Cybersecurity Ratings: The Third Party Cyber Risk Management Solution

BitSight Cyber Lock

So, you have identified your top partners.  You have thoroughly evaluated their cybersecurity services in order to keep your members’ financial data safe and secure. But before you sit back and relax, you have to ask yourself “what about tomorrow?”

The Pitfalls of Traditional Evaluation Methods for Cybersecurity

Traditional methods of evaluating your partners may include detailed questionnaires and conversations, audits, and maybe you have even conducted some vulnerability scans. These are all sound methods for establishing whether your partners are on the right track, but they are only a start.

  • One-time snapshot. The problem with this type of evaluation method is it only gives you a snapshot of the organization at one small point in time. It would be the equivalent of checking the locks on your doors once and then not doing it again in the future.
  • Expensive. Numerous questionnaires and audits can become very costly very quickly. If you are a small credit union, it may not seem practical to spend the cash or the manpower on these efforts.
  • Regulation struggle. In addition to an ethical obligation to your members, regulators are creating new legal obligations aimed at third party risk management plans. The sooner you can get in front of this issue, the easier it will be.

Vendors, especially high priority ones that have direct access to your network or your most sensitive data, really need to be monitored for their security practices all the time. This may seem daunting or even impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. The key to locking up holes in your partners’ security is through security rating and monitoring solutions.

How Cybersecurity Ratings Work

Cybersecurity ratings work essentially like a credit rating company issuing a FICO score, but instead it issues a security rating. For example, companies can be rated on a scale from 250 to 900. A high number indicates a strong security performance and a lower security risk.

A security rating platform gathers and analyzes publicly available information and noted incidents to create its security rating. It considers things like spam propagation, malware propagation, botnet infections, and then calculates a rating. You will also be able to see where the infections and incidents relating to a company’s security are occurring.

Utilizing Ratings as a Resource

BitSightRatings2Cybersecurity ratings can be a very useful tool in prioritizing which vendors require the most attention from your credit union. A company with a consistently high score probably doesn’t need a tremendous amount of your effort, so you can allocate your time and budget to the vendors that are creating greater risks for you and your members.

In addition, this rating can be a valuable resource when having a more sophisticated conversation with your vendors about cybersecurity. If you are grappling with what questions to ask or what risk vectors you should be focused on, the security rating information can give you a road map to do that.

web logo.bitsightNAFCU Services and BitSight Technologies have partnered to provide an independent security monitoring service that provides continuous data on outside vendors’ security practices. If you would like to learn more about BitSight’s solutions for credit unions, or formulating a third party risk management plan, you can check out our webinar here.

Best of NAFCU’s 48th Annual Conference and Solutions Expo (Video and Educational Highlights)

Credit union leaders from around the country gathered to network and discuss the most pressing issues impacting the industry during NAFCU’s 48th Annual Conference and Solutions Expo in Montreal, Canada. The conference was NAFCU’s largest event in nearly a decade.

Here’s a quick video of some highlights from this year’s conference:


During the conference, attendees heard from NAFCU management and leading industry professionals that included keynote conference speakers such as TrendHunter.com Founder and CEO Jeremy Gutsche, and MasterCard’s General Counsel and Chief Franchise Officer Tim Murphy.

Solutions Expo at the NAFCU 48th Annual ConferenceThis year’s conference included the annual Solutions Expo, spotlighting the latest technologies, applications, and resources available to help improve credit union operations.

Our Preferred Partners exhibited during the conference and shared their thought leadership, innovations, and solutions during educational sessions throughout the conference.

The complete list of sessions and available presentation slides are available on www.nafcu-annual.org. Here’s a quick listing of key topics presented during the conference to help your credit union grow, retain members, manage risks, protect members, and improve overall operations:

Topic Category Presentation Title Preferred Partner
Growth & Retention Building A Strong Payments Strategy Vantiv
Health Savings Accounts, IRAs and Millennials: A New Generation Presents New Opportunities  Ascensus
Using Credit Scores to Grow and Engage Membership VantageScore
Why Your Credit Union Should Offer Wealth Management Services to All Members Money Concepts
Risk & Security A Deep Dive Into EMV Implementation MasterCard
Cybersecurity Risk Mitigation: Protect Your Member Data Knowledge Consulting Group (KCG)
Top Ten Fraud Risks That Impact Your Financial Institution Allied Solutions
Uncovering the Faces of Fraud Q2
Using Moneyball Tactics and Risk Rating Assessment Models Wolters Kluwer Financial Services
Financial & Insurance Trends in the Retirement Plan Industry Pentegra Retirement Services

Thanks again to the 2015 Annual Conference signature sponsor MasterCard, our 5-star preferred partner sponsors Allied Solutions and Vantiv, and all of our partner sponsors, exhibitors, and speakers.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all at NAFCU’s 49th Annual Conference and Solutions Expo in Nashville (Music City) next year! Get more information, sign-up for updates on the latest conference details, and register by visiting www.nafcu-annual.org.

