Credit Union News
Innovative HomeTown CU honored in Progress Minnesota awards
HomeTown Credit Union made Minnesota history last year when it opened the state's first student-run, in-school credit union branch. This week the credit union was recognized for this work when it received Finance & Commerce's Progress Minnesota awards.
HomeTown Credit Union celebrated the grand opening of its in-school branch office in January 2012. The credit union was recently honored with a Progress Minnesota award for its work with the student-run branch.
The Progress Minnesota program, now in its second year, recognizes individuals, entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations that are driving economic growth and development in innovative ways. Of this year's 27 honorees, the Owatonna credit union is the only financial institution that made the list.
HomeTown CU's longtime goal of opening a student-run branch became a reality in 2012 after five years of working with teachers, the school board and school administrators at Owatonna High School. Through this in-school branch office, operated by student workers and supervised by a HomeTown CU manager, the credit union is helping to fulfill a need for more personal finance education at the high school level.
HomeTown CU's primary objective with the student-run credit union branch is financial literacy. The school has discussed working with art students to create a concept for a mural outside the office that promotes financial education, and the branch advertises a weekly trivia game that offers an incentive to students who stop by the credit union office. HomeTown CU's long-term goal is to have the students develop and implement their own business plan for the branch.
This isn't the first time this trailblazing credit union has been recognized for its efforts in developing a student branch. Last year HomeTown CU received the Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota Business Educators for Outstanding Contribution to Business Education and was profiled by Twin Cities television station Kare 11 News in its segment "What's Cool in School.”
An April 16 event at the downtown Hyatt Regency Minneapolis will honor the achievements of HomeTown CU, along with those of the 18 other companies and organizations and eight individuals who were honored with Progress Minnesota awards this year.
From Washington to Minnesota: Regulations' impact on local mortgages
The future of mortgage lending is being shaped by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Basel III, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and changes at the Federal Housing Administration. How do these lending changes make an impact on your credit union? MnCUN's Product Series webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 12, will answer this question and many others affecting the Minnesota mortgage industry.
This webinar, hosted by AmeriCU Mortgage, will provide attendees with an update on actions at the CFPB and in Washington, D.C., that affect the mortgage industry. Participants will discuss what the future may hold, as well as the impact that legislation and Congressional committee realignments have on mortgage lending. This session is part of MnCUN's lunch & learn webinar series, which features the Network's strategic alliance business partners providing insight into their areas of expertise.
Take advantage of this free and informative webinar. For more details and to register, visit the Event Calendar section of the Network website. Attendees must register for this session by the end of the day today.
Young professionals – Mark your calendars!
Calling all young credit union professionals with a passion for credit unions and a dedication to the movement! The Minnesota Credit Union Network invites you to mark your calendars for this year's Crew events.
The Crew is a credit union networking group made up of mid-level, young credit union professionals who are looking for the opportunity to grow in their career. This group is geared toward those new to the credit union movement or those who want to establish themselves in their profession. Crew members will learn about the credit union industry, explore options for advancement, and network with other young professionals.
The Network is excited to announce its lineup of Crew events for the year. The majority of these events are held in conjunction with MnCUN's major credit union conferences. Members receive discounts off the conference admission price and have special access to speakers, legislators and other key credit union leaders. This year's events include:
- April 25: Crew Night networking event (Pinstripes, Edina)
- Offered with the Lending Conference on April 25-26
- Conference attendees may participate in Crew Night free of charge. (Those not attending may join the Crew event for a small fee.)
- May 17-18: MnCUN Annual Meeting & Convention (Bloomington)
- Crew breakfast
- Breakout session for young professionals
- Crew pizza party
- Aug. 7: Crew Exclusive Webinar – "Balance Sheet or Boring Sheet? Understanding Basic Credit Union Financials,” presented by industry leaders
- Oct. 8: CUNA Mutual Online Discovery Conference (free)
- Nov. 14: Crew Professional Development – education and after-hours event (St. Paul)
To learn more about this networking group, visit The Crew page of the Network website. With questions or add your name to the Crew database, contact Crew liaison Lindsey Evans by email or at (651) 288-5535.
Financial education grants available to credit unions through BizKid$
The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation recently announced that credit unions can now apply for a new BizKid$ Financial Education Grant program.
BizKid$ Financial Education Grants may be used to fund innovative programs that improve the financial education of youth through the use of the BizKid$ program. Projects may engage teachers, students, education leaders, local PBS stations, or community stakeholders through events, activities, and/or curriculum distribution. Each project should create innovative and engaging activities incorporating BizKid$ materials. The overall grant objective is to engage the credit union movement in using BizKid$ and its curriculum to build students financial literacy and economic education skills while increasing awareness and usage of BizKid$. Funds may not be used as a cash donation to a third party.
The application deadline is Sunday, March 31, 2013.
BizKid$ is an Emmy award-winning public television series underwritten by credit unions. The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation has been a continuous supporter of this program, in which kids teach kids about money and business. The series puts students' peers in a variety of situations that illustrate how to use credit wisely and that reinforce the importance of budgeting, saving, investing and giving back to their communities.
As national underwriters, credit unions have full access to the show and the curriculum, which is designed for families and children from fifth grade through high school. Series box sets can be purchased at cost or recorded off of PBS, and the curriculum is free and available for download from the BizKid$ website. The National Credit Union Foundation supports BizKid$ and administers the series.
To apply for a BizKid$ Financial Education Grant, visit the National Credit Union Foundation website. Questions about Biz Kid$ or the grant process can be directed to National Credit Union Foundation representative Danielle Brown by email or phone at (971) 295-6800.
Free webinar to focus on financial education for low-income members
Credit unions are invited to participate in a free webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 19, focused on the unique financial needs of low- and moderate-income members. Hosted by CUNA and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, this session will provide information about an innovative financial education program that will help members decrease household expenses, increase savings and reduce environmental impacts.
During this webinar, participants will learn about Equity Express, a new program to help increase the wealth of asset-poor households through financially smart, sustainable choices. This program offers low- and moderate-income members with cost-saving opportunities in financial planning, energy use, transportation, communication and food. Participants will hear how North Side FCU in Chicago has provided members an average savings of $125 per month through Equity Express.
For more information about this webinar and to register, visit the Event Calendar section of the Network website.
Consulting, grants, training & more available on NCUA website
In January, the NCUA voted to raise the threshold for a small credit union from $10 million in assets to $50 million in assets. With this change, an additional 2,270 credit unions now have access to resources from the agency's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI).
One of the most prominent resources offered to credit unions through the OSCUI is its website. The new microsite organizes information for better, easier access to OSCUI's programs and features new material, including updated grant and loan information, new consulting program request forms, and updated partner profiles. Visitors may watch OSCUI's training and informational videos, listen to archived webinars, and read past issues of OSCUI's monthly FOCUS e-newsletter. The website also features a section for each of OSCUI's four program areas, including consulting, grants and loans, training, and partnerships and outreach.
To access these materials for small credit unions, visit the Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives website.