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Newsletter Archives

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Catalyst Connect Archives


Catalyst Connect – May 16, 2017     
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    1.5 Billion and Counting: Catalyst Corporate recently surpassed $1.5 billion in loan participations since the program's inception. See how selling loans through this program has helped one credit union manage balance sheet liquidity, risk and key regulatory ratios, while keeping assets in the credit union industry.

    Where in the World…? Located just east of Romania and south of Ukraine is Moldova. Despite a recent decrease in Moldova’s poverty levels, it remains one of the poorest countries in Europe. Catalyst Corporate Chief Operating Officer Brad Ganey visited credit unions in Moldova to explore ways to improve and stabilize their payments infrastructure.

    Unlock the Secrets of Business Lending: Credit unions have long gravitated toward investment real estate as a way to do business lending. The source of repayment on these loans is easy to understand and is generated primarily from rental income. However, lending to operational businesses can add diversity to a credit union's loan portfolio.

    You’ve Got Mail! Earlier today, credit unions received Catalyst Corporate’s Member Survey by email from Member Loyalty Group. Please take a moment to respond to this very brief survey on your business relationship with Catalyst Corporate and Catalyst Strategic Solutions. Your input is appreciated!

    Upcoming Training Opportunities: Funds Transfer Services (May 17), Deposit Chek® Reports on TranZact (May 24) and ACH Origination (June 14).



Catalyst Connect – May 9, 2017     
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    Loan Participations – A Buyer’s Perspective: Many credit unions today are faced with excess deposits. See how loan participations are helping credit unions, such as Service 1st Credit Union, meet this challenge.

    Climbing the Investment Ladder: An “investment ladder” is more than just a catchy phrase, says Leah Schlangen, a Catalyst Corporate investment officer. It's an important strategy in managing a credit union's investment portfolio.

    Checking Accounts Live On! As long as checking accounts continue to play a viable role in members' lives, credit unions will need to continue processing those checks. Why not consolidate your credit union's check processing, settlement and liquidity with Catalyst Corporate?

    Heads Up: In coming days, Catalyst Corporate will conduct its annual Member Survey. Credit unions will receive a seven-question email survey from Member Loyalty Group, requesting feedback on your business relationship with Catalyst Corporate and Catalyst Strategic Solutions. Your input is valued immensely. Please take a moment to respond to this very short questionnaire.

    May Education and Training: Funds Transfer Services (May 17) and Deposit Chek® Reports on TranZact (May 24).



Catalyst Connect – May 2, 2017     
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    How Will Members React to a Rising Rate Environment?  A lot has changed since the last rising rate cycle. How will these changes affect your members' financial behavior? Catalyst Corporate advisor, Jonathan Jackson, shares his insights in a new blog post.

    Small Business Week: April 30 - May 6 is National Small Business Week. Did you know Catalyst Corporate assists credit unions in meeting small business member needs? See how these offerings can enhance your small business services portfolio.

    Design to Mobile: A consistent user experience across all service delivery channels reduces "friction" for your members. Brad Ganey, chief operating officer of Catalyst Corporate, explains the importance of a mobile-only experience regardless, of what online device is used – smartphone, tablet, wearable or desktop.

    All Things ACH: Phase 2 of Same-Day ACH takes effect September 15, 2017. Is your credit union ready? Check out the latest issue of Catalyst Corporate's ACH Advisor for more on Catalyst Corporate’s Same-Day debit tutorial, as well as a special feature on the roles of ODFIs and Originators.

    May Training Opportunities: Funds Transfer Services (May 17) and Deposit Chek® Reports on TranZact (May 24).



Catalyst Connect – April 25, 2017     
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Catalyst Connect – April 18, 2017     
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    Making the Most of Mobile: If you believe mobile services and millennials are important to the future of our industry, we’ve got to do a better job of learning their language, StrategyCorps' Dave DeFazio told a credit union audience last week. How can we do better? He shared a few ideas…

    Siems Joins Forum Lineup: Federal Reserve economist and storyteller Thomas Siems joins the list of presenters at Catalyst Corporate’s 40th annual Economic Forum, set for Oct 2-4 at the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Las Colinas.

    Manage Interest Rate Risk with Derivatives: Hedging risk with derivatives is uncharted territory for many credit unions. Find out how they work, how to make them part of your ALM framework and what NCUA guidance says about them at an upcoming webinar.

