The Pulse (06-19-13)
June 19, 2013 ● Volume 02, Issue 24
The Pulse Archive
Credit Union News
Check out MnCUN's new tools to promote new Bankziety campaign
Understanding the public's receptiveness to the credit union message, the Minnesota Credit Union Network launched its Bankziety campaign in April of 2012. Bankziety is a statewide consumer awareness campaign – funded by credit unions' voluntary contributions to the Minnesota Network Advertising Program (MNAP) – that aims to raise awareness about credit unions and encourage consumers to make the switch.
The campaign is aimed at consumers age 21-35. Through the Bankziety website, the Minnesota Credit Unions Facebook page, and other online delivery channels, the Bankziety campaign positions credit unions as the cure for consumers who are experiencing financial frustration.
In the spring of 2013, MnCUN introduced a refreshed look to the Bankziety campaign. The new colorful, pop-art themed website features a Bankziety "Symptom Checker” and helpful advice for financial planning at pivotal stages of life, such as planning a wedding, purchasing a home, budgeting for a baby, and preparing for retirement.
Credit unions can promote Bankziety to members, positioning themselves as the cure. This campaign is primarily geared toward people who are not yet credit union members, but current members can help to spread the word. Credit unions are encouraged to feature information about the Bankziety campaign in their newsletters and on their websites. To assist credit unions in doing this, MnCUN has developed tools such as lobby posters and animated graphics.
The website also features a "Find Your Cure” search tool which allows visitors to find the Minnesota credit union that is right for them through the powerful, nationwide search engine at aSmarterChoice.org. All credit unions should check their information on aSmarterChoice and update it if necessary. Consumers who visit the Bankziety website will use the national credit union locator at aSmarterChoice.org to find a credit union they are able to join.
For information on how to update your credit union's profile or to create your Smarter Choice profile, contact MnCUN's Scott Shoberg. With questions about the Bankziety campaign, contact MnCUN Communications Specialist Kelli Sandhurst.
Senate paper serves a wake-up call to CUs on their tax status
In the surest sign yet of the need for Minnesota credit unions and their members to contact Congress, the Senate Finance Committee recently released its ninth in an ongoing series of papers on the issue of tax reform. The release, entitled ”Tax-Exempt Organizations and Charitable Giving,” specifically mentions the possible elimination of credit unions' corporate income tax exemption as a way to reform the federal tax code.
The paper references a study done by the Tax Foundation that dramatically overstates the income tax benefit that credit unions receive, without evaluating the reason for the tax exemption in the first place. Credit unions' tax status exists because they are not-for-profit, cooperative entities that exist to serve and benefit their members.
This paper should serve as a wake-up call to all credit unions on the need for action. If you haven't already done so, urge your employees, board members and your members to act now to protect the credit union tax status. The Network has created a Tax Advocacy Resources page, where you will find a sample email and newsletter article, social media posts, web logos and more. We also ask you to please respond to Action Alerts if you are a GREAT members, and to encourage others to sign up for GREAT and take action.
Protecting credit unions' tax status is the top priority of MnCUN's Governmental Affairs team, and we must create a groundswell of voices asking our legislators to protect it now that it is severely threatened. We need everyone to tell Congress: "Don't Tax My Credit Union.”
With questions about this advocacy effort, contact MnCUN Political Advocacy Director Ryan Smith by email or call (651) 288-5533, or Vice President – Governmental Affairs Mara Humphrey by email or call (651) 288-5523.
Calling all CUs: Time to start thinking about Dora, Louise, Desjardins
Throughout the past year, Minnesota credit unions have worked hard developing and providing programs, products and services to better serve their members and communities. Now is the time to showcase your dedication to the credit union movement by submitting your award-worthy projects for the annual Dora Maxwell, Louise Herring and Desjardins awards.
The Minnesota Credit Union Network and CUNA are excited to again be sponsoring these national recognition programs for credit unions. More details about these awards, including information on nomination forms and entry checklists, will be emailed to credit unions in the coming days. You may also visit the National Awards Programs page of the Network website for secrets to submitting a winning entry, background on each award program, and more! The deadline to submit entries to the statewide competition is Friday, July 26.
Credit unions are encouraged to enter one or all of these national awards programs to bring attention to their unique programs, products and services. Winning submissions in the statewide competitions will advance to the national competition for judging in the fall. With questions, contact MnCUN Communications Intern Jane Lee by email or Communications Specialist Kelli Sandhurst.
Legislative session highlights outlined in 2013 Session Summary
In addition to debating tax reform and foreclosure legislation during the 2013 Legislative Session, elected officials passed a number of bills related to the financial services industry and the products and services that credit unions provide to their members. To assist credit unions in sorting through this session's bills, the Network has published its 2013 Session Summary.
The publication includes information on legislation that did and did not become law during the 2013 session. You will find a synopsis of each bill, who authored it, MnCUN's position on the legislation, the bill's final outcome, and its impact on credit unions. Links throughout the document also direct credit unions to more specifics on the pieces of legislation.
Some of the major issues the Minnesota Credit Union Network's Governmental Affairs team lobbyied on this session include:
- Credit unions' tax exempt status: MnCUN has worked hard to preserve the credit union tax status and closely monitored activity surrounding changes to tax expenditures. In 2011, the Minnesota Department of Revenue recommended that the legislature create a Tax Expenditure Commission to examine tax expenditures on an eight-year cycle and create a sunset date – or end date – for the expenditures. This session, MnCUN again discussed the credit union tax exemption with key legislators, as well as members of the governor's staff, emphasizing its benefits to consumers and the economy.
- Credit unions' partnering with MnSCU: The Governmental Affairs team helped to get legislation passed that extends a program that encourages partnerships between Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and local financial institutions.
- Sales tax on financial services: A bill was introduced this session that would have issued a sales tax on financial services such as safe deposit boxes. MnCUN successfully lobbied against this proposal and credit unions were prevented from having to collect and remit sales tax on services such as ATM fees, loan fees and safe deposit boxes. This means Minnesota credit unions were also prevented from paying sales taxes on business services such as accounting, legal and marketing services.
"This year was a successful one in terms of advocacy for Minnesota credit unions,” said MnCUN Political Advocacy Director Ryan Smith. "The message that credit unions are trusted, local, and safe, sound and secure was received at the State Capitol, and our legislative achievements this session reflect that. The advocacy efforts of Network staff paired with the grassroots involvement of credit union professionals and volunteers make for a powerful voice at the state, and federal, levels.”
To view the 2013 Session Summary, visit the Political Publications section of the Network website. With specific questions about the bills and laws highlighted in the publication, contact MnCUN Political Advocacy Director Ryan Smith by email or at (651) 288-5523.
Credit Union Notes ...
Stephanie Riles was recently named as the new Manager/Treasurer at Mower County Employees Credit Union in Austin. Riles took over June 1, replacing Tom Lavik , who retired at the end of May. Riles has an extensive financial and banking background, working most recently at US Bank for a short time, and before that was at a community bank for seven years. She began her career as a teller, moved into a position as a personal banker, and then took on a branch management and compliance role.
Industry veteran urges Minnesota CUs to engage in elections, political advocacy
Federal Benefits Rule summary available
Minnesota Legislature revises Safe at Home law
CFPB issues compliance guides for loan originator, mortgage servicing
White paper released on overdraft practices
EEOC issues new ADA guidance documents
FDIC, CFPB launch financial tools for older adults
FTC issues revised business guide on "red flags" identity theft rule
New Minnesota law issued on foreclosures
Opinion Letter Highlights