LSCU eSignal Weekly
LSCU eNews Weekly May 7, 2012
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LSCU eNews Weekly
In This Issue
President's Point
Who are our friends in Washington?
LSCU Top Headlines
This week's top League headlines
Governmental Affairs News
This week in Alabama politics: Small Business Lending Authority legislation amended, public deposits
This week in Florida politics: Campaigns underway, housing agency wants to loosen requirements
News from the Hill: Fla. CU represents CUNA in House hearing, MBL update
Compliance Corner
League InfoSight highlight: Board of Directors Responsibility Quiz
Comment period on overdraft protection programs extended to June 29
CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report - Week of May 7, 2012
Compliance calendar and training
Communications News
Sneak peek of new Image Campaign ad
LSCU AC&E News
Friday, May 11, 2012 is last day to receive LSCU AC&E hotel room group rate
Education News
Register for ALM Essentials & Implementation Training in Birmingham on May 15-16
Save the date: LSCU Supervisory Committee Conference
Education Calendar
LEVERAGE News
Smartphone lending platform improves application completion rates, payment protection sales
News from You
Pen Air FCU to celebrate Military Appreciation Month in May
Jefferson CU debuts new website
EMPLOYMENT
View available credit union jobs
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President's Point

Who are our friends in Washington?

While we all await a vote on member business lending (MBL) in the Senate, there has been plenty of news in the trades about the status of S. 2231. A staffer for Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said a vote wouldn’t happen this year, while the bankers are telling everyone that the MBL issue is, in effect, dead this year. Neither is true, but perception can be more damaging than reality.

For some lawmakers, this is a difficult political decision, pitting two good friends against one another.  From a policy standpoint, it’s a no-brainer.  But the banks have muddied the water, trying to tie expansion of MBL to the credit union tax-exemption. It appears we have close to the 60 votes needed to pass the bill and avoid a filibuster. It’s also widely understood that many senators don’t want this to come to a vote because they don’t want to have to choose between credit unions and community banks. Well it’s time credit unions turn up the grassroots advocacy another notch.

We can’t continue to talk about our issues and the so-called “progress” we are making in Washington, D.C. It’s time we find out who our friends really are. It’s an election year, right?  I can say without a doubt that Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) is with credit unions on this issue. He is a co-sponsor of the legislation, his staff has told the League he is firmly behind the bill and he said that he will reach out to fellow members of his party on S. 2231. Where do we stand with the other three senators from Alabama and Florida is anyone’s guess.

The League and CUNA has been working the offices of Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) very hard. We’ve sent information to each office that refutes inaccuracies by the bankers on MBL. We’ve sent each office the MBL videos produced by Listerhill CU and Jefferson CU. However, each office is yet to commit on S. 2231 either way. These senators will most likely wait till just before a vote to commit which way they intend to vote. Is that acceptable to us? Is that acceptable to our 6.3 million plus membership? If they are willing to vote against MBL, they might be willing to vote against our tax-exemption.

Our credit unions should be taking part in our Action Alerts on S. 2231 and getting in touch with their senators. We’ve had plenty of time to ask our staff and volunteers to contact their senators. CUNA estimates that we’ve had 60,000 communications nationwide with senators since Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) placed S. 2231 on the senate calendar. That’s not enough. I can’t reiterate enough that our lawmakers base more of their decision on an issue when they hear from constituents rather than the League.

We are doing our part by issuing Action Alerts, but we can’t do it alone. You need to be willing to let your lawmakers know that you are watching their actions on S. 2231. You deserve to know where your lawmaker stands on issues important to you. It’s time for credit unions to ask their lawmakers where they stand. Actions speak louder than words.

I welcome your thoughts and feedback.

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LSCU Top Headlines
This week's top League headlines

MBL featured in Alabama Business Magazine
The May edition of Alabama Business Magazine features an article on member business lending. LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine, Redstone FCU CEO Joe Newberry and Max FCU Small Business Lending Manager Ed Grimes are quoted. The article titled "Taking up the slack in Business Lending" shows how credit unions are lending and need the MBL cap raised. You can read the full article by clicking here.

