Archive for category Credit Union News

CUNA Management School: Expo Night

Posted by on Tuesday, 31 July, 2012

Two heads are better than one, or so the saying goes. However, after CUNA Management School’s Expo Night, I feel the time-worn axiom should be updated just a bit: 223 heads are better than two.

Students of CUNA Management School flooded the CUNA campus Monday for the annual CUNA Expo night where the future credit union leaders collaborated to come up with the next big idea that will propel the credit union movement forward.

Upon arriving, the crowd of credit union professionals split into groups based upon topics each student selected previously. Each topic focused on ways to strengthen the credit union movement, spanning a vast spectrum of issues including:

  • Taking Your Career to the Next Level
  • Getting Social Media Right
  • Raking in the Loans
  • Making Mandatory Compliance Training Fun
  • Attracting Gen Y
  • Increasing Credit Union Awareness
  • And more

The groups were challenged to come up with a BIG IDEA that addressed their topic and submit that idea to be judged by the entire room for its originality, practicality and overall inventiveness. Pride was not the only thing on the line. Each member of the winning group, as determined by a school-wide vote, would be entered for the chance to win $3,000 scholarship dollars towards their class scholarship fund.

Oh, and the entire event was being timed. Go!

You can imagine what happened next. Talking, discussing, listening, re-thinking, talking louder, debating, and eventually, innovation. After time was called, one team member from each group expressed their group’s idea visually on a piece of paper. Explaining your idea audibly was “illegal.” The CUNA cafeteria suddenly got much more colorful wallpaper.

Now for the vote. After all ideas were posted, each student was equipped with 3 “likes” that they could assign to 3 separate ideas. You could “like” your own idea, but only once, and you had to distribute all three of your “likes.” Here are a few of the most popular ideas, as explained by the students themselves:

  • BIG IDEA: Loan it Forward Program  This idea is based on the fact that the cheapest and most effective advertising is WORD OF MOUTH. When a member closes a loan, at time of the loan closing, they are given a $50 Loan it Forward coupon. They give this coupon to a friend, co-worker or family member. When the friend, co-worker or family member applies for a loan, the original member gets $50! Then at the time of their closing, the new member gets a Loan it Forward coupon to pass out and the cycle continues. With this promotion, the credit union’s loan volume will grow.
  • BIG IGEA: Attract & Retain Young Members  To keep pace with the large number of members, especially young members, converting to mobile banking, credit unions should develop financial applications to make it easier to access the financial resources they need on their smart phone. Some applications to develop include: Pay Merchant, Bill Pay, FaceTime with a credit union service representative, financial calculators, remote deposits, Pay Book and more. These resources will please existing members and attract new ones.
  • And the winner! BIG IDEA: Member Created Ad Contest In order to increase credit union awareness, CUNA and state leagues will host a national advertising contest. Participants will be challenged to create their own ads praising the credit union difference and will submit their entries by uploading their advertisement onto YouTube. The winning advertisement, as determined by either votes or views, will be featured in their state league’s credit union campaign and receive $25,000 in prize money. Runners up will have the chance to win 1 of 500 iPads.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. After last night’s event I can confidently say that the credit union movement’s future could not be in better (or more enthusiastic) hands. Watch for more big idea posts soon.

Thanks to the Heroes

Posted by on Wednesday, 18 April, 2012

From Beth Stetenfeld:

If you ask friends, neighbors, and colleagues to size up their lives, few say every aspect of life has been perfect—that they’ve had it all.

Some say they have no regrets. But the truth is, we all make choices and sacrifices. At some point, we have to set aside one personal goal or desire for another.

Whether it’s trading time with family for military service or setting aside a long-time cherished hobby for a more lucrative career, we all must choose paths along the way. Often this means subjugating selfish goals for the common good.

Many of the credit union movement’s leaders have made great personal sacrifices for the benefit of their members and communities. And four times each year, Credit Union Magazine highlights and thanks these CU Heroes.

Often these folks say they’ve received as much as they’ve given. While that might be true, they’ve all made credit unions and their members a top priority.

