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IMM updates brand ID new site

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LINDEN, N.J. (10/1/12)--IMM, a provider of eSignature, workflow and document solutions, has updated its brand identity and rolled out a new website.

The renewed brand emphasizes the company's growth, continual innovation and commitment to serving its customers and the industry through technology.

The new website provides information about the company and its offerings, as well as several educational resources and activities designed to engage visitors.

IMM has organized its products and services into three primary categories on the website: Document Presentment & eSignatures, Teller Transaction Automation and Workflow Automation. The company believes the groupings will better illustrate to the financial industry its available technology, which fills the gaps in automation between a credit union or bank's core or loan-origination system and its imaging/enterprise content management archival repositories.

Mitek 150 CUs sign up for mobile deposit

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SAN DIEGO (10/1/12)--More than 150 credit unions have signed agreements with Mitek System's Mobile Deposit technology to offer their members the ability to deposit checks using their camera-enabled smartphone or tablets. Mitek has experienced an increase in credit union market penetration by more than 165% year-over-year.

Mitek has been issued 12 U.S. and Canadian patents, with another 12 patents pending, that cover the processes for depositing a check, processing the image, and creating a Check 21-compliant image, whether the processes are carried out on the phone, the server, or a combination of both.

"Credit unions around the country are meeting the needs of their members who want a fast, easy and fun mobile banking experience," said James DeBello, Mitek president/CEO. "Our credit union customers tell us that mobile deposit is a cornerstone of their mobile banking strategies, and a powerful tool to drive new member acquisition and keep member satisfaction high.

Bluepoint CFC Technology offer mobile deposit home capture

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HENDERSON, Nev. (9/28/12)--Bluepoint Solutions and CFC Technology have partnered to offer mobile check capture and consumer in-home check capture to credit unions and community banks.

Through the partnership, CFC Technology will add Bluepoint's QwikDeposit ToGo and QwikDeposit Home remote deposit capture solutions to its current product portfolio.

Bluepoint's QwikDeposit ToGo allows smartphone users to take photos of checks with their mobile phone and deposit those checks to their checking or savings account. Smartphone users download the application provided by their financial institution to their mobile device and follow the app's step-by-step deposit instructions. CFC will offer QwikDeposit ToGo as an integrated or as a standalone solution.

QwikDeposit Home enables financial institution customers with a desktop scanner to capture check images and deposit those items through their financial institution's Internet banking portal.

CUAnswers announces self-service Grand Opening Kit more

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (9/28/12)--CU*Answers, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based core data processor and credit union service organization, has released its second quarterly Grand Opening Kit for credit unions.

The "GO" kits are designed to provide credit unions with affordable, professionally designed marketing collateral in a box. The first kits, released in June, gave credit unions a variety of collateral to help them introduce Text Banking to their members.

The second installment notes the self-service options available to members with CU*Answers' It's Me 247 family of products. The materials are designed with a holiday-themed message, "If you are expecting new technology this holiday season, it's already connected with It's Me 247."

Every CU*Answers client will receive one GO Kit free through 2013. GO Kits include posters, decals and table tents. Additional kits are available for purchase.

In other news from CU*Answers:

  • The company announced the availability of end-to-end, PC-to-host session encryption that protects all network interactions between the credit unions' PC workstations and the host computers at CU*Answers' data centers. The technology uses industry standard SSL encryption, which makes data unreadable to any attacker who may capture the data transmission.
  • More than 50% of the credit unions on the CU*BASE system have adopted its 5300 call report tool. The company says its goal is for 100% of its clients to adopt the tool. The tool allows credit unions to configure their system to auto-populate almost half of the 5300 account codes with data directly from CU*BASE, saving time on subsequent reports.
  • CU*Answers announced two upcoming Regional Training Events for its core data processing clients.  They are scheduled for Oct. 17 in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Oct. 24 in Madison, Wis. Both events will cover CU*BASE sales and marketing tools that can help promote product and services offerings to members. The event will also cover lending features on the CU*BASE core platform and new lending opportunities through Lender*Hub, a centralized tool to bring applications from outside sources into CU*BASE.

prime joins Mortgage Cadence as Symphony

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DENVER (9/27/12)--Mortgage Cadence LLC, a provider of enterprise lending solutions, announced that prime+, Prime Alliance Solutions mortgage lending platform, has been renamed Symphony, joining Orchestrator, Finale, Opus and Reprise in the Mortgage Cadence family of products.

Symphony is Mortgage Cadence's cloud-based retail mortgage lending platform.

"Symphony, known to credit unions nationwide as prime+, produces proven efficiencies and yields real cost savings," said Dan Green, executive vice president of marketing, Mortgage Cadence. "Its track record of constant innovation over the past decade fits perfectly with Mortgage Cadence's history and philosophy of perpetual invention."