    Training Opportunities: Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (April 19), Lessons from the World’s Mobile Experience Leaders (April 28) and CUBG’s Commercial Real Estate Lending for Credit Unions  (Portland, OR, May 2-3).



Catalyst Connect – April 11, 2017     
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Catalyst Connect – April 4, 2017     
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    Cut Fraud with CardNav: Card fraud remains a big concern for many credit union members. Catalyst Corporate's Card Services program protects members from fraudulent activity with CardNav – a service giving debit and ATM cardholders the ability to turn on and off their cards, set controls and receive alerts.

    Insights from Catalyst: Stress. It’s just one syllable, but it could have a disastrous effect on one’s mind, body and soul. A stressed balance sheet could be just as detrimental to a credit union and its members. See the important role liquidity stress testing plays. Check out Catalyst Corporate's new blog – Insights from Catalyst.

    ALM Services Take Center Stage: Sit back and enjoy the show! Watch Catalyst Strategic Solutions' four new videos (look for the film icon under "Resources" at the bottom of the page) to learn what your peers are saying about ALM services.

    Upcoming Education and Training: Student Loan Program Overview (April 6), TranZact Basics for the User (April 12), Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (April 19) and CUBG’s Commercial Real Estate Lending for Credit Unions  (Portland, OR, May 2-3).



Catalyst Connect – March 28, 2017     
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Catalyst Connect – March 21, 2017     
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Catalyst Connect – March 14, 2017     
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Catalyst Connect – March 7, 2017     
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    Timeless Conundrum? Modern Solution: Checking accounts aren’t what they used to be – and that could be good for credit unions. Read how Catalyst Corporate's Checking with Benefits offers a solution to the declining financial productivity of checking accounts.

    Your Source for Everything ACH: Have questions about Phase 2 of Same-Day ACH? Want to register for Catalyst Corporate's ACH webinar series? Check out the latest ACH Advisor and stay in-the-know about all things ACH.

    Lock Down Information Security: Credit unions often lack the internal resources to manage ongoing information security. Digital Defense, Inc., Catalyst Corporate's partner for information security, works with more than 800 credit unions to identify vulnerabilities that open the door to cyber-criminals and hacktivists. See how DDI recently helped one credit union bolster its data protection efforts.

    March Training Opportunities: TranZact for the Accounting Department (March 8), Cash Services (March 15), CUBG’s Business Lending Bootcamp (March 21-22) and ACH Rules – Returns & Exception Processing (March 22).



Catalyst Connect – February 28, 2017     
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Catalyst Connect – February 21, 2017     
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Catalyst Connect – February 14, 2017     
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Catalyst Connect – February 7, 2017     
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    Differentiation is Key to Mobile Banking: Differentiation may be one reason 15 percent of banks and credit unions with mobile banking apps changed vendors in 2016, 2015 and 2014. See how Catalyst Corporate is helping credit unions stay on top of mobile banking trends and technology.

    Howdy, Partner: Catalyst Corporate values partner relationships with CUSOs that provide high-quality training and educational opportunities. CU Business Group is one CUSO that offers year-round learning opportunities for credit union staff, including its upcoming Business Lending Bootcamp.

    The Future of Freddie and Fannie: While the new administration may bring change to housing finance reform, no one knows what that will look like. Dan Abdill, Senior Investment Officer for Catalyst Corporate, explains what the future could hold for the housing finance market.

    Upcoming Educational Opportunities: TranZact Administration (February 8), Share Drafts (February 15), ACH Rules – The Basics (February 22) and TranZact for the Accounting Department (March 8).



Catalyst Connect – January 31, 2017     
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    Benefit from a Brokerage Account: Credit unions have unique needs, and having a brokerage partner who understands these needs is refreshing. Catalyst Corporate, in partnership with credit union-owned CU Investment Solutions (ISI), delivers customized portfolio strategies through its experienced team of registered representatives.

    Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Catalyst Corporate’s experts have a lot to say, and they’re using the CU Resources blog to spread those messages. Read their guest-blog posts, published the last Thursday of each month since August 2016.

    Calling All Executives: Catalyst Corporate's brief Quarterly CU Confidence Survey closes TONIGHT (January 31) at midnight. Through your answers, the survey measures the attitudes of credit union CEOs nationwide regarding the economic environment.

    Upcoming Training Opportunities: TranZact Administration (February 8), Share Drafts (February 15) and ACH Rules – The Basics (February 22).



