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CU System briefs

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  • MADISON, Wis., and NEW YORK (1/10/13)--There's still time to sign up for the webinar Tuesday on "Combating Elder Financial Abuse," presented by the Credit Union National Association and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. The webinar begins at 2 p.m. ET and will address the fight to protect financially vulnerable seniors. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has collected data and information about the issue as one of its priorities for 2013. Use these links to register: for CUNA affiliated credit unions) and (for other organizations and individuals)  …
  • FORT WAYNE, Ind. (1/10/13)--Quick-thinking staff at Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Freedom Financial CU foiled an attempted robbery Wednesday morning by locking the vestibule doors to keep two men out of the credit union, said Fort Wayne police. The attempted robbery occurred at about 11 a.m. No one was hurt. One of the suspects allegedly carried a gun. The suspects fled on foot and got into a getaway card in a residential area (Indiana News Center Jan. 9) …
  • MADISON, Wis. (1/10/13)--Catherine Haberland has been named vice president of marketing and communications for World Council of Credit Unions. She will oversee WOCCU's strategic communications efforts for its organizational members and donor community. Haberland has led international and domestic projects for the U.S. government, state government and non-governmental organizations. She served on a senior management team with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions under former Gov. Jim Doyle and directed the department's policy and communications and liaising with the Wisconsin Credit Union League to develop regulatory policy. Before that Haberland served as regional team leader for the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of Transition Initiatives, where she initiated and supervised multi-million dollar projects in targeted transition relief to countries overcoming conflict …
  • CORNING, N.Y. (1/10/13)--Corning (N.Y.) FCU has purchased a former branch of Tower Bank on Norland Avenue in Chambersburg, N.Y., for $850,000 (publicopiniononline.com Jan. 9). The building will become a full-service branch for the $963 million asset credit union. The credit union said it plans to close its Wayne Avenue branch when the Norland Avenue branch opens. Tower Bank built the branch in 2010 but closed in last year when it merged with Susquehanna Bank. Corning acquired its current Chambersburg branch when it merged with American Community FCU last year. Corning serves more than 84,000 members …
  • CHERRY HILL, N.J. (1/10/13)--Martin Banecker will retire Tuesday as president/CEO of Cherry Hill, N.J.-based Campbell Employees FCU after 30 years' service. David Ardire, vice president of finance, will assume the CEO role then, according to the New Jersey Credit Union League (The Daily Exchange Jan. 9). Banecker has served with the $166 million asset credit union since November 1982, when he became assistant general manager of the then-$18 million asset credit union. Prior to joining Campbell Employees FCU, he was a National Credit Union Administration examiner for eight years in the Philly/South Jersey region. Ardire began his career with the credit union in 1979 as an accountant/systems manager. He left and served with Campbell Soup Co. and Piramal Glass--USA before returning to the credit union in 2011 as vice president.  He was active as a volunteer with the credit union for 25 years …

Motley Fool column: CUs are 'good news for tough times'

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/10/13)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is prominently featured in a positive article about credit unions' growth in Wednesday's The Motley Fool. The conclusion the article makes:  Credit unions are "good news for tough times."

CUNA,  in the article entitled "Americans Keep Fleeing Banks, Flock to Credit Unions Instead," noted that credit union membership hit a record high in 2011 and again in 2012.

The article also featured third quarter 2012 statistics from SNL Financial about credit unions gaining ground against the competition in credit card loans. Credit unions' credit card loans to consumers topped $38 billion, a nearly $2 billion or 5% increase over third quarter 2011. The same loans at commercial banks totaled $669 billion--down $2 billion for the same period.

The Motley Fool attributed the surge in the interest in credit unions to "highly publicized efforts by commercial banks to load up their customers with new fees," banks' role in the 2008 financial crisis, and banks' fight to preserve high rates, fees and other policies.

