Author Archive

10 figures demonstrating what CUNA and leagues do for credit unions

Posted by on Wednesday, 22 February, 2012

The three-tiered system of CUNA, credit union leagues, and credit unions is the nation’s most effective team of credit union advocates. Joining together to advance the credit union movement is the driving force behind credit union membership in Credit Union National Association and state credit union leagues.

As a result, CUNA and state leagues work hard to serve the interests credit unions. But it’s often difficult to recognize the results of those efforts thanks to the din of a fast-evolving financial services industry and the every-day tasks of running a credit union.

We’d like to take this opportunity to share 10 figures from 2011 that illustrate the results of CUNA and state league efforts on behalf of credit unions.  The numbers show the considerable impact individual credit unions have when they pull together.

  • 9,100—The number of comments to the NCUA, Federal Reserve, and other regulatory agencies on proposed regulation via CUNA’s Operation Comment in 2011.  Credit union support through league and CUNA affiliation helps national and state-level advocacy to drive out regulatory burden and redundancies. Doing so establishes the operating flexibility credit unions need to provide the services demanded by their members.
  • $6.3 billion—The annual economic value to consumers by choosing credit union membership over for-profit financial institutions in 2011. CUNA and the state leagues shared this, and the message that credit unions are a trustworthy resource for financial services during good times and bad, to communities, the nation, and the world through media heavyweights in print, television, and radio.
  • $28, 545, 723—The dollar amount young members deposited into credit union savings accounts during the National Youth Saving Challenge hosted in conjunction with National Credit Union Youth Week. CUNA sponsors National Credit Union Youth Week with the help of the state leagues to promote the importance of youth financial literacy and support credit unions’ role in supplying financial education to their members.
  • 700-plus—Credit unions made sure their voice was heard on Capitol Hill in 2011. More than 700 credit union attendees visited lawmakers and staff as part of CUNA’s “Hike the Hill” program in 2011. “Hike the Hill” is one example of how credit unions—through their membership with CUNA and state leagues—shape the future and educate both chambers of the U.S. Congress, regulators and the administration about the credit union difference.
  • 180,000—The number of successful credit union searches on The network of state credit union leagues and CUNA collaborated to develop to help consumers locate a credit union they can join and drive new, potential members to credit unions nationwide.
  • 86—Of the CULAC-backed candidates during the 2010 midterm elections, 86% won election to Congress. CULAC (the leagues’ Credit Union Legislative Action Council) strengthens the credit union impact on key political races and provides the opportunity to support worthy candidates for federal office who back credit union principles.
  • 9—The number of times CUNA testified before Congress in 2011 to protect and promote credit unions. CUNA testified on major credit union issues related to interchange fees, member business lending, housing finance reform, the implantation of the Dodd-Frank Act, and regulatory burden.
  • 40,000-plus—The number of credit union professionals and volunteers impacted by CUNA Councils, the Governmental Affairs Conference, America’s Credit Union Conference, and CUNA’s CPDOnline training. These programs cultivate credit union leader connections, ensure credit union leaders are informed, and educate credit union professionals on the latest trends and service standards.
  • 2 million—The number of calls, emails and letters into Capitol Hill generated since 2009 by CUNA’s grassroots Interchange campaign. The overall rule on interchange was improved from its original version after 2 million grassroots contacts on the “interchange” issue supported CUNA’s challenge to the Fed’s rulemaking.
  • 70-plus—CUNA penned more than 70 comment letters to 16 different agencies on topics such as NCUA’s Proposal on Credit Union Service Organizations, FHFA’s Inter-agency Credit Risk Retention, and FTC on Credit Score Disclosures. These comment letters were in addition to countless face-to-face meetings and dialogues with regulators.

CUNA Announces the 2012 CUNA Business Lending Certification Institutes in Madison, WI

Posted by on Wednesday, 15 February, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (February 14, 2012) –Registration and school information is now available for the upcoming CUNA Business Lending Certification Institutes, July 16-20, 2012 in Madison, WI.  For more information and to register, visit

The CUNA Business Lending Certification Institutes is designed to provide a practical education on business lending and, via expert-led sessions, address real-life business scenarios. Presented in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business, Executive Education, Small Business Development Center, the CUNA Business Lending Certification Institutes are offered in three parts:

  1. Fundamentals
    Provides a solid foundation for business awareness and develops an understanding of the components involved in business lending services.
  2. Credit Analysis
    Addresses the challenges business members face in making debt service payments and meeting other financial responsibilities.
  3. Advanced Credit Analysis
    Provides hands-on experience with credit analysis.

