Second Quarter 2009
Shop in June and Save $100 on Marketing Materials!
At Visions, Ink., we recognize that even though the economy is tough, business must continue. And during this time, credit unions have an opportunity to thrive in the new wave of public distrust toward banks. To help, we’re offering you a $100 discount off your Online Store purchase when you register and place an order through the store during the month of June.*
If you’re not familiar with our Online Store, it includes pre-designed and pre-written campaigns ready for use in your credit union. All we have to do is add your credit union’s name and logo and print!
If you’ve visited our Online Store before, be sure to visit it again. We recently redesigned the store to include fresh new designs and helpful features such as a shopping cart and customer login. Registering allows you to log in, view your order history, confirm the status of an existing order and save shipping information for future orders.
Don’t forget, we also offer custom writing and design services, brand development, focus group facilitation, website development, multimedia campaigns, printing, bindery and mailing services. Call us at 866.844.4775 or visit our website and Online Store at www.visionsink.com to see how we can serve you.
*The $100 discount is only valid for one purchase during the month of June. You must register and place your order through the Online Store to receive the discount.
Contributing Added Value to your Real Estate Portfolio through Planning and Occupancy Strategies
Now more than ever, your real estate portfolio must work harder for your organization’s success. Integrating a Facilities Management Strategy with your corporate business plan will yield positive results. Inherently, real estate contributes to an organization’s P&L; therefore a facilities plan that can reduce occupancy expenses and provide quality service to the corporation and its members adds value to the overall organization. There are four aspects of developing and coordinating a Facilities Management Strategy:• Business Plan. The organization’s business or strategic plan maps the way for all endeavors and all facilities projects derive from the business plan, with the understanding that they are strategic, and therefore should be goal-oriented and achievable. “We can do that” is the starting point. Additionally, the organization’s Vision and Mission Statements create the back drop against which the facilities’ design direction is decided, and corporate culture issues are integrated into real estate decisions. Looking at the following excerpts from mission statements, it is understandable that the issues of both business and corporate culture are intrinsic and can consequently be expressed within the company’s facilities:
“…a greener way of doing business.”
“…financially strong, serving our community in a safe, sound manner with a friendly touch!”
“…provide a stable work environment which is satisfying, rewarding, and offers career growth opportunities to all employees.”
Think about how your facilities articulate your credit union’s vision and mission. Are your facilities designed to be welcoming and friendly? Do they enhance your employees’ ability to provide quality customer service? Your facilities do communicate a message each time a member or employee enters the building. Your bricks and mortar convey a statement about your credit union and this message can enhance or diminish the perception of your overall organization. Are your facilities adding or decreasing the value of your real estate?
• Implementation Plan. The Implementation Plan develops the strategy to execute the organization’s business plan and put it into place. Answering the question “How do we do that?” identifies the resources required, project costs and project timeline to carry out the business goals. The implementation plan consists of:
○ Master Space Plan and occupancy strategy, based on the credit union’s organizational chart(s), adjacency and work process/work flow diagrams, and space inventory
○ Corporate Standards and Guidelines in order to manage space and reduce occupancy costs
○ Corporate Buying Agreements to leverage and improve buying power and reduce expenses
○ Long Range Maintenance Plan to maintain the appearance and life cycle of the credit union’s facilities
• Yearly Facilities Plan. The Yearly Facilities Plan prioritizes all facilities projects. The plan sets goals and objectives, budgets and scheduling, all of which underscores the impact on the credit union’s P&L and overall occupancy expenses.
• Project Plans. The Project Plan tracks and analyzes the project outcomes. It answers the question, “How did we do that?” and calls into play budgeting, scheduling and how a project relates back to the credit union’s business plan. Project Plans may also include conceptual plans as templates for future flexibility in the credit union’s facilities; identifying design ideas that are focused and budgeted. Conceptual plans are especially important as they relate to office moves or “churn” because the typical churn rate is 20% and as high as 30% in large organizations—all of which impacts the bottom line. Managing churn through planning can reduce costs and ensure that relocations don’t impact productivity.
Interlocking the above strategies creates added value for your organization. Ultimately, your facilities projects all must connect to the credit union’s business or strategic plan. Projects are coordinated to coincide with upper management’s goals. Use the business plan and implementation plan to focus efforts and measure your design decisions against the vision and mission statements. Planning and taking measured steps ensures greater value for your real estate portfolio.
By Ed Fechter, Vice President Real Estate Services, Overton & Associates LLC
Ed directs all design, architecture and strategic real estate consulting for Overton & Associates’ Corporate Office in Westminster, MD and regional office in Bridgeville, PA. Ed is an authority on facilities management in the financial services, defense, healthcare and consulting arenas. He was employed by PNC Financial Services, Inc. for 19 years, in the capacity of Vice President and Manager of Space Planning. Ed has extensive experience in real estate portfolio planning, mergers and acquisitions and strategic facilities planning activities.
Leery Travelers Turn to TravelMoney Cards as Cash Alternative
Worries about losing cash or carrying large sums of cash, travelers' checks not being accepted and bulky to use, identity theft and card fraud schemes have travelers looking for a better, safe alternative. Many travelers have found VISA TravelMoney Cards to be the answer they are looking for.
TravelMoney Cards work just like any ATM / Debit card, with one distinct difference; they are pre-loaded with value before you travel. If you find yourself short of funds while traveling, TravelMoney Cards, unlike travelers' checks, are easily reloadable, and after returning home, spending any unused balance is simple. Also, unlike cash, if a lost or stolen TravelMoney Card is reported to the issuing credit union, the remaining unused balance can be transferred to a new card. Finally, unlike a regular debit card, a TravelMoney Card does not have any link to your credit union account, so even if your card is lost or stolen, the money in your account is safe and your identity is protected.
