May 25, 2016

Three Cyber Risks that Should Be on Every Credit Union's Radar

Virtually every aspect of a credit union’s business poses some type of risk. But, we continue to see significant losses and growing, changing risks related to cyber.

Credit unions that stay current on risk trends and integrate risk management into their day-to-day business plans and operations are more likely to minimize their losses. In light of this, here are three cyber risk management insights every credit union should have on their radar.

  1. Ever-changing malware forms make detection by antivirus software nearly impossible.
    Credential-stealing malware distributed in spear phishing attacks are a frequent cause of data breaches. Innovative attack strategies, such as Advanced Persistent Threat-related attacks, have created significant concern for IT professionals across the globe.

  2. Cyber criminals can also steal and encrypt your data assets and use ransomware to obtain their demands.
    Cyber thieves’ use of malware goes beyond theft of sensitive data; some sophisticated malware forms have been used to steal funds directly from financial institutions and extort money by threatening destruction or release of sensitive data.

  3. Develop, practice and test your data breach response plans.
    Regulators strongly encourage credit unions to be prepared with a data breach response plan. Additionally, place an increased emphasis on information sharing and FFIEC’s Cybersecurity Assessment Tool.

To learn more about these risks and key mitigation insights, view our webinar recording on the top risks in 2016.

Looking for even more ways to protect your credit union? Stay tuned for more risk management insights on our blog, or tune into our Credit Union Protection webinars, provided exclusively to our Bond policyholders.

May 19, 2016

Millennial Matters: 3 Strategies to Help You Save for Your Next Vacation

If you’re like me, you have a warm beach vacation on your mind the instant the weather gets colder. While winter is (fortunately) months away, now’s the time to start saving if you want to escape the cold when it arrives.

Here are three strategies to utilize as you save up for your next getaway.

  1. Have a no-spend month.
    Make a commitment to spend money only on necessities like groceries, rent, gas, utilities, insurance, etc. for one month – or more. This means no new clothes, no Starbucks and no dining out. Put all of the money you save from cutting the extras into your travel fund. It’s amazing how quickly the savings on a happy hour here and a pair of jeans there can add up.

    Bonus! Recruit a friend or significant other to do a no-spend month with you. Partnering with someone with a similar goal will help hold you accountable to your savings pledge.

  2. Try a 52-week savings challenge.
    To accomplish this challenge, save the dollar amount that corresponds with the current week of the year. For example, the first week of the year, save $1, save $2 the second week and $3 the third week; keep going until you reach the last week of the year, saving $52 for week 52. If you use this method, your savings will add up to $1,378 by the end of the year. That could more than cover a vacation.

    Didn’t start this challenge on January 1? Don’t fret – if you start today by putting $20 away for the 20th week of the year, your tally will still reach $1,188!

  3. Factor traveling directly into your budget.
    Once you have a savings goal and timeline established, determine what’s reasonable for you to save each week or month. Then, factor that amount into your weekly or monthly budget, right alongside your rent, groceries, insurance and other set expenses. This will ensure you're dedicating money to your vacation first, before factoring in dining out or other extras.

    To help with this, consider using a budgeting app, setting up automatic transfers on payroll or creating weekly or monthly calendar events to remind you it’s time to make a transfer.

Happy saving and Bon Voyage!

May 5, 2016

In a (Minor) Car Accident, Follow These 6 Steps

Even the most cautious drivers aren’t immune to car accidents. With inclement weather, animal crossings and distracted or aggressive drivers noted among the top accident causes, you must be prepared if you’re involved in one.

In the event of a fender bender or other minor bumps or scrapes, follow these six steps to ensure your safety and help accelerate the claims process following an accident.

  1. Pull over somewhere safe. If the accident is minor, move your car to a safe place out of traffic and turn on your hazard lights.

  2. Even if no one is injured, call the police. Calling the police will allow for documentation of the accident, which will be important if there is doubt about who is at fault, or if false information is provided by the other party.

  3. Trade information with the other driver. The most important pieces of information to gather from the other driver are: their insurance carrier and policy number, name and phone number. Also, consider collecting names and contact information from any witnesses of the accident; your insurance provider may find value in speaking with them if fault is in question.