“This program offers training and resources to help credit unions achieve a strong and sustainable member business lending program. Not only does it help them grow their member base, but it strengthens their presence in the community,” said Courtney Cantwell, Manager of Instructional Design at CUNA.

For more information about the CUNA Business Lending Certification Institutes and to register, visit

CUNA Announces the 2012 CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools in Austin, TX

Posted by on Tuesday, 14 February, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (February 14, 2014) –Registration and school information is now available for the upcoming 2012 CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools, June 11-14, 2012 in Austin, TX.  For more information and to register, visit

The CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools offers credit union counseling professionals the opportunity to hear financial counseling experts share their insight into the latest theories and practices of financial counseling. Through live sessions and face-to-face discussions, attendees will develop the skills and confidence they need to help their members through the range of financial situations they may face.

The CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools are offered in three parts:

Part 2 will discuss prevention strategies that will keep members out of debt and troubling financial situations. Attendees will learn how to help their members understand the underlying causes of their financial difficulties and give them the knowledge they need to monitor their expenses effectively.

  • CUNA Certified Financial Counselor School: Update
    The update session will survey the current practices and theories of financial counseling. Hear from the leaders in financial counseling and stay up-to-date with the latest counseling techniques and practices that will help you help your members reach their financial goals.

Offered as part of the CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools, credits and on-site examinations are provided for those wishing to earn their Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) certification. Recertification of the CCUFC certification is also available as part of the CUNA Certified Financial Counselor School: Update.

For more information about the CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools, the Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) certification and to register, visit

New White Paper, “Effective Credit Union Board Succession Planning: New Demands Shine Spotlight on Standard Practices”

Posted by on Tuesday, 14 February, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (February 13, 2012) –CUNA announced the release of the new white paper, “Effective Credit Union Board Succession Planning” commissioned by CUNA’s Community Credit Union Committee. This study examines the current demographics of community credit union board members, the issues that arise from these findings and strategies for successful board succession and retention. The new white paper is available here.

This newly released white paper evaluates the changing demographics of community credit union board members and reveals that most credit unions do not have a reliable system for attracting the next generation of board members. Furthermore, many boards struggle to reflect the growing diversity of their members, with women and minorities being underrepresented. Through a series of credit union case studies and a list of expert recommendations, this white paper illustrates how successful board succession planning looks in the real world, what credit unions can do to reverse certain negative trends and provides concrete instructions for how credit unions can prepare for the future. Some examples include:

  • Creation of an associate director program
  • (Re)consideration of term limits
  • Development of an “evergreen” list
  • Continuing education requirements

“CUNA’s Community Credit Union Committee has done an excellent job of identifying and addressing a critical issue facing many credit unions. Commissioning this white paper will prove to be incredibly valuable to CEO’s and Boards of Directors. The strategies presented will help to ensure a credit unions board stays functional and competitive in the years to come.” said Todd Spiczenski, Vice President Center for Professional Development at CUNA. “Many credit unions face serious problems if board succession plans are not effectively put into place and changes are made to attract new board members. This white paper provides many practical tips and suggestions that any credit union can incorporate into its daily operations to reverse the worrisome trends seen in board demographics.”

Those interested in learning more about Board Succession Planning for Community Credit Unions can view the full white paper at no cost by clicking here.

To learn more about CUNA’s Community Credit Union Committee and its mission visit

How credit unions and financial institutions use social media

Posted by on Wednesday, 1 February, 2012

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.

So, here is a small list of online resources I track with periodically or have found to be useful. It is by no means an exhaustive list—nor an endorsement—but rather a small sampling of what I use to stay current with the credit union space and better understand how financial institutions use social media. Perhaps you will find these helpful as well.

What resources and examples would you suggest? Please share them in the comments!


Examples of credit unions using social media:


Resources from the credit union industry:


Articles on social media and financial institutions:


Discover Success at CUNA’s Upcoming 2012 America’s Credit Union Conference, June 17-20, 2012, in San Diego, CA

Posted by on Thursday, 19 January, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (January 18, 2012) – The Credit Union National Association’s 2012 America’s Credit Union Conference will be held June 17 – 20, in San Diego, CA. Conference registration and housing is now open at

America’s Credit Union Conference is designed to connect progressive credit union leaders with like-minded business experts and action-inspiring ideas. Each year, ACUC features the industry’s top line up of business speakers.  Keynoting this year’s event in San Diego are business innovator and renowned author Tom Peters, USAF pilot and philanthropist Major Dan Rooney, and science-based marketer Sally Hogshead. For the second year, the conference will feature CUNA Mutual Group’s popular Discovery sessions.

