We’re #1 Nationwide for Making a Difference in New Jersey with Reality Fairs!
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

I don’t know how many of you saw the article in today’s Daily Exchange about the award the NJ CU Foundation’s Reality Fair program received, but I wanted to highlight it – we’re really proud of our accomplishment. Reality Fairs improve financial literacy by providing a hands-on, interactive budgeting exercise modeled on the issues and experiences students will face in the real world.

Our Reality Fair program was recognized by the National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) for reaching the most students as a team in the less than $150 million category – 2,418 students, to be precise, at a record 18 Reality Fairs held at schools throughout the state this past school year.

Let me repeat that – #1 team program in the entire country in that category!

Kudos to Marissa Anema, NJCUL VP of Marketing and Communications and the Foundation’s Executive Director, for all of her hard work in making this happen.

Thanks are also due to the credit unions that hosted Reality Fairs this school year in New Jersey, for educating the next generation of credit union members, and for having an impact in their local communities –

  • ABCO FCU
  • Bay Atlantic FCU
  • Bridgeton Onized FCU
  • Credit Union of New Jersey
  • Hamilton Horizons FCU
  • Jersey Shore FCU
  • Members 1st of NJ FCU
  • Rutgers FCU
  • South Jersey FCU
  • Thunderbolt Area FCU
  • Visions FCU

And let me also express my appreciation for the hard-working Foundation Board, for the volunteers that work the Fairs, and for all those credit unions and other supporters that have contributed financially.  None of this would be possible without your support.

Help us break the record again next year – if you’re interested in getting involved, please contact Marissa Anema at manema@njcul.org.

League Initiatives
Evelyn Loves Audits
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Most of us consider audits to be a necessary evil, a view which is reinforced by the Cambridge English Dictionary definition of necessary evil as "something unpleasant that must be accepted in order to achieve a particular result."

I think doing your income taxes also falls into that necessary evil category. If you’ve ever seen the Odd Couple, recall Felix Unger, who so enjoyed doing his taxes that he always submitted his return on the first possible day in January. There was an episode where Felix panicked when he was summoned to the IRS, thinking the worst – only to find out they just wanted to meet the person who submitted his taxes so early and organized so neatly, with tabs and color-coded sheets.

For any business, audits are part of a system of checks and balances that –

  • Confirm the validity and reliability of various kinds of information
  • Uncover mistakes
  • Review internal controls
  • Flag issues for Board and management review
  • Make recommendations for process improvements

Of course, credit unions also face a host of additional audit requirements set by our regulators that go beyond good business practice.

Well, I’m proud to say that we have our very own Felix Unger at NJCUL – Evelyn Shyposh. 

But we’re not talking taxes, it’s for audits – Evelyn loves audits.

Evelyn has over 20 years of experience in financial services, and specifically over 10 years of experience in compliance and internal audit. Evelyn joined NJCUL at the beginning of 2016, as part of our Shared Compliance team.

For those of you that might not be familiar, we rolled out a menu of specific audit solutions for NJCUL members in January, 2017.  The value drivers are the same as for our Shared Compliance Program - top-notch people and below-market prices for a mission-critical activity, as a benefit of NJCUL membership.

A sampling of the audits available from NJCUL (really, just the tip of the iceberg):

  • Bank Secrecy Act Risk Assessment
  • Enterprise Wide Risk Assessment
  • Scope of Annual Supervisory Committee Audit
  • BIA/Risk Assessment
  • Web site Review
  • BCP/Disaster Recovery
  • 'Red Flag' - Identity Theft
  • Data Security Program
  • Network Review
  • And more!

As you look to budgeting for 2018, please take a look at our audit solutions – the odds are that we can reduce your costs and still provide great service. Plus you’d make Evelyn’s day!

For more information on the NJCUL audit solutions, click here or contact Nicola Foggie, Vice President, Compliance & Regulatory Affairs, at nfoggie@njcul.org

League Initiatives
When Will We Know Who Could Be A Heartbeat Away in NJ?

Something is happening in New Jersey for just the third time in our history - our gubernatorial candidates will have running mates.

Before 2009 New Jersey was one of only a few states that didn’t have a lieutenant governor to succeed to the governorship in the event of a vacancy. Only two individuals had previously held the title, both in the Colonial times.

For most of the state's history, a vacancy in the position of governor was filled by the president of the State Senate.

