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The Magazine of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions

Keeping the Bank Transfer Day Momentum Going

INSIDE LSCU 2012 State Legislative Preview Elizabeth Vale Regulatory Q&A “Bank On” Taking Hold The Power of ePurchasing Winter 2011


credit union r u o h it w y tl c e ir We work d identify to rs e d a le y tr s u clients and ind cesses ro p e n li m a e tr s t a best practices th ccomplish a to s n io n u it d and allows cre more with less.

Call us at 866.231.0545 x1144 or visit us online at


Message from the President Credit unions certainly had a busy September, October, and November. The LSCU Statewide Image Campaign kicked off in September and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Midway through September, the major banks announced a $5 fee for debit card use. The Image Campaign got consumers thinking about credit unions and the bank fees was the last straw and many decided to move their money. Then Bank Transfer Day (BTD) hit. Bank Transfer Day began as a passing idea in Los Angeles and transformed into a full-fledged social media phenomenon. The buzz created by BTD should not be measured by how many share draft accounts were opened or how many new members were added. The media likes to look at numbers, but credit unions should look at the long-term effects of BTD. How can we capitalize on the sentiment toward credit unions? It’s not a bad thing that many more people inquired about credit unions than maybe opened accounts. The bigger point is that consumers are fed up with financial institutions that are trying to make money off of them. Credit unions continue to have a huge opportunity right now. Our cover story looks at how credit unions are leveraging the momentum from Bank Transfer Day. We found that some credit unions jumped right on to the BTD bandwagon and rolled out new debit programs, quickly put together ad campaigns and did the old fashioned membership drive. Most importantly, what you will see is credit unions taking hold of the opportunity. The cover story also looks at how easy it is for a consumer to switch to a credit union and the importance of having a switch kit available. When we return from the holidays our Governmental Affairs team will be very busy in January. The Florida legislative session begins earlier this year. We have two public deposits bills, HB 669 and SB 936, which would allow credit unions to become Qualified Public Depositories. We feel confident that these bills have a good shot at passing. We are expecting hearings early in the session. This will also coincide with our State Governmental Affairs Conference in Tallahassee Jan. 24-25. The State GAC was moved up to accommodate the earlier session. But, I urge you and members of your credit union to attend. The conference will be very informative on legislative issues, but high attendance will also enhance the chances of these bills as our state lawmakers hear from credit unions during our statehouse visits. I also hope you read our article about LEVERAGE’s ePurchasing product. This really is a revolutionary product that utilizes the buying power of credit unions. Vendors compete for your business. The credit unions that have taken part in the ePurchasing events are amazed at the savings. While the “average” savings is just under 30 percent, it can vary anywhere from 10 percent to more than 50 percent. For one of our ePurchasing events in November, one credit union saved $150,000 on janitorial and floor cleaning services. Another credit union is building a branch and used ePurchasing for the construction services. The savings were eight percent, but that equates to a $66,000 savings before the first piece of dirt was overturned. These are significant savings that help streamline your operating budgets. You can’t afford not to look into ePurchasing. This fourth-quarter edition of Signal hits your mailboxes during the holidays so I hope all of you have a safe and prosperous holiday season. We look forward to working closely with you in 2012.

Patrick La Pine President & CEO League of Southeastern Credit Unions

Table of Contents

Editor Amy Jowers Contributor Bill Berg Mike Bridges Joseph Davis Mary Elicia Del Santo Cassandra Grayson Keith Hopkins Will McCarty Amber Tynan Laura Vann Adena Whitman

Production Detra White April Banta Letters to the editor may be submitted at


President’s Message


CU President Profile


Feature Article Every Day Is Bank Transfer Day – Keeping the Momentum Going By following three easy steps (change direct deposits, change automatic payments, and close previous account), prospective members are on their way to banking at the credit union. The credit union invited the public to join in the Bank Transfer Day movement in its blog, directing them to the switch kit.


CU Volunteer Profile


Advocacy 2012 Legislative Preview


LSCU Legislator Profile

Coming Soon The Power of One – June 2012

Slade Blackwell

Highlights 14 | Advocacy

A comprehensive look at the 2012 Legislative sessions for Alabama and Florida. Immigration in Alabama and Public Deposits in Florida will be hot topics. 4

Allen West

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23 | Compliance

2011 provided a complexity of regulations for credit unions. Signal breaks down the various issues and explains what changed and how it affected credit unions.

26 | Cooperative Initiatives

The “Bank On” initiative is finding roots in Alabama and Florida. “Bank On” gives credit unions a great opportunity to put the “People Helping People” philosophy in action.


Compliance A Look Back at Regulatory Changes in 2011


Cooperative Initiatives “Bank On” Program a Win-Win Initiative for Credit Unions & Members CO-OP Opens 2012 Miracle Match Season


Foundation Scholarships Available


Education 2012 Education Calendar Reflects Member Input


Communications Marketing Loans, One Relationship at a Time


League News 2011 LSCU Development Conference Provides Relevant Information & Education


Industry Seven Ways to Gain Members with Your Website CUNA Revises Credit Union Performance Estimates Prior to “Bank Transfer Day” y”


LEVERAGE Top 10 Questions for Selecting a Debit Card Provider Reduce Capital Spending through ePurchasing


LSCU Staff Directory

Highlights 32 | Education

36 | League News


Credit unions asked the League to develop workshops and conferences not currently being offered. The League listened and two new conferences are on the 2012 Education Calendar.

The 2011 LSCU Development Conference featured an all-star lineup of speakers and education sessions. Attendees were immersed in national, regional and local credit union issues.

Credit unions sign new vendor contracts every week. LEVERAGE has a way to harness the collective power of credit unions to help them save money on those new contracts. SIGNAL: Vol. 2, Issue 4



CU President Profile Keith McKinley 1.



How did you get involved in the credit union movement? Oddly enough, I was approached by a friend, who was currently serving in a management role at a community bank, about the available position at Monroe Education Employees FCU. He knew my past within the financial industry and thought I would be a good fit for the management position. I was immediately intrigued by the position and began to educate myself about credit unions and the role they serve within the community. I found that the core values that were driving the credit union movement were some of the same values that had been instilled in me at a very early age. Immediately, I knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of! You moved from Monroe Education Employees FCU to The Infirmary as CEO. What kind of opportunities do you see for advancement for young credit union CEOs? First, I feel fortunate to have been given this opportunity with The Infirmary FCU. I will say that the opportunity for advancement is definitely there! Any individual willing to dedicate themselves to their credit union and community, demonstrate the willingness to learn and work hard is an individual I want on my team, regardless of age. I also believe that as we move into the future, it will be imperative that we be able to attract and promote younger executives in order to continue the enhancement of the industry into the future. The Infirmary took part in the LSCU Statewide Image Campaign. Why was it important that you took part and did you see any results from the campaign? I think it was important for many reasons but two primarily, Awareness and Alternatives! I think the branding campaign does a great job generating both. The timing was perfect with many of the public facing unprecedented fees from their banks as a result of the Durbin Amendment. As a smaller credit union with somewhat limited resources, it was a way to gain access to TV,

Credit Union Statistics



The Infirmary FCU


Mobile, Alabama









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radio, internet, and billboards without the expense usually associated with mass media. Overall, positive publicity for credit unions is always a good thing and would encourage any credit union that did not participate this year to please consider moving forward. The Infirmary is a SEG credit union for healthcare in Mobile. How have you taken advantage of Keith McKinley, President/CEO opportunities with your SEG since The Infirmary FCU the bank fees were announced? We have ramped up our marketing! We are using anything we can get our hands on including social media, flyers, statement messages, and newsletters. In addition, we have recently purchased some monitors for our lobbies that will be used to broadcast messages about our services. I feel like this is a great time for credit unions to substantially increase its market share! I want to make sure we are doing whatever necessary to get our portion! Where do you see your credit union’s growth opportunities in 2012? Our focus in 2012 will continue to focus on our members and those services available to them. We will be enhancing both our online account access and bill pay features in order to remain competitive with similar products available in the market. In addition, we will be introducing mobile account access to our members next year which we hope will help drive membership, especially Gen Y. Internally, we will have new lending software which will help decrease the time between application and closing. Overall, we have a lot going on but we believe these changes are necessary and will lead to more penetration within our SEG, wallet share with our members, and a happier more productive membership! ■

CU President Profile Caryl Greene 1.




How did you become involved in the credit union industry? After graduating from Auburn, I worked for a large Atlanta bank. When my college sweetheart proposed marriage, I looked for jobs in Pensacola. I was hired at the Cyanamid Employees Credit Union. It had two-and-a-half employees. I basically did a little of everything. We moved to Tallahassee for work and I worked at Southeast Corporate FCU. At Southeast, I was exposed to all types of credit unions and grew to understand what they stood for and how they were different from banks. At that time, Southeast was in the Florida League building, and I got to know the workings of the league, and this gave me even more insight. Members First received a 5-Star Superior Rating from Bauer Financial. How has the credit union achieved that rating? We are pleased to accomplish and maintain our 5-star rating in the current economy. We try to accomplish a balance between meeting our members’ needs and being financially conservative. I am fortunate to work with a long-term, stable management team where we all share the same philosophy toward the membership. You have to be who you are as an organization. You don’t have to be the biggest or do what everyone else is doing. We concentrate on expense reductions and working smarter; trying to get the most for our dollar in every area is still a primary focus. Members First uses social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and a blog. How have these tools helped Members First? We are really just getting started. We initially worked with a consultant to establish the framework and rolled it out slowly. You have to be committed to the social channels. If you build it and don’t maintain it, it’s useless. Social media is fluid, so we are concentrating on listening and being relevant all the time. It is an opportunity to touch members and establish relationships that we hope will prompt them to think of us as their financial resource and partner. Credit unions should not go at it without a plan or commitment. Social media is a whole new way of doing business. Members First is part of the LSCU Image Campaign. You supported the campaign by posting the ad to your YouTube channel and put web banners on your website. Why should credit unions contribute to this cooperative effort? We always read in publications and saw in the media that the public didn’t know what a credit union was, so we were completely on board when we heard the League was running



an ad campaign that raised credit union awareness. We didn’t have a heavy media buy in our area, because we had limited participation; but, it definitely raised the awareness of credit unions. We are chipping away at differentiating ourselves. With the Bank Transfer Day happening at the end of the campaign, I thought the two worked wonderfully well together. Caryl Greene, President/CEO Credit unions are heavily regulated. Members First CU of Florida What has Members First done to comply with the multitude of regulations? We have experienced the burden of over-regulation. It is frustrating and challenging to keep up when clearly legislative decisions are made without a complete understanding of the impact. We have a goal of continuing to provide the best services at the best price. As regulations change, we weigh every decision based on service to the members and the cost as it relates to our ability to comply. What is your vision for your credit union for the next few years? The economic future is unclear. We have been fortunate to remain financially strong, and that should continue moving forward. Our goal is to provide our members with superior service within a framework that will meet the needs of young members, as well as the boomers. Making more of northwest Florida aware of what we have to offer and growing our membership is also a primary focus for the future. ■

Credit Union Statistics Company:

Members First CU of Florida


Pensacola, FL









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Every Day Is a Bank Transfer Day With Bank Transfer Day (BTD) behind us, credit unions are still reaping the rewards of the public’s dissatisfaction with the for-profit banks. Despite Bank of America, Regions and many other banks “taking back” the $5 fee on debit card use, the damage has been done. Whether credit unions are large or small, community or single SEG, federal or state, now is the time to keep the BTD momentum going by utilizing various practices to ensure their members and potential members understand and take advantage of the credit union difference. Strike While the Iron’s Hot Many credit unions are using the timing of the LSCU Statewide Image Campaign, BTD, and the anti-bank sentiment to reinforce the credit union business model that includes free checking, free debit


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card usage, and overall better rates. Many credit unions are taking advantage of the positive press credit unions are receiving right now; however, it doesn’t mean drastic measures have to be taken. Prior to BTD, Alabama Credit Union, based in Tuscaloosa, had already launched a very aggressive, targeted campaign in several markets called “Join For More Coin.” When news hit about Bank of America’s debit card fee, the credit union modified the text to address the bank debit fee issue, and kept rolling with it. “It didn’t mention Transfer Day, per se, but is very close in rationale,” said Kayce Bell, COO of Alabama Credit Union. “We already had this in place for 2011, so we felt like Transfer Day was only a component of our overall strategy.”