LSCU announces recipients of the 2012 LSCU Awards
The League recently recognized professionals, volunteers, and credit unions that have made outstanding contributions to the development and growth of the credit union movement in Alabama and Florida. Click here to find out who received an LSCU Award.

Federal Reserve Board releases study on interchange fees
The Federal Reserve's interchange study, as required by the Dodd-Frank Act, was released early on May 1. To read about the report, click here.

League/LEVERAGE win multiple 2012 Hermes Creative Awards
The Hermes Creative Awards recently announced the winners for the 2012 international awards competition for creative professionals. The Marketing & Communications team for LSCU/LEVERAGE came away with two Platinum awards, the highest possible, two Gold awards, and two Honorable Mentions. Click here to read the complete release on the Hermes Awards.

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Governmental Affairs News
This week in Alabama politics: Small Business Lending Authority legislation amended, public deposits

Alabama Legislative Update

LSCU Amends Small Business Lending Authority Legislation
Several weeks ago HB 600 by Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) was introduced, and establishes the Alabama Small Business Authority in order to help small businesses in Alabama have access to additional capital. The Authority, working under the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), will streamline existing programs available to small businesses and provides for further state investment in the future.

Alabama credit unions can currently participate in these existing programs, and HB 600 does not change that in any way.  Alabama credit unions, according to HB 600, will also be able to participate in any future investment.  The issue the League had with HB 600 was that there was no credit union representation on the seven-member board of the newly created Small Business Authority.  The board consisted of the state treasurer, the head of ADECA, the head of the Alabama Development Office, two members of the banking community appointed by the speaker of the house and president pro tem of the Senate, and two small business owners appointed by the governor.

After working with the sponsor and members of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, the League was successful in amending HB 600 to include a member of the “credit union industry” appointed by the lieutenant governor, and reduce the governor’s appointees to one small business owner. The board remains at seven members and all elected officials are represented with one appointment each.  This amendment was crucial to ensure that credit unions will be represented within the Authority and will be able to participate in any future investments to small business lending within Alabama.

Public Deposits
There was no movement this week on the League-sponsored legislation to allow credit unions the ability to accept public deposits.  With four legislative days remaining, time is running out, but the League’s efforts to see action on this bill are not stopping. There is still the opportunity to pass this legislation out of the Senate, and the League is working to see if it will have the opportunity.  Wednesday is the last day to pass legislation out of its house of origin, and will be the last chance for the 2012 Legislative Session.

If there is no movement, it is certainly not a bad thing for credit unions in Alabama.  As everyone knows, passing legislation is a process, and credit unions have certainly taken a huge step forward in that process. The Alabama Legislature is aware that credit unions expect to be treated fairly, and gaining the ability to accept public deposits is what credit unions expect. The opposition knows that the League will not sit back and let them dictate how credit unions conduct business in this state, and they are worried about the momentum credit unions have as the number one way for Alabamians to take care of their financial needs.

Follow the GA team updates on Twitter throughout the session by clicking here.

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: Campaigns underway, housing agency wants to loosen requirements

Florida Politics Week in Review:

Campaigns Well Under Way
With news last week that the Florida Supreme Court had approved the redrawn Florida Senate map, candidates for both chambers are in full campaign mode. Further, the U.S. Department of Justice has “pre-cleared” all three redistricting maps, so Congressional races are underway as well. The League’s Governmental Affairs (GA) team has been in contact with many candidates, through phone calls, emails and candidate surveys. GA is also working on putting together information that credit unions will be able to utilize in order to help their membership learn about credit union-friendly candidates.

As this is an election year, the League is asking that credit union staff, board members, and other volunteers look at ways to get involved in campaign activities. The GA team will be putting together a 2012 Voter Guide, but that is only part of the equation. Contributions to candidates, volunteering on a campaign, and reaching out to your elected members and other candidates to let them know what is important to you goes a long way in building a relationship that will truly help make a difference in the long run.

