By David Adams
Welcome to the February edition of Michigan Priority Report, a monthly video and newsletter designed to keep Michigan CEOs, executives and boards informed about the progress of our top priorities. Our intent with this new, streamlined version of Priority Report is to provide communications that keeps you informed and can also be used in board and staff meetings to provide regular updates from your trade association.
As we work our way into 2014, MCUL continues to focus on a wide variety of ways that we help credit unions serve, grow and remain strong.
Of course we are all aware of the critical importance of advocacy as a core concern of the trade association and we have just returned from visits with our key lawmakers at the CUNA GAC in Washington. In addition to focusing on the importance of maintaining our tax exemption, easing the crushing compliance burden and lowering the high costs of implementing the Dodd-Frank rules and regulations, we also talked about the Target breach and the pressing need to protect confidential consumer information and hold retailers accountable.
We have been working hard to help credit unions come into compliance with the new mortgage regulations, providing education sessions, specialized compliance consulting, and access to our free compliance helpline experts who are always standing by to assist. You can find helpful information regarding the wide variety of resources available to you on our web site.
CU Link Campaign
At this time of year, we are focused on the CU Link campaign, which is moving at full steam with new creative content focused on share of wallet. The "realizations" theme is designed to "connect the dots" for members, highlighting why it pays for them to bring more of their business to the credit union. Fund-raising for the CU Link campaign is going very well, with more than $1 million raised and 62 full-share participants. But we still need your help to make this year's campaign a success. This is a great opportunity for credit unions of all sizes to leverage marketing dollars through integration with the CU Link campaign. It'll be no surprise to anyone that when we come together, we have a powerful impact that opens up opportunities for membership growth and greater penetration into existing membership. Click here to learn more about the campaign.
Annual Convention and Exposition
We are also looking forward to the 2014 AC&E, which will be in Grand Rapids June 5-7. This conference will focus on changes in the payments system, and I'm excited at our lineup of speakers, which will include Dan Schulman from American Express. Schulman will tell us about their partnership with Walmart on a new product that is targeted toward low to moderate income earners, many of whom would be credit union members. We'll hear Dan talk about why he believes we are entering the non-bank era, and how the latest developments will impact credit unions. Also, don’t forget to mark your calendar for the Executive Summit on Sept. 17 to 19. It promises to be another high-impact session. Click here to learn more about the AC&E.
In the area of PAC fundraising, I encourage each of you to consider contributing to our newly renamed political war chest, A Stronger Financial Michigan. This fund pays for issue ads supporting state-level candidates that are strong supporters, and we're raising money from credit unions for the first time this year. I strongly encourage every credit union to consider making a corporate contribution, which will educate voters and act as a counterweight to the influence of big bankers on our political system. Click here to learn more about A Stronger Financial Michigan.
CU Solutions Group
A key source of financial strength and product solutions is provided by our for-profit company, CU Solutions Group. For 2014, CUSG plans to continue its $3 million support of A Stronger Financial Michigan, cooperative advertising and assistance for troubled credit unions. As you know, CUSG’s support helps to keep MCUL dues the lowest of any league in the country. Visit CUSolutionsGroup.com.
Loan Plus CMS
CUSG remains focused on core product solutions that help Michigan credit unions grow, serve their members and remain strong. To that end, CUSG has a number of important products coming down the pike. First, we recently launched a partnership with Sprint and Spireon to bring a new loan product to credit unions. Loan Plus CMS combines GPS geo-mapping with technological member communication to provide a risk-based lending product that also helps expand auto lending to non-prime borrowers. This product should help credit unions increase loan portfolios without substantially increasing risk or losses. Click here to learn more about Loan Plus CMS.
Another exciting product to look for this summer is ComplySight, a product that was developed by CUSG on behalf of League InfoSight. ComplySight will help credit unions manage the ever-growing burden of federal and state regulations. This online audit tool helps track over 200 regulations, includes the requirements and resources for fulfilling those requirements and, most importantly, offers stakeholders a report card on progress, all in real-time. ComplySight is currently in beta test and will be launched in June. Click here to learn more about ComplySight.
Mobile Finance Manager
Also on tap is the launch of a partnership between CUSG and Access Softek on a product called Mobile Finance Manager. The software allows you to offer dynamic mobile banking in a branded mobile app for Apple and Android tablets and smart phones. Mobile Finance Manager also gathers information that can be used to promote other products. More information will be available later on this partnership.
CUSG will continue to strengthen its brand within Membership Enhancements, specifically looking for improvements in client support and sales and marketing. We are redefining roles in our Marketing Solutions area to further enhance products like Save to Win, Gas Station TV and CUBE TV and other products that help credit unions communicate with their members. To learn more, hover over Marketing on the CU Solutions Group homepage.
Product Delivery Strategies
Two important strategies we are pursuing will help us better align staff with product delivery strategies. To that end, our internal credit and debit card support function is moving to FIS, while our Utah and Kansas operations are moving into our Livonia office. CUSG has always been focused helping create value and competitive advantage for Michigan credit unions, and these moves will help us enhance both Cards and Performance Solutions product lines.
Finally, we have created a new department called Michigan Solutions. This department within our national company is exclusively focused on products and services for the Michigan market, such as partnerships with CUNA, CUNA Mutual Group, Michigan Business Connection, CO-OP Financial Services, and Mortgage Center; as well as MCUL initiatives like business lending and supplemental capital. Visit www.cusolutionsgroup.com and hover over Michigan Solutions to learn more.
As always, our staff is focused on supporting credit unions with the best league services and the most crucial solutions to help credit unions serve, grow and remain strong. For more information on any of these priorities, I encourage you to visit mcul.org or to contact your league representative.