simultaneously managing collections with the Akcelerant Framework or Akcelerant Elements.

Q2ebanking Trusteer offer fraud protection

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AUSTIN, Texas (4/18/12)--Q2ebanking, a provider of secure electronic banking solutions for credit unions and banks, has partnered with Trusteer, a provider of cybercrime prevention solutions, to add an additional layer of security to Q2ebanking's platform. 

The partnership integrates the Trusteer Product Suite, including Trusteer Rapport, with Q2ebanking's single platform of e-banking solutions. As a result, Q2ebanking clients have access to another fraud protection solution, which can strengthen their security and Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) compliance for multi-layer fraud protection.

Trusteer said its solutions prevent financial malware from infecting endpoints, secure Web browser's against tampering and data theft, and provide automated remediation.

Q2ebanking's platform of online, voice and mobile banking solutions operates on a single secure foundation that helps keep clients in compliance with new and updated guidance, the company said. Its security features meet FFIEC guidance by including multi-endpoint native out-of-band transaction authentication, security alerts, administrative controls with dual authorization, multi-factor authentication and VeriSign tokens to protect both consumer and commercial transactions.

CUs piloting SaveUp savings reward program

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SAN FRANCISCO (4/18/12)--Twenty credit unions have been selected to participate in SaveUp, a new pilot program that evaluates the emotional effects that rewards programs have on influencing consumers to make positive financial decisions.

Participating credit unions will distribute customized versions of the program to their members. The Filene Research Institute will track usage, monitor member feedback and compile the results of the project.

Members who use SaveUp will be rewarded each time they contribute to savings or retirement accounts, pay down credit cards or other loans, or use SaveUp's financial education materials.

Users can earn credits that can be redeemed for prizes from brands such as Virgin America, TurboTax and Banana Republic.

Since its launch in November, users have deposited more than $29.5 million in savings and paid down more than $25 million in debt.

Participating credit unions include:

  • Xceed Financial CU, El Segundo, Calif.;
  • Credit Union of the Rockies, Golden, Colo.;
  • Eli Lilly FCU, Indianapolis;
  • Frankenmuth (Mich.) CU;
  • Arsenal CU, Arnold, Mo.;
  • St. Mary's Bank, Manchester, N.H.;
  • Northeast CU, Portsmouth, N.H.;
  • Southwest FCU, Albuquerque, N.M.;
  • GPO FCU, New Hartford, N.Y.;
  • Oregon Employees FCU, Salem, Ore.;
  • Providence FCU, Milwaukie, Ore.;
  • Neighborhood CU, Dallas;
  • Belvoir FCU, Woodbridge, Va.;
  • Summit CU, Madison, Wis.; and,
  • Fox Communities CU, Appleton, Wis.

Agility webinar focuses on workplace violence

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (4/17/12)--Agility Recovery, a CUNA Strategic Services provider of disaster recovery solutions to credit unions, will offer a free webinar, "Violence in the Workplace: Are you Prepared?" at 2 p.m. (ET) today.

The webinar, part of Agility's 2012 Webinar Series, will feature Lynn Berger, executive vice president with Business Health Systems (BHS) as a guest presenter. BHS is a provider of workplace solutions, including training on topics such as preventing workplace violence.

"Our society has undergone many changes regarding safety since Sept. 11, 2001," said Bob Boyd, Agility Recovery CEO. "As a result, preventing workplace violence and promoting safety have become primary concerns for all workplaces, especially financial institutions dealing with the general public."

The webinar will focus on recognizing signs of workplace violence and how to react to them.

CFO Council paper Forecasting in turbulent times

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MADISON, Wis. (4/16/12)--If there is a "new normal" in financial forecasting it is defined by uncertainty, and that calls for decision-makers to have a better understanding  than ever about the assumptions underlying their forecasts, according to a new white paper from CUNA CFO Council.

"Financial Forecasting and Analysis in Turbulent Times" identifies the issues credit unions face in producing effective forecasts in volatile times and highlights several strategies and best practices.

Chief financial officers and industry consultants contributing to the white paper share how to remain agile, be more efficient, and cope with all the competitive and regulatory changes in the industry. They focus on what the numbers mean rather than just what the numbers are.

Specifically, the white paper presents:

  • A strategy for laying the proper foundations for forecasting and analysis;
  •  The need to forecast a likely range of possible futures;
  •  Strategies to develop accurate and useful forecasts that address key financial risks, organizational performance and profitability, pricing, competitive analysis and cost controls;
  • The impact of new regulatory requirements and guidance; and
  •  The role of the CFO as a strategic leader.