“America’s Credit Union Conference is about activating excellence and propelling our credit union movement forward,” said Bill Cheney, President and CEO of CUNA. “This signature conference sparks inspiring leadership, big plans and positive change and look forward to this gathering of the movement’s leaders and visionary thinkers in San Diego this summer.”

CUNA Mutual Group’s Discovery breakout sessions are led by credit union experts and designed to help credit union leaders solve problems, capture opportunities and address current market challenges. The small session sizes foster networking opportunities and strong connections among attendees.

“We are pleased to once again partner with CUNA and offer our live Discovery sessions at the 2012 America’s Credit Union Conference,” said Jeff Post, President and CEO of CUNA Mutual. “Collaboration is a unique trait that differentiates credit unions from other financial institutions and helps make our movement stronger. ACUC’s energetic atmosphere and focus on a successful future for credit unions as a natural fit for our Discovery sessions.”

The 2012 ACUC also offers impactful Thought Leader sessions, an exclusive Executive Series for CEOs, one of the largest exhibit halls in the industry, networking and guest programs to enjoy San Diego.

Additional speakers, session topics and programs will be announced in the weeks to come. For more information and to register, please go to

CUNA Launches Youth Week Online Store with Early Bird Discount

Posted by on Wednesday, 18 January, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (January 17, 2012)—CUNA recently launched its National Credit Union Youth Week™ online store  and is providing early bird prices for credit unions. Youth Week will be celebrated April 22-28, 2012.

Through March 9, credit unions can save 10% on print materials to promote the “Be a Credit Union Super Saver™” theme and events, financial education materials to introduce money concepts to youth, fun items to reward young savers and apparel to dress the part in April. Discounts of up to 10% apply to standard items in inventory and bulk or customized orders.

“We’re excited to continue helping credit unions celebrate their young members and promote financial education,” says Joanne Sepich, CUNA’s Youth Week coordinator. “Youth Week is a great time to get youth into good saving habits that can last a lifetime.”

Credit unions can also choose to participate in the nationwide Saving Challenge, in which hundreds of credit unions track youth savings deposits during the month of April. CUNA will award $100 cash prizes to youth at 10 of the participating credit unions.

“Participating in the Saving Challenge is a great way for individual credit unions to raise awareness about the importance of financial responsibility and the benefits of credit union membership on a national scale,” adds Sepich. “Last year, participating credit unions reported more than 9000 new accounts and savings deposits of $28.5 million. This is a prime opportunity to increase member involvement.”

For Youth Week and throughout April, credit unions can outfit staff in Super Saver two-color imprint T-shirts in adult and youth sizes. Credit unions save on the upgraded tee and can both select the color and customize by adding the credit union name. Available in five colors, the shirt features the Credit Union Super Saver dollar sign logo highlighted by a yellow lightning bolt across its front.

“Although the price of cotton is about double what it was two years ago, we’ve found a great shirt with a two-color imprint for less than you’ll find a one-color imprint,” explains Sepich. “We know that credit unions are looking for value these days, and these shirts are just one of the many cost-effective and visually impactful ways to celebrate Youth Week.”

Also new for this year’s Youth Week, the online store builds upon the International Credit Union Day store design. Improved product categories support enhanced item browsing and easier site navigation.

For updates on Youth Week, credit union staff may sign up for a free e-newsletter and visit

CUNA Announces the 2012 CUNA Economics & Investments Conference in Chicago, IL

Posted by on Friday, 13 January, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (January 13, 2012) –Registration and school information is now available for the upcoming 2012 CUNA Economics & Investments Conference, August 12-15, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  For conference and registration information visit

The CUNA Economics & Investments Conference gives credit union professionals an in-depth look at today’s national economic landscape and tomorrow’s economic future. Well-respected CUNA economic experts, Bill Hampel and Mike Schenk, will dive deep into the hard facts and numbers of the U.S. economy and explain what the nitty-gritty details of the economy mean, why they are important and how they will impact credit unions in the coming fiscal year. After attending this three day conference, credit union professionals will have the knowledge and skills needed to make better informed strategic planning decisions.

