Is There A Cost to Convenience?
The financial sector has been on a mission to redefine the experience it provides. Companies continue chasing new channels, faster technologies, less friction in the customer journey and any other innovation to reach the holy grail of convenience.
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Risks as You Grow: Critical Considerations for the C-Suite from CUNA Mutual Group

The C-suite plays a critical role in growing your credit union’s assets, employees, product portfolio, and membership reach. But with growth comes more potential for risk and a new level of scrutiny from competitors, members, potential consumers, regulators, fraudsters, and even your employees.

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Fintech: Friend or Foe?
Brian Kaas, Managing Director, CMFG Ventures

Over the last several years, credit unions have shown tremendous growth, even alongside the uprising of many “fintech” companies. In the last number of years, credit union membership has experienced robust growth, with this year exhibiting the fastest member growth in more than 25 years, as measured from October of 2016 to that point in 2017; meanwhile, fintech companies have seen a 778% increase in funding in the last five years.

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Is Your Credit Union Prepared for These Emerging Risks?

For many credit unions, identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks can be a challenge, considering nearly every aspect of the business can pose a risk.  While some credit unions have a solid strategy for recognizing existing risk and anticipating emerging ones, others are less proactive in their pursuit of risk mitigation. 

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Embrace and Employ the Innovators

By: Bob Trunzo

Remember being told to “think outside the box”? It used to be such a common phrase; asking you to forget the norm and imagine greater possibilities. Throw a curveball. No idea’s a bad idea. Blue sky thinking.

When a group of college students visited CUNA Mutual Group earlier this month, it occurred to me just how obsolete the phrase has become.

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Increase Giving—and Reward Deserving Directors & Employees—With a Charitable Donation Account

Credit unions are seeing the value in improving their charitable giving strategy through a charitable donation account (CDA) program. In the past year alone, CDA investments have increased by 39%.*

A CDA’s primary objective is to help credit unions donate to their favorite charities and foundations, which may include the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), a League’s foundation, or a credit union’s own foundation, while simultaneously increasing return on assets (ROA).

By using professionally managed investment portfolios, your credit union’s CDA has the opportunity to invest in equity andbond portfolios that have not been available through traditional credit union investments. In turn, you may have more to donate. It’s a great way to recognize a board member or employee, by making donations in their name.

In the NCUA board minutes** from the meeting at which the CDA rule was unanimously approved, then NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz mentions that the new ruling sets safeguards to ensure that CDAs are used for their intended purposes.  

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Spam, Shams, and Other Scams

Scams, scams…go away! Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Spam, shams, and other scams are on the rise. Fraudsters use clever schemes to defraud millions of people for billions of dollars every year.  In fact, 27 million Americans lost a total of $7.4 billion dollars to telephone scams alone in 2015, according to a survey by TrueCaller.1

Fraudsters are crafty. They pressure people to make important decisions on the spot by using innovative schemes and new twists on existing age-old scams. Their multi-channel approach can involve phone calls, emails, online banking, and mobile technology. Fraudsters look for victims who find their stories convincing and will willingly share sensitive information, which can be used to authorize and transact wires, ACH, plastic card, and other types of transactions. Unfortunately,

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CU Broadcast Episode: How to Win the Cherry Blossom Race with CUNA Mutual Group's Chris Roe

In a recent CU Broadcast episode, Mike Lawson invites CUNA Mutual Group Senior Vice President Chris Roe onto the show to talk about the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run & 5K Walk/Run. Roe shares the importance of this race not only to the credit union industry but to CU4Kids, as well–which has raised over $7 million for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals nationwide.

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Building Brand Awareness with CUNA Mutual Group ‘CU Thrive’ Videos

There are probably hundreds of credit union brand awareness efforts in our industry, ranging from the national and the state to the local. Some feature ads and traditional media, while others are more focused on story-telling and leveraging the power of social media.

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Give the Gift of Financial Education

As soon as they come, the holidays have gone again, but for millions of people, the cost of food, gifts, decorations and travel will linger long into 2017. The cultural norms many of us take for granted over the festive season, can be an overwhelming burden on many budgets.

