Metro Detroit-based Community Financial Credit Union (CFCU) awarded nearly $800,000 in donations to 289 organizations across Michigan during 2022, including $80,000 toward tornado relief for the city of Gaylord, $45,000 in grants to 12 area public school districts, $60,000 to local food pantries via Thankful Thursdays and $40,000 toward its Warming Hearts and Homes initiative.
“Community is more than our name, it’s at the core of all we do. Supporting the organizations and institutions that work tirelessly to strengthen our communities is part of our identity and a key focus for us 24/7, 365. These institutions are addressing the most pressing needs in Michigan, and we’re proud to walk alongside them,” said Tansley Stearns, president & ceo of CFCU.
After a tornado created a path of destruction through Gaylord in May 2022, CFCU provided monetary and volunteer assistance to organizations on the front lines. In total, CFCU donated $80,000 and volunteered two days, one with Otsego County United Way and one with Otsego-Antrim Habitat for Humanity, to assist with clean up and rebuilding.
CFCU also was instrumental in partnering with the Michigan Credit Union League’s Blue Ox Chapter to coordinate tornado grant relief efforts. CFCU housed the grant application on its website to process applications and evaluate documentation to work with other Gaylord credit unions. In total, $47,100 was given to area credit union members to assist in the crisis.
Every fall, CFCU also donates to the 12 public school districts of the credit union’s communities. School districts received $45,000 to feed directly back into the classrooms of innovative teachers, including helping Moraine Elementary create a calming room for mental wellness as well as adding pickle ball to physical education classes and buying equipment to enhance the food sciences classes at Novi High School.
As part of CFCU’s Warming Hearts and Homes initiative, for a seventh year the credit union also donated $10,000 to The Heat and Warmth Fund, which offers heat assistance to homes across the state. THAW provides aid to Michiganders needing help paying gas bills or delivering cords of wood for home stove heaters. In 2022, CFCU was awarded THAW’s Power Force Award for its commitment to using resources for the good of others.
In addition to its financial contributions, CFCU employees volunteered 4,758 hours in 2022 and launched its partnership with Art Foundation, the nonprofit established by local Detroit artist Tony Roko, to support the second phase of the Plymouth ArtWalk program.
PSCU, the nation’s premier payments credit union service organization (CUSO) and an integrated financial technology solutions provider, today announced its partnership with Financial Plus Credit Union(FPCU) to provide credit and debit card processing services and support.
Founded in 1952 by Genesee County auto workers, FPCU has grown to serve over 81,000 members statewide and is headquartered in Flint, Michigan. The credit union is guided by its mission of enhancing members’ financial well-being and enriching the communities it serves. FPCU employees volunteer more than 800 hours annually to local organizations and fundraisers in the communities they serve.
With $1.2 billion in assets, FPCU sought a new card processing services provider to enhance the services available for its staff to provide an unparalleled member experience. After conducting a thorough review process, FPCU selected PSCU for its proven expertise and comprehensive offerings, including data accessibility, availability of reports, fraud mitigation options and ATM terminal driving compatibility.
“We were impressed by PSCU’s continuous innovation and investment in new technologies, which will help us provide the highest level of service to our valued members,” said Lesa Oosterhof, card services manager at FPCU. “FPCU looks forward to a successful partnership with PSCU, which not only involves a processor conversion, but also migrating cardholders from a former merger. The collaboration between multiple project teams and our account executive has ensured a successful transition.”
PSCU began providing credit and debit processing support to FPCU members in March 2023.
"FPCU’s commitment to enhancing the experience and overall financial well-being of their members aligns with PSCU’s values,” said Scott Wagner, EVP, chief revenue officer at PSCU. “We are pleased to provide reliable, safe and innovative credit and debit card processing services that will help FPCU deliver the highest caliber of service to its valued members.”
SavvyMoney, a company powering innovative, market-leading credit score solutions, today recognizes a momentous year of growth. Over the past year, SavvyMoney achieved several milestones reflective of the company’s success:
To support continued product innovation and a rapidly expanding customer base, SavvyMoney nearly doubled its employee count in 2022 and moved its headquarters to a bigger, state-of-the-art facility in Dublin, California. To continue expanding industry knowledge and further its company outreach, the team also attended 47 industry events throughout the past year.
The growth comes at a time when the banking industry leans into the second wave of digital transformation, with 76% of banks and 87% of credit unions planning to adopt a digital transformation strategy in 2023.
SavvyMoney’s innovative solutions allow financial institution customers real-time access to their credit score, while enabling financial institutions to grow wallet share and drive profitable loan growth by leveraging robust customer data and portfolio insights.
