News Now Archive
Published on January 10, 2013.
- NEW: CFPB QM, ability-to-repay rules are out, CUNA provides summary
- NEW: NCUA increases small CU asset threshold to $50 million; Consistent with CUNA recommendation
- Cordray to Cheney: CFPB rules will include safe harbor for prime loans
- FTC report 'incomplete, misleading' on interchange: CUNA
- A closer look: Leagues were busy in statehouses in 2012
- New NCUA video series informs consumers on CUs
- Matz talks CU issues in LEADERS magazine
- NCUA says Telesis could cost NCUSIF $72M
- CU exec is new Boston Fed advisory council member
- Inside Washington
- Motley Fool column: CUs are 'good news for tough times'
- 'Legislature Today' radio show to feature CUAD every week
- SECU assists 6,500 students with college applications
- CUDL paper sets benchmarks for CUs' asset-disposition programs
- CU marketers, flex those thumbs: Social media goes mobile
- Graham elected to CUNA Board seat
- Nutmeg State FCU broadens footprint at Wal-Mart
- Doh! ID thief ships loot to victims' home
- CU System briefs
- Market News
- News of the Competition
- Better than a resolution: Set financial goals
- H&FF Radio covers smart upkeep strategies for consumers
- VINtek helps lenders serve military borrowers
NEW: CFPB QM, ability-to-repay rules are out, CUNA provides summary
WASHINGTON (1/10/13, UPDATED 5:18 p.m. ET)--It's official. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) standards to define a "qualified mortgage (QM)" under the agency's "ability to repay" rules are posted to the bureau's website and now may be considered "issued."
As indicated to Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney in a Wednesday phone call from CFPB Director Richard Cordray, the CFPB has taken steps to address various CUNA concerns, including legal protection from challenges for noncompliance with qualified mortgage standards.
"We support the agency's steps to minimize disruptions in the availability of mortgage credit for consumers," said CUNA's Cheney Thursday. "CUNA strongly supported a 'safe harbor' approach for QM loans that would provide the maximum legal protection to credit unions under the 'ability-to-repay rule."
Cheney added that the approach taken by the bureau "should provide legal certainty to lenders such as credit unions."
CUNA has created a summary of the final rules with credit union perspective. (Use the resource link below.)
Congress directed that the ability-to-repay rules include provisions that would help shield lenders whose loans meet QM standards if challenged in court by a borrower alleging the loan is not in compliance. The new CFPB rules take a dual approach to higher-priced loans and lower-priced ones regarding legal protection.
For lower-priced loans, the CFPB rule creates a "safe harbor" status for lenders. These prime loans generally are made to consumers who are considered to be lower risk borrowers.
It is anticipated that most credit union mortgage loans would qualify for the safe harbor status, an outcome that CUNA has aggressively pursued. Consumers may challenge their loan under the new rule if they feel the loan does not meet the definition of a Qualified Mortgage, but the safe harbor is intended to provide lenders with legal protection that QM standards have been met.
For higher-priced loans, sometimes given to consumers with insufficient or weak credit histories, the CFPB rules would allow a "rebuttable presumption" in legal challenges. A borrower seeking to challenge such a loan will have to prove he or she did not have sufficient income to pay the mortgage and other living expenses.
Additionally, within the last hour, the CFPB has also posted final rules to its website for Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) "high cost" mortgages and mortgage escrows, as mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. See News Now Friday for more information on these two rules.
Use the resource link to read the CUNA summary of the rule.
NEW: NCUA increases small CU asset threshold to $50 million; Consistent with CUNA recommendation
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/10/13 UPDATED: 10:30 A.M. ET--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) today increased the asset-level test that defines a small credit union. The threshold was raised to $50 million as recommended by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), up from $10 million.
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said, "Raising the threshold for the definition of 'small entity' is a step in the right direction, and we look forward to monitoring the effectiveness of this approach for credit unions."
He added, "In our comments to the agency, we suggested a threshold of $50 million for agency assistance and access – and a higher level for purposes of regulatory relief. We commend the agency for taking the action today, which will benefit many more small credit unions. CUNA continually looks for ways to assist small credit unions and we anticipate working with NCUA as it implements this new threshold."
The NCUA's change will make assistance from the NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI) available to more than 4,600 credit unions--an increase of 2,270. The agency made it clear that the OSCUI will make changes to its procedures to handle the increased workload without adding additional staff.
Under the new rule, the NCUA will consider periodic changes to the asset-level test; initially every two years, and eventually every three years.
NCUA Chairman Matz said, "We will not be in a situation again where the definition lags reality."
The regulatory changes will go into effect in 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, which generally occurs within a week or two of an agency's adoption of a new rule. Credit unions that meet the regulatory definition for "small" have some additional flexibility when it comes to NCUA rules. The current $10 million small credit union asset threshold was set by the agency in 2003.
