Saturday, December 31, 2011

Work is its own reward for volunteer B.C. firefighters

"B.C. has about 10,000 volunteer firefighters — more than two-thirds of the 14,000 firefighters (including those who work full-time) across the province. Most work outside the Lower Mainland, in small towns and cities, where they not only battle fires but are often first responders for medical calls and highway crashes." **** Work is its own reward for volunteer B.C. firefighters:

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Friday, December 30, 2011

The Market Today from Vining Sparks

"Happy New Year"
To all of our readers, Happy New Year! Thank you for sticking with us in 2011 through all of the global uncertainty. We hope that 2012 is healthy and meaningful." **** The Market Today :

Make things 'click' in 2012

By Tom LaBelle
Sponsored by Globe
We are simply awestruck by the number of emergency vehicle accidents that have occurred in North America in December. I state that with some trepidation, as there are. **** <b>Firefighter</b> crashes: Make things 'click' in 2012:
Firerescue1 Daily News

Buyers, sellers continue to butt heads on home prices

Most Americans feel now is a good time to buy a home, but those who want to sell are having difficulty finding buyers at desired prices, causing seller sentiment to fall to record lows.
The low opinion is causing a wide gap between homebuying and home selling that won't narrow for at least the next five [...] Buyers, sellers continue to butt heads on home prices:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

NCOFCU Newsletter

The Bucket Coach is a financial advice book designed by Fire Services Credit Union, Tronto, Canada. and written exclusively for Fire Fighters

It's a practical guide for household financial management, including investments, credit and mortgages, and retirement. Developed with contributions from Fire Fighters," NCOFCU Newsletter: "

Kevin Connolly
Chief Executive Officer    Fire Services Credit Union
Phone: 416-440-1294 ext 301 Toll Free: 1-866-833-3285
1997 Avenue Rd
Toronto, ON M5M 4A3 


15 Ratios Every Board Member Should Know

"Key metrics to evaluate your credit union and bridge the gap between macro trends and micro performance." *** 15 Ratios Every Board Member Should Know:

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Credit union users ordered to pay €34m

An article to let you know we are not the only ones with collection issues!
OVER 2000 judgments worth almost €34 million have been awarded against struggling credit union customers who have failed to repay outstanding loans since 2008, but this is just the "tip of the iceberg", it has been warned. ... <b>Credit union</b> users ordered to pay €34m: By Jennifer Hough
See all stories on this topic »

Member Education: Online Authentication; Savings Bonds; Share Insurance

A few recent NCUA Letters to Credit Unions have included information regarding member education. Below are a few areas where credit unions have been encouraged to educate members - in addition to the required regulatory disclosures already provided.

Member Education for Online Authentication

The recent online authentication guidance included a section on member education. Pages 7 and 8 of the guidance include information on educating members. Below are two of the types of communications that are expected:

  • An explanation of under what, if any, circumstances and through what means the credit union may contact a member on an unsolicited basis and request the member’s provision of electronic banking credentials; and

  • A listing of institutional contacts for members’ discretionary use in the event they notice suspicious account activity or experience member information security-related events.

The guidance does not mention how often or in what format this information should be provided. This provides credit unions with some flexibility in communicating with members. It is quite possibility that credit unions already provide some of this information to members on a regular basis as a fraud prevention tool. If so, be sure include those efforts in your documentation for the latest FFIEC guidance.

Savings Bonds - Reminder: No more over-the-counter savings bonds sales after 12/31/2011

NCUA's Letter to Credit Unions 11-CU-15 on Changes to Savings Bonds included information on educating members. Here is from the Letter:

"Educate members about the upcoming changes. Let your members know they will no longer be able to buy paper savings bonds at your credit union or by mail order. You are also encouraged to refer members to www.treasurydirect.gov where they can purchase, manage, and redeem electronic savings bonds online. Electronic savings bonds are secure and convenient to manage in a TreasuryDirect account, and your members will no longer have to worry about storing, misplacing, or losing paper savings bonds. In addition, with a TreasuryDirect account, members can purchase electronic savings bonds as gifts and convert paper savings bonds to electronic ones."

In this situation, NCUA is simply indicating credit unions should make members aware of the change and their options going forward.

Share Insurance Coverage

Going back to 2008, NCUA issued Letter to Credit Unions 08-CU-18 on educating members on share insurance coverage. The 2008 letter was written during the uncertainty of the financial crisis. However, the message should not be lost on credit unions - especially with the influx of new members coming over from banks who might not be familiar with the share insurance coverage provided by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

Going Forward

As the CFPB begins to regulate, there will most likely be additional pushes toward member education. Credit unions should continue their efforts to provide education to members through their websites, newsletters and statements to ensure members are informed.

As your credit union provides education to your members, document your efforts. The credit union might offer this education anyway, but it can also be useful to document compliance. For example, if you credit union offers identity theft or fraud prevention workshops - be sure to include this information as part of your compliance efforts to meet the expectations of the latest online authentication guidance. ***

Member Education: Online Authentication; Savings Bonds; Share Insurance:

Written by Steve Van Beek

Programming Update: NAFCU's offices will be closed on Friday, December 30th and Monday, January 2nd. We'll be back blogging in 2012! Have a Happy New Year!