Wellness programs are focus of HRTD Council paper

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MADISON (4/13/12)--While more credit unions have introduced wellness programs to help employees their health, the initiatives must be well-designed to have a positive impact, according to a new white paper from the CUNA HR/TD Council.

"Credit Union Wellness Programs: Good Health is Good Business"  makes the case for well-designed employee wellness programs.

While each credit union should develop a wellness program that fits its culture, employees and organizational goals, certain elements are essential, according to the paper.

These elements include:

  • Executive support. The paper recommends that the CEO send a letter to employees emphasizing the initiative.
  • Employee buy-in. A wellness committee, focus groups and a survey are among the ways to design a wellness program around employees' wants and needs.
  • Environmental scan. This is an assessment of the workplace to determine what healthful policies and choices can be put in place for employees. Some employers offer healthy items in vending machines. Others offer fitness centers or subsidize gym memberships.
  • Program logistics. After an organization has conducted baseline health screenings, demonstrated executive support, and obtained employee input and buy-in, it can determine what programs to offer and who will be responsible for them.
The paper also includes four cases studies featuring credit unions that have produced positive results from their wellness programs. The council serves credit union human resources and training and development professionals.

DigitalMailer launches MyVirtual StrongBox

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HERNDON, Va. (4/12/12)--DigitalMailer Inc. has introduced software that allows members and customers to securely upload important documents such as wills and insurance documents to their financial institutions' online document library.

My Virtual StrongBox allows members to load documents into their financial advisors' protected document library using the same secure document technology financial institutions now use to deliver online statements, notices and tax documents.

The software  is similar to physical safe deposit boxes in bank and credit union vaults, but with online capabilities that include easy and accessible permission-based retrieval, said DigitalMailier. The product is equipped with initial strongbox storage sizes designed for individual and small businesses, but members and customers can purchase additional space.

Users can customize folders to aggregate documents and share them as necessary. For example, a member can retrieve a copy of a will via a smartphone while sitting at an attorney's office.

Northwest FCU, Herndon, Va., is the first financial institution to offer My Virtual StrongBox to its members, said DigitalMailer. The 110,000-member credit union has contracted for the service and has set up virtual strongboxes for all of its 68,000 electronic statement users.

The Small Business Authority offers mobile payment product

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NEW YORK (4/12/12)--Newtek Business Services Inc., The Small Business Authority, has introduced NewtPay Mobile, a product that allows consumers to use their smartphones or tablets as mobile credit card terminals. 

Newtek Business Services Inc., The Small Business Authority is a CUNA Strategic Services provider.

NewtPay Mobile includes a free card reader with no setup, cancellation or monthly processing fees. It is pay as you go processing with rates starting at 1.69%. 

The product works with Apple iOS, Blackberry and Android devices.

CUNA sets Supervisory Committee and Internal Audit Conference

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MADISON, Wis. (4/11/12)--Registration and school information is now available for the 2012 CUNA Supervisory Committee & Internal Audit Conference, Dec.2-5 in Las Vegas, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) announced.

The CUNA Supervisory Committee & Internal Audit Conference provides supervisory committee members and internal auditors with information to keep pace with today's regulatory changes. Attendees will gain insight into the topics and issues specific to their supervisory and internal audit duties, and connect with supervisory committee peers from the credit union movement.

"The CUNA Supervisory Committee & Internal Audit Conference places oversight issues at the top of its agenda and gives these topics the dedicated attention that they require," said Kevin Smith, CUNA director of volunteer education.

The conference focuses on supervisory committee issues. "By pinpointing the typical concerns that committee members encounter, this school not only helps volunteers feel more secure in their role at their local credit union, it helps ensure that every credit union is protected by at least one expert overseer," Smith said.

Supervisory committee members and internal auditors working toward their Certified Credit Union Volunteer (CCUV) designation can earn credits by attending the designated breakout sessions at the 2012 CUNA Supervisory Committee & Internal Audit Conference and successfully completing the optional exams.

Minnesota partnership highlights commitment to financial lit

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (4/11/12)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network's (MnCUN's) Network Service Corp. has partnered with Lutheran Social Services Financial Counseling Service (LSS) to help credit union members learn financial skills.

Through the new relationship, Minnesota credit unions can offer members access to financial counseling.

LSS financial counselors are certified in both credit and housing counseling and specialize in helping individuals avoid bankruptcy, foreclosure and debt settlement scams. Through LSS, credit unions can offer members education on how to develop money management skills, and guidance on reading a credit report, budget and debt counseling, debt management planning, and foreclosure prevention counseling.

