Credit Union Leasing of America (CULA) has been selected by Dort Financial Credit Union to launch its indirect vehicle leasing program, further extending CULA’s reach into Michigan, which is historically one of the highest vehicle-leasing states.
The partnership brings to Dort Financial Credit Union a powerful, short-term, low-risk, strong-yield option for auto financing. In addition to enhancing Dort Financial Credit Union’s dealer partner relationships, CULA’s vehicle leasing program also brings flexibility and affordability, a priority for today’s car shoppers.
“We are proud to welcome Dort Financial Credit Union as a partner. They have served their community for over 70 years, with a deep legacy in automotive from their founder, stretching back almost 100 years,” said Mark Chandler, VP of Business Development for CULA. “Dort Financial has built a strong and resilient institution in Michigan, one that always puts its members first with a vision of serving their financial needs ‘by opening doors of opportunity’ – which vehicle leasing certainly can do for today’s price conscious consumer.”
Established in 1951 in Grand Blanc, Michigan, Dort Financial Credit Union has over $1.5 billion in assets, more than 104,000 members, and recently earned a 5-Star rating for financial strength and stability from BauerFinancial, Inc., the nation’s premier credit union and bank rating firm. Other recognitions include being named one of the top 100 credit unions in the country, according to a 2022 Bankdash report, named to Forbes top ten list of best-in-state credit unions for Michigan, and a top performing U.S. credit union by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
“Dort Financial Credit Union is dedicated to being a full-service lender to our membership base and, with vehicle leasing in Michigan as high as 64% of total new car sales, adding the benefits of vehicle leasing to our portfolio just makes sense,” said Sharon Lobo, VP of Lending at Dort Financial. “CULA was the obvious partner, not only for their proven track record with credit unions, but also for their commitment to customer service and the deep analytics embedded in their program, all of which means we will be offering a best-in-class leasing opportunity to our members.”
CULA, which experienced record growth in the last two years, has been the leader in indirect vehicle leasing for credit unions for over 30 years. The company offers an analytically driven, high-value leasing program and partners with the industry’s most innovative credit unions, including nine of the top 10 credit unions offering leasing in the U.S. By handling the intricacies of leasing for its clients – including analytics, insurance, operations, compliance and more – CULA enables credit unions to easily add leasing to their portfolios and dealers to offer their customers more finance options, especially as affordability becomes their main concern.
“At a time when car buyers’ top concern is the amount of their monthly payment(1), we know that vehicle leasing is an important offering for our credit union and dealer partners,” continued Chandler. “As the captive lenders offer fewer incentives, credit unions have the opportunity to grow market share in this competitive rate environment, and we stand ready to do our part to help our credit union and dealer partners succeed."
CULA originated 64,000 leases through its credit union partners in 2022, up from 50,000 in 2021. In addition, the company is now originating loans in nine more states, added nine credit unions, and increased the number of participating auto dealers by 42%.
As a Credit Union Service Organization spurring innovation in the credit union industry, Curql Collective is passionate about the credit union philosophy of "people helping people." That's why Curql Collective is so pleased to add a fintech Ecosystem Partner committed to helping credit unions improve the financial health of their members.
Our new partner, Nickels, provides white-label products that harness the power of behavioral science to help credit union members better manage their finances and credit card debt through automated personalized guidance and enhanced member engagement. With centralized card management, credit unions allow members to save money and improve credit while driving new loans and refinance opportunities. For credit unions, the result is stronger member relationships, data-driven insights, more business opportunities, and overall brand enhancement.
“As a CUSO that already has direct investment from credit unions, subscribing to the Curql Collective and joining its ecosystem of innovative credit unions is the obvious next step for us to better serve the credit union community,” said Nickels Founder and CEO Joseph Gracia. “We’re thrilled for the opportunity to work with Curql credit unions to help refinance their members’ third-party credit card debt,” he adds.
Curql Collective President and CEO Nick Evens shares the sentiment, adding, "Nickels is an outstanding partner for us and our Curql credit unions. With this solution, Nickels is helping credit unions gain new business opportunities while they help their members improve credit to thrive and build better lives. It’s a win-win.”
