February 12, 2010 ● Volume 33, Issue 3 Archived Issues
Minnesota policymakers discuss foreclosure legislation with PIC
As the Minnesota Legislature kicked off its 2010 session on Feb. 4, Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) and Kermit Fruechte of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office met with credit union professionals and volunteers to discuss the details of mortgage mediation legislation. Speaking with members of the MnCUN’s Political Involvement Committee (PIC), Rep. Hilstrom and Fruechte sought credit unions’ support for a bill developed to help Minnesotans struggling to pay their mortgage.
For the past year, the Homeowner-Lender Mediation Act has been a main focus of Minnesota credit unions’ advocacy efforts. This bill worked its way through the legislative process last year, but was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. This piece of legislation would require financial institutions to enter into mediation with borrowers who are in foreclosure.
Rep. Hilstrom and Fruechte met with PIC to explain the bill’s provisions and receive credit union insight on the issue. In their discussion with credit union representatives, Rep. Hilstrom and Fruechte acknowledged credit unions’ efforts to work with members experiencing financial troubles.
"Credit unions have not been part of [the mortgage] problem. You really are the people’s bank,” Rep. Hilstrom said to the PIC. "You were leaders when it came to the farmers’ crisis in the ‘80s, and I am hoping that you will once again rise to the occasion.”
While discussing the Homeowner-Lender Mediation Act, PIC members provided insight into their credit unions’ operations and asked questions about the legislation. Committee members provided the policymakers important industry perspectives, raising issues not previously considered during the bill writing process.
"The fact that Rep. Hilstrom and Fruechte desired to hear credit unions’ perspective on this issue demonstrates the value they find in the legislative feedback credit unions provide,” said Mara Humphrey, MnCUN Vice President-Governmental Affairs. "During the Political Involvement Committee’s meeting with Rep. Hilstrom and Kermit Fruechte, we reinforced the fact that credit unions’ main focus is on serving members, not on making a profit.”
MnCUN’s Political Involvement Committee provides input and recommendations in the areas of legislative and regulatory efforts at the state and federal level. Working together with members of this committee, MnCUN staff work to formulate the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s positions on legislation.
Comments on corporate credit union proposed rule due March 9
At its Nov. 19, 2009, meeting the NCUA Board issued proposed amendments to its rules regarding corporate credit unions. The proposed rule reflects a comprehensive review of the existing corporate regulations.
The revisions amend Part 704 and make changes to corporate credit union capital, investments, asset-liability management, governance, and credit union service organization (CUSO) activities. Specifically, the proposal:
- Establishes a new capital scheme, including risk-based capital requirements;
- Imposes new prompt corrective action (PCA) requirements;
- Places various new limits on corporate investments;
- Imposes new asset-liability management controls;
- Amends some corporate governance provisions; and
- Limits a corporate CUSO to categories of services pre-approved by NCUA.
The proposal also contains amendments to Part 702, Prompt Corrective Action (for natural person credit unions); Part 703, Investments and Deposit Activities (for federal credit unions); Part 747, Administrative Actions, Adjudicative Hearings, Rules of Practice and Procedure, and Investigations; and Part 709, Involuntary Liquidation of Federal Credit Unions and Adjudication of Creditor Claims Involving Federally Insured Credit Unions.
The proposed rules are open for public comment until Tuesday, March 9. To assist the Network in understanding and monitoring Minnesota credit unions’ position, credit unions are asked to forward a copy of any submitted comments to Simone Suri at the Network office. Additional information about the corporate credit union proposed rule can be found on the Compliance Hot Topics page of the Network web site. In addition, Members United has created a Rules Resource Center on its web site in an effort to help credit unions respond.
Two weeks left -- Professional & Volunteer Award nominations due Feb. 26
Credit union professionals and volunteers have two weeks to send in their nominations for MnCUN’s Professional and Volunteer of the Year Awards. Presented at the Network Annual Meeting Banquet, these awards recognize individuals who have made a difference in the credit union movement.
