The Pulse (10-22-14)



The Pulse (10-22-2014)

October 22, 2014 ● Volume 03, Issue 42


The Pulse Archive

Credit Union News


MnCUN to host comprehensive MLO training: St. Cloud on Nov. 12 & Apple Valley on Nov. 13

The new CFPB Mortgage rules that went into effect in early 2014 amended Regulation Z - Truth in Lending Act (TILA) to impose upon a mortgage loan originator (MLO) certain qualification duties. These duties include either being licensed and registered under the Secure & Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act), or for loan originators who are not required to be licensed and are not licensed, to also be trained on regulations that apply to their loan origination activities.

In addition, the amended TILA broadened the definition of “loan originator” to include those persons who perform loan origination activities, such as:

  • taking an application,
  • arranging a credit transaction,
  • assisting a consumer in applying for credit,
  • offering or negotiating terms, and
  • other common activities.

For those credit unions who have loan originator employees who are not required to be licensed under the SAFE Act, you are generally still required under TILA to provide periodic training covering federal and state law requirements that apply to an individual’s loan origination activities.

The CFPB has said specifically that Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) approved licensed loan originator continuing education training can be used to satisfy the training requirement of the rule, which is being called a “safe harbor.”

In response to these new expansive requirements, the Minnesota Credit Union Network is partnering with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) to present an NMLS-approved comprehensive mortgage loan originator course to member credit unions at great value. Credit unions can obtain the “safe harbor” training through CUNA’s NMLS-approved comprehensive mortgage loan originator course.*

This course covers the following:

  • Regulation Z (Truth-in-Lending)
  • Regulation X (RESPA)
  • Regulation B (Equal Credit Opportunity Act)
  • Fair Housing Act
  • Regulation C (Home Mortgage Disclosure Act)
  • Adjustable Rate Mortgages
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veterans Administration (VA) loan programs
  • Reading and Understanding Credit Reports & Scores / Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) 

This course was designed to meet the continuing education requirements of the SAFE Act inclusive of (3) hours federal laws & regulations, (3) hours ethics, consumer protection & fair lending, and (2) hours lending standards for the non-traditional mortgage product marketplace.

Class sizes are limited, and locations will fill up quickly. For additional details and online registration, please see the MnCUN Event Calendar.

For additional information regarding the mortgage loan originator rules, see the Network’s CFPB Mortgage Rules – Mortgage Loan Originator compliance guide summary, and the CFPB’s Small Entity Compliance Guide on the 2013 Loan Originator Rule.

*8 Hour Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE) Comprehensive Mortgage Loan Originator Course (NMLS #1405021)

MnCUN files comment letter on CFPB's proposed rule amending HMDA requirements

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently issued a proposed rule amending the reporting requirements under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). Under the proposal, one of the three factors used in determining which financial institutions are covered under HMDA would be amended by increasing the covered loan threshold to financial institutions that originate 25 or more covered loans, excluding open-end lines of credit, in the previous calendar year. In addition, unsecured home improvement loans would no longer be reported; however, home equity lines of credit would be required to be reported instead of on a voluntary basis under the current rule. Additional data would also be reported as required under the Dodd-Frank Act, and additional categories would be added as proposed by the CFPB. Lastly, the proposal would require reporting of mortgage loans with a commercial purpose, which is contrary to the consumer protection intent of HMDA.

Last week, the Minnesota Credit Union Network comment on the CFPB’s proposal. MnCUN’s response – which incorporates input from the Regulatory Review Committee - MnCUN finds that the proposed rule provides regulatory relief by proposing to increase the loan threshold requirement, however, we have a number of over-arching concerns with the proposal.

  • MnCUN urges the CFPB to reconsider the mandatory reporting of home equity lines of credit and commercial purpose mortgage loans due to the significant burden that will be placed on credit unions in reconfiguring their loan systems.
  • In addition, MnCUN is concerned with the additional data collection and reporting that would be required, as well as the redaction of personally identifiable information from public view.
  • Finally, MnCUN is concerned with the implementation time of the proposal and urges the CFPB to allow significant time for credit unions to comply with the new requirements.

Credit unions are encouraged to submit their own comment letters and are welcome to use MnCUN's comment letter as a guide. The comment due date for the proposed rule is Wednesday, Oct. 29. MnCUN’s comment letter can be found on the out for comment page of the Network website.


New “Community Connected” infographic highlights the credit union mission

Yesterday, the Minnesota Credit Union Network released an infographic illustrating that credit unions are “Community Connected.” As locally-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperatives, credit unions are dedicated to the communities that they serve. Much of the data included on the infographic was obtained from MnCUN’s “Credit Union Difference” survey conducted in July of 2014.

