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CU System briefs (01/25/2012)

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  • WASHINGTON (1/26/12)--Paul Hazen, who recently stepped down as president/CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), has been named executive director of the U.S.  Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC), effective Feb. 1. Hazen has more than 30 years' experience in international and domestic cooperative development. OCDC champions, advocates and promotes effective international cooperative development. NCBA is the oldest national cooperative organization in the U.S. Under Hazen's leadership, its international cooperative development portfolio grew from $8 million annually to over $30 million. In 2001,  Hazen was named CEO Communicator of the Year by the Cooperative Communicators Association. He has served as board member of the Consumer Federation of American, member and chair of OCDC board; board member of the International Cooperative Alliance; and chairman of the United Nations International Year of the Cooperative steering committee. With projects in over 70 counties, OCDC members implement the largest portfolio of cooperative development programs in the world. Its members are: ACDI/VOCA, CHF International, Cooperative Resources International, Communications Cooperative International, HealthPartners, Land O'Lakes International Development, NCBA, NRECA and the World Council of Credit Unions …
  • ARVADA, Colo. (1/26/12)--For the seventh consecutive year, Partner Colorado CU (PCCU) has ranked in Denver's top 10 "Best Places to Work" in the medium-sized company category by the Denver Business Journal. The credit union placed sixth in the category and was recognized for its commitment to employee satisfaction. It is the "staff's team effort that makes PCCU a great place to work, " PCCU CEO Sundie Seefried said, adding, "We take pride in putting our members first, and everything we do grows out of that philosophy." The survey conducted by Quantum Workplace, measured 40 attributes that drive engagement. It broke down questions into 10 categories: team effectiveness, retention risk, alignment with goals, trust with co-workers, individual contribution, manager effectiveness, trust in senior leaders, feeling valued, work engagement and people practices. "During the past seven years, we've seen a steady improvement at PCCU in both employee and member satisfaction," Seefried said. "We've reduced employee attrition and increased member service scores. The real reward is what our employees give back to the credit union and our members."  …

January big month for dividends

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MADISON, Wis. (1/26/12)--As the first month of the new year, January is a prime time for credit unions to announce distribution of dividends to members.

Dividends or cash rebates are given to members as a thank you for their support over the year, say many of the credit unions who have announced dividends, which often are based on a percentage of deposits a member has with the credit union. Credit unions provide these dividends in addition to offering members better rates as an added benefit for their member-owners. News Now reported earlier dividends last month and earlier this month as well.

Here are some of the more recent payouts by credit unions:

  • The $3.2 billion asset Ent FCU in Colorado Springs, Colo., returned $10 million to its members through a one-time Special Member Dividend. Based on their use of credit union products and services in 2011, members will be rewarded with dividends ranging from $25 to $1,000.
  • ACIPCO FCU in Birmingham, Ala., paid its members a rebate for the 19th consecutive year. In 2011, the $133 million asset credit union collectively paid $1.4 million to more than 7,400 members.
  • MECU of Baltimore paid its members an extraordinary dividend of a combined $1 million on Dec. 31. The $1.12 billion asset credit union also paid a $1.1 million loan interest rebate in November and more than $2 million in cash bonuses in June.  MECU paid its members more than $4 million in cash bonuses during 2011.
  • Omni Community CU in Battle Creek, Mich. paid its fourth annual Cashback Rebate to members Jan. 13. The $264 million asset credit union returned nearly $1 million to its membership--its biggest CashBack Rebate ever (Michigan Monitor Jan. 23).
  • Sierra Central CU, a $598 million asset credit union in Yuba City, Calif., announced Jan. 1 it had paid a total of $1 million into dividends into members' accounts at year-end.
  • Two Maine credit unions--Otis FCU in Jay, and Acadia FCU in Fort Kent, collectively provided members nearly $650,000 in bonus share dividends and loan interest rebates, said the Maine Credit Union League (Weekly Update Jan. 20).
  • DATCU in Denton, Texas, paid a 2011 bonus dividend of $363,940 on Jan. 1 to its members--the $556 million asset credit union's third consecutive annual bonus.
  • Pelican State CU, a $185 million asset credit union based in Baton Rouge, La.,  announced  Jan. 17 that its board approved payment of $172,000 in bonus dividends to its membership. The payout is through a Special Member Dividend--a distribution of excess earnings based on the amount of interest members earned on deposits and paid on loans.
  • Dannemora FCU in Plattsburgh, N.Y., paid its members a bonus dividend of $226,000 for 2011--the19th consecutive year the $106.3 million asset credit union has paid its membership a bonus.

