Ctrl.Alt.Innovate Keynote Speaker: Patrick Schwerdtfeger, "Embracing Disruptive Innovation"
Hear from leading innovators and position your credit union for the future at the Ctrl.Alt.Innovate conference taking place virtually, April 7-8 . Patrick Schwerdtfeger, will provide the opening keynote: "Embracing Disruptive Innovation."
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a business futurist specializing in technology trends including big data, artificial intelligence, Fintech and blockchain.
He's the author of Pandemic, Inc.: 8 Forces Driving Business Failure or Fortune in the Post-COVID-19 Economy (2020, Authority Publishing) as well as five other books, and has lectured at numerous academic institutions including Purdue and Stanford Universities.
He is also a regular speaker for Bloomberg TV, founder of Trend Mastery Inc., and host of the Strategic Business Insights video blog (with over 28,000 subscribers and six million views on YouTube). Patrick has spoken about business trends, technology and digital marketing at hundreds of conferences all around the world including a session on Learned Intuition at TEDx Sacramento.
This event is a collaboration between eight Midwest credit union leagues and associations. Registration ends on March 31 and session recordings will be available 30 days after the event.
Ransomware developers and affiliates have been telling victims they must pay the ransom or stolen data and internal company secrets will be publicly released. Unfortunately, not everyone has been a believer. Six and seven-figure demands have become routine among ransomware attacks with the average ransom payment in quarter two of 2020 reaching $178,254, a 60% leap from the $111,605 average in quarter one according to the Coveware Quarterly Ransomware Report. 
“Credit unions need to be looking out for ransomware techniques. These cyber attacks have no boundaries and are truly a global issue,” reports Carlos Molina, Senior Risk Consultant at CUNA Mutual Group. “Ransomware has grown in frequency and severity significantly. The average ransom payments have climbed exponentially in the last few years.”
Ransomware payments in 2019 were three times as large as 2018 payments and four times as many extortion demands were paid in 2019 versus 2018, according to incidents reported to Beazley. In fact, ransomware claims increased 239% and the total cost of ransomware payments has increased by 228% from 2018 to 2019. 
According to Derek Laczniak, Director of Cyber Liability at M3 Insurance, “Ransomware developers threatened to release stolen data in the past. However, now with the actual release of confidential information, credit unions need to treat these attacks more like data breaches. Business interruption from these events has become a regular occurrence leaving both reputational and financial impacts.”
How does Ransomware work?
Ransomware is a malicious software that restricts access to an infected machine, usually by systematically encrypting files on the system’s hard drive. Then the cyber-criminal demands payment of a ransom in exchange for the key or keys to decrypt the data. Ransomware can be devastating.
The most identified infection points used to deploy ransomware:
There has also been a significant increase in criminals who purchase ransomware kits on the dark web, launch attacks in the hope of getting some payment, and care little about the data restoration experience of their victims.
With NetGiver, credit union members can donate online and through their mobile app to over 1 million 501(c)(3) charities. 100% of the members donations to go the charity with no fees to the charity or the member.
The Minnesota Credit Union Network is an owner of NetGiver, a CUSO that enables fee-free charitable contributions exclusively for credit union members through a mobile giving platform.
“NetGiver helps credit unions to exemplify the ‘people helping people philosophy’ and demonstrates that credit unions are embracing innovation in technology,” said John Ferstl, Chief Operations Officer of the MnCUN Network Service Corporation.
With the demand on charitable services rising during COVID-19, NetGiver is proud to provide a platform that enables 100% of every donation to reach the charity for which it was intended.
Join one of the upcoming webinars to learn how supporting a member’s giving provides a better member experience:
Alloya Corporate FCU and TruLync, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN), announced today that they have entered a strategic partnership under which Alloya Corporate will acquire TruLync’s item processing services. The transaction is expected to be completed by third quarter of this year.
“We are thrilled about this partnership with Alloya,” commented Mark Cummins, President & CEO of TruLync and MnCUN. “Credit unions continue to depend on affordable, reliable and efficient check processing services. With check volumes in a steady decline over the past decade, it was time for TruLync to evaluate its strategic options. We know credit unions need a solution for the future and Alloya’s TranzCapture suite will ensure access to exactly that for many years to come.”
Launched in 2016, TranzCapture is a credit union service organization (CUSO) co-owned by Alloya Corporate FCU. At that time, Alloya’s Board of Directors realized that credit unions throughout the country would need a credit union owned and controlled solution to support check processing as volumes declined. As a result, Alloya partnered with other corporate credit unions to design, invest and build a solution that will ensure credit unions have an efficient, secure and cost-effective option.
Today, nearly 4,500 credit unions use check processing technologies powered by TranzCapture to gain access to a full suite of remote deposit capture services for ATM, branch, business, ITM and mobile and an efficient check clearing and home banking solution. Alloya’s team of professionals support this technology by providing research, adjustment, file processing and cash settlement services. This nationwide check processing solution helps credit unions overcome the challenges of diminishing check volumes while significantly reducing their operating expenses as compared to in-house or competitor alternatives. In 2020, Alloya processed 136 million checks valuing $131.2 billion.
