CUANM Newsletter
January 29, 2021
Inside this issue
  CUANM Leadership Conference Inspired Members  
 

The Credit Union Association for New Mexico's annual Leadership and Advocacy conference was a live event in 2020. For the three days of the conference, attendees absorbed tons of economic information, data and trends currently affecting our local communities. The mornings included virtual networking and topical discussions. Although much of the state was in the midst of significant snowstorms, it was a bonus when the conference sponsor, Catalyst Corporation Federal Credit Union surprised each registered attendee with DoorDash gift cards to use throughout the conference (or anytime).
"The aim of CUANM's Leadership conference has always been to provide sound economic leadership and to advocate financial advice for our communities," said Paul Stull, CEO of CUANM. "This year we wanted our credit union CEOs to see that, despite COVID-19, we still have many ways to influence and inspire our members. We thank our sponsor, Catalyst Corporate and our partner CUNA Mutual for recognizing the value in a dynacmic conference."
For the three days of the conference, attendees absorbed tons of economic information, data and trends currently affecting our local communities. The mornings included virtual networking and topical discussions. Although much of the state was in the midst of significant snowstorms, it was a bonus when the conference sponsor, Catalyst Corporate surprised each registered attendee with DoorDash gift cards to use throughout the conference (or anytime)!
The conference featured presenters from across the economic landscape including:
  • Melinda Allen, New Mexico Partnership
  • Johanna Nelson, Economic Development Dept. of NM
  • Ben Lewinger, Executive Director New Mexico Cannabis Chamber
  • Edgar Hernandez, CUNA Mutual Group
  • Richard Gose, CUNA Mutual Group
  • A. Marcus Valen, Partner, Edwards, Valen and Associates, LLC
We want to thank our sponsor Catalyst Corporate and our partner CUNA Mutual for helping us present the 2021 conference.
Attendees who want to re-watch the conference can get video links from Amy Vigil. Anyone who missed out can request and pay for a link from Amy Vigil at Amy@Cuanm.org.
 

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  GAC 2021 Info  
 
 
CUNA's 2021 Governmental Affairs Conference is March 2-4, and will be all-virtual this year. Normally, your Credit Union Association of New Mexico facilitates meetings with federal lawmakers in a hike-the-
Hill. This year, we are working to secure virtual meetings with the New Mexico congressional delegation for CUANM members.
Recently, CUNA announced that  journalist, correspondent, producer and  Soledad O'Brien. O'Brien has most recently worked as a correspondent for Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
This year CUNA is focusing on four key advocacy topics:
  • Preserving the tax status and fighting bank attacks;
  • Regulatory relief;
  • Bolstering main street in good times and bad; and
  • COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts and resources
Also this year, the Cooperative Trust is offering scholarships for Crash the GAC. These positions will provide to emerging CU leaders the opportunity to attend the Virtual CAC, March 2 - 4.
 
If you have an emerging leader who may benefit from participating in the GAC Conference, please encourage them to enter an application now. The deadline was January 31, but positions are still open and recruiting is still going on, but don't delay too long if you want to be considered for the scholarship.
 
The application for scholarship is available here https://fileneresearchinstitute.formstack.com/forms/crashthegac2021
Don't delay, the deadline has been extended past January 31, but the positions will go fast. You may also contact Cortney Angeley at cortneya@filene.org, if you need assistance.
 
Good luck to all applicants.
 
 
 

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  CUANM New Mexico Legislative Update  
 
 
Your Credit Union Association of New Mexico is tracking and supporting four bills and issues at this year's legislative session.
For several months CUANM has been supporting the efforts of AFLEP, New Mexico's Public Bank Think Tank, to create a state bank in New Mexico. The non-profit has made significant progress this year and has secured four sponsors for the bill, Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces), Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Liz Thomson (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Los Alamos). The bill will allow New Mexico to charter a public bank in New Mexico.
What this means for you: A new source of capital through partnership loans with the state bank.

There's a big push this year to end predatory lending. Think New Mexico's SB66 will do two things: It will cap loan rates at 36% above prime, and require high school students to take a financial literacy course.
What this means for you: If it passes, predatory lenders will likely be put out of business, and that's an opportunity for you to launch new small-dollar loan programs. Most high schools in New Mexico do not have financial literacy coaches and this could be a chance for you to partner in your local school districts to offer classes for high school students.

