Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day

 


A Memorial Day Observance Speech
Randomly Selected

by Johnny Q. Gogue III 2007

An excellent history of Memorial Day
http://www.usmemorialday.org/memorialday4.pdf

Memorial Day – For most it is a three-day weekend, filled with bar-b-que’s and picnics . . . A time to get away from the normal humdrum of the week. For other’s it’s the beginning of summer, a time to look towards the long lazy days and a time to plan your summer get-a-ways. Though for some, Memorial Day holds a special significance.

On May 5, 1868, an order issued by General John Logan established a day of remembrance for those soldiers who died during the Civil War. May 30, 1868, was the day designated for this observance and flowers were placed on the graves of the fallen soldiers of both the Union and Confederate Armies. New York was the first state to officially recognize this observance in 1873 and in 1971 with the passage of the National Holiday Act; Memorial Day was designated as the last Monday of May.

Now for many of us, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, and the Korean War are ancient history. The Vietnam War a fading memory. But with the recent Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom we, the American people have once again been thrust into a position of remembering those who are fighting and dying today.

I, like my grandfathers, father, uncles and aunt before me, am a veteran. I am and was proud of serving in the Armed Forces. I served in the Army from 1985 to 1994. I was in Operation Desert Storm/Shield. I know what Memorial Day is about.

I have two brothers who are currently serving. One brother is serving in the Navy in Italy. My youngest brother, who is currently serving in the Army, is right now in Iraq supporting and defending his fellow soldiers. I know what Memorial Day is about.

Memorial Day for all soldiers is embodied in the words of the oath that you first take when you enlist into the service of the country:

I DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR (OR AFFIRM) THAT I WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC; THAT I WILL BEAR TRUE FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE TO THE SAME; AND THAT I WILL OBEY THE ORDERS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE ORDERS OF THE OFFICERS APPOINTED OVER ME, ACCORDING TO REGULATIONS AND THE UNIFORM CODE OF MILITARY JUSTICE. SO HELP ME GOD.

This oath taken by each and every soldier exemplifies the reason why soldiers do what they do each and every day. Soldiers are defenders of the same principles that made this country great. They stand as Patriots to defend and protect the ideals and sentiments espoused in the Constitution of the United States. Soldiers bear true faith and allegiance to that document and they work, and live, within the Codes of Military Justice. Soldiers also obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Officers appointed over them. These truths are self evident in the everyday lives of soldiers.

Now, as we see our fellow citizens arrive back from a foreign land, we should not forget those words that each and every soldier spoke upon enlistment. Because when we look upon a returning soldier from conflict, a disabled veteran, or a grave marker – those words should ring in your conscience.

  • I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic . . . streaming from the eyes of the returning soldier.
  • That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the Officers appointed over me . . . sounding from the stumbling gait of the disabled veteran.
  • According to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God . . . blasting from the cold stone face of a grave marker.

Remember those that gave their lives, so that we may continue to live in freedom as spelled out in the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence . . . Lest we forget.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Retirement Notice: Clint Hartmann CEO of Houston Texas Fire Fighters FCU is Retiring!


The Board of Directors of Houston Texas Fire Fighters FCU has announced that Clint Hartmann is retiring in March 2016 as President/CEO after 12 years of distinguished service.

After graduating with his MBA and working several years in finance and accounting, Hartmann began his credit union career at Tropical Telco FCU (now Tropical Financial CU) in 1983 as Assistant Controller. Over the next 25 years, Hartmann served as President and CEO of credit unions with the Martin Marietta and the University of South Florida, where he learned to respect and appreciate the membership aspect of the credit union philosophy. He was named President and CEO of HTFFFCU in 2004.

Hartmann cites that his biggest challenge as CEO was navigating through the recent recession and collapse of the corporate credit union network, a challenge that hurt many credit unions throughout the country.

“I am proud that we managed to work through these challenges while maintaining positive earnings and capital growth. We also did not reduce any employee benefits or lay off staff.”
Under Hartmann’s exceptional direction, the Credit Union has grown in assets from $165 million in 2004 to over $247 million as of March 2015. Under his leadership, the credit union’s technological potential grew from establishing a new updated website to now accepting mobile deposits—technology that rivals the big banks.