“Alloya is honored to have been selected by TruLync. We share common values and both businesses represent strong examples of the power of cooperation,” remarked Todd Adams, CEO of Alloya Corporate. “At Alloya, our mission is to support credit union success by simplifying back-office operations. Many of TruLync’s credit union members already use Alloya’s Premier View technologies. Through this acquisition, check processing will simply be one more feature those credit unions can efficiently access through the platform. Working together, we anticipate a smooth transition.”
TruLync Services, including the business lines of Prize Linked Savings and M360 Data Analytics, will not be impacted by the transaction. “This as an opportunity for us to expand TruLync’s efforts in offering technology solutions such as WINcentive PLS and M360 Data Analytics. We look forward to continuing to provide services which improve credit union efficiency, increase performance, reduce risk, and enrich member relationships,” continued Cummins.
With questions, contact MnCUN President & CEO Mark Cummins or Chief Operating Officer John Ferstl.
America Saves Week is February 22 - 26, 2021. Since 2007, America Saves Week has been an annual celebration as well as a call to action for everyday Americans to commit to saving successfully. Through the support of thousands of participating organizations, together we encourage our local communities to prioritize checking in on their finances and saving behaviors during the week. The America Saves pledge is the framework that allows savers to set a goal, and make a plan to achieve better financial stability.
Join MnCUN for America Saves Week as we share tools and resources with our community that inspires individuals and families to save successfully and achieve better financial stability.
Sign up to participate
Remembering Carol Tower
The Minnesota Credit Union Network is saddened to announce the passing of Carol Tower of Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union.
For 14 years, Carol Tower was a caregiver for MMFCU and the credit union movement in Minnesota and nationally.
She served in leadership roles as a Grassroots Coordinator and as Secretary for the Central Minnesota Chapter of Credit Unions and participated in the Women's Leadership Network.
As a direct reflection of her effectiveness as a Grassroots Coordinator, MMFCU was recognized multiple years as having the highest percentage of employees and members participating in GREAT.
She annually organized and participated in CU Day at the Capitol, passionately sharing her love for credit unions and stories of member impact with local law makers and state-wide leaders. Nationally, Carol regularly attended GAC and Hike the Hill events.
A private service will be held in Brainerd. For more information, view her Obituary in the Brainerd Dispatch. MMFCU will be honoring Carol as a Credit Union Builder.
CUNA celebrated the 2020 CUNA Award winners in a virtual reception. Two Minnesota credit unions were the recipients of Desjardins Awards for Financial Education, including HomeTown Credit Union and TopLine Federal Credit Union.
The Desjardins Awards honor credit unions, chapters, and leagues for their commitment to both youth and adult financial literacy.
HomeTown Credit Union placed second overall for their Virtual Lunch and Learn Program, which is a social distancing friendly adaption of their financial education. Each session is free of charge and highlight a personal finance topic or expert on a related topic. These live and recorded sessions are shared with our community partners that we provide financial education for, such as schools, non-profit agencies and social-service organizations.
TopLine Federal Credit Union received an Honorable mention for the Youth Category for their YouthCare C.S. Star Program. The training program provides meaningful employment and service-learning opportunities for urban youth, from diverse backgrounds. As a part of the program, TopLine holds a financial literacy workshop for the youth emphasizing goal setting, how to budget, saving and many other relevant financial topics for youth.
“The Desjardins award winners illustrate how credit unions live the “people helping philosophy” through their everyday operations, community service and education,” MnCUN President & CEO Mark Cummins. “We are proud of the work that they do to improve their members’ financial well-being and communities as a whole.”
The awards, which are given in several credit union asset sizes, were selected among state-level winning entries to compete nationally.
The election process for the Minnesota Credit Union Network Board of Directors is underway and began with the call for candidates, which went out on January 15. Candidacy declarations are due by next Friday (2/19).
Four seats are up for election in 2021: two in the at-large category (3-year terms), and two in the 10,000 or fewer credit union members category, one for a 3-year term and the other a 1-year term to fill the unexpired term of Terri Maloney who retired this past July. Visit the 2021 Board Elections webpage for more information, including instructions on how to declare as a candidate.
The Minnesota Credit Union Employee Benefits Plan (The Benefits Plan) is an association health plan that is helping provide cost effective health benefit options for employees of Minnesota credit unions.
Association health plans are controlled by the employers that participate in the plan through a board of trustees. The Benefits Plan board is comprised of seven trustees. Two are appointed from the plan sponsor, MnCUN. One is appointed from the Network board of directors. The remaining four are elected from the participating credit unions. The initial Board was appointed, and the plan is now holding its first elections. Four seats are up for election in 2021: two for one-year terms and two for two-year terms.
More information on the election can be found on the 2021 Board of Trustees Elections webpage.
The Pulse is MnCUN's newsletter that keeps credit union professionals and board members updated on current news and information.