The Pulse (04-10-13)
April 10, 2013 ● Volume 02, Issue 14
The Pulse Archive
Credit Union News
Postal CU event at Tartan High School branch helps launch Financial Literacy Month
Dept. of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman (left) talks with students at Tartan High School during a Financial Literacy Month event featuring education sessions led by student credit union workers Marc Buchmayer (center) and Kelsie Ferstl (right).
As a kick-off to April as Financial Literacy Month, Postal Credit Union (PCU) invited Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman to tour its student credit union branch last week at Tartan High School and observe peer-to-peer financial education in action.
PCU hosted a grand opening for its student-run branch in February and is using it as a tool to aid in financial education efforts at the Oakdale high school. Student workers at the in-school branch led sessions in classrooms throughout the day, teaching their fellow students about financial topics and money management. Commissioner Rothman attended afternoon classes and spoke with students about the importance of youth savings and financial education.
"Financial literacy can mean the difference between getting ahead and falling victim to the pitfalls associated with poor use of credit,” said Rothman. "Opening a savings account at a financial institution can provide fundamental skills, as well as teaching proper budgeting and setting short-term and long-term goals.”
Also as part of Financial Literacy Month, the Department of Commerce is coordinating several events in the coming weeks, including its third annual Financial Literacy Roundtable in St. Paul. This event brings together approximately 200 groups from nonprofits, local governments, private enterprises and financial institutions to share ideas on financial education efforts. The Network and Minnesota Credit Union Foundation are regular attendees, along with credit union representatives.
The PCU event and the Financial Literacy Roundtable are two of nearly 40 outreach and education events across Minnesota scheduled by the Commerce Department throughout April. These events are intended to raise awareness of the need for consumers to have the skills to make well-informed financial decisions at all life's stages. The Department of Commerce's events this month target four categories: youth, higher education, families and seniors.
PCU is also participating in the National Youth Savings Challenge as a part of National Credit Union Youth Week. The Tartan PCU Student Credit Union is joining hundreds of other credit unions across the country that teach youth the benefits of saving. PCU will be giving $100 to a lucky student who opens an account or makes a deposit during the month of April.
Support financial education through the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation
In celebration of Financial Literacy Month – proclaimed in the state of Minnesota by Gov. Mark Dayton – the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation continues to emphasize the need for and importance of financial education. In capitalizing on its recent efforts focusing on financial literacy, the Foundation is dedicated to providing credit unions and communities with the resources to prosper and thrive.
In addition to Gov. Dayton's efforts to raise awareness of the need for financial literacy, President Barack Obama has also designated April as National Financial Capability Month. The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation enthusiastically supports efforts to increase consumers' understanding of financial principles and practices, as is evidenced by its recent grant-making activities.
"We in the financial industry are acutely aware of the need for improved personal finance skills among consumers of all ages,” said Minnesota Credit Union Foundation Board Chairman Pat Brekken. "We are proud to join organizations throughout the state and the country in observing Financial Literacy Month. We hope to continue the momentum that is created when so many work together toward a common goal.”
Credit unions interested in furthering the cause of financial literacy can do so in a variety of ways:
- Establishing a long-term financial literacy strategy for your credit union;
- Coordinating financial education seminars for members and consumers within your community;
- Partnering with local schools to teach students the basics of personal finance;
- Holding a savings challenge for members;
- Promoting the availability of financial counseling at your credit union; and/or
- Participating in events around the state coordinated for Financial Literacy Month (a calendar can be found on the Department of Commerce website.)
Another way to support financial literacy is by making a contribution to the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation. The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation, Inc., St. Paul, Minn., is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. For tax purposes, your contribution may be tax-deductible.
Don't wait to register! Exciting education, entertainment ahead at Annual Meeting
Join your credit union colleagues at the 2013 Minnesota Credit Union Network Annual Meeting & Convention on Friday and Saturday, May 17-18. This conference features a weekend of exciting education, networking and entertainment at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington.
Education sessions for credit union professionals include topics such as social media, retail banking, regulatory advocacy and credit union consumer awareness. Volunteers will have the opportunity to take part in a Volunteer Achievement Program session focusing on managing credit union risk, and all Annual Meeting attendees won't want to miss the state's largest credit union tradeshow.
Additional activities are planned for credit union staff, volunteers, vendors and MnCUN's young professionals group, The Crew. Register by Thursday, April 25 to take advantage of the early bird discount. Look for complete information and registration on the Annual Meeting page of the Network website.