After episodes where the state had multiple "acting governors" in the span of a few years following the resignations of Governor Christie Whitman in 2001 and Governor Jim McGreevey in 2004, pressure mounted for a better solution to gubernatorial succession. After all, the senate president/acting governor, or “SPAG” as it became known, was inherently a violation of the separation of powers doctrine. 

In 2006 a referendum was put before the voters to amend the state's constitution to provide for a lieutenant governor to be elected on a ticket with the governor to serve a concurrent a four-year term. Incumbent lieutenant governor and current GOP gubernatorial nominee Kim Guadagno was elected the state’s first lieutenant governor on a ticket with Governor Chris Christie in 2009, and re-elected with him in 2013.

New Jersey doesn’t have the equivalent of the national conventions where party standard-bearers and their running mates are formally nominated. Here in New Jersey voters select their party’s nominee in a statewide primary election and the nominees select who they want to be their running mate. 

So when might New Jersey voters know who’ll be running for lieutenant governor?

The answer rests on two factors; when the primary election results are officially certified, and when the candidates feel they can get the most political bang for their buck.

Officially, a nominee has thirty days to name their running mate once the Division of Elections certifies the primary results.  Because that can take about two months, the June 6 primary results might be certified as late as say mid-August. That would leave the potential window for announcing a running mate open until mid-September. 

Timing of any announcement is critical, to maximize exposure and momentum. For practical purposes, Labor Day weekend is the traditional start of political campaign season in the state.  Unless one of the candidates can do something wildly attention-getting with their pick, it’s going to be hard to get any attention before the end of the summer season. In fact, I’d argue that few other than reporters, pundits and outright political junkies are more than slightly aware there’s even a gubernatorial election this year

I’m betting we won’t know who might be a heartbeat away in New Jersey until after Labor Day. But, in the words of Yogi Berra, “It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Political & Legislative
Halftime Report: Promises Made, Promises Kept
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Last year, our Annual Convention in October came at about the 100-day mark of my tenure here at the New Jersey Credit Union League. The event also represented a golden opportunity to unveil our new strategic focus, and describe how we were going to translate it into concrete initiatives in 2017. 

NJCUL is being re-positioned as a true strategic partner, serving as a catalyst for our members' success. Our mission is to help you meet both your immediate needs and longer term goals for growth and productivity. That focus came from you: grounded in direct feedback from more than 130 conversations with CEOs, Board Chairs, volunteers, senior staff, consultants, lawyers, vendors, and many others in the NJCUL value chain. As we’ll discuss in a future blog post, it was also confirmed with our more recent strategic alignment survey, and significantly refined by the NJCUL Board in our strategic planning session.

Our strategy for translating that focus into reality entails:

  • Providing solutions, information, programs, and relationships that offer compelling value and which are directly relevant to the challenges you face and opportunities you see
  • Building on the Banking You Can Trust foundation with fresh approaches to building consumer awareness – call it Banking You Can Trust 2.0

We rolled out a new, comprehensive set of initiatives to implement the strategy, touching nearly every aspect of what the League does. Everything we pledged to do on your behalf was well-received at Convention, but there were attendees who expressed skepticism that we would be able to accomplish it all – the phrase "very ambitious" was uttered more than a few times. Which is accurate – it was (and is) an ambitious agenda.

Nothing makes me happier than proving skeptics wrong– we kept nearly every one of those promises.

We’re now six months into 2017 – call it halftime – and it’s timely to provide a status update on all those new programs (and two bonus additions too):

