ICUL Service Corporation
ICUL League Directors Report
Illinois Credit Union League                                    September/October 2015
Feature Story
Illinois delegation successful during
Congressional recess
As members of Congress settle in at the nation's Capitol for the fall work period, several Representatives from Illinois are back with fresh updates on issues important to credit unions.
This renewed perspective is a result of several meetings
that were facilitated by the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) between credit union advocates and several Illinois Congressmen during their summer recess.  The Illinois delegation's schedule included visits with: Rep. Bob Dold (R-10), Rep. Bill Foster (D-11), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-14) and Rep. John Shimkus (R-15).
ICUL delegation with Congressman Randy Hultgren (IL-14).
Carl Sorgatz, Vice President with Great Lakes Credit Union and ICUL Board Member, was one of the individuals on hand to meet with the legislators.
"These visits are extremely important.  It is key for legislators to get to know us not only as individuals and representatives from our own credit unions, but also credit unions as a movement.  That way, when issues arise, we are a known entity and they will remember us from when we visited them back in their district or in Washington, D.C.," Sorgatz said.
  ICUL Delegation with Rep. Bob Dold (IL-10).
During these meetings, the Illinois delegation discussed several current legislative initiatives.  This included:
  • Support of the credit union tax exemption
  • Support for S. 961/H.R. 2205, Data Security Act of 2015
  • Support for S. 774/H.R. 1941, Exam Fairness and Reform Act
  • Support for S. 1367/H.R. 299, Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act of 2015
  • Support for H.R. 2473, Preserving Capital Access and Mortgage Liquidity Act of 2015
"We value the opportunity to meet with members of the Illinois Congressional delegation and find it encouraging when they have a solid understanding of credit unions," said Tom Kane, ICUL President/CEO.  "Their recognition of the key role credit unions play is much appreciated and we sincerely value the time they set aside to maintain an on-going dialogue and discuss issues important to our members."
Important News
ICU Foundation provides crucial means for success
The Illinois Credit Union Foundation (ICU Foundation)has been supporting credit union ideals for nearly four decades and most recently provided $66,073 in grants and scholarships to help the Illinois movement thrive.
Because of the Foundation's involvement, small
credit unions have gained several new hardware and software resources that will serve as the backbone of their operations.  Small Credit Union Development (SCUD) Grants totaling $22,000 were awarded to a dozen credit unions.  They included: Champaign Postal Credit Union, Decatur Policemen Credit Union, Decatur Postal Credit Union, Elgin Mental Health Employees Credit Union, NIU Employees Credit Union, Oak Lawn Municipal Employees Credit Union, Parish Members Credit Union, Park Manor Christian Church Credit Union, Peoria City Employees Credit Union, Peru Municipal Credit Union, St. Jude Credit Union and Urbana Municipal Employees Credit Union.
Many credit unions focus on member relationships and giving back to their communities.  Eight credit unions will be doing just that by holding food drives, supporting local charities, providing financial literacy education, and hosting shred days. The ICU Foundation's Community Service grant program, which is designed to encourage and reward participation in local community projects, fits the bill.  A collective total of $4,000 has been provided to: Altonized Community Federal Credit Union, Blackhawk Area Credit Union, DuPage Credit Union, Education Personnel Federal Credit Union, Heights Autoworkers Credit Union, Landmark Credit Union, R.I.A. Federal Credit Union, and South Division Credit Union.
Reaching young professionals and new members is vital to the credit union movement's future. Rounding out this cycle of grants were three credit unions that received Marketing and Business Development grants, which totaled $4,500, to support outreach efforts such as relevant educational opportunities and an online lending program. The grant recipients were: Fellowship Baptist Church Credit Union, Peru Municipal Credit Union, and Rockford Bell Credit Union.
There is one more key opportunity for Illinois credit unions and chapters to apply for grants yet this year - October 31. In addition, scholarships are reviewed on an on-going basis while funds last.  Online and downloadable grant request forms are available via the League's Web site.
Illinois Ranks #5 in U.S. for Financial Ed,
Teaches 28,000+ Students
Each year, the National Youth Involvement Board recognizes the top ten states that reached the greatest number of students with financial education, and the highest number of presentations given in that regard.  Thanks to the outstanding efforts of the credit unions in Illinois, our state ranked #5 in both categories!