In addition to his time at HTFFFCU, Hartmann has been extremely active in the Credit Union industry, currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of Corporate America Credit Union. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Houston Chapter of Credit Unions for 9 years–5 of those years as President. Much of his time with the Houston Chapter centered on fundraising efforts for community charities and political advocacy for the credit union industry in Texas.

“The Houston Chapter has accomplished a great many things while I have been on the Board but there are probably two that I am most proud of,” he stated. “The first is that we won chapter of the year for 4 consecutive years. This demonstrates the overall excellence of the chapter and its many efforts. The second and definitely the one I am most proud of is that the Chapter has donated over $400,000 to Texas Children’s Hospital. In addition, the chapter has a current pledge of $250,000 that will be met next year. Working with the volunteers for the chapter has been a rewarding experience.”

He and his wife will enjoy a pastime they have both looked forward to, seeing the country in their travel trailer.

"Leaving HTFFFCU is bitter sweet,” Hartmann said. “On the one hand I look forward to traveling and spending more time with my grandchildren. On the other I will miss the involvement with the Chapter and my colleagues. I will miss the staff at the credit union, especially the management team. Finally, I will miss the Board of Directors at HTFFFCU. They have been very supportive over the last 12 years. Something I truly appreciate.”

When Firefighters Get Together - Great Things Happen!

"Our Face-to-face interaction is the platform where collaboration begins, relationships are forged, and ideas are generated.”
Michael Tobler Chairman
October 7-10, 2015 Nashville TN.
Tim Harrington "Touch, Inspire, Motivate"


If video fails to start, CLICK HERE

Register NOW
http://www.ncofcu.org/2015-Attendee-Registration

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cheer Up and Change: "Wait and see is not a plan."

I posted this a year ago and thought I would bring it back to see if any of his predictions came true. Take a look and tell us what you think.

Grant Sheehan CEO

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.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Firefighters First Credit Union, “Fire Family Foundation”, Presents the 2nd Annual Fire Boot Classic “Chips & Tequila” | Pasadena California,

 

Fire-Family-Foundations-Chips-TequilaBrookside Golf Club will turn into an evening of Vintage Mexico High Stakes poker tournament and bingo for the 2nd Annual Fire Family Foundation’s Fire Boot Classic on Saturday, May 16, 2015.

The evening consists of a high stakes poker classic, bingo, cigars, tequila tasting, silent auction, food/drink, and a fun photo booth by the students of Room 13 of Eliot Middle School in Pasadena. Adding to this is the equally fun-loving celebrity master of ceremonies Tim Conway Jr. Host of Tim Conway Jr. Show (KFI 640 AM, Actor Roger Mosley calling bingo alongside Pasadena Firefighters. Proceeds benefit the Fire Family Foundation, the charitable hand of Firefighters First Credit Union.

Recent Ways Fire Family Foundation Has Helped:

• Suddenly on Thanksgiving morning, the Fire Captain did not wake up; he left behind 4 devastated kids and a wife to face a changed world; Their December mortgage was paid by the Foundation
• Help with a down-payment for a newer car for a young family with a boy struggling with leukemia, and his granddad worked for LAFD; now the family can get him safely to his therapy
• Matching Red Cross’ donation to bury a 15-year old boy who had just arrived from Bangladesh, but was caught in an apartment fire.
• When a firefighter battled cancer and was unable to work he was about to lose his water service, but at 4 PM on a Friday afternoon the Foundation stepped in to help
• When a young firefighter returned home and died due to smoke in the lungs, the family wanted to come together, but one cousin was thousands of miles away. The Foundation paid to fly her out; she too is a firefighter and she attended her cousin’s funeral on what would have been his 32nd birthday.
• Hardware store gift card for a house fire victim, so she could return to her burnt home and try to clean up.

Pasadena Now » Fire Family Foundation Presents the 2nd Annual Fire Boot Classic “Chips & Tequila” | Pasadena California, Hotels,CA Real Estate,Restaurants,City Guide... - PasadenaNow.com

Monday, May 11, 2015

Don't punish credit unions for big banks' sins

Jim Nussle
Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015, 1:13 AM

Credit unions are thriving. More than 100 million Americans are members - an all-time high. Credit unions are making more loans and holding more savings than ever before. And by competing aggressively with banks, credit unions are saving consumers $10 billion a year on fees, interest rates, and the like.

That may not be the case for much longer.

Regulations aimed at reining in Wall Street are instead walloping credit unions. Meanwhile, 40 percent of the rules prescribed by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law have yet to be finalized. So the regulatory choke hold on credit unions will only grow tighter.