– Keeping the Momentum Going Shoreline Credit Union in Mobile is running a radio spot about debit card fees and other hidden fees. The spot, which started last month, tells consumers to “make the move from the big bank and get personal service where you’re an owner, where you’re known by your name and not a number.” After a few days of the radio ads, which the credit union plans to continue through the New Year, the credit union had an onsite membership drive. The drive, held right before BTD, included the radio station live onsite to advertise membership with no debit card fees. Provide Consumers with Seamless Switch Process With public sentiment continuing to be anti-big bank, more and more consumers are considering switching to a credit union. However, one of the biggest reasons people are hesitant to transfer their accounts is the hassle of changing direct deposits and automatic bill payments. This is why it’s important that credit unions have a smooth and simple process to assist new members in switching over accounts. Credit union switch kits are great tools to assist a potential member to transfer their accounts. Both Alabama Teachers Credit Union in Gadsden and Members First Credit Union of Florida in Pensacola utilize switch kits. Gina Turner, AVP at Alabama Teachers Credit Union, said that prior to beginning development of their switch kit, they researched many other financial institutions’ switch kits and procedures “to determine what would work for our credit union.” Alabama Teachers uses an online switch kit that includes a new account application, a new member questionnaire and a close account form. The last form is given to the financial institution from which the account is being moved. Once the kit is submitted (electronically, by mail, or fax) to a branch of choice, staff verifies any Chex System records and completes the OFAC check. Staff then contacts the potential member to schedule a time to complete the account opening process. According to the credit union staff, this process has been very efficient for the prospects that have used the switch kit. The credit union’s switch kit may be found at Members First also utilizes a switch kit on its website, On the Member Switch Kit webpage, the credit union states “everything you need to move your account to Members First Credit Union of Florida is right here!” By following three easy steps (change direct deposits, change automatic payments, and close previous account), prospective members are on

their way to banking at the credit union. The credit union invited the public to join in the Bank Transfer Day movement in its blog, directing them to the switch kit. Regardless of the method credit unions use, they say the key is to make the transfer process as simple and efficient as possible for the prospective member. Participate in 2012 Statewide Image Campaign The 2011 LSCU Statewide Image Campaign hit at the right time. The ads began airing on Sept. 7, two weeks before the banks announced the debit card fee. The credit union buzz was already strong once BTD took hold. Residents in Alabama and Florida were already receiving the message that credit unions were giving banking a better name. This type of messaging is necessary to educate the public that credit unions are different. Marketing budgets are normally for the marketing of a credit union’s products and services, which is necessary, but those budgets don’t always leave room for educating their members and potential members about the credit union difference and how they give banking a better name. With it being a cooperative campaign, participating credit unions don’t have to spend the money to develop a separate campaign on their own to educate the public about that difference. The statewide campaign complements individual credit union advertising for products and services by providing the education portion. By running the image campaign in September, ahead of the bank fees and BTD, credit unions were experiencing activity from the cooperative advertising which ran on TV, radio, online, and billboards as well as the campaign website, According to Jim Weibert, president/CEO of Central Florida Postal Credit Union, “With the debit card fees coming from BofA [Bank of America] and Suntrust, it couldn’t have been better timing. Our phones and branches have been extremely busy inquiring and opening new checking accounts from current and new members.” Jill Evans, VP of marketing for San Antonio FCU, told the League a story from a member of their staff at the main office in San Antonio: “A man entered the lobby and began thumbing through brochures. When asked if he needed help, he said that he just wanted to know what a credit union was, that he had heard/seen commercials and wanted to know what it was all about.” “The fact that the message is ‘working’ excites me,” said Evans. The next run of the LSCU Statewide Image Campaign will be in the spring of 2012, which will include the League funding the production CONTINUED ON PAGE 11

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More protection,

More connections.

Knowing your members better builds relationships. And knowing how they prefer to communicate, and when they need increased protection, not only builds relationships, it builds connections that will last into the future.

WE ARE COMMITTED TO YOU. As of 2010, more than 10 million credit union members have relied on MemberCONNECT products to protect their financial futures.**

MemberCONNECT® offers your credit union access to valuable insurance products* and invaluable information about your members. Products available through the channels your members prefer. Information that helps ensure you can make the right protection available at the moment in their lives they need it most. So while you’re

Contact your CUNA Mutual sales executive today to find out how your credit union can build more member connections. Call 800.356.2644 or visit for details.

building non-interest income for your credit union, you’re also building life-long connections. That’s what MemberCONNECT is all about.

* Life & AD&D insurance sold through CUNA Mutual Insurance Society. MEMBERS Auto & Home Coverage made available by CUNA Mutual Insurance Agency, Inc. and underwritten by leading insurance companies. Medicare Suite is sold through Humana. These insurance products are not deposits and are not federally insured or guaranteed by credit unions. ** Source: 2009 policyholder data.

10001970-1110 © CUNA Mutual Group, 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Common Purpose. Uncommon Commitment.

Every Day Is a Bank Transfer Day (Continued) of a second commercial. This is perfect timing for credit unions to continue utilizing the momentum still happening with consumers being unhappy with their bank and the ongoing buzz of every day being a bank transfer day. Maintain Connection with Your Membership Even after the BTD buzz faded, larger for-profit financial institutions continue to find that they are disconnected with their customers. Why? The main reason is that actions speak louder than words. Rather than being empathetic to or wanting to assist customers’ situations, banks (as shown through various fees they have implemented lately) seem more concerned with their bottom line. Credit unions, on the other hand, continue to strive every day to do whatever they can to provide exceptional value and service to their members. Credit unions should continue to establish trust and a close connection with the membership. Be sure to communicate the credit union’s vision among staff - from the teller to the board. Also, if you haven’t already, instill the credit union philosophy and why credit unions are different to all employees. You’d be surprised that some credit union employees aren’t aware of these two things. That knowledge and understanding contribute to the cultivation of good member service which contributes to member satisfaction and loyalty. TruStone Federal Credit Union in Plymouth, Minnesota began implementing a novel idea. It hosts a “Behind the Scenes Day” at its headquarters. The credit union found a general curiosity from the

members that attended and that they didn’t understand the credit union did more than just take in a deposit or make loans, let alone what the credit union difference meant. Not only did the members learn about the credit union; the credit union learned about the members. Making a connection and having a conversation can be the most cost-effective form of determining what your members want. When a member is loyal to a product or service, they will talk to their friends, family, and even acquaintances, about why they use it and recommend other’s use of it. Word-of-mouth advertising is the best type of advertising out there because it is predicated on the positive experience of the person speaking about or recommending the service. It’s important that credit unions not only welcome in the new members from the image campaign and BTD, but to also work harder to show them the credit union difference. The wave of positive press and anti-bank sentiment will continue for the foreseeable future. Large or small, credit unions are unique in philosophy and member service and keeping those distinguishing characteristics top-of-mind to members, both current and potential, is necessary to keep the momentum going. Credit unions shouldn’t limit Bank Transfer Day to Nov. 5. Have the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities and implement a few processes to ensure that every day is a bank transfer day. ■

LSCU Director’s Resource Sign up now to receive the LSCU Director’s Resource newsletter, created specifically for credit union volunteers! • Each quarterly issue contains information relevant to credit union board members. • Upcoming events specifically for volunteers, stories that give volunteers a greater understanding of what the League and CUNA are doing for credit unions, and stories that will enrich their job as a volunteer. Sign up to receive this newsletter by sending a request to

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CU Volunteer Profile J. Wallace Johnson, CU Volunteer, Five Star CU, Dothan, AL 1.




Why did you become involved as a director of a credit union? I was employed by the Great Northern Nekoosa Corporation (now Georgia-Pacific) and managed the accounting department of the coal company acquired by Great Northern. The coal company was sold but I stayed with Great Northern (retired in 1996). Five Star Credit Union (then chartered as Cedar Springs Federal Credit Union) was founded in August of 1964 in Cedar Springs, Georgia, and was located in the paper mill to serve the employees. I was asked to serve on the supervisory committee. We belonged to the Georgia League back then. Later I ran for the board and was elected chairman. We grew fast but NCUA wouldn’t let us expand due to the SEG. In 1997, the board of directors voted to relocate our headquarters to Dothan, AL, and we chose to become an Alabama state-chartered credit union (dropping the “Federal” from our name). This allowed us to offer our membership to many more people in Alabama and Georgia. We currently operate branches throughout Southwest Georgia and Southeast Alabama. I currently serve as the treasurer. How have you approached your position as a board director and treasurer at Five Star CU? I’ve approached my position as director by ensuring the credit union is financially sound. I majored in accounting so I pay attention to the financial side. I make sure we’re doing things properly by not getting into things we don’t need to do. And, that we do as much as we can for the membership. During your tenure at Five Star, how has the credit union industry changed in your opinion? We’ve grown tremendously as a whole. Our size and technology has become complicated. Regulations are aggravating and a never ending process. It used to be a much simpler business and now it’s become much more. I remember when we used to keep the money in a shoe box.

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How important are non-paid volunteers for credit unions? Very important. We need a balance. Our primary duties are to look in the best interest of members, not a money-making deal. Five Star is in the process of recruiting board members. What is that process and why is it so J. Wallace Johnson important? Five Star CU First we must determine what the needs are and then recruit for those needs. At Five Star, every board member was employed by the paper mill. Now we have nine counties to solicit from so we’re looking for representatives on the board from all member SEGs. We determined the best way to ensure a good fit was to have potential recruits attend various board and credit union functions. By having a potential board member attend a board meeting, they can learn what it takes to become a board member. With the annual election in March, we had one of our potential board members (currently on the supervisory committee) attend the Development Conference to find out what’s going on. Being a board member is not just attending a meeting once a month; there is liability and responsibility involved. ■

Annette Barwick, Volunteer & Chairman, Suncoast Schools FCU, Tampa, FL 1.



What brought you to become a member of Suncoast Schools FCU and later a volunteer and chairman of the credit union? I graduated from FSU with a business administration and education degree. After graduation, I came to Hillsborough County as a teacher and I joined Suncoast the first year. It was the place to get financial services for teachers and it still is. I’ve been a member since 1964. In 1992 I applied for position on the board because I thought it would be a great way to give back to the community in general. I worked for a previous board member so I was well aware of what the board was about, familiar with the credit union and understood the culture because my direct boss was a previous chairman. I applied and was elected to the board in 1992. It is without a doubt the most gratifying experience to serve as a board member of a fine credit union. I have served in various positions including board member, secretary, vice chairman, and, for three years, as chairman. I chose to wait to serve as chairman until after I retired from my school district position. This was so I could devote as much time as was needed to the credit union. It truly was an outstanding experience to be able to work with the fabulous staff at Suncoast and to be able to represent the board on a regular basis with staff. How have you approached your position as a director/past chairman at Suncoast Schools FCU? I am as involved as anybody needs me to be. I will fulfill duties as requested and I fully support the training and supervision of new board members. As past chairman, I was involved in the identification and selection of some new board members. I believe it is important, as a board member, to stay current and active and to support the board and staff in every way I can as well as be available to do what is requested. It is a distinct pleasure to serve with such a great group of directors and to serve the credit union that has such an outstanding management staff. How important are non-paid volunteers for credit unions? Critical because, as a non-paid volunteer, I’m a member just like every other member I represent. I’m not in a position of taking payment from the credit union so none of the decisions or my thinking can be influenced by that. My decisions and thinking are influenced by what’s good for all members, myself included.



