Priority Report — June 2019

Welcome to the June MCUL Priority Report.

This month, we’ll provide a brief recap of our Annual Convention as well as a summary advocacy update. We’ll also provide an update on our upcoming education events, a progress report on our awareness campaign – “Open Your Eyes to a credit union” – before wrapping up with updates from CU Solutions Group.

The 85th Annual Convention & Exposition was another successful year of education, networking and fundraising. MCUL hosted more than 1,000 credit union professionals, guests and vendors from across the country at downtown’s Renaissance Center. For those attended, we welcome your feedback. And if you weren’t able to attend, you can access some of the presentations and some great highlights on the MCUL website and by following the Michigan Credit Union League on Facebook.

AC&E Recap

Once again, we held a silent and live auction at AC&E, which raised more than $51,000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, with an extra $10,000 match from the CO-OP Network, bringing the total auction amount above $61,000. There were two other events at AC&E that benefited CMN — Wednesday’s golf outing and Friday’s fun run, which together raised approximately $36,000. So, the total raised for CMN Hospitals at the 2019 AC&E was close to $100,000. Thank you to the credit unions and CUSOs who donated prizes and to all who participated in these events to help us raise money for children’s hospitals.

In addition to celebrating credit unions’ good works, providing for networking and fundraising, we were also pleased to close out the event by recognizing the 2019 MCUL Award winners at the Honor Awards Breakfast. You can find a detailed breakdown of this year’s winners on But we want to especially congratulate our distinguished service award recipients Scott Pauly and Drew Egan as well as our outstanding professional of the year, Lisa Gray for their achievements. Our outstanding credit unions of the year, Lake Michigan, Marshall Community, Torch Lake and Michigan Tech Employees were also recognized. Again, you can view the awards ceremony and these specific awards videos online and on facebook. Be sure to share them with your credit union friends to spread the recognition in your social media community. When we recognize these achievements, we bring great recognition to the whole industry.

Thank you to all who came to Detroit for this year’s event, and we hope to see you in 2020 as the AC&E moves back to Grand Rapids.

Words from Congresswomen Lawrence and Stevens

At the federal level, MCUL, Michigan credit union advocates and CUNA continue to educate Congress on our industry’s top priorities. At AC&E, we were happy to have Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence join us for a reception on Friday evening. She spoke to credit union leaders in her district about what makes credit unions unique and the credit union’s role in our communities. She also shared with the group that she looks forward to working with credit unions on hot button issues like student loan debt. Additionally, the Congresswoman told the group she would like to identify intern opportunities for educated and ambitious foster children in our state. We look forward to working with her and her staff on these issues as well as our federal priorities.

MCUL was pleased that Michigan Congresswoman Haley Stevens offered an amendment to the Consumers First Act that would ensure credit unions have representation on the CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board. Both the amendment and the bill were passed by the full House and the legislation now makes its way to the Senate for consideration. The advisory board is comprised of experts from the financial service industry and other stakeholders and helps the Bureau recognize and understand emerging practices and trends to provide recommendations. Currently, there are no credit unions on the Board.

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee recently held a hearing to discuss the collection of beneficial ownership information when combating illicit financing. In advance of the hearing, CUNA wrote the committee to express its support for reasonable protections aimed at curbing financial crimes but weighed in that laws and regulations must strike a balance and not impose unnecessary and burdensome obligations on financial institutions, especially credit unions.

In other news from DC, Congress recently passed legislation temporarily authorizing the National Flood Insurance Program until September 30, 2019 and providing needed natural disaster aid. House Republican and Democratic leadership are said to be close to a deal that would make important reforms to the program and authorize it for a period of five years, until September 30, 2024.

CUNA has written Senator Thom Tillis expressing its support for his recently introduced bill on the Current Expected Credit Loss issue, or CECL. The legislation, if passed by Congress and signed by the President, would delay implementation of CECL and require the Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal financial regulators to study the standard.

Auto Insurance Rates & Regulatory Meetings with Reps. Dingell and Slotkin

At the state level, the Michigan Legislature finalized a plan to address rising auto insurance rates in the State of Michigan. This issue has been a primary focus for both chambers and the Governor for quite some time and has led to the delay of other issues to focus members on the task at hand. The legislation provides for a guaranteed rate reduction and allows Michigan residents to decide how much personal injury protection they want. The MCUL supported these efforts.