This year, we celebrate the contributions of four more CU Heroes:

  • Rudy Hanley, president/CEO, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Santa Ana, Calif. His political involvement, work ethic, and integrity have benefited his own credit union and the credit union movement, overall.
  • Ron KaseCEO, Landmark Credit Union, New Berlin, Wis. One of his proudest accomplishments: leading his credit union through remarkable growth, including the creation of 450 jobs in southeastern Wisconsin.
  • Frank Matous Sr. (posthumous), former CEO of Tandem Federal Credit Union, Warren, Mich. A credit union pioneer, he encouraged the next generation—including his four sons—to stay active in the credit union movement.
  • Joe Robertson, retired president/CEO, Our Community Credit Union, Shelton, Wash. His credit union garnered a record $18 million increase in deposits during 2009 (doubling the previous year’s increase) during the slow recovery from the recession.

And now it’s time to select the CU Hero of the Year. Please visit to cast your vote.

Voting will take place through April 30. This year’s winner will be honored at CUNA’s America’s Credit Union Conference in San Diego, June 17-20.

So cast your vote and visit to learn more about the conference.

CUNA’s Plan It and MoneyMix Win Folio: Magazine’s Prestigious Eddie Awards

Posted by on Tuesday, 8 November, 2011

Madison, Wisconsin (November 8, 2011)– CUNA is pleased to announce that Plan It and MoneyMix, two of its onlineEDGE personal financial education products, won Folio: Magazine’s prestigious Eddie Award, honoring their excellence in editorial content. The awards were announced last week at the 2011 FOLIO: Show in New York City.

Plan it, a retirement planning tool, won the gold medal for Best Consumer Website for Non-Profit Associations. MoneyMix, a financial education and planning assistant for young adults, won the bronze medal for Best Online Column or Blog.

Plan It
Plan It, an online retirement planning tool, is being recognized at the 2011 Eddie Awards for its quality content. Plan It helps pre-retirees focus attention on their financial and personal goals by allowing them to keep track of retirement funds through interactive calculators, short courses, informative articles, FAQs, quick tips and other progress tracking tools.

“We’re honored to help credit union pre-retirees plan for retirement, and to be recognized for the quality of Plan It’s content,” says Rena Crispin, managing editor for Plan It. “We are happy to see financial publications getting to share the media spotlight with such prestigious company.”

MoneyMix’s spending blog particularly drew the attention of the Eddie Awards panel for its originality and accessibility. The spending blog, one of the many blogs featured on MoneyMix, is filled with useful spending advice written by young adults, for young adults.

“We are honored that MoneyMix has been recognized in the category of Best Online Column or Blog, one of the most competitive and inclusive categories at the Eddie Awards,” says Michelle Dosher, managing editor for MoneyMix. “To be mentioned alongside such publishing giants as Sports Illustrated and SELF Magazine is a special treat that not only speaks to the talent of our writers but to the importance of the financial advice we give young adults.”

Both Plan It and MoneyMix have won awards for editorial excellence before. As part of onlineEDGE, CUNA’s suite of member-focused financial education tools, both programs won the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education’s (AFCPE) Outstanding Consumer Financial Information Award in 2008.

Spanning across print and online magazine disciplines, the Eddie Awards are the largest magazine awards program in the United States that celebrates outstanding editorial achievement in magazine publishing. This year over 2,000 applications were submitted and only 400 winners were selected by panelists at Folio: Magazine.

Click here for more information about CUNA’s onlineEDGE products, including Plan It andMoneyMix.

CUNA staff are gearing up to celebrate bank transfer day, how about you?

Posted by on Friday, 4 November, 2011

Wow, 650,000 American’s switched to credit unions last month - more than all of the new customers who joined in 2010!  Here at the Credit Union National Association we are excited to see so many of you discovering what we’ve known all along – that credit unions are the smarter choice.  We’re celebrating the excitement and gearing up for bank transfer day in style - sporting shirts that are perfect for the occasion – one that shows a FEE-H8R license plate and the other says “I did the math:  CU>bank   credit unions are the smarter choice”.   Comment to let us know about your experience with bank transfer day – whether you’re at a credit union that is planing a big celebration or seeing member growth or if you are somebody who is making the switch to a credit union – we’d love to hear from you!  2 lucky commenters will be picked at random to receive one of our bank transfer day t-shirts.  Happy Bank Transfer Day from CUNAverse!

