Sunday, November 11, 2018

CBSI Advisers Assemble and Deliver Care Packages for Veterans

Earlier this year, our CBSI advisers partnered with credit unions and financial services representatives for a community service effort in support of veterans at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas.

As part of their annual conference, over 500 attendees assembled and delivered 368 care packages to local veterans—and it was an impactful day for all participants.

“I’m proud to have served in the Marine Corps. A lot of these men and women that are in these hospitals, they gave to people, and not even realizing the impact that they would really mean to anybody in that situation,” said Eric Edwards, Managed Adviser for Point Breeze Credit Union. “For companies to be able to embrace them with open arms—to celebrate that—it really means a lot.”

“It’s amazing what happens when people come together to give and serve,” said Rob Comfort, President, CBSI. “There’s not a greater joy that we have, than when we take our focus off of ourselves and put it onto others, and I can’t think of any greater group of people to support than our veterans.”
Together we can make a difference. If you’d like to explore volunteer opportunities and make a difference in the lives of veterans in your community, reach out to your local VA through The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Learn more about how we give back and focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a business.

Tell us what volunteer opportunities you participate in on
Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

TruStage Kicks Off Community Spark Awards

TruStage, our consumer insurance brand, has launched its Community Spark AwardsThe competition will recognize 20 exemplary young people from coast to coast who are actively taking strides to improve their communities through volunteer and community service activities. TruStage will donate $1,000 to the charity of each winner’s choice in support of Giving Tuesday on November 27, 2018.

The TruStage Community Spark Awards competition celebrates a major milestone with more than 20 million customers across the U.S. protected by TruStage insurance products. TruStage recognizes how important it is for people to protect their family’s future, which can include the communities where they live.

Community Spark Awards open:   Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Where to enter:                       
Deadline for entries:                         11:59 p.m., Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Winners announced:                        via Facebook on Giving Tuesday, November 27, 2018

“The 20 million Americans who are protected by TruStage insurance products are taking control of their family’s future. We are proud to help them take steps to build financial stability for their family,” said Susan Sachatello, President of TruStage. “The Community Spark Awards allow us to shine a spotlight on young leaders who are helping their communities build a better future, and to further support their work with a donation to the charity of their choice.”

Visit the contest page for full details.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Six Lenders Honored with Excellence in Lending Awards

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Six credit unions were recognized for their exemplary lending practices and results in business lending, consumer lending (including home equity),  and low-to-modest means lending today by receiving an Excellence in Lending Award during the 24th Annual CUNA Lending Council Conference. CUNA Mutual Group, with support and expertise from the CUNA Lending Council, recognized credit unions that implemented outstanding lending programs while demonstrating sound financial performance.

CUNA Mutual Group’s Joe Heck, vice president of business transformation, presented awards to:
  • Consumers Credit Union, Kalamazoo, Mich., Business Lending, Assets less than $1 billion;
  • Alliant Credit Union, Chicago, Ill., Business Lending, Assets more than $1 billion;
  • Jefferson County Federal Credit Union, Louisville, Ky., Consumer Lending, Assets less than $250 million;
  • SPIRE Credit Union, Falcon Heights, Minn., Consumer Lending, Assets more than $250 million;
  • CALCOE Federal Credit Union, Yakima, Wash., Low-to-Modest Means Lending, Assets less than $250 million; and
  • Frankenmuth Credit Union, Frankenmuth, Mich., Low-to-Modest Means Lending, Assets more than $250 million.

This annual awards program provides an opportunity for credit unions to share best practices and ideas, network, and celebrate lending excellence across the industry. Applications were evaluated on: strategy, programs, and performance. All CUNA-affiliated credit unions in the U.S. were eligible to win.

For more information: click here.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Making a Big Impact Helping "Littles"

In 2016, Katie Orlando, former executive director Big Brothers, Big Sisters (BBBS), had an idea to pilot a program called “Beyond School Walls” in the Cedar Valley. The program, which connects at-risk youth with workplace mentors, saw big success on the East coast, and Katie was eager to find a “testing ground” in the Midwest. CUNA Mutual Group seized the opportunity, and two years in, the program is going strong.

