LSCU eSignal Weekly
LSCU eNews Weekly January 18, 2011
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LSCU eNews Weekly
In This Issue
LSCU Headlines
Fed Proposal Revises Debit Interchange Regulations; Comment letters requested
The LSCU, credit unions participate in Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's inauguration
Matz asks Congress to consider a redefinition of a credit union's total assets
NCUA to host virtual Town Hall meeting on the corporates in February
CUNA offers guidance on credit union exam issues
LSCU Governmental Affairs staff reorganized with two new directors of legislative affairs
CUNA's Cheney met with more than 60 Florida credit union staff last week
Southeast Corporate takes capital restoration on the road
Dennis Dollar to speak at spring LSCU Councils meeting
Significant Spike in ATM Fee Disclosure Lawsuits
LSCU Statewide Image Campaign contributions rolling in
Governmental Affairs News
CUNA GAC lineup of speakers taking shape; still time to register to attend
New version of Project Zip Code available
Florida roundup: Legislative delegation meetings this week
Washington update: House committee assignments expected
Compliance Corner
League InfoSight highlight: President Obama signs NCUA technical corrections bill into law
The LSCU has resources to help credit unions comply with financial literacy
Compliance calendar and training
Cooperative Initiatives News
$25 million available through HUD's new Rural Innovation Fund
Credit unions for Kids extends popular icon fundraiser
Education News
LSCU BSA Workshops are coming up in February
Start planning to attend the 2nd LSCU AC&E June 16-19 in Orlando
Education Calendar
LEVERAGE News
Sprint Member Discount Program generates over $442,000 in non-interest income
Credit unions can still sign up for two Ventelligence ePurchasing events in the first quarter
January Office Depot purchases come with $25 discount
News from You
Guardian VP of Compliance to retire
EMPLOYMENT
View available credit union jobs
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LSCU Headlines

Fed Proposal Revises Debit Interchange Regulations; Comment letters requested

The Federal Reserve Board (Fed) has issued a proposed rule regarding the regulation of debit interchange fee income, as mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. The new proposal raises many concerns while including an exemption for small issuers of $10 billion or less in assets from the interchange fee rate setting. The provisions; however do not enforce the exemption. As a result of the lack of exemption enforcement, small issuers may be subject to the same fees required for large issuers. The Fed is asking for comments from financial institutions by Feb. 22 and the LSCU would like the comments by Feb. 8. As written now, the LSCU and CUNA are opposed to the interchange proposals.

For background, the Fed is proposing two alternatives regarding the interchange fee rate setting. Under “Alternative 1,” an issuer could only recover the greater of seven cents per transaction or its actual costs of the electronic authorization and settlement of the transaction up to a maximum 12 cents; or “Alternative 2,” which allows for interchange fees that vary with the value of the transaction up to 12 cents per transaction.

To read a complete summary of the proposed language, visit the LSCU MBL and Interchange Resource area of the website.

To submit a comment letter to the LSCU, e-mail your responses to Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Bill Berg or Director of Compliance Scott Morris.  If you have questions about the proposal or submitting a comment letter, contact Bill at 866.231.0545 ext. 1028 or Scott at ext. 2165.

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The LSCU, credit unions participate in Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's inauguration

Gov. Robert Bentley (R) being sworn in
(courtesy-Birmingham News)

With his hand on the same bible that every other governor of Alabama has been sworn in with since 1865, Monday Robert Bentley (R) became Alabama's 53rd governor.

The LSCU was one of the sponsor’s of Gov. Bentley’s Inaugural Day activities.  The day culminated in the Inaugural Ball at the Montgomery Renaissance Civic Center, attended by cabinet members, lawmakers, Alabama businesses and advocacy groups. During the event, the LSCU and guests met with a number of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate from both sides of the aisle. They were able to discuss the legislative outlook for the 2011 legislative session. Gov. Bentley will begin his term working with a new Legislature, which is controlled by the Republican Party for the first time in over 130 years. The 2011 legislative session will begin on Mar. 2, with new committee and floor leadership in both the House and Senate.

During his inaugural address, Gov. Bentley reiterated he would not take a paycheck until the state's unemployment rate dropped to an acceptable level. This sets the stage for how Gov. Bentley would like the state's highest office to be perceived. 

Gov. Robert Bentley (R) during his inauguration (courtesy-AP/Dave Martin)

"The people of this state are counting on us to focus on them, not ourselves. All across America, people are looking for leadership," said Bentley in his address. "If nothing else, the 2010 elections told us the people of America are fed up with business as usual. They're tired of partisan politics and the federal government. They want action, not arguments. Americans are looking to their own state governments to provide leadership. And we're going to do that in Alabama."

Alabama, like just about every state, is looking for ways to add jobs and get more people back to work. Gov. Bentley said it would be his first priority. 

"Most importantly, when Alabama is at full employment, it will mean that, along with a job, we have restored hope and purpose to thousands of our fellow citizens," said Bentley. "To those Alabamians who have been out of work for months and are discouraged and losing hope: I want you to know I will work every day to create new jobs in the private sector. And so will everyone else in state government.

"We must continue to create a business climate that makes our communities competitive when we're recruiting new industry to the state. But we must also remember that most new job creation comes from existing businesses and we must offer the same tax breaks and incentives to them."

