The Pulse (01-08-14)
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The Pulse (01-08-14)

Jan. 8, 2014 ● Volume 03, Issue 1


The Pulse Archive

Credit Union News


MnCUN welcomes new Communications Specialist

The Minnesota Credit Union Network welcomed its newest staff member on Jan. 6. Laura Whittet is the Network’s Communications Specialist. In this role, Whittet will provide writing and graphic design expertise, along with customer and member relations support.

Before joining the Network staff, Whittet was part of the Corporate Communications team for CenterPoint Energy, working in communications, marketing and project management. Her experience also includes member development and retention, fundraising, website management and social media strategy.

Whittet joins Connie Kuhn in MnCUN’s communications department, and she replaces Kelli Sandhurst, who left the Network in December.

Network names 2014 Crew Ambassador to guide young professionals group

Wakota Federal Credit Union’s Amanda Kissner was recently appointed as the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s Crew Ambassador for 2014. In this new role, Kissner will serve as a leader for her peers who are part of The Crew, MnCUN’s young professionals networking group. Designed to provide leadership and visibility opportunities, the Crew Ambassador position will also help guide Crew offerings throughout the year. She will serve as the group’s spokesperson, representing the Crew at various MnCUN functions.

Kissner brings nine years of financial institution experience to her new role as Crew Ambassador. In addition to her duties as a Wakota FCU loan officer, Kissner is a member of the marketing committee and the Social Media and eMarketing Coordinator. She also participates in business development, the financial literacy program, the Family Involvement Council and serves as a GREAT advocate.

For additional information about The Crew, visit the website or contact MnCUN’s Crew Liaison Lindsey Evans by email or at (651) 288-5535.


Yellen wins confirmation as first woman Fed Chair

The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed Janet Yellen to be the next leader of the Federal Reserve Board, making her the world's most powerful central banker. Yellen, the current vice chair at the U.S. central bank, stands to become the first woman to lead the Fed in its 100-year history. It will now fall to her to be responsible for guiding the agency forward as it gradually unwinds its monthly $75 billion bond-buying program and overseeing the finalization of critical bank regulatory laws called for by the Dodd-Frank Act.

For more information about Yellen’s confirmation and potential credit union industry impact, please see the related CUNA News Now article


Record number honored as Credit Union Builders in 2013 through the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation

Throughout the course of 2013, nine remarkable individuals were recognized as Credit Union Buildersby the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation.

A program established by the Foundation in 2008, this prestigious honor is given to credit union professionals and volunteers to allow credit unions and organizations to make contributions in honor of or in memory of a significant individual who has been instrumental in their success. Contributions are typically made at a special time of significance – i.e. upon retirement or upon the individual’s passing – to acknowledge their dedication and impact on the organization.

The 2013 Credit Union Builder honorees include:

  • Lee Benedict – honorarium contribution made by Soo Line Credit Union. After 45 years of service to the credit union industry, Lee J. Benedict retired from Soo Line Credit Union in 2013.

  • Allan J. Brennan – honorarium contribution made by Postal Credit Union. Allan J. Brennan retired from the Postal Credit Union Board of Directors in 2013, after serving more than five terms over the span of 17 years.

  • Judy Greff – honorarium contribution made by Associated Healthcare Credit Union. Judy Greff dedicated more than 30 years to the credit union industry and retired from Associated Healthcare Credit Union in December 2013, where her leadership role helped AHCU and Bluestone Federal Credit Union successfully merge.

  • Gail Krall – honorarium contribution made by Minnesota Power Employees Credit Union. In celebration of a 34-year credit union career and of meaningful involvement in countless areas of the movement, Gail Krall was honored as a Credit Union Builder upon her retirement in 2013.

  • Merlin J. Magnusson – memoriam contribution made by General Mills Federal Credit Union. Merlin J. Magnusson was the first general manager of General Mills Federal Credit Union, beginning on March 1, 1966. He worked for GMFCU for 25 years before retiring in 1991, and was honored upon his passing on July 1, 2013.

  • Robert Marks – memoriam contribution made by Mayo Employees Federal Credit Union. Robert Marks was Manager of the Mayo Clinic Employees Credit Union from 1970-1991. He was posthumously honored by the credit union after passing away Nov. 2, 2012.

  • Roger McClure – honorarium contribution made by Postal Credit Union. Roger McClure retired from the Postal Credit Union Board of Directors after 36 years of service, where he played a significant role in guiding the credit union to the successful organization it is today.

