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Newsletter Archives

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Catalyst Connect Archives


Catalyst Connect – July 17, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – July 10, 2018     
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    The Survey Says... Catalyst Corporate conducted its annual member satisfaction survey in May, receiving a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 82 – the highest rating in the survey’s history. The top drivers were “Delivers on promises and instills trust,” “Provides prompt responsive service” and “Offers services and expertise that are important to my credit union.” See a summary of results here.

    Speaker Spotlight – Bill Hampel: The U.S. economy is in the midst of a "sugar rush" from full employment, says economic consultant, Bill Hampel. And while it feels good right now, it could change in about 18 months. Hear more of Hampel's insights as he presents The Economy's Impact on Credit Unions at Future Forums.

    Finastra Acquires Malauzai: Global technology firm Finastra has acquired Malauzai, Catalyst Corporate’s mobile banking provider. See how this acquisition will continue to provide fully integrated core banking, lending, payments and digital engagement solutions to credit unions.

    Upcoming Education and Events: TranZact Basics for the User (July 11), ACH Receipt & Returns (July 18), ACH Risk Management (July 25) and CUBG's National Business Services Conference (Portland, OR, Aug. 6-8).



Catalyst Connect – July 3, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – June 26, 2018     
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Catalyst Corporate – June 19, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – June 12, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – June 5, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – May 29, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – May 22, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – May 15, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – May 8, 2018     
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    Strengthening Investments: As the interest rate environment and yield curve shift, now is as good a time as any to assess your investment strategy. Catalyst Corporate's VP, Advisory Service offers one strategy for credit unions navigating flat spreads and anticipated rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

    You've Got Mail: Earlier today, Catalyst Corporate sent credit unions an email with a link to its annual Member Survey. The survey gauges members’ opinions in areas such as trust, financial performance, member service and value. The survey takes less than five minutes to complete. If you did not receive your survey link, please email surveys@catalystcorporate.org or call 214.703.7842.

    What's in Store for LIBOR? LIBOR is the critical benchmark rate widely used to gauge credit market conditions. While it's critical to financial markets as the index quoted in derivative and financial contracts across the globe, it's also a key economic indicator. One Catalyst Corporate Senior Investment Officer explores the current state of LIBOR and its future.

    Upcoming Events: Share Drafts (May 9), CUBG’s Business Lending Bootcamp (Portland, OR, May 9-10), Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (May 16), Navigating the Corporate Website (June 6), CUBG’s Commercial Real Estate Lending for Credit Unions (Plano, TX, June 27-28)  and Investment Basics (on-demand).



Catalyst Connect – May 1, 2018     
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    This Just In: Unable to make it to Catalyst Corporate's 2018 Annual Meeting earlier today? Check out the recorded video which includes a review of the corporate's 2017 activities, upcoming initiatives and the results from the Board of Directors election. Thank you to all who attended for your continued support of Catalyst Corporate.

    Corporate One Joins Catalyst and Alloya in TranzCapture Partnership: Corporate One FCU is the latest corporate credit union to join the TranzCapture, LLC strategic partnership, designed to provide credit unions nationwide with quality check processing services. The addition of Corporate One strengthens what was already the largest credit union check processor in the nation.

    Speaker Spotlight– April Rinne The average car sits parked 23 hours a day, yet car owners pay to own it 24/7. To April Rinne, a sharing economy expert, the concept of owning something that’s barely used doesn’t make much sense. Rinne will share more on this topic as she presents Surviving and Thriving in the Sharing Economy at Future Forums.

    May Events: Navigating ACH Resources – Part 2 (May 2 – AAP credit), Share Drafts (May 9), CUBG’s Business Lending Bootcamp (Portland, OR, May 9-10), Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (May 16) and Investment Basics (on-demand).



Catalyst Connect – April 24, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – April 17, 2018     
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    Speaker Spotlight – Jim Kasch: When it comes to change in the financial industry, Jim Kasch, CEO of Canidae Consulting and a former credit union executive, says credit unions are a little scared, a little excited and a little confused. Kasch will help credit unions navigate those feelings when he presents Becoming Agents of Change at Catalyst Corporate's Future Forums.