Glia, the leading provider of Digital Customer Service (DCS), today announced a voice banking solution for the Glia Interaction Platform. The new feature is an extension to its turnkey AI-powered Glia Virtual Assistants (GVAs) to support dial-in phone interactions. This provides a single, native virtual assistant across the call center and digital channels to automate voice and chat interactions. The announcement was made at Glia’s customer event in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“Welcome to a new era of phone support with Glia’s Voice GVAs,” said Jake Tyler, GVA Specialist for Glia. “Customers calling into financial institutions clearly prefer directly speaking with representatives for service. Extending GVA support to dial-in phone interactions allows them to simply converse for automated self-service and delivers a consistent experience across all channels. This single AI solution—a core component of the Glia Interaction Platform—drives new efficiencies while improving both resolution rates and customer satisfaction.”
Glia’s Voice GVAs elevate phone support in financial institutions by swapping out old-fashioned, touch-tone, menu-based IVR and Phone Banking systems for state-of-the-art conversational AI. This allows users to communicate their requirements using natural language, eliminating the complexities of traditional menu navigation. Voice GVAs provide uninterrupted 24/7 service, adeptly handling after-hours calls and peak demand, while responding to customer questions and transferring them to live support as needed.
A growing number of banks and credit unions are seeing a significant return on their investment in GVAs, including:
Optimized for banks and credit unions, Glia’s GVAs are pre-trained to handle 800+ banking scenarios right out of the box, helping financial institutions improve resolution times and lower costs. This unified solution for voice and digital banking service streamlines administration, reduces complexity and provides a consistent customer experience that can seamlessly blend virtual and human guidance. As part of the Glia Interaction Platform, GVAs are highly secure and reliable, a critical requirement for financial services companies.
“Just as Glia Virtual Assistants continuously learn and improve, we are always enhancing our products to deliver more value for our customers. Adding AI voice banking capabilities to our GVAs, for example, allows financial institutions to offer a consistent self-service experience across all phone and digital channels with streamlined management and cost-saving efficiencies,” said Justin DiPietro, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder of Glia.
The automated voice banking solution is available immediately as part of Glia’s GVAs. For more information go to Glia Virtual Assistants.
Financial Institutions Fall Short in Meeting Small Business Banking Needs, Research from Apiture and Aite-Novarica Group Finds
Apiture, a leading provider of digital banking solutions, today announced the findings of the company's joint report with Aite-Novarica Group, Delivering Value to Small Businesses, which reveals that nearly half of small businesses (49%) want more sophisticated capabilities than their primary financial institution currently offers.
The survey of more than 1,000 small businesses in the U.S. identified a high risk of customer attrition for financial institutions that do not deliver solutions designed to meet the unique needs of small businesses. To retain their business, 79% of small businesses say it is important, very important, or required for their bank or credit union to provide solutions tailored to them. More sophisticated mobile banking capabilities, digital tools to help manage cash flow, and more robust reporting to lessen dependence on error-prone spreadsheets are some of the desired features identified by survey respondents.
“Small businesses are neither consumers nor corporate clients, and managing finances is often not their forte,” said report author Christine Barry, head of Banking & Payments, Insights & Advisory, Aite-Novarica Group. “Many financial institutions serve this segment with consumer banking platforms that leave small businesses feeling misunderstood with unmet needs. Those willing to implement the right strategies and make the right technology investments will enjoy new successes in this market.”
The report highlights the steps financial institutions should take to better support small businesses, including:
“This research reinforces the need for financial institutions to deliver a business banking solution built with the specific needs of small businesses in mind,” said Chris Babcock, CEO of Apiture. “Banks and credit unions have a tremendous opportunity to better serve this segment by choosing digital banking solutions that offer the features and intuitive experiences small businesses expect, while also integrating with fintech partners to broaden available capabilities.”
The report is free to download here.
PSCU, the nation’s premier payments credit union service organization (CUSO) and an integrated financial technology solutions provider, has announced the general availability of its new Installment Payments solution. This launch follows a successful pilot program with a select group of the CUSO’s credit union partners.
