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CURRENT Newsletter | 21 March 2013

Mar 21, 2013 by Lewis Wood

CURRENT Newsletter | 21 March 2013

CURRENT

March 21, 2013

Headline News

News About Credit Unions

Compliance/Regulatory Affairs News

Financial Services/Marketplace News

Education & Networking Opportunities

News From Credit Unions

Chapter News

Marketing News

News About The Competition

Technology News

Classifieds

Headline News

Virginia's Credit Unions Donate $214,191 to CMN Hospitals in 2012

The Virginia Credit Union League and its affiliated credit unions celebrated the 10th anniversary of their partnership with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in grand style, collectively raising $214,191 for the charity in 2012, their second-highest annual fundraising total over the course of their decade-long partnership.

The Virginia Credit Union League also reported another milestone for the 10-year-old charity partnership, with the state's credit unions having surpassed, as of December 2012, the $1.5 million fundraising goal they had hoped to achieve by year 10 of the collaboration. In total, Virginia's credit unions have raised $1.68 million for their charity partner. [read more]

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Office Depot Discounts for Credit Unions, Members

Recently we announced a discount purchasing program for credit unions through Office Depot. We have expanded that program to include these same discounts for your members and the credit union can earn 1% of the gross sales for both credit union and member purchases.

These savings and earnings can be at an Office Depot store or online with their easy ordering system and delivery is free with purchases of $50 or more. This program will save you time and money on everything from copy paper, printer ink and toner to cleaning supplies and office furniture.

[View complete details] (pdf, 103kb)

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House Democrats Introduce Overdraft Fee Bill

House Democrats introduced a bill Wednesday designed to address concerns about the overdraft fees banks charge consumers when a checking account is overdrawn.

The "Overdraft Protection Act," cosponsored by 46 lawmakers including the House Financial Services Committee's two top Democrats, Reps. Maxine Waters of California and Carolyn Malone of New York, would codify a 2010 Federal Reserve Board rule requiring consumers to "opt in" for overdraft protection.

It would also cap the number of fees institutions can charge an individual for overdrafts to one per month and six per year, and requires those fees to be "reasonable and proportional" to the amount of the overdraft.

In addition, the legislation would prohibit the ordering of debit charges from "high to low," a practice that's garnered numerous class action lawsuits, and directs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to study the use of overdraft fees with prepaid cards and potentially extend the bill's provisions to those cards if needed. (American Banker Online, March 21)

[related: CUNA: Overdraft Bill Addresses Problems That Don't Exist At CUs]

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Senate Privacy Notice Bill Is Taking Form

A Senate version of legislation that would make significant improvements in privacy notices for consumers could be introduced in the near future, perhaps as early as this week, Credit Union National Association Senior Vice President for Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan noted on Monday.

The bill is expected to be substantially similar to the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act (H.R. 749), which passed the U.S. House by voice vote last week. H.R. 749 would eliminate repetitive privacy notices by eliminating a requirement that the notices be sent annually. Under the terms of the bill, privacy notices would only to be sent when the privacy policy of a financial institution has changed.

A similar bill passed the House in late 2012, but the Senate did not vote on the bill before the last session of Congress ended. [read more]

> Note: Congressmen Robert Hurt (R-5th) and Jim Moran (D-8th) were among the co-sponsors of H.R. 749. Drop them a note and thank them for their support.

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Annual Meeting News & Notes

> CUNA Mutual's Joni Lovingood offers an education session on employment practices liability at this year's League Annual Meeting. Awareness and training are two defenses to combat the recent spike in Employment practices liability (EPL) claims. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claims have risen to record levels in recent years. Joni's presentation will address EPL issues from A-to-Z and also help credit unions avoid exposure to potentially crippling losses.

> New at this Year's Annual Meeting: Volunteer at the Food Bank!

We're excited to announce a volunteer opportunity at this year's Annual Meeting. On Wednesday, April 17, we have the opportunity to help Feeding America Southwest Virginia, a Roanoke-area food bank, by volunteering for two shifts: 9 a.m. until noon and 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

They'll put us to work doing inventory, preparing food boxes, and other assorted tasks. If you're interested in participating on one or both shifts, please drop an email to your League's Lewis Wood at lwood@vacul.org. We'll send you the volunteer packet, which you'll need to complete and bring along with you the day of the event.

This is an excellent opportunity to have a positive impact on this year's Annual Meeting host city and a feel-good way to start the Annual Meeting. Learn more about the good work of Feeding America Southwest Virginia online at http://www.faswva.org/.

