CO-OP Shared Branching has recently made some changes to the website, www.cuservicecenter.com, to help your members navigate easier.
The first change is the announcement that this website is now available for mobile searches using the website www.cuservicecenter.com. We encourage you to pass this along to your members since this mobile site is great for members using their cell phones or PDAs to search for a shared branching location.
The next change made to the website is a link to the search feature which has been added to the left-hand panel to aid in the search of participating issuer credit unions. This will help members find if their credit union participates. If you click on “Does my CU Participate” you will be redirected to the credit union search screen.
We hope you find the changes to the website beneficial and we encourage you to promote this website to your members, as well; to provide a link from your website to help members find a location that will benefit them.
Tax Refund Check Processing Reminder
With tax season upon us we wanted to pass along some reminders for handling these items as it relates to shared branching transactions.
Please remember that if a tax refund check is not from the Federal Government it should not be coded as immediate. All other checks including those from a tax service or even a rapid advance loan check should be coded as local. Remember to check to ensure proper endorsement based upon who the check is made payable to and that if payable to more than one person that both are listed jointly on the account it is being deposited to. Also, we have been informed that some of the loan checks have restrictive endorsements. If on them, if your credit union can’t verify if the member has met the restrictive endorsement, it is recommended that you refer the member to their credit union.
Also, remember that for deposits completed within the state, check copies should be faxed to the issuer credit union based upon the dollar amount.
We want to make sure we are following all of the policies and procedures, as this will only help the member and all credit unions involved.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sandy Shenk and or reference the most recent edition of the CO-OP Shared Branching Policies and Procedures (effective date July 1, 2009).
New Regulation CC Changes
On February 27, 2010, the Federal Reserve Banks transferred the check-processing operations to the head office in Cleveland, OH. At this time, there is only a single check-processing region for purposes of Regulation CC and there will no longer be any checks that are non-local.
The Shared Branching Network rules define “local” checks as “an item drawn on an institution within the same Federal Reserve district as the acquirer’s location.” Acquirers are required to be familiar with their Federal Reserve district and what is considered local. Acquirers should be aware of this consolidation and when it will occur within your area. More than likely, you are familiar with this processing change since you are handling your own member checks and transaction holds. Shared Branching Network rules will be revised to eliminate the “non local” designation after the consolidation is complete. If acquirers all code items within their Federal district as local, there shouldn’t be any concern with the non-local designator still being in the policies. No one will use it. The network rules do outline what should be coded as “immediate” and once this goes into affect, the only two options will be “immediate” and “local”.
There could be issues where tellers across the network will inadvertently use the “non-local” designator until the DP's remove that option from their teller platforms. To eliminate potential problems and non-compliance with Reg. CC, we would recommend that issuer credit unions consider configuring their internal host hold tables to treat any "N"-coded items the same as "L" items once the consolidation is complete. This will ensure your credit union is in compliance if the “N”-coded item is used in error.
Introducing CO-OP Mobile Multi-Mode Platform
CO-OP Mobile is expanding with a new Multi-Mode Platform supporting text banking, mobile Web browser and downloadable applications to supported devices, including iPhones.
Through the text messaging feature, a credit union member can send a text message with an account inquiry and receive information back instantly. CO-OP will provide the vanity short code to minimize credit union expense. The mobile Web browser feature gives owners, with most phones, the opportunity to go to the CO-OP Mobile website, enter pass codes and obtain account information. Downloadable applications available with CO-OP Mobile Multi-Mode Platform include: Apple iPhone, BlackBerry devices and many more.
Credit unions have the option to offer one or all three of these service options to their members with the CO-OP Mobile Multi-Mode Platform.
CO-OP Mobile services the growing popularity of mobile banking among consumers and the increasing number of mobile devices. Credit unions utilizing CO-OP’s Next Generation Network (NGN) benefit from a quick, turnkey entry into mobile banking, which; provides their members access to verify balances, view transaction history and transfer funds among accounts. NGN also gives the credit union comfort in minimizing the initial capital investment. Changes aren’t needed to the credit union’s host system or PC Banking system to participate in CO-OP Mobile.
CO-OP Mobile Multi-Mode Platform will be available to credit unions in the first quarter of 2010. For more information, please contact Sandy Shenk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Avoid Check Fraud within Shared Branching
Counterfeit check fraud and other types of fraud typically increase during difficult economic conditions. According to recent reports, fraud is expected to increase 30% in 2009 and 2010. One major reason for the staggering loss is the availability of high-quality, low-cost technology that allows scammers to print and alter checks. If check fraud occurs within shared branching, best practices and set procedures are performed to prevent loss to any parties involved.
When a credit union member brings a check into a shared branching location for deposit, significant emphasis is placed on conducting the proper identification steps during the member verification process. It is important for local networks, credit unions and members to be constantly aware of fraudulent behavior.
