All The News

081219cusolitions

Member Solutions – Secure Digital P2P Alternative

Many credit union members are seeking normalcy and security during these chaotic times, especially when it comes to their money. The answer they can always count on - Payzur P2P.  Payzur P2P transfers money as easy as sending an email or text. Funds transfer fast, easy, and secure. Whether it’s a birthday gift, allowance, or paying the pizza delivery man, members can count on Payzur P2P.

Join Tim Bohlman, COO/CTO of the Technology Solutions division for CU Solutions Group, on Thursday, Aug. 13 as he discusses the latest P2P payment market trends and why Payzur is the only solution for your members. There is no charge for this roundtable.

Click here to register. 

Your CU Store

Your CU Store Continues to Serve CUs’ Regulatory Forms Needs

While safety and health continue to be our focus for both our employees and the credit union community, Your CU Store continues to be available to provide your credit union’s regulatory forms. Government authorities continue to recommend social distancing and limiting visits to public spaces, and many consumer-facing businesses continue to expand their online presence in order to continue meeting needs. While credit unions work diligently to serve their members during these challenging times, Your CU Store is working to ensure you don’t have added concerns about maintaining updated disclosures and compliance reviews.  

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Sacramento capitol building

Situation Fluid in Sacramento and D.C. as CUs Await Next Moves

The situation remains fluid in Sacramento with the California Credit Union League engaging in major policy discussions to protect credit unions. The League is working tirelessly on Assembly Bill 1436 and will keep credit union leaders updated as this year’s complex legislative session winds down.

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Business professional

Updates: NCUA Board, SBA’s PPP, FFIEC Statement, and More

This week, the Senate Banking Committee agreed by a voice vote to advance the nomination of Kyle Hauptman to join the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board. Hauptman is currently a legislative staffer to Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).

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Podcast: "Extending Empathy" with Humanidei CEO

Humanidei CEO Jill Nowacki sits down with The CUInsight Experience podcast host Randy Smith (also co-founder of CUInsight.com) to discuss human capital, remote work, and efforts surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion for credit unions across the country.

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Why Consumer Generations Don’t Tell the Whole Story

In 2001, an article called “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants" by Marc Prensky discussed the educational needs for a new type of student. It talked about people who were raised with the internet, personal computers, computer games, email, and cell phones and because of that, viewed the world differently than their teachers who weren’t raised with such technology at their fingertips.

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FinCEN: FAQs Regarding Customer Due Diligence Requirements

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), in consultation with the federal functional regulators, issued responses to three frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding customer due diligence (CDD) requirements for covered financial institutions. The FAQs clarify the regulatory requirements related to obtaining customer information, establishing a customer risk profile, and performing ongoing monitoring of the customer relationship.

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COVID-19, Collections, and Your CU: How Text Messaging Can Help

With majority of credit unions delaying payment deadlines due to COVID-19, collections departments will soon be flooded with loss mitigation. Discover why text messaging is the best way to reach members and communicate repayment plans.

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Individual taking survey

Leagues Pivot Forward With Financial Data Update Survey

In California and Nevada, credit union leaders were also asked this week to take a few moments and complete the new Financial Data Update Survey.

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Comment Letter to DBO, NCUA News, and FASB Roundtables

The California Credit Union League has submitted a comment letter to the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) on its proposed amendments to the California credit union regulations.

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Hands on a lap top

The Latest in PPP, EIDL, FinCEN, Equifax Settlement

To support Paycheck Protection Program forgiveness, credit union leaders can join the Credit Union National Association tomorrow (Friday) at 12:30 p.m. (Pacific) for a discussion with Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), member of the Senate Banking Committee.

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Discussion over paperwork

League Acts Immediately as AB 1436 is Introduced in CA Assembly

Assembly Bill 1436 has been introduced in the California State Assembly. After credit unions defeated AB 2501 a few weeks ago, AB 1436 authors are now trying to pass very specific mortgage forbearance-related items.

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Advisory: Cybercrime Exploiting the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory to alert financial institutions to potential indicators of cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime observed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many illicit actors are engaged in fraudulent schemes that exploit vulnerabilities created by the pandemic.

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Compliance Services Survey: Your Feedback is Important

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are always looking to improve services to members, including compliance services. Please take a few minutes to complete a short survey on League member-benefit compliance services powered by PolicyWorks. The survey should only take about 5-8 minutes to complete and will be extremely helpful in understanding what is important to you and how compliance services might be improved. 

Click here to take the survey.

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Caregiving and COVID: Are Women Going to Lose Professional Gains?

For years, September has brought a steady rhythm to the workplace: As households get back to regular routines and summer trips come to an end, organization-wide meetings, conferences, and trainings come back to life. With the school year starting, many working parents find comfort in the schedule, knowing exactly when and where their children will be and how they will be occupied on any given day.

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Boilerplate Series: Contractual Third-Party Beneficiaries

In the credit union vendor world, it is not unusual for a credit union to contract for services with a vendor, often a credit union service organization (“CUSO”), who in turn has contracted with some other third party who is the actual provider of the services. For purposes of this article, let’s assume we are dealing with a CUSO as the credit union vendor. Often a CUSO recognizes that another vendor (let’s call them Gumby Industries) can provide a significant value to the credit union space. So far, Gumby has either not recognized the value of the credit union market or has always dreamed of entering the credit union space (and rightfully so, as we all know) but cannot see a way to penetrate that market.

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DBO letter

League Submits Comment Letter on DBO's Proposed Amendments to Regs

On Thursday, July 23, the California Credit Union League submitted a comment letter to the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) on its proposed amendments to the California credit union regulations.

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SBA

COVID-19 Update: SBA Guidance on Identification, Reporting of Suspicious Activity in EIDL

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CFPB

CFPB to Hold Symposium on Cost-Benefit Analysis in Regulations

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will hold a symposium on the use of cost-benefit analysis in consumer financial protection regulation on July 29 at 6:30 a.m. (Pacific).

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NCUA

NCUA Board Meeting to Be Held July 30

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board will meet Thursday, July 30, at 7 a.m. (Pacific).

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FASB

FASB Reschedules Roundtables on Accounting Standard for Leases

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has rescheduled a public roundtable discussion on the implementation of its accounting standard on leases for Sept. 18. The morning session will take place from 5:30 – 9 a.m. (Pacific), and the afternoon session from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Pacific).

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Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

As Congress Debates Relief Bill, Leagues Keep CUs at Forefront

Congress returned from a recess this week, and passage of a massive stimulus bill to address the current state of the nation’s health and economic crises is top of mind. The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues will provide regular updates in daily messages and the Advocacy Blog when consensus emerges.

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Tri-County Chapter
Led by “Head Chef” Terrance Davis of SchoolsFirst FCU and “Head Sous-Chef” Evelyn Davis of Wescom CU, those who attended the July 23 Tri-County Chapter’s virtual cooking class learned how to make a delicious meal and helped raised funds for local food banks.

Tri-County Chapter’s Virtual Cooking Class Helps Local Food Bank

Thanks to the Tri-County Chapter, some 37 “sous-chefs” on July 22 learned how to make their own delicious meal—virtually. And in the process, the group raised much-needed funds for a local food bank.

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Building pillars

SBA Updates, FinCEN Warning, and Credit Obligation Webinar

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General has issued “Lender Alert: Economic Injury Disaster Loans,” which states the SBA no longer offers advances on Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) as of July 11, 2020. Until July 10, eligible small business owners in all U.S. states were able to request an advance of up to $10,000.

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Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Registration for Virtual ‘Hike the Hill’ is Now Open

As most congressional offices have moved to virtual appointments, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are excited to announce the first virtual “Hike the Hill”!

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‘Delayed V-Shape’ Recovery Taking Place? We’ll Know Soon

Experian’s “Quarterly Economic Scenarios” forecast on July 21 was just one of several discussions percolating this month on how the U.S. economic recovery is taking shape and what might be in store for lenders, businesses, and consumers in the second half of 2020:

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League Awards
L-R: Immediate Past California League Board Chairman and Financial Partners CU CEO Nader Moghaddam; 2019 Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Eileen Rivera; California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues President and CEO Diana Dykstra; and Nevada League Board Chairman and Silver State Schools FCU CEO Scott Arkills.

Don’t Delay: Submit Entries, Nominations for Leagues’ Awards Programs

The deadline for entries for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Dora Maxwell, Louise Herring, and Desjardins awards is fast approaching. Entries must be submitted by Friday, July 31. And the deadline to nominate worthy individuals for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues Awards program is coming up soon as well. Nominations are due Friday, Aug. 14. In addition, nominations are being sought for the Kim Bannan Eternal Flame Awards.

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Governance, Risk, and Compliance Made Easy with ViClarity

PolicyWork's ViClarity helps credit unions automate governance, risk and compliance management through its end-to-end technology solution. With ViClarity, your credit union can maximize operational efficiencies, create a culture of accountability and transparency, and view a real-time report of risk areas so corrective action can be taken.

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Get Back to Marketing with GSTV

A great deal of advertising has shifted online as people hunkered down at home. Yet essential businesses remained open, including gas stations and the convenience stores attached to them. GSTV—which broadcasts advertising and content at the pump—found that messaging on the platform’s 24,000 locations became essential communication. Gas Station TV (GSTV) reaches one-third of American adults each month and counts Nielsen, Comscore, IRI, Placed and others as data partners.

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Hike the Hill

Leagues' ‘Hike the Hill’ Virtual Registration is Open

During this unprecedented pandemic, credit unions cannot take for granted the importance of our powerful grassroots voice. As most congressional offices have moved to virtual appointments, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues will hold its first virtual Hike the Hill.

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Small Business Administration

COVID-19 Update: SBA on EIDL Advances; Community Advantage Recovery Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General has issued “Lender Alert: Economic Injury Disaster Loans,” which states the SBA no longer offers advances on Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) as of July 11, 2020. Until July 10, eligible small business owners in all U.S. states were able to request an advance of up to $10,000.

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Survey

Next Phase of Leagues' Weekly COVID-19 Impact Survey

As the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues move to the next stage of pandemic advocacy and awareness efforts, we want to thank credit unions for their commitment to completing our COVID-19 Impact Survey each week.

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L-R: Kinecta FCU CEO Keith Sultemeier and Xceed Financial CU CEO Teresa Freeborn
L-R: Kinecta FCU CEO Keith Sultemeier and Xceed Financial CU CEO Teresa Freeborn

Kinecta and Xceed Financial Announce Plans to Merge

Kinecta FCU and Xceed Financial CU announced that the two credit unions have reached a tentative agreement to merge. If regulatory authorities and Xceed’s membership approve the merger, it is planned to be completed before the end of first quarter of 2021.

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Face mask and sanitizer

DBO to Monitor Compliance with Face Covering Guidance

In accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom's directive on face coverings, the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) is reminding all licensees to make sure employees and customers fully comply at all times with the latest guidance on face masks from the governor and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

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FinCEN: Beware Convertible Virtual Currency Scam Involving Twitter

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) warns credit unions of a high-profile scam exploiting Twitter accounts to solicit fraudulent payments denominated in convertible virtual currency (CVC).

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Supervisory Priorities; Call Reports; and DBO Assessment Rate

The National Credit Union Administration’s Letter to Credit Unions 20-CU-22 updates the agency’s 2020 supervisory priorities to reflect economic conditions that emerged in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as various statutory and regulatory changes that have occurred since March 2020.

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NCUA Nominee Hearing; PPP Updates; and Breach Settlement

The Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing for July 21 to consider Kyle Hauptman as President Donald Trump’s nominee to the National Credit Union Administration Board.

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Paycheck Protection Program

Paycheck Protection Program: ‘Who Got What and How Well Did the Loans Perform?’

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans facilitated by U.S. credit unions helped retain 85 jobs per $1 million in loans and required only $11,792 to retain one job, according to a recent comparison of lenders by Forbes (see “PPP Loans: Who Got What And How Well Did The Loans Perform?”).

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NCUA

NCUA Board Nominee’s Confirmation Hearing Scheduled for July 21

The Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing for July 21 to consider Kyle Hauptman as President Donald Trump’s nominee to the National Credit Union Administration Board.

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Equifax

Equifax Data Breach Settlement Claims Website Now Available

For credit unions involved in the Equifax data breach settlement, a claims website is now available here.

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Small Business Administration

COVID-19 Update: PPP, CFPB, and NCUA Priorities

The U.S. Small Business Administration issued Procedural Notice 5000-20036 this week updating 1502 Reporting, the monthly reporting requirements for the Paycheck Protection Program. The 1502 report will be due to the Fiscal Transfer Agent (FTA) (Colson Services) by the 15th of each month. For this month only (July 2020), lenders will be given a two-day grace period to submit the 1502 to the FTA. You can read the procedural notice here.

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PolicyWorks: Manage Governance, Risk, and Compliance

One-Stop Audit, Risk & Compliance Technology Solution

How many platforms and/or spreadsheets are helping your credit union manage audit, risk, compliance and governance today? PolicyWorks, the Leagues’ compliance services partner and provider, and the Leagues can help streamline these processes with ViClarity. 

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Why This May Be the Perfect Time to Set Up a Charitable Foundation

Even if your credit union is well established as community benefactor, in times of intense turmoil you may feel called upon to stand up and make a new, visible act of leadership and service. This may be a perfect time to create a charitable foundation and to use it as a platform to engage and support your community on behalf of your employees and members.

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Caltech Employees FCU and Kings FCU Join the League

The California Credit Union League would like to extend a warm welcome to Caltech Employees FCU and Kings FCU — both of which recently rejoined the League as members!

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Board of directors meeting

Accepting Nominations for NV Credit Union League Board

Nominations are now being accepted for candidates for the Nevada Credit Union League Board of Directors. There are two director positions available for election with a new term expiration of 2023.

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This Week’s Recap: NCUA’s FOM, CFPB, PPP, and More

On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the American Bankers Association’s petition to review the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision on the National Credit Union Administration’s field-of-membership rules. This ends nearly four years of uncertainty and helps the NCUA foster greater financial inclusion for all Americans.

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Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Congress: Next Phase of COVID-19 Relief and Reg Flexibility  

Congress has adapted to the "new normal." While members of Congress are physically out of Washington, D.C., they are working to advance policy.

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CUs Updated on Important CA and NV State Highlights

This week, the California Assembly announced it is postponing its return from summer recess after several legislators and staffers tested positive for the Coronavirus. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon informed members they would not be coming back to the capitol in Sacramento on July 13 as originally planned. There is no scheduled return date yet.

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

CFPB Issues Final Rule on Payday Loans

On July 7, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a final rule concerning payday loans in order to maintain consumer access to credit and competition in the marketplace. The final rule rescinds the mandatory underwriting provisions of the 2017 rule after re-evaluating the legal and evidentiary bases for these provisions and finding them to be insufficient. The final rule does not rescind or alter the payments provisions of the 2017 rule.

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NCUA

NCUA’s Next Steps After Court Denies ABA’s FOM Petition

On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the American Bankers Association’s petition to review the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision on the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) field-of-membership rules. This ends nearly four years of uncertainty and helps the NCUA foster greater financial inclusion for all Americans.

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U.S. Capitol

Congressional Update: Next Phase of COVID-19 Relief

Congress has adapted to the new normal. While members of Congress are physically out of Washington, D.C., they are working to advance policy.

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California capitol

CA Legislature Delays As League Engages in New Legislation

On Monday, July 6, the California Assembly announced it was postponing its return from summer recess after several legislators and staffers tested positive for the Coronavirus. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon informed members they would not be coming back to the capitol in Sacramento on July 13 as originally planned. There is no scheduled return date yet.

