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smartsolutions Credit Union

an educational guide for credit union products and services | 2013

2012 Was a Banner Year for Credit Unions

INSIDE, the Secrets to Continue Your Growth Next Year


Simply Better Security. Better security is the result of experience not always new technology. Call 1-866-433-4474 or email or visit to begin a conversation on how we may help you improve your existing security, camera/ video, monitoring, access control & fire alarm systems, lower costs, and experience service as it should be. Integrated Security Group (ISG) has been providing alarm services for nearly thirty years beginning as a consulting agency and now one of the largest service & installation providers in the northeast to financial institutions and high-risk retail corporations. As one of the only Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Listed installers of Bank, Safe & Vault electronic security in the entire region, we guarantee your systems will perform better, cost less and give you the peace-of-mind that only a partner at your side can.

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smartsolutions Credit Union

As technology marches on, so does our annual guide to credit unions, with input from experienced parties on capitalizing on your best resource; the importance of big data; and preventing internal fraud. On the customer-relation side, there are articles on developing and maintaing a range of online services; an exploration of the future of ATMs; and the value in knowing your customers before they become your customers. We hope you find the 2013 edition of Smart Solutions to be helpful, interesting and informative.

FRAUD PREVENTION 4 Managing the Insider Threat By Dan Vassallo NEW WAVE 6 Credit Unions Must Embrace the Changed Customer Dynamic By Binesh Nambiar DATA IS KING 8 The Importance of Data Mining for Credit Unions By Doug MacDonald UP-TO-THE-MINUTE 10 Members Expect Range of Banking Website Services By Craig Doriot MARKETING 12 A Successful Marketing Plan Needs Teller Tools By Douglas R. Magee Jr. NEW WAVE 14 Image-Enabled ATMS Are Taking Off By Tamara Coole

©2013 The Warren Group Inc. All rights reserved. The Warren Group is a trademark of The Warren Group Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. Advertising, editorial and production inquiries should be directed to: The Warren Group, 280 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210. Call 800-356-8805.





George Chateauneuf ADVERTISING ACCOUNT MANAGERS Cara Feldman Richard Ofsthun



Christina P. O’Neill Cassidy Norton Murphy



Bottini Scott Ellison Michelle Laczkoski GRAPHIC DESIGNER Amanda Martocchio GRAPHIC DESIGNER Tom Agostino



Managing the Insider Threat Tips on Introspective Security By Da n Va s sa l l o


ith so much of the national security conscience focused on elusive international hackers and cyber-crime, particularly in light of the recent distributed denial of service attacks on U.S. financial institutions originating from the Middle East, it has become increasingly difficult for organizations to remain cognizant of an equally severe and sometimes more likely threat – the insider threat. Earlier this year, a special report on insider fraud penned by five researchers from Carnegie Mellon’s computer emergency response team (CERT) served as both a reminder and a warning that instances of fraud at financial institutions often originate from inside the organization, and that most (approximately 80 percent) are non-technical in nature. While fraud, regardless of its origin, is virtually inevitable within the financial services industry, there are several mitigation strategies that can be applied. Recognize the risk. There’s no use denying that granting access to information systems exposes the organization to risk. It may be uncomfortable to admit, but an employee’s ability to conduct business on behalf of the organization also grants them the power to defraud it. In security, access equals exposure. It’s best to recognize this risk, determine where fraud is most likely to occur, and dedicate the appropriate resources to minimize the likelihood of fraud occurring.

Dan Vassallo is a certified information security manager and certified information systems auditor at GraVoc Associates, Inc. in Peabody, Mass. Email:


Trust, but verify. Obviously, it is necessary to give employees the ability to process transactions on behalf of the institution and, as previously indicated, this ability presents inherent risk. Yet the beauty of being bound to technology to carry out these transactions is that the systems can record everything. Therefore, ensure all systems, particularly transactional systems, have audit trails. Furthermore, instead of consulting these audit trails after the damage is done, have the appropriate personnel review them proactively. The CERT study noted that many of the victim institutions had audit trails with sufficient data to implicate the offending parties, yet they were used as a forensic response tool more so than a detection measure. While the frequency review often depends on the system in question, weekly reports are useful for trend monitoring and tend to provide more meaningful data than daily, monthly, or quarterly snapshots. Embrace transparency. Show staff that active monitoring is in place. The fear alone may dissuade them from trying to victimize the institution. After all, part of the reason fraud takes place is that perpetrators believe they will get away with it. Properly utilizing audit trails and data loss prevention tools can help detect and respond to incidents, and ultimately prevent fraud. Mind your managers. The CERT study made it very clear that lower-level staff can certainly do damage when they set out to defraud their employer. However, as an employee gains more access to systems and information, there is greater potential for wrongdoing. In short, an impeccable track record should not be rewarded with license to engage in unsupervised behavior, especially since the majority of the cases in the CERT study involved tenured employees over an average of five years. When it comes to auditing and monitoring, the same rules should apply to managers: trust but verify. Carefully considering and assigning “need to know” access also becomes increasingly important with managers. Keep attuned to employees. Practically all financial institutions evaluate factors such as criminal background, credit worthiness and personal financial stability upon hiring a new employee. However, most institutions find it unnecessary and sometimes unethical to periodically assess an existing employee’s financial health. Since most organizations have a formal performance review process in place to manage promotions and terminations, they should consider using this process as an opportunity to periodically assess an employee’s financial health and, by extension, his/her incentive to embezzle or commit other types of insider fraud. While this notion is never popular, it often times may be necessary to truly manage the organization’s operational and reputational risk.  n

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Credit Unions Must Embrace the Changed Customer Dynamic Social Media’s Time is Now By Bi n es h Na m b i ar


ue to the current economic climate, credit unions are struggling to bolster their bottom line, retain customers and stay competitive in the marketplace. Financial institutions are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that they provide the highest quality of service to their valued customers. Unlike the old days, when a credit union could wait until a customer came onboard to learn about his wants and needs, today customers expect their banking institution to know them inside out before they become a customer. Thanks to the advent of social media and the advances in technology, customers are now driving the sales process. Customers

“By providing customers with an avenue for

conversation, social media provides a great opportunity to create strong relationships.


before they commit to buying anything. As a result, customers are increasingly purchasing products and services from non-traditional providers who provide the best value to them. They are also getting more comfortable with alternative methods of delivery, including electronic channels. On the flip side, communicating via electronic channels is also weakening the personal bonds between customers and institutions, as customers no longer want to remain loyal to any particular organization. An estimated 90 percent of financial services firms were expected to dedicate funds for social media initiatives in 2012, yet 60 percent of those firms still consider themselves to be social media novices. With customers spending more time and attention on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, credit unions, financial institutions and regulatory agencies are finally paying attention and incorporating social media into their communications mix. To that end, regulatory agencies are laying out social media best practices to guide credit unions on how to tap into social networks, while complying with regulations. Some of these benefits include:

CREATING BRAND AFFINITY AND IMPROVING CUSTOMER RETENTION are getting savvier and taking a more active role in ascertaining whether a product offered by a particular credit union is the best fit for them before they make any purchases. For example, customers can conduct their own research over social media networks to easily evaluate and compare other similar offerings on the market, and find out whether existing customers are happy with that product, Binesh Nambiar is solutions lead for banking and capital markets at MphasiS, a business advisory firm.. 6 | SMART SOLUTIONS 2013

Social media can play an active role in shaping brand identity and influencing customers. By providing customers with an avenue for conversation, social media provides a great opportunity to create strong relationships. For example, credit unions are using social media channels to seek feedback on advertising campaigns, new promotions and changes to existing policies. They are gauging customer reaction before rolling out new services and correcting course if necessary. The reaction around the debit card fees brought in by the Bank of America is a case in point. The issue was well handled before the situation could go out of control.

DELIVERING EFFECTIVE CUSTOMER SERVICE Using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, credit unions can respond to customer issues and questions in real time. Issues resolved over social media channels provide a great opportunity to assure prospects and customers that a credit union is committed to keeping its customers happy. A positive tweet, mention or post from a happy or satisfied customer goes a long way. Studies have shown that quickly resolving issues related to checking and savings accounts have led to better conversion on successfully cross selling other banking products. These channels also reduce the cost of maintaining expensive call centers by identifying dissatisfied customers quickly and empowering credit unions to deliver more personalized services to them.

