LSCU eSignal Weekly
LSCU eNews Weekly September 17, 2012
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LSCU eNews Weekly
In This Issue
President's Point
Hike the Hill has successful meetings; relationships strengthened
LSCU Top Headlines
This week's top League headlines
Governmental Affairs News
This week in Alabama politics: Alabama Trust Fund vote tomorrow
This week in Florida politics: 'Hike the Hill' 2012 successful, better budget ahead for Florida?
News from the Hill: Lame duck session looming, floor, committee schedules
Legislators "tweet" thanks for Hike the Hill
Compliance Corner
League InfoSight highlight: Reserve Requirements: Regulation D
Compliance calendar and training
Cooperative Initiatives News
2012 International Credit Union Day coming up Oct. 18
Education News
What do a demographist and economist have in common? Both are top-notch speakers lined up for 2012 LSCU Leadership Development Conference
Education Calendar
LEVERAGE News
CUNA Mutual Group helps CUs comply with final Remittance Transfer rules
LEVERAGE Computer Blowout Event filling up
News from You
Bay CU celebrates 'Member Appreciation Day'
Army Aviation receives Desjardins award
Alabama CU opens new office in Birmingham area
EMPLOYMENT
View available credit union jobs
In This Issue
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President's Point

Hike the Hill has successful meetings; relationships strengthened

Last week Alabama and Florida credit unions, along with League staff, went to Washington, D.C. for the LSCU’s annual Hike the Hill. In two days we were able to meet with nearly all of our federal lawmakers as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Senate Banking Committee staff. Overall, the meetings went well.

A couple of highlights include Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL). Sen. Rubio’s office has become very accommodating to listening to credit union issues. Sen. Rubio’s banking legislative aide expressed the senator’s support for credit unions. The senator was supposed to be in the meeting but was called away due to the unrest in the Middle East. Sen. Rubio sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Our relationship with the senator and his staff continues to strengthen. Rep. Bonner has been a credit union supporter, and, in our meeting, we thanked him for his co-sponsorships of member business lending (MBL) and Exam Fairness. Rep. Bonner will be speaking at our Leadership Development Conference in November. This will be a good opportunity for all of you to thank him in person for his support.   
 
The two main messages for all of our visits were getting member business lending and ATM Fee Disclosure to a vote. The best case scenario would be to get both voted on before the Nov. 6 election, but that probably won’t happen. We stressed how much raising the MBL cap will lead to job creation. For many of the lawmakers’ districts, unemployment is still high and the economy is sluggish. We still have some work to do to gain support from Reps. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Steve Southerland (R-FL) and Rich Nugent (R-FL). However, progress is being made with all of them.

Rep. Martha Roby spent time with the Alabama delegation. In fact it was the longest visit yet with her. She asked for more information on MBL and was very engaged in the visit. She sent a message out on Twitter after the meeting thanking credit unions for the visit (see story in Governmental Affairs section of eSignal). The meeting with Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) was also very good. Rep. Ross is a strong supporter and told us banks don’t even try to talk to him anymore about MBLs. This is the kind of support we are trying to build.

Here’s a good example of what can happen in these meetings: Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) is a good supporter of credit unions. We talked about our issues with her; however, she also wanted to talk about IRS fraud issues in her district in Tampa. There is a new IRS director, and she said she will work with credit unions to make sure that the new director is open and doing an effective job. It’s another way we can strengthen our relationship by also working with her on an issue she sees in her district.

Our meeting with the CFPB also was very productive. Director Richard Cordray joined us for part of the meeting. We talked about our issues and how the CFPB can work with credit unions. Director Cordray said the CFPB can now look into non-chartered entities that engage in financial services such as Walmart and Target. This is good news as you know since more outside forces are trying to offer services. The LSCU and credit unions in Alabama and Florida have been able to meet with the CFPB three times this year.

You can see pictures from the Hike the Hill visits on the LSCU Action Center Facebook page. I hope you will consider coming to Washington, D.C. in February, 2013 during the CUNA GAC. You can see the meetings are beneficial and in many cases helping to solidify relationships. Our work is incremental and I’m encouraged by our progress.  

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

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LSCU Top Headlines
This week's top League headlines

Rep. Bachus asks Senate to pass ATM Fee Disclosure legislation
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asking him to pass ATM Fee Disclosure legislation. For more information, click here.

