LSCU eSignal Weekly
LSCU eNews Weekly September 4, 2012
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LSCU eNews Weekly
In This Issue
President's Point
Hike the Hill is next week; important issues will be discussed
LSCU Top Headlines
This week's top League headlines
Governmental Affairs News
This week in Alabama politics: Grassroots advocacy increases, PAC fundraising update
This week in Florida politics: Crist speaking at DNC, Rep. Bernard files lawsuit over election
League, credit unions meet with delegates at the RNC
Compliance Corner
CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report - Week of Sept. 4, 2012
NCUA Seeks to expand authority on “Troubled Condition” designation of credit unions
League InfoSight highlight: Pre-screen Opt-out Notice
Compliance calendar and training
Cooperative Initiatives News
Register now for Credit Union Philosophy in Action Workshop in October
Education News
LSCU Council meetings in October one month away
Play golf at the Leadership Development Conference in November
Collections & Bankruptcy School taking place Oct. 9-10
Education Calendar
LEVERAGE News
LEVERAGE partners with VINtek on electronic liens and titles
News from You
South Florida Educational FCU pays $2 million special dividend to members
Alabama CU's Bell and GTE's Brucato on Filene i3 program
JaxMetro CU partners with SEEA to offer area homeowners low-interest energy efficiency financing
EMPLOYMENT
View available credit union jobs
In This Issue
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President's Point

Hike the Hill is next week; important issues will be discussed

Next week is our annual Hike the Hill to Washington, D.C. which is scheduled for Sept. 12-13. For the second year in a row we have scheduled our Hike the Hill at the same time as the National Association of Federal Credit Unions’ (NAFCU) Congressional Caucus. This will ensure that our credit unions attending the NAFCU Caucus can attend Hill meetings with us and our Congressional delegations. It was successful last year, so we thought we would schedule it around the same time this year. Also as part of the trip, we will be meeting with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Wednesday Sept. 12.
   
I know we ask a lot of our credit unions when it comes to traveling to Washington, Montgomery, or Tallahassee, but we feel our issues are very important. Plus, we have a lot of momentum on our side. We have a couple of major issues we will discuss with our lawmakers next week; member business lending (MBL) and ATM Fee Disclosure legislation, both of which we are hoping for action on this fall. Of course, we will also talk about our tax exemption and supplemental capital. The opportunity to spend time with our lawmakers and their staff, in their office, is priceless. I can’t stress enough that the more credit unions attend each meeting, the more impressed lawmakers are with our industry and our issues.

Right now MBL and ATM Fee Disclosure legislation are in the Senate. We have been pushing ATM Fee Disclosure legislation, S. 3204, very hard with our senators. All four senators from Alabama and Florida are co-sponsors. When we meet with them next week, we will reiterate how burdensome the current legislation is and how S. 3204 will help curb frivolous lawsuits. While all four of our senators are co-sponsors, we need to continue to encourage them to push this legislation with their colleagues in order to pass it before the year ends. This legislation is currently on two paths, as a stand-alone bill and also attached to some CFPB language.

Member Business Lending, S. 2231, remains in the Senate where Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will bring it up for a vote. We are pushing for that vote before the November election. Right now Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) is the only co-sponsor from our delegation. There has been momentum with this bill to package it with bank legislation to give both industries something they need without senators having to pick sides. As expected, bankers are willing to see their legislation die before giving in to credit unions. Our visits next week can push this point home, along with how much more our industry can provide small businesses, if the cap is raised. Plus, we can reiterate how we are willing to work with bankers but they refuse to work with us.

I hope you will consider attending Hike the Hill. It’s a great opportunity to form new relationships and strengthen current ones. The last thing we want for our Hike the Hill is to go into one of our members of Congress’ office with no credit union members. We could use more credit unions from across both states, but we do need more credit unions from South Florida to join us. There are need-based scholarships available through the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation. There are also rooms still available at the discounted price.

Contact LSCU VP of Governmental Affairs Jared Ross at 866.231.0545 ext. 1012 if you have any questions. Each time we visit with our lawmakers, it’s important. With the election in nine weeks, we need another push on our issues so they won’t get pushed back into the lame-duck session following the election. 

Send me an email if you have any comments on this column.

