LSCU eSignal Weekly
LSCU eNews Weekly August 21, 2012
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LSCU eNews Weekly
In This Issue
President's Point
CUSC of Alabama having a strong year
LSCU Top Headlines
This week's top League headlines
Governmental Affairs News
This week in Alabama politics: Dem. Party disqualifies nominee, former governor's PAC raises money
This week in Florida politics: After primaries came recounts, LSCU Action Center
Still time to make plans for LSCU 'Hike the Hill'
Rep. Bilirakis receives credit union support
Compliance Corner
CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report - Week of Aug. 20, 2012
Regulatory Compliance Updates for Alabama, Florida scheduled in September
CFPB, NCUA issue comment calls seeking feedback
League InfoSight highlight: Requirements for the Official Sign
Compliance calendar and training
Cooperative Initiatives News
LISTEN: LSCU Audio Podcast with Robert Lefkowicz on 'Young Crashers'
Education News
Education Calendar
LEVERAGE News
Make sure your income-generating strategies are compliant, consumer-friendly
CUNA Mutual Group launches TruStage insurance products, programs
News from You
Campus USA opens branch in Tallahassee
Cheaha Chapter presents donation to Children's Hospital
EMPLOYMENT
View available credit union jobs
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President's Point

CUSC of Alabama having a strong year

Last week, the Credit Union Service Center (CUSC) of Alabama board of directors held its annual planning retreat. As League President/CEO, I serve as chairman of the board. In 2010 we closed the last stand-alone branches, so the last couple of years has been one of transition as we moved to a new business model for the network. Last Thursday, we spent the day looking at CUSC’s current business model and areas where we can improve service to our member credit unions. In Alabama, 51 credit unions belong to the network representing 130 outlet branch locations statewide.  

Since 2009, when the LSCU, through its for-profit subsidiary (LEVERAGE), began managing CUSC, the amount that CUSC of Alabama pays in management fees has been greatly reduced. In three years, the fees have dropped $200,000. This is a significant point given that net income and the number of transactions are up. It also means that CUSC member credit unions will receive a greater patronage rebate, something the board instituted last year.

Speaking of rebates, the board voted to raise the patronage rebate for this year to 60 percent of net income before taxes. It’s broken down to 30 percent to the issuers and 30 percent to the acquirers. This is a 20-percent increase from last year. The board felt this was a fair way to distribute the higher than forecasted net income for 2012. By raising the patronage rebate percentage to 60 percent, this means that $250,000 will be rebated to participating credit unions, which will also be a more than 100-percent increase from the 2011 rebate numbers.

One thing was clear during the planning retreat; CUSC of Alabama is going strong. In the past 18 months, CUSC member credit unions have increased transactions by 44 percent. In just July of this year, CUSC member credit unions processed more than 400,000 transactions. This is a great number and shows that credit union members will use shared branching, when they are aware of it. Plus, the board voted to reduce the CUSC network charge to acquirers by 10 cents per transaction. This will go into effect Jan. 1, 2013. So these numbers are expected to increase even more next year.

Projections through the end of the year for CUSC show that nearly $357,000 in net income, before taxes, is expected. If the projections hold true, this will be a 16-percent increase from 2011. As you can see, the numbers show the board that CUSC is on a strong foundation and growing. The board also heard a presentation on the “Leave Behind” project the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation (SECUF) is spearheading in conjunction with the Republican National Convention. The board voted to contribute $5,000 to the building of the therapeutic playground at All Children’s Hospital in St. Pete.    

CUSC is a great success story for Alabama credit unions. In the broader scale, it tells a great story for consumers. Larger for-profit financial institutions push their convenience and larger networks. However, credit unions that utilize shared branching have nearly 5,000 branches across the country. They reach coast to coast, so literally a member can be anywhere in the United States and have access to their accounts. If you noticed, Bank of America is cutting branches.

When we talk to our lawmakers and push our message to consumers, our cooperative spirit is a key selling point. Shared branching is a good example of how credit unions work together for the benefit of the member. I hope your credit union will consider joining CUSC of Alabama or the Florida Credit Union Shared Services (FCUSS) network.

Drop me an email If you have any feedback to this column.


