Why is Credit Union Accounting Shrouded in Fog?

Posted On: February 24, 2017

Did you happen to see our guest article on NACUSO's blog and CU Insight last month? We discuss the worrisome data and research gap in credit union accounting: While there is abundant data in other areas of credit unions™ critical functions, such as loans, strategy, marketing, and regulation, accounting is a grey mist on the horizon. We have found there is little to no industry data compiled in this area, and many credit unions are left wondering if their accounting team is staffed appropriately as well as whether they should outsource various functions, such as ATM balancing. Debra Templin, CFO of CU Service Network, manages the company™s Outsourced Accounting Service, which assists many credit unions across the country. The most frequent question we are asked is are we overstaffed?™ That is a difficult question to answer without knowing the type of positions and activities that are performed within the accounting department? The accounting function mystery is so difficult to crack because it is three-fold. Not only do credit unions need data on how many employees are staffed in credit unions™ accounting departments, but secondly, they need more data on what accounting functions are being managed. And thirdly, are their resources appropriately aligned in their asset class.Without these three pieces of information available concurrently, the individual data is basically irrelevant. As you can imagine, obtaining all of this data from credit unions can be difficult. However, the need for this type of information couldn't ™ be more critical. We find credit union managers are frustrated and unsure of whether they need to grow or scale back their accounting team. Are they inefficient? Wasting money? Overstaffed? Understaffed? They have nowhere to go to compare. Last November, NACUSO published an article that discussed credit union CEO pain points and burdens. The survey responses showed that credit unions needed assistance in many areas, including cyber security and compliance. High expense ratio was also a nagging issue. Could some of these pain points be alleviated by credit unions having data on their peers™ accounting? If credit unions find that they are overstaffed in accounting, their resources could be reallocated to other functions are including cyber security and compliance. Furthermore, understanding how they compare to their peers in staff size and accounting functions could help reduce expense ratios. Credit unions would no longer have to shoot in the dark. Here at CU Service Network, we felt compelled to help. We wanted to find a way to compile data in this unknown area. In 2016, we launched an Accounting Assessment tool designed specially to fill this information gap. We felt that the need was so pressing, we offered the tool for free  any credit union can simply sign up and take the assessment. The assessment tool works like this: The credit union enters their asset size, which places them into their appropriate peer group. From there, the credit union selects all the accounting functions/services they do in-house. Accounting services are broken down into three groups are Traditional, Administrative, and Electronic. Each function is weighted, providing the credit union an overall score? When the credit union submits their data, they see their accounting services score and services offering compared other credit unions, via bar graph. Below is an example of the assessment results a credit union would see. CFO Templin comments, “We hope this type of analytical data will help credit unions measure and improve both efficiencies and effectiveness of their accounting function? The graph was created to specially address the three data requirements needed for credit unions to understand how their accounting department compares, stated earlier. Staff size, asset size, and functions being managed. Would you like to see how your credit union compares to your peer group? To participate in the assessment, please visit http://bit.ly/2af7f3T 

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Spotlight on Accounting: Katie Haberkorn

Posted On: February 24, 2017

We would like to introduce you to our newest accountant here at CU Service Network, Denver native Katie Haberkorn. Katie has been working as an Accountant I since December of 2016, and is part of our growing accounting department, which is is now larger than any of our departments. Let's learn more about Katie:

"I am excited to be working for CU Service Network; it has been an opportunity to get back into banking, a field that I left several years ago.My previous experience in banking has been mainly with check processing and vault operations.I look forward to learning about all the changes that have been made in the industry. I currently spend my day doing various functions for Fitzsimons FCU.I do their ACH, Indirect Lending and Fiserv Settlement account among others. I have lived nearly my entire life in Lakewood, and have seen the major changes in the area over the years.I spend a lot of non-working hours doing beadwork.I make a lot of jewelry, mainly bracelets.  My most ambitious project was a  beaded tapestry of a brown bear catching a salmon.  This contains 32,400 beads and took over 250 hours to complete." Welcome, Katie, to our growing team!        ]]>

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Free Shared Branching Webinar Training for Tellers

Posted On: February 24, 2017
Do you have new tellers that need to learn about shared branching rules? Have some staff that would like a refresher of the basics?
Join us for free webinar training of Shared Branching Rules for Tellers. We all answer these commonly asked questions: DOG
  • How do I properly identify Guest Members?
  • How should I handle Non-Member transactions?
  • What should I do with Split Deposits?
  • How do check holds? work?
  • And many more!
Three sessions to choose from:
  Tuesday Morning March 14, 2017 9:00am-10:00am MST Tuesday Afternoon March 14, 2017 2:00am-3:00am MST Wednesday Morning March 15, 2017 9:00am-10:00am MST Please forward this email to anyone else in your credit union might be interested in this free training. Also try our online e_Learning system at http://cusntraining.docebosaas.com/
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Are FIs Embracing the 2017 Color of the Year?