In CUNA's comment letter CUNA demonstrated that using the "complexity index" as a method for determining small entity thresholds can or will be used in a variety of ways that could, ultimately, lead to negative or unintended results for credit unions. "Those include reductions in credit union flexibility, increases in risk profiles and reductions in member service provision," the letter stated.
The agenda for today's NCUA open board meeting also included:
- A board briefing on an interagency final rule addressing higher-priced mortgage loans;
- The agency's 2013 annual performance plan;
- A final rule to extend credit union low-income designation response time to 90 days, up from 30 days; and
- Some technical amendments.
Cordray to Cheney: CFPB rules will include safe harbor for prime loans
WASHINGTON (1/10/13)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is expected to address the standards to define a "qualified mortgage (QM)" under the agency's "ability to repay" rules. The rules have not yet been released and are anticipated later today.
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will post its summary of the final rules with credit union perspective shortly after they are released.
CFPB Director Richard Cordray called CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney Wednesday to discuss the rules and the changes advocated by CUNA on behalf of credit unions. Based on early information and summaries the agency has released this morning, the agency has taken steps to address various CUNA concerns, including legal protection from challenges for noncompliance with qualified mortgage standards.
CUNA has been consistently seeking to minimize the impact of these rules on credit unions since they were ordered by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. As recently as Tuesday, CUNA sent another letter to the CFPB director addressing concerns about the mortgage rules and urging that the bureau bring its awareness of the credit union difference into play as it develops all new rules.
Also today, SECU of Maryland President/CEO Rod Staatz will testify on behalf of CUNA and credit unions at a CFPB Jan. 10 mortgage-policy field hearing in Baltimore, Md. He will drive home CUNA's message that the agency must direct its appreciation of the way credit unions operate into meaningful regulatory relief for credit unions so that they can do even more to serve their communities.
News Now will provide details of the new mortgage rules as soon as the rules are released.
Congress directed that the ability to repay rules include provisions that would help shield lenders whose loans meet QM standards if challenged in court by a borrower alleging the loan is not in compliance. CFPB information indicates the rules take differing approaches to higher-priced loans and lower priced ones regarding legal protection.
For lower-priced loans, the CFPB announced it created a "safe harbor" status for lenders. These prime loans generally are made to consumers who are considered to be lower risk borrowers.
It is anticipated that most credit union mortgage loans would qualify for the safe harbor status, an outcome that CUNA has aggressively pursued. Consumers could challenge their loan if they feel it does not meet the definition of a Qualified Mortgage but such a safe harbor is intended to provide lenders with legal protection that QM standards have been met.
For higher-priced loans, sometimes given to consumers with insufficient or weak credit histories, the CFPB indicated that legal challenges would involve a "rebuttable presumption." A borrower seeking to challenge such a loan would have to prove he or she did not have sufficient income to pay the mortgage and other living expenses.
The CFPB's summary also indicates requirements such as the following are included:
- Before making a loan, a lender must document such things as a borrower's employment status; income and assets; current debt obligations; credit history; monthly payments on the mortgage; monthly payments on any other mortgages on the same property; and monthly payments for mortgage-related obligations;
- Therefore, lenders would be banned from offering "no-doc" and "low-doc" mortgages--loans that don't ask for documentation of such things as income and assets; and
- A borrower would need to show sufficient assets or income to pay back the loan and lenders must evaluate this information; and
- Lenders would be prohibited from basing their evaluation of a consumer's ability to repay on teaser rates.
FTC report 'incomplete, misleading' on interchange: CUNA
WASHINGTON (1/10/13)--A recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report on the impact of new laws capping interchange fee revenues presents an "incomplete and thus misleading view of the impact on credit unions," Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney wrote in a letter to the agency.
The FTC's late 2012 report claimed that credit unions and other small issuers have been unharmed by new interchange laws.
Cheney in the letter sent this week noted that the 11-page FTC report includes only four paragraphs on the impact of debit interchange provisions on small banks and credit unions, and relies on "selective information" from Federal Reserve and Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports to reach its conclusions.
The report also fails to note that the full impact of the interchange cap regulations will not be known for some time. Routing and exclusivity provisions contained in the final interchange rule are also not discussed in the FTC report, Cheney added. CUNA recently made a similar point in an interview with The Washington Post.
The CUNA CEO also pointed out that the GAO report cited in the FTC document found that the average interchange fee received by credit unions and small banks declined by $0.02, or around 5%, after the interchange rule took effect. The GAO report also said that concerns remain about the potential for further interchange fee or fee income declines over the long term, Cheney emphasized.
