March 11, 2011 ● Volume 34, Issue 05 Archived Issues
Minn. CUs deliver interchange message during GAC
A total of 68 Minnesota credit union professionals and volunteers brought the movement’s interchange concerns to Capitol Hill as they participated in the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). This event – held Feb. 28-March 2 – drew more than 4,000 attendees from around the county who gathered to demonstrate credit unions’ commitment to being actively involved in the public policy process.
During the conference, attendees spent an afternoon on Capitol Hill discussing debit card interchange fees with Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation. Advocates stressed to elected officials that even though they are technically exempted from the proposed rule, it will directly and indirectly affect Minnesota credit unions’ ability to offer economical checking products. For this reason, representatives urged Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation to support measures that would allow Congress to stop, study and start over on the interchange issue.
Credit union representatives also encouraged each member of Congress to co-sponsor a bill that would increase credit unions’ member business lending (MBL) cap from 12.25 percent of total assets to 27.5 percent. According to the Credit Union National Association, this MBL increase would generate for Minnesota an additional $180 million in small business loans and nearly 2,000 jobs.
Prior to hill visits, representatives attended a luncheon and issues briefing coordinated by the Minnesota Credit Union Network. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) keynoted the luncheon and commended credit unions for their role in the economy.
"Credit unions in Minnesota really stepped up to the plate,” said Sen. Klobuchar. "You weren’t the ones making risky deals. You represent everything that is right with the financial system.”
The luncheon also featured CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose who overviewed talking points for debit interchange, member business lending, and the credit union structure. He emphasized the importance of the hill visits and encouraged credit unions to capitalize on the "narrow window” of opportunity available for the issues.
"The hill visits provided us the opportunity to share how current issues in the financial services industry directly affect the state’s credit unions and consumers,” said Mark D. Cummins, MnCUN President & CEO. "Through our conversations, we reaffirmed the value of our relationships with elected officials and reminded them that credit unions are the best way for consumers to conduct their financial services.”
Annual Meeting early bird discount ends March 15
Credit unions have until Tuesday, March 15, to take advantage of MnCUN’s $30 early bird Annual Meeting & Convention discount. Set for April 8-9 at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington, this conference's activities will include education breakout sessions, the MnCUN Business Meeting, interactive fundraisers, and the awards banquet.
The event will feature breakout sessions focused on pertinent topics, including member service, business and SEG development, human resources, director duties and more. In addition, credit union board members have the opportunity to attend a free director financial literacy session. This presentation will assist credit unions in complying with the NCUA’s new rule by providing an overview of basic finance and accounting principles. While this session is free, pre-registration is required.
Register today to take advantage of the Annual Meeting’s early bird pricing! Those that miss the March 15 deadline can still register for the conference at the standard rate until Thursday, March 24. Complete information, a printable brochure and online registration can be found in the Annual Meeting & Convention section of the Network web site.
MnCUN Board elections uncontested in 2011
The Minnesota Credit Union Network Board of Directors has five seats up for election in 2011. Following the official call for candidates in January, one candidacy declaration was received for each open seat:
- Daniel Stoltz of SPIRE Federal Credit Union (metro seat);
- Tammy Heikkinen of Members Cooperative Credit Union (non-metro seat);
- Paul Knorr of Accentra Credit Union (non-metro seat);
- Karen Fleming of HBI Employees Credit Union (2,000 or fewer members seat); and
- Kyle Markland of Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union (10,000 or greater members seat).
According to the Network Bylaws, uncontested nominees may be declared elected by general consent or acclamation by the chair at the Annual Meeting. Therefore, an election mail ballot will not be conducted in 2011, and all five nominees will be declared elected by general consent at the MnCUN Annual Meeting on April 8.
Network webinar archives available
Credit unions can create their own education library by purchasing MnCUN’s webinar archives. These CD-ROM archives feature recordings of live webinars held in 2011 that focus on a variety of topics pertinent to professionals and volunteers of all levels.
Each recording includes the session’s original audio/visual presentation, the question and answer portion, and the webinar handouts. Credit unions can show these "off-the-shelf” training programs at staff and board meetings and use them for future training.
Additionally, these sessions can help credit unions and board members comply with the NCUA’s recently-released director financial literacy rule. Two archived sessions are specifically focused on the rule’s requirements.
