WASHINGTON -- NASCUS President/CEO Mary Martha Fortney is wearing another hat.
Fortney is the new president of the Women in Housing and Finance.
She has been active for eight years in the organization, which provides leadership training and networking opportunities designed to promote the advancement of women in financial services and housing. She was sworn in at last week's annual meeting of the 700- member organization. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson spoke at the session.
She has been the head of NASCUS, the trade association that represents state regulators of credit unions, since 2004. Before that she held several other positions with that association and also worked on Capitol Hill and in the Office of Presidential Correspondence during the Carter administration.
Women in Housing and Finance has male and female members from the public- and private-sectors, academia and nonprofit organizations.
Frost Financial Services Adds Calculation Tools
CINCINNATI -- Frost Financial Services said it is incorporating financial calculation software into the Web version of its widely used GAP insurance administration solution.
The VisualGAP application will use the SmartCalcs tools from Carleton Inc. to allow credit unions to "effectively offer credit insurance or debt cancellation products to members via VisualGAP's menu-selling feature," the Cincinnati-based company said.
"Credit unions can now look to improve their cross selling success and increase fee income by using the VisualGAP Web tool without the need to change their credit insurance vendors," said Phil Markwell, partner, Frost Financial Services (www.frostinsure.com).
Frost provides more than 800 credit unions nationwide with GAP program administrative services, the company said.
Carleton (www.carletoninc.com) is based in South Bend, Ind., and is a provider of financial calculation and loan origination compliance support to financial services and insurance companies.
BECU Signs Up With Firethorn for Mobile
TUKWILA, Wash. -- BECU will become the second credit union using the mobile technology of Firethorn Holdings LLC to offer banking by cellphone to its members.
The $8.4 billion CU plans to use Firethorn's device-embedded mobile wallet application to allow members to check balances, transfer funds and view and pay bills through that channel.
Future capabilities will include more advanced transactions and mobile commerce, according to Atlanta-based Firethorn. Ten financial institutions, including the $4.4 billion America First CU in Ogden, Utah, have committed to the Firethorn solution, the company said.
"By broadening our mobile strategy, we are better able to serve our members' needs and stay ahead of the curve in this ever-changing landscape," said Howie Wu, vice president of virtual banking at the 543,000-member BECU.
CSS Renews Its Alliance For Freddie Mac Services
WASHINGTON -- CUNA Strategic Services recently announced one new partnership and the extension of another.
Credit unions will continue to have access to technological services and mortgage products to enable them to better serve their members as a result of a renewed agreement between Freddie Mac and CSS.
The alliance includes access to Freddie Mac's mortgage product options, low down payment mortgages, automated underwriting services and a business-to-consumer Web site for online mortgage lending.
"With the current economic climate, this renewed alliance ensures that credit unions will continue to have options to succeed in the mortgage lending market, including affordable lending solutions to meet the needs of low- to moderate-income borrowers," said Wes Millar, senior vice president of CSS
"Extending our alliance with CUNA means participating credit unions can access a full range of correspondent mortgage lending services and competitive secondary market strategies without having to add staff or retool their systems," said Iliana Ghanem, vice president for community lending at Freddie Mac.
Additionally, CSS has chosen Digital Insight, an Intuit company, as its preferred provider of online banking products and services.
CSS, owned jointly by CUNA and the state leagues, provides credit unions with volume pricing for technology products and services and strategic program development.
The agreement with Digital Insight covers consumer and business banking services, the FinanceWorks online money management service, growth and retention services, online bill pay and other products, the company said.
"Digital Insight has a wealth of knowledge about how consumers and businesses manage their finances. Our new relationship will help credit unions better capture, grow and keep primary financial relationships with members," said Millar.
"A strong online presence and the means to drive active use of the online channel is vital to the success of credit unions that want to remain relevant to members today, and tomorrow," said Sasan Goodarzi, president of Digital Insight.
BizKid$ Show Promoted On WGN Radio Network
CHICAGO -- The BizKid$ show was due for a high-profile plug over the last weekend on WGN, the nationally broadcast radio station carried in 38 states.