The Suncoast Schools FCU board is active in the political advocacy of credit unions. You played a big part in making the trip to Washington, D.C. a budget line item for the board. From a director’s point of view, why is it so important to be involved? For a number of years, I have said because of our size we have a duty to be Annette Barwick as representative and supportive as we Suncoast Schools FCU can of national organizations and national movements so that we are, in fact, assisting all credit unions and the movement. Some smaller credit unions cannot participate. We can and we must. The first time I attended the GAC (CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference), I was totally impressed with the access to high level officials that we would not have had otherwise. I feel that the opportunity to hear an upper level-highest possible level—update on what the national picture looks like is critical to how we run our credit union and the kinds of decisions we make. I thought that all our board needed the opportunity to hear that and have that experience. We now approve all board members to attend the GAC, if their schedule permits. There’s no place else you really get the overview and briefing from a national prospective as you do at the GAC. It is important to be involved in political advocacy, not for just our credit union but, for the whole credit union community and to preserve the philosophy of credit unions. Suncoast Schools FCU was an active participant of LSCU’s Statewide Image Campaign for credit unions. Why should other credit union volunteers push for their credit union’s participation? We’re all one organization to the extent that credit unions are different. Credit unions have a unique philosophy, and we must do anything we can --as boards or directors or credit union staff or the league--to educate the general public about the value of credit unions and what that value brings to people. People also need to understand the philosophy of credit unions and that a credit union is for everyone, not just select, and that our whole purpose is to serve and provide the best financial services possible. All credit unions need to be getting that message out, and we need to do whatever we can to educate the public. ■

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Advocacy 2012 Legislative Preview Alabama The 2012 regular session of the Alabama Legislature is scheduled to begin Feb. 7 with budget shortfalls and how to address them, an all too common theme in Alabama, dominating the early press. In addition to the annual budgets, tweaking the immigration reform legislation passed during the 2011 session and redistricting of the state’s house and senate seats will also be on the agenda. It has already been announced that both the Education Trust Fund Budget and General Fund Budget will see significant shortfalls once again. During the 2011 session, shortfalls were dealt with primarily through cuts to state agencies, teachers’ benefits, and state employee benefits. While the 2012 budgets will not be as underfunded as 2011, more cuts will have to be made. The current legislature has, so far, taken a strong stance against raising any type of revenue through tax increases or any other measure. At this point there is no reason to think that will change, but the major concern is what happens when there is nothing left to cut. Hopefully the answer will not be revealed anytime soon and there are still cuts to be made within state government that can make up the difference. In the meantime, LSCU government affairs staff will remain ever vigilant in ensuring that the credit union tax exemption is never an option to fix budget shortfalls in Alabama. Many will remember that earlier this year the Alabama Legislature began the process of redistricting by addressing the state’s congressional and school board districts. While there were some population shifts that caused lines to be shifted, the districts remained the same in most cases. During the 2012 session the legislature is expected to tackle the state house and senate districts and there could be a few extra heated debates. The Republicans will be in control for the first time when it comes to redrawing the districts and many don’t expect this to go as smoothly as the redrawing of the congressional seats. Democrats and Republicans alike will be keeping a watchful eye on where the new districts will be as well as who may be drawn out or forced to run against another incumbent legislator. Additionally, many


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in Montgomery are predicting another large class of freshmen legislators after the 2014 election. This, coupled with new districts, could make for a wild ride in the 2014 election cycle. Immigration reform has been talked about since the new law was recently passed, but the controversy surrounding it does not want to go away. Every time a newspaper is opened or a news broadcast is watched, an immigration story can be found and the 2012 session will be no different. There are many in Alabama that want to see changes to the new law, one legislator has already pre-filed a bill to repeal it completely. While that will not happen, changes may be made and it will be highly debated on the floors of the house and senate. Gov. Bentley and the authors of the immigration law have already gone on record saying that if any changes are made, they need to be minimal. However, farmers are upset, churches are upset, and even schools are upset; and when these groups are upset, action is usually taken. It is still way too early to tell what, if any, changes may come, but expect the issue to continue to dominate the news. CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

LSCU Legislator Profile

Slade Blackwell How did you decide to get into politics and run for the Alabama Senate? A few years ago, I realized I was unhappy with the direction our state was going and became worried about how our decisions would affect future generations. I became involved in advocating for a sewer solution and didn’t feel like the best interest Jefferson County citizens were being considered in Montgomery. I wanted to do something about it and decided to run for the state Senate.

Senator Blackwell is serving his first term in the Alabama Senate for District 15. He is chairperson of the Banking and Insurance Committee. He was born in Mississippi on June 14, 1968, and grew up in Montevallo, Alabama, where he was admitted to the University of Montevallo on a full basketball scholarship. He graduated from Montevallo with a Bachelor of Science in Art degree. Senator Blackwell is married to his high school sweetheart, Dr. Sally Salter Blackwell, of Montevallo, and together they have three children: twin boys, Colby and Grant, and a daughter, Hagen. They currently reside in Birmingham, where Senator Blackwell owns a real estate development company. He is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), a member of the Shelby Arts Council Board of Directors, a long-time volunteer as a community youth basketball coach, an active member of several chambers of commerce in Senate District 15, and a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church.


A Magazine of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions

SIGNAL: Vol. 2, Issue 4

What major long-term issues do you see facing Alabama, and what should the Legislature do to address those issues? Some of the major issues that will continue to affect Alabama include the expansion of jobs, recruitment of industry, prison overcrowding, and the financial crisis in Jefferson County. It’s imperative that we continue to pass pro-business legislation that will help businesses –large and small – and create jobs across Alabama. By focusing on assisting businesses throughout the state, we can work towards economic recovery. Prison overcrowding is already a major issue that is something we must address. The funding for prisons in Alabama is simply not there so we are forced to deal with prisoners that we cannot afford to keep in our system. We must find a remedy soon. The Jefferson County financial crisis is perhaps the most important issue that we must address for the sake of the entire state. The county commission recently filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in order to end the $3.2 billion sewer debt crisis. However, bankruptcy will not dissolve our debt and will create significant long-term problems for Alabama in terms of competing for industry. The Jefferson County general fund is also an issue that the local delegation must come together to solve. These issues will end up hurting the entire state for years to come if we do not do something now. What are your personal goals for the 2012 Legislative Session, what would you most like to see accomplished? Some of my personal goals for this legislative session include finding a way to solve the Jefferson County financial crisis, while also encouraging the full legislative body to not rush through legislation that will have lasting impacts on the entire state. In

every legislative session, there are several bills that come up. This year, I want to be able to really study and analyze the bills to make sure we are passing the best possible legislation for the state. In regards to Jefferson County, the general fund and the sewer crisis must be resolved and I believe we can make that happen without having to continue down the path of Chapter 9 bankruptcy. I am committed to work with the legislative delegation as well as other elected officials on finding a solution to place Jefferson County back on solid footing.

our local economy. Credit unions have remained stable throughout the financial meltdown over the past few years and I think that says a lot about the success of your business model. Because of minimal lending practices, small businesses are allowed to grow and flourish; something we desperately need right now. When credit unions loan money to small businesses, they are indirectly creating jobs. I think we need to get back to supporting our local businesses and ‘mom and pop’ stores. This is the first step in putting our economy back on the right track.

What needs to happen in Alabama both to recover from the recession and to move the state forward? First and foremost, we need to put forward a positive image of Alabama both locally and nationally. If we do this, we can enhance economic development, which leads to more jobs in the state. More jobs lead to more revenue to the state directly improving our revenue. The revenue from sales and income tax directly affects our Education Trust Fund and our General Fund. If we can find a way to jumpstart our economy, then we begin to head down the road towards improving our schools and state operations.

Although they are not-for-profit member-owned financial institutions, credit unions are subject to significant regulatory requirements from both the state and Federal governments. What is your philosophy on the regulation of financial institutions, especially smaller ones like credit unions? Credit unions face much more regulation than other financial institutions right now. We need to support our credit unions with fewer regulations in order to fully accept what credit unions can bring to our communities and state. Credit unions can play a major role in helping spur our economy and it starts with limiting regulations. ■

What role do you see credit unions playing in the financial services industry and in Alabama’s economy? I see credit unions playing a major role in continuing to stimulate

Blackwell (r) (pictured here with Sen. Marc Keahey) was a guest on the Alabama State GAC’s Legislative Outlook Panel which discussed the year’s session as well as credit union priorities.

SIGNAL: Vol. 2, Issue 4


LSCU Legislator Profile

Allen West

Since 2010, Rep Allen West (R) has served Florida’s 22nd district, encompassing parts of Broward and Palm Beach Counties along South Florida’s coastline. Rep. West served as a field artillery officer in several combat zones: Operation Desert Storm; Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he was battalion commander for the Army’s 4th Infantry Division; and Afghanistan, where he trained Afghan officers to take on the responsibility of securing their country. In 2004, after serving 22 years in the Army, Rep. West retired from the military and, along with his wife and two daughters, settled in South Florida. He taught high school for a year and then returned to Afghanistan as a civilian advisor to the Afghan army. Rep. West received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee and earned a master’s degree from Kansas State University, both in political science. He also holds a Master of Military Arts and Sciences from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer College in political theory and military operations.


A Magazine of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions

SIGNAL: Vol. 2, Issue 4

How and why did you become interested in politics, and what led you to run for Congress? Well, for me, it was a logical extension of the service that I’ve given to my country in uniform – I never thought that this would be where my life would end up. As a matter of fact, in November of 2007, I was packing up my gear and getting ready to return back from Afghanistan. So when people came to me and said the oath that you took as a young second lieutenant back in 1982, it still continues on, and I had to honor that and I believe in that. Plus, I believe in my country and my fellow countrymen, and I want to make sure the America that my father and mother fought hard to make sure that I could have the opportunities availed to me, we can do that as well for the next generation including my children and grandchildren. What do you think the biggest challenges facing Congress are heading into 2012? The biggest challenge facing us is determining the proper role and responsibility of the federal government. Because if we continue down the path of believing that America is going to be based upon having a bureaucratic nanny-state, then you’re going to see this debt situation intensify. So what you have emanating out of Washington are the monetary, fiscal, tax, and regulatory policies that are counter-productive to us growing our private sector and really having economic growth – not public sector growth – but private sector growth through investment, ingenuity, and innovation. You have chosen to co-sponsor H.R. 1418, the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act of 2011, which would afford credit unions the ability to lend more to small businesses. Why do you feel this is an important piece of legislation? I feel our small businesses are our economic engine. I also think we need to look at every avenue that we can to get capital into the hands of our small businesses so they can grow, so that we can get Americans back hired, and so those small businesses can expand. I think allowing credit unions to extend their ability to lend is an important aspect of it. Now, we just have to make sure that

if credit unions seek to participate in that, they have to understand the risks involved, and they have to mitigate those risks by making sure they’re executing the proper type of lending practices – definitely not predatory lending practices, and over-extending themselves in their lending. But if credit union associations feel this is beneficial to them to have that lending ability, then the government should not get in the way of that – they should allow that to happen – but the government should not try to come back and rectify, or bailout, or fix it based upon bad business practices. Aside from H.R. 1418, what major issues do you believe financial institutions such as credit unions should be watching? Well, I think credit unions should continue to track and monitor the regulatory policies coming out of Washington that are affecting them. I would hope they would continue to let persons such as myself, or other Congressional representatives know the adverse affects so that we can take the right actions.

What should credit union management, staff, and volunteers do to stay on top of new developments, both legislatively and politically? I would tell them to go to Kevin McCarthy’s webcast, it’s an application you can get and put on your smartphone, that keeps you up-to-date, daily, on the legislation going on here in Washington, D.C. – especially in the House of Representatives. Each week, I put out a weekly update which gives you a summary of the week’s activities and highlights of the legislative progress. So I would say to each person out there within the credit union world including management, as Plato said: “those who refuse to participate in politics, shall be governed by their inferiors.” So credit unions need to stay informed, they need to stay abreast, and they need to educate their employees on the criticality of these issues and how the policies coming out of Washington, D.C. can affect what they’re doing in their branches. With this knowledge, their employees can make good educated decisions when it comes to next year’s critical election cycle. ■

Rep. West meets with Florida credit unions during September’s Hike the Hill in Washington, D.C.

