Welcome to the March Priority Report. In this issue, I’ll give you the latest updates on the MCUL and CUSG as we approach the end of the first quarter.
I want to begin with an update on the coronavirus and how MCUL is taking caution and preparing resources. As you’ve most likely heard by now, the World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus a pandemic. To help credit unions navigate this uncertain time, we’ve put together a resource page on our website, MCUL.org, where credit unions can review pandemic planning procedures and get sample policy models through our InfoSight portal. Links to the CDC, World Health Organization, Michigan Health and Human Services information pages, as well as up-to-date news resources are also included for your convenience. You can access this page by going to our website and clicking the “COVID-19 Credit Union Information and Resources” banner at the bottom of the page. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates daily. We understand that this is a very sensitive issue and I encourage you to reach out to the League if you have any questions or concerns regarding your credit union and the pandemic.
On the association side, hear about our recent trip to D.C. for the CUNA GAC, the launch of new creative for the Open Your Eyes awareness campaign, a couple MCUF-funded programs happening in April and our exciting new education offering.
On the CU Solutions Group side, I’ll introduce our recent partnership with Payzur and how members can save during tax season, as well as a sneak peek at our new “Hot Topics” bundle and more.
February was an important month for the credit union movement as some 5,000 credit union leaders from across the country, including more than 120 from Michigan, converged on Washington, DC for the CUNA GAC. Michigan attendees spent part of the time in DC meeting with congressional officials to discuss credit union priorities and further strengthen our relationships with delegation members and their staff. Those meetings proved to be very productive and on the key issue of our not-for-profit tax status, I am pleased to report support among our congressional delegation remains very high.
This year, modernizing the Federal Credit Union Act remains one of our top priorities. In addition to new bills in 2019, during this year’s GAC, legislation was introduced to update the FCUA. Among the updates are the following - the Board Governance Modernization Act, which would modify the Act so boards would no longer need to meet once per month; the Credit Union Governance Modernization Act of 2020, a bill that would allow a board to expel a member for just cause; and finally the Credit Union Fairness Act, which would remove outdated duties for boards and remove the requirement to provide NCUA with the names of its loan officers.
On the issue of cannabis banking, in early February, CUNA responded to the Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo’s request for stakeholder feedback on how to address the problems that plague banking the cannabis industry. CUNA’s letter to Chairman Crapo noted that except for the Chairman’s desire to add public safety and health requirements to the enforcement activities of credit unions, the SAFE Banking Act is consistent with his other positions. CUNA is urging the Chairman to bring the bill up for consideration in Committee so that his proposed changes can be voted on.
Lastly, I wanted to mention that MCUL and CUNA continue to fight back against banks attacks through efforts meant to educate our lawmakers and the public. Besides our meetings while in DC, earlier this year, an Op-Ed from Ryan Donovan, CUNA’s Chief Advocacy Officer, appeared in the Credit Union Journal dispelling some of the myths surrounding community banks selling assets and liabilities to credit unions and also highlighting why the transactions benefit Americans, especially those in rural areas.
On the state side, lawmakers are in the thick of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget process. Our team is continuing to have meetings with key members of the appropriations committees to ensure that they are aware of our budget requests. Meanwhile, legislation pertaining to payday lending, escheating of military accounts and data breach are currently being monitored.
The bi-partisan data breach package in the Senate will have two additional bills added to bring the total number of bills in this package to six. This package generally provides technical clean-up to the Identity Theft Protection Act. The Identity Theft Protection Act governs how data breach’s and data breach notification is handled in the State of Michigan. These changes are necessary to provide greater clarity to the Act and much needed modernization as the Act has not been updated since 2006. The House Data Breach package is currently awaiting a vote going through some changes to hopefully help persuade opposed votes.
Payday lenders have resurfaced this year as the industry seeks to create a new small-dollar loan program under the Deferred Presentment Transaction Act. The legislation has not moved out of the House Ways and Means committee amid concerns from DIFS and the Governor’s office. Our team is working to oppose this legislation.
Military account escheats was unanimously voted out of the House Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee and awaits a vote in House Ways and Means. This legislation would allow active duty military members the benefit of five years before their dormant account funds are escheated regardless of whether they are on U.S. or foreign soil, effectively giving credit unions more clarity and less regulatory burden going forward.
Moving onto regulatory affairs, we’ve made some changes to MCUL’s website to better highlight our compliance resources, with more to come. You can also expect to see a refresh of the InfoSight Newsletter.
As mentioned in previous reports, the League is taking a new approach in 2020: Advocacy, Information and Solutions. Through Advocacy, we’re working with regulators at the state and federal level to alleviate burdensome regulation. With League InfoSight, we’re providing free resources and information to our member credit unions in the form of state and federal regulatory content, FAQs and policies with CU Policy Pro – which now has an added pandemic policy to help with coronavirus. And finally, we’re providing Solutions to help credit unions stay in compliance with management systems ComplySight and AffirmX, as well as assistance with vendor management through CUVM. Also, be on the lookout for our compliance webinar series.
While in D.C. for the CUNA GAC, MCUL and member credit unions participated in successful meetings with NCUA Board Chairman Rodney Hood, Board Member Todd Harper and representatives of the CFPB. NCUA conversations centered around support and inclusion efforts for all credit unions as well as the agency’s current rulemaking. The CFPB discussion centered around continued concerns regarding overdraft lawsuits, as well as Fair Credit Report Act disputes and the burdens imposed on financial institutions.
MCUL circulated a request for comment on NCUA’s Combination Transaction and Credit Union Asset Acquisition proposal. Comments are due March 30, and we’d love to hear from you. It’s worth noting that the NCUA Board members we met with discussed the importance of substantive comment letters and not form letters.
