Monday, July 30, 2012

U.S. Fire Administration Acknowledges the New Fire Service Ethics Statement

To provide guidance to address complex ethical questions, the National Society of Executive Fire Officers and Congressional Fire Services Institute jointly have released a firefighter code of ethics that can be adopted by local fire and emergency medical service organizations. In acknowledgement of the importance of this first of its kind fire service ethics statement, the U.S. Fire Administration has posted the statement throughout the National Fire Academy's (NFA) facilities and will now include the statement in all course materials distributed to NFA students.....U.S. Fire Administration Acknowledges the New Fire Service Ethics Statement:

NCUA July Board Meeting; NCUA Letters to Federal Credit Unions

Written By Michael Coleman, Regulatory Compliance Counsel
NCUA Board Meeting. The NCUA Board Meeting on Tuesday July 24, 2012, had a very busy agenda, and the Board unanimously approved 5 items:
  • Setting the 2012 Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund (Stabilization Fund) assessment at 9.5 basis points of insured shares as of June 30.
  • Reprogramming NCUA’s 2012 operating budget to produce a $2 million savings to credit unions that will offset the 2013 operating budget.
  • Renewing the current 18 percent interest rate cap for most loans, and 28 percent for short-term small loans, at federally chartered credit unions through March 10, 2014.
  • Releasing a proposed rule—with a three-tiered approach targeted by asset size—for federally insured credit unions to plan for or maintain access to emergency liquidity.
  • Issuing a proposed rule to permit NCUA to declare a federally insured, state-chartered credit union (FISCU) in “troubled condition” based on NCUA’s CAMEL code 4 or 5 composite rating.
NCUA released the Board Meeting results in a Board Action Bulletin.  It provides a good summary of these recent actions, including a summary of the Board’s decision to set the 2012 Stabilization Fund assessment at 9.5 basis points. NCUA had previously estimated that the 2012 Stabilization Fund assessment would be between 8-11 basis points.  The Bulletin also provides summaries of the proposed rule on emergency liquidity and the proposed rule to permit NCUA to declare a FISCU in “troubled condition,” it is worth a read.
The Board’s extension of the 18 percent interest rate cap based on current market conditions is surely of interest to many credit unions. NCUA reported in the Bulletin that approximately 61 percent of federal credit unions made some loans at rates above 15 percent (which is the Federal Credit Union Act mandated interest rate cap) in the first quarter of 2012. The NCUA Board has the authority to set the interest rate higher than the FCUA statutory usury ceiling pursuant to FCU Act § 1757(5)(vi)(I), and pursuant to NCUA Regulation § 701.21(c)(7)(ii) the NCUA Board must make this determination every 18 months.
NAFCU Today has more details on the Stabilization Fund assessment here, and more details on the 18 percent interest rate cap and NCUA budget adjustment here.
NCUA Letters to Federal Credit Unions. Last week NCUA released two Letters to Federal Credit Unions that are worthy of note. NCUA released NCUA Letter to Federal Credit Unions 12-FCU-02 concerning Multi-Featured Open-End Lending (MFOEL) which supersedes and replaces NCUA Letter to Federal Credit Unions 10-FCU-02, which contained NCUA’s previous guidance on the subject. The new guidance contained in 12-FCU-02 is worth a read. NCUA also released NCUA Letter to Federal Credit Unions 12-FCU-03 which highlights changes in the examination procedures of small credit unions. 12-FCU-03 states that NCUA is implementing a Small Credit Union Examination Program (SCUEP) in order to streamline the examination process for small credit unions. Regarding eligibility, 12-FCU-03 states: “The SCUEP is targeted to FCUs with total assets less than $10 million and a CAMEL rating of 1, 2 or 3.” If your credit union might be eligible, it is worth a look.
NCUA July Board Meeting; NCUA Letters to Federal Credit Unions:  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Onsite Coverage: Regs Are Small Credit Unions' Biggest Challenge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Compliance, collaboration and recruitment are just a few of the top concerns for leaders of credit unions under $75 million...Onsite Coverage: Regs Are Small Credit Unions' Biggest Challenge:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Matz: New Office of National Examinations and Supervision Coming in 2013

“One-size-fits-all supervision is simply no longer appropriate in a credit union industry with nearly 100 million members and more than $1 trillion in assets,” said Matz. “Supervising a $10 million credit union the same as a $10 billion credit union doesn’t make sense. As we all know, larger risks have wider consequences. So, we are reorganizing our existing resources to create an Office of National Examinations and Supervision to enhance oversight of the nation’s largest consumer credit unions—those with more than $10 billion in assets—and also assume supervision of corporate credit unions.”... Read More At ..