(l to r) LSCU Grassroots and Political Action Coordinator Robbie Gordon, LSCU SVP, Governmental Affairs Will McCarty, Legacy FCU CEO and LSCU Board Chair Joe McGee, Sen. Gerald Allen (R- Tuscaloosa) and his wife Sheila, LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine, Listerhill CEO Brad Green at the Inaugural Ball

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Matz asks Congress to consider a redefinition of a credit union's total assets

In a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD), NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz asked Congress to consider allowing credit unions to have access to supplemental capital as well as allowing them to redefine total assets. 

Matz writes that under the current total assets definition, "As a credit union accepts new share deposits, its total assets rise. Unless a credit union's retained earnings grow commensurately, the rising denominator will dilute the credit union's new worth ratio." She explains that this causes credit unions to fall below "well capitalized" status and trigger more regulatory requirements. This also causes credit unions to unnecessarily be branded as troubled. She writes that "this will have a significant chilling affect on some 'well capitalized' credit unions to accept new share deposits." 

Chairman Matz specifically proposes two reforms that would enable NCUA to reverse the disincentive for credit unions to accept deposits from their members:

  • Allow qualifying credit unions to exclude assets that carry zero risk, such as short-term U.S. Treasury securities, from the definition of ―total assets. The NCUA would set a minimum net worth requirement, and would also determine that share growth is the cause of declining net-worth, not poor management or unsafe practices, before a credit union would be allowed to exercise this exclusion
  • Authorize qualifying credit unions to issue supplemental capital. The form of supplemental capital would be subject to strict regulatory prescriptions that address safety and soundness criteria, protect investors, and preserve the cooperative credit union governance model

"Congress already permits low-income designated credit unions to offer uninsured supplemental capital accounts to non-members," noted Chairman Matz. "Modifying the Federal Credit Union Act to permit qualifying credit unions to offer uninsured alternative capital instruments subject to regulatory restrictions, and expanding the Act‘s definition of 'net worth‘ to include those instruments, would allow well-managed credit unions to better manage net worth levels under varying economic conditions."

To read the full letter, click here.  [ Return to Top ]

NCUA to host virtual Town Hall meeting on the corporates in February

While speaking to the Virginia Credit Union League's Northern Virginia Chapter, NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz announced that the NCUA will hold a Virtual Town Hall meeting Thursday Feb. 17 from 2 - 3:30 pm EST. Chairman Matz will host the webinar that will focus on the NCUA’s initiatives to reform the corporate credit union system, minimize costs to consumer credit unions, and promote financial literacy for volunteers.

“NCUA is moving forward on several initiatives this year to strengthen the safety and soundness of credit unions, which will keep assessments and premiums as low as possible,” said Chairman Matz. “This free webinar will be an efficient way to clearly communicate our initiatives and open a new dialog with stakeholders.”

Participants will be able to submit questions during the live webinar. The webinar will be open to everyone, with an archived version on the NCUA’s website for those who could not participate.

A webinar registration link will be posted at www.ncua.gov in early February. [ Return to Top ]

CUNA offers guidance on credit union exam issues

With credit unions' frustrations growing, CUNA developed a bill of "examination rights," which is detailed and cross-referenced to the NCUA's own examiner guide.

Within a 64-page guidance document titled "Supervisory Issues and Examinations: Guidance For Credit Unions During The Current Economic Times And Beyond," CUNA lists 24 "examination rights," which include such things as the right of credit unions to "manage risk without being directed by examiners to eliminate it," and "appeal examiner findings, conclusions, or directives without retaliation from their regulator," among others.

"A prime objective of this Guidance is to assure credit unions they have options in responding to most supervisory issues and when they feel an examiner has overstepped his or her authority," said CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney. "Credit union officials are entitled to question an examiner's findings and directives, suggest alternatives in most situations, and appeal decisions they feel are unwarranted, arbitrary, inconsistent with laws and regulations, or may jeopardize their ability to serve their members."

The publication also includes sections dealing with general duties of examiners, credit union examination concerns, which are based on survey responses directly from credit unions, handling disagreements with examiners and recommendations--for both credit unions and NCUA alike - for improving the examination process.

The free booklet is available to all CUNA-member credit unions through its Exam and Supervisory Issues website. [ Return to Top ]

LSCU Governmental Affairs staff reorganized with two new directors of legislative affairs

Based on the feedback of credit unions, there is no more important function for the League than the Governmental Affairs department, especially in the two areas of legislative and regulatory advocacy. 

The consolidation of the Alabama and Florida Leagues has given the League the resources to maximize its effectiveness as an advocate for credit unions. The LSCU GA department will be fully staffed by the end of the month, and will have eight full-time professionals, as well as outside contract lobbyists, dedicated to the legislative, regulatory, and political issues that are important to credit unions.

Here's a look at how the new department will look. 

Legislative Affairs

After an intensive search and interview process, the League has hired two new full time directors of legislative affairs, one in each state. Both directors will focus the vast majority of their time on advocating for credit unions in Montgomery and Tallahassee as well as back in the legislative districts.

In Alabama, Jason Cochran will be the new LSCU Director of Legislative Affairs. This is a newly created state advocacy position with the promotion last year of Will McCarty to SVP of Governmental Affairs. Jason comes to the LSCU most recently from the Alabama State Employees Association where he worked for seven years, serving as its director of Governmental Affairs. Jason brings a record of legislative success, as well as significant experience in political and grassroots advocacy and a great understanding of trade association dynamics. Jason’s first day with the LSCU is Jan. 24.

