Arkansas Credit Union League Product/Service Benefit Statement About the Arkansas Credit Union League The Arkansas Credit Union League (ACUL) is the trade association representing the interests of the Arkansas credit union professionals and volunteers. A trade association is an organization of persons and/or businesses having a common interest. Within the credit union movement, the trade associations are often called “leagues”. The ACUL is governed by a democratically elected board of directors from the credit unions in Arkansas. The league provides the following services to its member credit unions. Governmental Affairs/Advocacy The League’s governmental affairs area is responsible for representing Arkansas credit unions both at a state and national level. They go before state and federal regulatory agencies, as well as state and federal government on behalf of Arkansas credit unions. This requires a great deal of time, experience, and knowledge. This knowledge and expertise is found in the league lobbyist, Ron Harrod. Governmental Affairs/Advocacy activities include but are not limited to: Monitoring legislation affecting credit unions on both state and national levels Lobbying for favorable credit union legislation and against negative legislation Promoting credit unions’ interest on the state and national level to such organizations as Arkansas State legislature, NCUA, U.S. Congress, and regulatory agencies whose decisions impact credit unions Help organize ARCULAC (Arkansas Credit Union Legislative Action Committee) and ARCUPAC (Arkansas Credit Union League Political Action Committee) fundraising activities o Both of these organizations are political action committees. A political action committee is a group of people with common goals who pool their money in order to financially support candidates running for elected office. A PAC supports political candidates to represent the interest and views of its members. o ARCULAC – This is the national political action committee the Arkansas credit unions use to support CULAC (Credit Union Legislative Action Committee) the national PAC for all credit unions run by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) o ARCUPAC – This is the state political action committee of the Arkansas Credit Union League. It is a small donor PAC that supports state level candidates who are credit union supporters. Organizes credit union managers, volunteers and members for support of lobbying activities. Serves as a liaison with CUNA’s Washington, D.C. staff Makes credit unions aware of regulatory and legislative alerts and publications that specifically address regulatory and legislative issues affecting credit unions and their products/services Provides and maintains “League InfoSight”, an online compliance system designed to assist credit unions in understanding and complying with the numerous state and federal laws and regulations. Publishes a weekly compliance newsletter “League InfoSight eNewsletter” for credit unions which details the latest compliance issues and training available. Training and Networking Your membership with the ACUL gives you access to several reasonably priced training programs, including distance learning opportunities such as webinars and teleconferences which eliminate the need and expense of travel, national certificate programs, and state-level League customized workshops and conferences, including: Seminars – programs with a concentration on a specific topic such as compliance, lending training, and collections. Webinars – Through a cooperative partnership with the Kansas Credit Union League, and the Texas Credit Union League, the ACUL has access to a wealth of webinar training. Certification Programs – Teaming with CUNA CPD (Center for Professional Development) online, the Arkansas Credit Union League offers computer-based recognition programs for staff, management, and volunteers. o Staff Training and Recognition Program (STAR) o Management Enrichment Training Program (MERIT) o Volunteer Achievement Program (VAP) o Regulatory Training and Certification Program (RegTrac) o Certified Credit Union Executive Program (CCUE) Quick Bites – The Arkansas Credit Union League works with the Illinois Credit Union League to offer phone training through a program called “Quick Bites”. This training allows credit union management and staff to participate in quality training courses anywhere a phone is available. Councils – Credit union professionals are given the opportunity to come together to share ideas, concerns, successes and challenges in a cooperative spirit. Library – CD Rom training, books and video tapes can be checked out from the League so you can provide training at the credit union for your employees. There is no cost for this service, and credit unions and check out materials for a period of two weeks. Scholarships: The Arkansas Credit Union League offers scholarship opportunities to those credit unions that need assistance with management, staff and volunteer education. One of the League’s most used scholarship program is for Southwest CUNA Management School. Each year, applicants to the school can apply to the Scholarship Committee to receive tuition assistance to attend this three-year school coordinated by the Texas League and held in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. NEFE (The National Endowment for Financial Education) High School Financial Planning Program is a fully developed curriculum that consists of six units designed to teach financial education to teens. The program is supported by the credit union industry and all