  4. Take pictures. Don’t forget to document the accident through pictures, paying special attention to the vehicles with damage, injuries and the scene as a whole. Take pictures from multiple angles, so the damage and scene are thoroughly captured.

  5. Report to your insurance. You should notify your insurance company immediately, and provide them with the information gathered from the other driver and the pictures taken at the scene.

  6. Obtain an estimate. After speaking with your insurance carrier, take your car to an auto body shop for an estimate, giving preference to your insurer’s preferred repair shop.
While there is no sure way to avoid an accident, the steps taken immediately after will ensure your safety and the collection of all necessary information. Completion of these six steps will provide your insurer with a solid foundation to help determine fault and ultimately, issue a timely payment.

Thinking about switching your insurance? Switching to the TruStage Auto & Home Insurance Program could save you (or your members) up to $519.52* on car insurance. 

*Average annual savings based on countrywide survey of new customers from 01/27/2014 to 01/16/2015 who reported their prior insurers' premiums when they switched to Liberty Mutual’s group auto and home program. Savings do not apply in MA.
TruStage® Auto & Home Insurance Program is made available by TruStage Insurance Agency, LLC and issued by leading insurance companies, including Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify. Discounts are not available in all states and discounts vary by state. A consumer report from a consumer reporting agency and/or motor vehicle report will be obtained on all drivers listed on your policy where state laws and regulations allow. Please consult your policy for specific coverage and limitations. The insurance offered is not a deposit, and is not federally insured, sold or guaranteed by your credit union.

April 27, 2016

Card Forum 2016: Payment Industry Insights

By: Robert Jarosinski, Sr. Consultant, Risk Management, CUNA Mutual Group

Los Angeles in mid-April may be most remembered for Kobe Bryant’s famous last games. But, celebrities weren’t the only ones filling the streets.

Payment industry experts also came together for Card Forum 2016, a premier event that unites the brightest minds in finance and technology. Julie Walser, Loss Manager and Bank Secrecy Act Officer, UW Credit Union. I had the privilege to attend, speak and emcee at the Credit Union Summit portion of the event.

I gained these insights from the event:

EMV is changing the fraud landscape – in a great way.

There‘s been a lot of curiosity on how EMV implementation would play out on the chargeback liability shift front.

One credit union has seen some dramatic results so far: Since implementing EMV, Leanne Phelps, SVP, Card Services, State Employees Credit Union, reported a 48% decrease in fraud and recovery of 70% of fraud they've had through chargebacks.

Stephanie Ericksen, VP of Risk Products, Visa Inc., also shared some good news. “Of the top 25 merchants who've turned on EMV, they've seen an 18% decrease in fraud compared to an 11% increase for those who haven't."

Innovation is the key to success.

In order to remain relevant to consumers, we must innovate – as an industry and  a country.

As an example, Brian Ziff-Levine, Director of Cards and Payments, First Tech FCU, shared how they’re innovating by becoming one of the first to pilot selfie pay for CNP transactions.

Adapting new technology through innovation also applies on a national level. Today, the United States payment industry is highly regulated and utilizes many outdated systems out of dependency, which limits its adoption of new payment systems.

In contrast, Kim Norland, CEO, Design Success, and creator of Money Amigo, cited the Netherlands as a country that recently adopted a dramatic plan to move to payment innovation.

“Almost 90% of transactions are digital in the Netherlands,” said Norland. “This was made possible by the government converting all notes to coins. Honestly, who wants to carry $20 worth of coins? You don’t need much more motivation than that.”

But, innovation isn’t necessarily tied only to the creation of products and adoption of new technologies; it also means evaluating outcomes of past changes and seeking answers and means of improvement.

For example, mobile wallet solutions are facing low adoption and use rates – but why? According to Margaret Weichert, Principal Financial Services Performance Improvement, EY, a lack of opportunities for women in strategic payment innovation roles could be the culprit. Women make 80% of today’s retail purchases, but how many women were at the table in developing the strategy for the mobile wallet in the marketplace today?

Clearly, the payment industry – including credit unions – needs to reevaluate opportunities for innovation when it comes to future development.

