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Study One-fifth of breached entities were PCI-compliant

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MADISON, Wis. (8/16/10)--Roughly one-fifth-21%--of breached entities subject to Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards had been found to be compliant in their last annual assessment before the breaches, according to a new report. Verizon Business’ new 2010 Data Breach Investigations Report examined 141 breaches from 2009. Roughly 84 of the breaches were investigated by the Secret Service, while 57 were investigated by Verizon (Digital Transactions Aug. 5). While most of the entities that were breached were not PCI compliant, the 21% that were indicate that merchants may only focus on compliance during assessment time, instead of all year. Some companies will “ramp up” their efforts to validate themselves with an assessor comes in, but then allows compliance to “erode a little bit over the year,” said Wade Baker, director of risk intelligence at Verizon Business. However, some trusted administrators who are compliant may have problems that cannot be protected against, he added. Payment card data was involved in 54% of card breaches and accounted for 83% of compromised records. However, the share is declining. A few years ago, 80% or more of breaches and nearly all of stolen data were card numbers, the publication said.

California Nevada CUs win Maxwell Herring awards

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ONTARIO, Calif. (8/16/10)--Five California and Nevada credit unions won Dora Maxwell Awards recognizing credit unions for socially responsible community projects, and Louise Herring Awards honoring credit unions for practical application of the philosophy of “People Helping People.” The winners will now compete in the national credit union recognition programs, said the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. L.A. Financial CU won first-place state awards in the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Recognition Award, and also in the Louise Herring for Philosophy in Action Award program. Credit Union of Southern California, Grossmont Schools FCU, Silver State Schools CU, and Mission SF Federal CU each won first-place statewide honors in the annual Dora Maxwell program. The judges felt that the winning entries stood out for their commitment to the credit union ideals, exceptional results, and entry presentation, said the leagues. L.A. Financial CU, Pasadena, Calif., won a first-place Dora Maxwell award in the $200 million to $500 million asset category for its partnership with Operation Hope’s Banking on our Future program. The goal is to teach young people about money at no cost to school districts, with a focus on urban and underserved communities. The credit union also won first place in the Louise Herring Award in the greater than $250 million asset category for its Break Up with My Bank program, an internal program that helps to differentiate the credit union from other financial services providers. The Credit Union of Southern California, Brea, Calif., won first place in the $500 million and above asset category in the Dora Maxwell Award program for its holiday gift event that helped more than 100 families during the 2009 holiday season. Grossmont Schools FCU, El Cajon, Calif., received its first-place Dora Maxwell award in the $50 million to $100 million asset category for its employee stimulus book that helped local educators hard hit by budget cuts at area school districts reduce the cost of everyday expenditures. San Francisco-based Mission SF FCU earned a first-place Dora Maxwell award in the $5 million- to $20-million asset category for its Prize-Linked Accounts for Youth (PLAY) program for children and youth that pairs savings accounts and financial skill-building with incentives and peer support. Silver State Schools FCU, Las Vegas, will represent Nevada at the national level after earning a first-place Dora Maxwell award in the more than $500-million asset category. It was recognized for its high school financial literacy program. Coming in second place in the Dora Maxwell program in the asset category of more than $500 million was Travis CU, Vacaville, Calif., for its Money Matters program for foster youth. Second place in the Louise Herring Award program in the asset category of greater than $250 million went to Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., for its assistance and education programs for its members dealing with the effects of the recession. San Jose, Calif.-based Meriwest CU was recognized with the sole honorable mention handed out--in the Dora Maxwell $500 million and above asset category--for its Financial Education for All program. The awards program is administered at the state level by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, and nationally by the Credit Union National Association. Entries were submitted to the leagues and judged by a committee from the Arizona Credit Union League.

Mazuma CU institutes fraud prevention Fridays

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KANSAS CITY (8/16/10)--Mazuma CU will host Fraud Prevention Fridays throughout August at several branches, by partnering with Jeff Lanza, retired FBI agent and national speaker on fraud prevention and risk management. Lanza will speak on topics to increase awareness of how consumers become victims of fraud that affects their community, and how to prevent becoming a victim. Topics include phishing (fake e-mails) /smishing (bogus text messaging) /vishing (phony telephone messages) scams, senior citizen-targeted scams such as lotteries and sweepstakes, online shopping scams and Nigerian lottery scams. During the seminars, Rob Givens, president/CEO of the $400 million asset, Kansas City-based credit union, and Lanza will be promoting the presentations during interviews on KMBZ radio, a local radio talk show. “Educating the public is one of the best lines of defense against these types of criminals,” Givens said. “The more people become aware of scams and how to protect themselves against fraud, the less likely they will become a victim of one. This proactive approach to educate the community came about as a result of several text messaging scams that looked as if they were coming from Mazuma. “Unfortunately, we had a few Mazuma members call the telephone number located in a text message or e-mail they received, and they gave out personal information,” he continued. “The next thing they know, money has been taken out of their account. Our goal is to get the message out that people need to scrutinize who they share their personal information with. “We preach to our members, Mazuma CU will not call, e-mail or text a member nor ask for their personal information, but trusting people still call and give out their information,” Givens added. “Through this series of seminars, we hope members and non-members understand how important it is to be diligent about protecting their information.” Mazuma decided to partner with Lanza because he is a recognized and trusted name in the Kansas City community, the credit union said. Lanza worked more than 20 years as an FBI agent, serving as chief of internal security for the FBI’s Kansas City region for nearly two decades. He has appeared on television programs, including The Today Show, Good Morning America, Larry King Live and Fox News. Lanza dedicates his time to educating consumers and businesses on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. “As soon as the public becomes wise to a scam, the crooks find new ways to trick us,” Lanza said. “It is important that we all become educated and vigilant about fraud, because ultimately we all pay the cost.” The series will conclude at Mazuma’s main office Aug. 27. “We hope many members and non-members take advantage of these seminars,” Givens said. “We can all use the valuable information Jeff Lanza is providing to help protect our pocketbooks.”

