Do Your Members Still Trust You Today Like They Did Yesterday?

At the core of the loyalty that members have displayed over the years is an unabiding trust placed in their credit unions, to the point that it has become a brand attribute for credit unions.  But there have been significant changes in the way members view financial institutions in general, and these new perspectives affect how they view credit unions and their loyalty toward them. Have you done everything you can to adapt to the challenges and opportunities offered by this shift? I attended a packed breakout session at the NAFCU Annual Conference today called “Standing in Your Member’s Shoes,“ from Martie Woods, VP and Chief Experience Officer (I love that title!) for Deluxe Corporation.

Read more

The Best of the Best – 2011 NAFCU Services Innovation Awards

Innovation can be hard to define, but you can think of it as “the successful application of new ideas.”  ‘Application’ is the key word there – new ideas are the easy part – figuring out which are the good ones, and then applying them successfully, is more difficult.

So innovation is more than just an academic exercise or a tally of patents. The application of a new idea in the real world leads to new products, services, processes, systems, or attitudes that improve something or add value. With all of the changes that are occurring in financial services generally, and in the credit union business model specifically, being (and staying) innovative is more important than ever.

Every year at the NAFCU Annual Conference we recognize the very best innovations among our Preferred Partners that help credit unions thrive in an increasingly crowded financial services marketplace with the 2011 NAFCU Services Preferred Partner Innovation Awards.  No surprise this year, two of the three winners focus on opportunities for credit unions to generate revenue, while the third represents a quantum leap in productivity, leading to significantly lower costs.

Read more

Minimizing Retirement Plan Liability for Credit Union CEOs

Guest post by Tom McLaughlin, Regional Director, Pentegra Retirement Services

As the CEO of a credit union, you engage in many different activities that raise the potential for legal liability. In most cases, these are risks borne by the credit union, i.e., any legal issues will be addressed by your legal counsel and/or covered by any one of several insurance policies.

But there is one area that is different, and may pose personal liability for you – your role as the fiduciary for your credit union’s retirement plan. If something goes wrong, you are personally responsible – that means all of your assets (savings, retirement, children’s college fund, vacation home, etc) are at risk. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The essence of your credit union’s retirement plan, whether it is a 401(k) plan, profit sharing plan or defined benefit pension plan, is the plan trust—designed to ensure future benefits for employees participating in the plan and their beneficiaries. The Employee Retirement Income and Security Act (“ERISA”), established 1n 1974, created a standard of conduct that includes loyalty, due care and prudence.

Read more

Six free market analysis tools for loan officers

Steve Richman is the national spokesperson for Genworth Mortgage Insurance and a sales trainer of loan officers. When he says sales trainer, he means it – Steve has taught over 50,000 lending executives.

Steve recently visited our offices at NAFCU to tape a series of educational webcasts specifically for credit unions. (And we really hope he speaks at our Strategic Growth Conference next year.) 🙂

The primary focus of Steve’s work is aimed at helping credit unions across the country increase their lending activity. In this first webcast of a four-part “Planning for a Purchase Market” series with NAFCU Services, he describes six free online market analysis tools and how best to use them.

Read more

The case for credit unions providing their directors long-term care insurance

Guest post by Tom Telford, Executive Vice President, Burns-Fazzi, Brock.

The term “volunteer” exemplifies commitment, impact and shaping a desired outcome through the offering of one’s own ability. For all board members committed to the credit union movement, this means thousands of hours of work to help shape their organizations. With the new regulations from NCUA regarding fiduciary duties, the responsibilities and expectations of credit union directors have multiplied.

The position of board member in for-profit sectors typically equates to monetary rewards for service. In the credit union industry, most forms of “compensation” are not allowed under NCUA guidelines.

NCUA regulation section 701.33 prohibits compensation to more than one board officer but allows a federal credit union to provide all directors with reasonable health, accident and other related types of personal insurance protection subject to numerous restrictions.

Read more