Posts Tagged ‘CUNA’

The Online Switch Kit continues to garner inquiries

October 17, 2011

This morning, I saw several credit unions share on Facebook this video clip of CUNA President Bill Cheney appearing on CNBC:

CNBC Video Clip

I can’t help but notice that Mr. Cheney states that many credit unions have Switch Kits… my only question is: Does your credit union have a Switch Kit, and is it an automated Online Switch Kit, or an old-school static PDF? 🙂

With a grass-roots Bank Transfer Day approaching on November 5, now is a great time to implement an Online Switch Kit to make it easier for potential new members to make the switch to YOUR credit union!

Credit Union acronyms still harsh my mellow

October 21, 2009

I was saddened to learn that Randolph Brooks FCU, a very large credit union in San Antonio, now calls itself RBFCU. Yet another excellent and distinctive credit union name falls by the wayside into a vast sea of sameness. This is the opposite of the differentiation and distinction goals that good business practice calls for.

Based on a previous blog post:

Can we bring transparency to CU governance?

February 23, 2009

I’ve been used to the idea that all credit union data is available to the general public, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, ever since I discovered the existence of the complete financial data for all of the approximately eight thousand federally-insured credit unions in the United States back in the year 2000.

This is a wonderful thing. This means that ANYONE, a member, a concerned citizen, a person looking to join a credit union, a vendor looking to sell his/her services, can instantly get a picture of any credit union’s financial condition. This is important to democracy, and is compatible with the democratic principles that this nation, as well as the credit union movement, are founded on.

But what I am shocked to discover is that the “higher” levels of the credit union system are not run with this type of transparency. And am thinking about two current examples.

Lack of transparency from the NCUA: On Will Magnus’ amazing tell-all blog, he reprints the Letter of Understanding that the NCUA is requiring Corporate Credit Unions to sign in order to get/renew share insurance. I don’t pretend to fully understand the ramifications of the agreement, but I was saddened to learn that the agreement included a clause to keep the contents of the agreement itself a secret because to make it public, would be “contrary to the public interest.” Excuse me? Who decided that one? I am appalled. I can’t figure out what information it contains that someone did not want to be public knowledge. Thank you, Will Magnus, for giving us the transparency that the NCUA does not want us to have.

Equally, if not more, galling is that CUNA has not so far not published the results of their survey asking credit unions if they are for or against trying to obtain TARP-money. Christian Mullins has done an excellent analysis of this TARP-survey, concluding that CUNA is trying to sway CUs toward pursuing TARP money. If CUNA operated in the open, honest and transparent manner that the Obama administration is embracing, they would publish the results of the survey for all to see and analyze. However, they’ve also given little thought to the method of their survey. It’s an open and random web survey (now closed) that anyone could fill out. This is rife with potential for abuse. There is no way to verify that anyone responding to the survey is really from the credit union they say they are from. People can vote multiple times and stuff the ballot box. And what if more than one person from a CU responds? What if the CEO votes one way, and the board votes another way? What if the MSRs are split? What if management pressures staff to vote a certain way? What if some CUs encourage their staff to vote, and other CUs remain ignorant that the survey exists? This poll was poorly designed and executed. The results, no matter how they come out, are tainted and unscientific. Now, where did CUNA publish those results again?

The NCUA Corporate Stabilization Program

February 5, 2009

Here are links to discussion and resources about the NCUA Corporate Stabilization Program:

Resources from the NCUA itself and CUNA:

Webinars/teleconference about it:

Blogs about it:

If you are an employee of a CU, League, or Corporate, discussion here:

Credit union reaction/outrage:

News articles:

Here’s what Corporate Credit Unions are saying:

Please feel free to improve the wikipedia article I started on it:

Credit Union acronyms totally harsh my mellow

June 14, 2008

The seeds for this blog post were sown by Christopher Morris, based in Madison, Wisconsin, who tweeted that he was incredulous that not everyone knew about the difference between CUNA and CUNA Mutual.

For those of you not knee-deep in credit union world, you probably didn’t even know that these two organizations even existed. And by some chance you have heard of CUNA, you most definitely didn’t know that there are two distinct organizations with different buildings, purposes, and personnel, located in Madison. (The buildings are located about two feet from each other in the same corporate park, but they are separate buildings, and both very large.) CUNA is the national trade organization for credit unions in the United States, and its primary goal is to advance the credit union movement, primarily through political advocacy. CUNA Mutual, now CUNA Mutual Group, or CMG for short (as if that is less confusing), is an insurance company, which provides insurance to credit unions and credit union members nationwide.

With names like CUNA and CUNA Mutual, you can understand why people might not have realized these two organizations are distinct. It’s really a bummer that the term “credit union” is two words, because it means that virtually any names that derive from it are going to be lengthy long. (Lengthy long is much longer than ordinary long and even longer than very, very long.) Because these names end up being a mouthful, insiders tend to reduce them down to their initialisms or acronyms. (Here’s the difference between these two terms, which I had not realized until yesterday.)