Blame The Board | Snarketing 2.0

Posted by in Credit Unions, Strategy
I got a call recently from a reporter doing a story on free checking. He wanted to know why credit unions were, for the most part, sticking with free checking when so many big banks were dropping it. I told him it was driven by two reasons;
...Read More At...Blame The Board | Snarketing 2.0

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Onsite Coverage: NCUA Board Approves Two Proposed Rules and 9.5 BP Assessment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Federally insured credit unions have two new proposed rules to consider and a  new corporate 9.5 BP Assessment after the NCUA Board met Tuesday..
The board approved two new proposed rules – one that would require credit unions with more than $10 million in assets to develop a plan to address emergency liquidity shortfalls and set up their own backup liquidity source, and another that would allow the NCUA to declare state regulated, federal insured credit unions in “troubled condition.”..........Onsite Coverage: NCUA Board Approves Two Proposed Rules and 9.5 BP Assessment: 

A Cooperative Decision Over Assessments Facing The NCUA

Will the NCUA Board do the right thing for credit unions? Can NCUA evolve with changing priorities?.
The NCUA board will consider a possible assessment for the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund (TCCUSF) at its meeting on Tuesday. The decision is pivotal because it will indicate whether the NCUA board can recognize the progress of the program it conceived and refocus on the current opportunities for cooperative leadership, or whether it will remain locked in the crisis mindset from events four years ago...[Read Article]

Home values rise for first time in 5 years

Home prices hit a bottom and are finally bouncing back, according to an industry report released Tuesday..Home values rise for first time in 5 years: ..

Monday, July 23, 2012

VSECU Ponders Switch to Federal Charter in ‘Bank’ Ad Dispute

State regulator calls for cease and desist order..The $600 million Vermont State Employees Credit Union, which is embroiled in a legal challenge over the use of the term “banking” in its advertising, appealed Friday for member and public support for its cause, warning an unfavorable outcome could lead to a switch to a federal charter...VSECU Ponders Switch to Federal Charter in ‘Bank’ Ad Dispute:

Friday, July 20, 2012

NCUA Letter; Multi-Featured Open-End Lending

Letter from NCUA
Dear Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer:
Credit unions that use a multi-featured open-end lending (MFOEL) plan to make various types of loans have asked NCUA for further guidance to interpret the latest rules issued by other federal regulatory agencies. The purpose of this letter is to update guidance to federal credit unions on multi-featured open-end lending1 and provide best practices for MFOEL plans used as single accounts with separate sub-accounts for different loan products.2.............Pages - Multi-Featured Open-End Lending (MFOEL)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

30-year mortgage rate falls to record 3.53%

Mortgage borrowing got cheaper again this week, as rates on 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate loans fell to record lows.......30-year mortgage rate falls to record 3.53%:

Waterbury Firefighters credit union changing its name to broaden its appeal

WATERBURY -- There are a lot of changes in the air for the city's oldest financial institution.
Waterbury Firefighters Federal Credit Union, which is preparing to open a new office at 281 Meriden Road in late October after building a 2,500-square-foot building at the site, said this week it will also change its name at the end of July.
Michael Kinne, president and CEO of
the Waterbury Firefighters Credit Union

As of Monday, July 30, the credit union will change its name to FD Community Federal Credit Union, said Michael Kinne, the credit union's president and chief executive officer.

Established in 1934, the credit union -- which currently has about 8,200 members, 20 employees and total assets of about $60 million -- is the oldest active financial institution that still has its headquarters in Waterbury.

Kinne hopes the name change will increase public awareness that the credit union is open to anyone who lives, works or has any practical connection to Waterbury and eight surrounding towns -- Cheshire, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Plymouth, Prospect, Thomaston, Watertown and Wolcott.

