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|The Pulse (03-04-15)|
The Pulse (03-04-2015)
March 4, 2015 ● Volume 04, Issue 9
Credit Union News
The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) recently filed an amicus curiae brief (brief) with the Minnesota Supreme Court (Court) in the matter of Commerce Bank vs. West Bend Mutual Insurance Company. Because our interests were aligned, and for purposes of efficiency before the Court, this brief was filed jointly with the Minnesota Banker’s Association. An amicus curiae brief is generally filed with the Supreme Court by a non-party to the case when that non-party has a public or private interest in the outcome. In this case, MnCUN’s brief was filed in support of Commerce Bank.
In the case before the Court, Commerce Bank loaned money to the owner of a commercial property secured by a mortgage against that property. The loan became delinquent, the building became vacant, and resulting vandalism caused property damage. Based upon a standard clause within the property’s insurance policy, Commerce Bank, as mortgagee and loss payee, filed an insurance claim with West Bend. West Bend denied Commerce Bank’s claim on the basis that the loss was excluded from the owner’s policy coverage due to a vacancy exclusion. Commerce Bank then sued West Bend in District Court.
The question before the Court is whether a mortgagor’s acts or neglect which triggers an exclusion in the underlying owner’s policy of insurance can also operate to invalidate the entire policy, thereby cutting off all rights of a mortgagee-loss payee. MnCUN supports Commerce Bank’s position that the standard mortgage clause creates a separate contract for insurance between the mortgagee and the insurer and that, so long as the policy premiums are paid and the mortgagee itself commits no violations, the policy continues coverage.
MnCUN's brief sought to provide guidance to the Court on the case and demonstrate a broader perspective on the potential consequences, should the Court hold that an insurance company may in fact exclude such claims of a mortgagee. Such a decision would have a significant impact on a credit union’s mortgage lending programs in terms of pricing, risk, and availability. In addition, although the underlying case involves a commercial property, the decision would likely be more broadly applied to residential policy disputes as well.
We anticipate that the Court will likely make a final determination sometime this summer, and our compliance department will continue to monitor the case and its outcome. If you would like any additional information, please feel free to contact General Counsel John Wendland or Associate General Counsel Lyndsay Miller.
Don't miss out on a weekend packed with education, networking opportunities and entertainment. Registration is now open for MnCUN's 2015 Annual Meeting & Convention!
Taking place April 10-11 at the Radison Blu Mall of America, this conference offers the state's largest credit union exhibition, with opportunities for exhibitors to talk about their products and services and connect with credit union leaders. There are also education sessions for credit union staff and volunteers, as well as activities for The Crew – MnCUN's young professionals group.
Schedule at a glance:
Every day your state and national trade associations – the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) and Credit Union National Association (CUNA) – work on behalf of credit unions. We are committed to providing value to credit unions and to not take your membership for granted!
On the state level, MnCUN works to ensure the success, growth and vitality of Minnesota credit unions. We do this by creating a positive public environment through leadership, political advocacy, education, awareness and regulatory assistance. We are keenly focused on creating the environment to help credit unions grow market share.
MnCUN has a three-year strategic plan, which grounds our core activities in five overarching goals:
Specific measurable goals and annual initiatives are derived from these broad goals to maintain our strategic framework and create a shared vision for the association and credit unions throughout the state. For details on MnCUN’s activities and accomplishments in 2014, visit the membership page of the Network website.
On the national level, CUNA is the largest credit union trade association in the U.S., serving nearly 7,000 credit unions. CUNA works closely with MnCUN and other state leagues to:
On a quarterly basis, CUNA issues a publication called Membership@Work that provides an overview of its activities in recent months, along with information about how CUNA works to advocate for credit unions.
Want to know more? Then we want to hear from you! Members of the MnCUN team are available to meet with you and your staff to discuss our strategic initiatives and engagement opportunities to get the most out of your dues dollars. With questions, contact MnCUN’s General Counsel John Wendland by email or at (651) 288-5519.
The National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) is inviting credit union organizations to hold a “Financial Fitness Day” fundraiser on April 1, 2015 to kick off National Financial Literacy Month and National Credit Union Youth Month™. This initiative will raise funds for the Foundation and state credit union foundations in support of their financial education initiatives.
To participate, credit union organizations can hold one (or more) of the following fundraisers on 4/1/15:
“This year Financial Fitness Day happens to fall on April Fool’s Day, but financial education is no joke,” said Danielle Brown, Foundation Director of Development and Donor Relations. “Financial education is a critical focus of many credit unions' outreach efforts in order to improve the financial well-being of their members’ and community. We hope your organization will hold a fundraiser such as a casual day on April 1 to support these activities across the country.”
The campaign website can be found at financialfitnessday.com. Included on the website are other campaign resources such as additional fundraising ideas, sample newsletter articles, sign-up sheets, stickers, flyer, statement stuffer, wall pin-up templates, sample tweets, web buttons, and more.
“Save, spend, and share—in a nutshell, that’s our message during Youth Month,” said Joanne Sepich, Youth Month Coordinator for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). “It’s a win-win when credit union staff and members help fund financial education.”
Donations made as part of the initiative will be split 50/50 between the Foundation and the state credit union foundation in which the donation was made. The donations can be made at financialfitnessday.com.
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.
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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