Federal officials must ensure that their efforts to ward off another financial crisis do not prevent credit unions from fulfilling their mission of providing affordable financing to Main Street businesses and middle-class families.

Credit unions differ from Wall Street banks because they are member-owned and not-for-profit. Their lack of overhead and focus on people instead of profits helps them offer better rates and cheaper fees than nearly any bank.

Most credit unions are community-based, so they know their members personally. That makes a huge difference when families fall on hard times.

In the wake of the financial crisis, big banks cut back on lending. But credit unions served as a safe harbor for families and small businesses. They continued to lend when others pulled back.

This personal connection explains why "members rate credit unions higher than banks on nearly every aspect of the customer experience," according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index survey.

But credit unions and community banks have been caught in the cross fire as regulators target the predatory and profit-driven practices of Wall Street's mega-banks. Since the beginning of the financial crisis, 15 different federal agencies have subjected financial institutions to more than 190 regulatory changes totaling nearly 6,000 pages of rules.

These regulations aren't aimed at credit unions. Nonetheless, they've saddled them with huge compliance costs. To keep up with the rules, credit unions have had to add staff, change internal policies and controls, design and print new forms, update computer systems, and help their members understand all these changes.

First Heritage Financial, a credit union-owned subsidiary based in Trevose, in Bucks County, reports that it has had to add three full-time employees to keep up with regulatory changes required by Dodd-Frank, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Fannie Mae. More than 8 percent of the money First Heritage spends on salaries covers pay for folks whose sole job is to ensure that it complies with these new rules.

It's not realistic to ask the average credit union to comply with the same regulations as the likes of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citibank. Almost half of credit unions have five or fewer employees. At some large banks, the compliance department alone is 100 times bigger.

The rules are also raising costs for consumers. First Heritage has seen the costs associated with a typical loan - for things like credit scoring, fraud alerts, data verification, and tax transcripts - increase 250 percent. That translates to an additional $1,000 in charges for a standard loan.

Regulators seem oblivious to the effects of these rules. Not a single agency has calculated the burden that federal regulations are imposing on credit unions. That's why the Credit Union National Association - the organization I lead - has begun quantifying regulatory costs. Our research will demonstrate how excessively broad rules negatively affect community lenders.

Fortunately, relief may be on the way. The Senate Banking Committee, chaired by Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.), and the House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas), recognize that laws intended to police Wall Street must not smother Main Street lenders under a one-size-fits-all regulatory blanket.

At the top of their agenda should be reform of the Federal Credit Union Act to allow credit unions to make more loans, especially to small businesses. Credit unions have been subject to arbitrary lending caps since 1998. Those caps need to go. That would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

For more than a century, credit unions have partnered with Americans to finance home purchases, start businesses, and secure their financial futures. Congress must free these community lenders from unnecessary and harmful regulations so they can continue ensuring America's economic prosperity.


Jim Nussle is president and CEO of the Credit Union National Association. officeoftheceo@cuna.coop

Don't punish credit unions for big banks' sins

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Apple Pay Lands 22 Credit Unions

By Roy Urrico CU Times May 06, 2015

Apple announced 24 new participating Apple Pay issuers, including 22 credit unions. More than 155 credit unions out of less than 250 issuers offer the service.

Among the new credit union issuers are the $415 million Bellwether Community Credit Union in Manchester, N.H.; the $243 million Benchmark Federal Credit Union, in West Chester, Penn; the $15 million Blackhawk Community Credit Union in Beaver Falls, Penn.; the $2 billion CommunityAmerica CU in Kansas City, Mo.; the $2 billion Community First CU in Appleton, Wis.; the $143 million Connections CU in Pocatello, Idaho, the $164 million cPort CU in Portland, Maine; the $140 million Denver Fire Department FCU; the $148 million Electro Savings CU in St. Louis; the $1.1 billion Elements Financial FCU in Indianapolis; the $448 million First Financial CU in Albuquerque, N.M.; the $541 million Greater Nevada CU in Carson City, Nev.; the $485 million Harvard University Employees CU in Cambridge, Mass.; the $665 million Interra CU IN Goshen Ind.; the $1.3 billion Kern Schools FCU in Bakersfield, Calif.; the $1.6 billion Nusenda CU in Albuquerque, N.M.; the $533 million People's Trust FCU in Houston; the $1.7 billion Premier America CU in Chatsworth, Calif.; the $505 million Premier Members FCU in Boulder, Colo.; the $2.2 billion SAFE Credit Union in Folsom, Calif.; the $248 million Scient FCU in Groton, Conn.; and the $358 million Tucson FCU in Tucson, Ariz.

Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service by Apple Inc. that lets users make payments using the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch-compatible devices (iPhone 5 and later models), iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. Apple Pay does not require Apple-specific contactless payment terminals and works with Visa's PayWave, MasterCard's PayPass and American Express's ExpressPay terminals.

When members add a credit or debit card to Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device or on Apple servers. Instead, each transaction receives its own unique device account number. The device then encrypts and securely stores the number. Each transaction receives a one-time, unique, dynamic security code, instead of using the security code from the back of the card.

Discover Financial Services signed an agreement with Apple that will allow Discover cardholders in the U.S. to set up contactless payments in stores with NFC-enabled payment terminals using Apple Pay.

On the merchant side, Apple most recently announced support from 10 retailers including GameStop and T-Mobile. Home Depot said it has plans to officially adopt Apple's service for in-store payments.

For the next version, Apple Pay 2.0, reports indicate that the Apple Pay software will fine-tune the platform, to include new features such as browser based payment methods and will enable users to pay through international merchants.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Myra Toeppe NCUA Director, Region 3 National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions Inc. - 2015 Conference

 

ToeppeMyra Toeppe  NCUA Director, Region 3
As Regional Director, Ms. Toeppe is responsible for oversight of the chartering program for federal credit unions and the examination and supervision programs for all federally insured credit unions in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and the Virgin Islands.
Ms. Toeppe joined NCUA in April 2011 as an Associate Regional Director, Operations after an almost 25 year banking regulatory career at the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) and its predecessor agency. Ms. Toeppe began her financial institution regulatory career in 1986 as an examiner with the FHLB–Atlanta and later became an examiner/commercial loan specialist for OTS.
In 2005, Ms. Toeppe was promoted to Field Manager responsible for the examination of thrift institutions primarily located in Georgia and Alabama. In 2008, Ms. Toeppe was promoted to Assistant Regional Director for Operations responsible for the examination and supervision of thrift institutions in Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas.
Ms. Toeppe earned her B.S.B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Central Florida. She also is a 2011 graduate of the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking.

National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions Inc. - 2015 Conference

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions Inc. - Donate

 

Invest in a Charitable Donation Account (CDA)

In December of 2013, the NCUA Board approved a final rule amending the incidental powers rule (Part 721) to clarify that a federal credit union is authorized to fund a CDA, a hybrid charitable and investment vehicle, as an activity  incidental to the business for which a FCU is chartered, provided the account is primarily charitable in nature and meets  other regulatory requirements.
A Charitable Donation Account (“CDA”) investment allows a credit union to make a charitable contribution while allowing the contribution to pay for itself.  Over the last 3-5 years, an investment in the CDA would have allowed a CU  to increase its charitable contributions while retaining a net return significant higher than generated on  its traditional  investments. Please see below the Investment Return Chart.

Learn More:         What Is A Charitable Donation Account? ALM Advantage of a Charitable Donation Account

Who do credit unions contact to make an investment?
Jason Ritzenthaler, CFA, CTFA
Co-Chief Investment Officer MEMBERS Trust
813-386-8705
Jason.Ritzenthaler@memberstrust.com

National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions Inc. - Donate

Saturday, April 18, 2015

NAFCU: We've Always Opposed CFPB Rulemaking

 

First and foremost, let’s be clear: NAFCU listened to its members in 2009, and we listen to them now. We fight every day to make our members and the credit union movement stronger. As noted correctly in Ms. Anderson’s column, NAFCU has always been steadfast in strongly opposing the CFPB’s rulemaking authority over credit unions. At every possible opportunity, in hearings and in myriad letters to Congress, NAFCU has been unequivocal in its conviction.

Throughout the legislative negotiations in 2009, NAFCU strongly challenged the CFPB’s authority over credit unions.  Specifically, it was at the hearing before the House Committee on Small Business on Sep. 23, 2009, where Price Choppers Employees Federal Credit Union President and CEO Dawn Donovan, testifying on behalf of NAFCU, clearly stated our position. Notably, this was the only official hearing where credit union trade groups testified before Congress on financial reform, including the creation of the CFPB (earlier proposed as the CFPA). As Donovan pointed out:

“NAFCU does not believe such an agency should be given authority over regulated federally insured depository institutions, and opposes extending this authority to credit unions.