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

EXPLOSIVE DEVICE AT EMS CALL - ALWAYS BE AWARE

"A quick background check via the internet revealed the owner of the residence was a satan worshiper. Based on revealed information it was discovered that December 23rd is a significant holiday for satan worshipers. It is theorized the occupants had intended to take the EMS crew hostage and then to ambush the remaining responders who would attempt a rescue. " EXPLOSIVE DEVICE AT EMS CALL - ALWAYS BE AWARE:

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Risk Assessments & Documentation Keys to FFIEC Guidance

With the compliance date for the FFIEC’s Internet Banking Authentication right around the corner, several credit unions have expressed their concerns as to the compliance impact their credit union will face if the guidelines for authentication are not fully implemented by January, 2012.
The core principles of the FFIEC guidance include ongoing risk assessments and strategies, layered security controls, and improved customer awareness of online banking risks. The Supplement stresses that the risk assessment(s) involved in the institution’s efforts to comply with the guidelines is not a one-time project. Instead, it’s ongoing:
“Financial institutions should review and update their existing risk assessments as new information becomes available, prior to implementing new electronic financial services, or at least every twelve months.”
The risk assessment(s) aids in determining which online transactions are higher risk than others. And although the guidance applies to all internet banking, it recognizes the fact that financial institutions will have more robust controls as the risk level of the transaction increases. The guidance uses consumer and business banking as an example. Although both would require security controls, the Guidance recognizes that the risk level differs:
“Since the frequency and dollar amounts of these [consumer] transactions are generally lower than commercial transactions, they pose a comparatively lower level of risk. Financial institutions should implement layered security, as described herein, consistent with the risk for covered consumer transactions."
The Guidance goes on to state:
“Since the frequency and dollar amounts of these [business] transactions are generally higher than consumer transactions, they pose a comparatively increased level of risk to the institution and its customer. Financial institutions should implement layered security, as described herein, utilizing controls consistent with the increased level of risk for covered business transactions. Additionally, the Agencies recommend that institutions offer multifactor authentication to their business customers.”
NCUA Letter to Credit Unions 11-CU-09 states:
“Federally insured credit unions will be expected to adapt appropriate strategies from the supplement to strengthen and enhance controls by January 2012. Beginning in 2012, at credit unions offering electronic services, NCUA examiners will evaluate these controls under the enhanced expectations outlined in the supplement.”
Documentation is Key. As credit unions strive towards following the updated guidance, they should be sure to document their progress to show examiners. Highlight the steps the credit union has taken to implement additional security controls as indicated by the risk assessment. Show examiners your plan for continued risk assessments and new controls. If your vendors will be slowly rolling out security enhancements in 2012, document your communications with these vendors so that examiners know you are working on mitigating these risks.
Risk Assessments & Documentation Keys to FFIEC Guidance:
By JiJi Bahhur, Regulatory Compliance Counsel NAFCU
For additional information on the FFIEC Authentication Guidance, check out our June 29th blog post.

On paper, U.S. savings bonds are finished | StarTribune.com

"Beginning Jan. 1, paper savings bonds will be a thing of the past. The only way to purchase a savings bond in 2012 and beyond is electronically through www.treasurydirect.gov. It's a move that is expected to save taxpayers $120 million over five years."  On paper, U.S. savings bonds are finished | StarTribune.com:

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

15 firefighters who lost homes optimistic about 2012

15 firefighters who lost homes optimistic about 2012: "Already a tight-knit group, the firefighters have another tie to bind them even closer.

"It has restored our faith in humanity," said Donaldson. "The immeasurable compassion and support for the firefighting community has been humbling. I've had offers to stay places. I couldn't buy a meal without someone coming up to offer. One of the best things was getting letters of support from firefighters living in remote parts of Texas.""

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FinCEN Extends Deadline for New CTR and SAR Forms

FinCEN Extends Deadline for New CTR and SAR Forms:

Written by Bernadette Clair, Regulatory Compliance Counsel

In the spirit of holiday giving, here’s one more present for you…FinCEN has extended its originally proposed deadline for using the new CTR and SAR from June 30, 2012 to March 31, 2013. The extension is intended to give institutions more time to make the transition to the new reports, and make any necessary internal processing or system changes.

But wait…we’re not out of the woods just yet. Remember that proposal FinCEN issued to mandate electronic CTR and SAR filing? That’s still on the table and the proposed deadline remains June 30, 2012. We blogged about this proposal on September 19th.

Although there will be a short reprieve from mandatory use of the new reports, don’t expect the same for e-filing. Here’s what FinCEN had to say about e-filing in this latest announcement:

“FinCEN expects that the clear benefits associated with the transition to a fully electronic reporting system will support mandating electronic filings of BSA reports as of the proposed date of June 30, 2012. FinCEN will continue to consider the comments received on its proposal, and will follow the normal procedures for concluding the notice process. As reflected in the notice, for those financial institutions unable to meet the proposed electronic filing deadline, FinCEN will consider, based upon certain limited hardship exceptions, specific requests to file the most current paper forms for up to one year past the mandatory electronic filing deadline. Further information on how financial institutions can make such requests will be provided in a future notice.”

Thus, if you’re not yet e-filing your CTRs and SARs, now is the time to start thinking about it. Also, keep an eye out for more information on the new forms, which FinCEN says it will be making available soon.



Monday, December 26, 2011

MEDICAL HELICIOPTER DOWN IN FLORIDA-3 REPORTED LODD

MEDICAL HELICIOPTER DOWN IN FLORIDA-3 REPORTED LODD: A helicopter that departed Jacksonville's Mayo Clinic with 3 people, crashed early this morning near the Putnam/Clay county line in a heavily wooded area that can not be accessed by regular vehicles. The Bell 260 was headed to Shands at the University of Florida in Gainesville when it crashed just before 0600. We have been told there were no survivors-the aircraft had a pilot and 2 medical personnel on board. Additional information will be posted. RIP....