UPDATE (11/08): This contest has ended – congratulations to our winners, Alyssa and Aimee. They each won a  Bank Transfer Day t-shirt from CUNA. THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED!

Comment for your chance to win 1 of our Bank Transfer Day t-shirts!





CONTEST NOTES: Contest begins today and ends on Mon., Nov. 7th at 11:59PM (ct). Winners will be chosen by a random number generator. Make sure you leave an email address where you can be contacted.  The winner will be notified via e-mail and will also be announced on the blog.  The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants received.  No purchase necessary to win. Void where prohibited.

This competition is offered by Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and is open to anyone who comments on this post and is at least 18 years of age. Employees of CUNA and family members of such employees are not eligible to enter.

CUNA shall not have any liability for any malfunction of or damage to the prize. The award winner may be responsible for applicable state or federal taxes on the value of the contest prize.



The Clock is Ticking Down to Bank Transfer Day – Saturday, November 5th

Posted by on Friday, 4 November, 2011

From Jill Stevenson:

Were any of us expecting the surge of public outcry against big banks when Bank of America made that little announcement of charging a monthly $5 fee on debit cards? Come on, really…it’s not like they haven’t added new fees or increased fee charges before.

I think not…

When opportunity knocks, when our rivals really get it wrong, credit unions aren’t fortune’s fools.

This is the credit union movement’s “national branding campaign we have been waiting for,” Pat Keefe, CUNA VP of communications and media outreach, so aptly proclaimed during a recent interview on CU Chat Up.

I think he is right.

Credit unions did not have to design it, manufacture it, nor pay for it. But, we will certainly benefit from it. And may our new credit union members be content with their switch.

Now, whoa Nelly, BofA backed down and nixed the fee…

Too late!

The actions of big banks have sent their customers searching for credit unions to join. Will everyone find a credit union to join via the credit union locators that are being promoted throughout the news and Internet? Since the BofA announcement, over 68,000 successful searches have been conducted via the CU locator on the consumer website

Don’t overlook the power of social media, either. Geez, just look at the reaction from that event page posted by Kristen Christian. That’s what has gotten us to this countdown to Bank Transfer Day on Saturday, November 5.

A Smarter Choice’s Facebook page had reached 1,014 “likes” during its first 6 months. Now, four weeks after the BofA announcement, that number has climbed to over 6,283 as I edit this blog, again. Oh, and according to Facebook, 2,124 people are talking about this (us). How they know, I really don’t want to think about….

Here are a few of the most recent Facebook comments:

“Buy local everything. The extra money you may spend will end up in your pocket.”

As to whether the BofA fee reversal changes your plans to switch?

“No. Switching has never been easier…”

“No. Too little too late…”

Here’s a comment on the posts about The Disclosures song “Tired of Your Big Bank?”

“Love the song and love my credit union!!! They have taken care of me for 40 years and have never done me wrong!!! Get smart people and move your money to a credit union where you and people like you are in charge!!!” (3 people “liked” what she said.)

Thank you, big banks!

Jill Stevenson is the consumer website coordinator for

Top 10 must-read credit union articles from September 2011

Posted by on Wednesday, 12 October, 2011

September 2011 Top 10 Must ReadsSeptember ushered in changing fall foliage, football, and plenty of excellent credit union articles. Selecting the top 10 must-reads was no easy task, but we at CUNAverse believe the following list delivers the best content from across the internet. As always, we highlight important credit union articles from a variety of sources, including The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Did we overlook an article? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment!


Facebook: Bank Transfer Day Generates Pro-CU Comments

The Facebook page for Bank Transfer Day, Nov. 5, is garnering many comments that are favorable to credit unions.

Credit Unions: A Cheaper Banking Option

With banks doing away with free checking and tacking on more fees, you may be able to get more bang for your buck with a credit union.

Your Money: Act to Avoid Bank Services Fees

Banks are awash in cash, despite the fact that they’re paying pennies in interest. And increasingly, customers are being charged for services that used to be free.

