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CU System Briefs (06/12/2013)

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  • OCEAN CITY, Md. (6/12/13)--"The future of credit unions remains bright," National Credit Union Administration board member Michael Fryzel told attendees of the 2013 Annual Meeting and Convention of the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association. Fryzel in his remarks praised Maryland and D.C. credit unions for their strong member service. "Maryland and D.C. credit unions have seen the economic struggles of their members and the toll the housing market has had on them…As growing economic uncertainly continues to plague the region, I commend you for the strides you've taken to meet members' needs," he added. The regulator also addressed the corporate credit union situation, the economy at large, and pending and proposed rules in his remarks ...
  • ROCKVILLE, Md. (6/12/13)--Juli Anne Callis, president/CEO of NIH FCU, Rockville, Md., has announced her resignation. She will leave the $584 million asset credit union July 31. Callis cited family reasons for her departure. She plans to relocate to Southern California to be closer to her family, she told News Now. Callis came to NIH FCU in 2009 from KeyPoint CU, Santa Clara, Calif., where she was executive vice president and chief operating officer …

Small CUs Get Spotlight At N.J. League Conference

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HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (6/12/13)--Collaboration was a key theme as the New Jersey Credit Union League held its fifth annual Small Credit Union Conference Saturday.

Click to view larger image Attorney Guy Messick discussed collaboration at the New Jersey Credit Union League's fifth annual Small Credit Union Conference Saturday (Photo provided by New Jersey Credit Union League.)
The conference was once again available to small asset-size credit unions at no charge because of sponsorships by larger New Jersey credit unions who are members of the league: ABCO FCU, Ramcocas,  Healthcare Employees FCU, Princeton, and Proponent FCU, Nutley (The Daily Exchange June 11).

Morriss Partee of EverythingCU opened the conference with his session, "The Advantages of Being Small." As a conversation starter, Partee asked attendees to write down three actions their credit unions could stop that members wouldn't care about or even notice.

Attorney Guy Messick's topic "Collaboration for Survival" underscored the need for credit unions to work together in their future business models. Messick focused on the why, what and how of collaboration. Credit unions that work together are stronger and can compete with fewer internal resources than large credit unions, Messick said.

John Dawidowski, CEO of Healthcare Employees FCU, continued the collaboration conversation, sharing key data from the National Credit Union Administration that compared New Jersey Credit Union Administration statistics with national averages. He also asked the group to share common challenges.

Debra Cohn, corporate account manager, Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU, discussed products and services that can help small credit unions. She closed her session with a video of FInection, Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU's online video channel that provides financial reporting, economic updates and general information intended to educate and entertain.

Nicola Foggie, NJCUL director of compliance, described the many regulatory areas that demand credit union compliance pertaining to rulings, education and examinations.

Brent Hamilton, CPA  and partner with Fontanella and Babitt, discussed developing a budget in today's economic environment. Hamilton reviewed steps to achieve various goals with examples in income, expenses and ratio goals.

N.J. CUs Take Financial Reality Fairs to Finance Academy

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ELIZABETH, N.J. (6/12/13)--New Jersey credit unions Friday took the Financial Reality Fairs program to the Halsey Academy of Finance in Elizabeth, N.J., a branch of the Admiral William F. Halsey Jr. Leadership Academy that provides business leadership students with coursework, activities and real-world experiences.

The New Jersey Credit Union League noted that the Financial Reality Fair fit right into Halsey's business leadership curriculum (The Daily Exchange June 10).

Roughly 160 students of all of grade levels completed the fair, which was supported by about 20 volunteers and sponsored by Entertainment Industries FCU--based in Elizabeth, N.J. and New York City--during the course of the full school day.

Students tested their personal finance and budgeting skills, buying cars and furniture, renting apartments, and making a few extravagant purchases along the way. Each student then sat down with a financial counselor to review their experiences. Roughly 75% of the students were within their budgets at the end of the fair, reported the financial counselors.

The fair received coverage from NJToday.net, which featured a story on Friday that explained the program and the students' experiences. The story also highlights Entertainment Industries FCU President/CEO John Gibardi, who whose credit union sponsored the fair. Use the link.

This was the final Reality Fair of this school year. Plans are in the works for the 2013-2014 school year.

CU Assoc. Of New Mexico Gets New Board, Officers

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ALBUQURQUE, N.M. (6/12/13)--A new board of directors has been chosen for the Credit Union Association of New Mexico, and a new slate of officers was elected at CUANM's annual convention last week, under revised bylaws adopted this year.