    Checking Account Challenges: A recent study found that more people have checking accounts, but they’re not writing as many checks. While the need for checking accounts still exists, how they are used is changing. Catalyst Corporate's VP of Sales offers insights on these findings.

    You've Been Accepted! College acceptance letters are reaching mailboxes all over the country. Do you have financial aid questions? You're not alone. Catalyst Corporate provides credit unions a private student loan referral program through its partnership with Sallie Mae. Register for the free Student Loan Program Overview webinar on April 26 to learn more about this program.

    Upcoming Opportunities: Funds Transfer Services (April 18), CUBG’s Commercial Lending for Credit Union Auditors (April 19), Navigating ACH Resources – Part 1 (April 25 – AAP credit), Student Loan Program Overview (April 26), Navigating ACH Resources – Part 2 (May 2 – AAP credit), Share Drafts (May 9), CUBG’s Business Lending Bootcamp (Portland, OR, May 9-10) and Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (May 16).



Catalyst Connect – April 10, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – April 3, 2018     
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    Benefits of a Backup Plan: : Does your credit union have a backup plan in case something goes wrong? What about another backup in case the original backup plan fails? See how one credit union faced this scary scenario late last year – and how Catalyst Corporate was able to help.

    Commercial Lending for CU Auditor: CUBG, a Catalyst Corporate partner, is hosting a live, 90-minute webinar on commercial lending for credit union auditors at 1 p.m. Central Time (CT), April 19. See what the NCUA looks for in a commercial loan audit, learn how to develop an audit program focused on proper commercial loan underwriting and compliance... and more! Register today.

    Mark Your Calendar: Join Catalyst Corporate for its 2018 Annual Meeting at 10 a.m. CT on Tuesday, May 1. Review the corporate’s 2017 performance and hear plans for 2018. Elections will be held to fill expiring terms on Catalyst Corporate’s board of directors. Attend in-person or register for a live video stream.

    Upcoming Training and Education: CUBG’s Business Lending Bootcamp (Plano, TX, April 4-5), TranZact Basics for the User (April 11), 3 Investment Strategies to Boost your ROA (April 12 – CPE credit), Funds Transfer Services (April 18), CUBG’s Commercial Lending for Credit Union Auditors (April 19), Navigating ACH Resources – Part 1 (April 25 – AAP credit), Student Loan Program Overview (April 26) and Navigating ACH Resources – Part 2 (May 2 – AAP credit).



Catalyst Connect – March 27, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – March 20, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – March 13, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – March 6, 2018     
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    Ready. Set. REGISTER! Catalyst Corporate's Future Forums registration is open! This four-day conference, comprising two adjoining Forums, brings top thought leaders and industry experts together to discuss economic outlooks, balance sheet management tips and payments and technology trends. For more information and to register, visit Conferences under Learning Center.

    Same-Day ACH Insights: Implementation of the final phase of Same-Day ACH is just a couple of weeks away. How has the move to faster ACH payments affected the industry? Catalyst Corporate's VP, Correspondent Services shares early results and a few lessons learned along the way.

    SCAN Your Incoming Mail: Check your mailbox for Catalyst Corporate's first quarter 2018 SCAN publication. You won't want to miss the latest TranzCapture update, a comprehensive 2018 training schedule and more. SCAN is also available online.

    Upcoming Training and Education: TranZact for the Accounting Department (March 14), Cash Services (March 21), CUBG’s Commercial Real Estate Lending for Credit Unions (Portland, OR, March 28-29) and CUBG’s Business Lending Bootcamp (Plano, TX, April 4-5)



Catalyst Connect – February 27, 2018     
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    Hearts Off to our Members! Conversation hearts have disappeared from stores. Red roses are returning to a normal price. But the nearly 40 credit unions that drove member awareness and usage of mobile deposit services with Catalyst Corporate's fourth annual "Capture My Heart" campaign are still feeling the love!

    2017 Due Diligence Report: The 2017 Due Diligence Report is published annually to help Catalyst Corporate members monitor the company's safety and soundness, as well as its financial performance, regulatory compliance and investment activity. This issue contains a special report on upcoming changes to Regulation CC.