BofA Debit Fee Shows Interchange Cap a Blow to Consumers: CUNA

As most credit unions continue to offer free debit card services, banks are just beginning to apply sometimes hefty fees to the popular service.

Ensure FFIEC Compliance with Risk-based Authentication

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) recently released a supplement [pdf] to its “Authentication in an Internet Banking Environment” guidance, originally published in 2005.

Federation Creates Foreclosure Intervention Toolkit for CUs

The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation) has recently completed a new “Credit Union Foreclosure Intervention Toolkit” to help credit unions combat the foreclosure crisis in their communities.

Data Breaches Top List of Fraud Threats

Data breaches have overtaken the theft of physical assets as the No. 1 fraud type, with most data theft occurring in the financial services industry, according to Ken Otsuka, senior risk consultant for CUNA Mutual Group. Here are 6 steps to avoid devastating financial, reputation, and legal risks.

WOCCU Launches Intl. Year of Co-Ops Online Platform & Resources

The United Nations earlier this year announced 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC), a time to recognize the contributions of cooperative enterprises worldwide, including credit unions. World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) recently launched a special section on its website to provide a platform for credit union organizations to share ideas about cooperative services and ways to celebrate the U.N. designation.

CU Execs Must Serve Only One Board, NCUA Says

The National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) management official interlocks rule prohibits members of a credit union’s management team from serving other nonaffiliated depository organizations, NCUA Associate General Counsel Hattie Ulan said in an agency legal opinion.

Enhance Your CU’s Investment Portfolio

Credit union leaders should set aside personal investment biases and change their investment styles to build a solid investment portfolio, two MEMBERS Capital Advisors analysts told attendees at CUNA Mutual Group’s Online Discovery Conference.

Top 15 Must-read Credit Union Articles for Summer, 2011

Posted by on Thursday, 22 September, 2011

What a busy summer in credit union land! We took a brief respite from our “Must Read” lists this summer to tend to other matters, but fear not! This post includes five articles for each month—June, July, and August—on important credit union topics you may have missed.

We hope these are helpful and, as always, please share additional articles by leaving a comment below!




Create a Board Succession Plan: Seven Steps

Creating a board succession plan is in members’ best interests and helps fulfill directors’ fiduciary duties. Learn how with this article.

What Do Credit Unions Need to Do to Remain Relevant

Several credit union IT leaders were asked this question by Credit Union Times at the recent Finovation conference in San Francisco: “What do credit unions need to do to stay relevant in the coming years?”

Small Banks, Credit Unions Fear Debit Fee Declines

Could a limit on the fees retailers pay on debit card purchases cause your bank or credit union to fail? That’s the dire picture some are painting as a cap on so-called swipe fees nears.

Louisiana League to Develop Young Professionals Network

The Louisiana Credit Union League (LCUL) is developing a program to provide networking, development and growth opportunities for Louisiana’s young credit union professionals.

Compliance: What to Know About Reg Z Changes

CompBlog, the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) newest addition to its electronic information toolshed for members, has started a conversation about what credit unions should focus on in the changes the Federal Reserve made this spring to its Regulation Z.




Why Social Media’s in the Cards

Credit unions still unsure whether or not to invest in social networking may find some direction in a new study. According to SYNERGISTICS Research, cardholders are beginning to connect with credit card issuers via social networks.

Credit Unions Provide Haven for Commercial Lending

More companies have turned to their friendly neighborhood credit union for commercial loans, which is keeping many folks in business and adding jobs to a shaky economy.

Fed Issues Interchange ‘Exempt/Not Exempt’ Lists

In its first step to facilitate a two-tiered debit card interchange fee structure since adoption of its final rule, the Federal Reserve Tuesday (06/12) issued two lists—one with the names of each institution considered to be covered by the new cap on debit interchange fees and another with the names of those that are exempt.

Check 21: Image is Everything

Even though the volume of checks written gradually declines each year, credit unions should continue to invest in check-capture technologies that automate item processing and lower costs, says Andrew Tilbury, director of marketing and communications at Bluepoint Solutions Inc.

Social Media Enters the Hiring Process

As with all communication, social media comes with business benefits and legal risks. A primary area for concern among HR professionals is the use of social media in the hiring process.




