Archive for category Credit Union News

Top 10 must-read credit union articles for April 2011

Posted by on Monday, 2 May, 2011

CUNAverse brings you the top 10 must-reads for April, 2011. As always, we highlight important credit union articles from a variety of sources, including U.S. News and World Report.

Vote for the 2011 CU Hero of the Year

Who should be the 2011 CU Hero of the Year? Follow the link to cast your vote and celebrate credit union leaders and heros.

Why You Need a Credit Union Account

Jim Wang’s post discusses the many advantages credit unions have over banks. In addition to discussing the major differences between banks and credit unions, Wang suggests, “if you’ve been searching for a way to sever your ties to a commercial bank, consider credit unions.”

H&FF Radio Covered Financial Literacy in 200th Broadcast

Sunday, April 3rd was a milestone for the Home & Family Finance Radio program. The broadcast was the program’s 200th show and discussed the importance of financial literacy and offered ideas to help consumers develop everyday financial skills.

The Jigsaw Puzzle: Redefining Tomorrow’s Corporates

Robert McGarvey reviews the current corporate credit union situation and why “…Topic A in the credit union industry during 2011 has to be how corporate credit unions will service natural person credit unions going forward.”

AmeriChoice Uses Grant for Youth Fin Lit Outreach

AmeriChoice FCU is on track to reach more than 10,000 school students this year after receiving a grant from the National Credit Union Foundation in 2010 for its financial literacy youth outreach program.

Credit Unions Look for a Lending Rebound

CU loan portfolios take a hit as members pay down debt at unprecedented rates.

First Tech CU Adds As SEG

NCUA has approved First Tech CU to serve Seattle-based employees of

Review policies in wake of quakes, tornadoes

Do you know exactly what your insurance policies cover–and don’t cover–if you’re the victim of a tornado, earthquake, flood, or other natural disaster?

Council Honors Top Marketers

CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council’s Diamond Awards honors top marketers, best practices award winners also receive acclaim

CUs pick up the pieces in tornadoes’ aftermath

Credit unions in several Southern states have either begun to pick up the pieces from last week’s swarm of tornados and flooding or are standing ready to help.

Concern for Community: Credit unions and post-disaster community recovery

Posted by on Tuesday, 19 April, 2011

A vehicle sits in a tree in Tushka, Okla., Friday, April 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The recent news of storms pummeling America’s heartland—from Oklahoma to North Carolina—is nothing short of tragic. There’s no doubt credit unions will mobilize to help the affected region as they have done countless times in the past.

The National Credit Union Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund and are dedicated to helping credit unions, their employees and members recover from major disasters. 2008 saw the NCUF and the California Credit Union League provide 133,000 in grants through CU Aid to help victims of devastating wildfires that swept through California that year.

The Ohio Credit Union Foundation offers suggestions and resources to help credit unions understand how they can help their community before and after a disaster. The beginning of their document, Post-Disaster Community Recovery Plan, reminds us that Concern for Community is one of the seven co-operative principles for credit unions.

As member-owned cooperatives, credit unions look out for their members’ interests and provide a level of service not generally available at other financial institutions (“service” in the credit union world means providing individuals, families, and entire communities with economic stability through the dignity of financial empowerment).  Credit unions are different; we’re about taking care of people – in good times and in bad. This difference needs to be continually showcased.

All of this got me thinking about a story I once read in Real Stories From Credit Unions, a book CUNA published in 2001. The story describes how Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union helped their community recover from devastating wildfires in the spring of 2000. I’d like to share that story with you…

Funds for Displaced People and Animals

In the spring of 2000, wildfires in Los Alamos, New Mexico, destroyed 261 homes and burned about 47,000 acres, leaving 405 families homeless. Of the residences damaged, 216 belonged to Los Alamos Laboratory employees. In response, employees of nearby Sandia Laboratories (in Livermore and Albuquerque) shared their houses and pastures with displaced persons and animals.

Albuquerque’s Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union (SLFCU) opened an account that collected over $100,000 for fire victims. Employees at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory collected $16,000 over several days during lunch. Sandia Lab employees and staff at other labs contributed $82,000 to the SLFCU account.