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LSCU Top Headlines
This week's top League headlines

Cheney urges MBL-bill passage in multi-state radio tour
Bill Cheney last week took to the airwaves on a radio tour that consisted of 12 phone interviews with stations around the country. For the complete story, click here.

2012 Florida Primaries done, looking forward to General Elections
Now that the 2012 Florida Primaries are in the books, the League highlights the winners and losers, and gives the outlook on the November General Elections. For Florida Primary results, click here.

Post-Examination Feedback Survey
How did your examination go? Let the League know by completing LSCU Post-Examination Feedback Survey. The results, which are anonymous, will be shared with state and federal regulators to help ensure greater communications. To find out more about the survey or to complete the survey, click here.

NCUA awards grants to SAS credit unions
Last week the NCUA awarded more than 100 credit unions technical assistance grants. The $1.4 million in grants will be used to help improve service, provide training, and community outreach. The list of grantees includes Tri-Rivers  FCU in Montgomery, Chattahoochee FCU in Valley, AL, and TMH FCU in Tallahassee. Read the full list of credit unions by visiting the NCUA's website.  

Hoosman to be honored with Herb Wegner Award
The second Herb Wegner Award winner has been announced. Hubert Hoosman, CEO of Vantage CU of Bridgeton, MO, will receive the 2013 Individual award from the National Credit Union Foundation. Hoosman started as a teller with the credit union in 1982 and worked his way to CEO. During that time the credit union grew from $34 million in assets to more than $700 million. Vantage CU works to battle poverty in East St. Louis, while also providing internships and work study programs. Read more from CUNA News Now. [ Return to Top ]

Governmental Affairs News
This week in Alabama politics: Dem. Party disqualifies nominee, former governor's PAC raises money

Democratic Party Disqualifies Nominee
The Alabama Democratic Party has disqualified its nominee for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The party removed Harry Lyon for acting bizarrely and violating Democratic Party bylaws. The letter sent to Lyon by the Democratic Party referenced numerous Facebook posts attacking current Republican Chief Justice Nominee Roy Moore and Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy. Additionally, there were several derogatory posts about homosexuals, and supporters of same sex marriage.

The Democratic Party will now face the challenge of replacing Harry Lyon on the ballot in November. Qualifying opened early Monday morning and will go through Wednesday. If no one qualifies for election, there will be no Democratic opposition to Republican nominee Roy Moore. If only one person qualifies, that person will be the party’s nominee. If more than one person qualifies, ballots will be sent out to the Democratic Executive Committee for selection.

Former Governor’s PAC Raises Considerable Cash
It was reported last week that former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley’s political action committee raised almost $700,000 in the past year. Most of the contributions were large-dollar donations and quite a few came from out-of-state companies or individuals that do business in Alabama. Riley’s PAC, Alabama 2014, primarily supports current Republicans in office that are being challenged by “liberal interests.”

LSCU PAC Update
The League has seen a tremendous amount of growth in both its FEDPAC and ACULAC. Credit unions have contributed to LSCU PACs by utilizing programs such as payroll deduction, PAC Pin Program, selling consignment tickets, corporate contributions, deduct-a-buck, and participation in the Silent Auction at the LSCU AC&E. Currently, the LSCU FEDPAC has raised $28,527 or 57 percent of its annual goal. The state PAC, ACULAC, has amassed $27,740 or 62 percent of the annual goal. Though the League is pleased with the fundraising efforts of both PACs, it still has a long way to go in meeting its goals. If your credit union is interested in participating in PAC fundraising, contact LSCU Grassroots & PAC Coordinator Blake Westbrook at 866.231.0545, ext. 2164.

Follow the GA team legislative updates on Twitter and Facebook.

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

This week in Florida politics: After primaries came recounts, LSCU Action Center

Florida’s Primary Ends with Three Weekend Recounts

As the dust settled on last Tuesday’s Florida Primary Elections, most seats were decided by fairly large margins. Of the 37 Republican House primary races, 11 candidates were virtually elected to the House due to little or no competition in the General Election. One race, HD 55 – former Rep. Randy Johnson v. Carrie Pigman, went to a weekend recount where newcomer Carrie Pigman ended up victorious. On the other side of the aisle, of the 26 Democratic House races, 12 were virtually elected to the House due to little or no competition in the General Election. One race went to a mandatory recount where two incumbents, Rep. John Patrick Julien (D-North Miami) and Rep. Barbara Watson (D-Miami Gardens) were separated by Watson’s 26-vote lead. In the end, Watson, who was endorsed by the League, won by 13 votes.