  • psychological ed cialis Banking You Can Trust 2.0 – Launched new awareness campaigns focused on:
    • Phase III – Service – amazing member service stories from long-tenured employees and Board members – kicking off in August
  • sildenafil teva 100 cena CUJobs4Vet store s – Statewide initiative to connect veterans in need of jobs to credit unions and business that have them – delayed by technology issues, currently in soft launch phase.
  • prezzo viagra farmacia italia Upgraded CU Reality Check – Thanks to the support of CUNA Mutual Group, we were able to book top-tier speakers at the first-ever Reality Check collaboration between NJCUL and the MD|DC and Pennsylvania Credit Union Associations. Among them:
    • CUNA Mutual Group Keynote speaker  Jeffrey Hayzlett, author of the 2015 Forbes top 10 business book "Think Big, Act Bigger"
    • Wharton Marketing Professor Jonah Berger, author of the NY Times Best-Seller "Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior"
    • Doug Duncan, SVP/Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, and one of Bloomberg Businessweek’s 50 Most Influential People in Real Estate
    • David Peterson, author of "Grounded Anchor Management for Strategic Leadership and Effective Decision-Making"
  • A new series of affordable, one-day, hands-on workshops focused on critical operational needs:
    • NCUA Field of Membership Rules – Jan 17
    • Branch Transformation – Feb 7
    • Core Processing I – March 7
    • HMDA Compliance – May 25
    • Marketing Workshop – June 21
    • Core Processing II– Education/Showcase – Fall 2017
    • Drive Profit and Improve Engagement at the Branch – September 13
    • All About Mortgages – Getting in the Game – September 19
    • Cybersecurity – November 2
    • All About Mortgages – Stepping Up your Game – November 7
  • Free customized performance reports to enable benchmarking against peers for key performance metrics – distributed each quarter since 4Q 2016. Based on demand, we’re also looking at some training and consulting options to help CEOs and Boards use the reports.
  • Building the next generation of leaders – successful in obtaining a NJ State training grant in conjunction with Rutgers University that will enable us to provide 48 hours of small group professional managerial development training to over 300 NJCUL member employees, at locations throughout the State. The three, two-day, 16-hour courses are:
    • Becoming a Better Manager
    • Supervisor Symposium, and
    • Human Resource Management
  • Free monthly compliance and regulatory call-ins for members:
    • Jan 12 – How to Apply for a Low Income Designation
    • Feb 9 – Risk Based Lending – Randy Thompson, CEO TCT Risk Solutions
    • Feb 17 – Regulatory Update: Compliance Outlook
    • Mar 9 – Stump Nicola!
    • Apr 13 – Succession Planning
    • Apr 21 – Future of NUCA Exams and Call Reports
    • May 11 – Regulatory Update
    • June 16 – Comment Letter Writing Process
    • July 13 – Establishing and Execution of Estate Accounts – Michael DuPont, Attorney at McKenna, Dupont, Higgins and Stone
    • Jul 21– Regulatory Update: BSA Awareness
  • Expanded access to NJCUL compliance solutions – In addition to our Shared Compliance program, members can now show an immediate ROI on their dues investment by taking advantage of below-market rates for a variety of audits (BSA, CIP, OFAC, ACH, CAT, Quality Review, Website, and more) and training (BSA, Board Governance, Supervisory Committee Duties and Responsibilities, and more)
  • Free marketing collateral for small credit unions – free member benefit provided by YourMarketingCo on a quarterly basis
  • MBL opportunities in energy loans – on hold, awaiting policy decisions from the State

We even added two new programs that we didn’t talk about in October.

  • A new home improvement loan participation program that enables credit unions to deploy capital and receive a higher return, through an innovative participation program leveraging our partner LendKey’s national network of contractors.
  • contraindicaciones del viagra en hipertensos ULEND Academy – developed by CUNA Mutual Group, ULEND Academy is a compressed 2-day version of week-long lending training programs, offered locally on a more cost-effective basis. We will be one of the first three Leagues to offer the program, with our first sessions being held August 22 & 23 at North Jersey FCU and August 24 & 25 at ABCO FCU. 

2017 has been a busy year, as you can tell – and I can’t wait to tell you about all the new programs coming in 2018 at this year’s Annual Convention.

Thank you for all of your support, and as always please contact me directly at dfrankil@njcul.org if you have questions, comments, and/or suggestions for new programs and activities that meet member needs.

League Initiatives
Four Years to Uncover a Title Fraud Ring?
By: Chris Abeel, Vice President, Corporate & Governmental Affairs

Every so often, a story comes across the wire that just makes you shake your head. In this case, a tale of fraud that is not only easily preventable but would not occur in any state in the nation that has implemented electronic lien and titling (ELT) technology.

Unfortunately, New Jersey is not one of those states.

NJ Attorney General Christopher Porrino recently announced the indictment of five individuals on various first-degree charges for a scheme in which they financed car purchases and then resold the vehicles after fraudulently removing the liens.

The five enterprising individuals, now defendants, apparently purchased or had others purchase vehicles on credit. They then forged letters purporting to be from the lender stating that the loan had been satisfied, and used those letters to get clear titles from the MVC. The vehicles were subsequently flipped for cash, involving at least 25 vehicles over a four-year period “with a total value of well over half a million dollars.”

Who does this hurt the most? Whose pocket did that half a million dollars come out of? The poor consumers who now “own” cars without proper title, and are on the hook for the lien. I doubt the MVC is going to make lenders or unsuspecting consumers whole. And, of course, taxpayers have to pay for the investigation, a trial, and presumably future lodging with the Department of Corrections.

