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L-R: Hank Barrett, CEO of Valley First CU; Robin Lentz, CEO of Cabrillo CU; and Jeff Napper, CEO of LBS Financial CU

'REACH': THREE CA CEOs SPEAK OUT
updated 10/03/13 09:07 AM
Rekindled Optimism Shines Forward
With the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues' 2013 Annual Meeting and Convention right around the corner, three CEOs have stepped up to share how their credit unions are modeling the concept of “reach up, reach out, reach deep” to create meaningful and lasting relationships with members.

Their individual stories uncover an age-old principle within the credit union movement—when you put members first, everyone succeeds.

Click here to learn more about REACH, the Leagues' 2013 Annual Meeting and Convention, and to register!

Valley First CU
CEO: Hank Barrett
Assets: $500 million
Members: 64,000
Headquarters: Modesto, CA

In His Own Words...
We’re reaching out by looking at our relationship with members and whether we’re both benefiting from that relationship. We’re examining how our ties with them can be more beneficial without being a financial burden on us.
We’re also trying to educate them about the self-sufficiency of using internet and mobile banking. We want to move them to a place that’s more advantageous for both of us since we’ll be establishing more electronic delivery points in the future.
Overall, we want to do what’s fair. We attempt to educate them so they won’t get hammered with big fees. We want to work with them. If we see that they’re having a tough time, we assist in getting them to a better place.
We reach deep by being very intertwined in our communities. We’re active in fundraisers, nonprofit organizations, and some major groups on a regular basis. We’re part of the community, so we give back to the community.
We’re reaching up by watching what other credit unions are doing and talking to them. We don’t think we know everything. We are not reinventing the wheel, but instead we’re learning from where others have gone before us.
Our credit union also reaches up by being engaged in the political arena. We can’t just talk to credit union-friendly candidates only during the campaign season—we have to be there the entire way and build relationships. We must represent our members’ interests by standing together politically.

Cabrillo CU
CEO: Robin Lentz
Assets: $195 million
Members: 24,000
Headquarters: San Diego, CA

In Her Own Words...
Our credit union is trying to reach up, out, and deep through the decisions we make every day at work. Although our field of membership has expanded over the years, we have never forgotten our roots. We’ve had a strong relationship with the U.S. Border Patrol since we were chartered in 1955 to serve them.
As a result of this, their employees call on us when they need a variety of services, including Fallen Agent Memorial Accounts—an account set up for donations to help those affected when a border patrol agent is killed in the line of duty. We are also involved in the patrol’s “musters” and other events, and are at their disposal for any special needs they may have.
Understanding our members’ specific needs has helped us develop products and programs. More recently, we introduced the Sequestration Advance Loan in response to the impact from the federal government’s budget sequestration. This loan is interest-free for 60 days, advances up to $2,500, and can be repaid over 24 months. More than 800 members took advantage of it within the first two weeks.
We also offer “early Friday paydays,” payroll advance loans, advances for DMV fees, and a program on auto loans where we pay members $50 if we can’t meet or beat an interest rate offered by a competitor.
One time a border patrol agent was wrongly accused of beating up an illegal immigrant. He was fired and faced criminal charges. He came to us for help with his loans, and we were able to work with him while he was on trial.
In the end, he was exonerated and reinstated with the Border Patrol. He was so grateful we worked with him during that terrible time that he brought his entire family in to personally thank our collection employees. We were the only creditor that helped him.

LBS Financial CU
CEO: Jeff Napper
Assets: $1 billion
Members: 113,000
Headquarters: Long Beach, CA

In His Own Words...
We’re focusing on making a difference in the lives of our members by building trust and showing compassion for their individual financial situations. We believe that trust, compassion, and our employees are the key ingredients to building lasting and unique relationships.
Handling money requires us to build confidence with our members. If change occurs frequently at the employee level, members develop a sense of distrust.
Fortunately, our employee turnover rate remains very low. We want to offer a unique “stick and stay” workplace culture for employees so that they can develop a long-lasting bond with members. If there’s frequent employee turnover, it becomes impossible for these relationships to form. We put a lot of attention toward caring for employees so they will exhibit that same compassion to our members.
We track our success by reaching out to members randomly each week to find out how they feel about their credit union, and we review reasons for account closures. We also recently implemented a member feedback tool that disseminates information from our call center and branches immediately to key staff for follow-up purposes.
We’re reaching up by looking at the bigger picture and deepening relationships, reaching out by listening to our members’ opinions, and reaching deep through compassion.