State housing agency wants to loosen requirements for federal mortgage help program
The Florida Housing Finance Corp. (FHFC) board of directors voted last week to ease restrictions on qualifying, and to boost payments for a federal mortgage assistance program designed to help unemployed or underemployed workers struggling to make monthly payments. The move came three weeks after a federal report was released detailing problems in the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) with getting assistance to distressed homeowners. However, an FHFC Spokeswoman, Cecka Green, told the AP the changes were made in response to changes made to existing federal mortgage programs, not the report. Under the current parameters of the HHF, qualifying homeowners can receive a maximum of $12,000 over six months to keep up with mortgage payments and up to $6,000 to pay for past due amounts to bring a loan current.

The changes sought by the FHFC, which require the approval of the U.S. Treasury Department, would allow those who qualify for the program to receive $24,000 over 12 months for mortgage payments or up to $25,000 to bring delinquent loans up-to-date. The Treasury will also consider the FHFC’s desire to ease the program’s requirements. If the Treasury approves the changes as expected by late May, the FHFC will implement them in June. Applications that do not qualify under the current rules are being flagged so as not to deny homeowners who would be eligible under the new parameters, Green said.

To read the complete Florida Politics Week in Review including important information on grassroots advocacy and PAC fundraising, click here.

Don't forget to follow developing news and legislation updates from GA on Twitter

For questions regarding this update or credit union legislation in Florida, contact LSCU, Director Legislative Affairs Jared Ross at 866.231.0545, ext. 1012. [ Return to Top ]

News from the Hill: Fla. CU represents CUNA in House hearing, MBL update

News from the Hill Update

Highlight of the committee schedule for credit unions
On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit subcommittee will hold a hearing titled "Rising Regulatory Compliance Costs and Their Impact of the Health of Small Financial Institutions." Terry West, president/CEO of VyStar Credit Union in Jacksonville, Florida, will testify on behalf of CUNA. Witnesses from the ABA, ICBA and NAFCU are also expected to testify.

More than 400 new rules will be imposed on our economy because of the Dodd-Frank Act.  While some of them are necessary, many will serve only to stifle economic growth and employment,” said Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL). “As regulators write the rules mandated by Dodd-Frank, we must make certain they do not harm the economy by drowning small business lenders in a sea of red tape.”

Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Chairman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said, “This hearing builds upon field hearings we’ve hosted across the country regarding whether small financial institutions face significant regulatory burdens, and if so, guaranteeing that there is a workable regulatory regime so that these institutions can continue to survive and grow.  We must ensure that we have a diverse financial system.”

For smaller financial institutions that do not benefit from the economies of scale of larger institutions, the costs of complying with regulations disproportionately impacts their ability to lend and offer the services that customers have come to expect such as free checking.

Member Business Lending
The League continues to meet with, and talk with Senate staff regarding the credit union small business jobs plan, and CUNA staff continues their efforts with Senators from all states. With the Senate having been in recess the past week, there is not much news to report from Washington; however, the League will keep you updated as it proceeds here. Then banks are engaged in an intensive battle to stop the credit union bill from being considered by the Senate, and credit unions have to do their part to make this an issue that cannot just be kicked down the road.  We continue to urge credit unions to call, email, or even visit with legislators to show how important this legislation is to credit unions.

To read the complete News from the Hill Update including the full committee schedule and information on flood insurance legislation, click here.

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

Compliance Corner
League InfoSight highlight: Board of Directors Responsibility Quiz

Quiz yourself! How well do you know the responsibilities of people involved in the credit union organization?

Authority to Make Decisions for Certain Actions
Who in the credit union organization has the authority to make decisions for each of the actions listed below?

  • Approve a salary schedule for a new staff position for the credit union
  • Adopt a budget
  • Develop guidelines for office procedures related to filing and storage of credit union records

Is it the member, management, supervisory committee, credit committee and/or loan officer, board, or any staff other than management?

To find out more about the Board of Directors Responsibility Quiz and to take the quiz, visit League InfoSight.

The current issues of the InfoSight eNewsletter for Alabama and Florida is now available. Members must login to the League website (www.lscu.coop) with username and password. If you do not have access to the League website, click here to sign up. After you are logged in to www.lscu.coop, locate the InfoSight block (see graphic below) in the upper right of any of the LSCU web pages, choose your state, and click "GO."