> Also, we're asking that you consider donating needed items to the Food Bank. (Monetary donations are appreciated as well!) Here is the list of the most-needed items: canned meats, canned meals, rice, peanut butter, canned vegetables, canned fruits, beans and 100% juice.

Bring these along and drop them off at our designated collection point (near the registration area), and we'll take care of delivering them to the Food Bank!
[learn more about the League Annual Meeting]
[register now]

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Fed Holds Steady On Monetary Policy

The Federal Reserve's policymakers Wednesday kept their quantitative easing bond-buying plan intact and continued its forecast of a 6.5% jobless rate by 2015, which means the federal funds target interest rates remain steady, at 0% to 0.25%.

The Federal Open Market Committee, which is the key monetary policymaking body at the Fed, noted "a return to moderate growth following a pause late last year." The labor market has "shown  signs of improvement in recent months but the unemployment rate remains elevated." [read more]
[related: Fed Sees Slow Recovery for Years to Come]

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CUs To Have Reg Burden Hearing; House Hearing Looks At Bank Failures

The House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit Wednesday conducted a "state of the community banking industry" hearing that looked into the causes of the 414 bank failures that occurred from 2008 through 2011.

Congress has not required any similar study of credit union performance during the financial crisis. However, a committee spokesman told CUNA's News Now that the panel does intend to hold a hearing to study the regulatory burden of credit unions. That session will be part of a 2013 series to study, in part, the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act. A date will be announced in the near future. [read more]
[related: CFPB to Study Regulatory Compliance Costs]

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News About Credit Unions

Overdraft Revenue Makes First Climb in Three Years: Report

Overdraft revenue at banks, credit unions and thrifts rose last year for the first time since 2009, according to a new report from the economic research firm Moebs Services. Total overdraft revenue ticked up to $32.0 billion in 2012 -- up $400 million, or 1%, from the previous year, according to the report. The study's authors attributed the increase to rising overdraft volume, which was driven in part by the relatively stable regulatory environment for overdraft fees in 2012.

In the two prior years, regulators required banks to offer customers the choice of opting into overdraft programs, and some banks discontinued the practice of reordering payments from high amount to low amount.

Those changes drove down revenues. Industry-wide overdraft revenue remained well below the $37.1 billion that financial institutions generated in 2009. Still, despite regulations that put downward pressure on overdraft revenue, "consumers' use of overdrafts shows no indication of going away, and is actually increasing," Michael Moebs, chief executive officer of Moebs Services, said in a press release. (American Banker Online, March 19)

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Be Ready to Respond to Members, Media on your Financial Condition

The media continues to focus on the performance of financial institutions. Most credit unions and banks have reported solid financial performances in recent quarters, but be ready to respond to media inquiries as organizations like Bauer Financial begin releasing an analysis of 4Q2012 data and offer ratings on the "safety and soundness" of institutions. It's important that members understand, especially, that their shares are insured to at least $250,000.
[related: Local Banks’ Recent Ratings are a Mixed Bag]
[related: Credit Unions Have Deposit Insurance, Too]

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New CUNA Resource Backs CUs In 'Unite For Good' Effort

Credit unions across the country are embracing CUNA's new strategic vision where "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner," and CUNA has unveiled a new resource with specific actions individual credit unions can take to "Unite for Good" and advance this shared vision.

Credit unions have made collaborative banking a successful way of life for millions, while offering first-rate member service and impressive savings. But we only have 96 million members in a nation of more than 300 million.

And of those members, fewer than half call their credit union their primary financial institution. It's time for a new vision for the future of credit unions... [learn more]
[related: Big Banks Engaging in Payday Lending, Report Says]

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Military Publications Make The Case For CUs

More consumers are looking to credit unions during tough economic times because of better interest rates on checking and saving accounts and more consumer-friendly products, according to an article that appeared in several military publications.

 Since 2004, credit union membership is up 12%, rising to a total of  93.8 million members last year, according to the National Credit Union Administration, said the Army Times (March 25). The article, "Making a Case for Credit Unions," also appeared in Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force publications. [read more]

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Record Earnings Year for Credit Unions in 2012: SNL Financial

Credit unions made more money than ever in 2012, according to SNL Financial. The Charlottesville, Va., data analysis firm said the industry recorded aggregate net income of $8.6 billion in 2012, a 33.54% jump from the previous year and the most ever in one year. The numbers showed a sharp increase since 2008, when they hit a net aggregate income loss of 0.15%, SNL Financial said. [read more]

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Free Checking Nearly Twice as Likely at Big CUs Than Banks: Bankrate.com

Credit unions are nearly twice as likely as banks to offer free checking accounts with no strings attached, according to Bankrate.com. The personal finance content specialist said its 2013 Credit Union Checking Survey of the 50 largest credit unions found that 72% offered standalone free checking compared with 39% of banks.

