LSCU eSignal Weekly
LSCU eNews Weekly November 28, 2011
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LSCU eNews Weekly
In This Issue
President's Point
Super Committee fails to reach agreement; MBL Action Alert issued for MBL
LSCU Top Headlines
This week's top League headlines
Governmental Affairs News
This week in Alabama politics: Financial outlook of state parties differ, grocery tax debate to return
This week in Florida politics: Committee weeks closing soon, CU CEO elected Hillsborough GOP chair
News from the Hill: Both houses back to work, floor, committee schedule
Compliance Corner
League InfoSight highlight: Reminder: NCUA Share Insurance Advertising Rule takes effect Jan. 1, 2012
Compliance calendar and training
Cooperative Initiatives News
New Charitable Lead Trust CIF option offered from NCUF, MEMBERS Trust Company
Education News
Education Calendar
LEVERAGE News
Focus on value-added services to attract new members
Join LEVERAGE for Invest in America webinar
News from You
Two South Florida credit unions receive honors
CFE FCU named "Best Practice" winner by CU Journal
EMPLOYMENT
View available credit union jobs
In This Issue
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President's Point

Super Committee fails to reach agreement; MBL Action Alert issued for MBL

Last week the so called Super Committee, tasked with finding federal deficit savings of $1.2 trillion over ten years, announced that it could not come to a bipartisan agreement on a proposal to reduce the nation’s deficit. Reports out of Washington, D.C. suggest Democrats on the committee would not budge on tax increases while Republicans would not budge on spending cuts. The Super Committee’s failure to even reach a proposal illustrates the strong partisan divide that grips the Congress.

CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said last week that the members of the Super Committee had reassured him that the credit union tax exemption was safe; however the movement was to be ready in case it “came on the radar screen.” While the League and CUNA do not have a feeling that the credit union tax exemption is close to being on the federal radar, we all should be on alert that at any moment we will need to mobilize to defend our tax-exempt status.  

The bankers continue to try to persuade Congress that credit unions have outgrown their tax exemption, and any expansion of power such as increased Member Business Lending (MBL) authority should trigger taxation. The banking lobby has done a good job deflecting their shortcomings making the conversation not about themselves but credit unions. CUNA and state leagues needs to do a better job taking the fight to the bankers and not being afraid to oppose their legislative agenda items. This is something I’ve discussed with CUNA, and I think we can expected a more aggressive stance on this issue going forward.

One last thought on the Super Committee, we’ve been hearing more conversation about the possibility of Congress bringing back the Bowles–Simpson Deficit Commission Report for consideration. It has been only speculation in the media and some conversation on the Hill that it may be pushed by three senators. The Bowles-Simpson Report recommends elimination of all “tax expenditures” which includes all tax credits and tax exemptions. Obviously, this would be devastating for credit unions. John McKechnie, our contract lobbyist in Washington, is working his contacts, while our governmental affairs staff is working their contacts with our delegation. This appears to just be conversations on the Hill, but know we are taking it very seriously.

Today, we sent out an Action Alert on MBLs. The alert comes on the heels of Bill Cheney’s positive testimony in front of the House Financial Services subcommittee on H.R. 1697, a bank regulatory relief bill. Recently, an American Bankers Association publication attacked credit unions for wanting to increase the MBL cap. The League refuted the inaccuracies in the article in a letter to our Alabama and Florida delegations. However, members of Congress are asking questions about the cap and the arguments brought up by the inaccurate article.     

We need your credit union to take part in the Action Alert. The bank lobby in Washington, D.C. has tried for years to control credit unions. It’s time we put that to an end. We need to speak loud and clear and break through the banker’s noise. Ask your staff, volunteers, and members to contact your member of Congress and ask them to support the ability of credit unions to serve the lending needs of small businesses through H.R. 1418 and S. 509. Just click on the Action Alert link to get started.

The positive press for credit unions over the past two months culminating on Bank Transfer Day, the Statewide Image Campaign this fall, and the general positive feelings consumers have about credit unions make this a great time to go back on the offensive to pass this legislation that would help jumpstart the economy.