ANALYZING CUSTOMER DEMANDS Social media enables credit unions to capture customer suggestions and then analyze them to develop more tailored products and services. For example, establishing and nurturing customer communities to share insights on topics like retirement products to gain invaluable insight into customer behavior and develop future products as well as fine-tune products to align them with customer requirements.

IMPROVING TOPLINE More and more credit unions are tapping into their customers’ preferred social networking channels to deliver targeted offers and promotions. They are also encouraging customers to rate products over social media. Access to data about customers’ shopping patterns, spending preferences and demographics can provide great insight into opportunities to sell additional products. For example, through social networking channels, credit unions can easily find out when a customer gets engaged or married, opening the doors for targeted sales pitches for mortgages, lines of credit or family insurance. In short, social media helps credit unions remain in touch with their customers and provide a more personalized service.

IT’S NOT GOING AWAY Social media is already driving dramatic changes in the way customers interact with their credit unions. The credit unions and financial institutions that recognize this opportunity and invest in social media can reap great rewards. However, the success of social media will largely depend on a credit union’s ability to harness its existing IT systems’ for customer information and make the connection with their customers’ social networks. Also, instead of a siloed approach, credit unions need to unify disparate systems that store customer information to gain an enterprise view of the relationship. Given the swift pace of social media channels, credit unions will need to adapt quickly to develop appropriate frameworks that not only comply with existing regulations, but also provide a level of flexibility to accommodate the evolving nature of social media. In the long run, being prepared and ready for the customer will determine the success of social media projects.  n SMART SOLUTIONS 2013 | 7


The Importance of Data Mining for Credit Unions By Do ug Ma cDon ald


hink about the many ways you are marketed to today. There’s no mistaking it; we live in hyper-saturated marketing environment.

mine member data to create targeted marketing campaigns. These two case studies illustrate the positive impact direct marketing has on ROI:

“We really got the right message to the right members at the right time, and this was only possible using data mining. ”

— Mike Sturdee

Director of Marketing, Bangor Federal Credit Union

So the question for credit unions becomes, “How do we set our marketing messages to stand out through all the clutter?” More and more, credit unions are turning towards an innovative solution to this challenge: member data mining. Synergent is harnessing the strength of the Symitar Episys® Core Processing Platform to generate loan revenue for their credit union partners. Through this platform, the organization’s Technology Services division partners with the Direct Marketing Services division to

TACONNET FCU ($51 MILLION IN ASSETS; 6,000 MEMBERS), WINSLOW, ME Taconnet FCU wanted to make 2012 a year of auto loan growth. They worked with Synergent Direct Marketing Services to share an enticing New Year message. The offer, paired with a targeted and tracked mailing, grew the credit union’s auto loan income by more than $326,429 from the same period the previous year.

Doug MacDonald is manager of Direct Marketing Services for Synergent. He may be reached at 1-800-341-0180, ext. 204, or 8 | SMART SOLUTIONS 2013


• 0 percent down • Rates as low as 2.99 percent • Pre-approval on the spot • 100 percent financing • Flexible terms up to 72 months • $25 Visa gift card • Monthly drawing to win $50 in gas DATA MINING THE TARGET AUDIENCE:

• 420 members who had an auto loan with another financial institution • 1,647 members with a checking account balance and no auto loan • 2,900 prospective members within a three-mile radius of its Winslow Branch • 5,827 prospective members, within a six-mile radius of its Skowhegan Branch TRACKING TOOLS UTILIZED:

• Traceable 800 number (29 calls received) • Unique URL (61 link clicks) LOAN PROMOTION RESULTS:

• New loans generated over the nine week campaign totaled $416,749 • 26 targeted members received a postcard and opened loans totaling $330,415 • Total first year earnings on new loan interest is $31,256

• Realized return of over $5 for every $1 in marketing funds spent

BANGOR FCU ($105 MILLION IN ASSETS; 15,000 MEMBERS), BANGOR, ME Bangor FCU and Synergent Direct Marketing Services partnered closely to work through the process of campaign development. The goal was to close $335,000 in new auto loans. The communications objectives included creating buzz around Bangor FCU by giving members the very best deals for auto loans. THE OFFER:

• Up to $600 when refinancing an auto loan with Bangor FCU • A rate at least 1 percent lower than the customer’s current rate (with a 2.25 percent floor)


