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TransUnion: Millennials climbing into driver's seat with loans

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CHICAGO (3/2/15)--Millennials are the fastest-growing segment of auto-loan consumers, according to a recent report from TransUnion.

Consumers born in 1981 or later made up 27% of total auto-loan originations last year, a 16% increase from 2009.

Further, total outstanding auto-loan balances for millennials jumped 23% on an annual basis, the largest increase of any demographic.

"The growth in millennials' auto-loan originations dispels the common myth that millennials are not buying cars," said Jason Laky, TransUnion senior vice president/automotive business leader. "The growing average loan balances for millennials, combined with stable delinquency rates, indicate that we are still in the midst of a strong auto-lending environment."

The average opening loan balance for millennials climbed 4.1% over 2014 to $18,678 from $17,942, the report found.

Separately, the report found that auto-loan delinquencies climbed in 27 states last year, with Arkansas and Nebraska posting the biggest jumps at 15.7% and 10.5% respectively.

The largest declines occurred in Oklahoma, with an 18.6% drop, and in Alaska, with a 16.1% drop.

Per borrower, the average auto-loan debt rose 4.1% in 2014 to $17,453 from $16,771.

League, CU support key to Lutheran FCU's launch, organizers say

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ST. LOUIS (3/2/15)--With the amount of vision and perseverance that it requires, chartering a credit union is not for the faint of heart. Missouri hasn't seen a new federally chartered credit union since 2005. After more than two years hard work and faith, Lutheran FCU (LFCU) received its charter from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Dec. 22.

Click to view larger image Thomas Buuck, left, president/CEO of Lutheran FCU, and Amanda Middleton, operations manager, led the credit union's charter process. (Missouri Credit Union Association Photo)
"The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA), vendors and local credit union leaders provided invaluable support during this process," said Thomas Buuck, LFCU president/CEO ( Missouri Difference Feb. 25). "That coupled with the overwhelmingly positive reception from our membership made Lutheran FCU a reality."

Headquartered in St. Louis, LFCU will serve nearly 3 million people nationwide--its field of membership will include Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) congregations or other associated LCMS entities.

The idea to establish a faith-based credit union was initiated and overseen by the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) board. With nearly $1.8 billion in assets, LCEF provides investments and loans to LCMS ministries.  

LFCU's chartering process was led by Buuck and Amanda Middleton, who were both employees of LCEF. Middleton recently accepted the position of operations manager at LFCU.

MCUA assisted Middleton and Buuck during the chartering process. MCUA employees met with them several times, invited them to events and put them in contact with suppliers.

"Anytime we had a question, MCUA was immediately right there," said Middleton. "We were allowed to attend the annual convention, and they connected us with other credit unions."

Buuck and Middleton are appreciative of the introductions made by Kevin Shaw, MCUA's director of the Office of Small Credit Unions. They named some of their most helpful credit union connections: Josh Rodriguez, president/CEO Missouri Valley CU, St. Peters, Mo.; Dan Vogler, executive vice president, and Jack Fox, senior vice president/chief operating officer, Anheuser-Busch Employees' CU, St. Louis; and Brian Eyestone, president/CEO, Southpointe CU, St. Louis.

CU System briefs (3/2/15)

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  • WASHINGTON (3/2/15)-- Robert Henson has joined CUNA as associate director of advocacy . He most recently served as legislative assistant on tax policy and financial services issues for former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska). Prior to working for Begich, Henson was a presidential management fellow at the Federal Housing Administration.  Henson's background "will help CUNA in a multitude of ways," said Ryan Donovan, CUNA chief advocacy officer. "He'll be in constant contact with Senate Democrats regarding all legislative activity that impacts credit unions on behalf of CUNA and its members" ...
  • LIVONIA, Mich. (3/2/15)-- The Michigan Credit Union League announced Kirk Hanna will serve as the league's vice president of government affairs ( Monitor Feb. 27). Hanna has 17 years of experience working with the Michigan Legislature, including serving as chief of staff for both state Sen. Jerry Van Woerkom (R-Norton Shores) and state Sen. Bill Schuette (R-Midland) ...
  • FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (3/2/15)-- Alliance FCU, Lubbock, Texas, hired Scott Rose as its new president/CEO ( Leaguer Feb. 27). Rose previously was president/CEO at Kelly Community CU, Tyler, Texas. Rose is the president of the Tyler Area Chapter of Credit Unions and a trustee on the board of the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation. He also served on the board of the Texas Credit Union League and Credit Union Resources Inc. ...
  • MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (3/2/15)-- Former Americhoice FCU board member James Franklin Pursel, Dillsburg, Pa., died Feb. 21 . He was 79. Pursel was the only board member to date to be given the title of board member emeritus for his years of service to the Mechanicsburg, Pa., credit union ( The Patriot-News Feb. 26) ...

Young and Free Maine gives voice to Sassquatch as Sound Off winner

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WESTBROOK, Maine (3/2/15)--Young and Free Maine's Sound Off competition put five musical talents to the test for a chance to play the main stage at this summer's Old Port Festival in Portland, Maine.
Sassquatch, a five-piece band that blends jazz, funk and rock, won the fourth annual musical competition sponsored by Young and Free Maine and Maine's credit unions.
The finalists were selected by online voters and performed live Feb. 20 in front of a panel of judges that included Mike Sturdee, marketing director, Bangor FCU. Judges considered appearance and style, quality of performance and sound, appeal to demographic, commitment to the contest and overall performance.
The winners, who are students at the University of Maine-Augusta, also received a $1,000 gift certificate to Main Street Music Studios.
Young and Free Maine focuses on 18- to 25-year-old consumers.

