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|The Pulse (04-23-14)|
The Pulse (04-23-14)
April 23, 2014 ● Volume 03, Issue 16
Credit Union News
As the end of the month closes in, the Minnesota Credit Union Network is poised to welcome more than 400 credit union professionals, volunteers and exhibitors to the Radisson Blu Mall of America for MnCUN’s 2014 Annual Meeting & Convention.
“The Annual Meeting & Convention is a yearly celebration of the good work that credit unions do every day,” said MnCUN President & CEO Mark Cummins. “It also provides credit union staff and volunteers with unique networking opportunities and entertainment, as well as education sessions to help your credit unions continue to grow and thrive.”
For more information and a complete schedule, go to the 2014 Annual Meeting & Convention page of the Network website. With questions contact Director of Education Sue Groskreutz by email or at (651) 288-5521.
Only four months into the year, 2014 has already seen several legislative issues at both the state and federal levels that would dramatically affect credit unions and the way they operate. The Minnesota Credit Union Network’s Governmental Affairs department has been busy advocating for credit unions and their continued ability to serve their members.
At the federal level, the House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), in March released his long-awaited draft that would dramatically reshuffle the federal tax code. After the Don’t Tax My Credit Union campaign that began last year, resulting in over 1 million emails and letters to Congress, Chairman Camp’s initial proposal did not include any change in the credit union tax status.
Elimination of the federal corporate income tax exemption would change the way credit unions do business and their ability to serve their members. Camp’s proposal will likely not go anywhere in an election year, but tax reform is desperately needed and will likely be addressed in the near future.
In St. Paul, foreclosure issues have once again taken center stage since the legislature reconvened in late February. Network staff have supported H.F. 2213/S.F. 2445, a bill that would make permanent a provision codifying small servicers as entities that have conducted 125 or fewer foreclosures. This important proviso ensures that credit unions are separated from large, international banks and can continue to function in the member focused manner. H.F. 2213 was heard on the House floor on April 22.
Conversely, the Network has vociferously opposed H.F. 1941/S.F. 2779. This bill would require mandatory mediation before a lending institution can begin foreclosure proceedings. There are numerous concerns with the bill that would -if inacted- likely sharply curtail credit union mortgage lending in Minnesota. At the moment, H.F. 1941 did not make committee deadlines to get voted to the House floor, but MnCUN remains vigilant in the event the author tries to attach it to another bill yet this session.
The State Legislature will adjourn no later than May 18. Network staff will continue to meet with legislators to work proactively on issues that will aid credit unions and adamantly contest any legislation that would harm them.
The Minnesota Credit Union Network's political advocacy team works at the state Capitol and in Washington to allow credit unions to focus on what they do best – meeting their members’ needs. As Congress and the state legislature shape the laws that govern, credit unions can rest assured that their interests will be represented with a loud, clear, and unified voice.
Last month, members of the Minnesota Family Involvement Council (FIC) shared their knowledge and expertise about credit unions with high school students at the Cooperative Network’s “Co-ops YES!” Youth Leadership Conference.
Cooperatives, effective communications, and careers were among the topics explored by 125 young leaders from Minnesota and Wisconsin during this event held March 17-18 in Eau Claire, Wis. Participating high school students, as well as several state Future Farmers of America (FFA) officers, were sponsored by nearly 30 cooperatives to attend this year’s event, hosted annually by Cooperative Network.
The FIC is a committee of the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation, which places a heavy emphasis on financial education and provides credit unions and communities with the resources to prosper and thrive. The FIC 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 the FIC has been invited to speak at the Youth Leadership Conference. The speakers included FIC Chair Bridget Moeller of Greater Minnesota Credit Union, Amanda Kissner of Wakota Federal Credit Union, and Andrea Molnau of United Educators Credit Union.
During the FIC’s session, entitled “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.
Also during the session, the credit union representatives talked about the variety of careers available within the industry. The speakers took questions from session attendees and candidly discussed job likes and dislikes, while providing tips and suggestions for students as they begin their careers.
“Credit unions provide more than job opportunities,” said Moeller. “Credit unions provide careers with the chance to make a positive impact on your community.”
“The Family Involvement Council is pleased to see these young leaders take an interest in cooperatives and to better equip them for their future careers,” Moeller added.
After 12 years, support for Windows XP ended April 8, 2014. There will be no more security updates or technical support for the Windows XP operating system.
In addition, credit unions might experience compliance issues due to unsupported and components in the IT infrastructure that are not patched, resulting in audit issues. Credit unions that have not migrated to a modern operating system- such as Windows 8.1- are advised to do so. Credit unions running unsupported software are exposed to an elevated risk to cybersecurity dangers, such as malicious attacks or electronic data loss. Users may also encounter problems with software and hardware compatibility since new software applications and hardware devices may not be built for Windows XP or Office 2003. Support for also ended on April 8.
