August 25, 2016

Millennial Matters: Do I Need Life Insurance?

Millennials are a diverse bunch. They’re single, married, parents, students, entrepreneurs and so much more. But, no matter the life stage, millennials typically have one thing in common: They want to protect their family and loved ones.

So, how can they accomplish this? Life insurance is one way. But, is it really necessary?

For me, it is. I’m a recent homebuyer, engaged (and almost married!) with two fur babies. If something were to happen to me, there would still be a mortgage to pay, a significant other now surviving on his income alone and two cats to feed. Life insurance helps protect each of these important things if I pass away. 

Now, just because I need life insurance doesn’t mean every millennial does. If I didn’t have a house, significant other and “dependents,” would I need it? Possibly not, as I’m young and in relatively good health. 

However, you still need to think about those left behind. Do you have enough money saved up to cover your funeral expenses? (For reference, the average funeral cost ranges from $7,000 to $10,000.) And, are you debt-free? If you answered no to those questions, these expenses could become your family’s responsibility to pay, and you may want to evaluate a life insurance policy.

But, where do you begin? With four out of five consumers overestimating the cost of term insurance – and millennials overestimating by 213 percent – you may feel like life insurance is out of reach. Start the evaluation process by deciding on a budget. Then, use a budget-first calculator to see how much coverage fits your budget. Because, when it comes to protecting loved ones, any amount of coverage can make a difference.

August 17, 2016

Five Ways to Expand Your Payment Capabilities with Confidence

By Robert Jarosinski

As payment methods evolve, new risks and challenges continue to emerge. In fact, today, less than 50 percent of breaches are known. Debit card compromises at ATMs are up 546 percent year-over-year. And, 91 percent of the losses our customers report are card-present counterfeit.

With so many unknowns surrounding payments, your confidence may falter when you think about expanding the payment capabilities of your business. So, what can credit unions do to overcome these challenges? Here are five considerations.

  1. Understand the fraud landscape. Understanding the current landscape is necessary prior to expanding capabilities. Know what’s happening with breaches, card compromises, fraud and more.

  2. Layer key elements of protection. A one-size-fits-all solution for preventing fraud doesn’t exist today. So, fight from every angle using fraud management services, EMV, card-not-present tools and mobile wallet offerings.

  3. Embrace EMV. Despite EMV’s slow implementation, we already see staggering drops in counterfeit fraud, with EMV-based merchants reporting a 35 percent decline.

  4. Select the right mobile wallet. Today, you can choose from more than 150 mobile wallet options, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal and more. So, selecting the right solution can be tricky. Look for these three key elements when evaluating mobile wallets: tokenization, encryption and strong authentication options.

  5. Know how you benchmark against other credit unions. Defining the “new norm” in today’s landscape is difficult since a credit union loss barometer for the industry doesn’t exist (yet).

    To help address these challenges, we’re conducting a Credit Union Benchmark Survey to help credit unions understand their metrics and year-over-year fraud performance compared with their peers. So far, results show debit card fraud dollars are up 27 percent, year-over-year, and credit card fraud dollars are up 15 percent.

    We invite you to participate in our survey and stay tuned for our results, which will be released in August exclusively to Bond policyholders who participated in the survey.

Looking for more payment insights? Log into our Protection Resource Center* to watch our latest webinar, titled “Expanding Payment Capabilities with Confidence,” featuring Andy Sun, Senior Product Analyst – Visa Chip Product, VISA and myself, Robert Jarosinski, Risk Management Senior Consultant, CUNA Mutual Group.

Also, keep an eye out for more risk management insights on our blog, or tune into our Credit Union Protection webinars, provided exclusively to our Bond policyholders.

*Bond policyholders only

August 4, 2016

Engaging Young People through Financial Literacy

 By Jeff Bosco

Now, more than ever, young people need our help to learn how to skillfully plan a budget, save for the future and invest with confidence – before money management becomes a struggle. This is critical to their abilities to become financially healthy and fulfill their passions and goals.

We don’t let our children graduate from high school without a solid grasp of the English language and basic math and science principles. Yet so often we overlook teaching crucial financial skills, such as balancing a checking account and understanding when to use credit cards. This must change.

Young people are our future, and only through strong, educated and financially healthy members do we ensure the sustained success of our credit unions and the credit union movement. Working together, we can play a key role in educating young consumers about basic financial principals.

