ST. LOUIS (10/31/08)--Several firefighter credit unions nationwide formed a coalition at a summit in Coconut Grove, Fla., Oct. 15-18, to bring innovation and a shared vision. More than 180 firefighter credit union officials, spouses, guests and vendors participated in the seventh annual conference for credit unions serving the firefighter community. The Coalition of Firefighter Credit Unions (CFCU), founded Oct. 16, comprises representatives from 26 of the nation’s 105 identified firefighter credit unions primarily representing firefighters. Grant Sheehan, CEO, Miami Firefighters FCU, was named chairman of the coalition. CFCU seeks to leverage collective resources to further the growth, development and interests of firefighter credit unions nationwide. It will:
* Represent firefighter credit unions to external audiences including regulatory agencies, legislative bodies, trade associations and other publics; * Provide educational and informational exchange opportunities; and * Promote firefighter credit unions’ safety, soundness and financial strength.
Also at the meeting:
* Rodney Hood, vice chairman of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), provided an overview of activities of NCUA. He expressed his concern for the survival of small credit unions and the challenges facing them. During a question and answer period he discussed NCUA examinations, the economy, corporate credit unions, legislation, regulations and more. * Economist Jim Hagerbaumer discussed the state of the economy. * Richard Wagner, a senior director with the Municipal CU in New York City, shared some of the challenges his credit union faced during the 9/11 disaster. The credit union’s headquarters was across from Ground Zero. * Fifteen million dollars was looted from the credit union in New York City by its own members--including city employees, health care professionals and education workers -- when a computer failure caused by the collapse of the World Trade Center allowed unlimited access to money in ATMs. * The credit union lost 129 firefighter members on Sept. 11, 2001.