Posted On: February 24, 2017
By Alicia Disantis, Marketing Program Manager I'm seeing green. I'm not jealous. I'm just living in 2017, and the Pantone Color of the Year is Greenery (15-0343), a lovely young leaf color. It's the color of renewal, life, nature, freshness, and all other late-April sun-dappled days.  
  Green is a tricky color to get right in conservative-leaning industries, and I am fascinated to see how my financial services industry is incorporating this color. For the past five years I h've worked as a marketer and graphic designer for credit unions, and seen my share of FI brands. I haven't seen much green. It's a perky, young color, and most FIs haven't wanted to be perceived as these things. When I think financial services branding, I think of royal blue. Lots and lots of royal blue.
  It's the color of stability, trust, and dependability; qualities a consumer looks for in a FI. When I think of a bank or credit union, I dont think of a sun-dappled Spring day. I do think of the color green, yes, but not Greenery Green. I think of drab, dirty, wrinkled, sad-looking money green, a far cry from Greenery Green. So, are FIs shrugging off the royal blue of yesteryear and incorporating Greenery Green into their brands? Yes they are, at a surprising pace. Lets take a look: I checked out The Financial Brand's article on The Fall 2016 Retail Banking Branch Design Showcase, and wouldn't you know it, there was Greenery Green all over the place. The Retail Banking Branch Design showcase displays up-and-coming branch designs from all over the world. Think of an Auto Expo but for FI branches. Check out Richwood Bank's (Richwood, OH) design, complete with an espresso bar the size of the teller counter. Not only does their brand incorporate Greenery Green, but actual photos of grass as well. And don't you want one of those shiny thermoses?
  Let's look at Sberbank, a large bank chain in Russia. Acrylic separation panels, wall paint, wall paper, lamps, teller pods, benches, chairs, pull up banners: all Greenery Green. It's like shrinking down to the size of a bug and hanging out in a newly unfurled fern frond.
  What about Redwood FCU, out of Santa Rosa, CA? They recently rolled out a company rebrand, embracing the Greenery Green trend, as well. Their new brand focuses on the word love? paired with a Greenery Green palette.A Utilizing the Pantone Color of the Year seems quite appropriate in this scenario  not many FIs have the name of a plant in their company name.
  I visited Retail Design Blog (which happens to use Greenery Green in its own brand) to browse some other FI rebranding, and found heaps more Greenery Green. Let's travel from Santa Rosa over to the East Coast and see what is happening there: Generations Bank out of Seneca, NY has redesigned their corporate office and applied a moodier take on Greenery Green. Warm charcoal and taupe offset the pep of Greenery Green. This is a great example of how The Pantone Color of the Year can be used in a conservative, subtle manner.
  Bank of Georgetown, located in Washington D.C., has embraced Greenery Green with their retail redesign. I don't think you could find a brighter shade of Greenery Green paint if you tried.
  Let's talk about logos. I am seeing Greenery Green all over the place. Recently, credit unions large and small have been unveiling logo redesigns it seems like these things come in waves. Tiny Options Credit Union (formerly Legal Community), out of Denver, CO, did a massive brand overhaul, ditching royal blue and embracing Greenery Green.
LCCU, formerly Lewis Clark CU, out of Lewiston, ID, made a similar change. They too ditched royal blue in favor of Greenery Green. And wouldn't you know it, they even used a leaf in their new logo.
  Community 1st FCU in Ottumwa, Iowa stayed somewhere in the middle with their rebrand, mixing both royal blue and Greenery Green. This is an interesting example of embracing trends, but not jumping in head first. Certainly a more conservative approach.
And now, I would like to end this article with an example of the most bombastic adoption of Greenery Green that I have seen thus far: Zuno Bank, out of Vienna, Austria. Zuno is a fairly new bank that was founded in 2010, and you can tell they have a more modern slant than their peers. They have truly embraced Greenery Green to its fullest extent  from logo design, to retail aesthetic, to web. What a fascinating example of an FI utilizing the Pantone Color of the Year.
I hope this article provided you with insight on this 2017 color trend for financial institutions. I can bet that you will be noticing Greenery Green more yourself now, too. Have any examples? Share them with me!
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