Crash Networkers Take on Affordable Home Ownership

In just ten weeks, the Filene Research Institute and the Crash Network have developed an innovative program designed to help credit unions increase the availability of affordable home ownership.

Ed Filene on Embracing Social Media

There has been a long-running topic on about how to get management on-board with social media when they are dead-set against it.

Can Square Bring You More Business?

Shari Storm, SVP and CMO for Verity Credit Union suggests the launch of Square may cause credit unions to see more of their members starting side businesses.

CU Members Today and Tomorrow

As credit unions look to attract new members and peak borrowers in the future, they should increasingly think “young” and “Hispanic.”

How Stock Market Woes May Impact CUs

What is the consumer-confidence effect of market volatility on credit union members?


CUNA Councils helping members more than ever – Prizes!

Posted by on Friday, 5 August, 2011

Natalie Sherry

From Natalie Sherry:

When I began working for the Credit Union National Association nine months ago as the Membership Manager for CUNA Councils, I was excited to join the largest professional organization supporting credit union executives!

Since 1994, Councils have provided the resources and networking opportunities necessary to help credit unions thrive, and along the way, have experienced continuous growth.  Serving marketing, human resources, finance, lending, technology and operations executives, membership has doubled since 2003.

In 2005, the membership reached 3,000 and in 2007, it reached 4,000. And now in 2011, we’ve reached yet another membership milestone:  the CUNA Councils have now reached (and exceeded) 5,000 members!  (I have to admit, it’s a pretty nice feeling to start a new job in a year when the organization is anticipating reaching a historic milestone!)

As the Membership Manager, I’m well-acquainted with the benefits of joining the Councils (discounts on education & training, endless networking opportunities, white paper research… the list goes on), but I wanted to hear straight from the source what our members have to say!  So we asked, “What is it about the CUNA Councils that is helping members now more than ever? “

Here are just a few stories we’ve heard:

The greatest thing about being a member of the Council is to network with our peers.  I was able to get all the information needed to create a new position for a director of lending, including qualifications.  It is the greatest thing to have this vast information at our fingertips.  Everyone on the Council is willing to share and assist.  We do have some amazing people in the credit union world!
— Carol R., Lending Council

I’ve been a member of the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council since I began working at my credit union in 2008. When I started, I was a college-student and didn’t know what a credit union was. Being part of the Council made it easier for me to understand what it meant for credit unions to be cooperative. Today, more than ever before, the Council is a source for peer-reviews of vendors and programs, feedback and idea generation. I can’t count how many times a week I read an email that makes me think — why aren’t we doing that?! It allows me to bounce ideas off a network of marketing professionals from across the country and stay up-to-date with new technology and practices. It also allows me to ask questions to more experienced credit union marketers when it comes to strategy and compliance or regulations. At the end of the day, I value the Council more than ever before because it allows me, a one-person marketing department in a small community credit union, to feel like I have the support of a marketing staff of hundreds.
— Francesca I., Marketing & Business Development Council

The CUNA Lending Council has helped me develop and improve a lot of my credit union’s policies and procedures. I have received information on foreclosures and mortgage processes to streamline many of our processes. CUNA Lending Council gives me instant access to so many professional and intelligent people that have improved my credit union and hopefully the credit union movement as a whole. I will continue to contribute and learn from the Council.

Thank you CUNA Councils!!!!
— Kimo R., Lending Council

Among all of the “More Than Ever” stories we’ve already received, there is one undeniable theme:  Council membership connects credit unions to each other in a way few other industries can claim.  We collaborate, we grow and we support each other.

To acknowledge the milestone of reaching 5,000 members, we did a little celebrating here at CUNA with cake (ofcourse!) and we’re excited to announce that we have some more surprises up our sleeves so the credit unions we support can celebrate too.

We love to hear what members enjoy most about their membership and are continuing to grow larger every day!  Current members who share their “More than Ever” stories or new members who join the Councils by August 31st will be entered for a chance to win one of five prize drawings!  Plus, the icing on the cake — we are offering a special ½ year rate and a chance to win a $5000 CUNA scholarship! Join in the celebration!