    Join Catalyst Corporate... for its 2018 Annual Meeting at 10 a.m. CT on Tuesday, May 1. Review the corporate’s 2017 performance and hear plans for 2018. Elections will be held to fill expiring terms on Catalyst Corporate’s board of directors. Attend in-person or register for a live video stream.

    All Things ACH: The latest issue of the ACH Advisor, a resource for ACH operational information, is available online. Learn more about ACH Phase 3 of Same-Day ACH, upcoming ACH training opportunities, Catalyst Corporate's ACH On-Line service and more.

    March Training and Education: TranZact for the Accounting Department (March 14), Cash Services (March 21) and CUBG’s Commercial Real Estate Lending for Credit Unions (Portland, OR, March 28-29).



Catalyst Connect – February 20, 2018     
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    How does ISI Benefit Y-O-U? Did you know your credit union is an indirect owner of a securities broker/dealer? As a member-owner of Catalyst Corporate, your credit union has indirect ownership of CU Investment Solutions, LLC, a CUSO partially owned by Catalyst Corporate. One Senior Investment Officer explains how your credit union benefits when it chooses to use ISI.

    The Suite Life: Are you “in the know” when it comes to the economy? Subscribe to Catalyst Strategic Solutions’ Economic Suite, which includes periodic economic commentaries, reports, webinars and videos tailored to credit union needs and interests.

    Same-Day ACH Phase 3: Phase 3 of Same-Day ACH takes effect March 16, 2018. This final phase of Same-Day ACH requires posting of all Same-Day debits and credits by 5 p.m. RDFI local time. Email ach@catalystcorp.org or visit Catalyst Corporate’s ACH Central for more information.

    Training and Education Opportunities: ACH Origination with Catalyst Corporate (Feb. 21) and TranZact for the Accounting Department (March 14) and Cash Services (March 21).



Catalyst Connect – February 13, 2018     
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    A Tale of Two Corporates’ Collaboration: How do you sustain vendor support for a mature service that remains critical to credit union business operations? This was the dilemma Catalyst Corporate faced with its remote deposit services (RDS). Ultimately, it was also the impetus for establishing a CUSO – TranzCapture, LLC – to support credit unions’ continued need for deposit processing.

    On the Go: It's no secret – 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 VP of Sales explains how a full digital mobile banking platform is able to meet members where they are most – on their mobile devices.

    President’s Day: Catalyst Corporate will close Monday, February 19, to observe the holiday. Normal business hours will resume on Tuesday. See Catalyst Corporate’s holiday schedule.

    Upcoming Training Opportunities: Navigating the Catalyst Corporate Website (Feb. 14), ACH Origination with Catalyst Corporate (Feb. 21) and TranZact for the Accounting Department (March 14).



Catalyst Connect – February 6, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – January 30, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – January 23, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – January 16, 2018     
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    New Year's Resolutions: As we start tackling our to-do lists for 2018, one remnant of the holiday season remains: New Year resolutions. Catalyst Corporate President and CEO Kathy Garner shares a few of the company’s resolutions, which all aim to help your credit union fulfill its goals!

    A Picture-Perfect Way to Pay Bills: Much of the technology that debuted this holiday season incorporates new and innovative features. However, you don’t need the latest and greatest mobile device to access one of the most beneficial financial features. With Catalyst Corporate's PicturePay, credit union members ;can pay a bill by snapping a picture of it with their smartphone or tablet.

    Questions about Loan Participations? Loan participations present a strong value and can boost and diversify a credit union’s portfolio. This 20-minute video from Catalyst Corporate explores the value of loan participations, policy requirements and how the due diligence process is designed to assist credit unions interested in loan participations.

    Educational Opportunities: Insights & Outlooks (on-demand video of 2018 forecast), ACH Receipt & Returns (Jan. 24), CUBG Commercial & Industrial Lending for Credit Unions (Plano, TX, Feb. 7-8), TranZact Administration – Overview (Feb. 7) and Top 5 Credit Union Investment Sectors for 2018 (Feb. 8).