The impact of an interchange fee cap is "a very important issue for credit unions and their members. Congress intended for credit unions and small banks to be exempt from the impact of the regulation of debit interchange fees, not just from the wording of key provisions of the rule. In order to ensure that outcome, it is imperative that agencies such as the FTC are as accurate as possible in reporting on debit interchange fees," Cheney wrote.
For the full letter to the FTC, and more on the Washington Post interview, use the resource links.
A closer look: Leagues were busy in statehouses in 2012
WASHINGTON (1/10/13)--'Gridlock' may have been the descriptor most often applied to legislative action on a federal level in 2012, but on a state level more than 29,000 bills--on issues across the board--were enacted by legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That was out of almost 86,000 bills introduced nationally.
Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) State Government Affairs tracked over 800 bills during the 2012 state legislative session to monitor potential impact on credit unions. This information was used by the state credit union leagues to advocate on behalf of credit unions in statehouses across the nation.
"Everything from state credit union acts to charitable giving to merger rules were in play in different states," noted Richard Dines, CUNA's senior state and league affairs director, describing state actions. "CUNA and the state leagues advocated for credit-union friendly policy on all fronts."
The leagues were also nimble and persistent in their work to refute state bank associations' 2012 campaigns to challenge the tax treatment of credit unions. These attacks were seen in ad campaigns and other communications to legislators and the public in Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington, and more are anticipated in 2013 as federal lawmakers work to revise the country's tax laws.
Leagues were able to counter these attacks and stop them from gaining traction, and are prepared for more battles in the year ahead.
Among other state legislative successes:
- The leagues sought and won updates to their state credit union acts in California, Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Rhode Island;
- A new California law allows credit unions to provide lifeline services to non-members within a credit union's field of membership, including negotiable checks, money orders, and other similar money transfer instruments;
- Updates to Illinois law clarified provisions on mergers, board authority, and membership;
- In Kansas, updated provisions included changes to credit committee appointments, the loan approval process, and suspension of credit union officials and members;
- Wisconsin law loosened restrictions on the amount of charitable donations that credit unions can make each year;
- In Arizona, state-chartered credit unions now have parity with federally chartered credit unions with respect to the rules on converting to a savings and loan association; and
- Legislation passed in Rhode Island gives state-chartered credit unions federal parity in the area of participation loans.
Illinois passed a fast-track foreclosure law that reduces the foreclosure process from about two years to about six months.
The Illinois Credit Union League's instrumental efforts to get this bill pass are particularly notable because it may become a nationwide model for addressing the issue of vacant and residential properties in foreclosure.
News Now is featuring an in-depth look at each area of CUNA's 2013 priorities. This article is the third in that series. The first unveiled CUNA's legislative priorities; the second discussed regulatory goals.
New NCUA video series informs consumers on CUs
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/10/13)--In the first of a series of new consumer-focused videos, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) seeks to send one message to current and potential credit union members: Your money is safe.
NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said the new series of NCUA Consumer Protection Report videos is one of many ways the agency is working to "communicate to consumers that their savings are insured up to $250,000--just like at banks."
Future videos will address financial planning, fraud and scam avoidance, and how to resolve consumer complaints at credit unions.
For more on the video, use the resource link.
Matz talks CU issues in LEADERS magazine
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/10/13)--Americans are becoming more aware of how critical credit unions are, and this increased interest "explains why credit unions have added nearly three million members since 2010," National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Debbie Matz said in a new LEADERS magazine interview.
"Members know that they can usually get a better deal at a credit union," Matz said. She noted that cooperative, not-for-profit credit unions generally charge lower interest on loans, pay higher dividends on deposits, and are an excellent source for small business loans. "With the average business loan only $220,000, credit unions often make loans that banks turn away. In fact, while other institutions cut back lending during the financial crisis, credit unions gained further recognition as the only insured institutions to increase lending," she added.
LEADERS is a quarterly magazine featuring interviews about the thoughts and visions of leaders in government, business, academia, labor, religion, science and the arts. The state of the credit union movement and the agency's response to the financial crisis are also addressed in the interview.
The NCUA Chairman noted the agency "needed to act decisively to stabilize the credit union system" when the financial crisis hit in 2008. "Approximately 2,200 of the 7,000 credit unions were at risk, so we had to stabilize the system by rigorous supervision, rather than by regulation, which takes time," Matz added.
Credit unions weathered the financial crisis and its aftereffects, and the credit union industry is "exceptionally well-capitalized at over 10%," she noted. "Return on assets is 86 basis points, up from 18 basis points when I became chairman; and loan delinquencies and charge-offs are trending in the right direction--down," she added.
"These metrics indicate that the credit union industry is resilient and in a strong position," Matz said.
For the full LEADERS interview, use the resource link.