• 1,108 personalized postcards, sent to members who paid off a Bangor FCU auto loan in the past 24 months and didn’t have another auto loan at the credit union TRACKING TOOLS UTILIZED:

• Traceable 800 number (36 calls received, 25 unique) • Unique URL and QR code (45 link clicks) LOAN PROMOTION RESULTS:

• • • • •

$1.6 million in new auto loans Tracked response rate of 7.3 percent Loan adoption rate of 7.6 percent Average loan amount of $18,799 Approximately $4,500 in new monthly income • Average yield rate of 3.57 percent

In both case studies, the return well exceeded the marketing dollars invested.

Much of that success is directly attributed to the solid member data. “Our credit union ran an auto refinance promotion using direct mail and data mining that was quite successful,” said Mike Sturdee, director of marketing with Bangor Federal Credit Union. “But our success ran deeper than just numbers. We really got the right message to the right members at the right time, and this was only possible using data mining.” In a fast-paced world where the average consumer absorbs hundreds, if not thousands, of marketing messages daily, credit unions are in a race for market voice and relevance. With tradi¬tional marketing channels saturated, overly-crowded or simply devolved into uselessness, credit unions seeking to rise above the din need more refined tools. Data driven marketing offers this refinement, adding research and more precise and scientific methods to the credit union marketing arsenal.  n



Members Expect Range of Banking Website Services Real-Time Mortgage Rate Quotes Help Online Borrowers By Cr a i g Do r i o t


oday’s consumer has high expectations for his or her financial institution, whether it is a community bank, credit union or national bank. As if we didn’t already realize this, we all recently saw what happens with disgruntled consumers when Bank of America decided to start charging for the use of debit cards. The Credit Union National Association estimated that between the time Bank of America announced the plan to charge a debit card use fee and the week following

meet these members’ expectations. That includes how they are serving them online and whether they are providing the same services they can get at a major bank. In the world of online banking, solutions have evolved from simply checking one’s account balance to transferring funds to paying bills online to applying for loans. All of these actions create instant gratification that today’s banking consumers have come to expect. But while members can check balances, pay bills and fill out mortgage loan applications at their local credit union branch, when Technology has progressed to the point they go to their credit union’s where it’s easy for credit unions to automate rate website, they often find these same services missing. New quotes as well as the entire application process. credit union members will Borrowers are pulling credit and receiving find this situation particularly disclosures electronically, and a growing number odd. After all, the banks they just left all had these tools. of credit unions are easily

and more efficiently generating loan files that can be read by other banking systems. Bank Transfer Day at the end of 2011, about 700,000 people moved their accounts from their banks to a credit union. That’s a pretty astounding number. But whether credit unions can keep those 700,000 new members happy depends on how well they

Craig Doriot is the co-founder and chief technology officer of LoanSifter Inc. Email: craig@



Remember that old saying “If you want to play with the big dogs, then get off the porch?” Well, that applies with member services readily available through your website. Yes, members expect to log in through your website to see their account balances. But they want more, especially if they are in the market to buy a home or refinance their current mortgage. They want access to accurate mortgage quotes, as well as the ability to fill out mortgage loan applications. Borrowers expect to be able to compare rates, create different scenarios based on their criteria (which might change from

day to day), fill out and submit loan applications, and get a response back from a loan officer not within days, but within minutes. They want to know exactly when mortgage rates change to fit their scenario. They want to analyze different options. Basically, they want control. The truth is that it really isn’t that hard to give consumers what they want. Technology has progressed to the point where it’s easy for credit unions to automate rate quotes as well as the entire application process. Borrowers are pulling credit and receiving disclosures electronically, and a growing number of credit unions are easily and more efficiently generating loan files that can be read by other banking systems. In fact, because larger institutions are often locked into their own internal proprietary systems, the solutions that are available for credit unions can actually be more efficient and effective. What some might not realize, however, is just how affordable this technology has become. With so many Americans dissatisfied with big banks, credit unions find themselves standing before a monumental opportunity. But to capitalize on this opportunity, they must acknowledge that today’s consumers are all about convenience and instant gratification, and being served online with the same level of attention and skill than they would be treated in person. And if you don’t measure up, they are only a click away from the competition. Customer loyalty is not what it used to be, as proven by the 700,000 people who made the switch to credit unions late last year. Now, the challenge for credit unions is to make sure they don’t switch back. n


