Monday, August 21, 2017

It Has Been Great to #CUVacay!

Summer isn't over yet, and you can see it in the spirit of the many social media photos we're seeing through the TruStage #CUVacay photo sweepstakes

These are some more of the many winners who have shared vacation photos with the contest through social media this monthIt's one more way we're celebrating the last days of summer and the credit union difference through the end of the day today (The last round of winners will be chosen, randomly, from photos shared on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with #CUVacay by 11:59 p.m. tonight).

We're grateful to all the people and families who have shared their memories with us. It's been great to celebrate the last days of summer through photos and #CUVacay!

Harborstone Credit Union Joins With AdvantEdge Analytics

We announced, today, that Harborstone Credit Union ($1.2 billion in assets) headquartered in Lakewood, Wash., will partner with AdvantEdge Analytics to implement its reporting and performance management services. 

This partnership will enable Harborstone to accelerate its data analytics strategy and gain better insights to deliver more value back to members.

“As our members financial needs continue to evolve and change, a strong data analytics strategy is essential to our ability to make better business decisions, develop better products, and strengthen the right member channels,” said Laurie Leno, chief financial officer, Harborstone Credit Union. “AdvantEdge Analytics will help us move faster with our data strategy and shift our focus from gathering data, to truly analyzing and using the data insights to strengthen our member relationships for years to come.”

 Click here for more details in the full press release.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Look Who's Celebrating Summer (And Winning) With #CUVacay!

Look who's celebrating the last days of summer with TruStage and its #CUVacay photo sweepstakes! These are some of the many winners who have shared vacation photos with the contest through social media this month.

The sweepstakes is one more way we're celebrating summer and the credit union difference with people and families across the country.

Winners are chosen, randomly, every day, now through Aug. 21, so there's still time to share photos -- for a chance to win a $100 gift card!

Entering is easy. Just share a summer vacation photo through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with #CUVacay, and you're entered for a chance to win. For more details on the contest itself, you can read about it here.  

Celebrate the last days of summer with us. We love to #CUVacay!

Want to see all the #CUVacay photos people are sharing? Check them out here!

Virtual Lending Channel Offers Access To Millennials, But It Comes With Risks

Credit Unions Need Millennials for Sustainability, Viability

Virtual lending to millennials will be critical to the future success and sustainability of credit unions, but it’s important to be cognizant of the growing risks posed by expanding online channels and take steps to mitigate them. That's what Jim Bullard told a Discovery Conference audience today.

Bullard is a senior consultant in Risk and Compliance Solutions for our company. In his Discovery session today, he said that all aspects of the consumer lending process – application, approval and funding – are moving quickly toward reliance on a virtual technology environment due to consumer demand for convenience. 

Three in five U.S. consumers perform banking activities using their mobile phone or tablet, up from nearly half who did so in 2013, and one-third who did so in 2012, according to Mercator Advisory Group.1 And, mobile lending is increasing across all generations, but it’s no secret tech-savvy millennials, ages 19 to 35, are becoming the most sought-after demographic in several generations, Bullard said.

“Successful lending to millennials in a virtual world requires your credit union to provide a seamless, end-to-end experience. The challenge is to create enough friction during the process to adequately authenticate your applicant, but not so much that causes the prospective member to end the session and look for a lending solution at one of your competitors.”

Click here to read the full recap of Bullard's session in today's press release.



Economic Growth Continues Above Trend for 2018 and Beyond

Key Economic Indicators Show Continued Market Opportunities but Slow Down in Sight

Credit unions can expect the U.S. economic growth will remain above trend in 2017 and into 2018. That's what our director and chief economist Steven Rick shared in our eighth annual Discovery Conference today.

Rick also shared that, as credit unions continue to reap the benefits from this economic expansion, the next two years will continue to see a growth of up to 2.4 percent.

“We continue to benefit from the second longest economic expansions in U.S. history and credit unions have benefited from these tailwinds,” said Rick. “But we should continue to expect to see the Federal Reserve raise interest rates in the next year. We could also see a modest recession in 2019, due to a short term credit cycle recalibration, but this will not emulate the recession we experienced in 2008.”

He explained that both long and short-term interest rates will continue to rise over the next four years, as they start to recalibrate to their natural rates, approximately 3 percent in short-term interest rates and 4 percent in 10-year Treasury bond interest rates. This recalibration will effect consumer spending in the coming years with consumers looking to pay down debt and increase their savings due to higher interest rates.

