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ECS to survey CUs on compensation

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COVINA, Calif. (8/2/10)--Executive Compensation Solutions (ECS) has sent out a call to participate in its 2010 Survey: Employee and Executive Compensation and Benefits Survey for the Credit Union Movement. This is the seventh consecutive year ECS has conducted the survey. The survey provides information for credit unions on compensation for benefits. The survey is accompanied by a fundraiser. This year, ECS has partnered with Credit Unions for Kids, a program of Children’s Miracle Network. For each credit union that completes the questionnaire, ECS will donate $10 to Credit Unions for Kids. Credit unions can respond online at ECS’ website.

CUNA offers privacy law webinar

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MADISON, Wis. (7/30/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is offering a webinar on privacy law Sept. 30 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. CT. The webinar is titled, "Compliance Issues and New Privacy Rules." It aims to educate credit unions about a new model privacy notice issued by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) that will guarantee credit union compliance with new privacy notice requirements. Credit unions can use their current privacy notices for one year after the effective date of the rule. After Dec. 31, CUs that continue to use the sample clauses under the previous rule will no longer receive safe harbor protection under the current regulation. NCUA worked with several other regulatory agencies to develop the online form builder. The form builder guides an institution to select the version of the model form that fits its practices (News Now April 16). The webinar will clarify the rules and walk attendees through the sample form, discuss the form's use and how it should be implemented. Regina Metz, attorney at the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), will explain the background and how the rules were created. Metz also will discuss why NCUA hopes financial institutions use the new form even though it is not mandatory. Andrea Strizke, vice president of regulatory compliance at PolicyWorks will talk about model forms, which forms to use, what information can be shared, when to send notices, what notices to send, when to switch to new forms, and other issues during the webinar. The webinar is geared toward compliance staff, management or anyone needing compliance information, CUNA said. For more information, use the links.

Dynamic Card Solutions to get patent for unembossed cards

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (7/29/10)--Dynamic Card Solutions (DCS), a provider of instant issuance and personal identification number-selection solutions for credit unions and banks, announced the company will get a patent for instant issuance printing technology for unembossed financial cards. The patent is expected to be issued later this year. The application, “Real Time Card Printing Systems and Methods,” describes the ability of financial institutions to produce financial cards from blank card stock, including printing unembossed cards instantly using reverse retransfer film with inhibitor panels. It provides greater performance and durability. The technology allows the instant issuance of any financial card--including debit, credit ATM or prepaid cards. Custom images, background designs, cardholders’ names and other information also can be placed on the cards. Instant issuance increases activation and usage rates, DCS said. The patent follows a 2007 patent DCS received for its instant issuance software, CardWizard.

DocuSign MeridianLink create cloud origination program

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COSTA MESA, Calif. (7/29/10)--MeridianLink’s web-based consumer loan origination and account opening solution platform, LoansPQ and Xpress Accounts, now includes the DocuSign electronic signature management service. The offering is available immediately from MeridianLink. MeridianLink’s platform instantly generates new accounts for all types of deposit accounts and integrates loan origination, core processing and internal banking software in any configuration to produce paperless lending, according to a release (BusinessWire July 28). More than 450 credit unions and banks have deployed the MeridianLink platform. With the integration of DocuSign’s electronic signature-management service, the companies anticipate an accelerated adoption rate of the automated loan and account opening solution. “The entire process can be conducted seamlessly in the cloud, eliminating paper, hassles and wasted time,” said Doug Glagola, MeridianLink vice president.

Open Solutions acquires Weiland Financial Group

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GLASTONBURY, Conn. (7/28/10)--Open Solutions, a core processor for credit unions, has acquired Weiland Financial Group (WFG), a Chicago-based provider of financial account-management solutions. Open Solutions plans to integrate WFG’s products into its own offerings. WFG will offer and support its own solutions on a stand-alone basis. Open Solutions offers a product platform that integrates processing applications with Internet banking, cash management, Check 21, imaging and other solutions. WFG offers a billing suite for financial institutions--including credit unions--that generates account analysis statements, analyzes customer profitability and boosts fee income. WFG, founded in 1981, authored the 822 corporate billing standard and bank services billing standards. It provides services to financial institutions and corporations.

Nebraska league teams with VINtek on ELT

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PHILADELPHIA (7/28/10)--The Nebraska Credit Union League has partnered with VINtek, a provider of automotive collateral management and direct auto finance solutions for credit unions and banks, to provide electronic lien and title (ELT) services to the league’s members. Credit unions in Nebraska are preparing for a Jan. 1 deadline that mandates all automotive lenders in the state to move to the ELT process. ELT is an alternative to paper-based vehicle titles that enables credit unions to receive digital titles from their local department of motor vehicles. “By mandating ELT, the Nebraska state government enables financial institutions in the state to see immediate return on investment by alleviating storage and postage costs, and eliminating the expense of paper titles,” said Larry Highbloom, VINtek president.