Catalyst Connect – January 24, 2017     
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    Increase Remote Deposit Efficiency:TranzCapture’s Teller Capture service can increase credit union efficiency by eliminating many manual processes associated with remote deposit.

    There's Still Time: Have you registered for Catalyst Corporate's Accelerating Success Conference yet? Don't miss hearing leading industry experts, networking with credit union peers and connecting with Catalyst Corporate executives.

    New SSAE16 Statement: To demonstrate its compliance with internal controls for operations, information and systems, Catalyst Corporate engaged a firm to perform an SSAE16 review for the period Oct. 2015-Sept. 2016. The review is available in TranZact under Settings/(any page)/Related Documents.

    Catalyst Corporate Members Show the Love: Members from more than three dozen credit unions will “show the love” by drawing hearts on checks deposited via their credit union’s Mobile Capture service. The "Capture My Heart" promotion runs February 7-14.

    Training and Educational Opportunities: TranZact Administration (February 8), Share Drafts (February 15) and ACH Rules – The Basics (February 22).



Catalyst Connect – January 17, 2017     
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Catalyst Connect – January 10, 2017     
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    Blueprint for Success Streaming Live TODAY! Join Catalyst Corporate at 1 p.m. CT Tuesday, Jan. 10 for the fourth annual Blueprint for Success economic outlook. Don't miss a chance to hear predictions for this year's economy, earn CPE credit and ask industry experts your most pressing questions.

    Member Update: This week, Catalyst Corporate CEO Kathy Garner will provide a Fourth Quarter 2016 Member Update, sharing results of financial performance goals and key strategic initiatives, along with highlights for 2017. The Member Update video will be available Thursday, Jan. 12 at www.catalystcorp.org.

    CEOs to Share Leadership Lessons: A panel of credit union CEOs from across the country will share what they’ve learned about inspiring their employees at Catalyst Corporate's Accelerating Success Conference. Register by Jan. 13 for Early Bird pricing!

    Catalyst Corporate Closed Monday: Catalyst Corporate will close Monday, Jan. 16, to observe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. See Catalyst Corporate’s holiday schedule.

    Training Opportunities: TranZact Basics for the User (January 11), ACH Receipt & Returns with Catalyst (January 18) and TranZact Administration(February 8).



Catalyst Connect – January 3, 2017     
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    Interact with Blueprint for Success: Hear predictions for this year's economy AND earn your first CPE credit of 2017 without ever leaving your desk. Catalyst Corporate’s Blueprint for Success will stream live on January 10 at 1 p.m. Central Time. Attendees will have a chance to interact with the speakers.

    What Can We Expect in 2017? The beginning of a new year brings a new administration and a new economic agenda. What does that mean for the economy? Steven Rick, chief economist for CUNA Mutual Group, will share his thoughts during his presentation at Catalyst Corporate’s Accelerating Success Conference next month.

    Catalyst Strategic Solutions Survey Results: Each year, Catalyst Strategic Solutions conducts ALM and Advisory Service surveys to measure client satisfaction levels. Check out the results from the 2016 surveys.

    Upcoming Training and Education: TranZact Basics for the User (January 11) and ACH Receipt & Returns with Catalyst (January 18).



Catalyst Connect – December 27, 2016     
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    Registration Now Open: Register now for Catalyst Corporate’s Blueprint for Success. Designed to provide credit unions with an economic outlook and insights for strategic planning in 2017, the interactive event will stream live January 10 at 1 p.m. Central Time.

    Early Bird Gets the Deal: Start the new year with a little more dough in your pocket. Register for Catalyst Corporate’s Accelerating Success Conference before January 13 and save $75 on the registration fee! And, reserve your room at the Omni National Resort at $199 per night by January 13.

    'Capture My Heart' Coming Soon! Credit union members can show the love in February! For the third year, Catalyst Corporate will offer a Valentine-themed Capture my Heart Campaign to help  credit unions boost member awareness and usage of Mobile Capture services.

    Happy New Year! We have enjoyed working with members in 2016 and look forward to seeing everyone in 2017!

    January Training and Education: TranZact Basics for the User (January 11) and ACH Receipt & Returns with Catalyst (January 18).



Catalyst Connect – December 20, 2016     
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    Save the Date for Blueprint for Success: Blueprint for Success, the first of many financial management educational programs that Catalyst Corporate and Catalyst Strategic Solutions will offer in 2017, will stream live January 10 at 1 p.m. Central Time. The presentation is designed to help credit unions understand how unfolding economic activity may influence strategic planning in 2017.

