ICUL Service Corporation
 
 
January 2013
 
 
 

 

Important News

Substantial Q4 regulatory fee credit to reach state-chartered CUs for third year in a row!

LSC providing significant upgrades in prepaid products to more than 2,000 of the nation’s credit unions

2013 Board elections underway

REAL Solutions, Foundation kickoff Debt in Focus 2013 with 36 CUs

LSC alerts credit unions to change of toll free number for credit/debit counseling

League concludes another charitable year of giving

Substantial Q4 regulatory fee credit to reach state-chartered CUs for third year!
State-chartered credit unions will be ringing in another calendar year with a major improvement already on their bottom line -- a credit of more than $1.051 million in the aggregate toward regulatory fees paid to the State of Illinois for the 4th quarter of 2012.

The credit is anticipated to be slightly less than the total 2012 4th quarter billing to credit unions for regulatory fees. It will occur because of legislation initiated by the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) to implement the court-approved settlement of the regulatory fee case it filed against then Governor Rod Blagojevich in 2004, which was signed into law by Governor Patrick Quinn effective April 6, 2009 (as Public Act 95-1047). Under the terms of the settlement, Illinois state-chartered credit unions received a cash payment from the State in June, 2009 (the aggregate amount paid to credit unions was approximately $6.2 million). The payment represented a credit for the overpayment in regulatory fees made under the Blagojevich Administration’s fee escalation and transfer (“sweep”) budgetary arrangement adopted by the State in its fiscal years 2004 through 2006.

The 2009 legislation implementing the settlement also accomplished two other goals, according to Stephen Olson, ICUL Executive Vice President and General Counsel. First, it codified a rate reduction in regulatory fees on a going forward basis commencing January 1, 2009. Second, the 2009 legislation reduced the Credit Union Fund margin that triggers a credit back to Illinois state-chartered credit unions. Olson noted the Credit Union Fund is the dedicated fund into which regulatory fees are deposited to offset the ordinary administrative and operational expenses of the DFI Credit Union Section in supervising state-chartered credit unions. It is structured as an operating account, not a savings account.

To ensure adherence to that objective, the legislation reduced the margin level from 50 percent to 25 percent. Olson explained when the balance in the Credit Union Fund at the end of a State fiscal year exceeds 25 percent of the expenses incurred by the State in administering the Illinois Credit Union Act and related laws, the excess must be credited to the credit unions that paid the fees in the first instance.  As a result of the legislation, Illinois state-chartered credit unions previously received an aggregate margin credit of $1,256,893, which equaled a full 4th quarter fee holiday for 2011, as well as a partial holiday on their 2012 first quarter fees paid to the regulatory agency in April 2012.  In addition, Illinois state-chartered credit unions also received an aggregate credit of $1,452,256, which provided a total holiday on the 4th quarter regulatory fee in 2010 as well as a partial holiday for the first quarter of 2011.

"As was the case the past two years, I am pleased to report the margin threshold has again been surpassed for the State’s fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, and Illinois state-chartered credit unions are therefore entitled to a credit," said Olson.

Olson added the amount of the credit is determined on a proportionate basis, by taking into account the regulatory fee a credit union paid versus the aggregate amount of all fees collected by DFI from credit unions.

"As we stated in connection with the previous regulatory fee credits, we believe the prosecution and favorable settlement of the regulatory fee case is an excellent example of the value of League affiliation," said Dan Plauda, ICUL President/Chief Executive Officer. "We are particularly pleased the settlement terms we negotiated with the State in 2008 continues to provide Illinois state-chartered credit unions with an additional financial benefit.  This is especially significant given the sluggish economic recovery and extreme regulatory burden our credit unions are facing."

LSC providing significant upgrades in prepaid products to more than 2,000 of the nation’s credit unions
The Illinois Credit Union League Service Corporation (LSC) has implemented considerable enhancements to its debit prepaid product line, providing more competitive advantages to the credit unions who offer these products to their members across the country.

Through its prepaid program, LSC provides gift cards, TravelMoney and general purpose prepaid products to more than 2,000 credit unions in 48 states.

Among the many upgrades, the one of most interest to credit unions is the availability of dozens more card designs.  More than 60 options are now offered, up from the previous 13.  There is also a new option of offering these products in a greeting card format, customizable for many different occasions.  Between the increased number of designs and the greeting card carrier, credit unions have significantly more opportunities to tailor these products to the demographics of their membership.

Eight categories of cards are also now offered, including: abstract; sports and hobbies; special occasions; holiday; landscapes; nature and wildlife; hip and trendy; style and design; patriotic; and currency.  With the greeting card carrier, the following sets are available: birthday, baby, wedding, congratulations, thank you, and any occasion (blank).