If this doesn’t make the case for ELT, I don’t know what does, and you can bet we’re telling Trenton lawmakers at every turn.

What I find most ironic is that our state regulators are saying all the right things. “This investigation reaffirms the value of motor vehicle documents and the need for the MVC to maintain the security and integrity of its operations,” MVC Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond Martinez was quoted in the attorney general’s press release announcing the indictments. “Complacency is not an option, which is why we continue to invest in technology, training and internal controls that help us to identify and crack down on criminal activity.” 

The current investment in “technology, training and internal controls” allowed this fraud to run for some four years. So may we respectfully suggest implementing ELT, something we began asking for more than five years ago.   

ELT can significantly reduce if not eliminate altogether this type of fraud. ELT is a closed looped system, meaning only the lienholder can issue a release through the system, and access is controlled by a user authentication protocol. Is it perfect? No. But it sure is a lot harder to beat than simply cutting and pasting a letterhead!

Apart from fraud prevention, ELT benefits consumers who would no longer have to worry about lost titles, or delays in issuing a title, or getting a lien released. ELT benefits lenders because it helps reduce the cost and time associated with paper liens and titles, including filing, handling, mailing, and, perhaps most cumbersome, going physically to MVC offices with batches of paper forms to be processed.

And, ELT can be outsourced and implemented at no extra cost to the state. 

Because the MVC has refused to move forward on an administrative level, we’ve been actively supporting legislation (A1943/S2968) that would mandate ELT and we’re grateful to the sponsors, Senators Joe Vitale (D-19) and Linda Greenstein (D-14), and Assemblymen Craig Coughlin (D-19) and John Wisniewski (D-19), for their support and leadership on this issue.

Political & Legislative
NJCUL Annual Convention 2017: Innovate, Collaborate, Succeed
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Curating content for our Annual Convention (taking place this year October 22-24, at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City) is exciting, yet challenging. Our audience is diverse – CEOs and other Executives, Board Chairs, Supervisory Committee Members, and Volunteers. Just to complicate things further, the CEOs and  Executives range from more  senior  to those just starting their career – and with functional responsibilities from lending to marketing to operations to HR, and everything in-between. 

Factor in the diversity in credit union size and their differing needs, and you can see why crafting great content for Annual Convention takes a concerted effort by our entire team.

Luckily,  our team is diverse in their specialty areas (legislative affairs, compliance issues, marketing, member experience, etc.) , so it made sense to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to our initial Convention planning.

At our first “whiteboard” meeting, before we even glanced at speakers and topics, we spent a considerable amount of time talking about our mission at NJCUL – to be a catalyst for our members’ success. As we work through our strategic plan, we’re looking at every activity to make sure it is consistent with that mission – and that applies to Annual Convention, too. Hence the change in theme from the previous two years’ “Inspire” to this year’s “Innovate, Collaborate, Succeed!.”

League Initiatives
Two Calls to Action in Two Weeks is a New Record for Me!
By: Chris Abeel, Vice President, Corporate & Governmental Affairs

The Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10) and other potential regulatory relief measures have been center stage for most of us in the credit union movement since the new administration took office. But two congressional appropriations issues related to community development funding surfaced requiring our attention, hence the back-to-back alerts.

Political & Legislative
Foreclosure Filing Surcharge Bill Moving in New Jersey
By: Chris Abeel, Vice President, Corporate & Governmental Affairs

As if foreclosures aren’t already costly enough here in New Jersey, buckle your seat belt because some lawmakers want to tack on an $800 surcharge for each filing, at least for the foreseeable future.

Legislation (A2036; S2344) has begun to move in Trenton to create a Foreclosure Prevention and Neighborhood Stabilization Trust Fund.

Political & Legislative
When I Grow Up…I Want to Be a Salesperson
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

We all knew someone like this growing up. They had two paper routes. In the summer, split time between cutting grass for neighbors and manning a lemonade stand right by the bike path. A couple of years later in high school, they learned to do magic tricks, performing at kids’ parties to save money for a car.

Those friends were born salespeople, which sometimes carries a negative connotation, especially from people that have never been in a sales role. The very best salespeople are those that take the time to understand what a prospect needs, and then work like the dickens to meet those needs – or walks away if they can’t. That is the definition of consultative selling, and it is a perfect fit for the credit union ethos.

But how many people with this skill set work at credit unions?