We look forward to continuing to report on updates within the payment industry, participating in future forums like PayThink 2016 and Card Forum 2017 and helping credit unions mitigate payment risks. Stay tuned for future insights.

CUNA Mutual Group Bond policyholders receive exclusive, complimentary access to more detailed information about risks and mitigation tips regularly as part of our RISK Alerts, the Protection Resource Center and our individualized credit union consultations. To ensure you’re receiving the latest resources, register for Protection Resource Center access within our My Services webpage or contact a Risk Management Consultant at 800.637.2676.

April 14, 2016

Millennial Matters: Buying Your First House? Five Tips From a Recent Millennial Homebuyer

This past summer, my fiancé and I became proud first-time homeowners. As a fan of almost all HGTV programs in existence, I couldn't wait to start looking at homes. But, the process wasn't nearly as smooth as it often appears on TV.

Knowing what I know now, here are five considerations to make before and during your house hunt.

  1. Attend a homebuying seminar. Many credit unions offer these seminars to help first-time homebuyers understand the process, clarify loan types and answer other questions related to homebuying. These seminars are a great place to start, as they can shed light on questions you didn’t know you had, and set realistic expectations before you begin looking.

  2. Live within your means. Before looking at any houses – virtually or in-person – meet with a mortgage loan officer to help you crunch the numbers and determine which type of loan will work best for you. It's easy to fall in love with a house, only to find out that between principal, interest, taxes, private mortgage insurance, and other payments, it's out of budget. Don’t make this mistake.

  3. Distinguish between wants and needs. Sure, a finished basement with a theater room and bar might be nice – but is it a necessity? Make a short list of non-negotiables – like having a good school district or a garage – and recognize that anything extra is an added bonus.

  4. Don’t tackle the process alone. Enlist a financially savvy friend or family member who has purchased a home to be your mentor. The process is much smoother when you have an ally outside of a realtor who is familiar with the steps.

  5. Remember no decision is the last decision. If you’re like the majority of Americans, your first house will not be your last house. So, don’t strain yourself financially to purchase your dream house immediately.

    This also extends to cosmetics. Ugly green shag carpet from 1979 or a bathroom with bright orange paint shouldn’t deter you from buying a house. Try to disassociate yourself from the current appearance and imagine what the house could be given time and some TLC.

Happy house hunting, my millennial friends!

April 6, 2016

What Financial Tips Would You Give Your Teenage Self?

It's Financial Fitness Day today, and April is also Credit Union Youth Month in addition to National Financial Literacy Month. So, we collected tips from colleagues across the business to share financial savvy today's youth can use to build stronger financial futures.

More specifically, we asked our coworkers to share the top tips they would give to themselves as teenagers. This is what they shared:

What's the best advice you would share with the teen version of yourself to support a healthy financial future?

Tweet it to us or post to our Facebook page with #CUYouthMonth and #CUGenZ to let us know!

March 31, 2016

Four Things Credit Unions Should Know About Millennials

As millennials continue to dominate the workforce and control more than $200B in direct purchasing power, it’s imperative that credit unions understand this generation in order to attract and retain them as members, and communicate and engage with them effectively.

Millennials are often described in generalizations, when in reality, they have a variety of needs. They’re single, married, parents, students, entrepreneurs, and so much more.

On March 22, we released our What Matters Now: Insights from Millennials research, which focused on millennial motivations, worries and hopes, and how they define success.

Here are some key insights from the research to help you better understand and serve Millennials:

  1. Millennials under 30 are more apprehensive about debt and credit than millennials over 30. Younger millennials are more worried about paying off student loans and less likely to have a current car loan than their over 30 counterparts.

    How can credit unions use this information? Millennials both WANT and NEED financial education, so aim to be a financial ally to guide on money management. Start early by teaching high school and college students basic financial literacy through seminars, workshops or serving as a guest speaker.

  2. The needs of millennial parents are quite different from those of non-parent millennials. With nearly half of millennials now parents, many are looking to make big purchases, such as a new home or car.

    How can credit unions use this information? Partner with then on their home and car buying experience, and all of the long term planning that millennials – especially parents – need help with, like retirement, investing, life insurance and kids’ college savings plans.