    Crafting the Ideal Member Experience: How do you market your credit union to members who don’t all fit into the same mold? Kelly McDonald, president of an award-winning advertising and marketing firm, will present strategies to do just that at Catalyst Corporate’s Accelerating Success Conference.

    Closed for the Holidays: Catalyst Corporate will close Monday, December 26 and Monday, January 2, to observe the Christmas and New Year holidays. See Catalyst Corporate’s holiday schedule.

    Upcoming Training Opportunities: TranZact Basics for the User (January 11) and ACH Receipt & Returns with Catalyst (January 18).



Catalyst Connect – December 13, 2016     
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    All TranzCapture Services are Live: TranzCapture, Catalyst Corporate’s new deposit capture service suite is now fully operational. Thirty-six credit unions are already on the Branch Capture service.

    Tee Off with Catalyst Corporate: Still searching for the perfect holiday gift? How about a chance to tee off on one of the premier golf courses in the country? Attendees of Catalyst Corporate’s 2017 Accelerating Success Conference are invited to a golf outing at the Catalina Course at the Omni National Resort in Tucson on February 15.

    Update Your Contacts in TranZact: Catalyst Corporate will conduct a Contingency Communications exercise on Wednesday, December 14 at 10 a.m. Central Time.

    Training and Education Opportunities: TranZact Basics for the User (January 11) and ACH Receipt & Returns with Catalyst (January 18).



Catalyst Connect – December 6, 2016     
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    A Checking With Benefits Road Trip: When you're responsible for marketing a new service to your members, you should know how it works. Prior to launching Catalyst Corporate's Checking with Benefits mobile rewards app, one credit union marketing director took it for a 1,500 mile test drive!

    Take a Credit Union Learning Tour: “You don’t know what you don’t know,” is how Bobby Michael, CEO of Army Aviation Center FCU, explained a “learning journey” that he and executives of four other credit unions took this summer. He will share his experience at Catalyst Corporate's Accelerating Success Conference.

    Calling All Members/Owners: Join us at Catalyst Corporate’s 2017 Annual Meeting, Thursday, February 16, 12 p.m. at the Omni National Resort in Tucson, AZ. The official notice, including the Nominating Committee's slate for board of directors, was mailed to member credit unions last week. The Annual Meeting is scheduled during the Accelerating Success Conference.

    TranZact Corporate Checking Enhancements: On December 7, Catalyst Corporate will introduce several enhancements to its Corporate Checking module in TranZact. Most notable are a streamlined Positive Pay search function, three years of check history and a new Stop Payment report. View Catalyst Corporate's on-demand training for more information on these new features.

    Contingency Communication: Catalyst Corporate will conduct a Contingency Communications exercise on Wednesday, December 14 at 10 a.m. Central Time.



Catalyst Connect – November 29, 2016     
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    2017 Product Training Schedule is Now Online: Registration is open for Catalyst Corporate’s 2017 product training webinars. Topics range from cash services to fraud protection to ACH rules. All webinars are free.

    Staying Relevent – What Credit Unions Need to Know: Today’s most popular mobile apps define the way consumers absorb information, connect with others, manage their finances and get through everyday tasks, said Dave DeFazio at a recent conference. DeFazio will share his insights for competing with big banks in a free encore performance.

    ACH Central Debuts a New Look: Phase 1 of Same-Day ACH is in the books, but Catalyst Corporate's ACH Central is still home to vital information about all things ACH. Check out the redesigned website and the latest ACH Advisor.

    Q4 SCAN is Headed Your Way: Catalyst Corporate's most recent SCAN publication, which highlights the 2017 Accelerating Success Conference, customizable marketing materials and more will arrive in your mailboxes this week. You can also view the Fourth Quarter SCAN online.

    2016 Education and Training: New Features in Positive Pay (Dec. 1) and Loan Portfolio Analytics (Dec. 1).



Catalyst Connect – November 22, 2016     
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    Keeping Up with the Times: The U.S. population is the youngest it’s been in half a century, but the average credit union member has never been older. Jim Kasch, founder of Canidae Consulting and a 20+ year credit union executive, will present his take on this culture shift at Catalyst Corporate’s 2017 Accelerating Success Conference.

    And the Oscar Goes to… Does your credit union offer Checking with Benefits? Check out Catalyst Corporate's new video about this service, and watch as one credit union CFO explains how BaZing has already benefited his credit union – and its members!