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Comment period on overdraft protection programs extended to June 29

The CFPB initiative is continuing. The Notice and Request for Comment originally called for public comments to be submitted by April 30. Due to the number of responses, CFPB has extended the deadline for comment 60 days to June 29 to ensure sufficient time is provided for all interested parties to respond. 

In a continuing effort to monitor risks posed to consumers in the financial services industry, CFPB is attempting to gather information on the impact, both good and bad, derived from overdraft protection programs. In addition to learning just how overdraft protection programs work in financial institutions, CFPB is interested understanding:

  • How consumers utilize overdraft programs
  • The information provided to consumers that impact their financial decisions
  • Alternatives consumers have for meeting short-term shortfalls
  • How recent regulations and changes in financial products and terms have impacted overdraft incidence
  • The costs financial services providers incur to provide financial and overdraft protection services

The information CFPB collects will affect how they will regulate in the future and the guidance they will provide to consumers to aid them in making smart financial decisions.  If you have comments or overdraft protection experiences that you believe would be helpful, click here to submit your information. [ Return to Top ]

CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report - Week of May 7, 2012

Take a look at the most recent edition of the CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report, which covers important issues such as: First NCUA "listening session" in Boston, CUNA summary on Federal Reserve Board’s Debit Interchange Fees Survey, CUNA comments to FinCEN on Customer Due Diligence ANPR, and more.

To read the latest CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report, click here.

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Compliance calendar and training

May 2012

          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 ]

          Communications News
          Sneak peek of new Image Campaign ad

          Credit unions can get a look at the new Cooperative Image Campaign ad that is currently in production. The ad, shot in downtown Birmingham, utilizes the same actor from the first commercial. The ad has a similar feel as the first one. In the video, Scout Branding Company President Paul Crawford explains the rationale behind the ad and how credit unions can benefit from cooperative advertising.


          If your credit union would like more information about the Cooperative Image Campaign and to see the results of the 2011 flight, visit the LSCU Cooperative Image Campaign webpage or contact LSCU VP, Marketing and Communications Mike Bridges at 866.231.0545 ext. 1022.

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          LSCU AC&E News
          Friday, May 11, 2012 is last day to receive LSCU AC&E hotel room group rate

          The deadline to receive the group rate at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes for the LSCU AC&E is Friday, May 11. To reserve your room for the AC&E, visit the AC&E website.

          When making reservations at the hotel, use the group rate JUNJUNA.

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          Education News
          Register for ALM Essentials & Implementation Training in Birmingham on May 15-16
          The ALM Essentials Workshop is a full day session of benefit to all credit union employees, board, and ALCO members who desire a better understanding of the basic asset liability management process. The ALM Implementation Workshop is a five hour session providing a checklist for organizing and implementing an effective asset liability management process in your credit union

          ALM Essentials Training Workshop - May 15, 2012

          ALM Implementation Training Workshop - May 16, 2012

          These workshops are an excellent opportunity for management, staff, ALCO members, and board members to enhance their knowledge of asset/liability management.

          Fee: $199/person/day or $349/person for both days.

          Click the links above or visit www.lscu.coop and click on the appropriate event on Events Calendar to register online.
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          Save the date: LSCU Supervisory Committee Conference

          Save the date for the 2012 LSCU Supervisory Committee Conference on August 5-8. Join the League of Southeastern Credit Unions at the beautiful Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa.

          For more information or to register, visit the LSCU Events Calendar.

            [ Return to Top ]

          Education Calendar

          Upcoming Events:

          Wednesday, May 9
          The New SAR & Your AML Program: Joint Filings, Suspects & Detailed Transaction Requirements
          3 to 4:30 p.m. EST - Webinar

          Wednesday, May 9
          BSA Training Workshop - Birmingham, AL
          Morning Session - 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. CST
          Afternoon Session - 1 to 3:30 p.m. CST

          Thursday, May 10
          When An IRA Member Dies
          3 to 4:30 p.m. - Webinar

          Tuesday-Wednesday, May 15-16
          ALM Essentials & Implementation Workshop - Birmingham, AL
          Essentials Workshop - May 15
          Implementation Workshop - May 16

          To view the complete LSCU Events Calendar, click here.