League Initiatives
Changes to the HMDA Act: What Do You Need to Know?
By: Nicola L. Foggie, CUCE, BSACS, NJCUL Vice President, Compliance & Regulatory Affairs

The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) has undergone several changes, since it was first enacted in 1975. The most recent changes, which went into effect on October 15, 2015, are just the beginning of reporting modifications set to roll out in the coming years.

What are the changes and what does your financial institution need to do to prepare?

Compliance & Regulatory
Would You Want to Live in a Risk-Free Society?
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Think about it – there is literally no human activity that occurs without some degree of risk.  Walking on the street, riding a bike, driving a car, flying in an airplane, even getting a meal in a restaurant all pose some degree of risk. 

The question we face as individuals is the same we face as leaders of financial institutions – how much risk are we willing to accept, and how do we manage it.  But to re-state the obvious, without risk, there is no return....

Compliance & Regulatory
What Do Mobile Payment Apps and Fax Machines Have in Common?
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

A recent CU Times article reported on a survey of U.S. millennials that showed they are using third-party solutions like Venmo for mobile payments, instead of a mobile app provided by any individual financial institution. The study of 2,170 U.S. millennials, done by education loan company LendEDU, found that 44% of people born between 1981 and 1997 say PayPal-run Venmo is the mobile payment app they use most often. 

I’d describe this as demonstrating that mobile payment apps are evolving into a classic network effect business model. 

Blog
VantageScore: Updates in Calculation Methods

Earlier this month, it was announced the VantageScore will be rolling out a new formula.  The new calculation will be based on borrowing behavior over time instead of a snapshot of credit usage at time of credit pull.  Your credit union might be using FICO today, but with this information be widely circulated, which way will the consumer go in attempting to improve their credit score?  If they listen to the guidance for the new rules of VantageScore, they could adversely affect their FICO.

What does VantageScore for the member?

Blog
Risk vs. Member Value

Taking risks sometimes might be worth the reward of creating value for your members.  Do you believe that risk in your organization manages risk too operationally to adhere to compliance issues rather than the long-term strategic risks?  Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is not a ONE time event and not a ONE SIZE FITS ALL approach.   But, where is the balance between taking risks and creating member value?  ERM is applicable to ALL areas of the organization, including Human Resources - 5 Reasons HR departments need ERM.

Blog
Unclaimed Property Roundtable Informs Many
By: Barbara Agin, NJCUL Vice President, Member Experience & Education

Live from Hightstown and delivered virtually to FOUR locations, attorney Peter J. Liska, informed attendees on both the legislation and many provisions of the New Jersey Uniform Unclaimed Property Act.  Liska reviewed the 10 page operations guide providing examples and fielding questions.  

Pictures in addition the attendees at the League (minus {me} photographer ) include our virtual attendees from Atlantic FCU, Members 1st of NJ FCU, Campbell Employees FCU and Rutgers FCU.

Learn more about our virtual capabilities and check out our upcoming Regulatory Update Webinar.  Looking for the full calendar?  Click here.

League Initiatives
NJCUL Upgrades: Educational Content that Comes To You!
By: Barbara Agin, NJCUL Vice President, Member Experience & Education

When you look at New Jersey on the map, you would think travel would not be an issue for such a small state. Not so! While Hightstown makes sense as a central location, it isn’t necessarily convenient or conducive for our members given the travel time and/or overall time out of the office.

The League first introduced a video conferencing solution in 2010 with the assistance of two credit unions: Atlantic FCU in Kenilworth and Members 1st of NJ FCU in Vineland. This helped some but still left many unreachable.

Blog
Mission Accomplished: ROI with Free Rutgers Training for NJCUL Members
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

I heard two things consistently from CEOs in my initial round of visits and phone calls back in July.

One was that the League needed to demonstrate a more quantifiable ROI on their dues investment.

The second was the need for cost-effective and local professional development programs. Not that CUNA, CUES, and others don’t offer solid options, but the fees, travel expenses, and total time out of office make it difficult for many of our members to take advantage of them.

I’m proud to say we’ve killed two birds with one stone.

League Initiatives
Media, Myself, and I
By: Marissa Anema, NJCUL Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Think back to the early hours of the day when you were just waking up. What is the first thing you see? The first thing you come into contact with?

Your significant other? Your pet? Your kids? Your alarm clock? Your phone? Alexa, Echo, or Siri?

It may be eye-opening to assess your morning routine and how those things listed above rank in order of engagement as you crack open your eyes to new day. (If you’re wondering who Alexa, Echo, or Siri is, then we need to talk.)

