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Forbes Cites CUNA Figures: CUs Have Become the Auto Lenders Of Choice

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NEW YORK (9/4/13)--A Sunday article cited Credit Union National Association figures to show credit unions have become the auto lender of choice for an increasing number of U.S. consumers looking to purchase cars, said Saturday.
"That's partly because credit union membership is growing; partly because credit unions can often beat the interest rates banks charge, due in part to tax breaks; and according to credit union officials at least, because the Great Recession eroded public trust in big banks," wrote Forbes contributor Jim Henry in an article, "Credit Unions Gain Share In Autos, Trading On Local Image." 
The article cited comments by Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in which he said the CFPB recognizes that credit unions were not one of the causes of the recent financial crisis.
Credit union membership is growing at roughly 2% annually, compared with about a 1% annual growth rate for the overall U.S. population, according to CUNA statistics provided to Forbes.
Also, credit unions issued 22.2% of all outstanding U.S. auto loans as of the end of the second quarter--an increase from 21.7% at the end of second quarter 2012, Experian Automotive told Forbes.  Banks accounted for 35.6% of loans in the same time frame, which is nearly flat, compared with 35.7% a year earlier.
To read the article, use the link.

NEW: Gary Oakland Receives Wegner Award For Lifetime Achievement

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MADISON, Wis. (9/5/13, UPDATED 4:00 p.m. CT)--The National Credit Union Foundation Wednesday named Gary Oakland, retired president/CEO of BECU in Seattle, Wash., as the final one of three winners of the 2014 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement.
This is the first time in NCUF's history that three awards for Lifetime Achievement will be given. McCormack's award will be one of four total Herb Wegner Memorial Awards presented at a special dinner hosted by NCUF at the Grand Hyatt Washington on Feb. 24 during the Credit Union National Association's 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference.
"Gary is a slam dunk as a choice to bestow the Wegner Lifetime Achievement Award," said John Gregoire, Chair of NCUF Wegner Awards Selection Committee and President of The ProCon Group in Madison, Wis. "Gary's contributions to the credit union movement were so obvious as everything he touches turns to success for the average American consumer. It's evident in the growth of BECU, the state supervision system, dual credit union chartering, Biz Kid$, NCUF, and much more. It's also an honor to see Gary receiving the award rather than giving one."
NCUF is issuing four 2014 Herb Wegner Memorial Achievement Awards. The foundation previously named Tim Haegelin, retired president/CEO of Generations FCU in San Antonio, Texas, and Jim McCormack, president/CEO of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, as recipients of the 2014 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Sarah Canepa Bang, president of CO-OP Shared Branching-FSCC LLC and chief strategy officer of CO-OP Shared Branching, will be presented the 2014 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Individual Achievement.
There will be no outstanding program or organization award in 2014.
Over the course of his career, Oakland has supported the credit union movement in many ways. Those include serving on the board of the Credit Union National Association and as board chair for the Washington Credit Union League, the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors, Filene Advisory Council and Board, and the National Credit Union Foundation.
In his time as CEO of BECU, Oakland guided the credit union to provide aid for more than a dozen low income nationwide. With his leadership, BECU was also able to play key roles in the founding of two low-income designate credit unions: TULIP CU and Express CU. Oakland also oversaw BECU's creation of Prime Alliance (now Mortgage Cadence), a credit union service organization that provides mortgage solutions to roughly 600 credit unions.
Under Oakland's leadership, BECU grew from 108,000 members when he took on the position of CEO in 1986 to over 775,000 members at the time of his retirement in 2012.
Oakland was known for accommodating the needs of Boeing employees and providing guidance in responsible financial practices. He also led the credit union to a statewide field of membership to allow more members of the community to benefit from the credit union advantage: member-focused service with better rates and fewer fees.
While this growth trajectory could have changed the organization's culture, Oakland held BECU true to its founding principles and the credit union philosophy of People Helping People. In 2006, BECU had an opportunity to return a portion of its reserves to its member base. He instated the Member Advantage account, which reversed the interest rate tiers, providing more return for smaller savings accounts and creating incentive to start saving at a time when U.S. savings rates were at or below 0.
Among Oakland's most influential accomplishments was the role he played in the launch of the PBS program, Biz Kid$, an award-winning financial education show for youth. Through leading the production initiative, committing $500,000 initially and $1 million over-all, bringing together a group of credit unions that raised $2.6 million per year, and ultimately making the project a possibility, Oakland has become the face associated with the show's success.
After five seasons, Biz Kid$ has won two Emmy Awards and was nominated for 11 more. It claims nationwide recognition and makes a daily difference in the lives of its youth audiences.
In 1995, at a member's suggestion, he led the establishment of the BECU Foundation, a chartered foundation that provides college scholarships to students who excel in academics, leadership and community service. Since its creation, the BECU Foundation has awarded more than $1.5 million to 715 students.
Oakland served on the Board of Seattle's Neighborhood Children's Club, helping many children get on the right track to a productive future, and has guided BECU to support a number of non-profit organizations that provide affordable housing, including Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together, Impact Capital and Plymouth Housing.

