Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mortgage rates hit record low again

Federal Reserve action continues to push mortgage rates lower, helping an already improving housing market.Mortgage finance backer Freddie Mac's weekly survey showed the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.40% from 3.49% the previous week, which had matched the previous record low set in July.   
The fixed-rate 15-year mortgage also hit a record low of 2.73%, down from the previous record of 2.77% a week earlier...Mortgage rates hit record low again: ..

Friday, September 28, 2012

The risk of easy money

With the Federal Reserve’s recent move to make historically low interest rates even lower, debate is raging over the efficacy and advisability of such actions: Will easy money lower unemployment significantly or simply cause higher inflation?

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said that while the Fed is doing all it can, monetary policy offers no simple solutions to our employment challenges. I’m not an economist, but I have spent time around thousands of small-business owners and investors, and I remain skeptical — despite the best intentions of the Fed — that even lower interest rates can make a meaningful dent in our unemployment problem. And while the risk of inflation is important, such low interest rates pose a more immediate problem for senior citizens and middle-class families who rely on savings.
Read full article >>

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Five Tips about Capital Gain for Everyone

Five Tips about Capital Gain for Everyone   Mike Licht, With all the debate over types of income and whether capital gain rates should continue it’s easy to lose sight of a fundamental fact: You too can benefit while capital gain rates remain a bargain. You don’t even have to be a hedge fund king. See Carried Interests Taxed [..REad More .Five Tips about Capital Gain for Everyone ]

Economist Predicts Long Period of Slow Recovery: Onsite Coverage

LAS VEGAS — St. Louis Fed economist tells ACUMA attendees he sees many reasons to be cautious in medium and long term....Read More..Economist Predicts Long Period of Slow Recovery: Onsite Coverage:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Stay-at-home parents getting new credit card rule - Sep. 24, 2012

Help is on the way for stay-at-home parents being denied credit cards because they don't have income of their own.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will propose a rule within the next few months that will make it easier for applicants without personal income to qualify for credit cards, the agency's director Richard Cordray said at a congressional hearing last week.....Read More At..Stay-at-home parents getting new credit card rule - Sep. 24, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Firefighter thwarts bank robbery, knocks out killer

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. – A firefighter in St. Catharines, Ont., stopped an alleged bank robbery attempt on Thursday by putting a convicted killer in a choke-hold.
“Yeah, he just went to sleep and we tied him up,” said firefighter Ray Garrigan a few hours after he helped foil the alleged robbery attempt.---24 Hours Vancouver

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Do you know where your credit union stands on executive compensation and benefits?

Do you know where your credit union stands on executive compensation and benefits?:
Every credit union is unique, and every CEO places a different emphasis on how they want their executive compensation and benefits package tailored, which makes an assessment of ‘market rates’ for executive benefits and compensation challenging. If you’re a board member you want to be both fair to your executives, provide a combination of compensation and benefits with the right mix of incentives to ensure alignment with your strategic goals, and also fulfill your fiduciary obligation to fellow credit union members.
As an executive, you want to make sure that your compensation and benefits are competitive and fit your personal needs, and are also flexible enough to adapt as those needs change throughout your career.
One great way to find out where your credit union stands relative to the market is with the NAFCU-Burns-Fazzi, Brock (BFB) Executive Compensation and Benefits Survey (free to survey participants).

