Archive for NAFCU Services

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

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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.

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Unraveling Qualified Expenses for Coverdell ESAs

Guest post written by Alison Brink, copy writer for the Retirement Services division of Ascensus. Alison researches and writes about various IRA, ESA, and HSA topics for Ascensus’ online and printed publications and education materials.

With students back in school and those glaring tuition bills coming due, many of your Coverdell education savings account (ESA) members may be seeking distributions to help pay (or be reimbursed for) their education expenses. And because a designated beneficiary (the child for whom the ESA is established) does not pay taxes on ESA distributions if the assets are used for qualified education expenses incurred at an eligible education institution, members may have questions about whether their expenses are qualified. While the ESA’s designated beneficiary or responsible individual (often a parent or guardian) ultimately is responsible for determining if education expenses are qualified, they often turn to the ESA administrator with questions.

Eligible Education

ESA assets generally can be used for elementary and secondary education, as well as postsecondary education. Some taxpayers save for postsecondary education through qualified tuition programs, commonly referred to as “529 plans.” But 529 plan assets cannot be used for elementary or secondary education.

Eligible Education Institutions

Part of what makes qualified education expenses qualified is the fact that the expenses have to be incurred at an eligible education institution. An eligible elementary or secondary school for ESA purposes is any public, private, or religious school that provides elementary and secondary education (kindergarten through grade 12) as determined under state law. An eligible postsecondary school is any college, university, vocational school, or other postsecondary educational institution that is eligible to participate in student aid programs administered by the Department of Education. An eligible educational institution would include nearly all accredited public, nonprofit, and private postsecondary institutions.

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Tailoring Executive Benefits to the Executive and the Credit Union

By David Frankil, President, Burns-Fazzi, Brock and Associates

Some people are lucky enough to be able to walk into a store, pick a nice suit off the rack, maybe have the sleeves adjusted and the cuffs hemmed, and walk out with something that fits them perfectly.

My experience is more like major surgery, but when done right the suit looks great.

The same is true for executive benefits – some rare executives and their credit unions are fortunate enough to have a set of circumstances and needs that allow them to take something basic and off-the-shelf.  But more often they end up with their proverbial arms sticking out and socks visible with cuffs four inches off the floor.  What they really need is a more complex mix of solutions that are tailor-made for them.

Where we see credit union executives considering (or stuck in) ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions, it is usually because there is a misperception that credit union executives can only have one type of executive benefit.  In other words, they think they have to pick just one from a long list that includes 457(b), 457(f), Split-Dollar Plans, Invested Retirement Plans, and others.

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