This new year is an opportunity for credit unions to stand out from the crowd and offer more than just the products and services of a financial institution. Instead, let us demonstrate our authentic difference by reaching out to our members and helping them manage their expenses by providing financial education and counseling, too.

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Break Down Life Insurance Barriers by Focusing on the Member
How much coverage should I have?
Which type of coverage fits my needs?
Can I even afford coverage?

We frequently hear these questions from members when discussing life insurance. It’s not surprising, considering insurance ranks as one of the most complex industries in the United States. This notion is supported when we see the numbers; many Americans are underinsured and 43% have no life insurance coverage all.

So, what prevents them from purchasing coverage? According to LIMRA, the top barrier is price, with 65% reporting they haven’t purchased life insurance because it’s too expensive. Yet, four out of five consumers overestimate the cost of term insurance, with Millennials overestimating by 213% and Gen Xers by 119%.

To overcome these barriers, it’s important to focus on the member. Help members get started by using these member-centric strategies to simplify the process.

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It’s Better to be Different

Originally posted on CUinsight.com on October 20, 2016.

Every day, millions of lives are touched by credit unions, and millions more are looking to join. In the United States alone, we saw membership increase by more than 4% since last July1 – the fastest rate of growth in a generation.

The credit union message spreads far beyond our shores, though. Globally, there are over 220 million members in well over 100 countries. It’s an impressive foundation but there’s still a way to go if we’re to reach WOCCU’s target of 260 million members by the year 2020.

Having spent my career working with and for credit unions, I am confident we will reach that number; in no small part because the movement is – as it always has been – steadfastly committed to its founding principle of people helping people.

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Military Lending Act: A Member Example

The Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) Military Lending Act (MLA) final rule becomes effective on October 3, 2016 for closed-end credit and open-end credit other than credit card accounts. As the mandatory compliance date approaches, review the following examples of how to comply with the rule across several interactions with members.

Loan Event #1: Vehicle Refinance

Eric and his wife Mallory join The Best Credit Union (TBCU) to take advantage of low interest rates and exceptional member service. On October 7, they apply jointly to refinance a loan they have with a local bank that is secured by Mallory’s car. TBCU knows the loan type is subject to MLA, since the exclusion that relates to vehicle-secured loans only applies when the vehicle is being purchased. Since the loan type is covered, TBCU will check whether Eric and Mallory are “covered borrowers” for MLA purposes. TBCU obtains information on Eric and Mallory from a nationwide consumer reporting agency, and learns that Eric is an active duty member of the U.S. Army. As a result, Eric is a “covered member” and Mallory, as his spouse, is a “dependent”; they are both “covered borrowers”. TBCU retains a record of the information from the consumer reporting agency, which provides TBCU with safe harbor status.

TBCU’s data processor calculates the Military Annual Percentage Rate (MAPR) for the closed-end loan, and it is well below the MLA cap of 36%. TBCU’s MLA-compliant loan document is used for the transaction; it does not contain any contract terms prohibited by the MLA final rule. The document does contain both the MAPR statement required by MLA and the Truth in Lending disclosure required by Regulation Z, which includes a description of their payment obligation. The document also lists TBCU’s toll-free phone number, which Eric or Mallory can call to receive the required oral disclosures. Their call will be routed to TCBU’s MLA expert, who is responsible for providing the oral disclosures of the MAPR statement and payment obligation to all covered borrowers to ensure consistency and compliance.

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Why More Employers Are Improving Financial Wellness Tools for Employees

Recent research shows a big increase in American employers’ commitment in 2016 to do more to improve their employees’ financial wellness, such as teaching basic money skills and providing better retirement saving tools.

The credit union movement grew out of employers trying to serve their employees’ best financial interests, so we should be encouraged by these results. We should also help set the bar even higher by providing tools our own employees can use to make good financial decisions.

According to Aon Hewitt’s “2016 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Well-Being,”1 56% of U.S. employers said they were “very likely to create or focus on the financial well-being of employees in ways that expand beyond retirement decisions in 2016.”

In 2015, only 46% agreed with that statement, and in 2014 it was 40%.

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