Every other Tuesday, BBBS busses “littles” to the CUNA Mutual Group campus in Waverly, IA, where they spend 90 minutes with their “bigs,” whether it’s participating in site-based activities, getting help with schoolwork, playing games or simply talking. Through this program, students get an opportunity to become familiar with the workplace and make connections with lifelong role models.  

“Our mission at Big Brothers, Big Sisters is to provide children facing adversity with one-to-one, professionally supported and enduring relationships that will change their lives for the better, forever,” said Jenna Mumm, Program Manager, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa.

This program is gaining momentum nationwide, and according to the BBBS of America, youth in communities that have participated in this program show improvement in school behavior, overall grades, self-esteem, communication skills and their desire to learn new things.

“As a big brother, I get to give back to the community and feel good about that,” said CUNA Mutual Group employee and Big Brother volunteer Dave SmolikHagen. “[My little] teaches me that there’s excitement in places I forget about, like seeing ducks walk across the road. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child can really help give you a better vision sometimes.”

Learn more about how we give back and focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a business.

Whether it’s in a group or individually, you can always make an impact on your community by supporting local non-profits. Tell us what volunteer opportunities you participate in on
Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Hurricane Relief: Swift Response Helps Credit Unions Start Road to Recovery

It is never easy witnessing the aftermath of a catastrophic weather event, and our thoughts are with everyone impacted by Hurricane Florence and, most recently, Hurricane Michael. Our employees are eager to help those in need at times like these. 

To support recovery efforts for the many credit unions affected, our disaster response teams were deployed quickly to credit unions throughout the impacted areas to provide a strategic and coordinated response. Once there, they evaluated initial assessments and delivered informed, expert decisions to guide our credit union partners through recovery efforts—and start the process of resuming operations. Despite the complexities, our teams brought relief, trust, and clarity to a chaotic situation.

“Our claims team was laser-focused and responded with immediate resolution and security for our customers, said Michael McKinley, Sr. Manager, Claims. “Our customers have been reassured we are here for them and we will walk them through the entire claim process until they are fully up and running; it will be a long road ahead for many credit unions in the Panama City area.”

To further support recovery efforts for Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael, the CUNA Mutual Foundation has committed $50,000 to The National Credit Union Foundation's CUAid relief fund, which provides additional resources and financial aid to credit unions during disaster recovery efforts

If you’d like to join us and help credit unions and the many people affected by these devastating storms, here are a few ways you can make an immediate impact:

At CUNA Mutual Group, we’re committed to providing support now and in the months to come as recovery efforts move forward. It is times like these that the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” comes to life—and we are proud to serve and be a part of it.

Together we can make a difference.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

International Credit Union Day: Inspired by a People-First Purpose

By: Robert N. Trunzo

Today marks the 70th anniversary of International Credit Union Day (ICU Day), a day to celebrate the history and achievements of the credit union movement.  On this milestone, I'm reflecting on a few things that make the credit union industry unique, and why I’m proud to be part of it.

Giving Back is What We Do
Credit unions provide financial services for the purpose of improving lives, and a core principle of the movement includes supporting the sustainable development of communities.

CUNA Mutual Group was founded on this “people helping people” philosophy, and we take that to heart by giving back in many ways. This year alone, our employees put in more than 13,000 volunteer hours to date and we recently contributed an additional $20 million to our foundation to create a sustainable funding source for many years to come.

I’m extremely proud of our commitment to making a real difference in our communities.

The Power of Cooperation
The spirit of cooperation is another core principle of the credit union movement, and I witnessed this principle in action earlier this year when the Iowa legislature passed the largest tax overhaul in state history. If adopted, the bill would have set a dangerous precedent for the credit union tax status across the nation.

Many of our employees took part in grassroots advocacy efforts to show their support for credit unions. They generated hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls to local representatives, urging lawmakers to protect the credit union tax status. On top of that, many drove several hours to attend events at the state capitol in Des Moines to tell legislators personal stories about their credit union experiences.

Collectively, our voices were critical in having the final Iowa tax bill pass without a tax increase on credit unions.