A Successful Marketing Plan Needs Teller Tools

Your People are Your Best – and Most Under-Utilized – Assets By Do ugl a s R . Mag e e Jr.


inancial institutions, whether a community bank or credit union, all face the same challenges, competition to attract and retain customers and members. Banks and credit unions all do things a little different to meet their challenges. However, what is shared in

common is that their primary contact person with depositors is the teller. Goals are similar, but plans are widely varied, sometimes nonexistent, and the path to their success often wavers without a clear vision, particularly from the teller’s perspective.

Douglas R. Magee is president of Magner Corporation of America, a long-standing market leader in currency counters and authentication devices, coin equipment and cash settlement systems. For more information about Magner Corporation and how it can help you, please visit or call 860-349-1097.


While exhibiting at a trade show earlier this year a man stopped to look at one of our products. His name tag said “vice president of marketing.” One of our people asked him, “What is your marketing plan?” He just stared at him, and then said “I’ll be back later.” Several hours later the man came by again and said, “No one ever asked me that question before; I didn’t know what to say. What do other people say?” If you were all asked to stop for a minute and summarize in one paragraph your institution’s marketing plan, could you do it? Ask your management team to do the same, then the branch personnel. Compare the responses. If they are all relatively similar, congratulations. On the other hand, most of you will have varied responses. How can the staff ’s perception of our marketing plan vary so much? Understand that “plans” get diluted and often diminished in priority as they move down the chain of command. How is that possible? Easy: Remember who your “primary contact person” is – your teller. And how many other tasks do they have to focus on and prioritize during their typical day besides your marketing plan? Agreeing that there needs to be a plan – how is implemented and driven? Tellers need tools to be successful. Remember they are the primary contact with the depositors. What tellers are commonly lacking is the quality time to initiate a real dialogue with the depositor to discuss other products and services the institution offers. How do they get that quality time?

There is a simple and easy solution: automating the manual currency handling portion of your tellers responsibilities. In the past it was primarily associated with security and staff reduction. Today it is equally viewed as the easiest way to reduce the workload on the teller, allowing them to become your marketing sales force, focused on implementing everything defined in the marketing plan. Currency handling automation can be accomplished in two ways: first, through the use of currency dispensers, which are most efficient and effective when currency transactions are primarily going out, such as drive-ups and heavy check cashing windows. Second is currency recyclers, which have the ability to automate the incoming currency deposits and outgoing currency transactions, thereby reducing the need for the teller cash drawer. In both cases branch security is increased, currency levels are reduced, balancing is automated and teller efficiency is dramatically increased. The end result is that you have given your tellers the tools to successfully implement your marketing plan: you have “created a cross-selling” environment. Once you have created this new environment, how do you implement the rest of the plan, including attracting new depositors and preventing depositors from leaving? Look around at what your successful competitors have done to help make themselves a destination. You will find that the really aggressive and successful ones have installed self-service coin centers in their lobbies. But they have not just installed them; they have designed a complete marketing plan around them. Why? Because they do not want their current depositors going anywhere else to process their coins. Those other locations probably are someone else’s branch or the supermarket, which probably also contains someone else’s branch, all looking for new depositors just like yours! When non depositors come in to use their coin service, they have a plan in place to convince them to become a depositor.

A SIMPLE MARKETING PLAN INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING PRIORITIES: • DRIVE GROWTH • PREVENT DEPOSITORS FROM LEAVING • ATTRACT NEW DEPOSITORS • CREATE CROSS SELLING OPPORTUNITIES • INCREASE DEPOSITOR SATISFACTION AND LOYALTY This is a very successful way for you to build lobby traffic, through both your current and soon-to-be depositors. Choosing the right self service coin center for your institution is important, because it is another key teller tool that reduces teller work and creates a perfect cross-selling opportunity in your teller’s new environment.