- Director Financial Literacy: What Directors Should Know
This webinar, which was recorded in February, overviews the essential credit union information provided in balance sheets and income statements.
- Director Financial Literacy: Ratios, Concentrations & Investment Valuations
During this webinar, which was recorded last week, volunteers gain an understanding of key financial numbers as they investigate ratio components and what they say about the overall health of the credit union.
CD-ROM archives are only $200 each and can be purchased up to six months after the original session date. To peruse the session recordings available, visit the Webinar Archives page of the Network web site. With questions, contact MnCUN Director of Education Sue Groskreutz by e-mail or at (651) 288-5521.
Network discusses interchange, MBL with the state’s newest Congressman
Minnesota credit unions met with the state’s newest congressman during a meet-and-greet with Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-8th District) on Feb. 25 at Minnco Credit Union in Cambridge. Twenty-five professionals and volunteers from six credit unions attended this introductory meeting to discuss the current issues important to the movement.
Credit unions focused their conversation with Rep. Cravaack on the impact that interchange and member business lending (MBL) have on Minnesota consumers. Attendees stressed the inadequacy of the Federal Reserve Board’s proposed interchange rates and outlined the affect the reduction would have on credit unions’ ability to offer economical checking products. Rep. Cravaack acknowledged industry concerns with the provision and encouraged them to continuing working with elected officials on the issue.
On the topic of MBL, credit union professionals and volunteers shared how increasing the cap would positively impact small businesses. Citing statistics compiled by CUNA, credit unions informed the congressman that an MBL increase would generate an additional $47 million in small business loans and more than 500 jobs in the 8th Congressional District. Rep. Cravaack acknowledged the importance of small businesses in the district and stated that he is interested in looking at any avenue to strengthen them.
"The Minnesota Credit Union Network recognizes the importance of working together with the members of the state’s Congressional Delegation,” said Mara Humphrey, MnCUN Vice President – Governmental Affairs. "Our meeting with Rep. Cravaack enabled us to establish an open line of communication with the state’s newest representative, and we look forward to working with him on issues in the future.”
aSmarterChoice.org raises the CU profile
At this year’s Governmental Affairs Conference, CUNA launched a new consumer web site – called aSmarterChoice.org – aimed at putting credit unions on consumers’ radar screens. The web-based tool, developed through a partnership between CUNA and the state credit union associations, helps credit unions build membership by sharing the credit union story.
Created to be a one stop shop for consumers looking to join a credit union, aSmarterChoice.org features an all-inclusive, comprehensive credit union locator. This tool uses information from an online database to provide consumers a list of credit unions they are eligible to join. The database is maintained and updated by each individual credit union, and the search engine is only as good as the information credit unions put into it. Therefore, it is necessary for Minnesota credit unions to ensure that their information is up-to-date in the database.
To update your information, visit the administration page of aSmarterChoice.org. If you need a password or would like to register your credit union in the database, contact MnCUN Director of Technology Scott Shoberg by e-mail or at (651) 288-5525.
CUNA launches Volunteer Network
To assist volunteers in fulfilling their increasingly complex and demanding roles, CUNA has launched a Volunteer Network, an online community and resource center for credit union volunteers. This membership-based group keeps volunteers informed about industry news and connected with their credit union peers.
The CUNA Volunteer Network offers access to a group list serve, board training courses, discounts on educational opportunities, and more. It also offers industry training opportunities, business insight, free enrollment in the Volunteer Certification Program, and peer advice.
For membership details and to become a member of this group, visit the CUNA Volunteer Network page on the CUNA web site.
CUs invited to participate in job fair
Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-3rd District) invites credit unions to exhibit in a job fair coordinated by his office. This event will assist Minnesotans who have lost their jobs during the recession, as well as those looking for new career opportunities.
The event will be held on Wednesday, April 20, from 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m. at Normandale Community College in Bloomington. It will feature businesses from throughout the state that are seeking to fill open positions. The event is free for both exhibitors and job seekers.
To register for the event, complete the Rep. Erik Paulsen Job Fair Form. Registrations must be submitted by Friday, March 18. With questions about the event, contact Rep. Paulsen’s staff member Luke Hellier.
Credit union notes...
- Gail Krall, President & CEO of Minnesota Power Employees Credit Union, was recently appointed to the newly-formed Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank's Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council. This committee, made up of nine other financial industry representatives, will provide the Federal Reserve input on economic credit conditions.