Can Lower Interest Rate Policies Resolve The Crises? - Forbes

Can Lower Interest Rate Policies Resolve The Crises? - Forbes: "Of course, looser monetary policies of the central bank often do produce bull markets. However, that’s when the shift from tight to loose money comes. This year, we haven’t had tight money. So they are going from loose to looser money. That’s not the same thing."

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

View From The Wing - How the Durbin Amendment Changed Mileage Earning Checking Accounts and Debit Cards - USATODAY.com

View From The Wing - How the Durbin Amendment Changed Mileage Earning Checking Accounts and Debit Cards - USATODAY.com: "The end of most debit card rewards programs, and the recent imposition of monthly fees on mileage-earning checking accounts at BankDirect, are the result of the Durbin Amendment.

NerdWalletruns an interesting piece on the effects of the amendment, pointing out its winners and losers (some of which may be surprising, but others will be familiar to those who pay attention to the points game and how it has been changing as a result of this legislation). NerdWallet interviews law professor Todd Zywicki, who blogs at Volokh.com where I first found reference to the article."

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Best Bank Account Interest Rates - Summary for Week Ending December 24, 2011

 "There was some good economic news this week to start the holidays. First-time jobless claims unexpectedly fell this week to the lowest level since April 2008. New home sales rose to a 7-month high, and durable goods rose in November by the most in 4 months. However, not all of the news pointed to a fast economic recovery."
Best Bank Account Interest Rates - Summary for Week Ending December 24, 2011:
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Logging In With a Touch or a Phrase (Anything but a Password)

Logging In With a Touch or a Phrase (Anything but a Password): Researchers are focusing on making passwords simpler, more secure, even automatic, like a device that can recognize your style of writing or keystroke.



Friday, December 23, 2011

3 FFs DOWN: Burns-Mass​achusetts (The Secret List)

3 FFs DOWN: Burns-Mass​achusetts (The Secret List): "Peabody (MA) Firefighters were operating at a multi-family dwelling earlier this afternoon on Hancock Street. The fire went to a 2nd alarm and then the 3rd with reports of 1 Firefighter down in extremely critical condition and at least 2 other Firefighters injured seriously."

Update! It is with deep regret that we must report that one firefighter has succumbed to his injuries sustained while operating today at a 3rd Alarm fire in Peabody, MA while battling a firethat occurred at 5 Hancock Street. 
  
Peabody Firefighter James Rice died this afternoon while responding to a three-alarm fire in this North Shore city. He was 42 years old. 

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The Market Review

The Market Review
Payroll Tax Cuts Extended, U.S. Data Mixed, ECB Steps Up SupportThe past week has seen moderate progress on several fronts. First, the EU markets were bolstered by a massive lending program from the ECB to over 500 banks. The banks borrowed €489 billion in 3-year loans at a rate of 1.00%.

Happy Holidays


We at NCOFCU would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year.
We greatly appreciate the support of the firefighter credit union community.
Mark Your Calendar for the
2012 Firefighters’ National Credit Union Summit
October 7-10, 2012
Renaissance Hotel  ~  Long Beach, CA


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Senator Udall's proposal aimed at helping small businesses

Senator Udall's proposal aimed at helping small businesses: Udall's proposal to increase lending by credit unions by lifting the cap on credit union lending to small businesses to a maximum of 27.5 percent of total assets (from 12.25 percent), could fill the gap, the report finds. Credit union experts have ...
See all stories on this topic »

The Darkness Spreads Over Credit Union Land: $50 Billion Un-Accounted For

The Darkness Spreads Over Credit Union Land: $50 Billion Un-Accounted For: There has been no public accounting for the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund for nearly two years. Where are the voices calling for light?...[Read Article]

House GOP makes deal to pass 2-month payroll tax cut extension

House GOP makes deal to pass 2-month payroll tax cut extension: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he reached a deal to end an impasse with Democrats over a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.
As of late Thursday, the proposal still included a 10-basis-point increase in the guarantee fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Congressional Budget Office said the increases [...]

Marinscope Newspapers > Novato Advance > News > Keeping the spirit alive

"Late last week the San Francisco Fire Credit Union made a $500 donation to the NFD. It also contributed four bags of toys, totaling $300, Wargo said.

SFFCU donated to various NFD programs after hosting a San Francisco Giants national anthem contest in 2006. Wargo auditioned and won. Since her singing debut, SFFCU and the NFD have worked together to benefit Novato’s residents." Marinscope Newspapers > Novato Advance > News > Keeping the spirit alive:

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No Winning Bid: NCUA to Shut Down U.S. Central Bridge

No Winning Bid: NCUA to Shut Down U.S. Central Bridge: Chairman Debbie Matz says bids for payments operation "did not meet NCUA's responsibility to minimize service disruptions and impose the lowest possible cost."