Positioned for a Bright Future
The credit union philosophy centers on the simple idea of people over profit. As the ICU Day theme points out, that's why credit unions always offer a platinum lining.

At CUNA Mutual Group, we believe credit unions are an outstanding choice for consumers, and that’s why we were one of the first to contribute to Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) nationwide campaign, pledging $1 million to help raise consumer awareness about credit unions and the positive outcomes they help members achieve every day.

By supporting CUNA and the Leagues on this important initiative, CUNA Mutual Group believes we can collectively increase consumer consideration of credit unions and position them for a bright future.

On ICU day and every day, I’m proud to be part of an industry that puts people first and cares about the well-being of its customers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

CUNA Mutual Group Honored with Diversity Award

CUNA Mutual Group was honored today as a recipient of the Distinguished Performer Award for Diversity as part of the Deloitte Wisconsin 75 program. This annual list recognizes the state's largest private companies and showcases their positive impact on Wisconsin's economy and communities they serve. This is the third consecutive year CUNA Mutual Group was honored as one of the six Distinguished Performers. We were recognized for our community work in 2016 and innovation in 2017.

“CUNA Mutual Group is focused on creating an inclusive, equitable, and diverse company that reflects the customers we serve, the partners we work with and the communities we reside in,” said Robert N. Trunzo, president and CEO. “For us, it’s about recognizing and understanding differences, creating a welcoming and supportive environment for everyone and ensuring we all benefit together because of our differences. We are truly humbled and honored with this recognition from Deloitte Wisconsin 75.”

As part of an enterprise-wide diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, CUNA Mutual Group has developed a long-term focus and plan that includes a robust employee training curriculum, investments in resources and leadership development all covering areas such as race, gender, inclusion, discrimination and implicit bias.

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

One Foot in the Future

By: Robert N. Trunzo

One of my professors used to say, “You’ve got to have one foot in the present, and one foot in the future.” As a CEO, this statement couldn’t be more relevant in today’s competitive landscape, where consumers are demanding more convenient products and services—and they have more choices than ever.

And let me make it clear: when consumers are judging how financial services institutions serve them, they’re not comparing us with the bank down the street, or with other insurance companies. They’re comparing us with the biggest, brightest, best brands out there.

So, we know we must focus on providing solutions that address our customers’ needs.

At CUNA Mutual Group, we’re going through our own transformation to remain relevant to the credit unions and consumers we serve today. We’re looking to the future and embracing innovation and disruption. Here are a few things we’ve learned along our journey:

Stay flexible.
We continuously challenge ourselves to create, innovate and invest in new ideas to help credit unions grow and help people achieve financial security. By partnering with credit unions across the country to co-develop products, we’re helping them solve their biggest challenges from their perspective, not ours.
 We recognize the need to stay flexible, while testing and learning along the way. Making adjustments throughout the process based on feedback we collect ensures we’re developing products that our customers really want.

Respect failure and embrace it.
Building agile methodology into the DNA of CUNA Mutual Group is no easy feat for our 83 year-old insurance company. But we’ve seen that this iterative way of working has trained us to test and react quickly and ultimately develop products and services faster.
While we’re asking employees to move faster, we’re also recognizing that it’s okay to fail. When something doesn’t go right in a project or during a sprint, we revisit the problem, tackle it again, and walk away learning something.

Keep an eye on the horizon.
Looking to the future can be tough, especially when there is so much to manage in the day-to-day. But it’s necessary to keep up in our fast-paced world. For instance, your biggest competitor could be one that doesn’t even exist yet.

For us, we saw an emerging opportunity in data and analytics a few years ago. Instead of ignoring the trend, we embraced it and thought about ways we could deliver these capabilities for credit unions. We made a significant investment in our data and analytics business, AdvantEdge Analytics. We now have 150 employees dedicated to helping credit unions deliver a better member experience through actionable data insights.

Throughout our journey at CUNA Mutual Group, I’ve learned that success is not a straight line. In business, it is critical to stay flexible and resilient, and it is vital that you keep learning – from your failures as well as your wins. Navigating this ever-changing world and meeting our customers’ needs requires walking with one foot in the present and one foot in the future.

