Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Keeping Our Credit Union Website Clients Safe

It seems like in the online world lately, the hits just keep coming. The Target data breach, denial of service (DoS) and Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and most recently the Heartbleed data leak. What’s a credit union to do?

DoS and DDos Attacks

DoS and DDoS attacks involve fraudsters targeting a server/system and then saturating it with external communications requests. They send so many that the system can’t respond to legitimate traffic, or responds so slowly that it essentially becomes unavailable. These attacks typically target websites or services hosted on high-profile Web servers such as retailers and credit unions. 

CU Solutions Group takes any and all Web security attacks seriously. As far as DoS and DDoS attacks, we have strong mechanisms in place to mitigate these attacks: Enterprise Radware IDS/IPS is on our network edge and inside the load balancers; as well as Juniper AppSecure and other Enterprise class devices to stop DoS and DDoS attacks from affecting our clients’ sites.


Heartbleed is what’s called an OpenSSL bug which basically lets a hacker eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users, and impersonate services and users. In response to Heartbleed, we have reviewed our networks and hosted solutions, and have determined that the bug has no impact on any devices and systems that we manage. 

In an effort to assist all CU Solutions Group website clients, we are offering the following information, which can be passed along to your information technology staff or vendors. This vulnerability can be quite daunting to navigate, and we would be happy to assist your credit union if you have any questions or concerns. You can contact us at if you need any assistance. Below is information that can assist you and your staff in determining where you may have issues related to the bug, and resources from various vendors and security notification services. It is crucial to review the following systems for this bug:

  • Home Banking servers
  • Website servers
  • Firewalls, IDS/IPS devices, load balancers, and VPN devices
  • APIs to third party service providers where data is passed between applications
  • Any miscellaneous Web-based service that use SSL to secure your members data

Major providers like Yahoo, Google, Network Solutions, Akamai, CloudFlare, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Intuit, Dropbox, Minecraft, Imgur, Flickr, RedTube, OkCupid and XDA were all impacted. While these providers have all have been patched now, this does not mean that all sites on the Web have been fixed, or that your data wasn't compromised before they were. It is recommended that you change all passwords for these providers after the vendor has patched the services.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Make the Most of LinkedIn’s Changes at Your Credit Union


As far as social media platforms go, LinkedIn isn’t always a priority for credit unions. While the professional networking site isn’t as consumer-based as Facebook or even Twitter, your credit union may want to consider adding it to its stable of social media endeavors. Around since 2003, LinkedIn now has more than 277 million members worldwide, many of whom are leaders of Fortune 500 companies.

LinkedIn is a great resource for credit unions that are looking to hire, want to target select employer groups or are just looking for ways to boost their SEO and online presence. LinkedIn can also be an invaluable tool helping to position your credit union in the marketplace. 

About Showcase Pages 

Another new benefit of LinkedIn is what it calls Showcase Pages. A Showcase Page begins with a strong hero image, or banner, at the top followed by a short description of the purpose of the page. Under that are any posts your credit union makes on the page. The benefit of these pages is you can post about specific products and services. That’s what they’re there for. Unlike regular social media company pages where you refrain from too many posts about your products and services so you don’t alienate your members – Showcase Pages are all about marketing.

Up until mid-April, businesses on LinkedIn were able to have a Products & Services Page to highlight what they offer. LinkedIn is taking that option away and is encouraging companies to create Showcase Pages instead. Even though Showcase Pages have been around for about a year now, thanks to this LinkedIn change you’ll be seeing many more of them soon. 

Showcase Pages and Your Credit Union 

If your credit union is already on LinkedIn and have a Products & Services Page, it’s time to come up with a strategy for creating a Showcase Page. And even if your credit union isn’t on LinkedIn, you might want to consider joining it now and creating a Showcase Page. In many ways, these pages seem custom-tailored to credit unions. Why? Because you can target market and use selective messaging.

Many companies like Microsoft, HP and others are already successfully using Showcase Pages for company divisions, etc. Credit unions could use Showcase Pages to promote a new product or service, highlight its youth programs or even devote a page to all of its community outreach.

There are a couple of downsides to LinkedIn Showcase Pages. First, it’s additional social media content for your credit union to create and maintain. And two, you’ll be starting from scratch as far as followers go. But if you already have a social media platform or two going, it’s simple to cross-promote platforms and share content.