Catalyst Connect – January 9, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – January 2, 2018     
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    Positively Positive in 2018? The United States' 2017 economic performance was generally positive. Will that trend continue in 2018? Catalyst Corporate advisory and ALM experts recorded Insights & Outlooks to help credit unions decipher the implications of the Fed’s recent rate hike and explore various economic factors that may impact credit unions in the new year.

    New Year. New ACH Resources: Need a return reason code quickly? Looking for an important chart? Want a simple laymen's guide to the ACH process and rules? Check out Catalyst Corporate's new easy-to-use tools to simplify everyday ACH operational tasks. Find links for these tools under the "handouts" tab on ACH Central.

    Evaluating the Economy: Economic reports and indicators provide measurements for evaluating the health of the economy, the latest business cycles and consumer behavior. Visit Insights from Catalyst to see the variety of ways Catalyst Corporate's team of experts examined the economy last year.

    January Training Opportunities: Insights & Outlooks (on-demand), TranZact Basic for the User (Jan. 10) and ACH Receipt & Returns (Jan. 24).



Catalyst Connect – December 26, 2017     
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    2018 Training Schedule: As 2017 draws to a close, Catalyst Corporate is releasing its preliminary 2018 training calendar. In 2018, Catalyst Corporate will conduct 25 training webinars. Check out the full schedule on the corporate website.

    Security Update Reminder: Catalyst Corporate is committed to protecting member data and ensuring the safety of its communications network. As of February 1, 2018, Catalyst Corporate will discontinue support for older Transport Layer Security, (TLS) software versions – TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1. This action supports enhanced security and prevention of potential vulnerabilities.

    Capture My Heart: With February just a heartbeat away, consider participating in Catalyst Corporate's Capture My Heart campaign. This initiative encourages members to draw a heart on checks deposited via Mobile Capture February 7-14, and participants are automatically entered into a drawing to win prizes.

    Happy New Year: Catalyst Corporate will close Monday, January 1, to observe New Year's Day. Normal business hours will resume on Tuesday. See Catalyst Corporate's holiday schedule.

    January Training and Education: Insights & Outlooks (on demand), TranZact Basic for the User (Jan. 10) and ACH Receipt & Returns (Jan. 24).



Catalyst Connect – December 19, 2017     
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    A Record Year for Training: In 2017, nearly 4,000 individuals took part in one or more of Catalyst Corporate’s training sessions, marking the highest number of training sessions and attendees in five years. Check out Catalyst Corporate's continued dedication to year-round training and education.

    No. 1 Priority is Member Service: From ACH to adjustments, remote deposit services to research, Catalyst Corporate Member Services representatives find answers to your questions. This department aims to simplify the lives of all members, says Catalyst Corporate Manager of Member Services.

    Insights & Outlooks: Insights & Outlooks, a "fireside chat" on the economy with Catalyst Strategic Solutions advisory and ALM experts, will be available on the corporate website tomorrow, December 20. Topics include implications of last week's FOMC meeting and national and global economic factors that may impact credit unions.

    Season's Greetings from Our Credit Union to Yours: Catalyst Corporate will close Monday, December 25, to observe Christmas Day. Normal business hours will resume on Tuesday. See Catalyst Corporate’s holiday schedule.



Catalyst Connect – December 12, 2017     
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    Capture Members' Hearts! February is right around the corner. Credit unions that offer Catalyst Corporate’s Mobile Capture service can plan now to boost member awareness and usage by participating in the annual “Capture My Heart” campaign, which will run February 7-14.

    ACH Advisor is Available: The latest issue of the ACH Advisor, a resource for ACH operational information, is available online. Learn more about Fed Settlements, check out Catalyst Corporate's exclusive new ACH tools and see what NACHA rules require for processing over the holidays.

    Contingency Communications Reminder: Catalyst Corporate will conduct a Contingency Communications exercise tomorrow, December 13, at 10 a.m Central Time.

    December Training: CECL Webinar Series (Dec. 13) and Insights & Outlooks 2018 (Dec. 20).



Catalyst Connect – December 5, 2017     
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    Learn from Past, Prepare for Future: Many credit unions have wrapped up strategic planning and are looking forward to a little down time before the hustle and bustle of the New Year. One Catalyst Corporate analyst explains why it’s also a good time to reflect on a few items that may be overlooked when planning for the future.