"We believe this new name emphasizes that our credit union is open to all individuals, families and businesses in our area," he said.

The credit union has been steadily moving toward a name change since 2001, when it changed from an employee-based credit union to a community-chartered credit union, Kinne said. The community charter opened the credit union to individuals other than firefighters, municipal employees and their relatives.

"For the past 11 years, anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school or volunteers in Waterbury or the surrounding towns has been able to do their banking with us," Kinne said. "We believe this new, community-driven name will help clarify that ability and virtually eliminate any confusion regarding who can bank with our credit union and reap the many financial benefits of credit union membership."

While the credit union is changing its name, it is not ignoring its history, he said.

"We will never forget our roots and who we are," the CEO wrote in a recent letter to credit union members. "We have always been proud of our name and of our affiliation with the firefighters."

Kinne said the credit union's long-standing affiliation with firefighters guided its efforts to choose a new name. The FD in the new name stand for "fire department" and represents the original firefighters who first organized the credit union, he said.

To help market the new name, the full-service credit union -- which is a nonprofit, member-owned institution — will change the signs at its three Waterbury locations -- its headquarters at 601 Watertown Ave.; a branch at 64 Store Ave., in the East Gate Plaza; and a limited-hours branch at 236 Grand St. that is only open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The new signs are expected to be in place by July 30, Kinne said.

As of October, the Store Avenue branch will be closed and its personnel will be relocated to the new branch on Meriden Road.

Effective July 30, the credit union's new website address will be

Top 5 Mobile Banking Errors by Members

The weakest link is the end user. Here are five top reasons why and some ideas on how to safeguard against them....Read More...Top 5 Mobile Banking Errors by Members:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

VSECU appeals state decision to prohibit use of the word "banking" in the credit union's advertisements

Under state statute, credit unions may not transact business as a bank and may not advertise their services as banking.
At issue is whether consumers are confused when a credit union, which may have many of the same financial services as a bank, uses the word “banking.”  Read More At;.... VSECU appeals state decision to prohibit use of the word "banking" in the credit union's advertisements

USFA Announces 2011 Onduty Firefighter Deaths

USFA announced today the release of the report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2011. There were 83 onduty firefighter fatalities in the United States as a result of incidents that occurred in 2011. This represents a continuing decline in the overall number of firefighter fatality deaths in recent years and an almost five percent decrease from the 87 fatalities reported for 2010.....USFA Announces 2011 Onduty Firefighter Deaths:

With Apple's Siri, a Romance Gone Sour -

Over time, things have really soured between Siri and me. We barely speak anymore. And, although she doesn’t know this, I’ve started seeing someone else. Her name, although not as mysterious or sexy, is Google Voice Search.
Google Voice Search, available in the latest operating software for Android phones, is a much better listener. It’s definitely smarter. If I ask Google Voice Search a question, like, “Who is Tim Cook?” it responds with an answer. (He’s the chief executive of Apple.) If I ask Siri the same question, the response is: “I don’t see Tim Cook in your contacts........”With Apple's Siri, a Romance Gone Sour -

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Worcester firefighter heroes given awards

Chief Gerard F. Dio
In one of the bays at the Franklin Street Fire Station this afternoon, Chief Gerard F. Dio kept the remarks brief in handing out awards to several firefighters on behalf of Firehouse Magazine.....Worcester <b>firefighter</b> heroes given awards:
See all stories on this topic »

25 New London firefighters to be laid off today

Is your credit union prepared for this to happen in your city?
New London, CT — One third of the city's firefighters will lose their jobs at 5:30 this afternoon, leaving the department with 25 fewer workers. “Simply put, it's a matter of politics. The City Council failed to act,'' Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said, as ...25 New London <b>firefighters</b> to be laid off today:
See all stories on this topic »

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mobility Matters: Tracking the Mobile Banking Revolution in Credit Unions

“Mobile puts the bank terminal with the user. We have never before had that kind of computing power,” said Wade Arnold, CEO of Banno (formerly T8 Webware).
David Albertazzi, an analyst with the Aite Group, pointedly added: ”Mobile banking is not online banking lite. It is a unique channel with its own features. That is prompting some financial institutions to go beyond first generation mobile banking into the next wave of features.”
Mobile banking is the game changer, Apple disses NFC, and more,,,,,,Mobility Matters: Tracking the Mobile Banking Revolution in Credit Unions:

Rising Home Sales Don't Necessarily Mean Stronger Market for CU Loans

Recent indications from housing market observers and researchers show that housing prices might have finally stabilized and turned positive on stronger sales,.......Rising Home Sales Don't Necessarily Mean Stronger Market for CU Loans: .

