Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lets welcome Prescott Ford of First Empire Securities to our line up of 2014 conference speakers!

Prescott Ford is the Managing Director of the Office of Regulatory Affairs at First Empire Securities, Inc., and formerly served as a National Bank Examiner with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Drawing on more than 20 years of experience in the regulatory/compliance examination sector, Prescott keeps clients in step with a constantly changing regulatory landscape. A valuable resource for banks and credit unions, he frequently authors regulatory updates, participates at industry conferences, and conducts educational webinars and seminars on the subjects of interest rate, liquidity and investment portfolio risk management. In addition to seminars hosted by First Empire, Prescott has addressed industry groups, such as the Southern California Credit Union Association and the Credit Union Executives Society. He also recently authored the Credit Union Times article “Management Manages, Not the Examiner.”

Prescott received a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance from The Ohio State University. He has been a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter holder since 2004, and a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cheer Up and Change: The Demographic Mandate


Cheer Up and Change: The Demographic Mandate

At a conference I recently attended Monday morning started off with a great session by demographer and futurist Ken Gronbach, who laid out his predictions on where we’re going and what we can expect as demographics change. I was pleasantly surprised that the future isn’t sounding as bleak as the news might have you believe. 

Gronbach offered lots of predictions for where our society and our world is headed. His predictions were given with a purpose: To help associations build their vision and plan for the future. As Gronbach stressed, "Wait and see is not a plan."

I’ve decided to arrange this recap into a list of my takeaways rather than a narrative recap. I hope you get as much out of this information as I did!

Things to Expect:

Big Changes in Retail: Gronbach explained that Generation Y, who are now ages 10-29, are a generation that shops primarily online. We can expect to see a shift in retail, especially away from the big box stores of today.

3-D Printing: I’ll be the first to say that this technology blows my mind. I don’t get it, but Gronbach said that I should. He also said manufacturing industries especially need to watch out for this trend.

Remote Everything: From robotic surgery to drone aircraft operated from another continent, Gronbach says this is just the beginning in terms of remote operations. This also applies to education, and colleges are already seeing a declining enrollment, supporting this trend.

Elderly on Steroids: With improving healthcare in our country, Gronbach says in the near future it won’t be unheard of to find people living to 120. Is our society ready to support the needs of this growing group of elderly people? (Gronbach says my home state of Florida should especially be watching out.)

Cars that Drive Themselves: Now, call me cynical but I don’t see this. I was promised flying cars back in kindergarten and those haven’t come to fruition, maybe that’s the root of my cynicism. Gronbach says that these cars aren’t far away, and explained that we can expect them to make us safer on the roads.

Homogenization of Culture:  Today 35 percent of the U.S. market is a minority. That statistic paired with the statement by Gronbach that Generation Y seems to be the first that does not see race or color will level the playing field for minorities, leading to a more homogenous culture.

Smaller Housing and Hotels: Walk around your nearest IKEA store and Gronbach says you’ve just seen the future. He says homes will be smaller, more energy efficient and will feature more sophisticated security systems. He also predicted a rise in new home construction as more Gen Y members leave home, get married and start their own families.

Entertainment at Home: Think Netflix and video game culture. Gronbach says fewer of us are leaving our homes for entertainment like movies and even recreation like riding bikes. This may give us a clue as to where the obesity epidemic he also mentioned is stemming from.

Car or Internet: Which would you choose? Perhaps not surprisingly Gronbach says if given this choice most young people today would choose the Internet. In fact, 25 percent of teens who are eligible to get their drivers licenses, don’t.  (Interestingly, Gronbach took this opportunity to point out that teen pregnancy today is on a decline.)

Succession Planning: "Baby Boomers can’t just walk out," Gronbach said, pointing to the huge amount of knowledge, both experiential and operational, that this generation is holding on to. Sharing that knowledge with the new generation, is key to the survival of our businesses and industries, he said.

Recruitment Strategies: Interestingly, the goals of Generation Y and the perks that attract them are being able to help others, being a good part, and building a successful marriage. Goals like being rich and famous fall lower on the list. Gronbach also stressed that Gen Y, "will not work for mean people." It’s important to know what this generation is looking for if you’re going to attract the best and the brightest. 

Immigration Reform: While many people think Latin America when they think of immigration reform in our country, Gronbach says to look to the east instead. He predicts rising numbers of immigrants from the European Union and Asia. The typical look of these immigrants is different than you might imagine, with many being rich, young entrepreneurs.

