ICUL Service Corporation
April 2013

Important News

Illinois League rates exceptionally high in nationwide member satisfaction survey

Goin' mobile at Annual Convention!

ICU Foundation awards nearly $52,000 in grants after first round 

How to make sure you’re getting good advice in a Third-Party Bond/Insurance Review

Illinois League rates exceptionally high in nationwide member satisfaction survey
The Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) and ICUL Service Corporation (LSC) have achieved a 95 percent overall approval rating according to a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) member satisfaction survey conducted at the end of 2012.

Illinois member credit unions were surveyed on behalf of ICUL and LSC, and a separate survey was sent to out-of-state users of LSC products.  As a credit union service organization offering a wide array of fee-based products and services, LSC serves approximately 3,000 credit unions in all 50 states including Illinois, as well as the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.  The survey received a very good response rate, averaging 35 percent for both organizations.

Recording satisfaction scores for each of 10 performance factors, including leadership team effectiveness, ability to be in touch with and respond to Illinois credit unions’ needs, and ability to fairly and equitably serve credit unions of all sizes, the survey results are "for the most part, quite high– especially with what is arguably the single most important aspect – the extent to which the League is led by a capable and effective leadership team."

"This achievement is especially difficult, given the challenges inherent in having to serve and balance the widely-varying needs of all members – large and small," said Jon Haller CUNA director of corporate and market research in presenting the results to the ICUL and LSC boards of directors at their March 2013 meeting.

"Overall, the results indicate the League and LSC are doing a great job in meeting the needs of their members and customers and are among the top performing leagues and service corporations in the country," said Dan Plauda, ICUL president/chief executive officer.  "My congratulations go to our boards, management team and staff.  We also owe a great deal of thanks to our member credit unions here in Illinois and those we serve across the country for their support of the ICU System.  We look forward to continuing to provide a high level of service in all we do."

Goin' mobile at Annual Convention!
To help our attendees reach their “Passport to Success!” at this year’s Convention, the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) has once again implemented a mobile Web site specifically for the event!

The Convention is an opportune time for a mobile site as a way to provide more information at the fingertips of our attendees.  The mobile site is intended to work with smartphones (e.g., iPhone, Droid, etc.) via either scanning thye event "Quick Response" (QR) Code or if a user enters the Annual Convention page URL ( directly from their smartphone, they will be automatically re-directed to the mobile site.  In addition, the mobile site is specifically designed for smartphones, so users of "tablets" (e.g., iPad, Kindle Fire, etc.), will still see the regular site as it still shows well on those devices.

The mobile site includes:
  • Convention Highlights
  • Schedule and Speakers
  • Hotel Floor Plan Map
  • A comprehensive list of Area Restaurants and Attractions, including Shopping and Nightlife options
  • Listing of Business Partners who are exhibiting
If you have a smartphone, scan the code to check it out now and get all the Convention details in the palm of your hand!  If you need assistance, please email William Wille, ICUL PR Coordinator at  See you there!

ICU Foundation awards nearly $52,000 in grants after first round
The ICU Foundation Grants Committee has awarded $51,885 in Small Credit Union Development (SCUD), Community Service, and Marketing and Business Development grants following the March 31 application deadline.

Small Credit Union Development (SCUD) Grants this cycle totaled $32,635 and were awarded to 12 credit unions and one chapter:
  • Chapter - Chicago Metro
  • Bell West Community CU
  • Chicago Fireman's Association CU
  • Chicago Fire Officers Association CU
  • Ottawa Hiway CU
  • Parish Members CU
  • Peoria City ECU
  • Romeoville Community CU
  • Urbana Municipal ECU

The Foundation also awarded seven Community Service Grants at $500 each. This program is designed to encourage and reward chapter or credit union participation in local community projects.  Credit unions and chapters can qualify for grants by hosting an established event, creating an event, or volunteering at an established event. Recipients included:

  • Chapter – Bloomington
  • Alton Bell Community CU
  • Altonized Community FCU
  • Blackhawk Area CU
  • Heights Auto Workers CU
  • Members First Community CU
  • Oak Lawn Municipal ECU
  • Streator Onized CU

In addition, four credit unions received Marketing and Business Development grants that totaled $15,500. The recipients were:

  • Danville Bell CU
  • Fairmont Village CU
  • South Side Community FCU
  • United Methodist Ministries CU
Established in 1978 to foster credit union ideals and philosophy throughout Illinois, the Foundation has awarded more than $2.3 million in scholarships, community service grants, assistance for small credit union development, emergencies and natural disasters, limited income credit unions, and community involvement projects.

How to make sure you’re getting good advice in a Third-Party Bond/Insurance Review
If you’re working with a third-party to help review your fidelity bond and other insurance protections, be sure you understand whether the third party is an independent consultant or a commissioned broker. And be sure the third party’s priority is to serve your credit union’s long-term best interests. Here’s a checklist to help guide your decision about finding the best partner for protecting your credit union, its officers, and board members.

If your credit union engages a third party to help review your fidelity bond and other insurance protections, be sure you understand whether the third party is an independent consultant working strictly for a fee or a broker that could be working at least partly on commissions from carriers.

The consulting services provided by a neutral third party and a commissioned broker may look identical. And either type of third party may have the expertise to evaluate your current protection program. The key is knowing whether the third party makes recommendations solely based on your credit union’s best long-term interests.

For example, if a "consultant" waives the consultation fee for reviewing your current protection package, this could be a red flag. How is this consultant being compensated? If the compensation comes from a carrier, that could sway the consultant’s recommendations.

Ask plenty of questions, especially if a recommendation is weighted most heavily toward finding the lowest initial cost. This approach could steer you toward a carrier that may not be in the business of insuring credit unions for the long haul.

Several carriers have entered the credit union bond/insurance market since the 1980s, often to compete for the lowest price point, only to cut most ties with credit unions less than a decade later. Service can suffer at both ends of this lifecycle, as carriers learn how credit unions work and as the carriers stop committing resources in advance of leaving the market.

A thorough coverage review with your current carrier, while conducting an in-house comparison of other carriers, can be an effective strategy. And there’s no ambiguity about the carrier’s motivation. If you’re working with a third-party consultant, however, use this checklist to be sure the consultation yields the best choice of protection options:

  • Is the consultant objective, or is it also a broker paid on commissions?
  • What broker fees and/or management fees apply to the transaction?
  • Are all carriers being evaluated? If not, which carriers are included in the search?
  • How long has the recommended carrier been in the bond/D&O/property/casualty business, and specifically, how long has it been serving the credit union market?
  • Would your credit union have direct access to the carrier’s underwriters, risk management experts, and claims specialists?
  • Does the carrier focus on product development to address emerging exposures specifically for credit unions? For example, how many new coverages has the carrier introduced in the last five years? 
  • Can bondability verifications be conducted online? How many credit union employees are in their database?
  • How many different carriers are involved in the insurance program, and what potential gaps or overlaps exist between the various policies?
  • Does the carrier have educational resources that help your credit union prevent losses and mitigate damage after a loss occurs? Do these resources, such as online content or webinars, cost extra?
  • Does the carrier work on behalf of the credit union industry to help shape, clarify, and modify new regulations?

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