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|The Pulse (11-13-13)|
The Pulse (11-13-13)
Nov. 13, 2013 ● Volume 02, Issue 45
Credit Union News
The Minnesota Credit Union Network and credit unions statewide have been working hard to continue the momentum of the "Don’t Tax My Credit Union” campaign. This effort is now even more important than ever as the tax reform debate prepares to make a major leap to the forefront in Congress.
Credit unions need to provide a formidable grassroots response to ensure that the credit union corporate income tax exemption stays intact, as House and Senate committees prepare drafts of legislation that will contribute to a major overhaul of the tax code.
It’s been known that a long and sustained grassroots efforts would be necessary to advocate for credit unions’ tax status. But credit unions have indicated that fatigue is setting in for the "Don’t Tax my Credit Union” campaign, which began in mid-May. With only rumblings about drafts of potential legislation, and not a formal bill, it becomes more of a challenge to rally credit unions. We know that we need to change up the campaign to keep the momentum going and increase the number of messages being delivered to Congress.
For this reason, the MnCUN Board of Directors has again approved using resources from the Unity Fund to support a Story Capture and Sharing Project that is designed to seize on the opportunity provided by "Don’t Tax My Credit Union” to more deeply engage the Network’s supporters, integrate digital strategy into advocacy work, and focus on enhancements required for long‐term growth and sustainability of the GREAT program – the GrassRoots Education & Action Team. This project will be a collaborative effort between the Network and GrassRoots Solutions.
Previously, an expenditure from the Unity Fund was approved in June to allow the Network to work with Grassroots Solutions to help boost the Network’s grassroots activities. This most recent expenditure will build on that effort through the Story Capture and Sharing Project to provide new materials and tactics to the "Don’t Tax My Credit Union” campaign and keep it current and relevant to Minnesota credit unions. It will also provide an opportunity to further engage member credit unions in advocacy work.
If you haven’t already participated in this campaign, all credit unions are strongly encouraged to involve their employees, board members and members in protecting the credit union tax status. The Network has created a Tax Advocacy Resources page, where you will find a wealth of information, including a sample email and newsletter article to encourage members to take action on the tax status Action Alert.
With questions, contact MnCUN Political Advocacy Director Ryan Smith by email or call (651) 288- 5533.
Minnesota’s credit union volunteers continue to work hard to face their credit union’s challenges head on. The role of credit union director is a lot like being a coach. They are called on to create and develop a vision and strategy for the team that may not have been realized before. To excel as a credit union coach, volunteers need to understand the competitive environment their credit unions are playing in. The 2014 Western States Volunteers Conference will provide your credit union’s volunteers with tactics and strategies needed to succeed in the industry.
Geared toward board members, supervisory committee members, credit committee members and all interested volunteers, this conference will provide vital industry updates, strategic tools and information on market trends. Participants will receive a game plan for governance, strategy, financial management, regulatory changes and personal leadership. This conference also provides you the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with volunteers from credit unions across the country.
To register for this event, visit the Western States Volunteers' Conference page of the Network website. Those who register before Friday, Jan. 3, will receive a $50 early bird discount.
There are young leaders at credit unions all across Minnesota. Some of these talented people are part of MnCUN’s young professionals group The Crew, and we need you to share your skills and ambitious attitude as a Crew Ambassador!
Beginning in 2014, the Minnesota Credit Union Network is rolling out a new program designed specifically with ambitious young professionals in mind. Crew members can apply to be the 2014 Crew Ambassador and receive exclusive leadership and career development opportunities.
Through The Crew Ambassador Program, one individual, age 35 and younger, from a Minnesota credit union will be selected to serve as a leader for his or her peers who are part of The Crew. The Crew Ambassador will have the unique opportunity to grow personally and professionally through various leadership development experiences, as well as the chance to represent The Crew and other young credit union professionals in Minnesota by applying for a scholarship to attend CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference.
Driven by their mission of people serving people, credit unions naturally desire to help improve the financial health of their members. Financial stresses impact not only members’ financial futures, but also their physical health.
According to a 2013 study conducted by the University of Michigan, nearly two-thirds of consumers who are physically ill but do not seek medical care are fearful of the cost and are unwilling to add large debt to their credit cards. Minnesota credit unions can be a solution to this dilemma, thanks to partnerships around the state with Lutheran Social Service (LSS) financial counseling.
"Credit unions are flocking to provide counseling services to their members because they understand the needs of today’s consumers,” said Mark D. Cummins, President & CEO of the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN). "Through counseling and personal finance education, credit unions are committed to improving the lives of their members.”
This fundamental desire to help members create a more secure financial future spurred MnCUN to form a statewide partnership with LSS in 2012 to broadly offer LSS’s counseling services to credit unions and credit union members across Minnesota.
"LSS loves to partner with credit unions because they are the ones who experience these issues first-hand and care personally about their members’ financial wellness,” said Darryl Dahlheimer, LSS Program Director.