Products and Services briefs (07/26/2010)

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* LENEXA, Kan. (7/27/10)--Beyond Marketing, a credit union service organization that specializes in marketing, has established BSerious ROI Consulting, an analysis that measures the return on investment of marketing campaigns. BSerious evaluates completed marketing campaigns to measure the cost and success of the campaign. The data can help boards of directors evaluated the effectiveness of marketing promotions, Beyond Marketing said ... * NEW YORK (7/27/10)--The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions has extended the registration deadline for its CDCU Institute to Thursday. The institute, slated for Aug. 8-13 in Madison, Wis., provides participants with training that focuses on credit union management and community economic development. The institute has trained more than 200 staff and board members. About 117 students have graduated from its three-year training program. Students that complete all three years of training graduate with a certificate in Community Development Credit Union Management ...

Two new Training on Demand courses set for boards volunteers

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MADISON, Wis. (7/27/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is offering two new Training on Demand courses for credit union boards and volunteers. The first course, “How to Think About Strategic Planning,” provides credit union boards an overview of the RESULTS method of strategic planning. It also includes questions boards can ask and exercises they can use during the planning process. The course aims for attendees to learn how to:
* Explain what a strategic plan is and why it’s important; * Understand how to facilitate planning retreats and exercises; * Describe the steps involved in the RESULTS methodology of strategic planning; * Discuss two other strategic planning models and list their key components; and * Identify the benefits of engaging in regular strategic planning.
The second course, “What Credit Union Volunteers Need to Know About Harassment in the Workplace” focuses on the role credit union volunteers play regarding sexual harassment claims. Course attendees will be able to:
* Explain the role of the credit union volunteer in responding to harassment claims; * Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of various harassment laws; and * Describe how credit unions can avoid claims for retaliation.
CUNA’s Training on Demand courses can be downloaded and watched by credit union representatives at their convenience. Printable workbooks and optional testing also are available. For more information, use the links.

Acculynk gains traction with PULSE PIN debit rollout

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HOUSTON (7/26/10)--Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable paying for purchases online, and this has implications for credit unions that use networks such as Discover Financial Service’s PULSE network, which announced plans to roll out Acculynk’s PaySecure solution commercially. PULSE had used PaySecure, a software-only service for personal identification number (PIN) online debit payments, as a pilot for roughly one year. PULSE’s plans follow Fiserv’s Accel/Exchange, which rolled out PaySecure commercially last year. About 1,000 merchants accept PaySecure, including Spirit Airlines and AirTran (Cardline July 21). Credit Union 24 also is among several networks using PaySecure as a pilot. Acculynk and Credit Union 24 partnered last year to offer the solution to credit unions (News Now June 3). PaySecure allows consumers to complete online transactions with a PIN. Consumers enter their PIN to complete the transaction, using a graphical, scrambling PIN pad that can be customized with the card issuer’s logo and debit card design. The cardholder clicks the mouse on a number and the PIN pad re-scrambles as each subsequent digit is selected. The PIN is not captured on the computer, nor is it transmitted over the Internet. PULSE’s pilot of PaySecure indicated that 54% of debit cardholders paying for online purchases preferred to enter a PIN when given the choice of PIN or signature options to complete their transactions. Chargebacks declined 77% compared for PIN transactions. No fraudulent transactions were reported. In a survey conducted last year, Acculynk said 65% of participants indicated they would feel safer purchasing on the Internet using PaySecure. About 48% said they would buy online if they used PaySecure. The survey involved 500 signature-debit card users, Cardline said. Consumers are concerned with security in online payments, James Van Dyke, president/founder of Javelin Strategy and Research, told Cardline. The top driver to more online-payments volume is “more security that involves the consumer,” he told the publication. Larger payment networks previously have relied on embedded security features that do not involve the consumer in the checkout process. Consumers tend to gravitate toward systems that involve them, Van Dyke added. Acculynk, based in Atlanta, provides software solutions for online transactions.

CUTEK upgrades Fee Manager Console

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MURRIETA, Calif. (7/26/10)--CUTEK has enhanced its Fee Management Console, which displays fees charged to credit union members’ accounts for staff to view and maintain. Fee Management Console, originally released two years ago and now used by about 20 credit unions, has a fee reversal option and staff can control the posting of over-the-counter fees. Credit unions can define which fees they want their employees to post and can define details for those fees, including standard descriptions and amounts. They also can use the fee manager to handle Regulation Z reversals and monitor fee activity by branch. CUTEK is based in Murrieta, Calif.