Discussion of the credit union-sponsored financial literacy show was slated for a new money talk program hosted by Chicago broadcaster Bill Moller under an arrangement put together by the Illinois Credit Union League and its counterpart, the Washington Credit Union League, the founder and major booster of BizKid$.
The WGN interview program, "The Money Show," was also set to be streamed over the Internet on June 28. Special guests include Jamie Hammond, the Seattle executive producer of BizKid$, along with Lizzie Wright, a BizKid entrepreneur who has been featured in an episode carried on Public Broadcasting System stations in Illinois and elsewhere as part of national syndication.
Moller's interview show, a new WGN staple, focuses on personal finance as well as financial news in the Chicago area. Moller is a former anchor and reporter at TV and radio stations in Montana; Des Moines, Iowa; New Orleans; Orlando, Fla.; and Boston.
The BizKid$ show, now airing on 311 of the nation's 343 PBS stations, was developed in 2006 by the Washington league in partnership with Junior Achievement and WXXI Public Broadcasting in Rochester, N.Y. A large part of its funding comes from the National Credit Union Foundation.
Discovery Conference Remembers Disasters
MADISON, Wis. -- Even as they attended CUNA Mutual Group's Discovery Conference, the recent spate of floods were not far from the minds of credit union executives and volunteers. They made $13,500 worth of donations over the course of the conference.
"These disaster relief donations come at a most critical time," observed NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin. "Given all the recent disasters--floods, wildfires and tornadoes in many parts of the country--the National Credit Union Foundation, state foundations and leagues have received far more grant applications than we can fund. We are very grateful to CUNA Mutual Group for dedicating the Discovery Conference's silent auction to helping to rebuild the NCUF Disaster Relief Fund."
NCUF disaster relief grants are used to help credit union employees through critical emergencies, provide for longer-term recovery, help restore credit unions' operations and assist credit union members.
CUNA Mutual said Discovery attendees made their donations through bidding on donated items, which included guitars signed by the BoDeans, the band that performed at a Party with a Purpose event held during the conference. Other items donated to the silent auction included Brett Favre memorabilia, electronic goods, vacations and a variety of items contributed by international credit unions in attendance, CUNA Mutual said.
NAFCU Supports Changes in Deposit Reporting Rules
ARLINGTON, Va. -- NAFCU is urging the Treasury Department to give financial institutions more leeway in complying with financial reporting requirements.
The association wants the department to change rules to allow a "risk-based approach" to determine sooner than 12 months after an account is opened whether some depositor's transactions of more than $10,000 (like payroll customers and certain businesses) are suspicious and need to be reported.
"The credit union is in the best position to know the member it serves and it should be provided with the discretion to, after diligent risk analysis, treat a nonlisted business or payroll customer as exempt when it is appropriate to do so, without waiting an arbitrary time period," wrote B. Dan Berger, NAFCU's senior vice president of government affairs.
NAFCU also expressed support for the provision in the regulations that would remove the reporting requirement for accounts from federal, state and local governments and other depository institutions.
The association also urged the department to give financial institutions 60 days to report if they are removing a depositor's exempt status, than 30 days as the regulations are proposing.
Espeeco to Share One
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- The need to easily comply with OFAC identity requirements and provide streamlined home banking to members were cited by Espeeco Federal Credit Union in its decision to convert to the NewSolutions core processing platform from Share One.
The new system is expected to go live on Dec. 1, the company and credit union said.
Espeeco FCU (www.espeeco .org) currently is using a core processing solution from Fiserv Summit, according to the credit union's 5300 Call Report.
Memphis-based Share One (www.shareone.com) is a CUSO that provides core processing services to more than 40 credit unions.
CUSO Targets Small Business
MIRAMAR, Fla. -- Alan Ricketts has been hired by CU Business Capital LLC to build relationships with small-business owners located in areas occupied by the CUSO's credit union clients.
Ricketts' main responsibility will be to source warm sales leads back to the business development representatives at the credit union, according to CUBC. He previously worked at Silver Hill Financial LLC where he was part of a sales team that offered commercial mortgages programs.