NYIB also recognizes the top ten individuals who reach the highest number of students.  Kim Babbington, SIU CU, ranked #8 on the list of number of students reached.  Congratulations, Kim!
Credit unions from across Illinois taught more than 28,000 students about financial education topics including money management and saving for the future during the period of July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.  Click here for a list of credit unions along with the number of presentations given and number of students reached.
Summer Activity Recaps
"People Helping People" philosophy
helps stocks shelves
ICUL President/CEO Tom Kane sits with the supply of food donated by ICU System staff as it was ready to be delivered to a local food pantry this summer.
Hunger doesn't take a "summer vacation." That's why employees of the Illinois Credit Union System (ICUS) significantly increased their efforts during their annual summer food drive for the Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry.
As a result, they donated more than 1,100 pounds of food to help feed their hungry neighbors.
ICUS staff collected the pantry's most needed items, such as canned goods; potatoes and onions; boxed goods; as well as gift bags containing party favors, decorations and cake serving supplies. These special extras were donated to help bring joy to underprivileged children during times of celebration.
As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, the credit union "People Helping People" philosophy motivates them to support countless community charitable activities and worthwhile causes.  It's unfortunate nearly 100,000 people in DuPage County alone are unsure from where their next meal will come. In addition, with more than 16 percent of the county's children considered "food insecure", this food drive was one way to continue the social commitment of the credit union movement.
"Food connects us all," said Matthew Chicola, Director of External Relations at Loaves & Fishes. "The Illinois Credit Union System has demonstrated how powerful this connection is by donating a significant amount of food for low-income client families who struggle to put well-balanced meals on their tables. This donation will put 917 meals on our clients' plates. That is powerful."
"This food drive is the perfect intersection of our collective missions," said Tom Kane, Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) President/CEO.  "Credit unions exist to help people, not make a profit. Our goal is to serve all our members and residents well, including those of modest means. This compassionate act of community service will play an important role in the lives of those who are hungry."  
Illinois first host of "Life Simulation" for audience of statewide chapter leaders
Illinois chapter leaders expressed a range of emotions such as "frustrated", "powerless", and "belittled", "lucky", "blessed", and "victorious" after participating in an eye-opening poverty simulation.
"The Life Simulation" was recently introduced as part of the Illinois Credit Union League's (ICUL) Chapter Leaders Conference.  Hosted jointly with the Greater Decatur Chapter of Credit Unions, this annual event brought together more than 80 volunteer leaders from around the state.  This was the first time in which the simulation was facilitated for a group of statewide credit union chapter leaders.
Offered in conjunction with the National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation), the simulation is designed to help credit union employees, volunteers and leadership begin to understand the constant pressures and challenges faced by struggling, low-income families. During the three hour activity, these "families" struggled to make ends meet in a simulated month of four, fifteen minute weeks. Tables representing various community resources, such as social service agencies, a bank, payday lender, childcare provider, school, police as well as juvenile detention facilities, a grocery store, utilities, pawn shop, and a check cashing outlet, were manned by either chapter leaders or ICUL staff.  Each participant was provided a script for the role they were to play and how to interact with these resources to try and accomplish their daily business.
Some families were newly unemployed, some were homeless, and others were senior citizens living on disability payments or raising grandchildren.  The wide range of reactions articulated throughout the simulation were illustrative of the many issues this segment of the population may face, including substance or alcohol abuse, lack of transportation, eviction, shut off utilities, and behavioral issues in children.
"The Illinois participants really threw themselves into the simulation much more than we've seen before," said Mark Lynch, Senior Program Manager for the Foundation.  "The takeaway is to not only help credit unions develop more empathy, but to also really get them thinking about what products or services they could be offering, such as small dollar loans, non-prime auto loans, or secured credit cards."