Credit unions are also seeing changes with shipments, with a new capability to track and verify receipt of shipments online.  With some cards, shipping is available six days a week (up from five), with orders reaching credit unions in as little as two to five days (an enhancement from between seven and 10 days).

In terms of orders, "branded" credit unions will now only pay a nominal fee to print their name on all card designs, whereas there was previously a fee per individual design. Also relative to ordering, credit unions can now place an order for as little as one card per design. Previously, a minimum order of 25 cards had to be placed and then increased by quantities of 25. This will be especially significant to smaller credit unions that may not need to order prepaid cards in such quantities, as well as help to them manage costs.

Lastly, a wealth of new online reference and training resources is also available to credit unions who purchase prepaid products through LSC.  This includes marketing materials such as web banners, a teller quick reference guide showing differences between the cards, training manuals, and credit union FAQ’s.

"With the marketplace continually changing for our credit unions, our goal remains to help them compete, and in the context of these enhancements, how they are able to offer prepaid products to their members," said George Fiegle, LSC Executive Vice President.

2013 Board elections underway
The deadline has passed for receiving nominations for the election of League Directors for 2013. 

Terms expiring in 2013 include those serving in District 1, Class A (credit unions under 3,000 members) and Class D (at large); District 2, Class B (3,000 to 9,999 members); and District 3, Class C (10,000 and over members).  Directors elected in 2013 will serve for three years. 

Credit unions in these designated Districts and Classes should have received Nominee Profiles and ballots last month, which need to be returned via mail ballot to an independent Teller of Elections by February 15, 2013. 

Click here to see a list of nominees and their profiles.  If you have any questions concerning the election process, please contact Vicki Ponzo.

REAL Solutions, Foundation kickoff Debt in Focus 2013 with 36 CUs
The Illinois Credit Union Foundation (ICU Foundation) is offering Debt in Focus for the second year to the state’s REAL Solutions partner credit unions.

Debt in Focus was created by the Filene Research Institute's i3 program to break down barriers which prevent many consumers from seeking traditional financial guidance. The anonymous financial assessment tool requires no self-identifying information from the users, is available around the clock, and provides easy-to-follow actions steps that are free from industry jargon and sales pitches.  Savvy Money purchased DIF from Filene and has since made significant upgrades to the program, including an improved and enhanced Web site.

As an added incentive to participate, the ICU Foundation paid the 2013 standard package annual fee for the first 45 REAL Solutions® Partner Credit Unions who enrolled- a value of $1,099.  Interested credit unions were asked to choose the Debt in Focus subscription level that is best for their operation and can choose from four options. Those confirmed to participate include:
 

 Faith Based CU Group

 IAA FCU

 1st MidAmerica CU

 Kane County Teachers CU

 Abri CU

 Kaskaskia Valley Community CU

 Advantage One CU

 Land of Lincoln CU

 Archer Heights CU

 Members Choice CU

 Catholic & Community CU

 Members First Community CU

 CEFCU

 MembersAlliance CU

 Community Plus FCU

 Motorola ECU

 CTA C&M FCU

 North Side Community FCU

 Danville Consolidated CU

 NuMark CU

 Earthmover CU

 Oak Trust CU

 First Financial CU

 Sherwin Williams ECU

 First Illinois CU

 SIUE CU

 Fox Valley CU

 South Division CU

 Gale CU

 Southern Illinois Area CU

 Generations CU

 State Farm CU

 Heartland CU

 Three Rivers Community CU

 Heights Auto Workers CU

 VAMCO CU

Debt in Focus provides anonymous debt management advice for credit union members and all visitors to the credit union's website. It is often the first step people will take when they experience financial difficulties. Many credit unions use Debt in Focus in conjunction with one-on-one or personalized financial counseling.

The program delivers an actionable plan to help improve members’ credit profiles and reduce debt with a web-based debt management tool that:

  • Is completely anonymous;
  • Is simple to use and extremely user friendly (non-financial jargon);
  • Provides the end-user with a summary of their debt (totals, ratios, estimated budget); and
  • Offers users opportunity to request additional assistance from your credit union.

The Illinois Credit Union League and the ICU Foundation teamed up with the National Credit Union Foundation in 2009 to offer a program called "REAL Solutions for Low Wealth Households." Currently 97 credit unions in the state are participating. REAL stands for Relevant, Effective, Asset-building, Loyalty-producing, and is being operated by 35 leagues representing 37 states. More than 1,000 credit unions are part of the program. Information about Illinois’ REAL Solutions effort may be found by clicking here.