150 CUs choose Fiservs Mobile Money

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (7/23/10)--Credit unions are increasingly adopting solutions to help their members conduct transactions through mobile phones, and Fiserv’s Mobile Money is no exception. About 150 credit unions have chosen Mobile Money, which gives credit union members the ability to use any mobile device to check account balances and history, transfer funds, pay bills and track account activity. Mobile Money is supported through text messaging, mobile browsers and downloadable applications. Roughly 84 credit unions use the service, including Call FCU, Richmond, Va. More than 313 members signed up for the service at Call in the first three months. “Our members love it, find it very easy to use, and like that they can self-enroll from our website,” said Karen Salmons, chief operating officer of the $330-million-asset credit union. “We hope Mobile Money eventually will help to reduce our call center volume.” Mobile Money has industry standard data encryption and risk-management safeguards, Fiserv said. The solution integrates with online banking and online bill payment solutions. Solutions like Mobile Money can strengthen credit unions’ competitive position and appeal to a broad range of consumers, including Gen Y, noted Dave Selina, segment executive for Fiserv Credit Union Solutions. Fiserv, a financial services company, is based in Brookfield, Wis.

Three corporates collaborate on security

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (7/22/10)--The Member$MART online application hosted by the Corporate Synergies credit union service organization owned by Southeast Corporate FCU, VACORP FCU and Georgia Central CU is mid-way through an upgrade to a second generation multi-factor authentication (MFA) system. The effort to convert more than 4,000 users from nearly 800 credit unions to the new MFA product will provide additional security along with operational efficiency, the corporates said in a release. “Most members understand the environment we are in with heightened concern from the National Credit Union Administration and others surrounding high-risk transaction systems involving Gramm-Leach Bliley Act protected data or monetary transactions and appreciate the increased security with the new system,” said Steve Jones, Southeast Corporate director of product support. Southeast Corporate, Tallahassee, Fla., has converted most of its 2,600 users to the new system. VACORP FCU, Lynchburg, Va., is transitioning to the new platform this month. Georgia Central CU, Duluth, Ga., said its members will switch in August. “We were able to manage and limit increased call volume to 35% and handled the increase through cross training of added support from operations areas and by providing members good information and quick reference guides in advance,” Jones added. The three corporates collaborated, sharing support documents and processes for implementing the conversion. Because of increased fraud activity in financial services, the corporates are also using the opportunity to reinforce password best practices with their members.

Keynoters announced for CUNAs Experience Learning Live

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MADISON, Wis. (7/22/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has announced keynote speakers for its Experience Learning Live! (ELL) Oct. 21-23 in San Diego. The event will focus on ways to maximize the ability to boost credit unions’ staff energy, energize volunteers and increase member satisfaction. “Current economic challenges have impacted almost every level of how credit unions are conducting business, from how to deal with members to how to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the market,” CUNA said. “Employees are feeling deflated and de-motivated in a time when they need to be more productive than ever.” ELL is for credit union professionals responsible for staff performance, development, retention and recruiting. Speakers include:
* Kirk Weisler, author of “The Dog Poop Initiative,” who will present “Creating an Outrageously Cool Culture Where Engagement is High, Connections are Strong, Change is Awesome and People are Not Just Feeling Good, They’re Feeling the LOVE.” * Paul Wesselmann, creator of The Ripples Project, who will present “Encouraging Inclusion: Leadership & the Art of Nurturing Diversity.” * Lou Russell, CEO of Russell Martin & Associates, who will present “I’m O.K., You’re Insane: The People Side of Project Management.” * Andy Janning, assistant vice president of training and quality service for FORUM CU, Indianapolis, who will present “You did it! How ELL Can Get You Fired...or Fired Up!”
Each participant will receive a six-month trial subscription to Credit Union Magazine, CUNA said. For more information, use the link.

Implementing business services is topic of OpSS Council white paper

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MADISON, Wis. (7/22/10)--A growing number of credit unions are sensing a market opportunity in developing business-services capabilities for their entrepreneur members. Part of the reason is that a significant number of banks are holding onto their cash and declining to lend and provide services to small businesses, and in some cases, turning away well-established customers, according to a new CUNA Councils white paper. “Implementing Business Services,” by the CUNA Operations, Sales & Service (OpSS) Council, focuses on the business services side of credit union operations. The paper is a guide for credit unions planning a business services program. It discusses defining market and niche; finding experienced staff; services to offer; the board buy-in and proposal; marketing to existing members; cultural change and training; finding the right credit union service organization; and success in business services. Small business owners are searching for a financial institution that they can trust and are especially looking for a stable, long-term relationship, the paper said. Many business owners may already have a mortgage or car loan with their credit union and it would be a natural progression to open business accounts with their credit union, it added. Some credit unions find that the demand for loans is soft but the need for business services is increasingly important, especially for businesses that can’t find services or have lost services from a bank. Business services can be one way credit unions can make up for lost income during times of slim margins. For more information, use the link.