Credit unions are "doing a lot of things right," the Fool said. It told how credit unions' not-for-profit model helps consumers by keeping costs honest. Credit unions lack any incentive to raise costs, it said.

"None of this is good news for investors in banking stocks," said the Fool. "But for consumers, fed up with the high cost of traditional "banking"? It's good news for tough times."

Use the link to read the full article.

Doh! ID thief ships loot to victims' home

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (1/10/13)--An identity thief who made $5,000 in charges within an hour on an Anchorage, Alaska, couple's credit union debit card may be kicking himself. The thief bought the loot but forgot to change the shipping address. The loot went to the victims' home.

Chris and Susie Linford, members of  Anchorage-based Credit Union 1, told the Anchorage Daily News  (Jan. 6) that the credit union called in December and told them someone had stolen their debit card number and was making authorized charges.

The credit union immediately blocked the card, issued a new account number and refunded their  money. The Linfords filed a police report, assuming the thief was enjoying the ill-gotten bounty.

But in mid-December packages began to arrive--sometimes two a day--with goods they hadn't ordered.  The thief may have not changed the card's shipping address when ordering the goods online, so the packages were delivered to their billing address, the Linfords said.  They don't believe the thief intended to intercept the packages from their porch--orders were from phone numbers and internet provider addresses as far away as Kansas and Illinois.

Pat Berry, Credit Union 1 vice president and chief audit executive, told the Daily News that it is uncommon to have stolen merchandise arrive at a victim's home. The thief likely did not use a cloned card but instead used an account number likely gained hacking into a card payments system or retailer. Police said the thief sounds like an amateur.

The story, picked up nationally by AOL's The Daily Finance and Huffington Post, provided favorable press for the credit union.

The Daily Finance (Jan. 9) said the Linfords should be grateful the Credit Union 1 "was so good about spotting the fraud and getting them their money back." Federal law limits cardholders' liability for card theft to $50 but cardholders can be liable for up to $500 for fraudulent purchases. "Credit Union 1 evidently has a zero liability policy for debit card fraud and it sounds like the Linfords got their money back in their account in a timely manner," said the publication.

For the full articles, use the link.

Graham elected to CUNA Board seat

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MADISON,Wis. (1/10/13)--John Graham has been elected to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Board of Directors, representing District 2, Class A.

Graham is president of Kentucky Employees CU, Frankfort, Ky.  He ran in the only contested election for a CUNA board seat. The other candidate was Joe Thomas, president of Fairfax County FCU, Fairfax, Va.

Graham will begin his term at the adjournment of CUNA's 2013 Annual General Meeting on Feb. 25 in Washington, D.C.

CU marketers, flex those thumbs: Social media goes mobile

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NEW YORK (1/10/13)--Social media is going mobile, with marketers scrambling to catch up with consumers where they connect--on tablets and smartphones, says a new eMarketer report. Credit union marketers dabbling in either area need to flex their thumbs and employ an outreach strategy encompassing both.

"The key opportunity for marketers in the shift toward mobile is that mobile users not only log in more frequently, but they also spend more total time on social media sites," said the New York-based eMarketer (Jan. 9)  in its new report,"Social Media Marketing on Mobile Devices: Turning Challenges into Opportunities."

"As devices integrate social media more deeply, such as by making it easier to upload photos from a mobile phone to a social site, it reinforces the mobile-social virtuous circle, making it even stronger, "said the report.

Last March, 60% of U.S. smartphone users polled by Google visited mobile social networks daily, up from 54% in July 2011. In 2012, users accessed social media in various ways, with fewer using computers and more employing mobile phones and tablets:

  • Computer, 94%, down from 97% in 2011.
  • Mobile phone, 46% up from 37%;
  • Tablet, 16%, up from 3%.
  • Handheld music player, 7% in both years.
  • Game console, 4%, up from 3%;
  • E-readers, 3%, up from 2%.
  • Internet-enabled TV, 4%, up from 2%.
"The most engaged folks on social networks are people who are accessing via mobile," said Chia Chen, senior vice president and mobile practice lead at Digitas. "So the question is, how do we think about it from a mobile perspective in the beginning? How do we make the social experience for them mobile at the core?"