The survey also found that from 2010 to the end of 2012, the percentage of credit unions offering free checking dropped from 78% to 72%, while it plunged from 65% to 39% at banks. [read more]
[related: Want Free Checking? Try a Credit Union]

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Loyalty To Mobile Banking Kept Some From Switching To CUs

Credit unions could have gained even more members than the 2.2 million members they added  in the weeks surrounding Bank Transfer Day, if they had made it easier for consumers to transfer their mobile accounts, according to  Jim Van Dyke , CEO of Javelin Strategy & Research.

Although the Nov. 5, 2011 event was a big gift to credit unions, not all credit unions were ready to turn unhappy customers into loyal members, he said.  Many people dissatisfied with their big bank's overwhelming fees and underwhelming customer service supported the idea of moving their accounts to a credit union, but disconnecting from their big bank's mobile banking product proved to be a deal-killer for some, said Van Dyke.

[read more]

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Two Credit Unions Offering No Money Down Mortgages

The 84,000 member, $1.2 billion NASA Federal Credit Union and the 4.2 million member, $52.4 billion Navy Federal Credit Union are offering members mortgages without requiring any down payment or mortgage insurance, credit union executives confirmed.

No money down mortgages were among the types of housing finance loans that were blamed for having helped cause the housing finance crisis in 2007 and such mortgages would seem to run counter to the prevailing trend in housing finance regulation which seeks to make sure participants in all parts of the lending process have a stake in the loan.

But executives from both credit unions said a mixture of underwriting standards and member relationships protect them from losses on the loans.

[read more]

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Compliance/Regulatory Affairs News

CFPB Focuses on Consumer Choice -- or Lack Thereof

In a little-noticed speech last month, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray laid out a new, unified way of thinking about several of the hot-button issues the agency is currently tackling.

U.S. consumers do not get to choose the company that services their mortgage, or the firm that collects debts they owe, or the company that gathers information about their credit history, Cordray noted.

Then he added, "When people cannot vote with their feet, their clout is limited, even though these products and services can have a profound influence on their lives."

"Without consumer choice, a key element of market discipline is lacking," Cordray said in the Feb. 20 speech.

"The result is to permit or even facilitate a distinct indifference to the interests of individual consumers."

No one is sure yet where this line of thought will take the CFPB. But the agency's supporters and detractors alike say the speech is an important, potentially nettlesome development for the banking industry -- because it suggests that the bureau will give additional scrutiny to business relationships that tie consumers to specific companies. (American Banker Online, March 21)

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CUNA Meets With FASB On 'Harm' Of Credit Loss Reporting Proposal

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) should delay its credit loss reporting proposal, a plan that the Credit Union National Association says could have costly and harmful consequences for credit unions.

CUNA met with FASB representatives Monday at the CUNA Washington office and highlighted credit union concerns regarding the reporting proposal that would utilize a single "expected loss" measurement for the recognition of credit losses; this would replace the multiple existing impairment models in U.S. generally accepted accounting principles that primarily use an "incurred loss" approach.

Credit unions are concerned that the proposed "expected loss" approach could require use of speculative forecasting of the performance of an asset over the remainder of the asset's life, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney and other CUNA and credit union representatives told the FASB representatives.

[read more]

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Financial Services/Marketplace News

Mortgage Applications Slide 7.1%

Mortgage applications slipped 7.1% for the week ending March 15, marking the second straight week of declines, an industry trade group said Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported fewer applications as home purchase and refinancing activity thawed. The refinance index and the purchase index dropped 8% and 4%, respectively, from the previous week.

The refinance share of mortgage activity declined to 75%, making this 10 consecutive weeks of straight declines and the lowest recorded level since May of 2012. [read more]

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Minnesota Lawmaker Wants Revamp of Mortgage Interest Deduction

A Minnesota lawmaker wants to revamp the mortgage interest deduction so that more homeowners would receive the tax break and then use the anticipated savings to invest in low- and moderate-income housing.

As it stands, borrowers can deduct the interest on the first $1.1 million of a home loan, but under a bill Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat, introduced Friday that cap would be lowered to $500,000.

