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Leagues, CUs batten down hatches for NE blizzard

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MADISON, Wis. (1/27/15)--State league offices and credit unions in the Northeast prepared for Winter Storm Juno by closing offices and advising members to stay safe.
Forecasters expect blizzard conditions and more than 2 feet of snow in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island through Wednesday ( Jan. 26).
State officials put travel bans in place, closed schools and warned of widespread power outages. Anticipated high winds will cause coastal flooding as well.
The New Jersey Credit Union League office announced it will be closed today and will be monitoring credit union closures and other weather-related issues.
Many employees of the Maine Credit Union League and Synergent will be working remotely today because of the anticipated blizzard conditions. "We are confident that the safety of our employees will be best served as will our ability to continue to serve our credit unions during what is anticipated to be a dangerous winter storm in many parts of the state," the league noted in a memo to its member credit unions.
The Cooperative Credit Union Association also will operate in a business continuity mode today.
Credit unions again are turning to social media and using their websites for status updates. Merrimack Valley FCU, Lawrence, Mass., with $510 million in assets, will be closed today and expects a late opening of 10 a.m. (ET) Wednesday, according to its website.
Navigant CU, Smithfield, R.I., with $1.4 billion in assets, canceled its annual meeting, which had been scheduled for Monday night.
A winter weather checklist is available from Agility Recovery, a CUNA Strategic Services strategic alliance provider, as well as a downloadable emergency contact card. It also suggested residents charge all electronic devices in case power does go out.

Chicago Tribune column: CU membership worth the switch

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CHICAGO (1/27/15)--Gregory Karp, a Chicago Tribune financial columnist, recently offered simple tasks for consumers to make 2015 more prosperous. Among them: Join a credit union.
As cooperatives, credit unions are among the financial institutions that charge fewer fees and lower loan rates than the megabanks.
"It can be worth the short-term hassle of changing over your accounts," Karp wrote in the Chicago Tribune (Jan. 25).
Among the resources Karp offers readers to find a credit union that is right for them is
Karp also suggested setting up a separate credit union account "to squirrel away cash" in an emergency fund.

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Ill. reg. settlement returns $16M to CUs in fee credits

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (1/27/15)--For the fifth consecutive year, state-chartered credit unions in Illinois have received a credit in regulatory fees--the result of a settlement negotiated by the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) with the state of Illinois.
The latest aggregate credit of $962,384--79% of the total 2014 fourth-quarter regulatory fees--brings the cumulative sum to nearly $16 million.

"There aren't too many examples of an association actually being the cause of a return of money to its members," said league President/CEO Sean Hession. "The real victory is the nearly $16 million in credits that Illinois state-chartered credit unions have received in the aggregate as a result of the settlement reached with the state of Illinois. We will continue to have dialogue with the state about the utilization of the regulatory fees it collects to enhance the exam process."
Illinois state-chartered credit unions receive credit for the overpayment in regulatory fees made under then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich administration's fee escalation and transfer budgetary arrangement. 
Under that arrangement, regulatory fees paid by Illinois-chartered credit unions--as well as banks, savings banks, and savings and loan associations--were escalated far above the actual budgetary cost of operating their respective regulatory agencies. With accompanying amendments to the State Finance Act, surplus monies collected were then transferred to the General Revenue Fund and used for expenses other than supervision.
The regulatory fee credits continue because of legislation initiated by ICUL to implement the court-approved settlement of the regulatory fee case it filed against Blagojevich in 2004. The settlement was signed into law by then-Gov. Patrick Quinn effective April 6, 2009.
The 2009 legislation codified a rate reduction in regulatory fees on a going-forward basis and reduced the Credit Union Fund margin that triggers a credit back to Illinois state-chartered credit unions.

"The most recent credit shows the prosecution and favorable settlement of the regulatory fee case nearly six years ago remains advantageous for our credit unions today and is an excellent example of the value of league affiliation," said Stephen Olson, league executive vice president/general counsel.

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Times Square billboard thanks CUs for CMN Hospitals support

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WASHINGTON (1/27/15)--A big commitment deserves a big thank you, and that's why Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals will celebrate Credit Unions for Kids' support with a billboard in Times Square.
On Monday, CMN Hospitals started running an ad on the large digital billboard in Times Square, acknowledging the support of the credit union movement for its charity of choice.
Credit Unions for Kids (CU4Kids) is the third-largest corporate contributor to CMN Hospitals, topping $130 million in contributions from credit unions since 1996.
Last year, the one-day Shop for Miracles event--held on International Credit Union Day in October--netted more than $450,000 thanks to the widespread participation from credit unions nationwide.
Credit unions pledged 25 cents, or a different predetermined amount, to their local CMN Hospital for each transaction made by members with their credit union-issued debit or credit cards.
More than 100 credit unions from 33 states participated.
Click to view larger imageChildren's Miracle Network Hospitals will run a 29-by-56-foot ad in New York's Times Square acknowledging the support from Credit Unions for Kids and CO-OP Financial Services. It will be positioned across from the NASDAQ sign and run through February. (Credit Unions for Kids Photo)
The billboard, located at 1500 Broadway, also recognizes CO-OP Financial Services' contribution of $1 million per year to CMN Hospitals via matching funds for Credit Unions for Kids fundraisers. The 29-by-56-foot ad, which is located across from the NASDAQ sign, will run through February.
Shop for Miracles was only one of the many ways credit unions showed their commitment to CU4Kids. Many take part in Miracle Jeans Day or hold special events of their own.
Times Square is no stranger to the "people helping people" message though. For three months in 2013, the 42nd Street billboard shined with the message that credit unions are "a smarter choice" when the Credit Union National Association ran ads touting the credit union difference and directing people to visit (News Now April 16).