Thursday, July 12, 2012

30-year mortgage rate falls to record 3.56%

Mortgage rates on 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to historic lows once again this week, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.30-year mortgage rate falls to record 3.56%: ...

How Does Compensation Compare for Women Credit Union Executives?

BFB a NCOFCU Supporter!
Guest post written by Chris Burns-Fazzi, Principal, Burns-Fazzi, Brock

For many industries, gender equity has been a topic of discussion. Have you ever wondered how men and women compare as credit union executives and the compensation they receive? We did too.
The NAFCU Annual Conference coming up at the end of July in Nashvillewill feature a Women’s Leadership Summit, with a number of timely topics, including an initial look at how men and women credit union executives compare in regards to compensation and their presence in top executive positions.
A bit of background – for five years now, Burns-Fazzi, Brock (the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Executive Compensation and Benefits) has underwritten the annual NAFCU-BFB Survey of Federal Credit Union Executive Benefits & Compensation. Conducted by an independent firm, Clark and Chase Research, there is no cost to participate, and the results are shared with participants as well as each year at the NAFCU Annual Conference. This year, we compared the survey results by gender.
We’ll go through the analysis in much greater detail at the conference, but some highlights —
  • The number of top executives across all federal credit unions appears to favor women.
  • However, this is largely due to the fact 68% of all Federal credit unions have less than $40 million in assets; 39% have less than $10 million. Women are executives in the majority of these smaller credit unions, especially in the number 2 and 3 executive positions – men are more likely to hold these positions in larger credit unions.
  • The survey findings suggest that women executives earn, on average, less than their male counterparts for some asset groups. But how much that difference is attributable to gender, if at all, is unclear – the survey also shows differences in age, educational level and average asset size within each asset group between male and female executives; factors that may also contribute to these differences in compensation.
Clark and Chase Research notes the limitations of survey data and cautions against coming to any firm conclusions based on these results alone. However, we think the survey findings are a good way to begin thinking about this important topic. I hope we’ll see you at the Women’s Leadership Summit to help us start that conversation!

Proposed CFPB Mortgage Regs Include Change to APR Calculation

Along with new mortgage disclosures, the agency also aims to redefine APR in the 1,000-some pages of proposed new regulations released this week....Proposed CFPB Mortgage Regs Include Change to APR Calculation:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

10 Steps To Building A Successful Investment Program

A successful investment program requires a comprehensive plan of action and support to achieve the credit union’s defined goals.
Building a successful program requires a comprehensive, proven plan of action and the dedicated support needed to achieve the credit union’s defined goals. Following these 10 steps can help transform your fledgling business into a top producing investment program...Read More At.. 10 Steps To Building A Successful Investment Program

Monday, July 9, 2012

BSA E-Filing Hits a Snag;

Written by Bernadette Clair, Regulatory Compliance Counsel

As of July 1st, e-filing is mandatory for Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs). FinCEN issued a final reminder on June 29th and recently blogged about the benefits of e-filing in a July 2nd Treasury Notes blog. Unless your credit union has received an exemption from FinCEN, be sure these reports are being filed electronically.
Coincidentally, you may have noticed a few glitches........Read More.....

New White Paper Addresses Text Alert Concerns

When used for fraud prevention, a card issuer sends a text message to a card holder about a recent transaction that meets the issuers parameters as suspicious. The card holder then has a chance to reply that they recognize the transaction or that they don't. If they don't, the account is suspended and the card issuer sends another text message with a phone number for the card holder to call for further investigation and instructions........New White Paper Addresses Text Alert Concerns