Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Coordinators, Sales Assistants Donate for Youth at Conference

Attendees at the CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI) Coordinators and Sales Assistant Academy conference in Milwaukee, WI came together Mar. 11-13 and provided much-needed donations of supplies and personal items for troubled youth and their families. 

The donations were collected for the Walker’s Point Youth & Family Center, a Milwaukee non-profit that meets the needs of runaways and homeless youth by helping them resolve personal and family problems, strengthen family relationships and support safe and stable homes.

Jennifer Klein, CBSI Learning & Development Manager says that CBSI employees and the attendees at the CSAA conference demonstrated their commitment to making a difference and giving back to the community.

“Conference attendees work at credit unions, which have an ongoing mission to meet the needs of people at all levels of society.  It’s very much a shared value in our movement and we’re very happy that so many attendees brought donations,” Klein said.

Audra O’Connell, Executive Director of Walker’s Point Youth & Family Center, thanked attendees at the opening session of the conference and noted how the organization provides shelter, safety and understanding for young people dealing with a variety of stressful problems. 

“Teens who come to us for help are usually having serious problems at home,” O’Connell noted. 

“They leave because of abuse or neglect and many come from alcohol or drug addicted families.”

She added, “Our goals are to encourage families to work out problems, help youth decide on a positive course of action and ensure a more stable living environment.”

Donations can be made online by visiting https://walkerspoint.org/support-us.

For those interested in learning more about youth issues, Walker’s Point Youth & Family Center is affiliated with the National Network for Youth.

Friday, April 12, 2019

A Shift in Approach that Actually Results in... Well, Results

By Tammie Harvey, CUNA Mutual Group, Director, Continuous Improvement & Agile Execution

In an era of rapid change and marketplace disruption, we’re all challenged to help our customers/members identify and address a host of evolving needs. Realizing traditional methods – known as a waterfall approach – were not helping us reach our goals at a necessary pace, we shifted our thinking to an agile approach.

Now, a waterfall approach consists of building requirements, designing solutions, releasing to the marketing and then getting feedback from customers. In a nutshell, you focus on figuring out exactly what you want in the beginning and you don’t tell anyone about it or use the solution until it’s done and ready for implementation. By that time, you might be headed in the wrong direction, and because it’s a waterfall, there’s no way to go back up to one of the previous steps in the process, without adding time, cost or risk.

Agile on the other hand is about gathering customer insights, building solutions and verifying with customers along the way. Then, releasing the minimum amount necessary to serve your customers’ needs. You build upon the minimum viable solution over time to get to your end state – consistently co-creating with your customers along the way. Through continuous learning, you mitigate your risk of building something your customers don’t want or need.

To illustrate, think about someone who opens a coffee shop. On day one, they sell coffee. When customers go through the drive-thru, the owner asks them what else they want. The next day the owner adds muffins to the menu. Over time, the coffeeshop becomes a restaurant that serves a variety of beverages, food items and gifts – all that the customers said they wanted while giving you feedback along the way.  

Agile can be intimidating at first. It requires change. Change in how you think, behave and execute your work. Let’s face it, that can be hard. Agile also comes with a whole set of its own terms. There are several methods that can be adopted, depending upon the business problem you are trying to solve. And, because it is a relatively new concept to the financial services industry, education is key – for employees and customers. The learning never stops.

The results; however, speak for themselves. An iterative, co-creation process leads to efficient development, aligned work teams, positive customer experience, quality solutions, and a better ability to manage and change priorities.

Our results have been both transformational and incremental. For example, product development now takes months instead of years, and when we determine through testing that something isn’t adding value for our customers, we stop working on it. In addition, employees feel empowered to identify improvements and adopt new ways of working so they can deliver value faster for our customers.