Bill to increase CUs communitycharity support passes Wis. Senate

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MADISON, Wis. (1/26/12)--The Wisconsin Senate--in a unanimous vote--passed a bill that will allow credit unions to increase their levels of support for charitable and community organizations.

Senate Bill 356 and its companion bill, Assembly Bill 468, both garnered strong bipartisan support and are co-sponsored by 33 lawmakers, said the Wisconsin Credit Union League.

More than 200 credit union activists were visiting lawmakers at the State Capitol as the vote occurred. They were there to seek support for the legislation and share their 2011 REAL Solutions Scorecard, which details their stories of community service, said the league.

"Wisconsin's member-owned financial institutions are vested in and committed to making significant contributions to the communities they serve," said league President/CEO Brett Thompson. "Increasing the amount they can give to charitable and community causes will ensure they can continue to do so long into the future.

Authors of the bill are State Sen. Glen Grothman (R-20) and State Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-14). They and state senators who voted in support of the measure "helped pave the way for the adoption of a policy that will allow credit unions to continue to be highly active in their communities in a thoughtful and measured way--at no cost to taxpayers," he added.

WOCCU accepting WYCUP scholarship nominations

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MADISON, Wis. (1/26/12)--The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) is accepting nominations for the 2012 WOCCU Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) scholarship program. The deadline for nominations is June 1. Scholarships will be presented at the World Credit Union Conference in Gdańsk, Poland, in July.

World Council of Credit Unions Chair Manuel Rabines, Peru (far left); and Director and Awards Committee Chair Ron Hance, U.S. (far right); presented the 2011 WYCUP scholarships in Glasgow, Scotland, to recipients (second from left) Edel McKenna, Ireland; Michelle Coehlo, Australia; Marcy Lovberg, Canada; Tracia Pounder, Barbados; and Yola Charles, Trinidad & Tobago. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
The WYCUP program seeks individuals who have already made significant contributions to the development of their own credit unions or regional or national credit union systems and have demonstrated the potential to employ their talents at the international level. WOCCU encouraged its member credit unions and credit union organizations to nominate young leaders to compete for a WYCUP scholarship.

"The hallmark of any profession is its willingness to prepare its future leadership," said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO. "The WYCUP scholarship program cultivates and supports the leadership credit unions will need on a global basis in the years to come."

To be eligible for the scholarship, nominees must:

  • Be sponsored by their credit union or credit union organization to attend the 2012 World Credit Union Conference in Gdańsk, Poland, in July;
  • Be 35 years of age or under as of Jan. 1, 2012; and
  • Submit a completed nomination form to WOCCU with all the necessary supporting materials by June 1.
WYCUP scholarships--all-expense-paid trips to the 2013 World Credit Union Conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada--will be awarded to five recipients at the 2012 conference in Gdańsk. All WYCUP nominees will be formally recognized in Gdańsk and invited to take part in events and networking sessions at the conference specifically for participants age 35 and under. Conference registrants in this age bracket also qualify for a discounted registration fee, regardless of whether they compete for the scholarship.

For more information on the WYCUP scholarship program, use the link. For questions about WYCUP, contact Liliana Tangwall at or 608-395-2043.

For more information, use the links.

Global womens network focuses on remote transaction tech

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MADISON, Wis. (1/26/12)--Remote transaction technology applications will be the focus of the 2012 engagement programs sponsored by the Global Women's Leadership Network, a World Council of Credit Unions initiative devoted to connecting women credit union leaders worldwide through education and networking opportunities.

Farm laborers receive credit union services where they work because of remote technology deployed by Ventura County CU, the destination of the first of two World Council of Credit Union's Global Women's Leadership Network engagement programs this year.
Two groups of both men and women will examine how transaction technology, developed to provide financial services in rural Mexico, has been successfully adapted to serve farm laborers in southern California.

