CUANM Newsletter
May 3, 2021
Inside this issue
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  CUNA Mutual Group Receives Industry Honor for Social Equity and Inclusion  

The insurance industry's premier event for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) recognized CUNA Mutual Group with two awards for its commitment to Social Equity and Inclusion.  No other insurance company achieved the distinction of two industry awards.  The awards are determined by the American Council of Life Insurers, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, and the Life Insurance Council of New York. 

For CUNA Mutual Group, Eric Hansing, VP Strategy and Multicultural Center of Excellence, earned the 2021 Individual P&C Social Equity and Inclusion Award.  He received this award for his work to promote greater equity by helping to eliminate barriers faced by multicultural consumers in financial services so that such consumers can make more informed financial decisions. 

In addition, the CUNA Mutual Foundation and Alex Shade, Director Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Relations, earned the 2021 Social Equity and Community Empowerment Industry Partner of the Year Award for a commitment to fostering equity, standing against racism, and eliminating barriers to financial access.  Besides contributing $34 million since its inception, the Foundation was praised for its stance on social justice and for being strategic with its investment dollars-focusing on equity and the areas of education, economic security, and emergency aid. 

Kudos to the award winners for outstanding contributions to advancing DEI and for their leadership in the insurance industry and the credit union system. Other insurance companies recognized included such companies as Assurant, MetLife, Protective Life, and Zurich North America. 

About CUNA Mutual Group

Built on the principle of "people helping people," CUNA Mutual Group is a financially strong insurance, investment and financial services company that believes a brighter financial future should be accessible to everyone. Through our company culture, community engagement, and products and solutions, we are working to create a more equitable financial system that helps to improve the lives of those we serve and our society. For more information, visit



  NMCUEF Awards Scholarships to 125 Students  


Albuquerque - May 3, 2021 - The New Mexico Credit Union Education Foundation Scholarships NMCUEF have been awarded to 125 students in New Mexico.

The students were selected from a pool of more than 135 applications from across the state. Each year, NMCUEF awards postsecondary scholarships to deserving students across the state seeking to improve their individual lives, the lives of their families, and their communities through a demonstrated commitment to academic success. Selected winners must be New Mexico residents and meet a number of requirements, including grade point average and full-time enrollment. In recognition of a dedication to academic achievement, NMCUEF in 2021 awarded 125, $1,000 scholarships to students across New Mexico.

"We know that education is a powerful tool for change and improvement," NMCUEF Administrator Amy Vigil said. "Each of the NMCUEF scholarship winners has demonstrated a clear commitment to improving their own lives and communities through a purposeful dedication to academic success. This year's scholarship recipients could be New Mexico's next leaders, individuals with the commitment, drive, and education to make a positive impact in their respective communities, and New Mexico at large."

The NMCUEF is a unique program formed through special legislation that allows credit unions to use abandoned funds for educational or charitable purposes. Since it was established in 1992, the NMCUEF has presented 2,148 scholarships, for a total of $1,791,600, to students attending accredited vocational or technical schools, colleges, or universities in New Mexico.

"We are excited and proud to award these scholarships to these students, to support their pursuit of education and the exploration of their individual career paths," Vigil said.

Applications to apply for the New Mexico Credit Union Education Foundation Scholarship for the 2022-2023 school year will be made available on our website, in November 2021. The deadline to submit the application is February 25, 2022.



  Spring-Cleaning Tips to Optimize Your Overdraft Strategy  

Three ways to renew your focus on disclosure, program management and elevated results

By JAMES "JAI" DARDEN II, Director of Field Operations for JMFA



We've all been through a great deal of uncertainty in the past year-from concerns about the pandemic and maintaining safe work environments to finding the most effective ways to help members who are dealing with financial challenges. I am looking forward to the beginning of Spring with a renewed hope of getting back to some sense of normalcy soon.  

As we look ahead, it is essential to ensure your credit union optimizes your performance while helping individuals and families meet their short-term financial needs. One way to accomplish this goal is to make sure your overdraft strategy and procedures are revisited and optimized to ensure full disclosure, maximum results, and compliance peace of mind. Here are three steps you can take to elevate your program outcomes:

  1. Boost frontline staff confidence with communication training

In light of existing staffing situations, it is essential for your employees to have access to training opportunities that instill the knowledge and confidence they need to present your overdraft program accurately-whether engaging with members in person, by phone, through a chat function, on your website or social media. If you are relying on employees to carry the load of training new staff members and providing ongoing refresher sessions-while some individuals are working remotely and/or taking on new responsibilities-your training strategy may be lacking consistency and failing to fully engage everyone who needs to be involved. 

In addition to comprehensive training during program implementation, we also offer ongoing virtual workshops led by professional, program-specific trainers. We help take the guesswork out of your staff's learning process and strengthen everyone's confidence level when connecting with your members. With our experienced facilitators' support, you have access to valuable resources to empower your staff with knowledge of effective program management strategies, industry best practices, and effective member engagement advice. Training is an excellent way to mitigate potential compliance concerns that might otherwise be overlooked.