Holiday season marked by record low interest rates

Mortgage rates remain near all-time lows with the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage setting a new record with an interest rate of 3.91%, Freddie Mac said Thursday. That's down from 3.94% a week ago.
Meanwhile, the 15-year, FRM remained at 3.21%, and the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.85% this week, down from 2.86% last week.
Freddie Mac [...]   Holiday season marked by record low interest rates:

Missed Opportunities are a Crying Shame

Credit unions are designed to be an alternative and it is high time that they started to act like one. I developed and support the concept that proper mortgage lending to members for primary residences should be adjustable and tied to the cost of funds ... Missed Opportunities are a Crying Shame:
See all stories on this topic »

Credit Unions Widening Membership

"Credit unions exist to serve and benefit their members, so as a result the membership must share some kind of common bond. There are credit unions for neighborhoods, for churches and for workers of certain companies. To widen their membership base, some credit unions have formed to cater to the members of specific associations, then allow anyone who wishes to join the association. " Credit Unions Widening Membership:

Long-Term CD Rates Continue to Decline

"Rates are holding up better at credit unions. You can see how long-term CD rates at two popular credit unions compare to Discover Bank's 10-year CD in my post Comparing the Best CD Rates After Early Withdrawal Penalties. I think it's likely that we'll see more rate cuts at these credit unions. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union (PFFCU) in Philadelphia had a good explanation in January how they were able to offer such competitive rates and why those rates had to fall. Here are excerpts:" Long-Term CD Rates Continue to Decline:

12 Holiday Wishes for Credit Unions

Here are 12 wishes for credit unions, with each promising to make the season bright! A national credit union branding campaign; not marketing but a branding campaign. There is a difference! A deeper understanding and appreciation ... 12 Holiday Wishes for <b>Credit Unions</b>:
See all stories on this topic »

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SAFE Act Renewal Period…Going…Going…

SAFE Act Renewal Period…Going…Going…:
Written by JiJi Bahhur, Regulatory Compliance Counsel

Just a friendly reminder that the SAFE Act renewal period is set to expire on December 31, 2011.  Under the SAFE Act, all credit unions and its MLOs must renew their registration between the annual renewal period each year (there is an exception for MLOs registering for the first time less than six months prior to the end of the annual renewal period).  Part 761.102(a) of NCUA’s Rules and Regulations define the annual renewal period as November 1 through December 31 of each year.  If a credit union and its MLOs do not renew their registration, they would be prohibited from originating residential loans.  Here is from 12 CFR 761.103(a)(2):

Ҥ 761.103 Registration of mortgage loan originators.

.......

(2) Credit union requirement —(i) In general. A credit union that employs one or more individuals who act as a residential mortgage loan originator must require each employee who is a mortgage loan originator to register with the Registry, maintain this registration, and obtain a unique identifier in accordance with the requirements of this part.

(ii) Prohibition. A credit union must not permit an employee of the credit union who is subject to the registration requirements of this part to act as a mortgage loan originator for the credit union unless such employee is registered with the Registry pursuant to this part.”

There is some leniency in the SAFE Act.  First, although all institution accounts must be renewed during each annual renewal period, the same does not always apply to the institution’s MLO(s).  If the MLO completed his/her initial registration less than 6 months prior to the end of the annual renewal period for that year, Part 761.103(b)(3) of the rule allows for an exception to annual renewal for that particular year.  Thus, any MLOs who registered on or after July 1st of 2011 would not be required to renew in 2011.  

Second, if for some reason the institution’s MLO(s) misses the December 31 deadline for annual renewal, it doesn’t mean the MLO is forever banned from originating loans.  What it does mean is that the MLO’s status goes inactive.  During the period of inactivity, the MLO cannot originate loans, but as soon as the MLO renews his/her registration, he/she will go back to active status and may begin originating again.

Below is a Q&A from the November 2011 NAFCU Compliance Monitor explaining the exception for MLOs who registered after July 1, 2011:

Question: We registered all our mortgage loan originator (MLO) personnel at the beginning of the year. I understand that we need to renew the credit union account before December 31, 2011, but I don’t need to renew our MLO registrations until next year, correct?  

Answer: No. If your employees were registered before July 1st then you will need to renew the registrations before December 31st and again annually thereafter as long they are active mortgage loan originators. “The annual registration renewal requirement set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section does not apply to a registered mortgage loan originator who has completed his or her registration with the Registry pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this section less than 6 months prior to the end of the annual renewal period.” See, 12 C.F.R. §761.103(b). Thus, any registrations that were made active after July 1st are not required to be renewed in that same calendar year but must be renewed in subsequent years. Any registrations prior to July 1st would need to be renewed between November 1 and December 31.     

For additional information on the SAFE Act renewal process, check out our October 18th blog post.

Courage and Valor-Know Someone? (The Secret List)

Courage and Valor-Know Someone? (The Secret List): "Hey,
As we all keep our prayers on high for the FDNY Rescue 2 Firefighters, especially FF Rob Wiedmann (WYD'-muhn) who is critical, along with FF James Gersbeck, who is serious but stable....I was personally reminded of how we all do whatever the dispatcher tells us to do. Rescue, fire, crash, EMS, crying kid, sad grandma-whatever. So often the runs are so-called "routine" ---but eventually "THAT" call comes in where the members have to go above and beyond what is normally done.
That's what we do."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fed releases long-term plan to test big banks

Fed releases long-term plan to test big banks: The Federal Reserve says annual stress tests, single-counterparty credit limits and risk-based capital and liquidity requirements are part of its long-term plan to ensure big banks do not pose a significant threat to the overall economy.
As part of duties relegated to it under Dodd-Frank, the Fed outlined the steps it would take to ensure it [...]

2012 GAC Set for March 18-22

2012 GAC Set for March 18-22: Keynote speakers signed, registration under way for the 2012 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, set for March 18-22 at the Washington Convention Center.