NCUA says Telesis could cost NCUSIF $72M
WASHINGTON (1/10/13)--The mid-2012 liquidation of Telesis Community CU could create an estimated $72 million in National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) losses, according to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
The Chatsworth, Calif. credit union had 37,600 members and held $301.3 million in assets, core facilities, and consumer loans when it was liquidated by the NCUA last June. The California Department of Financial Institutions took Telesis into conservatorship in March 2012. The conservatorship resulted from "many problems," including problems tied to a low net worth ratio, negative returns on average assets, high loan delinquencies and charge-offs, high operating expenses, and many foreclosed and repossessed assets, the NCUA said last year. The California economy also affected the credit union.
Premier America CU of Chatsworth, Calif., assumed the assets and members once held by Telesis in a purchase and assumption deal that was completed after the Telesis liquidation.
Since the start of the financial crisis, four times the number of banks than credit unions have failed.
CU exec is new Boston Fed advisory council member
WASHINGTON (1/10/13)--Edward Danek, Jr., president/CEO of Hartford FCU in Connecticut, will join three other credit union representatives on the 12-member Federal Reserve Bank of Boston First District Community Depository Institution Advisory Council (CDIAC) in 2013.
Danek is a first-time member of the CDIAC.
The other three current credit union representatives on the CDIAC are:
First district CDIAC members are drawn from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
The First District CDIAC's next meeting is scheduled for March 11.
The councils provide input to the Fed on the economy, lending conditions and other issues. The Fed selects one member from each of its 12 Fed local advisory councils to serve on the full CDIAC, and the council meets with the Fed in Washington, D.C., twice each year.
- WASHINGTON (1/10/13)--A decision by regulators to provide banks time to comply with restrictions on swaps activities could penalize foreign banks operating in the U.S. (American Banker Jan. 9). Under the Dodd-Frank Act, banks are prohibited from using federal assistance such as federal deposit insurance or access to the discount window to support swaps activities (News Now Jan. 7). The new rules will force some banks to stop or divest their swaps businesses. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said Jan. 3 banks will be provided more time to comply with restrictions. But foreign bank branches without deposit insurance do not qualify for the extension, and must soon move hedging activities that U.S. banks can maintain …
- WASHINGTON (1/10/13)--JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon left the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York when his term expired Dec. 31. Lawmakers called for Dimon's resignation following JPMorgan's 2011 multibillion-dollar trading scandal (American Banker Jan. 9). The New York Fed's nominating committee has not recommended a replacement, a spokeswoman for the bank told the Banker. Among the lawmakers who called for Dimon's resignation was Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who successfully ran for the U. S. Senate in 2011. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced legislation that would prohibit bank executives from serving on the boards of regional Fed banks. A Government Accountability Office study cited by Sanders called on the Fed to prevent conflicts of interest on its regional bank boards …
Motley Fool column: CUs are 'good news for tough times'
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/10/13)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is prominently featured in a positive article about credit unions' growth in Wednesday's The Motley Fool. The conclusion the article makes: Credit unions are "good news for tough times."
CUNA, in the article entitled "Americans Keep Fleeing Banks, Flock to Credit Unions Instead," noted that credit union membership hit a record high in 2011 and again in 2012.
The article also featured third quarter 2012 statistics from SNL Financial about credit unions gaining ground against the competition in credit card loans. Credit unions' credit card loans to consumers topped $38 billion, a nearly $2 billion or 5% increase over third quarter 2011. The same loans at commercial banks totaled $669 billion--down $2 billion for the same period.
The Motley Fool attributed the surge in the interest in credit unions to "highly publicized efforts by commercial banks to load up their customers with new fees," banks' role in the 2008 financial crisis, and banks' fight to preserve high rates, fees and other policies.
Credit unions are "doing a lot of things right," the Fool said. It told how credit unions' not-for-profit model helps consumers by keeping costs honest. Credit unions lack any incentive to raise costs, it said.
"None of this is good news for investors in banking stocks," said the Fool. "But for consumers, fed up with the high cost of traditional "banking"? It's good news for tough times."
Use the link to read the full article.
'Legislature Today' radio show to feature CUAD every week
BISMARCK, N.D. (1/10/13)--The Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD) will be a featured guest on the two-hour radio show "Legislature Today" each Tuesday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. CT during the current North Dakota legislative session.
|Credit Union Association of the Dakotas' (CUAD) advocacy team, Robbie Thompson, left, president/CEO, and Jeff Olson, vice president of advocacy and awareness, were interviewed for an hour during a live radio and Web broadcast of the "Legislature Today" Tuesday night. CUAD will be a featured guest on the radio show each Tuesday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. CT during the current North Dakota legislative session. (Photo provided by Credit Union Association of the Dakotas)|
"To be a part this first-ever live weekly multi-media program that features the state's executive and legislative leaders is the perfect vehicle for us to create more awareness of credit unions", Thompson said.