SIGNAL: Vol. 2, Issue 4


2012 Legislative Preview (Continued) Florida The 2012 Legislative Session will begin early this year as the Legislature is charged with drafting new maps for both legislative districts and congressional districts. The session will begin on Jan. 10, 2012 and is scheduled to conclude on March 9, 2012. The two major issues the legislature will deal with this year are redistricting and, as always, the budget. Every ten years, the legislature must revisit the legislative and congressional district maps and they must be redrawn to reflect the change in population after the 2010 US Census. The Congressional map will include two additional seats, bringing Florida’s total delegation to 29 (27 in the House and 2 Senators). While maps have not been released yet, it is clear that this year will be more contentious than usually, particularly in light of two constitutional amendments which require the legislature to ignore incumbency and draw the districts “fairly.” What is fair is anyone’s guess and this will certainly be an interesting debate to watch unfold. Many expect the House and Senate to vote on the mapss early in the session and send them for approval to the Florida Supreme eme Court. If the Court were to reject the plan, the Legislature would ld then have ample time to come up with a new plan before the 60-day day regular session came to an end. While redistricting is one of the hot topics this year, the one other issue the legislature is constitutionally required to consider der is the annual budget. For several years, the legislature has been een reducing the state’s budget and it will be no different in 2012. Facing acing an estimated $2 billion budget deficit, the legislature will once nce again look for ways to save money. It is expected that state employees mployees may once again be the target of cuts, with employees’ benefits fits always up for discussion. Last year, state employees were requiredd to put three percent of their annual salary into the state retirement system, ry. which was seen by many as a three-percent cut in salary. Two years ago, employees’ healthcare benefits were changed, forcing them to pay more for their health benefits. The heavily Republican controlled legislature remains committed to balancing the budget (as required by the constitution) without raising revenues, so it is expected that cuts will be made and taxes will not be raised. The other hot topic facing the legislature this year is whether to expand gaming in Florida by allowing full-scale, Vegas-style destination resorts to be built in Florida. Legislation has been filed in both the House and Senate that would allow casinos to be built in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Proponents of the bill include two of the leading gaming corporations,


A Magazine of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions

SIGNAL: Vol. 2, Issue 4

Genting USA (who has already purchased land in Miami) and Las Vegas Sands Corporation (owner of the Venetian and Palazzo resorts in Las Vegas and elsewhere). There is little argument that the expansion of gaming would have a positive revenue effect in Florida; however opponents argue that bringing casinos to Florida would ruin its family friendly reputation. Opponents include Disney, the Florida Chamber, the Florida Catholic Conference and the Florida Baptist Convention. Speaker of the House Dean Cannon (R-Orlando) has publicly stated his opposition to the expansion of gambling while the Senate President, Mike Haridopolos (R-Melbourne) has not been as clear on his stance. Both are committed to giving the issue a fair debate.

League Legislative Agenda The League’s top priority in both Alabama and Florida will be amending the laws to allow credit unions to serve each state as public depositories. In both states, the battle to pass this legislation comes down to policy versus politics. Most legislators we have discussed the issue with see no real policy reason that credit unions cannot accept deposits from public entities,

but both legislatures are fully aware of the political implications as banks are sure to oppose our efforts in full force. During the 2011 Florida Legislative Session, the public deposits bill was heard and passed out of one House committee; however it died without receiving a vote on either the floor of the House or the Senate. Alabama’s 2011 session ended without a public deposits bill being filed but the issue was discussed with many key legislators who felt that 2012 was a better year to approach the subject. The 2012 version of the bill in Florida, HB 669/SB 936, has been filed in the House by Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) and in the Senate by Sen. Chris Smith (D-Ft. Lauderdale). The bill has yet to be filed in Alabama as their session does not begin until later in the year. Foreclosure issues will be another hot topic being monitored by the League’s Governmental Affairs teams in both states. In Alabama, a carryover issue from last year will be reducing the redemption period on foreclosed property. League staff has met with the expected sponsor of this legislation to voice our support and offer any assistance in order to finally see it passed and signed into law. One new aspect is that the redemption period will be reduced to six months rather than 90 days as in previous legislation. This change

will hopefully reduce opposition and ensure passage in 2012. In Florida, the League is hoping to work with the Florida Bankers Association to help ease the burden on Florida’s courts when it comes to foreclosures. Staff has met several times with the FBA as well as key legislators to discuss the possibility of implementing a non-judicial foreclosure system in Florida. While the likelihood of this happening in 2012 is slim, due to the legislatures burdensome agenda with redistricting and budget, laying the groundwork for future legislation is just as important. Other issues the League will be monitoring in both states include predatory lending issues, data security issues, and opportunities for regulatory relief. As the legislative sessions get closer, your involvement in the process will be critical to LSCU’s success. It is always important that credit unions continue to monitor their emails as the League needs a grassroots network more than ever. Be ready and available to contact your representatives and senators on these issues and any others that will arise. Without advocates in the field, the League will not be successful in pushing forth meaning legislation that will positively affect credit unions. ■

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Compliance Corner A Look Back at Regulatory Changes in 2011 Bill Berg, MBA, CCUE, CUCE, BSACS, VP, Regulatory Affairs & Compliance Training

The pace of regulatory change is a fast as I have seen it during the 34 years I have been working in the financial services industry. And, it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Here is a recap of some of the major regulatory changes that went into effect in 2011. Additional information on these topics can be obtained online from InfoSight at SAFE Act became effective July 30, 2011. The SAFE Act requires financial institutions to have a board-approved policy on the Act. The national registration didn’t open until January 31, 2011. The LSCU provided a sample policy for Alabama and Florida credit unions. To download this policy and/or listen to the audio of the Feb. 10 compliance conference call, you will need a login and password then go to\Governmental Affairs\Compliance & Operational Support\SAFE Act Resources. Garnishment became effective May 1, 2011. These guidelines required major revisions to procedures used when receiving garnishment orders and apply when these benefits are paid by Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits; veterans’ benefits; Federal railroad retirement unemployment and sickness benefits; or civil service retirement systems and Federal employee retirement systems benefits. This topic was also covered in one of our compliance conference calls. To review a recording of the call go to\Governmental Affairs\Compliance & Operational Support\Garnishment. Regulation CC became effective July 21, 2011. The DoddFrank Act increased the next-day availability requirement for certain check deposits to $200, eliminated all references to “non-local” checks, and made many other substantive changes to the Reg CC. Reorganization of Bank Secrecy Act Regulations became effective March 1, 2011. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a final rule reorganizing and transferring FinCEN’s Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) regulations to a new chapter in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The regulations have been moved from 31 CFR 103 to a new, tenth chapter entitled “Title 31 Chapter X – Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.” If a credit union’s BSA policies or procedures reference the Act, the changed citation should be used or the examiners will write the credit union up.

NCUA Assessments and Insurance Premiums were due September 27, 2011. The NCUA stated that their assessment for the corporates is a range of 20 to 25 basis points (bp). Unfortunately, the NCUA went to the top of their range and assessed 25 bp of insured shares as of June 30, 2011. The NCUA premium for natural person credit union losses was projected to be zero for 2011 and it was. For 2012, the projected corporate assessment for 2012 is in the eight to 11 bp range and the NCUSIF premium is projected to be between zero and seven bp. It is likely, that the corporate assessment will be nine bp and NCUSIF premium zero. This will be quite an improvement from the 25 bp that were assessed in 2011 and should really help credit unions improve their earnings. The NCUA has contracted with BlackRock (a securities expert firm) to conduct modeling of losses and cash flows on the securitized assets in the NCUA Guaranteed Notes (NGNs). There are two items that are important to see from the most recent projections from BlackRock. 1.


Although the potential loss range expanded, on the top end it was lowered by $1 billion while the low end was lowered by 3.1 billion. The 2009, 2010, and 2011 assessments have reduced the range of future assessments to between $1.9 and $6.2 billion.

The following chart illustrates this more clearly. Stabilization Fund

Previous Estimate

Current Estimate

(in Billions)

Range of Projected Assessments

$8.3 - $10.5

$5.0 - $9.5

Less 2009 & 2010 Assessments



Less 2011 Assessment



$5.0 - $7.2

$1.9 - $6.2

Remaining Range of Assessments

The low range of the current remaining assessment is less than the 25 bp credit unions paid during 2011. My suggestion for 2012 is to accrue one bp a month. By the time September rolls around, your credit union will have accrued 9 bp which is in the center of the range of expected assessment and is also what I expect the NCUA to assess.


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Regulatory Changes in 2011 (Continued) Regulation Z became effective July 21, 2011. Dodd-Frank revisions now require consumer credit transactions up to $50K to be subject to disclosure requirements of the Truth-in-Lending Act (Reg. Z). 11-FCU-02 Duties of FCU Boards of Directors – Financial Literacy Requirement and Six Key Duties of Directors became effective. The key duties of directors were spelled out, including the requirement to have working familiarity with basic finance and accounting practices, including the ability to read and understand the credit union’s balance sheet and income statement and the ability to ask, as appropriate, substantive questions of management and auditors. CFPB examination procedures were released. The CFPB released its Supervision & Exam Manual that consists of supervision process descriptions, examination procedures, and templates for documenting information about supervised institutions. Also, the CFPB outlined its Mortgage Servicing Exam Procedures, describing the information examiners will use to evaluate servicers’ policies, compliance with applicable laws, and risk to consumers. The CFPB has supervisory authority over insured credit unions with total assets over $10 billion; NCUA and state regulators retain the examination authority over CUs with less than $10 billion in assets and will have “exclusive” enforcement authority. The CFPB limited power over these smaller institutions includes authority to (1) join NCUA examiners “on a sampling basis;” (2) require reports; and (3) refer suspected violations to NCUA for action. The CFPB expects to begin exam operations before the end of 2011. Savings bonds changes become effective December 31, 2011. The U.S. Department of Treasury announced it will eliminate over-thecounter sales of paper savings bonds on December 31, 2011. After that date, paper bonds will no longer be sold at financial institutions, including credit unions. One of the big changes we expect to see take effect early in 2012 is the ATM ADA requirements. These will become effective March 15, 2012. Speech must be recorded or digitized human, or synthesized, and delivered through a mechanism that is readily available to all ATM users, such as through a telephone handset or a headset plugged into an audio jack. And, ATMs must provide the opportunity for the same degree of privacy of input and output available to all individuals. Additional information on these requirements will be provided in the summer issue of Signal Magazine.


A Magazine of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions

SIGNAL: Vol. 2, Issue 4

Regulatory Hot Topics for 2012: LSCU officers met with Alabama, Florida, and NCUA regulators to discuss issues of importance. The meetings, part of the League’s proactive outreach efforts, provided an opportunity for the League to present issues important to affiliate credit unions and offer ways the League and LEVERAGE can assist members in meeting NCUA rules and regulation requirements. The agencies responded with the following methods and processes they viewed as effective and trends they had observed as a result of recent examinations. • Enterprise-wide shocks on credit risk • BSA on annual training for staff and volunteers and independent testing • Troubled Debt Restructuring (TDR) on loan modifications • Operating expenses are going to be a concern for smaller and mid-size credit unions • Document of Resolution (DORs) should be handled. Repeat DORs will be elevated to a Letter of Understanding and Agreement (LUA) • Loan demand is flat and credit unions could increase emphasis on used car lending • Your ALM program and interest rate risk • Allowance for Loan and Lease Loss (ALLL) should be reviewed to ensure that loans are being properly categorized and charged off so your financials can present a full and fair disclosure of your credit union’s financial condition. ■

Regulatory Q&A Elizabeth Vale, Office of Community Banks & Credit Unions Consumer Financial Protection Bureau


As you meet with credit unions, like speaking at the LSCU Development Conference, how important is it to get their input into the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

A: I’m a proud member of a credit union. We have a credit union in the bottom of our building in Washington, D.C. (Treasury Building). Getting out of the beltway is invaluable. Getting granular input from the actual markets, from credit unions, from the people in the credit unions is invaluable. An example of that is our TILA-RESPA combination project. We’re in our fifth itineration and 24,000 people have been to our website ( and many of them are credit unions giving us their granular input so we avoid unintended consequences with projects like TILA-RESPA. It simplifies and it streamlines forms and makes regulations less onerous for the credit unions.