However your credit union utilizes LinkedIn, or doesn’t, is of course up to you. We just wanted you to be aware of these changes and highlight how these changes could benefit your credit union. We also want to offer our assistance should you want to elevate your social media presence in any form. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Using Micro Videos at Your Credit Union

If your credit union hasn’t jumped onto the micro video bandwagon, the time might be now to do so. Facebook has announced that they’re joining the fray by offering Premium Video Advertising in a 15-second HD format. Facebook has had this advertising option in trials since December and it’s currently in beta testing. 

A micro video is a short-form video that lasts only a few seconds. Facebook’s video offering joins Twitter’s Vine, six-second micro videos, and Facebook-owned Instagram Video’s 15-second version. While it’s wonderful to have all of these choices, it leaves many marketers confused on the best way to utilize such a short video format. 

Vine is all about immediacy. Its GIF format makes it easy to share and it’s a great way to encourage fun short-form videos from your members. For the time being, however, Instagram seems to be holding all of the cards for this video format. It offers filters, the ability to edit and Instagram Cinema which stabilizes any shaky handheld videos. Given everything Instagram has to offer, Twitter has already announced that it’s going to update Vine to be more of a competitor. Facebook ads are too new to compare, and they are specifically paid ads on the social media network. 

Ways to Use Micro Videos

The appeal of any of these micro video formats is the chance to distill your credit union’s message down to six or 15 seconds. It may seem constraining, but creatively the potential could be limitless. Here are some ways that your credit union could utilize micro videos:
  • Product Demo – Just started offering mobile banking or some other tech-related product? A quick video can announce it and show it off all at the same time.
  • Member Contests – Call out to your members to share via video to win a prize. Ask them to show what they bought with their loan from you or say what they love most about their credit union.
  •  News Update – There are numerous creative ways to do a short video update members about any credit union news.
  • Staff Bios – Have your credit union’s staff members each do a micro video about themselves. Either give them guidelines on what you want or leave it up to them to showcase their individuality.
  • Community Outreach – Next time your credit union is out in the community, create a series of short videos highlighting the event. 
Your credit union may have to experiment and see which format works best for you. Whichever micro video format you choose, the important thing is to just get started. Keep in mind, two advantages any micro video format will have for your credit union are: videos are a good way to boost your search engine optimization, and; however you implement them – they’re the perfect way to help showcase your credit union’s personality to its members and community. 

If your credit union needs a hand with video production or setting up a good social media strategy that may include Facebook's new video ads, please contact us at CU Solutions Group

Friday, March 28, 2014

Protecting Your Credit Union's Auto Loan Collateral

Credit unions face many challenges when it comes to growing auto loan volume – especially contending with loan delinquencies and repossessions. According to Experian Automotive’s State of the Automotive Finance Market report released recently, there’s both good and bad news for lenders.

Both vehicle repossessions and delinquencies for finance companies are up 1.23 percent to a rate of 2.84 percent for the last quarter of 2013. This is the highest rate recorded since Experian started tracking the date in 2006. Also, the average charge-off amount for auto loans gone bad increased from $7,277 in Q4 2012 to $8,520 a year later.

Want some positive news? Auto loan balances were at an all-time high since Experian first started reporting the data eight years ago. Auto loan balances are at$782.9 billion, up $103 billion from the third quarter 2012.

While finance companies tend to be the hardest hit with delinquencies, credit unions and other financial institutions also feel the impact. Auto lenders have to do extensive research to analyze and understand the risk in each and every loan. And if the loan becomes delinquent and repossession is necessary, it can sometimes take a while to locate the vehicle in question.

Connecting Technology to Auto Loan Collateral

CU Solutions Group has recently teamed up with Spireon and Sprint to offer credit unions an effective solution in their battle against delinquencies and repossessions. It’s the ultimate bridge between technology and your credit union’s auto loan collateral. Spireon’s LoanPlus CMS is a GPS-based collateral management system that allows credit unions to capture a wealth of real-time data about their automotive collateral’s location, movement and status, then leverage this data to improve member services, collateral management and collections.

LoanPlus CMS can also help improve your members’ loan payment behavior by discretely notifying them when their payments are past due. And it works, financial institutions utilizing LoanPlus CMS have experienced up to a 50% reduction in the number of repossessions and up to a 40% savings in the cost per repossession.  Plus, the latest generation of LoanPlus CMS runs on the Sprint 3G nationwide network. All of these benefits combine will help ensure that your credit union will keep auto loan delinquencies and repossessions at a minimum.

Click here to learn more about Spireon’s LoanPlus CMS