ICUL Service Corporation
March 2012


Important News

ICUL, CUs very active in Illinois General Assembly as committee deadline passes

The results are in

CU philosophy exhibited in light of Harrisburg tornado

League kicks off InfoSight online compliance resource 

Illinois CUs to begin benefiting from FiCEP for second year

Enhanced CU GM member discount available via Invest in America


ICUL, CUs very active in Illinois General Assembly as committee deadline passes
Last Friday, March 9, 2012, marked the deadline for bills to pass committee in their chamber of origin.  ICUL has been actively lobbying more than 50 bills that could impact credit unions and their business operations.  Of those 50 bills, only five are actually supported by ICUL.  The rest we oppose or have been modified to allow us to become neutral on the measures.  Outlined below are the statuses of the major initiatives facing credit unions as the Spring session moves forward:

H.B. 4451/S.B. 2939:  Fee caps/restrictions on reloadable debit cards
Many thanks to everyone who responded to the Legislative Action Calls on these bills.  As a result of our strong grassroots efforts, as well as ICUL leading the coalition of lenders, retailers, and card issuers, we are pleased to report that neither H.B. 4451 nor S.B. 2939 passed the committee deadline.  H.B. 4451 was not called for a vote in the House Consumer Protection Committee but the sponsor has indicated there may be future "subject matter" hearings on the bill.  No votes will be taken this Spring Session.  Similarly, a subject matter hearing was held in the Senate Commerce Committee on S.B. 2939.  Cathy Pettis, on behalf of ICUL Service Corporation, did an excellent job in explaining the negative impact of S.B. 2939 and the overall negative impact that government imposed fee caps would have upon the marketplace.  Again, no votes were taken on S.B. 2939.  At this point, it appears that there may be future hearings on these bills, but no votes are planned.  Great job to all for helping to defeat these bills!

For details on additional legislative initiatives, please see the March 9, 2012 issue of ICUL's Weekly Government News.  Please feel free to contact Steve Olson, ICUL Executive Vice President, General Counsel and COO and/or Keith Sias, ICUL Vice President, State Legislative Affairs, for further information.

The Illinois General Assembly is now on recess until after the March 20 Primary Election.

The results are in
Thank you to everyone who expressed an interest in serving on the Illinois Credit Union League Board of Directors.

The independent Teller of Elections, Selden Fox, Ltd., received 151 ballots as a result of the election process.  To view the results, please click here.

Congratulations to all the winners!  New Directors will be seated at the League's Annual Delegates’ meeting scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on April 26 at the Schaumburg Renaissance Convention Center.

CU philosophy exhibited in light of Harrisburg tornado
An EF-4 tornado that ripped through the small, far southern Illinois community of Harrisburg overnight on February 28 spared the Illinois credit union movement.

After speaking with Kim Babington, Vice President of Operations at SIU Credit Union (based in Carbondale with multiple branches in the area) about the situation, Pat Voss, Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) Regional Director for the area and other ICUL staff placed well-being checks and thankfully discovered that none of the credit unions in that region had been significantly impacted by the storm.  This includes NYC ECU, which is physically located in Harrisburg.  One other located in Harrisburg, Southeastern Electric ECU, suffered no damage, but was the day after the storm due to rescue crews utilizing the community center in which the credit union normally operates for emergency relief operations.

This region of Illinois is represented by the Egyptian Chapter, which includes nine credit unions that serve more than 34,400 members and hold $253.2 million in assets.

Two of the credit unions in that area, SIU Credit Union and River to River Credit Union (located just south of Harrisburg in Vienna), have offered assistance to their fellow counterparts in the region in any way they can.

"We will certainly step up if a credit union needs assistance with cash checking or anything else," said Dennis Schaefer, CEO, SIU CU.  The credit union also has three of its staff members participating as members of a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).  "We have a mutual agreement with the Elverado Fire Department to assist with this and other efforts, much like we were afforded assistance with past storms that affected us."

"We have office space and extra furniture," said Sheila Reichert, CEO, River to River CU.  "Basically if we have it and can share it, we will be glad to."

In addition, if any credit unions need financial assistance in their recovery, the Illinois Credit Union Foundation (ICU Foundation) is at the ready to activate its disaster relief fund.  Any credit unions that would like to request this assistance may contact Vicki Ponzo, ICU Foundation Executive Director at 630-983-3413.

League kicks off InfoSight online compliance resource
On February 28, Brad Bergmooser, ICUL Compliance Counsel, held a webinar overview about InfoSight, a new and significant compliance resource that is now available only to affiliates as a result of a strategic alliance with the Michigan League.