In Florida, Jared Ross comes to the League from the American Cancer Society, where he has been the director of Public Policy since 2006. He is an attorney with a law degree from Florida State University. Jared has experience lobbying in Tallahassee and has developed a great working relationship with state lawmakers and staff. Jared’s first day with the League will be Jan. 25.

Regulatory Affairs

The League is committed to doing the best legislative advocacy for credit unions as possible. What happens in the halls of Congress and the state capitols is only one part of the equation that has a significant impact on credit unions ability to best meet the needs of their members. The regulatory burden, the increasingly complex set of rules, and the pressure from examiners all make serving members that much more difficult and expensive. 

Credit union responses to the League’s 2010 Member Survey reflect the need that exists for regulatory assistance. With two full-time professionals in Regulatory Affairs, the League is well positioned to assist credit unions with their growing compliance burden as well as be a greater advocate on their behalf with state and federal regulators.

Compliance Training

LSCU Vice President of Regulatory Affairs & Compliance Training Bill Berg has more than 20-years experience in training credit union executives, staff, and board members on numerous compliance issues. In 2011, the League is once again putting Bill back on the road offering compliance training to credit unions and chapters on a variety of timely issues. Some training will be more in-depth, and will be designed to give credit unions the “nuts and bolts” of a particular issue, and complement the offerings of the League’s Education Department. For the League, this is a great demonstration of the value of affiliation to member credit unions. To discuss compliance training needs, contact Bill Berg at 866.231.0545 ext. 1028.

Regulatory Advocacy

Learning to comply with new or changing regulations is important, but as an advocacy organization, the League is also committed to minimizing the regulatory burden and making the job of credit unions about serving members. Part of the reorganized focus on Regulatory Affairs will be to advocate the credit union position before regulatory agencies, such as the NCUA, Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, and both state regulators. 

LSCU Director of Compliance Scott Morris will be the point person for the League's regulatory advocacy efforts.  Scott has great experience in financial regulatory matters and will be concentrating his efforts on developing relationships with regulators and examiners, and representing credit unions before different agencies. The League will focus this area on developing and distributing concise summaries of proposed rule changes, developing official League Comment Letters on proposals, as well as helping credit unions develop their own comments. The League has invested in new software which will make it easy for credit unions to send comment letters to agencies, explaining how proposed rules will affect membership. 

The League understands the challenges facing credit unions, and it is constantly exploring ways to increase or refine Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy. The LSCU's investment in the GA department is part of a long-range plan to harness the benefits of consolidation, and make the LSCU the best resource for member credit unions. 

For more questions regarding the expanded GA staff, contact LSCU SVP, Governmental Affairs Will McCarty at 866.231.0545 ext. 2137. 


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CUNA's Cheney met with more than 60 Florida credit union staff last week

CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney speaking at Florida Commerce Town Hall meeting

Credit unions in Pensacola, Tallahassee and South Florida had the opportunity to meet CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney at Town Hall meetings hosted by Pen Air Federal Credit Union, Florida Commerce Credit Union and BrightStar Credit Union. The meetings, the last three of the total of seven meetings held in December and January, gave credit unions a chance to meet the new CUNA CEO and also hear about CUNA's regulatory and legislative priorities for the upcoming year.

Cheney began the meetings by touting credit unions for distinguishing themselves for their good works during the financial crisis because they continued to be there for members while others turned their backs on them.

"You should be proud of this accomplishment," said Cheney. "I'm extremely proud of your efforts."

During Cheney's Washington update, he cited examples of credit unions making an impression on legislators. At a CUNA open house this month at Credit Union House in D.C., Cheney was approached by several members of Congress pointing out the great work credit unions are doing and that they were aware that credit unions didn't cause the financial crisis. With 107 new legislators, Cheney says the attitude of the 112th Congress is "what can we do to help people be better and successful." This fits right in line with the credit union philosophy.

In regards to the NCUA's proposed regulations, Cheney said they supported a provision to count Section 208 assistance as net worth; questioned the provision that would allow the NCUA to borrow money from the Treasury to help pay for corporate credit union losses; and opposed reviving expired legal claims, allowing the NCUA to bring action on any claim on which the statute of limitations has expired.

Pensacola area credit unions listen to CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney speak

CUNA's priorities include being in constant contact with the Federal Reserve regarding interchange issues. He reminded attendees to help CUNA ensure that the two-tier interchange system is effective by going to the top of the home page of the CUNA website under "Operation Comment" to submit comments to the Federal Reserve Board regarding its interchange proposal. The deadline for comments to the Fed is Feb. 22. (Credit unions can submit a comment letter to the LSCU by Feb. 8 by visiting the LSCU Regulatory Action Calls and Comment letter page)

Cheney said the Treasury is working with CUNA regarding the corporate restructuring and assessments. He said the Treasury wants to preserve the cooperative financial system. The NCUA has promised that they are working on this. Cheney also assured attendees that CUNA is keeping tabs on the NCUA's spending and that there will be an examination process guidance document for credit unions to understand their rights and responsibilities during an examination.

On the legislative front, CUNA's priorities include having supplemental capital as an option. The U.S. is the only developed country in which credit unions don't have supplemental capital. Another priority is member business lending (MBL). Cheney said this is the only legislation that Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner made calls directly to legislators to support MBL. Cheney said that, despite it not being pushed through in 2010, we won't have to go back to the start line.