The Market Today 12/20

"All eyes will continue to be on Washington this morning where the politico continue to prove S&P’s point in their downgrade of U.S. debt when they said that the political system was dysfunctional.  The payroll tax cut extension is in jeopardy and after spending several hours reading on the current maneuvering, we don’t even know that we can properly explain what is happening today.  What we know is that; The Market Today :


Moving to a Credit Union Doesn’t Mean Giving Up Rewards Credit Cards

Moving to a Credit Union Doesn’t Mean Giving Up Rewards Credit Cards: "We’ve received a couple questions at NerdWallet about credit unions and rewards credit cards. Generally, the perception is that while credit unions are great for low interest rates and fees, the major banks have the profit margins to spend on a great rewards program. But now, "

'via Blog this'

Walmart Money Centers' services attract more customers | The Tennessean | tennessean.com

Walmart Money Centers' services attract more customers | The Tennessean | tennessean.com: "Rarely does Freddie Williams cash checks at a local liquor store anymore. Because for a fraction of the cost, she can do it at Walmart, joining the growing ranks of customers who are tapping the nation’s largest retailer for banking services."

'via Blog this'

The difference between coaching and mentoring

The difference between coaching and mentoring: ? As a coach within a large company, I have often noticed that conversations with team leaders and their members end in a way that neither the leader nor the team members are happy. This only makes things worse. Many reasons can be listed, but the lack of listening and the inability to control one's ...

4 Megatrends in Social Media and Social Business

4 Megatrends in Social Media and Social Business: 2012 is primed to be the year of social. In particular we can anticipate a blitz of publicity around social business. But social media too still has room to surprise. Talking with a group of people recently including Lloyd Armbrust at OwnLocal and Tom Smith of Global Web Index (and reading his blog) I picked ...

Monday, December 19, 2011

CU24 Board Elects New Chairman

CU24 Board Elects New Chairman: Florida State University CU CEO Bradley Blake succeeds Mansel Guerry.

2 FF's Burned in Brooklyn-Critical-Video (The Secret List)

2 FF's Burned in Brooklyn-Critical-Video (The Secret List): "FDNY Firefighters rescued one of their own earlier, pulling him "on fire" from a Brooklyn brownstone. As members searched the Crown Heights dwelling for victims, the top floor of the 3 story dwelling on Prospect Place apparently flashed, trapping at least one Rescue 2 Firefighter inside. An aerial ladder was raised to the third floor window and another Firefighter at the top of the ladder helped get him out. The FF was burning and the FF on the ladder hit him on his back to knock down the fire."

'via Blog this'

Does Your Business Model Still Work?

Does Your Business Model Still Work?: I agree with their following statement! "As a former credit union CEO, I have seen firsthand the industry’s love of the status quo. Innovation as a concept is difficult, but credit union leaders are changing and becoming more agile. They are warming to the idea that we must all look at the credit union business model differently – and not only because the financial habits and preferences of constituents are changing, but because the players are changing. This creates constantly oscillating rules of engagement."

'via Blog this'

Stern Advice: Financial predictions for 2012 | Reuters

Stern Advice: Financial predictions for 2012 | Reuters: " A lot of people are predicting more of the same for 2012: Another year of stock market volatility, high unemployment, banking industry upheaval, weak housing and more talk about Facebook, mobile commerce, 401(k) plans and taxes.

But maybe that's just because it's hard to envision change."

'via Blog this'

2012 Firefighters Credit Unions Conference


Mark Your Calendar for the
2012 Firefighters’ National Credit Union Summit
October 7-10, 2012
Renaissance Hotel  ~  Long Beach, CA
We are pleased to announce the 2012 Firefighters' National Credit Union Summit will be held at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, CA from Sunday, October 7 through noon on Wednesday, October 10, 2012. We expect another record breaking crowd so plan to make your hotel and conference registrations shortly after the first of the year. The target date for distribution of the conference brochure is around April 1. We will let you know when it's in the mail. 

Member Databases a ‘Gold Mine’ | 2011-12-01 | Credit Union Magazine

Member Databases a ‘Gold Mine’ | 2011-12-01 | Credit Union Magazine: "Credit unions don’t fully appreciate that their member databases are gold mines that can generate new sales, help acquire new members, and boost the bottom line.”"

'via Blog this'

Meet Members’ Governance Expectations | 2011-12-16 | Credit Union Magazine

Meet Members’ Governance Expectations | 2011-12-16 | Credit Union Magazine:

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A League Apart

A League Apart: Whether credit unions are in the planning phase of disaster recovery or have actually been hit, regional leagues offer resources and support for members, employees, and institutions....[Read Article]

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: A look at stories across HousingWire's weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues:
House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that he opposed a bill passed by the Senate to extend the payroll tax cut through February, and would likely propose another version of the extension Monday.
The [...]

Exercise called leading factor in firefighter strains, sprains

Exercise called leading factor in firefighter strains, sprains: "Being in top shape is a priority for firefighters, but exercise is also the main reason for on-the-job injuries within"

'via Blog this'

The Great Regulation Transition of 2011-2012 Begins

The Great Regulation Transition of 2011-2012 Begins:

Written by Steve Van Beek


The CFPB has begun the reorganization of the "inherited regulations."  The CFPB had hinted at this movement earlier in December and we blogged on this on December 5th and December 7th.


What is the CFPB Doing?