    Happy Thanksgiving! Catalyst Corporate will close Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24, and will return to normal business hours Friday, November 25. See Catalyst Corporate’s Holiday Schedule.

    2016 Education and Training: New Features in Positive Pay (Nov. 29), New Features in Positive Pay (Dec. 1) and Loan Portfolio Analytics (Dec. 1).



Catalyst Connect – November 15, 2016     
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Catalyst Connect – November 8, 2016     
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    A First Glimpse at a Post-Election Economy: The United States is electing a new president today! And less than a month after that president is inaugurated, Catalyst Corporate will hold its annual Accelerating Success Conference and examine ways to manage (and embrace) economic change.

    A Big Year for Training! This year has been busy for Catalyst Corporate’s Training Department. Members have accessed over 30 products and services webinars – all free of charge. See what was most popular with members – and what's still in store for the remainder of 2016!

    The Results are In: Catalyst Corporate's Third Quarter 2016 Credit Union CEO Confidence Survey shows that credit union CEOs are feeling less optimistic about their institutions' financial footing…but not bad! Find the complete results here.

    And We’re Off… Catalyst Corporate will be closed for Veterans Day on Friday, November 11 and will return to normal business hours on Monday, November 14. See Catalyst Corporate’s holiday schedule.

    2016 Training Schedule: Deposit Chek Reports on TranZact (Nov. 9), International Services (Nov. 16) and Loan Portfolio Analytics (Dec. 1).



Catalyst Connect – November 1, 2016     
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    Check out the Benefits: Checking with Benefits, a service offered by Catalyst Corporate, can make a credit union's checking accounts more attractive to members and potential members, strengthen member engagement and generate fee income. See how it has helped these members so far.

    TranzCapture to the Rescue! What does a credit union do when a Windows 10 update locks up its branch capture scanner and prevents check deposits from being scanned? Read about two credit unions that used that as an opportunity to transition early onto Catalyst Corporate's new TranzCapture Branch Capture system.

    It’s in the Mail: Your Catalyst Corporate Accelerating Success Conference brochure is arriving any day now! In it, you will find details and registration information on this stellar event at the Omni National Resort in Tucson, Arizona.

    Autumn Training Schedule: Share Drafts and Corporate Checking Services (Nov. 2), Deposit Chek Reports on TranZact (Nov. 9) and International Services (Nov. 16).



Catalyst Connect – October 25, 2016     
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    Catalyst Corporate Q3 Member Update: Catalyst Corporate has had a busy few months! See what we’ve been up to, as well as what's in store for the remainder of the year. And as always, thank YOU for your continued support.

    Ready…Set…Accelerate! The lineup of speakers is set for Catalyst Corporate's Accelerating Success Conference, which will be held at the Omni National Resort in Tucson, Arizona, February 15-17, 2017. Keep your eyes open for the registration brochure, slated to arrive in mailboxes early next month!

    What's on the Economic Horizon? As the economy begins its eighth year of recovery, Bill Hampel, chief economist for Credit Union National Association and a Catalyst Corporate Economic Forum presenter, voices his optimism about improving conditions for credit unions through the end of 2017.

    Autumn Training Schedule: ACH Audit Requirements (Oct. 26), Share Drafts and Corporate Checking Services (Nov. 2), Deposit Chek Reports on TranZact (Nov. 9) and International Services (Nov. 16).



Catalyst Connect – October 18, 2016     
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    Double Check with ALM Validations by Catalyst: Credit union management and board members want assurances that their ALM modeling is sound. Third-party validation can compare and contrast model results to identify areas for improvement. Catalyst Strategic Solutions clients express the value of verifying their ALM processes and results.

    Two Roads Converged… The credit union member experience is currently sitting at the intersection of security and the digital future, explained Randy Harrington at Catalyst Corporate's 39th annual Economic Forum. See why he says it's imperative for credit union leaders to choose both paths, rather than one over the other.

    On Again, Off Again: CardNav is an easy-to-use mobile app that gives members the ability to turn their cards on and off, set controls for card use and receive alerts for certain types of card activity. See what CardNav can do for your members!

    Fall Education Opportunities: Paying Bills with PicturePay (Oct. 18), TranZact Administration (Oct. 19), ACH Audit Requirements (Oct. 26), Share Drafts and Corporate Checking Services (Nov. 2) and Deposit Chek Reports on TranZact (Nov. 9).



