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Fynanz launches website with financial literacy features

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NEW YORK (7/9/10)--Fynanz has launched a new website, cuStudentLoans.org, with a section devoted to helping families and students research financing options for college. Fynanz, a CUNA Strategic Service provider, offers private student loan programs and turnkey solutions. Ken O’Connor has joined the Fynanz team as director of financial literacy and heads up the educational program in the “Ken’s Korner” section of the new website. Ken’s Korner has an educational blog, Twitter feed, question-and-answer section and links to sites and articles with content updated multiple times each week. Prior to joining Fynanz, O’Connor spent 10 years as a financial aid officer at Fairleigh Dickinson University Metropolitan Campus in New Jersey where he helped over 30,000 students with their financial aid needs. Schools and credit unions nationwide can link to Ken’s Korner and use the educational content on their own websites, Fynanz said.

CU Centers produces shared-branching videos for CUs

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INDIANAPOLIS (7/9/10)--Videos produced by shared-branching vendor CU Centers about shared branching have received thousands of views, and about 50 credit unions are using the videos online or on monitors in their branches, the company said. The videos were sent to credit unions with microwave popcorn bags, encouraging credit union marketing departments to “enjoy the show,” CU Centers said. Credit unions can share the videos through e-mail and social networking. The videos also link members to a shared-branching locator map. Credit unions can embed the videos to make the promotion a seamless part of their own website, or they can link to a hosted page. CU Centers plans to produce more videos, including one about when a member can use shared branching, such as when a member goes to college or travels during the holidays. For more information, use the link.

Intersections Inc. advises travelers on ID theft

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CHANTILLY, Va. (7/9/10)--Identify theft can ruin one’s travel plans, so consumers should invest some time in basic safe data practices, says Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC) President Anne Wallace. ITAC is a subsidiary of Intersections, a CUNA Strategic Service provider. About 2.3% more consumers will take vacations this year compared with 2009, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Credit unions can remind their members about the importance of guarding against identity theft. “Being away from home increases your exposure to identity theft,” said Steve Schwartz, Intersections executive vice president of consumer solutions. “[Thieves] also bank on the fact that many travelers are focused more on their itinerary than on their identity exposure.” Intersections and ITAC recommend that consumers:
* Have mail collected or held at the post office; * Hide financial documents so they are not in plain view at home; * Limit access to e-mail at cyber cafes or other establishments, and avoid entering any passwords to personal financial accounts on those computers; * Avoid tweeting or blogging about travel plans; * Install anti-virus software on laptops; * Assume public wireless “hot spots” are not secure; * Confirm credit card numbers in person at hotels instead of over the phone; * Take as few credit cards as possible and keep one as a backup in a hotel safe; * Have a copy of emergency contact numbers for credit cards and bank accounts; * Be cautious when using ATMs and keep personal identification numbers safe; * Use cash when possible; * Photocopy cards and documents in wallets or purses, including credit and ATM cards. Leave the copy with someone in case a wallet or purse is stolen to make cancelling cards easier; and * Consider using a credit and public monitoring service if traveling for an extended period.