Emarketer's advice to marketers: think broadly and strategically.  Other recommendations critical to social marketing campaigns:

  • Understand the ways consumers use their devices, especially the differences between smartphones and tablets. Make marketing content accessible across all devices.
  • Overhaul the credit union's Facebook strategy. Focus less on promotions tied to the brand page and more on content delivered to the newsfeed. As Facebook's mobile usage rises dramatically, the newsfeed takes pride of place on smaller-screen devices.
  • Think opportunity as well as adaptation. Photo sharing is among the top activities for mobile social users. Lean toward imagery instead of text. Also, mobile offers the location component to marketers aiming to catch the attention of mobile users on the go.

'Legislature Today' radio show to feature CUAD every week

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BISMARCK, N.D. (1/10/13)--The Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD) will be a featured guest on the two-hour radio show "Legislature Today" each Tuesday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. CT during the current North Dakota legislative session. 

Credit Union Association of the Dakotas' (CUAD) advocacy team,  Robbie Thompson, left, president/CEO, and Jeff Olson, vice president of advocacy and awareness, were interviewed for an hour  during a live radio and Web broadcast of the "Legislature Today" Tuesday night. CUAD will be a featured guest on the radio show each Tuesday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. CT during the current North Dakota legislative session. (Photo provided by Credit Union Association of the Dakotas)
CUAD's advocacy team of Robbie Thompson, president/CEO, and Jeff Olson, vice president of advocacy and awareness, were interviewed for an hour Tuesday during a live radio and Web broadcast of the show.

"To be a part this first-ever live weekly multi-media program that features the state's executive and legislative leaders is the perfect vehicle for us to create more awareness of credit unions", Thompson said.

The new show is broadcast from historic Peacock Alley restaurant and bar in downtown Bismarck, N.D., a popular spot for state legislators. "Legislature Today" is scheduled to be broadcast Monday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. during the North Dakota legislative session. 

Tuesday's show was a great beginning, CUAD said.  Thompson and Olson discussed credit union structure, the three-tiered system, and the history of credit unions.

Stressing that credit unions are "not for profit, but for service," Thompson described the differences between credit unions and banks to the audience. 

Olson discussed the relationship between credit unions and the legislative and regulatory bodies. North Dakota credit unions have a very positive relationship with both branches, he said. 

CUAD is one of four broadcast partners for the show, launched by the Bakken Beacon, a new North Dakota media company. The show can be heard on KFYR 550 AM, Bismarck; 1100 AM Fargo "The Flag"; and KTGO 1090 AM, which covers northwestern North Dakota's oil country.  The radio program will also be broadcast live through Web streaming at http://am1100theflag.com/ and will be archived each week.

CUDL paper sets benchmarks for CUs' asset-disposition programs

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ONTARIO, Calif. (1/10/13)--Credit unions should benchmark the performance of their asset disposition programs against key metrics commonly used by top performing remarketing companies, according to a new white paper from CUDL.

The free white paper, "Effective Asset Disposition," offers insight to benchmarks and best practices based on strategies of national automotive wholesale remarketers.

Vehicle repossessions for U.S. credit unions reached $317 million in 2008, but have continued to improve past couple of years, the white paper said.  In the past year, credit unions reduced the volume of repossessed vehicles, with quantity declining by 16% to just under $145 million.

The credit union average value per repossessed vehicle was $10,161 at the end of the second quarter of 2012, said CUDL.  Nearly 75% of credit union repossessed vehicles are valued from $5,000 to $20,000. As a result, credit unions need to enact procedures that make disposition of these assets more efficient, timely and cost effective, according to the white paper.

