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|The Pulse (05-13-15)|
The Pulse (05-13-2015)
May 13, 2015 ● Volume 04, Issue 19
Credit Union News
Last week, on a unanimous 54-0 vote, the Minnesota Senate passed a Minnesota Credit Union Network-sponsored bill – H.F. 1127/S.F. 1043.
H.F. 1127/S.F. 1043, authored by Sen. Vicki Jensen (DFL-Owatonna), allows credit unions to offer prize-linked savings (PLS) accounts that essentially treat every deposit as a ticket in a drawing. PLS accounts offer savers the opportunity to win a larger prize with no risk of losing their savings. They encourage consumers to save by changing the savings experience and allowing them to feel the immediate rewards of prizes and incentives. Since 2009, credit unions in the United States offering PLS accounts have helped over 50,000 members save 94 million dollars.
“On behalf of Minnesota credit unions and their members, we would like to thank the Minnesota Senate for passing this bill,” said Minnesota Credit Union Network President & CEO Mark Cummins. “Prize-linked savings accounts will help individuals and families all across Minnesota build a stronger financial foundation.”
The PLS bill was a key focus for the Minnesota Credit Union Network this legislative session. The House passed the bill, authored by Rep. Jennifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), on a 125-2 vote on April 30. The legislation now goes to Gov. Mark Dayton for his approval.
Legal counsel representing financial institutions’ interests in the Target data security breach litigation filed a request with the Court last month to prevent MasterCard from entering into a settlement with Target. While the Judge chided Target’s attorneys, and to a certain extent, MasterCard, for failing to include financial institutions in the settlement discussions and negotiations, the Court determined that it did not have the ability to intervene in the settlement. MasterCard is not a party to the pending litigation, and although financial institutions may choose to participate in the settlement by notifying MasterCard on or before May 20, they are not bound to accept the settlement and can continue to pursue alternative remedies against Target. For more details regarding the matter, see the recent Reuters article or the U.S. District Court’s recently issued Memorandum and Order.
MnCUN continues to monitor the litigation, and to also advocate for Congressional action on data breaches. MnCUN also encourages credit unions to take action and share Stop the Data Breaches! resources with their members. See the Network’s dedicated webpage on Data Breaches for additional information, including additional call to action information, conference call archives of developments, talking points for credit unions, tips for consumers, and additional resources.
Credit unions are also encouraged to visit the MnCUN GrassRoots Education & Action Team webpage to take action by contacting their legislators.
Preliminary data released by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) show that Minnesota credit unions experienced robust year-over-year growth in assets, deposits and loans between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015. Growth includes $927 million in assets, $669 million in deposits and $997 million in loans over the one-year period.
“Credit union loan growth has been impressive, and we’re pleased to see this continuing sign of consumer confidence,” said Minnesota Credit Union Network President & CEO Mark Cummins. “These loans are making a positive difference for families and communities throughout Minnesota.”
The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation (MnCUF) – with a mission to provide resources for credit unions and communities to prosper and thrive – recently awarded $14,500 in grants to assist Minnesota credit unions with implementing financial education projects.
“The Foundation Board was very impressed with the applications we received this spring,” said Foundation Chairman Dave Larson. “Minnesota credit unions are working on many innovative financial education initiatives, and the Foundation is proud to support projects like these which will help credit union members and communities thrive.”
Spring 2015 Financial Education Grant recipients include:
Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union, after participating in the CFPB’s “Your Money, Your Goals” Training, will provide training and collaboration with a local non-profit, Bridges of Hope, to provide comprehensive financial literacy training to community members experiencing financial hardship. Mid Minnesota will provide “train the trainers” sessions to the Bridges of Hope staff to reach the greater community.
Royal Credit Union will open an in-school credit union branch at Eden Prairie High School in September 2015. The branch will be staffed by students to provide traditional financial transactions, and will also be used as a facility for financial education opportunities. Royal will also work with the school to develop curriculum and classroom collaborations to support financial capability efforts.
