Hello — thank you for joining us for the Michigan Credit Union League Member Update for the second quarter of 2018.
To start off this update, I’m excited to announce some changes to our management team, all effective on August 13th. First of all, we are pleased to have Patty Corkery joining our team as EVP/COO and General Counsel. Patty has worked most of her career at Holzman Corkery, most recently as a partner. She brings a wealth of industry knowledge, technical skills related to our advocacy efforts and tremendous leadership traits. As you likely know, Ken Ross left this position after serving for five years to become the chief lobbyist for financial services firm, John Hancock.
Joining Patty in this new role will be someone familiar to many of you. Kieran Marian rejoins our team as Senior VP of Advocacy, reporting to Patty. Kieran worked previously on our team as VP of Governmental Affairs before taking an important assignment at Chief Policy Officer for Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. Both Patty and Kieran are attorneys with the kind of technical and communication skills to move the MCUL forward on behalf of credit unions.
We’re also excited to promote Renee Werth to the position of SVP of Education and Communications. Renee has been an incredible leader in our organization for the past ten years and in Renne’s now expanded role, Patty will have two senior advisors in Kieran and Renee, who will work with our awesome team to make the MCUL the best state credit union association in the country. I’m very proud of our staff and these new additions will only make us stronger.
Shifting topics, I’d like to applaud the individuals, credit unions and credit union chapters who stepped up and offered support to the flood victims of Michigan’s upper peninsula. As you know, Governor Snyder declared a state of disaster for Menominee and Houghton counties on Monday, June 19th. Heavy storms through the weekend prior brought up to seven inches of rain in some areas, and historic flash floods led to extensive damage. In addition to widespread flooding and mudslides, more than 60 sinkholes were reported on the Keweenaw Peninsula.
In response, MCUL and the Michigan Credit Union Foundation each pledged $10,000 to flood victims. The combined $20,000 will be provided to Michigan Tech Employees Credit Union and Torch Lake Federal Credit Union in an effort to help offset flood damages incurred by credit union employees, such as furnace, drywall, flooring and other structural damages.
While we’re saddened to see our communities in distress, we are encouraged by the immediate outpouring of support from the credit union community. As of right now, more than $44,000 has been collected and our friends at Torch Lake FCU and Michigan Tech Employees FCU have received 36 applications with estimated losses of more than $750,000.
Those wanting to show their support with a donation can visit MCUL.org. Click on the banner to support UP flood victims and help the nearly 950 homes affected by this disaster. I encourage everyone to support our friends in the UP and show our communities what people helping people is all about.
And now for some issue updates: Beginning with legislative affairs, at the state level, I’m pleased to report that remote e-notary was passed out of the Senate on June 12 and is headed to the Governor's
desk. Introduced by Representative Farrington and supported by MCUL, this bill will make electronic notarization easier for both credit unions and their members.
A related e-notary bill also supported by MCUL, SB 664 was passed out of the senate 37-0 and is now in the House Financial Services Committee. While Michigan has adopted the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act, it doesn’t participate in electronic notarization. Under this legislation, the Secretary of State and Department of Technology, Management and Budget would approve technologies for notaries to use if they choose to notarize documents electronically. House Financial Services is expected to take up the bill this fall.
Finally, the lienholder notification bill — HB 5181 — was passed out of the House and went to the Senate in late April. Our Government Affairs team is now meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in preparation of a fall hearing. Please continue to reach out to your representatives and encourage their support as each of these bills move through the legislative process.
As our members know, both state- and federal-chartered credit unions are competing in a rapidly evolving industry. That’s why with the passage of S. 2155, our federal advocacy focus is now shifting to a modernization of the Federal Credit Union Act.
In 2016, the Michigan Legislature enacted a comprehensive, six-bill package that brought important updates to the Michigan Credit Union Act. More than 40 reforms were signed by the Governor on stage at the 2016 AC&E in Detroit. These provided much needed regulatory relief, expanded powers and gave credit unions clarity operational in a variety of areas. To ensure the existence of a healthy and robust dual-charter system, we now need a similar update for our federally chartered credit unions.
While FCUA modernization has no pending legislation in Congress, MCUL is actively working with CUNA to identify key areas of the Act that need to be updated or revised. We’ll provide more information and insights on our progress in the coming months.
As always, one of the easiest and most effective ways to support credit union-friendly initiatives is by supporting MCUL’s state and federal PACs — this is especially important in an election year. Benefitting our state PAC, the Lapel Pin Campaign continues to be a strong fundraising resource. Currently, more than 1,700 lapel pins have been sold raising over $135,000 this year. While always available online, our Government Affairs team also continues to make lapel pins available at all MCUL events.
