Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Many Stand Ready to Help Credit Unions Recover from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey

By Beth Cutler, Community Relations and Foundation Leader

As the devastation of both hurricanes Irma and Harvey continues, many people and businesses are in need of help. This includes credit unions we serve. As a company -- and as people who care -- our hearts go out to everyone impacted by these two catastrophic events. 

Our disaster recovery team recently deployed to Texas, and we saw the harsh realities many credit unions, people and families are facing there. As we evaluate the circumstances in Florida and surrounding regions, we know we're one of many, many organizations who stand ready to help.

In August, the National Credit Union Foundation and the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation activated CUAid.coop to support credit union people affected by the natural disaster in Texas. That support now extends to those affected by Irma as well. In turn, we're adding $50,000 to our initial donation to CUAid to help support the many credit union people who need financial aid right now. 

While we know it will take months – if not years – to recover, we want to ensure our credit union partners, credit union employees and their families know we’re here to help support them. 

To support or apply for help through CUAid, you can access the program here. It's one of a number of options credit unions can now explore to help them find relief.

Cornerstone and CUNA have launched a new online community called "Stronger Together." It can help connect credit unions and system friends find help and resources when natural disasters occur. The National Credit Union Administration's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives is offering urgent needs grants of up to $7,500 for affected credit unions who qualify.  And, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions is standing ready to support credit unions now affected by Irma. 

You can also find tips, bulletins and other emergency preparedness resources for credit unions through our Disaster Recovery website.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Data Analytics In Action

By Blesson Abraham, AdvantEdge Analytics

It wasn’t long ago that credit unions learned of their members’ needs and expectations by talking with them when they visited the branch. But as technology has infiltrated our lives, and branch visits have given way to the convenience of online banking and mobile apps, that key source of customer intelligence is disappearing. How do you know what your members want?

The answer that many companies are coming to is data analytics. As more data is created, and more consumers demand increased convenience, there’s a huge opportunity for all businesses—including credit unions.

According to recent studies, companies using data analytics are already seeing big success from the insights they’ve obtained. These insights have led to better business decisions and performance, including:

· Improved Products and Services
· Increased Productivity
· Reduced Losses

No matter the size of your credit union, consider data analytics an important tool to help you address one of your biggest concerns – knowing what your members want.

Learn more about leveraging data analytics to develop insights. Read the full article here.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hurricane Harvey and Emergency Preparedness: Ask Yourself Four Questions

By Michael McKinley

As we all turn our focus to the recovery that's underway after Hurricane Harvey, evacuations are underway in Florida and surrounding regions in the predicted path of Hurricane Irma. So, disaster preparedness is an active concern for many of the credit unions we serve.

Our Customer Disaster Response team deployed toTexas last Thursday, working its way up the coast and affected inland areas to help credit unions begin and continue their recovery from the damage Harvey left in its wake. Since recovery lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey may be useful to your or any credit union, we're sharing a few here.

We’ve collected a few of the many challenges we observed in Texas into four questions to ask yourself as you begin preparing for emergency conditions your credit union may face now or in the future:

How will you access and provide access to cash?
As people return home to survey, repair and recover after a natural disaster like Harvey, they'll need access to cash. Do you have contracts and plans in place with vendors to deliver it to your branch? Do you have a vendor who can bring in mobile ATMs? Activating plans like these quickly will make a vital difference for the people, businesses and families you serve.

Do you have an alternate location for serving members?
What if your branch or branches are so heavily damaged that serving members isn't possible? Do you have a plan for setting up shop somewhere else? Do you have contracts in place to activate a temporary physical location for your offices? Or, do you have agreements with another area credit unions to share branches? This can be key in preventing service interruptions for members who will need your help.

Can you activate alternate staffing?
In the case of a hurricane, it’s important to keep in mind that the people who work in and for your credit union may be personally impacted by conditions like flood damage to their homes. Do you have a plan for alternate staffing? This can be vital to your ability to serve members in the days and weeks following a natural disaster.  While working remotely may be an option for some employees, it's not a guarantee for all -- especially if their homes experience power interruptions or damage to their communications infrastructure. 

How will you communicate with members?
Knowing how you'll reach out and stay connected with members before, during and after a disaster is critical. Do you have a plan that maps out how and what you'll communicate? How will you let members know the ways they can access cash and funds? They'll need it to cover things like gas, food, lodging, cleanup supplies and more. Do you know how they can connect with relief efforts? This can be life-changing information for people and families faced with unexpected expenses.

For credit unions -- or anyone -- being prepared for a disaster isn't easy. But, there are plenty of people ready to help you prepare and recover when the unexpected happens. Our team is one of many, many work groups who has been working with affected Texans -- as well as credit unions who are anticipating what Irma will bring.

To help support credit unions, employees and members affected by Hurricane Harvey, The National Credit Union Foundation and the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation activated CUAid.coop last week. It’s raising money for credit union people affected by the storm and its aftermath. You can connect to donate or apply for relief funds here.

And, as we all brace for Irma, The National Credit Union Administration provides Disaster Recovery information and resources for credit unions and consumers in a dedicated site you can find here.

For the credit unions we serve, we also provide emergency preparedness training, information and bulletins through our Disaster Recovery website. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Foundation Activates CUAid to Support Credit Unions, Employees and Members

As you know, people and families in southeastern Texas have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey and the flooding that has followed. 

In response, the National Credit Union Foundation has activated the online disaster relief system CUAid.coop to raise money for credit union people affected by the storm and its aftermath. 