Security updates patch vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware and help keep users and their data safer. PCs running Windows XP after April 8, are not considered to be protected.
Read the Windows lifecycle fact sheet to learn more.
The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) hosted a news event on Thursday, featuring financial education initiatives led by Minnesota Power Employees Credit Union and the Duluth Children’s Museum last Thursday.
Mark D. Cummins, MnCUN President & CEO, talked about the credit union mission of helping members build financial knowledge and stressed the importance of financial literacy.
“A big part of the credit union mission is to help people achieve their financial goals,” said Cummins. “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 all Minnesotans.”
Debbie Almirall, Minnesota Power Employees Credit Union President & CEO, discussed the credit union’s partnership with the Duluth Children’s Museum, along with additional credit union financial education initiatives. She also shared insights about serving as a professor of personal and business finance with the University of Phoenix.
“A simple way to teach kids about the value of money is to have them split their allowance into how much they should save, share and spend,” said Almirall. “Making those decisions helps kids learn budgeting skills and how to spend wisely.”
Michael Garcia, Duluth Children’s Museum President, talked about the museum’s popular “Moneyville” financial education exhibit, which was established in partnership with Minnesota Power Employees Credit Union. The exhibit’s interactive, hands-on tours help children learn economic concepts and experience real-life financial decision-making scenarios.
"Moneyville provides an opportunity for parents and kids to learn financial skills together,” said Garcia. “Sharing information helps them both learn how to make good financial decisions.”
Thursday’s event was held to help celebrate April as Financial Literacy Month and to showcase credit unions’ year-round efforts to provide financial education to members and communities throughout Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently released guidance regarding privacy laws and the reporting of elder financial abuse. The Department of Commerce guidance provides that under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act there are a variety of exceptions to the prohibition on disclosing nonpublic personal information. The Department of Commerce guidance provides that disclosing nonpublic personal information for the purpose of reporting suspected financial abuse of older adults falls under one or more of these exceptions when the information is provided to a local, state or federal agency.
The Department of Commerce also reminds financial institutions of Minnesota Statute 626.557 subdivision 5a stating financial institutions shall cooperative with agency investigations regarding maltreatment of a vulnerable adult and are provided immunity from liability under the statute.
The guidance may be found on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website.
To formally announce the release of the guidance and celebrate the coalescence of community organizations committed to combating senior fraud, the Department of Commerce held a press conference in St. Paul yesterday. Representatives from Catholic United Financial Credit Union, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, AARP and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office took part in the event.
“Working in the financial industry, we know that financial crimes aimed at seniors happen all too often,” said Terri Maloney, President & CEO of Catholic United Financial.
She encouraged additional education for front-line employees at banks and credit unions – specifically training staff to spot spotting fraudulent activity and empowering them to help stop it.
“Strengthening our relationship with law enforcement and the Minnesota Department of Commerce will help keep our customers’ money out of the hands of criminals,” Maloney added.
Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman discussed a variety of senior fraud perpetrated by mail, phone, internet and in-person. He pronounced Minnesota as the first state in the nation to issue state guidance to state banks and CU aimed at providing additional protection to the state’s senior citizens and stated the Department of Commerce’s commitment to curbing financial exploitation.
“A financial institution’s familiarity with its older customers, especially Minnesota’s state-chartered banks and credit unions, are in a unique position to spot irregular transactions, account activity, or behavior,” Commissioner Rothman said. “Financial institutions, therefore, can be on the front line to help stop financial abuse of senior citizens when they identify irregularities in a customer’s financial activity and report it to the appropriate authorities.”
Regardless of whether the country is in a period of recession, expansion or some stage in between, it is vital for credit union employees to have a firm understanding of financial principles. The Minnesota Credit Union Network's Financial Principles & Business Planning Workshop (formerly known as Financial Management School) blends theory with practical application to provide professionals with a thorough understanding of the fiscal aspects of the credit union.
This training will develop a foundation of the basic financial principles and guide attendees on how to take that knowledge to the next level. Using their own credit union's financials, attendees will calculate, examine and discuss key financial ratios. The ratios will then serve as a basis for an analysis on the strategic issues and financial challenges facing their credit unions today and into the future. During the discussion, attendees will:
Jim Aho has been serving credit unions in various capacities since 1973. He holds a CPA certificate and travels throughout the United States providing education and management advisory services to credit unions of all sizes. In addition to writing numerous books and several of CUNA's Volunteer Achievement Program modules, Aho is focused on helping credit unions grow to the "next level" through strategic planning, organizational restructure, staff development and training programs. Over the years he has worked with over 900 credit unions throughout the United States and is a frequent speaker at credit union meetings across the country.
Registration ends April 28. For more information visit the Financial Principles page of the Network website. For additional information or with specific questions, please contact Sue Groskreutz by email or at (651) 288-5521.
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.
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