Credit Union News
Gov. praises credit unions for service to Minnesotans
Gov. Mark Dayton speaks to a crowd of more than 150 credit union professionals during MnCUN’s Credit Union Day at the Capitol in St. Paul.
Gov. Mark Dayton joined several other prominent Minnesota legislators and officials in handing out high praise for the valuable services and support that credit unions provide consumers. These were among many laudatory remarks heard at the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s (MnCUN's) Credit Union Day at the Capitol on Jan. 29 in St. Paul.
"I have special regard for those who serve their members and their needs, for those who provide savings back to their customers. I thank you for that,” said Gov. Dayton, speaking to more than 150 credit union representatives at MnCUN's annual political advocacy event.
Credit union leaders also heard the governor's plans for the budget and tax reform in the next biennium. Gov. Dayton stressed that his proposal for tax reform does not involve credit unions' tax exemption, saying that credit unions provide important services, and he won't tamper with that.
Along with tax reform, financial literacy was a hot topic at Credit Union Day. Gov. Dayton and Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman touched on its importance. Rothman told Credit Union Day attendees he believes credit unions and the state can work together to make big strides in the financial literacy realm.
"We have a common goal – that people, from kindergarten to retirement, have the lifetime skills to attain financial stability,” Rothman said.
Credit union leaders took the financial literacy and credit union messages to the Capitol in visits with their local legislators. They touted the avenues used to help members with financial education, including HomeTown CU and St. Paul FCU's in-school student-run credit union branches. Following the theme of this year's Credit Union Day, "Minnesota Credit Unions: A Trusted Partner,” attendees talked with legislators about the reasons why more consumers choose credit unions, with trust being a top factor.
"Credit Union Day at the Capitol provides us the opportunity to bring our stories to elected officials and remind them how credit unions benefit their constituents,” said MnCUN President & CEO Mark D. Cummins. "Through this annual event, we are able to remind legislators how their decisions can affect consumers financially – outside state Capitol walls. We are able to effectively advocate for the benefits of belonging to credit unions and their mission to help their members and all Minnesota consumers.”
Young credit union professionals also had a chance to hone their advocacy skills during Credit Union Day. Participants with MnCUN's group The Crew – for new and mid-level credit union employees 35 and younger – learned first-hand how to advocate for credit unions and address issues in visits with elected officials. In an education session targeting the young professionals group, Crew attendees also learned the basics of the credit union examination process from Minnesota Department of Commerce Chief Examiner Carl Schwartz and NCUA Supervisory Examiner Justin Burleson.
Additional education sessions offered during MnCUN's Credit Union Day focused on political advocacy best practices, regulatory updates and 2013 legislative priorities. Other legislative speakers at the event included Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown), and Speaker of the House Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis).
TopLine FCU partnership helps bring $800,000+ to local community
On Jan. 28, TopLine FCU joined the city of Brooklyn Park in announcing the city’s receipt of a $294,000 Affordable Housing Program grant. Pictured from L-R: TopLine President & CEO Harry Carter, Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeff Lunde, Congresssman Erik Paulsen (R-3rd District), and a Federal Home Loan Bank representative.
TopLine Federal Credit Union was recognized as an important community partner during a ceremony on Jan. 28 that announced the city of Brooklyn Park's receipt of a $294,000 Affordable Housing Program grant for 2013 from the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) in Des Moines. This grant was made available to the city due in part to TopLine FCU's member/owner status with FHLB, as well as TopLine's long-standing relationship with the city of Brooklyn Park. This grant, combined with a 2011 grant of more than $500,000, with which TopLine also was involved, brings the total given to Brooklyn Park families through the FHLB-funded program to more than $800,000.
By working together with credit unions, commercial banks, insurance companies and thrifts, the FHLB provides stable and secure funding to support individuals' dreams of homeownership. The funds come directly from FHLB without using taxpayer dollars and represent 10 percent of the bank's net earnings. The money is distributed based on a competitive grant process that is open to communities throughout the United States. The grants are used to help low-income homeowners maintain their homes, improve energy efficiency and make needed repairs.
During the ceremony, TopLine FCU President & CEO Harry Carter joined Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeff Lunde and Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-3rd District) in praising the grant program and its impact on the community. Commenting that this is the second time that Brooklyn Park has been successful in receiving one of these competitive grants, Mayor Lunde emphasized that these grants provide crucial funding to support the city's housing strategy to help citizens obtain and retain home ownership.