First introduced in 2007, the NAFCU-BFB Survey was created to better understand the compensation and benefits for the top five executives of Federal credit unions. The sponsors – NAFCU, NAFCU Services Corporation, and Burns-Fazzi, Brock – envisioned creating an information resource to help Federal Credit Unions with the decisions they face regarding executive compensation and benefits. The findings of this study come from a broad spectrum of Federal Credit Unions -  all are invited to participate in the survey, regardless of whether they are NAFCU members or not.  The independent firm of Clark & Chase Research, Inc. conducts this annual study, and all responses are confidential.
This year, 428 credit unions participated in the survey, and this year’s survey contains plenty of key findings and insights. But it is important to note that this survey is just one tool that should be used in the context of a broader review of compensation and benefits at your credit union. Means and medians can be difficult to interpret, and should not be taken as absolutes. Every effort was made in the survey to adjust for credit unions with different asset bases, and for varying market conditions in different parts of the country.
So I would caution you to not take this survey as a single source and base all of your compensation and benefits decisions solely on the data and insights the survey found. Instead we would suggest that you use this as one data point in a more comprehensive process.
BFB does have the ability to produce a custom report for any individual credit union that is more tailored to their unique profile, comparing 6-10 other credit unions with similar characteristics. If you are interested, I’d suggest you contact them directly – more information at
Some of the more interesting findings:
  • One in four Federal credit unions are currently reviewing or planning to review their executive compensation plans.   (Not that surprising, really, given the state of the economy and executive turnover in the industry. This is also a best practice, i.e., an ongoing review of compensation plans to ensure they still meet the needs of the credit union.)
  • In 2012, 13% of Federal credit unions are reviewing their current nonqualified benefit plans or considering adding them to their executive compensation plans.   (I expected this number to be higher, given the appeal and broad applicability of non-qualified plans. But it could well be that uncertainty about the economy is affecting this benefit category.)
  • The median increase in base salary for top executives from 2011 to 2012 was two percent.  (Given the variable rate at which our economy is recovering, this could well have been skewed by outliers on the lower end of the spectrum.)
  • In 2011, top executives achieved 89% of their potential bonus, on average. (Personally, I found this encouraging and a sign that our industry is recovering, again with the assumption that outliers on the low end may have skewed the data.)
Clearly, these are top-level results aggregated across the country and across all credit unions, and the actual survey presents findings broken down by total asset size.
In addition, the report includes suggestions for what decision-makers should know when reviewing and using compensation surveys.
Request a copy of the 2012 NAFCU-BFB Survey here.
Post written by Dave Frankil, President, NAFCU Services Corp.
Comment on this post.
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FBI Issues Alert on Hackers Targeting Credit Union Employees

The FBI has issued a fraud alert that warns financial institutions that some cyber criminals have shifted their point of attack away from financial institution customers and members instead are directly targeting credit union and bank employees and ...FBI Issues Alert on Hackers Targeting <b>Credit Union</b> Employees:
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hey Fed, lower mortgage rates will only do so much

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke launched a new program Thursday aimed at pushing mortgage rates even lower. But industry insiders are skeptical the plan will do much to bolster the housing market.
The Fed announced it will buy up additional mortgage-backed securities at a rate of $40 billion a month until the economy recovers.    "The program should increase downward pressure...Read full story for latest details. Hey Fed, lower mortgage rates will only do so much:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Loans for Starting a New Business

There are many ways to get funding to ensure that your new business is successful. Debt financing is one way to get capital, without giving up ownership control. Leveraging business or personal assets might raise the money. Government sources can provide business loans at competitive interest rates.
Read more: Loans for Starting a New Business |

National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions

2012 Annual Meeting & Election Results
Please note:
The annual meeting of the members will be held Sunday October 7th 2012 3:00 PM, breakout room Naples lll , at the firefighters credit union conference in Long Beach CA. Member credit unions attending are invited to send representatives of their credit union to the meeting.
There were no nominations from the floor for the 3 directors positions so the following 3 incumbents were reelected for a 3 year term;
  1. Scotty Shelton Director Baton Rouge Firefighters FCU
  2. Frances Reed CEO Firefighters Credit Union OK
  3. Linda Williams CEO Akron Firefighters FCU

National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fed: Low Rates Will Continue Through Mid-2015

The Federal Reserve didn’t do credit union executives any favors as they budget and drawing up strategic plans for 2013 and beyond.
On Thursday, the Federal Open Market Committee announced it anticipates keeping the federal funds rate “exceptionally low” through at least mid-2015.Credit union CEO says low rates continue to tighten interest income spread while industry remains "averse" to boosting fee income.-----Fed: Low Rates Will Continue Through Mid-2015:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Three Tips for Better Google Searching -

Here are the three tips — basic, intermediate and advanced — from Dan Russell at Google. He studies how people use the search engine and teaches classes on how to do it better, including a free online course this month, for which registration started Tuesday. He promises these tips will make you happy, and he cares a lot about that — his official title at Google is ├╝ber tech lead for search quality and user happiness.-----Three Tips for Better Google Searching -

Alabama, Florida Credit Unions Set Quarterly Growth Record

Despite the challenging economy, credit unions in Alabama and Florida have set new records for increasing their assets and adding new members in the second quarter, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions has reported.

