News & Highlights

ProMedica FCU Takes its Card Program to the Forefront of its Business: A Case Study

ProMedica FCU takes its card program to the forefront of its business

Over the past five years, the payments landscape has rapidly evolved and many credit unions are now taking advantage of various initiatives and solutions to remain relevant and improve their business portfolios. One credit union in particular has experienced significant growth in business after partnering with CSCU. ProMedica Federal Credit Union’s Marketing/Business Development Director, Chris Tarsha, shares the experience of being a part of CSCU’s Optimize Program. He and his team used the Portfolio Growth Solutions (PGS) product with expert guidance from their CSCU portfolio consultant.

There may be challenges but opportunities abound

ProMedica Hospital & Health Care is the largest employer in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan with over 17,000 employees, 2,300 physicians and more than 800 healthcare providers employed by ProMedica Physicians. Additionally, it offers a health plan, which serves over 300,000 members.

With Promedica Hospital’s system extending to such a large network, there is an opportunity for ProMedica Federal Credit Union (PFCU), which aims to serve ProMedica Hospital & Health Care employees, their immediate family and affiliates.

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Five Reasons to Make Convenience a Strategic Priority

Consumer demand for convenience is impacting the customer experience like never before. As one credit union representative put it in this short video, “technology has spoiled us completely. Everything’s about accessibility, being convenient.”

With January’s credit union trends report projecting loan growth in 2017 to exceed 10 percent, credit unions have a huge opportunity ahead of them.1 Your success this year and beyond may well depend on how convenient it is for members to do business with you.

Here’s why:

Your Competition Gets It

Competitors realize that consumers increasingly prefer conducting business when and where it suits them, not around office hours or locations. It’s no surprise that 71 percent of financial institutions said improving the customer’s digital experience was their top priority for 2017.2

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What are Credit Unions’ Pain Points?

In 2016, Denver-based CUSO CU Service Network conducted a sweeping survey on top credit union issues and burdens. The findings revealed fascinating trends in the credit union landscape. Take a look at this infographic.

Also, be sure and stop by the NACUSO Network Lounge at the 2017 NACUSO Network Conference to learn more about CU Service Network.

Title Red Flags – Forgery

There are numerous types of mortgage and real estate fraud prevalent in the industry today. Recognizing the Red Flags may help with detection and prevention, and at the very least, encourage further investigation to ensure the validity of the transaction.

POWER OF ATTORNEY

There are valid reasons for a party to use a power of attorney, but documents can be easily fabricated. To limit the potential for fraud, the best case scenario is for the buyers and sellers to appear in person at closing.

SIGNATURE ON DOCUMENTS VARY

Signatures on closing documents should be compared with signatures in the chain of title. A current seller has most likely signed a prior mortgage and these signatures can be compared. Forgers may misspell names or sign them differently leaving off middle initials or designations such as “Sr.” or “Jr.”

PROPERTY IS FREE AND CLEAR

A very small percentage of Americans own their property free and clear. If there was a mortgage on the property that has been paid off over a 30-year period, it would be uncommon for the owners to obligate themselves by taking out a new loan on the property. Asking the question, “Why are there no liens on the property?” and verifying the details of the transaction may uncover the possibility of a forgery in the chain of title.

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The 6th Cooperative Principle in Action: Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Mobile economy affects business of all types.  The Federal Reserve Bank reports 86% of adults in the US have cell phones today, and they are using them for all types of business.  For business leaders who wonder how to speed their business forward by closing business more effectively, digital transactions are a definitive part of the answer.  

Market data, combined with internal studies at eDOC, clearly demonstrate the disruptive effect of mobile technology on consumer behavior.  It highlights the importance of every business leader becoming an aggressive tactician in leveraging mobile technology to perform digital transactions. Becoming experts in mobile enterprise digital transaction management is a core competency requirement of the contemporary business leader.

If you’re wondering, “Where can I tap into resources that can help me transform and win?” I’ll suggest one source, the cooperative credit union service organizations of the industry, known as CUSOs. These industry owned businesses drive down barriers of entry, and related costs through cooperative aggregation and engagement. These days it is easy to find them. All that is needed is a browser; go to ncua.gov and look for the CUSO registry. The power of the industry cooperatives is available, leverage it!

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NACUSO Goes to Washington!

Every year the NACUSO board and staff makes it a point to attend the Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington D.C. And this year was no exception.