The CFPB is republishing the consumer regulations that transitioned to the CFPB on July 21, 2011 according to Dodd-Frank.  In the future, these consumer regulations will be located in the CFPB's section of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (Chapter X of Title 12).


Can you Explain that in Plain English?


Sure.  On July 21, 2011, the CFPB took over the regulatory authority for consumer laws and regulations.  These laws and regulations had been historically under the control of other Federal regulators (including NCUA).  Each regulator has its own section of the Code of Federal Regulations (NCUA's regulations are in Chapter VII).


Dodd-Frank transferred authority of these consumer regulations from the Federal regulators to the CFPB.  Thus, the CFPB is now taking the steps to transfer these existing regulations from their current place to the CFPB's section of the Code of Federal Regulations.


For example, Regulation Z, 12 CFR 226, had been under the Federal Reserve's authority until July 21, 2011.  The CFPB will transfer this regulation to its part of the Code of Federal Regulations with the result being the requirements of Regulation Z will be located in 12 CFR 1026 in the future.   


What is the Timeline for the CFPB's Transition?


In footnotes in the CFPB's Interim Final Rules, the CFPB indicated the transition would most likely be completed by the end of the year.  The Interim Final Rules will be effective December 30, 2011.  Here is from Footnote 10 of the HMDA/Regulation C rule:


"10. This interim final rule is one of 14 companion rulemakings that together restate and recodify the implementing regulations under 14 existing consumer financial laws (part III.C, below, lists the 14 laws involved). In the interest of proper coordination of this overall regulatory framework, which includes numerous cross-references among some of the regulations, the Bureau is establishing the same effective date of December 30, 2011 for those rules published on or before that date and making those published thereafter (if any) effective immediately."


Which Regulations Will Be Impacted?


The regulations that will be transferred are those that implement the "enumerated consumer laws" as defined by Dodd-Frank.  Previously, the CFPB had issued a listing of those regulations in the Federal Register.  


Here is from the HMDA/Regulation C rule:


"12. The fourteen laws implemented by this and its companion rulemakings are: the Consumer Leasing Act, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (except with respect to section 920 of that Act), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (except with respect to sections 615(e) and 628 of that act), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Subsections (b) through (f) of section 43 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, sections 502 through 509 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (except for section 505 as it applies to section 501(b)), the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the Truth in Savings Act, section 626 of the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, and the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act."


We'll have additional information on this republishing tomorrow.  Stay tuned.    



Demonstrating the CU Difference

Demonstrating the CU Difference: Bonus dividend payouts are a true differentiator for credit unions as they compete against banks, and in a year when big banks made headlines for proposing unwanted fees, year-end member cash rewards carry even more weight for CUs looking to stand out in the marketplace.

NCUA Board Caps CU Loan Participations

NCUA Board Caps CU Loan Participations: ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The NCUA giveth and the NCUA taketh away.
At its Dec. 15 meeting the agency’s board proposed placing more restrictions on loan participations while granting credit unions greater flexibility in other areas.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Firefighters deserving of hero status

<b>Firefighters</b> deserving of hero status: I try to avoid the term as much as possible, but after 30 years as a somewhat cynical journalist, there are many firefighters I consider heroes. Many times in my career I have gone to fires and stood back at a safe distance watching, often in bitter ...
See all stories on this topic »

Editor-in-Chief's Column: Member Growth, Consolidation and Bigger CUs

Editor-in-Chief's Column: Member Growth, Consolidation and Bigger CUs: I know what I’m talking about at least half the time: my 2011 predictions were hit and miss.

Friday, December 16, 2011

EVERYONE GOES HOME..!!!...the 115 - YouTube

Take time to watch this video and more importantly, make sure all of your members get this "gift".
It's an outstanding gift from Chicago Fire Commissioner Bob Hoff and his troops who know, who have been there-done that - in cooperation with the NFFF. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6dKAO4fRaQ

Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index for November 2011 Data Released

Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index for November 2011 Data Released: The big story in small business lending continues to be the activity of alternative lenders — credit unions, as well as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), micro lenders, and others — approved 62% of funding requests in November, ...
See all stories on this topic »

Deposit Rates Expected to Remain Near Historic Lows in 2012

Deposit Rates Expected to Remain Near Historic Lows in 2012: By Michelle A. Samaad Falling rates on deposits at credit unions may continue to chip away at savings growth gains within the industry. According to CUNA Mutual Group's December Credit Union Trends Report, low rates have discouraged large deposit ...
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Don't Be Passive About Passwords

Don't Be Passive About Passwords: Multiple methods exist for increasing security, but password protection is a good place to start.

Mortgage rates fall to record lows

Mortgage rates fall to record lows: Mortgage rates sunk to record lows again this week.

Local Credit Union Great Source for Small Business Loans ...

Local <b>Credit Union</b> Great Source for Small Business Loans <b>...</b>: Is your small business running on fumes? Credit unions are eager to make the small business loans that large banks aren't interested in.
AllBusiness.com - Home Page Top Stories

Onsite Coverage: NCUSIF Income Up, Equity Ratio Unchanged

Onsite Coverage: NCUSIF Income Up, Equity Ratio Unchanged: NCUA says $374.9 million this year, compared with $512.3 million loss predicted.

Onsite Coverage: NCUA Proposes to Expand Regulatory Flexibility

Onsite Coverage: NCUA Proposes to Expand Regulatory Flexibility: All federal credit unions may be eligible to participate in the Regulatory Flexibility program, according to a new rule.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

eNewsletters - TheBigRedGuide.com eNewsletter - December 2011

eNewsletters - TheBigRedGuide.com eNewsletter - December 2011: " Welcome to TheBigRedGuide.com eNewsletter!

