Articles and Press Releases
CU*Answers Encourages Staff Innovation at Be an Innovator Meeting
Over 30 employees met Wednesday to participate in the CU*Answers “Be an Innovator” Idea and Networking lunch. These meetings encourage collaboration and provide employees the opportunity to present their own innovative ideas or ways to improve processes at CU*Answers. This meeting was the second company-wide event.
Randy Karnes, CEO of CU*Answers opened the meeting with a keynote on the importance of innovation at CU*Answers and in the credit union industry. After his address, seven employees presented their own original ideas to the group. These ideas ranged from growing an employee mentoring program to developing an additional service for clients to enhancing the onboarding process of new programmers. Attendees selected the idea they wanted to vet and worked for the rest of the meeting in groups with the goal of implementing the ideas.
Alycia Meyers, coordinator of the group, reported that people who participated in the event came from all areas of the company and held both management and non-management positions. “The feedback of the group was overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “One person in management reported that he felt there was ‘good interaction between people working together.’ Other people liked the ‘support from management’ and the ‘open dialogue and small group vetting’.”
Randy Karnes, CEO at CU*Answers said about the group, “The innovators group at CU*Answers is designed to challenge to our corporate designs for innovations. We value it as a volunteer-employee-challenge to the ways we drive change into our network. A group to innovate on the processes of making things happen everywhere we can. It takes practices to put ideas out there, to challenge entrenched, and to lead in bringing things to market both internally and externally – the innovators group project is to build that experience and for generations of CU*A participants to take ownership of the responsibility to champion our future.”
Be an Innovator lunches are scheduled every two months. The next event is scheduled for July.
CU*Answers Adds 7th and 8th New Owners for 2013
CU*Answers, the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based cooperative CUSO, announced that it has added two credit unions to its ownership ranks. The newest owners include Thornapple Valley Community Credit Union located in Hastings, MI ($14M and 4,500 members), and Firefighters Credit Union located in LaCrosse, WI ($62M and 4,300 members).
Scott Page, CU*Answers EVP said “A key differentiator to our on-going Cooperative CUSO growth is that nearly every CU*BASE® client is provided a unique opportunity to become a CU*Answers owner, at an affordable investment price. Not only has CU*Answers stock ownership provided a solid historical return on investment, but each owner is provided an equal voting privilege, including the option for being nominated to and voting for the CU*Answers Board of Directors on an annual basis. This equitable ownership opportunity is something that CU*Answers has adhered to since it initially offered its credit union ownership option over 25 years ago. Without a doubt, it is part of the reason clients utilizing our CU*BASE processing system feel a vested partnership with CU*Answers versus that of a traditional vendor/customer relationship. As a CU*Answers owner, they receive a guaranteed dividend check back each year as based upon their on-going CUSO patronage.”
CU*Answers stated that with these two newest investors it was now at 111 credit union owners nationally, with 8 new owners already added during its 2013 fiscal year.
CU*Answers Releases White Paper Assessing the Risk of DDoS Attacks
CU*Answers, the 100% credit union-owned, cooperative CUSO headquartered In Grand Rapids, MI has published a white paper focusing on assessing the risk of Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks (DDoS). The white paper was developed in conjunction with AuditLink, an auditing and compliance division of CU*Answers Managed Services. The document fully describes a DDoS attack and what credit unions can do to protect themselves and prepare for examinations from regulators.
“DDoS attacks are in the news and on the minds of examiners,” Scott Page, EVP of CU*Answers said. “AuditLink has done a phenomenal job in providing guidelines for a credit union to assess their vulnerabilities and practical tips to address those concerns. A credit union needs to show they have controls in place and a grasp of what the business impact can be – and be able to show examiners they are aware and proactive. This white paper provides credit unions a valuable resource to do just that.”
For more information about DDos Risk Assessments and to read the white paper visit http://auditlink.cuanswers.com/ or contact Patrick Sickles, Internal Auditor at 800-327-3478.
CU*Answers Supports Co-Ops for Change Initiative
CU*Answers, the 100% credit union-owned, collaborative CUSO based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan announced that CEO Randy Karnes is the inaugural guest for the Co-Ops for Change Podcast. Karnes sits down with Callahan & Associates Chairman and Co-Ops for Change founder Chip Filson to discuss imperatives for regulatory leadership at this critical crossroads for credit unions.
“This effort isn’t about making an “industry-friendly” regulator,” Karnes said. “It’s about making sure the regulators recognize the unique design of credit unions over other financial service models. It’s about how a regulatory board influences the tone of an organization, the marketing and branding of the credit union.”
Co-Ops for Change is a grassroots movement to increase awareness both within the credit union community and among elected policymakers that regulatory leadership should understand and support the cooperative principals. The three major objectives are to reestablish cooperative principals as the core of the credit union regulatory system, provide credit union members and leaders the opportunity to demonstrate support for leadership based on these principals, and to advance a vision of a 21st century cooperative regulator that will enhance credit unions’ contributions from their unique capabilities based on their different design. To learn more about Co-Ops for change, to listen to the podcast, and to get involved, visit CU*Answers Supports Co-Ops for Change.