Teller tools for success are available, and the financial institutions that embrace them are going to be the ones that successfully implement their marketing plans, drive growth, increase depositor satisfaction and, most importantly, loyalty. n



Image-Enabled ATMS Are Taking Off Good for Customers, and Good for Banks By Tam a r a C o o l e


fter relatively slow adoption, ATM deposit automation is gaining momentum and is expected to be one of the fastest-growing banking technologies during the next several years. Image-enabled ATMs have become more affordable, reliable and user-friendly, so many banks are building cases to replace their conventional, envelope-accepting ATMs with the tangible cost savings and efficiencies offered by this technology. Customers value the convenience and immediacy of depositing checks at image-enabled ATMs and walking away with a printed receipt that displays the check image and a realtime account balance. Below are the top reasons that banks should consider investing in image-enabled ATM technology.

REDUCE THE COST OF PROCESSING DEPOSITS Image-enabled ATMs provide many of the benefits of brick-andmortar branches at a fraction of the cost. Research suggests image-enabled ATM deposits are approximately three times more cost-effective than standard deposits. The images are official legal documents, so their paper counterparts don’t need to be emptied from the machines as often, which reduces ATM service calls. Additionally, they provide an economical option for banks to expand their geographical reach, which is more cost-efficient than building branches.

REDUCED POTENTIAL FOR FRAUD Approximately 70 percent of deposit fraud takes place at the ATM. Image-enabled ATMs virtually eliminate empty envelope fraud and also save banks money on the cost of envelopes. Image-enabled ATMs can also shorten the window for fraud, because they allow banks’ processing departments to review ATM deposits earlier in the day, meaning they can catch potential fraud sooner than with conventional ATMs. Image-enabled ATMs also help reduce internal kiting. For additional protection, many banks incorporate ancillary fraud products that are integrated with their core systems and ATM channel for added ATM deposit fraud protection and prevention.

OPTIMIZE THE EFFICIENCIES OF YOUR ATM CHANNEL Deploying image capture technology at the ATM optimizes the efficiencies of this convenient channel. In addition to eliminating the

Tamara Coole is an advanced application educator at Jack Henry Banking, a division of Jack Henry & Associates. 14 | SMART SOLUTIONS 2013

need for banks to collect paper items each day from their ATMs, image-enabled ATMs also reduce back-office expenses because deposit processing is accelerated and the time spent balancing ATMs is significantly reduced. Unless the ATM cannot read a check, misreads a check, or the check is suspected to be fraudulent, there’s no need for an employee to physically process ATM deposits.

IMPROVING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE Turning paper checks into electronic files enables banks to process the deposits faster, which means funds are available sooner. Business day cut-off times for ATM deposits become virtually non-existent. Customers no longer have to fill out deposit slips or bank envelopes, and they receive the digital image of the front of their checks directly on their receipts. The immediate validation of this process gives customers peace of mind.

SHARPEN YOUR COMPETITIVE EDGE Image-enabled ATMs can help banks attract and retain retail and business customers alike, because it frees bank staff to focus time and attention on sales and services, rather than transaction processing. After realizing the benefits of this sophisticated ATM technology, it’s clear why so many banks are choosing to implement image-enabled ATMs. Among those banks, many are selecting fully automated and integrated ATM management solutions. Integration provides additional efficiencies including speeding banks’ access to real-time data from multiple banking channels, improving the ability to cross-reference information, and reducing the time spent troubleshooting issues. In addition to integration, there are other important benefits in a fully automated ATM channel. Look for a platform that incorporates leading-edge imaging, transaction balancing, and fraud detection technology to fully automate the processing and management of ATM deposits through their entire lifecycle. Total automation means you will benefit from image capture and processing at the ATM, deposit reconciliation, automated balancing, courier management, fraud detection and prevention, report and audit trail generation, and more. You’ll want to look for a management system that supports all major ATMs, branch and centralized check transports, teller window devices such as MICR swipe readers, and check image capture devices. And you’ll want to ensure you choose a proven and trusted vendor that can offer you dedicated support every step of the way. If you haven’t considered an image-enabled ATM platform, what are you waiting for?  n

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don’t miss the opportunity to reach thousands of credit union professionals across massachusetts, new hampshire and rhode island. Call today to create an effective marketing plan with CenterPoint.

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Smart Solutions 2013  

The 2013 issue of Banking Solutions covers a range of information for credit unions, vendors and financial institutions, an provides an outl...

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