PSCU, the nation’s premier payments credit union service organization (CUSO), today announced the launch of a new cryptocurrency microsite. Targeted and specifically curated for credit unions, the site will serve as a continuously updated hub for information and educational resources on all things related to digital assets. The announcement was made in conjunction with PSCU’s Member Forum 2022, taking place this week in Las Vegas.
While credit unions cannot currently hold the value of cryptocurrency within their federally-insured deposits, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has announced credit unions can partner with third-party cryptocurrency service providers to allow their members to buy, sell and hold digital assets under certain terms. The goal of PSCU’s new educational microsite is to help credit unions learn more and be prepared as member interest in cryptocurrency and other digital assets grows and the landscape evolves.
“There is no doubt cryptocurrency is a hot topic in today’s financial landscape, with many credit union members already active and others curious to learn more about it,” said Scott Young, vice president of Innovation & Design at PSCU. “Due to a lack of regulatory guidance until now, credit unions have held back from any involvement with cryptocurrency, the landscape is rapidly changing – making it the optimal time for credit unions to educate themselves. We are hopeful that credit unions can use this new resource to educate their staff and their members, evaluate associated risks and make informed decisions surrounding participation in this rapidly evolving payments technology.”
PSCU’s microsite will feature videos – including a downloadable educational video to share with credit union boards and staff – along with blogs, white papers and more from PSCU and other industry thought leaders. The site will also link to relevant updates and industry resources from groups like the NCUA, among others.
Credit unions can access PSCU’s cryptocurrency resources at pscu.com/crypto.
As the Credit Union Service Organization driving financial technology innovation for credit unions, Curql Collective has just announced it has made a sizeable investment in the retirement planning startup Silvur. The Curql Fund played a major role in Silvur’s fundraising, contributing an investment of $3 million of the total $5 million in funds raised along with Idaho Central Credit Union and Michigan State University Federal Credit Union’s wholly owned CUSO, Reseda Group.
Silvur is designed especially to help those nearing or already in retirement navigate the tricky nuances of retirement budgeting, including Social Security, Medicare and early retirement healthcare, taxes and more. By breaking down choices in easy-to-understand steps and terminology, Silvur demystifies the process of preparing for and thriving in retirement. To date, Silvur, which aims to marry modern technology with modern retirement, is being used by more than 120,000 Americans nearing retirement age.
“Retirement is something many Americans look forward to, but the complexities of managing finances in those years can dampen anyone’s excitement,” said Nick Evens, President and CEO of Curql Collective. “With Silvur, the decisions we face in retirement are brought down to size and communicated in ways that make sense to the average person. Plus, the fact that it’s all brought together– that simply hasn’t been done before. It’s an innovative solution, and we know that credit unions will love sharing this technology with their members. We’re excited to be a part of it.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with Curql and its credit union members in this major step forward to modernize retirement,” says Silvur Founder and CEO, Rhian Horgan. “Silvur is a first-of-its-kind, turnkey solution that helps credit union members select the financial (and health) products and services to secure their retirement by providing localized retirement education, premium financial tools, and personalized calls to action. Silvur educates credit union members as they embark on retirement, and helps credit unions grow their share of the member’s retirement wallet.”
“For more information, please visit www.silvur.com.”
Credit Union Student Choice, the leading provider of higher education financing solutions to America’s credit unions, announced that it has partnered with F&A Federal Credit Union ($2.29 billion; 47,146 members; Monterey Park, CA) to offer its members a solution for student loan refinance.
“With the rising costs of higher education, most students will borrow money to pay for college, and student loan repayment can be a significant pain point. By offering a student loan refinance option for our members, we can provide benefits of credit union membership such as lower rates and personalized support for the financial services they’ll need throughout their lives.” said Michael Welch, Chief Lending and Branch Operations Officer for F&A.
“As interest rates begin to climb, we want to offer our members an option to simplify their student loan repayment and potentially save thousands of dollars in interest over the life of repaying their loan,” Welch added. “This goes hand in hand with our commitment to providing members personal service and exceptional value.”
The Student Choice refinance solution allows credit union members to refinance both private and federal student loans, though it cautions borrowers about the possible loss of federal student loan benefits in refinancing.
“Despite the extended pause on federal student loan payments and interest, the current environment provides an opportunity for graduates to consolidate payments and possibly lower rates on private student loans,” said Scott Patterson, President and CEO of Student Choice. “Student loan refinance is a valuable way for credit unions to help members take control of their finances and achieve goals, such as home or vehicle purchases, by reducing and eliminating the burden of student loan debt.”