VantageScore’s Top Five Most Popular Questions at NAFCU’s Annual Conference

Credit Scoring with VantageScoreWritten by Jeff Richardson
Vice President, Communications and Public Relations

NAFCU members aren’t exactly known for being shy or reserved.  So you can imagine how many questions I fielded about credit scoring, both during my breakout session presentation and while chatting with conference participants in VantageScore’s networking lounge during NAFCU’s Annual Conference and Solutions Expo in Montréal, Canada last month.

Because some of the questions during the conference were particularly popular, I thought it might be helpful to compile and share the five most common questions that came my way. Here are those questions and related answers, presented in no particular order.

1. How does the VantageScore® credit scoring model help credit unions grow?

One of the key differentiators of the VantageScore® model is its ability to score more of your credit union members. Your lending portfolio will benefit from capturing the widest possible base of qualified and relevant prospects within your target demographics and risk strategy, without having to relax credit standards to attract more members.

Traditional credit scoring models limit your lending universe to a smaller percentage of qualified U.S. adults than the lending population available with the VantageScore® 3.0 model. The VantageScore® 3.0 model gives lenders, like your credit union, access to 30-35 million consumers who are invisible to traditional credit scoring models. That’s a group larger than the population of Texas!

  • VantageScore® 3.0 credit scoring modelThe model expands the lending universe by using broader and deeper credit file data and more advanced modeling techniques that capture unique consumer behaviors more accurately.
  • Nearly 25% of these newly scoreable consumers are actually prime or near-prime credit quality—excellent candidates for mainstream lending products.

A terrific infographic that provides a more detailed explanation is available on our website.

2. Why does your member’s credit score go down after he/she opens a new credit account?

One of the characteristics that contribute to the calculation of a VantageScore® credit score is opening a new credit card account. This is far less influential than the main factors that affect a score, such as missing payments or maxing out a credit card account, but it does have an impact.

A small drop in a person’s credit score is possible after opening a new credit card because that new account represents new risk of potential overextension, with no available history to demonstrate that the consumer can effectively manage the new account. Applying for a new account also likely involved a credit inquiry with one or more of the three credit reporting companies (CRCs: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion). That inquiry is also likely to cause a slight drop in an individual’s score.

As long as your member doesn’t max out the credit card or miss any payments on the new account (or any others), the member’s score should return to its previous level in about three months.

3. Who uses the VantageScore® model?

Nearly one billion VantageScore ® credit scores were used in 2014, by over 2,000 lenders and other industry participants, including 6 of the 10 largest banks. In that same vein, credit unions should know that the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) recognizes the VantageScore® model, and there are no regulatory hurdles for credit unions that want to take advantage of the model.

4. How can our credit union switch to VantageScore®?

The VantageScore ® model is marketed and sold exclusively through licensing arrangements with the three major CRCs (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Your credit union likely already has a relationship with one or more of these companies and can obtain more information about VantageScore® through your CRC representative. Get contact information for the three CRCs on our website.

5. Did I win the VantageScore® Drone Giveaway?

VantageScore's DJI Phantom 2 VISION GiveawayVantageScore’s giveaway of the DJI Phantom 2 Vision personal drone generated almost as much attention as our presentation session. Inspired by our company tagline, “A Higher Level of Confidence,” the high-flying prize was a constant object of curiosity – and longing by conference attendees.

Thanks to all who submitted a business card or had their badge scanned for a chance to win. You’re all winners in our book, but only one lucky NAFCU Annual Conference attendee could take home the drone. Congrats to credit union attendee Michael O. who is the new owner of a DJI Phantom 2 VISION!

It was a real pleasure meeting you all at the conference. And, if you want to connect with VantageScore® further, sign up for our e-newsletter The Score, and follow us on Twitter: @VantageScore®In the meantime: À l’année prochaine (Until next year)!

Download your copy of the free white paperMaximizing the Credit Universe” to get valuable insights into ways to revise current strategies to manage risk, while expanding the ‘credit accessible universe.’

