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November 18, 2011 ● Volume 34, Issue 22 Archived Issues
Continue the momentum to move consumers to CUs
On Nov. 5, more than 40,000 people across the country took part in Bank Transfer Day, moving their money from large banks into local credit unions. In Minnesota more than 630 people participated in this movement on Nov. 5 to take a stand against rising fees and support local institutions. Plus CUNA estimates that 10,000 Minnesota consumers have joined credit unions since Sept. 29.
The Bank Transfer Day campaign was started by a California small business owner after the announcement that Bank of America would begin charging a $5 fee for debit card use. The campaign launched on Facebook, quickly achieving viral status, and CUNA has estimated that at least 650,000 consumers nationwide joined credit unions between Sept. 29 (the day the now-rescinded $5 monthly debit card usage fee was announced) and Nov. 2.
The campaign may have ended, but the movement continues. Now is the time for credit unions to promote the value and benefits that they offer consumers. During the Bank Transfer Day campaign, more than 80 Minnesota credit unions signed an online pledge to "offer fairly-priced banking services." The media and consumers are eager to hear this message and need to continue to learn about credit unions' dedication to put people before profit. Therefore, it's imperative that credit unions spread their message and show consumers the savings that come from being a member.
The Minnesota Credit Union Network has resources available to help credit unions promote what makes them unique. Downloadable materials are available on the Promote Your Credit Union page of the Network website.
Highlighting the importance of offering small businesses greater access to credit, several Twin Cities credit union representatives and MnCUN staff met with Secretary of State Mark Ritchie on Nov. 1.
While the group discussed several credit union topics, the spotlight was on member business lending (MBL) and the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, which would raise credit unions' cap on lending from 12.25 percent of assets to 27.5 percent. Secretary Ritchie told the group he remains committed to helping strengthen small businesses in the state and has written numerous letters to members of the Minnesota Congressional Delegation asking for their support of MBL legislation.
It is estimated that with the ability to offer more small business loans, Minnesota credit unions could inject $181 million into the state's economy and help create nearly 2,000 jobs.
"By working together with state officials such as Secretary Ritchie, we are able to garner more support for legislation affecting credit unions, like member business lending,” said Mara Humphrey, MnCUN Vice President – Governmental Affairs. "These meetings are an important piece in strengthening relationships with key officials and advancing the credit union movement.”
Along with the importance of increasing lending capacity, the group also discussed the designation of the International Year of Cooperatives in 2012 and MnCUN's upcoming publicity efforts. Minnesota is one of the states with the largest number of cooperatives, which means it plays an important role in promoting the benefits of cooperatives such as credit unions.
Additionally, the group met with Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) and the DFL Senate caucus to discuss the upcoming legislative session, the budget deficit and redistricting. Other caucus meetings are set for later this month.
Challenges in regulations, laws and the economy may have made it difficult to focus on what you love about being a credit union volunteer. It's time to change that. The 2012 Western States Volunteers' Conference will deliver simple and effective ideas that will bring results to credit unions. Set for Feb. 12-14 in Las Vegas, this conference will teach participants tactics to break out of the board room and bring leadership back to the volunteer role.
Geared toward board members, supervisory committee members, credit committee members and all interested volunteers, this conference will provide vital updates on leadership tools, risk management and market trends. Attendees will learn about revenue and cost-cutting opportunities, along with what tactics are working for credit unions right now. This conference will provide the tools and information to help volunteers develop a strategic direction for the credit union. It also provides a great opportunity to network and exchange ideas with volunteers from credit unions across the country.
To register for this event, go to the Western States Volunteers' Conference page of the Network website. Those who register before Saturday, Dec. 31, will receive a $50 early bird discount.
You are invited to join thousands of credit union representatives who will be gathering in Washington, D.C., on March 18-22 for CUNA's annual Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). This annual event provides credit union professionals and volunteers from around the country an opportunity to learn more about current political issues, hear from influential speakers and network with other credit union supporters
The theme for this year's GAC is "Powerful Cause, Positive Effect.” The event's featured speakers promise to deliver that message with keynote addresses from former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice and journalistic duo Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
Rice was a prominent member of President George W. Bush's Cabinet. She also served as Bush's national security advisor during his first term as president. Woodward and Bernstein will reunite at the GAC to mark the 40th anniversary of their first Watergate-scandal headline and will share the stories of their newspaper days, as well as offer a personal tour of politics in Washington.