    Mark Your Calendars… for Catalyst Corporate’s annual Economic Forum! Scheduled for Oct. 1-4, 2018, the expanded format will include a line-up of economists, a deep dive into payments and technology and a new location – the Omni Frisco Hotel in Texas.

    Contingency Reminder: Catalyst Corporate will conduct a Contingency Communication exercise on Wednesday, December 13, at 10 a.m Central Time.

    December Opportunities: Regulation CC Changes (Dec. 6), CECL Webinar Series (Dec. 7 and Dec. 13) and Insights & Outlooks 2018 (Dec. 20).



Catalyst Connect – November 28, 2017     
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    Stress Testing for Effective Risk Management: With the holiday season in full force, stress may stem from meals, gift giving and travel. But for credit unions, a stressed balance sheet may occur if risk isn’t managed effectively. Hear Aaron Martini, Manager of ALM Client Services at Catalyst Strategic Solutions, discuss the value of rigorous ALM stress testing to manage risk.

    Holiday Deadline Approaching: It's time to order holiday new currency. The second (and final) ordering period for most vendors begins in early December. For more information, visit "Related Documents" in the Coin & Currency section of TranZact.

    Have You Registered? Catalyst Corporate is teaming up with Crowe Horwath LLP, a public accounting, consulting and technology firm, to present a series of three complimentary CECL webinars beginning tomorrow. This series aims to help credit unions prepare for the new Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) standard.

    End-of-the-Year Opportunities: CECL Webinar Series (Nov. 29, Dec. 7 and Dec. 13), Regulation CC Changes (Dec. 6), CUBG’s Business Lending Bootcamp (Portland, OR, Dec. 5-6) and Insights & Outlooks 2018 (Dec. 20).



Catalyst Connect – November 21, 2017     
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    CECL Webinar Series: Is your credit union ready for the new Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) standard? Catalyst Corporate is teaming up with Crowe Horwath LLP, a public accounting, consulting and technology firm, to present a series of three complimentary CECL webinars to help credit unions prepare.

    How Can We Serve You? Find out more about our services for member credit unions in the fourth quarter 2017 SCAN publication, arriving in your mailbox this week. It's also available online.

    Insights & Outlooks 2018: Insights & Outlooks is a "fireside chat" on the economy with Catalyst Corporate advisory, ALM and brokerage experts. A video recording will be available on Dec. 20, 2017, and cover the December FOMC meeting and examine national and global economic factors with the potential to impact credit unions.

    Happy Thanksgiving! Catalyst Corporate will close Thursday, November 23, to observe Thanksgiving. Normal business hours will resume on Friday. See Catalyst Corporate’s holiday schedule.

    End-of-the-Year Training and Education: CECL Webinar Series (Nov. 29, Dec. 7 and Dec. 13), Regulation CC Changes (Dec. 6), CUBG’s Business Lending Bootcamp (Portland, OR, Dec. 5-6) and Insights & Outlooks 2018 (Dec. 20).



Catalyst Connect – November 14, 2017     
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Catalyst Connect – November 7, 2017     
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    Analyzing the Yield Curve: On October 27, the 10-year Treasury closed the week at 2.38 percent, and the 2-year Treasury closed at 1.60 percent. That's a difference of 0.78 percent. As the spread between yields on the 2-year and the 10-year U.S. Treasury notes continues to narrow, one Catalyst Corporate Senior Investment Officer explains what this means for credit unions.

    TranzCapture Enhancements Today: Catalyst Corporate will introduce several new features to the TranzCapture remote deposit services platform today. Please watch your email for important details!

    Security Update Reminder: Catalyst Corporate is committed to protecting member data and ensuring the safety of its communications network. As of February 1, 2018, Catalyst Corporate will discontinue support for older Transport Layer Security (TLS) software versions – TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1. This action supports enhanced security and prevention of potential vulnerabilities.

    Election Day: Tuesday, November 7 is Election Day in the U.S., and Texas voters will see two credit union-centric ballot measures. Proposition 2 is the first general update to the home equity lending law in 20 years, and Proposition 7 addresses prize-linked accounts at financial institutions.