I’ve thrown a lot at you here but I thought they were all interesting points. Which one jumped out at you most? I’d love to hear what you think about these future predictions.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Credit Union Kills Auto Loan Campaign After Dealers Cry Foul

I was asked to comment on this by a credit union publication. My feelings were that the credit union was doing what it should, educating the members as to how dealer financing works. An educated member will make a much better decision when considering purchasing a vehicle in the future.

What do you think?

Grant Sheehan

August 4, 2014
They say never bite the hand that feeds you. But that seems to be what Space Coast Credit Union did with an auto lending campaign attacking interest rate markups charged by dealerships. The credit union had to do a big U-turn after the auto industry protested, with some car dealers decrying the marketing initiative as a smear campaign. 
Few consumers are aware of “rate markups.” A rate markup (sometimes referred to as “buy-ups” or “dealer reserves”) occurs when a car buyer arranges for bank or credit union financing at the dealership, and the rate they get is marked up. It is a fairly common practice, encouraged by the indirect lending policies of both banks and credit unions, but some people feel these markups are “kickbacks” to car dealers. The fact remains that most consumers have never heard of rate markups, and don’t know what they are. 
Space Coast Credit Union doesn’t engage in rate markups, instead choosing to compensate its dealer partners using a flat fee. So they decided to create a consumer awareness and advocacy campaign calling attention to the issue. According to the credit union, rate markups average around 2.5% and gouge consumers for hundreds of millions of dollars. Space Coast wanted to get the word out, figuring they could grow their auto loan portfolio. 
The credit union’s strategy made sense, and it sounds reasonable enough: build a marketing campaign that exploits and leverages a relevant competitive advantage. But--   Continue Reading>>Credit Union Kills Auto Loan Campaign After Dealers Cry Foul

Friday, August 1, 2014

70 Percent of U.S. Credit Cards to Include EMV Chips by 2015

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2014-06-16

NEWS ANALYSIS: A new report shows up to 70 percent of U.S. credit cards will have EMV chips by 2015. But merchants must convert POS terminals and train staff to use them.

The good news for companies that accept credit cards is that most banks will be issuing credit cards with EMV chips well before the coming liability shift in October 2015.

The bad news is that merchants that don't accept EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) chips will have to absorb the cost of fraudulent transactions due to counterfeit credit cards.

Previously, banks had absorbed those costs. EMV chips are microprocessors embedded in cards that make counterfeiting the cards virtually impossible.

That means that companies that accept credit cards at point-of-sale (POS) terminals will have to either buy new terminals or they'll have to enable the EMV chip readers on the terminals they already have.

The surprising news is that the majority of card issuers will use chip-and-signature cards rather than chip-and-PIN cards. Chip and signature cards protect against counterfeit credit and debit cards, but not against fraudulent use of lost or stolen cards.   Continue Reading >>>  70 Percent of U.S. Credit Cards to Include EMV Chips by 2015

Thursday, July 31, 2014

NCOFCU Volunteer of the Year Award

ncofcu logo 2014 rr1Are you aware of a volunteer, attending this years conference, at your credit union who is or has done amazing things for your credit union and the credit union movement?  If so, we want to let you know that you still have time to nominate them for the NCOFCU Volunteer of the Year Award.

The Winner will be honored with a complimentary registration, for our 2015 conference in Nashville TN., at our reception and dinner on October 10th, 2014

We encourage credit union supporters like you to nominate your best and brightest for the award.

> Click here for the Volunteer Awards nomination form 

The deadline is Sunday August, 31st. If you have any questions or comments on the nominations process, please contact me at 305-951-3306 or

I hope to see you at the conference this year!

Grant Sheehan
Executive Director

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2,500 Ground Zero workers have cancer | New York Post

More than 2,500 Ground Zero rescuers and responders have come down with cancer, and a growing number are seeking compensation for their illnesses, The Post has learned.
The grim toll has skyrocketed from the 1,140 cancer cases reported last year.
In its latest tally, the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital counts 1,655 responders with cancer among the 37,000 cops, hard hats, sanitation workers, other city employees and volunteers it monitors, officials told The Post.
The tragic sum rises to 2,518 when firefighters and EMTs are added. The FDNY, which has its own WTC health program, said Friday it counts 863 members with cancers certified for 9/11-related treatment.
Continue reading full story at >> 2,500 Ground Zero workers have cancer | New York Post

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Credit Unions Preparing for Rising Rates: Onsite Coverage

By Nicholas Ballasy July 22, 2014


LAS VEGAS – Credit union executives said Tuesday their institutions are making changes in preparation for a potential interest rate increase.