Not only are credit unions excited about the products and services we’re building, and how they’re part of it, they’re excited about how they can start embracing this thing called “agile” and reap its benefits.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Protect Members from Scams and Themselves

Members willingly give away their personal and financial information and then get tricked into authorizing wires, ACH, plastic card and other types of monetary transactions. Protecting members from themselves is a tricky proposition.
Recognizing scams can be difficult for both you and your members. But you can slow the growing rate of scams by remaining vigilant and continuing to provide awareness and great member service.
Unfortunately, scams are on the rise. Nearly 25 million Americans lost a total of $8.9 billion to phone scams alone in 2017, according to a 2018 TrueCaller survey. These numbers, while significant, only scratch the surface. Consider these statistics:
·         On average, Americans receive 23 spam calls and 8.5 spam texts in a month. (TrueCaller)
·         The average user receives 16 malicious emails per month (Symantec 2018 Internet Security Threat Report) with the fraudster looking to trick the individual into giving access to account, login, or financial information.
A primary factor is whether a victim finds a fraudster’s story convincing—and to what degree. A good scam artist provides enough information and urgency to compel a victim to act quickly. Unfortunately, with an aging population, perpetrators are preying on the elderly, who tend to let their guard down more easily.

What can you do?
- Familiarize yourself with the most common scams using tools such as CUNA Mutual Group’s Emerging Risks video series, RISK Alerts and Protection Resource Center.
Educate members about known scams in one-on-one settings, during community events, and on the credit union’s website or in the newsletter.
·         If you suspect a member has fallen victim to a scam, respectfully share your concerns with the member. Hopefully this will remedy the situation but be prepared with information and examples of scams.
CUNA Mutual Group’s Risk & Compliance Solutions also helps you stay at the forefront of loss trends and prevention strategies by providing educational resources. Check out the Consumer Scams emerging risk page to learn more.

Monday, January 14, 2019

CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. Advisors Hit Top 100 in 2018

Members are at the top of every credit union’s priority list and in today’s complex and ever-changing world, it’s important to fully understand member needs and deliver the right strategies.

CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI) has top talent who work directly with credit union members on a daily basis: financial advisors are trusted partners who help members to navigate and achieve financial security. That’s why we are pleased to share that nine CBSI advisors are recognized on Financial Planning’s 2018Top 100 Bank and Credit Union Advisors list. These exceptional advisors include:
  • ·         Bryan Roberts, American Heritage FCU
  • ·         Karen Reinertson, Randolph Brooks FCU
  • ·         Donald Lutz, Sandia Laboratory FCU
  • ·         Paul Fedorko, Sandia Laboratory, FCU
  • ·         Mary LaFerriere, Novartis FCU
  • ·         Frank Feng, Financial Center CU
  • ·         Eric Hilbun, DuTrac Community CU
  • ·         Susan Breyer, Altra FCU
  • ·         Costas Grekis, Clearview FCU

CBSI exists to help more people gain financial security through access to the power of investing. We work in partnership with credit unions and empower advisors to be effective coaches, to position investment services as core to delivering financial security and to highlight the credit union as the resource members can trust to deliver that security.

CBSI advisors strive to break down three key barriers that stand between people and their dreams:

1.       Perceived complexity -- many feel that investment products, markets and strategies are too difficult to understand
2.       Paralyzing fear -- of losing hard-earned savings
3.       Lack of access -- to caring, professional advice at key moments in their lives

Highly tailored to the goals of members, credit unions and advisors, CBSI replaces barriers with wide-open opportunity. We provide simple, transparent and understandable investment advice and strategies, turning complexity into simplicity, uncertainty into access and fear into confidence.

CBSI salutes all our advisors and their efforts that meet the needs of modern-day credit union members. It’s time to put more members on a path to success, to replace their barriers with confidence and opportunity. It’s time for wealth management the credit union way!


Thursday, December 20, 2018

TruStage® Celebrates Protecting 20 Million Customers by Recognizing 20 Exceptional Credit Unions

We’ve reached a significant milestone on our journey to becoming a more consumer-centric organization: more than 20 million people are now protected through TruStage insurance products.

Working alongside nearly 4,000 credit unions, TruStage has helped Americans build financial security for themselves and their families. Because credit unions do so much to support the financial stability of families in their communities, we knew the best way to celebrate this milestone was by giving back.

As a token of our appreciation, we donated $20,000 to DonorsChoose.org on behalf of 20 U.S. credit unions with the most policyholders (to date) for their contributions in helping us reach this major milestone.