Formerly, directors were elected from eight geographical regions statewide. The revised bylaws created three classes based on the number of members in a credit union. Each class will be represented by two directors, and there will be one at-large director. Class A credit unions have 25,000 or more members, Class B has 3,500 to 24,999, and Class C has 3,499 or fewer members.

New directors are:

Class A:

Harold Dixon, CEO, State Employees CU, Sante Fe; and

Ron Moorehead, Chief Financial Officer, First Financial CU, Albuquerque.

Class B:

Chris Fitzgerald, CEO, Rio Grande CU, Albuquerque; and

Ronnie Johnston, CEO, Artesia (N.M.) CU.

Class C:

Karen Griffo, CEO, Roswell (N.M.) Community FCU; and 

Matt Schmidt, CEO, Los Alamos (N.M.) Schools CU.

At Large:

Judy Carrasco, CEO, Financial Security CU, Carlsbad.

The officers elected under the revised bylaws are Chris Fitzgerald, chair, and Harold Dixon, vice chair. The secretary and treasurer positions are now combined and Ron Moorehead fills that position. They will serve a one-year term.

CUNA Mutual Transitions Employee Benefits Business To Digital Insurance

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MADISON. Wis. (6/12/13)--CUNA Mutual Group Tuesday announced it is transitioning its Employee Benefits book of business to Digital Insurance, an employee benefits-only agency. The move is a means of providing credit unions with a better employee-benefits product solution.

Digital Benefit Advisors (DBA), the largest division of Digital Insurance, will service the business, providing resources, expertise and education to help credit unions prepare for the complexities of healthcare reform required by the Affordable Care Act.

"At CUNA Mutual Group, we regularly evaluate our products and services to ensure we provide the best solutions available to meet the needs of credit unions, their employees and members," said Robert Trunzo, president, CUNA Mutual Group Insurance & Financial Services Company. "When we are unable to provide the best solution on our own, we have a successful track record of bringing in market leaders like DBA to deliver those solutions to credit unions."

As part of the transaction, several CUNA Mutual Group Employee Benefits representatives will join the Digital team.

The transition builds on a partnership CUNA Mutual Group and Digital created in February, when the companies announced they were partnering to provide healthcare reform education to credit unions.

DBA combines the commitment of experienced, local market advisors with the technology and resources of a national company. Employers receive access to a broader variety of carriers, tools and proprietary products. One advantage includes direct policyholder access to a Customer Advocate Center, where licensed Digital representatives answer benefits and policy questions.

"The transition of CUNA Mutual Group's Employee Benefits book of business enables us to build on the work we've been doing since February," said Adam Bruckman, president/CEO of Digital Insurance. "DBA is now in an even stronger position to help credit union customers address a significant business need, ensuring they are knowledgeable about changes in health care reform and prepared to modify their employee benefits packages accordingly."

Over the next several weeks, CUNA Mutual Group sales representatives will contact their 3,200 Employee Benefits credit union customers to share the benefits of working with Digital and ensure a smooth transition process. In the meantime, credit unions can direct questions to their CUNA Mutual Group account team.

Filene Seeks Comment On Credit Union Regulatory Burden

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MADISON, Wis. (6/12/13)--Filene Research Institute and Credit Union Central of Canada are seeking North American credit unions to complete a survey on the burden of increasing regulation on credit unions in Canada and the United States.

Survey responses are due Friday.

The survey will form the basis of a report by Professors Panu Kalmi, University of Vaasa, Finland, and Giovanni Ferri, LUMSA University of Rome, Italy, seeking to quantify regulatory burden for credit unions, especially its differing effects across asset sizes.

The survey will also ask respondents to calculate their time spent complying with specific regulations in an attempt to identify the most burdensome regulations.

To complete the survey, use the link.

Texas Trust CU Debit Card Features Student Artwork

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MANSFIELD, Texas (6/12/13)--As part of the Texas Trust CU Spirit Debit Reward Card Design Contest, artwork by Tiffany Nguyen, a fifth grade student, will soon be appearing in the wallets of hundreds of debit cardholders supporting the Grand Prairie Independent School District (ISD) Education Foundation.