  3. Millennial definitions of success vary by geographical region. Millennials in the West and Northeast define success differently than their peers in the South and Central regions.

    How can credit unions use this information? Understand how millennials in your geographic region are most likely to define success, and consider weaving in marketing messaging that aligns with it.

  4. Most importantly, there’s a huge opportunity to attract millennials to your credit union. Only 14% of millennials use a credit union for their primary account. In fact, when asked why they don’t use credit unions, the number one reason millennials reported was that they don’t know much about them.

    How can credit unions use this information? Promote the credit union difference! Credit unions have a strong association and alignment with the values that are important to millennials, so use this to your advantage.
Millennials are much more complex than common generalizations lead us to believe. To learn more, visit

March 18, 2016

The #CUGenZ Tour is Bringing Financial Literacy to Life!

Earlier this year, we confirmed that we're joining The National Credit Union Foundation to address Generation Z's need for financial literacy thanks to the help of scores of credit unions across the U.S. who “paid it forward” in social media posts last year.

Credit unions and social media enthusiasts posted hundreds of images and videos of how they were giving back for the holiday season. This social support earned our $10,000 charitable gift to The Foundation, and it's supporting a national tour of 20 experiential learning sessions for teens this year. 

The tour will provide financial literacy and money management skills for 2,000 to 5,000 students and will be hosted in credit unions and league facilities across the country this year.

Each event is called a Reality Fair, and the first of the tour took place yesterday with students from Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School and support from Schools First Federal Credit Union, parent volunteers and The Foundation. As you can see from the video and photos they shared, the event looks like a smashing success!

We'll share more on these events as they happen. And, to help you connect with the tour,  we're calling it The #CUGenZ Tour to make it an easy search for you on Twitter, Facebook and other social channels.

Thanks, again, to all the credit unions and social media friends and followers who shared photos and videos with us through #CUGiveBack last year! Your social posts are now helping many young people prepare stronger financial futures while giving their Generation X and Millennial parents a helping hand in this invaluable area of life.

Isn't it great to see financial literacy coming to life? 

March 11, 2016

March 10, 2016

Our Ethics Reflect the Movement We Serve

At CUNA Mutual Group, we're honored to be part of The Ethisphere® Institute's 2016 class of World's Most Ethical Companies® -- a distinction we're thrilled to have earned for the third time.

This means a lot to us because it's something that sets the industry we serve apart from others offering financial services.

According to our CEO Bob Trunzo, ethics are part of what drives us every day as we work to help more than 16 million people build better financial futures:
"We thank our employees, partners and customers for keeping their commitment to people at the center of business decisions." ~ Bob Trunzo, CEO, CUNA Mutual Group
As Bob mentioned in a post on Monday, we've been focused on ethics from the beginning, and that's something we share with credit unions. As you know, the movement sparked in the 1930s with a focus on doing what's right, fair and in the best interest of American consumers.

The legacy of this is an industry that still holds to the same values -- values that matter as much to American consumers today as they may have then: According to Trade Extensions, 80 percent of consumers believe it's important for companies and brands to behave ethically, while price, value and quality also influence their purchasing decisions.

Credit unions offer all of these in relevant and meaningful ways to today's consumers and members, who rank the movement No. 1 for customer trust and experience, according to 2015 research.

In short, we're proud to serve an industry that's known for ethics, fair practices and the concept of "people helping people." And, we're honored by this week's distinction for three reasons:
  1. We care about doing the right things, the right ways for the right reasons.
  2. We see one of the best examples of ethics every day in the movement we serve.
  3. We know that your choice in business partners matters almost as much as your members' do.

We know why your members choose the credit union difference, as the video below shows.

Why is being part of an ethical movement important to you?

March 9, 2016

These are VIPs in More Ways Than One...

The term "VIP" means different things to different people. For us, it means something extra special because it's how we honor employees who demonstrate business excellence in results and behaviors. 

Recognizing great work has always been a priority for us. Building on this, we launched our Values in Practice (ViP) Award in 2006. It's our way of honoring -- and celebrating -- employees who demonstrate our seven corporate values: Collaboration, Courage, Focus, Inclusion, Innovation, Integrity and Passion. 