If this email has been forwarded to you by a friend, please click here to REGISTER NOW for further updates. Alternatively, if you have received this email directly, and think it would be of interest to your colleagues or associates, please forward it to them"

'via Blog this'

Luxury Cars Making a Comeback?

Luxury Cars Making a Comeback?: GrooveCar finds 45- to 54-year olds as sweet spot for pricier rides on Long Island.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Firefighters National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions

Firefighters National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions: "Election Results Here are the 2011 board of directors of the National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions. This is the first board elected by the membership and is an excellent representation of the firefighters credit unions across the country"

Akron Firefighters Credit Union - Serving the financial needs of First Responders in Northeast Ohio

Akron Firefighters Credit Union - Serving the financial needs of First Responders in Northeast Ohio: "Holiday Skip-A-Pay Program

Who couldn’t use extra money around the holidays? That is why we created the Holiday Skip-A-Pay loan payment deferral program.

This program gives qualified members the opportunity to 'skip' their December loan payment and use the money saved for other expenses like buying holiday gifts, paying unexpected bills, or taking a mini-vacation.

Download Holiday Skip-A-Pay Request Form




Improve Your Credit Card Program In 3 Key Ways

Improve Your Credit Card Program In 3 Key Ways: Foster growth and protect your returns by focusing on marketing, product development and underwriting approaches....[Read Article]

The Market Today Vining Sparks

The Market Today: "What to Watch:
Today is a fairly quiet day for economic data. Mortgage applications for the week ending December 9 rose another 4.1% on 9.3% more applications for refinance. Purchase applications fell 8.2% on the week. The four-week moving average for refinances is up to 3,255 which is almost identical to where the index was at this time last year. "

'via Blog this'

Mortgage Lending In Credit Unions $20M-$50M

Mortgage Lending In <b>Credit Unions</b> $20M-$50M: A peer group comparison evaluating whether credit unions that grant first mortgages perform differently than other credit unions.
www.creditunions.com/article.aspx?articleid=4789

Existing home sales to be revised lower

Existing home sales to be revised lower: If you thought the U.S. housing market couldn't get much worse, think again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fire Apparatus Recall Info, FF Remians In ICU (The Secret List)

Fire Apparatus Recall Info, FF Remians In ICU (The Secret List): "E-ONE is recalling some model year 2008-2011 CYCLONE II, TYPHOON, and QUEST vehicles manufactured from May 1, 2008, through November 28, 2011, and equipped with Meritor Wabco electronic stability control (ESC) modules. "

'via Blog this'

Credit Unions to the Rescue with Home Equity Loans

<b>Credit Unions</b> to the Rescue with Home Equity Loans: Are you looking for a simple, smart way to consolidate high interest credit card debt? If you answered 'yes' to these questions, you're not alone. Are you a credit union member? Do you own a home? If you also answered 'yes' to these questions, ...
See all stories on this topic »

Retirement Planning In A Changing World

Retirement Planning In A Changing World: Retiring at the age of 65 is quickly becoming a thing of the past. So, what is happening to make this change?


The Market Today Vining Sparks

The Market Today: "What to Watch:
The NFIB’s small business optimism index rose from 90.2 to 92.0 in November, its third monthly increase in a row. While the overall index levels remain low historically, there are some rather bright spots in the report. Small businesses "

'via Blog this'

Filene Home : Filene Research Institute

Filene Home : Filene Research Institute: "Four board profiles emerge, from the weakest (“rubber stamp”), to the middling (“scout” on one hand, “watchdog” on the other), to the strongest (“challenger” boards). Challengers are rare, but they combine the best inclinations of helpful advisers and tough overseers."

'via Blog this'

More Payday, Less Payday Lender

More Payday, Less Payday Lender: "According to Callahan & Associates’ Peer- to-Peer software, 560 credit unions offer alternatives to payday loans as of 3Q11, up from 517 the year before. These loan solutions frequently include better rates and terms for repayment."

'via Blog this'

NAFCU announces Cost of Funds Report | NAFCU

NAFCU announces Cost of Funds Report | NAFCU: " NAFCU is now offering members a quarterly cost of funds report that will help credit unions manage their expenses and make comparisons with peers according to asset-size.

NAFCU’s Cost of Funds Report aggregates data from NCUA’s quarterly call report and breaks down the numbers according to state, region and peer group. The report will be available every quarter following the release of NCUA’s call report."

'via Blog this'

CU Members Mortgage Goes with Mortgagebot

CU Members Mortgage Goes with Mortgagebot: "Mortgagebot’s PowerSite integrated point-of-sale loan application and customized website solution is now being offered to the more than 1,000 credit union customers of CU Members Mortgage."

