Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Virtualization and the Cloud: Magical Technologies that Benefit CUs from the Get Go

Virtualization allows credit unions – along with any organization that requires the use of multiple servers – to save money, time and space to reallocate to other pressing areas.Let’s talk about server virtualization first, as it has a direct bearing on the cloud. Virtualization by definition means replacing something physical with something virtual, or in other words, switching out a tangible for an intangible. With respect to technology and your credit union’s current physical server environment, it means decreasing the number of physical servers to fewer machines but having the ability to run multiple “virtual server instances” on them instead.   ****READ MORE:   Virtualization and the Cloud: Magical Technologies that Benefit CUs from the Get Go:

Small percentage of big bank customers move accounts

Almost 10% of customers at large and midsize U.S. banks switched their accounts last year to smaller firms, citing issues with bank fees and customer service as well as unmet expectations.  read more

Overdrafts: Linked Accounts and Regulation D - Part 1

Regulation D limits the number of withdrawals from a savings account to six per month. This includes any withdrawals/transfers to cover overdrafts in a checking account. And, this is a combined six per month. So, if a member were to make two other "Reg D" withdrawals in a given month, the member would only have four left for transfers to the checking account to cover overdrafts.  ****Read More; http://bit.ly/ylX83D

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Some CUs Shutting Down Twitter Accounts, Study Finds

Despite having active Twitter accounts for more than two years, one in five credit unions said they have abandoned the social media channel after struggling to attract followers ****READ MORE: Some CUs Shutting Down Twitter Accounts, Study Finds

CUs’ 2011 mortgage loan registers due | NAFCU

Feb. 28, 2012 – Credit unions have two days to complete and submit their 2011 mortgage loan/application registers to the Federal Reserve Board processing center.The registers, maintained under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, must be submitted by March 1 in an automated, machine-readable form unless lenders had 25 or fewer entries to the registers last year. (If there were 25 or fewer entries, the data can be submitted on paper.) ****READ MORE: CUs’ 2011 mortgage loan registers due NAFCU

A Low-Rate Environment Is An Advantage For Credit Unions

The secret to success is to stay connected with members and deepen the relationships. In that, credit unions have a huge advantage over banks. Credit unions grew profits during last year’s low-rate environment, but more importantly, they grew market share. A low-rate environment has its challenges, but credit unions have the upper-hand.  ****READ MORE: A Low-Rate Environment Is An Advantage For Credit Unions

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mobile Apple App at Municipal Credit Union

The 327,000 members of the $1.7 billion Municipal Credit Union can bank on their Apples. “We are proud to now offer mobile banking to our members,” said MCU President/CEO Kam Wong. “We expect MCU members to take full advantage of our new app and their 24/7 relationship with us."  ****READ MORE; Mobile Apple App at Municipal Credit Union:

EasCorp Signs Five CUs for Mobile Banking

They are the $174 million Boston Firefighters CU of Dorchester, Mass., the $1.4 billion Genisys CU of Auburn Hills, Mich., the $645 million Liberty Bay CU of Braintree, Mass., the $2.9 billion San Antonio Federal Credit Union in Texas, and the Burlington, Mass., EasCorp said.  EasCorp Signs Five CUs for Mobile Banking

Members Need You After A Disaster

Offer many ways for your members to securely communicate their problems to you following a natural disaster....[Read Article]

Credit Unions On Pace For Record Year

Credit unions added $6.4 billion in earnings to their bottom lines with another $1.9 billion contributed to the NCUA insurance reserve expenses....Credit Unions On Pace For Record Year:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Your Money: Why It’s So Hard to Transfer Cash to Your Friends - Your Money

Three big banks join forces to create a person-to-person electronic payments service that still has problems, but you’ll have to pay for the privilege to use it **** READ MORE: Your Money: Why It’s So Hard to Transfer Cash to Your Friends - Your Money

Auto Interest Rates at Four-Year Low

Average interest rates for new vehicle loans fell to 4.52% in the fourth quarter of 2011, down from 4.84% during the same period in 2010, according to Experian ****READ MORE: Auto Interest Rates at Four-Year Low

Friday, February 24, 2012

Harps are not just for angels, they are for credit unions too | NAFCU Services Blog

So what does this mean for credit unions? Certainly, take a look at HARP 2.0 if you have members that meet the criteria that you have not already been able to help, to see if there might be some opportunities for you to assist ****READ MORE:   Harps are not just for angels, they are for credit unions too NAFCU Services Blog

Survey shows split-deposit promotes saving | NAFCU

“Employees who use split deposit, or split their pay among various accounts using direct deposit via automated clearinghouse, are more likely than non-split deposit users to contribute to savings each month,” it said.   **** READ MORE: Survey shows split-deposit promotes saving NAFCU

FHA to announce premium changes soon | HousingWire

The Federal Housing Administration will announce additional premium changes to its mortgage business and streamlined refinance programs in the coming days **** READ MORE: FHA to announce premium changes soon HousingWire

Live Testing of CO-OP NextGen ATM is Underway

CO-OP Financial Services and Diebold, Incorporated are partnering on the development of the new application software, intended to allow members of participating shared branching credit unions to conduct nearly all branch transactions at a Diebold automated teller machine.Live testing of the CO-OP NextGen ATM is underway in the headquarters lobby of CO-OP Financial Services in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., with general availability anticipated by the end of the second quarter of 2012 ****READ MORE: Live Testing of CO-OP NextGen ATM is Underway:

As Apple Exits, Virginia League Examines Restructure, Moving Headquarters

This week’s disclosure that Apple FCU has resigned from the Virginia Credit Union League and CUNA comes amidst discussion of a major restructuring move by the state trade group including relocating its headquarters ****READ MORE: As Apple Exits, Virginia League Examines Restructure, Moving Headquarters

Thursday, February 23, 2012

State of the Art: OnLive Desktop Plus Puts Windows 7 on the iPad in Blazing Speed - State of the Art

The fastest high-speed Internet service is courtesy of OnLive Desktop Plus. The “plus” is a 1-gigabit-a-second Net connection with the ability to view Flash videos on your iPad ****READ MORE: State of the Art: OnLive Desktop Plus Puts Windows 7 on the iPad in Blazing Speed - State of the Art:


Why Does U.S. Lead World in Credit Card Fraud?