Prime Alliance first introduced prime+ as an online origination portal in 2001, later adding features, functions and enhancements.  Complete loan processing capability was introduced in 2005, along with integrated loan documents.  Secondary marketing capabilities, which have increased client profitability, were added in 2009. Imaging debuted in 2010. In December, under the new Symphony name, Mortgage Cadence will introduce a new consumer portal designed to make the mortgage loan origination process faster, easier and more intuitive, the company said.

Nerdwallet.com Coopera prepaid card fifth most affordable

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DES MOINES, Iowa (9/27/12)--NerdWallet.com, an online financial planning resource, has ranked the Coopera Prepaid Reloadable Visa Card as the fifth-most-affordable prepaid card available to consumers.

The ranking is based on the Coopera Card's low fees as compared with other prepaid card options on the market, including two competing products designed for Hispanic cardholders, said Coopera, which works with the Credit Union National Association on serving Hispanic credit union members.

The Coopera Card is designed to offer Hispanic cardholders a fair, dignified reloadable prepaid card option to help them avoid costly nonbank financial services such as money orders, check-cashing and payday advances. The card differs from other prepaid cards targeted for Hispanic cardholders in the language of their choice--English or Spanish--which includes the copy on the card, statements and text alerts, and cardholder support and other related services.

Coopera Card fees are tailored to match the financial behaviors of the Hispanic market, with lower secondary card fees, free interactive voice response calls, lower international fees and lower print statement fees.

NerdWallet.com's interactive prepaid card comparison tool standardizes prepaid cards' disclosures, fee structures and terms and conditions to help consumers understand quickly each card's cost structure. It makes recommendations to consumers based on:

  • Card use, including both signature and PIN transactions;
  • ATM use, including withdrawals and balance inquiries;
  • Reloads, including cash reloads; and
  • Direct deposit and monthly loads, to determine if the user is eligible for a discount.
Coopera Card keeps costs low by offering fee-free cash loads at the cardholder's credit union, direct deposit of payroll checks, or online transfers from an existing checking or savings account, or from other credit or prepaid cards.

"Where a lot of prepaid debit cards get you is the 'free' cash loads," said Anisha Sekar, NerdWallet.com vice president of credit and debit products. "They might not charge a fee, but third-party retailers can levy charges as high as $5 per reload. Not-for-profit credit unions, by contrast, tend to offer affordable products and to reinvest in their community and members' well-being."

To see how the Coopera Card compares to other prepaid card options, use the link.

Coopera works CUNA and credit unions nationwide to help credit unions grow by serving the Hispanic community. Coopera and CUNA designed El Poder es Tuyo (The Power is Yours), a customizable, Spanish-language personal finance website for Hispanic credit union members and potential members. For more information, use the resource link.

cuStudentLoans CUs refinance 5000th private loans

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NEW YORK (9/27/12)--cuStudentLoans, a network of credit unions offering private student loans and consolidation options, reached a milestone when it recently refinanced its 5,000th private student loan.

cuStudentLoans is offered through Fynanz, a CUNA Strategic Services provider. 

When comparing borrowers' student loan consolidations based on the previous interest rate they were charged with the terms they currently receive, the results are an overall savings of nearly $22 million over the loans' lifetime, or roughly $800 per student annually, said cuStudentLoans.

cuStudentLoans' private student loan consolidation program benefits both the lenders (credit unions) and student borrowers, said cuStudentLoans. It provides credit unions with increased lending business, while promoting their products and services to young college graduates who are poised to embark on their salaried careers. Helping graduates consolidate and repay their loans brings value to credit unions providing other financial services. Students have  extra cash available from the consolidation to use for a new car, home, or investments, the company said.

"This is a tremendous savings for students during a time when many graduates are finding it very difficult to repay their loans," says Alice Stevens, chairman of cuStudentLoans. "With all the negative publicity surrounding student lending today, we are here to show that credit unions are turning those stories around with extremely positive results. Because of this program, credit unions can step up and do what they do best--and that's help the consumer save some money while providing great service."

Viewpointe launches content assessment for info governance

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NEW YORK and CHICAGO (9/26/12)--Viewpointe, a provider of electronic content management and image exchange solutions and services, has launched a content assessment service.

The service complements the company's hosted information governance platform OnPointe and is designed to help organizations understand their information governance readiness based on industry best practices and standards. Information governance is how credit unions meet regulatory, legal and business requirements for data access, monitoring, retention management and defensible destruction of information via automated enforcement of governance policies.

This blend of software, services and expertise is designed to help organizations jump-start their information governance programs and provide a better understanding of records management maturity and information governance readiness. Equipped with a systematic way to explore, analyze and validate the business value of the unstructured business content from across its enterprise, an organization also can gain a better understanding of its information landscape, Viewpointe said.