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An Opportune Time for CUs to Protect and Defend Members

As the country continues its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a war being waged against consumers by criminals who are finding insidious and ingenious ways to wreak havoc.

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Advisory on COVID-19 Imposter Scams and Money Mule Schemes

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory today to alert financial institutions to potential indicators of imposter scams and money mule schemes, which are two forms of consumer fraud observed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The advisory contains descriptions of these scams and schemes, financial red flag indicators for both, and information on reporting suspicious activity.

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Consumer Compliance Outlook Latest Issue is Now Available

The Federal Reserve’s (FRB) latest issue of Consumer Compliance Outlook is now available. This issue, which focuses solely on COVID-19 topics, contains the following articles and features:

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FinCen Guidance: Due Diligence Requirements under BSA for Hemp-Related Business Customers

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued a guidance to address questions related to Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) regulatory requirements for hemp-related business customers. 

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Eltropy Wins Top Honors From the Nation’s Top Industry Association

Eltropy, a messaging-based platform that enables credit unions to communicate with members via text, has been named the industry-leading text messaging solution by CUNA Strategic Services (CSS). Additionally, Eltropy’s service-oriented approach to its credit union customers during the COVID-19 pandemic has proven especially valuable to the industry.

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How CUs Can Use a Credit Program to Help Members Navigate Uncertain Times

When unexpected events happen, people need to be creative and flexible, but they also need a secure place to stand. In many ways, credit unions are that place for their members. Credit unions regularly connect with members, helping them find solutions to financial needs as they work to achieve life goals. When uncertain times bring financial challenges for members, credit unions are well-positioned to help make a credit card program an effective part of the solution for moving forward.

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NCUA logo

NCUA Meeting Recap: MDI, NGN, and RFI on Exam Tech

During this week’s National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) board meeting, Chairman Rodney Hood said onsite exams will not resume on July 6, as previously announced, due to current COVID-19 activity. 

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Foundation’s Grant Cycle Focused on Financial Health, Well-Being

The National Credit Union Foundation launched its 2020 Grant Cycle, with two opportunities credit unions can apply for. The deadline for credit unions to submit applications is July 15  

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Dykstra and Several CU System Leaders on COVID-19 Task Force

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) announced the formation of the Credit Union System COVID-19 Restart and Recovery Task Force, with California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues President and CEO Diana Dykstra included as one of several task force members.

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Pen signing document

Latest CA and NV Reg Issues in Focus as CUs Serve Members

This week, the commissioner of the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) issued proposed amendments that seek to modernize credit union regulations to reflect changes to related state and federal laws; streamline the application process for out-of-state credit unions that apply to operate in California; and to allow credit unions a greater choice of permissible investments.

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Marci Francisco
Premier America SVP of Member Experience Marci Francisco

Lessons in Leadership: Q&A with Premier America CU's Marci Francisco

Editor's Note: Marci Francisco is the senior vice president of member experience at Premier America CU, a position she has held since April 2019. Here, she answers Callahan’s leadership questions about her credit union’s response to the coronavirus pandemic for CreditUnions.com. 

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Money Mules Moving Illicit Proceeds from COVID-19-Related Crimes

With millions of dollars stolen from consumers in the first half of 2020 through COVID-19-related fraud scams, criminals are exploiting money mules to launder the illicit proceeds. Learn more about sophisticated mule schemes during the pandemic, and why a consolidated fraud and AML platform is essential to fight back.

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CUNA Mutual Group Discovery Conference Registration Open

Registration is now open for CUNA Mutual Group's Discovery Conference 2020!

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U.S. Supreme Court building

Context for CUs as Supreme Court Rules on 'DACA' Case

As the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in a 5-to-4 decision that President Donald Trump had illegally ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, some credit unions may be looking for insight.

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Building pillars

CUs Defeat AB 2501, Amplifying Movement’s Voice in Sacramento

California credit unions have defeated Assembly Bill 2501! The bill will not be advancing to the state senate. It was not brought up for reconsideration on the California Assembly floor Thursday morning, meaning it will fail to meet the house-of-origin deadline.

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Man using magnifying glass on document

The Latest Updates on NCUA, PPP, SBA, FHFA, and CFPB

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board will meet on June 25 at 7 a.m. (Pacific). Its agenda includes: 1) Board Briefing, Minority Depository Institution Annual Report; 2) Board Briefing, NCUA Guaranteed Notes Oversight Program; 3) Request for Information, Strategies for Future Examination and Supervision Utilizing Digital Technology; 4) Final Rule, Technical Amendments to NCUA’s Rules; and 5) Proposed Rule, Part 702, Risk-Based Net Worth.

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Open Your Eyes campaign art

CU Awareness Initiative to Launch Statewide in California

The credit union movement’s Open Your Eyes Awareness Initiative (OYE) launched statewide in California on July 1!

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Greater Nevada Credit Union
Joe and Keli Najera, owners of local food truck Kenji’s, were among those honored by Greater Nevada CU’s A Greater Good campaign. Here they are being interviewed by Greater Nevada CU Community Outreach Supervisor Michelle Hale.

Greater Nevada CU’s “A Greater Good” Project Showcases Community Heroes

For the past few weeks, Greater Nevada CU has shone the spotlight on those making a difference in the community via its “A Greater Good” project.

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Do We Need COVID-19 Releases for Our Next Event?

As state and local health authorities start relaxing restrictions on group gatherings that were put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, credit unions and CUSOs will likely want to start sponsoring events, conferences and meetings for their members and clients.  Of course, top on the sponsor’s list will be taking steps to accommodate social distancing, wearing masks, disinfecting surfaces, providing notices and reminders throughout the activity consistent with government protocols and overall ensuring compliance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local orders, guidelines and protocols in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the activity.  Along with these best (or required) practices, the common question being asked by sponsors of events, conferences, meetings and the like is whether participants should be required to sign a release of any claims (i.e., not sue) the sponsor if the participant contracts COVID-19 at the event.  

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Using Data to Build Deeper Consumer Relationships

In this digital age, and especially in the past couple of months, you may have asked yourself how you can build deep relationships with your account holders if they never come into a branch. Did relationships die out to be replaced with faceless data?  

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PolicyWorks Webinars: Quarterly Town Hall; Business Continuity Plans

PolicyWorks, the Leagues’ compliance service provider and an exclusive benefit of your Leagues membership, is hosting two upcoming webinars:

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Sacramento state capitol building

League Urges Final Push on AB 2501; Vote Scheduled Monday

A vote on Assembly Bill 2501 has been postponed until this coming Monday in the California State Assembly. This gives the bill’s author and proponents the entire weekend to persuade assemblymembers who are on the fence about the bill.

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Forbearance Guidance, FOM Update, PCA Reg Relief, and More

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors have issued joint guidance to mortgage servicers to assist in complying with CARES Act provisions granting a right to forbearance to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Unclaimed Report and Remittance Due Date Extended

The California State Controller's Unclaimed Property Division has published its Spring 2020 "Newsletter for Holders". Credit unions should take note of this article extending the final Remit Report and remittance due date from June 15, 2020 to Aug. 15, 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Meeting Members Where They Are

As I sit on my porch enjoying some sunshine this afternoon, I would normally say “what a wonderful day, and all is well in the world.” But when I face the reality of the impacts of COVID-19, myself in isolation, it does not feel like a wonderful day. I worry about my aging parents; I wonder about my grandparents and the risks they face just going to the grocery store; and I think about the uncertainty I am living with every day.

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Government capitol building steps

CUs and Employees Urged to Join ‘NO on AB 2501’ Campaign

Assembly Bill 2501 in the California State Assembly remains a threat to the credit union movement — and the California Credit Union League needs your immediate help to defeat it. The bill requires credit unions to offer inflexible lengthy forbearances on mortgages up to Jan. 1, 2022 and lengthy forbearances on auto loans. It would significantly draw down levels of capital, preventing credit unions from serving their communities and potentially causing layoffs or even mergers.

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Speaker at a podium in front of audience

Important Updates: CCPA, NCUA, Fannie-Freddie, Fed and CFPB

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra submitted final proposed regulations under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) to the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL). The regulations will provide guidance to businesses on how to comply with the CCPA and will enable consumers to exercise new rights over their personal information.

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InfoSight New Topic: Back to Work Best Practices

While many states are beginning to relax some of the “stay at home” orders and credit unions are thinking about how to safely get their teams back into the office and protect their members, InfoSight, the League’s online compliance resource, has a new topic under the COVID-19 – Coronavirus channel called Back to Work Best Practices.  Helpful resources include:

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Boosting Acquisition and Retention with Digital Onboarding

As people’s lives are turning upside down and many are staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kasasa's B2C marketing experts found that internet searches for online account opening have increased in the last week alone.

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Business professional at a desk

CU Structure Diagram, PPP Update, Reopening Guidelines and More

The California Credit Union League has created a two-page diagram — "Credit Unions: Structure, Capital, Liquidity, and Economic Effects" — to help educate California assemblymembers and senators whenever the opportunity arises during this difficult period as credit unions continue serving their members.

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InfoSight NEW TOPIC: Remote Work;Telecommuting

new InfoSight topicRemote Work - Telecommuting, has been added to the Employment Channel. As more credit unions continue to operate and consider a future for remote staff and telecommuting, InfoSight has combined its resources on the topic for easier access. In addition, a Remote Worker Risk Assessment was also created and has been added as an additional resource on that topic. 

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Job Market Exposes Toughest Part of Members’ Recovery: Realignment

“Some job skills in demand last week could be out of style next week,” said John Hawkins as he reflected on how the Coronavirus pandemic is shaking up local labor markets. “Different states will have different dynamics, and there will be a lot of variations due to different industries.”

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Mike Poirier
Patelco CU Vice President of Consumer And Commercial Loans Mike Poirier

Patelco CU: Helping Small Businesses Tap Into PPP Funds

Editor's Note: This is an excerpt of an article that appeared originally on CreditUnions.com and features a roundup on the successes and challenges credit unions around the country faced trying to ensure business members could tap into Paycheck Protection Program funds. Below is Patelco CU's story: 

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How to Keep Members Going with Prepaid Cards

If you’re not already offering a prepaid product, now would be a good time to start. With the game-changer of COVID-19, cashless payment methods are becoming increasingly important as people have been staying home and buying food and other items online.

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Business professional writing on paper

NCUA Actions, President’s Order, FHFA, FinCEN, and HMDA

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board has issued one proposed rule and one interim final rule (IFR).

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Gavel and law book

AB 2501, CA Consumer Law, PPP, and Congressional Update

As the California Credit Union League remains committed to defeating Assembly Bill 2501 and protecting credit unions at all cost, the League worked to get the bill added to the Cal Chambers’ infamous Job Killer list. The annual list includes the worst of the worst when it comes to bills that will harm employers, and bills that are deemed a “job killer” have traditionally faced a steep uphill battle.

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PremierOne CU
PremierOne CU staff kept safe while serving members during COVID-19 crisis.

PremierOne CU Provides Member, Community Support Amid COVID-19 Crisis

When the Coronavirus outbreak occurred, PremierOne CU responded swiftly by focusing efforts on supporting the community the San Jose-based credit union serves.

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ncua logo

Interagency Lending Principles for Offering Responsible Small-Dollar Loans

The federal financial institution regulatory agencies issued principles for offering small-dollar loans in a responsible manner to meet financial institutions customers’ short-term credit needs.

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Is This Subpoena Valid?

Parties to litigation have a right to engage in “pretrial discovery” to obtain documents and testimony that might be relevant to their claims and defenses. Relevant discovery often includes the assets of one of the parties. 

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financialcrimesenforcementnetwork

Advisory on Medical Scams Related to COVID-19 and Companion Notice Filing Instructions

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory to alert financial institutions to rising medical scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This advisory contains red flags, descriptions of COVID-19 related medical scams, and information on reporting suspicious activity. This is the first of several advisories FinCEN intends to issue concerning financial crimes related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Capitol building pillars

California DBO Proposal, Nevada Guidance, and More

The California Credit Union League has shared its concerns in a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom’s office regarding the proposal within his January budget to restructure the Department of Business Oversight (DBO) into what many in financial services have described as “California’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” (a miniature state version of the CFPB).

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Financial Crime Management for CUs Webinar

Strengthen your compliance programs and fight financial crime with Verafin.

Verafin’s Financial Crime Management platform leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence, in highly-targeted detection scenarios that are enriched with open-source and third-party data and provide cross-institutional analysis and collaboration through the power of the Verafin Cloud. The result? Higher-quality alerts, expedited investigations, and richer, more detailed reporting.

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Business professional doing analysis on mobile tablet

Important Agency Updates, News, Resources, and Tools

A virtual roundtable discussion entitled “Update From Prudential Regulators” was held on May 13 and is now archived for viewing. Panelists included Rodney Hood, chairman of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), and regulatory officials from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Federal Reserve.

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Santa Cruz Community CU
Santa Cruz Community CU staff

Santa Cruz Community CU Helps Small Businesses Get Through COVID-19 Crisis

When the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) launched, Santa Cruz Community CU—already an SBA lender for some time—immediately set to work.

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Don’t Pause DEI

Credit unions are more vital now than ever before. They are on the front lines, serving as a sheltering tree and a safe haven for the financial health and well-being of their members and their communities.

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CFPB Issues Amendments to the Remittance Transfer Rule

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued a final rule amending the Remittance Transfer Rule. In light of the expiration of a statutory exception in July 2020, the amendments allow banks and credit unions to provide estimates of certain fees and the exchange rates related to remittance transfers if they meet certain conditions. The final rule also increases the threshold that determines whether an entity is subject to the Remittance Transfer Rule. The final rule is available here.

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The Leagues are advocating for credit unions around the clock with members of Congress, such as Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), and many others during the current COVID-19 crisis.
The Leagues are advocating for credit unions around the clock with members of Congress, such as Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), and many others during the current COVID-19 crisis.

State and Federal Update: TDR, Workers’ Comp, and Garnishments

The California Credit Union League sent a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters this past week outlining the League’s priorities for the next Coronavirus relief package. The House is assembling its package even though it is technically out of session.

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Outside of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau headquarters

Bureau Issues PPP FAQs; FHFA Extends Processing Flexibility

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued clarifying FAQs (frequently asked questions) to support small businesses that have applied for a loan from their financial institution under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

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CFPB: Clarifications to Support Small Businesses Applying for PPP Loans

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued clarifying FAQs to support small businesses who have applied for a loan from their financial institution under the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

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In response to the CARES Act, GCL has increased staffing and launched technological enhancements to simplify and streamline the PPP application process. The company has also expanded its relationships with third-party partners to ensure PPP loans are funded in a timely manner. GCL has been working to help all applicants regardless of whether the company has an existing relationship with those businesses.
Greater Nevada CU CEO Wally Murray

PPP Success Story: Greater Nevada CU Processes $566.4 Million in Loans

From the start of the COVID-19 crisis, it was clear to Greater Nevada CU and its wholly owned subsidiary, Greater Commercial Lending (GLC),  that small businesses in Nevada and across the nation would need assistance to help them navigate through the tough financial circumstance brought about by the pandemic and economic fallout.