On the Senate side, there were eight Republican primary races, all providing decisive victories. Seven of those candidates will face a General Election opponent. The Democratic Senate primaries had three races, with one, SD 27, ending in a recount. House members Jeff Clemens and Mack Bernard were separated by Clemens small lead, and in the end, Clemens won by 17 votes, thus being elected to the Florida Senate.

The biggest surprise on the Congressional side was 24-year incumbent Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) being beaten by veterinarian Ted Yoho in the Republican primary. Stearns, who had more than $2 million in the bank, was outworked in the end, thus sending Yoho to Washington. For complete breakdown of the upcoming Nov. 6 General Elections, click here to see the match-ups.

More on House District 107
During the League’s June 28 PAC Trustees meeting, the trustees voted on the endorsements of several state candidates in Florida. While all of the candidates that were endorsed either won their primary or were unopposed during their primary, one particular race was being paid close attention by the League’s Governmental Affairs team. In HD 107, two Democratic incumbents were paired up against each other after redistricting. Rep. Barbara Watson (D-Miami Gardens) was opposing fellow incumbent Rep. John Patrick Julien (D-North Miami Beach). Rep. Julien, who had long claimed to be a credit union supporter, had twice voted against public deposits and twice voted in favor of an amendment to tax credit unions that would opt to take public deposits (if allowed). Based on Rep. Watson's long-standing relationship with credit unions and Rep. Julien's actions, the decision was made to endorse Watson.

During last Tuesday's primary, Rep. Watson defeated Rep. Julien by 26 votes, thus triggering an automatic recount per Florida law which requires a recount if the election was not decided by more than one-half of one percent. The recount was done Saturday and as a result, Rep. Watson has won the race by 13 votes.

Rep. Watson will be an ally in the House, but the League has also helped to take out a member of the House who claimed to be a friend and then did everything possible to hurt its efforts. LSCU Grassroots and PAC Coordinator Andy Gonzalez spent time down in Miami helping Rep. Watson with her efforts, including spending several hours in her district just last weekend. This is a big victory for credit unions.

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

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

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

Still time to make plans for LSCU 'Hike the Hill'

The League's annual "Hike the Hill" to Washington is coming up on Sept. 12-13, 2012. Like last year, to help coordinate visits with those credit unions that will be attending the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) Congressional Caucus, the League has made the decision to hold its Fall Hill visits during the same time.

View the memo which contains information regarding flight and hotel information, as well as the registration form for the event here. The agenda for Hike the Hill can be found by clicking here. Review the agenda carefully and notice there is a 1 p.m. meeting on Sept. 12 with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). If you would like to attend this meeting, make sure your flight arrives the night before or early enough to be in attendance.

There is also a Southeastern Credit Union Foundation (SECUF) Scholarship Application for those who would like to attend but need some assistance. As is customary, THERE IS NO REGISTRATION FEE FOR THIS EVENT.

Visiting with lawmakers at home is important, but taking time to go to Washington, D.C. is viewed by lawmakers as the ultimate constituent contact. In keeping with the League’s commitment to meet with lawmakers more frequently than just during the CUNA GAC, the League encourages you and your chair, or any of your board members to join in promoting credit union grassroots political action. Your visits are crucial in keeping credit unions visible before Congress. Your face-to-face meetings give you an opportunity to talk directly with your member of Congress about what you do for your members, and how Congress affects what your credit union does.

The cut-off date for the room block has ended; however, we will still do whatever possible to help you get the discounted rate we have agreed upon. Contact LSCU VP, Governmental Affairs Jared Ross should you need further assistance. [ Return to Top ]

Rep. Bilirakis receives credit union support

(Pictured l to r) Railroad and Industrial FCU CEO Art Wood, Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and Florida West Coast CU CEO Mary Wood following the presentation of a check from the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC).