  [ Return to Top ]

LSCU Top Headlines
This week's top League headlines

Ann Romney cuts the ribbon on playground
The $300,000 "leave behind" therapeutic playground was officially opened last week during the Republican National Convention. Ann Romney, wife of republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was a guest at All Children's Hospital for the ribbon cutting and she spoke of how much therapy makes a difference in people's lives. Ms. Romney was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 49 and turned to horses for her therapy. You can read more about the ribbon cutting by clicking here. You can see photos from the event by visiting the LSCU Action Center Facebook page. 

Deadline tomorrow for Tropical Storm Debby SBA Loan applications
Credit unions and businesses in counties affected by Tropical Storm Debby can benefit from federal disaster assistance, but the deadline for registration is tomorrow, Sept. 4. For more details, click here.

CUNA Seeks Input on International Remittance Transfers
CUNA recently met with the CFPB to discuss concerns from a number of credit unions, leagues, as well as CUNA, regarding the agency’s final rule on international remittance transfers. CUNA has put together a survey to gather feedback from credit unions on this topic. Find the survey here.

LISTEN: LSCU Audio Podcast on Regulatory Compliance
League Communications Coordinator Joseph Davis sat down recently with LSCU VP, Compliance Training & Information Bill Berg to talk about what credit unions should do when confronting compliance, state economic profiles, and important compliance regulations to monitor. Click here to listen.

Florida CEOs attend Republican National Convention
Art and Mary Wood, Florida credit union CEOs, were able to attend the Republican National Convention last week in Tampa. Art, CEO of Railroad and Industrial FCU, and his wife Mary, CEO of Florida West Coast CU, were inside the convention center each night. Art is the chairman of the Hillsborough County Republican Party and was an alternate delegate. The CU Times has a profile story on Art and Mary Wood.  [ Return to Top ]

Governmental Affairs News
This week in Alabama politics: Grassroots advocacy increases, PAC fundraising update

Alabama Legislative Update

Credit Unions and Grassroots Advocacy
As we enter into the final months of 2012, the Alabama Governmental Affairs team has been hard at work with our grassroots and political advocacy efforts.  The League has been working with every Alabama chapter to schedule meet-and-greets with their local legislators. These chapter legislative nights are an essential part of the LSCU grassroots advocacy program designed to build and maintain personal relationships between state and federal lawmakers and their local credit union officials. The Montgomery Chapter held its Legislative Night on Aug. 14 at the Capital City Club. Local credit unions were able to speak with their legislators about important legislation affecting credit unions.

Reps. Jay Love (R-Montgomery), Paul Beckman (R-Autauga), and Joe Hubbard (D-Montgomery) were in attendance. The next Legislative Nights are with the Shoals Chapter on Sept. 20 at Dale’s Steakhouse in Florence, AL at 6 p.m., and the Northeast Chapter on Sept. 27 at the Best Western (formerly the Port of Madison) in Madison, AL at 6 p.m.

PAC Fundraising
In PAC fundraising, credit unions have raised $29,021 for the LSCU FEDPAC. That makes up nearly 60 percent of the League’s annual goal. For the state PAC, ACULAC, credit unions have raised $29,374 or 65 percent of the League’s annual goal. Though the League has seen a healthy increase in fundraising numbers from 2011, there is still much work to be done in the final three months to reach all of its goals. Credit unions can still become involved in fundraising for the LSCU FEDPAC through personal contributions, payroll deduction, and deduct-a-buck. Credit unions can also raise money for the state ACULAC through consignment tickets, chapter raffles, and corporate contributions.

If you wish to participate in the LSCU PACs fundraising efforts or you need more information contact Alabama 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: Crist speaking at DNC, Rep. Bernard files lawsuit over election

Florida Politics Week in Review:

Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist to Speak at DNC
Fresh off his endorsement of President Barack Obama, former Republican-turned-Independent Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, has accepted a speaking role at this week’s Democratic National Convention. Crist is expected to defend the president as a leader who delivered for Florida – starting with the stimulus, which was endorsed by the governor – and rebuke his former party. Many are questioning whether this is the start of Charlie Crist’s next campaign, whether it be for governor (as a Democrat), or lobbying for a position within the president’s cabinet, should he be re-elected. To read more on this, click here.

Rep. Mack Bernard files lawsuit challenging election results
Senate District 27 Democratic candidate Mack Bernard on Friday filed suit in circuit court to force Palm Beach County election officials to count 48 discarded absentee and provisional ballots as he attempts to reverse his 17-vote primary loss to challenger Jeff Clemens, reports Michael Peltier of the News Service of Florida. “The right to vote is perhaps the most fundamental liberty enjoyed by citizens in a democratic society,” the lawsuit contends. “When election officials improperly and thus illegally discard ballots without following the law or the previously approved consistent standards they have set in the past, they have the result of disenfranchising the electorate.”