“First and foremost, we just need to be there for our members and think about what type of referrals to agencies in our community we can make available.  Some people are literally living minute-to-minute and in constant crisis trying to make ends meet, while at the same time, trying to hold down a minimum wage job,” said Wednesday Medlen, Education Liaison and Illinois Youth Involvement Council (IYIC) Representative for the John L. Kelly Chapter of Credit Unions.

Community Plus FCU in Rantoul, IL. where Medlen serves as Business Development/Membership Officer, is a Certified Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a low-income designation (LICU) and already offers programs such as non-prime auto loans, Second Chance Checking, free financial counseling and credit building programs.  She also acknowledges timing is everything.
To read the full story, please click here.  Also, please click here to view pictures from the event.
Educational Opportunities
Technology facilitates an increased usage of the internet, and delivers a breath of liability issues many have never experienced before. These issues and exposures are often referred to as "cyber liability." A data breach can result in more than lost data. It can damage your credit union's reputation, shake your members' trust and cost you tens of thousands of dollars to repair. Is your credit union prepared to respond to a threat of this nature?  Find out more at the Cyber Liability - Data Security QuickBites on September 24 (Session Code: 642).
Your website can be the single best tool you have for attracting new members, but only if you know how to manage it.  During the What Does Membership Growth Have To Do With Google Analytics? QuickBites on September 29 (Session Code: 643), the first of a two-part series, we will discuss the basics of Google Analytics, and how to utilize it to adjust your website keywords, content, links, site architecture and marketing strategy to meet your credit union's goals.
It happened in January, 2014 and the changes are still being felt across the entire mortgage lending industry. Your members now have the power to sue you for three years of finance charges if you make a loan without meeting the new Ability to Repay and Qualified Mortgage requirements.  At the Changes to the Mortgage Lending Rules QuickBites on October 1 (Session Code: 647), learn the particulars concerning the ATR/QM rules. If you do mortgage lending you won't want to miss this update.
Let's face it, being an employer is not easy. Setting aside the employee issues, credit unions need to draft and retain documents. Sounds simple enough. But which documents does the credit union need to use? How long is the retention period? The FMLA says one time period which may conflict with the responsibilities under the FLSA. The HR Forms QuickBites on October 6 (Session Code: 650) will address these issues. Attendees will receive documents needed to implement and administer human resources functions.
There are more opportunities to capture more loans, especially those that are financed elsewhere. The ability to expand your lending portfolio is dependent on: competitiveness in the market, lending policies, and marketing messaging to engage different age groups.  During the Expanding Your Credit Union's Loan Portfolio QuickBites on October 8 (Session Code: 651), hear ideas you can put into practice right away to start increasing your lending today.
With an upward swing in our economic landscape and increased consumer confidence, 2015 is the year for credit unions to capitalize on increased loan growth. Successful credit unions must develop a plan of action to ensure loan growth and profitability are maximized and delinquencies are minimized.  At the Ten Steps to Relentless Loan Growth QuickBites on October 14 (Session Code: 652), discover a 10-step plan of action to help you maximize loan growth and profitability, minimize delinquencies, and increase membership loyalty.
At the Sparking Innovation at Your Credit Union QuickBites on October 20 (Session Code: 653), learn how your credit union can become more adaptive and innovative. This session covers how to recruit and retain innovative employees, foster experimentation and learning, and develop a process for good decision making. Hear case studies from innovative credit unions across the country.
In case you haven't noticed, bankruptcy filings have returned to their historic levels and show little sign of going away. Much has happened over the last year that directly impacts collections. From improving your internal processes to understanding your rights, Bankruptcy to be held on October 22 (Session Code: 654), an informative and interactive session, is sure to have something for you!  Can you afford NOT to attend?
As credit unions begin to adapt and cope to the so called, "Post PC Era" how will their mobile applications on smartphones and tablets effect how they service and educate non-members and existing members? Mobile devices and custom app development across multiple platforms will become critical in differentiating one financial institution from the next.  Find out more at the How to Engage Members Thru Smart Phones & Tablets QuickBites session on October 27 (Session Code: 655).
Attend the Customer ID Program (CIP) for Credit Unions QuickBites on October 29 (Session Code: 656) and learn how to comply with the Member Identification Program requirements applicable to your credit union. This session will provide: An overview of MIP rules; Account opening requirements; Identification of information to be provided to the credit union; Verification of information provided; How to handle problem situations; and more!
New on-demand for 2015 is H.B. 5342 - BOD & Supervisory Committee Training.  H.B. 5342 was initiated by the League to provide consistency and clarity in the credit union regulatory exam process. H.B. 5342 requires that each credit union board director must understand the credit union's financial statements. Sign up for this training today (Session Code: 419).
Other on demand training resources include the Bank Secrecy Act and Financial Exploitation of the Elderly. 
In addition, the audio archive of all QuickBites and telecourses is 60 days with paid registrations!
For the complete calendar, see the League's Web site.