A buy now, pay later (BNPL) offering, PSCU’s Installment Payments solution enables cardholders to divide purchase amounts into smaller payments over a fixed period, giving members more flexibility to budget as needed and take greater control over their finances. The solution allows specific post-purchase credit card transactions to be converted into installment payments, providing a flexible payment method for cardholders while creating new revenue streams for credit unions. Additionally, PSCU’s solution lets credit unions customize the criteria for installment plans based on member data, which informs realistic repayment terms that minimize delinquency risks.
“PSCU is proud to expand the availability of this new tool, which offers benefits to all of our Owner credit unions and their members,” said Cody Banks, managing vice president, Payments, Fraud and Loyalty at PSCU. “When developing this technology, we prioritized enhancing members’ financial wellness and offering cardholders flexible digital payment options to help with budgeting and planning larger purchases, empowering users with the opportunity to decide how and when they pay. It is also a chance for credit unions to promote their credit card as the card of choice for members interested in a BNPL offering, ultimately driving increased interchange revenue, deposit balances and overall credit union brand visibility.”
Key capabilities of PSCU’s Installment Payments solution:
“This technology positions PSCU and its credit unions to effectively compete in the BNPL space, which should be a consideration for all credit unions and partners when it comes to growing portfolios, attracting new accountholders and offering elevated solutions to members,” said Denise Stevens, chief product and digital officer at PSCU. “What sets PSCU’s new solution apart from other financial services providers is its ability to use existing lines of credit, enabling credit unions to deliver the right installment plans to the right members. This not only presents less risk, but it truly allows members to rely on their credit union as their trusted financial partner now and in the future.”
PSCU’s Installment Payments solution comes at a time of increasing consumer demand for innovative digital payment solutions, including installment payment options. According to the PSCU 2022 Eye on Payments study, 60% of respondents who know their financial institution offers a BNPL solution report they have used it. Among those who do not know if their financial institution offers BNPL or know it does not, 32% say they would likely use it.
For more information on PSCU’s Installment Payments solution, visit pscu.com/bnpl-installment-payments.
Tyfone Partners with Demopolis Equity Partners to Innovate and Scale the Digital Experience for Community Financial Institutions
Today, digital banking innovator Tyfone, Inc., announced a major transaction that includes a significant investment from Demopolis Equity Partners and a merger with digital banking provider Cubus Solutions, resulting in the combined entity operating under the Tyfone brand. This move will accelerate the adoption of the company's nFinia® digital banking platform by a wider range of community financial institutions and extend digital offerings that will bring in revenues and efficiencies to these institutions, thanks to the addition of Cubus' customers, digital solutions, and expertise.
“Today success in digital banking – in fact, success in any financial technology – is all about engaged digital experiences and the ability to scale,” said Tyfone CEO Dr. Siva Narendra. “That means scaling up to power digital growth for larger institutions and scaling down to facilitate the smaller ones stay relevant.” He added that the company has already built a great foundation of market leading software for credit unions and community banks with passionate people. Now, with additional capital and the merger, more community financial institutions will be able to leverage that foundation.
“It is rare to find two companies so culturally well-aligned that also complement each other technologically,” said Cubus CEO John-Ashley Paul. “The team at Cubus is thrilled to be joining the Tyfone family. Our best-of-breed loan payments, loan skips, e-statements, and rewards solutions will extend the Tyfone digital banking ecosystem, leading to tighter integration and a truly exceptional user experience.” He noted that both companies have established industry-wide reputations for customer service, integrity, and transparency.
“We are excited to partner with Tyfone to build an industry leader in the digital banking space. Siva and his team at Tyfone have built a true best-in-class product and offer the highest level of service in the industry, while John and his Cubus team have established a solid, multi-faceted business with a reputation for excellence,” said Tim Greenfield, Managing Partner at Demopolis Equity Partners. “We believe that the combined organization is well-positioned to lead the next wave of innovation in the community banking sector.”
For more details, watch the video interview on CUbroadcast.
It’s Financial Literacy Month, and credit unions are looking for ways to promote financial education and improve the financial literacy of their members, especially among Gen Z.