Attendees will hear CUNA’s leading economists speak on:


  • The key players that shape the U.S. economy
  • The practical tools for managing credit union finances
  • Investment strategies that will keep credit unions competitive
  • Asset-liability management techniques
  • The current regulatory issues affecting credit unions today
  • And more


“Every year our highly regarded economists Bill Hampel and Mike Schenk draw large crowds to hear their insights into today’s economic realities and tomorrow’s economic outlook ,” said Kevin Smith, Director of Volunteer Education at CUNA.  “The CUNA Economics & Investments Conference is a uniquely engaging and provides speakers and content not available at other conferences. Over the course of three intensive days, credit union professionals will get an entire year’s worth of credit union specific economic information that they can then use to build their strategic plans and map out their future business initiatives.”

The CUNA CFO Council is offering scholarships,up to $2,500, for qualifying credit unions attending the CUNA Economics & Investments Conference. The deadline to apply is July 9, 2012. More information can be found here.

For more information about the CUNA Economics & Investments Conference and to register, visit

State of Wisconsin Honors CUNA’s Money Mission with 2011 Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award

Posted by on Tuesday, 10 January, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (January 9, 2012)– CUNA is pleased to announce that the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy has named Money Mission LLC a recipient of the 2011 Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award. Money Mission, along with other recipients, was recognized for its efforts to improve the collective knowledge of personal finance among Wisconsin citizens.

Money Mission is an interactive, web-based simulation designed to educate young adults about the fundamentals of personal finance. It is not a series of tutorials, but rather an engaging and entertaining journey built from the most basic concepts of value and money through complex issues such as taxes, inflation and globalism.

“Financial education is a core operating principle of credit unions, and one that state and federal lawmakers pay close attention to,” said Bill Cheney, CUNA president/CEO. “Projects like Money Mission increase awareness of credit unions and their values, and demonstrate credit unions’ commitment to the community and long-term financial health of their members.”

Money Mission and the other recipients were selected from 45 nominations submitted for consideration. Criteria used in the screening process included innovative implementation, demonstrated measureable results, collaboration with partners, whether the effort was statewide or had the potential to be statewide and whether the effort was focused on needs-based groups.

“We are honored that Money Mission has been recognized for its educational efforts by the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and by the state of Wisconsin,” says Jan Garkey, manager of group instruction at CUNA. “Every day we enjoy helping teens become financially responsible citizens.”

“The recipients of the Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award are helping Wisconsinites of all ages improve their personal finance skills in our schools, in the workplace and in communities across the state,” says Governor Scott Walker. “These citizen leaders equip students, parents, peers and consumers with the necessary tools to make informed decisions about their own money, which improves individual quality of life, as well as the Wisconsin economy.”

The results of Money Mission have been measured by the degree of participation and engagement. Almost 30 credit unions in Wisconsin participate, and nearly 4,000 students in over 40 states have signed on for Money Mission in just over a year of operation. The program is available through credit unions nationwide and is accessible to any interested participant. Further, the initiative has helped several students realize their college dreams through its scholarship awards.

“More information about Money Mission can be found here, or by emailing Jan Garkey.”

CUNA Announces 2012 Schools and Conferences Lineup

Posted by on Monday, 9 January, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (January 9, 2012) –CUNA hosts educational events that cover every aspect of the credit union movement. The 2012 suite of CUNA events ranges from large signature events that draw thousands of credit union professionals each year to smaller, more topic-specific conferences. Dates, locations, speakers and additional information can be found at

Every year, CUNA schools and conferences provide credit union professionals around the country with updates on pressing industry topics and regulations. From compliance and collections to marketing departments and board volunteers, the 2012 CUNA schools and conferences offer credit union specific education for every position. Programs are designed to showcase leading experts in their field and provide attendees with take away strategies to use at their credit unions to boost membership, streamline efficiency and strengthen their business and financial institution as a whole. Attendees will also have the opportunity to network with other credit union professionals from around the country.

Many 2012 CUNA conferences also offer opportunities for educational advancement such as CPE credits, certifications, designations, graduate degrees and awards for credit union excellence. These titles are recognized throughout the credit union movement as distinctions for both job competence and career professionalism.

Get a sneak peak at a few of the upcoming CUNA spring conferences:

CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference
March 18-22 • Washington D.C.

CUNA Consumer & Residential Mortgage Lending School
April 2-5 • Orlando, FL

CUNA CU Finance for Non-Financial Managers & Volunteers
April 22-25 • Orlando, FL

CUNA Regulatory Compliance Schools
April 22-27 • Orlando, FL

CUNA Marketing Management Schools
April 30 – May 3 • Las Vegas, NV

View a complete listing of the 2012 CUNA Schools and Conferences and learn more about the educational opportunities available from CUNA.