7 12 New Things on Boards Radar--July 28 webinar

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MADISON, Wis. (7/21/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is offering a free webinar July 28 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. CT on volunteer training. The webinar, "7 1/2 New Things on Board's Radar," will offer an overview of how the landscape has changed for volunteers in the past few years, an update on crucial regulatory changes and advice on how volunteers can use their knowledge of the recession to rebuild their credit unions. The webinar also will cover:
* Quest for Efficiency, where attendees will learn methods to improve efficiencies to keep your production costs as low as possible. * Focus on Profit, Capital and Controlled Asset Growth. Credit unions must recreate and rebuild a profitable business model in the wake of massive economic and regulatory changes, says CUNA . * Relevance to the Non-Credit Union Member. Attendees will learn how to clarify why credit unions are relevant to the marketplace and clearly convey that relevancy to members and community.
For more information, use the link.

Loan modification is focus of new Lending Council paper

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MADISON, Wis. (7/21/10)--Loan modification is an emerging development within the lending industry and the subject of a new white paper by the CUNA Lending Council. Since the housing bubble burst in 2008, credit unions have faced an increasing number of member requests for loan modifications. The requests are due to high unemployment rates, massive layoffs and a slow housing market that makes it difficult for mortgage holders--many of whom have a documented hardship--to unload houses they can no longer afford, the council said. Credit unions that engage in loan modifications have two advantages--the ability to retain loans within their portfolios, and the avoidance of foreclosure costs where loan modification proves to be less expensive, according to the paper, “Loan Modification.” Topics covered in “Loan Modification” include:
* The reasons for a formal loan modification policy, set of procedures and who should be consulted in their formation; * The difference between documented hardship versus negative equity; * Tools and options in loan modification; * A brief overview of the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP); * The basics of determining Troubled Debt Restructuring (TDR) loans; * An analysis of the application for loan modification and accompanying documentation needed; * Factors associated with successful repayment of modified loans; and * Tracking of loan modifications and those that fall into the subset of TDR.
The paper also presents two credit union case studies. One shows how the demand for different types of loan modification are handled by the same credit union in two contrasting regions of the country, and the role that its financial counseling partner plays in facilitating the process and educating applicants. The other highlights best practices such as confirmation welcome calls, website education and resources for employees and members, and the role that critical adaptive thinking plays in determining a realistic affordable monthly payment. For more information, use the link.

OpSS Tech Councils to have simultaneous meetings

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MADISON, Wis. (7/20/10)--For the first time, the CUNA Operations, Sales & Service (OpSS) Council Conference and the CUNA Technology Council Conference will be held at the same time and place: Sept. 29-Oct. 2 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. “Attendees of each conference can expect the same great event, but with added benefits, such as access to more sessions, vendors and networking,” said Jennifer Lehn, chair of the CUNA OpSS Council and executive vice president, Numerica CU in Spokane Valley, Wash. All events are open to attendees of either conference. More than 50 sessions will address topics such as:
* Technology trends; * Information-technology risk-management programs; * Mobile platforms; * Cloud computing; * Member retention; * Fraud prevention; * Enhancement of credit unions’ bottom line; and * Call centers.
Attendees “can network with chief technology officers or chief operating officers from across the country and have access to a larger, combined welcome center to talk to more vendors from different disciplines,” said Rudy Pereira, chair of the CUNA Technology Council and senior vice president of operations and technology for Alliant CU, Chicago. For more information, use the links.

CUAnswers offers peer learning CUSOLaw.com features

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (7/20/10)--CU*Answers has rolled out a Learn from Peer tool in CU*BASE and has partnered with a law firm to provide CU*BASE clients access to the CUSOLaw.com Knowledge Base, the company said in a release. CU*Answers is a credit union service organization (CUSO) based in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Learn from Peer-Configuration Comparison tool allows credit unions to select another credit union with similar makeup and view comparison data on penetration goals monitored in Tiered Services. Configuration Comparison follows the release of CU*Answers’ Tiered Services Peer Analysis. CUSOLaw.com is the Web presence of Messick & Weber law firm in Media, Pa. The firm’s knowledge base offers credit unions 20-plus years of educational material and counsel documents related to credit union and CUSO representation. The partnership was created after CU*Answers’ Web services team helped revamp the CUSOLaw.com website.

Power Financial CU offers online library

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PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (7/19/10)--Power Financial CU has launched a free online Small Business Library for small-business owners who are looking for information on how to start or expand their businesses. “Starting a business is challenging, especially in today’s rough economic times,” said Allan M. Prindle, Power Financial president/CEO. “We want to be a pillar in this community to not only help small businesses with their financial assistance and guidance, but also to provide them with valuable resources to support their future growth.” Access to the library is available through the credit union’s website at www.powerfi.org. The library offers business plans, startup basics, money management basics, characteristics of great managers, marketing plans, and information on how to target customer niches. Power Financial CU, Pembroke Pines, Fla., has $480 million in assets.