The new show is broadcast from historic Peacock Alley restaurant and bar in downtown Bismarck, N.D., a popular spot for state legislators. "Legislature Today" is scheduled to be broadcast Monday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. during the North Dakota legislative session.
Tuesday's show was a great beginning, CUAD said. Thompson and Olson discussed credit union structure, the three-tiered system, and the history of credit unions.
Stressing that credit unions are "not for profit, but for service," Thompson described the differences between credit unions and banks to the audience.
Olson discussed the relationship between credit unions and the legislative and regulatory bodies. North Dakota credit unions have a very positive relationship with both branches, he said.
CUAD is one of four broadcast partners for the show, launched by the Bakken Beacon, a new North Dakota media company. The show can be heard on KFYR 550 AM, Bismarck; 1100 AM Fargo "The Flag"; and KTGO 1090 AM, which covers northwestern North Dakota's oil country. The radio program will also be broadcast live through Web streaming at http://am1100theflag.com/ and will be archived each week.
SECU assists 6,500 students with college applications
RALEIGH, N.C. (1/10/13)--State Employees' CU (SECU) personnel provided assistance to 6,500 North Carolina high school seniors completing and submitting free online college applications during College Application Week (CAW) in November.
The event is one example of how credit unions can help communities in creative and useful ways and have an impact.
About 160 credit union employees from 81 SECU branches volunteered this year to help the senior students at participating high schools statewide complete and submit more than 8,800 online applications to North Carolina colleges and universities. At the high schools where SECU personnel assisted, the number of students participating surpassed last year's efforts by close to 2,800 students.
CAW "is a great opportunity for SECU to join in providing support and encouragement to high school seniors focusing on their education," said Krista Loew, SECU vice president of individual retirement account services, who serves as the credit union's CAW coordinator. "Completing a college application can be intimidating--helping seniors work through the process is an enjoyable and rewarding experience for our employees. This year's event was very successful and we look forward to future CAW events."
The week-long event allowed the students to apply to at least one college or university online using CFNC.org. A primary focus was assisting first-generation students who may not otherwise apply to college. College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) and Carolinas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers sponsored the event.
SECU began assisting with CAW in 2009, piloting the program with volunteer staff from six credit union branches. The success of that pilot encouraged SECU personnel to offer assistance on a larger scale in subsequent years.
SECU also has been participating in Free Application for Federal Student Aid Day with CFNC and the North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Association each February since 2009, helping students and their families apply for state and federal financial aid for college.
CUDL paper sets benchmarks for CUs' asset-disposition programs
ONTARIO, Calif. (1/10/13)--Credit unions should benchmark the performance of their asset disposition programs against key metrics commonly used by top performing remarketing companies, according to a new white paper from CUDL.
The free white paper, "Effective Asset Disposition," offers insight to benchmarks and best practices based on strategies of national automotive wholesale remarketers.
Vehicle repossessions for U.S. credit unions reached $317 million in 2008, but have continued to improve past couple of years, the white paper said. In the past year, credit unions reduced the volume of repossessed vehicles, with quantity declining by 16% to just under $145 million.
The credit union average value per repossessed vehicle was $10,161 at the end of the second quarter of 2012, said CUDL. Nearly 75% of credit union repossessed vehicles are valued from $5,000 to $20,000. As a result, credit unions need to enact procedures that make disposition of these assets more efficient, timely and cost effective, according to the white paper.
"Top performing credit union management teams view efficient and effective asset disposition as an integral part of the lending cycle, in the same vein as managing credit risk, balancing loan portfolios, and implementing sound collection practices," the paper said. "Credit unions that manage the whole sale disposition may well mitigate risk by reducing loan losses, enhancing their ability to lend through improved cash flow from the sale of repossessed assets."
The white paper recommends that credit unions benchmark their program's against metrics used by top-performing remarketing companies nationally. The metrics include:
- Days-to-sale, measuring the time elapsed between when a credit union asset is repossessed and when the credit union receives funds sale of the asset;
- Retention rate at auction, the percentage of wholesale book value earned from the sale of the repossessed asset;
- Fees credit unions pay to their auction provider and any third-party remarketers; and
- The number of bidders the credit unions' providers are delivering.
CU marketers, flex those thumbs: Social media goes mobile
NEW YORK (1/10/13)--Social media is going mobile, with marketers scrambling to catch up with consumers where they connect--on tablets and smartphones, says a new eMarketer report. Credit union marketers dabbling in either area need to flex their thumbs and employ an outreach strategy encompassing both.