“We’re trying to stay shorter and shorter. Interest rates have nowhere to go but up so we’re holding everything pretty short so that when the rates do change, we can get into the longer term loans with better rates to match where they’re headed,” said Richard Smith, chairman of the board at the $376 million ProFed Credit Union in Fort Wayne, Ind., at NAFCU’s annual conference.

ProFed has also been selling off long term mortgage loans as another way to prepare for rising interest rates, he said.

“We’re selling those off and Freddie Mac is buying a lot of those. They are paying about 102% on those upfront so we’re staying short that way,” he said. “We’re still helping the members out when they come in wanting a mortgage, 15 or 30 years. We’re still doing the servicing so they feel like it’s still with us but at the same time we’ve gotten it off the books.”

CU Times asked Smith if his credit union decided to sell off long-term assets due to recommendations from its examiner.

“We started doing that on our own. The lead examiner-
Continued > >>Credit Unions Preparing for Rising Rates: Onsite Coverage

NCOFCU Past Events (photos)

For your viewing pleasure, I have loaded all the pictures we have from 2004-2013 under the  “Past Events” tab at  Take a trip through memory lane!  
If you have any pictures you would like to post, send them to me..

Friday, July 18, 2014

Facebook Calculator Drives Auto Loans for Chicago Credit Union - American Banker Article

Facebook Calculator Drives Auto Loans for Chicago Credit Union

by Mary Wisniewski
JUL 17, 2014 4:20pm ET

As financial institutions struggle to find revenue-generating social media strategies, a Chicago credit union has achieved a surprising level of success from a simple tool: a loan calculator app on its Facebook page. Calcubot, the name of the calculator tool that connects to one running on its website, has helped generate nearly $1 million of auto loans for Alliant Credit Union since its November debut.

The tool, which lets people determine their monthly loan payments and optionally share them with friends and family, drove 478 prospects to Alliant's online auto loan application within the first four months, when the credit union actively promoted the tool on its website's homepage and through posts written on its social media channels. The credit union plans to prominently feature Calcubot again in coming months to grow sales leads.

"We are looking to increase engagement with social media and to drive more traffic to loan applications," says George Balchev, manager of digital channels for Alliant, an $8.1 billion-asset financial institution.

Alliant Credit Union, which has more than 270,000 members, created its Facebook page in 2009 and now counts more than 13,000 page likes.

Calcubot, created by a Berkeley, Calif.- based company called Shastic, estimates loan payments once a person enters in information like the selling price and down payment. It directs those interested to websites where they can apply for a loan.

Research shows the majority of U.S. car buyers use Facebook in their research.

Read Complete Story >>Facebook Calculator Drives Auto Loans for Chicago Credit Union - American Banker Article

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

5 Factors Fueling Credit Union Loan Surge

5 Factors Fueling Credit Union Loan Surge

By Michelle A. Samaad July 14, 2014

Loan balances at credit unions are on pace to rise twice as fast as the average pace seen over the past two years.

That’s according to CUNA Mutual Group’s July Credit Union Trends Report, which tracked data through May.

Credit union loan balances rose 1.2% that month, almost twice as fast as the 0.65% average pace set in May 2012 and May 2013.

Total loan balances were up 3.3% year-to-date, versus 1.5% set during the first five months of 2013, the report noted.

What’s driving the surge in credit union lending? 

Steve Rick 140x120Steve Rick, the new chief economist at CUNA Mutual since his predecessor, Dave Colby, retired July 11, pointed to five factors for the rise in loans.

“Rising consumer confidence, rising household expectations for income growth, an improving labor market, improved consumer balance sheets and credit unions gaining a larger piece of the consumer credit pie,” Rick said.

Indeed, the credit union share of the total U.S. consumer credit market rose in the last year from 8.4% in May 2013 to 8.9% today, he said.

Meanwhile, new auto loans led the pack with loan balances increasing 2.6% in May, versus 0.5% in May 2013, according to Rick. On a year-over-year basis, new auto loans were up 17.3%, which was the fastest pace since 1995. 

“Credit unions are offering very competitive loan pricing; five-year new auto interest rates averaged 2.61%, 132 basis points below the bank average,” Rick said. “Moreover, longer-term loans are increasing the affordability of new cars. We expect 16.5 million cars sold this year, up from 15.5 million in 2013.”

In May, credit union auto loan balances rose 1.9% as 16.8 million cars and light trucks were sold in the U.S. at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to the trends report. June vehicle sales came in at 17 million. 

5 Factors Fueling Credit Union Loan Surge

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hole In One

Congratulate Michael Tobler for his Hole In One!
Michael Tobler on Facebook

Dayton Firefighters Federal Credit Union

Check out Dayton Firefighters Federal Credit Union Facebook page. Read down their time line and see how you can market products and events at your credit union.