Through Viewpointe's content-assessment services, organizations are provided with insight into what information to trust and leverage, and areas of duplication and risk. Targets for cost reduction help organizations make fact-based decisions that affect strategic goals.

CO-OP TMG launch joint ad campaign

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DES MOINES, Iowa, and RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (9/26/12)--The Members Group (TMG) and CO-OP Financial Services--two companies that formed a partnership in January--announced a collaborative advertising effort.

Click to view larger image Click for larger view
The companies designed a new graphic element symbolizing the power of TMG/CO-OP strategic alliance. The seal symbolizes the new future in payment innovations, according to CEOs Shazia Manus of TMG and Stan Hollen of CO-OP.

"Everyone who sees this seal will be reminded of the power of the TMG/CO-OP alliance, which expands each of our competencies for the development of best-in-class payment technologies and superior customer experiences," said Manus.

Patterned after a vintage "seal of approval," the graphic will be introduced to the credit union industry in display ads scheduled to publish this week. The element will reappear on a smaller scale in the companies' individual ads and in print and digital marketing materials.

Some initiatives the two companies are working to bring to the market include:

  • Flexible payment solutions to fit the needs of more than 7,300 credit unions;
  • Launch of innovative mobile banking and payments products;
  • After-hours cardholder support services;
  • Integrated reporting and data analytics tools;
  • Improvements to fraud prevention strategies;
  • Europay-MasteCard-Visa chip card technologies;
  • Development of full-service card portfolio consulting services;
  • Data aggregation and integration of Springboard, a proprietary technology interface; and
  • Faster, more efficient way to serve cardholders.
 

TMG provides customized, technology-driven card processing and payment solutions for credit unions and community-based financial institutions across North America.

CO-OP Financial Services connects credit union members to their accounts through network, payment processing, e-commerce, shared branching and call center services.

AVCU partners with eDoc

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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (9/25/12)--eDOC Innovations, a Middlebury, Vt.-based credit union service organization (CUSO), has partnered with the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU) as its preferred document imaging provider.

"Vermont believes local is important for business," said Bryan Kent, AVCU vice president. "Being able to enhance area credit union technology with a locally owned CUSO will not only benefit AVCU, but also the credit unions we support, and the local economy."

eDOC Innovations offers a suite of e-Document strategy solutions, including eSignature automation, workflow and capture, advanced document imaging, Check 21 and remote deposit check processing. The company also offers an e-Commerce consumer document portal.

Newtek gets patent for referral processing tracking system

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NEW YORK (9/25/12)--Newtek Business Services, The Small Business Authority, received a patent on its internally developed, customer referral, tracking and processing software. 

Newtek Business Services is a CUNA Strategic Solutions provider.

The NewTracker Referral Processing and Tracking System is a cloud-based software as a service platform that integrates the secure receipt, processing, tracking and reporting of business referrals and leads.  A substantial portion of Newtek's business comes from referrals from other organizations and businesses--its alliance partners. Those referrals and all business done by Newtek are routinely input and processed on the NewTracker system.

"The ability of Newtek to efficiently and effectively process large volumes of business opportunities while maintaining the highest levels of quality control and security for businesses interested in business loans, cloud computing services, eCommerce solutions, payroll services, personal and commercial insurance, merchant processing, Web services and technology solutions rests squarely on NewTracker," said Barry Sloane, Newtek chairman/CEO.

"The NewTracker system, which we have developed and refined over more than eight years, is a clear example of the execution of Newtek's strategic, long-term plan to position The Small Business Authority as the provider of choice for business and financial services to business owners and operators nationwide," Sloane said.

CUNA Strategic Services has been a referring partner to Newtek contractually since 2003, said Wes Millar, senior vice president of CUNA Strategic Services. "One of our primary goals in serving credit unions is to provide the highest level of customer service and most attractive products to both credit unions and their members," Millar added.

"The historical experience over the course of nine years with Newtek Business Services has driven credit unions to do more business with Newtek across more products. One of the strengths of the company is the NewTracker platform that provides full transparency into the back office of Newtek and assures us that credit unions are receiving the best products at the best prices with the highest level of service," Millar said.

For successful P2P focus on three areas--TMG

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DES MOINES, Iowa (9/24/12)--Best practices for integrating a person-to-person (P2P) payment solution at community financial institutions (FIs) are discussed in a new white paper published by The Members Group (TMG).

Brian Day, TMG Dwolla product leader, bases his recommendations on three crucial elements: member/customer experience, branding impact and ease of integration, said TMG, a card processing and payment solutions provider for credit unions and community-based FIs in the U.S.