Rep. Bilirakis has been a strong credit union supporter during his tenure in the House of Representatives.

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Compliance Corner
CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report - Week of Aug. 20, 2012

This week's edition of the CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report covers issues such as: conversation with CFPB Director Richard Cordray, NCUA issues legal opinion letter on MFL, FHFA seeks comment on use of Eminent Domain, and more.

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

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Regulatory Compliance Updates for Alabama, Florida scheduled in September

LSCU Regulatory Compliance Updates are coming to your state next month! Click on the links below for more information or visit the Events Calendar on www.lscu.coop.

Tuesday, Sept. 11
LSCU Annex, Tallahassee, FL
Registration: $199/person

Thursday, Sept. 13
Birmingham Marriott, Birmingham, AL
Registration: $199/person

Speaker: Todd Sherpy
R. Todd Sherpy is a founding partner with the law firm of Sherpy & Jones, P.A. The firm is dedicated to serving all legal needs of credit unions; and provides day-to-day compliance, compliance auditing, training, and consulting services to credit unions throughout the country. Todd serves as General Council to the South Carolina League, and consults with several other credit union leagues on a regular basis.

For questions, send an email to education@lscu.coop or call 866.231.0545, ext. 2129. [ Return to Top ]

CFPB, NCUA issue comment calls seeking feedback

Both the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the NCUA are seeking feedback from credit unions on key issues:

CFPB Summary
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued a request for information to assist its ongoing study of reverse mortgage transactions.

Specifically, the agency is seeking detailed information on the factors that influence reverse mortgage consumers’ decision making, consumers’ use of reverse mortgage loan proceeds, longer-term consumer outcomes from a decision to obtain a reverse mortgage, and differences in market dynamics and business practices among the different channels that offer reverse mortgages.

The CFPB has authority to implement regulations on reverse mortgage transactions, including with federal consumer financial laws, such as the Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. In addition, Section 1076 of the Dodd-Frank Act provides the agency with authority to regulate reverse mortgages that are “unfair, deceptive, or abusive” and may provide for integrated and model disclosures.

Click here for the full summary and request.

NCUA Seeking Comment
The NCUA and five other regulatory agencies have issued a proposed rule to establish new appraisal requirements for “higher-risk mortgage loans.” As a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act, mortgage loans would be viewed as higher-risk if they are secured by a consumer’s home and have interest rates above a certain threshold if the rule is adopted as issued.

For higher-risk mortgage loans, the proposed rule would require creditors to use a licensed or certified appraiser who prepares a written report based on a physical inspection of the interior of the property. The proposed rule also would require creditors to disclose to applicants information about the purpose of the appraisal and provide consumers with a free copy of any appraisal report.
 
The proposed rule would require credit unions to obtain an additional appraisal at no cost to the consumer for a home-purchase higher-risk mortgage loan if the seller acquired the property for a lower price during the past six months. This requirement is an attempt to address fraudulent property flipping by seeking to ensure that the value of the collateral property legitimately increased in value. For more information, click here.

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League InfoSight highlight: Requirements for the Official Sign
Each insured credit union must continuously display the official sign at each station or window where insured account funds or deposits are normally received in its principal place of business and in all its branches, 30 days after its first day of operation as an insured credit union.

An insured credit union may purchase signs from commercial suppliers or develop its own in any color scheme so long as they are legible and otherwise comply with Part 740 of the NCUA Rules and Regulations.

A credit union may alter the font size of the official sign to make it legible on its Internet page and on documents it provides to its members, but it may not do so on signs to be placed at each station or window where the credit union normally receives insured funds or deposits in its principal place of business and all of its branches.

To find out more about displaying your credit union's official sign, visit League InfoSight.

The current issues of the InfoSight eNewsletter for Alabama and Florida are now available on the InfoSight homepage in the left-hand column. Members must login to the League website with username and password in order to access InfoSight. After you are logged in to www.lscu.coop, click on the InfoSight tab. If you do not have access to the League website, click here to sign up.
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Compliance calendar and training
September 2012
  • September 3: Labor Day - Federal Holiday
  • September 30: Interest Rate Risk Policy and Program Requirement Effective Date

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

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

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Cooperative Initiatives News
LISTEN: LSCU Audio Podcast with Robert Lefkowicz on 'Young Crashers'

LSCU Communications Coordinator Joseph Davis recently talked with Suncoast Schools FCU Service Center Manager and active "Young Crashers" member Robert Lefkowicz, about the Young Crasher movement.