The New EZ Launch
A rewarding program for everyone
The newly redesigned EZ Launch from LSC® is an easy and profitable way for credit unions in your state to offer members a comprehensive credit card program. Our turnkey referral program provides a beneficial product and creates income for your credit unions, including incentives for your league.

The process is easy. You tell your credit unions about EZ Launch. Once they contract for our services, they refer interested members to our website to apply. We take care of everything else.
  • There is no cost to implement. 
  • We provide free marketing materials and an interactive link for the credit union website.
  • We're also holding free informational webinars to introduce credit unions of $20 Million in assets and below to the program.

As an added incentive this year, we're offering participating credit unions a special reward. For every approved member referral a credit union sends*, EZ Launch pays them $50.00. In addition, they earn 5% of all finance charges on cards, and your league earns 1%.

That incremental income adds up. EZ Launch benefits everyone, from the member, to the credit union, to your league, all at no additional expense. 

The EZ Launch program offers two different cards:

  • CUMONEY® Elite Platinum Visa® - a credit card with low rates and fantastic rewards
  • CUMONEY® Platinum Progress - for members working to re-establish their credit rating

Many credit unions are already experiencing success with the new EZ Launch program. It's no wonder since May 1st we've approved as many applications as in all of 2014! The right card program benefits members, while providing revenue to your credit unions and your league.

For more information on the products & benefits of EZ Launch, call us at (800) 942-7124 or email us at


*minimum 650 TransUnion credit score to qualify for approval


Embrace with Members

The World Council of Credit Unions has announced the 2015 International Credit Union (ICU) Day® theme is "People Helping People," embracing the longstanding credit union philosophy. ICU Day is celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October and will take place this year on October 15, 2015.