Catalyst Connect – October 11, 2016     
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Catalyst Connect – October 4, 2016     
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Catalyst Connect – September 27, 2016     
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    Catalyst Corporate Becomes an Owner of MEMBERS Development Company: Exploring new ways of doing business is critical to providing member credit unions with the products and services they need. As a result, Catalyst Corporate has become an owner of MEMBERS Development Company, which will help enhance and expand member service.

    Pricing Notification Available This Week: Catalyst Corporate's 2017 Service Pricing Guide will be emailed to chief executive officers at all member and client credit unions Wednesday, September 28. The Pricing Guide includes convenient links to information on Catalyst Corporate's website about products and services.

    Save the Date for Accelerating Success: Critical issues facing credit unions will take center stage at Catalyst Corporate’s Accelerating Success Conference, scheduled for February 15-17, 2017 at the Omni National Resort in Tucson, Arizona. More information coming soon!

    Autumn Opportunities: TranZact Basics for the User (Sept. 28), Domestic Wire Transfer Services (Oct. 12), Paying Bills with PicturePay (Oct. 18) and TranZact Administration (Oct. 19).



Catalyst Connect – September 20, 2016     
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Catalyst Connect – September 13, 2016     
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    Don’t Miss Out! $55 can buy a night out on the town, a couple tanks of gas or some scary Halloween decorations! Register for Catalyst Corporate's Economic Forum today – the last day for early-bird pricing – and save $55! Don't wait – this price expires at midnight!

    Fostering a Culture of Innovation: Catalyst Innovation Groups, which are based on Filene Institute's “human-centered design” model, use a multi-layered approach to glean insights and ideas. How have these groups been helping member credit unions? Take a look for yourself!

    Three Cheers for Marketing that Delivers: Two heads are better than one... especially when they deliver six great new Checking with Benefits campaigns. See what Catalyst Corporate and the Cornerstone Marketing Council have been working on together.

    Contingency Communications: Catalyst Corporate will conduct a Contingency Communications exercise tomorrow, September 14 at 10 a.m. Central Time.

    Fall Education: TranZact Basics for the User (Sept. 28), Domestic Wire Transfer Services (Oct. 12), Paying Bills with PicturePay (Oct. 18) and TranZact Administration (Oct. 19).



Catalyst Connect – September 6, 2016     
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    Happy Birthday to Us! Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union turns five this week! Here’s a high-five for half a decade and a look at some of the corporate's activities since its last anniversary.

    Catalyst Loan Participations Near $1 Billion: Since launching in 2014, Catalyst Corporate's loan participation program has helped nearly 100 credit unions buy and sell almost $1 billion in loans. Read more about this milestone achievement.

    Early Bird Deadline is Approaching: Have you registered for Catalyst Corporate's Economic Forum yet? A discounted Early Bird registration rate is available through September 13. Check out these five reasons why Forum shouldn't be missed!

    Contingency Communications: Catalyst Corporate will conduct a Contingency Communications exercise on Wednesday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. Central Time.

    September Education: Analyzing Business Loans (CU Business Group) (Sept. 7-8), Cash Management Services (Sept. 7) and TranZact Basics for the User (Sept. 28).



Catalyst Connect – August 30, 2016     
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Catalyst Connect – August 23, 2016     
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Contact Catalyst Corporate if you are looking for an older issue of [Connect/SCAN/Behind the Numbers].


SCAN Archives


SCAN First Quarter 2017
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SCAN Fourth Quarter 2016
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Contact Catalyst Corporate if you are looking for an older issue of [Connect/SCAN/Behind the Numbers].


Behind the Numbers Archives


Behind the Numbers – May 19, 2017
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Optimism Winning Over Activity – The housing market is improving, although not as fast and steady as economists wish. Economists were hoping to see a rebound in new home construction in April after unusually harsh weather dampened activity in March. Unfortunately, housing starts in April were a...


Behind the Numbers – May 12, 2017
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Retail May Not Be Dead...Yet – Retail sales rebounded in April, bringing a sigh of relief to economists who feared consumers had lost their appetite for spending money. Not only did April sales increase 0.4 percent, but March sales were revised higher. The look back means spending was not as weak in the first...


Behind the Numbers – May 5, 2017
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Two Days and Nothing New – The two-day FOMC meeting revealed nothing new. The committee voted unanimously to keep the target interest rate at 0.75 to 1.00 percent. The press release noted that while economic activity slowed and household spending improved only modestly, fundamentals...