Meanwhile, a handful of banks and credit unions have started issuing EMV cards to select customers, primarily American travelers who have run into trouble with magnetic stripe credit card acceptance abroad. Last August, Visa announced an **** READ MORE: Why Does U.S. Lead World in <b>Credit</b> Card Fraud?:

Treasury to Halt Savings Bond Fee Payments

Bonds must be received by the Treasury Retail Securities site at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis by 12:30 p.m. CT on April 10 to receive an EZ Clear redemption fee ****READ MORE: Treasury to Halt Savings Bond Fee Payments:

Just Say No: NAFCU on NCUA’s Liquidity ANPR

In a blunt document, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions has come out with a big no in regard to the recent NCUA Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) designed to force credit unions to get in place approved liquidity ****READ MORE: Just Say No: NAFCU on NCUA’s Liquidity ANPR:

CFPB to Inquire About Overdraft and Courtesy Pay Programs

There was no shortage of information yesterday regarding the CFPB's first steps toward reviewing overdraft programs. I was just mentioning a few weeks ago how the CFPB has the ability "to drop" a new issue without advanced notice to the industry. This could be labeled as Exhibit A.  I'm sure quite a few other folks where enjoying a quiet Wednesday (yeah right) until they saw the news "CFPB to Review Overdraft Programs" come across their email inboxes. And, while we are at it - what do the regulators have against February 22nd? I know a lot of folks still get heartburn thinking about the February 22, 2010 deadlines from the Credit CARD Act.    **** READ MORE: http://bit.ly/x7WM2j

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Steal This Idea: Cash Mobs | The Financial Brand: Marketing Insights for Banks & Credit Unions

Michelle McGovern, Chief Marketing & Development Officer for Firefighters Community Credit Union, agrees. “The basic foundation of credit unions were as grassroots institutions, so a cash mob is an absolutely natural fit,” she says.**** READMORE: Steal This Idea: Cash Mobs The Financial Brand: Marketing Insights for Banks & Credit Unions

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Liquidity Regs Battle Lines Are Drawn

Are your credit union’s pockets deep enough to satisfy the NCUA?

Many inside the credit union industry said they loudly oppose the NCUA’s attempt to draw a road map for liquidity. “Some believe that they are being forced to put money where they don’t want to,” ****READ MORE: Liquidity Regs Battle Lines Are Drawn:

P2P Breakout Awaits

You don’t need cash to buy a box of Girl Scouts’ Thin Mints from David Cale, CEO of Financial Plus Credit Union ****READ MORE: P2P Breakout Awaits

Succession Planning a Challenge for CEOs and Boards

Maximizing and ensuring member value and performance requires an ongoing review of the depth of talent in your credit union as well as the right complement of skills to lead effectively and navigate changing strategies. As markets become more global and technology continues to play an even greater role in strategy, the criteria established for both CEOs and succession planning candidates emerges and changes over time ****READ MORE: Succession Planning a Challenge for CEOs and Boards

Asset Quality Holds Steady in 4Q11

FirstLook Data indicates that credit unions may be able to improve 2012 outlook as asset quality remains stable and some delinquency rates are improving ****READ MORE: Asset Quality Holds Steady in 4Q11:

Housing Market Outlook: Affordability Is Best In Years

The recovery of the under-built housing market may be on track as builders say they are more confident, investment purchase pick up and as affordability improves **** READ MORE: Housing Market Outlook: Affordability Is Best In Years

NAFCU Compliance Blog: Finding the CFPB's Regulations

Dodd-Frank transferred authority for the "enumerated consumer laws" to the CFPB on July 21, 2011. In late December, the CFPB officially republished the regulations that implemented these "enumerated consumer laws" in its own section of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.For credit unions, this means we need to use the CFPB's regulations for our research and our citations. For example, the correct citation for Regulation Z is now 12 C.F.R. 1026 and not 12 C.F.R. 226.

NAFCU Compliance Blog: Finding the CFPB's Regulations

Mobile Bill Pay Demand Is the Future

Imagine paying your house payment while riding in a double decker bus in London or making your Visa payment while waiting for a plane.
According to the Javelin report, after a pause in 2010, mobile banking adoption surged by 63% in 2011, rising to 57 million from 35 million in the United States. That’s a meteoric increase of 22 million consumers in one year. Over the next five years, mobile banking is projected to increase at a steady compound annual growth rate of 10.3% as financial institutions roll out new offerings, the data showed.  **** READ MORE: Mobile Bill Pay Demand Is the Future:

Foreclosures climbed in January

Foreclosures picked up in January, yet another sign that the nation's huge glut of delinquent homes may soon start making their way onto the market **** READ MORE: Foreclosures climbed in January:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

City Room: A Fire Squad Ordered to Stop Responding to Emergencies

A volunteer fire department in the Bronx has been told by the city to stop responding to emergencies because it lacks proper certification **** READ MORE: City Room: A Fire Squad Ordered to Stop Responding to Emergencies:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Gadgetwise Blog: To Do: Check Out Clear