Together, we can lay the foundation for future financial success.  Sharing our financial knowledge will help us build lasting relationships with these young people. It also encourages them to work with credit unions to plan and manage their finances for years to come.

In 2016,
 CUNA Mutual Group worked with the National Credit Union Foundation to deliver 20 Financial Reality Fairs for high school students across the country. The series resulted in 40 credit unions reaching 5,000 students in nine states.

Through these fairs, students learned how to maintain and improve their financial health and experienced all of the opportunities and benefits credit unions can provide. Simulated scenarios involving credit scores, insurance plans, daycare costs and more taught students how to successfully navigate the financial situations they’ll face when they reach adulthood and live on their own.

This was just the beginning, though. The financial health and education of the next generation is an ongoing investment that we are committed to building. We’re continuing to engage and interact with young people to boost their financial literacy, and we hope our peers – credit unions, leagues, financial advisors, teachers and friends – will join us.

Help us reach new members today by watching and sharing this
 financial literacy video, and then get involved by contacting the National Credit Union Foundation or your state credit union foundation to host a fair. Together, we can make a difference.

JEFF BOSCO is the senior vice president of Wealth Management for CUNA Mutual Group. Contact him at

This post was originally published via CUInsight.


July 29, 2016

Credit Union Memberships and Loans Continue to Grow

Credit union loan balances and memberships continue to grow. That's according our Credit Union Trends Report for July 2016 (based on May 2016 data).

The report offers an economic outlook for credit unions and their leaders, and you can review the full details 
here. Or, see the highlights below:


  • During May, credit unions picked-up 431,000 in new memberships, loan and savings balances grew at an 11.9 percent and 6.7 percent seasonally-adjusted annualized pace, respectively. Firms hired 11,000 workers, nominal consumer spending increased 0.4 percent, and long-term interest rates increased 11 basis points. Consumers are feeling confident about their future financial conditions and will keep the economy moving forward through 2017.
  • At the end of May, CUNA’s monthly estimates reported 6,126 credit unions in operation, 2 fewer than one month earlier. Year-over-year, the number of credit unions declined by 291, more than the 260 lost in the 12 months ending in May 2015.
  • Total credit union assets fell -0.1 percent in May, slower than the 0.9 percent gain reported in May of 2015. Assets rose 7.0 percent during the past year due to a 6.9 percent increase in deposits, an 18 percent increase in borrowings, and a 6.4 percent increase in capital.
  • The nation’s credit unions increased their loan portfolios by 1.0 percent in May, faster than the 0.9 percent pace reported in May 2015. Loan balances are up 11.0 percent during the last 12 months. With loan balances growing faster than savings, credit union liquidity is tightening up as the credit union average loan-to-savings ratio reached 77.6 percent, up from 74.8 percent in May 2015.
  • Credit union memberships rose 0.4 percent in May, up from the 0.33 percent gain reported in May 2015. Memberships are up 4.3 percent during the past year due to robust demand for credit, solid job growth and credit unions having comparatively lower fees and loan interest rates.
  • Credit union loan delinquency came in at 0.72 percent in May, below the 0.74 percent reported in May 2015. Delinquency rates typically reach their lowest point in the 2nd quarter of a year, so expect the ratio to begin rising in the second half of 2016.

July 28, 2016

Millennial POV: What Are the Top Millennial Myths?

Millennials have been part of the workforce for years. In that time, the generation has endured a lot of attention and still does. Some of this is rooted in fact, and some isn't.

To examine what isn't true, we launched a Twitter Poll earlier this month. We asked our followers to choose the top Millennial myth. As you can see, most voters found all options equally false.

We agree with this for three key reasons: our day-to-day experiences, new research and real-world feedback from Millennials.

  • Like most work environments today, ours is a multi-generational one. Our experiences with teams, work groups and leaders of all ages teach us the difference between sweeping generalizations and reality.
  • We also asked a Millennials who work in the credit union industry to share their thoughts with us. In February, we captured their myth-busting feedback on video. See it for yourself!

In addition to myth-busting, we have this group's feedback on their top financial priorities and how credit unions can engage them better. And, you can see more insights on Twitter via #MillennialPOV.

What do you think the top myths are today?