The free paper is entitled "Three Areas of Focus for P2P Integration." In it, Day wrote, "When done right, P2P will attract new customers, possibly even from new market segments, opening up a world of potential for new and profitable cross-selling initiatives. In the future, as P2P volume increases, FIs  may have a greater opportunity to realize revenue from the transfers."

P2P is a hot trend with consumers looking for fast, easy and innovative ways to move their money, said TMG. Credit unions and other FIs that get on board with the trend are in a natural position to build customer loyalty, increase visibility and increase opportunities with a younger generation of members.

However, they will need a defined strategy to satisfy consumer demand and to be successful with P2P products, Day said. He suggested the strategy include focusing on the P2P-fund recipient's experience with the product, understanding how the product's branding will affect or influence the FI's brand or reputation, and knowing how quickly and easily a product can be integrated into the institution's processes.

The explosion in emerging P2P applications, devices and solutions means FIs are challenged with an overwhelming set of unknowns in terms of selecting a provider, said TMG. By following the paper's best practices, FIs can develop a clear plan to help capitalize on P2P products, said Day.

To download the white paper, use the link.

IMM updates closed-end loan compliance solution

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LINDEN, N.J. (9/21/12)--IMM, a provider of eSignature, workflow and document solutions for financial institutions, said its Document Exchange solution meets all closed-end lending requirements and assists financial institutions in transitioning from an open-end model or instituting a blended lending strategy.

Changes to Regulation Z's open-end credit rules, originally put forth in 2009 and now governed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), have challenged many credit unions and that must implement policy and procedures to adhere to the requirements for a multi-featured open-end lending structure. As a result, many institutions that have moved to a closed-end or blended lending plan.

The number of credit unions using an open-ended lending process has dropped to roughly less than 1,200 or 1,500 as opposed to the 3,400 from in 2010, according to Bill Klewin of CUNA Mutual Group.

The closed-end lending model requires a new signature for each new disclosure. Rather than requiring the borrower(s) to schedule an appointment at the branch (for each required transaction/document), IMM's secure, cloud-based document delivery and eSignature capture technology enables the transaction to be fulfilled from virtually any location, at any time. Taking this process out of the branch replaces the physical paper trail and frees credit union or bank employees to focus on other tasks that can drive new business.

Akcelerant NCCI team up on collections

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MALVERN, Pa. (9/21/12)--Akcelerant, a provider of software technology, has partnered with National Creditors Connection Inc. (NCCI), a provider of field contact service to integrate NCCI's face-to-face field call and loss mitigation services with Akcelerant's Framework collection solution.

NCCI has about 75 customers that are already using Framework to collect on delinquent accounts. Mutual customers can now submit field-call and property-inspection requests to NCCI as a built-in part of their collection process. The integration increases collection efficiency and eliminates the need to leave the Framework platform to manage loss mitigation procedures with NCCI, the companies said.

2013 Youth Week themes available for ranking

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MADISON, Wis. (9/20/12)--Credit union staff and youth nationwide can provide their input on the 2013 theme for National Credit Union Youth Week, which will be celebrated April 21-27.

Through this annual celebration, credit unions can build relationships with new and existing young members. Each year's theme is selected as a result of a nationwide poll and promotes saving in a fun, engaging way to help youth start their financial life off on the right foot, said the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

This year's theme semi-finalists are:

  • Money Quest--Begin at the Credit Union (medieval/fantasy adventure theme);
  • Peace, Love & Savings (1960s/70s theme);
  • Savings Sleuth: A Credit Union Mystery (detective theme); and
  • 'Stache Your Cash at a Credit Union (mustache theme).
"We value the theme input we receive from youth and credit union staff alike," said Joanne Sepich, CUNA's Youth Week coordinator. "It's important to us that the theme resonates with what young credit union members enjoy so they are engaged in their credit union's celebration of Youth Week."

Voting is open through Sept. 25. The chosen theme will be used to create celebration materials for credit unions, posters and free downloadable materials.

To vote for a theme, use the link.

JHA Payment Processing Solutions adds 30 CUs

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MONETT, Mo. (9/20/12)--JHA Payment Processing Solutions (PPS), a division Jack Henry & Associates Inc., added more than 30 credit unions to its client roster during the 2012 fiscal year ending June 30.

PPS assists credit unions in consolidating credit, debit and ATM card processing services, which provides a single point of contact for settlements, adjustments and reconciliations.

The company also offers complementary products and value-add services to help credit unions perform ongoing profitability analysis, maximize card portfolio value and meet cardholders convenience-related expectations.

CU Companies launches Android app

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NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. (9/19/12)--CU Companies, a New Brighton, Minn.-based credit union service organization (CUSO), has released a free mobile application for Android devices for its owner and partner credit union memberships.