CUC Mortgage goes green with e-docs

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ALBANY, N.Y. (7/19/10)--CUC Mortgage Corp., Albany, N.Y., is offering client credit unions the option to receive loan application disclosures and pre-closing mortgage documents electronically through a partnership with A La Mode Inc.’s SureDocs system. Credit union lenders can view, change and add signatures to electronic documents after logging into SureDocs’ website. CUC Mortgage can accept appraisal fees online, and credit unions can download documents, which are available for 90 days. Since CUC Mortgage launched SureDocs May 1, more than 70% of clients have opted to receive disclosure documents electronically and pay appraisal fees online. “We have heard nothing but positive feedback since the program was introduced,” said Richard Maxstadt, CUC senior vice president and chief operating officer. “It also brings us one step closer to writing totally paperless mortgages.”

Dynamic Card Solutions releases CardWizard 5.2

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (7/16/10)--Dynamic Card Solutions (DCS), a provider of instant issuance and personal identification number solutions for credit unions and banks, announced the release of CardWizard 5.2. CardWizard 5.2, a follow-up to CardWizard 5.1 that was released last fall, allows financial institutions to instantly issue magstripe, contact, contactless and EMV payment cards in branch or back offices. Consumers can receive the cards instantly at account opening or if they need a replacement card. CardWizard allows financial institutions to eliminate third-party issuance costs, and increase activation rates, early and long-term card use, interchange revenue and brand recognition, DCS said. “CardWizard 5.2 contains about 35 new capabilities and/or enhancements so that our customers can stay ahead of the curve in the payments market while driving customer service, satisfaction, card sales, activation and interchange to improved levels,” said Ron Zanotti, DCS senior vice president. CardWizard features also include:
* Improved user interface and reporting functions; * Additional multiple language support for Spanish and Portuguese; * New support for servers and platforms; * Optimized custom background selection functions; and * Expanded chip programming capabilities.
DCS, based in Englewood, Colo., provides instant issuance and PIN selection solutions for financial institutions, Visa and MasterCard.

PULSE introduces Internet PIN debit

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HOUSTON (7/15/10)--PULSE has introduced Internet PIN debit, which allows financial institutions--including credit unions--to deliver personal identification number (PIN)-based online transaction verification to consumers who buy from e-commerce merchants. With PULSE Internet PIN Debit, consumers are given the option of completing an online transaction with a PIN. Consumers are then prompted to enter their PIN and complete the transaction, using a graphical, scrambling PIN pad that can be customized with the card issuers’ logo and debit card design. The cardholder clicks the mouse on a number and the PIN pad re-scrambles as each subsequent digit is elected. The PIN is not captured on the computer or transmitted over the Internet. The solution uses Acculynk’s PaySecure Internet PIN debit software. It guards against phishing because several attributes are displayed during the transaction, including merchant branding, financial institution identifiers, and the Verisign Secured Seal. Acculynk’s Internet PIN debit software service is integrated directly into the online checkout process, eliminating the need for cardholders to enroll or be redirected to another site to complete purchases, PULSE said.

TMG adds fraud prevention product

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DES MOINES, Iowa (7/15/10)--The Members Group (TMG), Des Moines, Iowa, has added the Visa Risk Manager to its fraud prevention services for clients participating in Visa programs. With Visa Risk Manager, credit unions can create fraud cases and decline suspicious transactions in real time. The tool is customizable and allows for rule creation at the account level and for a specific timeframe, giving credit unions the ability to fine-tune their fraud prevention methods based on individual cardholder needs. Visa Risk Manager, with Visa Advanced Authorization, allows credit unions to decline only the highest risk transactions while optimizing approval rates at the point of purchase. That means reduced risk exposure for credit unions and the freedom for cardholders to use their Visa cards in more places. Credit unions also can evaluate proposed fraud strategies within minutes, using their own historical data to provide an accurate assessment of rule performance. “We know that a one-size-fits-all approach to fraud prevention doesn’t work,” said Karen Postma TMG cards risk senior manager. “This extra level of protection gives our clients options and a layered approach to fraud prevention that will dramatically improve response time and guide their evolving strategies.” TMG will provide the tool at a number of service levels, depending on the client’s specific fraud prevention needs.

Synergent offers eID scanning to protect against theft

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WESTBROOK, Maine (7/14/10)--At a time where fraud and identity theft are on the rise, Synergent is offering eID Scanning Technology to help credit unions ensure that their members’ identities are safe. Synergent is a subsidiary of the Maine Credit Union League. eID scanning verifies members’ identity using ScanShell 800 with optical character recognition scanners to scan a driver’s license or state identification and store the data in CU Archives, Synergent’s optical storage and retrieval system. “Once scanned, the HTML ID retrieval screen uses the integration capabilities of Episys to seamlessly pull the scanned identification from CU Archives and display to the credit union staff member servicing the member,” said Nick Chasse, sales support coordinator for Synergent Technology Services. “Whether it be during the account opening process, the loan application process, or when conducting daily transactions, the eID Scanning functionality means credit union staff only have to ask for the member’s identification one time to scan into the archives,” he added. Synergent has also developed an HTML ID retrieval screen, which was built with feedback from credit unions. “The goal of this tool is to provide credit union staff with a means of quickly verifying a member’s identity, while still having the required information in front of them to answer questions and service the member,” Chasse said. “The screen provides a snapshot of the member, including some of the services used at the credit union, access to notes, comments and other account activity, such as pending automated clearinghouse items and more.” The product was recently shown at the Maine league’s annual meeting and convention.