    Upcoming Training Opportunities: Funds Transfer Services (Nov. 8), Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (Nov. 15), Regulation CC Changes (Dec. 6) and CUBG’s Business Lending Bootcamp (Portland, OR, Dec. 5-6).



Catalyst Connect – October 31, 2017     
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    Alleviating Liquidity Stress: A notable trend in the credit union world is the rise – and success – of loan participation programs. At the recent Economic Forum, Catalyst Corporate's VP, Member Credit discussed how loan participation programs may help credit unions as the lending landscape continues to change.

    Harnessing the Power of Deposits: An entire generation only knows extremely low interest rates on loans and near-zero deposit dividend rates. See why Catalyst Strategic Solutions' Manager of ALM Client Services thinks this poses a unique challenge for credit unions, and how to safeguard credit unions from potential funding shortfalls.

    One-Stop Shop for ACH: The latest issue of the ACH Advisor, a resource for ACH operational information, is available online. Learn more about dishonored, corrected and contested returns and what NACHA rules require for processing over the holidays.

    November Training and Education: Funds Transfer Services (Nov. 8) and Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (Nov. 15).



Catalyst Connect – October 24, 2017     
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    Risk Management Culture: Risk management is paramount in the financial system, and it’s part of everyone’s job at a credit union, said Catalyst Strategic Solutions’ vice president of investment sales at Catalyst Corporate's Economic Forum earlier this month. Read more insights from his presentation, Developing a Risk Management Culture.”

    Early Warning Q&A: There’s an easy way to reduce theft and protect members from fraudulent checking activity – Early Warning™ Deposit Chek® real-time deposit fraud protection – available for branch, teller, business, mobile, ATM and ITM capture. Got questions? Catalyst Corporate has answers!

    Photo Gallery: Want to see photos from Catalyst Corporate's 40th annual Economic Forum? Visit facebook.com/CatalystCorpFCU and check out the Forum photo album. Be sure to tag yourself and your peers!

    Upcoming Training and Education: ACH Rules - Audit Requirements (Oct. 25), Funds Transfer Service (Nov. 8) and Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (Nov. 15).


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


SCAN Archives


SCAN Second Quarter 2018
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SCAN First Quarter 2018
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SCAN Fourth Quarter 2017
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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 – July 13, 2018
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Up, Up, Up She Goes – Both the wholesale and consumer price indices are moving in the direction the Federal Reserve has been counting on. While the monthly measures were on par or just below the prior month’s readings, the June year-over-year levels were the highest in over six years. PPI...


Behind the Numbers – July 6, 2018
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Goldilocks is in the House Again – June’s job report is being described as “just so-so” and “steady as she goes.” Job additions were better than expected (up 213,000), wage gain was not so great (0.2 percent for the month, 2.7 percent year-over-year), and the unemployment rate was good and bad (4.0 percent)...


Behind the Numbers – June 29, 2018
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Housing Built with Grain of Salt – This week's reports on the housing market should, once again, be taken with a grain of salt. New home sales rose 6.7 percent in May, to the highest level in six months. Sounds like a booming housing market, especially after last week’s report of a five percent jump in housing...


Behind the Numbers – June 22, 2018
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A Run on Worry Beads – Most of the week was spent worrying about what-ifs: what if a trade war erupts, what if China plays hard ball, what if General Electric is removed from the Dow? Granted, the last issue wasn't really a major what-if, but more of an "it finally happened" action. After 110 years,...


Behind the Numbers – June 15, 2018
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Half My Kingdom for a Glass of Water – Will water become the next great commodity embraced by capitalism, like gold? You may be thinking, "How can that be? It comes down free in buckets, usually when I am planning something outdoors. Seventy percent of the earth is covered in water. You must be crazy." Possibly,...


Behind the Numbers – June 8, 2018
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Job Openings Set Records – The Labor Department's Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report for April marked a couple of milestones. While the report showed a record 6.7 million unfilled jobs in April, revisions to March's report showed that, for the first time since tracking began in 2000, the...