As our photos show, we announced our 2015 VIP honorees this morning in Madison and Waverly. You  can read more about them and their achievements here or see the video highlights below. Overall, they have the following in common:
  • They have demonstrated extraordinary efforts toward fulfilling the goals of our company.
  • Their achievements consistently exemplify our corporate values.  
  • They've generated measurable results that are either quantitative, qualitative or both.
  • Their work has earned the recommendations of fellow employees, customers -- or both -- who have observed, first-hand, how they bring our values to life.

So, please join us in congratulating our 2015 ViP honorees:
  • Christa Loger, Senior Manager I, Claims
  • Vicki Potter, TruStage Analytics Consultant
  • Chris Rockwell, Portfolio Solutions Architect
  • Kelly Kieler, Channel Strategist
  • Kim Mahaffey, Consultant II, Compliance
  • Brad Krueger, Senior Manager, Business Resiliency
  • Kevin Atherton, Director, Channel Continuity & Transformation
  • Jane Schneider, Workplace Mobility Consultant
  • BT Thomas, Associate General Counsel
    • Scott Broten, Application Analyst IV
    As a business, we thrive on building trust, mutual respect, and doing business the right way. Our 2015 ViP winners help us do this by living our corporate values in impactful and meaningful ways.

    We thank these valued colleagues for all they do to make a difference for us, our customers and the credit union members we all strive to serve.

    Qualify for a $1,000 Charitable Donation – Just for Attending Our Credit Union Protection Webinars

    Managing risk is critical to protecting your credit union. That's why we provide our Fidelity Bond policyholders with exclusive access to our no-cost Credit Union Protection Webinar series.

    We're also giving participants the chance to pay it forward: Credit unions can qualify to win a $1,000 donation to a charity of their choice -- just by attending the webinars.

    Here’s how it works: Attending six or more of the 2016 Credit Union Protection Webinars earns your credit union a chance to win the charitable gift through a random drawing. The more attendees from your credit union, the better your credit union's chances are for winning the donation, because every attendee from your credit union earns you an entry for each webinar they attend. For example, say Credit Union ABC has attendees at 6 webinars – Employee A attended five, Employee B attended three and Employee C attended one – the credit union would earn nine entries into the random drawing.

    We'll select the winner after our last webinar of the year in November.

    As a reminder, only seven scheduled webinars remain for the year – so that's seven more chances to qualify.

    Our next webinar, Incident Planning – Protect Your Reputation, takes place on Wednesday, March 23 at 1 p.m. (CT). Bond policyholders can register for this webinar – and future webinars – here*.

    How is your credit union managing risk today?

    *Login required

    February 22, 2016

    Are You Sharing the #CUdifference? Join us!

    Today, CUNA has issued a call to action in support of the credit union movement, and we're thrilled to join this wave of support!

    The organization is asking industry supporters to share short videos sharing the difference credit unions make in their lives through social media tagged with #CUdifference. It's a great way to champion the great things that happen for members for those who do -- and don't already know it.

    The two sound bites you see below share the personal experience of our CEO, Bob Trunzo, and our Senior Vice President of Retirement Plan Services, Paul Chong.

    How has the credit union difference made life a little brighter for you?

    Today's American Reality: It's a Different World

    Let's face it. The world we all experience is changing every day, and the people and businesses who operate with this in mind stay a step ahead of the rest.

    Understanding how emerging trends affect your customers gives you an edge when it comes to building trust and loyalty with the people you serve -- especially when you use it to shape the products and services you offer.

    In a nutshell, it shows you care. And, it keeps you relevant to those who matter most to you.

    With this in mind, we hosted an event called Members Live yesterday. The event brought together credit union members and consumers from different age groups with credit union leaders for an open and honest discussion on the financial realities they face.

    The result is the video series we're launching today.

    It brings to life three trends that are shaping the American experience: The changing American workplace, The changing American family and the presence of Generation Z.

    This first video gives you an overview of yesterday's experience. But, stay tuned for four more videos that share the personal experiences of people.

