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Catalyst Strategic Solutions

Insights from Catalyst

  • When it Comes to Volatility, Be Careful What You Wish For

    by Mark Wert | November 29, 2018

    In 2005, interest rate derivative and bond traders wanted more volatility in the rates markets. Interest rate volatility markets were all but dead, and traders complained about being bored. They had a point, and to be fair, traders need some volatility to make money.
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  • In Search of Info on ISO 20022

    by Justin Lutes | November 8, 2018

    For those working in the payments realm, the term “ISO 20022” probably sounds vaguely familiar. As this International Organization of Standardization guideline has not been widely implemented in the U.S. – the Federal Reserve will implement the standard for its Fedwire Funds Service in three phases, beginning in November 2020 and ending in late 2023 – learning about ISO 20022 doesn’t rank very high on our to-do lists. Yet.
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  • Is Big Data a Big Deal?

    by Mark DeBree | October 25, 2018

    What’s the key to a credit union’s success? That’s an easy one. It’s the members. And these days, membership can be more diverse than ever. But how well do we understand the evolving member base? As our credit unions grow and gain more members, it gets harder to know them. What can we do to gain more insights into our members? Two words: BIG DATA.
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  • Four Days of Future Forums

    by Greg Moore | October 11, 2018

    Nearly 300 credit union leaders met at Catalyst Corporate’s recent Future Forums to hear 30+ speakers cover topics from faster payments to global impacts on the local economy… and everything in between. This was the first year Catalyst Corporate combined its tried-and-true Economic Forum with an all-new segment dedicated to payments and technology trends. In addition to all the “thought leadership by day,” attendees also had many opportunities to network with their peers in the evenings. Here are some of the highlights.
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  • Is Your Credit Union Cyber Secure?

    by Kay Sikes | September 27, 2018

    Each October, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance join forces to educate businesses, consumers and students on how to stay safe and secure online. This year, as National Cyber Security Month turns 15, the campaign goal is to increase awareness of the shared responsibility we have in securing digital assets. Credit union employees often remind members how to protect their accounts. But, who reminds the employees to be just as careful with their online activities and digital duties?
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  • Seven Milestones in Seven Years

    by Kathy Garner | September 13, 2018

    In our industry, a lot can happen in a year. So imagine all that can happen over seven years! This month, Catalyst Corporate turns seven, and these years have been brimming with challenges, innovations, surprises and growth! Let’s take a look at seven major milestones Catalyst Corporate has reached since 2011.
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  • Three Easy Steps for Mitigating the Generational Shift of Core Deposits

    by Christopher Uhl | August 30, 2018

    There’s good news for the future of credit unions: our membership base is getting younger! But relative to national averages, we still have a long way to go. So, at least for now, credit unions must prepare for the possibility of sizeable deposits leaving their institutions. See how Catalyst credit unions can prepare for this shift in three easy steps.
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  • Mentoring Millennials

    by Rachel Kaufman | August 9, 2018

    People helping people is not just a credit union mantra. It’s the way forward – especially when working through the generational shift between Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. At Cornerstone’s Young Professionals Conference last week, nearly 100 attendees from the credit union league’s region (Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas) heard from prolific speakers, as well as their peers, regarding workforce trends and transitioning into leadership positions.
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  • Building Effective Credit Union Boards

    by Chris Shipman | July 26, 2018

    A credit union’s long-term success often relies on the direction received from its Board of Directors and the implementation of those directives by the ALCO. It’s important to have a strong, effective board/committee in order to guide the credit union. What are some tips to remember when assembling an effective board or committee? Here are a few...
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  • What Goes Up…

    by Sarina Freedland | July 12, 2018

    We kicked off 2018 with a bright outlook. But, as quickly as it began, it ended. The stock market re-learned what volatility meant and came crashing down, bringing optimism with it. The very factors that created the optimism – higher wages, strong job market, a desire to end the decade-long period of low interest rates – played into what has become a year of uncertainty. So, where are we now?
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  • Focus on Fighting Fraud