Behind the Numbers – June 1, 2018
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Job Gains Across the Board – The U.S. added 223,000 jobs in May, about 30,000 more than expected. Aside from an outlying report in February, May was the first time since November that more than 200,000 jobs were added. Even better, the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, the lowest rate since...


Behind the Numbers – May 18, 2018
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The Week the Markets Woke Up – The bond market woke up with a vengeance this week to everything that has been talked about for months – trade tariffs, geopolitical issues, and the fate of higher interest rates. After struggling for weeks to stay over three percent, the 10-year Treasury note surged...


Behind the Numbers – May 11, 2018
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Inflation...Where Did it Go? – Inflation fear is off the table, at least for this week. Both wholesale and consumer prices rose less than expected in April. In both cases, specific products had significant declines that brought the indices lower. For instance, wholesale food prices declined the most since 2016. On...


Behind the Numbers – May 4, 2018
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The Numbers Say it All...Almost – The U.S. added 164,000 jobs in April, the March total was revised higher by 33,000 and the unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent – the lowest rate since 2000. By those measures, the labor market is humming along quite nicely. The one weak data point in the Labor...


Behind the Numbers – April 27, 2018
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The Times They Are A-Changin' – What would Henry Ford think? This past week, Ford, the venerable 115-year-old auto manufacturer that revolutionized manufacturing, wages, production management and, arguably, America, announced that it will, for the most part, abandon the manufacturing of sedans! The maker of such cars as the iconic Thunderbird and the ageless Mustang will limit sedans to approximately 10 percent of its vehicle line...


Behind the Numbers – April 20, 2018
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Cha-ching, the Consumer is Back – After a three-month hiatus, the consumer is back in action! Retail sales rose 0.6 percent in March, the first positive report since November. Eight of the 13 industries in the index were positive, with auto sales and personal care stores topping the list. Autos sales increased 2.0...


Behind the Numbers – April 13, 2018
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Inflation Higher, But Not Causing Stir – This week’s inflation reports showed a spike in price pressures from a year ago, but not enough to cause panic in the financial markets. The 2.4 percent year-over-year increase in the consumer price index was anticipated, as the impact of the cellphone contract pricing wars from...


Behind the Numbers – April 6, 2018
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Jobs - The Payoff is in the Detail – The job report for March may look disappointing at first, but once you dig deeper, the picture is solid. The U.S. added 103,000 jobs last month, the fewest in six months. But, February's already strong gain was increased higher by 13,000 to a startling 326,000 jobs. This...


Behind the Numbers – March 30, 2018
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Savings are Soaring...For Now – For the second month in a row, incomes outpaced spending. Personal incomes rose 0.4 percent, and spending increased 0.2 percent in February, a mirror image of activity in January. The wage component of income was up 0.5 percent, suggesting the gain in incomes could...


Behind the Numbers – March 23, 2018
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Powell to the Point – The FOMC voted to increase the fed funds rate by 25 basis points, bringing the new target range from 1.50 to 1.75 percent. The committee's outlook on the economy remains optimistic, despite some moderation in recent business and consumer spending. The...


Behind the Numbers – March 16, 2018
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Inflation Not a Threat Yet – The markets and investors have been over-worried and over-focused on rising inflation ever since the January job report was released in February. Initial reports of a 2.9 percent annual gain in wages created a wave of panic. Since then, several reports have been released...


Behind the Numbers – March 9, 2018
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Job Market Explodes – What a difference a month makes. The February report revealed the largest number of jobs added since June 2016, AND inflation fears were calmed. Employers added 313,000 jobs in February, with an additional 54,000 added in the two-month revisions. Substantial gains...


Behind the Numbers – March 2, 2018
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Powell, Tariffs and Stocks - OH MY! – What a week it was in the financial markets. Each day gave us another economic report to dissect and digest, all the while trying to figure out how far the stock market was going to rise and fall by the closing bell. Federal Reserve Chairman (yes, we are back to the full Chairman...


Behind the Numbers – February 16, 2018
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Should We Fear Inflation? – It was another wild week for the financial markets. Inflation was the fear factor that drove interest rates higher and created another tumultuous week in the stock market. The markets were bracing for two major inflation reports that would clue us in to how much consumer...