His proposal would completely convert the mortgage deduction to a 15% tax credit for all homeowners with a mortgage. The deduction would be phased in over five years and potentially would raise $196 billion. The mortgage interest deduction, according to some analysts, costs the U.S. Treasury roughly $50 billion a year in revenue.

The Congressional Budget Office has proposed phasing out the mortgage interest deduction entirely over five years, a change it says would add $215 billion to the Treasury's coffers through 2021. Many analysts have argued that the mortgage interest deduction is an "upside-down" subsidy that benefits the rich.

While 75.5 million homeowners currently pay mortgage interest, only 39 million, or 51%, get the tax break. The other 49% do not have enough income to itemize deductions on their tax returns, according to the nonprofit National Low Income Housing Coalition. (American Banker Online, March 19)

[related: Dropping The Mortgage Interest Deduction Won't Raise Big Money]

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CoreLogic: 10.4 Million Mortgages Still in Negative Equity

The fourth quarter of 2012 ended with another 200,000 underwater borrowers moving to a state of positive equity, meaning they no longer owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, CoreLogic said Tuesday.

The report shows, that while the housing recovery continues, the rate at which negative equity homeowners turn positive is slowing down.

Most of this positive movement is the result of rising home prices, the Irvine, Calif.-based research firm said. With this development, 38.1 million U.S. properties with a mortgage now have equity, while 10.5 million, or 21.5% of all properties with a mortgage, remain underwater. [read more]

[related: Zillow Home Values Rise for 16 Consecutive Months]

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Retirement Confidence at Record Low

Despite improving economic conditions, a record percentage of American workers remain worried that they won't be able to afford retirement. They're worried about their jobs, high debt levels and rising living expenses, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Only 13% of workers surveyed said they "feel very confident" that they will be able to retire comfortably -- less than half the percentage reported in 2007. [read more]

[related: Have Americans Given Up on Saving for Retirement?]
[related: The Biggest Retirement Crisis in U.S. History is Approaching]

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Banks Get Warning on Payday Loan Withdrawals

If banks are allowing payday lenders to make withdrawals from their customers' accounts over the objections of those account holders, they are at risk of being penalized by their regulators, an industry lawyer warns.

Payday borrowers will often permit lenders to withdraw payments from their checking accounts, but disputes can arise when a borrower requests that the automatic withdrawals be stopped.

In some instances banks have let withdrawals go through anyway and have told customers that they can only be canceled with the payday lender's blessing. Lynne Barr, a partner at Goodwin Proctor, predicts that federal regulators will take enforcement actions against institutions that have allowed such withdrawals.

 "You don't have a right as a financial institution to tell the consumer that they have to go back to the payee to stop payment," Barr said in remarks at the Consumer Bankers Association's conference in Phoenix Monday.

The blunt legal advice follows a recent New York Times story that focused on automatic withdrawals at U.S. banks by payday lenders. (American Banker, March 13)

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Smaller Banks Shouldn't Fret Over Mortgage Rules: Cordray

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray told community bankers on Wednesday that they should not be concerned about sweeping new mortgage rules issued by the agency. "I know that complying with our new regulations is a worry for many of you," said Cordray, at the Independent Community Bankers of America conference in Las Vegas.

"For the many community banks out there that uphold strong underwriting standards, we encourage you to continue to offer mortgages to those borrowers you can evaluate as posing reasonable credit risk." In an address similar to one he gave to credit unions last month, Cordray told bankers "you should not be holding back."

He also reiterated that lenders should not be restricted to just an ultra-safe category of loans known as "qualified mortgages."

"Over time, as more private capital returns to the mortgage market, we do not want to prevent you from extending credit responsibly based on vague concerns about whether the regulators will support responsible lending," he said. "Community banks that lend responsibly have no reason to fear the Ability-to-Repay rule."

The mortgage rules, to take effect next year, will require lenders to prove the borrower has an ability to repay. Qualified mortgages must, among other requirements, ensure a payment does not exceed 43% of a borrower's monthly gross income. Cordray said the CFPB intentionally put "bright lines" in their qualified mortgage rules so most prime loans will qualify and many smaller lenders would be exempt.

Corday noted that the rule includes several exceptions for smaller lenders, including an exemption for smaller banks with less than $2 billion of assets as long as they consider debt-to-income ratios when making a loan. Those banks must also make less than 500 first-lien mortgages through affiliates in order to qualify.