Maine League: Congressional Contacts Key To 'Don't Tax My CU'

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PORTLAND, Maine (9/3/13)--Nothing can beat in-person contacts with congressional leaders during the ongoing "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign headed by the Credit Union National Association and the state credit union leagues, according to the head of the Maine Credit Union League.  
"It is great to see credit unions posting photos on Twitter, putting banners in lobbies and utilizing other creative ways to highlight the 'Don't Tax My Credit Union' Campaign, but what really matters most is getting members and staff to take the time to contact our Congressional Delegation," said Maine League President John Murphy (Weekly Update Aug. 23).
The mobilization of grassroots is well-underway in Maine, with more than 80% of Maine's credit unions, representing 575,000 members, actively involved in reaching out and educating members about the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" Campaign, said the league. To date, the number of contacts from Maine to the four members of Maine's Congressional Delegation now stands at more than 5,000.
Last month, efforts to encourage members to get involved by contacting members of Congress were stepped up at several Maine credit unions.
"We are pleased to see more credit unions sending e-mail blasts to members, posting messages on social media, and providing letters and links to make it easy for members to respond," Murphy said.
"With 630,000 credit union members in Maine, we can make a big difference in this campaign if we get members, and staff, to take the time to send a letter or e-mail or make a phone call and tell Congress 'Don't Tax My CU,'" he concluded.
National contacts for credit unions and credit union members contacting Congressional members as part of the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign total 800,000, CUNA said.

CU July Membership Growth 3X Population Growth

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MADISON, Wis. (9/4/13)--Credit  union membership growth is moving three times faster than U.S. population growth, according to the Credit Union National Association's monthly sample of credit unions for July. That report also reflects a continuation of strong, overall first-half-of-the-year results.
Total memberships expanded rapidly in July--increasing by 0.4% in the month and pushing them over the 98 million mark, Mike Schenk, CUNA vice president of economics and statistics, told News Now.
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"The recent rate of membership growth is unlikely to be sustained throughout the year but the data does show credit union memberships are up by 2.7% compared to year-ago levels--that's about three times faster than the U.S. population growth rate, which has been expanding at an annual rate of slightly less than 1% recently. That's a clear indication that more consumers continue to recognize the credit union difference and understand that credit unions are the best choice for consumer financial services," Schenk concluded.
Schenk also noted: "Overall credit union loans grew by a strong 1% in the month and by 5.5% over the past year. Strong increases were seen in almost every major loan category we track, with unsecured personal loans leading the way, reflecting a 2.1% increase in July and 8.8% year-over-year."
Automobile loan growth also was very strong: New autos expanded by 1.8% in the month (11.9% year-over-year) and used autos grew by 1.6% in July (9.7% year over year), Schenk said. Fixed-rate first mortgages (1.3% in July and 9.4% year over year), and credit cards (1.2% in July and 6.7% year over year) showed solid gains and even adjustable rate first mortgages "showed signs of life" (1% in July and 1.5% year over year), he added. 
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Savings balances declined somewhat, which given the fast growth in loans, led to an increase in the movement's aggregate loan-to-savings ratio--which gained one full percentage point--to 68.5% at the end of July from 67.5% in June, Schenk said. 
"The combination of a continued labor market improvement, significant pent-up demand, and seasonally strong borrowing should result in additional relatively strong loan growth in the coming months," Schenk explained. "All else equal, this should have a positive influence on credit union bottom-line results as short-term, liquid investments yielding close to zero are replaced with higher-yielding assets."
Asset quality improved marginally in the month as dollar delinquencies ended at 0.97%, compared with a reading of 0.99% at the end of June. The movement's aggregate delinquency rate has declined in six of the past seven months, said Schenk. 
"CUNA economists continue to stress the likelihood of slow improvement in economic conditions, with a continuation of slow-but-sure labor market improvement, marginal income gains and more loan growth," Schenk said. "This suggests that the improving asset quality trends we've seen will continue in the coming months. More importantly, the improvements are likely to push the aggregate delinquency rate back down near the 1% long-run norm in 2013."

Top 10 News Now Articles For August

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MADISON, Wis. (9/4/13)--An article about the resignation of Alloya Corporate FCU CEO Bill Walby was the most-read News Now article in August. However, the ongoing court battle about the fate of the Federal Reserve's 2011 implementation of the Dodd-Frank debit interchange fee cap was also one of the month's hottest topics.
The top 10 articles for the month included:
10. CUNA 'Inside Exchange' Lays Out Case For Ending Corporate Fund Assessments

WASHINGTON (8/16/13)--The clear case for swiftly ending corporate credit union stabilization fund assessments is one of many topics touched on in the Credit Union National Association's latest Inside Exchange video.
9. CUNA: Court Interchange Ruling Could Devastate Small Issuers

