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October 14, 2011 ● Volume 34, Issue 20 Archived Issues
This month, your credit union is invited to celebrate GREAT month, which is held in conjunction with International Credit Union Day and Co-op Month. GREAT month is a time to encourage credit union members to join the GrassRoots Education & Action Team.
GREAT provides credit union professionals, volunteers, members and supporters the opportunity to help preserve, protect and promote Minnesota credit unions. To assist you in promoting GREAT to members, the Network has created a variety of free promotional materials. For more information about this initiative and to download promotional materials, visit the GREAT Membership Drive page of the Network website.
The passage of the Dodd-Frank Regulatory Reform Act and the Federal Reserve Board’s subsequent final interchange rule radically changed debit card transactions. While credit unions and other small issuers are technically exempt from this final rule, CUNA has launched an online interchange feedback form to help ensure that a two-tiered system is provided and maintained for small issuers.
CUNA’s confidential password-protected online submission form allows credit unions to provide feedback if they have experienced situations where merchants are engaged in practices prohibited by the final interchange rule. Specifically, they are looking for information regarding situations where a merchant has attempted to steer, refuse to accept or frustrate the acceptance of debit cards due to the fact that they were issued by credit unions or small issuers.
If your credit union has experienced problems with merchants accepting your debit cards, be sure to log your comments on CUNA’s online submission form. Your feedback will assist CUNA in its efforts to ensure that credit unions aren’t negatively affected by the final interchange rule.
In September, credit union professionals and volunteers around the state participated in several events aimed at maintaining an open dialogue with Minnesota’s federal elected officials. Legislative advocates stressed the importance of member business lending (MBL) and other credit union issues during Hike the Hill and meet-and-greet events.
On Sept. 20-22, nine credit union professionals traveled to Washington, D.C., to tout the financial benefits and attributes of credit unions during MnCUN’s annual Hike the Hill. The visits with members of the state’s Congressional Delegation focused on proposed member business lending legislation and urged elected officials to support this legislation. In addition, attendees met with NCUA Chairman Deborah Matz and Board Member Michael Fryzel to discuss concerns regarding a proposed rule affecting credit union service organizations.
On Sept. 27 and 28, MnCUN coordinated in-district legislative meet-and-greets with Congressman Tim Walz (D-1st District) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Building upon the momentum gained during Hike the Hill, participants once again stressed the importance of passing MBL legislation. They also provided insight into the compliance and regulatory burden of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act.
To assist credit unions in taking advantage of new lending programs, MnCUN is hosting a free Small Business Lending Seminar on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Hiway FCU. The event will provide information on lending programs aimed at offering more credit to small businesses.
As part of the Small Business Jobs Act, Minnesota will receive $15.5 million in federal funds for state lending programs that will help finance loans for small businesses. During the Small Business Lending Seminar, credit unions will explore the programs and learn about Minnesota’s federally-funded initiatives, including:
In addition to being held at Hiway FCU, the session will be offered as a webcast for anyone not able to attend in person. There is no cost to attend this seminar, but registration is required. To learn more and to register, go to the Small Business Lending Seminar page of the Network website.
A social media campaign is encouraging consumers to participate in Bank Transfer Day on Nov. 5. Similar to the Occupy Wall Street movement, this campaign encourages consumers to transfer their big bank accounts to a credit union by the event date.
This campaign was started by a Californian art gallery owner who wants consumers to be aware that there are other financial services options available. Minnesota credit unions can join this social media campaign by joining Bank Transfer Day on Facebook and inviting their members to encourage their friends and family to participate in this campaign.
The Minnesota Credit Union Network was recognized last week for its Output newsletter, earning a first place finish in the 2011 Pro & Blockbuster Awards competition. During the American Association of Credit Union Leagues’ 2011 Communicators Conference in Minneapolis, MnCUN received first place recognition in the Pro Award’s "Most Improved Newsletter or Magazine” category.
The Pro & Blockbuster awards, presented by CUNA, recognize excellence in communications programs. In 2010, MnCUN converted its Output e-newsletter from PDF format to HTML format as part of its overall communications effort to create and maintain a consistent image and look. The updated newsletter format has been very successful, with an average open rate of 35 percent and a 50 percent click-through rate.