SECUs new branding logo take different direction

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LINTHICUM, Md. (8/16/10)--State Employees CU of Maryland (SECU) is introducing a new brand and new logo next week to highlight that SECU is a substantially different alternative to banks. “We want everyone in Maryland to know who we are and that we are committed to taking [financial services] in a very different direction,” Rod Staatz, CEO of the $2.02 billion-asset, Linthicum, Md.-based credit union told Investment Weekly News (Aug. 21). “The bottom line is that as a credit union, we answer directly to the people who bank with us and will always make them our priority. Unlike banks which report to stockholders and have their own--not necessarily their customers’--best interests at heart.” During the past few years, SECU has endeavored “to evaluate what consumers value most and want in a financial institution, how we do business, and what our goals are,” Statz told the publication. “And now, we are doing things better. We are taking banking in a different direction through our commitment to always do what is right, to keep things simple, to provide exceptional service, and to never be controlled by outside owners.” Specifically, the credit union has changed its blue logo to a more contemporary green design, which reflects a more modern approach to conducting business, Investment Weekly said. “In an economy such as the one we are all facing today, it is more important than ever for SECU to stand out from the crowd,” Staatz told the publication. “We want people who bank with us currently and those who are looking for an alternative to traditional big banks to understand that SECU offers great options for home and auto loans, checking and savings, credit cards and business accounts. [We are saying to consumers] we want your business and aren’t afraid to ask for it because we know we will do what is right for you.” Also, SECU has introduced the “different direction” tagline to it printed materials, website, and other collaterals. “That phrase perfectly sums up what SECU is all about,” Staatz told the publication. “The needs of those we serve will always be our No. 1 focus, and that represents a different direction for many consumers who are used to simply settling for what their banks have to offer.”

Cummins Loyalty abundant among CUs members

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (8/16/10)--Loyalty is abundant among credit unions and their members, Minnesota Credit Union Network President/CEO Mark Cummins said in a recent column in Finance & Commerce newspaper. Cummins is a regular columnist for the newspaper, and recently wrote an article titled, “Loyalty sets credit unions apart.” In it, he cited the findings of a March 2010 Minnesota statewide public opinion poll that indicated more than 70% of consumers were “very likely” to recommend their credit union to a friend or family members. This compares with 36% of consumers who said they are “very likely” to recommend their bank. The survey also showed that the public’s trust in credit unions has not faltered. Consumers have a positive attitude toward credit unions and continue to consider them as appealing and attractive. Much of this is attributed to professional and friendly services that credit unions provide, and better interest rates compared to other financial institutions, the survey indicated. “Credit unions reciprocate that loyalty to their members, too,” Cummins wrote, explaining the field-of-membership restrictions under which credit unions operate that allow them to provide top-notch service. “While [these restrictions] may sound like a disadvantage to other come-one-come-all financial institutions, it actually helps credit unions by sharpening their focus,” Cummins said. “Credit unions don’t have to worry about being ‘all things to all people.’ By knowing exactly whom they can serve, credit unions can easily focus in on their members’ unique needs, tailor their product offerings, and provide outstanding customer service.” Credit unions’ not-for-profit, member-owned structure of credit unions typically leads them to take less risk because credit unions don’t face pressure from stockholders to increase profits. “Credit unions are devoted to what’s in the best interest of their members. Period,” Cummins said. “Loyalty comes in different forms and from different places,” Cummins concluded. “Your credit union will protect your assets, treat you like family, and help you make smart choices with your money.” Cummins’ next column will run Sept. 10. To read the column, use the link.

CU System briefs (08/13/2010)

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* MADISON, Wis. (8/16/10)--UW CU, Madison, Wis., will launch My Credit Score Sept. 13, a free tool to give all UW CU members access to their credit scores through UW CU’s Web Branch. When logged into the online banking system, My Credit Score will allow a member to access the credit score. The scores reflect TransUnion’s scoring system and will be refreshed quarterly. The tool also will feature Credit Simulator, which allows users to plan ahead to see how financial decisions, such as applying for a loan or closing a credit line, may impact their credit scores. UW CU has $1.1 billion in assets ... * BURLINGTON, Mass. (8/16/10)--Eastern Corporate FCU (EasCorp), Burlington, Mass., raised $20,000 for Children’s Hospital Boston through the 2010 Credit Union Invitational Gold Tournament. EasCorp hosts the tournament each year. It is one of the corporate credit union’s biggest annual events for the Credit Unions Kids at Heart program, which has raised more than $3.2 million for the hospital. Along with the golf tournament, credit unions sponsor runners in the Boston Marathon and host individual fundraisers ...