"Top performing credit union management teams view efficient and effective asset disposition as an integral part of the lending cycle, in the same vein as managing credit risk, balancing loan portfolios, and implementing sound collection practices," the paper said. "Credit unions that manage the whole sale disposition may well mitigate risk by reducing loan losses, enhancing their ability to lend through improved cash flow from the sale of repossessed assets."

The white paper recommends that credit unions benchmark their program's against metrics used by top-performing remarketing companies nationally. The metrics include:

  • Days-to-sale, measuring the time elapsed between when a credit union asset is repossessed and when the credit union receives funds sale of the asset;
  • Retention rate at auction, the percentage of wholesale book value earned from the sale of the repossessed asset;
  • Fees credit unions pay to their auction provider and any third-party remarketers; and
  • The number of bidders the credit unions' providers are delivering.
The paper also recommends that auctions and third-party remarketers provide an online tool so remote buyers can compete with bidders attending sale-day auctions.

SECU assists 6,500 students with college applications

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RALEIGH, N.C. (1/10/13)--State Employees' CU (SECU) personnel provided assistance to 6,500 North Carolina high school seniors completing and submitting free online college applications during College Application Week (CAW) in November.

The event is one example of how credit unions can help communities in creative and useful ways and have an impact. 

About 160 credit union employees from 81 SECU branches volunteered this year to help the senior students at participating high schools statewide complete and submit more than 8,800 online applications to North Carolina colleges and universities. At the high schools where SECU personnel assisted, the number of students participating surpassed last year's efforts by close to 2,800 students.

CAW "is a great opportunity for SECU to join in providing support and encouragement to high school seniors focusing on their education," said Krista Loew, SECU vice president of individual retirement account services, who serves as the credit union's CAW coordinator. "Completing a college application can be intimidating--helping seniors work through the process is an enjoyable and rewarding experience for our employees. This year's event was very successful and we look forward to future CAW events."

The week-long event allowed the students to apply to at least one college or university online using CFNC.org. A primary focus was assisting first-generation students who may not otherwise apply to college. College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) and Carolinas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers sponsored the event.

SECU began assisting with CAW in 2009, piloting the program with volunteer staff from six credit union branches. The success of that pilot encouraged SECU personnel to offer assistance on a larger scale in subsequent years.

SECU also has been participating in Free Application for Federal Student Aid Day with CFNC and the North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Association each February since 2009, helping students and their families apply for state and federal financial aid for college.

Nutmeg State FCU broadens footprint at Wal-Mart

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ROCKY HILL, Conn. (1/10/13)--Nutmeg State FCU's presence in Connecticut continues to grow. The $352 million asset credit union announced the expansion of two new branches in Wal-Mart stores in the coming months, including the first Nutmeg location in Middlesex County.

Nutmeg State FCU is headquartered in Rocky Hill, Conn., with offices in Manchester, East Windsor, Hartford, Glastonbury, New Britain and Newington.

The expansion means a bigger footprint in Connecticut, said Nutmeg State FCU President/CEO, John Holt.  "This expansion allows us to serve even more members."

Both new branches will be located inside Wal-Mart stores in Cromwell and Bristol. Nutmeg State made Connecticut history in 2011 when it opened the state's first credit union branch inside a grocery store at its Newington Price Chopper location.

"By opening branches inside retail centers, we offer the ultimate convenience," said Holt. "We're committed to making banking as easy as possible for our members."

The addition of Bristol and Cromwell locations will bring Nutmeg's statewide presence to nine branches.

Nutmeg State also rolled out Connecticut's first mobile branch. The credit union employs the full-service branch on wheels daily, serving by making stops at workplaces and schools. Nutmeg's new mobile branch debuted Dec. 6 at Illing Middle School in Manchester, Conn. Besides community venues, the mobile branch will serve in disaster-relief situations. The vehicle is staffed with Nutmeg State FCU personnel (News Now Dec. 20).