‘Watching young children bring in their stuffed animals, as well as their piggy banks, to donate to the fire victims brought tears to my eyes,’ reports Christopher Jillson, SLFCU CEO. ‘I saw tellers gingerly sticking knives into the slots in the banks to crack them open and overheard more than one child say, ‘it’s okay to break it, they need it more than me.’

This story demonstrates the positive impact credit unions’ Concern for Community has after a disaster.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to those affected by the recent storms that swept through our nation’s midsection, and continue to march eastward. Take whatever solace you can in knowing credit unions will be there for you.

We’d love to highlight similar stories from around the credit union world. How has your credit union demonstrated it’s Concern for Community?

Top 10 must-read credit union articles for March 2011

Posted by on Tuesday, 29 March, 2011

It’s time for the CUNAverse top 10 must-reads for March, 2011. This month we highlight important credit union articles from the Wall Street Journal and other sources around the credit union world including the National Credit Union Foundation and the World Council of Credit Unions.

Special Report: CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference

Couldn’t make it to CUNA’s GAC this year? Here’s what you missed.

Banks hit for CU Ills

Federal regulators point to Wall Street’s biggest firms for the collapse of five institutions at the heart of the nation’s credit-union industry.

NCUA Details Fin Lit requirements for FCU Directors

The NCUA in its letter to federal credit unions No. 11-FCU-02 reminded federal credit union directors of specific financial literacy requirements that will become effective later this year.

Hard-Working Apps Streamline to Meet Member Expectations

Scott Hess, vice president of consulting and innovations, Digital Channels, at Fiserv Inc. shares his thoughts on delivering consistent anywhere, anytime, any channel access to members.

Women Serving on Boards Improve Corporate Performance

The World Council of Credit Unions’ Global Women’s Leadership Network Members shared the advantages of women serving on boards of directors during the Global Women’s Leadership Network breakfast at the 2011 Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference.

Reach Out to Tomorrow’s Members

About 19 million nonmembers under age 18 live in credit union members’ households.

Credit Unions asked to complete financial education survey

The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) is now collecting data for its 2011 Credit Union Member Education Inventory.

Show your Policies Some Love

Additional defined benefit plan funding may be warranted if corporate bond yields drop.

Fed ends development of 3 Reg Z Mortgage rule changes

The Federal Reserve announced it would halt work toward finalizing three pending mortgage rulemakings under Regulation Z.

New safety seat advice makes sure kids are safe

New child safety seat recommendations were recently released.

Nip/Tuck – CUNA’s Website Gets a Facelift!

Posted by on Friday, 9 July, 2010

Have you heard the news? CUNA’s website has undergone a make-over! The brand new look debuted the morning of July 5, bringing improved capability. As luck would have it, I recently had a Q&A session with Kevin Knope, CUNA’s Director of Systems & Support, who oversaw the new site’s construction.

CUNAVerse: Why the design change for CUNA’s website?
Kevin Knope: We made the decision to redesign based in part on analysis of visitor surveys and internal and external feedback–but mainly because our design was really old. CUNA launched its first site in 1995. Between 1995 and 2003 we had 6 different designs. In 2003, our visitors told us they were experiencing redesign fatigue. That led us to stick with that 2003 design (with slight modifications) for more than 6 years.

What benefits do the changes hold for those browsing it?
Better access to the depth and breadth of resources that CUNA provides. We’ve made enhancements to navigation and design to try to give a more cohesive user experience. The prior design was so established that people knew where the information they needed was, but it wasn’t as intuitive to browse as it could be. We hope that the new design improves on that, offering a clearer picture of CUNA at a high level.  Improvements in workflow, and automation allow us to deliver more information faster than ever, which means more of what our visitors are looking for, sooner.

How long did the design process take?
We spent about six months in actual development. Gathering data and input took longer.

How many people were involved with the redesign?
We had a small steering committee from our executive management team, an advisory group, an external design firm, and our development team. Approximately 30 people with some serving multiple functions.

What are you most excited about?
Personally, I’m most excited about the prospect of increasing access to CUNA. We have had a lot of positive reaction already, we like hearing that the design is attractive and that it’s more intuitive to navigate, but have we increased the value they find in the site, and in CUNA? I really hope that in the next 6 months or so we can look at our metrics and say, “Yes, this made a difference.”