NCUA sees 553 new low-income designate credit unions
In early August, the NCUA informed 1,000 credit unions of their eligibility to become a low-income designate credit union. After a month, 553 credit unions took advantage and are now able to have access to benefits like NCUA loans and grants from the Office of Small Credit Union Initiative. These credit unions also do not have a cap on member business lending. The total number of low-income designated credit unions is 1,740. If your credit union did not respond to the NCUA letter last month, you will receive another letter this month. Read more by visiting the NCUA website

NASCUS board and executive council announced
The NASCUS board and executive credit union council was announced last week. Terry West, CEO of VyStar CU in Jacksonville, is a member of the executive credit union council, which is a group of 12 credit union executives from around the country that governs the NASCUS Credit Union Advisory Council. Linda Charity, interim commissioner, Florida Office of Financial Regulation, is currently a member of the NASCUS board. Read more about the NASCUS announcement in CUNA News Now.  

CUNA GAC registration open
CUNA officially opened registration for the 2013 CUNA GAC. The dates are more in line with the traditional CUNA GAC dates, Feb. 24-28, 2013. The theme will once again be, "Powerful Cause, Positive Effect." Credit union are encouraged to register and to also secure a hotel room. Visit the LSCU CUNA GAC Resources webpage for instructions on how to register.

Second quarter data elicits strong press in Alabama and Florida
The League sent the Call Report data for the second quarter for credit unions in Alabama and Florida to the local press in each state. The coverage has been very good for the second straight quarter. The Tampa Bay Times and the Birmingham News wrote something about how well credit unions are performing and how loans are beginning to come back. Both newspapers are the largest in their respective states. Fox 6 in Birmingham also mentioned the strong quarter, as did the Jacksonville and Birmingham Business Journals. The credit union trades ran a mention, as well. Read the coverage in the LSCU Press Room.

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Governmental Affairs News
This week in Alabama politics: Alabama Trust Fund vote tomorrow

Trust Fund Vote is Tuesday
For several weeks the League has run stories about the upcoming vote to transfer $437 million from the Alabama Trust Fund to the state’s ailing General Fund over the next three years. The story is the same every year with the General Fund—expenses are rising at rates higher than revenue. The Alabama Legislature has, in the past, used a variety of methods to balance the budget, usually relying on one-time dollars from the federal government or some other source. However, 2013 and subsequent fiscal years are no different except that this time, you get to vote on it.

The General Fund budget is funded from numerous sources of revenue, but the majority are taxes that show very little growth, if any. With the costs of health care and other state services rising at record rates, Alabama can’t keep up and the results are enormous shortfalls and no way to make up the difference. In the 2013 fiscal year budget, passed by the legislature earlier this year, the Alabama Medicaid Agency and Department of Corrections account for 57 percent of expenditures. Since Republicans took control of the legislature, there have been cuts to the budgets of Alabama, state employees are paying more for retirement and insurance, and state agencies are operating more efficiently. However, there is still a shortfall predicted for the next three years and a vote on Tuesday decides how to address it.

A “yes” vote would authorize the transfer of $145.8 million from the Alabama Trust Fund, a sort of savings account for oil and gas drilling royalties, for the next fiscal year and a total of $437 million going forward until 2015. The idea behind three years is that it should give lawmakers enough time to address and correct revenue and spending issues with the General Fund. A “no” vote will do the opposite. It will not allow the transfer and cause the state to close any funding gaps with additional cuts to state services across the board. This will be done through reductions in programs offered and most likely layoffs of state personnel.

The League has taken no formal position on the Constitutional Amendment vote issue.

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.

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This week in Florida politics: 'Hike the Hill' 2012 successful, better budget ahead for Florida?

Hike the Hill 2012
Last week, credit union advocates traveled to Washington, D.C. to bring their message to lawmakers. The League was among several other state leagues that took the opportunity to visit with their federal delegations during the short period of time they will be in Washington prior to the elections. Once again, Member Business Lending (MBL) was the hot topic. Promised a vote by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid months ago, credit unions reminded their lawmakers that this was not a credit union issue; rather this is a small business issue. CUNA has estimated that lifting the MBL cap to 27.5 percent of assets, from 12.25 percent, would create 140,000 jobs and inject $13 billion in new funds into the economy during the first year after enactment. Both benefits come at no cost to taxpayers. The help an MBL cap increase could provide to a still recovering economy was also highlighted at a Wednesday Capitol Hill event. The event, which was organized by CUNA and Washington political newspaper The Hill, featured MBL praise from House and Senate sponsors, Washington think-tanks, credit unions, and small business owners.

Better Budget Ahead for Florida?
For the past several legislative sessions, Florida has faced a massive budget deficit. Last year alone, the legislature needed to figure out how to plug a more than $2 billion hole in the state’s budget. If tax collections are any indicator, Florida’s economy is growing at a slow, steady pace. The state’s chief economist, Amy Baker, reported to the Legislative Budget Commission last Wednesday that revenue projections for next year show no budget gap—state economists predict a $71.3 million cushion. That’s even with budgeting $1 billion in reserves. While not perfect, it appears the state turned a corner, albeit at a snail’s pace, at the end of 2009. The state’s gross domestic product grew 0.9 percent in 2010 and 0.5 percent last year.