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Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-CA
Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-CA

Congresswoman Petitions for FCU Access of Payroll Tax Credit

At the request of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) — a leading member of the House Ways and Means Committee (the tax committee) — joined with Rep. Ron Estes of Kansas to send a letter to Treasury Department Secretary Steven Mnuchin petitioning for a change in guidance to allow federal credit unions access to the payroll tax credit within the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

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Regulatory books

Update: NCUA, Senate Banking Comm., CFPB, FHFA, and Treasury

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has submitted a request letter to the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. The letter outlines the agency’s actions to aid credit unions to date, as well as activity it deems necessary in legislative actions.

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Capitol building in Sacramento, CA

Requesting CA Guidance: Garnishment, Liens, and Right of Setoff

To help credit unions avoid major operational and compliance challenges, the California Credit Union League has requested that the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) bring recognition of an important CARES Act stimulus issue to the attention of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office — namely member garnishment, liens, and right of setoff.

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CFPB: Mortgage Loan Transfer Process To Prevent Consumer Harm

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) outlined practices to provide mortgage servicers clarity, facilitate compliance, and prevent harm to consumers during the transfer of residential mortgages.

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cu raterest

CU RateReset Offers 50% Off Subscription Fees During COVID-19

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is encouraging financial institutions to offer loan modifications to help mitigate financial burdens on their members and communities.

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KASASA: No Licensing Fees Until 2021 for League Members

Having a great website and online account opening is critical in a time when members can’t get access to branches. Kasasa offers custom and turn-key solutions for online and in-branch digital account opening, as well as responsive-website design that adheres to the best regulatory and security practices. Credit unions that purchase Kasasa’s website solution (First Branch) and/or its On-Line Account Opening solution (INMO+) between now and June 1, 2020 will pay no monthly licensing on those products until 2021.

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Pen signing a document

PPP Lenders: Be Ready to Apply Monday; Funds Will Go Fast

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications will be accepted at 7:30 a.m. (Pacific) this Monday, according to a statement by Treasury Department Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza.

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Capitol building in Sacramento, CA

Credit Union Advocacy in Action During Pandemic Crisis

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on April 23 that exempts garnishment for any individuals receiving federal, state or local government financial assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Government building pillars

From States to Congress: Looking Out for CUs and Members

The California Credit Union League — along with the California Community Bankers Network — has sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom requesting that he delay the implementation of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) until Jan. 2, 2021.

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policyworks logo

Latest PolicyWorks Newsletter Now Available

The latest PolicyWorks newsletter is now available! The newsletter details several recent NCUA final rules, as well as other important articles regarding recent changes to California laws. Please check your email, or click here to access the newsletter using your email address and your California or Nevada Credit Union League members-only password.

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TurboTax Extends Discounts Through Oct. 15, 2020

On March 20, 2020, the IRS officially extended the federal income tax filing deadline from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. Since members are unable to meet face-to-face with a tax specialist, they will likely need an option to complete and file their tax return remotely, which they can do with TurboTax. In addition, TurboTax discounts are available through Oct. 15, which is especially helpful to members who may need extensions.

To get started or to learn more, contact Leagues Vice President of Credit Union Solutions and Membership Tonja Wheatley at 909-212-6023 or tonjaw@ccul.org.

 

Free Text Messaging Service for CUs from Eltropy

In light of the current crisis, Eltropy is offering free text messaging for 90 days to the first 25 credit unions. Setup, implementation, and platform fees will be temporarily waived so that credit unions can use the platform to reach out to employees and members.

To get started or to learn more, contact Leagues Vice President of Credit Union Solutions and Membership Tonja Wheatley at 909-212-6023 or tonjaw@ccul.org.

Travis CU
Travis CU CEO Barry Nelson held Zoom meetings to let organizations, such as• United Service Organizations (USO) Northern California-Travis AFB, know they were selected as recipients of a donation from the credit union.

Travis CU Donates $1 Million in Support of Community Partners Amid COVID-19

Travis Credit Union has launched and implemented its $1 million philanthropic initiative, which was disbursed to local organizations working to provide COVID-19 related relief to non-profits primarily focused on services in the areas of education, youth/family, food banks and small business support. The nearly 100 non-profits in the counties of Solano, Napa, Contra Costa, Merced, and Yolo were notified via personal phone calls, including several from Barry Nelson, president and CEO of Travis CU.
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FFIEC Announces Federal Disclosure Computational Tools

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) announced the availability of FFIEC Federal Disclosure Computational Tools, including the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) Computational Tool and the Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Computational Tool. The tools will assist financial institutions in their efforts to comply with the consumer protection laws and regulations, including verification of compliance with the Military Annual Percentage Rate (MAPR) limits under the Military Lending Act.

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Bite of Reality

RMJ Foundation Unveils Bite of Reality Remote

The Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation has launched Bite of Reality Remote to provide youth financial education at a time when schools and communities are practicing social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Fist bump in the office by colleagues

CUs Step Up for Members as Communities Respond to Pandemic

UPDATE: So far more than 350,000 credit union members have been helped, over 330,000 loan extensions made, and $31.4 million provided in emergency loans, according to weekly survey data collected by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.

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Notepad and pen

State Update: Committees Make CU Request; CCPA Enforcement

The California Credit Union League received a letter from four committee chairs in the California State Assembly and Senate requesting that credit unions refrain from using members’ federal stimulus funds to offset delinquent loan payments or other past-due fees — and to make reasonable efforts to make those funds available to members as soon as possible.

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Business workers at desk

COVID Operations: NCUA, California DBO, and Nevada FID

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board held its third open meeting of 2020 on April 16, using a live audio webcast and approved three items:

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CFPB Issues 2020 HMDA Final Rule

The Consumer Financial Proection Bureau (Bureau) issued a final rule amending Regulation C to adjust the thresholds for closed-end mortgage loans and open-end lines of credit.

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U.S. dollar bills

CU Economist on Unemployment, Liquidity, Members, and the Fed

As the COVID-19 pandemic throws off the trajectory of loans, deposits and other best-laid plans, the post-crisis economic conversation for credit unions begins right now according to Sonoma State University Economist and Redwood CU Board Member Robert Eyler.

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Need COVID-19 Emergency Supplies?

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, some credit unions may be struggling to find supplies, including face masks and hand sanitizers that are necessary to keep employees and members safe. Here is a quick list of suggested online suppliers. Inventories and delivery times may fluctuate rapidly, and credit unions are encouraged to regularly monitor their own stock.

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ncua logo

Regulators Release Updates to BSA/AML Examination Manual

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) released several updates to the Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) examination manual. The manual is used to evaluate compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering requirements.

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Duane Tyler headshot

Can Litigation Result from COVID-19 Deferred Mortgage Payments?

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, credit unions and other financial institutions are offering mortgage payment relief through modifications or skip a pay programs.  Generally, two or three monthly payments are being deferred to the end of the deferral period, or are being moved to the end of the loan either as a balloon payment or by extending the maturity date by adding the two or three payments to the end of the loan.  The number of applications for mortgage relief has required an all hands-on deck effort to timely respond to and assist members facing financial stress due to loss of income. 

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How CUs Can Stay Ahead With Contactless Payment During COVID-19

Contactless payment use is on the rise. According to Allied Market Research, the mobile payment market size is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of nearly 34% between 2017 and 2023. Current concerns about the COVID-19 virus being shared through cash have many businesses and media outlets urging consumers to increase their use of contactless payment methods. Credit unions should be prepared with a good understanding of these newer forms of payment options so they can stay ahead of the curve.

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Autoland Keeps Auto Lending Pipelines Open

As Californian’s shelter-in-place across the state, auto sales have taken a significant toll due to COVID-19. About 40% of dealers have closed sales departments leaving consumers with less options on trying to replace a vehicle that may have been totaled or no longer running.  Dealers who have remained open have had to pivot on their strategies to find new ways to accommodate consumers with maintaining social distancing and remote deliveries.

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Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Around the Clock Crisis: CUs and Leagues Work Together

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are surveying credit unions and gathering information on which ones are — or are not — planning on offering Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) relief loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration due to the COVID-19 crisis. Credit unions’ response will help guide the Leagues’ advocacy efforts and messaging with Congress.

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Business person's hand and keyboard

Update: Stimulus Checks, SBA Loans, and CU Concerns

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are continuing discussions with credit unions, legislators, and regulators as concerns mount regarding the ability of all financial institutions to safely and efficiently process stimulus checks that are scheduled to be mailed out soon. 

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DBO website

DBO Code Clarification; Remote Notary; NCUA Meeting and Letters

The California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) now has a list on its website of credit unions offering financial relief. And in Nevada, Governor Steve Sisolak signed an emergency directive which expands upon and clarifies previous directives for non-essential business closures and mandated social distancing. 

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SBA

SBA Update and NCUA Letters

Yesterday, the U.S. Small Business Administration hosted a conference call regarding Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, providing valuable information and updates. Here are key takeaways:

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policyworks logo

Leagues Members Get Free Access to ViClarity BCP Self-Assessment Pandemic Execution

PolicyWorks is offering all California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues members complimentary access to the ViClarity business continuity planning (BCP) Self-Assessment Pandemic Execution Tool until Sept. 1, 2020.

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U.S. Treasury Department

COVID Update: Stimulus Checks, SBA Info, Other News

California and Nevada residents will receive a portion of the estimated 70 million paper stimulus checks scheduled for mailing from the Treasury Department to individuals starting in early May, after direct-deposit stimulus monies are disbursed in April. Please be prepared: your credit union’s branches or ATMs could experience unusually high activity in members physically depositing or cashing these checks.

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Small business owners working

SBA Loan Info, State and Fed Updates, More Resources

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have posted sample content for credit unions to use in efficiently communicating the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to members who inquire. Credit unions should use it as they see fit.

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FinCEN Provides Additional Information in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a notice which updates FinCEN’s March 16, 2020 COVID-19 Notice, provides additional information to assist financial institutions in complying with their Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and announces a direct contact mechanism for urgent COVID-19-related issues.  FinCEN recognizes financial institutions face challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition, FinCEN is committed to promoting the success of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), including the need to facilitate expeditious disbursal of CARES Act funds.  Accordingly, FinCEN will issue further information, as appropriate, as the CARES Act is implemented and questions arise.  

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Financial Relief Template for Your Website

The Leagues continue to work with local and state leaders to ensure your members have easy access to information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and their financial well-being.

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Q&As Regarding 2020 RMD Waiver

CUNA’s April 1, 2020 compliance blog provides the Q&As below from Dennis Zuehlke, ERISA compliance manager with Ascensus, to get expert information on IRAs and the 2020 required minimum distributions (RMD) waiver.

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NCUA Mandates Strict Offsite Examination Policy

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) mandated a strict offsite policy for all employees and contracted support staff as of March 16, 2020. All NCUA examinations will take place offsite through May 1, 2020 and will remain in effect until further notice. The agency will reevaluate this approach through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and will notify credit unions of any changes.

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Grants, Loans Available to Low-Income CUs for COVID-19 Response

Federally insured, low-income-designated credit unions can request grants and loans from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to assist members, businesses, and communities experiencing economic hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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treasury department

SBA Guidance: Paycheck Protection Program

The U.S. Treasury Department and Small Business Administration have just released their guidance for issuing loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as part of the CARES Act (the stimulus bill signed into law on Friday, March 27).

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Three Ways to Stay Connected and Support One Another During Uncertainty

In just days, our world has dramatically changed; and our day-to-day realities have been flipped on their head. As we’ve watched this global pandemic play out, I’m amazed by how quickly people have responded and jumped into action.

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Economic Stimulus Should Stimulate These CU Thoughts

A $2 trillion stimulus measure, approved by Congress and signed by President Trump on March 27, aims to relieve the severe economic agony brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The stimulus will sweep broadly across the U.S. economy, reaching nearly every segment, but how it will affect credit unions may vary widely – based on their differing memberships. 

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Boosting Acquisition and Retention with Digital Onboarding During COVID-19

As people’s lives are turning upside down and many are staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic Kasasa's B2C marketing experts found that internet searches for online account opening have increased in the last week alone.  

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom

COVID-19: Credit Unions, Congress, and States Take Action

President Donald Trump has signed into law H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) — legislation that provides economic stimulus to the nation to address to the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak.

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Hands on keyboard at computer

Lawmakers Communicating with Residents: Virtual Town Halls

(This story was updated April 16): Some congressional and state legislators are holding virtual town-hall events this afternoon, evening, and in the coming days to discuss relief and resource efforts in response to the Coronavirus pandemic disrupting local economies and communities across the state.

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Gavel and law book

Regulators to Review Congressional Relief Legislation

The federal regulatory agencies’ joint interagency statement issued on March 22 encourages financial institutions to work constructively with borrowers affected by COVID-19 and provides information regarding loan modifications, including when such modifications would not result in accounting for troubled debt restructuring designation.

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CFPB Provides Flexibility During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) is postponing some data collections from industry, including credit unions, on Bureau-related rules to allow companies to focus on responding to consumers/members’ needs.

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Coronavirus

COVID: CUs Respond in CA; Updates for NV

California Governor Gavin Newsom officially announced that more than 200 state-chartered credit unions and banks have committed to providing financial relief to the state’s consumers amid the economic fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic. Due to the response of so many credit unions, our movement was framed in a positive light by Governor Newsom as he made several references to what credit unions do.

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FAQ/Families First Coronavirus Response Act Posters Available

The Department of Labor (DOL) has created the model posters required by the Families First Coronavirus Responses Act (FFCRA). The posters can be accessed here.

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Gavin Newsom

CA Governor Gavin Newsom Thanks CUs During Relief Announcement

California Governor Gavin Newsom officially announced that more than 200 state-chartered credit unions and banks have committed to providing financial relief to the state’s consumers amid the economic fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic. For those able to respond to our requests, THANK YOU for your input! Our work together is making a huge impact.

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Stop the Spread of Germs: How to Properly Clean Your ATMs

Cleanliness is next to godliness, so they say. Well maybe not, but cleanliness will at least protect yourself and others from spreading and catching harmful diseases. During this current time of growing concern over the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), proper cleanliness and disinfecting surfaces that can play host to COVID-19 germs has become even more important to potentially help stop the spread of these germs from person to person.

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COVID-19 Scams and ID Fraud

We are facing an unprecedented time in our lives with the coronavirus upon us and people taking every imaginable precaution to “be safe” and survive the aftermath.  Having three sisters who are nurses and who love to give advice, the basic practices of good hygiene are essential and the best way to avoid this virus.  That is as far as this article will go on any medical aspects of this issue.

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Credit Unions in California Offering Assistance to Those Impacted by Economic Fallout from Pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in a sweeping and sudden economic crisis for millions of Californians—now being asked to stay safe at home—who are seeing their work hours reduced or jobs and businesses lost. During this unprecedented crisis, the 294 credit unions in the state—with total assets of nearly $210 billion and serving 14 million residents—are taking extraordinary steps to support their members and communities.

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Protecting Your Members During Crisis: Best Practices for Online Shopping

During these unprecedented times, LCS brings to you an information piece that could help your credit union and members. With brick-and-mortar stores closing over COVID-19, online shopping is becoming more important. Below is article on best practices credit union members can follow to keep their information safe while shopping online.

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Congressional dome building in Washington, D.C.

Leagues Urge Legislators on Behalf of CUs and Members

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are monitoring the current Coronavirus pandemic around the clock as many questions are still unanswered.

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Regulatory Requests Made to CFPB, FRB, and FASB

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has made three urgent requests for immediate relief on behalf of credit unions regarding sensitive regulatory items in light of the current Coronavirus pandemic:

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COVID 19 Resource Page

Latest Updates to The Leagues’ COVID-19 Resources Page

The Leagues’ COVID-19 Resource Page is continually being updated with information, resources, and frequently asked questions (FAQs) on credit unions’ response to the current pandemic.

