First Tech CU Warned On Microsoft Job Cuts
On Jan. 23, Microsoft said the economic downturn and slowed IT spending led to 8%, 11% and 6% declines in operating income, net income and diluted earnings per share, respectively, as of Dec. 31. As a result, the company will eliminate up to 5,000 jobs in research and development, marketing, sales, finance, legal, human resources and IT over the next 18 months, including 1,400 jobs that were slated to end on Jan. 22. The company has more than 94,000 employees worldwide.
Approximately 23,000 of Microsoft's employees are Seattle-based members of $1.9 billion First Tech, said Brooke Van Vleet, executive vice president.
"As Microsoft is a global company, at this point we are unsure where the majority of these 5,000 affected employees are located," Van Vleet said. "We had been alerted prior to the official announcement that this would likely be coming, and we're already reaching out to potentially affected members."
First Tech has a number of support services for affected employees including workshops on budgeting, tax implications and investment reviews to work through the transition, Van Vleet said. On a case-by-case basis, the lending and collections group will look at the possibility of modifying loan terms, she added.
Van Vleet said the credit union will also use a combination of direct mail, e-mail, phone and talking points for branch staff to communicate the services available to affected employees.
"We also have many members that actively post on Microsoft blogs and often times the best way to communicate this type of information is via word of mouth or these types of electronic channels, particularly with that member demographic," Van Vleet said.
Microsoft said the job cuts will reduce the company's annual operating expense run rate by approximately $1.5 billion and reduce fiscal year 2009 capital expenditures by $700 million.
Digital Dialogue Renamed
Total Member Care
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Digital Dialogue is now Total Member Care.
The call center and software provider to credit unions underwent a name change on Jan 1, according to its owner, PSCU Financial Services, which acquired Digital Dialogue in March 2007.
"Digital Dialogue [has] transitioned from being a wholly owned subsidiary of PSCU Financial Services to being an integral part of the organization under the solution name Total Member Care. Digital Dialogue employees are now employed by PSCU Financial Services," PSCU Financial Services said in a statement.
And there will be more of them. The company has hired 122 member service representatives, three trainers, seven account managers and eight IT staff in the past year and plans to add 200 more employees.
It also has nearly doubled the size of its suburban Detroit facilities and added 35 credit union clients in the past year, with 260 employees now supporting 240 clients through its Detroit and Arizona operations.
Call volume also has sharply increased, with 262,670 incoming calls in December, a record for one month, and total calls for the year at nearly 2.3 million, up from 1.7 million in 2008, according to Total Member Care (www.totalmembercare.com).
"Our staggering growth in client numbers and call volume leaves no doubt that credit unions are utilizing 24/7 total member service to proactively address market conditions and remain strong in turbulent times," said Peter Schmitt, the founder and former president of Digital Dialogue whose title is now executive director of PSCU Financial Services (www.pscufinancialservices.com).
Sue McCue to CU House,
Jill Nowacki to MaPS
WASHINGTON -- Sue McCue, who has worked on special projects in the office of CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica, is the new manager of Credit Union House.
She started the job this month, succeeding Jill Nowacki, who held the job for three years, though her job title was executive director. Nowacki is now the vice president for development at MaPS Credit Union in Salem.
Credit Union House, located two blocks from the Capitol, is a place where credit union representatives can hold meetings or have fundraising receptions. It holds about 100 meetings each year. It was planned after H.R. 1151 so visiting CUs would have a "war room" and place to check in with their home offices.
CUES Experience Focuses
On Consumer Business
MADISON, Wis. -- Wikimedia Executive Director Sue Gardner and Flickr Co-Founder Stewart Butterfield have been tapped to headline the CUES Experience: Immersion Learning for Marketing Technology and Operations Leader, which is slated for April 14-17 at the Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.
Gardner will detail building business around the members' needs and wants by involving them in the process with, Lessons from "Wikipedia: the New Face of Consumer-Led Business." Gardner will share the secrets of how Wikipedia became the largest and most popular general reference site on the Internet, as well as discussing how credit unions can build on the lessons Wikipedia learned in developing a consumer-driven business model.
Butterfield will discuss social media and its ramifications for business, culture and the world at large with "Everyone. Everywhere: Lessons from Flickr and the Rise of Social Media." He will highlight how credit unions can utilize social media outlets to change member attitudes and perceptions, in addition to touching on Web content for specific audiences and future Web trends.
To provide a well-rounded learning environment, the CUES Experience will also feature off-site visits to area businesses. The move is designed to help attendees gain non-credit union perspectives regarding marketing, technology and operations. Attendees will have their choice to visit one of four local businesses.
Celestial Seasonings, which took herbal teas from medicinal to mainstream, may inspire attendees to channel their vision and unique brand into a one-of-a-kind financial services offering.
TechStars turns innovative ideas into successful business ventures by helping launch start-up technology firms with seed money, mentoring and networking opportunities. Attendees can catch a glimpse into up-coming technology.
Oskar Blues Brewing Company took specialty brews and literally canned them. Oskar Blues Brewing turned the beer world upside-down by putting its craft beer in cans, but the critics loved it. With a 100% growth rate each of the past four years, Oskar Blues Brewing will share its approach to innovation and ongoing efforts to build the Oskar Blues community.
Alliance for Sustained Colorado works as a catalyst for the shift to a sustainable world. This off-site tour showcases the Alliance Center, a LEED rehabilitated historic building, while discussing a triple bottom line-people, planet and profit-to reveal how being green can highlight the priorities of a credit union to its members and the community.
For more information about CUES Experience visit cues.org/experience.
Suburban Atlanta CU Goes
With Merchant Capture
NORCROSS, Ga. -- Excel Federal Credit Union has gone first with the new merchant check capture service from Cooperative Services Inc.
The $77 million Norcross CU decided to offer the service as a way to capture member business as well as their checks.
"Offering these programs solidifies our standing with business owners and technological capabilities they offer," said Bonnie Trapp, the 14,000-member organization's vice president and chief operating officer.
The service allows businesses to deposit checks remotely, eliminating the need to take them to the credit union. Streamlined daily deposit preparation, balancing and amount qualification, as well as improved availability of funds also are included, according to CSI, a CUSO of Georgia Central Credit Union.
The $1.7 billion corporate also serves as the settlement point for all of CSI's item processing. Atlanta-based VSoft Inc. is providing the Check 21 software for merchant capture.
CSI already uses VSoft's branch capture software. "Credit unions that have been using our branch capture solution and are familiar with how the process works will see numerous similarities with merchant capture," said Jerry Keenan, CSI's senior vice president.
"They will be able to control merchant deposits through their own branch capture system, making it easier for credit unions to support their business members."
Keenan said CSI and Georgia Central are readying a Web site promoting merchant capture. Free to CSI merchant-capture customers, it can be custom-branded by credit unions to promote merchant capture to businesses.
"It really is a great way for credit unions to establish that business relationship and then grow their membership from there," Keenan said.
Workers' CU Appoints
New Mortgage Manager
FITCHBURG, Mass. -- Workers' Credit Union announced the hiring of Catherine M. Benoit as vice president, residential mortgage manager.
Benoit has over 20 years of mortgage experience and was mostly recently with National City Mortgage in Leominster, Mass. She has also served on the board of Our Father's House in Fitchburg, Mass., since 2004.
"Catherine has extensive mortgage experience, particularly helping first-time homeowners and refinancing existing homes, that will be a real asset to the credit union," said Fred Healey, president/CEO of Workers' Credit Union.