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Credit Union Gives Aid Following Joplin Tornado

On May 22, just blocks from Postal Federal Community Credit Union's Joplin branch, a devastating tornado ripped through city streets resulting in 155 deaths--the nation's single deadliest tornado on record in 60 years.   Postal Federal was forced to close the lobby of its Joplin branch after sustaining minor damage, but was able to reopen its ATM and drive-thru just a few days later.  The credit union quickly mobilized employees to help with relief efforts. They set up computer, internet and charging stations for use by neighbors who were without power.  They also walked through the surrounding area handing out food and water to displaced residents.

Steve Pierson, President and CEO of PFCCU, remarked, "There's a reason that this branch was left standing, so now we want to use it to help our neighbors in any way possible."  The credit union will continue to offer services to Joplin neighbors as long as necessary.  On PFCCU's website, a link has been set up to take donations for Convoy of Hope, aimed at helping the citizens of Joplin affected by the tornado.

CUAid is also taking donations to help with relief effort.  Through CUAid, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) is coordinating with the Missouri Credit Union Charitable Foundation to ensure the funds go to employees and members in the affected area.

Las Vegas Conference Wrap-Up

Postal credit unions from across the country gathered in Las Vegas last month to share new ideas and successful strategies for growth.  Attendance at the postal meeting has rebounded since 2009 demonstrating that the need for education and networking is as important as ever.  The two and a half-day meeting was packed with critical updates on the state of the economy, lending, member financial education, as well as the Postal Service's current status. 

Postal Service Seeks New Solutions
On hand from Postal headquarters, John Mularski, Manager of Complement Staffing and Field Policy, discussed the USPS's latest trends and programs.  Some of the interesting statistics he reported:

  • -USPS currently has 574,000 career employees
  • -565 million pieces of mail are processed daily
  • -USPS maintains a fleet of 216,000 vehicles, the largest civilian fleet in the world
  • -41,000 of those vehicles run on alternative fuels like natural gas
  • -A one-cent increase in the price of gas per gallon adds a cost of $8 million to the entire fleet
  • -There are 36,000 post offices, 33,000 postal-managed retail establishments and 2,500 automated postal centers in operation today.

Mularksi also outlined several programs the USPS has developed with input from its employees in order to generate new revenue sources.  Customer Connect enlists the help of mail carriers to generate sales leads, with an anticipated revenue of $150 million in 2011.  Through Business Connect, postmasters and area managers meet with owners of small to medium-sized businesses to generate sales leads with a projected annual revenue of $188 million.  Based on customer interest and employee feedback, the USPS has introduced the Flat Rate envelope.  It hopes a two-year trial of pre-paid postage on greeting cards will turn into a sustained revenue source.  At the usps.com website, the Postal Service receives 1.3 million daily visitors.  Since December 2009, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users have had access to a USPS app that has been consistently ranked as one of the top 10 free business apps.  And, in March a mobile app for Android devices was released.

Lending Expert Christensen Tells It Like It Is  
Having a successful lending program in this economy takes more than just luck according to Brett Christensen, owner of CU Lending Advice LLC.  In 13 years of working closely with credit unions, Christensen has developed strategies that help them rethink how they structure their lending programs.  In the first part of a two-part session, Christensen outlined significant issues that negatively impact lending:  

  • -An expense ratio that is too high
  • -Heavy reliance on courtesy pay fee income that comes from debit/ATM cards
  • -Poor underwriting decisions 
  • -An average loan yield that is too low
  • -Branches are a totally inefficient delivery channel for selling loans and services
  • -Supermen and Superwomen (employees) do not exist
  • -Low production numbers from lenders
  • -Service is a corporate strength, sales is not
  • -Growing auto loans without indirect lending
  • -Not having a clear idea of who is responsible for loan growth
  • -Having too many employees involved in lending
  • -A weak IT function
  • -An inadequate collections effort

In the second part of the session, Christensen provided solutions for overcoming these lending hurdles.  If you missed the conference, session handouts are posted online on NCPCU's meeting page.

Helping Members Become Financially Literate

The Financial Literacy and Education Commission defines financial literacy as "the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being." In today's complex economic environment, it is absolutely critical that consumers have access to the resources and information to become financially literate.  Credit unions are uniquely positioned to offer education to members and have a positive impact on their financial futures.  Education programs do not need to be costly or tie up resources to be effective.  However, for a program to be successful, it takes a keen understanding of the members' needs and a commitment to making financial literacy a priority.

Here are questions to consider when evaluating your credit union's member education program:

  • -Is the program focused on long-term change rather than just immediate results?
  • -How will your credit union prepare for shifts in employment trends considering that in the next nine to ten years, two-thirds of the jobs available will require some post-secondary education?
  • -Does your program provide ROI? For instance, is there a correlation between financial counseling and a reduction in delinquencies?
  • -Do you offer specialized programs for younger consumers and the growing segment of retiring Baby Boomers?
  • -Does your credit union provide assistance with identity theft awareness and fraud prevention?
There is an array of options available for providing financial education to members.  Check with CUNA and your state league to find out what programs they offer.  Financial fitness companies like BALANCE offer tiered programs for credit unions of all sizes.  NEFE (National Endowment for Financial Education) and the Financial Literacy and Education Commission provide links to resources and information on their websites.

Other News

~Postcripts

Conference Sponsors Take Part in Program's Success
Once again, vendor contributions helped enhance the quality of the conference program.  A special thank you to the following generous companies:

Affinion Group 
Allied Solutions
CheckAlt
CUNA Mutual Group
Deluxe Corp.
Enterprise Car Sales
Fiserv
New York Life Insurance

NCPCU's Silent Auction would not have been possible without the donations made by member credit unions and Lighthouse Printing & Promotions. Proceeds of this year's auction will go to the John Kinevich Memorial Scholarship Fund. 

Council Elects 2011-2012 Board of Directors 
At NCPCU's Annual Business Meeting on May 2, three incumbents were reelected to the board.  At a subsequent reorganization meeting, the board elected the following officers:

John King, Chairman
Kevin Yaeger, Vice Chairman
Sidney Parfait, Treasurer
Becca Cuddy, Secretary
Neil Crean, Director
Don DeCinque, Director
Hugh Livingston, Director
Vladimir Stark, Director
Will Yarborough, Director 

Next Eagle Plastic Card Order

The next bulk plastic card order will be placed on September 30, 2011.   The estimated ship date for this order is October 24, or earlier.  Interested in placing an order?  Please e-mail the request to ncpcu@ncpcu.org, or call NCPCU at 1-858-792-3883.  

If your credit union is not already participating in this valuable program, call the Council today to learn how your credit union can save on Eagle image plastic cards.