In closing, Cheney said that CUNA will be making stronger grassroots efforts by determining where every one of the 535 lawmakers stands on credit unions, and he wants to create a vision for credit unions in the future. He also pointed out how it's as important as ever for credit unions to attend the CUNA GAC Feb. 27 - Mar. 3. With so many new lawmakers, it's imperative that credit unions meet the new lawmakers and collectively show them how important credit unions are to members across the country. 


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Southeast Corporate takes capital restoration on the road

Brad Miller, President/CEO of Southeast Corporate FCU

Southeast Corporate Federal Credit Union has scheduled a series of regional meetings to discuss details of its proposed new Business and Capital Restoration Plan. The plan, which was outlined to member/owner credit unions in December 2010, includes key elements of the corporate’s business strategy and methodology for ensuring adequate capital to meet NCUA’s Regulation Part 704 requirements. 

“Southeast Corporate’s strength and future depend on credit unions’ support, and it is vital to talk with our members about our plans and continuing to meet their financial service needs,” said Brad Miller, president/
CEO of the $2.5 billion corporate.

Although the final plan will need NCUA approval, Miller noted that the town hall meetings will provide an opportunity to go over the business model and capital plans, answer questions and receive input from members at an early stage of the process. “Credit unions created and own Southeast, and their participation is essential to our mutual success,” Miller said.

Meeting dates are as follows:

  • Tuesday, January 25: Pensacola, FL
    Pensacola Civic Center; 201 E. Gregory, St.

  • Wednesday, February 2: Tallahassee, FL
    Southeast Corporate; 3692 Coolidge Court

  • Thursday, February 3:  Jacksonville, FL
    Southeast Corporate; 8400 Baymeadows Way, Suite 18

  • Wednesday, February 9: Lakeland, FL
    Publix Employees FCU; 3005 New Tampa Highway

  • Thursday, February 10: Miami Lakes, FL
    Don Shula's Hotel; 6842 Main Street

To attend one of the following meetings, members and other interested credit unions may register at www.secorp.org. All of the meetings will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (local time).


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Dennis Dollar to speak at spring LSCU Councils meeting

Former NCUA board Chairman Dennis Dollar will be the keynote speaker at the spring meeting of the LSCU Councils (formerly LSCU Leadership Councils), Mar. 23-24 in Birmingham, AL.

Dollar, principal partner in Dollar Associates, LLC, will speak about "The Right Moves for Credit Unions in Today's Economy" during the Council meeting's afternoon session. Dollar takes on the big issues credit unions are facing today and provides his unique perspective on the strategic moves that America’s credit unions must make in today’s challenging economic times if the movement is to keep moving.

Credit union professionals won't want to miss this meeting as the councils offer the best regional opportunity to stay abreast of trends in specific disciplines, hear the timeliest topics from top speakers, and to network with industry peers in Alabama and Florida.

The LSCU Councils are perfect for CFO’s, Lending Professionals, Marketing and Business Development, and Operations, Sales & Service Professionals.

Agenda:

Wednesday, March 23
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (CST) Informal Welcome Reception                        

Thursday, March 24
8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (CST) Council Educational Sessions & Networking Meetings

Location: Birmingham Marriott, Birmingham, AL

Price: $195.00

Visit www.lscu.coop for registration details and more information. Contact LEVERAGE Business Development Consultant Lisa Hammock 866.231.0545, ext. 1146 with any questions.

The LSCU Councils are sponsored by:


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Significant Spike in ATM Fee Disclosure Lawsuits

An escalating number of class action lawsuits filed against credit unions for failing to comply with Reg. E requirements for disclosing ATM fees has triggered a significant risk concern for credit unions. The lawsuits allege violation of section 205.16 of the regulation, which applies when a consumer initiates an electronic funds transfer or a balance inquiry at an ATM owned or operated by an institution that does not hold the account to or from which the transfer is made, or about which an inquiry is made. According to CUNA Mutual’s Credit Union Protection Claims division, there has been a steady stream of lawsuits reported in the last several months with 12 new lawsuits alone reported between mid-December and the New Year.

When credit unions charge a fee to a consumer using a non-credit union ATM network card or debit card, section 205.16 of the regulation requires:

  • Posting a sign in a prominent and conspicuous location on or at every ATM owned or operated by the credit union stating that a fee will (or may) apply
  • Disclosing the fee on the terminal screen or paper notice before the consumer is committed to paying the fee. It is not necessary to include the amount of the fee on the sign

Additionally, section 205.9 of the regulation requires the amount of the fee to appear on the receipt. Violation of Reg. E could result in a fine of up to $500,000 plus costs and attorney fees based on the class action filing.

The recent lawsuits involve missing signage on or at the ATM and incorrect fees disclosed on the sign at the ATM. In addition, many of the lawsuits involve remote ATMs serviced by third party vendors. Many credit unions involved in the lawsuits erroneously believed the fee notice sign was not necessary since the fee was disclosed on the terminal screen of the ATM.

One way to avoid some of the compliance issues - brought on by changes in fees for ATM transactions - is to not place the actual fee on the sign. The regulation does not require the fee to be placed on the sign.

In addition, it is critical to develop and maintain written procedures for inspecting all of the credit union’s ATMs on a regular basis to ensure the ATM fee signs are intact. ATMs should be inspected on a weekly basis or when the ATM is serviced, whichever provides for more frequent inspections. Credit unions should also photograph each ATM at the time of inspection, maintain a log to track the inspections for all ATMs, and have management periodically review the log to ensure the inspections are properly taking place. These steps may also assist in the defense of a potential class action lawsuit.