Pew: Americans' optimism tempered by fin. insecurity

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WASHINGTON (3/2/15)--U.S. consumers feel better about their day-to-day finances and the economy than they have in years, but Jane and Joe Average are still not getting ahead, according to a survey conducted by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Click to view larger image (The Pew Charitable Trusts Image)
Many of those polled said they are barely breaking even or spending more than they make each month, and more than half said they feel unprepared for a financial emergency.
The results, captured in a new issue brief "Americans' Financial Security: Perception and Reality," are based on a nationally representative survey of more than 7,000 households, and on focus groups conducted in Orlando, Fla., Boston and Phoenix. The survey gauged Americans' perceptions of their financial security and how their views differ depending on their income, wealth, race and other demographic factors.
In late 2008, just 9% of Americans rated the economy positively. As of 2014, Pew's survey finds that figure has climbed to 27%. As low as these positive ratings may seem, they are similar to those found in polling in late 2007, on the eve of the Great Recession, and reflect more optimism than was evident during the aftermath and recovery.
As Americans' views of the economy have improved, so has their sense of their own finances. A majority (56%) rate their financial situations positively, up from 42% during the recession in 2009.
But only half of Americans (51%) said their households are financially secure. A majority (57%) said they are not financially prepared for the unexpected. More than half (55%) of respondents reported just breaking even or spending more than they make each month, and one-third (33%) said their household has no savings.

Nussle, Cummins share CU difference with Minn. biz journal

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (3/2/15)--The Minnesota Business Journal received an education in the credit union difference recently, as Jim Nussle, CUNA president/CEO, and Mark Cummins, president/CEO of the Minnesota Credit Union Network, sat down with the publication to talk data breaches, legislative priorities and credit union growth.

At the forefront of the Business Journal's line of questioning was cybersecurity and the effect data breaches have on credit unions compared with banks.

"We are not-for-profits, so we don't have a lot of capital reserves lying around we can put toward added costs," said Nussle, who was in the Twin Cities last week to visit the league. "We're working with all our financial-services partners in Washington on legislation to push merchants to protect consumer data.

"In this day and age, it should be a given that you have a responsibility to protect the data of your customers, in much the same way the doctor's office has to protect patient data."

The Business Journal also asked if presenting credit unions as the "good guys" in the aftermath of the financial crisis, especially compared with big banks, has paid off for the movement.

In response, Cummins pointed to the recent strong growth in memberships, even among younger demographics.

"What we're hearing from folks is they're seeing a lot more younger members who are joining because of that base premise of us being a nonprofit model and operating in the best interest of clients," Cummins said. "They also don't view bigger as better. They've grown up during a time when they've seen that the security you once had as a worker for a larger national company is secure no longer."

Nussle also explained that easing regulatory burden for credit unions in general tops the list of legislative priorities for the credit union industry.

"Since 2009, when the big banks were failing, more than a dozen agencies have enacted over 190 regulations totaling nearly 6,000 pages," Nussle said. "If you're a small credit union, that's what you have to know just to open your doors in the morning."

Alumni network formed for World Council young professionals

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MADISON, Wis. (3/2/15)--World Council of Credit Unions has created a new alumni network for its World Council Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) program.

Click to view larger image (World Council of Credit Unions Image)
The new network will offer international peer-to-peer engagement opportunities to past and current participants.

"Over the years, hundreds of young people from over 30 countries participated in the WYCUP program and learned from their peers," said Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO. "They have gone on to become leaders in credit unions and make a positive difference in their communities. Many WYCUP alumni continue to stay involved in the international movement, and the WYCUP Alumni group continues their engagement with their international peers who helped inspire their success."

The official launch of the alumni network will take place at the World Credit Union Conference in Denver July 12-15. On July 14, the first WYCUP alumni reunion will take place in conjunction with the group's 15-year anniversary celebration.

CUNA Mutual Group has supported the WYCUP program by sponsoring the alumni reunion and keynote speaker for the WYCUP educational session at the conference.

Led by a globally focused working group, the WYCUP alumni network's goals are to provide young professionals with leadership development opportunities to further their commitment to credit unions; and strengthen the global movement's capacity to serve members from Generation Y.

A working group composed of prominent alumni will manage the new network in 2015. The working group includes:
  • Robin Blythe, account manager, Libro CU, London, Ontario, Canada;
  • Caroline Domanski, CEO, No1 CopperPot CU, Chesire, United Kingdom;
  • Christopher Morris, director of communications, National Credit Union Foundation, United States;
  • Dorwin Manzano, senior manager, Caribbean Development Education, Trinidad and Tobago;
  • Emma Avery, internal communications specialist, Greater Building Society, Australia;
  • Ben Janzen, stewardship in action adviser, Mennonite Savings CU, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada; and
  • Lili Tangwall, member services manager, World Council of Credit Unions.