November 4, 2013
Monday Edition
President's point

One of the banker’s arguments against credit unions centers on “they were formed to ONLY help those of modest means.” We all know this argument isn’t true on many levels. One way to dispel it is to continue to show how credit unions are reaching out to the underserved and also putting programs in place to help those members or potential members. Sometimes it can be tough to finance those programs, but the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) has a fund to help.

The CDFI offers a grant program for financial institutions, including credit unions, that are certified as CDFI. Those financial institutions can then tap into the CDFI Fund for money to start innovative programs for the underserved. The grant application process is open for the $144 million that the CDFI Fund has earmarked for programs. Last year less than 20 percent of the grants went to credit unions.

Three Florida credit unions have received grants over the past two years. They are JetStream FCU, based in Miami Lakes, GTE Financial FCU, based in Tampa, and TMH Credit Union, based in Tallahassee. JetStream received $92,500 in 2012. The credit union used the grant to begin business lending to its members, especially those in areas like Hialeah that have been hit hard by the economy. In 2013, GTE received $1.3 million in grants. With 18 of its 21 branches in low income areas, GTE is using the grant to offer financial education and business lending.

Credit unions in Alabama have not tapped into the CDFI Fund in almost 10 years. I would strongly recommend that credit unions in both Alabama and Florida look into becoming certified and apply for grants. With more than $140 million in grant money, credit unions should be thinking about the ways they can take advantage of these dollars to better serve their members and communities. The FDIC says there are more than 100 million Americans that are unbanked or under-banked which means there are many opportunities to help while also growing membership and share of wallet.

You have about six weeks before the grant deadline of Dec. 23, 2013. If you aren’t certified, the process usually takes two weeks or less. The bankers are right in one sense, one of the reasons we were formed is to help the underserved. The problem with their argument is that we’ve never stopped. This is just another example. 

Where’s Patrick: For the better part of the week I will be in Point Clear, AL at the LSCU’s Leadership Development Conference.  To see my complete schedule for the next two weeks, click here.

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Tax reform bills appear to be getting closer

Politico, a Washington, D.C. based newspaper that covers Capitol Hill, is reporting that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D) is saying that he will release more details about his tax reform as early as this week. Now, that does not mean that it is certain it will be released. However, it is the second time in a week Sen. Baucus has discussed the release of information. 

For credit unions, it is unclear what the Senate bill will hold. The Politico story states that the language in the bill includes "potentially big changes to how corporations are taxed," according to aides to lawmakers on the committee. This is just information for the Senate version and not the House version that will come from the Ways and Means Committee. Sen. Baucus and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, both say they are confident they can put together a bipartisan bill with "broad goals (that will) lower rates and scrap loopholes." 

So far Rep. Camp has not announced a pending release of the House version of tax reform. If Sen. Baucus does release details, it is doubtful it will be the full bill. 

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Crist to announce run for governor today

According to News Service Florida, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to formally announce his candidacy for governor today in his hometown of St. Petersburg, after filing late last week.

The longtime Republican and short-time independent before his conversion into a Democrat last year is parlaying his partisan passage into a play on voters' frustrations with government, as well as an evolving stance on social and environmental issues.

"Please forgive me for not getting where I am now sooner. But I'm there," Crist said.

After today, Crist will be in a primary against former Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, who has been in the governor's race for more than a year. Rich, a favorite of progressives, is having a difficult time raising money and has less than $100,000 in cash in her campaign account, which Crist may eclipse on his first official day on the trail. Some insiders are predicting that, if elected, Crist will reward Rich with a spot as secretary of the Department of Children and Families if she drops out of the race.

For more additional analysis of Crist 2014 race can be found in the South Florida Sun Sentinel

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Getting graphic

Many companies (and credit unions) emphasize great customer service, but just how important is it? This week's Visual.ly infographic, Why do Companies with Great Customer Service Succeed?, looks at just how much of an impact customer service can have on your business.

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In This Issue
Monday Edition
President's point
Tax reform bills appear to be getting closer
Crist to announce run for governor today
Getting graphic
LSCU & Affiliates Media
 
CUNA Inside Exchange with NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz

The most recent edition of CUNA Inside Exchange features the first of a two-part series with NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz. She speaks openly about the issues facing credit unions. 


NCUA October Economic Report

Each month the NCUA Chief Economist John D. Worth provides an economic update for credit unions. The video covers a variety of topics including the effects the government shutdown had on credit unions. 

Upcoming League Events
Nov. 5-8 Leadership Development Conference
Nov. 5 Civil Money Penalties/Examiners Findings
Nov. 6 Call Reports-What to Look For & Why
Nov. 7 POAs, Businesses, Trusts & More
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