LSS offers the Financial Choice program, which provides credit union members expert coaching on safe solutions for each type of debt, along with a structured debt management plan to help quickly pay down debt. Financial Choice provides credit union members with priority access to certified financial and housing counselors, and it offers financial wellness coaching to help consumers in the areas of credit card debt, student loan debt and foreclosure prevention.
Financial counseling is offered by phone and in-person at eight LSS locations around the state. Currently, LSS is also providing Financial Choice counseling services through 15 credit unions statewide. The services offered by LSS Financial Counseling help to ensure that members choose reputable assistance, which minimizes write-off and bankruptcy losses and fosters member loyalty. By offering financial information and resources, credit unions distinguish themselves as financial institutions dedicated to helping members meet and surpass their financial goals.
For more information about LSS Financial Counseling, contact MnCUN Vice President – Network Service Corporation John Ferstl by email or call(651) 288-5505.
The strength of the Minnesota Credit Union Network is our unity and our willingness to work cooperatively. Not only do credit unions help each other as a part of the cooperative movement, but MnCUN also leads the state's credit union advocacy efforts and communicates with a broad base of legislators on behalf of credit unions.
The strength that comes from joining together to advocate for the credit union movement and 1.5 million Minnesota credit union members is immeasurable. In addition to legislative initiatives in the state, MnCUN member credit unions are a part of the industry's national advocacy efforts through the three-tiered system of CUNA, MnCUN and Minnesota credit unions. The Network also works to enhance your credit union’s consumer awareness efforts by delivering messages to the public on the credit union difference.
We are acutely aware of the challenges and opportunities credit unions face in today's changing financial environment. Our staff of professionals is dedicated, experienced and passionate. Through specialized expertise and innovative services, our members can be sure to receive the assistance you need – when you need it.
Affiliation is key to our success and to the success of the industry. We appreciate the opportunity to serve credit unions across the state, working together to meet the present and future challenges. With questions about your membership with the Minnesota Credit Union Network, visit the MnCUN Membership page of the Network website or contact MnCUN Vice President – Association Services Kristina Wright by email or phone at (651) 288-5507.
Minnesota credit unions can participate in tomorrow’s online giving holiday known as Give to the Max Day! The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation joined forces with GiveMN.org to participate on Thursday, Nov. 14, in the world’s largest online fundraising event.
The Foundation supports the efforts of credit unions around the state by providing financial education grants that positively impact credit union members and communities. The Foundation also funds professional development grants for credit union professionals and volunteers to continue their education and sustain the credit union movement.
"With our refined focus and strong commitment to Minnesota, the Foundation continues to generate increased awareness of credit unions in the financial literacy realm,” said Foundation Chair Pat Brekken. "Our participation in Give to the Max Day provides a unique venue for credit unions to support our efforts and uses modern technology to make giving easy in today’s mobile world.”
There is a $10 minimum on Give to the Max Day contributions, which will appear as "Razoo Foundation” on credit card receipts. All donors receive an IRS receipt, and all gifts are 100 percent tax deductible.
Follow this link to contribute now! Give to the Max Day was created in 2009 to increase giving to nonprofit organizations across the state and move more giving online.In 2012, more than $16 million was contributed by 53,000 individual donors to 4,300 organizations.
Founded in 1969, the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation is an organization dedicated to providing the resources for credit unions and communities to prosper and thrive. The MnCUF is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney disseminates a weekly publication called The Cheney Report that recently highlighted a visit at Cook Area Credit Union by state Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, as well as a money management lesson led by TopLine Federal Credit Union at last month’s Minnesota Student Leadership Summit.
The Commissioner’s visit to Cook was the focus of a press release generated by the Minnesota Credit Union Network and posted to CUNA’s Unite for Good website. This site features stories from credit unions across the country that highlight what they are doing in their communities to Unite for Good and demonstrate the credit union difference. During Rothman’s visit to Cook Area CU, he commended the credit union's successful student financial education programs, saying, "Credit unions have an opportunity to be leaders and help communities grow jobs."
Also posted by MnCUN on the Unite for Good website was a press release received from TopLine FCU about its personal money management educational sessions led by the credit union’s financial experts, who were again invited to present at the Leadership Summit, held annually in Bloomington. TopLine’s session, "The Real World of Personal Money Management,” built on the themes of the event by helping students better understand how to manage finances. More than 300 student leaders from more than 100 communities attended.
The Minnesota Credit Union Network and CUNA are collecting stories like these to showcase how credit unions are joining forces to "Unite for Good,” which is the name for CUNA’s strategic vision that aims to show Americans choosing credit unions as their best financial partner. Similar stories will be featured each week in The Cheney Report. You are encouraged to submit your credit union news to MnCUN through the "News Submission” button on the Network’s Credit Unions in the News webpage. Your news will be featured on this page, in this newsletter and shared nationally through sites like Unite for Good.