Because there are SO many of these credit union organizations, one MUST NOT give in to the temptation to shorten them. ESPECIALLY NOT TO THE PUBLIC, who has no clue what you are talking about, and is therefore easily confused by them. See which of this jumble of alphabet soup you are familiar with:

CUNA – Credit Union National Association
CUSO – Credit Union Service Organization
CUES – Credit Union Executives’ Society
CULAC – Credit Union Legislative Action Committee
CURIA – Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act
CUMIS – CUNA Mutual Insurance Society
CUMAA – Credit Union Membership Access Act
CUSC – Credit Union Service Centers
CCUE – Certified Credit Union Executive
CCACU – Combined Council of Automotive Credit Unions (presumably CACU is already taken, or too confusing with California Credit Unions?)
CUIAA – Credit Union Internal Auditors Association
CUSIP – Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures (Did we not already have enough acronyms with CU in them that we had to invent some more THAT DON’T EVEN STAND FOR CREDIT UNION? yeeeeesh.)
CLIC – CUIS Loan Insurance Components (CUIS is CUMIS minus Mutual?)
NCUA – National Credit Union Administration
NCUF – National Credit Union Foundation
NACUSO – National Association of Credit Union Service Organizationss
NASCUS -National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors
NACUSAC – National Association of Credit Union Supervisory & Auditing Committees
NACUC – National Association of Credit Union Chairmen
NCUIS – National Credit Union Income Services
NAFCU – National Association of Federal Credit Union
NCUSIF – National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund
NARCUP – National Association of Retired Credit Union People (I did NOT make that up!)
NASCCU – National Association of State Chartered Credit Unions
ITCUA – Information Technologies Credit Union Association
ACCU – Association of Corporate Credit Unions
ACUCE – America’s Credit Union Conference and Exposition
AACUL – American Association of Credit Union Leagues
ACUMA – American Credit Union Mortgage Association
OCCU – Office of Corporate Credit Unions
WOCCU – World Council of Credit Unions

Have your eyes glazed over yet? That’s not even getting into state credit union leagues, which nearly always use their initialisms to give us:
CCUL • NMCUA • NYSCUL (now CUANY) • GCUA • MDDCCUA • FCUL • ICUL • ICUS • KCUA • MNCUN and so forth

And all of this doesn’t even factor in that many, if not most, credit unions like to shorten their names as well. And in some cases, that has led to even more bizarre abbreviations such as DFCU Financial Credit Union (which if in turn were initialized would be DFCUFCU) and SOFCU Community Credit Union (which, if initialized would become SOFCUCCU). There are more than 8,000 credit unions in the United States. That’s 8,000 more abbreviations that use the letters C and U:

BECU • BCU • DCU • PSECU • UCU • USFCU • LCU • RCU • TFCU • VCU • KSFCU • TCCU • CCCU (there are 9!) • CCFCU • CCU (there are 14!) • ACU • AFCU • AHCU • BFCU • UMFCFCU and on and on and on and on and on…

By the way, you will never catch me referring to EverythingCU as ECU. Ever.

So while I adore you, Alphonse Desjardins, Edward Filene, Joseph Boivin, Monsignor Hevey, and the other founders of the movement, a curse on you for not figuring out a better name than “credit union” before it was too late to change it. But at least it’s better than Bank of the People, or else we’d be doomed with BOPs everywhere and in everything. And that’s much worse.

And thank you to TexasT for the Austin-hippy headline inspiration.

Something positive always comes out of conferences

March 4, 2008

Washington DC's ChinatownOkay, I will admit it. Adam Lueb and I are crashing CUNA GAC 2008. We are not invited. We are not official conference goers. We are not exhibitors. But we love our CU peeps so much we made the trek down just to hang with them. When you are a small company, such as we are, it is a risk to come all this way, take time out of two employees busy schedules, and pay for meals, transportation, lodging, etc. So is it worth it?

The answer is a resounding yes. I’ve found that nearly always something positive happens when you do any or all of the following: break your normal patterns, go visit your peeps, understand your customers’ world better, facilitate getting smart people together, make new connections, and/or reinforce existing connections.

Over on OpenSourceCU, some are questioning the ROI of attending a BarCampBank. I have no response to that, other than, if you can’t see the value in meeting smart, creative, passionate people who are willing to learn and share what they know about the leading edge of the industry, then you definitely should not attend.

Tonight, Adam and I hooked up with Robbie Wright of MaPS Credit Union in Salem, Oregon. Last July, Robbie invited me to attend BarCampBank Seattle just a few days before it was about to occur. By chance, I was in Spokane at the time consulting with a CU there, instead of at my usual home base in Western Massachusetts. I had never heard of a BarCamp nor BarCampBank, and after checking out the wiki page for it, didn’t want to rearrange my schedule to hop over to Seattle for the weekend rather than return home to my son whom I hadn’t seen in many days. While I love my son dearly, I am still kicking myself that I did not attend that first BarCampBank in the U.S. when I had the opportunity.

Returning to the present, at Adam’s suggestion, we headed over to Washington DC’s Chinatown for Tony Cheng’s Mongolian Barbecue earlier this evening. While enjoying the fabulous dinner, Adam and Rob got to talking tech stuff. It turns out that Rob faces the same challenge we do in wrangling the NCUA 5300 data on all 8000+ CUs in the U.S. into shape every quarter when it is published. Rob asked Adam if he would be interested if his CUSO developed a way by which we could import it in the blink of an eye, andweimmediatelyansweredYES. So now Rob has direct feedback of the usefulness of a potential product, and we now have a potential source for a process that sidetracks us from more relevant work for a significant amount of time each year. This conversation would not have occured had I not invited Adam to come to DC with me.

As an additional bonus, we discussed briefly the online switch kit that EverythingCU offers to make it easy for a member to switch their previous financial institution to the credit union, and realized that MaPS CU is not offering it to their members. Talking with Rob has reminded me who the person at his CU would be the one to evaluate the product, I’ve sent her an email about it.

This trip is already worth it, and we’ve only connected with one person so far and haven’t even gotten to the main event; the reason why we’re here, the TwittaBloggerSocial MeetUp.