The Pulse (12-11-13)

The Pulse (12-11-13)

Dec. 11, 2013 ● Volume 02, Issue 49


The Pulse Archive

Credit Union News

Minnesota credit union membership tops 1.6 million

Minnesota credit union membership grew by nearly 16,000 – a growth rate of nearly one percent – during the third quarter of 2013, reaching an all-time high of 1.6 million, or close to 30 percent of the state’s population.

The membership growth in Q3 continues a trend that began during the financial crisis, when consumers became more vocal in their dissatisfaction with large banks.

"Minnesota consumers and businesses continue to choose credit unions as their primary financial institution – much as they choose other local, community-focused businesses,” said Mark D. Cummins, Minnesota Credit Union Network President & CEO. "By making the switch, consumers are demonstrating their trust for credit unions rather than banks and selecting a financial institution that is aligned with their values.”

Consumer sentiment, along with the advent of November 2011 Bank Transfer Day – a social media campaign which called upon individuals to move their money from big, national banks to locally-owned credit unions – provided an opportunity for credit unions to gain recognition as mainstream, full-service financial institutions.

"These results show that we have been successful and that consumers are choosing credit unions more and more as their trusted financial partner,” added Cummins. "As the trade association for Minnesota’s credit unions, our strategy focuses on advocating for and creating an environment where credit unions can compete and grow their market share.” 


MnCUN offers webinar, guide to assist CUs with 2014 CFPB mortgage changes

As 2013 winds to a close, credit unions around the country are busily preparing for the various mortgage compliance changes issues by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). New rules and restrictions become effective in January 2014 – are you prepared?

Join the Minnesota Credit Union Network's compliance staff for a crash course in the new compliance requirements and an overview of the exemptions for "small servicers."

General Counsel John Wendland and Associate General Counsel Lyndsay Miller will debut MnCUN's Compliance Reference Guide, published December 2013, which provides a 91-page summary on the following CFPB mortgage rules:

  • Ability-to-Repay Rule
  • Qualified Mortgage Rule
  • Loan Originator Rule
  • Home Ownership & Equity Protection Act
  • Appraisals & Valuations Part I: ECOA
  • Appraisals & Valuations Part II: Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans
  • Truth-in-Lending Act Escrow Rule
  • TILA & RESPA Mortgage Servicing Final Rules

The regulatory burden for credit unions is overwhelming, but MnCUN can help! This session is appropriate for all credit union staff responsible for CFPB compliance, including branch managers, compliance officers, loan processors, operations staff, underwriters and CEOs.

Day/Time: Thurs. Dec. 19 - 2 p.m-2:30 p.m.
Cost:$ 49 for live webinar and web link
DEADLINE: Registrations will be accepted through noon on Thursday, Dec. 19

Register Now


Minnesota CU Network executive team plays key role on the national industry scene

Leaders from the Minnesota Credit Union Network continue to be active within the credit union movement on a national level, serving in various capacities with the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL). Working to create an environment that perpetuates the success of credit union leagues across the country, AACUL focuses on the future of the credit union system.

Last month, MnCUN President & CEO Mark D. Cummins was reelected to the AACUL executive committee, beginning his two-year term as Treasurer. Cummins served as AACUL Secretary from 2011-2013.

"The AACUL Board of Directors plays an important role in the evolution of the credit union industry,” said AACUL Executive Director Susan Newton, who also serves as Executive Vice President, System Relations for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). "The leadership provided by Mark and his staff is outstanding, and it positions the Minnesota Credit Union Network at the forefront of working to ensure the Credit Union System has a bright future. Their leadership at the state and national levels have an incredible influence on the success of all we do."

Additionally, two of MnCUN’s vice presidents hold positions with AACUL.

Mara Humphrey, Vice President – Governmental Affairs, serves on AACUL’s State Issues Advocacy Committee. This group works to provide direction and feedback regarding state legislative and regulatory issues affecting credit unions and to identify proactive strategies to promote the state credit union system.

Kristina Wright, Vice President – Association Services, serves on AACUL’s Communications Task Force. This group works to identify ways to streamline and unify messages from CUNA and the leagues to member credit unions, and to ensure that credit unions know and understand the value of affiliation. The task force is one of several that was borne out of a broader AACUL group that focuses on the evolution of the system and works to ensure that credit unions receive maximum value for their membership.

"As the credit union system changes and evolves, it’s important for credit unions to know that advocates on the state and national levels are continually evaluating the scope, purpose and relevance of our respective associations,” Cummins said. "Through the Network’s involvement in AACUL, we are working to improve coordination and cooperation, not only for Minnesota credit unions, but for credit unions nationwide.”

Grants at work -- Minnesota CU Foundation celebrates 2013 successes

As the year winds to a close, the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation reflects on a successful 2013 and is gearing up for an exciting year ahead. As an organization dedicated to providing the resources for credit unions and communities to prosper and thrive, the Foundation recently released a year-in-review, thanking its contributors for making its support of financial education and professional development possible.

The Foundation funded $22,000 in grants in 2013.

Financial Education Grants

In the inaugural year of this program, four credit unions from across the state received financial education grants for initiatives that demonstrate credit union value, community impact, collaboration and creativity. A total of $15,000 was awarded in financial education grants this year, a program to which the Foundation dedicates 50 percent of its annual budget.

  • Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union received grant funding to expand its financial education teaching program to an online format through Central Lakes College.
  • St. Paul Federal Credit Union will utilize a Foundation grant in establishing a student-run credit union at Harding Senior High School in St. Paul.
  • Minnesota Power Employees Credit Union received a grant to enhance the Duluth Children’s Museum’s "Moneyville” financial education exhibit.
  • Postal Credit Union will utilize Foundation grant funding to provide incentives to students as it develops a peer-to-peer financial education seminar series for students.

Support of Other Foundations

The Cooperative Network received a grant from the Foundation to provide scholarships for high school students to attend its annual Co-ops Yes! Youth Leadership Conference. This conference teaches students about the purpose, operation and scope of cooperative business, and included a session led by the Minnesota Family Involvement Council on careers in credit unions.

Professional Developments Grants

The Foundation awarded grants to 15 credit unions across the state to enable staff and volunteers to attend educational events and sustain the credit union movement. Foundation grants supported attendance at CUNA Management School, MnCUN Annual Meeting, CU Day at Capitol, Records Retention Webinar, and a Tax & Employment Workshop.

An overview of the Foundation’s contribution programs and levels of support, including the Credit Union Builder Award and the Community Investment Fund, is available on the Foundation website. 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.     


Credit Unions! Prepare to display your hearts and help kids

Get ready to line your lobbies with paper hearts! The Minnesota Credit Unions for Kids (MnCU4Kids) Committee is inviting you to participate in its 2014 Chain of Hearts campaign.

The Chain of Hearts is a statewide fundraiser that will run from Jan. 13-Feb. 28, 2014. All proceeds benefit Gillette Children's Hospital, which helps kids with disabilities and chronic conditions. Gillette is based in St. Paul, with numerous clinics around the state.

To participate in Chain of Hearts, credit union members purchase paper links and hearts that are connected and hung in lobbies to help illustrate the "people helping people" philosophy of credit unions. Last year was one of the most successful for this fundraiser, with the committee raising more than $42,000. Committee members hope to do the same this year, bumping up the fundraising target to $50,000.

Chain of Hearts is an extremely simple fundraising event that is available to your credit union at no cost! For more information about this fundraiser, please contact MnCU4Kids Co-Chair Dave Engler at (651) 325-4144 or MnCUN Administrative Assistant Lindsey Evans by email or (651) 288-5535. 


Belief in the credit union mission inspires 53 years of volunteer service at Minnesota’s Central Hanna ECU

Take it from a person who’s spent half a lifetime serving credit unions: They truly exemplify the idea of community and the "people helping people” philosophy.

Mildred Sorenson knows this. She believes in it. 

After 53 years of volunteer service, Sorenson retired from the Board of Directors at Central Hanna Employees Credit Union in Keewatin.

Growing up, Sorenson, known as "Millie” by her longtime friends and coworkers, didn’t have much exposure to credit unions until hired as the manager of Minnesota Ore Operations Credit Union. But through that work, Sorenson developed a love for credit unions and their mission of dedicated service to members and communities.

"I believe in credit unions so faithfully and wanted the best for them,” Sorenson said. "When asked to serve on the board (for Central Hanna), I didn’t even give it a thought. I just believed in the theory; I was 100 percent for it. That’s why I continued to serve (on the board). It was always credit union first; everything we did was for the members.”

Central Hanna Manager Sally Baratto worked with Sorenson for more than eight years, and she summarized that working relationship with one word.

"Fondness,” Baratto said. "When thinking of Millie and the way she served us, I’m very fond of everything she does.”

Sorenson said one of her biggest achievements while serving at Central Hanna was the conversion of the credit union to a community charter. Baratto described Sorenson as being very "instrumental” in the conversion process, all for the benefit of Central Hanna members.

Baratto also cited Sorenson’s loyalty as an attribute to Central Hanna. Her personal philosophy mimicked that of the credit union movement, Baratto said, adding that Sorenson exemplifies "the importance of dedication to people, respect within the credit union, and the commitment to serving the underserved.”

Sorenson’s belief in the credit union difference influenced her family, as well. Her children are credit union members, and she influenced her daughter-in-law, Carol Marlow, to also serve on the Central Hanna Board of Directors, a commitment that has now spanned more than 30 years.

"Credit unions are like a close-knit family, and Central Hanna is indicative of that. Very seldom do people serve (on the board) for only a term or two, because you become close to the people you serve with and the people that you serve,” Marlow said.

Sorenson was especially fond of the idea that there was no back-stage agenda going on with credit unions. The relationships within credit union boards often develop into friendships. Since the board members meet often and in personal settings, the comparison to family is not unusual. As in many credit unions, Central Hanna acted as a family with its openness and communication between the employees of the credit union and the members it served.

Although she’s officially retired from serving on the credit union’s board, Sorenson’s enthusiasm for credit unions, and her feelings toward the credit union family, haven’t faltered.

"It’s simple: Credit unions are for the people, the members,” Sorenson said. "The credit union is all for the purpose of serving the community. Everyone wants the best for each other.”


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 hires Pete Nohelty as EVP/CTOmore
  • Affinity Plus FCU regroups with new CEOmore
  • SPIRE FCU teams with Minnesota Timberwolves to spread holiday cheermore


Political contribution refund program reinstated







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