The Pulse (03-25-15)



The Pulse (03-25-2015)

March 25, 2015 ● Volume 04, Issue 12


The Pulse Archive

Credit Union News

MnCUN files comment letter with CFPB on amendments to small creditor and rural and underserved areas under Truth in Lending

The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) has responded to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposal to amend the definition of small creditor under the mortgage origination rules, as well as modify the definitional requirements of rural and underserved areas. MnCUN’s response is part of ongoing efforts to communicate credit unions’ ever-increasing regulatory burden and advocate for relief.

MnCUN is generally supportive of the proposed revisions, and believes that such revisions, if finalized, will result in immediate access to additional credit by consumers in areas which traditionally have had limited choice and availability for financial products and offerings.

Some of the additional changes suggested by MnCUN for consideration include:

  • Raising the current $2 billion asset threshold test to $10 billion (not part of the proposal or request for comment);
  • The mortgage loan origination limit is currently set at 500, and the CFPB has proposed the limit be raised to 2,000; we requested that the limit be raised to 5,000;
  • That the qualifying period for rural or underserved creditor status remain any of the 3 preceding calendar years as opposed to the proposed limitation of just the preceding calendar year;
  • Extending the small creditor balloon-payment mortgage exemption on a permanent basis, as opposed to the temporary exemption proposed to sunset on April 1, 2016 (the current exemption is scheduled to sunset Jan. 10, 2016).

For additional information, including a summary of the proposed rule, see the Feb. 4 issue of The Pulse. See also the CFPB’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Credit unions are encouraged to submit their own comment letters and are welcome to use MnCUN's comment letter as a guide. Comment letters regarding this proposal must be submitted by Monday, March 30. Comments may be submitted in a number of ways, including electronically at the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Please see the CFPB Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for additional instructions and the full final summary of the proposed rule.


Two Minn. credit union presidents inducted into national Hall of Leaders

 Steve Ahlness
 Bill Raker

Two long-serving Minnesota credit union presidents – Steve Ahlness and Bill Raker – were inducted into the Credit Union House Hall of Leaders in Washington, D.C., last week in recognition of their dedication to upholding the credit union mission. This honor is given to those whose commitment has made a significant impact on the credit union movement at the local, state and national levels.

Ahlness, who passed away on March 10, led Mora-based Greater Minnesota Credit Union (GMCU) for nearly 37 years. At the beginning of his tenure, GMCU had only one branch, three employees and $1.5 million in assets. By the time Ahlness retired from GMCU in 2014, the credit union had grown to six branches, 68 employees and $150 million in assets. He also worked tirelessly on behalf of Gillette Children’s Specialty Hospital and served on many community boards and committees. During his career, Ahlness received many industry honors, including the 2005 Minnesota Credit Union Network Professional of the Year Award, the 2014 MnCU4Kids Committee Making a Difference Award and a 2014 Minnesota Credit Union Foundation Credit Union Builder Award.

Raker is currently the President/CEO of Burnsville-based US Federal Credit Union, a $1 billion, 70,000-member credit union serving the Greater Twin Cities Community. His 15 years as US Federal’s CEO boast many accomplishments, including national credit union recognitions for lending, marketing and community service. Within the credit union industry, Raker also actively serves at the executive level on several regional and national committees and corporate boards. In addition to being inducted into the Hall of Leaders this year, Raker is the recipient of several noteworthy industry honors, including being named to the World Council of Credit Unions International Executive Volunteer Corps for his industry efforts in Paraguay and Cambodia and receiving the 2009 Minnesota Credit Union Network’s Outstanding Credit Union Professional of the Year Award.

Accepting his Hall of Leaders award at a ceremony during the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA’s) Governmental Affairs Conference, Raker said “I am humbled and honored to be named to the Hall of Leaders. It’s a very special recognition to be included with the great leaders who have contributed so much to the credit union movement, and I am privileged to have had the opportunity to be engaged in the great things credit unions do for their members and communities.”

Developed in 2008, the Credit Union House Hall of Leaders recognizes credit union professionals and volunteers whose commitment to service has inspired others in the credit union movement. The names of honorees are prominently displayed in Credit Union House to remind visitors of those who have volunteered their time to perpetuate the credit union movement and who remain committed to the values and mission on which credit unions were founded.

“Over the years Steve and Bill have played influential and integral parts in the growth and success of the state and national credit union movement,” said MnCUN President & CEO Mark Cummins. “Their passion for the credit union philosophy is demonstrated in all that they’ve achieved in their credit unions and communities. I thank them for their service and congratulate them on the honor of being inducted into the Credit Union House Hall of Leaders.”


More business lending, auto loan growth reported by Minn. credit unions

According to final data reported by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) earlier this month, Minnesota credit union member business lending grew 12.9 percent between year-end of 2013 and 2014, outpacing the national result of 12.4 percent. In addition, auto lending – for both new and used vehicles – was also strong with growth rates of 12.8 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, over the same time period.

“The continuing strong growth we’re seeing in business and auto lending is a very encouraging sign – both for Minnesota credit unions and our state’s economy,” said Minnesota Credit Union Network President & CEO Mark Cummins. “These loans are helping Minnesota businesses, consumers and communities thrive over the long-term.”

Overall, Minnesota credit unions have also experienced positive membership growth since 2011 and steady asset growth each year since 2007, as outlined below:

Minnesota Credit Union Membership and Assets:

Members (in millions)

Assets (in billions)


























*Effective Oct. 1, 2014, Minnesota-based Endura Financial Federal Credit Union merged with Wisconsin-based Connexus Credit Union, affecting overall numbers reported for membership, assets, deposits and loans in Minnesota.

