National Financial Literacy Month is an Opportunity for Credit Unions

Originally posted on CUInsight.

By Randy Salser, President, NAFCU Services

With the financial pitfalls of the Great Recession behind us, and security breaches becoming a common threat, members are more mindful of their personal finances than ever before.  Because credit unions are a reliable and trusted source, they have the unique opportunity to educate their members about financial literacy. For expertise on where credit unions should focus this National Financial Literacy Month, we turn to our Preferred Partners:

Read more

Opportunity Cost: Online v. In-Branch Currency Exchange

Guest post by Evan Shelan, CEO,

I’m often asked by those new to exchanging currency where to begin the sales process: online or in-branch. Many financial institutions are currently attempting to control costs by relying more heavily on the Internet for the processing of financial services. Yet, I have found that lowering expenses in such a way will increase your opportunity cost by as much as 84%. Therefore, I advise financial institutions to take a close look at metrics prior to making a decision.

This month, I’d like to give you an idea of the opportunity cost that your credit union may lose while only exchanging currency online. In order to do just that, I’ve averaged the sales of a few heavy volume credit unions and banks that sold foreign currency in 2012 through eZforex. Those that only sold online averaged just $54,000 in sales for the year. However, the financial institutions that sold currency online and in-branch averaged $377,000 in sales during the same timespan. That’s a loss of $323,000 in sales, the vast majority of which were in- branch.

Read more

All Eyes on Europe in 2012

Guest post written by Evan Shelan, CEO,

In 2012, Europe may become one of the best geo-political barometers to determine future economic growth in the United States. Europe’s woes may negatively impact the credit union’s business model as Europe’s sovereign debt escalates.

As The ECB continues to focus on the short-term issues of Europe, such as monetary policy, the real issue at large is each country’s fiscal responsibilities. Watch for the European Central Bank (ECB) to continue drawing the line with Quantitative Easing (QE). The ECB is willing to support banks by injecting short-term liquidity, but unwilling to support governments and their excess borrowing.

Without the ECB solving Europe’s sovereign debt issue, world markets may become negatively impacted in 2012. It is advisable for credit unions to begin devising contingency plans in the event any one of the below economic irregularities occur:

Read more

Nine Credit Union Industry Experts Tell Us What To Watch For In 2012

I like to say that one of a visionary leader’s most important functions is seeing over the horizon and recognizing opportunities and threats before anyone else does, and then shaping the strategy and tactics of the organization accordingly.

So for our year-end blog post I asked our Preferred Partners to tell us what they see coming over the horizon, from their perspective, that credit union executives need to be focused on and/or prepared for as we head into 2012.  Here is what a few of them said —

Read more