  1. Maintain program efficiency by establishing reliable key performance indicators 

While "business as usual" takes on new meaning, it's so important to implement and maintain an overdraft program that is tailored to provide operational efficiency, compliance certainty and enhanced service quality for your unique situation.  

Our overdraft software tools provide easily accessible, measurable data in consolidated reports that will help you monitor your program's results and keep track of important ratios, such as:

  • Regulation E opt-ins 
  • Program utilization 
  • Paid Item percentages
  • Waivers and refunds 
  • Charge Offs and recoveries 

More than ever, it is important to be proactive in your decision-making verses reactive. Having access to data that points to consumer behavior provides leaders within the credit union the ability to formulate strategies that meet the needs of their members. This not only leads to a more efficient and profitable overdraft privilege program, but it elevates the service experience which builds member loyalty and confidence. 

We pair this technology with additional resources, such as virtual training to offer you a keen understanding of the data, along with ongoing personalized interaction with industry experts through regular in-person audits, monthly program reviews. This ongoing consulting is how we help you manage your program successfully, so you can achieve your program goals.

  1. Get started on improved results with a comprehensive program review

As we all prepare for the opportunities that lay ahead, don't let outdated overdraft policies or neglected program procedures stand in the way of improved service experiences for your members and increased outcomes for your credit union. With a free, thorough analysis of your existing program, JMFA can provide guidance on many areas that might be impacting your program's results. Whether you have concerns about program usage, service delivery or compliance, we offer a comprehensive consulting-approach that includes a customized strategy to help you exceed your performance and service goals with confidence. 

At JMFA we are focused on helping community financial institutions deliver superior service and achieve the best results from their overdraft solution. 

Learn more about JAMES DARDEN II, Director of Field Operations for JMFA. Jai leads and supports the team of consultants, optimizing delivery and ensuring the performance of JMFA's credit union and community bank clients.


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.



  NCUA Adopts Interim Final Rule On Asset Thresholds  
NCUA adopts rule on capital planning

The NCUA Board has adopted a new interim final rule to update regulations and is pushing Congress to make new Central Liquidity Facility provisions from the CARES Act permanent. 
"The Board adopted an interim final rule to permit federally insured credit unions to use asset data as of March 31, 2020, in order to determine the applicability of certain regulatory asset thresholds during calendar years 2021 and 2022. Specifically, the interim final rule allows a credit union to use March 31, 2020, financial data when determining whether the institution is subject to capital planning and stress testing requirements under the NCUA's regulations and supervision from the Office of National Examinations and Supervision," said the NCUA. 
Stimulus payments, as well as changing consumer spending habits, have increased assets at many credit unions and increased costs. The new rule is intended to relieve capital planning and stress-testing requirements for those credit unions that have grown into new classes. 
Read more about the rule at:



  New Mexico CU News  

Summer Concert Series in Los Alamos Takes Off

The 2021 Los Alamos Summer Concert Series sponsored by Zia Credit Union, Del Norte Credit Union,  Los Alamos Schools Credit Union, and others, will return this summer. 

Virtual shows will be aired Fridays at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live and through the Los Alamos Community Services Department Facebook page. Concerts will include Dave House on May 21, Will Hoge on May 28, Ozomatli on June 4, Ordinary Things on July 11, Lilly Hiatt on June 18, and jam-band CBDB on June 25. 

 Keep it Co-Op! Fundraising for Co-Op Park 

Los Alamos's coalition of co-ops, Keep it Co-Op, which includes Zia Credit Union, Del Norte Credit Union, Los Alamos Schools Credit Union, and several local co-ops are working hard to raise funds for the new Co-Op Park in Downtown Los Alamos. Donate today through GoFundMe HERE. Or, visit Los Alamos's Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op and pick up a pint of the new Co-Op Brown Ale where $1 of every beer sold will go to funding the park. 

The new park will be dedicated to the co-op principles. Donations of $100 or more will earn a gold leaf signifying that you or your organization donated to the cause. The park is being spearheaded by Matt Schmidt, CEO of Los Alamos Schools Credit Union. 

US Eagle's Kenjar named Marketing Professional of the Year 

CUNA and CUNA Councils honored John Kenjar as 2021 Marketing Professional of the Year. Kenjar currently serves as VP of Marketing and Community Outreach at US Eagle Federal Credit Union, located in New Mexico.

The Marketing Professional of the Year award honors one individual who exemplifies excellence in credit union marketing. It recognizes individuals who consistently excel for the benefit of their credit union and the advancement of the cooperative movement.

Award winners were honored for their marketing and business development achievements during a virtual ceremony at the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Virtual Conference, March 23-25, 2021. The winners and their accomplishments will be featured in an upcoming issue of Credit Union Magazine.

A volunteer panel of judges selected through an application process reviewed and scored the Marketing Professional of the Year entries. Selections were based upon the candidates' mastery of and contributions to:

  • Marketing as a factor in their credit union's success
  • Marketing as a management function
  • Fostering the success of the credit union movement
  • Enhancing their community through organizational involvement/activism

Kenjar received dual Bachelor's Degrees in Journalism and Communications from The University of Iowa and his MBA from St. Ambrose University. He has over 18 years of Financial Services Marketing Experience and has produced internationally recognized work.

