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|The Pulse (03-05-14)|
The Pulse (03-05-14)
March 5, 2014 ● Volume 03, Issue 9
Credit Union News
Whether legislators are considering a statute rewrite or making changes to foreclosure laws, they need to know that credit unions are member-owned by more than 1.6 million Minnesotans. Credit unions are local, trusted financial institutions that provide tremendous benefits to the communities they serve.
Credit Union Day at the Capitol attendees will begin the day hearing critical legislative updates and receiving first-hand knowledge from key legislators about the 2014 Legislative Session. The event will culminate with visits to the State Capitol to meet with representatives and senators to discuss issues important to credit unions. Lastly, attendees will conclude the day with a late-afternoon reception that will provide the opportunity to network with other credit union professionals and volunteers.
On Feb. 26, House Ways
& Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) released his tax reform
proposal. Nearly a year ago, this tax reform proposal was the genesis of the
"Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign. Thanks to credit unions'
proactive approach and strong grassroots pressure, the credit union tax
exemption remains intact. Your dedicated participation in the “Don’t Tax My
Credit Union” campaign resulted in more than 60,000 Congressional contacts in Minnesota
alone, part of the 1.5 million contacts made through this campaign nationwide.
Initially, it appeared that Rep. Camp’s proposal would apply some additional requirements on federal credit unions, including Unrelated Business Income Taxes (UBIT). (Such requirements would apply to all tax-exempt entities – not just federal credit unions.) The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has been in contact with senior staff members of the House Ways & Means Committee about this issue and learned that anything that would impose taxes on credit unions in the proposal was unintentional.
Minnesota Credit Union Network President & CEO Mark D. Cummins praised credit unions for their participation in the “Don't Tax My Credit Union” campaign.
“It’s important for us to celebrate the fact that credit unions were not included in Chairman Camp’s proposal,” Cummins said. “While it may seem strange to make note of and applaud something that didn’t happen, I am confident that the mobilization of credit unions on this issue over the past year is the reason that our industry was omitted in this draft of the legislation.”
However, Cummins urged credit unions to keep the pressure on.
“Even though we’ve won this round, we can’t let up on our efforts,” he said. “This proposal may well serve as a model for future tax reform, and we need to make sure our voices continue to be heard in order to protect credit unions’ tax status in the future.”
Credit union professionals, volunteers and members can once again contact Congressional representatives through the GREAT action center. With questions or comments, contact Vice President – Governmental Affairs Mara Humphrey by email or at (651) 288-5523.
On Monday, the Minnesota Credit Union Network, with input from the Regulatory Review Committee, responded to NCUA’s letter to credit unions (14-CU-03) notifying credit unions of its intent to impose civil money penalties on credit unions that file 5300 call reports after the filing deadlines.
MnCUN finds that, although it generally supports the intent to cure late filings, it cannot support penalties that appear punitive in nature. Instead of assessing fines, MnCUN suggests outreach to credit unions struggling with filing their 5300 call report timely. In addition, MnCUN asks for clarification in multiple areas including who will be responsible for the initial determination of a violation, what constitutes false/misleading information and when penalties will be assessed.
To review this and other
recent comment letters submitted by MnCUN, visit the MnCUN Comment Letters
page on the Network website.
Nearly 100 credit union representatives from across Minnesota visited Capitol Hill last Wednesday to deliver a unified message to members of the 113th Congress. The credit union advocates spoke to elected officials about credit unions’ benefits to Minnesota communities, taxation, member business lending, housing finance reform, data security and credit union charter enhancements.
The Minnesota contingent was part of a record number of credit union representatives – more than 4,400 strong – who gathered at the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA’s) annual Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.
In preparation for legislative visits with Minnesota’s congressional delegation, the credit union representatives attended an issues and briefing luncheon at the Washington Convention Center coordinated by the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN). Guest speaker Ryan Donovan, CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs, praised professionals and volunteers for their advocacy and the importance of their presence on Capitol Hill to talk about credit union issues.
Donovan discussed the gridlock in Washing, D.C., saying he predicted that it would end soon – out of necessity.
“The level of unpopularity engendered by this Congress is not sustainable,” Donovan said, expecting that the gridlock will loosen after the November elections. “As credit unions, we need to make sure we're prepared for when Congress is ready to act.”
MnCUN Vice President – Governmental Affairs Mara Humphrey briefed luncheon attendees on various legislative initiatives and developments including tax reform, data security, regulatory burden and charter enhancements.