 
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NEVADA CREDIT UNION LEADER PASSES updated 06/23/16 12:49 PM
More Information to Follow
The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues received word that Doug Schwartz, President and CEO of Elko Federal Credit Union (EFCU), was struck by a car yesterday in Elko, Nevada and passed away early Thursday. Details are still being investigated.

TMG, CO-OP: BLOCKCHAIN STUDIES updated 06/22/16 02:45 PM
Help FIs Evaluate Opportunities
Three influential payments industry players–TMG, CO-OP Financial Services and Mercator Advisory Group–are making progress on their collective plan to create much-needed clarity around the potential for blockchain technology in the community financial institution industry.

CUs CONVERGE ON ECONOMY AND STRATEGY updated 06/20/16 03:00 PM
Forecast, Discussion, and Ideas
How can credit unions prepare for 2017 given so many "what if" scenarios on the economy, interest rates, labor force, household demographics, political environment, and consumers?

DIVERSITY: GOOD INVESTMENT FOR CUs updated 06/16/16 02:33 PM
Latest Issue of “The NCUA Report”
In the latest issue of the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) monthly newsletter, an article by the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion outlines how diversity leads to better service, greater innovation and increased membership. These outcomes make credit unions stronger and more sustainable, and ultimately lead to greater strength for the entire credit union system.

CA CUs SURPASS $100B LENDING MARK updated 06/14/16 08:06 AM
Auto Market Under the Microscope
California credit unions just hit a record: they surpassed the $100 billion lending milestone for the first time ever, with used auto loans making a superstar appearance during this historical moment.

FEDERATION AND EQUIFAX PARTNER updated 06/13/16 02:48 PM
Launch Financial Capability Center
The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation) and Equifax Inc. announced a partnership to build the Westside Financial Capability Center. The Center will provide the Atlanta Westside community with affordable banking, alternatives to payday loans, affordable home mortgages, and a suite of financial services designed to empower residents to achieve their financial goals. The search for a physical site has narrowed to several options that will allow the Center to function in coordination with Atlanta area credit unions, community stakeholders and service providers. Equifax has committed $450,000 through 2018 in support of the Center which is scheduled to open in early 2017.

TWO LARGE CALIFORNIA CUs TO MERGE updated 06/09/16 02:33 PM
N. Island Financial CU & Calif. CU
Two California credit unions—the $1.24-billion North Island Financial CU and the $1.6-billion California CU—announced plans to merge.

'JUNTOS AVANZAMOS' ADVANCES FORWARD updated 06/02/16 08:09 AM
Kinecta FCU Becomes 6th in CA
Kinecta FCU and its affiliate, NIX Neighborhood Lending, were recently recognized by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and the California Credit Union League with the “Juntos Avanzamos” (Together We Advance) certification—a branding initiative helping credit unions become the preferred financial resource for local organizations serving underserved Hispanic immigrants.

MEETING WITH NCUA REGION V DIRECTOR updated 06/01/16 02:11 PM
Freed Committed to Fair Process
Today in Sacramento, local credit union leaders met with National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Region V Director, Cherie Freed, who succeeds Liz Whitehead.

DEFENSE CREDIT UNION COUNCIL LIAISON updated 05/27/16 10:21 AM
McWatters Named to Represent NCUA
At the request of NCUA Board Chairman Rick Metsger, Board Member J. Mark McWatters will serve as the National Credit Union Administration’s liaison to the Defense Credit Union Council.The agency is committed to supporting service members and hiring veterans.

RMJ LAUNCHES 'BITE OF REALITY' APP updated 05/26/16 02:40 PM
Modernizes, Streamlines Program
The Richard Myles Johnson Foundation recently rolled out an app for its successful Bite of Reality program. The app— believed to be the first of its kind for a credit union-sponsored reality fair program—modernizes Bite of Reality, making it more relatable to young people.

DECISION ENGINE TECHNOLOGY updated 05/24/16 09:57 AM
Get The Most Out of Your Technology
May is an awkward month. It’s as if it is not sure exactly what it wants to be. Somedays in May are more like April; some are more like June. Perhaps that is where we got the word “May”-be? But, one thing that is certain about May is that it is the month of graduation ceremonies, and much like the month itself, graduates are at that awkward point in life, where the future is not quite certain.