Student Choice enables credit unions of all sizes to make private education loans that are held on their own balance sheet. Since launching in 2008, the CUSO has helped nearly 300 partner credit unions originate $4 billion in private education loans to more than 115,000 families.
VentureTech, the credit union industry’s premier showcase for financial technology, is set to bring together fintech firms, credit unions, Credit Union Service Organizations, venture capitalists and other credit union industry players again in November 2022. Announced by VentureTech founding sponsors Curql Collective and CUNA Strategic Services at the NACUSO Network Conference this week, the event will serve as a stage for collaboration among industry stakeholders to support development of financial technology serving credit unions.
VentureTech 2022 will run from November 7 through November 9, 2022, in Texas, at the Omni Frisco Hotel. Conference attendees will have opportunities to explore emerging technologies, discover solutions to technology barriers, network with industry leaders, identify sales and investment opportunities and collaborate on new ideas to benefit credit unions and their members. Attendees will also be able to test drive fintech solutions and vote for best-in-show innovations.
Nick Evens, President & CEO of Curql Collective, anticipates an exciting line-up of discussions, activities, break-out sessions, and technology demonstrations. “There’s so much happening in the fintech space for credit unions right now, which means VentureTech will offer an exciting platform to explore what’s on the horizon as well as what’s ready to launch today to help credit unions better serve their members,” he said. “This conference will be an amazing opportunity for credit unions and their partners to discover how fintech can move the industry forward – and for fintech firms to partner with the credit unions that can benefit from what they bring to the table.”
Jenny Jackson of CUNA Strategic Services agrees, adding, “VentureTech’s ability to bring together a wide breadth of industry attendees, from credit union and CUSO executives to venture capitalists, allows the fintechs to learn from those they are hoping to serve. The open discussions, networking and collaboration throughout the event ignite a passion for innovation and bringing forward thinking solutions to the industry in a fast and intentional manner.”
Innovations Federal Credit Union Deploys Scienaptic’s AI-Powered Platform to transform credit decisioning
Leading global AI-powered credit decision platform provider Scienaptic AI announced today that Innovations Federal Credit Union has chosen its AI-powered underwriting platform to provide an enhanced lending experience. Scienaptic’s platform will enable the credit union to streamline its credit underwriting process and make faster loan decisions for its members.
Founded in 1952, Innovations Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Panama City Beach, Fla. With an asset size of $346 million, the credit union has been servicing more than 22,000 members in the Bay County region for 70 years. Innovations Federal Credit Union operates through six branches and offers a wide gamut of financial services for both individuals and businesses from Bay County. The credit union provides a suite of services and products including the Octane program to support entrepreneurial ventures and Green Path Financial Wellness initiative in addition to personalized services such as free financial counselling, debt management planning and education to its members.
“At Innovations FCU, we appreciate every member and pay heed to their individual needs and requirements, making them feel heard,” said David A. Southall, President and CEO of Innovations Federal Credit Union. “The deployment of Scienaptic’s AI-powered credit decisioning platform will allow us to increase loan approvals, make quicker decisions and provide personalized financial assistance to our members. We are excited to be part of this disruption that will bring about better opportunities for Bay County.”
Pankaj Jain, President of Scienaptic commented on the collaboration, “At Scienaptic, our goal is to empower credit unions and members alike. Our AI-powered platform will enable Innovations Federal Credit Union to streamline its underwriting process, strengthen the lending portfolio, make faster decisions and reduce losses. At the same time, members will get better access to credit and an enhanced experience.”
Bonifii and Entersekt Announce New Context-Aware Authentication Solution for Credit Unions
Bonifii and Entersekt today announced a new partnership bringing context-aware authentication technology to credit unions through MemberPass Express, powered by Entersekt. MemberPass is the first KYC-compliant member-controlled digital identity issued by credit union cooperatives. With the addition of Entersekt’s technology, members will be protected by best-of-breed authentication technology. The solution provides members with a superior user experience, enabling them to authenticate themselves on any channel in less than 10 seconds.
With MemberPass Express, credit union members will be able to seamlessly authenticate their identity using biometrics when doing an e-commerce transaction, visiting a branch, contacting a call center, or logging in to online or mobile banking – all with a consistent user experience. A pilot project with two initial credit unions is already in progress.