The four-day conference also includes a variety of breakout sessions and visits with Minnesota's Congressional Delegation, as well as Minnesota-specific activities coordinated by the Network. These activities include Minnesota Night and the Network Luncheon. More details about these events will be coming soon.Those planning to attend the conference are encouraged to make lodging reservations early. Minnesota's GAC attendees have the option of reserving a room in MnCUN's housing sub-block at the Grand Hyatt or making lodging accommodations through CUNA's Housing Bureau. More information about the GAC is available on the Governmental Affairs Conference page of the Network website.
The Minnesota Credit Unions for Kids (MnCU4Kids) committee is preparing to kick off its 2012 Chain of Hearts campaign. The Chain of Hearts is a statewide fundraiser that will run from Jan. 9 to Feb. 24. All proceeds from the fundraiser benefit Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare – based in St. Paul with clinics statewide – which helps kids with disabilities and chronic conditions.
To participate in the fundraiser, credit union members purchase paper links and hearts that are connected and hung in lobbies to help illustrate the "people helping people” philosophy of credit unions. This year the committee hopes to raise $35,000. Ten years ago the MnCU4Kids committee took this fundraiser statewide for the first time.
Chain of Hearts is available to your credit union at no cost. Each participating credit union will receive the following materials for free:
To participate, credit unions should complete a fundraiser registration form by Friday, Dec. 2. With questions about this fundraiser, contact MnCUN Communications Specialist Kelli Baxter by email or at (651) 288-5503.
CUNA is seeking nominations for open positions on its Board of Directors. Minnesota credit unions with 22,000-80,999 members are eligible to offer a candidate for the District 4, Class B seat. Individuals from similar size credit unions in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin can also run for the District 4 seat.
The deadline for nominations and seconds is Friday, Dec. 16. Those elected will take office in March 2012 and will serve three-year terms. For a nomination form, visit the CUNA Board Elections website.
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union and Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union were recently recognized as winners of the 2011 Credit Union Executive Society (CUES) Golden Mirror Awards. These awards are given to credit unions that produced eye-catching marketing materials that promote the credit union difference.
Affinity Plus FCU received an Award of Merit in the CU Brand Awareness Category for its Ditch Your Bank campaign. In addition, Mid-Minnesota FCU received second place in the newsletter category and an Award of Merit in the Coordinated Campaigns category.
For more information about the CUES Golden Mirror Awards and to view the winning credit unions' entries, visit the CUES website.
Credit unions' recent surge in deposits has led CUNA Mutual Group to expand its Credit Union Investment Advisory Services (CUIAS) program. Through its registered investment advisor affiliate, MEMBERS Capital Advisors, this program aims to help credit unions improve their financial performance through investment portfolio management and strategy.
"CUIAS takes the securities selection, execution and monitoring of an investment strategy off the plate of the credit union and places it on the same portfolio managers who invest for CUNA Mutual Group's nearly $10 billion general account," said Ed Meier, Director, Fixed Income Investments, MEMBERS Capital Advisors.
Through Invest in America, credit unions can now offer members discounts on the purchase of Turbo Tax and Jackson Hewitt tax preparation products. This partnership will not only help members save money during tax season but will also bring numerous benefits to the credit union.
Invest in America participants can offer members 15 percent off Turbo Tax federal products and $30 coupon off Jackson Hewitt. These discounts will help credit unions retain members by offering them additional benefits and advantages. Specifically, the benefits credit unions will receive include:
To help make these discounts a success at credit unions, Invest in America has created several free marketing materials. Accounts enrolling in TurboTax at the "Promoter” level will receive a free co-branded website that includes the credit union's logo, space for a cross-sell banner and an IRA promotion link. In addition, all TurboTax and Jackson Hewitt programs include free lobby posters, co-branded statement inserts, standard and custom Web banners, and html email templates.
Take advantage of this opportunity to offer valuable discounts to members. For more information about the tax preparation discounts and Invest in America, contact MnCUN Director of Business Development Vickie Ganrude by email or at (651) 288-5515.
The Minnesota Credit Union Network offers a variety of educational opportunities for credit union professionals and volunteers. Visit the Event Calendar and check out the roundtables, telecourses and webinars available.