Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Federal District Court in Michigan held that a blind person has the right to sue a credit union she claims has an inaccessible website even though she is not eligible for membership.

It was only a matter of time until this happened. A Federal District Court in Michigan held that a blind person has the right to sue a credit union she claims has an inaccessible website even though she is not eligible for membership. The court refused to dismiss the lawsuit, by doing so, ruled that all credit unions could potentially be found to violate the Americans with Disability Act if their website is not ADA compliant.

Karla Brintley, the plaintiff, does not qualify for membership at Belle River Community Credit Union. This fact meant nothing to the court, as it ruled that she could prove she was harmed. “Because of these barriers, the Plaintiff has been denied the ability to effectively browse for Defendant’s services and locations, determine eligibility for membership, and compare Defendant’s services and advantages with its competitors.”

The court determined that websites are subject to the ADA’s accessibility requirements whenever there is a connection between a website and the services being provided by the physical location. The court held so long as the website provides information on products, services and locations that could be obtained at the physical branch, this standard could be satisfied.

This reverses the trend of outcomes in Virginia, where Federal Courts have dismissed a slew of lawsuits due to inaccessible websites. This is no surprise, especially in Michigan, where the courts take accessibility very seriously.

The solution is very simple. It is faster, easier, less expensive in both actual monetary cost and potential reputational damage to simply fix the problem. These attorneys are not going anywhere. Credit Unions need to address the issue now, because if they don’t, they will most certainly have to address it later and at a much higher cost.

Eric Isham
CEO and Founder
Office 850.269.7111
Cell    270.320.1224

While in Seattle, stop 
by OMNICOMMANDER's booth and see how they can help you with your website.

See you in Seattle

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Guests are welcome to attend our Saturday Closing speaker. 10:00 a.m.

For 15 years, Executive Producer Bill Stainton led his team to more than 100 Emmy Awards and 10 straight years of #1 ratings.

Today Bill helps leaders produce those kinds of results—in their world and with their teams.

Bill Stainton is a multiple Emmy Award-winning TV producer, writer, and performer; an author; a business humorist; and an internationally-recognized Beatles expert. He blends the business smarts he learned from twenty years in corporate management with the show biz sparks he garnered from working with people like Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, and Bill Nye the Science guy to create entertaining and enlightening presentations enjoyed by audiences around the world!

As the executive producer of Seattle’s legendary comedy TV show Almost Live!, Bill led a talented and highly creative team to unparalleled success: a #1 rating for ten straight years, and over 100 Emmy Awards (29 of which went to Bill). At the same time, he also owned his own corporate training company, authoring nine training programs in subjects ranging from Office Politics to Customer Service to Team Motivation. He’s been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and Forbes, and is a regular columnist for Seattle Business magazine.

From Maine to Malaysia, Bill is committed to helping his audiences achieve their highest potential— while maintaining a sense of fun along the way!

Guests are welcome to attend our Saturday Closing speaker. 10:00 a.m.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Newark Firemen FCU selects Dolphin Debit

Be sure to stop by their booth in Seattle and ask Joe Woods how they can help your credit union.
Make an appointment to discuss your credit union.

Joe Woods
SVP, Director of Sales
614-378-0367   jwoods@dolphindebit.com
Dolphin Debit LogoNewark Firemen FCU and Chocolate Bayou FCU have selected Dolphin Debit to manage their ATM's.
Newark Firemen FCU and Chocolate Bayou credit union were saddled with aging ATMs, too old for an upgrade to accommodate EMV cards, so they saw an opportunity to leave behind the hassle of managing its own fleet.
All their ATMs are now with Dolphin Debit.
Being smaller credit unions, they just didn’t have a lot of ATM expertise in-house so anytime they had an issue, they had a lot of people pointing fingers. On top of that, it was an aging fleet that they needed to make investments in, and they saw Dolphin Debit as a one-stop solution.”
Since the switchover, they have had fewer complaints about ATMs being down. We’re happy with the simplicity of this, and they have peace of mind knowing that everything is being handled for them and they don’t have to worry about upgrades and compliance.”
Major Considerations
Gary Walston, co-founder of Dolphin Debit, said that those issues – upgrades and compliance – are major considerations for credit unions now, with the coming sunsetting of support for the Windows 7 operating system and the need to switch over to Windows 10.
“It’s very important for credit unions to evaluate their ATM fleets and determine how costly the next upgrade will be,” Walston said. “This could be just the right time for them to make a change and offload the burdens of ATM management to Dolphin Debit.”

Monday, July 9, 2018

CECL Credit migration tools will be demonstrated at our Seattle conference!


CECL is fast becoming one of the "hot topics" for credit union CEOs, CFOs, and their Boards. With the new FASB changes becoming effective in just two years, credit migration is a clear and easy CECL response tool which can properly fund the CU's ALLL account and offer great value to the members. 

Randy C. Thompson Ph.D
Introduction to Credit Risk Management and Credit Migration (CECL)
Credit Risk Management
Managing and maintaining a portfolio of performing loans is a basic challenge for all credit unions.  Marketing and underwriting loans is a major function in all credit unions.  However, getting loans on the books is only 50% of the job.  The other 50% is managing loans over their life in the portfolio.  Credit Migration is a powerful tool that credit union leaders are using for this purpose. 