Adult recreational use cannabis legislation did not pass last year. It is on track to be heard again this year with a variety of proposals being floated -- all with the Governor's support.  We are watching these closely. Without the federal SAFE act, however, it will still remain a federally-illegal substance, even if the businesses that are working with it are legal to operate in New Mexico. We are engaged with several of the players in the legislation and hope to provide updates on how credit unions can serve the industry once the bills are introduced.
What this means for you: More CRBs will be operating, and more cash will be in circulation. But, it can also open up avenues for banking these funds.
 

 

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  Keep your regulatory guard up  
 

Reduce potential overdraft compliance and legal risks
 
By CHERYL LAWSON, JMFA EVP-Compliance Review
 
COVID-19 will continue to impact the way credit unions conduct business-for months, if not years to come. Effectively navigating an environment of lower interest rates, reduced revenue opportunities, and the added logistics and costs of providing safe working and service environments due to the pandemic will be critical to maintaining healthy performance results. Plus, it will be wise to intensify awareness of increased scrutiny on practices that may cause financial hardship for consumers.
 
An estimated 885,000 people applied for unemployment assistance for the first time just days before Congress reached a deal on a nearly $900 billion coronavirus relief package. The bill, that was signed by the president on December 27, includes stimulus checks and an extension of weekly jobless benefits through mid-March. As the pandemic continues to surge and restrictions are reimposed in some parts of the country, job security remains a concern for many households. Four out of 10 Americans believe their financial situation will not return to normal until the latter half of 2021 or 2022 and beyond.
 
Are changes in store for consumer protection regulations?
Under a new administration, the initial policy agenda is expected to focus on getting the virus under control and restoring a healthy economy by helping those directly impacted by the recession. As to what direction the new administration may take with regulating banking services, Leandra English's selection as a member of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) transition team could provide a clue.
 
As a member of the original CFPB staff when established during the Obama administration, English was in line to take over the role of acting director when Richard Cordray left the Bureau in 2017. Her appointment to head the transition team could signal that the president-elect may be considering her for the next agency director. And, as COVID-19 continues to fuel economic and employment uncertainty, efforts to boost consumer protection could become more of a regulatory priority.
 
Avoid increased scrutiny with transparent services, compliant practices and attention to detail
One way to help your members in these uncertain times is to offer a well-communicated, easy-to-understand overdraft program that adheres to all regulations and best practices. Plus, with added capabilities to monitor account usage, you can provide valuable assistance when it is needed. When providing the funds necessary to pay bills or help cover unexpected expenses, a well-managed overdraft program is an avenue for building trusting relationships with your members. Importantly, it also protects your credit union from potential compliance concerns and helps you avoid the threat of costly and time-consuming litigation from lawyers targeting institutions with demand letters or class-action lawsuits.
 
For example, litigators continue to actively pursue action on issues related to improper fee charges, the assessment of multiple NSF fees charged on items that are presented multiple times against insufficient funds, as well as practices that are misleading or not fully disclosed. Class-action lawsuits have focused on the assessment of overdraft/NSF fees based on the "available balance," which factors in any holds on deposits and debit card transactions-rather than the "actual balance" or "ledger balance"-without accurately describing this practice in disclosures. Actions also have resulted from charging fees for POS transactions authorized on good funds but settled after an account balance has been depleted by intervening transactions that caused there to be insufficient funds to pay the original POS items (Positive Swipe/Negative Settlement).
 
Clear, consistent messages create informed service experiences
In all of these situations, the lack of clear account information leaves a member unaware and uninformed. The best way to avoid this knowledge void is by committing to transparency and full disclosure with an effective communication strategy.
 
As uncertain conditions continue, make sure all deposit agreements, disclosures and policies provide clear, consistent messaging that describes specific details of how your overdraft program works. This demonstrates that you have your members' best interest in mind, while allowing them to make informed financial decisions and gain confidence in their relationship with your credit union as 2021 unfolds.
 
ABOUT JMFA
JMFA is one of the most trusted names in the industry. Whether it's recovering lost revenue, uncovering new savings with vendor contract negotiations, creating more value, serving members better or delivering a 100% compliant overdraft service-JMFA can help you deliver measurable results with proven solutions. To learn more, please contact your local representative or call us at (800) 809-2307.
 
 

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