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CURRENT Newsletter | 2 January 2014

Jan 2, 2014 by Lewis Wood

News For and About Virginia's Credit Union System

Headline News

News About Credit Union

Compliance/Regulatory Affairs News

Financial Services/Marketplace News

News From Credit Unions

Chapter News

Community Involvement

Marketing News

News About The Competition

Headline News

Thank You! Virginia Reaches 2013 CULAC Goal!

Before the Christmas break we had a rush of generous credit union champions who met the year-end CULAC challenge, enabling us for the first time in a number of years to meet our state CULAC goal. CULAC is the federal political action committee (PAC) operated by the Credit Union National Association. We receive funds from CULAC to contribute to the campaigns of Virginia’s federal legislators. Thank you to everyone who had a hand in supporting our political fundraising efforts in 2013!

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Congressional Luncheon Feb. 26; Registration Now Open

Protect the credit union movement and promote our legislative agenda by attending the Feb. 26 Congressional Luncheon in Washington, D.C., held in conjunction with CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference.

And in case you missed it, Tony Blair, former prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, will keynote the 2014 GAC.
[learn more and register for the Luncheon]
[learn more and register for the GAC]

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CUNA to Tally Target Breach Costs to Credit Unions

CUNA will launch a survey tomorrow that will allow credit unions to report their costs incurred to replace credit and debit cards compromised in the data breach that involved 40 million payment cards used at Target stores from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15.

Look for the survey on CUNA's website. The data collected by this survey will be extremely valuable as CUNA and the leagues represent credit unions to legislators, regulators, the media, and potentially the courts. This advocacy is necessary to minimize potential costs of the Target data breach, and to protect credit unions from harm from future data breaches. 

All affected credit unions are strongly encouraged to respond. Credit unions may complete the survey anonymously, but you are encouraged to include your charter number so that we can incorporate information from your 5300 Call Report. No one other than CUNA Marketing Research staff will have access to any individual credit union responses. 

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News About Credit Unions

CUNA Extends Exam Survey Deadline

The Credit Union National Association will let neither rain nor snow nor holiday dishes nor the late timing of a credit union's 2013 state or federal regulatory examination stand in the way of a credit union's desire to participate in the latest survey on experiences and impressions of the examination process.

CUNA and the state credit union associations have extended the deadline for completion of the survey until Jan. 10. Credit union responses may be completely anonymous. 
[take the survey]

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Compliance/Regulatory Affairs News

NCUA Video Warns of Interest Rate Risk

Interest rate risk as the economy improves could be a concern for credit union managers, said the NCUA in its latest economic video analysis. John Worth, the agency’s chief economist, discussed how credit unions can benefit from economic improvements while remaining vigilant about interest rate risks. [view video]

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CUNA, Coalition Partners Added to Jan. 17 Interchange Oral Arguments

The Credit Union National Association and its partner members of The Clearing House coalition will be in court Jan. 17 to present 10 minutes of oral arguments in the ongoing debit interchange case known as NACS, et al. v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The court ruled Friday that CUNA and TCH members will be allowed to present their views, along with the Fed and the merchants group, during the already-scheduled oral arguments for the Fed's appeal to uphold its rule.

The Fed is assigned 15 minutes for oral arguments and the merchants have 25 minutes. In this case, a merchants' coalition has challenged the Fed's implementation of a Dodd-Frank Act-imposed debit interchange cap as too high. CUNA and its partner maintain that the cap, in fact, is too restrictive.

[read more]

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Financial Services/Marketplace News

Congress Allows Mortgage Tax Break to Expire

Despite bipartisan support, a tax break for struggling homeowners has been allowed to expire. A tax break enacted by Congress in 2007 which exempted homeowners from taxes on aid received from banks such as reductions in mortgage debt and short sales has expired, The LA Times has reported.

The law expired at midnight on Tuesday in spite of bipartisan support, because Congressional lawmakers went home without extending the break. Legislation pending in the House and Senate would extend the tax break through 2015, and lawmakers could take up the issue as soon as next week, The LA Times reported. [read more]

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U.S. Home Prices Increase at Slower Rate in October

U.S. home prices rose in October from the previous year at the fastest pace in almost eight years. But price gains slowed in most U.S. cities from September to October, suggesting the increases are leveling off. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 0.2 percent from September to October, down from a 0.7 percent increase from August to September. Monthly price gains slowed in 18 of the 20 cities tracked by the index. And prices declined in nine cities, including Chicago, Denver, and Washington. [read more]

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Coin Looks to Rule the Credit Card Realm

Behold the Coin: the card to literally end all cards. Cooked up by a seven-member San Francisco startup, Coin looks like a fatter, relatively featureless doppelganger of that motley assortment you lug around with you every day. It has a mag stripe just like a credit or debit card, but that's where the similarity ends.