The first of this year's engagement programs will visit Ventura County CU, Ventura, Calif. The credit union delivers financial services to employees of local farms via handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs). The May 20-25 program, which will enable participants to examine the strategy and technology firsthand, costs $1,700 for network members and $2,000 for nonmembers.

Participants interested in delving even deeper into the topic can participate in the second program, which will take them to Querétaro, Mexico, where the technology and delivery strategy were first developed. Participants will travel with credit union representatives deep into rural areas to see how members with no credit union access can successfully be served. The Nov. 5-10 program costs $1,800 for network members and $2,100 for nonmembers.

Fees for both programs include in-country travel, food and lodging, but are exclusive of airfare and other costs of arriving at the program locations. The programs are open to women and men, and participants who attend both programs can take 10% off their total fee.

Credit unions in Mexico were among the first to implement remote credit union service delivery. The second Global Women's engagement program will bring participants together with those credit union members. (Photos provided by World Council of Credit Unions.)
The idea for the Ventura PDA program came about during a networking session at an early Global Women's Leadership Forum, the annual meeting of the network held in conjunction with the World Credit Union Conference. From there, a participant took the idea back to California for implementation. The successful technology transference from a developing to a developed country illustrates how effective such program participation can be, according to Brian Branch, World Council president and CEO.

"Developing credit union systems often learn from systems in developed countries, but we also have seen that this can be a two-way street," Branch said. "In addition to providing participants with the opportunity to participate in global credit union development, this year's engagement programs offer a technology and delivery strategy that can be successfully applied to credit unions anywhere and at all levels of sophistication."

This year's network forum is scheduled for July 14-15 in conjunction with the World Credit Union Conference in Gdańsk, Poland.

Mazuma CU inks 3M loan to small engines business

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (1/26/12)--Mazuma CU, Kansas City, Mo., has signed a financing agreement with American Performance Technologies (APT), a manufacturer of small engines used for motor, power sports and lawn equipment.

The deal will help APT expand its operations facility and create 88 new jobs in the Kansas City metro area.

Mazuma CU, with $452 million in assets, will provide $3 million in debt financing as part of an overall $7.7 million investment made by APT.

"Our Business Resources department has done an incredible job in fostering this relationship with American Performance Technologies," said Brandon Michaels, Mazuma CU president/CEO. "We are eager to help small businesses succeed and will continue to make the resources available to do so."

APT qualified for financing under the New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) Program, a federal tax program designed to help direct the flow of capital into low-income communities. The program provides corporations with a tax-credit incentive and uses the CDE as a portion of it. The CDE uses investments to provide financing to qualified business or real estate development projects located in low-income communities.

APT qualified for NMTC financing assistance from the Kansas City, Mo., Community Development CDE. Since 2010, CDE financed more than $50 million in investments for low-income communities in Kansas City.

The Credit Union National Association and credit unions have been pressing for Congress to raise the member business lending limit to 27.5% of assets from the current 12.25% of assets.  Doing so would mean $13 billion available to lend to small business owners.  Injecting that amount into the economy would create roughly 140,000  new jobs at no cost to the taxpayer.

CO-OP transactions for Dec. top 200M cites CU growth

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (1/26/12)--CO-OP Financial Services processed more than 200 million electronic payment transactions by credit union members during December, marking the first time the company exceeded the 200 million milestone in a single month.

"Reaching 200 million transactions in just one month is a tribute to the growth of the movement, as more members continue to become debit and credit cardholders with their credit unions," said Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Services president/CEO. "CO-OP Payment Processing helps institutions keep up with this demand, ensuring continued convenience for their cardholders and ensuring cost-effective processing that maximizes profitability for the credit union."

For the entire year of 2011, the company processed more than 2.2 billion transactions. CO-OP Financial Services first exceeded the one billion transaction mark in 2004.

The company processed more than 100 million shared-branch transactions in 2011, reflecting CO-OP's merger with Financial Service Centers Cooperative (FSCC), which was announced in September and finalized Tuesday.

CO-OP Financial Services provides services on cardholder debit, credit, ATM and shared-branch transactions.