I welcome your thoughts and feedback. [ Return to Top ]

LSCU Top Headlines
This week's top League headlines

MBL Action Alert issued
The League and CUNA are asking credit unions to contact their members of Congress to ask them to support H.R. 1418 or S. 509. Each piece of legislation asks Congress to raise the credit union member business lending cap from 12.25 percent of assets to 27.5 percent. You can read more on the Action Alert and how you can help by visiting the LSCU MBL and Interchange Resource web page. 

Frank will not run again
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) announced on Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2012. The former House Financial Services Committee Chairman and current committee ranking member was in for a rough campaign for re-election. He says that his 2010 campaign was tough and he didn't want to go through that again. The Boston Globe has a more in-depth story.   

Federal Reserve Board seeks comment on proposal to simplify Regulation D
The Federal Reserve board is requesting comment on proposed rules intended to simplify the administration of reserve requirements and reduce administrative and operational costs for both depository institutions and Reserve Banks. The proposals do not affect the stance of monetary policy. The proposed simplifications to Regulation D (Reserve Requirements of Depository Institutions) and how you can comment can be found by clicking here. Credit unions have until Dec. 19 to comment.

CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report
This week's Advocacy Report discusses a range of current issues including the efforts of the leagues and CUNA to urge NCUA to do more to help credit unions that want to provide troubled debt restructurings or other home loan modifications to their members. Click here to read this week's report.

  [ Return to Top ]

Governmental Affairs News
This week in Alabama politics: Financial outlook of state parties differ, grocery tax debate to return

Financial Outlook of State Parties Differ
Following the last elections in Alabama, the Alabama Democratic Party is in a financial hole that will take quite a bit of work to dig out of. Currently, the party is about $470,000 in debt and with the 2012 election just around the corner, there is a lot of work to be done in order to be competitive with the GOP. While more than half of that debt stems from the failed lottery campaign from the Gov. Don Siegelman years, it is a huge weight on the Democrats.

On the other hand, the Alabama GOP has zero debt and it doesn't appear as if one will occur anytime soon. When current Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) was party chairman, he instituted a policy where the GOP would not operate on credit and that remains today. The Republican Party is confident in their financial outlook for 2012 and their hopes to continue to gain seats throughout Alabama.

Grocery Tax Debate to Return
For years, whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans, the state sales tax on groceries has been a hot topic in Montgomery. Don’t expect the 2012 Regular Session on the Alabama Legislature to be any different. Alabama remains one of two states, other than Mississippi, that still institutes a sales tax on groceries, but the issue isn’t cut and dry. 

The most recent proposal, by Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) would gradually remove the state sales tax on groceries while increasing other sales taxes on other items in order to make the change revenue neutral and therefore not a burden to the Education Trust Fund.  This will most certainly be controversial as critics will call this a tax increase and not tax relief. Past proposals to remove the tax on groceries failed during legislative session for similar reasons.

For questions regarding legislative affairs issues in Alabama, contact LSCU Director, Legislative Affairs Jason Cochran at 866.231.0545, ext. 2159. [ Return to Top ]

This week in Florida politics: Committee weeks closing soon, CU CEO elected Hillsborough GOP chair

Legislators will once again be in their district offices this week in preparation for the final interim committee week. The LSCU Governmental Affairs (GA) team will continue to work with legislative leaders to help move forward our legislative priorities. As mentioned last week, SB 936 by Sen. Chris Smith (D-Ft. Lauderdale) and HB 669 by Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) were filed and would allow credit unions in Florida to serve as qualified public depositories. The League expects both bills to be referred to committees either this week or early next. Once referred, they will be calling on grassroots advocates to contact members of the committees in which the bills will be heard. In the interim, please feel free to email both Sen. Smith and Rep. Brodeur by clicking their names above. The only remaining committee week prior to the regular session will be the week of Dec. 5. The 60-day 2012 Legislative Session begins on Jan. 10 and is scheduled to run through March 9.

Credit Union CEO Elected Hillsborough GOP Chair
T
he League congratulates Art Wood, CEO of Railroad and Industrial FCU in Tampa, who was elected Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee Chairman on Nov. 15. He, along with his wife Mary (CEO of Florida West Coast Credit Union), has been a strong advocate for the credit union movement. His involvement in politics has been invaluable in helping to bring credit union issues to the forefront with the majority party in the Florida legislature. Art was the clear favorite, winning a four-person race without a run-off. He was supported by Attorney General Pam Bondi and State Attorney Mark Ober. Congratulations to Art on this tremendous accomplishment.