This week US Federal Credit Union President & CEO Bill Raker was elected as the Chair of Credit Union Service Centers Network Inc (CUSCNI). CUSCNI represents two national shared branching networks, CO-OP Shared Branching and Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc. The organizations work cooperatively through CUSCNI to maintain shared branching standards, rules and member experiences.
Enhance member service with MnIPC
Find the missing piece of your service puzzle with MnIPC. Through its diverse package of services, MnIPC helps credit unions simplify back-office check processing operations. Are you looking for remote deposit capture, image archives and home banking interface? MnIPC has you covered.
MnIPC is an independent check processor that provides share draft and deposit processing at competitive rates. It is able to offer flexible settlement arrangements based on where credit unions choose to hold their accounts. MnIPC’s suite of check processing services includes: inclearings; return items and image archive; and branch, remote and home deposits. Plus they use advanced check processing technology to offer check document imaging for research and retrievals, automated return item processing, CD image output, and image statement printing.
Investigate MnIPC and discover the quality, cost-effective check processing services your credit union has been missing. For more information about MnIPC’s products and services, contact MnIPC Vice President Michelle Carlson by e-mail or at (651) 288-5551.
Add 4,200+ branches in a snap through Shared Branching
The process of building one branch is an extensive task for any credit union. Now imagine building 4,200 branches! Through the Shared Branching Network, credit unions can offer members thousands of locations around country without investing time and money into constructing a new building.
With Shared Branching, credit unions from around the country share facilities to give members thousands of convenient locations to perform transactions just as if they were in their home credit union. Whether members are at work, home, or their favorite travel destination, your credit union is always nearby. Anywhere they see the Shared Branching logo members can conduct a range of basic transactions, such as:
- Loan payments;
- Transfers between accounts;
- Purchase money orders, travelers checks and official checks;
- And more!
Take advantage of this cooperative service and become part of the Shared Branching Network. For more on how to offer this service to your members, contact MnCUN Director of Business Development Vickie Ganrude by e-mail or at (651) 288-5515.
CUNA Mutual to host free discovery webinar
CUNA Mutual Group will host a free webinar titled Is it Over Yet…or is this the Calm Before Another Economic Storm? on March 17 at 12:15 pm. Led by CUNA Mutual Chief Economist Dave Colby, this session will deliver timely and relevant economic information.
Last year at this time, Colby predicted that it would be an uncertain path to economic recovery. This was an accurate assessment for 2010, yet the U.S. economy and credit unions made progress on this bumpy path. In this session, Colby will share his economic and credit union forecasts and their operational implications. He will also discuss key risk factors for both the recovery and credit unions’ long-term role in consumer finance.
For more detailed information and to register for the webinar, visit the Event Calendar section of the Network web site.
Calendar of Events
The Minnesota Credit Union Network offers a wide variety of educational opportunities for credit union professionals and volunteers. Check out the roundtables, telecourses, and webinars available. Professionals and volunteers are also invited to attend MnCUN's Annual Meeting & Convention on April 8-9. To register for this and other events, visit the online Event Calendar.
- March 15 (10 a.m.): TeleCourse – Selling the Credit Union Way
- March 15 (5 p.m.): Archer Doig & River Cities Chapter Meeting
- March 16 (2 p.m.): Webinar – Flood Compliance Update & Review
- March 17 (12 p.m.): CUNA Mutual Webinar – Is it Over Yet…
- March 17 (1 p.m.): Seminar – Commercial Lending
- March 22 (2 p.m.): Webinar – Robbery Suppression & Apprehension
- March 22 (5:30 p.m.): Hiawatha Chapter Meeting
- March 23 (2 p.m.): Webinar – Trust Documents in Lending
- March 24 (10 a.m.): TeleCourse – Effectively Dealing with Embezzlers
- March 24 (10:30 a.m.): Roundtable – Compliance/Fraud
- March 24 (2 p.m.): Webinar – Appraisal & Evaluation Guidance: Collateral Valuation
March 29 (10 a.m.): TeleCourse – Reading & Selling from a Credit Report
March 29 (5:30 p.m.): Arrowhead Chapter Meeting
March 30 (2 p.m.): Webinar – Board & Management Compliance Training
March 31 (1 p.m.): Political Involvement Committee Meeting
March 31 (2 p.m.): Webinar – Overdraft Protection Programs