Among the items you may find: ‘Safe and Sound’ Reassurance for Members

You may feel the need to reassure your members that their deposit accounts are safe, sound, and accessible during a time like this. If so, please feel free to use the following in your communications and outreach:

Although the COVID-19 emergency is unprecedented in our lifetime, credit unions remain committed to serving their members.

Credit unions remain open for business, guiding our members through these unsettling times. We will be taking steps to ensure the health and well-being of both our members and our team members, but these precautions will not impact your ability to access your money or perform banking activities.

Credit unions have always stepped up during times of hardship. From natural disasters, to recessions, to government shutdowns, credit unions have worked tirelessly to guide their members through the financial challenges that inevitably followed.

If you have questions, please contact *CEO NAME AND EMAIL GOES HERE.*

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this crisis.

Other Resources:

Other pieces information on the COVID-19 Resource Webpage include: Nevada Health Response COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Initiative; CUNA News Podcast: “The Economic Impact of COVID-19”; Sample pandemic plan (under Sample Emergency Preparedness Plan Content section); and under the FAQs section: Crisis communications; video chat resources; and the Member Activation Program (MAP) member communication letter templates.

If you still have any questions not answered in the Leagues' Resource page, email those questions to COVID19@ccul.org

Upcoming March 30th webinar presenter Dr. Robert Eyler, economist at Sonoma State University, board member for Redwood CU, and president of Economic Forensics & Analytics.
Upcoming March 30th webinar presenter Dr. Robert Eyler, economist at Sonoma State University, board member for Redwood CU, and president of Economic Forensics & Analytics.

Webinar: What to Expect for Economy, CUs, and Members

The webinar “Coronavirus, Economy, Rates, Financial Markets: Where Are We Headed?” will be released on Monday, March 30 at 10 a.m. (Pacific), where some big economic and credit union industry “unknowns” for 2020 will be discussed by Dr. Robert Eyler.

You can REGISTER HERE for this unique and timely presentation! Topics will cover:

By summer and autumn of 2020, how will credit unions, members, and employees be affected? What does the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic mean for household debt, mortgages, and your members? What about your credit union’s balance sheet and performance metrics? Consumers are watching their personal financial situation, jobs, and the chatter happening in the news and on Wall Street 24-7.

Has the economy already fallen into a recession — or do we really know? What are baseline expectations for Coronavirus, economic growth versus slowdown, possible recession, and interest rates? How will the Coronavirus pandemic impact local communities? Short-term and long-term interest rate volatility and financial markets are key right now, as well as “how” the Federal Reserve’s anticipates its future decision-making. What can history tell us about where we are headed?

How will supply, logistics, the labor market, and different industries/businesses be affected? Your community will be impacted, but how? Members and employees will be affected in different ways depending on their situation.

How does this all play into the upcoming November elections? The political season is here and moving full steam ahead. How might the Coronavirus pandemic play into the “political economy” and possibilities for economic fiscal policy in Washington, D.C. before then?

We invite you to look past the 24/7 news cycle and join us for an informative update! This webinar is FREE for Power Learner Passport (PLP) subscribers; and $195 for non-PLP members of the League; and $341 for non-League members.

Who Should Attend?
Credit union professionals who should attend include:

  • CEOs, CFOs, and COOs
  • Board members
  • SVPs and/or VPs of finance, operations, lending, and strategic planning

The Webinar Presenter
Eyler is an economist at Sonoma State University, board member for Redwood CU, and president of Economic Forensics & Analytics. He’s also been keynote speaker of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ annual “Your Economy—Your Credit Union” Conference.

He is director of the university’s Center for Regional Economic Analysis and has authored books and academic articles concerning monetary economics and policies, macroeconomic policies, banking topics, derivative markets, international finance, and the economics of the wine industry. Additionally, he is an expert witness in interstate trade litigation and forensic economics. He served as CEO of the Marin Economic Forum from 2009 – 2015.

Inclusiv

Inclusiv Advocates for CDFI CUs During Pandemic Crisis

Inclusiv is requesting $1 billion in supplementary funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) as part of the emergency spending legislation currently under consideration. It’s also working with the CDFI Coalition and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) to advocate for additional funds to be included in the stimulus bill for CDFI credit unions.

In addition, the organization is doing a comprehensive assessment of how emergency stimulus funds can best be utilized to stabilize CDFI credit unions and the communities they serve. From its initial outreach, it sees the needs falling into the following categories: immediate stabilization of CDFIs to remain operational and meeting basic needs of their members during this period; flexibility to borrowers during this period while maintaining safety and soundness of your institutions; and developing innovative responses to community needs, including prioritizing wage workers, small businesses and downsized service sector employees.

So, Inclusiv is also reaching out to CDFI credit unions asking it to share the emerging needs of their members via a survey

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Leagues' Latest Coronavirus Pandemic Efforts and Resources

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are monitoring the current pandemic around the clock as many questions are still unanswered. Since rumors are spreading daily on social media and elsewhere about local consumers’ fearful reactions, the Leagues are asking credit union leaders and employees to not overreact to “news” that has not been fully confirmed or is not true.

We are working to keep you updated so you can manage your credit union and communicate with your members:

Latest CUNA/League Advocacy Efforts
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) sent two letters to Congress after consulting with credit unions, state leagues, and advocacy professionals across the nation. These letters reflect your concerns, some of which are being addressed as we speak. Additional concerns not listed are also being discussed, such as long-term capital needs:

  • Letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters.
  • Letter to Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Crapo and Ranking Member Sherrod Brown.

The Leagues have also requested a temporary forbearance from enforcement under the California Consumer Privacy Act in a letter to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

On the state front, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order that enhances state and local government’s ability to respond to the pandemic. Additionally, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has waived the work search requirement and wait period for unemployment insurance benefits.

On the regulatory front, please see three urgent requests made by CUNA for immediate relief on behalf of credit unions regarding sensitive regulatory items in light of the current pandemic:

Update on Fiscal Stimulus to Households
The Leagues have confirmed that both the Treasury Department and Bureau of Fiscal Service oppose paper checks being distributed to consumers under the fiscal stimulus plan being considered by Congress and the president. Some credit unions were concerned they would not have enough cash on hand to meet a surge in members immediately cashing-out these checks. The Leagues will continue to monitor this situation as the conversation turns to electronic distribution.

Important League Webinars on COVID-19
Credit unions should have appropriate staff attend the “COVID-19 Update: Guidance on Common Questions” webinar on March 24, hosted by the Leagues’ compliance services provider PolicyWorks. It will cover COVID-19 guidance that PolicyWorks is offering, including the latest credit union regulatory updates.

Also stay tuned for additional COVID-19 credit union response webinars here.

Updates to League COVID-19 Resources
Today’s additions and updates to the League Coronavirus/COVID-19 resource webpage include:

  • Resources areaNevada Health Response COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Initiative; and CUNA News Podcast: “The Economic Impact of COVID-19."
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) area: Member communications; video chat resources; and Member Activation Program (MAP) member communication letter templates.
  • Sample Emergency Preparedness Plan Content area: Sample pandemic plan.

Questions? Email our response team at COVID19@ccul.org. We are here for you as you continue serving your members during these trying times.

Nevada

Nevada Governor Waives Work Search Requirement, Wait Period for Unemployment Insurance Benefits

On Wednesday, March 18, Governor Steve Sisolak instructed the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), Employment Security Division to waive the work search requirement and the seven-day wait period for approved unemployment insurance benefits.

Specifically, Gov. Sisolak waived the following

Unemployment Insurance Work Search Requirement: Suitable work is not currently available for unemployment insurance claimants, so the work search requirement is to be suspended.

Unemployment Insurance Seven-Day Wait Period: The seven-day wait period between applying for and receiving unemployment insurance benefits is waived. This ensures that thousands of Nevadans will receive their benefits as quickly as possible. 

“Both of these instructions are practical, common-sense measures to help Nevadans obtain unemployment insurance benefits, while helping mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Gov. Sisolak. “My administration will continue to work with our federal delegation to identify additional steps that can be taken to ease the economic pain of families across our state.”

Both instructions are effective immediately and will remain in effect until further notice.

Nevadans seeking unemployment insurance benefits are highly encouraged to file online.

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Member Access to Branch Services via Video During COVID-19 Restrictions

CUNA Strategic Services’ alliance provider, POPi/o, is ready to help address this challenge.  For a limited time, POPi/o is offering a limited number of FREE video seat licenses per credit union to provide web-based video collaboration for your members to contact the credit union. 

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NACHA Issues Reminder on ACH Responsibilities Amidst Coronavirus

In light of the potential impact of coronavirus, National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) reminds financial institutions of the importance of reviewing their business continuity plans to ensure that they are prepared to maintain automated clearing house (ACH) payment processing capabilities in the event of possible disruptions. In addition to their own business continuity plans, financial institutions should understand the expectations of their regulators and ACH Operators with regard to ACH processing in potential scenarios of workforce disruption.

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FinCEN Urges Communication of Concerns Related to Crisis

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has released a notice encouraging financial institutions to communicate coronavirus-related (COVID-19) concerns and to stay alert to related illicit activity, similar to fraudulent transactions that occur in the wake of natural disasters. FinCEN is monitoring public reports and BSA reports of suspect behavior connected to COVID-19, and has noted some emerging trends:

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Washington, D.C.

COVID-19 Update: Synopsis of Coronavirus Relief Bill, H.R. 6201

Congress has sent H.R. 6201 to the president’s desk, with all signals indicating he will sign it into law. This legislation impacts paid leave, family medical leave, unemployment insurance, and provides tax credits for those directly impacted by the Coronavirus.

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Managing Balance Sheets Through Uncertain Times

The bad news seems to keep getting worse.

The coronavirus has continued its ominous march across the planet. Pandemic contingency plans have been activated, while schools have been closed. The cancellation of numerous sporting and social events have caused sadness and store shelves are bare. And the word “historic” keeps showing up alongside news about the economy – as in, “historic stock market declines” and “historic lows for the 10-year Treasury.”

Credit unions, like everyone and everything else, are being impacted as economic activity declines. For credit unions, loan losses are likely to materialize and income is likely to shrink.

But in troubled times, credit unions can shine.

After all, it was during the Great Depression that the nascent credit union movement really took hold. Unlike banks, credit unions earned support by operating under the “people-helping-people” banner.

Now, as the country moves from the known, to the unknown, credit union members will be among those impacted by uncertainty. Our members may become sick and unable to work.  The current war in the oil sector may trigger layoffs. As the travel industry grinds to a halt, the men and women who typically propel it, may soon be without paychecks. Not to mention, the countless men and women that ensure every sporting event occurs.

Credit unions can do more than deploy extra hand sanitizerAssuming they can find it.

Credit unions can align toward member needs by promoting skip-a-payment loan programs. Instead of watching loans default, proactively work with hard-hit members to pass on a payment or two, and add those payments onto the end of the loan terms. This helps both members as well as credit unions. Members find compassion as well as a kind, helping hand, while credit unions benefit from building member loyalty and working to ensure loan performance.

From a balance sheet strategy standpoint, in times of uncertainty, building liquidity is typically prudent.  However, with the recent Fed move dropping the overnight rate down to zero, we need to look at liquidity in terms of more than just cash balances. We should also look to securities that are deemed highly-liquid. The importance of these securities is that they are relatively short in maturity term, and markets are deep with significant volume, meaning credit unions can get in and out of the securities with minimal price impact, if needed. Also, during critical times such as these, the rate of return is generally superior to cash balances. If cash is king in times of uncertainty, then high quality liquid securities are queen.

In the loan portfolio, members will likely take advantage of the drop in interest rates to refinance their mortgages. They are going to do it with or without you. This means a reasonable strategy may be to get ahead of the trend and proactively help members refinance. This strategy enables you to keep loans on your balance sheet and earn some fee income during the process. The alternative? Watching the loans go somewhere else.

In summary, be proactive in identifying loans that could potentially go bad and develop solutions to help members and your balance sheet. Build liquidity, but not necessarily cash balances (high quality liquid assets and a robust contingency liquidity position to limit cash holdings) and be prepared for a refinancing wave. If you are not prepared for the demand, someone else will be.

This is our world today: challenging, bottom-line shifting balance sheet strategies and a compelling call to serve our members.

Article by Mark DeBree, Managing Principal at Catalyst Corporate FCU.

 

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Important Issues for Employers Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

News related to the COVID-19 pandemic (also known as the coronavirus) is rapidly evolving and new guidance and restrictions for both consumers and businesses are being announced almost daily.  As employers, credit unions need to be focused on the safety and well-being of its employees, as well as continuing services to its members, while fulfilling their purposes as financial institutions and complying with applicable laws and regulations.  This is a heavy burden to bear amid this time of anxious uncertainty, so this article is intended to address some of the issues that credit unions are facing as employers. This information is current as of the date of publication, but credit unions are encouraged to regularly check the resources listed at the bottom of the article for updates.

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CFPB Responds to HMDA FAQ

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a response to the following frequently asked Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) question: If a natural person applicant submits a mail, internet, or telephone application under Regulation C but does not provide race, ethnicity, or sex information, what should the financial institution report regarding whether this information was collected on the basis of visual observation or surname?  Read this and other FAQs and answers here

GRR

CA GRR, League Seminars Cancelled Due to Concerns Over Coronavirus Pandemic

Growing concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has prompted the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues to cancel the Sacramento Lobby-Day commonly known as the Government Relations Rally (GRR), originally slated for April 13 and 14. This decision also impacts all League in-person meetings and seminars scheduled for the next 45 days.

In addition to Governor Gavin Newsom’s declaration of a state of emergency, his office on the morning of March 12 announced a statewide mandate to avoid gatherings of 250 or more individuals. The legislature has not announced a formal closure to the public; however, many offices have expressed a preference for conference calls, emails, or other non-in person means for advocating policy discussions with constituents.

To promote the Leagues' legislative agenda, it may be coordinating district or conference call meetings with key legislators on a case-by-case basis. When the outbreak subsides, the Leagues will reassess efforts in keeping with the conditions at that time.

"Please rest assured that during this time, the Leagues are in full operation and in daily conversations with our elected and appointed officials to represent your interests," said Leagues President and CEO Diana Dykstra.

Refunds of registration fees will be issued to all registrants of canceled events.

"As your trade association, we believe it is our responsibility to protect the well-being of our member credit unions, their families, and their communities by limiting exposure to the growing coronavirus epidemic," Dykstra said. "Additionally, we are assessing all future League events and will continue to make informed and vigilant decisions based on government guidelines, the latest science-based information, and local protocols for meetings and gatherings."

Click here for helpful information from the Leagues and other system partners, as well as information on how credit unions are dealing with this epidemic. 

If you have any questions, please contact League Senior Vice President Larry Palochik at larryp@ccul.org or Diana Dykstra at dianad@ccul.org.

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AdvantEdge Analytics Launches Enhanced Platform; GNCU Is Flagship Client

CUNA Mutual Group’s analytics firm AdvantEdge Analytics launched its Version 2.0 (V2.0) enhanced cloud-native analytics platform, enabling several new analytics solutions for the credit union marketplace.