The lawsuit, filed in Leon County Circuit Court, claims more than 40 absentee ballots were improperly rejected by officials who said the signatures on the forms didn’t match. In addition, eight provisional ballots were rejected without informing the voters of that fact. “This lawsuit is very limited in scope,” said Bernard’s attorney JC Planas, a former Republican State House member. “We are not trying to invalidate any votes nor discard any votes. Quite the opposite, we are asking the court to count certain votes that should not have been rejected.”

Attached to the lawsuit were affidavits from 23 voters who say the signature on the absentee ballot was their own. Another four eligible voters swore that their provisional ballots were improperly discarded and they were not informed, according to the complaint.

A spokesman for Bernard’s opponent said the votes have been sufficiently vetted and it’s time to move on. The winner of the primary faces only write-in opposition in the heavily Democratic district.

“Mack Bernard and his Republican lawyer are ridiculously cherry-picking invalid ballots to try to litigate an already certified election,” said Kevin Cate, a spokesman for the Clemens’ campaign. “Counting invalid ballots, several of which were signed by the same person is absurd. The ballots were counted, recounted, and hand counted–Jeff Clemens won every time.”

The election was one of a handful of razor thin races decided earlier this month. Another case also expected to be decided in the courts pits Democrat John Julien against Barbara Watson. Julien lost a nail-biter to Watson by 13 votes in the House District 107 primary. Planas is handling both cases.

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 ]

League, credit unions meet with delegates at the RNC

Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey talks with LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine during a credit union state delegate event.

The LSCU, CUNA and state leagues held a delegate event Wednesday Aug. 29 at GTE Financial, in conjunction with the Republican National Convention in Tampa. The event brought lawmakers and state delegates together in a relaxed atmosphere. Credit unions were able to talk about issues with the lawmakers and delegates. 

Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey attended the event and spent considerable time with LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine and LSCU Director of Legislative Affairs Jason Cochran. The conversation covered the 2013 credit union agenda for Alabama and the "leave behind" project ribbon cutting earlier that day.

Florida District 6, which encompasses St. Johns and Flagler counties and portions of Putnam and Volusia counties, has an open seat and Republican nominee Ron DeSantis stopped by for a few minutes. He and his wife met with LSCU VP of Governmental Affairs Jared Ross and Art Wood, CEO of Railroad and Industrial FCU. DeSantis is an officer in the Navy Reserves.

The event also afforded leagues from around the country to interact with their lawmakers and delegates. To see photos from the event, visit the LSCU Action Center Facebook page. [ Return to Top ]

Compliance Corner
CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report - Week of Sept. 4, 2012

This week's edition of the CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report covers issues such as: CFPB extends comment dates for “Finance Charge” and HOEPA proposed changes, CFPB Director Cordray responds to CUNA members on CUNA audio conference call, Federal Reserve Board is seeking data from smaller institutions re: debit card interchange, and more.

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

[ Return to Top ]

NCUA Seeks to expand authority on “Troubled Condition” designation of credit unions

The NCUA is seeking comment on a proposal that would add a definition of “troubled condition” as that term relates to a natural person or corporate federally insured credit union. The definition would be added to the definition section of its rules and in short, would allow NCUA to designate a state chartered credit union as one that is in “troubled condition” even if the state regulator does not agree with the finding.

For more information about the proposal and comment call information, click here. [ Return to Top ]

League InfoSight highlight: Pre-screen Opt-out Notice

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 directed the Federal Trade Commission, in consultation with the federal banking agencies and NCUA, to adopt a rule to improve the required notice to consumers regarding their right to opt out of pre-screened solicitations for credit or insurance.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows creditors to obtain credit reports for transactions not initiated by the member—called pre-screened offers of credit. In order to provide a pre-screened offer, the credit union must be able to extend a firm offer of credit.

When the credit union engages in pre-screening it is required to provide the consumer with a statement, consisting of a short portion and a long portion, which shall be in the same language as the offer of credit or insurance.

To find out more about the Pre-sscreen Opt-out Notice, 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.