materials are provided at no cost to credit unions and schools. The League has teamed up with the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service to bring this program to schools across Arkansas free of charge. In addition to the training above, the League has started a CU At The Top leadership and management training course. It is a one year life-changing event for emerging credit union leaders from across the state of Arkansas. This program’s goal is to increase the trainee’s knowledge and understanding of the economic and social changes affecting credit unions through practical application of leadership skills and development of expertise in addressing critical problems facing credit unions today. Training is focused on: o Basic communication skills o Interpersonal relationships o Networking o Economics o Policy formation o Role of government o Social and cultural understanding o Legislative process o Long-term effects of regulations and rules facing credit union o Current political issues facing our state Conferences: The Annual Meeting and Convention as well as the Management Roundtable are held annually for Arkansas credit unions. The annual meeting is held during the first half of the year, usually in April, and the Management Roundtable is held during the third quarter, usually in September. Each of these events provides attendees with many networking opportunities and a variety of educational sessions instructed by both local and national speakers. The Annual Meeting also provides vendor exposure through an Exhibit-centric convention schedule. The League organizes the annual International Credit Union Day event for credit unions and their employees. Each year, the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) sets aside one day to acknowledge credit unions across the world. On this day, the League sponsors an evening event so credit unions in Arkansas can come together to network and have a fun-filled evening while celebrating credit unions worldwide. Compliance Credit unions have a large burden these days with new regulations and changes to existing rules and regulations almost daily. The League is here to help credit unions with their compliance issues, if needed, by offering compliance information, updates and resources on a day to day basis. The ACUL offers all its member credit unions free access to the online compliance information site on the League’s website – League InfoSight. The InfoSight provides up-to-date federal and state regulatory information for credit unions as well as sample policies. This website is updated any time regulations change or new laws are enacted. In addition, by being a member of the Arkansas Credit Union League, credit unions have access to other state league InfoSight information. For example, if a credit union needs to know the collection laws in Florida, they can access the Florida League’s InfoSight compliance guide in the same online section as the Arkansas League’s. The League also publishes a weekly InfoSight eNewsletter that details the latest information regarding compliance issues. Anyone in an affiliated credit union can sign up to receive this newsletter by email. In coordination with Credit Union Resources at the Texas League, the Arkansas League offers a “Compliance for Hire” program where credit unions can contract with CU Resources to provide an on-site compliance person to review and update compliance policies as well as assist the credit union with compliance-related issues that arise. Credit unions can contract for a specific number of hours of service based on their own need. ACUL and the LSC (League Service Corporation), Credit Union Resources, Inc. and CUNA Mutual Group The Arkansas Credit Union League and the League Service Corporation teamed up several years ago to bring reasonably priced, quality services to the credit unions of Arkansas. The LSC is the for-profit arm of the League and holds a number of business relationships with select partners for the benefit of the credit unions they serve. With credit unions’ affiliation with ACUL, they can purchase services from the list of partners who have business relationships with the LSC. Some of them include the following: Asset/Liability Management CU Employment Resources Credit Union Employment Resources On-Balance o Strategic Planning Services CU Members Mortgage Shared Branching Services Marketing Resources o Research Services o Annual Meeting Materials o Marketing Services o Member Connect Newsletters o Web Site Design Financial and Technology Resources o Financial and Auditing Services o Technology and Compliance Consulting Services o Shared Compliance Resources ARCUSO (Arkansas Credit Union Service Organization) At a planning session a few years ago, the League board envisioned an organization to help credit union members with their indirect lending efforts. Indirect auto lending was an idea whose time had come in Arkansas, yet credit unions in the state lacked an avenue to make this idea a reality. The League commissioned a task force to develop this CUSO concept and ARCUSO was born. The bylaws of the CUSO were written, agreements were adopted, and many credit unions invested in the plan. Today, ARCUSO is a thriving indirect lender in the state, working as a conduit between credit union partners and users and the dealers who have vehicles to sell. The LSC is one of the owners of the CUSO. Arkansas Credit Union Foundation The Arkansas Credit Union Foundation was founded in 1999. It represents the charitable arm of the Arkansas Credit Union League. It was established as a 501(c) 3 