The Pulse (10-02-13)


The Pulse (10-02-13)

Oct. 2, 2013 ● Volume 02, Issue 39


The Pulse Archive

Credit Union News

Government shuts down, but CUs remain prepared to help consumers

Congress failed to reach an agreement on a short-term funding bill by its Monday deadline, bringing about a partial federal government shutdown Tuesday morning. But the Minnesota Credit Union Network and the National Credit Union Administration are encouraging credit unions to remain ready to help members who may be affected by the government shutdown.

"The most important message we can share with our members is that their money is safe. NCUA is not subject to the shutdown because it is an independently-funded agency, and will continue normal operations,” said MnCUN President & CEO Mark Cummins in a message to all Minnesota credit union presidents on Tuesday.

There was a midnight Sept. 30 deadline for the U.S. Congress to approve continued funding for the government and its programs. After long debate, Congress was unable to agree on the bill, which means some agencies will be closed until action is taken.

The NCUA in a release Monday said it would remain open and unaffected in the event of a shutdown, and reminded credit union members that their member shares would still be insured to $250,000 per account, no matter what.

"Credit unions that serve federal workers and the military have responded before to members' financial needs resulting from furloughs, reimbursement delays, suspension of government programs or the closing of federal buildings housing branches. They need to prepare to do that once again," NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said.

As credit unions have done in the past, many are already prepared to help members and consumers who could be impacted by a potential shutdown. This aid could come in the form of emergency short-term loans, loan restructures, and free financial counseling, among other services.

The NCUA recommends that credit unions take the following actions during a government shutdown:

  • Ensure policies provide flexibility to respond to members' financial needs;
  • Prepare for service interruptions if a shutdown affects access to credit union offices in federal buildings;
  • Prudently work with affected members, including providing advances to those receiving direct deposits from the federal government;
  • Develop contingency plans with respect to participation in government programs that may be affected by a federal government shutdown;
  • Communicate response plans to members, staff and volunteers in a timely manner; and
  • Consider offering special programs to assist members who need short-term loans, create loans with special terms and rates, or offer payment flexibility.

Minnesota credit unions are encouraged to share with the Network how you are helping members deal with short-term financial challenges. This shutdown, and the fight to preserve credit unions’ tax status, makes it more important than ever to highlight the relationships credit unions have with members. Send your news to MnCUN Director of Communications Connie Kuhn by email or call (651) 288-5527.

As Congress debates spending measures, credit unions should also be aware of some hearings of interest that were expected to take place this week.

  • A Tuesday House Financial Services Committee financial institutions and consumer credit subcommittee hearing: "Examining Legislative Proposals to Reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," for which CUNA will submit a statement for the record;
  • A Tuesday Senate Banking Committee hearing: "Housing Finance Reform: Fundamentals of a Functioning Private Label Mortgage Backed Securities Market;”
  • A Wednesday Joint Economic Committee hearing: "The Economic Outlook;”
  • A House Judiciary regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law subcommittee hearing on the Dodd-Frank Act's impact on financial industry competition; and
  • A Senate Banking Committee hearing: "Rebuilding American Manufacturing."

Fresh tactics keep "Don't Tax My Credit Union" going strong

Today is "Don’t Tax My Credit Union Virtual Rally” day! Keep the momentum of this campaign going and light up your credit union’s social media channels with #DontTaxMyCU messages.There will also be an accompanying in-person rally at Credit Union House in Washington, D.C., at 1 p.m. Central time that will be live-streamed on the "Don’t Tax My Credit Union” website. On this site, as well as MnCUN’s Tax Advocacy Resources page, you’ll find several Take Action tools available to help credit unions promote and join the campaign.

In another unique way to deliver the "Don’t Tax My Credit Union” message to Congress, MnCUN held a "Don’t Tax My Credit Union Phone Blitz” on Thursday, Sept. 26. The event was designed to build additional momentum for the campaign.

Minnesota’s 10 Congressional offices (including both U.S. senators and eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives) received nearly 800 calls during the blitz – almost three times as many phone calls as were generated in the three months prior to Sept. 26. The call total adds to the more than 16,000 emails, postcards and letters already generated through the campaign by Minnesota credit unions.

"It was a new way for us to keep credit union employees and members engaged and connected with their members of Congress on this critical issue,” said Mara Humphrey, MnCUN Vice President of Governmental Affairs. "The phone effort was an incredibly effective, personal appeal that reinforced all of the other advocacy efforts we’re leading to protect the credit union tax status.”