Please help yourself to a slice of virtual cake—-it’s calorie free! :)

Thanks for celebrating with us, 5000 members strong — we couldn’t have done it without YOU!

Natalie Sherry is the Membership Manager for CUNA Councils

Top ten must-read credit union articles for May 2011

Posted by on Tuesday, 31 May, 2011

It’s time for the top 10 must-reads for May, 2011 as we look back on the month that was and look forward to the month that will be. In this round-up we highlight important credit union articles from several sources, including MSN Money.

Nine steps to recoup lost interchange income

Don’t wait for the Fed’s final interchange rule or for legislation delaying its implementation to determine how to recoup millions in lost debit interchange income.

Credit unions have best credit card deals

Pew Safe Credit Cards Project examined the credit card market two years after the federal Credit CARD Act was passed. Their study found credit union credit cards offer consumers a better deal, across the board.

Banking on ex-bankers?

Ensure ex-bankers are a good fit for your credit union and the credit union movement before hiring.

Google ups the wave-and-pay ante for credit unions

Robert McGarvey writes: “Although this is still early days, David Eads, a mobile payments expert with Kony Solutions, stressed that now is the time for forward-thinking credit unions to contact Google to learn the details of getting involved in Google Wallet. ‘It will be important for credit unions to be part of this mobile payments revolution’.”

Equifax Report: Credit Scores Are Up

The U.S. credit market is stabilizing and growing, and the nation’s average credit score is increasing.

Understand your merger goals

Asking questions can help clarify your goals when you consider a merger.

Preliminary Data from Survey Show CUs are Strong Financial Education Providers

Sponsored by state credit union leagues and NCUF’s REAL Solutions program, the data and information gathered from credit unions will enable the credit union movement to demonstrate the power of financial education and counseling on the lives of members and communities across the country.

Protect against phone bill “cramming”

Consumers can pay for services not offered by their phone carrier–such as subscriptions, collect calls, and charitable donations–through their phone bill. Cramming occurs when unscrupulous third parties place false charges on the bill to collect money for services they didn’t provide. The good news is you can take these tips to protect yourself from cramming.

My Top 5 Takeaways from the CUNA HR/TD Conference

Technology CU’s Michelle Greear shares what she learned at a recent conference. Lesson 3: The new “normal” is anything but.

Study: Consumers Want Human Help in Learning New Technology

Four of 10 consumers would rather learn about new financial technology by talking with someone at their CU instead of learning on their own.

Who’s Your CU hero? Vote Now

Posted by on Thursday, 12 May, 2011

True heroism, tennis great and activist Arthur Ashe once said, “is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

That description readily fits the candidates for Credit Union Magazine’s 2011 Credit Union Hero of the Year Award.

Each year, Credit Union Magazine subscribers nominate and vote for one of four deserving credit union leaders. The top vote-getter is honored as Credit Union Hero of the Year at the America’s Credit Union Conference & Expo, held this year in San Antonio June 19-22.

Past winners include Linda Milton, CEO of Team Financial Federal Credit Union in Houston; CEO of Community First Credit Union, Appleton, Wis.; and Vic Thate, executive vice president for FAA Credit Union in Oklahoma City.

This year’s nominees:

* Ron Amstutz, executive vice president, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, Phoenix. After his son recovered from a serious illness thanks to the doctors, nurses, and staff at a children’s hospital, Amstutz guided his credit union to become the No. 1 U.S. credit union for Children’s Miracle Network [] fund raising.

* Michael Bittle, CEO of Vanderbilt University Employees’ Credit Union, Nashville, Tenn. When his neighbors and members suffered damage from the May 2010 Nashville floods, he rolled up his sleeves and created a suite of flood-relief loans to help them through the difficult days.

* Carol Schillios, founder of Schillios Consulting Group, Seattle. A microfinance entrepreneur, she has participated in numerous cooperative programs in more than a dozen countries on six continents.

* Maurice Smith, CEO of Local Government Federal Credit Union, Raleigh, N.C. He helps members through tough financial times by providing mortgage loan modifications, alternatives to subprime debt, and unemployment protection options.

Voting ends Friday, May 13, so vote now to select Credit Union Magazine’s 2011 Credit Union Hero of the Year.

We’ll announce the winner next week.