CUDL rolls out iPhone app

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ONTARIO, Calif. (7/14/10)--CUDL, California-based indirect auto lender for credit unions, has rolled out the new AutoSMART App for the Apple iPhone. The new iPhone app, designed specifically for credit union members, replicates features of CUDL’s AutoSMART website as a fully functional app for Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The AutoSMART app connects credit union members looking to purchase and finance a vehicle with their credit union and the more than 5,700 dealers posting live inventory to CUDL’s AutoSMART website. Members can use the new mobile tool to shop the more than 600,000 vehicles listed nationwide on the AutoSMART website, CUDL said. Free to iPhone owners through the Apple App Store, the new app gives members and consumers the ability to perform selected steps of the vehicle buying process from their iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, from initial vehicle shopping and research, to accessing their pre-approved credit union loan, and connecting with an auto dealership in their area. Members can access the Apple App Store and download the AutoSMART app through links provided on credit unions’ individual AutoSMART websites. The new app incorporates content from the CUDL AutoSMART website’s library of research tools, including an advanced vehicle search that allows for search by make, model and year; car buying articles; affordability and payment calculators; researching vehicle trade-in values; and the ability to confirm credit union financing. “Our AutoSMART iPhone application is our first step in changing the automobile purchasing process by giving the consumer control over their financing while sitting in the F&I office,” said Kip Haas, CUDL executive vice president of products and technology. iPhone owners also can use the app to contact dealers for vehicle quotes. The app also has a dealer search feature that allows users to search for and locate dealers in their area by distance and by using a visual map overview. “Our goal was to provide a dynamic research tool that leveraged the AutoSMART site to further simplify members’ approach to vehicle shopping, while also helping our credit unions to stay connected with their members throughout the car buying process, and helping dealers to connect with customers,” said Tony Boutelle, president and CEO of CUDL. “As a result, our credit unions have a greater opportunity to not only improve their members’ auto-buying experience, but also to capture more member loans.”

CUNA announces three new alliances at The 1 conference

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MADISON, Wis. (7/12/10)--The Credit Union National Association announced three new alliance providers for CUNA Strategic Services (CSS) at The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas.
CUNA Strategic Services added three new alliance providers at The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas. From left are Brian Richards, Informa Research Services Inc.; Brigette Engel, ID Analytics; Wes Millar, CUNA Strategic Services; and Brad Smith, Abound Resources. (Photo provided by CUNA)
The three new alliance providers are:
* ID Analytics, San Diego. ID Analytics delivers world-class fraud detection solutions backed by the largest repository of reported frauds. ID Network Membership includes a consumer fraud-alert feature and affordable access to the same technology used by leading banks, retailers, card issuers, and telecommunication providers. * Informa Research Services Inc., Calabasas, Calif. Established in 1983, Informa provides competitive intelligence services to more than 6,500 financial institutions nationwide. Informa’s daily comparisons of credit union versus bank market rates at the national, state and local levels allow credit unions to price their products, ensuring the best interest rates to their members. * Abound Resources, Austin, Texas. Abound provides comprehensive third-party management solutions that help credit unions improve vendor performance, reduce vendor costs and manage vendor risks. Its newest risk management solution helps credit unions comply with National Credit Union Administration third-party relationship regulations while saving time and focusing efforts on the most critical risks. “This alliance adds another tier to CUNA Strategic Services’ vendor management services--building on the success of VendorTrack,” Millar added.
“These three new alliances can provide quality data about members, the rate-market environment and third-party vendor relationships,” said Wes Millar, CSS senior vice president. The knowledge base of ID Analytics, Informa Research Services and Abound Resources will build a solid foundation for credit union decision-making.”

Southeast Corporate CUSO offers portfolio analysis

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (7/13/10)--Accolade Investment Advisory, a credit union service organization owned by Southeast Corporate, is offering a free customized peer portfolio analysis to credit unions. The tool compares credit unions’ investment performance to peers,’ and shows how reliant credit unions are on their investments and liquidity to drive net income. Credit unions can see how their cash management and liquidity can significantly affect their overall investment yield and how to most efficiently manage liquidity, Accolade said. Accolade offers portfolio management and investment advisory services to credit unions.