Four Emerging Risks Challenging Credit Unions Today

By Roger Nettie

As the risk landscape continues to shift and evolve,
credit unions face two challenges: Staying current with risk trends and integrating risk management into their day-to-day plans and operations.
New risks can present themselves at any moment. So credit unions have to deal with familiar threats while recognizing new ones.
At the upcoming NAFCU Risk Management Seminar in Denver, I will speak about four emerging risks and provide action steps credit unions can take to mitigate and minimize exposure. These include:
  1. Wire transfers and ACH. Wire transfer fraud has been an ongoing problem with HELOC accounts, and fraudsters are evolving their attacks through email impersonations and by targeting real estate closings. ACH origination fraud has also become a new issue, as members and fraudsters are finding ways to take advantage of account-to-account transfer capabilities. Electronic payment systems are a favored target since large quantities of money are moved quickly, increasing the difficulty of retrieving it.

  2. Overdraft fees. Overdraft fees have generated class-action litigation, with members seeking monetary damages, restitution, punitive damages and injunction relief. Plaintiff attorneys are arguing that the calculation of overdraft fees isn’t adequately disclosed.

  3. Collection letters. Post-repossession collection letters have caused the most class-action claims against credit unions in recent years. Attorneys have successfully challenged the fact that many of the letters fail to meet the requirements of state laws that call for disclosures of the terms of sale of repossessed collateral. Damages and/or penalties for failing to adhere to these requirements are generally not insurable.

  4. ATMs and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. This is a hot-button issue as of late, and it has generated lawsuits. ATMs must be accessible to everyone. Some requirements include: detectable warnings (truncated domes) in place on ramps leading to and from ATMs, volume control, tactile symbols for function keys, privacy options, and Braille instructions. Credit unions have been found in violation of ADA laws for failure to comply with these requirements.
Interested in learning mitigation tips for these emerging risks? Join my session, titled “The Unique Footprint of Emerging Risks,” at NAFCU’s Risk Management Seminar on Wednesday, August 10, from 9 – 10 a.m. MT to hear more.
Note: This post originally appeared via the NAFCU Services Blog.
Roger Nettie is a senior risk management consultant for CUNA Mutual Group. Contact him at
CUNA Mutual Group is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Mortgage Payment Protection. For more information please visit
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Credit Unions should contact their own legal counsel for advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

July 14, 2016

Millennial POV: How Can Credit Unions Connect?

Connecting with Millennials is the goal of many businesses today. But, the credit union movement is poised for success with this generation for one simple reason: shared values.

Research draws a picture that seems all too familiar for anyone who's familiar with our industry:
  • Millennials care about family.
    They dominate the new parenting demographic, and most see parenting as a team sport.
  • Millennials are concerned with debt.
    Many are struggling with student loan debt and childcare costs.
While we recognize these shared values, the challenge remains: Too many Millennials still don't know much about credit unions. So, earlier this year, we spoke with a few who know our space well.

We asked them how credit unions can make better connections, and these videos reflect their thoughts:

For more Millennial insights, take a look at our What Matters Now 2016 research or #MillennialPOV on Twitter. Or, check out this group's feedback on their top financial priorities here.

How are you connecting with Millennials today?

Looking Back at ACUC 2016

In June, we joined credit union industry leaders in Seattle for CUNA's 2016 America's Credit Union Conference (ACUC). The speakers, sessions, insights and people were great. And, as we look back on the annual event, we also want to share a few industry insights of our own - from a few people who presented breakout sessions on behalf of our company and the industry.

Jay Isaacson talked about the latest cybersecurity issues credit unions are facing.

ACUC Interviews: CUNA Mutual Group's Jay Isaacson Talks Latest CU Cybersecurity Issues... from CUbroadcast on Vimeo.

Gary Weave shared insights on wealth management for middle-income Americans.

Robert Jarosinski talked about the latest payment technology and fraud trends.
Natalie Crain shared insights on Millennials.

Karim Habib framed lending loyalty strategies and opportunities.

Marty Polimus talked about avoiding data breaches with "human firewalls."

And, Steve Rick shared insights on the economy...
Will we see you next year in Las Vegas for ACUC 2017?