Dayton Firefighters Federal Credit Union

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

CEO Spotlight: Michael Tobler, Albany Firemen’s FCU


CEO Spotlight: Michael Tobler, Albany Firemen’s FCU

Mike Tobler was a firefighter long before he became the leader of Albany Firemen’s FCU. And for nearly 40 years, he’s combined the two roles to build an inspiring legacy of service. Tobler recently shared his experiences and insights for this month’s CEO Spotlight column.

Q: What led you to Albany Firemen’s FCU back in 1976?

A: My father was the credit union manager at the time, and I was a firefighter. I was asked if I would be a loan officer. I became the manager when my father retired in 1986.

Q: How have your experiences as a firefighter and Battalion Chief influenced your approach to leading the credit union?

A: I think the two jobs work well together, considering each involves the service of others. Both positions have taught me to work with people and to be prepared for change.

Q: Albany Firemen’s FCU was founded back in 1935 with a $2.50 loan to help a member purchase clothing. For more than 50 years, it operated out of a firehouse. How has this unique history helped shape the credit union?

A: I think that first loan exemplified the need for credit unions. What bank, even at that time, would write a loan for so little? I am proud that men with no financial background understood how important the credit union was to better their financial positions.

We used to have an envelope in each firehouse that our members would put their weekly payments in, and then we would collect the envelopes every Friday. During the 50-plus years we did that, we never lost any monies from those payments. I believe this shows how important the service was to our members.

Q: What’s your primary goal when you go into work each day?

A: To promote the credit union difference—not only in the way we do business, but also by making our members feel that they can depend on us.

Q: What do you view as your greatest accomplishment at the credit union?

A: I am very proud that I have been able to continue the one-on-one service we are known for while also bringing in new employees and services. I think we give special attention to our members, as our member service representatives work individually with each member in a private office space.

Q: What is Albany Firemen’s FCU most focused on for 2014?

A: Growing our membership. This is something that has been slowly accepted by our members, but it is necessary so that we can offer new services for a competitive price. We also have a second branch where we will be increasing our hours of operation and promoting family membership.

Q: How does it feel to see your daughter, Renee Cowan (also a firefighter), in a leadership role at the credit union?

A: I feel very proud, as does our board of directors. Renee is being trained to carry on our great tradition while promoting the future of our credit union.

Q: You’ve been on the Association board since 2007. What do you enjoy most about this role?

A: Being voted to the Association board of directors is probably one of my best accomplishments. I work with an amazing group of people who are committed 100 percent to the goals we all strive for. To have the opportunity to express opinions with leaders of all asset sizes is truly a learning experience, and it epitomizes our willingness to work together.

Q: What do you love most about being part of the credit union movement?

A: There is no doubt that credit union people care about one another. We may sometimes compete for the same member, but when one of us asks for help, others are there to assist. It reminds me of the brotherhood of firefighting.

Q: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

A: My family and I enjoy traveling and spending time together in Florida. My wife Dale and I enjoy our rides together in our red Corvette. I also enjoy snow and waterskiing, and certainly a round of golf.

Q: What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

A: My father, who was my hero, told me “the bottom line is important, but people come first.” Twenty years after his passing, members still are eager to tell me how he changed their lives through the credit union.

Q: How do you define success?

A: Knowing that things are better because of the actions I have taken. Big or small, I get the same feeling of satisfaction.

About CEO Spotlight:
Each month, the CEO Spotlight column features credit union leaders from around the state, offering an inside look at their experiences and insights. Previous CEO Spotlight columns are available on the Credit Union Association of New York website.

The Point: July 7, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Email Hacked? 7 Things You Need to do NOW – Ask Leo!

Since this seems to be an everyday occurrence, I though I would pass this article on to you. I continually receive questions on how to correct this theft and this is where I refer them. It is probably the most complete solution with easy to follow instructions.

Grant Sheehan
Executive Director NCOFCU

email 1Email Hacked? 7 Things You Need to do NOW

Email account theft is rampant. If it happens to you, there are several steps that you need to take not only to recover your account, but to prevent it from being easily hacked again.

It seems like not a day goes by where I don’t get a question from someone that boils down to their email account having been hacked.

Someone, somewhere has gained access to their account and has started using it to send spam. Sometimes passwords are changed, sometimes not. Sometimes traces are left, sometimes not. Sometimes everything in the account is erased, both contacts and saved email, and sometimes not.

Continued at>>>>Email Hacked? 7 Things You Need to do NOW – Ask Leo!

Firefighter News (select Firefighter to see all)


Credit Union News