10 Steps to Better Retirement Planning for the New Year

RICHARD W. RAUSSER, CPC
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CLIENT SERVICES

Rich Rausser is a Certified Pension Consultant (CPC), a Qualified Pension Administrator (QPA), a Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA), and a member of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA). He holds an M.B.A. in Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a B.A. in Economics and Business Administration from Ursinus College. 

Rich Rausser

Pentegra Retirement Services is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Qualified Retirement Plans for Credit Union Employees. http://www.nafcu.org/pentegra/

The start of every New Year brings the promise of new beginnings; a time to think about setting goals and resolving to do new things, particularly when it comes to finances.

It is important to take a few minutes this month to think about the state of your retirement portfolio and to commit to an annual self-assessment.  This should be more than ‘I will spend less’ in 2015. One of your resolutions should be to find better ways to manage your finances and invest your money.

I encourage everyone to jump-start their efforts with this checklist:

1. Increase Plan Contributions:  Are you contributing as much as you can afford to your retirement plan? The more money you put into your plan now, the bigger your potential retirement nest egg. Adding as little as five or ten extra dollars per paycheck could make a big difference over the long term.

2. Make Catch-up Contributions: Your plan may allow you to make “catch-up” contributions over and above the regular contribution limit if you are age 50 or older. If possible, take advantage of the opportunity to give your retirement savings a boost. Read more

Defining Your Customer Experience Leads to Loyalty

Originally Posted by David Peterson on Wed., Oct 15, 2014 @ 10:08 am on the https://q2ebanking.com/

Let’s face it, defining a superior Member experience is a tricky prospect. Everyone knows what “Member” means. The confusion arises from the word “experience.” What does that word mean in the context of providing financial services? Is it 24-hour support? Does it mean products work as advertised and your account holders are happy – or just not complaining? What exactly constitutes an “experience”?

A few years ago, Harley Manning at Forrester created a definition of “Customer [Member] Experience.” He noted an experience must come from the perspective of the member and have three components: 1) be useful (deliver value), 2) be usable (make it easy to find and engage with the value), and 3) be enjoyable (emotionally engaging).

This is a pretty good definition; however, I would summarize superior member experience this way: Superior Member experience occurs when a company or an institution consistently exceeds Member expectations, leaving them with a feeling of delight. Read more

New Perspectives on Vendor Due Diligence

Guest post written by Vanessa Stanfield, Client Program Director, Vendor Management, Affinion Group.

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Now that I’m fully immersed in the world of credit unions, I’m so impressed by the incredible emphasis on members and the cooperative spirit.  The majority of my prior experience was spent working in the insurance division of a major national bank.  My roles varied from vendor management to product management – hot topics for financial institutions of all sorts.  I’m very grateful for the perspectives I gained elsewhere now that I dig into my new responsibilities with Affinion Benefits Group.  Affinion has built the culture, infrastructure, and systems to support and serve our credit union clients in many proven and innovative ways.

On any given day, my work presents me with a few key areas of focus:

1. Facilitating the completion of client due diligence requests in an efficient, thorough, and streamlined manner

Read more

Grow Revenue, Control Costs, and Increase Membership

Grow Revenue, Control Costs, and Increase Membership

How smarter collections activities can help your credit union.

Blog post by Marney MacFadyen, Vice President of Sales, Credit Control, LLC. Marney is a life-long fan and supporter of credit unions. Credit Control is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Consumer and Commercial Loan Recovery Services. http://www.nafcu.org/CreditControl/

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my role as a NAFCU Preferred Partner is that I get to talk to so many credit unions around the country.  Most often, I talk with loan recovery specialists.  They tell me about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and how it impacts their ability to do their jobs, or about best practices and benchmarks they have found useful, or how they help their credit union colleagues understand what they do and why it’s so important.  These stories drive everything I do.

For many people, “collections” is a dirty word.  Most have some negative perceptions of the people who work to recover past due loans.  And occasionally, we see an article or news piece spotlighting the misconduct of a rogue collector.  Understandably, many credit unions are concerned when they see news like this, and out of an abundance of caution may be reluctant to collect from their members for fear of negative backlash or legal liability.  As a consumer and commercial loan recovery veteran, I can say with complete confidence that there is a right, just, and helpful way for all credit unions to assist with and recover problem loans. Read more

“I Always Pay My Bills on Time! Why Don’t I Have a Perfect Credit Score?”

This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of VantageScore Solutions’ monthly newsletter, The Score. Subscribe here.

By John Ulzheimer, Nationally Recognized Credit Expert

It’s a question that comes up often in credit-scoring discussions with consumers – including some consumers who are also financial-industry pros. “I’ve never missed a payment in my life, so I have perfect credit and I should have a perfect credit score, right?”

The question seems logical enough. If you have a perfect track record of making payments on time, it seems safe to assume you’ll have a perfect credit score. What’s critical to understand, however, is that credit scoring models consider more than just your payment history when calculating your credit scores. They consider a wide range of data elements from your credit reports, all of which have proven over time to be reliable predictors of credit risk. Along with your payment history, factors such as your total debt, the age of your credit files, your credit-shopping practices, and your depth of credit all contribute to your credit scores.

When you look solely at the payment history metrics from your credit report, it’s likely that they’re only responsible for around 30 to 40 percent of the points in your credit score.  That means how you pay your bills is important, but not as important as performing well across all scoring categories. In fact, it’s entirely possible to have never missed a payment in your life and still have below average credit scores.

The formula for earning and maintaining a solid credit score is actually quite simple.

Read more