For me, it’s either my cat, Nola, acting as an unwelcome alarm clock, or—more often than not— it’s my phone, which is my alarm clock. It’s also my Weather Channel, my pocket schedule, my stereo (remember those?!), my rolodex (remember those, too?!), and much more.

The point is that our phones have become a HUGE part of our daily lives, and, thus, media consumption has as well. From social media to the news media, with our eyes glued to computer screens at our desks and in our hands (let’s face it, these are not “phones” they are “computers”) we’re consuming hours upon hours of media a day.

Consumer Awareness & Advocacy
Black Swans and The Credit Union Ethos
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

The latest installment of our Banking You Can Trust Legacy Series – which demonstrates the credit union difference by telling the powerful origin stories of our credit unions – is about Central Jersey Police & Fire FCU.

Consumer Awareness & Advocacy
Leading the Way: NJCUL Named One of Five National Providers of ComplySight Compliance Consulting Services
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Many of you are familiar with ComplySight, the all-in-one Web-based compliance tool offered by NJCUL in partnership with League InfoSight and CUSolutions Group (NJCUL serves on the League InfoSight Board). It provides everything from content, tracking, reports, regulatory alerts, and more— basically everything you need to organize a comprehensive compliance program.

League Initiatives
Q&A: Branch Transformation Doesn’t Always Mean Construction

Sundeep Kapur, an expert in digital, branch, and engagement strategies, will be presenting a one-day NJCUL Workshop on Branch Transformation, on Tuesday, February 7. The session is designed for anyone that has ever wondered how they can make their investment in a branch, its people, and all the associated technologies more productive for the credit union, and more valuable to members as well.

League Initiatives
One Step Closer to Bringing Electronic Lien and Titling to New Jersey
By: Chris Abeel, NJCUL Vice President, Corporate and Governmental Affairs

Almost everything we do today—from paying for a cup of coffee to hailing a “cab” to booking a flight or hotel—has gone digital. These processes are quick and simple. No paperwork, no paper receipts—or statements even.

Political & Legislative
Court Dismisses Bankers’ Frivolous MBL Lawsuit
By: Nicola Foggie, NJCUL Vice President, Compliance and Regulatory Affairs

Yesterday, the NCUA and credit unions won a huge victory! U.S. District Court Judge James Cacheris dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) against the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), this past September. The Banker’s suit against the agency challenged NCUA’s 2016 member business lending rule (MBL). The American Bankers Association supported the ICBA litigation that challenged the MBL rule and amendments that changed the statutory MBL cap, including making it easier to exclude nonmember loans from the cap calculation. According to the court’s opinion, the lawsuit was dismissed based on ICBA’s lack of standing and timeliness. In his opinion, Judge Cacheris stated that even if the ICBA had established standing and timeliness, the court said it still would have found that the rules satisfied the requirements established by the Administrative Procedures Act and existing case law.

Compliance & Regulatory
Building Brand Awareness The Leaders Series
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

You may have seen an article in the Daily Exchange yesterday about XCEL CEO Linda McFadden’s upcoming live appearance on 101.5 FM, January 31st at 8:00 AM, as part of our new Leaders Series. I wanted to provide more background on how this fits with our other brand awareness initiatives, unveiled formally at the NJCUL Annual Convention last year.

If you recall, revamping our brand awareness campaign is a priority 2017 strategic initiative for the League. We started with the Legacy Series, which uses the power of story-telling and unique credit union origin stories to show how credit unions are different from banks. It has been very successful, with pick-up by local media outlets and broad exposure via social media.

The Leaders Series shares the same objective of highlighting the credit union difference, but with a twist. It is focused on showing how our leadership—CEOs of credit unions—truly cares about the financial well-being of their members by offering financial advice to consumers. This accentuates the contrast with how bank CEOs see their customers, as a source of profit.

Consumer Awareness & Advocacy
Q&A: The Three Most Common Mistakes Credit Unions Make in Branch Design

Sundeep Kapur, digital and consumer engagement strategist, will be presenting a one-day NJCUL Workshop on Branch Transformation, on Tuesday, February 7. The session is designed for anyone that has ever wondered how they can make their investment in a branch, its people, and all the associated technologies more productive for the credit union, and more valuable to members as well.

League Initiatives
Q&A: The Secret to Doubling Products Per Member

Sundeep Kapur, digital and consumer engagement strategist, will be presenting a one-day NJCUL Workshop on Branch Transformation, on Tuesday, February 7. The session is designed for anyone that has ever wondered how they can make their investment in a branch, its people, and all the associated technologies more productive for the credit union, and more valuable to members as well. 