MnCUN has been driving the Don’t Tax My Credit Union campaign with several initiatives, including:

  • Postcards – nearly 3,500 postcards have been filled out by credit union members at branches and sent to their U.S. Senators and member of the House of Representatives.
  • Social media – MnCUN is engaging with members and elected officials through multiple platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Vine videos have been an effective and fun way to share the Don’t Tax My Credit Union message. Nationally, with the help of social media, close to 1 million Don’t Tax My Credit Union messages have been sent to Congress.
  • Emails – credit unions across the state are helping to generate direct Don’t Tax My Credit Union communications to members of Congress by sending email blasts to their members.

Don’t forget about the one of the best ways to get the word out – through MnCUN’s GrassRoots Education & Action Team. GREAT membership has grown by more than 1,000 credit union advocates since the Don’t Tax My Credit Union campaign began in May. But the more voices we have telling Congress about the benefits of credit unions, the stronger we are as a movement!

October is GREAT Month and the Network encourages all credit unions to help us sign up more employees, volunteers and members for GREAT. MnCUN has a goal of reaching 100 percent credit union employee participation in GREAT, as well as at least 2 percent of each credit union’s membership. Credit unions can help by going to the GREAT Membership Drivepage of the Network website for sign-up forms, lobby posters and more.

Postal CU bestows "CU Builder" honor on longtime volunteer

Longtime volunteer and credit union advocate Allan J. Brennan was recently designated a Credit Union Builder by the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation. The honor was bestowed upon him by Postal Credit Union, where he served as a volunteer for more than five terms over the span of 17 years.

Brennan retired from the PCU board in 2013.

"Al has been instrumental in helping shape the policy and direction of Postal Credit Union for 18 years,” said PCU President & CEO Brian Sherrick. "His contribution of time, talent and commitment to our members and the credit union movement is greatly appreciated.”

A PCU member since 1952, Brennan joined the supervisory committee in 1995 before being elected to his first term on the Board of Directors in 1996. During his tenure, Brennan served as chairman of the Technology Committee and has been a member of the Asset & Liability and Policy committees.

"Al was a familiar face to so many in our industry, dedicated not only to the success of Postal Credit Union, but to the success of the credit union movement,” said MnCUF Chair Pat Brekken. "Volunteers are a key differentiator of credit unions, and PCU has a strong tradition of knowledgeable, experienced leaders.”

Brennan joins 21 other individuals who have been honored over the past six years with the 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. To learn more about MnCUF’s Credit Union Builder Award and to view a list of those who have been honored with this recognition, visit the Foundation website.

Sign up your bowling team now for MnCU4Kids' Bowl-O-Rama!

Your favorite bowling fundraiser is just weeks away! Join the Minnesota Credit Unions for Kids (MnCU4Kids) committee for its sixth annual Bowl-O-Rama on Thursday, Oct. 24. This event provides credit union professionals and volunteers the chance to raise money for a great cause and have fun doing it.

This midday event takes place at Stars & Strikes Entertainment Center in Wyoming, Minn. Participants will enjoy lunch, three games of bowling and prize drawings, as well as fabulous trophies to the top bowling teams. All proceeds from this fundraiser go to Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare and its clinics around the state, which help kids with disabilities and chronic conditions.

More information and a printable registration form can be found on the Event Calendar section of the Network website.

NCUF activates CUAid for victims of Colorado flooding

The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has activated the online disaster relief system CUAid to raise money for credit union people in Colorado affected by recent flooding.

Credit union supporters in every state can contribute on the CUAid donations page. CUAid is the only program of its kind that enables credit union employees, volunteers, and members, as well as credit unions and credit union organizations across the U.S., to contribute directly to support other credit union people.

"Colorado has been severely affected by the recent Colorado floods,” said Dan Santangelo, Executive Director of the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation. "It is estimated that more than 10,000 credit union staff, volunteers, and members are in need of some type of assistance.”

As donations are posted through the CUAid website, NCUF will coordinate with the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation in the disaster area to distribute money efficiently to affected credit union employees and members. All of the donations through CUAid go to credit union disaster relief. In the event that all donations are not used for Colorado Flooding relief, NCUF will transfer any and all unused funds to its "General Disaster Relief fund" for future disaster relief efforts.

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.

  • SPIRE Federal Credit Union President/CEO Dan Stoltz was recently reelected to the Alloya Corporate FCU Board of Directors … more

  • TopLine Federal Credit Union is recognized among Minnesota credit unions for reaching more than 1,300 students with financial literacy presentations … more

  • Postal Credit Unionvolunteers set a record for packing more than 12 tons of food for the Second Harvest Heartland food bank … more

  • General Mills Federal Credit Union is awarded for excellence in operations, sales and service … more

  • United Educators Credit Union celebrates a merger and the opening of a new branch office with a ribbon-cutting ceremony… more

  • Northern Communities Credit Union announced as one of first five businesses to open in Duluth’s new BlueStone Commons complex … more

CUNA video spotlights tax-status talking points
U.S. House credit union supporter won't seek reelection

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

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