How those proposals will affect thousands of community banks and credit unions across the country remains to be seen. But Cordray believes the exemptions, along with the existing tight lending market, will prompt business for small financial institutions. (American Banker Online, March 14)

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Banks Brace for Looming Crackdown in Auto Lending

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is preparing to crack down on interest rate markups that automobile dealers add onto the cost of car loans, potentially threatening one of the few bright spots for lending of late.

When financial institutions provide financing for loans through auto dealers, the lender typically sets an interest rate that serves as a price floor, while allowing the dealer to charge a markup to the car buyer that often ranges from 2 to 2.5 percentage points. The dealer usually gets to keep much of the markup -- a practice known as dealer participation.

Consumer advocates compare the markups to the yield-spread premiums that mortgage brokers received during the house bubble, and have since been banned. American Banker was first to report last summer that the consumer agency was investigating whether those rate markups are being imposed by auto dealers in a discriminatory way. That probe has since progressed, with Bloomberg reporting last month that the bureau has warned four banks of potential lawsuits.

"The bureau has made it clear that nonmortgage lending and, in particular, auto finance are going to be major focuses of enforcement in 2013," says Anand Raman, a banking lawyer at Skadden Arps. (American Banker, March 18)

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Education & Networking Opportunities

March 26 Webinar: Head Teller Development: Managing Dual Control & Cash Limits

Responsibility for the vault, teller cash limits, and dual control are among the most important duties of a head teller. Auditors and examiners continuously cite financial institutions for lack of “dual control” or double custody.

Regardless of how many staff members you have, the job must be done well and in compliance with regulations. Our March 26 webinar is designed to cover areas of dual control, starting with high-risk issues. Cash-limit management for tellers and the vault will also be addressed. [learn more]

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March 27 Webinar: Enterprise Risk Management for Credit Unions - A Primer

Financial institution directors and senior managers must have a good understanding of how to assess enterprise-wide risk in an integrated manner. Implementing such a program must begin with the board.

A good program will link risk management with strategic and capital planning and enhance the institution’s ability to be competitive and to operate more efficiently and profitably. Learn why enterprise risk management (ERM) is critical for good corporate governance and management of financial institutions during our March 27 webinar.

[learn more]

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March 28 Webinar: Opening Minor Accounts - Ownership, Access & Multi-Party

Misconceptions about minor accounts may cause confusion and unequal treatment – even from branch to branch. Although account ownership is dictated by state law, some common areas should be understood by all credit unions that offer accounts to minors. Join our March 28 webinar for an overview of what you need to know.

[learn more]

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CUNA Mutual Group, Digital Benefit Advisors to Host Health Care Reform Webinar April 3

CUNA Mutual Group and its new health care reform education partner, Digital Benefit Advisors, will host a webinar April 3, to help credit unions prepare for and succeed in a fast-changing environment created by the Affordable Care Act. Brad Pricer, senior manager, CUNA Mutual Group employee benefits, and Annette Bechtold, senior vice president, operations and strategic development for DBA, will present “Health Care Reform – Preparing for the New Normal,” at 11 a.m.
[learn more]

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League's Spring Compliance Conference May 1-3

Three days of exceptional training are on tap at the upcoming League Spring Compliance Conference, May 1-3, in Richmond.

  • Day 1: When a Member Dies: Dealing with the Legacy that Deceased Members Leave Behind
  • Day 2: Federal Regulatory Update for 2013
  • Day 3: Vendor Due Diligence and Risk Management Panel Discussion

[learn more]

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Fair Lending Is Topic Of NCUA April 4 Webinar

The National Credit Union Administration will provide an overview of its 2013 fair lending examination program, and detail fair lending best practices, during an April 4 webinar. The free webinar, titled "Fair Lending Examination Program and Compliance Assistance," is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET. NCUA Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) Director Gail Laster and agency staff will present the webinar. [read more]

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News From Credit Unions

$1,000 Donated to Fisher House at Fort Belvoir's Community Hospital

In partnership with the Armed Forces Financial Network (AFFN), Belvoir Federal Credit Union donated 20 $50 gift cards to the Fisher House located in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. To mark the 28th Anniversary of AFFN supporting the military and their families, Belvoir Federal has taken part in the “Thank You” Card Program.

The gift cards totaling $1,000 show appreciation for military families and their sacrifice made to protect our great Nation. [read more]

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Chapter News

'Meet Your League' Event Being Hosted at Tidewater Chapter's April 11 Meeting

Join us at the Tidewater Chapter's April 11 meeting for a "Meet Your League" event. Clark Jefferson, Tim Hesson, Dorshey Coleman, Karin Sherbin, Jeanne Sullivan and Lewis Wood will provide an overview of your League's products, services and programs, with particular focus on new initiatives. Don't miss this opportunity to hear about what's new and noteworthy at your League!