"We are very excited to work with Bonifii to bring Entersekt’s expertise in context-aware passwordless authentication to credit unions. The joint new solution leverages artificial intelligence to protect members from fraud by analyzing the context (such as identity, behavior, location, device, and channel) of each user journey in real time. This informs the most appropriate member authentication method that will be used, and means that members will now benefit from industry-leading authentication, while enjoying a fast and smooth user experience," says Schalk Nolte, CEO at Entersekt.
Entersekt’s solutions have long been characterized by a strong, secure platform that becomes a springboard for innovative user journeys. The company has a strong track record with over ten years’ experience in financial services: its technology is used by numerous banks, payment processors, insurance companies and other financial institutions worldwide, securing over 1 billion events every month.
"Leveraging Entersekt’s vast expertise in this space, MemberPass Express provides credit unions with a revolutionary solution for authenticating members’ identities. It will bring members peace of mind when transacting, and offer them a very quick and seamless user experience," says John Ainsworth, president and CEO of Bonifii.
"We are committed to creating a world-class experience while protecting the nation’s credit union members from becoming victims of fraudulent activity, and we believe we’ve done just that in MemberPass Express. The partnership between Bonifii and Entersekt is a game changer in streamlining the member authentication experience," adds Barbra Lowman, president of CUNA Strategic Services.
PSCU and Amount Collaborate to Provide Credit Card Origination Services to Credit Unions
PSCU, the nation’s premier payments credit union service organization (CUSO), has announced a new partnership with Amount, a company that offers a full suite of end-to-end omnichannel consumer, small business and buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) solutions. The partnership will provide PSCU Owner credit unions with credit card origination services through a platform optimized to power the credit card experience of today. PSCU has also made an investment in Amount, of which terms were not disclosed.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, consumers have come to expect immediacy. From food delivery to ride-sharing services to person-to-person payment transfers, they do not want to wait – especially five to seven days for a credit card application approval. While many credit unions have successfully adapted their branch experience and contact center processes to meet members’ evolving needs, there are still some experiences that may be less than optimal if they are not truly digital first.
PSCU set out to identify a technology provider with best-of-breed functionality for digital credit card opening and loan origination. Founded in 2020, Amount provides cloud-based lending origination and account opening solutions to some of the nation’s top banking clients. The Amount platform is built by digital lending experts and designed with a simple interface that powers instant approvals to optimize the loan application experience.
“Our new partnership with and investment in Amount will add significant value for our credit unions by enabling a digital-first credit card application experience that is simple to implement,” said Denise Stevens, SVP, chief product & digital officer for PSCU. “In addition to helping grow credit card portfolios, it will drive new member acquisition as consumers can apply for credit union membership while applying for their new card.”
Amount and PSCU’s respective expertise will unlock a best-in-class solution that will help further deepen credit unions’ relationships with members by introducing one of the most sophisticated digital lending solutions in the market, while further enriching PSCU’s industry-leading portfolio of products and services. PSCU is streamlining integration to enable a quick-to-market solution – from its hosted products to its suite of custom APIs. Through this partnership, credit unions will be able to offer a branded, end-to-end solution within a matter of days.
“We intend to help solve a current pain point for many credit unions by providing a seamless, fully-integrated digital account opening solution with real-time lending approvals and immediate access to card credentials via digital banking and mobile wallets,” said Adam Hughes, CEO of Amount. “PSCU’s investment in Amount underscores our mutual commitment to this strategic partnership, and we look forward to working with PSCU to help credit unions win market share and stay competitive in this modern, digital-first landscape.”
PSCU and Amount will discuss this exciting new partnership at a breakout session at PSCU’s Member Forum 2022, taking place this week (April 26-28) in Las Vegas.
DeepTarget’s Digital Experience Platform Now Enables FIs to Capitalize on 3D Multi-Media Consumer Communications, Enhanced OmniChannel Digital Marketing and Smart Print Automation
DeepTarget Inc., a solution provider that utilizes data mining and business intelligence in order to deliver targeted communications across digital channels for banks and credit unions, announced new features with enhanced benefits in their Spring 2022 release of Digital Experience Platform™ (DXP). These enhancements include improved multi-media effects in 3D StoryTeller™ and the ability to export targeted audiences for usage in new or separate communications channels.
3D StoryTeller, which unites consumer intelligence with a prismatic user experience to deliver customized and personalized offers to individual banking consumers, now has automated rotation, background color enhancements, entrance zoom and a new ability to adjust these settings and deliver optimal user experiences. Meaningful messages are prioritized, inventoried and delivered in an immersive 3D format that compels end-user engagement. Customers have unique and exceptional visual experiences and can quickly skip to content that interests them, eliciting powerful, positive responses.
