The Pulse (06-08-12)
June 8, 2012 ● Volume 01, Issue 23
View 06-08-12 issue of The Pulse
Credit Union News
Minnesota reps meet with Paraguay acting president,
promote CU regulation and IT investment
Furthering the Network's dedication to the international credit union movement, Minnesota credit union representatives traveled to Paraguay at the end of May to meet with government officials, tout the importance of fair credit union regulations and discuss IT strategies. MnCUN President & CEO Mark D. Cummins and Central Minnesota CU Director of Information Technology Jason MacDonald traveled to Asunción, Paraguay, as part of an ongoing international partnership with Central de Cooperativas del Áreas Nacional Ltda. (CENCOPAN), Paraguay's credit union association. Since 2004, this relationship developed through the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) has allowed for the exchange of knowledge, information and experiences between the two countries.
During a visit to Paraguay May 21-25, MnCUN representatives Cummins and MacDonald joined a WOCCU and Paraguay delegation in visiting the offices of government and regulatory officials and advocating for fair credit union regulations.
During their time in Paraguay, the delegates from MnCUN, CENCOPAN and WOCCU met with several government officials, including the acting president of Paraguay, Luis Federico Franco Gomes. Franco, who is a credit union member, expressed his support for credit unions, stating that he believes that strong and prosperous cooperatives are key to the country's continued economic growth.
"Meeting with the president of Paraguay to discuss cooperatives demonstrates the importance placed on cooperatives in the socioeconomic development of Paraguay,” said Cummins. In addition, Cummins noted that the president, who also voiced his appreciation to WOCCU and MnCUN for their work in Paraguay, had tremendous knowledge of the cooperative movement.
Focusing on promoting a sound regulatory environment in Paraguay, the delegation also met with several other government and regulatory offices. Representatives met with INCOOP, the national regulator of Paraguay, to discuss the unique business model of cooperatives and how their focus on community and social development calls for a distinct set of regulations. The delegation also met with Humberto Blanco Gavilan, Minister of Justice & Labor of Paraguay, to discuss credit union contributions in Paraguay. The visit underlined the role of Paraguay's cooperatives in generating employment and spurring community development and economic empowerment.
Another goal of the international exchange was to build confidence in IT systems and convince credit unions that technology is a prudent investment. MacDonald spoke at CENCOPAN's annual seminar about the importance of credit unions investing in technology, while Cummins underscored the importance of sound regulation through a presentation on the U.S. regulatory environment. More than 150 credit union representatives from Paraguay attended the seminar.
"World Council's active presence in Paraguay is of tremendous benefit to the Paraguayan credit union movement,” said Pedro Loblein, CENCOPAN board chair. "The government officials in Paraguay recognize the benefits of CENCOPAN's partnership with the Minnesota Credit Union Network and the advantages of being connected to the World Council and the U.S. credit union movement.”
CEOs invited to MnCUN's CEO conference
Credit union CEOs have until Thursday, June 14, to register for MnCUN's CEO Conference. Set for June 24-26 at The Inn on Lake Superior in Duluth, this conference will provide a supportive environment that will facilitate discussion on the issues, obstacles and opportunities facing Minnesota credit unions.
Exclusively for CEOs, this event will feature roundtable discussions and networking opportunities. In addition, the education component of the conference will feature CUNA Mutual Group Chief Economist David Colby, CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose, and Senior Adviser of The Members Group Jeff Russell. Designed to be interactive and discussion-oriented, the event will also offer the opportunity to discuss obstacles facing the movement and to build consensus with other CEOs on possible solutions. The Network will also be seeking feedback on how it can more effectively serve credit unions.
Register today for this beneficial educational and networking opportunity. For more information and to register, visit the CEO Conference page of the Network website.
Archive of second Filene Gen Y webinar now available
The archive of the Filene webinar "Young Adult Products & Services” is now available online. This webinar is the second of four sessions focused on Filene's Minnesota-specific research on how credit unions can attract and retain younger members.
The second webinar focused on how credit unions can develop and modify products and services to meet the needs of Gen Y members. The session used case studies to provide models of success that credit unions can adapt for their membership. In addition, attendees reviewed multiple product and service offerings and discussed the steps of building a life stage storyboard. The sound recording, along with the webinar handouts, are available on the Gen Y page of the Network website.
Credit union professionals and volunteers are also invited to participate in the third live webinar in this series. "Building Awareness with the Young Adult Market” will be held on Thursday, June 14, from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. This webinar will discuss the psychological aspects of marketing to young adults and how to use social media effectively. To register for this webinar and the others in the series, visit the Gen Y page of the Network website.
NCUA launches kids financial literacy website
NCUA recently launched a new website named Pocket Cents, which aims to introduce young people to the benefits of credit unions and the importance of setting financial goals. The website aligns with the agency's overall commitment to develop financial literacy materials for people of all ages.
The new site focuses on providing information and tools to teach school-aged youth about the history of credit unions, how to locate a credit union, and how to start a credit union at their school. The site also addresses positive financial habits, offers important lessons about the value of a dollar, and uses maps to encourage users to explore the currencies of different nations.
In addition to the site, NCUA also uses Twitter and other social media outlets to help increase financial literacy, addressing issues such as taxes, money management for youth, savings, investing, retirement and homeownership. To access the NCUA's financial literacy resources, visit the Pocket Cents website.
CFPB launches FAQ tool to help consumers 'speak' financial services
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently introduced "Ask CFPB," a new interactive website to help consumers decode the complicated world of personal finance. The online tool features clear definitions of financial terms and products, such as credit reports and reverse mortgages, and also explains many of the terms and features of financial products. The tool also provides advice on how consumers can proceed if they are stuck in tricky financial situations, including foreclosures and bankruptcy.
To use this site, consumers type in keywords into the search field or click through a list of keywords on the top of the page to try to find the answer they are looking for. The database contains more than 350 questions and answers, and the CFPB said the guide is currently "primarily focused on credit cards and mortgages." The agency plans to build the database going forward, adding more information on student loans, auto loans, prepaid cards, and checking and savings accounts.
To check out this new resource, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website. In addition, the CFPB is accepting suggestions on how individual definitions and explanations provided in the database can be improved. If you have comments or suggestions, feel free to pass them onto the agency.
Countdown continues to Go Direct deadline
The U.S. Treasury Department recently announced March 1, 2013, as the deadline by which all federal benefit recipients must receive their Social Security and other federal benefit payments electronically through direct deposit. Currently, 90 percent of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are being made electronically, and the Treasury is urging the remaining 10 percent of people to make the switch to electronic payments as soon as possible.
According to Department Treasurer Rosie Rios, the switch to electronic payments "is a win-win" for benefit recipients and taxpayers and would save $1 billion over 10 years. In addition to promoting electronic payments, Treasury is also touting the benefits of direct deposit through the Go Direct program.
CUNA, along with organizations around the country, is a Go Direct national partner and supports the check-safety and cost-savings goals for the program. For more information about the switch to electronic payments and federal benefits, visit the Go Direct website. In addition, credit unions can visit the Credit Union Magazine website for tips on how to help their members switch to e-federal payments.