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|The Pulse (04-02-14)|
The Pulse (04-02-14)
April 2, 2014 ● Volume 03, Issue 13
Credit Union News
Tomorrow is the last day for credit union professionals & volunteers to save $40 by taking advantage of the early bird pricing for MnCUN's 2014 Annual Meeting & Convention. The Minnesota Credit Union Network's Annual Meeting & Convention offers numerous education and networking opportunities, as well as the state's largest credit union exhibit hall.
Join us at the new Radisson Blu Mall of America April 25-26 for two days of business meetings, engaging speakers, educational sessions and networking. Whether you are a credit union professional or volunteer, from a large or small credit union, you will find programs specifically geared toward your needs.
Register today to attend this important industry event. For more information and to register, visit the Annual Meeting & Convention page of the Network website.
The Minnesota Credit Union Network and credit union organizations nationwide are coalescing around a singular idea – credit unions need to tell their stories! As dissatisfaction with big banks continues to rise, credit unions are well-positioned to gain new members and provide the excellent service that is the hallmark of credit unions.
But too often, consumers don’t know that they have a choice.
“Time and time again in my 23-year credit union career, I’ve been faced with this question from my friends, neighbors and community members: ‘Yeah, there is a credit union in my community. I don’t really know what they do. Don’t you have to join or something?’” said National Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Gigi Hyland during the 2014 Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference. “As a credit union system, we are not the best at creating awareness about who we are and what we do. We must change that.”
That sentiment was echoed by NCUA Board Member Michael Fryzel recently in an interview with the Credit Union Journal.
“The help credit unions provide and the tremendous impact they have in their communities and on the people who live there is a story that must be continually told,” Fryzel said. “I urge all credit unions to take the time to share the good that they are doing so that the real story of what credit unions are all about is known.”
Over the past year, the Minnesota Credit Union Network has been working to advance its public affairs initiatives and build on consumers' awareness of credit unions. To streamline and refine news sharing capabilities, the Network has created a new webpage devoted to the Minnesota credit union news.
When stories are submitted to MnCUN – either via press release or through a brief synopsis provided in an online form – they become part of the Network’s "cycle of news.”
Beginning in 2014, MnCUN will also send a weekly news digest to media outlets around the state. Send us your press releases or use the share your story button on the Network website.
“We hear it time and time again – to know credit unions is to love credit unions. But the step that’s missing is creating awareness,” said MnCUN President & CEO Mark Cummins. “By sharing your credit union’s stories and making that information accessible, you are positioning yourself to consumers as a trustworthy, community-focused financial institution.”
To submit a news stories to MnCUN, visit the online form or contact Network Communications Director Connie Kuhn with any questions.
To celebrate Financial Literacy Month in April – as proclaimed by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton – the Minnesota Credit Union Network and credit unions around the state will be holding events and showcasing their year-round efforts to provide financial education to credit union members and communities.
“Credit unions have a positive track record in Minnesota communities on financial literacy thanks to persistent efforts to educate and equip people to live in a fiscally-responsible manner,” said MnCUN President & CEO Mark D. Cummins. “Through financial education efforts and other community initiatives, credit unions across the state are widely known as local financial institutions that consumers can trust.”
Minnesota is currently home to five student-run credit unions located in four high schools and one K-12 school. Each year, the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation provides financial education grants to fund initiatives that positively impact credit union members and communities throughout the state. According to a 2013 survey of Minnesota credit unions, 90 percent provide financial services programs or tools to members under the age of 18.
Minnesota also ranks highly in many indicators related to personal finances, as outlined in a new infographic. Recent consumer studies confirm that Minnesotans rank higher in personal savings, retirement planning and other key areas of personal financial health, when compared with results in other states.
Minnesota is home to more than 1.6 million credit union members, served at more than 400 locations around the state.
Below are some of the events that Minnesota credit unions will celebrate throughout Financial Literacy Month in April.
“These partnerships and programs are just a sampling of the many financial education efforts coordinated by Minnesota credit unions,” Cummins said. “Credit unions are proud to offer their skills and expertise to improve consumers’ knowledge of personal finance and to help create a stronger financial future for the state of Minnesota.”