Credit unions that participate in CO-OP Shared Branching have an advantage through the Next Generation Network (NGN) switch. One of the most important benefits of NGN is that the date the account was opened is available to the teller. Since fraud typically occurs within the first 30 days of an account being opened, this information is vital in catching a fraudulent transaction before it is made. Issuing credit unions should limit access to new account holders until the credit union has established a relationship with that account holder. This will assist in preventing fraudulent activity. NGN also provides message formats with up to 100 characters allowing an issuer credit union to provide clear and timely warning messages on accounts to prevent suspicious activity. When it comes time to verify the check, the teller is required to inspect all items for negotiability using reasonable care, which; will include the verification and presence of all noted security features disclosed on the item, such as watermarks and printed instructions. All negotiable items also must meet the following:
- The check must be properly endorsed
- Not a third party item
- Payable to the member or joint owner
- Has a current date; not postdated
- Routing and transit number encoded in MICR line
- Not noticeably altered
- Not written in pencil
- Payable in US funds; drawn on a FI located in the US
- Not drawn on a member’s account or joint account at the same FI to which deposit is being made
Once the check has been verified, the acquiring location’s teller must properly code the check. As of today, there are two codes for checks to be deposited: immediate and local. Once the acquiring teller enters the code for the member’s check, the host credit union is able to identify the checks and place the appropriate holds, preventing further fraudulent behavior. Keep in mind, that in-state rules also require checks over a certain dollar amount be faxed to the issuer/host credit union the same business day. This will also help identify potential fraudulent checks.
We encourage all credit unions to be aware of fraud or counterfeit checks, not just with their own members but with shared branching members.
Marketing Tips by Community Credit Union
Community Credit Union, a part of CO-OP Shared Branching through the Maine Credit Union League/Synergent, promotes shared branching in many different ways. They have shared some tips on the innovative methods they use to get the word out to their members about shared branching:
- Lobby displays in their lobbies
- Their electronic sign is used to run messages about shared branching
- Signage is displayed in both the teller lines and lobbies
- Receipt messages are changed to remind members that they offer shared branching
- Articles are included in their newsletter about shared branching
- Information and logos are displayed throughout their website about shared branching
- Community advertisements are leveraged to remind readers that they are a shared branching service center
- A shared branching brochure is included in new member packets
- Employees remind members going out of town that they can use shared branching
Through the use of many different channels of communication, Community Credit Union does a great job in educating their members on shared branching and its many benefits.
Spotlight On…Community Credit Union
In 1945, St. Pierre Credit Union was formed to provide for the financial needs of St. Peter and St. Paul parishioners. Father Drouin, the Pastor of St. Peter and St. Paul Church, stressed the importance of being a credit union member and encouraged parishioners to join a very worthy cause. Since that time, the credit union’s name has been changed to Community Credit Union, serving the people of Androscoggin County located in Maine, and has grown to serve over 8,500 members. Community Credit Union’s mission to members is to provide convenient, quality and personalized service.
In 2008, in keeping with their mission statement, Community Credit Union joined CO-OP Shared Branching through Synergent, a services corporation of the Maine Credit Union League, as both an issuer and acquirer. “Community Credit Union joined shared branching for several reasons,” Jennifer Hogan, Marketing/Business Development Director for Community Credit Union said, “It provides our members with additional choices, helps with member retention, allows competition with large banks in our area and it is less expensive than building another branch, especially in the current economy.” As an issuer, shared branching has provided both a level of convenience for members and has given Community Credit Union a solution for retention. “We have saved accounts when members have tried closing them in offering them the convenience and ease of shared branching,” Ms. Hogan said. This has occurred with a variety of Community Credit Union’s members from snow birds to college students. In addition, shared branching has played a key role for potential members joining Community Credit Union. “We have actually had people join the credit union because shared branching is one of the services we offer,” Ms. Hogan stated.
Shared branching has helped Community Credit Union’s members in situations when they needed access to their accounts and were unable to do so locally. In one situation, a member was on vacation in Florida and wanted to purchase a vehicle there. Since he was able to access his account through a shared branching location, he was able to purchase the vehicle easily without hesitation and it provided for a smooth transaction.
“Shared branching has given us the opportunity to say that we have branches all over the country,” Ms. Hogan said. She went on to say that although Community Credit Union has been fortunate enough not to experience a disaster or emergency, they have built shared branching into their business continuity and pandemic plans. In choosing to be a part of the shared branching network, Community Credit Union gives their members additional access and convenience.
THINK10, being held in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Fairmont Scottsdale April 18-21, is only a few short months away. Registration for all credit unions is FREE, so sign up today! Two new speakers have been added to the blockbuster lineup that already includes Bob Herbold, former COO of Microsoft, Tim Sanders of Yahoo!, and David Schembri, former CEO of Smart USA. Added to the line-up are:
- Ken Auletta, Best-Selling Author and columnist, and one of today's most perceptive observers of transformation in the media and entertainment industries. Author of New York Times best-seller, “Googled: The End of the World as We Know It”, writer of the "Annals of Communication" column for The New Yorker magazine since 1992, along with nine other books, Ken has profiled Information Age leaders such as Bill Gates and Rupert and has made regular appearances on Nightline, and PBS NewsHour.
- Tony Hsieh, Chief Operating Officer of Zappos, skyrocketed Zappos.com sales from 1.6 million dollars in 2000 to $840 million dollars in 2007 through his leadership. Since the acquisition by Amazon, Hsieh continues to focus on growing the company at a rapid pace while maintaining the culture and feel of a small company.
This year’s theme, resetting priorities for a new landscape, will be addressed by these speakers who have the ability to see things uniquely and can provide a different prospective for the credit union industry. THINK10 will inspire, energize, and awaken you to a new way of seeing the credit union movement. You don’t want to miss out on this year’s conference!
Be sure to follow @COOPTHINKCONF on twitter to get daily THINK10 updates. Also, visit www.co-opthink.org for information on the speakers, the conference schedule and anything THINK.
# # #
For additional information, contact Sandy Shenk, PaCUSC State Coordinator, 800-932-0661, Ext. 5267.