In addition, credit unions approved more business loans in the second quarter. In Alabama, business lending jumped more than 4%, higher than the national credit union average and nearly double the growth rate over the past two years, according to the LSCU. In Florida, business loans grew 3% in the second quarter, right at the national credit union average, but three times higher than two years ago.---------Alabama, Florida Credit Unions Set Quarterly Growth Record

Monday, September 10, 2012

Firefighters Community CU Casual for a Cause

The $185 million Firefighters Community Credit Union in Cleveland is one of many across the country participating in Miracle Jeans Day on Wednesday. More than 40 of the 50 or so employees at the 25,000-member credit union have paid $5 for the right to go casual that day at work, and the staff so far as raised $310 for the effort to help local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals--------Casual for a Cause

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mortgage applications fall again, worrying housing economists

By Kerri Ann Panchuk
• September 5, 2012 • 8:01am

Nearly Half of Michigan’s Credit Unions Now Offer Business Loans

MCUL says 46% of state's 332 credit unions now in the member business lending business. According to Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates’ data released Wednesday, the number of Michigan credit unions offering business loans was up 6.8% in the second quarter, with nine new credit unions now offering this service. ------Nearly Half of Michigan’s Credit Unions Now Offer Business Loans:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions Membership

Michael Tobler
CEO Albany Fireman's FCU


Join the Movement

Our Mission
To educate, create and maintain a climate of safety, soundness, innovation and unity among firefighter credit unions in order to promote and enhance the initiatives of the credit union movement. --Join NOW --Membership

Make Your Smartphone a Walkie-Talkie - David Pogue -

Now use your Smartphone / IPads as a Walkie Talkie!
You might think that we’ve exhausted every variation on electronic communication — text, audio, video — but you’d be wrong. A new one is quietly winning over millions of gadget fans. They’re free apps with names like Voxer, HeyTell and Zello, and they really do mess with the rules of the game. --------Zello, HeyTell and Voxer Make Your Smartphone a Walkie-Talkie - David Pogue -

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Credit Unions Offering Unique Financial Strategies for Women

Women of all ages and walks of life are in a unique place financially in today’s day and age, fulfilling more roles than in years past including that of professional, mother, homemaker, business woman, student, etc. More is expected of modern women and yet they still tend to earn less than their male counterparts. According to the US Census Bureau, the median income of a woman with a bachelor’s degree is about 67 percent as much as that of a man with a bachelor’s degree--------Credit Unions Offering Unique Financial Strategies for Women

Monday, September 3, 2012

Directors Gain New Rules of the Road From Consultants

Consultants seem to agree that governing a credit union has become more daunting. And the trend toward greater board accountability isn’t likely to go away.
“Unlike a for-profit bank, whose focus is only financial, credit unions can define their return as not entirely financial but whether members are better off because the credit union exists. They offer a betterment to the community that goes beyond financial returns. Do they struggle with it? Yes. But that’s kind of what a nonprofit’s role is all about.” -------Directors Gain New Rules of the Road From Consultants:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bernanke Speech Makes Detailed Case for Fed Action -

Calling the persistently high rate of unemployment a “grave concern,” language that several experts described as unusually strong, Mr. Bernanke made clear that a recent run of tepid rather than terrible economic data had not altered the Fed’s will to act, because the pace of growth remained too slow to reduce the number of people who lack jobs. ---------Bernanke Speech Makes Detailed Case for Fed Action -