The app delivers mortgage rates, offers educational information including articles and video, and includes a location-based ATM finder showing more than 400,000 ATM locations worldwide.

CU Companies released its iPhone application, currently available on the iPhone App Store, in April.

The mobile applications allow users to watch a mortgage rate and receive push notifications every time a rate changes. App users also have the option of receiving news articles and alerts.

"The key features are aimed at building a relationship with the borrower," said Brad Crandall, CU Companies CEO. "We see CU Companies' role as being a resource to our owners and partners."

The CUSO offers a choice in how its member credit unions use the apps. Credit unions can promote the CU Companies-branded apps to their memberships to deliver information, or they can choose to tailor the entire app to their own brand.

The option to customize is made available at less expense than if the credit union developed an app on its own because the original CU Companies app is being used as a model.

"Part of our role is to help our owners and partners stay relevant and engaged with their memberships," Crandall said. "Launching a program that allows them to purchase customized apps at a discounted price plays into our original company makeup of offering a better product united than what a credit union could do on its own. It also allows those credit unions to communicate a message utilizing technology while not breaking their budgets."

Credit union-branded apps allow users to find branches, watch credit union videos, access the credit union's website, link to the credit union's social media, contact the credit union, and sign up for e-news, special offers and information. The credit union has control of its content through a secure online content-management system.

Bluepoint partner offers mobile deposit product

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HENDERSON, Nev. (9/19/12)--Bluepoint Solutions, a provider of end-to-end payment processing and content management solutions, has partnered with mobile solutions provider Malauzai Software to offer community financial institutions--including credit unions--a mobile deposit product.

Malauzai is a provider of mobile banking SmartApps.

Through the partnership, Bluepoint's mobile deposit solution QwikDeposit ToGo will be bundled with Malauzai's SmartApps mobile banking application to provide institutions with an integrated, end-to-end mobile banking and mobile deposit product.  Like the SmartApp, the mobile capture channel will be branded to fit the institution.

"In the mobile market, rapid deployment is key," said Robb Gaynor, Malauzai co-founder  and chief product officer.

Malauzai offers a platform that is pre-wired for mobile check deposit, Gaynor said. A financial institution can turn on integrated check capture software and avoid the need to find another vendor with a separate installation and testing period.

"Bluepoint and Malauzai have made it possible to be up and running right away, which is vital as consumer demand for mobile capture surges," Gaynor said.

Cachet Financial MVi to offer mobile remote deposits

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MINNEAPOLIS (9/18/12)--Cachet Financial Solutions, a provider of remote deposit capture (RDC) solutions, has formed a partnership with Millennial Vision Inc. (MVi), a document management provider and reseller, to offer mobile remote deposit to credit unions.

Through the partnership, MVi will offer Cachet's Select Mobile application to existing and future credit union clients.

Cachet's Select Mobile product will allow MVi's credit union clients to offer RDC to their members with a smart phone or tablet. Members will be able to conduct banking remotely by  taking a picture of their check and sending the information to their credit union via their mobile device.  All transactions are transmitted in real time with multiple layers of security and, if necessary, can be traced back to registered smartphones to combat fraud.

iTech NW updates Boardroom Web for easier iPad use

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (9/17/12)--iTech Northwest, a technology solutions credit union service organization, is updating its Boardroom Web, an online collaboration and communications tool, with additional tablet capabilities. 

Boardroom Web's updated iPad version, to be released in October, will allow board members to use the iPad to access their centralized document and discussion platform.

To date, more than 75% of iTech Northwest's current customers use an iPad with Boardroom Web. iTech Northwest's iPad version is a mobile version of the technology provider's Boardroom Web.

PSCU first CUSO to offer Google Wallet

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (9/17/12)--PSCU, a credit union service organization (CUSO), has partnered with Google to become the first CUSO to offer the virtual Google Wallet.

PSCU will make card art from six of its member-owner credit unions available in the Google Wallet mobile app. When cardholders of the six participating PSCU credit unions add their cards to Google Wallet, they will see an actual image of their credit union's card.

The six credit unions participating with PSCU as early adopters of the new technology include:

  • Arkansas FCU, Jacksonville, Ark.;
  • BCU, Vernon Hills, Ill.;
  • CFE FCU, Lake Mary, Fla.;
  • GTE Financial, Tampa, Fla.;
  • TruMark Financial CU, Trevose, Pa; and
  • Vantage CU, Bridgeton, Mo.
Google Wallet is accepted at 200,000 merchant locations across the U.S. Consumer adoption of the Google Wallet app has nearly doubled since early August when Google released a new, cloud-based version of the app that supports all debit and credit cards.

PSCU is working closely with Google on other initiatives that will allow its credit unions to brand their payment cards in Google Wallet.