New features and solutions added to V2.0 include:

  • AEA Portal: A single, secure entry point to the expanding ecosystem of analytics solutions provides credit unions a seamless experience and easy access to the AdvantEdge Analytics platform.
  • Financial Performance Management: Available to credit unions exclusively through the AdvantEdge Analytics platform, the Financial Performance Management solution was built by a fintech in the CMFG Ventures portfolio. The solution helps credit union executives make dynamic, data-driven decisions based on daily financial and performance metrics.
  • Predictive Analytics: A library of commercialized predictive models helps credit unions solve business problems and proactively leverage opportunities to deepen member relationships.
  • Data Warehouse as a Service: Built on Microsoft’s cloud-native architecture, a central repository collects, organizes and translates a credit union’s data at scale.
  • Client Success: An expert team of analytics performance engineers and engagement strategists gives credit unions the support they need to execute their analytics strategies.

The $1.1 billion Greater Nevada CU has agreed to become the flagship client for the enhanced cloud-native analytics platform.

“Everything we do is centered on helping more people live greater,” said Wally Murray, President and CEO of Greater Nevada CU, which today serves more than 73,000 members. “To do that, we must be able to consume and contextualize data that helps us understand our members’ behaviors and anticipate their future needs. That’s why we are extremely excited about partnering with AdvantEdge Analytics. Not only will access to the ecosystem of analytics tools help us make better decisions faster, it will also put us at the forefront of the industry’s emerging analytics capabilities.”

According to AdvantEdge Analytics Chief Strategy & Business Development Officer Shazia Manus, the firm’s distinction is its credit union persona-driven business value and strategy-first approach to analytics.

“We’ve been intentional about building our solutions for credit unions, specifically,” Manus said. “Leaders across the movement, like those in many legacy industries, have struggled to realize value from analytics investments, and it’s our intention to change that. Through an incremental, ‘land-and-expand’ approach, the AdvantEdge Analytics Consulting Services team helps credit unions achieve a clear blueprint with quick wins that drive prioritization, roadmap and budget towards consumption of analytics tools and momentum. Couple that guidance with a cloud-native ecosystem of analytics solutions, and credit unions are able to configure their own set of analytics tools for exactly where they are in their data maturity.”

It’s a distinction that resonates with GNCU’s Murray.

“Success with analytics is unquestionably about far more than finding a vendor with a suitable tool,” he said. “It’s about partnering with experts who will invest the time and energy to assist with organizational transformation to incorporate analytics into the culture. As we applied those requirements in exploring options in the market, it became clear AdvantEdge Analytics was the greater choice for us.”

To learn more, visit advantedgeanalytics.com/platform-solutions.

The Leagues would like to thank our 2020 CULAC Sweepstakes donors!
The Leagues would like to thank our 2020 CULAC Sweepstakes donors!

Leagues' PAC Dominates at GAC

Each year at the Government Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C.,  all 50 Credit Union National Association (CUNA) league partners compete to raise money during the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) Sweepstakes. This is the biggest fundraising push of the year and is designed to jumpstart federal PAC growth for the year.

View the 2020 CULAC Sweepstakes Donors list here

This year, California and Nevada attained a whole new level by raising $49,515, thereby increasing our fundraising amount from the sweepstakes by 12 percent over 2019. The combined total of all 50 states raising money to CULAC was $300,000, a new record. California and Nevada were responsible for 16 percent of this grand total!

Congratulations to California for winning the sweepstakes for the second year in a row. Nevada also climbed the chart to the 25th spot, beating states like Missouri and New York! California and Nevada members were also successful in winning sweepstakes prizes. Congratulations to Eric Bruen, CEO of Desert Valley CU; Wade Painter, CEO of San Mateo CU; Joe Schroeder, CEO of Ventura County CU; and Wally Murray, CEO of Greater Nevada CU.

Another award for our delegation was given to our California PAC Chairman Dave Gunderson, CEO of CU of Southern California. Dave is the California Trustee of CULAC and received the “CULAC Trustee Award.” This award was presented to the state with the highest amount raised into CULAC for 2019.

Thank you to all credit union leaders who donated and credit unions that participate in payroll deduction programs. It is because of your commitment and sacrifice that we were able to receive so many honors this year.

And our fundraising didn’t stop with the sweepstakes. The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues' PAC hosted three fundraisers for members of congress at GAC. The PAC and Redwood CU co-hosted a breakfast with Congressman Mike Thompson (CD-05), and we also hosted a breakfast for Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-02). Lastly, the PAC arranged “Drinks with Pete” for a fun and relaxed evening happy hour with Congressman Pete Aguilar (CD-31). We raised a total of $$40,850 in direct candidate giving from these three events. Contributions ranged from $2,500 to $50 (volunteer price) donations. This is a testament to the fact that all donations matter, big or small. It is crucial that we continue to help get credit union-friendly candidates elected to office. Thank you to everyone who helped make these events successful.

The PAC will now focus on helping credit union-friendly candidates in the 2020 elections this fall. The PAC also has an exciting event coming up in April. We are hosting a fundraiser for California Gov. Gavin Newsom at the Leagues’ Sacramento advocacy office on the opening day of the California Government Relations Rally (GRR). This is a very important event and is nearly sold out! We are also excited about continuing to grow our payroll deduction programs by increasing employee participation levels at credit unions that have set up payroll deduction plans, as well as onboarding new credit unions into the payroll deduction effort.

If you have questions about how to start a payroll plan at your credit union, or any other questions about PAC, please don't hesitate to contact Heather deNecochea, political advocacy manager for the Leagues: heatherd@ccul.org.

Thank You to Our 2020 CULAC Sweepstakes Donors
We'd like to thank the following credit union leaders:

  • Diana Dykstra
  • Brett Martinez
  • Teresa Freeborn
  • Nader Moghaddam
  • Gordon Howe
  • Robert Arnould
  • Roger Ballard
  • John Cassidy
  • Thomas Lent
  • Jeffrey Napper
  • Rodolfo Pereira
  • James Sessa
  • Frank Wasson
  • Joseph Whitaker
  • Gregory Mitchell
  • Dave Roughton
  • Jennifer Jordan
  • Barry Nelson
  • Joseph Schroeder
  • Tom Graves
  • Carrie Birkhofer
  • Eric Bruen
  • William Cheney
  • Richard Coggin
  • Paul Cook
  • Elizabeth Dooley
  • Katherine Duvall
  • David Kantar
  • Geri LaChance
  • Traci Olszowy
  • Charles Papenfus
  • Lisa Pesta
  • Wallace Murray
  • Alex Casillas
  • Patricia Neighbors
  • Heri Garcia
  • Heather DeNecochea
  • Nancy Arnold
  • Lester Brown
  • Rebecca Collier
  • Ray Crouse
  • Eric Day
  • Jeremy Empol
  • Carol Galizia
  • Dave Gunderson
  • Christine Haley
  • Lynn Hartline
  • Wade Painter
  • Lawrence Palochik
  • Gary Perez
  • Lori Reeves
  • Harold Roundtree
  • Keith Sultemeier
  • Anna Tellez
  • Edward Turk
  • Linda White
  • Matt Kershaw
  • Scott Arkills
  • Jennifer Denoo
  • Jennifer Binkley
  • Marcia Girardi
  • Ernesto Norona
  • Byron Smith
  • Warren Alderson
  • John Didion
  • Susan Makris
  • Flora Nafei
  • Lecia Roundtree
  • Sue Longson
  • Damian Alarcon
  • Marquis Boochee
  • Christopher Burns
  • William Cunningham
  • Linda Emmons
  • Marvel Ford
  • Matthew Herrick
  • Carina Hollis
  • Daren Linhares
  • Bhavnesh Makin
  • Michael Martignago
  • Donna McNeely
  • Jill Meznarich
  • Patricia Moreno
  • Jane Permaul
  • Linda Rossi
  • Emily Udell
  • Robert Wilson
  • Raymond Wilson
  • Mary Beth Clift
  • Steele Hendrix
  • Richard Aochi
  • Deborah Aspling
  • Fabiana Burkett
  • Laura Campbell
  • Kristen Cohen
  • William Cole
  • Marc Ecker
  • Gina Friedrich
  • Kathern Gaskins
  • Jeffery Gaut
  • Paul Geery
  • Robert Geraci
  • Jay Hanses
  • Carmelita Keller
  • Sara Klein
  • Diana Kot
  • Kristena Lozano
  • Yvonne Marsh
  • Jose Luis Pacheco
  • Virginia Panossian
  • Astrid Rives
  • Harold Scoggins
  • Garick Zillgitt
  • Jon Wahrenbrock
  • Rick Schmidt
  • Doug Spring
  • Charles Bruen
  • Malachy Coghlan
  • Don Gensler
  • Michelle Hunter
  • Rebecca Marchant
  • Lisa Wittke Schaffner
  • Jason Mertz-Prickett
  • Sherri Searl
  • Jim Weidner
  • James Bolin

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CUNA Strategic Services: Eltropy the ‘Best Text Messaging Solution’ for CUs

Eltropy, a messaging-based platform that enables credit unions to communicate with members via text, has been selected as the newest CUNA Strategic Services (CSS) alliance provider. This collaboration will empower credit union teams to leverage text messaging in a secure and TCPA-compliant way to boost member engagement and enhance the member experience.  

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Legislation and bills on a desk

CA and NV’s Role in New Federal Charter Bills

It has been two weeks since the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). Part of the reason for the conference’s early-in-the-year date was to bring the credit union agenda to Congress. However, the truth is, Congress is hardly cyclical, which is why introducing legislation is part of the process, not necessarily an event.

To that, California and Nevada continue to be the breeding ground for credit union allies, supporters and the very few champions that the movement has in Congress. With elected officials, it’s not always the 80 percent you disagree about; it’s the 20 percent you do — and making that 20 percent count.

To that, credit unions have entered into a new phase with their legislative agenda, utilizing the industry’s congressional delegations to their maximum. Here are just a few items that have spun from the CUNA-League system. As a reminder, the legislative agenda is assembled by both the CUNA Advocacy Committee and its policy subcommittees, as well as the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ Advocacy Committees, which provide direction and policy approvals for all positions that the Leagues’ advocacy team communicates to elected officials.

This week, Sen.s Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced the Expanding Access to Lending Options Act, which raises the maturity limit on non-primary residence mortgage lending for federal credit unions. This modernization bill is long overdue, as most state charters do not have a maturity limit on these types of loans. Both senators hold seats on the Senate Banking Committee, which allows for good conversations as the committee begins to examine areas of policy updates.

A special recognition by the Leagues goes out to all Nevada credit unions, both state and federally chartered, as they have helped guide Cortez Masto’s team in understanding the need for this update.

Last week, on the House side, Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine, CA) and Mark Amodei (R-Reno, NV) joined forces to introduce H.R. 5981, the Credit Union Board Modernization Act. It’s another simple, yet equally important, parity bill that allows federally chartered credit unions flexibility in planning their board meetings. The legislation moves the monthly meeting requirement to a quarterly, and at least two meetings in a year must be in the same quarter for a total of six.

CUNA and the Leagues greatly appreciate the bipartisan effort between representatives Porter and Amodei, as Porter is on the House Financial Services Committee and Amodei is on the House Appropriations Committee — specifically the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.

Mr. Amodei is no stranger to credit unions. In 2017, he led the successful effort to ensure that National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) operating funds, as well at the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), were kept separate from the general treasury of the U.S. government. He is, in all sense of the word, a champion for credit unions.

Both bills now need grassroots support to build and gain momentum in this session of Congress.

New cars on dealership lot

CUs See Slight Uptick after Retrenching in Auto Loans

Total U.S. lender auto loan-and-lease balances (combined) have continued to hover in record territory over the past 12 months and hit $1.23 trillion in fourth-quarter 2019.

Delinquency trends remained stable, and banks and finance companies increased their market share over credit unions and other lenders. Credit unions were retrenching for most of 2019, but a portion of that slowdown was offset by an uptick in the industry in the fourth quarter.

That’s according to Experian’s fourth-quarter 2019 "State of the Automotive Finance Market" report. You can also click here to view the entire webinar presentation hosted by Melinda Zabritski, senior director of automotive financial solutions for Experian.

The quarterly report gives credit unions insight into the latest year-over-year trends (fourth quarter 2018 to fourth quarter 2019) in auto lending, borrower credit, market share and other analysis. It compares credit unions to banks, captive financing, finance companies, and buy-here-pay-here lenders.

Just a few of the year-over-year highlights include the following:

  • U.S. credit unions' outstanding combined auto loan balances remained the second largest ($346 billion) of all four sub-categories in auto finance. Banks were No. 1 ($368 billion); auto-dealer captive finance was No. 3 ($262 billion); and finance companies were No. 4 ($201 billion).
  • 30-day delinquency rates for auto loans and leases decreased for most U.S. lenders, with credit unions having the smallest rate at 1.28 percent (banks were 1.94 percent, auto-dealer captive financiers were 2.26 percent, and finance companies were 4.25 percent). Delinquency rates either decreased or remained the same for all lenders except finance companies.
  • Credit unions' market share of total U.S. auto financing dropped from 21.3 to 19.9 percent, while auto-dealer captive financiers' share fell from 30.6 to 29.8 percent and buy-here-pay-here entities' share dropped from 6.1 to 5.7 percent. The top financier category that actually grew was banks (from 30.7 to 32.7 percent) and finance companies were second (11.2 to 11.9 percent).
  • Outstanding used auto loan financing balances to U.S. "prime" credit consumers (for all lenders combined) surpassed 50 percent for the first time since fourth quarter of 2009. This is "super prime" and "prime" combined, while the other 50 percent was made up of non-prime, sub-prime, and deeep sub-prime.
  • Much more…

Hand holding map of California

Latest Forecasts: North Bay, Greater LA-OC, and Central Valley

Separated by hundreds of miles, the North Bay, greater Los Angeles-Orange County, and Central Valley regions are noticeably different from each other.

Yet they are very similar in one respect: Local business leaders are preparing for a recession even as local and regional indicators show the broader economy just might keep growing well into 2021 and 2022. Fundamentals remain strong, but the Coronavirus pandemic is throwing a curveball into 2020 planning and strategy for many localities.

That’s according to the most recent forecast presented and published by leading economists, experts and leaders in each region, including individuals from Sonoma State University, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., Chamber Business Alliance of North Orange County, Beacon Economics, and Craig School of Business at Fresno State University (Cal State Fresno).

The keynote speakers’ opinions spotlight intriguing viewpoints, trends and projections so your credit union can plan appropriately:

Click here to view the latest North Bay Region economic forecast.

Click here to view the latest Los Angeles-Orange County economic forecast.

Click here to view the latest Central Valley economic forecast.

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CA and NV Lenders: Growth Leading into Uncertainty

Financial institutions of all types in California, Nevada and other western states were mostly experiencing an increase in lending leading into late February. However, the Coronavirus pandemic spreading across the United States was starting to economically impact some industries, including travel, tourism, and manufacturing.

That’s according to the Federal Reserve Board’s latest Beige Book report, an anecdotal summary of local current economic conditions published every two months.

“Lending activity grew further. Reports noted stronger demand for new mortgages, refinancing credit, and auto loans,” states page L-2 of the report, the second of two pages that focuses on lenders and businesses within the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank’s district. “Lending to the commercial sector also increased relative to the previous reporting period, especially for industrial real estate.”

However, agricultural lending weakened in the Pacific Northwest. Overall, “capital levels and asset quality remained high. Tighter competition for loans narrowed net interest margins and profitability. Credit

availability was generally stable, and underwriting standards tightened somewhat. An investment financier in California reported stable private equity conditions.”

The district's synopsis also includes anecdotal details regarding employment, wages, prices, retail trade and services, manufacturing, agriculture, resource-related industries, real estate, and construction.