To help credit unions in this effort, we've gathered seven essential financial tips from Annamaria Lusardi, a renowned expert in financial literacy and a University Professor of Economics and Accountancy at the George Washington University School of Business. The tips are tailored for Gen Z, along with the reasons why credit unions should prioritize financial education for this demographic.
1. Dedicate time each week to your personal finances: It's important to set aside regular time to manage your personal finances, even if it's just 15 to 30 minutes per week. Just like exercising regularly, taking care of your finances requires consistent effort and attention.
2. Build a rainy-day fund: Having a buffer stock of savings for unexpected expenses, accidents, or other emergencies is crucial. Gen Z should prioritize building an emergency fund to be prepared for unexpected financial shocks.
3. Maintain a good credit score: A good credit score is like a financial GPA and can have a lasting impact on your financial well-being. Paying bills on time, avoiding maxing out credit cards, and being financially active early on can help build and maintain a good credit score. A higher credit score can also result in better interest rates, saving you money on interest payments in the long run.
4. Manage debt wisely: Many Gen Z individuals start their economic lives with debt, such as student loans. It's important to manage debt wisely and be aware of high interest rates associated with credit cards and other loans. Maintaining a good credit score is crucial to avoid higher interest rates on debt.
5. Learn to invest: Investing is a critical way to grow wealth over time. Gen Z should learn about diversification and pay attention to costs and fees associated with investing to make informed investment decisions.
6. Plan for the future: Gen Z should start planning for the future early, including retirement and other financial goals. Building a solid financial foundation early on can lead to a more secure financial future.
7. Take advantage of savings opportunities: Gen Z should take advantage of savings opportunities offered by employers and the government, such as 401(k) plans and tax-favored assets like traditional or Roth IRAs. These savings options can help accelerate the growth of savings and build wealth over time.
Why Gen Z? Three reasons
1. Timeliness and impact: Providing financial education to Gen Z during early adulthood can have a lasting impact on their financial well-being. Equipping them with financial knowledge and skills early on can help them make informed decisions, develop healthy financial habits, and avoid costly mistakes in the future.
2. Access to resources: Gen Z's digital fluency and familiarity with online platforms provide opportunities for engaging in financial education through online channels such as websites and social media. Leveraging these resources can help credit unions effectively deliver financial education to Gen Z members.
3. Demographics and viability: Credit unions need to prioritize Gen Z engagement for future viability. By providing financial education to younger members, credit unions can attract and retain Gen Z members, ensuring long-term sustainability as the average age of credit union members is higher than the general population's average age.
Three more reasons
If your credit union does not offer a financial education program that is designed specifically to educate younger members, April is an ideal time to get started.
To celebrate National Financial Literacy Month, receive three bonus videos of your choice when you sign up for any It’s a Money Thing plan in April! Teach your members the value of money with It's a Money Thing. Don't miss out on this limited-time offer.
IMM, the only eSignature provider specializing in eSignature and digital transaction solutions exclusively for financial institutions, today announced that its long-time client, Financial Plus Credit Union, successfully upgraded to IMM’s newest digital solution called eReceiptsPlus, advancing the credit union’s digital-first strategy with advanced eTransaction capabilities.
Headquartered in Ottawa, Ill., Financial Plus Credit Union has five branch locations across the state of Illinois, more than 40,000 members and $470 million in assets. In 2019, the credit union transitioned to IMM eSignPlus, an advanced eSignature and digital transaction management platform that enables end-to-end digital processing with automated, business rules-based workflow capabilities.
“We have worked with IMM for many years, and they have been pivotal in ensuring we can meet the increasingly digital demands of our members,” said Kelly Olesen, information technology specialist, Financial Plus Credit Union. “During the Pandemic, we made the transition to IMM eSignPlus and that was paramount to our success. Adding eReceiptsPlus is the next evolution of our digital strategy, amplifying the member experience yet again by enabling members to electronically sign transactions in real time, regardless of their location. The entire transaction is completed digitally in a matter of seconds.”