[ Return to Top ]

Compliance calendar and training
September 2012
  • 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.
[ Return to Top ]

Cooperative Initiatives News
Register now for Credit Union Philosophy in Action Workshop in October

This year's LSCU Credit Union Philosophy in Action Workshop will be held at CFE Federal Credit Union in Lake Mary, FL, near Orlando.

Modeled after the National Credit Union Foundation’s (NCUF) very successful Credit Union Development Education (CUDE) program, the Philosophy in Action Workshop will provide participants with a historical perspective on credit unions and cooperatives while focusing on how to implement the seven cooperative principles of credit unions in their day-to-day work activities. The day-and-a-half workshop will be led by Lois Kitsch, national program manager for the NCUF, and development education facilitator for the NCUF’s CUDE program, and Larry Blanchard, senior vice president and Washington representative for CUNA Mutual.

The workshop is ideal for individuals new to credit unions, individuals moving into senior management at credit unions, and anyone who needs to be re-energized about the credit union movement and principles that make credit unions unique. It will be a very interactive workshop and is designed to get participants to think, individually and as a group, about new approaches to similar problems or concerns. Participants can take the lessons learned back to their own credit unions and share them throughout their organizations.

Space is limited for the Credit Union Philosophy in Action Workshop so we encourage early registration.  The education investment for the workshop is $199, which includes three meals and a reception. Contact LSCU VP, Cooperative Initiatives Laura Vann, 866.231.0545, ext. 2181, for more information or visit the LSCU Education Calendar.

[ Return to Top ]

Education News
LSCU Council meetings in October one month away

The LSCU Councils will hold its next meeting Oct. 3 in St. Augustine, FL. The councils will meet in conjunction with the Northeast Chapter Golf Outing and the Florida CUES meeting. This is a good opportunity to get more bang for you buck by attending one or more of the events.

The LSCU Council sessions have great topics that include:

  • How do we continue to grow with positive earnings   
  • Social Networks in the workplace   
  • Eight powers of lending
  • Emerging social media trends
  • Reducing debt burden one member at a time
  • Payment innovations

Visit the LSCU Events Calendar to get more information, reserve a hotel and to register. Watch the LSCU Facebook page for updates.

 

  [ Return to Top ]

Play golf at the Leadership Development Conference in November

The LSCU Leadership Development Conference, Nov. 6-9 in Point Clear, AL, features a great lineup of speakers including leading demographer Ken Gronbach, Bank Transfer Day founder Kristen Christian, CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel and Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL). There are also many fun activities around the conference.

On Nov. 7, the Putt for a Purpose CU4Kids Golf Tournament will be held. This event is played in the morning on a Robert Trent Jones course. The proceeds from the tournament go to the Children's Miracle Network. Since 1996, credit unions have donated more than $100 million to CMN. 

The Grand Marriott in Point Clear also offers a number of free activities. Guest of attendees can take a daily shuttle to downtown Fairhope for shopping. The property features croquet, horeshoes and a bayside putting green, all equipment is included. Bikes are available for a leisurely ride around the property and near the water.

By attending the LSCU Leadership Development Conference, you will be learning great leadership techniques, helping a good cause (CMN) and relaxing at a world-class property. Visit the LSCU Leadership Development Conference website for the schedule-at-a-glance and to register.  [ Return to Top ]

Collections & Bankruptcy School taking place Oct. 9-10

Credit unions are encouraged to register now for the upcoming LSCU Collections & Bankruptcy School on Oct. 9 - 10 in Birmingham.The school will cover the basics of collections and bankruptcy, as well as best practices for handling each.

Date:
Tuesday, Oct. 9            Collections School - Day 1
Wednesday, Oct. 10    Bankruptcy School - Day 2

Cost:
$349 per person for both days / $199 per person per day

Collections session will cover three parts:

  • Part One: What Makes Members Pay
  • Part Two: Creating Fool Proof Collections Processes
  • Part Three: Special Collections:  From Skips to Repos to Real Estate

Bankruptcy session will cover four parts:

  • Part One: Bankruptcy Fundamentals
  • Part Two: Operational Issues in Bankruptcy
  • Part Three: Bankruptcy Recovery and Fraud Control
  • Part Four: Regulatory Compliance Traps in the New Bankruptcy Order

For more information or to register for the Collections & Bankruptcy School, click here. [ Return to Top ]

Education Calendar

Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, Sept. 5
The Legal Side of Dealing with Power-of-Attorney & Living Trust Documents
3 to 4:30 p.m. EST - Webinar

Thursday, Sept. 6
Opening Donation, Memorial & Other Accounts for Non-Profit Organizations
3 to 4:30 p.m. EST - Webinar

Tuesday, Sept. 11
2012 Regulatory Compliance Update
Tallahassee, FL - League of Southeastern Credit Unions

To view the complete LSCU Events Calendar, click here.