The Beige Book report is a Federal Reserve System publication about current economic conditions across the 12 Federal Reserve Districts. It characterizes regional economic conditions and prospects based on a variety of mostly qualitative information, gathered directly from district sources. The qualitative nature of the Beige Book creates an opportunity to characterize dynamics and identify emerging trends in the economy that may not be readily apparent in available economic data.

Because this information is collected from a wide range of business and community contacts through a variety of formal and informal methods, the Beige Book can complement other forms of regional information gathering.

Finger on a planning chalkboard

NCUA Spotlights Pandemic Preparedness Guidance for CUs

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has updated its guidance identifying actions that financial institutions should take to minimize the potential adverse effects of a pandemic.

"Pandemic preparedness is an important part of a financial institution’s business continuity planning," states a news release just issued by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). "The guidance provides the council’s prudent expectations that regulated institutions should periodically review related risk management plans, including continuity plans, to ensure their ability to continue to deliver their products and services in a wide range of scenarios and with minimal disruption."

Sound planning, in advance of imminent risk to particular institutions, helps minimize disruptions to services to consumers, businesses, and communities when such contingencies occur.

The NCUA's direct contact on this issue is Ben Hardaway (703-518-6333).

Click here to view NCUA's news release.

Map of Las Vegas Nevada

Nevada’s Unemployment Rate Hits All-Time Record Low

Nevada’s unemployment rate — the percentage of unemployed adults who are part of the state’s labor force (those willing and able to work) — recently hit a new all-time record low, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation’s (DETR) "January 2020 Nevada Labor Market Overview" report.

The report, published by the department’s Research and Analysis Bureau, was released this past week. It shows that employment in Nevada is up 3,900 jobs over the month but up 22,800 over the year, a growth rate of 1.6 percent. The state’s unemployment rate is 3.6 percent this month, down 0.1 percentage point from December and down half a percentage point when compared to last January.

“As Nevada continues to grow, we must look to the future and continue working to provide every jobseeker in Nevada with access to high-quality jobs in this economy,” stated Governor Steve Sisolak in a news release.

January’s 3.6 unemployment rate is the lowest rate dating back to 1976 and is down over 10 percent from its all-time high. For the first time since July 2007, there is no longer a gap between Nevada’s unemployment rate and the nation’s rate. With a historically low unemployment rate and unemployment insurance claims also at historic lows, the tight job market is likely making it challenging for businesses to find workers.

“Competition for this diminishing pool of unemployed job seekers should continue to support rising wages and expanding job opportunities for anyone looking to enter the job market or pursue a better career, particularly younger jobseekers, jobseekers with a disability, and jobseekers in poverty — groups still unemployed at a much higher rate than the state as a whole,” said David Schmidt, chief economist for DETR.

Additional January report highlights include:

  • Total employment rose by 1.6 percent over the year, growing at the low end of the range seen over the last year (1.5 – 3.4 percent), and is the fourth month of job growth in the 1.5 – 1.7 percent range.
  • Construction added the most jobs out of all sectors, for the 12-month period ending in January 2020, increasing by an average of 6,700 jobs over the same time in the year prior.
  • As of December 2019, 327,500 jobs have been added since the bottom-out in September 2010.
  • This month’s unemployment rate is the lowest rate on record in state history, down over 10 percent from it’s all time high of 13.7 percent.
  • DETR’s report also notes that Nevada’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims are down 2,521 claims over the month and 863 claims over the year. The 12-month average level of initial claims continues to trend below 10,000, only the third time since March 1999.

All world continents on a map

Leagues Monitor Coronavirus Issue, Offering Resources for CUs

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are continuing to monitor the situation regarding novel Coronavirus and the respiratory disease COVID-19, including potential community impacts and business disruption on the entire industry, individual credit unions in California and Nevada, credit union employees, and League operations.

League staff is collaborating with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and those from other state credit union associations as more information is made available.

For the time being, the Leagues recommend credit unions review their Business Continuity Plans for maintaining operations in the event of a situation that would require limited or widespread closures of their physical facilities. Additional resources from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and League InfoSight include:

Additional Resources
Credit unions should also take note of the following:

  • Credit unions should monitor or remain in contact with local government health agencies for direction regarding business impact and potential closures should the virus spread to your community.
  • The Leagues will share a special preparedness update for financial institutions when it is completed by the Financial Sector Coronavirus Working Group. CUNA has been engaged with this working group, which also includes staff from the NCUA, U.S. Treasury Department, Federal Reserve Board, Office of Comptroller of the Currency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a handful of other financial service organizations.
  • Stay tuned for information regarding eTrain’s updated “Business Continuity Planning and Preparedness” webinar that will include information on pandemic preparedness.
  • The Leagues are also ready to take any necessary steps to ensure business continuity of League operations, should prudent community safety plans limit group interactions. The Leagues are fortunate that the Ontario and Sacramento teams are prepared to work fully remote if needed.

infosight logo

InfoSight Updated with Business Continuity Planning

As we are all aware the news is filled with COVID-19 coronavirus. To help as credit unions review their pandemic and business continuity policies, the Leagues’ compliance resource InfoSight has updated the Security Information Channel with a new section that has been added under Business Continuity Planning: Pandemic Preparedness.

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Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis talks on stage with First Entertainment Chief Marketing Officer Amondo Redmond about being the official brand ambassador for the credit union.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis talks on stage with First Entertainment Chief Marketing Officer Amondo Redmond about being the official brand ambassador for the credit union.

First Entertainment CU and L.A. Lakers Announce Sponsorship

The Los Angeles Lakers basketball team announced today a multi-season sponsorship agreement with First Entertainment Credit Union that will make them the team’s Official Credit Union.

As the Lakers’ Official Credit Union, First Entertainment will have the opportunity to make fans of the team aware of the financial tools, resources and services FECU makes available to its customers. The sponsorship includes extensive in-arena branding and promotions during Lakers home games and at Lakers-related events at L.A. Live, unique activations and fan moments in and around STAPLES Center during Lakers’ games and out-of-home advertising throughout the L.A. community, among other opportunities during the season and post-season.

“We’re very happy to announce First Entertainment as the Official Credit Union of the Los Angeles Lakers,” said Lakers President of Business Operations Tim Harris. “First Entertainment has been a pillar in the Los Angeles financial community for over 50 years and we look forward to working with them to increase awareness on the importance of financial responsibility and the support they bring for aspiring entrepreneurs and entertainers across Los Angeles.”

In addition to becoming the team’s Official Credit Union, First Entertainment is also launching an individual partnership with Lakers forward Anthony Davis.  As part of this partnership, First Entertainment and Anthony Davis collaborated on a newly released content video titled, “All Dreams Apply Here.” In the video, Anthony acknowledges Los Angeles as the city of dreams where every day different aspiring talent from all walks of life arrive to pursue their dreams and be competitive among the elite. Anthony’s own story and love for Los Angeles is no different. He and First Entertainment will commit themselves to help the financial literacy of the Los Angeles Community.

The video can be viewed on the First Entertainment YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8NrI0ZcfDY)

“Coming to L.A. as both a basketball professional and entrepreneur has been a dream come true and something for which I feel incredibly fortunate,” said seven-time NBA All-Star Davis. “We have big championship aspirations this year as Lakers, and that is very much mirrored in my own off-court goals as an individual. Teaming with First Entertainment is a major step in that part of my dream. I look forward to having them as a strong ally and specialist when it comes to financial backing for everything that I do in the future.”

“We take pride in having a rich legacy among our passionate and creative membership, the entertainment industry at large, and the City of Los Angeles,” said First Entertainment CU Chief Marketing Officer Amondo Redmond. “It is our strong relationships that define who we are as a long-time staple in L.A.’s financial sector. Having the Lakers and Anthony Davis on board with us starting this season is a big part of the new direction we want to take in 2020 and beyond. This is not just about brand awareness; it is about helping build Anthony’s relationship with this extraordinary city, redefining what First Entertainment brings as an ally to the entertainment capital of the world, and expanding our brand’s own story within the L.A. lifestyle, sports and entertainment space.”

First Entertainment specializes in empowering members to tell their stories by allowing them the financial freedom and reassurance to pursue their creative and entrepreneurial ambitions. The Los Angeles Lakers and Anthony Davis partnerships are the first of their kind in First Entertainment’s 50-plus-year history, and part of a larger, new brand vision to become the premier financial ally for the Los Angeles community and entertainment creators across any genre. With currently over 85,000 members, First Entertainment will work with both partners to help grow their brand’s impact and message of financial literacy as they support the region across all 11 locations in Los Angeles Country and nearly 5,000 co-op credit unions nationwide.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)

Nevada Senator Introduces CU Charter Bill

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), along with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), introduced a new bill, S.3389, to increase the maturity cap on non-mortgage loans for federally chartered credit unions.

This legislation will help modernize the federal credit union charter and bring it into parity with many of the states.

The bill differs from its counterpart in the House of Representatives by increasing the maturity limit for non-owner occupied residential loans to 30 years, while increasing all other loans from 15 to 20 years.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have been working with the senators on language that can appease both sides politically, and achieve the goal of modernizing the charter. Most state charters have already adopted something similar in nature.

The bill now needs to build momentum to gain viability in a very difficult environment to legislate. CUNA and the Leagues have placed charter enhancements at the top of their legislative agendas for the foreseeable future.

"A big shout-out goes to the Nevada credit unions that provided an incredible amount of data and perspectives in this process," said Jeremy Empol, vice president of federal government affairs for the Leagues. "This bill and many others were introduced as a part of the CUNA-Leagues Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) last week."

Data falling from the sky

League Submits Comment Letter: Modified Proposed CCPA Regs

On Feb. 25, the California Credit Union League submitted a comment letter on the modified proposed regulations concerning the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released proposed regulations governing compliance with the CCPA on Oct. 11, 2019. Then on Feb. 7, and again on Feb. 10, Becerra issued modified regulations in response to comments received on the proposed rules and/or to clarify and conform the proposed regulations to existing law.

The League supports some of the modifications but still has significant concerns on several issues, including:

  • Clarity needed regarding “doing business in California.”
  • Clarity needed regarding the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and California Financial Information Privacy Act (CFIPA) exemption.
  • Model notices are needed.
  • Clarity and consistent language are needed regarding “financial incentives” throughout the regulation.

The League included numerous other observations and recommendations in its comment letter on the modified proposed regulations. To read the full comment letter, click here.

When Can CUs Expect Final Rules?
The rulemaking process is long and complicated. However, the regulations appear to be on track for a July 1, 2020 effective date.

The second notice and comment period for the proposed and modified regulations ended Feb. 25, 2020. If there are any further substantive changes made based on those comments, then an additional notice and comment period will be required.

Once the notice and comment periods are completed, the California Attorney General’s Office will submit the rule to the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL). The OAL then has 30 working days to review the rulemaking to ensure it has met the administrative procedure requirements. If so, then the OAL will file the rule with the California Secretary of State. Government Code 11343.4 provides that if the rule is filed between March 1 and May 31, the effective date will be July 1; if filed between June 1 and Aug. 31, the effective date will be Oct. 1.

However, the final regulation's effective date does not change the statute’s enforcement date. It means the attorney general can begin enforcing the law, regardless of final regulations being in place, beginning on July 1, 2020.

Jason Stidham Bay FCU
Communications and Development Manager Jason Stidham (fifth from left) and the rest of the Bay FCU delegation with Rep. Jimmy Panetta at the Capitol.

Crashers Share Their Experiences as First-Time Attendees at GAC

Three credit union professionals from California and Nevada had the opportunity to be among the Crashers at this year’s Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Government Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C. And all three—Bay FCU Communications and Development Manager Jason Stidham, Great Basin FCU Employee Development Coordinator Alexandra Christopher, and USC CU Executive Assistant Miranda Pierfax—came away with lasting memories, friendships, and a more passionate viewpoint of the credit union movement.  

Crash the GAC is sponsored by The Cooperative Trust in alliance with CUNA and gives credit union professionals under the age of 35 the chance to attend the event as well as meet with credit union executives and thought leaders from across the country. As Crashers, Stidham, Christopher, and Pierfax were invited to attend general and breakout sessions; visit the Exhibit Hall; attend social events; build relationships with other credit union young professionals; connect with more than 5,000 GAC attendees; attend mentor sessions with industry thought leaders; and participate in Hike the Hill visits.

 
Great Basin FCU Employee Development Coordinator Alexandra Christopher on the first day of GAC.
 

 

The trip included a special welcome from CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle (along with his annual selfie with the Crashers) and an inspiring speech from National Credit Union Foundation President and CEO Gigi Hyland.

“I honestly didn’t quite know what to expect before I got there, but from the very beginning, I had a feeling that we were in for something special,” Stidham said. “From being able to meet with our local lawmakers on Capitol Hill and advocate for the credit union movement, getting to know my fellow Crashers and truly becoming a family after a week together, listening to incredible speakers, and getting inspired more than I can imagine, this week has been a dream come true.”

 
USC CU Executive Assistant Miranda Pierfax visiting with Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan.
 

 

He added that Filene and the Cooperative Trust did an amazing job putting this program together, and that CUNA, the National Credit Union Foundation, and others have truly embraced the Crasher program.

 
Stidham and Christopher join other Crashers with National Credit Union Foundation’s Gigi Hyland at the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards dinner.
 

 

Christopher didn’t think she would be selected and while happy to be chosen, there were nerves before the trip.

“Once there, we were greeted with other passionate young professionals all feeling the same trepidation with this being their first crash and fears of being under prepared,” she said. “It was amazing how quickly 60 strangers were able to form bonds and network to be resources to one another and even the strong friendships that were created all by the end of the week.”

She added the first day, the group worked on finding out their why, and then learned how to ignite their own fires and to prevent burnout to better serve their members and community more efficiently on the second day.

“Each day brought a new speaker; a new session; a new source of inspiration,” Christopher said.

 
Christopher at the first credit union desk in the U.S. that hadn’t been used for more than 150 years. America’s Credit Union Museum brought it to GAC and encouraged attendees to post photos of themselves sitting at it.
 

 

Among the many takeaways she got from this experience, the most memorable to her were: “Have momentum, use it.”; “Find your tribe, amplify them.”; “Don’t sweat the Naysayers and Provide opportunities to others.”; “Strong questions get strong answers.”; “You don’t have to be the smartest person or the most educated person as long as you are the hardest working person.”; and “Sometimes broken things are the best building supplies.”

Pierfax also said she had the opportunity to build relationships with other young credit union professionals and learned much.

One of Pierfax’s favorite part of the trip was learning more about CUNA’s vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion within the industry. “I’m glad credit unions are recognizing this and educating their staff on how important it is,” she said.“I got to meet with a few Congressmen from my state, talk to credit union enthusiasts from all over the country, and build relationships I hope will last a lifetime,” she said. “I truly got to see the passion others have not only for the credit union industry, but for their members as well. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this trip. I was hoping it wasn’t ‘information dumping’ or learning about things that were not of interest to me. It didn’t feel like that at all. I’ve gained so much knowledge, I can’t wait to share it with my organization. Even my fellow Crashers taught me some things that I will be bringing up to our C-level.”

Stidham said his credit union, Bay FCU, does a great job of promoting the philosophy of “People Helping People,” but “being around 5,000 other passionate people who share the same passion, it’s incredibly powerful.”

 
Pierfax with fellow Crashers.
 

 

All three recommend the Crash the GAC program for any young credit union professional.