At a minimum, the ATM inspection log should contain:

  • ATM location inspected
  • Date of inspection
  • Status of ATM fee sign/notice (missing or present)
  • Action taken (e.g., replaced sign/notice)
  • Initials of employee performing the inspections

Credit unions using a third party vendor for servicing ATMs should require the vendor (through the contract or maintenance agreement) to inspect the ATMs for the fee sign/notice. Missing signs should be replaced immediately.

To ensure ATMs meet the regulation’s signage requirements, CMG also suggests credit unions:

  • Maintain a supply of signs/stickers to replace any that have been defaced or removed from ATMs
  • Periodically test the ATMs using a non-credit union issued ATM network card or debit card to confirm the fee appears on the screen and the transaction receipt
  • Consider a general signage notice stating, “A fee will [or may or specify transactions to which a fee will apply, as applicable] be imposed for providing electronic funds transfer services [or a balance inquiry]”
  • Confirm that the ATM fees are properly disclosed on the screen and transaction receipt, and the fee signage is posted on any new ATMs being deployed
  • Ensure ATM fee notice signs are not damaged or removed during ATM remodeling projects. If not possible, the fee notice sign should be placed in a temporary alternate location on or at the ATM in a prominent and conspicuous manner and returned to its permanent location once the remodeling project is complete

For more information about ATM fee disclosures, contact Ken Otsuka, senior analyst-risk management with CUNA Mutual Group.


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LSCU Statewide Image Campaign contributions rolling in

As credit unions pay their 2011 LSCU dues, many are also including a contribution to the LSCU Statewide Image Campaign. To date, 35 credit unions have contributed nearly $220,000. The credit unions broken down by state are 16 in Alabama and 19 in Florida.

As credit unions pay their dues, they will notice a line item on their League dues invoice that is labeled "voluntary fair share" contribution. This line item is for the 2011 LSCU Statewide Image Campaign. For those credit unions that are not familiar with the campaign, the LSCU is using a new credit union logo with the tagline, "Credit Unions: we're giving banking a better name" for the campaign.

 

The creative will include TV, radio, billboard, online ads, and public relations. Market research shows that the LSCU will need to raise $2.1 million to make an impact with potential members. To reach the goal in each media market, the LSCU is asking credit unions for a "fair share" contribution of $42 per million in assets. The fundraising formula will be explained in greater detail in the market meetings.

Credit unions in the Pinellas Chapter will have the opportunity to hear more about the Image Campaign at the Chapter breakfast Jan. 25 from 7:30 - 9 am. To register for this chapter event, click here.  If you have any questions about the 2011 Statewide Image Campaign or the "voluntary fair share" line item, contact LSCU VP, Communications and Marketing Mike Bridges at 866.231.0545 ext.1022. [ Return to Top ]

Governmental Affairs News
CUNA GAC lineup of speakers taking shape; still time to register to attend

The lineup of speakers at the CUNA GAC is always impressive, but in 2011 it will be a who's who of speakers and lawmakers in the news. The latest names added to the speakers list includes Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), a public supporter of the federal credit union tax status and other credit union-friendly issues, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), former chair of the House Financial Services Committee and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau architect Elizabeth Warren. 

Sen. Blunt will address GAC attendees on Wednesday morning, Mar. 2 - following the new House Financial Services Committee chairman, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL).

The lineup for this year's GAC also features Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and Steve Stivers (R-Ohio). The GAC also recently added, as a keynote speaker, actor and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals co-founder John Schneider. He was originally slated to speak in 2010 before having to bow out just before the GAC. 

The LSCU will host the Alabama and Florida delegation at the Grand Hyatt hotel right near the convention center. The LSCU will hold a Welcome Reception on Sunday Feb. 27 and then hospitality events Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The LSCU delegation will make Hill visits Wednesday and Thursday of CUNA GAC week. For more information, visit the LSCU CUNA GAC Resources area of the website.

There is still time for credit unions to register to join the LSCU at the CUNA GAC Feb. 27 - Mar. 3.  Contact LSCU Executive Assistant to the President Teresa Gray at 866.231.0545 ext. 2110 to get your name on the list and to secure a hotel room.  [ Return to Top ]

New version of Project Zip Code available

Project Zip Code (PZC) version 11.0 is now available. If credit unions aren't familiar with PZC, it's a secure program that counts your credit union members and matches them by congressional district, state legislative district and county. This year more than any other, it is important to show the strength of our numbers to newly elected officials. Alabama and Florida have more than 80 newly elected state and 10 federal officials.

By participating in PZC, and updating the information regularly, the grassroots strength of the credit union movement will be greatly enhanced. Nationally more than 75 million of 90 million credit union members have been identified.

In addition to grassroots advocacy, PZC can help credit unions better serve their members. By using the Queries and Reports functions of PZC, credit unions can see where their membership lives by state, county and zip code. These functions allow credit unions to better track their membership and can be helpful with ATM expansion and shared branching.

The League hopes credit unions will take a few minutes to run PZC at their credit union. Credit unions are asked to download the program to their desktop by visiting PZC online and clicking the “Download Project Zip code 11.0.” The PZC site also has a detailed "User Manual" to guide credit unions through the installation. These numbers are uploaded to CUNA’s Project Zip Code website and combined with data from credit unions nationwide. None of your members’ personal identifying information will leave your database.