“As consumer expectations regarding personalization continue to rise, financial institutions must invest in solutions to meet their users' specific financial needs,” said JB Orecchia, president and CEO of SavvyMoney. “Our success over the past 12 years has been rooted in our culture. We are committed to serving our banks and credit unions with innovative products and an attention to personalized service that help them meet their consumer’s needs.”
“BCU leverages SavvyMoney’s credit solution to help members improve their financial confidence and well-being,” said Mike Valentine, president and CEO of BCU. “They deliver the tools our members need to improve their credit and save money with personalized offers. What's more, SavvyMoney helps BCU reach our goal of driving engaged member growth. I enjoy doing business with people who complement our culture - something SavvyMoney has done for the last 10 years. In order to grow and deepen the relationship with our members, we need to partner with innovative companies like SavvyMoney.”
To learn more about SavvyMoney, please visit https://www.savvymoney.com/.
The National Association of Credit Union Services Organizations (NACUSO), announced the results of their 2023 Board Election.
Each member of the NACUSO Board of Directors serves a three-year term. We had three directors whose terms expired in 2023 and one open position, for a total of four director positions available in 2023. Of the four terms, three incumbents were re-elected, and one newly elected director joined the NACUSO Board as a replacement for one member who did not run for re-election.
Filling the newly opened seat is the newly elected director: Miriam Ackerman, Chief Strategy Officer at DNT BLNK. Ackerman has been actively involved in developing creative products and business solutions for over 20 years. Her professional experience has spanned the spectrum from the arts and entertainment industry, to sports, healthcare, and ﬁnancial technology.
Three incumbent members were re-elected for additional three-year terms.
Jack Antonini, CEO of NACUSO said: “NACUSO is very fortunate for the service and dedication of each of our board members and we are looking forward to the next three years with Miriam Ackerman joining and the rest of our Board.”
Bankjoy, a digital banking provider, today announced the launch of its inaugural Client Advisory Board. Bankjoy’s Client Advisory Board is composed of several experienced credit union leaders, including executives from Community Wide Federal Credit Union and Statewide Federal Credit Union, who are current Bankjoy clients and invested in the company’s latest funding round, a testament to the value Bankjoy delivers for its client base.
The Client Advisory Board members will serve as strategic advisors and inform Bankjoy’s product innovation roadmap as the company continues to develop and deliver world-class digital banking solutions. By sharing their insights on the latest trends and challenges facing credit unions, these Client Advisory Board members will help further Bankjoy’s mission of providing the best end-to-end digital banking experience. Bankjoy’s Client Advisory Board represents credit unions whose assets range from $160 million to $1.2 billion.
This year’s Client Advisory Board members include:
“Bankjoy has proven to be an excellent partner for our credit union and I’m thrilled to join the company’s inaugural Client Advisory Board,” said Mike Tindall, President and CEO of Area Financial Services (AFS). “As a CUSO, AFS represents the interests of multiple credit unions, so our team is looking forward to having an opportunity to strengthen Bankjoy’s vision for its digital banking offerings and influence the company’s innovation efforts in a way that supports the strategic growth plans of AFS’s member credit unions.”
“Member expectations are on the rise and show no signs of slowing down. New data from PYMNTS.com reports that credit union members want more innovative products and they are willing to take their accounts to other financial institutions to find it. Today, 27 percent of members say they would switch where they keep their financial accounts to find product innovation, and this figure has been increasing steadily for four years,” said Michael Duncan, CEO of Bankjoy.
“Our goal at Bankjoy is to help our clients not just keep up with member and account holder demands, but exceed their expectations. By launching the Client Advisory Board, I’m confident we can achieve this and find new opportunities to serve our valued clients, even as our client base evolves. This advisory board is meant to be a reflection of our customers and our team will leverage their valuable insights to continue building a superior banking platform that provides Bankjoy clients with a competitive market advantage.”
Eltropy, the leading digital conversations platform for community financial institutions (CFIs), announced the latest upgrade of its Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) product designed for Contact Centers. Eltropy's artificial intelligence (AI) platform automation enables credit unions and community bank contact centers to manage higher call volumes by routing and resolving the easiest calls through AI and transferring more complex questions to humans. With Eltropy IVA, Contact Center AI goes beyond the basic FAQs by assisting members with a wide variety of their banking tasks including account management, money transfers, card activation, loan processing, and bill payments.
Once just a pipe dream and with many false starts, artificial intelligence within the Contact Center tech stack is finally practical, and just in time as it helps solve the industry’s current staffing and labor shortage conundrum. Part of its all-new Digital Conversations Platform, Eltropy's updated AI platform for Contact Centers works 24/7 without any breaks, seamlessly handling both routine and more complex calls that previously required human intervention.