“I would recommend being a Crasher at GAC to anyone who wants to learn more about credit unions,” Pierfax said. “It’s not just about advocacy. You really get to learn the whole world of credit unions and meet such wonderful people to share the experience with.”

“This experience is vital to our credit union young professionals because it shows them that other passionate peers are out there even if they aren’t located within your own credit union walls,” Christopher said. “You can bring back and use your passion to inspire and ignite others within your credit union and community to better serve your members and to spread the credit union mission. It was an experience that empowered you as an individual, allowed you to look within and discover areas of growth that you have already achieved and areas you wanted to nurture more. It gave you a network of peers that are an instant resource, so you always have a support team. It was an invaluable experience and opportunity to advocate to our government officials about the importance of credit unions. I am encouraging my coworkers to apply for future crashers.”

RMJ Foundation toolkit

RMJ Foundation Unveils “All-In” Bite of Reality Toolkit, New App Tests

The Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation—the state foundation for credit unions in California and Nevada—wants credit unions to be “all-in” when it comes to the Bite of Reality program.

That’s why it recently unveiled a special toolkit to show credit unions how they can impact thousands of students—all in one day. The “All-In” Bite of Reality Toolkit came about, in part, due to Redwood CU’s Day of Impact, which saw the credit union use the Columbus Day holiday in 2019 to send all of its 700 employees to hold Bite of Reality events at 15 schools and reach some 3,000 high schoolers.

The RMJ Foundation's goal is for every high school student to have financial education to help prepare them for life after graduation. Its Bite of Reality program, now entering its ninth year, aims to teach young people the basics of finance by having them take a “real world” test drive complete with a job, money, and the freedom to make their own financial decisions. The participants must visit various stations to "purchase" items such as housing, transportation, food, clothing, household necessities, and daycare. Those staffing the "credit union" station provide much-needed assistance when they overspend.

The toolkit provides tips, checklists, communication items, and sample materials so that credit unions can pick an in-service day where school is in session, such as Columbus Day, and have their staff participate in conducting multiple Bite of Reality events on the same day, at the same time.

An “All-In” event doesn’t have to be done by one single credit union; it can be done by multiple credit unions or even chapters, according to RMJ Foundation Executive Director Tena Lozano. It also can be defined differently depending on the credit union. For a small credit union, it might mean having all its employees hold an event at just one school, for example.

“I envision this as a growing effort,” Lozano said. “I see a handful of credit unions doing it in the first year. In five years, I would love to have 50 credit unions doing an 'All-In' Bite of Reality program on the same day, reaching 50,000 students.”

In addition to the toolkit, RMJ has added two new features to its Bite of Reality2 App—a pre-test and post-test. Before a Bite of Reality event, participants are asked five questions: “I would go to a credit union for financial help”; “I create and follow a monthly budget”; “When I want to buy something, I set a savings goal and save up for it first”; “I know how to track my money with a checkbook register/online banking system”; and “If I use a credit card, I should pay it back” (multiple choice question).

After the event, they’re asked the same questions—with a slight twist, such as “I will create and follow a monthly budget” and “I will track my money with a checkbook register/online banking system”.

The tests will measure participants’ changes in knowledge, attitude, and intention about finances as a result of participating in a Bite of Reality event.

“We’ll be able to have data that will show the value of reality fairs rather than just the number of participants,” said Lozano, who added RMJ received funding from the National Credit Union Foundation to support the effort to gather this type of data nationwide.

In 2019, Bite of Reality reached 29,398 students throughout California and Nevada via 250 events held by 64 credit unions. This year, 5,500 student have been reached so far in 45 events. In April—which also is Financial Literacy/Youth Financial Literacy Month—there are already 15 events scheduled. Credit unions that just began or will begin offering this program to its communities for the first time in 2020 include Lassen FCU, Self Help FCU, Sesloc FCU, and Southland CU.

For more information on the RMJ Foundation and Bite of Reality program—or if your credit union would like to hold a special event during Financial Literacy Month, please contact the RMJ Foundation at info@rmjfoundation.org.

Click here to access the "All-In" Toolkit.

SCE FCU
SCE Credit Union team members put together personal care packages for young adults in the Olive Crest Operation Independence/Los Angeles program. Nearly 200 team members from the Irwindale, CA-based credit union helped the non-profit organization dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse.

SCE FCU Spends Holiday Giving Back

On Feb. 17 when many others were enjoying a three-day weekend, courtesy of the Presidents’ Day holiday, SCE FCU used its day off to give back to the community and took part in a real-life simulation to help their team understand what it might be like to live on the brink of poverty.

Nearly 200 team members from the credit union helped Olive Crest, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse, by putting together 200 packages of personal care items (such as toothbrushes and shampoo). They also presented a donation of $5,000 to the organization. With the help of this donation, 30 young adults who enter the program will have the basics they need in their new home, such as towels, sheets, clothing, dishes, and more, so they can start their new adult life on the right foot.

“We chose to partner with Olive Crest and its Operation Independence/Los Angeles program because we felt it aligned well with SCE FCU’s goal of supporting financial independence for those in need in our community,” said SCE FCU President and CEO Dan Rader. Unfortunately, once children in the foster system turn 18, they are left on their own. Without programs like these, at-risk youth struggle with high rates of unemployment, homelessness, substance abuse, and incarceration. The Operation Independence program provides resources for young adults to avoid these issues.”

 
SCE Credit Union team members participate in Life Simulation, an interactive program that simulated the day-to-day choices a typical low-income family must make while trying to survive and provide for their families. During the three-hour experience, participants assume the roles of families who may be unemployed, homeless, or senior citizens (living on disability, raising grandchildren, and struggling to make ends meet).
 

 

That same day, SCE FCU team members participated in Life Simulation, an interactive program that simulated the day-to-day choices a typical low-income family must make while trying to survive and provide for their families. During the three-hour experience, participants assume the roles of families who may be unemployed, homeless, or senior citizens (living on disability, raising grandchildren, and struggling to make ends meet).

The Life Simulation is a kit SCE FCU purchased from the National Credit Union Foundation. It is designed to help credit union employees, volunteers, and leadership “walk in another’s shoes” to learn about the needs of immigrants and other low wage working families. As a Community Development Financial Institution and Low-Income Designation credit union, SCE FCU is focused on providing fairly priced financial services to help individuals and families, including those in low-income communities to achieve financial stability.

The credit union first held the simulation for the entire management team in December. At the Feb. 17 event, the management team played the roles of the simulated “community resources”, such as the financial institution, full- and part-time employers, utility company, payday lender, pawn shop, social services, homeless shelter, and others.

“At the end of the exercise, participants are more aware of the daily realities and hardships that many American families face,” Rader said. “We knew the Life Simulation activity would help our team members gain a different perspective on the low-income families we have committed to serve.”

Man's hand with cash

Consumer Lending Dynamics Change as Rates, Economy Fluctuate

Annualized loan growth has been slowing for all types of lenders in the U.S. financial services marketplace — credit unions, banks, fintechs and others — and will probably continue in 2020 according to a recent forecast by TransUnion.

That was the sentiment expressed during the company’s recent “Q4 2019 Financial Services Industry Insights Report” and forecast webinar, followed up by a question-and-answer session (click here for presentation slides). This late-February credit overview of U.S. consumers was hosted by Chris Huszar, senior manager of financial services research and consulting.

“We have projections, but there’s always a level of uncertainty,” Huszar said. “In addition, we have an election cycle coming up. We’re in a very long economic expansion cycle. We’ve seen slowing economic growth a little, but not from the consumer side. Recession may or may not be the case going forward, but ultimately there has been no self-fulfilling prophecy so far when it comes to those forecasting a recession.”

Huszar noted the recent concerns within the financial markets regarding volatility and a possible economic recession, but he said U.S. consumers are mostly being propelled by positive economic conditions.

“This continues to be an ongoing theme as hourly wages continue creeping up,” Huszar said. “There are pretty good expectations for modest economic growth for several months to come as interest rate cuts in 2019 helped consumer debt continue to grow.”

The following are highlights:

  • Mortgages continue to be a bright spot for lenders as long-term interest rates remain historically low and have recently continued to drop even lower and defy some experts’ projections.
  • Auto lending’s noticeable recent slowdown has moderated for the time being. A small uptick was noticed, but it remains to be seen whether this can be sustained or has plateaued.
  • Home-equity lending (HELOCs and second mortgages) continues, but at much slower growth rates than 12 – 15 years ago. This category has never truly “recovered” from the Great Recession of 2007 – 2009 (but unsecured personal loans could be soaking up new borrower demand in this area instead).
  • Unsecured personal loans remain a huge hot spot for lending activity as competition has heated up over several years now. It is finally showing some signs of slowing, but overall growth still remains solid — especially among a growing number of low-risk borrowers with high credit scores and high annual household income.
  • Traditional credit cards versus private-label retail credit cards are exhibiting unique up-and-down characteristics due to lender competition, as well as a long-term reshaping of the retail store environment from physical locations to e-commerce.

Click here to view all slides in the presentation on first mortgages, unsecured personal loans, auto loans, traditional credit cards, private-label credit cards, and home-equity lending (HELOCs and second mortgages) for credit unions, banks, fintechs and other lenders — including annual growth trends, credit cohorts, demographics, delinquencies, and more.

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Tax Season Is In Full Swing!

The Love My Credit Union Rewards TurboTax program is a great way to offer your members discounts on tax services from America's #1 do-it-yourself tax service, and there are great opportunities for your credit union to:

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Image of house keys

CA Housing Trends: Affordability, Sales, Prices, and More

So far, California home sales activity in early 2020 is on par with maintaining last year’s momentum according to the latest report issued by the California Association of Realtors (CAR) in late February.

A current snapshot of sales, price, and local affordability trends can help credit unions plan for 2020 when it comes to the mortgage market, interest rates, and members’ plans — both existing homeowners and new buyers:

You can view CAR’s localized/regional "January Home Sales and Price Report" here, as well as the association’s local "4th Quarter Housing Affordability" here.

  • Existing single-family home sales totaled 395,550 in January on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate — down 0.7 percent from December, but up 10.3 percent from January 2019.
  • January’s statewide median home price was $575,160 — down 6.5 percent from December, but up 7.1 percent from January 2019.
  • The statewide Unsold Inventory Index was 3.4 months in January — up from 2.5 months in December, but down from 4.6 months in January 2019.
  • At the regional level, non-seasonally adjusted sales rose from last year in all major regions, except the Bay Area. Sales in Southern California increased the most at 15.7 percent, followed by the Central Coast (10.8 percent) and Central Valley (9.5 percent). The San Francisco Bay Area was the only region that experienced a sales dip on an annual basis with the declines occurring primarily in the higher-cost areas of the region. Thirty-three of the 51 counties tracked by CAR experienced year-over-year sales growth with San Benito gaining the most from last year at 166.7 percent.
  • At the regional level from a price perspective, median prices in all regions increased in January from a year ago, with Central Coast increasing the most at 11.1 percent, followed by Central Valley (8.2 percent), Southern California (7.8 percent), and the Bay Area (2.0 percent).
  • Thirty-nine of the 51 counties tracked by CAR report a year-over-year gain in price in January, with Siskiyou gaining the most at 68.9 percent from last year. Of the 12 counties that experienced a price drop from last January, Mariposa had the biggest decline of 15.9 percent, while prices in the remaining counties all declined less than 9.0 percent.
  • The available supply of homes for sale in the state inched up slightly after reaching an 80-month record low in December but continued to drop on a year-over-year basis for the seventh consecutive month. Housing inventory continued to fall by double digits, with active listings declining 26.9 percent in January after a 25.9 percent dip in December. The January drop was the largest since April 2013.
  • The sizable drop in active listings, together with the surge in sales, resulted in a decline in Unsold Inventory Index (UII) to 3.4 months from 4.6 months a year ago. On a month-to-month basis, supply climbed 1.6 percent from the prior month but was lower than the average December-to-January increase of 2.8 percent based on data going back to 2008.
  • The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home fell from a year ago, declining from 38 days in January 2019 to 31 days in January 2020.
  • CAR’s statewide sales-price-to-list-price ratio* was 98.4 percent in January 2020, up from 97.3 in January 2019.
  • The statewide average price per square foot** for an existing single-family home was $275 in January 2020 and $263 in January 2019.
  • The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 3.62 percent in January, down from 4.46 percent in January 2019, according to Freddie Mac. The five-year, adjustable mortgage interest rate was an average of 3.33 percent, compared to 3.91 percent in January 2019.

Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) with credit union leaders from Orange County.
Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) with credit union leaders from Orange County.

CUs Meet with Members of Congress on Key Issues

More than 300 California and Nevada credit union executives and advocates met with their members of Congress to advance the credit union agenda this past week during the 2020 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C. — hosted annually by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

During Wednesday’s “Hike the Hill,” Reps. Katie Porter (D-CA) and Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced H.R. 5981, the Credit Union Board Modernization Act. Additionally, Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Tim Scott (R-SC) are about to introduce legislation increasing the maturity limit for federal credit unions on non-mortgage lending.

Another bill, authored by Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Ben Sasse (R-NE), was introduced regarding member expulsions.

Charter Bill Details
Porter announced the introduction of the Credit Union Board Modernization Act in her address to all GAC attendees during one of the morning’s general sessions. She noted how she has been working with the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and CUNA on legislation to update the federal charter to give greater flexibility over board meetings.

This bill reduces the monthly board meeting requirement to six times per annum and mandates that at least one of those six meetings occur each quarter. Many state-chartered credit unions already have this authority, making this another parity bill to enhance the federal charter. California state-chartered credit unions are required to meet “on a regular basis, not less than quarterly, as reasonably determined by the board” (Financial Code 14453), while Nevada state-chartered credit unions are required to meet “as often as necessary to accomplish their duties, but not less than once a month” (NRS 672.360).

Porter is a former bankruptcy and law school professor. She is also a junior member of the House Financial Services Committee. Her expertise in corporate governance — especially in the financial services sector — makes her the ideal legislator to carry this bill.

Amodei has championed several credit union initiatives, including ensuring the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) remain independent of the U.S. Treasury Department.

The bill now joins a few other charter bills pending in Congress.

Strong CA and NV Turnout
This year, California and Nevada credit union leaders had a packed schedule meeting with regulators and their entire congressional delegations. The weeklong conference gathers credit union leaders from across the nation to advocate for credit unions.

The first day started with the Leagues’ legislative, regulatory and political briefing. With 300 California and Nevada credit union leaders in attendance, they assembled to bring a message to Congress and regulators about relief from regulatory burdens, the need to update the federal charter, the need to protect the movement’s tax status, and the need for a national security standard.

The Leagues would like to thank members from both states for making the trip to the nation’s capitol and advocating on behalf of the credit union movement. “We will now focus on follow-up with members of Congress back in our states,” said Jeremy Empol, vice president of federal government affairs for the Leagues.

National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Chairman Mark McWatters addresses California and Nevada credit union leaders.
National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Chairman Mark McWatters addresses California and Nevada credit union leaders.

Regulators Engage with CA and NV Credit Union Leaders

Credit union leaders from California and Nevada met with National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Member J. Mark McWatters and representatives from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) during this past week’s 2020 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C. — hosted annually by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

Both meetings provided opportunities for great dialog between the regulators and member-credit union leaders of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.

McWatters discussed several issues, including the proposed subordinated debt rule for RBC purposes; implementation of CECL (current expected credit loss) and a proposal coming soon to allow credit unions to phase in the day-one adverse effects; and NCUA authority to review third-party vendors.