Behind the Numbers – February 9, 2018
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And Down We Went – Becoming Fed Chair is a tough job, especially when the stock market has its largest point drop in history on your first day at work. Jerome Powell was faced with this wake-up call on Monday, when the Dow fell almost 1,600 points during the day. Ironically, the plunge was...


Behind the Numbers – February 2, 2018
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Jobs Jump in January – Life is good, according to January's job report. Not only did U.S. companies add 200,000 jobs in January, but wages increased the most since 2009. Hourly earnings were up 2.9 percent from a year ago and up 0.3 percent for the month. Some of the wage gains can be...


Behind the Numbers – January 26, 2018
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Not Quite Three Percent, but Close – The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent during the fourth quarter of 2017. Consumer and business equipment spending were the largest drivers of activity. Personal consumption jumped 3.8 percent, the best pace in almost a year. Investment in equipment...


Behind the Numbers – January 19, 2018
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Housing Activity Poised to Improve – The NAHB housing market index fell to 72 in January after reaching an 18-year high in December. The index measures builders’ sentiment for the single family housing market. Builders remain optimistic about the economy but continue to battle rising costs for labor and materials...


Behind the Numbers – January 5, 2018
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Not Great, but Good Enough – The U.S. added 148,000 jobs in December. While below the estimate of 190,000 jobs, most economists agree it is a respectable level as we move closer to full employment. The total number of jobs added in 2017 was 2.06 million, the least amount since 2011. The unemployment...


Behind the Numbers – December 29, 2017
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2017 Done, 2018...Here We Come – It is time to bid farewell to 2017, a year that will be remembered as unstoppable optimism in the financial markets. The markets are ending the year on a high note, with both prices and yield. The three key U.S. stock indices are closing at or very near all-time highs, and...


Behind the Numbers – December 15, 2017
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1, 2, 3...DONE – The Fed finally did it – they kept their word. The FOMC voted 8-2 to raise the federal funds rate by 25 basis points for the third time this year. The new target range is 1.25 to 1.50 percent. The committee is optimistic the economy will continue to grow over the next couple of...


Behind the Numbers – December 8, 2017
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Jobs Increase, Wages Disappoint – It was another stellar month for job growth. The U.S. added 228,000 jobs in November, many more than estimated. Business services, manufacturing and construction were among the industries with the largest job gains. More full-time than part-time positions were placed,...


Behind the Numbers – December 1, 2017
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Best Growth Spurt in Three Years – The economy grew at 3.3 percent in the third quarter, an improvement from the original estimate of 3.0 percent. This is the fastest pace of quarterly growth in three years. The bulk of the increase came from the business sector. Business equipment spending increased 10.4 percent...


Behind the Numbers – November 17, 2017
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Enough to Make the Fed Move? – Inflation is showing signs of normalizing, as the aftermath effects of the hurricanes begin to subside. The core wholesale price index, PPI, increased 2.4 percent year-over-year in October, a gain of 0.2 percent from September. This is the largest 12-month gain in core...


Behind the Numbers – November 10, 2017
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Bits and Pieces – Very little market-moving economic data was released this week. Instead, the financial markets were driven by other issues – arrests in Saudi Arabia, Treasury auctions and progress (or lack thereof) on the tax reform program. By the end of the week, stocks plummeted as...


Behind the Numbers – November 3, 2017
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More of the Same, with a Twist – This week's scheduled FOMC meeting was basically a non-event as far as the financial markets were concerned. The target range for the federal funds rate was left unchanged at 1.00 to 1.25 percent. The committee gave a better grade on economic activity this time around...


Behind the Numbers – October 27, 2017
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The Economy is Humming Along – It has been two years since the U.S. economy had back-to-back quarters of three percent or more growth. Until now. The economy grew 3.0 percent during the third quarter, after expanding 3.1 percent in the second quarter. Analysts had been bracing for a slowdown...


Behind the Numbers – October 20, 2017
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Housing - A Tale of Two Cities – Activity in the housing market during September paints a good picture of the inconsistencies stemming from hurricane recovery efforts. Sales of existing homes rose 0.7 percent, the first increase in three months, as the housing market in Houston began to recover. Houston...

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