With the ability to escalate calls that require agent interaction – such as commercial and personal loan questions, notary services, mortgage-related issues, and insurance and investment queries to human call agents – Eltropy AI platform for Contact Centers replaces the traditional interactive voice response (IVR) system with a more conversational and interactive “voice concierge.” This eliminates the frustrating member experience of navigating a confusing phone tree, which in turn reduces the number of calls that require a live agent, which consequently improves average handle time (AHT) and improves net promoter scores (NPS).
“Let’s face it – traditional self-service phone response systems can be hard to use. They force members to pick up the phone, wait in queue lines, and have their patience tried mercilessly, even for the simplest of queries, which make up 80 percent of incoming calls,” said Ashish Garg, Co-founder and CEO of Eltropy. “In light of these issues, we couldn’t be more excited to release our enhanced Intelligent Virtual Agent product. With the rise in call center volumes and the current labor shortage showing no end in sight, our AI platform is the perfect solution for community financial institutions looking to improve their member experience while cutting costs at the same time.”
Eltropy's AI platform for Contact Centers is built on an end-to-end, domain-specific, omnichannel AI stack. It uses proprietary banking-domain-tuned, automated speed recognition (ASR), intent detection, moderation, and compliance. Part of Eltropy's Digital Conversations Platform – which includes anytime, anywhere Texting, Video banking, Secure Chat, co-browsing, screen sharing, and chatbot technology – Eltropy IVA and other AI services are seamlessly integrated into the Eltropy platform.
“We’re proud of the AI platform for Contact Centers we’ve built in-house, which allows members to find what they’re looking for through a conversational interface, reducing phone calls by making it easy for members to get answers to FAQs,” said Murali Mahalingam, SVP of AI at Eltropy, and previously founder of Marsview.ai, which Eltropy acquired in 2022. “With 400-plus pre-built intents focused exclusively for CFIs, credit unions can begin implementing IVA solutions immediately to the delight of their members.”
Eltropy’s AI platform for Contact Centers, built on the company’s proprietary technology, enables Eltropy to use cutting-edge technology to continuously enhance the solution to meet the constantly evolving demands of contact centers. Credit unions using Eltropy IVA can expect to see technological advances on an ongoing basis.
Ascend Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in Middle Tennessee, has received Training magazine’s 2023 APEX Award. This is the ninth consecutive year that Ascend has been recognized with an APEX, the only awards program that ranks U.S. companies leading the country in harnessing human capital.
Among all companies receiving an APEX Award this year, Ascend is the highest-ranking company headquartered in Tennessee and ranked 10th in the U.S., two positions higher than in 2022.
It is the eighth consecutive year that Ascend has placed in the APEX Awards Top 40. The Training APEX Awards (formally the Top 100 list of ranked companies) celebrates companies that are making a difference in their employees’ lives through best-in-class training and development programs.
In addition to the ranking, Ascend also earned an Outstanding Training Initiative from the magazine’s editors for the credit union’s financial counseling program. This award recognizes innovative learning and development programs and was earned for the organization’s employee certificate training process, which was created with the intention to develop financial well-being among Ascend’s members.
“We are honored to once again be included in these rankings among so many outstanding organizations,” said Ascend President and CEO Caren Gabriel. “Ascend truly believes that our employees are our company’s greatest resource, which is why we have long believed in investing in training. Helping our associates grow professionally helps us to better serve our members and the community of Middle Tennessee.”
Now in its 23rd year, Training magazine’s annual APEX Awards recognize the top learning organizations across the country with the most successful employee-sponsored training and development programs. The ranking is determined by assessing a range of qualitative and quantitative factors, including total training budget, percentage of payroll receiving training, scope of training programs provided, detailed formal and informal training programs, training linked to business/business unit goals, business outcomes resulting from training and Kirkpatrick Level 3 and 4 evaluation, a model for analyzing the results of training and educational programs.
For a complete list of APEX Awards winners, visit https://trainingmag.com/training-magazine-ranks-the-winners-of-the-2023-training-apex-awards/
Abound Credit Union was recently named one of the 2023 Best Places to Work in Kentucky. The 19th Annual Best Places to Work in Kentucky, a joint project of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management (KYSHRM) in partnership with Workforce Research Group, honors employers in Kentucky that are making their workplaces great.
“We’re thrilled to celebrate as a Credit Union and recognize our 335 amazing team members,” says Ray Springsteen, President & CEO of Abound Credit Union. “Their dedication and passion for finding real solutions that make more possible for our Members and communities is inspiring.”
