Iowa Story Archive

Why a Tiny Credit Union Sued Apple Over Unfair Tap-to-Pay Rule

Iowa-based Affinity Credit Union hopes other institutions will join it to create a class-action suit challenging Apple’s stranglehold on mobile wallet payments. The big tech company charges fees for credit and debit card transactions in its Apple Pay that Google Pay and Samsung Pay don’t.

Smaller banks and credit unions often feel exploited in the world of technology.

August, 2022 — Typically they feel like they are just an afterthought in the eyes of technology providers and have to just take what they are offered without any real say.

It’s a great source of frustration, says Jason Henrichs, CEO of Alloy Labs, which works with many of them. He tells the story of one community banker he knows who was meeting with someone from a major payments provider who felt the deal offered “amounted to a mob shakedown.”

That’s been characteristic of the attitude many smaller financial institutions have had towards permitting their payment cards to be loaded into Apple Pay. The tech giant charges the issuers a fee each time a transaction goes through their digital wallet, something that neither Google Pay nor Samsung Pay do.

Over 4,000 U.S. financial institutions allow their cards to be uploaded into the Apple Pay wallet, and many of them are smaller players. Such fragmentation among users is something Apple historically takes advantage of, according to Henrichs.

Yet many institutions have been holdouts, digging in their heels, resenting the unequal relationship. Payments expert Richard Crone of Crone Consulting has urged smaller players to get over that, and let their customers upload their cards, in order to obtain volume they’re missing. Apple Pay dominates the digital wallet sphere in the U.S. But many still resist.

The collective frustration over Apple’s fees came to a head in mid-July 2022 when Iowa-based Affinity Credit Union, with $137.4 million in assets, sued Apple, initiating a class-action claim that charged the big tech company with harming institutions, competitors and consumers with monopolistic practices.

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Ascentra Credit Union Foundation Contributes $50,000 Towards River Bend Food Bank Facility Expansion

May 2022 – In conjunction with Pay It Forward Day on April 28, 2022, the Ascentra Credit Union Foundation (ACUF), the philanthropic arm of Ascentra Credit Union has contributed $50,000 towards the expansion of the River Bend Food Bank’s facilities.

“Pay It Forward is a movement that has significant meaning to the members and staff of Ascentra Credit Union”, said Jennifer Naeve, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Ascentra Credit Union. “Not only is it a part of the credit union philosophy, but our past leaders who are so dear to us have left us with messages to “listen, care, do what’s right” and to “be the light,” and it is our responsibility as a part of the communities we serve to uphold a “pay it forward” mentality to make a difference.”

In 2021, food insecurity in the food bank’s 23-county, bi-state regions grew to more than 115,000 people, including more than 35,000 children. This means that 1 in 10 adults and 1 in 5 children are missing meals. The need for food has increased more than 50% during the pandemic, which is the largest increase in food insecurity since the 2008 recession. As a result, the River Bend Food Bank distributed nearly 22.5 million meals across their service area last year.
“Food insecurity is a serious need in our community,” said Linda Andry, President and CEO, Ascentra Credit Union. “We applaud the efforts that the team at River Bend Food Bank are making to meet the growing need of food insecure people in our communities and are proud to stand behind their mission to end hunger in eastern Iowa and western Illinois.”

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CO-OP Financial Services Celebrates 40th Anniversary with a Year of Product Roadmap Achievements on Behalf of Credit Unions

December 28, 2021 – CO-OP Financial Services celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2021 with numerous achievements that signal its continued leadership in building a modern financial services experience.

“CO-OP’s mission for the past 40 years has been to champion the growth of credit unions and their members’ financial well-being, and we are just getting started,” said Todd Clark, President/CEO of CO-OP. “In the past year we invested $50 million in our technology roadmap to ensure our clients remain competitive, strong and able to delight their members with leading-edge technology and services. Our financial strength, which has allowed us to transform into a true financial technology engine for the credit union industry, was bolstered by record-breaking payments transactions of more than 8 billion in 2021.”

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Alliant Credit Union Awards Five Scholarships to Local Students

August 16, 2021 – Alliant Credit Union has awarded five scholarships to the following credit union members enrolled in college for the Fall Semester of 2021.

  • Dubuque, IA – Evan Hingtgen; attending the University of Dubuque
  • Elgin, IA – Taylor Ellis; attending Hawkeye Community College
  • Watkins, IA – Grace Zaugg; attending Kirkwood Community College
  • Hazel Green, WI – Kendra Sirianni; attending Loras College
  • Lancaster, WI – Jaycie Crapp; attending the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse

Applicants were asked to complete a designated entry form and answer the following essay questions:

  1. How has the pandemic affected you?
  2. How do you feel the pandemic will affect your future?
  3. How do you think the pandemic has affected the way people think about their finances?

This year, Alliant Credit Union awarded five scholarships totaling $2,500.

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S&P Global Ranks Dupaco a Top-Performing US Credit Union

April 1, 2021 — DUBUQUE, Iowa— S&P Global Market Intelligence has ranked Dupaco Community Credit Union a top-performing credit union in the United States.

S&P Global Market Intelligence analyzed 1,727 credit unions and recognized 100 credit unions, including just four in Iowa. The credit unions performance was calculated based on five metrics:

  • Member growth;
  • Average loans, net of Paycheck Protection Program loans, per member;
  • Net worth as a percentage of total assets;
  • Delinquent loans as a percentage of total loans, net of PPP loans; and,
  • Return on average asset

“This recognition simply reaffirms our staff consistently delivers on the Dupaco brand promise to improve each member’s financial position and uplift the communities we serve,” said Dupaco President and CEO Joe Hearn. “When we do that, the financial numbers take care of themselves.”

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Bills force CUs to change names
June 13, 2018 — A recently enacted Iowa bill, H.B. 2502, has a provision that will force two of the state’s credit unions,  the University of Iowa Community Credit Union and University of Northern Iowa Credit Union, to change their names. The provision states that Iowa credit unions “shall not include the name of any public university located in the state in its name.”  The law goes into effect April 30, 2019.

Credit Union to Open Bluffs Branch
May 5, 2015 – Veridian Credit Union, headquartered in Waterloo, will open a branch office in Council Bluffs, a company official announced Monday.

Iowa’s Credit Unions Finish 2014 Strong
March 26, 2015 – Iowa’s credit unions saw lending growth in the double-digits in 2014, according to figures released by the Iowa Credit Union League.


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