You give your work email out each time you speak. It would seem that your inbox would get bogged down quickly. Why would a government agency ask for so much email input?

A: My email is a very good way for people to stay in touch with me and to give me their input. This helps me connect them with other people in the bureau. I view my role as to be the front door of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and my job is to connect people and their input to my various colleagues. I love to connect the credit unions to the other rooms in the house (CFPB). My email is my name,, and I would love to hear from credit unions, ideally through topic and bullet point. The other way to connect with the CFPB is through our website where we have the TILA-RESPA project, know before you owe and we also have our new student loan shopping sheet there and we need input.


How much interaction has the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had with credit unions?

A: NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz has come to see me quite a lot along with eight or ten of her colleagues. It’s very important that we hear from the credit union regulator so we know what they’re thinking and they know what we’re thinking. We need to have an open dialogue. CUNA has been invaluable to me. I’ve worked with them a lot over the past three years. CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney is terrific and a tremendous ambassador for credit unions, as is CUNA SVP and Deputy Council Mary Dunn. They have connected me to all of the key individuals across the country in the credit union world. I honestly could not do my job without CUNA and Bill Cheney. As the Assistant Director in the office of Community Banks and Credit Unions for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Elizabeth Vale works to include credit unions in the daily operations of the bureau. Vale was previously the White House business liaison and executive director of the White House Business Council. She has more than 22 years of investment experience with Morgan Stanley and Philadelphia National Bank. ■

Elizabeth Vale

SIGNAL: Vol. 2, Issue 4



Cooperative Initiatives “Bank On” Program a Win-Win Initiative for Credit Unions & Members Adena Whitman, director, Member Relations Why You Can “Bank On” this Program The convenience and safety of having a credit union or bank account is often taken for granted by a large majority of citizens. Imagine if you didn’t have a credit union or bank account: How much would it cost to cash your checks? How would you pay your bills? Would you be prepared to carry cash at all times? These questions raise issues of personal safety, economic mobility, as well as, simple convenience. A non-traditional approach to ensure every resident has access to mainstream financial institutions, “Bank On” programs, have sprung up across the country and gained popularity as the financial climate has continued to be stormy. Essentially, the Bank On program is designed by each metro area or state to put residents on the path to financial mobility by helping them open a low-cost, starter bank account and access the education necessary to manage it successfully. But we need all of our credit unions across Alabama and Florida to follow in the wake of the credit unions already carrying the torch and continue to grow the “Bank On” programs in Alabama and Florida. When a Problem Becomes Opportunity Michael Milner, head of the Alabama Asset Building Coalition and chair of the Bank On Alabama Steering Committee, stresses that local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and federal partners all see these problems as potential opportunities and are working collaboratively to help the unbanked and their community. “Studies show that most unbanked households have adults with steady jobs and moderate incomes,” said Milner. “Research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago cites that in cities where a greater percentage of residents have a bank account, homeownership rates are higher, while crime rates are lower. These numbers are an important indicator of the overall economic and social well-being of a community and can be impacted through the accessibility of financial products and education.” Asset building strategies that focus on increasing income, building savings, and gaining and sustaining assets are successful in fighting poverty and creating financial stability in a community. But without an account at a bank or credit union the asset building strategies for low-income working families are limited at best.



A Magazine of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions

SIGNAL: Vol. 2, Issue 4

Barriers to Banking There are a number of reasons why individuals do not have bank accounts. An FDIC survey found that unbanked individuals cited convenience as the primary reason that they use alternative financial services, which are typically located in proximity to low-income neighborhoods and are often open during non-traditional hours when typical mainstream financial institutions are closed. Many lowincome workers cannot take time away from their jobs to attend to financial needs. Alternative services are also attractive because they provide individuals, who are often living from paycheck to paycheck, with immediate access to their money. A payday loan can be obtained in a matter of minutes, for example, while a traditional loan requires an underwriting process and may not be available for several days or weeks. In addition, people who are unbanked are often less likely to have sufficient financial knowledge to navigate through the mainstream checking, saving, and loan product options in their communities. Some individuals rely on alternative financial services because they simply have no other options. They may be unable to open a bank account due to prohibitively high minimum balance requirements or monthly service charges. Some do not have access to the proper identification, such as a U.S.-issued driver’s license, required by banks. Many have made mistakes in previous banking relationships that have landed them in Chex Systems, a national database that financial institutions use to identify people who have had past problems with bank accounts, such as unpaid overdraft charges. “The participation of financial institutions in regional Bank On programs and other initiatives promoting access to mainstream financial services is important to the success of fostering healthy banking relationships for the un- and under-banked,” said Janet Hamer, senior community development manager with the Jacksonville branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. “Along with financial education, a banking relationship with a mainstream financial institution is fundamental to successful asset building and household financial stability.”

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“Bank On” Program (Continued) The “Bank On” Cities Campaign As communities continue to grapple with the fallout from the recent financial crisis and the impact of widespread family financial instability, the “Bank On” program has emerged as a national model for promoting access to mainstream financial services, supporting working families, and strengthening local economies. “As of October, there are 41 “Bank On” programs currently active,” said Heidi Goldberg, program director with the National League of Cities, the initial sponsor for the “Bank On” idea. “There are more cities looking to get initiatives underway. There is such little penetration in the southeastern United States outside of Florida that we would really be pleased to see more programs spring up in the areas of the states which are traditionally underrepresented.” A “Bank On” program involves local partnerships among city officials, financial institutions, and community-based organizations (CBO) working together to better serve unbanked and underbanked residents. “Bank On” initiatives create pathways to safe, affordable financial products — including low- or no-cost checking accounts — that are offered by all participating financial institutions, rely on outreach campaigns to inform the public about the program, and provide financial education to help targeted residents achieve and maintain financial stability. A Collaborative Effort In the past few years, financial institutions across Florida and Alabama have met with a diverse coalition of partners to develop policies and product features that will facilitate banking for unbanked residents. Initiatives in Florida have been particularly successful, with more than 4,000 accounts opened in St. Pete and 2,000 accounts in Jacksonville. “Because the ‘Bank On’ philosophy mirrors the credit union industry’s core values, it has been almost seamless for credit unions to succeed in the Bank On model,” said Amber R. Tynan, executive director of the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation and coordinator for the League’s participation with the “Bank On” programs. “‘Bank On’ Big Bend will launch soon and we are committed to working with all of our credit unions to spread the program to those areas which need it the most.” “The ‘Bank On’ Jacksonville initiative is simply an extension of what credit unions were chartered to do...and that is to serve members of modest means,” said Randy Swift with Vystar Credit Union in Jacksonville, Florida. “With the financial reforms that have taken place over the last two years, there has never been a better time to reach out to the unbanked and under banked by providing 28

A Magazine of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions

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financial literacy training, baseline checking and bill payment services and fulfilling small loan requests to enhance the quality of life for this under-served segment in the Greater Jacksonville area.” Alabama’s initiative has been slower to develop, but momentum has been building as the statewide program is being directed through the Alabama Asset Building Coalition, based in Birmingham. “We are targeting Birmingham, Mobile, and Huntsville as initial target cities,” said Milner. “Our long-term plans are to spread the Bank On programs throughout the state through partnerships. We anticipate launching in early 2012 and encourage any financial institutions interested to join the steering committee.” Community-based organizations and nonprofits have also invested countless hours designing ways to act as trusted liaisons to neighbors and clients in order to educate on the benefits of using mainstream financial institutions. The coalition consists of CBOs that provide a variety of health and human services, working to offer financial education, free tax preparation, and other asset building opportunities. If you would like to find out more about the “Bank On” Initiative in Alabama or Florida or how your business or credit union can get involved, contact Amber R. Tynan, executive director of the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation – or 866.231.0545, x1154. Resources Links for more information on Florida programs: Visit’s Communication & Press Room to hear a podcast LSCU did with Carl Nurse, Councilman for St. Pete who helped launched Bank On St. Pete. ■

CO-OP Opens 2012 Miracle Match Season CO-OP Financial Services is now accepting applications from credit unions for matches for the 2012 CO-OP Miracle Match program benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The Miracle Match program, now entering its fifth year, calls for CO-OP to put up $1 million in matching funds raised by individual credit unions through Credit Unions for Kids (CU4Kids) events. Proceeds go to local hospitals in the Children’s Miracle Network and the credit union industry, CO-OP said, is currently the third-largest contributor. “This is a great way for our credit unions and chapters to leverage funds already allocated to support the CU4Kids program while making a larger impact on their local communities and hospital,” said Amber R. Tynan, Southeastern Credit Union Foundation executive director. Applications for the match are online at, or to learn more contact Tynan or visit ■

Save the Date! LSCU Small Asset Size Credit Union Workshops

Make plans now to attend a Small Credit Union Workshop and gain insights into the issues that are important to you right now. February 7, 2012 9am - 4pm EST Suncoast Schools FCU Tampa, Florida

February 9, 2012 9am - 4pm CST APCO Employees CU Birmingham, Alabama

For more information, visit or contact LSCU VP, Cooperative Initiatives Laura Vann, at 866.231.0545, x2181 or

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Foundation Scholarships Available from the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation Amber R. Tynan, executive director, Southeastern Credit Union Foundation The Southeastern Credit Union Foundation (SECUF) awarded $23,921.51 in scholarships in 2011 for credit union CEOs, employees, board members, and supervisory committee members to attend educational events such as the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, state Governmental Affairs Conferences, the Annual Convention & Exposition, Development Conference, Supervisory Committee Conference, LSCU educational events, and CUNA educational events. For 2012, scholarships will be available of all of the events listed above, as well as the Hike the Hill events. Scholarships are also available to the Southeast Regional Credit Union School. The scholarship program is designed for smaller asset size credit unions and credit unions with financial hardships. The scholarships not only cover tuition but also cover a portion of travel costs. This year, we were pleased to also award scholarships to the volunteer leaders of our member credit unions. Stacey Hand, CEO of Chattahoochee Federal Credit Union in Valley, AL, received a scholarship to attend her third year of the Southeast Regional Credit Union School (SRCUS). “Without the benefit of the scholarship, Chattahoochee Federal Credit Union would not have been in a financial situation to send me for the remaining year of SRCUS,” she said. Her third year group project related to credit union collaboration and the importance of credit unions working together. “During the course of my three years at SRCUS, I was given tools to help me be a better leader, presenter, and team player,” Hand added.


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For a relatively new supervisory committee chairman, a SECUF scholarship made it possible for her to get a comprehensive introduction to her responsibilities. Lauren Megginson Bell, chairman of the supervisory committee at the University of South Alabama Federal Credit Union in Mobile, AL said that the Supervisory Committee Conference was one of the better educational conferences that she has attended. “A break out session on the first day that basically taught what the supervisory committee is responsible for was where I learned the most information,” she said. Bell also mentioned the value of networking with other supervisory committee members. The Foundation is now accepting scholarships for 2012 educational events. The scholarship application is available on the foundation website,, and also on the LSCU website in the Cooperative Initiatives section. If you have any questions about the foundation’s scholarship program, contact Tynan or your member relations specialist. ■


League Education 2012 Education Calendar Reflects Member Input Cassandra Grayson, chief of staff, Association Services When the LSCU Education Team began putting together the 2012 LSCU Education Calendar, input from the 2011 Members Survey was used to ensure members’ needs were being met. The survey showed that 89 percent of respondents feel the League is meeting their educational needs. This is an 18 percent jump from 2010. However, many credit unions had suggestions on topics they would like to see in 2012. The League also began a contractual consulting agreement with the Credit Union Executive’s Society (CUES) to enhance the curriculum and content expertise for Alabama and Florida credit unions. The partnership with CUES will kick-off with the Credit Union Executive Dialogue in Bonita Springs, FL Feb. 2-3, 2012. This event is exclusively for credit unions with $500 million plus in assets. CEOs and executive management are encouraged to attend and bring ideas and thoughts about the future of the credit union industry. Credit unions will feel the partnership throughout the year as many of the existing League conferences and workshops will have a stronger curriculum feel to them. “CUES is a recognized leader for education and training for credit union executives, and they have a great reputation in Alabama and Florida,” said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine. “The League is committed to providing best-in-class educational offerings for our member credit unions. Partnering with CUES will help us achieve this goal by leveraging CUES expertise while promoting collaboration, reducing costs and other er redundancies.” rred edun unnda danc ncie nc iess. ie s. s.”