To read the complete Florida Politics Week in Review, click here.

If you have any questions on any of the legislative issues mentioned above contact LSCU Director, Legislative Affairs Jared Ross at 866.231.0545, ext.1012. [ Return to Top ]

News from the Hill: Both houses back to work, floor, committee schedule

Floor Schedule
The Senate comes back Monday and will consider a judicial nomination. The Senate is expected to consider the Department of Defense Authorization Act for the remainder of the week.

The House comes back Tuesday and will consider bills under suspension of the rules.  On Wednesday, the House will consider H.R. 3094, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act. On Thursday, the House will consider legislation to eliminate taxpayer funding of presidential campaigns, the political party conventions and the Election Assistance Commission. The House is also expected to consider H.R. 527, the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, and H.R. 3010, the Regulatory Accountability Act. It is also possible that H.R. 10, the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS Act), may be considered by the House either later this week or next week.

CUNA and the League support H.R. 3010, which would substantially revise the Administrative Procedure Act to require agencies to consider the costs and benefits of new rules and other actions (including the potential benefits from not doing anything). The bill would require agencies to conduct public hearings for most rules estimated to have an aggregate impact on industry of more than $1 billion, and it sets new data quality standards for agency fact finding in the rulemaking process. Finally, the legislation would require agencies to consult with Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) about guidance documents before issuing them, and clarifies that guidance documents are not legally binding.

The League is evaluating the other bills before the House of Representatives to determine the extent to which they impact credit unions. To read the complete News from the Hill update including the full committee schedule, click here.

For questions regarding this News from the Hill update, contact LSCU SVP, Governmental Affairs Will McCarty at 866.231.0545, ext. 2137. [ Return to Top ]

Compliance Corner
League InfoSight highlight: Reminder: NCUA Share Insurance Advertising Rule takes effect Jan. 1, 2012

The current edition of the League InfoSight newsletter covers the effective date of the published final rule for Accuracy of Advertising and Notice of Insured Status.

Through this final rule, the NCUA changed the requirements for the “official advertising statement.” The effective date is June 27, 2011, with a mandatory compliance date of Jan. 1, 2012.

Because advertising campaigns can take several weeks to create and then run for several months, it is important that your compliance and marketing staff are made aware of these changes now as they impact radio, television, and print advertisements.

To read more, visit the latest edition of League InfoSight.

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.

  [ Return to Top ]

Compliance calendar and training

December 2011

      For the complete list of calendar dates and compliance trainings, visit the LSCU Compliance Calendar

      *Note: To view InfoSight content, it is required to log in to www.lscu.coop for access.

      [ Return to Top ]

      Cooperative Initiatives News
      New Charitable Lead Trust CIF option offered from NCUF, MEMBERS Trust Company

      In an alliance with MEMBERS Trust Company, FSB, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has expanded its Community Investment Fund (CIF) options to include a Charitable Lead Trust, commonly used by foundations across the country.  CIF is a way for credit unions to participate in and support the programs and grants that NCUF and the state credit union foundations (SCUFs) provide.

      With the new Charitable Lead Trust option, NCUF will receive annual payments calculated as a percentage of the market value of the assets held in the trust for a three- to five-year period. Unless donor credit union elects to renew the trust at the end of this payout period, the remaining assets in the trust will be returned to the credit union.

      "The Community Investment Fund has always been a simple way to make a big impact,” said NCUF Executive Director Bucky Sebastian. “Through the Charitable Lead Trust option, credit unions now have a new and innovative instrument to support their state development programs as well as our mission of promoting consumer financial independence across the country."

      To read the complete release about the NCUF CIF options, click here. [ Return to Top ]

      Education News
      Education Calendar

      Upcoming Events:

      Wednesday, Nov. 30
      Consumer Lending Series: Legal Issues in Collections
      3 to 4:30 p.m. EST - Webinar

      Tuesday, Dec. 6
      Identifying Problem Loans
      3 to 4:30 p.m. EST - Webinar

      Wednesday, Dec. 7
      Auditing for SAFE Act Compliance
      3 to 4:30 p.m. EST - Webinar

      To view the 2012 LSCU Education Calendar of Events, click here.