            [ Return to Top ]

          LEVERAGE News
          Smartphone lending platform improves application completion rates, payment protection sales

          It’s been apparent for years that smartphones and other mobile web devices would become a critical consumer lending channel. Even so, in 2009 when CUNA Mutual Group engineered the ability to track which web browser applicants were using to access loanliner.com the sheer number of applications submitted via iPhones, iPads, Blackberries, etc., surprised John Putman, the company’s lending solutions group director.

          But it wasn’t the number of applications that concerned him as much as how many were being
          abandoned. “Only 22 percent of these applicants were getting all the way to clicking the ‘Submit’ button,” Putman says. Putman and his colleagues worked with credit unions on a solution – quickly identifying two objectives for a mobile Web application system:

          1. The ability to detect and adapt to screen formats required by an expanding variety of mobile devices.
          2. Readable, up-to-date, compliant disclosures for loans and payment protection products.

          A strong start
          The resulting Smartphone Loan platform launched by CUNA Mutual Group on June 29, 2011, has accomplished both objectives so far, Putman says. In pilot tests at two credit unions, the completion rate for applications jumped 52 percent and 138 percent, respectively, in two months. Through late November, more than 500 credit unions had received applications through the new mobile web service. Average daily applications processed through the system increased from 50 per day in July to more than 65 per day through late November.

          Another encouraging result: In 47 percent of these applications, applicants expressed interest in one or more payment protection products, compared with 40 percent for loanliner.com applications overall. Putman says smartphones make it easy for members to access explanations of protection products, so choosing the right products without help from a loan officer is easier.

          There’s not an app for that
          An important decision in creating a mobile web lending system is whether to use an “app”— a program that users download to their smartphone or tablet and run when they want to apply for a loan. Some loan application apps exist, Putman says, but they have serious flaws. “The disclosures for loans and for loan protection products are changing all the time now,” he says. “Our quarterly releases (for loanliner.com) often include a tweak required for compliance.” Members shouldn’t be required to download an updated app every quarter to make sure they’re getting compliant disclosures, Putman notes.

          Apps can also expose members to identity theft by storing personal and financial information from loan applications in the memory of a mobile device that can easily be lost or stolen. [ Return to Top ]

          News from You
          Pen Air FCU to celebrate Military Appreciation Month in May

          To celebrate Military Appreciation Month, Pen Air Federal Credit Union is doubling all points earned by Premier Relationship Rewards members, as well as accepting donations to the local USO in hopes of doubling the $5,000 raised by members in May 2011.

          When a member makes a donation of any amount to the USO, they will be encouraged to fill out a paper jet to commemorate an active or retired military member, and for an added piece of fun, they will receive Double Bubble bubblegum to coincide with Pen Air FCU’s double points promotion.

          Pen Air FCU is also teaming up with TK101/Clear Channel for "Cell Phones for Soldiers." Each Pen Air FCU branch with be a drop-off location for used cell phones that equal talking minutes for members of the military overseas to call their loved ones.

          To learn more about Pen Air FCU’s Military Appreciation Month promotions, visit their website.

          The mission of the USO is to “to lift the spirits of service members and their families, wherever they may serve, until everyone comes home.” The USO aims to provide comfort, help, and much needed programs for troops and their families. [ Return to Top ]

          Jefferson CU debuts new website

          Jefferson Credit Union, based in Birmingham, debuted a new website in April. The new Jefferson Credit Union website is modern, user-friendly, and has new features including:

          • The new Jefferson CU tagline: A Smarter Way to Bank
          • A new section with financial resources for youth; there are links on that page to three fun and educational websites for ages 6 to 24, with each program designed for a particular age group
          • Delivers helpful product and service offerings with images on the home page
          • There is now a career section
          • Information is now more easily accessible because of navigation links at the top and bottom 

          To check out the new Jefferson CU website, click here.


          [ 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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