With the holiday shopping season starting and increasing numbers of Americans doing more and more of their shopping online, it is prime time for fraudulent payments. This year, credit unions have an additional worry – the Equifax hack that placed the personally identifiable information of millions of people in the hands of criminals who could use that info to create fake plastic. Credit Union Journal asked attendees of the recent Annual Meeting and Convention of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues in Palm Desert, Calif., to share their strategies.
John Cassidy, CEO of $1 billion Sierra Central CU, Yuba City, Calif.
We do a lot of education on our website. We let people know what not to do. In addition, we send a lot of information to our branch managers, and we do posts on our Facebook page. Even with all that, every single day we get calls from people who are concerned about fraud. We try to use all of our platforms to educate our members. With the Equifax breach, education is even more of a priority.
Hank Barrett, president and CEO, $620 million Valley First CU, Modesto, Calif.
Prior to the Equifax hack, we were on the verge of going to online account opening, but now we are not going to do that. CO-OP is our debit card processor, while CSCU does our credit cards, so we rely on their algorithms to detect fraud. Other than that, I feel like we are sheep; we are exposed.
Wally Murray, CEO of $825 million Greater Nevada CU, Carson City, Nev.
After the Equifax hack we added prevention measures for validating new accounts. The holidays will be the first broadscale attempt, so our monitoring will be more active. What everybody needs to understand is the Equifax hack is not a short-term development. With all that consumer information out there, there will be different attempts by different people in different ways for a long time to come. There will not be just one way needed to defend against these criminals. Not only will financial institutions have to be vigilant – consumers need to be vigilant, also. Education is going to be very important going forward, and we are doing all we can for our members.
Dan Taay, president and CEO of $55 million Technicolor FCU, Burbank, Calif.
We are looking at everything. During the holidays we will be looking at every purchase. We were hit before – two years ago we got hit with $10,000 in fraudulent charges, so ever since then we have been very careful.
Fabiana Burkett, chief risk officer for $923 million Xceed Financial FCU, El Segundo, Calif.
We are taking advantage of additional tools that will allow us to better assess exposure to fraud and mitigate losses. We are working with our vendors to have access to data that goes beyond what is found in a credit report. We use out-of-wallet data.
Alex Casillas, CEO of $34 million My CU, Redwood City, Calif.
We put the information out there on our website. We let our members know what they need to do and how they can take action. Fortunately, October is the month in which we do an annual credit review for all of our members. It gives us a chance to look for anything unusual, which is extra important this year.
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