Behind the Numbers – April 28, 2017
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Spending stunts growth – Despite feeling confident about the economy and financial conditions, consumers did not put their money where their expectations were in the first quarter. Consumer spending hit a roadblock during the first quarter of 2017, bringing economic growth...


Behind the Numbers – April 21, 2017
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Housing remains on firm foundation – The unusual weather patterns in February and March created fluctuations in the housing market that appear concerning at first glance. However, when you compare the two months' data together, the activity becomes normal. Construction of new homes declined...


Behind the Numbers – April 14, 2017
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Has Inflation Reached its Peak Already? – Two key measures of inflation are already beginning to show signs of softening after February’s PCE (personal consumption expenditures) index topped the Federal Reserve’s target of two percent. Both the consumer and producer price indices declined in March. Producer prices...


Behind the Numbers – April 7, 2017
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Weather and Retail Wreak Havoc in March – March ended the stunning job growth of recent months. Employers added 98,000 jobs in March versus the expected 180,000 jobs. The two-month revision subtracted 38,000 jobs. Harsh weather and a decline in retail created most of the losses. Retail lost 30,000 jobs for the...


Behind the Numbers – March 31, 2017
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Game of Financial Tug-of-War – This week felt like a game of tug-of-war. After watching the financial markets move in one direction last week, this week they pulled back and forth. The markets kept trying to regain ground each day, with stock prices and bond yields doing their best to move higher. Strong...


Behind the Numbers – March 24, 2017
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But, I Thought Rates Were to Move Higher – Despite the key interest rate increase the Federal Reserve voted on just a week ago, the financial markets turned the other cheek this week. The three major stock indices posted the worst one-day losses this year. The Dow fell over 200 points for the first time since...


Behind the Numbers – March 17, 2017
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Fed Brought Smile to Financial Markets – The long anticipated rate move by the Federal Reserve finally happened, sending a sigh of relief through the financial markets. The Federal Open Market Committee voted nine to one to raise the benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points. The new range is 0.75 to 1.00 percent....


Behind the Numbers – March 10, 2017
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JOBS - Is It Enough to Move the Fed? – The official job report for February was solid. The unemployment rate declined to 4.7 percent, 235,000 jobs were added during the month, and wages increased 2.8 percent over a year ago. All signs point to the continuation of a steadily improving labor market and overall...


Behind the Numbers – March 3, 2017
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The Fed and Interest Rates? – Headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased more than most analysts projected, driven largely by gains in the always volatile energy sector. Core inflation, which backs out volatile commodities, such as food and energy, is approaching the Fed’s target inflation...


Behind the Numbers – February 24, 2017
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Hints Continue to Fall Without Landing – This week contributed more pieces to the rate puzzle, but the complete picture remains a mystery. Minutes from the February 1 FOMC meeting were released mid-week, providing insight into two days of discussion between the 12 voting members of the Federal Reserve...


Behind the Numbers – February 17, 2017
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To March or Not to March... – This week was all about the timing of the next Federal Reserve interest rate move. Comments from various Federal Reserve members and a string of solid economic reports spurred bets that a move could happen in March. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave an upbeat...


Behind the Numbers – February 10, 2017
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Beginning of an Export Turnaround? – The U.S. trade deficit improved 3.2 percent in December to -$44.3 billion. The improvement came from a 2.7 percent increase in exports, primarily for aircraft and industrial supplies. The increase in exports was the largest since September 2012. Imports rose 1.5 percent on...


Behind the Numbers – February 3, 2017
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Is the Waiting Game Back On? – The first Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting of the year came and went with little fanfare this week. As expected, the Committee unanimously voted to keep the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.50 to 0.75 percent. This was the first meeting since...


Behind the Numbers – January 27, 2017
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How High Can We Go? – If you listened closely, you may have heard a collective shout of excitement from avid stock investors. After weeks of waiting, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finally broke through the sought-after threshold of 20,000. The market came close to this magical number several...


Behind the Numbers – January 20, 2017
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Has Inflation Made Its Debut? – Could it be the Federal Reserve found its crystal ball? In December, the Federal Reserve acknowledged that inflation was moving closer toward their target as one reason for increasing the short-term interest rate. Lo and behold, consumer prices posted their largest annual...


Behind the Numbers – January 13, 2017
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The Effect of the Big Red Bows – The first tally of how successful retailers were during the prime holiday shopping months was revealed in the Commerce Department's December retail sales report. Total sales rose 0.6 percent in December, and increased 0.2 percent in November, double the original...