If credit unions have questions about PZC, contact Grassroots and Political Action Coordinators Robbie Gordon in Alabama at 866.231.0545 ext. 2164 or Justin Thames in Florida at ext. 1010. Gordon and Thames can also provide a CD copy of Project Zip Code 11.0, if a credit union prefers that method.

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Florida roundup: Legislative delegation meetings this week

With the legislative session quickly approaching, state lawmakers continue to hold local delegation meetings this week. Constituents are given an opportunity to voice their positions on issues. Lawmakers use this time to discuss their legislative priorities and address any concerns the constituency raises.

Lawmakers representing Manatee, Hernando and Okeechobee counties will be holding legislative delegation meetings today. The Manatee delegation is meeting at 8 a.m. in Bradenton in the Manatee County Commission chambers, 1112 Manatee Ave. West. The Hernando County delegation is meeting at 1 p.m. in Brooksville in the county commission chambers located at the Hernando County Government Center, 20 N. Main St. The Okeechobee delegation is meeting in Okeechobee at 1 p.m. in the county commission chambers, 312 N.W. 3rd St.

Legislators representing Glades, Pasco and Duval counties will hold meetings on Friday. The Glades delegation will meet at 1 p.m. in Moore Haven at the Glades County School Board building, 400 10th St.  The Pasco County delegation will meet at 1 p.m. in New Port Richey at Mitchell High School, 2323 Little Road. The Duval delegation is meeting at 2 p.m. in Jacksonville in the City Council chambers, 117 W. Duval St.

UNEMPLOYMENT

Florida’s jobless numbers for December will be released at 10 a.m. on Friday. Florida’s unemployment rate in November was 12 percent, representing 1.11 million people out of work.

STATE of FLORIDA SUED OVER MINIMUM WAGE

Two groups filed a lawsuit this past week contending that the state of Florida did not raise the state's minimum wage this year as required by the state constitution.

The lawsuit says that the Agency for Workforce Innovation should have raised the state's minimum wage to 6 cents above the current federal wage of $7.25 to keep pace with inflation. The move would have benefited about 188,000 workers. Florida Legal Services and the National Employment Law Project filed the lawsuit in Leon County on behalf of four minimum wage workers and three organizations whose members are low-wage workers.

Voters first established a separate minimum wage for Florida in 2004. This year seven other states with similar wages raised their minimum wage rate on Jan. 1.

But the legal groups which filed the lawsuit said that Florida did not raise its wage because of the way it has been calculating it. Attorneys said they obtained internal documents that showed that AWI concluded it should actually lower the minimum wage because of deflation in 2008 and 2009 even though there were questions as to the legality of such a move. The only reason the wage did not go down last year is because the federal minimum wage was increased.

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Washington update: House committee assignments expected

The House returns to Washington today and will consider bills under suspension of the rules. The House will also begin consideration of legislation to repeal the health care reform legislation enacted last year. Debate on that legislation is expected to carry over through Wednesday. After the repeal bill has been completed, the House is expected to take up a resolution directing various standing committees to report legislation replacing the current law. The House will not be in session on Friday because the Democratic Caucus is conducting its annual retreat. The Senate is not in session this week.

CUNA expects that the committee rosters in the House of Representatives will be finalized this week.  The Senate committees have not organized yet, and they are not expected to be organized before the end of next week. 

If you have any questions about federal legislation, contact LSCU SVP, Governmental Affairs Will McCarty at 866.231.0545 ext. 2137. [ Return to Top ]

Compliance Corner
League InfoSight highlight: President Obama signs NCUA technical corrections bill into law

This week's edition of League InfoSight features a closer look at the law signed by President Obama that will provide the NCUA with new tools to address troubled individual credit unions and the larger corporate credit union crisis.

The legislation, which will alter the Federal Credit Union Act by permitting the NCUA to make payments to the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund without borrowing from the U.S. Treasury, was approved on the final day of the 111th Congress. The legislation also clarifies that the equity ratio of the NCUSIF is based solely on the unconsolidated financial statements of the NCUSIF and grants credit unions the ability to count Section 208 assistance as net worth for the purposes of prompt corrective action (PCA).

League InfoSight also looks at how credit unions are using social networking sites, such as Facebook. It is likely that some employees use them and while the employees probably are not using these sites at work, it is worth examining the downfalls of such sites. For example, if an employee identifies his or her workplace on Facebook, then his or her comments can be seen as a reflection on the credit union.

Primarily Facebook is a business and its job is to make money. Web security experts believe most users of this social networking site have no idea how their activities on the site are being used in the marketplace.

The Facebook Security topic on the Security channel of InfoSight examines the pitfalls of Facebook, including:

  • Users’ information is being shared with third parties
  • Facebook shares users’ information with advertisers who want to market their products directly to users.
  • Privacy settings revert to a less safe default mode after each redesign.

Read more of the pitfalls—and learn some actions (such as using different passwords for work and social sites) that you can take to keep your information safe.

For more helpful reminders and tips, view the League InfoSight newsletter by clicking here. It is a password-protected area. Member credit unions that do not have a password, may click here to sign up for one. An active email account and a password are required. To log in to InfoSight, enter your email and password in the InfoSight login block (see graphic below) located in the upper right of any of the LSCU web pages.