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America Saves seeks CUs for savings excellence designation

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WASHINGTON (1/27/15)--As part of next month's America Saves Week, an event in part coordinated by the Credit Union National Association, credit unions that go above and beyond in encouraging members to save money will be recognized specifically.

During America Saves Week, scheduled this year for Feb. 23-28, credit unions and other financial institutions will encourage members and customers to open or add wealth-building accounts; save automatically through direct deposit services; or pledge that they will save.

More than 1,000 financial institutions, a large portion of which were credit unions, have participated in America Saves Week in recent years.

But this year will mark the first time credit unions that perform exceptional work encouraging savings will be recognized for their work with a designation of excellence.

To qualify for the special designation, credit unions must sign up to participate in the savings week and apply between March 2 and April 1.

Then, a selection committee made up of credit union and America Saves leaders will meet in April to review all submissions and select the winners of the designation.

Criteria for consideration includes:
  • The number of members opening share (or other wealth-building) accounts, and the amount saved;
  • The number of members adding share (or other wealth-building) accounts, and the amount saved;
  • The number of members setting up automatic deposits to a savings or other wealth-building account; and
  • The types of promotions used by the credit union to raise awareness of the importance of savings, including account incentives, special interest rates, prizes and drawings, and various media advertisements.
Winners will be recognized at the America Saves National Savings Forum May 20 in Washington, D.C., and will be featured on the America Saves website.

Started in 2007, the week is coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council. Used as an opportunity to encourage healthy savings behavior, the week often reaches millions of consumers.

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Washington DFI adds 'S' to CAMEL rating

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (1/27/15)--The Washington Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) notified state-chartered credit unions that it has expanded its CAMEL ratings so its analysis will better reflect whether changes in interest rates will adversely affect a credit union's earnings and economic capital.
Going forward, the department will add "S" to the end of its CAMEL rating and will use a revised CAMELS rating--capital, asset quality, management, earnings, liquidity and sensitivity to market risk. This will allow a breakout of the component rating of "L" currently used to examine several factors within asset-liability management into two separate component ratings of "L" for liquidity and "S" for sensitivity to market risk (interest-rate risk).
"We will continue to use the same examination procedures for examining liquidity and interest-rate risks," the DFI said in announcing the change. "However, in adding the 'S' and using the CAMELS rating, we will provide better information to credit unions to clearly delineate our analysis between liquidity and interest-rate risks."
Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Division of Banks also announced the addition of the sensitivity component to its risk management examination system (News Now Jan. 2).

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CU System briefs (1/27/15)

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  • CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (1/27/15)--Fort Campbell FCU, Clarksville, Tenn., with $456 million in assets, donated $5,000 to Army Emergency Relief (AER) during a kick-off fundraiser for the organization Jan. 13 at the Fort Campbell Division Headquarters Atrium. AER, a nonprofit established to assist soldiers and their families who have fallen under sudden hard times, helps military members by providing them interest-free loans and grants. The current AER campaign will run through May 15, and AER hopes to raise $200,000 in unsolicited, voluntary contributions from Fort Campbell soldiers and community members ...
  • SHAKOPEE, Minn. (1/27/15)--Columbia Heights, Minn.-based Financial One CU has teamed up with the maker of outdoor shelters for hunters and ice anglers to provide financing for those looking to buy the company's two new products. The $69 million-asset credit union is offering long-term loans, flexible terms and other payment options for those in the market for Custom Cottage Inc.'s new fish house/deer blind or its scout house/spear house ...
  • LIVONIA, Mich. (1/27/15)--Members of Founders Community FCU, Middleville, Mich., with $6.8 million in assets, have voted to merge with Community West CU, Kentwood, Mich., with $129 million in assets (Monitor Jan. 26). Founders Community board members finalized the merger vote in December, and the credit union's leaders expect the merger to be fully complete by Feb. 2. "This partnership will capitalize on the strengths of each financial institution," said Jon Looman, president/CEO, Community West. "It will also provide enhanced products and services to the membership base at Founders Community FCU." Founders was founded in 1955 and serves the Barry County townships of Thornapple, Yankees Springs, Rutland and Irving ...
  • STEVENS POINT, Wis. (1/27/15)--Delores "Dee" Dorothy Whitman, a longtime credit union staffer from Stevens Point, Wis., died Jan. 24. She was 76. Whitman worked as president/CEO of Consolidated CU, Stevens Point, Wis., with $5 million assets, and as vice president of Central Wisconsin CU, Plover, Wis., with $32 million for 45 years (Stevens Point Journal Jan. 26). Upon retirement, Whitman continued to serve as a board member for Central Wisconsin CU ...

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News Now LiveWire
Record # of applicants for Crash the GAC means every state & D.C. will B represented by young #CU professional at #CUNAGAC #crashthegac15
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.@WOCCU and @CUNA are co-hosting 2015 America’s CU Conference July 12-15 in Denver. Registration is open here:
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.@TheNCUA posted resources 2 help consumers protect themselves,take action if they believe they were ID theft victims:
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