During the podcast, Lefkowicz highlighted the need for a group such as the Crashers. He talked about how the group came about, the major difference between this young professional group and other "traditional" groups, the youth movement evolution, and the future of the Crashers movement.

To listen to the podcast, visit the LSCU Audio Podcast page.

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Education News
Education Calendar

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday, August 21
Garnishments, Subpoenas, Summonses, Levies: Getting It Right!
3 to 4 p.m. EST - Webinar

Wednesday-Friday, August 22-24
SCUMA Annual Conference
Destin, FL

Tuesday, August 28
New IRS Rules for Interest Reporting on Nonresident Alien Accounts: Effective with 2013 Tax Year
3 to 4:30 p.m. EST - Webinar

To view the complete LSCU Events Calendar, click here.

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LEVERAGE News
Make sure your income-generating strategies are compliant, consumer-friendly

In late July, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released details regarding the number and type of complaints it has received from consumers during the first half of 2012. And while comments about mortgages and credit cards ranked as the highest concerns, 15 percent of the complaints were focused on bank accounts and other services – including confusion about overdraft protection, program terms and fees.  Add to this the on-going reports of class action lawsuits involving undisclosed programs that implement practices that are harmful to consumers.

Regulators expect clearly defined programs
As regulations on consumer financial products become more stringent, non-disclosed overdraft programs with dynamic limits and/or practices that cause financial hardship for consumers will pose greater compliance risks for credit unions. In fact, over the last few years, nearly all of the criticisms by regulators, legislators, and consumer advocates – along with fines and legal action – have focused on undisclosed matrix-based programs and those that implement non-neutral transaction postings.

To avoid such increased scrutiny and threat of legal/monetary consequences, credit unions must maintain a clearly defined overdraft program that guarantees full regulatory compliance and meets consumer protection expectations.

To read this entire JMFA article, click here. [ Return to Top ]

CUNA Mutual Group launches TruStage insurance products, programs

Credit unions have long helped families protect their financial future. This mission inspired the companies of CUNA Mutual Group to create TruStage insurance products and programs — a new brand designed especially for credit union members. With its yellow and gray logo, the TruStage brand brings a relevant, consistent approach across a variety of products and marketing channels, enhancing the member experience.

TruStage insurance products are made available through CUNA Mutual Group’s MemberCONNECT Program, a co-branded marketing solution helping credit unions make insurance coverage available to members. Currently, more than 13 million members are protected by the Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D), Life and Auto & Home insurance products and programs that will now bear the TruStage name.

Extensive testing and research with credit unions and members went into developing the brand. Consumer insights revealed that people find insurance confusing and seek an insurance partner that is genuine, straightforward and provides real value. When tested with consumers, the TruStage brand resonated with credit union members and compared favorably to major insurance brands.  

A commitment to support credit unions in serving their members underlies the company’s decision to bring the TruStage brand to the market. As trusted advisors, credit unions are in a unique position to make a difference in members’ lives during challenging times by making the right insurance protection available. The MemberCONNECT Program and TruStage brand represent a valuable opportunity for credit unions to provide an exceptional member experience, deepen member relationships and add non-interest income to their bottom line.  

For more information, credit unions can click here. [ Return to Top ]

News from You
Campus USA opens branch in Tallahassee

(Pictured l to r) Greg Waters, chief sales officer at Campus USA CU, Cimarron, Florida State University Mascot and April Ales, member relations specialist from the LSCU, attend Campus USA's grand opening in Tallahassee. 

The branch is located on Killearn Center Blvd. 

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Cheaha Chapter presents donation to Children's Hospital

The Cheaha Chapter of Credit Unions presented a total of $15,000 to Children's Hospital of Alabama at last night's chapter meeting. The chapter raised $7,500 of the donation through the chapter's charity golf tournament fund raiser. With matching funds from CO-OP Financial Services' Miracle Match, the amount donated was $15,000.

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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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