    by Len Naidoo | June 28, 2018

    In our industry, it’s difficult to get experts to agree on any one thing. But when that one thing is fraud prevention, the viewpoint is unanimous – fraud must be stopped.
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  • Reg CC Changes are Around the Corner

    by Sharon Begarney | June 14, 2018

    Once summer arrives, it’s easy to lose track of time. But, remember that on July 1 (it’s a Sunday), the Federal Reserve’s changes to Regulation CC (Reg CC) take effect. These changes support the industry-wide transition to an electronic, image-based check collection and returns environment. Read about some of the improvements heading your way in a few weeks.
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  • No Need to Tackle Student Loans Alone

    by Nathan Quade | May 31, 2018

    For many college-bound students, the homework doesn’t stop when school is out of session. Students and parents are spending a lot of time and energy trying to find financial aid options to cover the growing cost of college. When seeking ways to cover college, it’s best to look first for scholarships and grants — money that doesn’t need to be repaid. Then, explore federal student loans. In most cases, however, these options don’t cover the full cost. To tackle the remaining balance, families can consider a private student loan.
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  • The Building Blocks of Blockchain

    by Justin Lutes | May 10, 2018

    Blockchain is a word many in the financial industry hear about, but few can explain. First, let’s get this out of the way: blockchain is NOT Bitcoin. These terms are often intertwined but not synonymous. It’s easier to think of blockchain as a smartphone, and Bitcoin as an app on that phone. Now that we know what blockchain isn’t, let’s discuss what it is.
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  • Strengthen Your Credit Union’s Investments

    by Steven Houle | April 26, 2018

    As the interest rate environment and yield curve shift, now is as good a time as any to assess your investment strategy. One of the most significant attributes to investment portfolio performance over the last few years was how much “extra” liquidity a credit union held. The more they held, the lower their investment portfolio return and vice versa. However, even though the yield curve has increased, the slope is significantly flatter. What does that mean? Let's take a look:
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  • The Challenges of Checking Accounts

    by Karen Coble | April 12, 2018

    Reinventing Checking Accounts, a 2017 study conducted by Cornerstone Advisors, arrived at some interesting conclusions for mid-sized financial institutions ($500 million-$20 billion in assets). More people have checking accounts now, but they’re not writing checks. The need for checking accounts still exists, but the way they are used is changing. Why? The study points to a few reasons.
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  • Cloud Coverage

    by Diana Hennel | March 22, 2018

    The forecast for credit unions is a bit cloudy… but not in a murky, hard-to-see sense. Quite the opposite. The future of cloud-based computing is sunny, and credit unions’ movement to “the cloud” – in varying degrees – is inevitable. But credit unions want to know, “Is this type of system safe and secure?” The short answer is: it can (and should) be, with the proper steps.
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  • Catalyst Strategic Solutions: Thirty and Thriving!

    by Zane Wilson | March 8, 2018

    Three decades ago, Catalyst Strategic Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union, emerged with the goal of helping credit unions analyze and manage the complexities of expanding investment portfolios. Working with or aside CSS nearly 25 of the last 30 years has given me a front-row seat to the organization’s growth, change and credit union success stories.
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  • Lessons Learned from Same-Day ACH

    by Justin Lutes | February 22, 2018

    It may seem like just yesterday when Same-Day ACH became mandatory for credit unions, but it’s been nearly two years since ODFIs and RDFIs began implementing the first of a three-phase process. With implementation of the final phase of Same-Day ACH just a couple of weeks away, credit unions can begin discussing even more ways to assist members with faster ACH payments. However, let’s first look at a few lessons we’ve learned along the way.
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  • On the Go? Your Credit Union is, Too

    by Karen Coble | February 8, 2018

    It seems like no matter where you are – a restaurant, a sporting event or walking through the park – smartphones have become an extension of the body. Therefore, it only seems natural to make them an extension of your credit union, too. Catalyst Corporate offers members a full digital mobile banking platform to meet members where they are most – on their mobile devices.
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