This is the first of a two-part interview with Sundeep, where he discusses with NJCUL President/CEO David Frankil the potential gains from thinking about your branch in a different way.

League Initiatives
Branch Transformation George Jetson, Meet Joseph Schumpeter
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

As a kid, the Jetsons were my favorite cartoon. There was just something about how easily futuristic technologies were magically integrated into daily life without any issues in Orbit City. George Jetson even walked their dog Astro on a treadmill without the inconvenient detail of dealing with what always occurs when you walk your dog. That clearly only works in cartoons.

Financial services has also become a mix of the traditional and the cutting edge, as disruptive, game-changing innovations are developed and make their way into our business. Except we don’t have that luxury of glossing over all the challenges of integration. 

League Initiatives
Santa’s Workshops May Be Closed, But Ours are Now Open for Business
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

When I ask CEOs what they want from the League, the most frequent response has been “more”—more content, more training, more relevance, more value. Which is exactly where we want to take the League, re-positioning it as a true strategic partner, helping members grow and be more productive.

As part of this process, we’ve created a new series of one-day workshops focused on critical credit union operational issues. The name “workshop” was chosen deliberately—these are not symposia, or discussion groups, or academic seminars. They are viagra prescription ireland workshops—come spend a day, roll up your sleeves, and dig into the nitty-gritty of a topic and walk away with valuable, actionable information.

League Initiatives
Why You Want a Low-Income Designation from NCUA (And How to Get It)
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

The conclusion of nearly every article about the benefits of credit union membership is that you can join a credit union, and you should do it as soon as possible.

I’m telling you the same thing about the low-income designation (LID) from NCUA—if you meet the criteria, you should work through the process as soon as you can. A federal credit union qualifies for LID when a majority of its membership (50% + one member) qualifies as low-income. It’s as simple as that. 

League Initiatives
Loan Pricing Ought to be More Scientific Than Just Checking Out the Competition
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Setting the right price for a product or service is a challenge for any business. Set prices too low, and you negatively impact margins and starve the business of capital – in the extreme, fixed and variable costs might not be covered. Set prices too high, and sales suffer and the business itself might be threatened.

Discuss prices with your competitors, and you might become a long-term guest at a Federal institution not of your own choosing.

Understanding price elasticity of demand – the relationship between price and quantity – is a challenge that many large companies spend millions of dollars trying to understand.

For credit unions, there is an added component that comes with the financial services territory – risk. The risk that a member might default on a loan plays (or should play) a role in determining the interest rate that borrower should pay, which is just as important as understanding the true cost of capital in making pricing decisions.

League Initiatives
Incoming NJCUL Chairman Andy Jaeger: A Fresh Outlook and Direction for 2017
By: Andy Jaeger, NJCUL Chairman and CUNJ President/CEO

It is no surprise that the last few years have been challenging for the League, between the turnover at the top to the impact of an ever-so-slowly improving economy and persistent low-rate environment on New Jersey credit unions. 

League Initiatives
New Member Benefit - An Early Holiday Gift for NJCUL Member Small Credit Unions
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Smaller credit unions face many challenges in marketing their products and services effectively, but the most basic is developing professional collateral material to promote solutions…without spending a fortune. A crisp, clean look and feel is critical to communicating the value of our solutions, and that doesn’t come with bargain-basement design efforts.

To help jump-start the process for small credit unions without the hefty price tag, Bo McDonald, CEO of Your Marketing Company (one of our partners), has stepped up to provide high-quality, professional promotional pieces that small NJCUL member credit unions can use completely free of charge—or with a modest fee for customization. The first in the series is an eye-catching promotion of holiday loans (see graphic below).

League Initiatives
82nd Annual Convention and Meeting Recap: Successful and Inspiring
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Our Annual Meeting and Convention took place this week in Atlantic City, and it was very successful, due to the outstanding efforts of the entire team here at NJCUL, specifically including Yvette Segarra – who I am never going to let retire; she just adds too much value. Please give her and the rest of the team a virtual round of applause. 

This year was a bit different than prior years, in part because of my presentation on Monday morning. It dispensed with the usual formalities and got right down to business.

The focus was the first 100 days, and the over 100 conversations I’ve had with member and non-member CEOs, Board members, senior executives, our team, and vendors as well. The goal: to assess whether our internal perception of value matched up with what our target audience (you) needed.