non-profit, public foundation. The Foundation was created to administer the collection and disbursement of funds for general charitable and educational uses that benefit the Arkansas credit union system. It truly expresses the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” through offering assistance to credit unions and credit union members for educational scholarships, operational grants, and disaster relief. Disasters such as the Clinton, Arkansas tornado and the tornado in Mena were targeted by the Foundation for disaster relief funds. Also, organizations that work closely with disaster victims such as the American Red Cross and the Mena Regional Hospital Employee Disaster fund have also been recipients of funds as well as individual credit union members who have been personally touched by devastating circumstances. The Foundation has also played a key role in raising funds for the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita disaster relief efforts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Education has a major role in the Foundation’s philanthropic plan. The Foundation works with AETN (Arkansas’ educational television network), to sponsor the nationally recognized and highly honored program called Biz$Kids. This program airs weekly on AETN, and it teaches junior high school students about finances and entrepreneurship. In addition to Biz$Kids, the Foundation has sponsored several NEFE training workshops for Arkansas teachers. These programs help familiarize teachers with the materials and encourages them to use the information in planning their curriculum for the coming school year. It is filled with helpful suggestions, teaching tools, and detailed lesson plans. Scholarships have played a major role in the success of the Foundation since its inception. Educational scholarships have been given to qualifying credit unions in Arkansas to help further employees’ credit union education and to build tomorrow’s leaders. The Foundation makes scholarships available to employees who attend the Southwest CUNA Management School as well as the CU at the Top program. Find A Credit Union The Arkansas Credit Union League offers affiliated credit unions access to the nationwide program called Find A Credit Union. This program links Arkansas’ credit unions with credit unions across the country in an effort to match a credit union with a potential member via the Internet. Every affiliated credit union has a unique ID number and password to use with this program. They can enter their fields of membership information, geographic information, branch locations, etc. into the national database that searches every time anyone accesses the FindACreditUnion icon on participating League websites. This site locates any and all potential credit unions that an individual might have the opportunity to join. It also sends a notice back to the credit union with the pertinent information for that individual. FindACreditUnion is an excellent way to enhance your membership opportunities. Media eNewsletter: Each month the League publishes an eNewsletter to credit unions. This publication is filled with the latest information highlighting Arkansas credit unions, chapter events, and sharing legislative news. It is used to let credit unions know about upcoming events, educational sessions, and to disseminate important information regarding regulations and laws passed. ACUL website: The Arkansas Credit Union League maintains a website located at www.acul.org. This website is updated to reflect the latest information pertinent to credit unions. It has a section for Members Only that highlights educational programming and handouts, a compliance section that offers credit unions access to League InfoSight, and information on asset/liability management as well as information on the Foundation, chapters, governmental affairs, etc. Credit union staff and volunteers have access to the Members only section of the website through a unique log-in and password. Any affiliated credit union can sign up for access. Cooperative Advertising and Branding Credit unions in Arkansas are a well-capitalized, safe, and secure option for consumers. People simply do not realize the numerous benefits that come with being a credit union member. The League organized a committee to operate a statewide cooperative advertising and branding campaign. The goal of the campaign is to educate the people of Arkansas about credit unions and our role in the financial marketplace. Consumers need a better understanding of what credit union membership can do for them, and together the credit unions and the League help send this message. Credit Unions of Arkansas: “A Great Fit For Life” runs ads on television, radio, and billboards in order to spread the message statewide. A media and consumer friendly web site was set up, www.creditunions.org, to spread the great fit for life message, and all television and public service announcements are displayed on the website. There is also a pod cast as well as a link for consumers to hunt for a credit union they can join. Hall of Fame The Arkansas Credit Union League developed a program a few years ago to honor individuals who have devoted their lives to the credit union movement, and especially to credit unions in the state of Arkansas. Criteria was developed and credit unions across the state were encouraged to nominate someone for this special recognition. A number of individuals have received this prestigious honor in years past, and many more will be honored in years to come.
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