CU*Answers Report Series Provides Simplicity
CU*Answers, the 100% credit union-owned core data processor, announced its “My Favorite Reports” brochure series is receiving high marks from credit union executives reviewing CU*Answers. Credit unions stated that My Favorite Reports allowed them to quickly acclimate themselves to over sixty key reports necessary for successful accountability and compliance measures. A CU*Answers representative stated, “We are proud of the fact we have provided a method of retrieving information with overall ease and simplicity to the user.” Company representatives went on to say they will continue to invest in “dashboard” like programs well-liked by users of the CU*BASE® core processing system.
The “My Favorite Reports” brochure series focuses on nine primary areas of credit union interest: CEO, marketing, lending, collections, auditing, accounting, teller, member service, and daily reports. CU*Answers added that the report series and reference materials are written by industry experts providing purpose and value to all CU*BASE users and professionals.
CUSO Welcomes Two New Owners
Xtend, Inc., the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based CUSO, announced that two more credit unions had purchased an ownership block of shares, becoming the 69th and 70th owners of the multi-owned shared resources company. Company President Scott Collins indicated that the two credit unions were Wyoming, Michigan-based Kenowa Community Federal Credit Union and Grand Haven, Michigan-based Tri-Cities Credit Union.
Xtend Board Chairman Steve Searfoss (AAA Federal CU, South Bend, Indiana) said, “On behalf of the other eight CUSO Board Directors, it is my pleasure to welcome our two newest owners to the CUSO. It will also be my pleasure to acknowledge both Brian (Kenowa Community FCU CEO Brian Moran) and Sara (Tri-Cities CU CEO Sara Redeker) as new owners during our Annual Stockholder Meeting next month.” The Xtend 2013 Stockholder Meeting will take place on June 18th at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
eDOC and DigitalMailer Collaborate on My Virtual StrongBox
eDOC Innovations and DigitalMailer, Inc. have partnered to integrate My Virtual StrongBox© for eDOC’s 2020eDOC Member Document Portal users. My Virtual StrongBox acts as a virtual safety deposit box for vital member documents.
“We are excited about collaborating with eDOC Innovations and its network of CUSOs,” says Ron Daly, President/CEO of DigitalMailer. “In adding My Virtual StrongBox as part of its product offerings and combining the strengths of our companies, we can help credit unions deliver not only a valuable service to their members, but also one that is ‘sticky.’ And where better to store your important financial documents and files than with your trusted credit union!”
“The concept of extending delivery of documents found in the portal to a virtual safe deposit box, where a member can also contribute to the content is a natural evolution.” said Bret Weekes, President/CEO of eDOC Innovations. “The collaboration of our CUSO and DigitalMailer will again demonstrate an intense commitment we have to help credit unions drive value to their members and to capture the business opportunities that have sustainable influences for the credit union.”
My Virtual StrongBox within the 2020eDOC Member Document Portal is available now! For more information on how to obtain the 2020eDOC member portal with My Virtual StrongBox email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wakota Federal Credit Union Signs with CU*Answers
CU*Answers, the West Michigan-based CUSO, announced the recent signing of Wakota Federal Credit Union, located in South St. Paul, Minnesota to a new CU*BASE® online processing agreement. Wakota Federal Credit Union is a $20 million dollar credit union serving over 3,600 members.
Asked why Wakota Federal Credit Union chose CU*Answers, Mary Matheson, CEO, of Wakota FCU stated, “After a nine month search Wakota selected CU*Answers based on the company’s organizational structure of being a true forward thinking CUSO, and the positive references from existing CU*Answers credit unions. The collaborative services and pricing ultimately won us over.” Ms. Matheson goes on to say, “The ease and design of the CU*BASE analytics programs surpassed that of any of its competitors. We are very excited to partner with CU*Answers.”
Wakota Federal Credit Union is set for an August 2013 conversion joining three others in the state including, Building Trades CU, Lake State CU, and another recent partner, Toro Employees FCU. CU*Answers added that the number of credit unions nationally utilizing CU*BASE surpassed 200 during 2012, encompassing clients in over 25 states.
Collections Roundtable Features US Secret Service
A Collections Roundtable held quarterly for CU*Answers clients at their Grand Rapids location had a speaker from the US Secret Service in their March session. This was a huge opportunity for the Roundtable, which is CU*Answers most attended open forum, to have such a prestigious speaker. The hope was to get a handle on what the trends are causing losses and collection issues in general and to give the CU*Answers’ client base of over 170 Credit Unions across the nation, a path to follow should something happen.