A new to-do list app, Clear, does away with traditional interface features to create something both new and compelling. Is it the solution to your organization woes? Probably not. ****READ MORE: Gadgetwise Blog: To Do: Check Out Clear:

CUNA Paper Reveals Why Board Makeup Must Change

The typical credit union board member is a 61‐year‐old white male, has served for well over a decade and has a better-than-average chance of serving for years to come. ****READ MORE: CUNA Paper Reveals Why Board Makeup Must Change:

CUs Encouraged to Promote Automatic Savings Plans

America Saves Week and Military Saves Week kick off this weekend. The week-long, national campaigns will begin Feb. 19 with events that aim to unite government, nonprofit and corporate groups to encourage individuals and families to save and build personal wealth. This year’s campaign theme – “Set Goals, Make a Plan, Save Automatically” – promotes the need for families to get aggressive with automatic savings.****READ MORE: CUs Encouraged to Promote Automatic Savings Plans:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Peek Inside: Sunova Credit Union's Marketing Department | The ...

One of Canada's larger credit unions, South Interlake in Manitoba, changed names and become Sunova. The credit union uses one of the most unique branding tools you've ever seen in the financial industry: dogs. As in real one **** READ MORE: Peek Inside: Sunova Credit Union's Marketing Department >: ...

CU*Answers Sending Out Board Literacy Lessons

Michigan CUSO said it has sent its financial literacy for board members material to more than 200 recipients who requested the free series.*** READ MORE: CU*Answers Sending Out Board Literacy Lessons:

Researchers Find Flaw in an Online Encryption Method

A study of a widely used security system for Internet shopping, banking and other services showed that it failed to work correctly in a small number of cases. **** READ MORE: Researchers Find Flaw in an Online Encryption Method:

3 Tips to Address the Social Media Resources Question from Management

3 Tips to Address the Social Media Resources Question from Management:
Originally published on CUinsight.com.

In honor of Social Media Week (Feb 13 – 17), I want to offer some helpful tips to social media champions that are struggling to get upper-level support to move their credit union into the new millennium of marketing (and attract the new millennium of membership while they’re at it).

Putting aside the obvious question of ROI – One of the most common and major roadblocks for gaining management support for a social media strategy at your credit union stems from two simple questions: 1.) How are we going to come up with the content to share? 2.) Who has the hours of extra time to create it?

Two very important questions, no doubt, and resources are often scarce, especially in marketing. However, the resources dedicated to a successful social media plan don’t have to be extraordinary, (especially when you’ve only been granted the opportunity to dip a toe in the water promising that your other work won’t suffer). Here are some tips that might help you answer these important questions of content and resources and help you start to build the business case for getting your credit union to finally hop on the social media train or get more out of your current social media strategy.

Tip #1: Include Social Media in Your Overall Marketing Mix

Social media should be looked at as another channel in your overall marketing mix. As with all of the other marketing channels you use – website, email, direct mail, statement inserts, ATM ads, etc. – social media is one other channel that your members have chosen to receive information and one other channel for your credit union to distribute information.

It’s about the content, not the delivery mechanism. When you set up a marketing campaign, don’t set up a Facebook campaign. Set up a first time home buyer campaign where you use email, direct mail, website AND social media to deliver your message. Make sense? Social media is not a stand-alone revenue generator – it’s an important part of your overall marketing strategy. One person might read your direct mail piece and never connect with you on Facebook. Another might throw away every piece of snail mail they get, but always read their email. Yet another might only pay attention to Facebook and the Web. The same message is going out, but in different channels so you have a better chance of reaching your audience through their communication channel of choice. By not using one of your marketing channels (i.e. social media), you risk not reaching a group of members that prefer to receive their information in that specific way.

Tip #2: Repurpose Your Content

Keeping in mind that social media is a channel in your overall marketing mix, it’s important to help your managers understand that social media doesn’t have to require generating brand new content and therefore, it doesn’t have to be a huge time suck like many managers fear. Don’t get me wrong, social media might be the perfect channel to share something new, but it’s also the perfect place to re-share what you’ve already created. Here are some ideas for repurposing content:
  • Rewrite a press release in a conversational tone and post it on your blog.
  • Have a library of brochures, FAQs, disclosures that you hand out to members? Talk about information overload! Get the message out more effectively by putting the FAQs you already came up with into a presentation and post it on SlideShare, embed it on your website or blog. Or explain those disclosures in a casual, easy-to-understand podcast and post it online or link to it in your e-statements.
  • Record your latest first time homebuyer workshop for a downloadable podcast or video.
  • Put those handy online financial calculators on your blog or Facebook for your members to figure out “how long until I can pay off my credit cards.” (Don’t forget to offer a link to your debt solutions!)
You have ready-to-go, sharable content. You just have to think outside the box a little bit as to how you can repurpose it.

Tip #3: Build a Social Media Team from Your Existing Content Experts

Finally, the weight of your social media content shouldn’t be on one person’s shoulders or on one person’s time card. Your credit union is full of expert content authors. The loan officers, member services reps, credit card and rewards program managers, even the Webmaster – they all have unique expertise that is valuable to and welcome by your members. Your loan officer can probably talk about the typical home loan process without even thinking about it – think she could write it down in a simple list in 15 minutes? Probably. Voila – a blog post…that you can email…and link to on your website…and mention in direct mail with your latest rates and offers…sorry, just reiterating my first tip. :-) How about the Webmaster – he spent all month writing SOPs and directions for your new home banking with bill pay system – think he can give a quick overview in 10 minutes? Probably. Voila – a downloadable podcast to promote the new features….that you can put in your e-newsletter, your statement inserts……you get the idea. :-)

The underlying point for all of these tips is that social media works…and it doesn’t have to be a huge time suck! Trust me, as the original social media champion of NAFCU Services, I’ve had to do a little of my own convincing on this topic. I hope these tips can help you start to build your business case for social media use at your credit union or at least help you answer that pesky question of resources.