Location: Greenbrier Country Club (1301 Volvo Parkway, Chesapeake, 23320.) Time: 6 p.m. Social; 6:30 p.m. Dinner and Meeting. Make your reservations early! To RSVP, contact Ginnie Riddle by email at VRiddle@bayportcu.org or by phone at 757.873.4047. Deadline is noon, April 5.

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Financial Education News

Youth Week 2013 Campaign Materials Available

Credit unions can now begin preparations for National Credit Union Youth Week™ with online campaign art, articles, celebration materials and promotional products. “Savings Sleuth—Solve the Mystery™” will present youth with the mystery of how to save their money to purchase the things they want.

By visiting credit unions, they’ll be able to find clues toward solving that mystery and learn a good deal about managing money and credit unions in the process. The goal of Youth Week is to start children on the path to lifelong credit union membership by educating them about their money, setting up savings accounts and rewarding them with topical prizes, all the while putting in the effort that increases loyalty in the parents of those youth.

While Youth Week is officially celebrated April 21-27, 2013, credit unions are encouraged to take part in CUNA’s National Youth Saving Challenge™ throughout the entire month of April. The National Youth Saving Challenge jumpstarts smart saving habits in youth and rewards ten lucky participants for their hard work with cash prizes.

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Marketing News

Food for Thought: Your Next Website

Recently, The Financial Brand published a list of 50 "spectacular websites" from banks and credit unions. The "winners" appear to share one major trait: stunning homepage visuals.

Writes Jim Bruene for netbanker.com, "Let's start with the one that first caught my eye in the screenshot run-down: Logix Federal Credit Union (Burbank, Calif.; $3.5 billion; 110,000 members), which for 75 years was known as Lockheed Aircraft FCU." "The delightful robot image (a high-tech, yet playful robot called Robix serves as the CU's brand ambassador), orange color scheme, and ample use of white space are great attention-grabbers. Great work and very refreshing."

See the netbanker.com story here.
View the Financial Brand article here.

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Connect Members to Insurance Online

Credit unions participating in CUNA Mutual Group’s MemberCONNECT® Program can now make insurance coverage available to members online by linking their website to TruStage.com.

Offering convenient, online access to TruStage™ insurance -- the brand created exclusively for credit union members -- connects members to protection products like life, auto, home, and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage. The site offers quotes, and depending on the product and state approvals, the ability to buy some TruStage insurance products online.

[read more

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News About The Competition

If There's a 'War' Against Banks, the Banks Are Winning

Five years after large U.S. financial institutions threatened to capsize the global economy, a seemingly endless parade of negative headlines continues to bedevil the banking industry. But even though some of the headlines may not look good, the scorecard shows banks are winning what one analyst has called a "war" against them.

Like the rest of the market, bank stocks bottomed in March 2009 but have rebounded ever since. They've even done better than the major averages, which have been on a powerful run in 2012 and 2013, and analysts are getting more vocal in their crowing over the industry's health.

[read more]

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Technology News

Mobile Message at BAI is ‘Go Big or Go Home’

What a change a year makes. The loud message at a session on mobile banking at the BAI Payments Connect conference in Phoenix is this: "Go big or go home." Mobile banking adoption now is occurring at a “dizzying rate,” said panelist Bob Hedges, a managing director at research firm AlixPartners.

Before, AlixPartners had talked about mobile banking “nearing” a “tipping point” – but it’s there and well beyond that now, Hedges said at the session. The big driver: extremely fast adoption of smartphones, added AlixPartners’ Teresa Epperson. As consumers acquire sophisticated phones, they want to use them and a particular area of interest is financial services.

The AlixPartners headline: when consumers are choosing where they want to switch their financial services, a large driver is the range and quality of the mobile banking offering and, said Hedges, a reality is that most of those consumers are choosing to align with a top five bank because that is where the best and widest mobile banking services are found.

[read more]

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Classifieds

Leesburg CU Branch Closing: Work Stations, Safe Available for Donation

Aspire Federal Credit Union’s Leesburg Branch is closing April 30. They have two very nice work stations that include cash drawers and chairs that match, as well as a safe that they are interested in donating to a fellow credit union. Anyone interested can contact Karen Szall or Kendra Nichols at 703.771.3700. Pictures of the items are available from Karen or Kendra.

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