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The LSCU has resources to help credit unions comply with financial literacy

As federal credit unions work to understand the new NCUA rules that require directors to have training in financial literacy, the LSCU has a number of financial literacy webinars, and training sessions ready for credit unions.  

The LSCU is offering two webinars in the next three months that will help credit unions become compliant:

  • February 15 - Required Financial Literacy Training for Directors Under NCUA Guidelines:  What Regulators Want and What Directors Should Know
  • March 3 - Required Financial Literacy Training for Directors Under NCUA Guidelines:  Ratios, Concentration, Investment Evaluations, and More

The LSCU will also offer training sessions at the State GACs in March, April and the Annual Convention and Exposition (AC&E) in June. The LSCU VP, Regulatory Affairs Bill Berg and VP, Cooperative Initiatives Laura Vann will facilitate those sessions, plus one in South Florida. Visit the LSCU Educational Calendar to sign up for one of the webinars. More information will be available soon on the training sessions.

For more information on the training, contact LSCU Association Services Support Specialist Becki Payne at 866.231.0545 ext. 2129. [ Return to Top ]

Compliance calendar and training

Compliance Calendar

January 23
5300 Call Report Due to NCUA

January 28
SAFE Act - Estimated Federal Registration Start Date

January 30
Truth in Lending, Mortgage Loan Rules - Closed End Disclosures Interim Rule

Regulation Z (TILA) MDIA Interim Final Rule for Mortgage Loans with Variable Rates or Payments - Effective Date

January 31
IRA Minimum Distribution Notice

Regulation E - Gift Card Rule Change - Effective Date (Updated 10/20/2010)

IRS Forms Due (See the online calendar for a complete list.)

Regulation E (EFTA) Extension of compliance deadline for printed gift card disclosures - Effective Date

Compliance Training

February 16
Pressing Credit Union Compliance Issues – Audio Conference
1:00–2:30 p.m. CT

March 16–30
CUNA Compliance Fundamentals eSchool

May 10 & 17
Consumer Lending Regulations: Parts 1 & 2 - Webinar
2:00–4:00 p.m. CT

May 10–July 19
CUNA Regulatory Compliance eSchool: Introduction

 

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Cooperative Initiatives News
$25 million available through HUD's new Rural Innovation Fund

Credit unions that are interested in becoming a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFIs) can get started with a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

HUD announced that $25,750,000 will be available for grants made through the Rural Innovation Fund (RIF). The RIF was included in President Obama's Fiscal Year 2010 budget request and was enacted by Congress with the 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act. It replaces HUD's former Rural Housing and Economic Development Program. The $25 million was appropriated for the RIF in FY 2010, and HUD added to that amount an additional $750,000 in unspent funds from the FY 2009 budget of the RHED Program.

The RIF will award grants on a competitive basis to a number of groups including credit unions. Successful grant applications will propose new and innovative solutions to poor housing conditions and concentrated poverty in rural and tribal areas. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan commented that the agency is particularly interested in proposals that incorporate an "entrepreneurial approach" to addressing these problems.

For credit unions, RIF-eligible housing and economic development activities include homeownership counseling.

HUD has established three categories of funding within the RIF:

1. Single Purpose Grants: These projects identify a single area of need within a given rural area and propose  specific activities to address that need. The maximum individual award in this category will be $300,000 and a total of $7.5 million will be available.

2. Comprehensive Purpose Grants: These projects have deeply examined the social, economic and housing needs and resources of a given rural area and propose a multi-pronged approach to address these multifaceted needs in a comprehensive manner. The maximum individual award in this category will be $2 million and a total of $13.25 million will be available.

3. Economic Development and Entrepreneurship for Federally Recognized Indian Tribes: These projects enable Indian tribes to promote economic development and entrepreneurship.

An eligible agency or organization may only apply once for funding through the Rural Innovation Fund. Indian tribes may apply for any one of the three funding categories and must specify which on their applications.

HUD has announced that it will give preference to projects that will leverage funds from other sources to support their activities and will also award bonus points on the application rating scale to projects located in and serving Empowerment Zones (EZs), Enterprise Communities (EC-IIs) and federally designated Renewal Communities (RCs) including the Lower Mississippi Delta Region, Appalachia's Distressed Communities and Colonias located in Arizona, California, Mew Mexico and Texas.

A submission deadline has not yet been established but it will likely be Feb. 8.  For more information on applying for a grant, contact LSCU Director, Credit Union Relations Adena Whitman at 866.231.0545 ext. 2134.

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Credit unions for Kids extends popular icon fundraiser

With 200 credit unions from 28 states ordering enough paper icons to sell to almost 100,000 members, Children's Miracle Network decided to extend the fundraiser. CMN has developed two additional simple and turnkey fundraisers which credit unions nationwide can easily embrace during 2011. 

The new fundraisers operate very similar to the Holiday icon program, but can be adapted for use all year round. Right now CMN has three paper icon programs for credit unions to choose from. 

  1. Change a Child’s Life will run from March 1 through April 30. Credit unions will be able to order and change canisters to put in their branches online. Unlike past canisters, these will be collapsible and easily shipped to credit unions, so they can place canisters in a variety of places at multiple branches. 
  2. Summer Branch Blowout  begins Jul. 18 and runs through Miracle Jeans Day, Sep. 14.  For this campaign, credit unions have their choice of three different items to sell in their branches: hot air balloon icons (shaped like the new logo), jeans icons (gearing up for Miracle Jeans Day), or chocolate bars (which come in a display box, so you can easily sit them on the teller windows).  
  3. Holiday Icons will be sold again in 2011 from Nov. 1 until Dec. 30. CMN hopes these will become a tradition at credit union branches for years to come. 