      [ Return to Top ]

      LEVERAGE News
      Focus on value-added services to attract new members

      As a result of the low interest rates and increased legislation and regulations, speculation that the big institutions would increase or initiate additional fees for services became a reality. This sparked a national movement that drove consumers to switch to credit unions that offered respite from the onslaught of fees.

      According to a recent MONEY Magazine survey of the 20 largest banks, standard fees for such things as using an out-of-network ATM, receiving a paper statement and completing transactions with a phone representative are on the rise. Plus, the survey reported that only five of the 20 large banks interviewed offered a no-catch free checking account.

      Faced with their own economic realities, families and individuals are looking for the best service and the best value when considering everything from groceries and gasoline to financial products and services. According to an assessment by the financial services market research and strategy firm, ath Power Consulting, nearly 3,200 U.S. retail banking consumers indicated that smaller regional banks and credit unions continue to deliver better service satisfaction and significantly fewer problems than their super-regional and national bank counterparts.

      On average, only 37 percent of consumers surveyed were satisfied overall with their primary banking institution and only 27 percent of consumers of the three largest banks in the country were happy. What’s more, findings show as many as one in five respondents indicated a high likelihood of changing primary institutions in the near future. And of the top 20 banks, 50 percent more consumers said they are “likely to switch” than consumers who do business with community banks and credit unions.

      Click here to read the complete JMFA release.
        [ Return to Top ]

      Join LEVERAGE for Invest in America webinar

      CU Solutions Group originally created Invest in America to help members save on vehicle purchases, enable credit unions to secure more vehicle financing, and provide support to the domestic auto companies in a very tough economy. To date, it has helped sell more than 468,000 vehicles across the country and more than 30,621 vehicles in Florida and Alabama alone. Members can save big when buying a GM vehicle with the Invest in America discount because they can stack these savings on top of most current incentives – and save even more with your credit union’s low loan rates!

      More than 1.9 million credit union members have taken advantage of Invest in America partner discounts since its inception. With the Sprint Credit Union Discount program, credit union members nationwide have saved more than $151 million dollars, and more than 1.4 million activations. Learn how you can share in annual marketing incentives by participating in the Sprint Credit Union Discount Program.

      When: Dec. 7, 2011 at: 11 a.m. EST/ 10 a.m. CST

      Click here for more webinar information.
      [ Return to Top ]

      News from You
      Two South Florida credit unions receive honors

      The South Florida Business Journal released its Banking and Finance Awards in its latest issue. BrightStar Credit Union, based in Sunrise, FL, was named the top credit union. The Business Journal cited BrightStar's loan growth over the past 24 months; an increase of $68 million on 11,500 new loans. BrightStar has also added five percent new staff.

      South Florida Business Leader Media and Magazine recently named Jetstream Federal Credit Union CEO Jeannie Kucey one of its "Movers and Shakers." Kucey picked up the award in a dinner ceremony in Miami. Vivian Fried, the editor of the South Florida Business Leader Media and Magazine, says the award exemplifies the area's most successful professionals in their companies and communities. [ Return to Top ]

      CFE FCU named "Best Practice" winner by CU Journal

      The CU Journal recently announced some "Best Practice" winners for 2011. CFE FCU, based in Lake Mary, FL, was honored for its efforts to raise brand awareness through the CFE website and Facebook page. CFE worked with Code Green and its interactive CU Web Hunt game. According to Laura Richard, CFE marketing manager, the credit union "turned our website into a virtual gameboard where they (users) could explore the website, and through that process they're getting educated and hunting for game pieces on the website, where they're strategically placed" throughout the site.

      According to the Journal, when CFE launched the game in late 2010 it had about 800 Facebook fans; it has since added another 1,600 as a result of the game. The Web Hunt game included 10 game pieces hidden throughout the CFE website, and a bonus clue led users to the CFE's Facebook page, which had to be "liked" in order to get the bonus piece. Each piece users collected entered them in a drawing for individual prizes, and users who collected all ten pieces had the chance to win $1,000.

      Click here to read the full CU Journal story. [ 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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