WASHINGTON (8/1/13)--The Credit Union National Association Wednesday said that a U.S. District Court decision striking down the Federal Reserve's price caps on debit interchange fees will have "a potentially devastating impact on the ability of small debit card issuers, particularly credit unions, to continue offering this vital payments service to their members and customers."
8. Al George, 'Epitome Of Volunteerism,' Has Passed Away

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (8/29/13)--Al George, a former California Credit Union League and Credit Union National Association chairman, has passed away.
7. Fed Seeks Extended Stay In Interchange Case

WASHINGTON (8/27/13)--The Federal Reserve Board has filed a consent motion for a stay of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Richard Leon's July 31 interchange decision, pending appeal.
6. Judge Fierce On Fed Interchange Rule

WASHINGTON (8/15/13)--Judge Richard Leon on Wednesday set a tight schedule for the Federal Reserve Board to revise its debit interchange cap rule, asking Fed attorneys to return to his court room within one week with the board's thoughts on issuing an interim final rule.
5. FBI Warns FIs Of Possible Sept. 11 Cyberthreat

WASHINGTON (8/15/13)--Credit unions are being warned about a possible cyberthreat to both U.S.- and foreign-based financial institutions  in September, and the Credit Union National Association is encouraging credit unions to be on the alert.
4. Interchange: Next Steps Covered In CUNA 'Inside Exchange' Video

WASHINGTON (8/8/13)--Interchange, and the next steps for credit unions to expect as the result of a federal court ruling, is the subject of the latest episode of "Inside Exchange."
3. Fed to Appeal Interchange Ruling, Request Stay Extension

WASHINGTON (8/21/13)--Fed General Counsel Scott Alvarez today said the Federal Reserve Board plans to appeal a recent district court decision that turned the agency's debit interchange fee rule on its head and instructed the Fed to rewrite and/or revise regulations that require a cap on fees card issuers may charge merchants for their debit transaction services.
2. What CUs Need To Know About Wednesday's Interchange Developments

WASHINGTON (8/22/13)--Federal Reserve Board General Counsel Scott Alvarez on Wednesday said the Fed plans to appeal a recent district court decision that invalidated the agency's debit interchange fee rule. The U.S. District Court judge currently handling the case said that he would allow the status quo to be maintained for now.
 1. Alloya Corporate CEO Walby Resigns, Effective Sept. 15

WARRENVILLE, Ill. (8/26/13)--Alloya Corporate FCU announced Monday that Bill Walby will resign as Alloya's CEO for personal reasons. His resignation is effective Sept. 15, 2013.

CNBC Notes Banks 'Experiment' With New Service Fees

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MADISON, Wis. (9/4/13)--A recent CNBC article highlighted that banks are experimenting with new kinds of fees to be applied to some old, reliable, and expected services.
Banks are couching teller contact as a "premium" service to migrate customers to electron services. If members agree to waive personal contact, fees are waived.
In December, customers of PNC Bank with "Virtual Wallet" accounts could see a $7 monthly fee if they bank in a branch. Among the ways to waive the $7 charge: be a student, hold a minimum balance of $500, or pledge to bank only online, by mobile or at an ATM.
Capital One offers an account that is fee free--if customers don't use any of the banks branches.
At Bank of America, customers rejected a fee-free checking that did not offer branch access. Only 10% of new checking customers signed up for the "eBanking" accounts, which charged $8.95 monthly if a customer used a teller. Last week, BofA stopped offering the accounts.
Bank fees ignited the grassroots movement Bank Transfer Day, Nov. 5, 2011, which helped prompt a gain of 2.2 new member accounts at credit unions (News Now Feb. 27).

ATMIA and IPF Form Payments Alliance

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. and HURST, Texas (9/4/13)--Taking a look at payments industry feedback, IPayments Forum (IPF) and the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) have revamped the ATM Acquirers Alliance to form the new Integrated Payments Alliance.
The name change and restructuring of the initiative makes the new alliance more inclusive,  according to Lyle Elias, IPF Chairman and a founding director of ATMIA.
"We reached out to the ATMIA membership and found there was a consensus among them that the makeup of the group should be inclusive of all payments industry segments, not just ATM acquirers," he said. "The mission and structure of the organization needs to be one of developing a framework for interoperable integrated payments that is inclusive of vertical industries, such as money services businesses, mobile operators and merchant acquirers, as well as government regulators."
Cash advocacy will be a central focus of the Integrated Payments framework, Elias said.
ATMIA and the Integrated Payments Alliance will soon publish new best practices for Cardless ATM Transactions.
"The time is right for cardless transaction standards to be developed and adopted by the payments industry", Elias said, "In the past we've struggled with payments interoperability because of too many proprietary protocols and competing business models."
Elias and Mike Lee, ATMIA CEO,  are working on a white paper, which builds a future model for the concept of intermodal currency, which Lee predicts will dominate the future of payments and money.
"The future of payments is through developing 'Intermodal Money' systems, where all forms of value transfers are readily available, secure, reliable and instant," he says.  "Intermodal money will revolutionize payments the same as Intermodal Transportation revolutionized shipping and global commerce."