  • 29 credit unions reported donating nearly $300,000 to local charities, community projects or civic groups around the state in the first seven months of the year.
  • 27 credit unions reported providing 9,500 volunteer hours of time and talent to community events and programs.
  • Respondents supported more than 280 community organizations statewide.

In recognition of the community connections shared by credit unions and co-ops in general, MnCUN hosted a press event at Heartland Credit Union on Oct. 21 featuring credit unions and CHS, Inc., the largest cooperative in the state of Minnesota. (See related story below.)



Press event: Minn. Credit unions, co-ops emphasize community connections during National Co-op Month

(L-R) William Nelson, Casey Carlson,
Kathy Harrington, Mark Cummins,
Matt Hughes

October is National Co-op Month, and the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) held a “Community Connected” press event in Inver Grove Heights on Tuesday to recognize the impact cooperative organizations make in communities throughout Minnesota.

Speakers at the press event included:

  • Minnesota Credit Union Network President & CEO Mark D. Cummins;
  • Heartland Credit Union President/CEO Kathy Harrington;
  • SPIRE Credit Union Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Planning Casey Carlson;
  • Cooperative Network Minnesota Managing Director Matt Hughes; and
  • President, CHS Foundation/Vice President, CHS Corporate Citizenship William Nelson.

The speakers highlighted the community-focused initiatives of cooperatives in Minnesota communities. Minnesota was one of the first states to enact a law authorizing cooperatives, and the state also has the highest number of cooperatives and cooperative memberships in the nation.

“The credit union mission goes beyond serving the financial needs of members,” said Cummins. “By providing thousands of volunteer hours and leading community initiatives, member-owned credit unions and cooperatives in Minnesota build better communities for all of us to live in.”

Heartland Credit Union, which hosted the press event, was originally chartered in 1939 as Farmers Union Employees’ Credit Union. Today Heartland serves nearly 10,000 members and holds more than $97 million in assets. Its membership includes employees from cooperatives such as CHS and Land O’Lakes, and the credit union supports a variety of civic organizations.

“Our members are our top priority,” said Harrington. “Heartland Credit Union is proud to commit time and money each year to programs that benefit our members and our communities.”

That commitment is shared by SPIRE Credit Union, which originally began as Twin City Co-op Credit Union in 1934 with a charter that included a focus on helping cooperatives and being a part of the co-op movement. One way that SPIRE continues to live that mission is by offering members the opportunity to earn money for their favorite co-op every time they shop with a cobranded Visa card program.

“This program is a triple win,” said Carlson. “Our members win, our local co-ops win and our communities win overall as well.”

Speaking on behalf of Cooperative Network, an organization that serves cooperatives in a wide variety of industries in Minnesota which, in turn, serve 3.5 million members, Hughes talked about the cooperative movement’s seven core principles.

“Minnesota has deep cooperative roots,” said Hughes. “Today’s event is a great example of two core cooperative principles: cooperation among cooperatives and concern for community.”

Rounding out the slate of speakers, Nelson talked about CHS’s commitment to creating the next generation of leaders through education and scholarships, promoting safety and health in the agriculture industry and building strong rural economies. CHS, the largest cooperative in the country, is owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States.

“Our rural communities and farmer-owners are critical for the future,” said Nelson. “Our members are leaders in their local communities, and we provide the support they need to build their own successful businesses.”


Minn. credit union leaders featured as "Rock Stars" in CU Magazine

Credit Union Magazine recently published an exclusive list of industry professionals who it has named credit union "Rock Stars.” Minnesota is well-represented among this group with four honorees – Pam Evans assistant vice president of member service, First Alliance Credit Union, Andrea Finn, digital marketing specialist at Royal Credit Union; Amy Forcier-Pabst, vice president of member services at Royal Credit Union; and Tara Graff, director of marketing at SPIRE Credit Union.

These rock stars of the credit union industry from across the country were chosen because they are "unique individuals who demonstrate outstanding innovation in their areas of expertise and by doing so make the credit union movement a better, more interesting place.” A brief synopsis of the articles on Minnesota’s three honorees are listed below. For the full articles, visit the Credit Unions in the News page of the Network website.

  • Pam Evans: Evens’ career spans from teller to executive. And at every stop, she has demonstrated her knack for coaching, motivating, and leading.Currently the assistant vice president of member service at First Alliance Credit Union, Evans’ commitment to the movement is clear: “My goal is to motivate, uplift, and inspire staff, and continually paint the landscape of how each person contributes to the big picture of the credit union.”
  • Andrea Finn: Finn has the energy of an Olympic athlete with reserves to spare. As the digital marketing specialist at Royal Credit Union, Finn is continually available to members on social networks that never sleep. “If a member needs my help, I’m there for them seven days a week. Activity really heightens on nights and weekends,” says Finn.