You can use a TravelMoney Card to withdraw funds from an ATM or purchase goods and services, utilizing P.I.N. or Point of Sale, including cash back capability. All transactions are backed by VISA Rules and Regulations, including Zero Liability to the cardholder for signature based transactions.
Offering VISA TravelMoney Cards is now easier than ever, thanks to our business partner relationship with the ICUL Service Corporation. Whether you sell 50 cards or 500 cards, ICUL makes it both economical and convenient for any size Credit Union to provide this value added service for your members. Don’t wait for the vacation season to start; be ready to meet your members’ needs now! Call 800.292.7875 today for more information.
Are your members taking advantage of the mortgage opportunities available? Are they looking to you, their Credit Union for help in these unsettling times? There is help available.
In 2009 Congress announced the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan. There are three components to the plan, all of which were created to assist in the recovery of the housing market, to aid homeowners in reducing monthly payments, making their homes more affordable, and to stimulate the housing market by way of First Time Homeowners incentives.
Homeowners have the opportunity to take advantage of lower mortgage rates, supported by Congress, through the “Refinancing for Responsible Homeowners” plan. This plan allows your members to refinance their current mortgages, for a lower rate, even if their homes suffered a decline in the market value of their homes. Even if your member’s current mortgage amount exceeds 80% of the value of their home, they may still be able to refinance AND NOT have to pay private mortgage insurance under this plan.
The Stability Initiative component addresses modifications of current mortgages. Clear concise and uniform modification procedures have been released to assist lenders as well as homeowners to ensure affordable solutions for repayment.
In 2008, Congress enacted a $7500 First Time Homebuyers tax credit. In 2009, the tax credit was raised to $8000, and several improvements were made to the plan. This tax credit is available to First Time Homebuyers who purchase a home prior to December 1, 2009. Unlike the 2008 plan, the 2009 version does not require the buyer to pay back the credit.
At Acre Mortgage & Financial, we will offer your members the highest level of service and access to the most competitive mortgages on the market. We are here to provide advice, assistance, while assisting the member in their search for the most appropriate mortgage available.
Please call Sandy Cline, Branch Manager, if we can be of any assistance to you or your members. I can be reached at (302) 737-5853. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you and your members.
Not all Overdraft Privilege Programs are Created Equal
As credit unions throughout the country continue to deal with the realities of an economic downturn and loss of earnings in ’09; due to the cost of the corporate stabilization plan, consumers are also faced with uncertainties – rising unemployment, fuel prices that are once again on the increase and a continuing fear of home foreclosure.
Historically, credit union members have turned to their credit union to provide them with the services they need to maintain financial stability. Likewise, credit unions have relied on their members’ loyalty to help them stay competitive in the financial services market.
Since both sides could use a little good news right now, what member benefit can set your credit union apart from the competition while providing a much-needed boost to your bottom line? One proven answer is, JMFA Overdraft Privilege®.
How does JMFA Overdraft Privilege® benefit members?
JMFA Overdraft Privilege® eases the burden when members are dealing with financial difficulties. Just think about how your members would react to these benefits:
Benefits to the credit union are many
Credit unions that already have a JMFA Overdraft Privilege® program in place know the many benefits they receive – along with their members – as a result of implementing the program. They include:
Pam Fleuette, CEO of Sussex County FCU, knows the benefits of JMFA Overdraft Privilege ® first-hand. “It’s a win-win program,” she says. "Our income has increased considerably because our members recognize that it provides them with coverage if they make an error on their account or experience an unexpected emergency; and they are inclined to use it.”
According to Fleuette, who has been a JMFA client for 2 years, JMFA provides thorough implementation and great follow-up and support. “JMFA Overdraft Privilege® is the only program I would consider,” she said.
Compliance is the key
However, for some institutions, negative stories about programs that aren’t properly administered and maintained cause them to discount the program’s legitimacy, which results in their losing out on the many benefits it would provide them.
Whether a credit union has another overdraft service program in place or is considering one as a way to boost the bottom line, failing to maintain compliance can damage member relationships and put the institution in jeopardy of being out of compliance with regulators. It is imperative to keep close tabs on the program and educate members about the following:
If managed and monitored correctly, overdraft privilege programs are beneficial for both credit unions and their members. By providing members with a safety net, in the event they are facing a financial emergency, the credit union helps them to maintain credit worthiness and avoid the embarrassment of having a check returned to a merchant. Plus, it enables the credit union to increase non-interest income without raising accountholder fees.
Credit unions that have an established program, should consider undergoing a JMFA Compliance and Performance Review that evaluates existing programs in regard to regulatory concerns, risk and performance, and provides a graded assessment of safety and soundness, legal risk, best practices and social responsibility.
The bottom line.
When all is said and done, JMFA Overdraft Privilege® can be a great product offering for your credit union, providing you with the resources necessary for all compliance and performance-related issues.
John M. Floyd & Associates (JMFA), a business member of the Delaware Credit Union League, is one of the country's most respected experts on overdraft privilege programs, offering financial institutions more than 30 years of experience in compliance and performance consulting. As a direct result of its programs, JMFA has helped thousands of clients dramatically improve their performance and their bottom line. For more information, contact Greg Stumler, JMFA regional director, at Greg.Stumler@JMFA.com or (877) 817-7652.
Thank you for reading Service Issues!
Jane Bailey, Editor
Delaware Credit Union League