Looking Back: CU Magazine’s Top 12 Articles of 2011

A plethora of issues faced our readers last year.

January 06, 2012
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Everything from CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference in March to the ongoing interchange debate grabbed our readers’ attention during 2011.

Based on website page views, here’s what was first and foremost on our readers’ minds last year.

12. Council Honors Top Marketers

Joye Cox, Amy McGraw, and Brynn Ammon took top individual honors for their achievements in credit union marketing and business development during the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference in Las Vegas.

11. Strategies for Fading Fee Income

Bill Lehman’s warning to credit unions concerning the debit interchange fee debate: “Take your foot off the brake.” According to Lehman, vice president of portfolio consulting for Card Services for Credit Unions, “There will be ongoing pressure on our industry. Whether the interchange rules are delayed or refined, our revenue will be attacked.”

10. Reg Z Rate Changes

The final rule, which became effective Oct. 1, 2011, made significant changes regarding preferential rates for employees, floor rates, and consumers’ ability to pay.

9. Looking for a Lending Rebound

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineIn September 2009, Ent Federal Credit Union entered the lending equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle: It watched members pay down debt at unprecedented rates, take out few new loans, and gravitate toward captive finance companies’ offers of below-market financing. As a result, loan growth hit rock bottom.

8. Scenes from CUNA's GAC

More than 4,000 people attended CUNA’s 2011 Governmental Affairs Conference, drawn by “game changing” authors, debating pundits, a parade of legislators, and the always-insightful Hill Visits.

7. Overworked & Understaffed

As the recession erodes employee morale and leaves staffs stretched thin, keeping employees engaged and motivated will be the greatest HR challenge for the foreseeable future.

6. Confusion Reigns Over Reg Z Changes

If credit unions thought the CARD Act regulations were confusing, the Regulation Z mortgage lending changes surely have heads spinning.

5. The Future of Financial Services: Four Key Trends

Expect a new financial services playing field to emerge as four key trends transform the financial services industry over the next decade.

4. Three Technology Trends Your CU Can't Ignore

Technology is evolving—fast. For that reason, credit unions must focus not just on changes happening today but also on the technological trends that will shape the future of your organization and your industry.

3. Know the Rules on Holiday Gifts

The holidays undoubtedly fill your credit union with an abundance of cards, chocolates, cookies, fruitcakes—maybe event tickets to the “concert of the year.” When can you accept these gifts--and when should you say, “no thank you”?

2. The 14-Day Question

Still more confusion reigns over Reg Z, this time about the timing of periodic statements. Compliance is more difficult for some credit unions than others, depending on the leniency of their payment options.

1. Act Now on Interchange Issue

Interchange expert offers nine steps to help credit unions recoup lost interchange income.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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