Blog
Strategic Use of Children’s Accounts to Reach Millennials
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Last week we published a Legacy Series blog post on United Poles FCU highlighting how they were founded by thirteen members of the local Polish community to help recent immigrants and residents overcome language and other barriers impeding access to basic financial services. That fits perfectly with the goal of the Legacy Series, communicating how credit unions are different than banks by telling origin stories.

The idea for the blog post came from a meeting with Iwona Karpeta, their CEO, who told us how United Poles FCU was founded.  But it wasn’t the only interesting idea to come from the meeting.

Iwona talked about how important children’s accounts were to their overall growth and engagement strategies.  Children’s accounts are not exactly a new concept in banking, but what struck me was the way Iwona talked about leveraging them to reach Millennials as an overt part of their engagement and growth strategy.

Saving is a strong part of the Polish cultural heritage, and United Poles FCU leverages that to reach younger generations. It is typical to see accounts established when a child is born and children being encouraged to save from their earliest days.  Families bring kids into the credit union where they get to know the tellers and other executives, make deposits – and get lollipops and other treats, too.  By the time they grow up, they are a part of the family, and the credit union is their natural choice of financial institution.

Consumer Awareness & Advocacy
Focusing on Young Professionals and Millennials
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

I’m guessing that every generation has had some sort of conversation about the younger generation that goes a little something like this: We don’t understand them or their behaviors, what motivates them, how to manage them, or how to market to them.

You know, all those old sayings like… 

Kids, you can talk and talk till your face is blue
Kids, but they still just do what they want to do
Why can’t they be like we were, perfect in every way
What’s the matter with kids today?

The song is at the end of the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wCXr_6wgns
(for those of you that are classic movie buffs). 

Whether the digital revolution has made the challenge of comprehending millennials more difficult than other eras is a topic for others to tackle, but we do need to address two key questions –

  1. How do we attract young professionals to credit unions as future leaders, and what is the best way to both develop their skills and motivate them?
  2. How do we need to adapt our marketing and other strategies to focus on the millennial segment of our members and prospective members?
League Initiatives
Value and Relevance: Walking the Walk
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

I’ve written about how we are transforming the League for 2017 to be more valuable and relevant. But what does that really mean?

This week we made the first in what will be a series of announcements that offer up examples of steps the League is taking towards this transformation.

Peer group benchmarking is a great management tool to highlight opportunities, whether for productivity improvements, greater leverage, and/or for growth. You all have the ability to access your own Call Report data – what is harder is to see how you compare with your peer groups on key performance parameters for growth and productivity.  

With enough time and enough resources you could do the analysis yourself – after all, Call Report data is available on the NCUA website. But who has the time to identify who should be in your peer group, download their Call Report data, crunch the numbers, and analyze the results?

To me, this is exactly what a League focused on value and relevance should be doing for its members. 

League Initiatives
Did You Know that NJCUL was Founded in 77 BC?
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

That would be “Before CFPB.”

And odds are that your credit union was also born in the BC era.

Few new financial services regulatory agencies have had the fast start and wide-ranging impact of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). For anyone charged with tracking and complying with their rules, the last five years probably seem like dog years.

This all came to mind this week with the Wells Fargo debacle, and the role that the CFPB played in bringing those practices to light and to an end. The CFPB vision and values statements provide the foundation upon which they acted – but what is most interesting is how consistent they are with what you’d see at a credit union:

Compliance & Regulatory
Marketing MRI: Finding and Bridging Value Gaps
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

I recently sent a note to the entire membership with a preview of some of our 2017 initiatives, noting that they were developed from conversations with over 60 CEOs, and were part of our philosophy of market-led growth.

The process is actually more strategic than just having a good chat with a CEO. The question we’re answering is how to ensure that the value you’re providing actually matches up with what the market needs.

Let me use a case study with a gaping value gap from a consulting engagement I finished just before joining NJCUL to illustrate the approach we’ve taken with the League.

The client was a midsize general contractor (~$10M in revenue) offering integrated architectural design and construction services, focused primarily on office buildings, warehouses, and distribution centers. They wanted to know why they weren’t growing faster, especially when they saw new competitors winning jobs they thought should be theirs.

They thought the problem was a bad salesperson – but the engagement quickly evolved into a more extensive assessment of their fundamental value drivers.

We used an active listening process I call a “Marketing MRI,” and it has two components – internal and external. The first step is to interview employees at all levels of the company to understand their perception of key value drivers and what they see as the issues impeding growth.

League Initiatives