His presentation will provide a clear understanding of what credit migration is, how it works and how it is applied by credit unions to minimize losses, enhance yields, and prepare for CECL implementation.
If your CECL team would be interested in an effective credit migration tool demonstration at the conference -- as well as three years’ worth of free soft credit pulls, contact  Donna Jensen  208-939-8366  djensen@tctrisk.com


Friday, July 6, 2018

Boston Firefighters CU close relationship with its field of membership is their main goal

By Ray Birch CU Today
DORCHESTER, Mass.—As more small credit unions seek to expand via community charters to survive, one CU says a closed field of membership is exactly what’s behind its success, and what will carry it into the future.
The $265-million Boston Firefighters CU sports some impressive statistics: about four services per member in addition to the share account; rock-bottom delinquencies (0.09%); 87 basis points of ROA, and steady net income each year—averaging nearly $2 million annually over the last five years.
It’s a close relationship with its field of membership—Boston firefighters, Boston police and now Boston emergency medical services, Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts, Massachusetts State Police, and Suffolk County Sherriff’s Department—that is bringing members to the credit union who then use it extensively, said it AVP of Operations Cathy Boucher.
“Because we have a closed field of membership, we believe we have a better ability to look at each individual member’s needs,” said Boucher. “Although we have to follow policies, we have the ability to take the time and hear our members’ needs and offer unique solutions. They connect with the personal approach. They know we understand them as people and the challenging work that they do. They open a direct deposit checking account and just continue to take more services from us. It’s a great relationship.”
For example, Boucher said the credit union created a Veteran Mortgage, which comes with no down payment requirement and offers low rates on 30-year terms for first-time homebuyers.
“Since we serve local police and firefighters, many of them have military backgrounds,” Boucher said. “Our Veteran Mortgage is like nothing they can get anywhere else in the market. For many of our veterans we do 100% financing, and we can give them a very good rate because we know the character of veterans. This is just one example of how we have some unique processes that allow us to help our members—processes we would not have if we did not serve a closed field of membership and know our members very well. We think this gives us an advantage over the banks.”
Give Back
What the approach has also given the credit union is member loyalty that allows it to give back to its members. For the sixth year in a row, Boston Firefighters has received a Benefits of Membership Award from CUNA. The award recognizes credit unions that offer exceptional financial value to their members in the form of benefits. Credit unions submit their rates, fees and account yields with their applications, and judges compare these figures to those of competing banks to determine the average savings per member.
This past year BFCU returned an average of $726 per household. Boucher acknowledged that great rates play a big part in the return.
“In our most recent ranking report for rate comparison in our local market, BFCU ranked in the top three for every category of certificate, savings, checking and money markets,” Boucher said. “We were number one in six of the categories.”
The credit union also charges few fees.
“We recently lowered the few fees we do have,” said Boucher. “The only fees we have are related to insufficient funds, and we keep those as low as possible—$25 for an overdraft and no more than $50 a day. We also don’t charge any overdraft fee if the expense is less than $25. And as more local institutions begin adding fees to their checking programs, our checking accounts are totally free.”
This past year the credit union also received the Great Rate award from research firm Datatrac, which compares rates in local markets. Datatrac found that by choosing BFCU, members save 27% on personal loans, auto loans cost 45% less and credit card interest is 34% lower. Looking at market savings rates, Datatrac said that Boston Firefighters members receive 186% more on IRAs, checking accounts earn 178% more, CDs pay 129% above the market average and money market accounts return twice as much.
Boucher said that the credit union looks at its metrics—such as ROA and capital—simply as guidelines for how much it gives back to members. The credit union’s capital stood at 11.76% at the close of 2017.
“We discuss it in the boardroom all the time, and we don’t want to build up capital for the sake of building it up,” she said. “We always look at our products and services and consider what we can give back to members. We review all of the key metrics and have goals each year we want to achieve, but paramount each year is what can we give back to members and where we can give it back to them.”
Closed FOM
It’s a philosophy that has always backed the credit union—made easier with the closed field of membership, Boucher said.
“Our members know we give back to them. They know it’s not lip service. We really deliver on our promise,” she said.

Monday, July 2, 2018

NCUA has said it plans to include CDD in its exams beginning July 1 for the rule that went into effect in May of this year.

WASHINGTON–Credit unions should now be prepared for their examinations to include compliance with “customer due diligence” (CDD) requirements.
NCUA has said it plans to include CDD in its exams beginning July 1 for the rule that went into effect in May of this year.
Under the rule, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has listed four core elements of CDD that it said should be “explicit requirements in the anti-money laundering (AML) program for all covered financial institutions, in order to ensure clarity and consistency across sectors.”
The 4 Elements
These four elements are:
  1. Customer identification and verification
  2. Beneficial ownership identification and verification
  3. Understanding the nature and purpose of customer relationships to develop a customer risk profile
  4. Ongoing monitoring for reporting suspicious transactions and, on a risk-basis, maintaining and updating customer information
The first of these elements was already an AML program requirement, the agency said when it issued the rule, and the 2016 rule addressed the second. “The third and fourth elements are already implicitly required for covered financial institutions to comply with their suspicious activity reporting requirements,” FinCEN said in a statement.
In May, FinCEN did announce a 90-day “exceptive relief” for the second core element on “beneficial ownership.”