"The key opportunity for marketers in the shift toward mobile is that mobile users not only log in more frequently, but they also spend more total time on social media sites," said the New York-based eMarketer (Jan. 9) in its new report,"Social Media Marketing on Mobile Devices: Turning Challenges into Opportunities."
"As devices integrate social media more deeply, such as by making it easier to upload photos from a mobile phone to a social site, it reinforces the mobile-social virtuous circle, making it even stronger, "said the report.
Last March, 60% of U.S. smartphone users polled by Google visited mobile social networks daily, up from 54% in July 2011. In 2012, users accessed social media in various ways, with fewer using computers and more employing mobile phones and tablets:
- Computer, 94%, down from 97% in 2011.
- Mobile phone, 46% up from 37%;
- Tablet, 16%, up from 3%.
- Handheld music player, 7% in both years.
- Game console, 4%, up from 3%;
- E-readers, 3%, up from 2%.
- Internet-enabled TV, 4%, up from 2%.
Emarketer's advice to marketers: think broadly and strategically. Other recommendations critical to social marketing campaigns:
- Understand the ways consumers use their devices, especially the differences between smartphones and tablets. Make marketing content accessible across all devices.
- Overhaul the credit union's Facebook strategy. Focus less on promotions tied to the brand page and more on content delivered to the newsfeed. As Facebook's mobile usage rises dramatically, the newsfeed takes pride of place on smaller-screen devices.
- Think opportunity as well as adaptation. Photo sharing is among the top activities for mobile social users. Lean toward imagery instead of text. Also, mobile offers the location component to marketers aiming to catch the attention of mobile users on the go.
Graham elected to CUNA Board seat
MADISON,Wis. (1/10/13)--John Graham has been elected to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Board of Directors, representing District 2, Class A.
Graham is president of Kentucky Employees CU, Frankfort, Ky. He ran in the only contested election for a CUNA board seat. The other candidate was Joe Thomas, president of Fairfax County FCU, Fairfax, Va.
Graham will begin his term at the adjournment of CUNA's 2013 Annual General Meeting on Feb. 25 in Washington, D.C.
Nutmeg State FCU broadens footprint at Wal-Mart
ROCKY HILL, Conn. (1/10/13)--Nutmeg State FCU's presence in Connecticut continues to grow. The $352 million asset credit union announced the expansion of two new branches in Wal-Mart stores in the coming months, including the first Nutmeg location in Middlesex County.
Nutmeg State FCU is headquartered in Rocky Hill, Conn., with offices in Manchester, East Windsor, Hartford, Glastonbury, New Britain and Newington.
The expansion means a bigger footprint in Connecticut, said Nutmeg State FCU President/CEO, John Holt. "This expansion allows us to serve even more members."
Both new branches will be located inside Wal-Mart stores in Cromwell and Bristol. Nutmeg State made Connecticut history in 2011 when it opened the state's first credit union branch inside a grocery store at its Newington Price Chopper location.
"By opening branches inside retail centers, we offer the ultimate convenience," said Holt. "We're committed to making banking as easy as possible for our members."
The addition of Bristol and Cromwell locations will bring Nutmeg's statewide presence to nine branches.
Nutmeg State also rolled out Connecticut's first mobile branch. The credit union employs the full-service branch on wheels daily, serving by making stops at workplaces and schools. Nutmeg's new mobile branch debuted Dec. 6 at Illing Middle School in Manchester, Conn. Besides community venues, the mobile branch will serve in disaster-relief situations. The vehicle is staffed with Nutmeg State FCU personnel (News Now Dec. 20).
Doh! ID thief ships loot to victims' home
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (1/10/13)--An identity thief who made $5,000 in charges within an hour on an Anchorage, Alaska, couple's credit union debit card may be kicking himself. The thief bought the loot but forgot to change the shipping address. The loot went to the victims' home.
Chris and Susie Linford, members of Anchorage-based Credit Union 1, told the Anchorage Daily News (Jan. 6) that the credit union called in December and told them someone had stolen their debit card number and was making authorized charges.
The credit union immediately blocked the card, issued a new account number and refunded their money. The Linfords filed a police report, assuming the thief was enjoying the ill-gotten bounty.
But in mid-December packages began to arrive--sometimes two a day--with goods they hadn't ordered. The thief may have not changed the card's shipping address when ordering the goods online, so the packages were delivered to their billing address, the Linfords said. They don't believe the thief intended to intercept the packages from their porch--orders were from phone numbers and internet provider addresses as far away as Kansas and Illinois.
Pat Berry, Credit Union 1 vice president and chief audit executive, told the Daily News that it is uncommon to have stolen merchandise arrive at a victim's home. The thief likely did not use a cloned card but instead used an account number likely gained hacking into a card payments system or retailer. Police said the thief sounds like an amateur.