Benefitting our federal PAC, the Grand Raffle campaign is in full swing with tickets being shipped to credit unions. To date, 69 credit unions have signed on to participate in the contest. Summer credit union visits will focus on driving up the number of participating credit unions.
Turning attention to regulatory affairs, we’re closely watching the implementation of S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. MCUL’s Regulatory Affairs staff is currently working with the CFPB on reclassification of 1-4-unit, non-owner occupied residential loans. This is an ongoing process, so we urge all credit unions to stay involved as new rules are being written and NCUA issues more requests for comment.
Also in regulatory affairs, cannabis banking has been a hot topic in Michigan — and with good reason. In 2017, Colorado marijuana-related businesses generated a record $1.5 billion in revenue. In addition, the
state collected upward of $247 million in taxes and fees — that’s just in a single year! With recreational cannabis set to hit the Michigan ballot this November, many credit unions are taking interest.
Last month, I touched on MCUL’s newly created cannabis banking toolkit. We released hard copies of the toolkit during three cannabis banking sessions at the AC&E. That kit’s now available in digital format on our website. It includes guidance and resources built around state and federal regulation, business framework and implementation guides, sample policy documents and tools for risk mitigation. As we continue to collaborate with sister leagues and credit unions operating in states that have already legalized recreational marijuana, we’ll continue to update and grow our resources.
For credit unions and individuals interested in accessing the toolkit, downloadable content is password protected on our website. This content is available to all MCUL-affiliated credit unions — that’s 100 percent of the credit unions here in Michigan. If you’d like to access to the kit but don’t have login credentials, you can request access online or by contacting MCUL technical support.
Turning to our credit union awareness efforts, I would like to talk about promoting the credit union difference. First, it’s important to remember that we have a strong national partner in CUNA. When credit unions unite under a shared brand, they’re able to tap into a level of reach and resources that no single credit union or league could match on its own — we need to leverage that to its full extent.
In August of 2017, MCUL began working with research firm and CUNA partner, GPG. Working in partnership with GPG and CUNA, MCUL ran parallel research projects baselining consumer perceptions and awareness of credit unions. We did this for two reasons: Primarily, we wanted to uncover consumer insights that would help us continue to drive effectiveness with our CU Link campaign here in Michigan. Secondly, we wanted Michigan data that could compare directly to national benchmarks.
In this study, GPG found that, nationally, the greatest barrier to joining a credit union was the myth of ineligibility. However, that wasn’t the case here in Michigan. With close to 53 percent of the state already belonging to a credit union, our biggest barrier was the perception of limited access to funds and technology — the idea that credit unions simply couldn’t match the convenience and accessibility of other providers. This research-based messaging is what we’re using to drive the CU Link campaign messaging and creative currently.
Starting this month, MCUL is working with CUNA and GPG on a second tier of consumer research. The data collected will help us map out our next steps for the 2019 CU Link cycle. We are currently exploring ways to incorporate the CUNA Open Your Eyes campaign. By syncing up with CUNA’s theme, we’re offering continuity that expands beyond geographic boarders and reaches people at home and while they travel. Just weeks ago, CUNA unveiled their goal to raise $100 million over the next three years to promote and sustain this national branding initiative.
As CUNA continues to develop their campaign in the upcoming months, we understand the importance of localized media and we are working to ensure Michigan credit unions are gathering the full benefits of cooperative advertising. By combining the successes of CU Link with the Open Your Eyes campaign, we’ll be able to tap into an extraordinary level of reach and awareness.
Consumers will get their first look at the Open Your Eyes campaign during the week of International Credit Union Day. For the second consecutive year, GSTV is partnering with CU Solutions Group to offer
a week of free credit union advertising for every league across the country. GSTV locations from each state will feature customized spots showcasing the benefits of membership and leading consumers to a credit union locator.
In the meantime, we would discourage our Michigan credit unions from contributing to the CUNA awareness campaign at this time, unless they do so in addition to their state-level CU Link support. I may be asking our MCUL leadership for some funds that the MCUL could contribute to CUNA on behalf of all Michigan’s credit unions. We would like to keep the cooperative advertising contributions localized in Michigan and even in local markets. Of course, the MCUL CU Link campaign also matches these contributions dollar for dollar.
Watch for more details about CU Link and the Open Your Eyes campaign in the coming months.
Finally, as we covered in last month’s Priority Report, our Education and Events team just wrapped up another successful Annual Convention and Exposition. In addition to across-the-board enhancements to event technology, breakout sessions and general operations, the team made major strides with networking and fundraising efforts.