  • Amy Forcier-Pabst: Starting stuffed snowball fights. Singing and dancing. Handing out popcorn. That’s a typical Friday at Royal Credit Union, thanks in part to Forcier-Pabst, who was recently promoted to executive vice president of member experience. “I choose my attitude every minute of every day,” says Forcier-Pabst. “I set the tone for all team members, and I always strive for Royal to have an inviting, fun culture that becomes contagious.”

  • Tara Graff: As the director of marketing at SPIRE Credit Union, Graff breathed new life into the credit union’s communications. In 2014, SPIRE won three CUNA advertising Diamond Awards. Graff describes SPIRE’s branding as, “down-to-earth, accessible, and genuine. What you see in our television ads and hear on the radio that’s how you’ll be treated, whether you speak with our CEO or any member of our front-line staff. We’re here to improve lives.”

The Network’s Credit Unions in the News page features recognition-worthy projects and initiatives from credit unions across the state. Got news of your own? Send stories, pitches, press releases and published articles to MnCUN Director of Communications Connie Kuhn.



Shop online through AmazonSmile & support the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation

Attention shoppers -- with the holidays just around the corner, you now have the ability to shop online and support the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation through AmazonSmile (!

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on However, when customers shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to customers for this benefit.

In order to browse or shop at AmazonSmile, customers must first select a charitable organization. The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation has been added to the list of eligible charities.

"The Foundation is excited to test drive this new fundraising vehicle, and we hope Minnesota credit unions will use AmazonSmile when shopping online for business or personal purchases," said Foundation Chair Dave Larson. "With a shopping experience identical to, this fundraiser has great potential to generate new revenue for the Foundation and provide additional grant funding for professional development and financial education initiatives."

To explore the online shopping experience, visit and select the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation as your charity of choice. Visit the Foundation web site for tools to promote this to your members, including sample email/newsletter text, logos and  a web banner.


With questions or feedback, please contact Foundation Executive Director Kristina Wright by email or at (651) 288-5507.


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.  

Mill City CU makes top credit union employer list


Royal CU’s Young Professionals group cash mobs celebrate International CU Day


First Alliance CU’s Evans inspires staff, earns Credit Union Rock Star recognition


VIDEO: Affinity Plus FCU’s Plus It Forward campaign prompts acts of kindness



Stay up-to-date – complete project zip code quarterly


Minn. elections 14 days away

5300 Call Report submission deadline Oct. 24



MN Dept. of Commerce issues 10 cyber security tips for small businesses


NCUA to hold interagency Fair Lending webinar today


OFAC releases Consolidated Sanctions List


Out for Comment


CFPB proposes modifications to TILA-RESPA integrated disclosures




AmeriCU Mortgage – Building Relationships, Creating Opportunities

AmeriCU is a division of Towne Mortgage Company, a privately held mortgage banking company providing residential and commercial real estate financing since 1982 through the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), and the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA), and other private investors.

AmeriCU was created in 1993 to expand Towne's community-based lending through partnerships with credit unions. Since that time, AmeriCU has pursued the purposes its founders:

  • To supplement credit union lending activities by providing mortgage expertise and identifying areas for expanded member contact.
  • To be responsive to member needs and provide a customized, hassle-free loan process.
  • To deliver convenient, personalized service to every member throughout the life of the loan.
  • To increase credit unions' earnings through offering members mortgage services without additional staffing.

AmeriCU conducts its business by offering a range of services from the day application is taken until the day the last payment is made on the loan by the member, in the credit union's name. AmeriCU works with credit union personnel to ensure that members realize a benefit from credit union mortgage services.

The company’s mortgage programs include:

  • Conforming
  • FHA
  • VA
  • Fixed and Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs)
  • Purchase and Refinance Loans
  • USDA Rural Housing Loans
  • 203k Home Improvement Financing

AmeriCU Mortgage’s unique service model allows credit unions to choose the level of support that works best for them and their members. With options ranging from correspondent services to complete outsourcing, credit unions can choose their level of involvement in the mortgage financing process.

To learn more about AmeriCU Mortgage and the products, services and expertise it can offer your credit union, contact MnCUN Vice President – Association Services John Ferstl by email or at (651) 288-5505.

If this describes you, then you are invited to join The Crew. This group 
If this describes you, then you are invited to join The Crew. This group 

Minnesota Credit Union Network
555 Wabasha Street N, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55102

(651) 288-5170
(800) 477-1034