Michigan data breach legislation is awaiting a hearing in the House, Ways and Means Committee. MCUL’s advocacy team continues to push for language that will require merchants to notify consumers of a data breach within a more appropriate timeframe.

We are also waiting to hear about legislation that would create a standardized timeline for the escheating of accounts for active duty military members. Currently, that timeline is five years for active duty overseas military members and three years for all other active duty military. Standardizing this timeline will ease the regulatory burden on credit unions.

The House passed its cannabis banking resolution in May. The Senate introduced its concurrent resolution as well. The resolution urges Congress to act and provide a “safe harbor” for financial institutions to bank legally operating marijuana-related businesses.

In the regulatory arena, MCUL’s Patty Corkery and Sarah Stevenson, recently traveled to D.C. to discuss the need for data security measures with staff for Representatives Dingell and Slotkin. These meetings were followed by a successful meeting with new NCUA Board Member, Todd Harper. He shared his philosophy which is to be fair and forward thinking, innovative, independent and inclusive, risk-focused and ready to act and to be engaged with all stakeholders.

The priorities credit unions can expect from Board Member Harper focus on capital adequacy and liquidity, cybersecurity vulnerabilities and inclusion – serving the unserved and underserved. The NCUA Board is uniquely focused on the underserved issue and will be placing efforts on small and minority institutions.

Back in Michigan, there is significant interest in the Compliance Committee, originally formed in the Downriver Chapter. We look forward to bringing everyone together to network and discuss key issues with Michigan’s credit union compliance and risk management professionals.

Finally, our new Examination Task Force will tackle issues like the examination cycle, regulators budget and examination concerns. Our board and member credit unions can expect regular updates from the task force.

"Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union," MCUF Grants & Executive Summit

Next, we want to share a quick update about Michigan’s “Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union” campaign. While it is still early in the campaign, the ads are already performing quite well. In the first month, we reached 1.3 million Michigan adults and have outpaced advertising industry benchmarks. This means we are efficiently reaching our target audience. Members and potential members are not only seeing the ads at a high rate, but they are also engaging at high rates. While these are outstanding results, we expect to continue to improve performance even more with continuous optimization through the sophisticated system that DP+ is using to manage the campaign. Further collaboration with CUNA will also help as we continue to share and learn from each other’s progress. Next month, we will introduce additional commercials and we will continue to keep you updated on the campaign.

The Michigan Credit Union Foundation is currently accepting grant applications from now until June 30. These grants are available to help credit unions build stronger communities by addressing community problems, creating sustainable solutions and by helping to increase community reinvestment, financial education initiatives, partnerships and more. Grants can be used to implement unique credit union initiatives or partnerships, or to replicate or expand on existing programs.

The application process is easy. Contact Beth Troost or your League Rep to start the process.

One final note on the Education side before switching gears from the association side. The MCUL Executive Summit event taking place later this fall provides professionals a great opportunity to share insights and ideas. Lake Michigan Credit Union will share how they have been able to experience impressive growth over the past decade. And, obviously there will be other great learning and networking opportunities in this beautiful Bay Harbor setting.

Over the years, CEOs have found value in bringing their executive staff to this event. If you haven’t attended lately, we encourage you to join us this year. We hope to see you in Bay Harbor this September.

Technology Solutions

On to an update on CUSG. A portion of my AC&E presentation focused on the rise of neo- and challenger banks. An expert panel looked at how their evolving business models are luring consumers away from traditional institutions like credit unions. Services like digital-only checking, personal financial management tools and fast, easy short-term loans are more convenient and appealing to a large portion of the population. To see the whole panel presentation, check out the link on the website.

CUSG continues to evolve the vision of the LifeSteps Wallet platform and create a path for credit unions to remain competitive during this fintech revolution. Leveraging LifeSteps Wallet, the lead product platform of our subsidiary LifeStep Solutions, LLC, credit unions can directly compete with challenger banks, neo-banks and payday lenders.