Click here to read the full recap of this session in today's press release.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lack of Employee Financial Wellness Hurts Productivity

NOTE: This post was originally published by CUES.
After more than 18 years as an executive in the retirement industry, our Senior Vice President of CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions Paul Chong is convinced that credit union employees need more than basic retirement plan education—they need “financial wellness” training.
“When you look at new laws and regulations relating to retirement savings products and other investment vehicles now available to the public, it’s clear these products have become more complex. And yet the financial literacy that employees need to understand these products and use them wisely hasn’t kept pace,” says Chong. “That’s stressful, especially as employees near retirement. It’s not good for the employee, the credit union or its members.”
Workplace survey reports from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Aon Hewitt in 2017 back up Chong’s assessment. More than half of the workers surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2017 reported being under financial stress.
The financially stressed survey respondents were significantly more likely to become ill, miss work or be distracted at work because of personal financial matters, among other blows to productivity.
Increased Investment in Financial Wellness
Some employers are clearly getting message.
Nearly six out of 10 employers surveyed by Aon Hewett in 2017 are very likely to focus on the financial well-being of workers—beyond merely helping them make retirement decisions—and another 33 percent are moderately likely to do so.
The report states, “While financial well-being has been a hot topic for the past several years, 60 percent of employers feel its importance has increased at their organization over the last 24 months.”
In working with credit unions and other types of employers over the years, Chong says a common misperception is that simply providing employees with basic financial literacy materials will change their behavior.
“That’s not enough anymore—the days of Social Security and defined benefit pensions supporting you completely in retirement are mostly gone,” Chong says. “The burden has been shifted to defined contribution plans in which workers are the investors. If you don’t know how to invest, and you don’t understand the different vehicles and products, you’re not going to build a big enough retirement nest egg.”
Financial Literacy Isn’t Enough
Chong urges CUs to expand on financial literacy programs they conduct for employees and for their members and communities. He points to a 2016 research report published by the Filene Research Institute, which posits two levels of financial achievement to strive for beyond literacy:
  • Financial capability: the capacity—using skills, knowledge and practices—to manage financial resources effectively and improve one’s well-being, and
  • Financial well-being: the ability to fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations; to feel financially secure enough to enjoy life and prioritize personal fulfillment.
Filene surveyed CU executives about which types of financial outreach programs appeared to be most effective at improving members’ financial capability. (The results likely pertain to employees as well.)
Individualized financial coaching programs were the “unambiguous choice for top effectiveness,” according to the Filene report. Group seminars and workshops were rated the second-most effective programs overall.
Measuring Success is the Key
Chong stresses that whichever outreach program your CU chooses, it’s critical to measure the program’s success.
“The more our industry uses a common method of measurement, the more we can help one another. There are several great candidates out there,” Chong says, referring to financial well-being assessment tools available from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, UW-Madison and Filene.
He adds, “So many credit unions invest resources into financial education programs, but they don’t measure the participants’ progress. If you know what’s working and what isn’t, you can adjust your program and improve the results—which translates into a better quality of life for your employees and members.”
Join us for a CUES webinar on Sept. 7, 2017. 11 a.m.–noon (CDT)
In the webinar, “Financial Wellness for Your Employees and Credit Union,” CU leaders will learn and discuss the increasing strategic importance of employee and member financial wellness. Chief Economist Steve Rick will focus on the trends driving employers to invest in improving employee financial wellness. SVP/Retirement Solutions Paul Chong will highlight best practices from successful credit union financial wellness programs. Sign up here.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Apply For The Excellence in Lending Awards Today!

It's that time of year again! 

The annual Excellence in Lending Awards, which recognize outstanding credit union lending results and best practices, are now accepting applications from credit unions.

Together with CUNA Lending Council, we encourage credit unions who demonstrate innovation in lending to apply online by Sept. 25 this year.

This year's awards are for distinction in business lending, consumer lending (including home equity), mortgage lending, and low/modest means lending for the year 2017. Entries are evaluated on: strategy (40 points); programs (30 points), and performance (30 points). All affiliated credit unions in the United States are eligible. And, applications are due by 7 pm CDT on Sept. 25.

Click here to read the full details in our press release or here to apply.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

BCU and Coastal Credit Union Sign with AdvantEdge Analytics

We announced, today, that Baxter Credit Union (BCU) and Coastal Credit Union will partner with CUNA Mutual AdvantEdge Analytics (AdvantEdge Analytics) to implement their integrated data and analytics services to better serve members. 

Both credit unions have signed on as charter members to provide strategic guidance that will 
bring further collaboration and sharpen AdvantEdge Analytics’ vision and its future product development roadmap. The partnership with AdvantEdge Analytics will focus on building industry best practices with data insights that will better anticipate member needs, expand channels and strengthen product development for the future.

“This will bring great value to our industry as we build and expand our data capabilities and best practices,” said Tim Peterson, president, AdvantEdge Analytics. “We are excited to work together to build and expand member insights and identify growth opportunities to help these organizations support their members’ financial security.”

To read the full press release, click here.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Look Who's Celebrating Summer With #CUVacay!

Look who's celebrating the last weeks of summer with TruStage and its #CUVacay photo sweepstakes! These are just some of the many winners who have shared vacation pics with the contest through social media this month.

We'll celebrate more winners as the days wind down to the start of the school year. They're chosen, randomly, every day, now through Aug. 21.

Want to join the fun? Entering is easy. Just share a summer vacation photo through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with #CUVacay, and you're entered for a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift card.

For more details on the contest itself, you can read about it here. It's one more way we're celebrating summer and the credit union difference with people and families across the country.

Whether you're hitting the road one last time this month or enjoying the vacation memories you've already made this summer, it's great to #CUVacay!

Want to see all the #CUVacay photos people are sharing? Check them out here!