There are no embossed digits, numerals, UPC or QR codes typically found on gift, loyalty or membership cards. Instead, Coin has a feature none of those legacy systems possess: the ability to swallow their data whole and duplicate them old-school at the cash register.

Coin runs counter to the recent trend toward digital wallets that turn your smartphone into a payment device. While a Coin app, Square-like dongle and smartphone camera are required to load and catalog your cards into Coin, once there, each becomes available for you to swipe or spend electronically at the push of a select-a-card button on the Coin's face.

Oh, and Coin does something else that your old inert plastic never dreamed of: If you leave it behind at a bar, restaurant or gym locker, Coin chimes in via a Bluetooth signal to your phone that lets you know your card isn't where it should be -- that is, within range of your phone. [read more]

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Consumer Confidence Jumps More Than Expected in December

U.S. consumer confidence rose in December as consumers grew more optimistic about the job market, according to a private sector report released Tuesday. The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes rose to 78.1 from an upwardly revised 72.0 in November.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 76.0. Following the report, U.S. stock indexes jumped. The increase puts the index near levels last seen before the October government shutdown that unnerved consumers. [read more]

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News From Credit Unions

Chartway FCU's We Promise Foundation Brightens Holiday Season with $924,300 in Grants to Charities

Chartway Federal Credit Union’s We Promise Foundation knows that for a child battling a life-threatening illness, having a reason to smile can be one of the most powerful weapons in even the most formidable fight.

Throughout the past year, Chartway’s We Promise Foundation has been holding numerous fundraisers aimed at raising money to make a difference for children in the communities it serves. From its 8th Annual Diamonds in the Sky Gala emceed by The Fosters Actress Teri Polo, to its 15th Annual Charity Golf Classic attended by LPGA player Jill McGill, its 4th Annual Red Carpet Celebrity Handbag Auction where it auctioned off couture handbags donated by celebrities including four-time Best Actress Emmy Award Winner, Michael Learned, and American Idol Season Six favorite, Melinda Doolittle, just to name a few, the foundation was able to achieve a new fundraising milestone in 2013.

As a result of its historic efforts, the We Promise Foundation board approved grants to 16 charitable organizations, totaling an astonishing $924,300. [read more]

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Chartway FCU and its Divisions Brighten the Holidays for Those in Need

Throughout the month of December, Chartway Federal Credit Union and its divisions of HeritageWest and SouthWest Community Credit Unions worked hard to sprinkle holiday magic all across the country through numerous charitable drives.

From raising money to purchase gifts for nearly 600 children at an elementary school where 97% of the students live below the poverty line, to donating nearly 3,000 presents to the Toys for Tots program, delivering shoes, socks, and other necessities to struggling families, donating meals to local food banks, and more, this special season was made brighter thanks to the kindness and generosity of the family of credit unions. [read more]

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Virginia Credit Union Financial Education Efforts Reached 13,232 in 2013

Virginia Credit Union provided financial education programs to 13,232 youth and adults in 2013. The credit union provided financial education programs in schools, workplaces, public libraries and its own facilities last year. The 13,232 figure is the most ever. “Virginia Credit Union offers financial seminars for its members and the community as part of its vision of helping people achieve greater success,” said Jane Watkins, president and CEO.

The credit union offered week-long money camps for teens, an introduction to personal finance for college students at Virginia Commonwealth University, adult workshops in budgeting and reducing debt, as well as programs for first-time homebuyers and other topics. [read more]

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At Freedom First CU, People 'Bank for Good'

From spearheading redevelopment efforts in challenged neighborhoods to creating an all-hands-on-deck employee workday for volunteer causes, Freedom First Federal Credit Union has focused on becoming an elite Low-Income Credit Union since landing that designation in 2010.

The $314 million credit union, which serves 46,514 members in Salem, Va., and surrounding areas, earned first place in the 2013 CUNA Community Credit Union of the Year award competition among credit unions with more than $250 million in assets.

Credit Union Magazine explores the credit union's transformation and outreach efforts with Paul Phillps, CEO; Cari Humphries, AVP of marketing; and Dave Prosser, vice president of community development. [read more]

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Belvoir Federal Adopts Children and Families for the Holiday Season

Belvoir Federal Credit Union employees donated $2,400 to a fund that was used to purchase gifts for children and families that the credit union adopted during the holiday season. The employees of Belvoir Federal have made supporting families in need an annual tradition. The generous donations made by credit union employees through dress down weeks enabled Belvoir Federal to assist two military families from the Ft. Belvoir Military Installation and adopt 10 children from the USO “Elf Program.” Belvoir Federal showered these families and children with gifts to help make their holidays a little brighter. [read more]

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Belvoir Federal Takes Action After Target Stores Compromise

Belvoir Federal Credit Union was notified of the Target Compromise on Dec. 18, 2013, where purchases using all major debit and credit cards from any U.S. Target store (not online) between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have been compromised. In response to the news of a compromise, Belvoir Federal took action to inform members and notify them of their response to the situation.