The state is expected to carry forward $1.5 billion from the current budget into the next one. According to reports by the Florida Current, Baker said growth in revenue should give lawmakers greater flexibility when they write next year’s budget but cautiously warned about uncertainties—or “Black Swans” as economists call them. Black Swans are an unexpected or unlikely event with negative economic consequences, such as a natural disaster, a congressional standoff on economic policy or economic problems elsewhere in the world. Still, a projection that revenue will outstrip expected spending by $71 million dollars is an unfamiliar situation for lawmakers. It’s the first surplus in five years. Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville), expected to be elected Senate President after the November election, participated in the meeting via telephone and noted that the projection did not include potential cost overruns in the Medicaid program. The federal/state health program for the poor and catastrophically ill routinely spends more than lawmakers allocate. Sen. Gaetz warned that unless the state can get Medicaid costs down, the legislature is likely to be dealing with a deficit again, not a surplus. Baker said there should be more predictable data at the end of this month.

To read the complete Florida Politics Week in Review including highlighting how Rep. Vern Buchanan won't face federal charges, 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.

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News from the Hill: Lame duck session looming, floor, committee schedules

Lame Duck

Congress has left a considerable amount of work unfinished and will return for a post-election (lame duck) session. The House has announced Washington, D.C. work periods for the weeks of Nov. 13, Nov. 26, Dec. 3, and Dec. 10. It is possible that the House could also be in session the week of Dec. 17; however, they have not announced that at this time. The Senate has not announced a post-election session schedule, but it would be reasonable to assume the Senate schedule will be similar to the House schedule. Among the issues that will need to be addressed are the tax provisions that expire at the end of the year, and the spending cuts required under sequestration. The way Congress addresses these issues will depend, at least in part, on the outcome of the elections. The expectation is – and everyone is preparing for a prolonged post-election session; however, if control of the White House or either chamber changes, it would not be surprising to see some of these issues either handled temporarily through stop-gap measures or allowed to lapse and be handled retroactively in the new year. Over the next few weeks, everyone may get a sense of how this will play out; however, it probably will not become crystal clear until after votes are cast on Nov. 6. The League and CUNA will follow this closely and update you as additional information comes in.

To read the complete News from the Hill Update including the complete floor and committee schedule, click here.

If you have any questions regarding these or any legislative issues, contact LSCU VP, Governmental Affairs Jared Ross at 866.231.0545, ext. 1012 or Director, Governmental Affairs Jason Cochran at ext. 2159.

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Legislators "tweet" thanks for Hike the Hill

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) "tweeted" his thanks following the meeting with Alabama credit unions. The group had good discussions on member business lending and ATM Fee Disclosure.

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) also "tweeted" her appreciation of Alabama credit unions coming to Washington, D.C. to meet with her. She asked for more information on the issues which shows she was engaged in the conversation.


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Compliance Corner
League InfoSight highlight: Reserve Requirements: Regulation D

The Federal Reserve Board’s (FRB) Regulation D was established in 1980. It contains these four primary provisions that affect depository institutions, including natural person credit unions with more than $11.5 million in net transaction accounts:

  • Credit unions may be required to maintain reserves.
  • Credit unions may have to place limits on certain deposit accounts in order to avoid having to reserve against those accounts.
  • Credit unions are required to impose certain penalties for early withdrawal from time deposit accounts in order to avoid having to reserve against the time deposit.
  • Credit unions may be required to report account information to the Federal Reserve.

To find out more about Regulation D, 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 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
2012 International Credit Union Day coming up Oct. 18

The message is simple, direct and embraces the key concept behind credit unions: Members Matter Most. Those three words, which comprise this year's International Credit Union (ICU) Day theme, speak to the heart of the credit union philosophy.

"In the face of all challenges, credit unions have always existed to serve their members," said Brian Branch, World Council of Credit Unions president and CEO. "The clear and simple message, ‘Members Matter Most,' summarizes credit unions' reason for being."

ICU Day, celebrated the third Thursday of October each year, takes place this year on Oct. 18, 2012. This is also the United Nations' International Year of Cooperatives, a year-long celebration that began Oct. 31, 2011, and has provided greater visibility to credit unions and other cooperatives worldwide.

To find celebration ideas for your credit union click here. For 2012 promotional materials, click here.