With the platform’s latest addition, credit unions can offer short-term small-balance loans thanks to an upcoming integration with our partner QCash Financial. As the LSW application continues to grow and add more features and services, LifeStep Solutions, LLC’s goal is to become the cornerstone of a mobile product collaboration community — we welcome all questions and interest in becoming a partner in this effort. CUSG will soon sponsor a webinar to invite consideration of investing in the new company along with CUSG. A private placement memorandum is available and investors will help fuel this innovation and take advantage of pricing discounts on future mobile offerings.

Marketing Solutions

At AC&E, Patty Corkery and Dave Adams addressed how CUSG Marketing Solutions has been shining a spotlight on the accessibility of credit unions in partnership with MCUL’s Open Your Eyes Campaign. Integrated with CUNA’s estimated $36 million national initiative, Michigan’s Open Your Eyes effort promotes credit union brand promises like convenience, mobile technology, service diversity and commitment to community.

Tapping into years of experience with CU Link, Marketing Solutions has built a simple, cost-effective process whereby credit unions can leverage the full reach of MCUL’s own 12-month, $2.3 million-dollar effort here in Michigan. Working with CUSG marketing partners, credit unions can communicate their own promises through professional creative development and omni-channel media services: our partner agency DP+ produces compelling marketing campaigns in addition to media purchasing, GSTV puts your message in front of audiences with strong awareness advertising at gas pumps and CUBE TV Studios delivers online and on-air videos that capture audience attention.

In fact, CUBE TV Studios showcased its talents producing several “day in the life of a member” videos associated with the Michigan Credit Union Foundation’s Just Getting By campaign. These videos not only share positive and encouraging member experiences with current and potential members, they’re also a great way for employees to recognize and appreciate the impact they make as a part of the credit union movement. Credit unions can contact CUBE TV Studios or the Michigan Credit Union Foundation for details on creating their own custom videos associated with Just Getting By.

Performance Solutions

Helping credit unions make meaningful connections with their employees and assisting in their professional development was another highlight at Detroit’s AC&E. As a part of CUSG’s mission, our Performance Solutions division discussed the upcoming launch of its new credit union-focused learning management system. Launching as The Learning Center — or TLC 360 — this full-featured training solution provides learners with more than 100 credit union courses and exams. Its interface can be customized to match a credit union’s brand, and employee information can be pre-configured before delivery, providing credit unions with a seamless experience. We’re finalizing plans to offer the software as both a stand-alone product, as well as an integration into Performance Pro and Compease.

Strategic Advisory Solutions

And finally, the CUSG Strategic Advisory Solutions team made an impact with its newly launched Marijuana-Related Banking account scrub. This is a critical service for any financial institution banking in a state with legalized recreational marijuana. With more and more marijuana-related banks cropping up, credit unions are forced to decide whether they should provide financial services to legitimate cannabis-related business members.

If they opt to bank these members, the big question is how to comply with a new and unique set of regulatory challenges. If they choose to not bank them, credit unions still face the challenge of identification. While identifying a direct distributor may be simple enough, working with businesses that supply growing equipment or an ad agency that relies on a portion of its income from cannabis businesses, for example, may not be as easy.

As a part of this service, our team of compliance advisors compares membership records against reliable industry resources to identify potential risk exposure. It’s essential for all credit unions to use a proactive approach and conduct due diligence whether they decide to bank the industry or exit the business altogether.

We offer a deeper look into the world of marijuana-related banking in our latest white paper from CU TrendScan. The free report with in-depth analysis is available for download now at

In conjunction with other state leagues, CUSG will deliver and work to expand the reach of AffirmX, our recently-acquired compliance management system. AffirmX currently serves more than 120 credit unions nationwide, providing services such as risk management assessments, loan review services and vendor management, to name a few. This cloud-based platform will save credit unions time by quickly identifying vulnerabilities and streamlining compliance management practices. If you would like more information, please reach out to any of our league representatives or compliance consultants today.

That’s it for this month’s Priority Report. Thank you for your continued support and association with MCUL and CUNA. We are stronger together we advance this wonderful credit union movement, and truly make an impact on people’s lives.

Thank you once again for joining us!

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