NCUA's win with BofA should help lower CU assessments
The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) made national news last week after announcing a $165 million settlement with Bank of America over losses from mortgage-backed securities that resulted in substantial losses at five corporate credit unions.
Bank of America is one of several Wall Street firms the NCUA has pursued legal action against. J.P. Morgan Securities, RBS Securities, Goldman Sachs and Wachovia are among the other firms that the agency alleges violated federal and state securities laws when they sold billions in residential mortgage-backed securities – that later failed – to now-defunct corporate credit unions. The BofA settlement contributes to a total of $335 million in legal settlements from the Wall Street firms so far, with additional litigation still pending.
After legal expenses incurred by the NCUA, the net proceeds of these settlements are likely to be the equivalent of one-quarter of the 2012 Temporary Corporate CU Stabilization Fund assessments. Funds recovered through these legal actions will be used to help reduce the amount of future corporate stabilization assessments on credit unions. It remains unclear when credit unions would see these savings on assessments.
The NCUA has also settled with Citigroup, Deutsche Bank Securities, and HSBC, avoiding the cost of litigation and bringing in more than $170 million in funds that were lost due to the corporate credit union investments.
No plans on April 25? Make it a Crew Night!
Don't miss out on the Minnesota Credit Union Network's Crew networking event on Thursday, April 25 at Pinstripes in Edina! The Crew is a group of credit union professionals age 35 and younger who are looking to grow in their career, and this event presents a unique opportunity for Crew members to have fun and find out what's new in credit union land.
Just one click will take you to the Crew page of the Network website where you can register for this event that includes dinner and indoor bocce ball. The cost to attend is $39.
Crew Night is also attached to MnCUN's 2013 Lending Conference and is free to attend for conference participants of all ages, and registration will be accepted until Thursday, April 18. For more Crew events throughout the year, check out the 2013 Crew Events Calendar.
Family Involvement Council educates students on credit union careers
Members of the Minnesota Family Involvement Council shared their knowledge and expertise about credit unions with high school students recently at the Cooperative Network's "Co-ops YES!” Youth Leadership Conference.
More than 100 high school students from Minnesota and Wisconsin attended the Cooperative Network's 2013 Youth Leadership Conference. The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation funded scholarships for students' attendance, and the Minnesota Family Involvement Council led an educational session during the conference.
Held in Eau Claire, Wis., this annual event welcomed more than 100 Wisconsin and Minnesota high school students this year. Attendees learned about the role and operation of cooperatives, leadership skills and problem-solving techniques.
The FIC, a committee of the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation, works to enhance the future of the credit union movement by providing financial awareness solutions, including its annual college scholarship program. This is the fourth year that FIC members have spoken at the Youth Leadership Conference. The speakers included Bridget Moeller of Greater Minnesota Credit Union, Amanda Kissner of Wakota Federal Credit Union, and Andrea Molnau of United Educators Credit Union. A grant from the Foundation provided scholarship funding for three students to also attend the conference.
During the FIC's session, "Credit Unions: A Financial Cooperative, A Career,” the presenters outlined for students the difference between credit unions and other financial institutions. They talked about credit unions' philosophy of "people helping people,” and discussed various social responsibility programs and partnerships at the state, national and international levels that are led by credit unions. The FIC presenters also talked about the variety of careers available within the industry and provided tips and suggestions for students as they begin their careers.
"So often we hear from leaders within this industry that they ‘fell into credit unions,' but have ended up spending their career in the credit union movement,” said Moeller, who is the FIC Chair. "It's pretty clear that once people discover the credit union difference, it becomes more than just a job.”
"It is an honor to be able to educate the next generation of cooperative leaders and better equip them for their future careers,” Moeller added.
Credit Union Notes …
- Hiway Federal Credit Union CEO Jeff Schwalen has announced his upcoming retirement in October. Schwalen has been part of the credit union industry for more than 25 years, with 10 of those at the helm of Hiway FCU. In that time, he has served as a leader on several boards and committees, including the Minnesota Credit Union Network Board, the Political Involvement Committee, Minnesota Credit Unions for Kids and Chair of the CENCOPAN Steering Committee – the Network's international partnership program with credit unions in Paraguay.
Hiway FCU's Board of Directors is currently working through the CEO selection process and plans to make an announcement around the end of June.
- Park Schools Credit Union in St. Louis Park merged into United Educators Credit Union, headquartered in Apple Valley, on April 1. The merger with Park Schools CU adds 8.5 million in assets and 1,300 members to United Educators CU's 132.3 million in assets and nearly 13,000 members.
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NCUA Issues Opinion Letters
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