Think you need more? There are tons of resources out there to help you get your management to see the social media light…even ones just for credit unions. So, don’t give up – once you get the buy-in, and put together a proper strategy, your social media success will speak for itself.
Post written by Kirstin Orr, Senior Associate Director of Marketing, NAFCU Services Corp.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

CFPB outlines plans for mortgage servicers

The government’s new consumer watchdog on Monday outlined the first steps of its plans to regulate mortgage servicers, which have come under fire for fraudulent foreclosure practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will revamp the billing statements sent to homeowners and the disclosures required for some complicated mortgages. It also is drafting new rules to prevent servicers from improperly charging consumers for homeowner’s insurance.
 **** READ MORE: CFPB outlines plans for mortgage servicers:



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Firefighter released from hospital after fall

MIAMI (WSVN) -- A Miami firefighter has been released from the hospital after falling from the second floor of a South Florida pharmacy. Outside Jackson Memorial Hospital, Tuesday morning, Miami Fire Rescue Captain Ray Pampin responded to waiting media ...**** READ MORE: <b>Firefighter</b> released from hospital after fall:

FASNY seeks firefighters with college tuition offer

There remains yet a very narrow window, but a window nonetheless, for volunteer firefighters in the area to attend community college — well, for free, if you become a volunteer firefighter. The Firemen's Association of the **** READ MORE: FASNY seeks <b>firefighters</b> with college tuition offer: By Jim Planck GREENPORT —

NCUA, Other Regulators Urged to Audit Examinations

Senate Banking chair wants to know if examination procedures are hurting the ability of small financial institutions to do responsible lending. **** Read More; NCUA, Other Regulators Urged to Audit Examinations:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Become More Optimistic: 6 Smart Tricks

To acquire a more positive attitude, all you really need is a more powerful vocabulary. Try these linguistic shifts **** Read More ;  Become More Optimistic: 6 Smart Tricks:

Nice Girls Brag: Here’s How

Women are told that it’s not ladylike to brag. But done right, it can be one of the most effective ways to grow your business and your influence. ** Read More; Nice Girls Brag: Here’s How:

Is Your Document Management System Obsolete?

This checklist will help credit unions quickly determine if it is time to replace their current document management system....**** Read More; Is Your Document Management System Obsolete?:

Community banks and credit unions brace for end of Fannie, Freddie

 As the Obama administration forges ahead this spring with plans to wind down mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, community banks and credit unions are bracing for the impact.

The government-sponsored entities are the most active buyers on the secondary market for residential mortgages, where a growing number of small financial institutions sell the home loans they originate. Private investors remain largely inactive in acquiring mortgages, leaving originators to question how the industry will function without government support.  Read full article >>



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Sunday, February 12, 2012

CUNA Mutual’s New Structure Opens the Door for Acquisitions

While the 550,000 policyholders of the newly restructured CMFG Life Insurance Co. may not see any substantial changes, the firm’s parent company is looking forward to how the move will help it diversify and expand beyond the credit union industry. **** Read More; CUNA Mutual’s New Structure Opens the Door for Acquisitions:

Residential RE investment to more than double GDP growth in 2012

Investment in residential property will grow more than double the rate of gross domestic product in 2012, according to analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. **** Read More; Residential RE investment to more than double GDP growth in 2012:

Lack of lending to creditworthy borrowers restricting housing: Bernanke

Mortgage originators who are reluctant to extend credit to potential borrowers who meet underwriting standards set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are hindering the nation's economic turnaround. **** Read More; Lack of lending to creditworthy borrowers restricting housing: Bernanke:

Orman Site Goes Dark on CU Cards

Celebrity financial adviser Suze Orman has removed a link from her website to a site that helps consumers find credit union-issued credit cards and replaced it with a link to the NCUA's credit union locator site. **** Read More; Orman Site Goes Dark on CU Cards:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mortgage deal means more foreclosures

Even as the $26 billion mortgage settlement helps hundreds of thousands of troubled homeowners, it will bring a wave of new forclosures. **** Read More; Mortgage deal means more foreclosures:

Supplemental Capital: Not Without Taxation, Says ABA's Leggett

ABA economist says supplemental capital bid "another attempt by credit unions to be more like banks." *** More; Supplemental Capital: Not Without Taxation, Says ABA's Leggett

Banks vs CUs Keep Up Indirect Auto Loan Competition

When it comes to five-year, new, indirect auto loans, credit unions and banks are running pretty close with their rates. According to Informa Research Services, credit unions offered an average of 4.21% compared with 4.36% at banks as of Thursday. The rates were for the A tier category, which are borrowers with credit scores between 680 and 719.**** Read More; Banks, CUs Keep Up Indirect Auto Loan Competition:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Banks paying delinquent borrowers to sell their homes

In an effort to cut their losses, banks are paying some struggling homeowners as much as $35,000 to sell their homes before they end up in foreclosure.**** Read More; Banks paying delinquent borrowers to sell their homes:

Users of Citibank Bill-Pay App Charged Twice

The bank would not disclose how many customers were affected by the problem, which prompted bogus payments big and small. **** Read More; DealBook: Users of Citibank Bill-Pay App Charged Twice:

CAMEL Disclosure: SECU's Blaine Says NCUA ‘Declared War on the Innocent’