"This profession has been very good to me and I've been very fortunate to work with and learn from the very best - including those I currently work with - and it has allowed me to lend my passions toward something I truly believe in. Something far, far bigger than myself," Kenjar said. 



  2020 A Good Year for NM's Credit Unions  

New Mexico credit unions posted mostly above-average results for 2020. Compared to national averages New Mexico credit unions shined in many key areas.

Nationally, median asset growth over the year ending in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 14.2 percent. In other words, half of all federally insured credit unions had asset growth at or above 14.2 percent. New Mexico saw asset growth between 14 and 16 percent, putting it above the national average.

Median growth in shares and deposits over the year ending in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 15.9% nationally, in New Mexico we posted growth between 16 and 18 percent.

National membership growth actually fell by -0.5 percent. In New Mexico, however, we grew or held steady in membership by +0.5 percent. Continuing to grow membership in New Mexico will likely put us over the 1 million-member mark next year.

Return on Average Assets was outstanding with the average in New Mexico being above 60 percent, while nationally that number was 40 percent.

Overall New Mexico credit unions continue to be weathering the pandemic and the economic downturn very well. This is a real testament to our leadership and the outstanding service provided to members.



  Pandemic shines a light on need to help members with investments  


By Robert Comfort, President of CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc.

For more than a decade, the need for retirement savings and the level of focus needed on an individual's investment plans has changed dramatically. The world around us has pivoted away from providing traditional retirement programs and pensions - putting the onus on the individual. This has become even more important during this time of global pandemic and economic uncertainty. 

We've known for some time that credit union members would prefer accessing financial services at a credit union - more than half of members state that. However, only 3% of members utilize their credit unions for investment services according to research from Kehrer Behlen.1 With many members struggling financially and facing uncertain futures, this is a time when future planning on retirement goals might be put off. However, now more than ever is when credit unions should be the trusted, go-to source to help members through this crisis. 

Credit unions will benefit from increasing their focus on helping more members become educated and ensuring they have plans in pace to help provide peace of mind that their future needs are being covered. This delivers on member needs and builds the credit union business overall. As research shows, members who enter into an engagement with a credit union do more business with them in the long term and are more loyal. In fact, households that own an investment or insurance product from their credit union are 13 percent more likely to not consider switching from their credit union when compared to all households who consider their credit union their primary financial institution.1 Successful credit unions do this by ensuring that investment services are seen as equally important as their savings, lending and insurance businesses and defining a clear vision for their wealth management program.

Making investment services core requires more than a vision. It involves deep thought, a different strategy and incorporation of these best practices:

  1. Ensure your credit union has the right number of advisors to properly serve your membership. This starts by understanding how many advisors are needed to deliver on your members' needs as well as confirming you have the right advisors in the right places to serve them. Perhaps, incorporate an associate advisor model where senior advisors mentor those with less experience. Nurturing the next generation of advisors is critical considering today only 11% of advisors are under age 40.2 However, as Baby Boomers are expected to pass down up to $48 trillion of wealth in the next 25 years to Generation X and Millennial family members, your credit union needs advisors on tap to build and nurture long-term relationships with those legacies.3 To do this effectively, it makes sense to partner with the right external partner that has credit union expertise to identify, onboard and train advisors as well as drive the appropriate level of service based on what your credit union members need today.


  1. Increase member awareness and understanding of your program's value and drive referrals in both traditional and non-traditional ways. Expanding member awareness and filling the opportunity pipeline is a crucial part of growing your advisory business. Streamline marketing activities across advisors by working with a strategic partner who can help you create a 12-month integrated marketing and execution plan. This could include everything from employee engagement and referral programs to marketing campaigns and social media. We also recommend working with a partner who has deep data, analytics and lead generation capabilities to drive member awareness and leads.


  1. Drive growth of advisory business. Working with a credit union wealth management partner can also help propel your investment services strategy. A qualified investment services provider can help your credit union develop a strategic plan with company-wide goals that increase the number of members helped with wealth management services and provide the tools and technology to accomplish these goals.


  1. Leverage advanced analytics. Use your proprietary data and supplement it with financial behavior data so you can capitalize on the benefits of predictive analytics. These powerful insights will help you separate current clients as well as your overall membership into different customer segments and so you can prioritize your outreach efforts.


Having a disciplined plan in place and planning for success, while being able to adapt to the changing world we live in and adjust as needed, works. It starts by treating the program as core. When you adopt a thoughtful, disciplined approach to growth, it pays dividends in terms of helping members achieve their goals while helping you deliver on your mission. 

Read more about financial advising in credit unions.


Kehrer Bielan Consulting, "Making Wealth Management Core in Credit Unions", Feb. 2019

2 JD Power, "Technology, Social Media Critical to Bridging Financial Advisor Age Gap, J.D. Power Finds" July 2019

3 Cerulli Associates, "The Great Wealth Transfer", November 2020


CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Corporate headquarters are located at 5910 Mineral Point Road, Madison WI 53705. © CUNA Mutual Group, 2021. All Rights Reserved. CORP-3462059.1-0221-0323