"It is a great honor for TopLine to be involved in this initiative that helps strengthen and improve the community,” Carter said. "As one of the city's small businesses, we are proud to be part of this strategy to help individuals fulfill their dreams of owning and maintaining a home.”
Acknowledging the financial difficulties many individuals are facing, Congressman Paulsen also praised the program, stating that "this is a significant step in helping to make the community strong and healthy, especially during these tough economic times.”
Make the smarter choice – promote your CU online
In 2012, nearly 350,000 visits nationwide were made to aSmarterChoice.org and nearly 218,000 searches for credit unions were conducted on this site. Consumers are looking for financial institutions that they can trust, and aSmarterChoice.org provides consumers the tools they need to find a credit union in their area that they can join. However, this tool cannot be effectively used and promoted without credit unions' help.
aSmarterChoice.org uses news stories and member testimonials to educate consumers about credit unions. The national credit union locator on the site enables users to quickly and successfully find a credit union in their area. In addition, this website offers marketing materials that credit unions can use to promote this valuable tool. The free marketing resources available to credit unions include:
- Credit Union Difference Banner: Through a rotating banner, you can educate members and potential members about the difference between credit unions and banks. Each image of the banner completes the sentence "credit unions are better than banks because…” and shares powerful facts about how credit unions stack up against banks.
- Credit Union Locator Tool: Post this tool on your website as a way to help members to share the credit union difference with those they know. Encourage members to share this locator with their friends and family.
To access these powerful marketing tools, visit aSmarterChoice.org. In addition, credit unions should review their membership information posted on the website. To edit your credit union's profile, visit aSmarterChoice.org's update your records page.
Know an outstanding co-worker or volunteer? 5 reasons you should nominate them!
The Minnesota Credit Union Network is now accepting nominations for the Outstanding Professional and Volunteer of the Year Awards. These awards, presented each year during the MnCUN Annual Meeting & Convention, recognize notable people who have distinguished themselves in their efforts to better their credit unions and promote awareness of the credit union movement. To be eligible to receive these top honors, individuals must be nominated by colleagues.
Do you know an employee or volunteer who is passionate about what they do and goes above and beyond in their support of credit unions? Check out five reasons why you should nominate this outstanding co-worker or volunteer.
- Say "thank you” in a big way. What better way to say "thanks" for a job well-done than with an award that recognizes them for their dedication to the credit union.
- Co-workers and volunteers love a pat on the back. People like to know that what they do matters. Show your colleague that their hard work hasn't gone unnoticed.
- Give them a lasting tribute. As part of this award recognition, the professional or volunteer will receive a tribute video featuring their peers talking about the great work they've done. This video will be shown during an awards presentation at the MnCUN Annual Meeting & Convention.
- Make their legacy known. Tell the rest of credit union land about this outstanding professional or volunteer and set the bar high for what others in the credit union movement can accomplish.
- Honor them in front of family, friends and peers. Friends and family are invited to join the award recipients for a banquet and awards presentation during MnCUN's Annual Meeting on May 17-18 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington.
For more information about these awards and to download nomination forms, visit the Recognition Awards page of the Network website. Nominations are due Friday, March 15.
National Credit Union Youth week set for April 21-27
Join the movement in celebrating credit unions in April by coordinating activities during National Credit Union Youth Week on April 21-27. Credit unions can celebrate the entire month or just during youth week – the choice is completely up to you.
This year's theme is "Savings Sleuth – Solve the Mystery” and 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 about managing money and credit unions in the process. To help you celebrate, CUNA has several ready-to-use materials for promoting the celebration to several age groups.
Your credit union is also invited to join the National Youth Savings Challenge. This contest encourages the habit of saving at an early age, builds member loyalty, and helps lower the average age of members. Plus, members participating in the challenge will have a chance to win $100.
Be sure to participate in this year's National Credit Union Youth Week. For more information and to sign up for the Savings Challenge, visit the National Credit Union Youth Week page of CUNA's website.
Credit union notes...
- Affinity Plus FCU announced this week that it will acquire Oak Trust Credit Union’s Minnesota operations. Oak Trust is headquartered in Illinois and only had one Minnesota branch. Affinity Plus will use Oak Trust’s Eagan branch to serve the credit union’s 4,300 Minnesota members. This transaction is expected to close on June 30.