New fin lit tool introduced by CUNA Wis. league

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MADISON, Wis. (7/12/10)--A new web-based and interactive financial literacy game for 16- to 19-year-olds was unveiled yesterday at The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the Wisconsin Credit Union League.
Bill Cheney, CUNA president/CEO, and Brett Thompson, Wisconsin league president/CEO, announce the launch of Money Mission.
Money Mission is an “immersive and animated interface using a customizable avatar that educates users in the fundamentals of financial literacy,” said Brett Thompson, Wisconsin league president/CEO. Players make decisions on life events and financial choices as they move through the game and fictional city of Mission Heights--like managing a checking account, financing a car, buying stock or building a retirement nest egg. Players also participate in lessons that teach financial principles. Money Mission can be accessed by players only through participating credit unions. It’s designed to be a marketing tool so credit unions can reach youth. Credit unions have as few as six members between 16 and 19 years old for each $1 million in assets and it’s necessary to attract more young members, the league said. “Financial education is a core operating principle of credit unions, and one that state and federal lawmakers pay close attention to,” said Bill Cheney, CUNA president/CEO. “Projects like Money Mission increase awareness of credit unions and their values, and demonstrate credit unions’ commitment to the community and long-term financial health of their members.” Interested credit unions can contact Josh Jones, CUNA manager of young adult programs, at 608-231-4262.

Cause marketing focus of council white paper

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MADISON, Wis. (7/12/10)--Both credit unions and worthy nonprofits benefit when people learn more about the causes supported by credit unions, according to a new CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council white paper. “Public Relations and Cause Marketing” is based on information gathered from marketing and public relations professionals at six credit unions, three credit union leagues and Children’s Miracle Network, which credit unions actively support through fundraisers. In addition to the case studies, the paper defines public relations, explains media outreach and provides tips for credit unions to tout the credit union difference. The white paper also explores how credit unions can use the “soft” public relations approach to overcome barriers created by “hard” marketing and advertising. “Hard” approaches are often greeted with skepticism by cynical consumers. “Consumers have so many choices about who they’re going to do business with,” said Patti Barrow, vice president of marketing for $5.3 billion-asset Suncoast Schools FCU, Tampa, Fla. “We believe that people prefer to do business with organizations that are good community citizens and have values that are aligned with their values. It really does round out how you conduct yourself and how you go about getting more business and how you interact with the community.” The paper examines:
* Children’s Miracle Network and Credit Unions for Kids, including the regional fundraising efforts of credit unions in Oregon and southwest Washington; * Suncoast Schools FCU’s Suncoast for Kids Foundation, which donates a portion of interchange revenues from signature-based debit card transactions to support causes that benefit children; * Missouri credit unions’ support for the Home For Our Troops project, which builds specially adapted homes for people wounded in the military; and * The “Big Give” project created by First American CU, Beloit, Wis., as part of its leadership training program.

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.

FASBs proposed exposure draft topic of new audio conference

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MADISON, Wis. (7/8/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will host a live audio conference July 28 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. CT about the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) proposed exposure draft. The proposed requirements would cause most credit unions to incur significant costs in order to comply with the new rules, which would change how financial institutions--including credit unions--account for the financial instruments they hold, said CUNA. The effective date of the proposed changes described in the exposure draft is likely a few years away, but “if your credit union waits until the final rule is adopted it will be much too late to express any concerns to the accounting standard-setter and you will have no other option but to find a way to comply with the new requirements,” CUNA said. During the audio conference, credit unions will:
* Gain a thorough background of information on what exactly the exposure draft would require; * Discuss the impact the proposed changes will have on credit unions; * Learn what credit unions can do to weigh in on and ultimately prepare for the proposed changes; and * Review a proposed timeline of important events.
For more information, use the link.

Reg Es Opt-in changes prompt vendor offers

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MADISON, Wis. (7/8/10)--Several credit union vendors are offering initiatives to help credit unions comply with Regulation E, which became effective July 1 for newly created accounts. Rules for existing credit union members will take effect Aug. 15. Regulation E covers electronic fund transfers and overdraft protection. Under the rule, overdraft protection cannot be provided as an automatic service to credit union members. Members must opt-in for the service. CO-OP Member Center, a wholly owned subsidiary of CO-OP Financial Services, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., will take members’ opt-in calls and report customer requests and relevant accounts to be covered to the credit union. It then generates a written communication to the member confirming they have opted in. The service has no set-up fees and is available to CO-OP clients. Fiserv, a provider of financial services solutions based in Brookfield, Wis., also has unveiled Regulation E Opt-In optimization programs to help its clients prepare for Regulation E. The programs aim to help financial institutions maintain a good consumer experience as Regulation E changes are communicated to consumers and overdraft preferences are established, Fiserv said. Fiserv’s three-tiered program offers:
* Option One: Reg E Deployment Program and Implementation Workshop. The workshop provides tools and guidance to minimize impacts of Regulation E, including a deployment guide, targeted messaging, customer segmentation guidelines, project plan template and recommended marketing collateral samples. * Option Two: Reg E Consulting and Opt In Outreach Support. The option includes consulting services for portfolio segmentation and other data analytics, opt-in optimization recommendations, staff and consumer training, project plan, consumer-focused collateral and two consumer outreach direct mail campaigns. * Option Three: Reg E Outreach Complete. The program is designed to help financial institutions launch the most effective consumer outreach program. Features include reaching the consumer via all the channels in which they do business, obtaining the consumer affirmative consent, distributing opt-in confirmation letters and housing all the information in a secure database.
SynTel, a provider of mailroom automation software and document design software, has expanded its services to include Regulation E mailings. Financial institutions provide SynTel with a mailing list, and it completes the compliance requirements from printing and mailing to reporting and confirmation. SynTel's solution includes template notices of the rule to customers, giving them an opportunity to consent to overdraft protection. The Credit Union National Association also is offering the Regulation E Electronic Funds Transfer Seminar in a Box. With the seminar, credit union staff can understand what transactions are covered by Regulation E, when a disclosure is required, what must be included in the disclosure, and what form must be provided.