Self-Help CU CEO Martin Eakes calls for NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz to come to North Carolina to settle the dispute. **** read More; CAMEL Disclosure: SECU's Blaine Says NCUA ‘Declared War on the Innocent’:

Additional Facts About the National Flood Insurance Program (Pt. 3)

While flood insurance is not mandatory for homeowners outside of a high-risk area, anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. People outside of high-risk areas file more than 25% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding. Residential and commercial property owners who are not located in high-risk areas should ask their agents if they are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, which provides affordable flood insurance protection, starting as low as $129 a year. ****Read More; Additional Facts About the National Flood Insurance Program (Pt. 3):

Supplemental Capital Bill Introduced in House

Credit unions could accept supplemental capital that wouldn’t be insured by the NCUSIF and would be subordinated to other claims, according to provisions of a bill introduced Thursday by Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.).Under the measure, credit unions could accept non-share capital accounts and could use the money to cover operating losses in excess of its retained earnings. The accounts would be subject to maturity limits set by a credit union’s board. **** Read More; Supplemental Capital Bill Introduced in House

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More Facts About the National Flood Insurance Program (pt. 2)

Windsor, Conn. -- In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to enable property owners to protect themselves against flood losses. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding. Today, more than 20,000 communities participate in the NFIP nationwidem **** More Facts About the National Flood Insurance Program (pt. 2):

Gadgetwise Blog: Tip of the Week: Customizing Folder Previews

If you would prefer to give your desktop folders a more distinctive look so you can find certain ones more easily, you can choose a specific picture to peep out of each folder instead **** Gadgetwise Blog: Tip of the Week: Customizing Folder Previews:

Fannie Mae survey shows Americans expect home prices to improve

A majority of Americans believe mortgage rates will remain steady over the next year, while home price expectations in January improved for the fourth month in a row, Fannie Mae said in its latest consumer sentiment report  **** Fannie Mae survey shows Americans expect home prices to improve

IRS Admits Error on CUs' Tax-Exempt Status

Record-keeping error led to letter to several dozen credit unions saying they were no longer tax-exempt. **** Read More; IRS Admits Error on CUs' Tax-Exempt Status:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Two Things Charles Dickens Can Teach Us About Successful Presentations

Two Things Charles Dickens Can Teach Us About Successful Presentations
From Nick Morgan

Charles Dickens is 200 today, and in his honor, this blog will explore a little-known side of the great novelist: his public speaking, and in particular 2 lessons the great Boz still can teach us today.

Dickens, a keen amateur actor, carried out several speaking tours of England and the United States during his later life, partly to indulge his love of theatrics, partly to raise money, and partly because he had more energy than a half-dozen ordinary people. In addition, he gave many speeches at the meetings and dinners a popular public figure of the day was expected to attend.

He was phenomenally successful at his public readings, though some say the stresses of his last speaking tour hastened his death at 58. Tickets for his American performances were set at $2.00, but sold on the black market for as much as $26.00 each, a large sum in those days.

One of his most popular readings was a shortened version of A Christmas Carol, and I’m looking at a facsimile of the prompt copy now that he used for these performances. It yields some interesting Dickensian secrets.

First of all, he cut ruthlessly. What’s left is the bones of the narrative, with the occasional bit kept in because it was pure fun. At the same time, Dickens adds direction to himself, to remind him of the emotional note he’s supposed to be striking at each point in the story. So, he starts out “cheerful” when Scrooge’s nephew enters the scene, transitioning to “mystery” for Marley’s Ghost, and “melted” when Scrooge begins his transformation to kindly old man. And he gives himself stage directions too, noting when he’s supposed to sit, stand, and move.

This shows Dickens’ keen understanding of the importance of conveying not just the words, but also the emotion, of the story he is performing – while concentrating on the essentials of the narrative. The same advice holds for speakers today, and raises the question, why don’t more speakers imitate Dickens and put directions for their performances in the margins of their speeches, as well as keeping ruthlessly focused on the point they’re trying to make?

The second Dickensian tip comes from his after-dinner speeches. Attendees often marveled at his prodigious memory, as he always spoke without notes, sometimes for an hour or more. How did he do it?

Dickens broke his speeches down into sections, and then used an Ancient Greek trick to remember the sections. He would associate a section with a room in his house, linking them in his mind, so that all he had to do was “walk” through the house room by room to remember what he was supposed to say.

At 200, Dickens can still teach us a thing or two about speaking, performance, and memory.

First Mortgage Originations Accelerate In 4Q 2011

The fourth quarter of 2011 was one of the strongest quarters for first mortgage originations for 6,445 FirstLook credit unions....[Read Article]

Evolving Mortgage Modification Scene

An examination of credit union and bank modification trends..With housing prices bouncing along the bottom and unemployment starting to fall, the outlook for 2012 is stronger than when we entered 2011. However, there are still millions of Americans who have not had a chance to take advantage of low interest rates by refinancing their mortgage or other debts, a fact **** Read More; Evolving Modification Scene:

Regulatory Review: A Look at Part 701.33; Reg Alert on TDRs

Yesterday, we discussed NCUA's annual regulatory review. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I hoped NCUA would review their guidance as well. An example might help illustrate how NCUA could review their guidance and reduce the headaches for compliance officers. 
Part 701.33. NCUA will be reviewing Part 701.33 of its regulations which addresses reimbursement, insurance, and indemnification of officials and employees. To me, it would be very beneficial to credit unions if NCUA's review of Part 701.33 involved an analysis of their opinion letters and whether it would be appropriate to clarify the regulation.
Example. An advanced search on NCUA's website (under the Legal Opinion Letters category) for "701.33" comes up with 30 NCUA Legal Opinion Letters. There are extremely old letters as well as quite a few recent letters.
Suggestion. Considering the current 12 C.F.R. 701.33 has resulted in 30 formal legal opinion letters over the years, wouldn't it make sense for NCUA to update the regulation to codify these interpretations? Perhaps NCUA could issue Official Staff Commentary that would provide clarity to credit unions to prevent compliance officers from having to wade through numerous legal opinion letters to ensure they have correct interpretation from NCUA.
NAFCU Members. NAFCU's Regulatory Alert on Loan Workouts and Nonaccrual Policy and Regulatory Reporting of Troubled Debt Restructured Loans is available. The proposal has a short comment period with comments due to NAFCU on February 17th. NCUA is accepting comments until March 1st. **** Written by Steve Van Beek NAFCU

Trades Seek Clarity on IRS Retirement Plan Definition

CUNA, NAFCU offer agency feedback on definition of "governmental plan." **** Read More; Trades Seek Clarity on IRS Retirement Plan Definition:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Savings Account Rate Deal of the Day: Waterbury Firefighters Credit Union at 0.50% APY - Current Rates, News and Information about Savings Accounts

Simply opening a savings account is a smart and practical approach to earning and saving money. Waterbury Firefighters Credit Union offers a 0.50% APY that motivates depositors in Waterbury, CT to reach their personal financial finish line, without strict penalties for withdrawing funds. **** Read More; Savings Account Rate Deal of the Day: Waterbury Firefighters Credit Union at 0.50% APY - Current Rates, News and Information about Savings Accounts

Capital Economics: REO to rental 'best housing fix so far'

Capital Economics called the program to move REO properties to rentals the “best housing fix so far” and “possibly more significant” than President Obama’s refinancing proposals announced late last month. **** Read More; Capital Economics: REO to rental 'best housing fix so far':

Mayor Sam Adams announces 'responsible banking' proposal

Portland Mayor Sam Adams has proposed amending the city's investment policy to allow the city to deposit up to $250000 in 10 credit unions and other community banks in 2012. Portland Mayor Sam Adams wants to steer more of the city's money to credit ... **** Re3ad More; Mayor Sam Adams announces 'responsible banking' proposal:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Childrens Miracle Network Change Drive 2012 » Credit Unions for Kids

Children’s Miracle Network
The Credit Unions for Kids' Change a Child's Life coin collection campaign is a great way to engage members in your fundraising initiatives. Simply place the ... **** Read More; ChangeDrive2012 » <b>Credit Unions</b> for Kids:

Foreclosure deal: Closer, but not there yet

States have until the close of the business day to agree to the latest draft deal aimed at relieving homeowners struggling with mortgages bigger than their home's value. **** Read More; Foreclosure deal: Closer, but not there yet

Succession Planning a Challenge for CEOs and Boards

Criteria established for both CEOs and succession planning candidates emerge and changes over time.**** Read More; Succession Planning a Challenge for CEOs and Boards: ;

CUNA Says CU Membership Growth Strong In December, 4th Quarter

The trade association estimates that total membership at credit unions had a net increase of 1.9 million members in 2011. **** ReadMore; CUNA Says CU Membership Growth Strong In December, 4th Quarter:

Understanding Credit Union Salary Surveys

Guest post by Jack E. Clark, PhD, Clark & Chase Research, Inc.With executive compensation under scrutiny, salary surveys are increasingly important. If done correctly, surveys provide reasonable estimates of what you could expect if you had access to this data for every credit union. Surveys are far superior to decisions based on guesswork or anecdotal information picked up from some of your colleagues. However, not all surveys are the same and the user needs to know what to look for.

How representative is the sample?

A good survey should obtain a sample representative of the larger population. For example, were all credit unions in the population of interest approached or did they at least have an equal chance of being approached? Was there anything in the selection that may have excluded important groups or favored others? If so, how would that affect results?

Some factors cannot be controlled but can be taken into account when analyzing the results. For example, the smaller the credit union, the more likely it is to forego this type of survey. As a result, the total sample may be over-represented by larger credit unions. This can have a misleading impact on overall findings especially anything influenced by asset size. However, an adjustment can be made during analysis (weighting) that brings asset size back into proper proportion, allowing for a more realistic estimate.

Is the sample size adequate?

A larger sample lowers a survey’s margin of error and increases our level of confidence in the results. However, it is not enough to only pay attention to the overall survey’s sample size. Since decision-makers are mostly interested in the findings for credit unions similar to theirs, the results are broken down by various groups. And the sample size for each group is what really matters.

The problem occurs when findings are reported based on very small sample sizes. For example, findings based on a sample size of five have such a high margin of error that the results are unreliable and meaningless, even if they look official.

What minimum sample size is recommended? There is no single standard but most recommendations range between 30 and 100. A single standard is difficult because it is a matter of degree – we cannot say a sample size of 30 is clearly adequate but 29 is clearly inadequate. Decision-makers would be well-served to simply pay attention to sample size and adjust their level of caution based on that.

Percentile Ranges

Compensation is typically presented in percentiles. If compensation is $90,000 at the 25th percentile – it means 25% of those surveyed are compensated at or below $90,000. Percentiles can help you see the range of compensation paid by credit unions.

It is recommended the decision-maker initially focus on the compensation between the 25th and 75th percentiles. Some compensation experts feel this inter-quartile range (IQR) provides a more meaningful measure.[1] We can see the reason for this in the following table from a recent survey.

Understanding Surveys Example Table

When we focus on the amounts at the 10th and 90th percentiles, there is overlap as you move from one asset group to the next. The compensation at the 90th percentile is often higher than the 10th percentile in the next larger asset group – seemingly contradicting the tendency for compensation to increase with asset size.

