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2 posts categorized "Regulation"

July 31, 2013

Watch out for the eStatement Police!

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by Ron Daly

Strangest thing happened to me. I got stopped by the eStatement Police on the way home for work the other day. They pulled me over to make sure that I could view my credit union's online electronic statements.

I was warned that there was a pretty stiff penalty if I couldn't prove that I could view the statement. Any citizen failing to prove that they could view that statement would immediately have their statements switched back to paper and, if the infraction was severe enough, they could cancel my credit union's insurance policy.

Not one to argue with an officer of the law, I quickly reached for my smartphone sitting on the console next to me and he quickly reached for his taser. Realizing that I moved to quickly to comply with his request I slowly raised my hands back to the steering wheel. As his hands came off the taser I asked if it was OK for me to reach back to my iPad in my briefcase in the back seat. With a wary nod and his hand back on the taser, he let me get the iPad. I turned on the device and prayed that I had a decent cell tower to access. Once online I hit Safari, logged into my credit union account and clicked on eStatements. Turning the screen around, I displayed my credit union statement, which seemed to instantly defuse the situation.

The officer made a note in his log and thanked me for complying with his request. Before he walked back to his car I politely asked him "what would have happened if I didn't have my smartphone or iPad to access my eStatements for him?" His response?

"We've been known to escort citizens home so they can prove, on their computers, that they weren't lying on their eStatement enrollment application." WOW!

 

What agency does the eStatement Police fall under? The U.S. Post Office? They would certainly benefit from converting everything back to paper and postage. Maybe they're some elite group of secret insurance networks? 

All I know is that they sure are a tough bunch, having to enforce a section of a law that just doesn't make sense. This is 2013 for God's sake. Even my car has internet access and can read emails and texts to me while I'm driving. Having to prove (and track) that a consumer can view an eStatement is just ridiculous but that seems to be the focus of the eStatement Police. Even if consumers enroll in your eStatements online, you still have to prove that they had the technology to view it...

DUH. 

Yet, the eStatement Police are hard at work looking for the last person on earth that can enroll in an online process and not prove that they can view an electronic statement. When they find them I've got a few old iPhones tossed in a drawer that they can have.

Don't get nabbed by the eStatement Police. Using our eStatement enrollment process gives you a "get out of jail free" card, no matter where the eStatement Police are coming from.

Please be sure to share any eStatement police story or crazy laws still on the books you've heard of in the comments section.

February 27, 2013

Filson Calls for Cooperative NCUA

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Filson encourages credit unions and their members to sign WhiteHouse.gov petition.

by Jimmy Marks

On Monday morning, just as the CUNA Government Affairs Conference (GAC) was getting underway, Chip Filson, Chairman of Callahan & Associates, Inc. was gathering a crowd of CU professionals for a press conference. As the room quickly filled and places were taken in chairs and along the walls of the meeting room, Filson announced a new vision for the NCUA and for credit unions - a vision based on the seven cooperative principles. Filson's proposal would encourage the administration to allow credit unions to have a say in which individuals would be selected for open NCUA board seats.

From the Press Release that accompanied the conference: 

"The cooperative design is foundational to the success of credit unions and their member-owners. Yet there is widespread concern that the Agency is not practicing cooperative solutions," Filson said. "How can credit unions fulfill their special role in providing Americans with real choices for their financial wellbeing if a cooperative regulatory perspective is lacking?"

Filson called on all attendees - and, in turn, all credit unions and credit union members - to sign a petition on the White House public petitions website, asking the Obama Administration to fill upcoming NCUA board-seat vacancies with "leaders who understand the shared economic value for people and communities created by the Cooperative model". As of this writing, the petition has received 549 signatures and needs 99,451 more to be considered formally by the White House. The 100,000 signature benchmark must be met by March 26, 2013 for the petition to be considered.

When asked whether or not the petition would hold any real significance, Filson seemed adamant that the petition itself was an important example of the openness of governance and leadership, whether the 100,000 signature goal is met or not. NCUA board members are currently appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

Filson's release also served as his declaration of candidacy for the upcoming board seat. Planks in Filson's platform include:

  • Reestablishing cooperative principles as the foundation for the credit union regulatory system
  • Providing credit union members and leaders an opportunity to demonstrate their support for leadership based on the cooperative principles
  • Advancing the vision of a 21st century cooperative regulator.

Filson has a long history of working with credit unions, CUSOs and other finance-based businesses. Between the years of 1981 and 1985, Filson served as the Director of the Office of Examination and Insurance and the CEO of NCUSIF for the NCUA. He was a co-founder of Callahan & Associates, an organization he now serves as Chairman, and sits on the board of several organizations, including DigitalMailer, the owners and operators of this blog.

Remarks and response in the conference room were positive, with some mild confusion about the tone of the message and how to best convey the sum of the ideas expressed to credit unions and their members. Simply put (at least from the writer's viewpoint) - credit unions should want to have a hand in choosing the people that regulate them and the direction the NCUA takes in the future. Members should understand a desire to use a democratic process to choose their leaders - it's a part of the American experience.

If you're interested in the petition or the finer points of Filson's campaign, go to www.coopsforchange.org.

How do you feel about a more cooperatively-minded NCUA? If not Filson, who should take the seat, if credit unions get to choose? Talk to us in the comment section.