“As the only not-for-profit institutions that would be subject to the CFPA, credit unions would stand to get lost in the enormity of the proposed agency. Giving the CFPA the authority to regulate, examine and supervise credit unions, already regulated by the NCUA, would add an additional regulatory burden and cost to credit unions.

Over time in subsequent testimony, we have been unwavering about the CFPB and the dangers of overregulation on credit unions. 

As SRP Federal Credit Union President and CEO Ed Templeton, who is also NAFCU’s board chair, testified just this year:

“As expected, the breadth and pace of CFPB rulemaking is troublesome, and the unprecedented new compliance burden placed on credit unions has been immense.

“The impact of this growing compliance burden is evident as the number of credit unions continues to decline, dropping by 22% (more than 1,700) in institutions since 2007. A main reason for the decline is the increasing cost and complexity of complying with the ever-increasing onslaught of regulations. Since the second quarter of 2010, we have lost 1,100 federally insured credit unions, 96% of which were smaller institutions below $100 million in assets. Many smaller institutions simply cannot keep up with the new regulatory tide and have had to merge out of business or be taken over. Credit unions need regulatory relief, both from Congress and their regulators.”

Our position was not a politically popular one, nor was it an easy one to take. NAFCU’s board of directors and our lobbying team stood strong under unbelievable political pressure throughout the Dodd-Frank Act negotiations. But then again, NAFCU has never shied away from difficult positions. Over the years, NAFCU has always taken positions that are in the best interests of NAFCU members and the credit union industry. And that will never change.  

Ms. Anderson is also correct in noting that the CFPB represents a significant hazard for credit unions – especially when you consider that not all the Dodd-Frank rules have been implemented yet. According to the Davis Polk report, in the first quarter of 2015, 235 (60.3%) of the 390 total required rulemakings have been finalized, while 84 (21.5%) rulemaking requirements have not yet been proposed. With still so many rules outstanding, it is a rather ominous outlook for credit unions and all the more reason for us to stand fast by our position.

NAFCU continues to believe credit unions should be exempt from CFPB rulemaking, and we will continue to advance that with full vigor at every juncture possible because it is the right thing to do. For us, there is little comfort in being right and seeing our worst predictions regarding the burden of overregulation come to fruition while our industry erodes. 

B. Dan Berger is president/CEO of NAFCU. He can be reached at 703-522-4770 or dberger@nafcu.org.

NAFCU: We've Always Opposed CFPB Rulemaking

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Follow-up to Operation Choke Point - NCUA Doesn’t Dictate Businesses CUs Can Serve

 

In response to a letter from House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz wrote that the NCUA has not and will not participate in Operation Choke point.

“NCUA does not dictate which businesses credit unions can serve as long as these businesses are legal and within the credit union’s field of membership, and the credit union can serve them safely and soundly,” she wrote in the letter dated April 15. “Going forward, the NCUA will continue to ensure that all our material and guidance clearly outline these policies.”

Matz explained that the NCUA issued a memorandum to all field staff in August of 2014, which stated the agency’s policy for opening and closing accounts is a decision generally left to the credit union.

“The decision may be based on a credit union’s particular business objectives, its evaluations of the risks associated with offering particular products or services and its capacity and systems to effectively manage those risks,” she wrote.

Mike Schuetz, owner of Hawkins Guns LLC in Wisconsin, has claimed the $272 million Heritage Credit Union in Madison, Wis. closed his account due to Operation Choke Point. Schuetz recorded a conversation with a branch manager who said the credit union was being pressured by regulators.

“They came in, looked at our books, looked at everything and said, ‘Here's some accounts we feel like we’re going to regulate you on,’ and they kind of put the screws to us on what we could and couldn't do type thing,” a manager stated in the recording. “We’re not anti-gun as a company but our hands are tied.”

Heritage’s CEO Anita Rauch told CU Times the account was closed for other reasons.

“Our position all along has been our inability to serve Mike at Hawkins Guns was simply a temporary situation,” she said. “It's not reasonable to think you can buy the software, plug it in and it just works. It takes a little bit of programming.”

Rauch said the credit union’s assets grew to $100 million in three years so the amount of monitoring for cash intense businesses increased.