St. Cloud Federal Credit Union will partner with the Sartell-St. Stephen School District 748 to create a lending curriculum within its human geography classes. Ninth grade students will create a development plan for a developing country, and then select micro-lending opportunities through Kiva, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. The payback of the money loaned will create a self-perpetuating program to be used by students in future years.
TopLine Federal Credit Union, partnering with the Maple Grove Farmers Market, will offer the Power of Produce (PoP) Kids Club for the 2015 market season. PoP club members (children ages 5-12) will receive $2 market tokens to learn the power of money and how to make healthy food choices by shopping at market vendors.
The Foundation Board of Directors evaluates applications based on a variety of factors, including credit union value, community impact, collaboration, creativity, and past participation in MnCUF initiatives and funding. Non-credit union organizations may also apply for grant funding, but must partner with a Minnesota credit union and demonstrate how the project will impact credit unions and their members.
Additional information and details are available on the Financial Education Grants page of the Foundation website.
US Federal Credit Union (USFCU), at a recent Board meeting, honored retiring employee, Joanne Johnson, as a Credit Union Builder through the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation (MnCUF).
Joanne Johnson can celebrate a lifelong career - not just in the credit union industry, but with the same credit union. Beginning with USFCU in 1967 as a receptionist, Joanne has held just about every position USFCU has to offer, including several leadership roles, and culminating in her present position as SVP/Chief Technology Officer. Even after taking a brief time off to raise her family, Joanne has logged a total of 44 years with USFCU. During her tenure, credit union assets grew from $9 million to over $1 billion, and she helped launch over a hundred services (from checking accounts to mobile deposit), a pair of charter changes (from state to federal and from multi-SEG to community), a half-dozen mergers, and countless system conversions and upgrades.
“Her friendship, wisdom and dedication, as well as her unfailing commitment to members, will be missed,” said USFCU President and CEO, Bill Raker.
Johnson joins 34 other individuals who have been honored over the past six years with 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 MnCUF’s annual report.
To learn more about the Credit Union Builder Award and to view a list of those who have been honored with this recognition, visit the MnCUF website.
This Friday, May 15, AmeriCU Mortgage will host a free TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures seminar at the Doubletree Hilton Bloomington-Minneapolis South. Presented by Kim Alexander, CMB, CRO Director/Chief Compliance Officer with AmeriCU Mortgage, this seminar will broadly cover all the “need to knows” before the rule’s effective date on August 1. Focused on compliance with the new rules, Alexander will cover the history of TILA and RESPA, as well as discuss core systems and how documents will (or won’t!) integrate, as well as debunking a number of misconceptions about the new rule.
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.
The Christine M. Gross (CMG) Scholarship was awarded to Energy Services Federal Credit
Union in St. Cloud, Minnesota. This unique opportunity, provided by Alloya Corporate FCU, allowed Susan Loesch, Manager/Chief Executive Officer of Energy Services FCU to attend the 2015 Minnesota Credit Union Network’s Annual Meeting and Convention held on April 10-11, 2015.
“I am very thankful that Alloya provided me with this wonderful learning/networking opportunity,” said Loesch.
“It is very difficult for a small credit union manager to attend credit union events due to staff and/or budget limitations. This scholarship not only allowed me to attend this event, but I was able to gain from important experiences, including conversations with credit union colleagues as well as finally meeting, in person, vendors that I talk to on a regular basis,” continued Loesch. “Thanks to the CMG Scholarship, I was able to take back to the credit union valuable resources to help us grow.”
About the scholarship: In January 2001, a cherished corporate employee, Christine M. Gross passed away after a long battle with cancer. Christine was an advocate for all the credit unions she represented as a Senior Business Consultant, but it was small credit unions that held a special place in her heart. The CMG foundation was established and funded by the corporate and its members to assist staff at small credit unions defray the costs of attending educational opportunities.
The CMG Scholarship covers the recipient’s state convention registration fees as well as hotel and travel expenses. “This wonderful scholarship truly embodies Alloya’s commitment to providing education to all members, while continuing to champion Christine’s memory and her passion for credit unions,” said Alloya’s Jackie Carlson, Vice President, Business Consulting.