Since appearing in several past ICU Day themes from the 1960s and 1980s, the phrase's meaning has stood the test of time. By adding a modern and colorful design, ICU Day celebrations this year have potential to raise awareness of credit union benefits and ultimately attract more members worldwide.
Official ICU Day graphics and posters in English and Spanish, as well as promotional materials and other tips are available for download on the World Council's website at  Mark the date and start making plans today!
Join the Illinois movement for an
International Credit Union Week PR blitz!
Speaking of International Credit Union Week, Illinois chapters and credit unions statewide are being called upon to participate in one-day PR events - CU Lunch Local and "Pay It Forward."
These events, scheduled for October 13, 2015 (the Tuesday of International Credit Union Week) are being held once again to drive positive awareness of credit unions in their local media and on social media, and at the same time, support local businesses.
As a follow up to last year's statewide PR campaign to celebrate 100 million memberships, which included our state's inaugural participation in CU Lunch Local, several chapters and credit unions have expressed interest in participating again.  CU Lunch Local is a "cash mob" where people spend money at local businesses with the goal of supporting them and encouraging others to buy local.  What better way for credit unions, which are locally-owned themselves, to celebrate ICU Week than by showing their support for local businesses and creating significant awareness!
Participating is as easy as pie (In fact, buying a pie at a local bakery would be a great way to take part).  Just commit to spending money with local businesses on October 13. Pick up coffee for your entire branch at a local café in the morning.  Take your crew out to lunch at a local deli that day. Anything that shows support for locally-owned small businesses - and leverages your local and social media outlets!
Another variation of this one-day blitz could include "Paying It Forward".  This activity starts as the same concept of CU Lunch Local.  The twist is to then give the person whose bill you paid a nominal amount of funds (e.g., $10 cash or a $10 Visa card) and tell them to "pay it forward" by helping someone or doing someone a favor with their new found funds.  Afterwards, ask them to share their story of how they helped others.
These activities have attracted many great PR stories of credit unions and their members doing good in their communities!
While a group-coordinated effort is encouraged, the possibilities are many and the variation is up to you.  For now, please convene a quick discussion with your fellow credit unions and chapter leaders about getting involved on October 13.  Then, let ICUL PR Coordinator William Wille know of your plans.  A planning checklist, tips and other assistance will be provided from there.
We're looking forward to a great celebration!
Mark your Calendars for ICUL's 2016 Annual Convention:
Think Community!
Planning for ICUL's 86th Annual Convention is well underway. Next year's event will be held April 7-9, 2016 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel. The theme will be, "Think Community!"  Save these dates, inform your board members, staff and plan on attending this premiere annual event. Details will be forthcoming.
Mandatory Compliance, Good Faith Efforts and Safe Harbors -
Breaking Down TRID
By Lauren Capitini, Senior Compliance Manager
The Mandatory Compliance Date
On July 21, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a Final Rule extending the looming mandatory compliance date for the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID) to October 3, 2015. If you were among the credit unions challenged to meet the August 1 compliance date, you may have breathed a sigh of relief at this welcome news. It is imperative, however, that you continue to work diligently to integrate the new disclosures onto your existing or new systems, update your policies and procedures, and train your front-line staff for the new go-live date. Come October 3, the regulation is effective and compliance is required. As a practical matter, you should note that early compliance is not permitted. Even if you were ready to go-live on August 1, the "switch" to the new disclosures cannot be flipped until October 3.
To read the full article and learn more, please click here.
Retirement Crisis for Women

While it's commonplace to see research on the number of Americans who are not well prepared for retirement, new surprising research from the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) and the Filene Research Institute reveals just how much more unprepared women are for retirement than men. These findings should be especially alarming to credit unions-where the majority of employees are female.
Alarmingly Unprepared for Retirement
The EBRI, which previously assessed individuals' probability of running out of money in their retirement years, published new research measuring the size of the deficits various demographic groups would generate in retirement. The research found, on average, significantly larger savings deficits for women and projected that an early Baby Boomer family will generate a $19,304 average deficit per individual in retirement.1 This is even more problematic for single women, where an early Baby Boomer will generate an average deficit more than three times larger, at $62,734.
To read the full article and learn more, please click here.
Discovery Conference - A virtual peek into your future

When your primary goal is taking care of your members first, followed by overseeing the day-to-day operations of your credit union, it's difficult to look ahead and develop a strategy for the future. It's hard enough just staying on top of the latest industry news and regulations. CUNA Mutual Group has put together a perfect solution to bring the latest news, insights, and projections for the future of the credit union movement right to you.
One day, one source, and the best part is you don't have to go anywhere. Credit union leaders across the country and around the world are cordially invited to attend the first ever virtual Discovery Conference on Wednesday October 21, 2015, presented by CUNA Mutual Group.  Click here for all the details

Illinois Credit Union League


1807 W. Diehl Rd. Naperville, IL 60563      225 S. College, Suite 200, Springfield, IL 62704

(800) 942-7124

Our Mission: To Serve You