This month, we will be meeting with DIFS to discuss the examination survey as well as cannabis banking. Look for further information on that meeting in next month’s report.
Moving on to cooperative advertising, this year’s plan is to once again place more than $2 million in advertising, thanks to your generous support, plus matching funds from MCUL. The goal is to enhance awareness by creating continuous engagement in mediums where the next generation of members interact. Analytics continue to demonstrate strong consumer receptiveness to digital video and social media.
Thank you for your critical and continued support of cooperative advertising. If you are not already a full fair-share CU Link supporter, I encourage you to reconsider a full-share contribution for this year. Michigan’s long-standing success in cooperative advertising is because of you. Be sure to look at the opportunities for integration with your own credit union brand at MCUL.org.
With the help of cooperative donations, the Michigan Credit Union Foundation is also working to promote the credit union difference, providing impactful community reinvestment and financial education opportunities.
Two MCUF-funded statewide initiatives take place in April in conjunction with National Financial Education Month and Money Smart Week. First is the Money Smart Kids Read initiative, which will provide books to 8,000 families attending library story times in April on behalf of Michigan credit unions. The second is the High School Personal Finance Challenge, which is available to all Michigan high schools with MCUF support. These activities increase credit union awareness and youth financial education and I encourage your credit union to participate.
The foundation also provides financial support to make the enhanced financial counselor certification training program affordable and more valuable for Michigan credit union employees. Registration is now open for this training, which can help your credit union guide members to better financial health, grow credit union loyalty and increase members’ productive use of your products and services.
[CORRECTION: Due to COVID-19 Money Smart Week has been cancelled and the High School Personal Finance Challenge has been postponed until further notice.]
Moving on to education, as we have recently communicated on social media and our website, we continue to monitor the coronavirus pandemic and it’s potential impact on our scheduled events. Our primary goal is the safety of our credit union attendees, vendors, speakers and our team. For the latest updates, check out our page dedicated to event updates during COVID-19.
I would like to discuss a new series that we are excited about. I am always happy when we can find ways to deliver big value and fill an important need for our members, which is exactly what’s happened with our new offering – the Credit Union OnCampus Supervisory Series.
In conjunction with Lansing Community College, those seeking to transition from team member to supervisor, build high-performance teams, implement HR fundamentals or coach for success have the opportunity to learn from college level professors.
These eight-hour training sessions are delivered by academic instructors, with each day featuring two topics. We know this is going to meet the niche credit unions are looking for to develop supervisory leaders from within their ranks, so be sure to find more details at mcul.org.
Now, let’s switch gears to the CU Solutions Group side. Starting with technology, our web and mobile teams are in the process of onboarding our latest partner, Lenderful Solutions. With the help of Lenderful, CUSG will provide credit unions with a quick, easy, and convenient way to modernize their mortgage lending process.
Similar to Rocket Mortgage-like services, Lenderful’s white-label platform creates an online, mobile-ready solution for digital mortgages and HELOCS. Through a clean, dynamic interface, members move through the process by answering simple questions around terms, rates and payment options. The entire user experience is designed to increase loan volume and customer satisfaction in a way that doesn’t disrupt your current LOS or back-office processes. Plus, members will be able to receive pre-approval letters in less than 5 minutes. Watch for an official announcement with more details in the coming weeks.
Our technology team also continues to support Marketing Solutions with enhancements to the Love My Credit Union Rewards platform. To make offers easier to access for members and easier to provide for credit unions, we’ve developed new turnkey marketing materials, improved automation and data maintenance, and made additional enhancements to the LMCUR website’s user interface.
As it appears the much-anticipated Sprint/T-Mobile merger is poised to move forward, we continue to strategize and explore what potential mobile programs might look like with the newly formed company. As we continue to work with Sprint executives, we also continue to add new, valuable partners to the Love My Credit Union Rewards platform. Of course, TurboTax and TruStage insurance remain strong partners. And in the past weeks and months, we’ve added member discounts from SimpliSafe home security, CarAdvise auto maintenance and repair, Financial Lock identity protection, and credit union-member exclusive discounts for hotels, rental cars, movies, concerts, sporting events and many others. We’ll provide more information on Sprint as it comes available – those interested in offering any of our other member discounts can visit us online or contact our client support team.
In our HR Performance Solutions division, new updates are rolling out for our strategic planning software, Planning Pro. Enhancements to the application include collaboration tools and file sharing for project management, expanded options for customized reporting, and deeper drill-down for peer group comparison. Each of these new resources help to make Planning Pro a complete strategic planning solution that helps your credit union define success, act and measure results.
Finally, our Strategic Advisory Solutions team is making headway with the recently formed CUSO, CU Risk Intelligence. Our Compliance Advisory teams have been conducting demonstrations of both ComplySight and AffirmX across the state. In particular, we’ve seen strong uptake of our “Four Report Package” with small- and mid-size asset credit unions.
The CU Risk Intelligence Four Report Package is designed to reduce risk management workloads, anxieties and costs related to four key audits and reviews: a BSA Independent Audit, Annual ACH Independent Audit, Annual SAFE Act Independent Audit, and Website Compliance Review. Each report leverages the power of the AffirmX patented technology, which utilizes a cloud-based platform to make the exchange of data between your credit union and our experts easily manageable. This results in minimal disruption to your staff and a major pricing breakthrough for your compliance budget.
If your credit union would like a demonstration of the Four Report Package, or has questions or concerns about anything GRC related, contact your League Representative, or reach out directly to our Strategic Advisory team.
That’s it for this month’s report. Next month, we’ll share progress and data from the year’s first quarter in our quarterly shareholder’s report.
As always, if you have any questions about any of our solutions, or about how they can help you better serve your members, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Thanks for watching this month’s Priority Report. Thanks for your continued support in 2020.