AUSTIN, Texas -- Teres Solutions has rolled out a new lending module aimed at letting credit unions tap into the indirect market for everything from lawn mowers to health care, the company said.
The SAIL Merchant Lending solution handles loan applications (including closed- and open-end and credit card accounts) and automated or manual approvals through a Web-based interface between the point of sale and the credit union, CUSO, bank or finance company, the company said.
First users of the solution include the $1.3 billion Texas Dow Employees CU.
"The opportunity to expand our loan portfolio into the retail market will give us a unique edge in our local area and beyond," said Lance Wortham, vice president of business services at TDECU.
Austin-based Teres Solutions (www.teressolutions.com) provides direct and indirect lending software to approximately 190 clients and was founded in 2002.
Open Solutions Extends
Business With Two CUs
GLASTONBURY, Conn. -- Open Solutions Inc. said it has signed two more existing clients to new contracts to use its new flagship processing solution, The Complete Credit Union Solution-sme (standard market edition).
They are the $38 million Heritage USA FCU in Midland, Texas, and the $15 million Oldham Family Alliance FCU in Baltimore. Heritage USA is upgrading its current Open Solutions platform to the new version while Oldham Family Alliance is currently running on a platform from CGI. Open Solutions acquired CGI's U.S. credit union business in 2005.
"Open Solutions has a strong commitment to developing specific products for our credit union clients--no matter what their size," said Louis Hernandez Jr., chairman and CEO of Open Solutions.
CU Forecasters: Downturn Into 2009
WASHINGTON --At least inflation won't be a problem.
That's the sole bright spot for the rest of this year and 2009, according to the Credit Union Economics Group.
The United States is already in a recession that will last "well into 2009," CUEG said.
"Our consensus paints a clear picture of the economy finishing the year on a very weak note, with that weakness continuing through 2009," said CUNA Mutual Group Chief Economist Dave Colby, a member of the group. "CUEG does not anticipate a strong deposit surge at credit unions during this economic cycle like we saw in 2001."
The average forecast of the group's members for the rest of 2008 stated: Gross Domestic Product will be 0.83% higher in the fourth quarter than in the same period last year; the unemployment rate will end the year with an annual average of 5.90%, the average 30-year, fixed mortgage will be 6.04%. The federal funds rate (the rate at which banks lend each other money) at the end of 2008 will be 1.475%, they predict.
Members' average forecasts for 2009 include: GDP growth of 0.85%; an average unemployment rate of 6.63% and the 30-year fixed rate mortgage will be 6.18%. They are projecting the federal funds rate at the end of 2009 will be 1.70%
The group predicted that the consumer price index for next year will have an average increase of 2.45%.
NAFCU Chief Economist Tun Wai said while the group had revised many of its projections downward, it hopes that any additional actions by the government will speed the effort toward moving the economy upward.
DFCU Financial Members
Are Grateful for Dividend
DEARBORN, Mich. -- Members of the $2 billion DFCU Financial Credit Union who have been hard hit by the state's faltering economy are expressing gratitude to their credit union for its latest large dividend.
The credit union announced that it would repeat last year's $17 million patronage dividend.
"The dividend was such a huge help for me and my family," said Sandy Pollard, a DFCU member recalling last year's dividend. "I was juggling a lot at the time, so I was very grateful for it. I've come to rely on the dividend and am so happy to be a member of DFCU Financial, especially with all the bank closings at this time. I never worry because I have such confidence in DFCU Financial."
The nurse and single mother of two teenagers was working full-time and also going to school for her bachelor's degree, so finances were tight last year at dividend time.
Lynn Brandon, a mother of three and human resource coordinator at Waste Management in Wixom, said last year's dividend was a godsend. "We were so grateful," Brandon said. "The dividend allowed us to breathe a little easier between bills and groceries. Things were very tight and still are," she said.
DFCU CEO Mark Shobe said the CU offered the dividend as a way to thank its members.
"For the past seven years, we've worked hard to become an efficient, healthy and well-capitalized credit union, so that we are able to give back and help our members in many ways--more branches, investment advisory services, free budget and credit counseling, our no-payment/no-interest loans for displaced workers and the special dividend.
"We hope members are proud and assured that their credit union is well-capitalized and one of the most successful credit unions in the entire nation. We have achieved this through prudent management, commitment to operational excellence and appropriate long-term planning. These factors have allowed us to successfully navigate the business through these turbulent financial times and continue to be there for members."
DFCU called the dividend the "largest in the history of credit unions." Every member will get at least $50 and some, depending on how many credit union products and services they use, will receive thousands of dollars.
DFCU made headlines when it tried and failed to convert to a bank charter in 2005. The credit union withdrew its application for the charter change after outcry among its members and then endured a series of related court battles afterward.
Nebraska CU Becomes
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Passageways has reached the 150-customer mark with the signing of a Nebraska credit union--$105 million Mutual 1st in Omaha--as a user of its portal solutions.
Passageways was created as a tech CUSO of Purdue Employees FCU in 2003 and the first to develop an employee intranet portal specific to the financial services industry, the company said.
Since then it has expanded to offer a range of enterprise knowledge management and business process automation modules.
Several other new customers also have signed in the past few weeks, the company said, including the $310 million Air Force FCU in San Antonio, the $291 million Enrichment FCU in Oak Ridge, Tenn., a small bank in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and an insurance company in Louisiana, the first Passageways customer from that industry.
Passageways also said that its annual client conference, PowWOW 2009, will be held on April 29-30 in Indianapolis.
Mich. CU Offers Skip
The Fee on Skip-A-Pay
LANSING, Mich. -- To help members deal with the difficult economic times, Michigan's Auto Body Credit Union is offering free extensions of monthly loan payments.
"We know that many of our members are feeling the effects of Wall Street's difficulties," said Margo Kleinfelt, president/CEO of Auto Body CU. "That's why we felt it was important for their credit union to step up and help out."
Jeff Croff, vice president of marketing, said in a telephone interview that the CU generally offers a skip-a-pay option for a $25 fee at this time of year but this year, members can opt to extend their loans without having to pay the fee.
Mortgages and home equity lines of credit are not included. Nearly 300 members participated on the first day the deferment was offered.
Croff said members have been notified via direct mail and that responses are starting to come in.
In addition to loan extensions, Auto Body CU is offering its full complement of loan products at competitive rates including home mortgages.
"We've still got the ability to offer great rates on our traditional loans, or we can help members out with our lend a hand loans to get them through short-term financial stress," Loan Manager Cecilia Saldana said.
The credit union highlighted its ability to still make loans when others are drying up. "We are well-capitalized," noted Senior Vice President/Chief Financial Officer Dan Garrison. "Our funds ratio is far better than traditional banks, which allows us to keep serving our members the way we always have."
Auto Body CU has 26,000 members and $143 million in assets.