The Pulse (03-08-16)



The Pulse

March 8, 2016 ● Volume 5, Issue 10


The Pulse Archive

Crew Young Professionals Group P2P with Kristina Wright

Young credit union professionals are encouraged to join their peers at the upcoming Minnesota Credit Union Network Crew Peer-to-Peer (P2P) meeting. P2Ps includes time for personal introductions, lunch and discussion. A full list of upcoming P2P sessions can be found on the MnCUN calendar online.

The P2P session will be held on Thursday, April 28 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Attendees will hear from Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union Senior Vice President, Member Experience Kristina Wright about her current position, career path, and insight on advancing to a senior leadership position. More information and event registration is available online.

Open to young professionals of all levels, The Crew is a networking group made up of young credit union professionals looking to grow in their career and deepen industry ties.

To learn more about the Crew, visit The Crew page of the Network website. With questions or add your name to the Crew database, contact Crew liaison Laura Whittet by email or at (651) 288-5503.



2016 Eureka! Awards: MSPBJ's third annual salute to innovation

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal is launching nominations for its 2016 Eureka! Innovation Awards to recognize creativity, innovation and progress in business, education, the arts, health care and other areas.

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 25.

If you have any any questions regarding the project, contact Kim at 612-288-2114 or



MnCUN, CUNA work to advance the Low Operation Risk (TAILOR) Act


View all Governmental Affairs news stories


Upcoming MasterCard/Home Depot suit conference call

NCUA offers free webinars, video series

CFPB opens application period for rural designation 

16-RA-04: Guidance on Regulatory Changes Affecting Military Members

Recent legal opinion letters address merging FCUs, FOM requirements


View all Regulatory Compliance news stories


Benefits Pre-Funding in Action

Two CUs describe the benefits they’ve received under NCUA’s amendment to Regulation 701.19

By John Pesh, CUNA Mutual Group

In 2003, the National Credit Union Administration amended Regulation 701.19, giving federally chartered credit unions the ability to purchase investments that would otherwise be impermissible under parts 703 and 704, so long as these investments directly relate to the credit unions’ obligation or future obligation to support employee benefit plans.

The opportunity to pre-fund employee benefits gives credit unions more investment options for increasing returns to help offset rising employee benefit costs which have increased an average of 27 percent over the last five years, while CUs’ investment margins have declined 13 percent, according to Kaiser/HRET’s annual survey and NCUA call report data, respectively.

The process of benefits pre-funding starts with an annual estimate of a CU’s expense obligations to employee benefit plans, and determines the amount and type of investment to purchase from there.

Case in Point

Years ago, Scott VanZandt, Chief Financial Officer at Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, knew it was a good idea to pre-fund the increasing cost of employee benefit plans. However, because credit unions are naturally risk-averse, he also knew that the board of directors would require a great deal more information before committing to such a plan.

Following a comprehensive assessment of Hudson Valley FCU’s needs, it was “apparent that it made even more sense to try to improve [the] potential for long-term investment growth,” says VanZandt. In September 2013, the credit union began slowly dripping funds from cash into its benefits pre-funding investment portfolio that ended up contributing $1.95 million to their net income in the first year, despite the volatile 2014 market and intentionally gradual investment. In all, VanZandt has been pleased with the improved long-term investment growth potential and increased ROI.

Another Example

After the Great Recession ended in 2010 credit union leaders across the nation were faced with a slow lending market, miniscule interest margins, and a resultant low return on assets. General Manager George Isola of TruNorth Federal Credit Union noted that their “ROA had declined to 37 basis points in 2011, compared to 52 basis points for the NCUA peer group,” and also compared to earnings of 75 to 100 basis points “in the good old days.”

Isola and his board looked for ways to improve ROA without increasing member fees or cutting back the credit union’s employee benefits package, either of which would have been an easy short-term solution, but detrimental overall to the credit union member’s or employee’s satisfaction. Instead, Isola wanted to pursue a longer-term, sustainable solution that wouldn’t hurt employee morale or have a negative effect on member service. In his search, he was intrigued by a benefits pre-funding seminar led by a CUNA Mutual Group representative and looked into various pre-funding options before settling on an investment portfolio.

Isola says he wishes that he’d been able to start a benefits pre-funding program when he joined the credit union as general manager 22 years ago and is proud that TruNorth FCU has upheld its culture as a stable employer, where members are well taken care of by the same folks year after year.

To learn more about CUNA Mutual Group and the products and services it has to offer your credit union and its members, contact MnCUN Director of Business Development, Kris Jacobsen by email or at (651) 288 - 5515.

Proprietary insurance is underwritten by CMFG Life Insurance Company. Proprietary and brokered insurance is sold by CUNA Mutual Insurance Agency, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary. This insurance is not a deposit and is not federally insured or guaranteed by your credit union. For more information, contact your Executive Benefits Specialist at 800.356.2644.

Representatives are registered through, and securities are sold through, CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, 2000 Heritage Way, Waverly IA 50677, toll-free 866.512.6109. Insurance and annuity products are sold through CMFG Life Insurance Company. Trust services available through MEMBERS Trust Company, 14025 Riveredge Dr., Suite 280, Tampa, FL 33637. Non-deposit investment products are not federally insured, involve investment risk, may lose value and are not obligations of or guaranteed by the credit union.


If this describes you, then you are invited to join The Crew. This group 
If this describes you, then you are invited to join The Crew. This group 

 Joanna Drennen
 Nathan Dormody

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

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