We kicked off our trip with our monthly board meeting, followed by the Legislative & Regulatory Advocacy Committee meeting with guest Dennis Dollar. He gave us an update on Legislative issues and priorities such as:

We agreed that our legislative and regulatory advocacy priorities for 2017 are:

  • Continue opposing costly and unnecessary vendor authority legislative priority
  • Advocate for expansion of CUSO lending powers, especially auto loan origination
  • Support national data-security standards and support issues good for the credit union movement (i.e. FOM expansion, supplemental capital)
  • Support expansion of MBL powers
  • Monitor issues/changes to CUSO Registry

With our marching orders in hand we set out to meet with key people to make sure the only CUSO trade association was heard. We met with NCUA Board Member Rick Metsger, representatives from NAFCU, NASCUS and CUNA. While Jack was busy in those meetings Shawna and Denise visited with our Platinum and Gold sponsors in the massive exhibit area. There were some amazing displays this year – it was bigger and better than ever. They also got to thank some of our newest members and great supporters such as Buzz Points, CU Prodigy, eDoc.

Special shout-out to Mastercard – an amazing supporter of the NACUSO Network Conference. They brought into the exhibit area what can only be called a “total immersion” experience. A trailer, that you walked into that took you through the home of the future. Using Masterpass you can order your groceries on your refrigerator and have them delivered or see inside the fridge from the store to see if you need something. You can download your public transportation tickets onto “wearable technology” like a ring on your finger. It was amazing and exciting.

On Monday night we celebrated the career of Stan Hollen, retired CEO of CO-OP Financial Services who received the Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement at the Herb Wegner Awards dinner. A record crowd of 900 also honored The Cooperative Trust (aka The Crahsers) and Maria Martinez, CEO of $139 million Border FCU in Del Rio, Texas. There was hardly a dry eye in the house as she told the story of growing up an undocumented immigrant in a house with little money but lots of love. How it inspired her drive and passion to serve the underserved.

Now that we’re all back home and are looking at our event just 5 weeks away we are inspired and excited to see everyone that believes in cooperation among cooperatives come together to network and collaborate and of course have some fun in Orlando. See you there!

Spotlight on Tom Snyder, EVP Direct and Channel Sales for Buzz Points

Each month we are highlighting at least one NACUSO member with an interview style format that is meant to be fun and informative. This month our focus is on Buzz Points, a new NACUSO member and first time exhibitor at the 2017 NACUSO Network Conference in Orlando on April 10th – 13th.

PART ONE: Life Story and Experiences

What’s your current position and can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do in your work?

EVP Direct and Channel Sales. I work to create strategic partnerships to expand the Buzz Points footprint. Our ultimate mission as a company is to leave the credit unions we partner with and their communities better than they were before we came. Supporting local is more than just a feature of the Buzz Points platform, it’s what our company stands for. It’s why we do what we do.

What would you say most motivates you to do what you do? What are you most excited or passionate about?

I have been in the community banking arena for almost 10 years and have worked with some great people. In doing so, I have seen firsthand how credit unions truly are mission-driven and are always looking for ways to provide better value to their members. I love being part of a team at Buzz Points that helps credit unions to increase member value and strengthen the local communities where they live and work.

I want to hear the story of how you came to work with credit unions. What attracted you to work for Buzz Points?

It goes back pretty far for me.  I was raised by a single mom with five children, so times were hard. When finances were tight, it was her local credit union that was there to provide help. I was attracted to Buzz Points mainly because I am passionate about helping credit unions succeed, compete against the big banks, and strengthen their local communities. It was a no brainer for me to align myself with a company that gives me the chance to give back…

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The Greatest Finish in NFL History

Like many of my friends (Seahawks fans) last Sunday we just hoped for an entertaining game. Super bowl commercials have become so innovative because historically Super Bowl games are a snooze fest. Never has a Super Bowl game gone into overtime and more often then not it’s a blowout (Seahawks beat the Broncos 43-8 in 2014).

Boy oh boy we were not disappointed on Super Bowl Sunday. Brady set all kinds of records in Houston.  In case you were out of the country, the Patriots overcame a 25-point deficit midway through the third quarter to pull out the 34-28 win in the first ever Super Bowl overtime, and in the process set or tied enough records to all but confirm this was the greatest Super Bowl in NFL history. 24 records were set and another seven records were tied.

There are only a few human beings that might have the athleticism, skill and tenacity to break Brady’s record in our lifetime. Tom Brady officially passed Dan Marino’s all time passing record of 62,361 yards by 221 yards. Dan Marino is now 5th on that list. So in NFL terms, Tom Brady is a “better quarterback” than Dan Marino.

But Plato said “The measure of a man is what he does with power.” When you are a high profile sports celebrity you have all kinds of “power,” including the ability to influence others. That’s why so many companies offer endorsement deals to them, to convert that power into a stronger brand and sales.

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Advocacy Updates

NCUA Meeting Provides CUSO Guidance 6/16/16

NACUSO Visits NCUA to Discuss the CUSO Registry and CUSO Reviews

On June 14, Jack Antonini, NACUSO President and Guy Messick, NACUSO General Counsel met with NCUA Staff on the results of the CUSO Registry and the thinking on how CUSO Reviews will be handled.