'via Blog this'

Customer satisfaction dips for banks, soars for credit unions

Customer satisfaction dips for banks, soars for <b>credit unions</b>: By Jeff Harrington, Times Staff Writer In a year in which big banks got hammered over new fees, customer satisfaction among their rival credit unions jumped to a record high, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) released ...
See all stories on this topic »

New Score Identifies Likelihood of Business Failure

New Score Identifies Likelihood of Business Failure: Experian says its Financial Stability Risk Score enables users to segment businesses into risk categories.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vining Sparks
The Market Today  This week will bring a busier calendar with the most important event coming Tuesday, the FOMC’s last scheduled meeting of 2011. There has been plenty of talk recently about changing how the Fed gives future policy guidance. Speculation is that the next time the Fed acts, (Read Complete Outlook)

Lending To Entrepreneurs Can Yield Many Rewards

Lending To Entrepreneurs Can Yield Many Rewards: Credit unions that maximize their business lending do a service to their communities as well as their bottom line....[Read Article]

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: A look at stories across HousingWire's weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues:
Senate Democrats and House Republicans proposed a plan to pay for the proposed payroll tax-cut extension. The plan boosts the "guarantee" fees that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge lenders. The government-sponsored enterprises use the fees to cover defaults of [...]

Friday, December 9, 2011

JPMorgan warns home prices face another 5% decline

JPMorgan warns home prices face another 5% decline: Existing home sales could tick up in 2012, leading to the sale of 5.5 million units, but price declines are still expected for the next few months.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM: 33.05 +2.58%) made that conclusion in its latest North America securitized products research report. Analysts forecast home prices could fall another 5% between Sept.30 and [...]

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FSCC Member CUs Approve Merger Into CO-OP

FSCC Member CUs Approve Merger Into CO-OP: Soon there will be but one shared branch network serving credit unions across the country, companies say.

OFAC Search Tool; NCUA OSCUI Training; NAFCU Member Call-In

OFAC Search Tool; NCUA OSCUI Training; NAFCU Member Call-In:

Written by Sarah Zimmermann

  • OFAC has announced the release of SDN Search. This is an online search tool that allows the user to search the SDN list. Of course OFAC maintains in the fine print that searches are conducted at the risk of the user and use of the tool does not constitute an official confirmation on its part of the existence (or nonexistence) of a match.
  • NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI) has announced its first free training video. OSCUI is planning a series of training videos, and this is the first in the series. This video is a bit of an overview of the role of the office within NCUA, and various programs that are available to small credit unions. The announcement details how credit unions may access the video, online or via DVD.
  • NAFCU held its year-end member call-in yesterday. The call-in is free for members and is a great way to catch up on what NAFCU is up to. If you weren't able to tune in yesterday it will be available on the website in a few days. The call provided legislative, regulatory and economic updates, including a look ahead to what to expect in 2012. Topics included tax reform, Richard Cordray's CFPB nomination blocked by the Senate, MBL and data security legislation; the status and activities of NCUA and the CFPB; and Steve discussed a few hot compliance topics including member online authentication guidelines, ADA and ATMs, and NCUA's advertising rule.

AT&T Throttles Data Hogs to Ease Network Strain

AT&T Throttles Data Hogs to Ease Network Strain: AT&T has begun throttling heavy data users, as the carrier searches for strategies to ease demands on its network. The , Texas-based company and its fellow carriers are facing heavy network demands as sales of the iPhone 4S, tablets, and other data-hungry devices increase, leaving them struggling to boost speed, increase bandwidth, or take data ...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The "E-Mail Effect" - And Its Impact

The "E-Mail Effect" - And Its Impact: The subject is old, but this is possibly a new ??? or at least a different ??? perspective on it.?? The issue is what I call the ?e-mail effect.??? It relates to the words you use or the reaction you elicit when e-mailing on a sensitive (or even a not-so-sensitive) subject.?? Here is an example ...

Anatomy Of A Credit Score

Anatomy Of A Credit Score: What?s in a credit score? You probably know that your credit score helps determine whether you get approved for a loan or credit cards, and at what rates you qualify. The better your credit score, the better your chances of getting credit with favorable terms. But the elements that factor into your score may seem ...

Worcester firefighter dies in blaze

Worcester <b>firefighter</b> dies in blaze: WORCESTER (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) - A Worcester firefighter was killed and a second injured after they became trapped on separate floors in a building ...
www.myfoxboston.com/.../two-alarm-fire-in-worcester-20111...

Expert Urges CUs to Adopt Strong Risk Assessment Policies

Expert Urges CUs to Adopt Strong Risk Assessment Policies: CMG consultant tells CUES session in Las Vegas that formal process is a key.

NCUA Tackles Loan Origination, Reg Flex Next Week

NCUA Tackles Loan Origination, Reg Flex Next Week: Chairman Debbie Matz noted upcoming proposals at NAFCU session in September.

Know Before You Owe: Credit Cards

Know Before You Owe: Credit Cards:
Wrtiten by Steve Van Beek

Well, the CFPB wasn't lying when it stated its initial focus would be on mortgages, credit cards and student loans. We now have "Know Before You Owe" projects for each one
Yesterday, the CFPB announced their first steps toward clarifying and condensing credit card agreements.
The announcement also came with a pair of blog posts from the CFPB.
Similar to the other Know Before You Owe projects, the CFPB is actively soliciting feedback on their prototype. Importantly, this is not a proposed rule. However, it is the CFPB's first steps toward collecting information and attempting to clarify credit cards for consumers. (I'm sure many compliance officers are wanting some clarification as well - and not the kind of "clarifications" the Fed dropped on everyone earlier in 2011).

If your credit union offers credit cards, be sure to review the prototype. It might be a good idea to have preliminary discussions with your forms provider as well. Would they be able to make these changes? How long would that take? At what cost?

This also might be a good time to put together a summary of the headaches during the last round of "tweaks" to credit card disclosures. Detailed, specific information on the timeframe, steps and costs to comply with the most recent changes to credit cards would be very useful during the prototype stage and especially during any future proposed rulemakings.