We were not disappointed. Kim Cheatle the head of the Grand Rapids office delivered a resounding class on fraud in currency, checks, credit cards, and wire transfers. Many people are not aware that the Secret Service is part of the treasury and therefore is capable and trained in financial issues and fraud prevention. “This was even more than we were hoping for considering their busy schedule,” exclaimed Jerry Collins the organizer of the Roundtable. “We were greatly impressed at the value of the presentation and knowledgeable details that were expressed. We would like to see this happen every few years to keep our clients up on their fraud prevention tactics to prevent collection issues. It’s good to know that our clients have another avenue available if they need help that local authorities do not have resources to conduct.”
Toro Employees Federal Credit Union Signs with CU*Answers
CU*Answers, the 100% credit union-owned core data processor, announced the recent signing of Toro Employees Federal Credit Union, located in Bloomington, Minnesota to a new CU*BASE® online processing agreement. Toro Employees Federal Credit Union is a $28 million dollar credit union serving over 3,500 members.
When asked why Toro Employees Federal Credit Union chose CU*Answers, Grant Johnson, CEO stated, “We selected CU*Answers because of their unique business model, strong history of helping credit unions meet their member’s needs for deposits, lending and self-service technology. In addition CU*Answers offers value-added services for back office, analytics and direct marketing.”
Toro Employees Federal Credit Union is set for a May 2014 conversion joining three others in the state including, Building Trades CU, Lake State CU, and another recent partner, Wakota FCU. CU*Answers added that the number of credit unions nationally utilizing CU*BASE surpassed 200 during 2012, encompassing clients in over 25 states.
CU*Answers Adds Another Collection Client
CU*Answers announced that it had added another client to their Collections group. Greensboro Municipal Federal Credit Union signed on with the 100% credit union-owned CUSO in February. “The core objective is to have a team that can reach out to the members and make that first contact to determine how quickly the issue causing the delinquency can be fixed”, expressed Jerry Collins the Collections Team Leader.
Since many Credit Unions have shared resources for their team this isn’t done as efficiently as having another dedicated team doing it for them. The credit union can then concentrate on the more seriously delinquent accounts. This creates a win/win situation for both parties as the credit union saves money and gains efficiency and the CUSO is able to offer another value add service for their core data processor clients.
Record Attendance Attends Ohio Regional Training Event
CU*Answers, a 100% credit union-owned cooperative CUSO held its Ohio Regional Training Event on May 8, 2013 to a record crowd. With over 25 attendees from more than a dozen credit unions in the Ohio region, the event set the record for the number of attendees at a regional training event.
The day long training session had a focus on marketing tools within CU*BASE® and how credit unions can use the software tools to reach out to members based on opportunities. There were a total of five classes that were facilitated by Keegan Daniel, Manager of Professional Services – Gividends, that ranged from implementing a cross sales culture within a credit union, to best practices for email marketing. All credit unions who attended walked away with action items that could potentially lead to new opportunities within their membership.
Other regional training events that will be held later this year are in Wisconsin and South Dakota. The theme for these events will be consistent with that of the Ohio Regional Training event.
CU*NorthWest Completes Roll Over Disaster Recovery Test
CU*NorthWest, an information technology CUSO based in Liberty Lake, Washington participated in a successful production roll-over test involving client credit unions and third party connections.
The test is part of the company’s ongoing disaster recovery strategy that includes high availability replication and EFT redundancy. CU*NorthWest has processing capabilities from both Liberty Lake, WA and Yankton, SD.
The roll-over tested improved disaster recovery and business continuity strategies along with near immediate recovery with state-of-the-art data replication technologies. Additional roll over tests will take place throughout the year.
“With each test we get faster at recovering and better at identifying and fine-tuning the process,” said Greg Smith, President and CEO of Cu*NorthWest.
CU*NorthWest Offers Focused-Learning Series on Lending
CU*NorthWest is offering a Focused-Learning Series on Lending Tricks of the Trade in May. This series is designed to amp up the lending departments of CU*BASE® GOLD users.
The classes will focus on auto funds transfers, variable rate products, configuration options and effective dated account adjustments. Each week includes practice assignments and is geared to advancing the understanding of new and existing loan officers. The final week of the series is used as a review to answer any questions that clients may have as well as cover the main points of the previous three weeks.
CU*NorthWest offers four month-long learning series based on different functions within CU*BASE GOLD as well as monthly classes, regional training events, On Demand learning videos and an online campus.
“It is important to create an environment of constant learning and we offer our credit unions many ways to access education tools,” said Greg Smith, CEO and President of CU*NorthWest.
CU*NorthWest to Hold 2013 Leadership Conference
CU*NorthWest, a core data processing CUSO will hold its’ annual Leadership Conference June 25th-27th at the Northern Quest Resort in Spokane, Washington. This will be the first time the event will take place at the Four Diamond Award-rated resort. The annual conference provides CU*NorthWest clients an opportunity to learn more about CU*NorthWest’s vision for the coming year.
Cuasterisk.com network partners will also be in attendance to educate CU*BASE® GOLD users of the latest news and updates from each respective CUSO. In addition, the annual Stockholder’s Meeting will take place with two board seats to be voted upon.