WesCorp adds Thompson loandeposit pricing services

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SAN DIMAS, Calif. (7/7/10)--Western Corporate FCU (WesCorp) members now have access to the CostPro Product Suite through a partnership with Thompson Consulting and Training (TCT). CostPro is a comprehensive suite of tools that provides solutions for asset-liability management in credit unions of all asset sizes. “The CostPro suite takes into account all costs associated from generating loans and deposits,” said Randy Thompson, TCT founder/president. The algorithm “models not only hard costs, but soft costs as well, those known as activity-based costing. These include staff time associated with various activities in the deposit and loan-generation process.” The methodology identifies potential cost savings and improved efficiencies, along with a precise cost basis for loan and share pricing. The tool is generally employed by credit unions on a quarterly basis, TCT said. WesCorp is headquartered in San Dimas, Calif.

MeridianLink updates platform for new reg requirements

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COSTA MESA, Calif. (7/6/10)--MeridianLink has released a new loan origination and deposit platform that supports new industry regulations and rules, with features to facilitate compliance with new amendments to Regulation Z. MeridianLink incorporates open-end lending plan tracking, identification of places and automated linking of advance requests and trigger thresholds. It provides auto-calculations and warnings for high-cost mortgage loans and for higher-priced mortgage loans to support the new rules, which are effective Oct. 1. The new platform also features a built-in rate spread calculator for Regulation C. The account-opening side offers compliance with new Regulation E requirements, which became effective Thursday. Consumers can opt in or out of overdraft services while opening a deposit account online. The system also has XpressAccounts for account opening and funding, and LoansPQ, an intelligent loan management system. MeridianLink is based in Costa Mesa, Calif.

BMobile provides mobile access for CU members

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LENEXA, Kan. (7/6/10)--Beyond Marketing LLC, a marketing credit union service organization, has established BMobile, a service that develops custom mobile websites for credit unions to offer smartphone users. “Smartphone users can’t access the information they want from a traditional website because the screen size is too large for a smartphone,” said Curtis Hays, director of strategy at Beyond Marketing. About 49.2% of Americans intend to buy a smartphone within the next two years, according to research cited by Beyond Marketing. A 2009 Pew Research Center study also said that about 19% of Americans use the Internet on a mobile device, up from 11% in December 2007. Beyond Marketing developed BMobile to help credit unions gain market share of the growing smartphone user base. “Credit unions often don’t have the budget to keep up with large national corporate banks and the technology advances available to them,” Hays said. “We have developed a solution that’s affordable and relevant.”

TMG Now offers online community for cards payment

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DES MOINES, Iowa (7/2/10)--The Members Group last week launched TMG NOW, a website that joins financial institution clients so they can share tips, lessons learned and best practices for cards and payment programs. The website has a peer chat tool so clients can interact with one another and a calendar with TMG and industry events and resources. A text-message alert option also is available to give clients real-time updates on their phones. Users also can configure the home page to include 10 quick links of their choice and can specify which news alerts are most pertinent to them. “The site is a gateway to all things relevant within our industry,” said Angela Boggess, card services manager for Orlando (Fla.) FCU, which participated in TMG NOW’s beta testing. “It’s the kind of information we need to take our card programs to the next level.” TMG is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Affiliates Management Co., which is owned by Iowa credit unions and their members.

Overdraft statement stuffer offered by CUNA

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MADISON, Wis. (7/2/10)--Changes in overdraft protection laws effective Aug. 15 have prompted the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) to offer customizable “opt in” statement inserts. Credit unions can customize the insert to reflect the credit union's terminology--courtesy pay or overdraft privilege--call to action, logo, phone number and Web address. Besides the new “opt in” insert, “Opt In For Protection,” CUNA is offering stuffers about credit union auto loans--“What Beats 0% Financing?”--and switching to paperless monthly statements--“Going Green? Go Paperless.” For more information, use the link.