What is a lesson learned that you’d like to pass onto our readers?
You can’t make decisions in a vacuum, but you can’t make them in a town hall either. 10 years ago, we didn’t spend a lot of time in analysis and discussion. We felt like we just knew what was best and we did it, and people thanked us for it. The Web is too integral to an organization to run it like a fiefdom, no matter how benevolent. We had an excellent cross-functional advisory team of about 15 people on this project. Big enough to get the perspective of CUNA and the various audiences we serve, small enough to get (with some work) consensus. Combine that perspective with site metrics and visitor surveys and you have enough information to decide what you need to do better and devise a strategy to do it. To execute that strategy, you need the support of senior management. Our steering committee was small enough to meet on short notice, make decisions and recommendations quickly, while still representing the broad perspective of CUNA.

As you can see, an overhaul of a website is no easy task. Time, preparation, and implementation are all key players in the success of the live site. Has your credit union remodeled your website in the past?  What lessons did you learn in the process?

VIDEO: 3 Questions for Bill Cheney

Posted by on Wednesday, 23 June, 2010

We were fortunate to catch up with Mr. Cheney during his recent visit to Madison. So what else could we do but grab our Flip video camera and ask a few questions?

Watch CUNA’s incoming president and CEO as he shares:

1. Why he’s excited for his new role at CUNA

2. His favorite thing about credit unions

3. The top 3 songs on his iPod (arguably the MOST important question)

The Difference Between CUNA & CUNA Mutual

Posted by on Friday, 4 June, 2010

Credit Union Center in Madison - In this picture, CUNA is in the front & CUNA Mutual is the building in the back.

A few weeks ago, I did a post on using social media in your credit union training, where I linked to the following video and then realized, “You know, I’m sure more people could benefit from watching it.” So I’m sharing it with you.

Sure, I’m sure you industry veterans are scoffing right now because you know that CUNA (Credit Union National Association) is different from CUNA Mutual.  Same industry, different roles. But I’m always surprised by the reaction sometimes at credit union events or conferences when I introduce myself and where I work and get “Oh cool, so you sell insurance?”

So for those new to the credit union system or for those who want to learn more – this video is for you. Some background: It was borne out of a presentation I did on CUNA at the National Credit Union Foundation’s DE Training program last year. A new friend from CUNA Mutual was presenting right after me (Jennifer Kuhn) so we thought it would be fun to do a little take-off on the PC/MAC ads highlighting the similarities and differences between the two organizations  to open them (“You support credit unions too? You are in Madison?” And so on).

It was a big hit so when we got back, we polished it up and CUNA Mutual filmed it for their internal training.  Naturally, they’ve since put it up on YouTube too to help educate others. It’s also played in the common areas too of the campus, which is funny because more than once someone has stopped me in the cafeteria with a “Hey, where do I know you? Oh, you’re CUNA!”

Anyway, enjoy (yes, it’s cheesy):

First Feedback on Bill Cheney as New CUNA President/CEO

Posted by on Wednesday, 5 May, 2010

Bill Cheney

Feedback from credit unions and the press about CUNA’s hiring of Bill Cheney to succeed Dan Mica as president and CEO is already starting to roll in. From credit union folks: “Great choice” and “a real CU man” have been common.

 From reporters, there have been questions (which is what they are paid to ask). Somewhat typical: “Why didn’t you hire another ex-congressman?” (We’re in a much different place than 14 years ago, when Dan was hired. Because of Dan’s work, CUNA is highly respected on Capitol Hill and within the CU System. With Bill’s advocacy experience and system knowledge, our board agreed that Bill has the right combination of talents needed for these times.) “So, is CUNA going in a different direction?” (Nope; with his proven knowledge, background and experience, Bill can take the wheel immediately, build on CUNA’s achievements, and take the organization to new heights.) “Who were the other candidates, what’s the paycheck?” (Sorry folks; that’s all confidential.)

 The resulting stories from the reporters reflect their questions. Credit Union Times and Credit Union Journal (subscription required) both note Bill’s extensive experience throughout credit unions.

The Hill (a Washington newspaper covering Congress and the Capitol Hill community) mused about other candidates (including ex-congressmen and women).