Marketing CUSO offers free website analysis

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LENEXA, Kan. (9/14/12)--Beyond Marketing LLC, a Lenexa, Kan.-based credit union service organization (CUSO), is offering free website analysis service to credit unions, CUSOs and other businesses. 

The CUSO asked organizations to send an e-mail to weboffer@beyondmarketingllc.com to receive a questionnaire. Applicants will receive a free website analysis, including recommendations, within 30 days from the date the questionnaire is submitted. 

Website attributes included in the analysis are:

  • Functionality and design;
  • Mobile capabilities;
  • Search engine optimization;
  • Search engine marketing (pay-per-click);
  • Tracking capabilities; and
  • Timelines and pricing for recommended enhancements.
Companies may call Kat Vorkink, account supervisor at Beyond Marketing, at 913-541-1255, ext. 5540, for more information.

Bradford-Scott TMG to streamline Dwolla sign up

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DES MOINES, Iowa (9/14/12)--The process of signing members up for Dwolla, an online, mobile, social and location-based payment network supported by The Members Group (TMG), will soon become much easier for Bradford-Scott Data Corp. credit union clients using the Sharetec system, TMG said.

By working directly with Bradford-Scott and its interface, TMG and Dwolla will manage the process of transferring information when members sign up for the person-to-person (P2P) payments product.

"Because P2P is an emerging technology, many credit unions are unable to justify large dollar or time investments in implementation," said Brian Day, TMG Dwolla product leader. "By taking one of the more complex steps off the credit unions' to-do list, we're getting them a superior P2P product as quickly as possible while minimizing the amount of time credit union staff spends on the implementation."

CUNA Mutual Group No. 75 in iInfoWeeki 500

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MONARCH BEACH, Calif. (9/13/12)--CUNA Mutual Group has been ranked No. 75 on this year's InformationWeek 500--a list of the top technology innovators in the U.S. announced Tuesday.

CUNA Mutual Group also was one of eight companies honored in this year's "InformationWeek Business Innovator" Award for its Smartphone Loan technology. CUNA Mutual Group was selected by InformationWeek editors as the winner of the Revenue Generation category for this industry award.

Released in 2011, the Smartphone Loan mobile Web application helps credit union members apply for a loan anywhere they take their smartphones.

"We are very honored to be named in InformationWeek 500's Top 100 Innovative Technology Companies this year and to be awarded the prestigious InformationWeek Business Innovator Award for our Smartphone Loan Application," said Rick Roy, CUNA Mutual Group senior vice president and chief information officer. "This industry recognition illustrates our strong commitment to technology leadership and embracing mobile technology to help the credit union industry expand beyond traditional member segments, attract younger demographics, and strategically strengthen their position in the financial services arena."

The Smartphone Loan technology is the industry's first mobile Web optimization for online lending, integrated with CUNA Mutual Group's loanliner.com system. By optimizing loanliner.com for mobile, Smartphone Loan provides lending information and approvals anywhere on any mobile device, and also delivers loan applications with the most current conditional approvals and compliant electronic disclosures in less than 15 seconds.

CUNA Mutual Group has processed more than 41,000 loan applications, generating more than $400 million in mobile loan application submissions. More than 550 credit unions have implemented the Smartphone Loan technology since its debut in June 2011. (See related News Now article, "Loanliner's mobile platform--from kitchen to success.")

InformationWeek identifies and honors the nation's most innovative users of information technology with its annual 500 listing, and also tracks the technology, strategies, investments, and administrative practices of America's best-known companies.

The InformationWeek 500 rankings are unique among corporate rankings because they spotlight the power of innovation in information technology, rather than simply identifying the biggest information technology spenders.

Remittance-rule compliance tools ready from CUNA Mutual

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MADISON, Wis. (9/13/12)--CUNA Mutual Group is offering several free tools, including a white paper, webinars and other alerts to help credit unions comply with final rules amending Regulation E and related to remittance transfers.

The new rules, released Aug. 7 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), modify those published by the bureau Feb. 7.

New remittance transfer requirements were brought about by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The rules are designed to provide new protections--disclosures, error resolution and cancellation rights--to consumers who send remittance transfers exceeding $15 to consumers or businesses in a foreign country. These include electronic transfer of funds via international wire transfers, electronic bill pay and automated clearinghouse transactions.

The latest final rule clarifies the definition of a remittance transfer provider as an individual or business conducting more than 100 such transactions during a calendar year, which is an increase from the threshold of 25 proposed by the CFPB in February. Credit unions conducting 100 or fewer remittance transfers per year will not be affected by the rules, while those transacting more than 100 must be in compliance with the new requirements by Feb. 7.