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Education News
What do a demographist and economist have in common? Both are top-notch speakers lined up for 2012 LSCU Leadership Development Conference

Develop your LEAD at the 2012 Leadership Development Conference (LDC) with Kenneth Gronbach and Bill Hampel in the line up of powerful keynote speakers who will engage, inspire, and further develop your skills sets and growth.


Ken Gronbach

Ken Gronbach is a gifted keynote speaker and nationally recognized author, expert, and futurist in the field of demography and generational marketing. He makes the science of shifting demography come alive with real life examples which make it relevant to today’s culture, business climate and economy. If his name sounds familiar it's because he spoke at last year's Development Conference and is back by popular demand. You won't want to miss his keynote on how credit unions in the U.S. have a unique window of opportunity right now to take market share from the “Too Big to Fail” banks.

Bill Hampel

Bill Hampel is the senior vice president of research and policy analysis and chief economist for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and is a senior member of CUNA’s credit union advocacy team in Washington. He's an expert on the economy and credit union issues and that makes him the go-to person for economic updates in the credit union movement. Hear the latest happenings from Hampel as he discusses the current economy, as well as key legislative and regulatory issues impacting credit unions.

The 2012 LDC is scheduled for November 6-9, in Point Clear, AL, at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa.

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Education Calendar

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday, Sept. 18
Director Series: Advanced Financial Literacy Update for New & Experienced Directors: ALM Primer & New Financial, Accounting & Risk Issues
3 to 4:30 p.m. EST - Webinar

Wednesday, Sept. 19
SAFE Act: Tracking, Renewing & Compliance
3 to 4:30 p.m. EST - Webinar

Thursday, Sept. 20
Credit Card Act: Clarification & Best Practices
3 to 4:30 p.m. EST - Webinar

To view the complete LSCU Events Calendar, click here.

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LEVERAGE News
CUNA Mutual Group helps CUs comply with final Remittance Transfer rules

CUNA Mutual Group is offering a myriad of no-cost tools, including a white paper, webinars, and other alerts to help credit unions comply with final rules amending Regulation E related to remittance transfers.

Released Aug. 7, by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the new rules modify those published by the bureau Feb. 7. New remittance transfer requirements were brought about by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The CFPB’s intent is to provide new protections, including disclosures, error resolution, and cancellation rights, to consumers who send remittance transfers exceeding $15 to consumers or businesses in a foreign country. These include electronic transfer of funds via international wire transfers, electronic bill pay and ACH transactions.

The latest final rule further clarifies the definition of a remittance transfer provider as an individual or business that conducts more than 100 such transactions during a calendar year, which is an increase from the threshold of 25 proposed by the CFPB in February. Credit unions conducting 100 or fewer remittance transfers per year will not be affected by the rules, while those transacting more than 100 must be in compliance with the new requirements by Feb. 7, 2013.

To read the complete CUNA Mutual release, click here.

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LEVERAGE Computer Blowout Event filling up

Credit unions looking to purchase new computers this year are encouraged to take part in the LEVERAGE Computer Blowout Event. The beauty of this event is that your specifications don't have to match those of the other credit unions taking part. The deadline, which was originally Sept. 14, has been extended to the end of the month.

This ePurchasing event will show group buying at its most powerful. When vendors know they are bidding on the business for a large number of credit unions, the price always goes down. Credit unions save an average of 20 percent through ePurchasing and many times save more than 50 percent. The computer event requires no long-term contract and credit unions are in control of which vendor bid they want to ultimately use. 

To learn more about ePurchasing, visit the LEVERAGE website. You can also see a video that explains the process better and hear from a credit union that realized savings. Contact a LEVERAGE Business Development Consultant to sign up for the Computer Blowout Event.

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News from You
Bay CU celebrates 'Member Appreciation Day'

In late August, Bay Credit Union, based in Panama City, held a "Member Appreciation Day" to thank members for their ongoing service and support. Board members, as well as staff from all three branches were on hand to show members special appreciation.

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Army Aviation receives Desjardins award

LSCU Member Service Specialist April Ales (left) presents Army Aviation Center FCU VP, Marketing Lisa Hales with the Desjardins Youth and Financial Literacy award.

Army Aviation Center FCU, Daleville, AL,  received the award for numerous educational programs such as financial education classes to area schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other organizations, credit union days at local schools, and adult seminars.

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Alabama CU opens new office in Birmingham area

Alabama CU, based in Tuscaloosa, recently opened a new office in the Birmingham area. Alabama CU Board Chairman Gladys Jones (white shirt) cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the Valleydale office. A buffet lunch was served along with entertainment and more than $1,000 in prizes.

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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.

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