Posted by Brian McCue, VP Remote Transaction Resources, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 10/22/2014

The number of smartphones in the US is growing exponentially and Americans take them everywhere. Cell phones have evolved from call/text/email to small mobile computers. For years cell phones have been getting smaller, but this is changing due to our reliance on them. They are called Phablets, the mix of phone and tablet!  

Consumers understand the importance of securing their computers but they don’t realize the potential threats to their cell phones. "People can get themselves into trouble because they have a different relationship with their phone than their computer," says Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response. "Anyone you sleep with, you tend to trust, and over half the people sleep with their phones."

As consumers become more comfortable using smartphones, they will build that trust with the phone. And very quickly they will start accessing sensitive business and/or personal/private data (financial and medical) and more. Since the phone goes everywhere, the odds of it being lost, stolen or compromised are very high.

As much as we have come to depend on our mobile phones, we are not doing much to protect them. Here is a helpful article from Consumer Reports: 5 steps to protect your smart phone from theft or loss (Also learn what to do when your phone goes missing and when you get it back).

Tips to protect your smartphone

  • Add a password to your phone
  • Buy an app that will track and report the location
  • Download the updates for your phone
  • Avoid storing sensitive information
  • Don't auto-save your user name and passwords
  • Use better passwords
  • Use a cloud backup service
  • Be careful with email/text links (don't be click happy)
  • Don't allow automatic Wi-Fi connections
  • Check privacy settings on your apps
  • Before installing apps, read their reviews (Here’s a bad app)
  • Wipe your mobile device before you donate
  • Protect your phone from viruses/malware
  • Report any suspected fraud to your credit union immediately

Before you and your phone go to bed tonight, make sure you have the proper protection!

Categories: Remote Transaction, Sales & Service
Posted by Mr. Bob Rehm, CUDE, VP, Sales and Service, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 10/20/2014

A few months ago I wrote in this blog about the possibility of connecting credit unions with a homeless shelter where I volunteer.  The idea was to determine how credit unions are, or could be, part of a solution to provide homeless people the foundational help they need to get back into a more stable lifestyle.

Fast forward to today where I have learned of a credit union in Dallas that is doing just that – City Credit Union.  City’s CEO, Sharon Moore has appointed an ambassador to the community - D Newkirk, whose title is Community Development Coordinator.  D works in many ways to provide educational support for the members of the credit union and the people of Dallas, including the homeless. D and City CU have been working with a mission in Dallas to provide important services, including a financial literacy program, More Than Budgets.

Texas Christian University professor, Dr. Dawn Elliot, developed the More Than Budgets program, which is offered through several outreach programs in the DFW area.  A personal financial training program for low income families, More Than Budgets provides tools in basic money management to help clients improve spending habits, gain access to financial resources and reduce their financial vulnerabilities.

So, we made the connection!  Beginning in January, D will facilitate the six-week More Than Budgets program for certain clients of Austin Street Center near downtown Dallas.

A little background on Austin Street Center:  The center provides an evening meal, a place to sleep and breakfast to about 400 men and women every night.   In addition, they offer medical, dental and other services during the day for our neighbors in need.

Where we are getting involved is through the center’s program for people on the rebound who have a job or are able to work – The Pathway House.  At Pathway House people have a place to live while they get back on their feet.  The program requires the clients to do certain things, one of which is to take a financial literacy class.  That’s where D comes in.  He has been conducting More Than Budgets classes at another Dallas-area shelter and will now begin providing that service to Pathway House clients.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, homelessness happens to ordinary people. You see it in your credit union – sometimes bad things happen to good people.  Let’s keep the conversation going.  If your credit union is involved with a shelter or related outreach, I would like to hear from you.

Stay tuned; I will report back in this blog on the MTB program as we roll it out at Pathway House.

Categories: Education & Training
Posted by Mr. Dean Borland, SCMS, CUDE, VP Product Development, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 10/17/2014

Your list of issues for consideration in strategic discussion is probably long – declining non-interest income, potential margin squeeze as market interest rates rise and liabilities reprice faster than assets, mining loan demand from aging members and attracting younger members to fuel future growth. Add to the list a likely disruptive force in the payments arena.

In case you haven’t heard, Apple introduced its latest iPhone in mid-September. The new devices, which come in regular and super-sized versions, reportedly have a faster processor, longer battery life, a better camera and visual display, and what some say could be a game-changing mobile wallet called “Apple Pay.” Think Apple Pay is not a big deal? Consider how many of your members (and their children) have an iPhone. Consider how music and video is delivered today. How many people actually have a camera that is NOT a feature of their phone? Find someone from Kodak and ask about digital photography or a Blockbuster employee who still thinks streaming video is not a threat.

But, Apple Pay is not the only game in Payments Town. There is also EMV (Euro MasterCard VISA), the little chips that are going to replace magnetic stripes on all forms of plastic cards, saving us from “card present” transaction fraud. For “card not present” transactions like those late night purchases from Amazon and Zappos, TOKENIZATION promises to foil the fraudsters.

And then there is the ongoing battle between merchants and financial institutions about who pays for the payments infrastructure. I am old enough to remember when merchants had to collect on hot checks – they did it by taping returned checks to the cash register in the checkout so friends and neighbors could see that you couldn’t take care of business. Today, merchants accept debit payments that are online, real time and guaranteed payment and they begrudge the cost of the process.

Enter MCX, the Merchant Customer Exchange, a consortium of 60+ merchants including Walmart, Southwest Airlines, Lowes, Sears, 7-11… that is exploring options to move debit transactions onto ACH rails just like Walmart started doing years ago when it converted personal checks to ACH items at the cash register. MCX’s motivation is improved profitability. On average, a merchant pays $2.80 in interchange for every $100 debit payment. The average cost for a $100 ACH payment is approximately $0.06.

How much income does your credit union derive from debit interchange? How much do you stand to lose if / when MCX and other merchants hop the debit tracks and move to ACH? What will the change mean to your operating procedures?

Today, the payments revolution is being led by big players like MasterCard and VISA, and non-traditional players like Apple. Credit unions will need to get on board or be left behind. Ask yourself, where would you be today if you had failed to issue debit cards or provide on-line / mobile transaction services? How many share draft accounts would you have? We are all chasing “younger” members who hold promise as future borrowers. Will Gen X, Y, or Z choose a credit union that does not provide the payments services they want?

Your credit union needs a payments strategy and a mobile strategy. If payments and mobile are not on your discussion list, they should be.

Categories: Remote Transaction, Strategic Planning & Consulting
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