    • One left his father's family construction business to work for himself as a professional masseuse.
    • Another is a professional musician and artist who works a nine-to-five job as a graphic designer.
    • One heads a household with two daughters and two married moms.
    • And, two run a university credit union serving Generation Z and Millennials today.

    We'll be launching these personal stories over the next few days, and we hope these insights are useful to you in understanding and serving your members now and tomorrow.

    How do you see these trends affecting your current and potential members?

    February 20, 2016

    Stay Tuned for What Matters Now: Insights from Millennials

    What matters most to Millennials? This generation is often described in generalizations, but it's one with a variety of needs. Making up 25% of the US population1, Millennials cut across life stages with almost half being parents2. Of those parents, nearly 4 in 10 are likely to be in the market for a new car in the next 18 months.

    What Matters Now: Insights from Millennials builds on our 2015 research which revealed how middle-income Americans define success. Soon, we’ll provide a deeper understanding of this from Millennials' perspectives.

    Credit unions will gain in-depth insights into the motivations, worries and hopes of different Millennials groups that will inspire them to engage and evolve with these members and potential members in new and different ways.

    We'll release our 2016 research next month at CUNA's Marketing & Business Development Conference. You can join us on Tuesday, March 22, from 2:45-3:45 p.m. to be the first to hear about the research.

    What Matters Now is part of an ongoing insights program to learn from middle-income Americans and credit union members.

    CUNA Mutual Group has more than 2 million conversations with credit union members each year and a database of more than 65 million credit union members. We believe that by listening to members and sharing insights with our credit union customers, we can improve our collective ability to serve credit union members.
    2The Futures Company and TGI 2015

    February 19, 2016

    Millennial Matters: 4 Strategies for Attacking Your Student Loans

    It's no secret that the average student loan dollar amount continues to rise, despite continued job market lows. In fact, the average 2015 graduate will have to pay back just over $35,000, nearly triple the $12,000 their 1995 counterparts had to pay.

    With that amount of debt assigned to your name, it might be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Well, I have good news: it might be more attainable than you think. Here are four strategies to consider when it's time to start paying off your loans.

    1. Cut the extras.
      That expensive gym membership you have? Nix it. That cable television you sometimes watch (or watch all the time)? Get rid of it. There are less expensive - or free - alternatives, like working out in the great outdoors or subscribing to Netflix, that can help you redirect some of your hard earned money to paying off your loans.

    2. Make more than the minimum payment.
      I know, I know, this is easier said than done. However, paying more than the minimum amount due is one of the easiest ways to reduce your debt quicker than planned. You can accomplish this feat in a variety of ways, such as allocating any raises and bonuses to your loans, redirecting the money from your savings on gym memberships and cable as discussed above or putting in overtime, freelancing or working side jobs to earn additional money. Even if all you can afford is $20 extra each payment, it's a start, and you can work your way up from there.

    3. Opt for a less ideal situation.
      Thinking about buying a new car? Or, moving to that brand new apartment complex with all the bells and whistles? Sure, those things might bring happiness in the short term, but opting to keep what you have for a couple more years will be more beneficial to your finances in the long term. By keeping these expenses low (or non-existent if you're really resourceful), you'll be able to stash away more money to put towards your student loans.

    4. Have fun… on a budget!
      Just because you have a debt repayment goal in mind doesn't mean you can't still have fun - you just have to get creative. For example, rather than meeting your friends out for dinner and drinks, why not invite them over for a potluck dinner? If you really want to meet a friend out, consider making it happen over coffee - a much less expensive outing - instead. Additionally, consider free (or lower cost) activities for entertainment, such as hiking, visiting a beach or lake, playing a sport, reading a book, cooking or doing a DIY project. These activities will still provide enjoyment and allow you to spend time with friends while empowering you to focus on your goals at the same time.

    No matter which strategy (or strategies) you choose to pursue, the most important thing you can do is develop a specific payment plan that aligns with your needs and your ultimate goal. It's up to you to decide whether that includes a payment calendar, a separate savings account for stashing away extra money or an automatic payment transfer.

    After adopting a plan, all that's left to do is adhere to it and visualize your future without student loan debt. With hard work and dedication, this vision can become your reality!