VantageScore LogoVantageScore Solutions, LLC is NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for credit scoring. For more information on VantageScore’s products and services, visit www.nafcu.org/vantagescore.

Financial Calculators Can Multiply Your Credit Union’s Reach

CULookup Financial Calculator via SmartphoneAlthough Financial Literacy Month officially occurs in April, your members are looking for ways to manage their financial futures throughout the year. Obvious statement? Perhaps, but it’s important to note that regardless of the day or month, your members are continuously looking for practical tools and resources to help plan and set goals to maximize their financial well-being.

Offering financial calculators on your credit union’s website is a huge added value for members and is an easy and quick way to extend your credit union’s reach and create a channel to attract new members.

Deliver Personalized Financial Guidance 24/7

Many people use online financial calculators to estimate mortgage amounts they can obtain, evaluate how long their retirement savings will last, or determine the amount of time it will take to pay off their credit card balance. And, the great news is that your members can access this valuable set of tools any time of day and on any device. Members should think of your credit union as a resource for financial guidance. Offering financial calculators on your website is a great step to take in order to enhance your reputation for helping individuals manage their financial health.

Offer Member and Mobile-Friendly Online Resources

Be sure that your credit union website offers financial calculators that are member-friendly, and more importantly, mobile-friendly.

On April 21st, Google re-programmed their search algorithm to reward websites that are fully optimized for mobile platforms with higher rankings. This change will undoubtedly have a profound effect on search listings, thus confirming that responsive web design is now a best practice for websites.

Give Your Website a Valuable Boost in Visitors

By offering mobile-friendly online financial calculators to your members, your credit union will inevitably see an increase in website traffic.  Don’t forget to track these visitors!  You’ll want to answer questions such as, “What is my most popular calculator?”, “How many unique visitors are my calculators attracting?”, and “What is the total number of calculations occurring?”  Tracking this type of visitor data will lead to greater insights and better reporting.

Ultimately, driving more visitor traffic depends on the call to action issued on your website. The call to action is the component of your marketing message that directs your audience toward the obvious next step you would like them to take.  You may direct your audience through a banner or button click or a request to complete an online form.  A call to action could be the differentiating factor between a website visitor and a converted new member.

CULookup Call-to-Action Home LoanIf you overlook the importance of a strong call to action, you will miss an opportunity to showcase the value of your credit union’s products and services. And, a missed opportunity could be a lost opportunity.

View Financial Calculators as Strategic Tools

By viewing your online financial calculators as strategic tools rather than just a standard element that resides on your website, you can enhance the value that these resources generate for both your members and your credit union.

Take advantage of the financial calculators that were developed specifically for credit unions and their members, by visiting Financial CalCUlators powered by CULookup.com  or contact info@culookup.com for more information.

CULookup.comFinancial CalCUlators powered by CULookup.com offers 30 financial calculators developed specifically for credit unions and their members.  Calculators are mobile-friendly and support custom call-to-action banners to direct users toward a next step after any calculation. Financial CalCUlators are free to NAFCU members and offered to non-NAFCU member credit unions for a nominal fee.

The latest release of Financial CalCUlators powered by CULookup.com will be unveiled on June 23rd at the NAFCU 48th Annual Conference and Solutions Expo in Montréal.  New features of the release include a responsive design to ensure that all calculators are mobile-friendly and custom call-to-action banners that direct calculator users toward the obvious next step after any given calculation.   Financial CalCUlators offer 30 embeddable financial calculators specifically developed for credit unions and their members. For more information on the new release, visit CULookup’s exhibitor booth in the Preferred Partner Pavilion during the conference.

Don’t Wait Until 2015! Do The Following Before The End of 2014

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

Guest post by John Ulzheimer, Nationally Recognized Credit Expert

John Ulzheimer

New Years resolutions are great, but before you start focusing on them, take a look at this list of personal-credit resolutions to fulfill before New Years.

Claim your free credit reports. For over a decade, everyone in this country has had the right to claim his or her credit reports once every twelve months, for free, from each of the three major credit-reporting companies (CRCs) – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Nevertheless, many free credit reports go unclaimed every year. Don’t let yours for 2014 go unclaimed!

Depending on where you live you may be entitled to additional free credit reports because of your state’s law. You can claim your Federally-guaranteed reports at www.AnnualCreditReport.com and state-guaranteed reports at each national credit reporting company’s website: www.Equifax.com, www.Experian.com, and www.TransUnion.com. Remember, the CRCs have no obligation to proactively send you credit reports.  You have to actually ask for them.

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