Each campaign will be accompanied by promotional text and ideas your League can use to help spread the word about these national campaigns to your member credit unions.  For credit unions that would like to take part in the icon campaign, contact LSCU Director, Credit Union Relations Adena Whitman at 866.231.0545 ext. 2134.


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Education News
LSCU BSA Workshops are coming up in February

Location:
Healthcare's Cooperative CU

9790 Touchton Road
Jacksonville, FL 32246

Mobile, AL, April 6, 2011

Morning session: 9 - 11:30am CST
Afternoon session: 1 - 3:30pm CST

Instructor: Angelic Pritchett CUCE, AAP, BSACS, LSCU Director of Management Consulting Services/CUACE

Location:
Blue Flame Credit Union
Auditorium
2828 Dauphin Street
Mobile, AL 36606

If you have any questions, contact Association Services Support Specialist Becki Payne at  866.231.0545 x2129.


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Start planning to attend the 2nd LSCU AC&E June 16-19 in Orlando

As credit unions prepare for 2011, the LSCU is asking all credit unions to keep the 2nd LSCU Annual Convention and Exposition (AC&E) on their calendars. The dates are June 16-19 in Orlando at the JW Marriott. The AC&E kicks off Thursday June 16 and wraps up Saturday June 18 which is a slight difference from the AC&E last year. 

The agenda is just coming together, but the League's annual business meeting will include  NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz, National Credit Union Foundation Chairman Bucky Sebastian and CUNA Mutual Group's Bob Trunzo. 

Credit unions can count on the same great educational offerings, exhibit hall time and fun offsite guest tours. For more information on the AC&E, visit the Convention and Exposition website.  


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Education Calendar
Wednesday, January 19
12 Rules for Effective Social Media

3:00
p.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST - webinar

Tuesday, January 25
Asset Liability Management

3:00
p.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST - webinar 

Wednesday, January 26
Mandatory Compliance Training Series

3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST - webinar

Wednesday, February 2
Denied Loan Requirements
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST - webinar

Thursday, February 3
Replacing Lost Fee Income
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST - webinar [ Return to Top ]

LEVERAGE News
Sprint Member Discount Program generates over $442,000 in non-interest income

In 2010, more than 55 Florida and Alabama credit unions participated in the Sprint Member Discount Program and generated over $442,000 in non-interest income.

One of the key benefits with the Sprint program is the monetary marketing incentive credit unions receive in return for advertising these services to members. Additional benefits include, free marketing materials, added value for members, and little implementation effort required. Members and employees also receive a 10-percent discount on monthly recurring charges.

Be sure to sprint ahead by Mar.1 to become eligible for up to 50 percent of your marketing incentive potential for 2011. For more information and eligibility details, email a LEVERAGE Business Consultant or call 866.231.0545 x1188.


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Credit unions can still sign up for two Ventelligence ePurchasing events in the first quarter

As more credit unions begin to use the Ventelligence ePurchasing program, more are seeing significant savings. The December event for Armored Car Services created a collective 56.3 percent of savings from prior year costs for JetStream FCU (both U.S. and Puerto Rico), Florida Transportation CU, Darden Employees FCU, Buckeye Community FCU, and Railroad & Industrial CU. A second event was held for Achieva for Enterprise Risk Management Software and produced a total savings of 12.1 percent.

There is still time to sign up for two tentatively scheduled ePurchasing events in the next two months. Contract specifications and/or quotes are needed by the following deadlines:

Event

Deadline

Event Date

AC Maintenance

Tuesday, January 25th

Friday, February 25th

Telecom Systems

Friday, February 4th

Friday, March 11th


If your credit union is interested in participating, contact LEVERAGE Director, ePurchasing Lori Vary. [ Return to Top ]

January Office Depot purchases come with $25 discount

LEVERAGE is a credit union's resource for access to deep discounts on more than office supplies through the Office Depot Business Solutions Division (BSD) program. A tremendous January promotion is going on right now.

Get $25 off your purchase of $125 or more. The deadline to purchase by is Jan. 31. Click here to view the flyer.

For questions or more information about the Office Depot Business Solutions Division program for credit unions, contact LEVERAGE Product Support Manager Deirdre Rhodes at 866.231.0545 x1104. [ Return to Top ]

News from You
Guardian VP of Compliance to retire

Guardian Credit Union in Montgomery, AL announces that Vice President of Compliance Ann McGinty will be retiring next month. Ann began working at Comala CU when it was located in the basement of City Hall and managed by the late Joel Brown. Over the next 30 years she witnessed the office move out of City Hall; as well as, the opening of Comala CU’s first branch at Eastdale, where she managed for a period of time.

Over the years, Ann has managed the mortgage and compliance programs and became the VP of Compliance. In an impressive feat, she has worked through five CEO changes in her 30 years of service. Guardian CEO Heath Harrell said "It is hard to find a person that has demonstrated the dedication to an organization that Ann has over the past 30 years. She has been a tremendous asset to the credit union and she will be greatly missed. We wish Ann the best in retirement." [ Return to Top ]

EMPLOYMENT
View available credit union jobs

To view the available jobs on the LSCU homepage, visit the LSCU CU Jobs Center. [ Return to Top ]

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