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The 2012 calendar includes three new workshops. The Members Survey had a number of requests for training on asset liability management (ALM). On March 27-28, the first ALM training will take place in Orlando. There will be an essentials course and an implementation course. On Oct. 9-10, Bankruptcy and Collections School will return to Birmingham. Again, the Members Survey had requests for more training on collections. This workshop will include advanced collections strategies. The Bankruptcy School will go beyond the basics and help those credit unions that are already versed on bankruptcies sharpen their skills. Also in October there will be a new workshop that is sure to become a favorite of credit unions. The Credit Union Philosophy workshop will focus on equipping those new to credit unions about what exactly makes the credit union difference. Lois Kitsch, national program director for the National Credit Union Foundation, and Larry Blanchard, a public affairs consultant with CUNA Mutual, will facilitate the discussion. This workshop will be perfect for that new credit union teller all the way up to a new executive. The League is making a stronger effort to provide compliance training at the credit union and chapter level. LSCU Vice President, Compliance Training and Information Bill Berg provided training to more than 300 credit union staff and volunteers in 2011. That number will surely rise in 2012, as many of the LSCU major conferences, like the Annual Convention and Exposition and Development Conference, will have compliance training sessions. sess To take a closer close look at the League’s 2012 Education Calendar, go to Education. Visitors can download the Educa 2012 calendar or click on the events 20 calendar and see the events on a monthly grid. At the top of the events page, visitors can click to see the monthly grid by LSCU Conferences and Workshops, National and Regional Conferences, or by Distance Learning (webinars). ■

Upcoming First Quarter Learning Opportunities The LSCU has constructed a solid education calendar for 2012. The educational offerings range from convenient, cost-effective webinars that cover a variety of relevant topics to regulatory compliance workshops, state governmental affairs conferences. These offerings will help members build and enhance the necessary skills needed to work efficiently and effectively. Bolded listings denote workshops and conferences. Non-bolded listings denote webinars. January 2012 4 Business Account Takeover Alert: What You Need to Know Now! 5 Managing the New Appraisal Guidelines for Residential Property 11 Director Series: Understanding, Measuring & Monitoring Risks: The 9 Most-Critical Risks Credit Unions Face 12 IRA/HSA Review & Update 2011 Tax Year 18 Hot Button Regulatory Exam Issues: Dealing with Increased Scrutiny 19 ACH Rules Update, Including NSF Fees & the New ACH Rule 24-25 LSCU State Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) Tallahassee, FL 25 Loan Stress Testing for Today’s Credit Union 26 Credit Union Actions for Debit Card Interchange Rules: Effective April 2012 February 2012 2 Frontline Series: Minor Accounts: Legal Ownership, Debit Cards & Access 2-3 LSCU/CUES Large Asset Size Credit Union CEO Executive Dialogue Bonita Springs, FL 7 LSCU SAS CU Workshop Tampa, FL 8 Regulation E Legal Update: How to Properly Handle ATM & Debit Card Claims 9 Required Compliance Series: Regulatory Compliance for the Board & Senior Management 9 LSCU Small Asset Size (SAS) CU Workshop Birmingham, AL 15 Tax Refunds: Posting & Exceptions 16 Lending Series: Understanding Borrowers’ Tax Returns, Part 1: Basics, Itemized Deductions, Interest & Dividend Income & Sole Proprietorships (Schedule C) 22 GFE & HUD-1: Issues & Update 22 LSCU BSA Training Workshop Jacksonville, FL

23 New BSA Officer Training 28 Identifying & Preventing Elder Financial Abuse March 2012 6 Troubled Debt Restructuring Issues 7 Overdraft Protection Update: Regulations, Lawsuits & Guidance 13 Lending Series: Understanding Borrowers’ Tax Returns, Part 2: Income from Rentals, Royalties, Partnerships, S Corps & Farms 13-14 LSCU IRA Essentials & Advanced Training Birmingham, AL 14 Advanced Collection Techniques & Tools 18-22 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) Washington, D.C. 20 Developing a Risk Mitigation Strategy: Where Do I Spend My Next Security Dollar? 21 Frontline Series: Head Teller Training: Improving Teller Performance 27 Qualitative & Environmental Factors in the ALLL for Credit Unions 27-28 LSCU ALM Essentials & Advanced Workshop Orlando, FL 28 Real Estate Loan Workouts, Foreclosures, Short Sales & Deficiency Judgments Download the complete 2012 calendar at

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Communications Marketing Loans, One Relationship at a Time Mike Bridges, VP, Communications & Marketing Loans. Credit unions want them, but the volume has been disappointing over the past few years. Loan growth in 2011 for credit unions in Alabama and Florida has been flat. Alabama has not seen good loan growth since 2009 while Florida’s loan growth hasn’t shown significant numbers since 2007. A lot of this has to do with the real estate market, unemployment, and the economy, but some of it might be the way credit unions are marketing their loans. With any type of loan program, there is a certain amount of risk involved. Large for- profit financial institutions pulled back their lending to take risk out of the equation. Credit unions have always worked with members that have a less than perfect credit history. But, is your credit union still working with these members to make these types of loans? Ed Swanson, vice president/consultant at Lending Solutions Consulting, Inc., recently held a webinar for the LSCU Councils on lending. He said credit unions should be thinking more long-term. “We should be looking for a lifetime relationship with our members, not simply one and done, and not just when their credit score is high,” said Swanson. Swanson’s point is that credit unions want loans, but have begun shying away from the risk. He says that many credit unions are fixated on credit score and not the relationship that the member has with them. Jax Federal Credit Union, based in Jacksonville, recognized that its membership was proud to be associated with the credit union. Through a member survey, the credit union found that its membership said it would refer a friend. Angie Coleman-Rao, vice president of marketing at Jax Federal said that the credit union built that into the strategic plan and began to work closer with the membership. “It was amazing once we asked our membership to promote us. They were happy to do it and we rewarded them with a little gift. This is really how we grow – one member at a time,” said Coleman-Rao. It’s also one component to how Jax Federal grows its loan portfolio. The referrals by members begin new relationships and the new members recognize that Jax Federal has competitive rates. However, Jax Federal’s rates weren’t always competitive. “They told us our rates were too high and we listened. This summer, we launched our ‘Shockingly Low Auto Loans’ marketing campaign to get the word out about our new rates, and quickly began seeing an increase in new loans booked,” said Coleman-Rao.


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Swanson says credit unions should be actively marketing their loans and training staff to recognize members that are good candidates for loans. This will most likely mean a little more work on the credit union’s part to implement a process, but it will pay off in the long run. Tellers and member relations staff should take a closer look at members that might have had a life changing event happen, like a bankruptcy, but are otherwise on strong footing. This means getting away from the credit score and taking a broader look at the overall portfolio the member has with the credit union. “Credit unions that teach their employees to focus on relationship lending will prosper, while those that do not will struggle,” says Swanson. This has certainly been true at Jax Federal. Coleman-Rao says their holistic approach to growing membership is working and that’s spilling over into more loans. Jax Federal staff is engaging its core SEGs during events like their benefits fairs. It’s the perfect opportunity to engage existing members in promoting the credit union to their coworkers. Jax Federal also had the flexibility in its marketing approach to be able to slightly change direction when the larger financial institutions announced the debit card fees. Just days later, Jax Federal debuted its “Don’t feed the Giant” campaign. “We’ve found that it’s a lot harder to go against the grain. We’re taking advantage of our opportunities by going with the flow. Once a frenzy hits, if you take too long to react, the opportunity might be gone forever,” said Coleman-Rao. As your credit union evaluates its loan portfolio for 2011, take some time to look at what you did to market your loans. That means much more than putting your latest rates on Facebook or buying an ad in the newspaper. Take a closer look at how you’re cultivating your membership and meeting their loan needs. You might be surprised at how many more loans you see come through by simply changing your approach. To contact Ed Swanson about more lending ideas, drop him an email at ■

Discover a Revolutionary Tool that Brings Borrowers to You Weemba is an online financial community that revolutionizes the way Borrowers and Lenders find each other and interact. Weemba connects Borrowers with professional Lenders in a nontraditional “social network”-like format - it’s the perfect way to find new members where THEY live: online! Borrowers create a profile under a nickname and post a loan project. Besides the reason for and amount of a loan, profiles may include everything from the Borrower’s number of employees to annual sales or income and veteran status. Among the many purposes Borrowers can use are home loans, car loans, small business loans and lines of credit. Why join Weemba as a Lender? In today’s market, there is NO easier way to find a variety of projects in need of funding than through Weemba. People posting projects are actively looking to borrow money - why shouldn’t they

get it from you? 60% of people who qualify for a Credit Union don’t even know it – grow your CU’s membership through Borrowers in Weemba! Search for Borrowers by a wide range of variables: credit score, location, income and more - for free. Pay only for access to the Borrowers you want – no minimums, no down payment, no software installation required! Every project in Weemba is created by the business or person in need of a loan, not generated through a third-party or collected from somewhere else. The newest projects with the most information show at the top of every search, letting you see the best and freshest projects first! Each Borrower’s identity is carefully validated and they can attach a credit score to their project if they choose to, at no cost. Weemba is changing the way that Lenders generate business forever. The Borrowers will be there - waiting for you.



NOW! Check it out now at Questions? Email Weemba, Inc. 420 Lincoln Road, Suite 406 Miami Beach, FL 33139 - 786-245-8042


League News 2011 LSCU Development Conference Provides Relevant Information & Education More than 300 credit union CEOs, executives, and volunteers attended the 2011 LSCU Development Conference in Point Clear, AL Nov. 2-4. The level of speakers and educational breakout sessions rivals nearly any state league annual meeting. The General Opening session featured LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine, NCUA Region III Director Herb Yolles, and Children’s Miracle Network Chief Concept Officer Craig Sorensen. The General Closing session featured CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney, while Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Elizabeth Vale spoke at the at the LSCU Governmental Affairs luncheon. La Pine provided a League update and asked credit union executives and directors to work together on grassroots advocacy and the LSCU Statewide Image Campaign. Cheney said that banks are arguing that credit unions were not made to make member business loans (MBL) except that for 103 years, that’s exactly what credit unions have always done. Plus, credit union MBLs have consistently outperformed banks. Cheney also laid out the steps being taken by CUNA to come up with a long-term strategic plan. CUNA will work with state leagues, credit unions, and system partners to create a vision everyone would get behind. Vale gave an overview of the CFPB and said she has been asking President Obama to join the White House credit union. She also said her relationship with CUNA is strong and it’s growing with the NCUA. Yolles talked about the shift in CAMEL ratings, gave a second quarter call report data update, and provided information he’s asking his examiners to look at in the field. He said he’s trying to tighten up the NCUA examination process. Sorensen said that if every credit union member gave the Children’s Miracle Network just one dollar, credit unions would be the largest fundraiser for CMN. Sorensen also told a tearful story about his daughter and her experience at a Children’s Hospital. The education sessions featured former NCUA Director of Public and Congressional Affairs John McKechnie on the importance of advocacy and George Hofheimer of the Filene Research Institute talked to credit unions about leveraging the credit union difference. Patrick Adams, president of St. Louis Community Credit Union, held two sessions that were nearly standing room only. Adams looked at strategic issues related to growth and energizing lending. Small Asset Sized (SAS) credit unions spent 75 minutes in the SAS Roundtable and LSCU, VP of Regulatory Affairs Bill Berg talked to credit unions about what to expect from the economy and their next exam. Credit unions were provided five hours of exhibit hall time. The conference kicked off with a golf tournament to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network with more than $6,000 being raised. ■


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WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU “We have been privileged to serve the Credit Union community for more than two decades. It has been a true pleasure to associate with this great movement, and we are sincerely grateful for the continued confidence in our ability to provide our clients with exceptional executive benefit plans. We look forward to helping Credit Unions find continued success in 2012, and well beyond.” — Chris Burns-Fazzi & Rich Brock

Benefits for Credit Union Executives and Directors | | 888-494-8911 |

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Industry Seven Ways to Gain Members with Your Website Brian Ramos, strategic director, ThinkCreative It’s easy for a credit union to lose a low-value, price-shopping member. At their core, credit unions know that member service is the crux of their business. However, many times, credit unions simply don’t have the in-house expertise to know what true member service really looks like online. Here’s an easy checklist that will enhance your online reputation and have your members enjoying their online experience. 1.