[ Return to Top ]

LEVERAGE News
LEVERAGE partners with VINtek on electronic liens and titles

In June, the Florida legislature passed legislation requiring automotive lenders in the state to utilize the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ (DHSMV) paperless ELT process by Jan.1, 2013. To make the transition easier for credit unions, LEVERAGE, the LSCU Service Corp., is partnering with VINtek, one of the nations leading lien and title company's, because of its strong presence in the credit union market and partnerships with other leagues.

    ELT is an environmentally friendly alternative to paper-based vehicle titles that enables credit unions to receive digital titles from the DHSMV. ELT increases efficiency by saving time and significantly reducing risks of fraud and error.

“VINtek was the natural selection to transition our Florida members to the ELT process and to prepare our Alabama members for the future introduction of ELT in the state,” said Patrick La Pine, CEO of LEVERAGE. “For credit unions, working with LEVERAGE and VINtek on the transition process will greatly reduce the number of staff hours needed to comply by January.”

“We are happy to announce this strategic partnership with LEVERAGE,” said Larry Highbloom, president of VINtek. “Our company has been helping financial institutions in Florida transition to ELT for more than 10 years. We are excited for the opportunity to continue this relationship in Florida and eagerly await the introduction of ELT into Alabama as well. “

To learn more about how VINtek can help your credit union, contact a LEVERAGE Business Development Consultant. [ Return to Top ]

News from You
South Florida Educational FCU pays $2 million special dividend to members

South Florida Educational FCU has paid a special Shared Earnings Dividend of $2 million to its members.

Members were rewarded based on the amount saved and/or borrowed with the credit union. The Shared Earnings Dividend equals 10 percent of the dividends received on most of the members’ combined savings accounts and the interest paid on most of their loans from July 1, 2011 through July 1, 2012. Since 2007, South Florida Educational FCU said it has given back $16.3 million to its members in the form of a Shared Earnings Dividend.

  [ Return to Top ]

Alabama CU's Bell and GTE's Brucato on Filene i3 program

Eighteen credit union executives from around the country have been selected to take part in the  Filene Research Institute i3 (Ideas, Innovation, Implementation) program. The i3 program fosters the development of new ideas and innovations for credit unions. Each member will serve a two-year term, participate in semi-annual meetings arranged by Filene, and be responsible for piloting new ideas at their credit unions.

Alabama CU, based in Tuscaloosa, COO Kayce Bell and GTE Financial, based in Tampa, Assistant VP of Application Process, Cindy Brucato, are among the 18 picked for program. Since 2005, i3 has implemented more than 60 programs including Save to Win and Debt in Focus.

“While the struggles of consumers and financial institutions are all too real, this environment is perfect for innovation,” says George Hofheimer, Filene’s chief research and innovation officer. “We’re confident that this new group of i3ers has the skills, passion, and grit to transform the lives of consumers through credit unions.”

Credit unions can learn more about all these ideas and get to know the 18 participants by visiting the i3 website or sending Filene an email.


[ Return to Top ]

JaxMetro CU partners with SEEA to offer area homeowners low-interest energy efficiency financing

Saving energy and money just got easier for Jacksonville homeowners, thanks to a residential energy efficiency loan program administered by JaxMetro Credit Union and funded by the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA).

This partnership is part of an initial $1.3 million investment that will result in nearly $10 million in loans for energy efficiency upgrades to homes and commercial buildings across the Southeast.

“The JaxMetro home performance loan program, established in partnership with SEEA, Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) and our local contractors, has proven to be a wildly successful niche,” said Jay Hogan, JaxMetro Credit Union vice president of operations. “Providing quality home improvements, saving members money, saving energy and improving people’s lives has been fulfilling to all of us at JaxMetro Credit Union.”

SEEA invested $100,000 of its $1.3 million regional loan funding in the Jacksonville community to serve as a loan loss reserve credit enhancement against lending to homeowners. Parties seeking financing will be able to work with JEA and Jax Metro to secure lending for planned upgrades, and loans will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. The loan loss reserve pool was made possible by SEEA’s participation as a grantee in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program.

For more information on the program, 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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