Hear more about this in a recent podcast discussion I had with John Janclaes, CEO, Partners Federal Credit Union.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Disaster Preparedness Month: Building a Plan for Your Credit Union

Disasters can and often do occur with little to no warning. Weather-related acts of nature can give hours or days of notice, but this is not enough time to create a disaster plan for your credit union. Man-made threats, infrastructure issues and other crises can and do occur instantly, forcing a race against the clock to protect your employees, members and credit union overall.

To protect against all types of potential disasters, every credit union needs its own preparedness plan. Plans will vary depending on location, size and needs, but creating them can follow the same process. Once your credit union’s disaster preparedness plan is complete, everyone will be better prepared for and protected against potential disasters.

Evaluate restoration elements and issues.
The first step to creating a disaster preparedness plan for your credit union is to take a step back and go over its critical functions and processes. Really investigate essential daily operations that always need to be available to members. These are the processes that must remain active in the event of an emergency. Next, you will need to determine any processes for restoring them if they get interrupted. That way, you know what is essential, and how to get them working properly again after an emergency.

Create a response team.
After identifying the essential functions of your credit union, you will need to put together a disaster preparedness team. This team will usually include high-level decision makers, management and possibly other department representatives. It is important to make sure every employee has a line into this team, so they are updated on any changing plans.

Develop a communications plan -- for more than one type of disaster.
Next is communication. In addition to informing all employees of the plan overall, every credit union also needs a crisis communication plan. This will include how you will communicate with employees, members and management after a disaster strikes. Be sure to include contingencies for losing phone service, internet access and electricity.

Finally, be sure to include all types of disasters in your plan. Most credit union leaders will think of natural disasters, infrastructure emergencies and robberies. What if a computer virus were introduced into your system? Or a hacking attack targeted your members? Be sure to look outside the box to make sure you are prepared for any possible issue.

Ideally, your credit union will never experience a disaster, and your plan will go unused. But, the work of building it could alert you to any issues before something happens. While no credit union can be 100% ready for every disaster, those with extensive plans are the best prepared. Plans will need to be updated on a regular basis as your credit union changes and new threats are identified.

For more detailed tips and discussion on disaster preparedness for your credit union, see our Credit Union Protection webinar on this topic. It's available on-demand at no charge for our customers.

For more information on disaster recovery, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

We're joining forces with PCSU to explore shared analytics for the credit union industry

We are coming together with PSCU – the nation’s premier payments CUSO – to explore opportunities surrounding the expanded use of data and analytics, with a goal of benefiting credit unions and the industry as a whole. 

“PSCU has been an industry leader in data and analytics for several years, and we are now placing more of a focus on these offerings than ever before,” said Tom Gandre, Chief Operating Officer for PSCU. “We are excited to come together with another industry leader to drive home the value of analytics for the credit union industry.”

PSCU’s Member Insight is a suite of advanced analytics tools that helps credit unions uncover the information they need to understand the performance, profitability, growth opportunities and risk mitigation in their credit, debit, bill pay and ATM portfolios. Credit union users currently derive insights and actions based on thousands of database searches conducted annually. CUNA Mutual AdvantEdge Analytics provides comprehensive technology and data analytics services for credit unions, helping credit unions effectively harness the power of data in new and insightful ways.
“This is an exciting step for industry collaboration between PSCU and CUNA Mutual Group as we explore new ways to bring a better digital experience for credit unions and their members,” said Shazia Manus, chief strategy and business development officer for AdvantEdge Analytics. “Together, we will continue to not only address the evolving data analytics needs of credit unions, but more importantly, we will continue to build the digital ecosystem to improve the member financial experience overall.”
The new partnership will explore innovation and strategic development ideas by leveraging collective capabilities in digital and analytics solutions, including additional infrastructure for the AdvantEdge Analytics™ Data Platform, as well as connections with PSCU’s Advisors Plus and contact centers. The companies will also explore areas to further enable actionable growth strategies through data analytics that will improve member intelligence and accelerated analytics adoption to help strengthen credit unions for the future.

Click here for more information.