“We began working on accommodating cash intense businesses no matter what the type of business. It wasn't strictly directed at guns or gun shop owners,” she said.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Compliance and How Much It Cost You!

Do you believe someone is actually measuring how much it costs to comply with all the new regulations.

BCI stands for Bank Compliance Index, a quarterly evaluation system created by financial experts at Continuity (formerly Continuity Control), a New Haven, Conn.-based provider of automated compliance solutions, to track the incremental burden on financial institutions of keeping up with regulatory changes. The number 1.35 represents the number of employees needed to address just the new regulations issued during the first three months of 2015.

“In real terms, Perdue said the BCI was calculated by measuring specific variables within the financial compliance realm. In this case, the 1.35 ranking is drawn from the efforts it would take to respond to the 61 new regulatory items issued during first quarter that comprised an aggregate 1,605 pages. At an estimated 331 hours necessary to address the regulations, multiplied by an average salary-and-benefits rate of $44.22 per hour for employees involved throughout the entire process, the financial cost of responding to new regulations would be $30,998 per institution for first-quarter activity.”

Read the complete report at; Webinar Discusses Hot Compliance Climate

Friday, April 10, 2015

Operation Choke Point Accuser Speaks Out

Is your credit union being pressured by auditors to close or not open certain accounts because they feel they are too risky.

Not sure if you know about Operation Choke Point so I have included these 2 article's,

When Mike Schuetz, owner of Hawkins Guns LLC in Hawkins, Wis., asked the branch manager for an explanation, he was told the credit union had received pressure from regulators. He recorded his conversation with the manager, who also explained the credit union did not serve businesses associated with guns and ammunition.

Schuetz is convinced the situation occurred as a result of Operation Choke Point, which the U.S. Department of Justice established to reduce fraud and reputational risk to financial institutions by pressuring them to refuse business from risky sectors.

“They told me I had to close it because I was a high-risk industry and they were not able to service me,” Schuetz told CU Times. “The local manager had a clip board from which she read off of with certain industries listed.”  Operation Choke Point Accuser Speaks Out

 

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and other committee leaders have asked the NCUA and the CFPB to cease any enforcement of Operation Choke Point.

The lawmakers requested that the agencies publicly disclaim their past, present and future involvement in Operation Choke Point or any similar operation. The agencies were asked to clarify their policy for documenting and reporting orders to financial institutions regarding the termination of deposit account relationships. Lawmakers also requested a notice in writing from each agency to confirm that employees have been notified about the policy.  Lawmakers to NCUA: Abandon Operation Choke Point

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

NCOFCU Has a NEW LOOK and FEEL

NCOFCU Home Page

Welcome to NCOFCU's new look and feel!

Without signing in you can navigate the complete website, register for conferences and join (some sections limited to Standard Credit Union Membership and above) With a single sign in you can enter the member’s only portal. Associate Credit Union Membership is FREE. Standard Credit Union Membership is $250

We know your time is valuable and you don’t want to spend time trying to navigate trough a website to get what you want so we have tried to make it sweet and simple.

  • Home Our Home page is our main advertising portal and should give you all the links that you will need to navigate through the site.
  • Donate Here you find what you need to directly donate yourself or through your credit union.
  • Newsroom This page takes you directly to our Firefighters Credit Union BLOG
  • About Us Tells you who we are our mission and purpose, our leadership, scholarships, store and how to contact us.
  • Join Us Memberships are listed and simple to use
  • Events Here you will find information on all our upcoming events such as our 2015 Nashville conference with easy registration.
  • Members Only Here you will find information proprietary to NCOFCU members (sign in required)

Staff / Volunteers & Vendors

  • First time login will require you to request your password. Please use your e-mail that you provided NCOFCU when signing in. Remember this is a membership database and your information will be uploaded into any forms that you use. You can change your password or personal information within your profile once you are logged in.

Credit Unions
Each credit has been assigned an administrator, in most cases it is the CEO.
The administrator can:

  • Join / Pay Dues
  • Add, delete members
  • Register credit union for conferences

If you would rather have a staff member be the administrator, please contact NCOFCU administration at 305-951-3306 with any issues or e-mail ncofcu@ncofcu.org

We have tried to work out all the bugs, but if you find any please let us know.

Thanks,

Grant Sheehan CEO
National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions
305-951-3306
ceo@ncofcu.org

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