With multiple targeting methodologies available within DXP, DeepTarget clients have called for the ability to export the audience list that is a result of selected targeted campaigns for use in other third-party applications, such as email marketing or for powering their onboarding initiatives. The ability to export data insight-based audience lists is a new feature of DXP and will be used by FI clients to provide consistent communication through digital banking and other selected channels. The audience export facilitates the creation of lists from any targeting method including AI/ML based Predictive Campaigns. In the case of onboarding, an efficient way to identify new account holders is by using DXP’s rule-based campaigns to export the audience and then use this list to, for example, send out welcome emails that include recommendations on setting up services and more to supplement targeted onboarding messages in online and mobile banking.
Other new features in this release include an upgraded smart print channel to include print preview and print scheduling automation capabilities. An FI client using the print channel to send out targeted ads is able to use DXP to identify specific members through rules-based campaigns and schedule sending out these ads and messages printed on monthly statements to those targeted members.
The Spring 2022 release of DXP will be available in production to all customers in early May 2022.
Combining the organizations will create an influential six-state trade association of the future.
Member credit unions of the Mountain West Credit Union Association (MWCUA) and the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) voted to approve merging the two organizations effective June 30, 2022. The merger was approved with overwhelming support; 80% of the eligible credit unions’ delegates cast ballots, with 92% voting in favor. The new, six-state trade association will represent 300+ credit unions in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming, which serve over 12.3 million consumer members.
“As Associations in service to credit unions across these six states, we are humbled by the honor of serving organizations that create impact for people as they build their dreams,” said MWCUA President and CEO Scott Earl and NWCUA President and CEO Troy Stang in a joint statement. “The results of the vote support the belief of both organizations’ Boards of Directors that creating a next-level Association will enhance the strength and influence of credit unions’ voices.”
Earl will retire June 30, following a 40-year career in the Credit Union Movement. When the merger of MWCUA and NWCUA consummates this summer, Stang will serve as President and CEO.
Earl and Stang expressed deep gratitude to the MWCUA and NWCUA Boards of Directors for their strategic investment and leadership navigating the merger process, to the Associations’ teams for their intense collaboration, and to all the credit union leaders who explored the possibilities and voted in support of the merger.
The strategic plan for the new Association will ensure all six states represented are part of a proven advocacy model to keep the charters modern and relevant. A hyper-local approach will be expanded in state-level advocacy, while credit union voices at the federal level will become stronger with 12% of the U.S. Senate and 10% of the U.S. House represented within the six states.
“We look forward to delivering on the future that was imagined as we explored the merger,” said Todd Marksberry, MWCUA Board Chair, and President and CEO of Canvas Credit Union in Lone Tree, Colorado. “This will include a vivid focus on advocacy, collaboration through the Association’s Foundation for greater community impact, and documenting and telling the story of that impact to support advocacy and growth.”
Jeff Adams, NWCUA’s Board Chair and President and CEO of Spokane Valley, Washington-based Horizon Credit Union, noted the new Association will provide its member credit unions with an even richer array of professional development opportunities, advocacy opportunities, compliance services and business partnerships.
“Strategic business solutions will position credit unions to be more innovative and to be at the forefront of providing new services which members want and deserve. Educational opportunities will help grow today’s leaders and those of the future,” Adams said.
Additional details about the new organization will be made available as the integration plans are finalized and the consummation date nears.
Watch the CUbroadcast interview with Todd and Troy on the merger backstory:
#2859: NWCUA and MWCUA Look to Merge to Enhance Credit Union Marketshare in Both Regions
Abound Credit Union delivered more than $23.8 million in direct financial benefits, through lower loan rates, lower fees and higher earnings on deposits, to over 117,000 members during 2021. That’s an average savings of $202 per member or $425 per household, according to the latest Member Benefits Report compiled by the Credit Union National Association.
Depending on how members utilize Abound’s financial products and services, their actual savings may be higher than the averages quoted above. For example, financing a $30,000 new automobile with Abound for 60 months would save an individual an average of $259 per year compared with other banking institutions in Kentucky. That’s approximately $1,295 in savings over five years.
“Abound exists for one simple reason: to improve the lives of our members,” says Ray Springsteen, President & CEO. “We’re proud of how much we’ve been able to save so many of our hard-working friends and neighbors this past year and look forward to helping even more Kentuckians build brighter financial futures.”
Community members are invited to join the Credit Union to see how much they could save. More information about becoming a member along with Abound’s products, services and free financial education resources may be found at aboundcu.com.
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.