LSC alerts credit unions to change of toll free number for credit/debit counseling
A regulation of the CARD ACT requires a Card Issuer to provide a toll-free telephone number at which the consumer may receive information about accessing credit counseling and debt management services to their cardholders, on their periodic statements.

In order to help credit unions meet the regulation required above, in February of 2010, the ICUL Service Corporation (LSC) announced the implementation of an 800 number, provided through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), and available for all credit unions to utilize at NO COST.  Access to this number is listed on each credit card statement produced on credit programs currently supported through LSC.

Effective, July 1, 2012, LSC entered into a new agreement with Money Management International (MMI).  MMI is one of the largest full-service credit counseling agencies in the United States.  MMI has offices located in 22 states and licensed to do business in all 50, employing over 1,500 people.  Information can be obtained at www.moneymanagement.org

As required, the 800 number will provide the cardholder with three different credit counseling agency options, as well as information on each.  Once the cardholder chooses an agency, a phone number and the option to connect directly to the counseling agency is given.   

Credit card statements produced through the credit programs currently supported through LSC will display this new 800 number effective July 2012.  All costs associated with this change will be absorbed by LSC.  Database paperwork, requesting this change, will be submitted by the LSC Card Services Department.  Unless the credit union wishes to utilize their own custom 800 number to meet these regulation requirements, nothing is required from the credit union at this time. 

League concludes another charitable year of giving
Staff from the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) "gift wrapped" its community service and giving for the year by providing toys for the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation (WCPF).

The toy drive was one of several charitable actions carried out by ICUL in 2012, which included its annual food drive, blood donation drives, monthly “jeans days” fundraising, and direct financial donations to food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the state.

As motivation to help fulfill WCPF’s commitment to giving new gifts to as many in-need children as they can reach each December, ICUL staff looked to a quote by the late Walter Payton who once said, "Gifts during the holidays for abused and neglected children may not seem like a lot, but in terms of establishing self-worth, confidence, and a feeling of pride, I believe it may mean everything.  I want them to feel good about themselves and to have self-esteem and self-respect.  They deserve just as much as the kid down the street.  Can you imagine the impact this has on these kids? Can you imagine?"

The WCPF works closely with the Illinois Department of Family Services to ensure that the neediest children in the state of Illinois receive these gifts.  Each year, the foundation provides for approximately 14,000 children.  These are children who otherwise would not receive any holiday gifts.

Other activities during 2012 included its fourth annual summer food drive, which this time benefited the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Naperville.  The pantry's most needed items were collected in the drive.  Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry has served the Naperville area since 1984. Business and community partnerships are integral to the success of Loaves & Fishes, now serving all of DuPage County.  In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, Loaves & Fishes provided nourishment to 112,468 individuals in 28,824 distributions.  It distributes more than 60,000 pounds of groceries to approximately 600 families each week.

It additionally initiates Pathways to Empowerment programs to assist people with issues preventing them from being self-sufficient. These on-site programs are offered by partner agencies on topics such as English language proficiency, nutrition education, basic financial skills, job search support, income tax preparation, and public benefits enrollment.

As of the time of the ICUL food drive, family visits were up 58 percent and total new families 71 percent over the same time in 2011 at Loaves & Fishes.  The pantry was serving a record number of people because of its collaboration with the community.
Also this year, ICUL staff provided 35 units of blood for Heartland Blood Centers, an independent not-for-profit blood center serving 38 hospitals in a 12-county area in northeastern Illinois, as well as northwestern Indiana.  Under a volunteer donor system, Heartland works toward collecting more than 172,000 units of blood annually from the community.

Lastly, ICUL staff continued raising funds through monthly “Jeans Days” in 2012.  What began with participating in Children’s Memorial Hospital’s “Miracle Jeans Day” in September 2011 has turned into a monthly activity where staff chooses which organization to support during a particular month.  As a result, nearly $3,900 has been donated to local and national social service organizations this year alone, including Naperville Area Humane Society, relief to help those affected by deadly tornados in Harrisburg, Illinois; Chelsea's Light Foundation; the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation; the Salvation Army; the Muscular Dystrophy Association; the American Cancer Society; the Charlie Foundation to Help Cure Pediatric Epilepsy; and the Respiratory Health Association.

Additional crucial financial support was also provided on behalf of the Illinois Credit Union System itself.  Fourteen food pantries throughout the state received $200 each, for a total donation of $2,800.

"This continued to be a year of great need for many people.  Rather than sending out holiday greetings, the Illinois Credit Union System for the fourth year in a row, chose on behalf of its member credit unions, to coordinate, organize, and participate in these activities," said Dan Plauda, ICUL President/Chief Executive Officer.  We feel blessed to have been able to give back to our communities."


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