"The services offered through LSS help to further differentiate credit unions as the smarter financial alternative," said John Ferstl, MnCUN vice president, Network Service Corp. "LSS has combined social responsibility with the need to minimize losses in order to develop financial services that are mutually beneficial for both credit unions and members."

cbanc Network acquires Bankerstuff

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AUSTIN, Texas (4/10/12)--cbanc Network, a collaboration community of more than 9,300 credit union and bank users, has acquired Bankerstuff, a webinar company that produces online education for the financial industry.

Bankerstuff's archived and ongoing inventory of online webinars is immediately available for purchase by cbanc's community of financial services professionals.

Bankerstuff's customer base will receive an incentive for joining cbanc's collaboration community. Bankerstuff said it will deliver access to new resources to expand the scope of its webinars, and deliver key industry trends and content from inside cbanc.

All webinars will be provided through the Bankerstuff website, beginning this month. The webinars will be visible in the Daily Digest, cbanc Network ads, and optional education e-mails. Eventually, a fully interactive webinar store will be available in cbanc.

Covera N.E. CU Services announce partnership

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ALBANY, N.Y. (4/9/12)--The Massachusetts Credit Union League's member credit unions will offer training, portfolio development support, fraud prevention and marketing support through a partnership with Covera, a provider of credit union payment solutions.

"We have known and worked with Covera's team for years and truly respect their integrity, expertise and responsiveness to the member credit union's needs," said Bonnie Doolin, senior vice president and chief operating office of N.E. Credit Union Services, which is owned in partnership by the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island credit union leagues.

Covera provides debit, credit and ATM programs to more than 300 credit unions.

PolicyWorks paper Sound policies important to CUs

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DES MOINES (4/9/12)--Incomplete or nonexistent policies can trigger a sequence of serious consequences and potentially end a profitable product or service, according to a new white paper from PolicyWorks.

"More than simply alerting examiners to a problem, insufficient policies expose a credit union to needless risk," writes PolicyWorks Senior Compliance Officer Jami Weems. "Policies exist for a reason--to provide guidance and to ensure rules are consistently followed by all credit union staff."

In an excerpt from her white paper, "In Turbulent Times, Credit Union Policies Are Life Preservers," Weems notes that examiners operate under the premise that credit unions are up to date on all rules and regulations, which means they expect a credit union's policies and procedures to reflect current practices.

If a credit union has a new product or service that requires a new policy (or if a policy for an existing product or service was never drafted), Weems offers two ways to simplify the process.

The first is to borrow from a similar financial institution. By their very nature, credit unions are cooperative, so many are willing to share their policies. If employing this method, however, use caution, Weems notes. Examiners want to see that policies accurately reflect business practices, so credit unions should analyze any policy borrowed from another credit union carefully after it's been tailored, to ensure it complies with the necessary regulations.

The second way to simplify the process of writing a new policy is to download customizable templates. To save time--and the potential for red-flag mistakes--downloading customizable policy templates is an excellent route for credit unions of all sizes, even those fortunate enough to have a compliance specialist on staff, Weems said.

To be in compliance with all the current rules and regulations, Weems recommends credit unions put together a plan for updating policy manuals. This plan, she says, needs to detail how the credit union will make policymaking and maintenance a part of the credit union's overall strategic plan. "Think of this plan as 'a policy for policies,'" suggests Weems.

PolicyWorks is an Iowa-based firm that provides solutions to credit unions' regulatory compliance needs.

To download the white paper, use the link.

CU Members Mortgage has first quarter signup spree

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DALLAS (4/6/12)--Credit union mortgage services provider CU Members Mortgage signed 11 new credit union clients in the first quarter.

Each of the clients will begin using the mortgage company's services in the second quarter.

"It's been a whirlwind of credit union signings since January, which bodes well for the industry and the economy, we believe," said Linda Clampitt, senior vice president of CU Members Mortgage.

CUAD Mindburst Webinar addresses SEG relationships

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BISMARCK, N.D. (4/6/12)--The Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD) will sponsor a webinar at 1 p.m. CT Thursday on strategies to develop beneficial relationships with select-employee groups (SEG).

Lead by Josh Allison, founder of Think Café, the webinar, part of CUAD's Mindburst series, will focus on the four Cs of business development--content, connection, communication and conversion. 

"This particular webinar would be a great learning opportunity for business development professionals, marketing people, and managers tasked with SEG relationship management," said Amy Jo Johnson, CUAD director of learning.

Any credit union, regardless of association, can attend the Mindburst Webinars, CUAD said

ProfitStars ACH Alert introduce fraud solutions

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MONETT, Mo. (4/5/12)--Through a partnership with automated clearinghouse and wire risk management solution provider ACH Alert, ProfitStars has introduced two new solutions to financial institutions using its ACH Client and Enterprise Payment Solutions (EPS) platform.