Integrated into ICUL’s Office of General Counsel Website, InfoSight compliance material will supplement the extensive services currently provided by ICUL. In essence, InfoSight is comprised of a vast library of materials, continuously maintained by compliance professionals throughout the nation, including ICUL staff that analyze and offer guidance on nearly all laws and regulations affecting the credit union industry. With the ever-increasing onslaught of mandates in credit union compliance, having InfoSight as a navigable point of reference in conjunction with assistance from ICUL staff will become a key component in successful day-to-day credit union operations.

Check out this new resource on the League’s Web site and contact Brad via email or at (630) 983-4263.

Illinois CUs to begin benefiting from FiCEP for second year
Starting March 6, 40 individuals from Illinois credit unions began participating in the second year of the REAL Solutions® Enhanced Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP), as a result of generous support from the Illinois Credit Union Foundation.

In bringing back the program for the second year, two significant modifications are being made to enable as many Illinois credit unions as possible to participate in the program.

These enhancements include a reduction in cost and an increase in number and locations of proctored test sites.  The Illinois Credit Union Foundation board of directors has generously agreed to cover the cost of the REAL Solutions enhancement, which had been shared among the participants last year, so the only cost to Illinois credit unions is the purchase of the FiCEP books and exams from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).  Relative to testing sites, exams took place last year only at the ICU System offices in Naperville.  However, the expansion of new testing sites for the 2012 program will include Chicago, Danville, Gurnee, Moline, Rockford, and St. Louis.

In the first year of the Illinois program, 23 individuals from 11 credit unions "graduated" as Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors (CCUFC).  To commemorate the inaugural program, a "class reunion" was held with the new crop of CCUFC’s, along with 27 other individuals who had previously achieved this designation.

As CUNA’s financial counseling certification self-study program, FiCEP enables all credit union staff to become more confident in helping members build a stronger financial future. FiCEP is designed for credit union staff members who work in the financial counseling, collections, and loan departments, or any others who are committed to helping members gain control of their financial futures.  Modeled after the CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools, FiCEP includes two parts of four learning modules each. When participants successfully complete the proctored exams for both parts (eight total modules), they become a CCUFC, ready and able to assist credit union members in reaching their financial goals.

The Illinois program for 2012 will include 10 webinars -- one per module plus an orientation session to kick-off for the course, and a session dedicated to implementing financial counseling at participating credit unions – and two proctored exam sessions plus one in-person meeting to help participants learn how to use their new skills at work.  The webinars will take place every two weeks and will be archived.

The benefits to credit unions participating in the program include: 

  • Proven financial counseling skills that become part of the credit union’s culture;
  • Written for all staff so anyone can offer financial counseling during every member interaction;
  • Certification that satisfies members’ needs as they continually look for the value of a credit union;
  • Differentiates a credit union by having certified financial counselors on their team; and 
  • Helps members transform the way they deal with money through real-world counseling.

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 87 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. Additional information about Illinois’ REAL Solutions effort may be found here.

Enhanced CU GM member discount available via Invest in America
Through its partnership with the Invest in America program, GM continues to prove its dedication to drive auto loans to credit unions. Credit unions have an excellent opportunity to secure incremental auto financing with the Credit Union Member Discount from GM.

During 2011, nearly 9 percent of all new GM vehicles sold were financed through credit unions.  This represents over 220,000 vehicles – more than twice the number of vehicles sold through the Invest in America program – validating GM’s commitment to credit unions.  It’s just good business for GM and dealers considering that credit union average rates run 150 basis points less than competing banks.

Some other actions that GM has taken through the IIA program to drive auto loans to credit unions: 

  • GM has a credit union loan link in two places on its microsite to drive members back to their credit union to secure financing.
  • GM provides credit unions with member authorization requests weekly, including member contact information, to enable credit unions to follow up with members at the bottom of the purchase funnel to secure financing.
  • The Credit Union Member Discount from GM is no longer compatible with subvented rates. Rates such as 0%, 1.9%, 2.9%, etc. that have been bought down and offered through captive finance sources may not be used in conjunction with the Credit Union Member Discount from GM.  In turn, members will be encouraged to use low-rate credit union financing in conjunction with cash incentives which will result in very competitive monthly payments.

To enroll in the Credit Union Member Discount from GM and to take advantage of all it has to offer, please visit the Invest in America Partner Center and click on Credit Union Sign Up Forms. While visiting the Partner Center, you can also get program information by clicking on GM Program Overview.

Don’t forget to remind your members that they can realize big savings with: the Credit Union Member Discount from GM and its low, fixed pricing, combined with your credit union’s low loan rates resulting in lower monthly payments. If you have any questions about the enhanced Invest in America Credit Union Member Discount from GM, please contact Vicki Ponzo.  Credit union enrollment is required by June 15, 2012.

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