The 10th and 90th percentiles represent values at extremes of these ranges – sometimes referred to as outliers. When we focus on values between the 25th and 75th percentiles, there tends to be much less overlap.

Besides asset size, there are other reasons that may influence the compensation figures we see at the extremes of these ranges. Every credit union’s situation is unique. And even though you may initially focus attention on the IQR, your credit union’s situation may justify a figure above or even below that range. In short, the IQR is meant as a guideline but should not be seen as a constraint.

Comparing Results From Two or More Surveys

You can enhance your compensation strategy by reviewing the results of more than one salary survey, if they are conducted in a valid and reliable manner. However, you will want to consider if there are differences between them and how those differences may impact results.

For example, we conduct a survey of all Federal credit unions for NAFCU and Burns-Fazzi Brock. If another survey includes both state and Federal credit unions, you would want to consider if and how that difference affects comparability.

Perhaps most difficulties in comparing survey results are due to differences in how each survey groups the data. For example, your credit union has $200 million in total assets. One survey includes your credit union in an asset group of $100 million to $300 million and the other survey includes it in a group of $200 million to $400 million. Because asset size and compensation are strongly related, the compensation figures for these two asset ranges will be different, making the comparison more challenging.

The Methodology section for any survey report is worthwhile reading. It can provide you information to help you decide on the survey’s worth as well as its limitations. And if the information you are looking for is not provided, you may want to consider asking for it.

Opportunity Alert! Sign up to participate in the 2012 NAFCU & Burns-Fazzi, Brock Executive Compensation & Benefits Survey for Federal Credit Unions and get the results report FREE!

[1] Haley, R.M., Measures of Central Tendency, Location and Dispersion in Salary Survey Research, Compensation and Benefits Review, September/October, 2004, pp. 39-52.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The NCUA Examiner as the Examined

The examination process at the NCUA went on trial last week. Not before a court but before Congress, though it could end up in court, too. To claim NCUA is unbiased would be a farce. To say an examiner won’t retaliate if they’re made to look bad by a credit union availing itself of this process would be ludicrous. The NCUA tends to lean in favor of protecting the NCUSIF, which all federally insured credit unions want to remain strong, but it also can mean less flexibility in an activity that might pose a risk to the fund. Credit unions are in the business of mitigating risk, yet in some instances it seems the agency wants to eliminate it.**** Read More; The Examiner as the Examined: Editor's Column:

Overdraft Revenue Declines, Study Finds

Credit unions lost $1.4 billion in overdraft revenue in 2011 due to a bank-initiated overdraft price increase and the increasing popularity of alternative short-term loans, according to a new study from Lake Bluff, Ill.-based research firm Moebs Services. *** Read More; Overdraft Revenue Declines, Study Finds:

Business Lending Gains May Come From Fresh Capital Seekers

While the degree of optimism varies, a sampling of perspectives from business lending CUSOs suggests an economic upturn may be underway. One sign of how widespread member business lending has become can be seen from figures provided by the Regional CUSO Alliance, which is a collaboration of business lending CUSOs. The group represents 16 regional business lending CUSOs involving 330 credit unions and an aggregate loan portfolio of $2.5 billion.**** Read More: Business Lending Gains May Come From Fresh Capital Seekers:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Missing housing recovery hurts the economy: Bernanke

How many times does someone have to tell them this!!

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers a recovery minus housing growth is hurting the American economy. **** Read More; Missing housing recovery hurts the economy: Bernanke:

This and That: Power of Attorney; Current Issues; Disaster Recovery; Newsletters

Written by Steve Van Beek NAFCU
With all the regulatory proposals, final rules, hearings, actions by the CFPB and other happenings, I thought we'd slow it down a bit for Friday. Below are just a few links that might be useful.
Power of Attorney. Andy Keeney had a great article in the CU Times discussing issues to consider when reviewing and accepting a Power of Attorney from a member.
Current Issues in Credit Unions. The latest podcast (Episode 67!!!) features discussion on writing comment letters, TDRs, loan participations and more.
Webcast on Disaster Recovery. On Wednesday, February 8th, NAFCU will have a webcast on Disaster Recovery Plans featuring Rob Rutkowski (who you may recognize from the Current Issues podcasts).
February 2012 Compliance Monitor. The latest issue of the Compliance Monitor is available for NAFCU-members. This month, the articles focus on the loan participation and Reg Flex proposed rules as well as a brief recap of the rules issued at the tail end of January.
BSA Blast. The January 2012 issue of the BSA Blast (which is quarterly) is also available. As usual, the Blast is followed by a BSA Quiz - with answer sheet - that serves as a useful training tool for staff.   **** Read More; This and That: Power of Attorney; Current Issues; Disaster Recovery; Newsletters:

Basel III Could Impact Credit Unions

Under proposed Basel III guidelines, credit unions must treat shares members can redeem without restriction as liabilities on their balance sheets. Westley noted shares a credit union can unconditionally refuse to redeem can be treated as capital that can remain with the credit union in times of financial trouble.  **** Read More; Basel III Could Impact Credit Unions:

The Facts About the National Flood Insurance Program

Windsor, Conn. -- Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are clearing up some misconceptions about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which offers federally-backed flood insurance to property owners and renters in communities that participate in the program. **** Read More; The Facts About the National Flood Insurance Program:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mortgage rates hit another new low

Just one day after President Obama detailed a proposal to enable millions of homeowners to refinance to record-low mortgage rates, those rates notched another record.
The 30-year, fixed rate fell to an average of 3.87% and the 15-year fixed dropped to 3.14% for the week ending February 2, both the lowest rates ever recorded in the 40-year history of the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Read More; Mortgage rates hit another new low:

How credit unions and financial institutions use social media ...

