MADISON, Wis. - Filene Research Institute's i3 incubator last week proposed a mortgage to help buy junior his first house with equity pledged by other relatives, plus a dedicated text message to help prevent member overdrafts, as part of eight new innovations for credit unions.

i3 said the "Working Together Mortgage" is aimed at helping a first-time home buyer obtain an 80/20 mortgage by utilizing the equity from a relative's home (most likely a parent) pledged as part of the down payment.

Meanwhile, "CoverMe" is described as a simple, actionable text message, which i3 said will notify a member that an item has been presented that will overdraw his or her account.

The credit union think tank also proposed: a "Retirement Positioning System" that helps consumers get ready for retirement; the "Student Loan With Benefits," which will support the student in finding employment and a career in his/her field of interest; and a "Smarter Gift Card," which encourages members to save instead of spend.


Other Innovations

The other i3 innovations are: "Pick A Dream," a goal-based saving and borrowing program; "CU Pocket Banker," whichis billed as "anytime, anywhere private banking for the masses, and "Flash Note," which it said will make mobile payments accessible to members and merchants.

The implications of these open-source ideas are "largely up to the credit union community," Filene said in its report, "Blueprints for Innovation." Filene added each concept may be scalable, malleable, or disposable, but further testing is needed.

Previous i3 innovations include Prize-Linked Savings to encourage savings; LIFT loans: a software program that allows the credit union to automatically lower interest rates annually for members who make payments on time; the 2 Grand Plan creating a $2,000 emergency savings fund; and "HomeTrak," which helps homeowners anticipate when big ticket items might need replacing.

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