The story, picked up nationally by AOL's The Daily Finance and Huffington Post, provided favorable press for the credit union.
The Daily Finance (Jan. 9) said the Linfords should be grateful the Credit Union 1 "was so good about spotting the fraud and getting them their money back." Federal law limits cardholders' liability for card theft to $50 but cardholders can be liable for up to $500 for fraudulent purchases. "Credit Union 1 evidently has a zero liability policy for debit card fraud and it sounds like the Linfords got their money back in their account in a timely manner," said the publication.
For the full articles, use the link.
CU System briefs
- MADISON, Wis., and NEW YORK (1/10/13)--There's still time to sign up for the webinar Tuesday on "Combating Elder Financial Abuse," presented by the Credit Union National Association and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. The webinar begins at 2 p.m. ET and will address the fight to protect financially vulnerable seniors. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has collected data and information about the issue as one of its priorities for 2013. Use these links to register: for CUNA affiliated credit unions) and (for other organizations and individuals) …
- FORT WAYNE, Ind. (1/10/13)--Quick-thinking staff at Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Freedom Financial CU foiled an attempted robbery Wednesday morning by locking the vestibule doors to keep two men out of the credit union, said Fort Wayne police. The attempted robbery occurred at about 11 a.m. No one was hurt. One of the suspects allegedly carried a gun. The suspects fled on foot and got into a getaway card in a residential area (Indiana News Center Jan. 9) …
- MADISON, Wis. (1/10/13)--Catherine Haberland has been named vice president of marketing and communications for World Council of Credit Unions. She will oversee WOCCU's strategic communications efforts for its organizational members and donor community. Haberland has led international and domestic projects for the U.S. government, state government and non-governmental organizations. She served on a senior management team with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions under former Gov. Jim Doyle and directed the department's policy and communications and liaising with the Wisconsin Credit Union League to develop regulatory policy. Before that Haberland served as regional team leader for the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of Transition Initiatives, where she initiated and supervised multi-million dollar projects in targeted transition relief to countries overcoming conflict …
- CORNING, N.Y. (1/10/13)--Corning (N.Y.) FCU has purchased a former branch of Tower Bank on Norland Avenue in Chambersburg, N.Y., for $850,000 (publicopiniononline.com Jan. 9). The building will become a full-service branch for the $963 million asset credit union. The credit union said it plans to close its Wayne Avenue branch when the Norland Avenue branch opens. Tower Bank built the branch in 2010 but closed in last year when it merged with Susquehanna Bank. Corning acquired its current Chambersburg branch when it merged with American Community FCU last year. Corning serves more than 84,000 members …
- CHERRY HILL, N.J. (1/10/13)--Martin Banecker will retire Tuesday as president/CEO of Cherry Hill, N.J.-based Campbell Employees FCU after 30 years' service. David Ardire, vice president of finance, will assume the CEO role then, according to the New Jersey Credit Union League (The Daily Exchange Jan. 9). Banecker has served with the $166 million asset credit union since November 1982, when he became assistant general manager of the then-$18 million asset credit union. Prior to joining Campbell Employees FCU, he was a National Credit Union Administration examiner for eight years in the Philly/South Jersey region. Ardire began his career with the credit union in 1979 as an accountant/systems manager. He left and served with Campbell Soup Co. and Piramal Glass--USA before returning to the credit union in 2011 as vice president. He was active as a volunteer with the credit union for 25 years …
MADISON, Wis. (1/10/13)
- With 11 months of data reported, 2012 will go down as a record year for favorable housing affordability conditions and a great year for buyers who could get a mortgage, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). NAR's national Housing Affordability Index stood at 198.2 in November, based on the relationship between median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rate. The higher the index, the greater the household purchasing power. An index of 100 is defined as the point where a median-income household has exactly enough income to qualify for the purchase of a median-priced existing single-family home, assuming a 20% down payment and 25% of gross income devoted to mortgage principal and interest payments. For first-time buyers making small down payments, the affordability levels are lower. For all of 2012, NAR projects the housing affordability index to be a record 194, up from 186 in 2011, which was the previous record. November's reading was 2.5 index points below October, but up 1.5 index points from a year earlier. For the NAR release, use the link …
- U.S. mortgage loan application volume increased 1.7% for the week ended Jan. 4 from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Market Composite Index. The index is part of MBA's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released Wednesday. On an unadjusted basis, the index rose 49%. The Refinance Index increased 12% and is up less than 1% from two weeks ago, the week before the holidays. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index grew 10%, down 2% from two weeks ago. The unadjusted Purchase Index went up 49% and was 8% lower than the same week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity remained constant at 82% of total applications. Adjustable-rate mortgage activity was unchanged, at 3% of total applications. The Home Affordable Refinance Program share of refinance applications decreased to 25% from 27% the prior week. For the MBA report, use the link
