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CUNA Mutual Introduces New Online Risk Assessments

CUNA Mutual Group added four new Online Risk Assessments to its Credit Union Protection Resource Center to help bond policyholders avoid some of the fastest-growing and most costly risks.

"The assessments generate additional questions based on the responses and provide a risk rating and high-level recommendations related to the risk area. They are easy to use and accessible to credit unions anytime," said Brad Mundine, senior manager, CUNA Mutual Group Credit Union Protection Risk Management.

The following risk assessments can help credit unions avoid costly losses:

  • Wire Transfer--Unauthorized funds/wire transfer losses have increased in frequency and severity as fraudsters impersonate members in requesting transfers, primarily by phone and fax.

  • Data Network Security--Data breaches concern CEOs and information technology professionals across the globe due to financial, compliance, legal and reputation risks breaches create. The information-rich financial services industry is a top target. The cost to recover from a data breach is devastating, making vigilance a must.

  • Internal Controls--Employee dishonesty losses have historically been the largest claims category in terms of dollars paid. Effective internal controls are the foundation of a safe and sound credit union.

  • Lending Oversight--Credit unions need to increase lending oversight to reduce the risks of loan officers approving loans outside of the established loan policy, creating fraudulent loans and inadvertently granting loans to identity thieves.

Every risk assessment is unique and interactive to each credit union. The assessments have been created to ask distinctive questions pertaining to each unique situation and provide specific risk exposures results and recommendations on mitigating a solution.

Other online risk assessments cover check fraud, disaster preparedness, internal controls and plastic card fraud. Along with webinars, RISK Alerts, white papers, videos and other loss prevention tools, risk assessments are just some of the no-cost services available to all CUNA Mutual Group Bond policyholders, which represent 86% of all U.S. credit unions.

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ACH Payment Volume Exceeds 21 Billion in 2012

Total ACH payment volume grew to over 21 billion transactions in 2012, up 4.19 percent over 2011, according to new statistics released by NACHA The Electronic Payments Association. A total of $36.9 trillion was transferred over the ACH Network in 2012, an increase of 8.76 percent. The ongoing growth of the ACH Network is attributed to the continued increase in native electronic payments, the expanding use of ACH credit payments by businesses and consumers, and the rise in online payments via ACH.

Native Electronic Payments

Native electronic payments those payments which start as an electronic payment (i.e., non-check conversion applications) increased 6.38 percent over 2011. These payments now make up 85 percent of total ACH Network volume. Conversely, check initiated transactions decreased by 6.75 percent.

ACH Credit Payments

In 2012, the ACH Network processed a total of 7.0 billion ACH credit payments, an increase of 5.4 percent over 2011. In contrast, overall ACH debit payment volume grew by 3.3 percent in 2012.

Growing consumer and business use of ACH credit payments has fueled the overall growth in ACH credits. Consumer-initiated entries, or CIE credit payments used primarily to pay bills, grew by 7.6 percent in 2012. Business-to-business (B2B) transaction categories, which enable B2B credit payments and the use of addenda records for remittance purposes, grew by 5.1 percent. Direct Deposits via ACH, another credit payment, also saw significant growth. In 2012, there were a total of 5.1 billion Direct Deposit via ACH transactions, representing a 5.4 percent increase over 2011.

Online Payments via ACH

WEB transactions or those transactions made when authorization to debit an account is given via the Internet or a wireless network grew significantly. In 2012, WEB transactions increased 10.2 percent and made up 17.6 percent of total ACH Network volume. With the recent approval of the NACHA Operating Rules amendment on Person-to-Person (P2P) Payments via ACH, which enables a WEB credit for P2P payments, WEB transaction growth is likely to continue.

Network Quality Indicators

Overall ACH Network return rates experienced a decrease in 2012, from 0.98 percent to 0.97 percent. The unauthorized debit rate decreased to 0.0298 percent in 2012 from 0.0300 in 2011, marking 10 consecutive years of decline.

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New SDN Search Tool for OFAC Screening

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) launched a new and improved tool for searching its Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN). The new version of SDN Search provides users with much greater leeway when searching for names for the tool no longer returns only exact matches. SDN Search now makes use of character, string, and phonetic matching algorithms to provide the user with a broader set of results. This gives SDN Search the ability to account for differences in spelling and transliteration.

This upgraded version of SDN Search, previously available as a beta release, replaces the earlier version. OFAC received and reviewed feedback from the public on its new search tool. OFAC is offering this upgraded search tool free to the public to give users of the SDN List an improved search experience that will help them meet their compliance obligations.

Please see the related FAQs for additional information on algorithms, scoring, and other technical details.

SDN Search is available at http://sdnsearch.ofac.treas.gov/.

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