Make Finding Online Banking Easy It’s likely 85 percent of your visitors go immediately into online banking and skip your website altogether. Not displaying the login link/button in the same place on every page is a good way to frustrate members. It’s like moving the front door of your biggest branch every day. Check: Make online banking easiest, most accessible link on every page.


Make it possible for New Members to Apply Online Applications are one of the last bastions of resistance in some members’ war against technology. Many credit unions still require prospective members and borrowers to print an application and mail it in. Even when online applications are possible, “only 53 percent of applicants are able to successfully open and fund their account online” due to faulty account opening processes, according to a 2011 study from Javelin Strategy & Research. Check: If you have online applications, run through the process yourself and get friends and family members to do the same. If you can’t do online applications, at least make an interactive PDF and allow for secure online submissions.


Focus on your Brand If your website comes from a $25 pre-made template with your logo slapped on top, don’t make it obvious. Your website should reflect not only the look and feel of your credit union, but also the tone, messaging, and personality that make it unique. Check: Enlist a professional on your website. A full communications audit should be an ongoing function of the marketing department.


Up-Sell Members through Online Banking If you want members to invest their money with you, you need to tap the well of consumer data you have in your CRM and online banking repositories. Within this online branch, you have the single greatest opportunity to precisely time and target relevant offers based on potential tomes of CRM data and purchasing history. Check: Invest in optimizing, upgrading, and expanding the capabilities within online banking. Evaluate third party tools like Deep Target ( and white-label PFM (personal financial management) solutions like Geezeo (


Give the Marketing Department More Resources Empowering the marketing department to easily update the website with a quality CMS (content management system) will add more value to the member. Ongoing web maintenance should be done with a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, which allows any non-coder to maintain a website. Forcing the marketing team to use Adobe Dreamweaver®, static HTML pages, or a


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low-quality CMS leads to longer lags, difficult site maintenance, and an overall lower quality site. A good CMS can bring benefits such as simplified web management, diversified authority, and accountability with better SEO (search engine optimization). Check: Commit to using a CMS for the next redesign of the website. A good system should have Microsoft Word-like content editing, complex permissions structures, and a ‘paper trail’ (versioning) to track site changes. (Disclosure: Think Creative’s CMS of choice is eZ Publish). 6.


Everything Should Be Easy to Find Consistency is one of the cardinal rules of web development. Users expect all websites to behave the same way. When your website is internally inconsistent (moving content, unexpected changes) or deviates from typical web standards, users get confused, frustrated, and leave. This may not be enough for a member to immediately leave the credit union, but over time, bad usability brews animosity, which can easily be the end result. Examples: • Does the search box stay in the same place on every page? • Are your ATM and branch locations searchable and sortable by location? • Is your logo linked back to the homepage? • Can users easily download monthly statements? Check: Obsess over member feedback and solicit it constantly. Perform usability studies with simple tools like Loop11. Scour Google Analytics for ineffective pages. Use on-the-fly A/B testing with tools like Optimizely (

Offer Mobile Solutions: 50 Percent of Mobile Americans Own Smartphones Most credit unions understand that the mobile device is the new computer. Many have taken the first step to integrate mobile banking. To continue down the right path, mobile must be integrated into your overall content and service strategy. Build in control of your mobile websites and native apps (iPhone, Android, etc) to your CMS, allowing the marketing department to easily control and share content across all devices from one simple system. Think like a mobile user and care about when, where, and why users are accessing your site. Automatically redirect mobile visitors to your website to a CMS-controlled mobile website (i.e. Make your website location-aware and suggest close locations to users. Create cookie-based user profiles with ‘favorite’ locations for easy access to contact information. Allow mobile users to message with service staff to answer questions and suggest solutions. Check: Continually redevelop and test a serious mobile strategy and put up money to fund it. This is not a fad and will continue to increase in its importance. Member service is an ever-evolving art form and it takes constant learning and counsel to keep a relevant strategy. To contact ThinkCreative Strategic Director Brian Ramos, email him at or toll-free at 888.224.1169. ■

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CUNA Revises Credit Union Performance Estimates Prior to “Bank Transfer Day” Joseph Davis, communications coordinator, Communications & Marketing Credit unions witnessed considerable growth before and after “Bank Transfer Day” on Nov. 5, but in the fourth quarter of 2011 the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) clarified its estimates made in October 2011. The call report data released by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), prompted CUNA to clarify its initial estimate of credit union membership growth. The data behind credit union growth show an almost historic membership jump during the weeks leading up to “Bank Transfer Day,” and that significantly more American consumers are using credit unions to a greater extent today than they did just a few months ago. Figures from CUNA’s October 2011 Monthly Estimates indicate credit unions added about 441,000 new members over the period of September through October – not 650,000. The combination of new members in October and new checking accounts from existing members would put the total close to the 650,000 estimate seen in CUNA’s earlier pre-Bank Transfer Day survey. CUNA provided a fact sheet of the latest data which emphasizes a few key points. Credit unions experienced much stronger than normal growth. Credit unions across the country, particularly in those areas where “big banks” had a strong presence, experienced unusual member and account growth in the period from Sept. 29 – when Bank of America announced its $5 monthly debit card fee – and Nov. 5, the grassroots-inspired “Bank Transfer Day.” The latest third quarter call report data from 2011 provided by the NCUA illustrate another key point – overall, the 441,000 new members added over the period of September through October 2011 is roughly equal to 75 percent of total member growth in all of 2010. In addition, annualized growth in the number of share draft accounts in the latest quarter (7.2 percent) is much stronger than recent experience (roughly 2.5-3.5 percent over the past year), and more than double the average of the quarterly rates going back to the first quarter of 2008 (3.2 percent). It’s very likely that much of this growth occurred in September in response to checking account fee increases at a number of big banks. CUNA believes that many


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credit union members who did not have a credit union checking account were opening such accounts at credit unions. (About half of the nation’s 93 million credit union members do not have credit union checking account). Ultimately, credit union membership increased by 227,000 in September and 214,000 in October. CUNA also indicates that about 400,000 new checking accounts were likely opened by credit union members in October. Another key point to remember is that CUNA’s initial survey leading up to “Bank Transfer Day” was neither scientific nor a representative sample. The survey was designed to provide a quick and rapid response from credit unions, in order to provide an estimate of their experience with member and account growth. In addition to the issue with question ambiguity (the survey referred to “growth in membership and accounts”), CUNA noted that those credit unions with the strongest improvement in member growth appear to have been more likely to respond to the survey. Finally, the previous survey did not seek data for a precisely defined period of time (e.g., from month-to-month), rather, it sought information from “Sept. 29” to the point when the survey respondent filled out the survey, sometime within the first three days of November. Therefore, the survey respondents may have been reporting some new membership growth from the first few days of November, just before “Bank Transfer Day,” a period of high activity. “Regardless of the impetus for credit union growth – either through new membership, new checking accounts from existing members or a combination of both – it is clear that consumers made a significant movement to credit unions in the weeks leading up to Bank Transfer Day,” said CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney. “Anecdotally, credit unions across the country have reported to us, and to their local communities that they experienced record member growth during this period – and many report that growth is continuing at a similarly high level.” Final numbers for credit union growth will be reflected in release of year-end call report data by NCUA in February 2012. ■

Isn’t the purpose of a 2012 budget to get a return on it in 2012?

See how other credit unions build a return on marketing at


Top 10 Questions for Selecting a Debit Card Provider Debit card processing continues to be a key offering for credit unions looking to enhance their DDA accounts. According to a 2010 Federal Reserve study, the annual use of debit cards increased by more than 12.8 billion in payments, the largest increase by any payment type during the survey period, reaching 37.9 billion payments in 2009, which represented a 14.8 percent annual growth rate. Debit card usage now exceeds all other forms of non-cash payments. Due to this ever increasing volume, data security and fraud prevention are extremely important to both debit users and their issuing financial institutions. It’s increasingly important to ask the right questions when selecting a debit card provider. Here are 10 questions to consider when evaluating providers.








How complicated are the contracts? Reviewing and understanding lengthy and complex contracts before you sign them can head off concerns later if challenges arise. Be sure the responsibilities are clearly defined, what the contract term is, what the payment terms are, what the fee schedule is, and whether the contract is auto renewing. Consider consulting with an attorney before signing a contract. Is the data going to be shared & for how long? Member’s names, addresses, and phones are just some of the information captured by a debit card provider. Will this information be mined by others, and if so for how long? Who owns the data? The debit card processor will have your data on file. If the debit card provider owns the data, how will you obtain that data and do you have to pay for it if you decide to make a change later? Does the provider need to reissue cards? If the debit card provider requires you to reissue cards, analyze what the disruption will cost in terms of member satisfaction and allocation of staff resources to manage this occurrence. Does the provider offer access to a surcharge-free network? Members like convenient ATM locations, but they don’t like to pay for it. Having access to a surcharge-free EFT network adds value to a debit card program. Check for a surchargefree network throughout the U.S. and abroad, as well as large retail locations. Do profits go back to support the credit union movement? Utilizing a provider within the credit union system helps support the cause. Some of the revenue is returned in the form of grants, sponsorship, research and development.