“These results show that Minnesotans believe credit unions are honest, locally-focused and their best financial partner,” said Cummins. “Minnesota’s credit unions support and strengthen communities and value people over profit.”


  • The latest available membership data show that the number of Minnesota credit union members was 1.62 million.


  • Minnesota credit union assets grew by 4.9 percent year-over-year between the fourth quarters of 2013 and 2014, and also increased 1.0 percent between Q3 and Q4 2014.


  • Deposits at Minnesota credit unions increased 4.11 percent year-over-year from fourth quarter 2013 to 2014. Between Q3 and Q4 2014, deposits increased by 0.8 percent.

Total loans

  • Year-over-year loan growth between the fourth quarters of 2013 and 2014 was 6.64 percent, and loan balances grew 1.87 percent between Q3 and Q4 2014.

Net Worth

  • Minnesota credit unions are rated as “well-capitalized” by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), with a reported net worth of 10.67 percent in Q4 2014. The NCUA considers a credit union as well-capitalized if its net worth is above 7 percent. 

National credit union results were strong as well, with outstanding loan balances rising 10.4 percent between the end of 2013 and the end of 2014, the largest year-over-year percentage increase since the end of 2005.



MnCUN seeks feedback from credit unions in annual Performance Survey

The Minnesota Credit Union Network strives to provide valuable, high-quality services to our members. We serve a diverse membership with equally diverse needs. For that reason, it is critical for us to assess our performance in fulfilling our mission to ensure the success, growth and vitality of our member credit unions.

On Tuesday, March 17, member credit unions received the Minnesota Credit Union Network's Performance Survey for 2014. This annual questionnaire requests credit union feedback on the quality of our services and product offerings over the past year.

MnCUN's Performance Survey has been sent to all credit union employees who are registered in our database, in an effort to obtain comprehensive feedback from those who regularly use our services.

This survey takes about 10 minutes to complete, and all responses should be submitted by Wednesday, April 8.

With questions, please contact MnCUN General Counsel, John Wendland by email or call (651) 288-5519.



Hold a Financial Fitness Day on April 1 & Raise Funds for Financial Ed

The National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) and the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation (MnCUF) are inviting credit unions to hold a “Financial Fitness Day” fundraiser on April 1 to kick off National Financial Literacy Month and National Credit Union Youth Month™. This initiative will raise funds for the National CU Foundation and MnCUF in support of their financial education initiatives.

Americans spend months getting their physical health into shape as part of their New Year's resolutions. Kicking off National Financial Literacy Month, Financial Fitness Day is dedicated to helping members get their financial health in shape. 

It’s easy to participate! Just hold one (or more) of the following at your credit union on Financial Fitness Day – April 1.

  • Jeans or Casual Day for staff
  • Bake Sale for staff and/or members
  • Deduct or Donate a Buck - Ask staff and/or members to consider a voluntary contribution of one dollar or more either in cash as they complete their transaction and/or deducting from their checking or saving account as often as they choose.

By participating, you’ll be raising funds for the National Credit Union Foundation and the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation in support of their critical financial education initiatives, raising awareness of credit unions’ financial education activities and the importance of financial education.  

All donations from credit unions for this campaign will be split 50/50 between the National Credit Union Foundation and the Minnesota Credit Union Network in support of their financial education initiatives to help consumers of all ages achieve financial freedom.

For more information and a variety of downloadable resources to get involved, visit  


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.  

HomeTown CU student employees headed to national DECA competition


Affinity Plus FCU donation helps Tri-Angels playground reach fundraising goal


SMW Federal CU’s De Long-Hersh named Outstanding Volunteer



MnCUN, CUNA support end U.S. Department of Justice's Operation Choke Point

Target data breach


View all Governmental Affairs news stories


U.S. adoption of EMV on its way, though plenty of work remains

NCUA releases March Board Action Bulletin

NCUA releases March NCUA Report

NCUA warns about “National Credit Union” phishing scam

NCUA joins group of federal agencies to encourage Youth Savings Programs

FFIEC releases list of cybersecurity priorities for 2015

CFPB updates guidance on TILA-RESPA implementation

NCUA proposes revised fixed-asset rule for federal credit unions


View all Regulatory Compliance news stories



MnCUN & BancVue announce partnership

The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) and BancVue® have partnered to expand services available for the state’s credit unions to offer members – including Kasasa®, BancVue’s national brand of free, reward checking accounts.

BancVue’s strong financial service industry reputation, combined with MnCUN’s local credit union expertise, now offers more options for member credit unions and credit union members alike.

“BancVue has a solution that aligns well with the collaborative nature of our member credit unions,” said John Ferstl, MnCUN’s Vice President-Network Service Corporation. “I also believe our members can benefit from BancVue’s consumer research-based solution set to help them compete.”

BancVue has a well-established track record of bringing credit unions together – a philosophy called “co-opetition” – an ideal fit for MnCUN, an organization that continually looks out for the best interests of credit unions across Minnesota. Together, BancVue and MnCUN will work together to target credit unions that are a good match for BancVue’s full line of innovative product and marketing services.

“We are excited to partner with MnCUN because of their reputation and the quality of service they provide to Minnesota’s credit unions,” said Ed Wolfe, Senior Vice President and Director, Strategic Alliances, at BancVue.

As a result of the partnership, BancVue will have access to more Minnesota-based credit unions than ever before, while MnCUN’s member credit unions can tap into BancVue’s proven methods of acquiring new members and, ultimately, help them compete in today’s retail banking space.

To learn more about BancVue, contact MnCUN Vice President – Network Service Corporation John Ferstl by email or at (651) 288-5505.


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