We’ve seen strong year-over-year growth with our Corks for a Cause wine pull. Benefitting the Michigan Credit Union Foundation, the wine-pull raised $4,100 in 2016, $10,000 in 2017 and more than $22,000 in 2018. These funds continue to make the Foundation on ongoing success.
Over the past few months, MCUF sponsored the state finals of the Michigan Personal Finance Challenge, several teen Financial Reality Fairs, and the Money Smart Kids Read Initiative. These events have a powerful impact on thousands of Michigan families and make it easier for credit unions to connect with their communities. If your credit union is considering a financial education event or community program, both large- and small-dollar grants are available through the Foundation — visit MCUF.MCUL.org for information.
MCUF funds also support credit union professional development through educational scholarships and training programs. In 2018, the Foundation is helping 97 credit union employees become Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors through CUNA’s eSchool program. Since the program started in 2010, more than 600 Michigan credit union professionals have gained their certification through our enhanced program.
Beyond our success with the Foundation, this was one of the best years for the AC&E in both attendance and quality. Compared to previous years, we’ve seen attendance and attendee satisfaction steadily rise. In 2018, 111 credit unions sent nearly 600 employees — that included 89 credit union CEOs. We take this as a cue that our focus on the innovation and growth of MCUL events is guiding us in the right direction.
Our Education team’s expansion reaches beyond the AC&E. They’re working to enhance events such as, Executive Summit and Fall Leadership Development Conference, while adding new events like Call Center Conference and Intentional Leadership Seminar. The Call Center Conference in particular is a highly requested addition to our annual lineup. This year’s event will be held October 29 and 30 at the MSU Henry Center in Lansing. As an added benefit to attendees, the conference will include tours of LAFCU’s and MSUFCU’s call centers — two of the most advanced operations in the state.
And of course, many of our achievements through the second quarter were made possible in part by the strong financial backing of CU Solutions Group. MCUL’s two-thirds ownership in CUSG allows us to provide high-level services and resources, but at a very low dues rate.
As many of you have heard, CUSG and CUNA Strategic Services recently announced a new partnership agreement. Effective immediately, CSS will provide marketing and support for CUSG’s ADA compliance services, web design and hosting, as well as CUSG’s credit union member discounts from affinity partners TurboTax and Sprint.
Our new agreement with CSS also covers our new mobile banking enhancement suite, LifeSteps Wallet. While our Technology Solutions and Product Development teams continue to grow the core LifeSteps Wallet application, last month we expanded its product line with the release of LifeSteps Wallet Lite, which is geared toward smaller asset-size credit unions. It contains the parent app’s core functionality but with fewer customization options, and at a reduced price point. Since the lite version’s launch last month, the team has already closed three sales.
In addition to our expanded relationship with CSS, we’re also moving forward with a premier partnership agreement with AudioEye. AudioEye has helped CUSG position itself as a tier-one provider of ADA web compliance solutions, and with this new agreement we’ll own the rights to the entire credit union vertical, both domestic and international.
Beyond new agreements and partnerships, we’re generating strong growth with our core products and services. The Sprint Credit Union Member Cash Rewards Program remains strong through the first half of 2018. Through May of 2018, credit union members activated close to 190,000 new lines. That’s compared to roughly 52,000 new lines over the same period last year — an increase of 265 percent! I’m also pleased to report that this past quarter, the program reached the milestone of one million registered lines.
This growth is important to credit unions because it means more of your members are benefitting from the Sprint incentives, there are then more marketing reimbursement dollars for the credit union, and we’re working on process enhancements that will help incentivize members to have a checking account and debit card issued by your credit union. So, thank you for helping us to grow this Sprint program for the benefit of credit unions and their members.
To boost sales in media services, our FocusIQ marketing team entered into a reseller agreement with Valassis — a large media delivery company that optimizes digital advertising campaigns at scale under a white-label, B2B offering. With 58,000 local, regional and national clients, the company has an effective process for tapping into hard-to-reach markets.
And finally, in CUSG Performance Solutions, five credit unions have already begun the process of implementing the division’s new Planning Pro software, and we’re on track to hit our goal of 25 by the end of the year. Feedback on the new strategic and operational planning tool has been positive, as several credit unions have suggested that by implementing the software, they’ll be able to ensure confidence and focus on driving results.
In addition to be being a standalone application, Planning Pro is now integrated with our flagship software, Performance Pro and Compease. The growing suite of HR products has an exciting roadmap
that includes further integration with learning management software, the development of a mobile app and tighter integrations with payroll software. Also, the division’s new board relations and governance tool, Governease, is well on track and slated for release early in the fourth quarter.
That’s all for the second quarter of the MCUL & Affiliates Priority Report. Thank you once again for your support and engagement with the MCUL, CUNA and CU Solutions Group. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with comments or questions. See you next month.