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Mary Elicia Del Santo VP Business Development 866.231.0545


Do you have the opportunity to be a shareholder & receive dividends? If the opportunity to become a member shareholder exists, a credit union may be eligible to receive cash disbursements. Does the debit card provider have a history of distributing cash disbursements? 8. Where is the call center located? If a call center is located in the U.S., you are likely supporting a U.S.-based business. If the call center is abroad, investigate whether there are any additional security issues or language barriers. 9. Are the dashboard tools sufficient to manage your process? What information can be received? How can these tools help manage the success of your program? Having the right tools helps direct sales and identifies how revenue is generated, saving time, money, and minimizing frustration. 10. What type of fraud protection is available? Debit and credit card fraud is the number one fear of Americans according to a Unisys Security index survey. A real time scoring system that analyzes data and determines patterns for card holders is critical for detecting fraudulent transactions. ■

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Product Development Reduce Capital Spending through ePurchasing Keith Hopkins, VP, Product Support With budgets already established for 2012, credit unions have already allocated capital for spending in various areas of operation. Whether it is for services such as cleaning, computer equipment, armor cars, office furniture, and more, there is always room to save. How? Collaborative ePurchasing. By utilizing the Ventelligence ePurchasing platform, credit unions can save additional money on these expenses and utilize the extra capital in other areas they may need it throughout the year. What is collaborative ePurchasing? A collaborative ePurchasing model allows credit unions to aggregate volume of services needed and create a greater purchasing efficiency. By harnessing the combined purchasing power, credit unions are able to maximize the savings that they may not be able to obtain singularly despite the strategic relationship they may have with a particular vendor. How ePurchasing Works Envision an online “silent auction” where vendors are anonymously bidding for your business. Each “silent auction” purchasing event is timed, allowing an allotted amount of minutes for vendors to compete with bids. Once time is up, the bidding stops. It is then the credit union’s decision on which bid to accept. Depending on the amount of savings and the cost of switching to a new vendor, a credit union may or may not choose the lowest bid. Two Ways to Participate Depending on a credit union’s needs, there are two different ways to participate that will afford a credit union or credit unions the best possible value for their capital. A credit union can participate in an ePurchasing event individually without other credit unions. This is beneficial when it’s a specific commodity like custom made software, a core processor, or the construction of a new branch. Secondly, multiple credit unions can participate in collaborative ePurchasing events. Asset Commodity Size Spend By pooling their purchasing (Millions) (LY Spend) power, vendors are provided CU 1 $ 68 $ 13,560 more opportunity to gain business through competitive CU 2 $ 897 $ 380,135 pricing. In this situation, the credit union savings results tend Totals $393,695 to be stronger. 44

A Magazine of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions

SIGNAL: Vol. 2, Issue 4

Credit Unions Maintain Control of Process Although the ePurchasing team facilitates the process, each participating credit union approves all final specifications, documents, and other details for the event and makes all decisions throughout the entire process. Although this is a collaborative event, each credit union’s specifications and needs are addressed individually in the Request for Proposal (RFP) that is sent to the participating vendors; and each credit union receives bids individually from those vendors. Once the event is over, each credit union has the power to award the business to whichever vendor they’d like to do business with, regardless of the other credit union’s decisions. ePurchasing Team Takes Care of Everything Else In addition to saving even more money, another advantage of utilizing ePurchasing is that the ePurchasing team manages the coordination and facilitation of the event, NCUA-required due diligence of vendors, sourcing new third party vendors to participate in the process, and other tasks involved in purchasing the commodity. Once they receive the credit union specifications, the team will create and customize a RFP and discuss and determine bidding structure and strategies with the credit union. The ePurchasing team serves as the liaison so it facilitates timely communications between credit union(s) and vendors regarding questions pertaining to the specifications and credit unions’ needs. After they monitor the live event, the team evaluates results, selects winning vendor(s), performs additional negotiations (if necessary), and awards the business. Most Important, the Results! Regardless of the commodity needed, in most every case, significant savings are seen by the participating credit unions. Below are actual savings for various services that credit unions received by participating in actual ePurchasing events. As you can see, the savings on a variety of services is substantial.

Janitorial Services - March 31, 2011 ePurchasing Bid

Savings ($)

Savings (%)

Services for:

$ 10,455

$ 3,105


Janitorial and Floor Cleaning Svs – 3 branches

$ 226,444

$ 153,691


Janitorial and Floor Cleaning Svs - 15 branches


$156,796 39.8%

Armored Car Services - May 26, 2011 Asset Size (Millions)

Commodity Spend (LY Spend)

ePurchasing Bid

Savings ($)

Savings (%)

CU 3

$ 15

$ 11,438

$ 6,679

$ 4,758


1 Branch

CU 4

$ 87

$ 28,947

$ 27,166

$ 1,781


2 Branches

CU 5

$ 47

$ 6,395

$ 4,316

$ 2,079


2 Branches

CU 6

$ 37

$ 5,891

$ 2,953

$ 2,938


3 Branches, 1 ATM

CU 7

$ 29

$ 12,018

$ 6,063

$ 5,955


1 Branch

CU 8

$ 247

$ 176,457

$ 122,985

$ 53,475


7 Branches

CU 9

$ 189

$ 24,383

$ 13,845

$ 10,538


4 Branches

CU 10


$ 2,375

$ 2,147

$ 228


1 Branch

$ 267,902

$ 186,154

$ 81,750



Services for:

Construction Services - September 19, 2011 (Sealed Bidding Event)

CU 11

Asset Size (Millions)

Commodity Spend (LY Spend)

ePurchasing Bid

Savings ($)

Savings (%)

Services for:

$ 25

$ 800,000

$ 733,361

$ 66,639


Build out for a new branch

Computer Equipment - September 30, 2011

CU 12* CU 13

Asset Size (Millions)

Commodity Spend (LY Spend)

ePurchasing Bid

Savings ($)

Savings (%)

$ 1,073

$ 82,238

$ 62,370

$ 19,868


66 Computers & Licenses

$ 1,145

$ 50,807

$ 44,838

$ 5,969


78 Printers, 37 Trays, & Delivery

$ 133,045

$ 107,208

$ 25,837



Services for:

*CU 12 originally intended to purchase 45 computers, priced at $56,071. Following the ePurchasing event, the per computer pricing was so lucrative that the management team decided to purchase 66 computers, for only $6,300 more than the original 45 computers would have cost them.

Final Bid Report - Statement Printing Services - July 13, 2010 (Sealed Bid Event)

CU 14

Asset Size (Millions)

Commodity Spend (LY Spend)

ePurchasing Bid

Savings ($)

Savings (%)

Services for:

$ 889

$ 521,151

$ 405,280

$ 115,871


Daily letters, monthly/quarterly statements, tax forms & credit card statements

Ventelligence ePurchasing helps credit unions provide goods and services to members at the best possible value due to providing high quality, cost-effective, and timely solutions through a diverse portfolio of competitive contracts and value-added services. For more information, visit or contact a Business Development Consultant at to see how your credit union can save additional money. â–

SIGNAL: Vol. 2, Issue 4



LSCU Directory LEAGUE 22 Inverness Center Pkwy, Ste 200 Birmingham, Alabama, 35242 3773 Commonwealth Blvd Tallahassee, Florida 32303 866.231.0545


LEVERAGE David LeNoir, x2158 Member Relations Specialist Judy Scott, x1062 Member Relations Specialist

Patrick La Pine, x1002 President & CEO

Amber Tynan, x1154 Executive Director, Southeastern Credit Union Foundation

Cassandra Grayson, x1004 Association Services Chief of Staff


Communications Mike Bridges, x1022 VP, Communications & Marketing Amy Jowers, x1020 Director, Information Services Joseph Davis, x1014 Communications Coordinator

Compliance Bill Berg, x1028 VP, Compliance Training & Information Scott Morris, x2165 Director, Compliance Training & Information

Cooperative Initiatives Laura Vann, x2181 VP, Cooperative Initiatives Adena Whitman, x2134 Director, Member Relations April N. Ales, x1038 Member Relations Specialist


Julianne Talley, x1148 Director, Conferences Teresa Gray, x2110 Director, Events Brandy Norvell, x2172 Events Coordinator Becki Payne, x2129 Association Services Support Specialist

Governmental Affairs Will McCarty, x2137 SVP, Governmental Affairs Jason Cochran, x2159 Director, Legislative Affairs (AL) Jared Ross, x1012 Director, Legislative Affairs (FL) Blake Westbrook, x2164 Grassroots & Political Action Coordinator (AL) Andrew Gonzalez, x1010 Grassroots & Political Action Coordinator (FL) Tracy Schimansky, x1008 Association Services Support Specialist

A Magazine of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions

SIGNAL: Vol. 2, Issue 4

Finance & Administration Scott Morgan, x1110 SVP, Finance & Administration Mike Couey, x2136 Accounting Manager Chris Staggs, x2127 Staff Accountant

Marvin Garland, x1102 EVP & COO Brooke Collins, x1050 Executive Assistant

Transactional Services Larry Rodriguez, x2169 VP, Transactional Services

Susan Sungelo, x2153 Staff Accountant

Janice Jordan, x2176 Director, Transactional Services

Angie Meisenheimer, x1114 Staff Accountant

Win Cooper, x2115 Sr. Transactional Services Specialist

Jason Neifield, x1142 Human Resources Manager

Chris Dirmann, x1182 Director, Card Services

Di Troch, x1054 Operations Assistant

David Todd, x1198 Member Services Representative

Sue McKenzie, x1124 Operations Assistant

Robert Plant, x1194 P/T Member Services Representative

Tameka Dukes, x2178 Shared Branching Manager

Giles Paul, x1200 P/T File Clerk

Phillip Tyre, x1132 Director, Information Technology

Angela Harris, x1190 Card Services Manager

David Khoury, x1136 Network Administrator

Amy Bryant, x1196 Sr. Member Services Representative

William Ross, x1134 Information Technology Specialist

Nicholas Hoffman, x1192 Member Services Representative CRS & Card Services Barbara Parsont, x1186 Member Services Representative Rosanna Pouza, x1184 P/T Member Service Representative

Audit & Compliance

Product Development

Corporate Business Solutions


Angelic Pritchett, x2133 VP, Audit & Consulting

John Brumit, x1120 Director, Product Development

Mallory Pennington, x2138 Senior Auditor

Business Development

Streamline and enhance your payroll, benefits administration, and employee legal compliance processes by outsourcing to Corporate Business Solutions, a Professional Employer (PEO) and Administrative Services Organization (ASO).

Enhance your retail delivery with a combination of branding, consulting, branch design and build, marketing, and culture development.

Bonique Turner, x2124 Auditor Lynda Knox, x2135 Service Corporation Support Specialist Kathy Reynolds, x2121 Auditor

Product Support

Mary Elicia Del Santo, x1144 VP, Business Development

CU Members Mortgage

Scott Rosenthal, x1160 Business Development Consultant

Earn fee income based upon your participation in the origination and/or temporary funding of loans and build your mortgage loan portfolio.

Anita Fumaria, x1140 Business Development Consultant

CUNA Mutual Group

Steve Pullara, x1164 Business Development Consultant

OfďŹ ce Depot Save money on office supplies, breakroom supplies, promotional products, print-ondemand materials, furniture, computers, and more.

Telecom Recovery

Insurance and protection for your credit union and members; lending solutions and marketing programs for bottom-line impact; employee benefits to recruit and retain the right employees.

Quickly recover communications in the event of a disruption in telephone service through an affordable protection service that enables callers to get through to a credit union’s main phone or fax number, through rerouting technology and recover inbound calls to mass notification.

Keith Hopkins, x1170 VP, Product Services

Michael Baswell, x2151 Business Development Consultant

CUNA Strategic Services, Inc.

Transworld Systems

Access for credit unions to products, services, and technologies.

Lisa Hammock, x1146 Director, Product Management

Richard Abt, x1152 Account Manager, Card Services

CU Solutions Group

Across-the-board collections solutions with an emphasis on collecting negative share draft accounts.

Deirdre Rhodes, x1104 Product Support Manager Jean Noel, x1188 Product Support Specialist Lori Vary, 941.747.9646 Director, ePurchasing Brandt Vinson, x1044 ePurchasing Coordinator

Marketing April Banta, x1162 Director, Marketing Detra White, x1156 Production Artist Ron Dod, x1030 Marketing Coordinator

PARTNERS CitiFinancial Auto Solve out-of-area repossession needs with experts dedicated to providing credit unions with the most up-to-date information including, state laws, FDCPA laws and regulations, and the newest tracking software.

Member enhancement solutions with Invest in America, Sprint, Turbotax, and others; website design, content, security, and applications solutions; full-service marketing support; and HRN performance solutions such as Performance Pro, Compease, and Policy Pro.



For information on partnership with LEVERAGE, contact a Product Development Consultant at

Take advantage of preferred auction lanes and best-in-class processes to maximize your recovery dollars for auto liquidation.

CO-OP Financial Services

John M. Floyd & Associates

Enhance services to your members by expanding your ATM service delivery channels through more than 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

Earn non-interest income and provide an overdraft protection program to your members.


Outsource most of your daily human resources functions with Landrum Professional, a full-service PEO.

Automated Compliance Solution, not just an information resource, it streamlines compliance procedures and reduces costs for credit unions through procedural controls to meet compliance requirements on a single platform and helps credit unions effectively execute regulations through an automated software.

Detect BSA/AML fraud with leading-edge compliance and fraud detection software. For more information on any of these solutions, contact a Business Development Consultant at

Landrum Professional

NADA Access the most current used vehicle values and new vehicle invoices for a wide range of vehicles, 24/7.

SIGNAL: Vol. 2, Issue 4



Q4 2011 Signal Magazine  

Quarterly publication of LSCU

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