Credit union professionals and volunteers planning to attend CUNA’s 2012 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) – scheduled for March 18-22 in Washington, D.C. – can now make lodging reservations for this event. 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.
The Grand Hyatt is located three blocks from the conference venue. As one of the co-headquarters, it is one of the closest hotels accepting reservations. Reservations within the sub-block are limited and are available on a first-come basis. Once the sub-block is sold out, credit unions will have to go through the CUNA Housing Bureau. MnCUN recommends reserving a room in the Minnesota block as soon as possible.
CUNA’s annual GAC provides credit union professionals and volunteers the opportunity to hear from key legislative and political leaders and attend breakout sessions. For more information about the GAC, visit the Governmental Affairs Conference page of the Network website.
Do you have a board member or longtime employee that will be retiring soon? If so, consider paying them tribute with a Credit Union Builder Award!
Credit Union Builder is a recognition program through the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation that allows credit unions to make contributions in honor of (or in memory of) a significant individual who has been instrumental in their success. The name of the recipient and the donating credit union or organization are permanently displayed in MnCUN’s lobby as a tribute to those who have helped build the credit union movement. The honorees (or their families, in the case of a memoriam contribution) receive an engraved plaque from the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation. Donors are also listed in the Foundation’s annual report and on the donors page online.
A minimum $1,000 contribution is required for the Credit Union Builder Award. Visit the Make a Contribution section of the Foundation website to use an online contribution form or to access a printable form (pdf). The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation, Inc., St. Paul, Minn., is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. For tax purposes, your contribution may be tax-deductible. For additional information, contact Minnesota Credit Union Foundation liaison Kristina Wright.
Continuing his ongoing conversation on jobs creation, Gov. Mark Dayton is holding a Job Summit on Tuesday, Oct. 25. This event will provide Minnesota consumers and businesses the opportunity to discuss economic growth, competitiveness and job creation in Minnesota.
The daylong event will kick off with a keynote address from Gov. Dayton, who will discuss areas of concern – and opportunity – that he discovered during his regional economic tours. The remainder of the day will be filled with breakout sessions on a variety of job-related topics.
To learn more about the Jobs Summit, visit the Positively Minnesota website.
Earlier this year, the United Nations declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC). Kicking off on Oct. 31, this year-long event will promote the cooperative spirit, and credit unions are invited to join the celebration.
The theme for IYC 2012, "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World,” highlights the contributions cooperatives have made in helping to reduce poverty, create jobs and promote socio-economic development around the world. As cooperatives with global impact, it is important for credit unions to help increase public awareness of the cooperative mission while celebrating the spread of the credit union movement.
For ideas on how credit unions can celebrate and promote IYC 2012, as well as downloadable graphics and other resources, visit the International Year of Cooperatives page of the Network website.
Does your credit union have a tested continuity plan in place? With Agility Recovery – a CUNA Strategic Service Provider – your credit union can ensure that it is prepared for a disaster if it happens. The ReadySuite Financial membership provides users access to disaster recovery and business continuity services that are simple, affordable and easy to use.
Agility works with each credit union to assess risk exposure and develop an optimal recovery plan. When a credit union declares a disaster, Agility sets that plan in motion and handles the power, space, technology and connectivity needs. Once things have settled down, the credit union then handles the net out-of-pocket recovery costs, which could be covered by appropriate insurance coverage.
For more information about Agility and the disaster preparedness services it offers, visit the CUNA Strategic Services page of the Network website. With questions, contact MnCUN Director of Business Development Vickie Ganrude by email or at (651) 288-5515.
Assist your members with their holiday needs by offering prepaid Visa gift cards. These cards enable your credit union to serve its members while providing you the competitive advantage over other financial institutions.
Visa gift cards are accepted anywhere the Visa logo is displayed, including in-store, online and by phone. They are more functional than a gift certificate and safer than cash. If the card is lost or stolen, the unused amount can be placed on a new card for the member. Plus, cards are good for seven years after their activation date.
Through its partnership with the ICUL Service Corporation, MnCUN is offering credit unions a turn-key gift card program that has minimal expenses. There are no start-up fees or implementation costs, and credit unions don’t have to pay any monthly fees.
Calendar of Events
The Minnesota Credit Union Network offers a variety of educational opportunities for credit union professionals and volunteers. Check out the roundtables, telecourses and webinars available.