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union has honored Debbie Bruns as a Credit Union Builder through the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation (MnCUF). Bruns, who dedicated more than 20 years to the credit union in the community of Grand Rapids, is set to retire this month.
“Debbie never wavered from her strong passion to put people first – including members, employees, and those she interacted within her community,” said Affinity Plus President & CEO Dave Larson, calling Bruns “instrumental” to the credit union’s growth and success.
Bruns was originally hired as a branch employee, soon after promoted to manager, and then served as a branch director for seven years. Today, Affinity Plus has three locations in Grand Rapids with more than 30 employees.
She is credited with completing Affinity Plus’s first loan in the Grand Rapids market, which took place in a bowling alley. Since that time, she has been a community leader and has positioned the credit union as a fair and reputable lender, building the largest auto loan portfolio in Itasca County.
“Her service has been nothing short of outstanding,” Larson added.
The Credit Union Builder distinction recognizes those who have dedicated time and energy to building the credit union movement. Nominations for this award are made by credit unions and other organizations in honor of or in memory of a significant individual who has been instrumental in their success.
“Community leaders like Debbie are the heart and soul of credit unions, dedicating their careers to building this amazing industry and serving members from across the state,” said MnCUF Chair Pat Brekken. “The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation is proud to honor Debbie for her passion and commitment to Affinity Plus and the entire credit union movement.”
Bruns joins 25 other individuals who have been honored over the past six years with the MnCUF's Credit Union Builder Award. The names of the recipients and the contributing credit unions are permanently displayed in the Minnesota Credit Union Network's lobby as a tribute to their accomplishments. The honorees receive acknowledgment from the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation, and donors are also listed online and in the Foundation's annual report.
To learn more about MnCUF’s Credit Union Builder Award and to view a list of those who have been honored with this recognition, visit the Foundation website.
If you have a new hire or have promoted someone in your credit union, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal (MSPBJ) wants to know about it. MSPBJ’s “People on the Move” is a great way to recognize professional accomplishments and announce staffing and board changes.
To submit a People on the Move item, visit the MSPBJ website.
MSPBJ accepts submissions on an ongoing basis, and announcements with print-quality photos (300 dpi or higher resolution) may also appear in the weekly print edition. Submissions may take between two and four weeks to be published online.
Also, be sure to share your People on the Move news with the Network as well. When your news is submitted to MnCUN it becomes part of the Network’s "cycle of news” and receives additional coverage.
Two independent events and one joint event to be held by Jump$tart Coalition & Minnesota Department of Commerce Wednesdays this month.
Executive briefing on financial education in recognition of April's designation as National Financial Literacy
Credit Unions in the News
Follow the links on the stories below to read more about the outstanding programs, new initiatives and well-deserved recognition received by your peers recently. Got news of your own? Send stories, pitches, press releases and published articles to MnCUN Director of Communications Connie Kuhn.
CUNA releases updated risk-based capital calculator
Spotlight on mobile banking
Six Steps to Improving Your Employees’ 401(k) Plan Results
By Rob Peters
In a 2013 survey of U.S. workers1, a defined contribution retirement plan such as a 401(k) was the second most important employee benefit, behind only health insurance. Survey participants ranked the importance of various employee benefits on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being very important. Two thirds of the employees ranked defined contribution retirement plans as 8, 9, or 10.
However, knowing the importance of a retirement savings plan doesn’t mean employees will manage them well and get the results they’ll need.
If your credit union has already taken the crucial step of having a retirement plan in place, consider these additional steps to help employees make good decisions about their plans:
Whichever steps you take to improve your employees’ participation, work with your plan provider to communicate the plan’s features to employees clearly and often.
Rob Peters is the senior manager of marketing for CUNA Mutual Group’s Asset Management Marketing department. Reach him at Rob.Peters@cunamutual.com.
CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Life, accident, health and annuity insurance products are issued by CMFG Life Insurance Company. Property and casualty insurance products are issued by CUMIS insurance Society, Inc., Each insurer is solely responsible for the financial obligations under the policies and contracts it issues. 10004559-0314 ©CUNA Mutual Group, 2014 All Rights Reserved.