AUSTIN, Texas -- A new honor deposit solution is taking in more than $300,000 a month at Amplify Federal Credit Union, four months after its launch.
The HomeDeposit service uses technology from Jwaala Inc., an Austin-based startup and CUSO of Amplify, whose flagship product is the MoneyTracker online banking personal finance manager.
The $470 million CU ran television ads showing a couple making a late-night, last-minute deposit from home that helped drive adoption of the product in the competitive Austin market, according to Kent White, Amplify's senior vice president of marketing.
In addition to the increase in deposits, the credit union also is seeing a jump in new checking accounts, White said.
The HomeDeposit system allows pre-qualified members to make deposits online and mail the check in later.
New London Security FCU Members Get Payouts
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The NCUA released a statement that so far 99.5% of New London Security Federal Credit Union's accounts have received some payment after the credit union was placed into liquidation in July.
Out of New London's 618 accounts, 602, or over 97%, have received full payment. The remaining accounts are still being reviewed or have deposits in excess of the $100,000 federal insurance limit for individual accounts the NCUA said.
New London's sudden insolvency and ultimately liquidation is being investigated by the NCUA and federal criminal authorities.
"The NCUA is continuing its regulatory review of the credit union and its books," said John McKechnie, chief spokesman for the NCUA. "All other inquiries about the investigation I have to refer to the federal criminal authorities."
McKechnie said that there is no time frame for completing the investigation, though efforts have been slowed by the fact that New London was one of 104 federally insured credit unions that did not have computerized records.
"We're continuing to trace every deposit and close out the credit unions' books," McKechnie said.
VA Raises Home Loan Limits to $729,000
WASHINGTON -- The Department of Veterans Affairs has raised the loan limits for VA loans from $417,000 to as much as $729,000, based on locality.
Loan limits for all veterans' home purchases or construction will now track local housing costs. The calculation breaks new ground, VA Supervisory Loan Specialist William White said in a telephone interview.
Under the old regime, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight analyzed previous year's home prices and established a conforming loan limit for the country--a calculation that, with the skyrocketing costs of housing, excluded veterans who wanted to use the program to purchase or to build a house.
VA officials said the move to a locality-based loan limit is a big change that also makes VA loans one of the few remaining no-downpayment, 100% loan-to-value housing finance vehicles left in the lending world. The move extends the loans to high-cost housing areas such as New York and California.
Prior to the increase, veterans who lived in areas with pricey housing costs but still wanted to use VA eligibility often had to come up with the difference between $417,000 and the remaining purchase or construction price of a residence.
The increase, which follows a rise in Federal Housing Administration loan limits, is effective immediately under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.
The applicable maximum guarantee for loans over $417,000 can be calculated using data available from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Web site (www.hud.gov).
VA home loans are available for veterans to purchase or construct single-family homes and to purchase condominiums or cooperative apartments. There are about 2.3 million existing VA home loans.
Share One Lands Family 1
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Share One Inc. said it has won the business of Family 1 Federal Credit Union in Placentia, Calif.
The $27 million CU will be converting to the Memphis-based CUSO's NewSolutions core processing platform, the company said.
A year-long delay in a debit card conversion helped prompt the move, as did the Share One system's multiscreen functionality, said Pat White, president/CEO of $27 million Family 1 FCU (www.family1fcu.org).
Share One (www.shareone.com) now has more than 60 credit unions on its client list, according to Daryl Tanner, the CUSO's president/CEO.
Canadians Rank CU Service Above Banks
TORONTO -- When it comes to customer service, credit unions continue to rank above other financial institutions, according to an independent survey of more than 35,000 Canadians.
The 2008 Synovate customer service index found credit unions ranked ahead of all banks and other financial institutions in overall customer service excellence, "values my business," financial planning and advice and branch service excellence. Respondents also said credit unions tied for first in telephone banking excellence and recommending the financial institutions to friends and family.
This is the fourth year in a row that Canadians have ranked credit unions first, according to the survey.
"Synovate's research has shown that Canadians like dealing with organizations that reflect their values," said David Phillips, president/CEO of Credit Union Central of Canada. "The cooperative principles that credit unions adhere to lead us to focus on meeting peoples' needs and serving the communities where we live."
The 452 credit unions affiliated with Canadian Central have assets of $106 billion and serve more than 5 million members, according to Central.
The survey had more than 35,000 responses among a regionally and demographically representative sample of Canadians. The survey has been conducted annually since 1987, according to Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group PLC.
Callahan Guide Issued
WASHINGTON -- Callahan & Associates has released its annual look at technology among credit unions.
The 2008 Technology Guide for Credit Unions includes findings from a survey of 205 credit unions representing about 16% of the industry's total assets.
Among the findings is that technology spending continues in a tough economy, with annual investment in adoption and upgrades expected to top $2 billion this year. Two-thirds of respondents also said they planned to spend more next year than they did this year.
"One of the strategic strengths of credit unions is their ability to stay the course for the long-term benefit of their members. By consistently investing in technology that will not only increase efficiencies, but improve service to existing members, and aid in bringing new members on-board, they are strengthening their long-term value proposition," said Jay Johnson, executive vice president at Callahan.
Business continuity, security and backup operations were among the most frequently cited areas for spending, the survey found. The annual guide also takes a look at Internet and internal office applications, core systems, call centers and self-service kiosks and remote teller systems and deposit capture.
This year's guide is again being issued in two volumes. The first looks at core processors, online transactions and e-branches. The second focuses on delivery channel investments, cards, branches and call centers.
For more information, contact Hunter Moss at (202) 223-3920, ext. 162, or email@example.com. The Web site is at www.creditunions.com.
Continental FCU Offers Help to Those Laid Off
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Continental Federal Credit Union is among the latest to roll out a new program to help members make it through the transition after losing their jobs in their airline industry.
The $203 million credit union launched its member assistance program on Aug. 29. Members who provide verification of layoff or furlough can participate in a consumer loan skip-a-payment for 90 days, a 1% interest rate reduction for up to six months, payment reduction via loan term extension, quick access to cash with a 0% APR share certificate-secured loan, and consumer loan payment protection.
Free financial counseling, investment advisory, insurance and retirement services through third-party partners will be available soon, according to the CU. Members will also be able to enter a giveaway for the chance to win $200 grocery store and $300 gas cards and their monthly bills paid up to $1,500.
"Our economy is facing tough times and the airline industry is heavily impacted. Airlines are reporting huge financial losses, facing record-high fuel prices, and making decisions to greatly reduce their work force which directly impacts our membership," said Tom Glatt, president/CEO of Continental FCU, who was recently named CEO of the year by NAFCU. "Many of our loyal members will face job loss and it's our responsibility to quickly respond and offer assistance."
Glatt said the new program is timely and in line with the movement's philosophy.
"Downsizing is hard on everyone and the Member Assistance Program is designed to help ease the transition for our valued members," Glatt said. "We're here to help soften the landing by offering valuable financial relief and guidance when our members need us most. After all, that's what 'people helping people' is all about."