Belvoir Federal released an email to those members affected by the compromise along with a reminder email to take action, posted a static message on their website’s home page to inform inquiring members of any updates, and continues to respond to member inquiries related to the compromise. [read more]

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Beach Municipal Federal Credit Union Elects Board of Directors, Officers

Congratulations to the following members of the Beach Municipal Federal Credit Union's Board of Directors who were elected at the Annual Meeting held Dec. 04, 2013: Nianza E. Wallace II, Robert W. Hall and Joelle Talbot. They, along with current members Kitty Hill, Bill Meador, Lois Ritger and Charity Stone, will guide the credit union. [read more]

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Chapter News

Tidewater Chapter Meets Jan. 16

Raddon's Eric Wittekiend will be the featured guest speaker at the Tidewater Chapter's Jan. 16 meeting. He'll discuss key insights into improving your sales culture. Location: Greenbrier Country Club (1301 Volvo Parkway, Chesapeake. Time: 6 p.m. social; 6:30 p.m. dinner and meeting.

[learn more]

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Tidewater Chapter Seeks Participants for Jan. 21 'CU Day at the General Assembly'

Please join us for the Tidewater Chapter's 'CU Day at the General Assembly' on Jan. 21,2014. Transportation will be provided.  For any questions, please contact Craig Zuidema at czuidema@abnb.org or Leigh Ann Graham at lgraham@beachmunicipal.org. Talking points and times will be sent to those attending. 

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Community Involvement

A 'Please' and 'Thank You' on Behalf of the Kids

If you have not already done so, please send in your Credit Unions for Kids (CMN Hospitals) fundraising dollars as soon as possible. Simply submit this form (which includes mailing instructions) along with your fundraising check.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals requests credit unions send their funds directly to the CMN Hospitals’ Corporate Accounting Departmentwhere an accounting team carefully reviews the form you send with your check, notes that the funds came from your credit union and records the type of fundraiser(s) you held. Every single dollar you submit will be returned to your local hospitalfrom the corporate office on a quarterly basis along with a detailed report of the credit unions who submitted the funds.

THANK YOU for submitting the simple form (which includes mailing instructions) and your funds in a timely manner. Most importantly, on behalf of the kids treated at our local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, THANK YOU for supporting the kids in your community! If you have questions about fund remittance, please do not hesitate to contact Joe Dearborn,CU4Kids Senior Director, CMN Hospitals at JDearborn@CMNHospitals.org.

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Marketing News

aSmarterchoice to Get Even 'Smarter' in 2014

aSmarterChoice.org, the Credit Union National Association's consumer website, is undergoing a structural redesign to build a more responsive application on mobile phones and tablets. The website was launched in 2011 by CUNA and state credit union associations to provide information on credit unions to potential members and to press professionals. CUNA also is working to augment the site in early 2014 with content in the form of a blog and more articles on financial literacy.

"The goal is to encourage return visitors to the site, folks who will do more than just search for a credit union through the finder.  They will actually complete the process of becoming a credit union member because they understand and appreciate our value proposition as compared to other financial institutions," said Pat Keefe, vice president of CUNA communications. Keefe said CUNA will execute a test phase of the changes early in January.

> As a reminder, keep your credit union's contact information and field-of-membership data up-to-date on the site. You can make changes to your info at any time simply by logging into the database and submitting your changes. Need your password to access the database? Contact your League's Mary Amyx at 800.768.3344, ext. 630 or mamyx@vacul.org.

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Postage to Increase in January 2014

The Postal Regulatory Commission, which oversees the United States Postal Service (USPS), has approved a three-cent hike in the price of First-Class Mail from 46 cents to 49 cents. The new rates go into effect on Jan. 26. The new single-piece First-Class Mail pricing includes:

  • Letters (1 oz.) — 3-cent increase to 49 cents
  • Letters additional ounces — 1-cent increase to 21 cents
  • Letters to all international destinations (1 oz.) — $1.15
  • Postcards — 1-cent increase to 34 cents  

Customers who purchase forever stamps before the new price takes effect will continue to pay 46 cents. Learn more at http://www.uspsstamps.com/.

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News About The Competition

Big Banks Look to Win Back the Average Consumer

Yahoo Finance and NerdWallet.com suggest big banks will change their focus in 2014, shifting from catering to high net worth consumers to marketing to middle-income consumers. Some of the new tactics include teller-assisted ATM machines and kiosks that let customers speak with a live teller via webcam seven days a week with longer service hours.

Concierge services, typically reserved for those who carry ultra-elite cards, are starting to crop up on midrange cards as well, like the GM credit card, which charges no annual fee and offers free upgrades on some international flights. Issuers are getting more creative with perks, too. [read more]

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