Click to view larger image As part of the Texas Trust CU Spirit Debit Reward card Design Contest, artwork by Tiffany Nguyen, a fifth grade student, will soon be appearing in the wallets of hundreds of debit cardholders supporting the Grand Prairie ISD Education Foundation. (Photo provided by the Texas Credit Union League)
Nguyen's design was selected as the featured artwork for the new Grand Prairie ISD (GPISD) Education Foundation Spirit Debit Reward card. Her art was chosen from 242 entries submitted by GPISD students in kindergarten through fifth grade (LoneStar Leaguer June 11).

"Schools in Grand Prairie, Cedar Hill, Mansfield and Athens, have earned nearly $255,000 in the last two years through their school Spirit Debit Reward Cards," said Jim Minge, CEO of the $748 million asset Texas Trust CU. "The art on each Spirit card has been designed by a student, which promotes school spirit and pride."

The new card design was recently unveiled during a special event at the Mansfield, Texas-based Texas Trust's Grand Prairie branch. Nguyen was publicly recognized for her award-winning art at the unveiling ceremony.

More than 240 entries were received from more than 25 elementary schools within GPISD. An independent panel of judges selected six finalists, which included an entry from each grade level. Each finalist's artwork was posted on Facebook, where students, parents, teachers and the community voted for their favorite design. More than 17,998 votes were cast on Facebook, and those votes were combined with the scores of the judges to determine the final winner.

Nguyen's design received the top combined score. Her design will be featured on the GPISD Education Foundation Spirit Debit Card, which is used by school officials, administrators and community supporters to help raise money for the foundation. Every use of the GPISD Education Foundation Spirit Debit Reward Card will earn 15 cents from Texas Trust.

The new GPISD Education Foundation debit card is available to any member of Texas Trust. In addition to the GPISD Education Foundation Spirit Reward Debit card, each of Grand Prairie's four high schools offers a student-designed Spirit card. GPISD schools have earned $98,227 since the inception of the Spirit Debit Reward card program. The schools receive a monthly check for the money earned.

Maine League Celebrates 75th Anniversary

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PORTLAND, Maine (6/12/13)--The Maine Credit Union League will mark and celebrate its 75th anniversary at its Annual Meeting and Convention Friday and Saturday in Portland, Maine.  More than 750 credit union representatives from across Maine are registered to attend.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) have prepared special videos congratulating the league on its 75th Anniversary.

Also as part of its 75th anniversary, the league has invited a number of past credit union leaders from across Maine to participate in a celebration billed as "a reflection of the past, as well as a strong focus on the future." Other plans include a special video highlighting the 75th anniversary and commemorative banners and displays. 

"We have a lot to celebrate as an organization and as a movement," said John Murphy, league president/CEO. "Our 75th anniversary provides an opportunity to celebrate our past and to look ahead as we begin our next 75 years. It should be a very special convention and meeting."

Other key speakers at the convention include two members of Maine's congressional delegation, U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Bill Cheney, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association, and Jim Morris, the inspiration for the movie, "The Rookie." Lee Wetherington, director of Strategic Insight for ProfitStars, will present an opening session focused on strategic foresight in financial services.

The meeting comes at a time when credit union popularity in Maine is at an all-time high with more than 625,000 members using a Maine credit union, and record totals in most other measurement categories.

Year-end statistics show that total assets at credit unions increased nearly 5% last year, as combined assets at Maine credit unions exceed $5.88 billion. Loans also increased in excess of $225 million, a 6.2% increase, while deposits grew by 5.4% to top the $5 billion mark for the first time.

Gen Y Notices CU Effort To Turn Rewards Points Into Donations

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TAMPA, Fla. (6/12/13)--TECU CU, Wichita, Kan., offers a credit card with an option for charitable donations targeted to its Generation Y membership.

"We realized our Generation Y members are passionate about giving back to their communities, which aligns well with credit unions' purpose, and so the idea of The Care Card just made sense," said Kelly Martin, TECU CU assistant vice president of operations. "Our goals were to entice our current cardholders to use the card as well as capture the Generation Y audience and make The Care Card top of wallet for them."

Holders of the The Care Card can turn rewards points into charitable donations through Card Services for Credit Union's ScoreCard rewards program. Since offering The Care Card, TECU has more than doubled new credit card accounts year over year, and grown total outstanding balances by nearly 18%, creating increased interchange revenue for TECU.

After identifying the opportunity to turn users of its indirect lending program into direct credit union members, TECU's strategy involved lowering the credit card interest rate and appealing to the age group's interest in philanthropy by giving cardholders the option to redeem rewards points as charitable donations. ScoreCard offers the capability for members to purchase gift cards that can be donated as funds to any charity of their choice through the Charity Choice website.