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 —

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Is The Fox Guarding the Henhouse Cheating Your Employees With Hidden and High 401(k) Fees?

I know that employee benefits can be complex and hard to understand, but I wanted to flag an issue that may be needlessly costing your employees as much as 50 basis points on transfer and between 20 and 25 basis points a year on their 401(k) investments.

It is not uncommon for credit unions without the requisite in-house expertise to hire a consultant to look at outside options for their employer-sponsored 401(k) plans. Usually the process involves an RFP, an evaluation of the responses, and presentations to the credit union leadership by the finalists.  Credit union managers think they have gone through an impartial and unbiased assessment of what is best for the credit union.

But appearances can be deceiving.  Often the consultant that the credit union turns to will receive hefty initial and ongoing fees directly from the 401(k) provider.  These fees can be substantial – for a credit union with $20 million in its employer-sponsored 401(k), first year fees to consultants can run $125,000 or more, and ongoing fees can run $25,000 or more, depending on who the business is placed with.

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Top Six (Free) Webcasts in the NAFCU Services Library

Our partners are on the front lines with credit unions every day, and while you may only have experience with your credit union, the odds are that our Preferred Partners have worked with hundreds or even thousands. They can bring perspective and common problem-solving to bear on practically any topic.

At NAFCU Services, we try to help the knowledge transfer process by capturing the expertise of our Preferred Partners in digital format—in webcasts, webinars, podcasts and white papers that are archived in our NAFCU Services Partner Library. We are up to 180 and counting, and best of all they are free to ALL credit unions!

Check out our top six most popular webcasts over the last couple of years:

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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.

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7 strategies to help members that are five years from retirement (or so they thought…)

Let me start this post by saying that although I am way way too many years away from my own retirement, I still feel very much connected to those who are soon to be retirees. I too dream of my retirement – of those carefree days of leisurely lunches with the ladies, spontaneous travel and actually participating in the painting hobby I claim to have (but, then I remember I’m about 40 years away from that – or more! – and snap back into reality). But I do wonder what it would  feel like to be just 5 years from retirement bliss and then suddenly have to doubt that I can afford it? I can definitely feel for those worried pre-retirees and you should too, because they are members at your credit union.

Did you know nearly 2 in 3 (64%) of Americans believe that realistically they won’t ever be able to stop working and retire? (As reported in a StrategyOne Survey). That’s depressing. 🙁 And 10,000 baby boomers in the U.S. are turning 60 each day, on average! Wow – if that’s not an obvious sign that your credit union help is needed, I don’t know what is.

The market downturn has indeed affected us all. And when you’re five years from retirement and your stocks plummet, your 401(k) takes the biggest dip you’ve ever seen and you have lost the excitement you used to get when crossing off those days from your retirement countdown calendar—where do you turn to keep your retirement dreams alive? Is there a way to hang on to your plan of lounging on every beach around the world before you kick the bucket?

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