The Professional of the Year is awarded to an individual who lives out the ideals of the movement, not only at their own credit union, but also around the community and through participation in state and national credit union events. The Volunteer of the Year recognizes one volunteer who has selflessly devoted time and resources to further the development of the credit union movement.
Nominations for both awards must be sent to the Network office by Friday, Feb. 26. Complete information and nomination forms can be found on the Professional and Volunteer Awards page of the Network web site.
FIC to host session at Youth Cooperative Leadership Conference
Minnesota’s Family Involvement Council (FIC) is hosting a session on credit union careers at the Cooperative Network’s Youth Cooperative Leadership Conference. To be held March 15-16 in Roseville, this conference will provide high school students information on the purpose of cooperatives and the principles behind their operations.
Joining the line-up of sessions focused on the value of cooperation, the FIC will provide students insight into what a credit union is and how they can become part of the movement. Other topics covered throughout the day will include leadership, preparing for college, financial literacy and more.
Credit unions are encouraged to promote this educational conference to their members. Complete information and printable registration forms for the Youth Cooperative Leadership Conference, are available on the Cooperative Network web site. Registrations must be received by Saturday, Feb. 20.
Invest in America offers member discounts
Minnesota credit unions have the opportunity to offer members a variety of discounts on products and services through the Invest in America program. This member enhancement program is aimed at helping credit unions increase both membership and satisfaction while supporting U.S. companies.
Invest in America allows credit unions to create additional value in membership by offering members unique discounts from select companies. Credit unions are able to market three separate programs through Invest in America:
- Big ticket items – GM and Chrysler discounts
- Wireless discount programs – Sprint discounts
- Member rewards – FTD, Complete Tax, ELS Properties Vacation Destinations, CU Benefits Express, and Allied Moving & Storage discounts
Credit unions can participate in the Invest in America program at two different levels. The most basic level allows credit unions to offer the discounts to their members. If a credit union wishes to participate beyond the basic level, they must sign a marketing agreement. Credit unions that sign an agreement will receive incentive payments when certain requirements are met.
For more information about the Invest in America program and its marketing agreements, visit the Invest in America page of the Network web site.
Credit union notes…
- Catholic Aid Association Credit Union welcomed Terri Maloney as its new President at the end of January. Maloney has been in the credit union industry for nearly 40 years, working as a Vice President of Operations, Executive Vice President, and CEO. She most recently worked as the Vice President of Operations at West Financial Credit Union.
- On Feb. 8, SPIRE Federal Credit Union named Dan Stoltz as its new President & CEO. Stoltz has extensive experience at the credit union, serving as its Chief Financial Officer for more than 10 years and as an Executive Vice President for the past two years.
CUNA Mutual launches online risk assessment tool
CUNA Mutual Group has introduced a new online risk assessment program for its plastic card insurance policyholders. The tool assesses the risks of the plastic card program and the program’s state of security.
Plastic Card Risk Assessment is a quick and concise program that provides recommendations to help credit unions reduce risk and assists in loss control efforts. This tool contains 24 multiple-choice questions that can be completed in less than 20 minutes. Based on the responses to these questions, the credit union receives recommendations on how to increase security.
"A credit union's operations could be severely impacted if its card portfolio or plastic card program were fraudulently attacked, especially if it resulted in uninsured losses," said Becky Severson, CUNA Mutual Risk Manager. "That's why we felt it was critical for CUNA Mutual to help credit unions identify their plastic card program vulnerabilities and recommend actions based on risk exposure and insurance considerations."
This is the second online risk assessment module offered by CUNA Mutual's Credit Union Protection division. It joins the Disaster Preparedness assessment tool launched in 2009. That program allows credit unions to review their vulnerabilities to disasters and take recommended action based on risks, loss controls and credit union best practices. For more information about either of these programs, visit the CUNA Mutual Group web site.
MnCUN Calendar of Events
The Minnesota Credit Union Network offers a wide variety of educational opportunities for credit union professionals and volunteers in the month of February. In addition, the event calendar provides access to online registration for the March 9 CU Day at the Capitol. Check out the online Event Calendar today.