Posted by   CUNAverse A friend was recently hired into the credit union industry. As she got up-to-speed with credit unions she wanted to get a better sense for how financial institutions use social media and asked if I would supply her with resources on the subject.
I said to myself after replying to her request: “Self… CUNAverse readers might find this information useful!” I agreed with myself, as I often do.
Read More; How credit unions and financial institutions use social media >:

Beware of CD Alternatives Being Pushed By Banks

One of my readers told me in an email that an investment guy at his bank was trying to sell him on bonds while he was redeeming a matured CD. In the last month I also have seen this. While I was at PNC and Chase, the bankers referred me to one of their investment advisors. It should be noted that you may also see this at credit unions. Some examples at large credit unions include Golden 1 Investment Services and BECU Investment Services. So I thought it was worth repeating the following advice from Clark Howard: ***** Read More; Beware of CD Alternatives Being Pushed By Banks:Deposit Accounts

Fiserv, a NCOFCU Supporter, Notches Record Year

EPS growth of 20% in the fourth quarter helped propel the year-end figure to the new record, the company said.
 
The company said it signed 219 person-to-person payments clients in the quarter and more than 580 in the full year, bringing to nearly 1,400 the number of P2P it now serves.
Individual signings of note during the year, Fiserv said, included selling its new Acumen core platform to the $5 billion Suncoast Schools FCU in Tampa, Fla., the $4.3 billion Randolph-Brooks FCU in Live Oak, Texas, and the $1.2 billion Navigant Credit Union of Smithfield, R.I., and the XP2 platform to the $232 million Members CU in Winston-Salem, N.C.  Read More at; Fiserv Notches Record Year:

In a Surprise, Car Sales Start New Year Strongly

Chrysler and Ford were among several auto companies that reported healthy increases for January, but General Motors posted a 6 percent decrease from a year ago. **** More At; In a Surprise, Car Sales Start New Year Strongly:

FEMA Announced Grant Opportunities for Firefighting


“The life of a firefighter requires a steadfast commitment to service and demands many sacrifices, especially of time, to family and friends. Local towns deserve a shot at fair competition with large cities for the talented pool of individuals,   **** Read More; Grant Opportunities Announced for Firefighting:


CFPB Issues Final Rule on Remittance Transfers; Proposes Changes As Well

On January 20, 2012, the CFPB adopted a final rule amending Regulation E (Electronic Fund Transfers) to include consumer protections for various types of remittance transfers. The rule was originally proposed by the Federal Reserve Board last May; however, authority to finalize the rule-making transferred to the CFPB on July 21, 2011  ****More At; CFPB Issues Final Rule on Remittance Transfers; Proposes Changes As Well:
Written by Bernadette Clair, Regulatory Compliance Counsel  

NAFCU Services Corp. Opens Executive Comp Survey

NAFCU Services Corporation's sixth annual Executive Compensation and Benefits Survey is now open for federal credit unions to participate. *** More; NAFCU Services Corp. Opens Executive Comp Survey:

Trades to Urge Lawmakers to Revamp Exam Process

The NCUA’s decisions aren’t reviewed by third parties and credit unions don’t receive consistent messages, trades testify to Congress. **** More At; Trades to Urge Lawmakers to Revamp Exam Process:

NAFCU Asks NCUA Cease Using Orman Material

NAFCU has asked that NCUA stop using material from controversial consumer advocate Suze Orman after Orman launched a prepaid debit card program that has the potential to hurt credit unions. **** Read More; NAFCU Asks NCUA Cease Using Orman Material:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Guidance out on secondary liens | NAFCU

Feb. 1, 2012 – NCUA, the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the FDIC issued supervisory guidance Tuesday related to the allowance for loan-and-lease losses estimation practices associated with loans and lines of credit secured by secondary liens on residential property ****  Guidance out on secondary liens NAFCU

Become your kid's mortgage lender

Between slumping prices and low mortgage rates, it's a good time to look for real estate bargains. But thanks to tightened lending standards, legions of young would-be homebuyers aren't exactly in a position to take advantage of the opportunity. That's where their parents come in: One in three first-time buyers received either a gift or a loan from their families to help buy a home in 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors. **** More At; Become your kid's mortgage lender:

Three Types of People to Fire Immediately

“I wanted a happy culture. So I fired all the unhappy people.”  Show of hands: How many of you out there  have gotten the “what took you so long?” question from your staff when you finally said goodbye to a teammate who was seemingly always part of problems instead of solutions?  **** Read More;  Three Types of People to Fire Immediately:

MasterCard Introduces Chip Card Plan

MasterCard has become the second major card brand to announce the intent to move payments from cards which supply consumer data on magnetic stripes to cards which encode such information on embedded computer chips.Card brand joins rival Visa in planning EMV technology adoption for U.S. cards. **** More At; MasterCard Introduces Chip Card Plan:

What Happens When You Walk Away From Your Home? - Yahoo! Finance

It was just last summer that Charlotte Perkins made the hardest decision of her life as she and her husband Jim were caught in the vise of the housing bust.

Wanting to downsize their lives as they headed toward retirement, they bought a new house in Mesa, Arizona, before they sold the old one, also in Mesa. Their previous home had been appraised at nearly $400,000 at the height of the market, but as the housing crisis ravaged Arizona, they were told they'd be lucky to get $200,000 for it **** Read More At;  What Happens When You Walk Away From Your Home? - Yahoo! Finance