IMM’s cloud-based eReceiptsPlus generates advanced digital receipts out of teller platform transactions that can be provided to the member through thermal printing, email or via SMS-based text messages. If a particular transaction requires a member to sign the receipt due to the nature of the transaction, the member can eSign the receipt in the branch on tablet devices, traditional signature pads, and/or even using the member’s own smartphone. Through the SMS/text delivery feature unique to eReceiptsPlus, the member can also sign the receipt outside of the branch, thereby providing a new approach to handling drive-thru and call center transactions. Upon completion, the digital receipt, including the member’s signature (if applicable), is automatically archived into the credit union’s imaging/ECM system for permanent record-keeping.
Olesen continued, “We would be lost without IMM and its products. Nearly every transaction processed by our front-end staff leverages some component of IMM’s technology. IMM has been integral in ensuring we can meet our members’ evolving needs and provide a modern, digital experience regardless of the channel. This is in large part due to IMM’s ability to easily integrate with our existing business applications. Any time we migrate to a new system, we can easily integrate IMM. Additionally, I have worked with a lot of technology vendors, but IMM’s service and support are unmatched, and it demonstrates their commitment to our future success.”
Michael Ball, SVP, Markets and Strategy at IMM, said, “IMM values our client relationships and the long-term partnership with Financial Plus exemplifies perfectly why our clients turn to us again and again for their digital transformation needs. Credit unions can’t become complacent with their digital offerings if they want to remain competitive. Financial Plus is a great example of an institution that is constantly improving and always looking for ways to provide their members an even more enhanced banking transaction experience.”
CUES TalentNEXT conference, designed to help the industry’s senior HR, training and talent development leaders realize a strong, future-focused people strategy, is returning for its second year September 10-12, in Savannah, GA.
Unlike other HR events that focus on operational topics like recruiting and compliance, TalentNEXT helps credit unions create a smart people strategy for their institution.
“The working world has changed a lot over the past few years; business-as-usual no longer cuts it. Credit unions must keep up with those changes to help aid in attracting top talent and retaining their best employees, all things TalentNEXT can help with,” said Christopher Stevenson, CAE, CIE, CUES’ Senior Vice President/Chief Learning Officer. “Lessons learned at TalentNEXT will help CUs successfully shore up performance management, ultimately producing a strong leadership pipeline.”
Led by authorities in people management and renowned faculty from Cornell University, attendees will explore:
· Hybrid Work Strategy: Navigating the Challenges and Opportunities of a New Work Model
· How Psychological Safety Can Bridge the Generational Gap in the Workplace
· What is your Stress Personality?
· The Gender Wage Gap & Bias — What Do We Know and What Can We Do?
“TalentNEXT is highly interactive, with group work, case studies, and activities to ensure attendees will head home with actionable takeaways and new ideas to implement,” said Stevenson.
Learn more at content.cues.org/TalentNEXT. Learn more about CUES at cues.org.
Ascend Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in Middle Tennessee, announced today that it has won a coveted Diamond Award from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Marketing & Business Development Council. Ascend won the award in the “Brand Awareness” category for its imaginative “Someday” campaign.
CUNA’s Diamond Awards highlight excellence in marketing and business development in the credit union industry. Ascend competed against the country’s largest credit unions (assets of more than $1 billion).
As part of the campaign, Ascend’s goal was to assist young, striving adults to achieve aspirational plans of financial freedom and to highlight the credit union’s resources to help them accomplish their objectives.
“It’s an honor to once again be selected as a CUNA Diamond Award winner, especially for a campaign designed to help our members live their best lives,” said Leslie Copeland, chief strategy officer for Ascend. “Facilitating them in obtaining that ‘someday’ — getting the car, home, or vacation of their dreams is an essential part of our credit union’s mission. As a trusted partner, helping members achieve their financial goals while also winning an award makes us extremely proud.”
“The Diamond Awards showcase the best of the best in credit union marketing and business development initiatives,” said Marella Nardotti, Diamond Awards chair and chief marketing officer at NextMark Credit Union. “They recognize innovation and creativity, while tying in impact on organizational profitability, growth, and brand awareness.”
CUNA’s Marketing & Business Development Council celebrated the 2023 Diamond Awards by announcing winners in 36 categories at its annual conference in Orlando, Florida, on March 28. Judges reviewed 1,246 entries during this year’s competition.
Click here for a full list of this year’s award winners.
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.