The new regulations have implications in CUNA Mutual Group's Lending and Credit Union Protection product areas. The company is taking steps to ensure its products evolve to meet the new regulations and the needs of credit union customers. CUNA Mutual's LOANLINER document solutions area is helping credit unions comply, while the Credit Union Protection area is providing guidance to help credit unions avoid class-action lawsuits similar to those involving noncompliant ATM fee notifications under Reg E.

To access the tools, use the link.

TMG invests in IQR Consulting for data analytics

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DES MOINES, Iowa (9/12/12)--Payments processor The Members Group (TMG), Des Moines, Iowa, has made an equity investment in data analytics firm IQR Consulting.

California-based IQR Consulting uses data analysis to help companies anticipate market changes and respond to changing business conditions.

"Our clients compete with large financial institutions that employ full-time data analysts," said Shazia Manus, TMG CEO. "When armed with the same kind of rich data and consumer insights, community-based financial institutions level the playing field. We know megabanks are using this information to drive many of their most profitable strategies."

Data analysis will show how consumers behave, what they value most, and which products and services have the best chances of earning loyal customers.

An initial product prototype will be launched later this year. The product will provide data on cardholder behaviors, such as credit cardholder engagement and activation rates, providing an overall credit card portfolio health score.

It also will offer tools for peer comparison so credit unions and community banks can understand how their credit card portfolios are performing compared with those of similar institutions. A comparable product is also planned for analysis of debit card portfolios.

TMG adds merchant-funded rewards

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DES MOINES (9/11/12)--Members Group (TMG) has added a merchant-funded rewards platform to its existing card-rewards program used by credit unions and community banks to optimize credit and debit portfolios.

Merchant-funded rewards are designed to stand alone or supplement an issuer's traditional rewards offering.

With merchant-funded rewards, merchants carry the cost burden often associated with rewards redemption. Merchants benefit from increased sales as a result of the program creating, a win-win for financial institutions and retailers, according to Matt Flynn, TMG director of client relations.

"The trickle-down effect" of the cap on debt interchange and the increased competition for walletshare among issuers "is creating a need for a holistic set of tools to help community financial institutions get the most out of their portfolios," said Flynn. "Merchant-funded rewards get issuers where they need to be competitively, yet affordably."

Visa seeks patent to boost prepaid card processing

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SAN FRANCISCO (9/11/12)--Visa is seeking a patent to create a rewards program for prepaid cards.

Under the proposal, a prepaid card user could invite another person to become a card owner (Investment Weekly News Aug. 30). The person sending the invitation would receive a reward for referring the person invited, with the amount or timing of the reward related to the invited person's amount in using the new account.

The invitations would be sent through e-mail or social media.

The account holder who sent the invitation could transfer funds to the new account holder card.

The rewards program is designed to increase penetration of prepaid cards and may lead to a long-term relationship between the issuer and the new customer, Visa said.

CU Business Group helps cut MBL delinquencies

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PORTLAND, Ore. (9/10/12)--CU Business Group (CUBG), which celebrated its 10th anniversary last month, continues to help credit unions perform better than industry peers in member-business lending (MBL) credit quality.

Click to view larger imageChart 1
During the past three years, the business loan delinquency rate for CUBG credit unions has consistently been less than one-third that of all credit unions. Likewise, charge-off rates for CUBG credit unions have steadily been less than half that of the overall industry.

Credit unions that worked with CUBG reported a 1.56% delinquency rate on March 31, compared with a 5.16% delinquency rate for all credit unions, a 4.84% rate for banks with less than $1 billion in assets and a 3.71% rate for all banks. (See Chart 1).

CUBG credit unions had a 1.46% delinquency rate on Dec. 31, compared with a 5.08% delinquency rate for all credit unions, a 5.03% rate for banks with less than $1 billion in assets and a 4% rate for all banks.

Click to view larger image Chart 2
Client credit unions of CUBG reported a 0.24% MBL charge-off rate on March 31, compared with a 0.78% charge-off for all credit unions, a 0.72% rate for banks with less than $1 billion in assets and a 0.82% rate for all banks. (See Chart 2).

CUBG clients also indicated a 0.22% MBL charge-off rate on Dec. 31, compared with a 5.16% charge-off rate for all credit unions, a 4.84% rate for banks with less than $1 billion in assets and a 3.71% rate for all banks.

"Credit unions have a real opportunity to be a player in the financial services arena in their communities, " CUBG Founder and CEO Larry Middleman told attendees at CUBG's annual national business services conference. "Most banks today are not interested in the average small business for business deposits or lending. They're looking for the bigger, more substantial companies, which is why community lending is a real niche for credit unions."