Behind the Numbers – January 6, 2017
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Starting the Year with JOBS – The job market finished 2016 on a strong note. During December, 156,000 jobs were added, bringing the total number of jobs gained in 2016 to 2.17 million. This was the sixth consecutive year the U.S. added over two million jobs. The unemployment rate edged up a tenth of...


Behind the Numbers – December 30, 2016
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What a Year! – As this is the last weekly economic report for the year, it seems appropriate to give a year-end wrap up in 200 words or less. 2016 will be remembered as a year that kept us on our toes. The year began with expectations for at least two, if not three rate increases, only to...


Behind the Numbers – December 16, 2016
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A Vote of Confidence – Finally, we got what we expected – a 25 basis point increase in the federal funds rate. The Federal Open Market Committee voted unanimously to increase the target lending rate to a range between 0.50 to 0.75 percent. During the press conference following the FOMC...


Behind the Numbers – December 9, 2016
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All the Noise Came from Stocks – This week did not provide any significant market-moving data, just several reports that help fill in the economic puzzle. The real story this week was yet another series of record-breaking closes in the stock market. The three key stock indices reached new highs many times this...


Behind the Numbers – December 2, 2016
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Unemployment is Lowest in Nine Years – You saw it here first. This is a how your local media will report the latest news from the Labor Department: the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in November, the lowest rate since August 2007. The household measure comes from twice as many people leaving the...


Behind the Numbers – November 18, 2016
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What no one expected – What a wild few weeks it has been. The long-awaited presidential elections sent a resounding wake-up call to the financial markets. To everyone’s surprise, the stock market and bond yields...


Behind the Numbers – November 4, 2016
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Not This Time...Again – Just as we expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted this week to keep the benchmark lending rate unchanged. The Committee voted 8-2 in favor of waiting for some further evidence that brings the economy more in line with their objectives.


Behind the Numbers – October 28, 2016
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Growth Doubled, but Is It Enough? – The U.S. economy grew 2.9 percent in the third quarter, more than double the growth rate during the second quarter and even better than expectations. The average growth rate for year-to-date 2016 is 1.7 percent, the lowest rate and the first time below 2.0 percent...


Behind the Numbers – October 21, 2016
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Do we Have a Consensus on Inflation? – Two indices that have not always moved in the same direction aligned in September, which should bring smiles to the faces of all the Federal Reserve decision-makers. The consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in September, matching the increase in...


Behind the Numbers – October 14, 2016
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The Debates Continue – Don’t worry, I am not referring to the presidential debates. But, what went on behind closed doors at the September Federal Open Market Committee meeting may have been equally as exciting as what we have witnessed on TV lately. The minutes from the latest FOMC meeting...


Behind the Numbers – October 7, 2016
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Job Market is "Solid" – The U.S. added 156,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate moved higher to 5.0 percent. These are the headline statistics the media outlets will repeat today and tomorrow. However, the underlying details are just as important in understanding the bigger...


Behind the Numbers – September 30, 2016
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Could a Decline Be Good for Housing? – Sales of new homes fell 7.6 percent in August to an annualized pace of 609,000. The slowdown came after sales reached the highest pace in July since 2007. While the August pace was considerably slower, the annualized pace of purchases for 2016 remains well above the...


Behind the Numbers – September 23, 2016
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The Waiting Game Continues – Once again, we continue to wait, although what we are waiting for is becoming increasingly unclear. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted seven to three in favor of waiting to increase the target range for the federal funds rate, at least for the time being....


Behind the Numbers – September 16, 2016
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From Complacent to Volatile in a Day – Nothing like going from quiet and boring to wild and woolly. The lack of volatility that traders had been complaining about in August turned on a dime early in September. The three key stock indices fell close to two percent in one day, the Dow Index experienced triple digit up...


Behind the Numbers – September 9, 2016
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Turnaround in Supply Management Surveys – It doesn’t take much to unnerve the bond market, especially a market already fragile from weak economic data. Coming on the heels of a disappointing August job report, the ISM non-manufacturing report was the straw that broke the camel’s back mid-week. The service...


Behind the Numbers – August 26, 2016
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Housing Data Continues to Confuse – The data this week reflects two very different sides of the housing market. New home sales surged 12.4 percent in July and 31.3 percent from a year ago. The annualized rate of homes sold, 654,000, was the highest level since 2007. The median price of a new home fell 0.5...

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