The following credit unions each received $1,000 to donate to a local school through 
·         A+ Federal Credit Union, TX
·         Alliant Credit Union, IL
·         America First Federal Credit Union, UT
·         America's First Federal Credit Union, AL
·         CEFCU, IL
·         Delta Community Credit Union, GA
·         Dupaco Community Credit Union, IA
·         Ent Credit Union, CO
·         Golden 1 Credit Union, CA
·         HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union, HI
·         Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, NY
·         Lake Trust Credit Union, MI
·         Landmark Credit Union, WI
·         Metro Credit Union, MA
·         Municipal Credit Union, NY
·         Navy Federal Credit Union, VA
·         State Employees Credit Union of Maryland, Incorporated, MD
·         Summit Credit Union, WI
·         Teachers Credit Union, IN
·         VyStar Credit Union, FL

Each credit union is using the charitable gift to support projects at local schools in the communities they serve, allowing many students access to technology, resources and equipment that wouldn't be an option otherwise.

A big thank you to credit unions for all you do to protect people from all walks of life. Together, we’re making a critical difference.

Take a look at how credit unions are celebrating this exciting milestone with us:
Landmark Credit Union
VyStar Credit Union

Delta Community Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union
A-Plus Federal Credit Union

Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union
Lake Trust Credit Union
Metro Credit Union
Municipal Credit Union
Navy Federal Credit Union
Dupaco Community Credit Union

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

CUNA Mutual Group Foundation, Employees Commit $1.7 Million to Local Nonprofits

The combined generosity of CUNA Mutual Group employees and the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation will provide a $1.7 million benefit to nonprofits in Dane County and other communities nationwide where employees reside.

The funds were pledged over just four weeks during the company’s Employee Giving Campaign, which concluded Nov. 30. CUNA Mutual Group’s 3,300 employees were invited to donate to an eligible 501(c)(3) organization of their choice, including United Way. All eligible donations made during the pledge period received a dollar-for-dollar match from the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation.

“We expanded giving options this year based on employee feedback and, not surprisingly, people showed incredible excitement, passion and commitment,” said Cedric Ellis, executive vice president of enterprise services, and president of the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation.

Employees pledged approximately $650,000. The Foundation matched $600,000 and contributed an additional $450,000 to the 2018 fundraising campaign for United Way of Dane County. The funding will assist myriad organizations of employees’ choosing. These include organizations and programs committed to schools, youth, health, animal welfare, food and housing stability, community outreach, military veterans and more.

The month-long event also presented opportunities for non-financial giving. “Employees donated canned goods and numerous other food-related items to the River Food Pantry in Madison and purchased more than 400 “wish list” items for individuals at the Mendota Mental Health Institute.” And as usual, employees volunteered their time at various nonprofits. Nearly 14,000 combined volunteer hours have been logged so far in 2018 – a hefty 65 percent increase from 8,500 hours in 2017.

Ellis said CUNA Mutual Group has a long history of corporate social responsibility and corporate giving, and the company recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation. “We work hard to ensure a brighter financial future is accessible to everyone, but without access to basics like food, affordable housing, and educational opportunities, people can’t feel financially secure.”

The Foundation and its mission continue to evolve, Ellis added. Over the past three years, CUNA Mutual Group has increased its focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Filtering the Foundation’s work through this lens has produced positive and often unexpected outcomes. The same is true for corporate social responsibility and how CUNA Mutual Group serves the nonprofit community.

“Being more intentional with our giving efforts is beneficial—not only for the organizations that receive our support, but also for our community, and for us.”

To learn more about the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation, please visit: https://www.cunamutual.com/about-us/corporate-social-responsibility

About CUNA Mutual Group:
CUNA Mutual Group is a financially strong insurance, financial technology and investment company. For generations, we’ve partnered with credit union leaders to protect and grow their businesses, and help people plan, protect and invest for their future. CUNA Mutual Group offers commercial and personal insurance products; lending and payment security solutions; and retirement, investment and marketing services. Additional information about the company can be found at www.cunamutual.com.

About CUNA Mutual Group Foundation:
Celebrating 50 years, the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) and is the philanthropic arm of CUNA Mutual Group. The foundation’s purpose is to advance economic stability and support the sustainable development of the communities where CUNA Mutual Group offices reside; including Madison, Wis.; Waverly, Iowa; Great Bend, Kansas; and Fort Worth, Texas. The foundation also actively supports and participates in the credit union movement, embracing the cooperative philosophy of “people helping people.”

CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Life, accident, health and annuity insurance products are issued by CMFG Life Insurance Company and MEMBERS Life Insurance Company. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wis.
CUNA Mutual Group ©2018

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:                                 www.trustage.com/spark
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.