Looking Back on Successful CUNA GAC and Forward to State GAC 

By David Adams
Thanks for taking the time to read this March edition of Priority Report, MCUL & Affiliates’ monthly video and newsletter for CEOs, executives and boards. Our goal is to share information about the league so you always know what we are working on and why. We hope you will find this video useful for staff meetings, board meetings and training sessions.

As you know, our mission at MCUL is to help credit unions serve, grow and remain strong. MCUL offers a wide variety of services and support to our affiliated credit unions that represent incredible value for your dues dollars, and our for-profit subsidiary, CU Solutions Group, provides a number of key products and services that meet specific challenges. Together, MCUL & Affiliates is a strong partner that stands ready to serve you on a daily basis.

In an effort to continue our strong service to credit unions, I am pleased to announce the hiring of Christina Lethlean as our new CFO and executive vice president for Michigan Solutions, the division of CU Solutions Group that houses our insurance products and Michigan partnerships. Christina comes to us from Richland, Wash., where she served as CEO of GESA FCU. She also served as senior vice president at Xceed Financial CU where she reported to then-CEO Bill Cheney. She comes highly recommended by Cheney and other credit union system leaders, and will join MCUL & Affiliates on April 7. Please help me welcome her.

On the national stage, tax reform has been a hot topic, and it got even hotter with the release of U.S. Rep. Dave Camp’s plan to reform the tax code in late February while more than 4,400 credit union advocates were gathered for the CUNA GAC. The good news is that the credit union tax exemption remained untouched. I would encourage every credit union leader in Michigan to take a moment to go to the MCUL website and follow the links there to thank our congressional delegation for standing up for credit unions – especially Reps. Dave Camp, Sander Levin, Fred Upton, Mike Rogers and Candice Miller. They came through for us and we need them to know just how much we appreciate their leadership. Click here to visit MCUL’s Capwiz homepage.

While in Washington, last month, we also took some time to meet with the CFPB to make sure that they understand how they are impacting Michigan’s credit union industry. We discussed the crushing weight of regulatory burden and a number of specific ways to ease the burden on small, community-based financial institutions. Although these institutions didn’t cause the financial turmoil that resulted in the Dodd-Frank Act, they are now paying the price with staggering compliance burdens. I’ll have more on this issue as it develops in the coming months.

Back in Michigan, we are preparing for the MCUL GAC, which is coming up at the end of March. This is our chance to discuss issues and build relationships with our state lawmakers and regulators. Among the speakers are Secretary of State Ruth Johnson; lawmakers on the financial services committees of both the House and Senate; regulators from DIFS, NCUA and CFPB, and state party leaders. It promises to be educational, informative and an important piece of our advocacy efforts for this year. To learn more or to register, visit the MCUL GAC event page.

Speaking of education and informative topics, I want to put in a plug for our new webinar pricing. Starting in 2014, for a low flat rate of $1,299, you get an all-access pass to more than 100 webinars on a wide variety of topics to educate your staff when you want, where you want. And small-asset-size credit unions take note – we have a new webinar series this year with special pricing and topics geared toward smaller-sized credit unions. Click here for more information on these webinar packages.

Another ongoing priority for MCUL is credit union loan growth. CU Solutions Group, our for-profit subsidiary, has developed unique ways to grow loans, including GM Real Time Authorizations, in which credit unions can get real-time auto loan lead information when members request discount codes through our Credit Union Member Discount from General Motors. Many credit unions are already utilizing this great advantage to contact members who are in the market for a new car to gain loan volume and help members save money at the same time. Click here to learn more.

In addition to real-time lead generation, CUSG has partnered with Spireon to bring LoanPlus CMS to credit unions. LoanPlus CMS uses GPS technology to help credit unions offer more non-prime loans without increasing risk. This collateral management system translates into increased loan volume for credit unions; and at the same time, an opportunity to save members money by offering better non-prime rates than competitors. Click here to learn more about LoanPlus CMS.

As you work to better serve your members on their auto loans, it’s also a good time to think about your mobile banking portal. If your members are using mobile banking, responsive web design is a must-have. Responsive design, which changes the home page design based on the size of the device that is being used, is a critical piece of digital strategy. Experts agree that it is a trend to watch for 2014, and CUSG is on top of it. Combine marketing and technology experts under one roof and you turn valuable content/SEO/usability insights into actionable changes that will increase site traffic, drive desired behaviors and improve the member experience. Click here for more details.

Related to digital strategy is media planning and buying, which drives members and potential members to credit union websites. Credit unions are getting more strategic about their media buys and are looking for expertise that can drive results at an affordable price point. Many are leveraging CUSG’s expansive network of media relationships to get lower rates and better placement. Click here for more information on media placement.

Another key area of focus for CUSG is two products that help to enhance staff performance and salary decisions. Performance Solutions has an ongoing commitment to enhance its suite of products and deliver value with integrity. Recent product updates include a completely updated, cloud-based version of Compease, the salary administration application, and a sophisticated technology that integrates Compease and PerformancePro to reduce duplication, save time and make updating reports easier. Click here for more information on Performance Pro and here for more information on Compease.

So as you can see, we are working on a wide variety of initiatives that affect different areas of your operation. At MCUL & Affiliates, we strive to keep our finger on the pulse of emerging industry trends, legislative and regulatory issues and operational challenges to be proactive and nimble enough to provide solutions to our members. Thank you for watching, and feel free to reach out to me if you have questions or suggestions.

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