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Johnson Urges CUs To Document Underserved

PHILADELPHIA-NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson is urging credit unions to "tell their stories" to get the word out about how the movement lives up to its people-helping-people philosophy and social mission.

The call comes after Johnson was grilled by a congressional panel on the lack of documentation proving that credit unions continue to earn their tax-exempt status (see related story, page 1).

"America's credit unions are known for their good work in reaching into the depths of communities, especially those who have been left behind to predatory lenders, and serve as the financial partner folks can count on for mainstream financial services," said Chairman Johnson. "However, the real challenge of this good work is documenting and singing your own praises of the service, when it is second nature to so many in the credit union community."

Though loathe to impose regulation requiring such documentation, Johnson suggested she is interested in information that could be available through the 5300 Call Reports.

Big Banks Seek To Lock Up Check 21 Business

ORLANDO-The big banks are wasting little time leveraging Check 21 and seeking to lock up small businesses with remote deposit capture solutions. Credit unions at BAI's Retail Delivery Show that are just getting into commercial services or are even veterans in member business lending got a good view of how they compare to the big banks.

Major players such as Bank of America are putting significant resources into remote deposit capture solutions, in which merchants (and some individuals) use scanners and a high-speed Internet connection to capture check images themselves and then transmit that data to their financial institution. Royce Brown, president of NetDeposit, Inc., said that in 2004, there were approximately 450 remote deposit capture locations, a number that has grown to 2,700 in 2005. By 2006 Net Deposit is projecting that number will hit 15,000.

Elizabeth M. Lee, SVP with Bank of America's Global Treasury Services, said the bank is now working to reduce the cost of scanners for merchants to somewhere below $500.

Diebold Counting Loose Change

NORTH CANTON, Ohio-ATM maker Diebold Inc., saying it wants to help Americans rid themselves of more than $10 billion in coins, introduced its own coin counting machine.

The company's CointCount machine will help credit unions and banks expand their service offerings by providing fast coin-counting right outside the branch.

The machines will be offered in two models which will provide a receipt that can be presented to a teller in exchange for currency.

The systems separates coins from debris, like jewelry, paper clips and other items. The non-coin items will be returned to the customer through a pocket in the front of the machine.

After using CointCount, customers can take their receipts to a Diebold RemoteTeller ATM to deposit the funds in their accounts.

Business Deposits Pose Profits

ORLANDO-Credit unions that have entered member business services have typically concentrated on the lending side, leaving the merchant deposits to other providers, often because of a lack of data processing capabilities.

But one expert said many are mistaken in that strategy because they misunderstand where profitability lies. Rocye Brown, president of NetDeposit, Inc., told the BAI's Retail Delivery Show here that data show that the profits to be had on small business deposits are double those of small business lending.

Fiserv Launches Prepaid Gift Card

BROOKFIELD, Wis.-Fiserv introduced a prepaid gift card product suite Wednesday that can be used by credit unions and banks of every size.

The suite includes an off-the-shelf turnkey solution that allows credit unions and banks to offer a complete Visa or MasterCard gift card program that can be live within weeks.

Participating institutions act only as card resellers, thereby eliminating the risk and operational overhead.

First Financial CU Implements Partner-Based Security Program

WEST COVINA, Calif.-First Financial CU said it has signed with PortAuthority Technologies to implement the company's DATASEC Alliance, a partnership between several online security companies. The DATASEC Alliance programs fosters interoperability with complimentary technology vendors, allowing customers to deploy comprehensive data protection and compliance solutions. Among the partners in the program are: Check Point Software, Clearswift, LogLogic, PGP Corp., PostX, Tumbleweed and ZixCorp.

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