MOUNTAIN WEST JOINS 'PLEXCITY' updated 05/23/16 03:22 PM
CU Association is 6th Shared Owner
Mountain West Credit Union Association is purchasing a shared-ownership stake in Plexcity for information technology, accounting/finance, and human resource solutions, adding to the Ontario, CA-based company’s unique story of growing collaboration between credit union trade associations since January 2015.

CONNECTING WITH MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS updated 05/19/16 10:29 AM
Matrícula Consular Online Seminar June 9
Lack of identification is one of the biggest barriers for Hispanic immigrants to access affordable financial services. RSVP for a Juntos Avanzamos online seminar on using the Matrícula Consular to reach unbanked Mexican immigrants. Learn how to use the Matricula Consular as a safe, effective way to open savings and checking accounts.

SUMMER IMPACT OPPORTUNITY FOR CUs updated 05/19/16 03:30 PM
$21M Toward Jobs For Young People
Federal government leaders are working hand in hand with local stakeholders to craft solutions that harness resources across multiple agencies in response to local needs and priorities. Since 2009, more than fifteen Federal agencies have launched dozens of initiatives and partnerships with over 1,800 rural, tribal and urban communities. Federal leaders are working across agency lines and offering hands-on support to build local capacity, provide expertise, and unlock resources to help community leaders achieve their goals.

'IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO' updated 05/17/16 10:16 AM
CFO Professional of the Year
Most new ideas aren’t necessarily new, according to Susan Gruber. They are old concepts with a new twist, and they can have great potential.

WHY ONE SMALL CU RANKS BIG IN TECH updated 05/09/16 08:48 PM
Behind United Catholics FCU
No one was perhaps more surprised to learn her credit union ranked No. 1 on MagnifyMoney’s most recently published list of “most digitally savvy” U.S. credit unions than Lucy Sloan.

FINANCIAL CAPABILITY COLLOQUIUM updated 05/03/16 11:38 AM
Measuring Credit Unions' Impact
Nearly 30 leaders and professionals came together last week at the first Financial Capability Colloquium to discuss how to collectively and effectively measure the individual financial literacy efforts that their credit unions and organizations routinely implement within their communities, and how to use these measurements to tell a powerful story that will resonate with the public.

METSGER APPOINTED NCUA BOARD CHAIR updated 05/02/16 05:17 PM
Plus, CFPB on Arbitration and TRID
President Barack Obama has appointed National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Vice Chairman Rick Metsger to be the ninth chairman of the NCUA Board of Directors, succeeding outgoing Board Chairman Debbie Matz, whose service ended April 30.

TV INVESTIGATION SPOTLIGHTS 'PACE' updated 05/02/16 02:39 PM
Protecting Consumers Becomes Crucial
A TV news station in Los Angeles has captured a clear example of consumer protection issues stemming from the “PACE” lending program (Property Assessed Clean Energy) in just one instance of how it is proving financially harmful to homeowners and credit union members across California.

'PACE' PASSES FIRST STATE COMMITTEE updated 04/26/16 08:48 AM
Congressman Sherman Gives Support
In a rare instance of federal and state legislative involvement, Assembly Bill 2693, authored by Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Encino), received two significant boosts yesterday.

INDUSTRY LEADER AND MENTOR PASSES updated 04/25/16 12:43 PM
O'Rourke 'Will be Missed'
Gene O’Rourke—who left a 40-year legacy of helping shape and place leaders in the credit union industry throughout California and the nation—died this past Friday. He was 70.

LEAGUES COMMENT ON OTR, FEE METHODS updated 04/25/16 04:12 PM
Plus, NCUA's 2 New Proposals
The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have told the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) that federally insured state-chartered credit unions (FISCUs) and federally chartered credit unions (FCUs) should be treated equitably in their comment letter on the Overhead Transfer Rate (OTR) and Operating Fee Schedule Methodologies.

REG COMMITTEE RESPONDS TO CORDRAY updated 04/19/16 09:31 AM
CU Leaders Express Opinions
In Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director (CFPB) Richard Cordrary’s recent response to a congressional letter that calls on him to fully utilize the bureau’s exemption authority for community financial institutions, Cordray cites examples of how the bureau has already used this authority.