ACH C.O.P.S. provides systematic fraud detection to outbound ACH credit and wire entries by requiring transaction-level validation after transactions are received by the financial institution and prior to their being released to the respective payment network.

In line with Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council's supplemental guidance to its Authentication in an Internet Banking Environment, ACH C.O.P.S. provides out-of-band authentication for ACH credit and wire transfers by requiring customer approval of all suspect ACH and wire transactions prior to transmission. This prevents money from going to an account that is not preapproved by the originator.

To mitigate losses from the posting of unauthorized ACH debits, ACH A.L.E.R.T. offers ProfitStars clients real-time control over ACH debit approvals. Financial institutions can allow member/customers to determine their debit notification parameters, notification method and contact information as well as automate the return and re-credit process.

CUSN holds inaugural Connection Series Seminar

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. (4/4/12)--The CU Service Network (CUSN) held its inaugural CUSN Connection Series Seminar on March 9 in Denver, with concurrent events in Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico and Idaho.

Bill Hampel, chief economist for the Credit Union National Association presented "An Economic View," which focused on the current economic climate for credit unions.

Credit unions outside the Denver area joined the seminar via webinar after a sponsored luncheon. A question-and-answer period followed. Additional credit unions from Arizona, Nebraska, Texas, and Wyoming also attended via webinar.

CUSN developed its Connection Series to expand the depth of its partnerships with credit unions throughout the region. Several events planned for 2012 focus on topics related to credit union growth and development. Each will be presented by industry experts. Time is included in each event for networking and roundtable discussions on key topics.

The next Connection Series event will be held in Santa Fe, N.M., on April 19. CUSN will host the CUSN Connection Mini-Series luncheon. The presentation will address one of the challenges credit unions face when connecting to their members.

Merger convinces CU to change core processing

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FARMINGTON, Utah (4/4/12)--Idaho State University FCU (ISUCU), Pocatello, Idaho, has chosen the CUProdigy Core software system provided by Credit Union Data Processing, Inc. (CUDP) for its core processing needs. 

The $130 million asset ISUCU was introduced to the CUProdigy system through a recent merger with $17M Pocatello Teachers FCU (PTFCU).

Robert Taylor, ISUCU CEO, said he was initially wary of PTFCU's core system because the credit union was so small. However, he changed his view when he saw the credit union's technology.

"CUProdigy is truly the first open system I have ever encountered, and CUDP has demonstrated the ability and willingness to adapt the system to our credit union's needs," Taylor said.

Taylor held such conviction for CUDP's technology that he convinced his board of directors to purchase a 16% ownership stake in the company. CUDP is a Utah-based credit union service organization serving the data processing needs of credit union of all sizes.

CU Companies expands into three new states

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NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. (4/3/12)--CU Companies, a New Brighton, Minn.-based credit union service organization that offers mortgage services, has expanded its corresponding lending channel to serve credit unions in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.

The correspondent lending channel provides a secondary market option for funding mortgages with the unique benefit of helping partner credit unions maintain their primary financial institution position.

CU Companies tested the marketplace in Minnesota and Wisconsin before expanding to the additional states.

The company also announced it has hired account executives to service its corresponding lending channels.

The account executives and their territories are:

  • Bruce Goetsch for Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin;
  • Glenda Steller for Missouri and Illinois; and
  • Ted Wende for Minnesota and Iowa.

CO-OP announces patronage dividend of 15.9M

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (4/3/12)--CO-OP Financial Services will distribute a patronage dividend of $15.9 million to shareholders for fiscal year 2011.

The distribution brings CO-OP's total patronage amount to $229.2 million since becoming a credit union cooperative in 1996.

Key events for CO-OP in 2011 included:

  • Merger with FSCC Inc., to unify credit union shared-branching services.
  • A strategic partnership with The Members Group of Des Moines, Iowa, to cross-sell selected products and services.
  • Acquisition of online and mobile bill pay services of Corporate Network eCom LLC, completed in January.
  • Launch of a general media campaign urging consumers to switch from banks to credit unions. The humorous ads use the tag line "Banks Don't Like You. Credit Unions Do."
  • Donation of $1 million to support credit union fundraising efforts for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals through its CO-OP Miracle Match program.
  • A record-high client satisfaction rating set in the first half of 2011, then surpassed in the second half.
The completion of the shared-branching merger enabled FSCC Inc., to pay $14.1 million to its shareholders, a figure that includes all revolving fund balances, 2011 patronage and common stock (based on FSCC book value). The company is now known as FSCC LLC and is part of CO-OP Shared Branching, one of five CO-OP business lines.