Panelists from the CFPB also fielded questions from the audience. Topics included the proposed rule to increase the remittance transfers threshold, as well as urging the bureau to eliminate the 30-minute wait period; seeking changes to the qualified mortgage (QM) definition; and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) reporting. Credit union leaders can expect proposed rules on QM and on HMDA this spring.

“We want to thank everyone who participated in these important conversations,” said Sharon Turley, vice president of regulatory advocacy for the Leagues.

In her remarks at the GAC’s general session, CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger said the bureau is working diligently to issue, no later than this May, a proposed rule to amend the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage (ATR/QM) rule by moving away from the 43 percent debt-to-income (DTI) ratio requirement. Instead, the bureau would propose an alternative, such as a pricing threshold.

The Leagues have long advocated for a change in the DTI ratio and appreciate the bureau’s intention to amend the rule.

Kraninger also indicated the bureau plans to finalize proposed changes to the remittances rule in May. As proposed, the amendments would allow the use of estimates in some circumstances and adjust the safe-harbor threshold from 100 to 500 or fewer transfers in the current and prior calendar years.

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CFPB Releases TRID FAQs on Lender Credits

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has posted Frequently Asked Questions related to the TRID Rule and lender credits. Click here to access the FAQs. 

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NCUA Hosts Financial Inclusion Webinar

Credit unions can get valuable insights into serving low-income and underserved communities during the “Financial Inclusion: Pathways to Serving the Underserved" webinar on March 11. The webinar is hosted by the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion.

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Xceed Financial CU CEO Teresa Freeborn was one of this year's Herb Wegner Memorial Award Outstanding Individual Achievement Award recipients.

Freeborn Honored at 2020 Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner

Xceed Financial CU CEO Teresa Freeborn was among those honored by the National Credit Union Foundation at its 2020 Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner.

With this year’s theme of “Rooted in Purpose”, the evening’s awardees—Freeborn, Andigo CU Board Director and Alloya Corporate FCU Director Emeritus John Fiore, and Local Government FCU CEO Maurice R. Smith—served as a reminder of the true purpose of credit unions. All three received Outstanding Individual Achievement Awards at the dinner held Feb. 24 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C.

 “Purpose: It’s a noun— ‘the reason for which something is done’. It’s also a verb—‘to have as one’s intention or objective’,” Foundation Executive Director Gigi Hyland said in her opening remarks. “Purpose is a differentiator for us as a movement. You can feel it here tonight, in this room, the energy and excitement that radiates from you all as we gather to celebrate individuals who have lived and breathed the true purpose of credit unions. It all starts and ends with people.”

Freeborn recognized for her spirit of “innovative, creative and risk-taking” leadership. She was honored for commitment to collaboration, cultivation of the next generation of leaders, and her dedication to drive consumer awareness about the credit union difference.

Freeborn said she has been blessed over the course of her four decades in the credit union movement to have experienced many highlights. “But receiving this Herb Wegner Memorial Award has to count as the brightest,” she added. “I am truly humbled to be in the company of such an impressive roster of credit union leaders. I am also grateful to so many mentors, colleagues, friends and family members who have supported, encouraged and inspired me over the years – this award is as much a credit to them and their contributions as it is to me.”

This year’s event shattered all previous attendance records with more than 1,000 attendees. The Wegner Dinner is not only an awards gala, but the primary fundraising event for the Foundation. Through a text-to-give initiative during the awards dinner, more than $15,000 was raised to improve people’s financial lives through credit unions.

You can view each of the awardee honoree videos here. These individuals join 69 past Wegner Awardees since the tradition began in 1989 in honor of the Credit Union National Association’s late Managing Director, Herb Wegner, to carry on his legacy of innovation, social responsibility and risk-taking leadership.

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March 2020’s Local Economic Forecasts Across CA and NV

As March of 2020 begins, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ “Your Economy—Your Credit Union” initiative would like to inform credit union leaders of local monthly economic forecasts and events in their region so they can attend.

Six regional economic forecast conferences are taking place across California and/or Nevada in March.

Click at the end of each description below for registration and more information:

  • March 2: Southern Nevada — “Economic Impact of Coronavirus” hosted by The Economic Club of Las Vegas; click here.
  • March 11: California — “March 2020 Economic Outlook” hosted by the UCLA Anderson Forecast; click here.
  • March 12: Bay Area — “2020 San Francisco Economic Outlook” hosted by the UCLA Anderson Forecast and UC Hastings;  click here.
  • March 13: California — “2020 SIEPR Economic Summit, Conference and Dinner” hosted by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research; click here.
  • March 18: Inland Empire — “2020 Real Estate Market Forecast” hosted by Coldwell Banker Town and Country and Claremont McKenna College; click here.
  • March 26: Inland Empire — “2020 State of the Region: How Long Will the 20s' Roar?” hosted by the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and Claremont McKenna College; click here.

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Data Privacy and Credit Unions: What to Expect in 2020

In a changing digital world, many consumers continually weigh convenience and customized experiences with the privacy of their personal information. Consumers become accustomed to perks like scanning their loyalty card for an extra five dollars off, seeing an ad or coupon that fits their needs, enjoying faster searching, or matching a weather report with their exact location. Simultaneously, they demand increased protection of their personal information and transparency over how the information is used.

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Grow Revenue and Portfolios with Accelerated Growth Programs

As a credit union service organization, LSC works daily to help solve problems so credit unions can thrive and compete. Fulfilling member needs by adding or developing programs and services that meet their goals is vital for success. Credit card programs are a particularly valuable part of that offering.

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Big 4Q Impact Experienced in CA’s ‘Open Your Eyes’ Campaign

The credit union movement’s “Open Your Eyes” Awareness Initiative took a deep dive into its digital advertising performance among California consumers for the fourth quarter of 2019 during a recent conference call on Feb. 21.

The campaign — which directs consumers to YourMoneyFurther.com — is spearheaded by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) with assistance from the California Credit Union League and a steering committee of local credit union senior marketing executives across the state.

In the Los Angeles/Orange County region of California from October to December 2019, the following data was captured on social media sites Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. “Unsettled Beginners” refers to 25 – 34-year-old consumers, and “Future Thinkers” denotes the 35 – 54-year-old age group.

  • A combined total of 5.6 million individuals’ “eyes were opened.” This total number included more than 31.8 million consumer/viewer advertising impressions (views); nearly 13.1 million video completions; and almost 130,000 clicks. The VFR (view-through rate) for Facebook and Instagram was 82 percent versus 67 percent for YouTube.
  • The fully-completed rate for videos on Facebook and Instagram of 82 percent (both full-length and six-second videos) beat the campaign’s national average so far. The CTR (click-through rate) came in just below the national average at 0.25 percent. However, both metrics have far exceeded the campaign’s benchmarks.
  • The fully-completed rate for videos on YouTube of 67 percent (both full-length and six-second videos) improved as a result of more segmented and creative testing between advertising groups. There was an emphasis placed on comparing videos against other videos of similar length (as well as campaign frequency to combat potential “ad fatigue”). The CTR (click-through rate) stayed relatively consistent at 0.24 percent, with efforts to keep “ad fatigue” low and testing of new headlines and calls-to-action.
  • The 15-second video advertisement “Working Hard Office” stood out as a top performer. Also, “Chelsea” delivered the highest CTR (click-through rate) for Unsettled Beginners (no advertisements ran for Future Thinkers). Top performers by view rates were “Faces Better Rate,” “Trapped Mouse” and “Think Your Money.”
  • Overall, California has had the largest budget placement in videos than all other states. This has equated to the largest social-media advertising impressions and “view” totals compared to all other states. Across all types of advertisements (social media non-videos versus videos), the average VFR (view-through rate) was 67 percent; and the average CTR (click-through rate) was 0.34 percent.
  • Paid media traffic in California has garnered the following consumer advertising numbers: 85,900 web “sessions” (extended website visits to YourMoneyFurther.com); 2.07 pageviews per session; an average of 33 seconds per session; a 93.7 new-visitor rate; and a 7.6 percent bounce rate (only 7.6 percent of visitors scrolled around the web page without truly viewing or immediately did not stick to the web page). Top-landing pages for paid media consumer/visitors in chronological order were: “For People With Plans,” “Get Better Rates,” “You Can Join,” “Online and One the Go,” and “Friendly Service.”
  • The awareness campaign is focused on getting consumers’ attention immediately. It’s important to grab someone’s attention right away since they are much more likely to visit the campaign’s website the first time he or she sees an advertisement versus the second or third time.

Breaking Down Barriers and Perceptions
The highly targeted campaign is looking to bring unaided, top-of-mind awareness. Its goal is to positively engage consumers within specific age ranges when they are active in social media on the internet.

Recent research shows that in California, only 16 percent of consumers who are looking for a checking account would naturally consider a credit union in their set of options. For a loan, it’s nearly just as low — 17 percent.

“If we can get these numbers up to 20, 25 or 30 percent over time, then the money that an individual credit union spends on its marketing efforts is going to hit a much broader audience, and deposit and loan accounts will rise,” said Larry Palochik, senior vice president of member solutions for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. “That’s what this campaign is all about — breaking down the perceived barriers that consumers have and showing them that they can choose a credit union.”

He added that while the campaign does not track membership-conversion growth rates on an aggregate basis, the California League’s steering committee will continue encouraging individual credit unions that are involved in the initiative to track those metrics. They will also urge other credit unions to get involved.

In California, 42 credit unions have already contributed nearly $2.9 million for the first year of the campaign (2019); and 40 credit unions are on board with $2.7 million for 2020 so far. All funds are strategically allocated into digital advertising channels within these contributors’ local footprint. (Nationally, more than 750 credit unions and industry affiliates/organizations had pledged nearly $46.5 million for 2019.)

Resources for CU Marketers
The more credit unions start using the awareness campaign’s co-branded marketing/advertising creative pieces, the easier it will be for consumers to recognize the trusted, unified “Open Your Eyes” trademark. Visit CUNA’s Contributor HQ for all materials.

Credit union marketers can also get involved by becoming part of the Your Money Further (YM-F) group on Facebook, or the @moneyfurther community on Twitter. 

Learn More About ‘Open Your Eyes’
You can visit CUNA’s Awareness Initiative webpage to learn about the research behind the campaign, track national results, and read contributor testimonials. 2020 will be a pivotal year in the industry’s efforts to raise the awareness of more local California consumers about how credit unions are different.

So far, credit unions in 21 states are participating in the campaign, with the goal of reducing the perception that consumers cannot join, putting credit unions at the forefront of their consideration, and creating opportunities to grow membership.

Ten more states are approaching campaign-launch “readiness” phase sometime in the first half of 2020. The goal is to have credit unions and local campaigns in 35 states engaged and launched by year-end 2020.

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DBO Reviews CA's CFPB Language with State Chartered CUs

Last week, state-chartered credit unions across California joined a call with the state's Department of Business Oversight (DBO) to discuss Gov. Gavin Newsom's trailer bill language that would change the department to the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

DBO leadership gave a brief overview of the governor’s vision for the department, some history on why it was being formed, and then walked attendees through portions of the language.

The DBO's staff made it abundantly clear from the beginning of the call that they felt there would be little to no changes for credit unions, including no increased fees on current licensees.

After the walk-through, questions were asked of the department. During this portion of the call, the department said its Office of Credit Unions would not be impacted, and that it was not the intent of the trailer bill to include oversight or enforcement for federally chartered credit unions or CUSOs.

Both of these announcements were great news for credit unions in California. The California Credit Union League will be working closely with DBO and the governor’s office to ensure that the language matches their intent.

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NCUA's Sale of Taxi Medallion Loans; other Board Meeting Discussions

On Feb. 19, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) announced the sale of the majority of its taxi-medallion loan portfolio. The NCUA stated the sale was the most appropriate action to meet its statutory obligation under the Federal Credit Union Act to achieve the least long-term cost to the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF).

The agency also asserts that they took all appropriate steps during the sales process to make sure multiple bidders were involved to ensure a competitive price and maximize any potential recoveries to the Share Insurance Fund.

At last week’s NCUA Board meeting, Board Member Mark McWatters stated that the agency was adamant that the winning bidder be someone who will “act in good faith and fairness, and with the utmost respect and compliance with consumer protection laws, and with respect to the taxi medallion borrowers and medallion owners.” The board said the agency will monitor consumer complaints to ensure those affected are treated fairly.

Click here for more information regarding the NCUA’ response to the collapse of the New York City taxi medallion market.

NCUA Board Meeting
At the NCUA Board meeting on Feb. 20, the board issued a proposed rule regarding corporate credit unions, approved an Interagency Policy Statement on measuring credit losses under the current expected credit loss (CECL) methodology and on changes in accounting standards, and received a briefing on credit union mortgage interest rates.

Proposed Rule: Corporate Credit Unions
The board issued a proposed rule to update, clarify, and simplify provisions of the corporate credit union regulation. The changes the proposed rule would make include:

  • Permitting a corporate credit union to make a minimal investment in a credit union service organization without that organization being classified as a corporate CUSO and subject to heightened NCUA oversight.
  • Expanding the categories of senior staff positions at member credit unions who would be eligible to serve on the corporate credit union’s board.
  • Amending the prescriptive experience and independence requirements for a corporate credit union’s enterprise risk management expert.
  • Clarifying the treatment of an investment in a subordinated debt instrument of a natural-person credit union.

Board Chairman Rodney Hood called the proposal evolutionary and responsible, stating it will allow more flexibility and reduce unnecessary burdens without removing the guard rails made to the corporate system in response to the most recent financial crisis.

McWatters referenced the constraints placed on corporate credit unions in 2008 and 2009, calling them appropriate at the time. Now, in 2020, he said, “the corporate credit union system is in good shape.”

Comments will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Interagency Policy Statement on Allowances for Credit Losses (ACLs)
The NCUA joined the other federal financial institution regulators in issuing a final Interagency Policy Statement on Allowances for Credit Losses (ACLs). The statement provides guidance on complying with the Financial Accounting Standards Board's (FASB) current expected credit losses (CECL) Accounting Standards Update.

The Policy Statement describes the measurement of expected credit losses under the CECL methodology and the accounting for impairment on available-for-sale (AFS) debt securities; supervisory expectations for designing, documenting, and validating expected credit loss estimation processes, including the internal controls over these processes; maintaining appropriate ACLs; the responsibilities of boards of directors and management; and examiner reviews of ACLs.

In supporting the Policy Statement, Hood also recognized that additional work is needed to do to educate credit unions on CECL implementation and compliance. To that end, the NCUA expects to launch a CECL webpage with additional resources before the end of the first quarter 2020. In addition, the agency noted the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) recently issued an audit practice aid for CECL. Hood also reiterated the agency’s plans to finalize a rule in 2020 that will allow credit unions to phase in over a three-year period the day-one adverse effects of CECL.

Board Briefing: Credit Union Mortgage Rates
The board received a staff briefing on credit union mortgage rates. According to a study conducted by the NCUA, mortgage loans originated by credit unions generally carried lower interest rates than mortgage loans originated by other lenders. This results in credit union members saving thousands of dollars on their mortgages when compared to borrowers at other financial institutions.

The study showed that credit unions hold more than 4 percent of outstanding mortgage debt in the United States; originate more than $190 million in real estate loans each year, and more than $125 million of that is fixed-rate mortgages.

McWatters noted that credit unions generally pay higher secondary market pricing, since it is based both on volume pricing and risk-based pricing. However, the paper that credit unions sell to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is lower risk, higher quality paper. He recommended the NCUA have discussions with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and bring this to their attention.