In addition to business lending, CUBG offers deposit programs and package services for small business needs, Middleman said. "Credit unions that have successful programs consider interest and fee income on loans, fee income on deposits, and supplemental revenue from the package products to round out their program and strategic direction," he added.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are urging Congress to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in business loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said.

FCCU first Wis. CU to sign up for Buzz Points

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AUSTIN, Texas, and FORT ATKINSON, Wis. (9/7/12)--Fort Community CU (FCCU), Fort Atkinson, Wis., is the first Wisconsin credit union to launch Buzz Points rewards from fisoc.

Buzz Points gives members an incentive to shop at area businesses and strengthen communities by keeping money local.

"Various studies have indicated that of $100 spent with national retailers, anywhere from $13 to $33 remains in the community whereas that same $100 spent with local merchants results in $50 to $60 staying in the local economy," said Jay Valanju, CEO of fisoc, which provides products that enable financial institutions to target consumers through social engagement and rewards programs.

When local businesses award Buzz Points, they will help FCCU's members earn points at their location each time members use a debit card. The program can increase member loyalty, provide the opportunity for Buzz Points Program merchants to promote selected products and attract new business.

The points earned by FCCU members can lead to reward cards from the credit union that can be redeemed locally or donated to a favorite church, school, sports team, charity or public service organization within the Fort Atkinson, Whitewater and Jefferson, Wis. communities served by FCCU.

"Our credit union has been a long-time supporter of multiple public service programs in each of the communities where we have FCCU locations. However, we consider the Buzz Points program to be truly revolutionary and our theme will be 'Building Stronger Communities,'" said Ron Vogel, FCCU president.

IL Group Kistler offer insurance tracking for loans

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GULF SHORES, Ala. (9/7/12)--IL Group, a provider of customized insurance products and services to lending institutions nationwide, has partnered with Atlanta-based Kistler Financial Insurance Group Inc. to provide IL Group's financial-institution clients with access to Kistler's Online Lender Management System and Tracking Services solutions.

Through Kistler's Online Lender Management System, IL Group's credit union and community bank clients can report loans that lack lender-placed insurance coverage and initiate the process of issuing appropriate notices and policies.

Kistler's system streamlines operations by enabling the management of residential, commercial, automotive, marine, recreational vehicle and other loans through a single user interface screen, effectively centralizing management of an institution's entire risk exposure.

Once a policy is in place, IL Group's clients can use Kistler's "Tracking Services" to manage the creation and distribution of all required mail documents, including policies, renewal notices, bills and cancellation notices.

IMN expands digital marketing for CUs FIs

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WALTHAM, Mass. (9/6/12)--IMN, a digital marketing company that offers branded newsletters, has expanded the capabilities of its IMN Loyalty Driver solution.

IMN's editorial team delivers lifestyle, entertainment and financial content to help members make financial decisions. With exclusive content, social networks, online access and control,  audio and video, members can share branded newsletter content on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, further driving advisor and brand visibility for referrals.

Backed by tracking and analytics, IMN provides detailed insight into which email newsletter articles, promotions, products and services are most popular and effective, and triggers alerts for key buying signals.

When members indicate they are interested in a product or service, advisers are automatically alerted through Warm Call Reports. Each Warm Call report lists members who responded to articles and calls-to-action, making it fast and easy to identify hot leads and interested prospects, IMN said.

Burroughs buys Absolute ATM Services

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PLYMOUTH, Mich. (9/6/12)--Burroughs Inc. has acquired Absolute ATM Services Inc., a Houston-based provider of ATM equipment and ATM services for financial institutions. 

Absolute ATM Services will be integrated into Burroughs Inc., the companies said. 

Burroughs will be a preferred partner for ATM Outsourcing services for A & S Datacash Inc., a Houston-based provider of ATM managed services to community banks and credit unions.

CO-OP Financial Services CUSN expand partnership

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (9/5/12)--Credit Union Service Network (CUSN) has expanded its partnership with CO-OP Financial Services to offer more products and services.

CUSN will offer its clients CO-OP Network, CO-OP ATM Terminal Driving, CO-OP In-House Credit, CO-OP Debit and CO-OP Bill Pay.

CUSN also provides CO-OP Shared Branching, CO-OP Mobile, CO-OP My Deposit and CO-OP Member Center.

CO-OP Network comprises 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide, 9,000 of which are deposit-taking, while CO-OP ATM Terminal Driving provides management of ATM terminals and programs. CO-OP Debit includes both signature- and PIN-processing, and CO-OP In-House Credit is an internal or "pass-through" processing solution. Through CO-OP Bill Pay, credit union members receive, view, manage and pay all bills when they log on to their credit union's online banking site.

CUSN's market area includes Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. It also works works with several credit unions in Arizona, Texas and Oregon and will expand its market to include Kansas and Utah for the new products.