The CUSO Registry sign-up period and the follow-up by NCUA found there were approximately 900 CUSOs.   NCUA believes that there are more CUSOs that have not reported.  Under the NCUA Regulations (Part 712.1(d)), “A CUSO also includes an entity in which a CUSO has an ownership interest of any amount, if that entity is engaged primarily in providing products or services to credit unions or credit union members.”   So these subsidiary CUSOs are considered CUSOs and required to make annual reports to NCUA.   The NCUA staff believes that many CUSOs were not fully aware of this requirement and there are a number of subsidiary CUSOs that have not reported.   NCUA will be following up with CUSOs to obtain these filings.   NCUA is also scrubbing the data and asking for clarification if the data is indicating that there may have been a reporting error. (more…)

Report on Advocacy Fund spending…NACUSO Working for you

Through the support of our partners, NACUSO raised approximately $63,000 in contributions toward its Legal and Litigation Fund in 2014 with a primary purpose to develop strategies for the most effective way to seek the repeal and/or mitigation of the impact of the CUSO Rule that NCUA had adopted in November 2013.  Subsequently, NACUSO established an Advocacy Fund to supplement the Legal and Litigation Fund.  The goal of the two funds together were to enable NACUSO to coordinate legal decision making, with a crucial advocacy component that will have more impact than the always risky option of legal action.  In total, $190,600 was contributed to the NACUSO Advocacy Fund.  Combined these two related initiatives received total contributions from NACUSO partners of approximately $253,600 in 2014 and 2015.

In keeping with our commitment to be fully transparent and to regularly communicate our usage of these dollars, we would like to provide you with the following information.  NACUSO spent the following amounts from the two funds during 2014 and 2015:

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CUSO Registry Clean Up Period 4/22/16

As most of you know, all CUSOs are obligated under the NCUA Regulations to register certain information directly with NCUA on an annual basis.   Over 800 CUSOs did so in February and March.   NCUA is now in the process of making sure all CUSOs have registered.   Their new deadline is April 30.  They are taking CUSO information from the credit union 5300 call reports and sending out letters reminding “CUSOs” that they have to register.   Some credit unions may have incorrectly listed a company as a CUSO.  Other credit unions list their CUSO but use an acronym for the CUSO instead of the CUSO’s full name.   NCUA, not knowing better is sending letters to any and all companies listed on the call reports. (more…)

Regulatory Update 3/15/16

Letter to NCUA regarding CUSO Registry Acknowledgement: Yesterday, NACUSO informed you of a change we negotiated with our General Counsel (Messick & Lauer) with the NCUA regarding the CUSO Registry Acknowledgment each CUSO is required to agree to when submitting their CUSO registration in the NCUA’s CUSO Registry system.  As we pointed out in our Regulatory Alert yesterday, the acknowledgment required CUSOs to agree to be bound by statutes that only apply to credit unions and which imposed penalties that are not applicable to CUSOs.

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Change to the CUSO Registry Acknowledgement 3/14/16

During the process of assisting with CUSO Registry questions, it came to our attention that in order to complete the CUSO Registry, CUSOs were required to agree to be bound by statutes that apply to credit unions and which imposed penalties that are not applicable to a CUSO.  On behalf of NACUSO and the many CUSOs in this industry, Messick & Lauer (NACUSO’s General Counsel) have advocated and negotiated to revise this acknowledgement to more accurately describe the duty of CUSOs to respond to the CUSO Registry.  It is a contractual duty with the credit union and not a direct regulatory obligation to NCUA.   As NCUA continues to pay more attention to CUSOs, NACUSO will continue to take action to be the voice of CUSOs and to resist any attempts at regulatory overreach.  The NCUA has changed the acknowledgement text.  For your reference, the text of the previous and current CUSO Registry acknowledgments are below. (more…)

Regulatory Update 2/26/16

NCUA’s CUSO Registry Training & Demonstration webinar held on February 11 is now available to be viewed.  If you missed the webinar, or want to view it again, to help you in completing the CUSO Registry, you can watch it by clicking on the following link:  View 2/11/16 Webinar. You have until March 31, 2016 to complete your initial registration of all CUSOs.

Regulatory Update 2/1/16: NCUA’s CUSO Registry Opens Today

Credit unions and credit union service organizations can now get additional guidance on NCUA’s CUSO Registry from a new agency website page. Registration for the CUSO Registry opens today and continues through March 31. The new website page explains the agency’s requirement that CUSOs report information directly to the agency if they wish to work with credit unions and provides links to related resources available to help those completing the registry. You can link directly to the CUSO Registry from the resources page.

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