News of the Competition
MADISON, Wis. (1/10/13)
- The volume of U.S. collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) quadrupled last year, reaching $55.2 billion (American Banker Jan. 8). In 2013, analysts are forecasting issuances of $60 billion to $70 billion--which would push CLOs nearer to the $92.8 billion peak reached in 2007, the Banker said. Banks are interested in that market's performance because they invest in and market CLOs, while CLOs also invest in bank-syndicated loans. After the CLO market started to recover from the financial crisis, it struggled with a narrow investor base, the publication said. After some new potential investors--foundations and endowments, public pensions and regional banks--in 2011 began looking at the market, the CLO investor base substantially widened in 2012, the Banker said …
- Morgan Stanley intends to slash 1,600 jobs in the nest five weeks. The job cuts will be in its institutional securities business--roughly 6% of its investment banking and trading unit and support staff, according to a source familiar with the matter (The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.com Jan. 9). The layoffs will concentrate on senior employees, with half the cuts occurring in the U.S. and half abroad. The sixth-biggest U.S. bank by assets intends to tell employees about the cuts during the next few weeks, the source said …
Better than a resolution: Set financial goals
NEW YORK (1/8/13)--Do you want to whip your finances into shape in 2013? Skip the vague, overwhelming New Year's resolution and set realistic short-term goals instead.
The top seven financial resolutions include starting an emergency fund, ditching expensive bank fees, saving for retirement, paying off debt, developing a budget, fixing credit, and talking with family about money (ABCNews.com Jan. 1). However, University of Scranton research suggests that only 8% of consumers actually achieve their New Year's resolutions (Forbes Jan. 1).
Resolutions are easily abandoned--one misstep and your resolve is shot. But setting simple, specific annual goals, and keeping them front and center throughout the year, may be the ticket to success.
These actions can help you stay on track:
- Avoid vague. Saving for an emergency fund is admirable, but put some numbers behind it. How much do you need? By when? How will you find the money? Set up an automatic transfer to savings from each paycheck, stick to it and raid it only for legitimate emergencies.
- Think simple. Keep your list short. Instead of setting one overwhelming goal that results in frustration, set small attainable goals throughout 2013. You're more likely to change your lifestyle--and improve your finances--if you take one step at a time.
- Post it, share it, chart it. Some people share their goals as an incentive to reach them. This builds accountability, and you can use social media as a motivator. Post your goals online--or on the refrigerator--and publicly cross off your accomplishments. If you're trying to convert from shopaholic to spendthrift, enlist the support of friends via blogs or Facebook.
- Handle the financial chores. This is about protecting what you have. For example, take steps to keep your computer safe from cyber security threats. Update your beneficiaries and review your insurance coverage. Consider consolidating retirement accounts, particularly from old jobs, and moving them into self-directed accounts. Pay attention to your credit score and list the steps you'll take to improve it (MarketWatch.com Dec. 28).
For more information, read "Credit counselors say resolutions not right for everyone" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.
H&FF Radio covers smart upkeep strategies for consumers
WASHINGTON (1/4/13)--Guests on this past Sunday's Home & Family Finance Radio program discussed tactics for dressing for less, tips for protecting your housing investment, and safe check writing.
The show, which you also can hear later via the Internet, is moderated each week by Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster. Features on this week's show inlcude:
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. (ET) on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 90 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.
For related information, read "Write Checks Right, or Pay a Price" and "Home Improvement Projects: It's Not About Being 'Handy'" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.
VINtek helps lenders serve military borrowers
PHILADELPHIA (1/10/13)--VINtek, a Philadelphia-based provider of automotive collateral management and electronic lien and title (ELT) services for automotive finance lenders, has secured a 50% market share among the country's military-focused credit unions.
"Lenders want to be there for their military borrowers, and as a valued supplier, VINtek wants to be there for the lender," said Larry Highbloom, VINtek president.
"By providing technology and service that can be leveraged to improve the interaction between lenders and their customers anytime, we act to enhance the consumer experience worldwide. We are honored to support our military-focused lenders in making life a little easier for our service men and women everywhere," he said.
VINtek uses VINtekTIME automotive collateral management system and its eSignature and eContracting to support military borrowers.
VINtekTIME helps lenders operate 24-hour call centers to accommodate the needs of military members living overseas. VINtek's "Direct-to-Consumer" eSignature and eContracting services permit the electronic presentment of loan and Department of Motor Vehicle documents along with eSignature for lender loan documents. Military borrowers, even with spouses separated due to deployment, can access their auto-loan documents anytime and anywhere they have Internet access.