“Credit unions are doing great things every day that impact the lives of everyday Minnesotans – including the 1.6 million who are credit union members,” Humphrey said at the luncheon, encouraging credit unions to tell stories and share examples of how legislative issues impact their operations.
“But when we leave Capitol Hill, our work doesn't end. We need to continue to engage on issues,” Humphrey added. “It is essential that legislators understand what you do and the value that you bring to your members and your communities.”
Four Minnesota credit unions received national awards at a ceremony held on Feb. 26 at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. Awards were received by Greater Minnesota Credit Union in Mora, St. Paul Federal Credit Union in St. Paul, TopLine Federal Credit Union in Maple Grove and US Federal Credit Union in Burnsville for their commitment to improving communities’ and members’ livelihood through financial education and literacy.
“These credit unions have demonstrated extraordinary dedication to helping their members and communities build a brighter financial future,” said Mark D. Cummins, MnCUN President & CEO. “Their awards are well-earned, and they deserve this recognition for strengthening financial knowledge in their local communities.”
The credit unions received awards for the following initiatives:
Topline Federal Credit Union
Greater Minnesota Credit Union
US Federal Credit Union
Join the movement in celebrating credit unions in April by coordinating activities during National Credit Union Youth Week on April 20-26!
This year’s theme is "Catch the $ave Wave™” and it harnesses the fun of sunny beaches and surfing to engage younger members and potential members with their credit union. The goal of Youth Week is to pave the path to life-long credit union membership by encouraging kids to set up savings accounts, learn how to manage money, and be more financially literate.
Credit unions nationwide may join in the celebration all through April, or just during National Credit Union Youth Week, by encouraging youth to set up savings accounts and learn how to manage money. By focusing on potential younger members, participants will have the opportunity to lower their age demographics, while increasing the loyalty of parents.
For official National Credit Union Youth Week art, articles, and celebration materials, visit the National Credit Union Youth Week page on CUNA’s website. For the latest information on Youth Week, credit union staff may sign up for the free Youth Week e-Newsletter or follow @CUYouthWeek on Twitter.
A new Internet domain name just for credit unions, .creditunion (dot credit union), is just about a reality.
The Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers (ICANN) has notified the Credit Union National Association that the domain name has been approved--and there are just a few more steps to take before it becomes available for credit unions' use.
Back in 2011, ICANN announced it would significantly broaden the number of approved top-level domain names beyond the limited number in use, such as .com, .org, .gov, .edu, and.coop. CUNA submitted a .creditunion application on behalf of the credit union movement.
After this notice of approval, explained CUNA General Counsel Eric Richard, the next step for CUNA to negotiate a contract with ICANN and CUNA's designated registrar company.
"People are not just using dot-com domains anymore," said Richard. "This influx of new domain names could change the way people use the internet, and credit unions are evolving with the new digital landscape."
As Richard further noted, the new top level domain is beneficial both as a marketing opportunity and a tool for enhanced security.
"This new domain will be an excellent tool for marketing as well as an opportunity to establish legitimacy and online security," Richard said. "In the wrong hands a 'creditunion' domain could allow someone intent on committing fraud to do so from a seemingly legitimate platform."
"That is why CUNA will only allow credit union entities to obtain a '.creditunion' extention. As the largest national trade group for credit unions, we felt it important to secure the domain," Richard added.
CUNA has nine months to take that next step and Richard predicted that CUNA would likely make full use of that time-frame. With questions, contact CUNA Vice President of Communications Patrick Keefe.
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.
Credit union branch at Harding High School leads to job skills
Out for Comment
NCUA Issues Letters to Credit UnionsLetter No. 14-CU-04: Derivatives Applications Open March 3
Give your credit union the competitive advantage – discover Shared Branching!
What is Shared Branching? Through this program, credit unions across the country have joined together to create shared service center locations. The shared branching network enables credit unions to provide their members with thousands of convenient locations to perform transactions, just as if they were at their home credit union.
By sharing facilities, credit unions extend their reach to offer greater convenience to all members in Minnesota and across the nation. Take advantage of this opportunity to serve your members better, without the time and expense of building additional branches.
The Network Service Corporation (NSC) manages Minnesota's shared service centers under contract with the Minnesota Credit Union Services Corporation (MnCUSC), a CUSO formed and owned by the NSC and credit unions.
To learn more about MnCUSC and the opportunities available to your credit union through shared branching, contact MnCUN Vice President – Network Service Corporation John Ferstl by email or at (651) 288-5505.