FoolProof was unveiled by the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association and is a comprehensive web-based program with five modules that can be used by parents, adults, college-aged people, high schools and community groups.
The program provides unbiased information and meets curriculum goals of all 50 states and teachers who use it can track tests, grades and progress.
"FoolProof is a powerful learning tool that will take financial literacy to hundreds and thousands of consumers," said MDCCUA President Mike Beall.
Among the credit unions that have signed up for the program are Cecil County Schools FCU, Healthcare United FCU, MECU and SECU of Maryland.
NCUA OKs RegFlex Rules
Federal credit unions eligible for the Regulatory Flexibility program have six years to occupy unimproved land that they purchase, under a rules change approved recently by the NCUA Board. Currently, those credit unions must occupy those properties within three years.
NCUA Staff Attorney Frank Kressman explained that the change would give eligible federal credit unions more time to make improvements on unimproved land they have purchased for future use.
Kressman told the board that 3,400 federal credit unions (about 70% of the total) are eligible for RegFlex, which provides regulatory relief for federal credit unions that the agency determines are well-capitalized and well-managed.
NAFCU Launches Data
Breach Response Team
NAFCU's regulatory affairs division is forming a team that will help credit unions help their members deal with data breaches.
NAFCU Regulatory Affairs Director Carrie Hunt and her team will provide talking points for explaining a breach and explain why a new credit card must be issued. The team will also keep CUs informed about class action lawsuits pending from these breaches.
"Credit unions are being increasingly hit with expenses associated with breaches, whether it's having to notify members, change account numbers or replace compromised cards-or dealing with the potential damage to their reputation," Hunt said. "Our new response team will help NAFCU members get through the process and take a more proactive stance on data security."
NCUA Issues Rules on Overdrafts, Checks
The NCUA issued proposed rules on overdraft protection to align its rules with those of the Federal Reserve and other financial regulators.
The rules, which will take effect next year, require credit unions to include in their statements to members the amounts charged for overdrafts and returned items during that month and during the year. It also requires credit unions to provide account balances on ATMs that just include the amount in the account without including funds available through an overdraft program.
There is a 60-day public comment period. And the rules would take effect on Jan. 1, 2010.
NCUA Approves a New
Call Report System
Goodbye CD ROMs and e-mail Call Reports. Hello a new online reporting system that incorporates updates and revisions in real time.
Federally insured credit unions will be able to submit reports and information through a Web-based system that takes effect with the reports due on September 30. Corporate credit unions will be able to use the system starting in 2010.
The NCUA approved the changes at its March 19 meeting.
Credit unions unable to access online systems will submit their information via a paper form. NCUA will no longer issue software to submit the reporting data. All data will be submitted and viewed through an online credit union profile and Call Report.
NCUA is also issuing proposed rules to clarify what records that credit unions must hold on to and when credit unions must update their profiles. For example, a federally insured credit union must submit a profile within 10 days of electing a new board member or appointing a senior manager or within 30 days of any change in an existing profile. There is a 60-day comment period on these proposals.
CUNA Poll Finds Support
For Tapping TARP Funds
A majority of credit unions support asking the government to make money available as a backup to the NCUA's deposit guarantee, according to a poll released by CUNA.
The survey found that more than 55% of respondents agreed that "CUNA should advocate for a set-aside of TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds to backstop the NCUA's guarantee of deposits by natural person credit unions in corporate credit unions, only to be accessed if at least $500 million of loss from corporates is first absorbed by the NCUSIF."
CUNA's poll also showed 36% disagreed with the statement and 9% were neutral.
The survey also showed that 56% of the respondents disagreed with the statement that "CUNA should not advocate using TARP funds under any circumstances and in any conditions.''
The survey was sent to more than 5,000 credit unions between Feb. 12 and Feb. 15 and 1,600 credit unions responded.
CU Executives Inc., a credit union executives and IT professional placement firm, has partnered with Sheeter Consulting, an employee benefits consultant that designs qualified and nonqualified benefit plans exclusively for credit unions.
Andrew Sheeter, founder and president of Windermere, Fla.-based Sheeter Consulting, said while he wants to expand his presence to the West Coast where CU Executives is located, he envisions his five-year-old company continuing to be a boutique firm providing one-on-one, personal service to credit unions. He said his partnership with CU Executives maintains that goal.
"We've discovered that both companies are very well-aligned in our level of service that we believe credit unions should have, so we both believe this partnership will create many opportunities for us and benefit our clients tremendously," Sheeter said.
CU Executives will celebrate its fifth anniversary in June.
"Andy has no equal," said Elaine Boyd, founder and president of San Diego-based CU Executives. "His clients are delighted with his professionalism, and with the solid plans he created for them. Those plans are performing like champs, even in the current economy. We definitely share the attribute of doing whatever it takes to meet the credit union's individual needs."
CU Auto Share Hits 25%
Credit union auto lending is grabbing a bigger market share, according to the Michigan Credit Union League, which said its Invest in America discount program with General Motors Corp. and Chrysler was a factor.
Based on Experian statistics, the league said CUs' share rose to 24% compared to 14% a year ago. In January the market share was 25%, dipping only slightly in February to 24.8%.
Taking its portion of the credit, the Michigan league's CUcorp subsidiary has been handling CU transactions across the U.S. since December, and said the program saw 57,000 sales on branded vehicles in two months. A total of 80% were financed at a CU, said the league.
"This equates to about $1.4 billion in sales and an estimated $1.1 billion in credit union auto loans," said David Adams, president/CEO of the league and of CUcorp.
The rise in market share demonstrates the potential that Invest in America has, Adams said, noting a spurt of new activity in Texas. Marketing efforts are slated to further broaden in April with dealerships receiving market kits as CUs sign on to new dealer relationships.
Navy FCU, largest in the country, recently announced $3.5 billion available in auto lending for Invest in America loans. GM also ran full-page regional ads Sunday supporting the program.