To date, CUAid is the only disaster relief fund dedicated to helping credit unions, their employees and members recover from major disasters. And, 100 percent of the proceeds from CUAid donations go directly to relief efforts. 

At CUNA Mutual Group, we know recovery will be a long and multi-faceted approach, and we feel it's important to provide immediate support. That's why the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation will provide $50,000 to CUAid. We’ll also watch for ways we can support the ongoing relief and recovery efforts in the months ahead.  

If you would like to support CUAid, click here.

As donations are posted through CUAid, The Foundation will coordinate with the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation in the disaster area to distribute money efficiently to affected credit union employees and volunteers.

Click here for more information on the program.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Credit Union Trends: August

Credit unions are seeing growth with loans, including fixed-rate mortgages. That's according to our Credit Union Trends Report for August 2017. 

Highlights include:

  • The nation’s credit unions increased their loan portfolios 1 percent in June, slightly less than the 1.2 percent pace reported in June 2016, and 10.9 percent during the last 12 months.
  • Credit union fixed-rate first mortgage loan balances grew 2.7 percent in June, faster than the 2.2 percent reported in June 2016.
  • As of June 2017, CUNA estimates 5,911 credit unions were in operation, 11 fewer than May and 215 fewer than June 2016. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

CMFG Ventures Announces Investment in Mirador

CMFG Ventures, LLC, the venture capital entity of our company, announced its latest investment in Portland, Oregon-based, Mirador, a financial technology startup that provides a completely digital small business lending platform. 

Mirador supports lenders through a modern approach to borrower engagement in small business lending that can strengthen financial services relationships.

“Small business lending is an important area of opportunity for credit unions, yet the technology and process can be fragmented and difficult to navigate,” said Brian Kaas, president and managing director, CMFG Ventures. “Through our investment in Mirador, together we can help credit unions provide another level of service to their members through better access to small business loans, further reinforcing the credit union’s commitment to their local communities.”

Mirador continues to push the financial services industry to provide more modern relationship banking experiences through its small business lending platform. The company’s innovative technology supports a fully integrated, digital approach to borrower acquisition, loan application process, decisioning and borrower communication.  

Click here to read the full details in today's news release.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

CUNA Mutual Group Earns No. 2 Spot on List of Most Reputable Insurance Companies by Reputation Institute

Our company has been recognized as one of the most reputable insurance companies in the United States, by Reputation Institute, with the release of the 2017 US Insurance RepTrak®, the survey of insurance company reputations. 

We ranked second overall for most reputable insurance companies and No. 1 in the life and investment category.

Reputation Institute’s 2017 survey of insurance company reputations, scores, and rankings are based on more than ratings collected via an online questionnaire. 

They measure the general public’s perception of where companies stand on seven key rational dimensions of reputation: citizenship, governance, innovation, leadership, performance, products and services and workplace. We ranked high in all seven categories.

“Through everything we do, we always put customer needs at the forefront and empower our teams to make decisions that drive value for our credit unions and their members,” said Robert N. Trunzo, president & CEO, CUNA Mutual Group. “Being recognized as one of the most reputable insurance companies in the country is an honor, and this is a direct result of what our employees contribute every day – serving our customers and doing business with integrity.”

Click here for the full details in our press release.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

BOLI: How One “Loan” Can Help Offset Expenses

By Fred Palmer
What if the CEO from an $18 billion institution walked in your door and asked to borrow a million dollars for working capital? 

Hypothetically, let's say the company’s assets consist almost entirely of government bonds, mortgages and high grade corporate bonds. Due to their 130+ year history, strong capital position, balance sheet and stable earnings, Moody’s, AM Best and S&P rate them in the top 10 percent in credit quality for similar companies. They would adjust the interest rate at least annually to keep your loan rate in line with market rates. Due to the unique nature of the loan, there would be no required loan loss reserve accrual or servicing requirements. Should you ever be concerned about credit quality, you could demand payment at any time.

Does this scenario sound too good to be true? It’s not. What I am describing is not actually a loan, but is in fact business-owned life insurance (BOLI). The transaction is shifting lower yielding investments to BOLI and using the potential increase in income to offset and recover expenses of employee benefits programs such as benefits pre-funding, 457(f) plans, and split-dollar life insurance. Using BOLI could help your credit union continue to offer the compensation and benefits that attract and retain top talent in your organization. Some credit unions also use BOLI to establish or enhance a charitable giving program. In fact, credit union BOLI investments have increased by nearly 100 percent in the past three years.[i]

Think about it this way, in comparison to another way your credit union generates revenue. Let’s say you would like to build and maintain an equal sized auto loan portfolio. Assuming an average loan size of $20,000, it takes 50 loans to build your $1 million loan portfolio. Building the portfolio is just the beginning. Assuming an average duration on your auto loans of 30 months, you would have to make 150 loans in five years just to maintain your $1 million portfolio. There are costs associated with replacing auto loans, such as the acquisition costs, staff to monitor the loan portfolio, loan loss reserves, and charge offs.

If BOLI sounds intriguing and you would like to learn more, check with your executive benefits specialist to see if this funding solution is right for you.

Fred Palmer is an Executive Benefits Specialist with CUNA Mutual Group. He can be reached at fred.palmer@cunamutual.com or 800.356.2644, ext. 665.8576.

[i] NCUA call report data, 12/31/16

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 on Aug. 21.

We're grateful to all the people and families who have shared their memories with us. I
t has 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.