July 13, 2016

Financial Advisors: Get To Know the Credit Union Movement

When hardworking Americans look for financial advice, who do they prefer? Recent research shows middle-income investors aren’t entirely wowed by big national firms, and many don’t trust the expertise of digital brokerages or robo-advisors. Most are looking for local advisors they can trust.

So where can you find them? One great place to look is your local credit union – whether you’re an investor looking for guidance or an advisor looking for a rewarding career.

We know this because, through our broker- dealer arm, CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), we serve people and families through 275 active credit unions across the country. We’re the leading broker-dealer serving the credit union marketplace. And, we strive every day to earn that honor through nearly 400 advisors who work directly with members.

To amplify the value our advisors offer, we provide continuing education opportunities specific to serving credit unions, meeting regulatory requirements and more. For advisors who are new to our company, that means training to reinforce the realities and best practices involved with serving members. We do this through our Advisor Academy, and we host it every six weeks.

The four-day experience educates participants in three key areas: credit union integration, technology and sales process/compliance. It’s one of many opportunities we offer advisors to help expand their skillsets and support career growth with us.

“I believe we provide some of the best onboard training in the credit union industry,” says Advisor Academy Leader and Team Trainer, Ric Pearson. “In my eight years with the academy, I can tell you we have always received positive feedback and results, and our retention outperforms others’ in our space.”

According to Pearson, the academy is one way the company works to position its advisors for success and career growth in serving the credit union movement:

“When you hire great people and provide them with timely, relevant training,” he said, “success and inspiration will usually follow. That’s what we’ve experienced.”

Are you interested in joining CBSI’s award winning team of financial advisors? Contact with us today via 855.686.0823 or email.


July 12, 2016

Two Ways to Make Financial Planning Smart, Not Scary

By Cindi Hill, CFP®, CRPC®, Retirement Solutions Consultant, CUNA Brokerage Services

Do you think people are more likely to spend five hours deciding on a car, planning a vacation or working on their retirement investments?

A 2014 Charles Schwab survey of 1,000 retirement savers shows what you’ve probably already guessed: More than half said they spent over five hours on their last car decision, and 39 percent said they’d spent that much time planning their last vacation. But only 11 percent reported spending that much time on investing for their retirement savings.

We get it. Deciding which car to buy or beach or ski hill to visit is fun and easy for most people. But, figuring out how to turn retirement assets into an income stream for the future?  That can be pretty intimidating for many.

The good news is: As financial advisors, we’re here to help turn these experiences from scary to smart for the people and families we serve. To achieve this, we recommend two key tactics that can ease clients’ minds, stress levels and willingness to recommend to friends and family.

First, offer planning tools.
Today, many people face a more uncertain future in retirement than previous generations: Most don’t have pensions and will have to make sure the assets they’ve accumulated while working will support them through retirement. They need financial planning tools that help them understand:
  • Their expenses in retirement and how to prioritize and minimize them.
  • The income they’ll be able to generate based on different variables like when they start to collect Social Security, how much they withdraw each year, and the impact of things beyond their control (like the health of the stock market and the inflation rate).
  • How various asset allocation mixes will affect their nest egg.
Financial planning tools can help clients in all of these areas. Good financial planning tools offer a range of analytics, reports and calculators that produce easily understandable output that advisors can use to help clients understand the challenges of retirement and the best asset mix to meet or exceed them.

Support them with written plans.
To get the most out of any planning tools, we recommend complementing them with a written plan. Why? Think of the times you’ve set goals in your own life—and when you achieved them. We’re guessing you generated more success when you took the time to map out your strategies and tactics. 

Research shows it makes a difference for advisors in more ways than one: A study from
MoneyGuide Pro has found that the broker/dealer firms offering written plans were much more likely to drive referrals: 
  • Without a written plan, clients were only 44 percent likely to refer their advisors to friends. 
  • That probability grew to 75 percent when firms offered a written plan. 
  • And, if another firm created the client’s financial plan, they were 26 percent less likely to refer a friend to their original advisor for help.
For more insights you can use, we invite you to connect with us here and download our white paper on the changing retirement landscape. Or, stay informed on the employment opportunities we have for advisors here.

Are these ideas part of your approach?

The views expressed in the communication represent the current views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the management of CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc.

Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution. CBSI is a registered broker/dealer in all fifty states of the United States of America. The representative may also be financial institution employee that accepts deposits on behalf of the financial institution.