  • Jeff Schwalen – honorarium contribution made by Hiway Federal Credit Union. Jeff Schwalen served as President & CEO of Hiway Federal Credit Union for 10 years. He was tremendously involved in the Minnesota credit union movement and in his community, and retired from Hiway in October of 2013.

  • Bill Winter – honorarium contribution made by St. Cloud Federal Credit Union. Bill Winter was honored for his career at St. Cloud Federal Credit Union, where he served as the President for more than 38 years.

"As Chair of the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation, I am extremely humbled and honored to be able to recognize these nine individuals in such a meaningful way,” said Pat Brekken, President & CEO of Richfield Bloomington Credit Union. "The credit union movement is alive and strong thanks to the efforts of these and countless others throughout the history of our industry. I graciously thank them for their many contributions.”

In total, 23 individuals have been designated as Credit Union Builders over the past six years. 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 those who have dedicated time and energy to building the credit union movement.

The honorees (or their families, in the case of a memoriam contribution) receive acknowledgement from the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation, and donors are also listed online and in the Foundation’s annual report. A minimum $1,000 contribution is required for the Credit Union Builder Award. The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation, Inc., St. Paul, Minn., is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. For tax purposes, contributions may be tax-deductible.

Additional information about MnCUF’s Credit Union Builder Award can be found on the Foundation website, along with a list of those who have been honored. With questions, please contact MnCUF staff liaison Kristina Wright.



Help consumers find you by adding and updating your CU's information in aSmarterChoice

Consumers across the country continue to discover credit unions – the smarter choice in the financial industry! uses news stories and member testimonials to educate consumers about credit unions. The national credit union locator on the site enables users to quickly and successfully find a credit union in their area. In addition, this website offers marketing materials that credit unions can use to promote this valuable tool. The free marketing resources available to credit unions include:

  • Credit Union Difference Banner: Through a rotating banner, you can educate members and potential members about the difference between credit unions and banks. Each image of the banner completes the sentence "credit unions are better than banks because…” and shares powerful facts about how credit unions stack up against banks.

  • Credit Union Locator Tool:Post this tool on your website as a way to help members to share the credit union difference with those they know. Encourage members to share this locator with friends and family.

In 2013 consumers who used aSmarterChoice clicked on search result links to individual Minnesota credit unions nearly 3,000 times. To maintain that momentum, credit unions need to update their own information within the locator to ensure that it’s accurate and comprehensive. Take the time to review information posted for your credit union on the website. To edit your profile, visit's update your records page or contact Scott Shoberg at the Network office for login credentials.


Sharing the credit union story

"Credit unions have a great story to tell--but they've got to get out there and tell it, and use examples from their real-life members whenever practicable,” ABC News consumer correspondent Elisabeth Leamy said recently. Especially among young people, who have developed a distrust of banks due to the financial crisis, credit unions have an "unprecedented opportunity" to let consumers know what sets them apart from other financial institutions. For tips about how your credit union can establish and keep strong relationships with the media, be sure to check out the "Inside Exchange" episode featuring Leamy.

Another way to get your credit union in the news is to share your stories with the Network. When your stories are submitted – either via press release or through the online form – they become part of the Network’s "cycle of news.” Here’s how the cycle of news works:

  • Stories are posted to the Credit Unions in the News page of the Network website.
  • On a weekly basis, stories are aggregated and highlighted in MnCUN Pulse newsletter.
  • MnCUN posts stories to the CU Social Good and Unite for Good websites, which aggregate positive credit union stories on a national level.
  • MnCUN publishes the "good news” stories in its regular Connected to Community newsletter, which is delivered to legislators, public opinion leaders, members of the media, and more.
  • Stories are also regularly pitched to Fluence Media, which publishes Morning Take and Business Take newsletters for business executives, opinion leaders, legislators, public affairs contacts, and influential people around the state.
  • Stories are also regularly pitched to the credit union trade press and beyond, generating additional coverage.
With questions about submitting or sharing your credit union news, please contact MnCUN Director of Communications Connie Kuhn at (651) 288-5527.



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.

  • Royal Credit Union names Senior Home Loan Underwriter ... more
  • Minnesota Valley FCU President & CEO talks about Target data breach...more
  • Minnesota Timberwolves and SPIRE FCU honor Antioch Ministries ...more








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Minnesota Credit Union Network
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St. Paul, MN 55102

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