The Best Places to Work in Kentucky survey and awards program evaluates policies and practices through an employer assessment and captures employees’ opinions about their workplace experience through an employee feedback survey. Abound’s core values, which are lived by each team member every day, are: Selfless, Connected, Learning-Driven, Passionate, and Fun.
The Credit Union is currently hiring and encourages job seekers to learn more at aboundcu.com.
Trellance Announces Breakout Sessions Covering Key Topics of Talent, Cloud and Analytics for 2023 Conference
Trellance, a leading technology partner providing innovative analytics, cloud and talent solutions to credit unions, today announced the titles for the 12 breakout sessions that will be included in the Trellance Annual Conference, to be held on May 16-19 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Trellance hosts this conference each year, providing credit union professionals with the opportunity to attend highly informative general and breakout sessions, to network with other professionals in the industry, and to learn more about how credit unions can achieve more with the help of Trellance’s offerings.
“The Trellance Annual Conference is a great opportunity for us to learn from credit unions what sort of problems they’re facing,” said Trellance Chief Marketing Officer Bill Lehman. “It’s also a great chance for us to offer education to credit union professionals in return, both on our products and offerings and on the industry at large. It’s one of my favorite times of the year.”
This year’s conference will include important information on Trellance’s recently announced three lines of business, Analytics, Talent and Cloud, including the new and updated products and services in each line. The breakout sessions, released today, will include subjects such as:
A full list of the newly released sessions can be found on the Trellance Annual Conference webpage.
The general sessions will feature content that aligns with Trellance’s main lines of business, as well as deeper dives into other areas of interest to credit unions. This year’s conference will feature four keynote speakers:Trellance Annual Conference webpage.
Today, PSCU – the nation’s premier payments CUSO and an integrated financial technology solutions provider – published the March edition of the PSCU Payments Index, the goal of which is to provide information and insights to help financial institutions make informed, strategic decisions on the road ahead.
Trends in consumer purchasing are beginning to show early signs that we are on a path of the soft landing the Fed has been working toward. In our February 2023 data, we find consumer purchasing, while still positive for credit and debit cards, in mid-single-digit growth.
In the Labor Department’s March 14 update, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) declined by 0.4% for the month of February, bringing the 12-month rate of inflation to 6.0%. The largest contributor, accounting for 70% of the increase, was shelter, with food, recreation, and household furnishings and operations also contributing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in its February 2023 jobs report that 311,000 jobs were added for the month, with leisure and hospitality, retail trade, government and health care jobs showing notable gains. The overall unemployment rate for February finished at 3.6% or 5.9 million people.
The Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation, the Personal Consumption Expenditures price index (PCE), increased in January to 5.4%. The Federal Reserve’s next meeting occurs on March 21-22, where a quarter-point rate increase was originally expected; however, some analysts are now predicting no rate increase following the recent collapses of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and Silvergate Bank. While these recent banking collapses appear to have little impact on the credit union system, we will continue to monitor as the situation evolves.
The Consumer Confidence Index decreased in February to 102.9 (1985=100). The decrease in February reflected large drops in confidence for households aged 35 to 54 and households earning $35,000 or more. The Expectations Index fell further to 69.7, which is notable as the Conference Board has indicated that, when below 80, it would often signal a recession in the next year. The national average price per gallon of gasoline finished at $3.46 for the week ending Mar. 13, down 20% year over year.
In the March 2023 edition of the PSCU Payments Index, February’s growth rates for transactions and purchases continue to converge for both credit and debit in the mid-single digit range. In this month’s Deep Dive, we look at two sectors with the highest year-over-year growth in purchases: Travel (discretionary spending) and Transportation (non-discretionary spending).
“While overall consumer spending growth remains positive, it continues to trend in single-digit growth ranges,” said Yvonne Stelpflug, SVP, Advisors Plus at PSCU. “As discretionary and non-discretionary spending remains moderate, in this month’s Deep Dive we explore the two sectors experiencing the highest year-over-year growth in Travel and Transportation. After declines amid the pandemic, the travel industry continues its positive recovery with cruise lines and international air travel leading the largest growth. In the non-discretionary Transportation sector, growth in mass transportation is seeing the largest increases as a result of more employees returning to the physical workspace.”
A sampling of key takeaways from the March report includes:
The full report is available for download here or can be shared as a PDF upon request. Additionally, feel free to subscribe here to receive updates when the PSCU Payments Index is published each month.
Author: Mike Lawson
Married to a most gorgeous and wonderful wife, raising 5 kiddos (including twins!), enjoy helping others tell their stories, and love surfing SoCal waves. Keep it simple.