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Corporate One has 3.5M OTTI loss in December

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (2/1/10)--Corporate One FCU reported its unaudited financials for December, noting that it had a $3.5 million loss on its other-than-temporary-impairment (OTTI) charges in its securities portfolio. However, it has no further capital exposure in U.S. Central, and its total capital position is $167.7 million. December's losses bring the total losses for 2009 to $42.3 million, according to the corporate's financial statements. That compares to last year's losses of $72.6 million. Corporate One continues to have strong core earnings (earnings exclusive of write-downs on its securities and U.S. Central capital accounts). For the 12 months ended Dec. 31, core earnings totaled $14.9 million. "Corporate One remains unique in that our members' capital accounts have not been depleted, thanks to our positive RUDE [reserves and undivided earnings] position," said President/CEO Lee C. Butke in the report's executive summary. And, he emphasized, "we continue to believe that we will not have to ask members to impair their capital with us in the future..." The report cited several reasons. In addition to the lack of further capital exposure in U.S. Central, and its strong core earnings, the corporate still receives strong support from its members, with nearly $5 billion in assets under management, and it has added eight new members during fourth quarter. Also, the corporate's accumulated other comprehensive loss was reduced to $255.7 million as of Dec. 31--from $504.2 million on that date in 2008. Corporate One has budgeted more than $9 million in core earnings (35 basis points) for 2010. "Our total capital position includes our RUDE at $23.6 million, paid-in-capital at $25.7 million and Membership Capital Shares at $118.4 million, bringing the total capital to $167.7 million," the report said. To access the full report, use the resource link.

CEO tells Pa. state lawmakers panel how CUs help economy

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (2/1/10)--The CEO of a credit union in Pennsylvania told how credit unions help the economy during a panel discussion with the state's Appropriations Committee at an Economic Outlook and Jobs Summit Thursday, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA). Kent Hartzler, CEO of Mennonite Financial FCU, Lancaster, Pa., represented credit unions in the meeting (Life is a Highway Jan. 29). "A large part of the reason why credit unions continue to service and lend to their members is because of our philosophy and structure," he said in his opening statement. He gave a personal story of how Mennonite Financial FCU helped members in the Punxsutawney area. Eight Amish community leaders partnered with the credit union to open two new sawmills. As a result, 14 families are now back to work and have incomes, he reported, adding, "This is just one example of how credit unions are helping the economy within the state." After the summit, PCUA President/CEO Jim McCormack said, "We're proud that credit unions are being recognized by our elected officials as financial institutions who are helping the economy and improving the lives of Pennsylvanians." Other panelists included representatives from Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers, Pennsylvania Bankers Association, and Enterprise Bank.

Sen. Gillibrand backs MBLs in IL.I. Business NewsI

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LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (12/1/10)--In an op-ed piece Friday in the Long Island Business News, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) explained why she backs member business lending (MBL) at credit unions and co-sponsors a bill that would raise credit unions' MBL cap and increase the loan amount that would trigger the cap. The Small Business Lending Enhancement Act "would spur small-business growth and create jobs by increasing access to loans from credit unions," Gillibrand wrote, noting it would raise the MBL cap to 25% from 12.25% and would increase the minimum business loan subject to the cap to $250,000 from $50,000. "With so many large banks in bad shape, credit unions are becoming increasingly important, especially with regard to small businesses that need relatively small lines of credit," Gillibrand said, adding that "credit unions have not been exposed to the same losses that major banks have seen in their lending and investment operations." Of New York's 461 credit unions, 36 are located on Long Island, the senator wrote, citing statistics from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) that the legislation would help create more than 7,000 jobs in New York without government expenditures. "According to CUNA, these reforms would increase small-business lending by $10 billion within the first year of their enactment, producing more than 100,000 jobs," Gillibrand wrote. Gillibrand also noted credit unions' "long track record of scrutinizing borrowers" and the "low delinquencies" and wrotes that "credit unions have cash on hand to loan to small business." She noted the bill's potential impact on local credit union, Bethpage FCU. Bethpage assisted 30 local small businesses in the past year, "a number that could be greatly increased under this legislation." Under this legislation, the credit union could grant an additional $461 million in business loans, she wrote. "This common-sense legislation would free up lending at credit unions in every corner of America to small businesses. This would give small businesses more of the capital they need to survive the recession or get off the ground, grow, and get hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work," Gillibrand concluded. To read the entire article, use the link.

National CU Youth Week to focus on saving

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MADISON, Wis. (2/1/10)--Now is the time for credit unions to plan activities with staff and the community for a successful National Credit Union Youth Week, which will take place April 18-24, according to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). This year’s theme is “Get in the Savings Game.” Credit unions can use the sports theme in lobby events, marketing and to support local sports teams of all ages while encouraging youth to save money. Youth Week aims to inspire youth to open savings accounts and deposit their money at credit unions. This year’s celebration will take place during the Jump$tart Coalition’s Financial Literacy for Youth month. Also during Youth Week, credit unions can participate in CUNA’s National Youth Saving Challenge. The challenge encourages the habit of saving at an early age, builds member loyalty and helps lower the average age of members. Last year, nearly 140,000 young members deposited $26.5 million into their saving accounts during the challenge--more than double the amount deposited in 2008. A total of 10,006 new accounts were opened. “Have youth learned the importance of saving for their goals?” asked Lin Standke, Youth Week program manager. “Those participating in the saving challenge did ... our goal is to help credit unions continually increase that number. “The staff and members of credit unions are ideally positioned to respond because of their belief in the power of education--put to practical use--to improve the lives of their neighbors and their communities,” she added. A new item available this year for Youth Week is the quarter saver folder, which can be distributed to youth when they visit the credit union. The folders also work well at adult seminars or presentations as a take-home item for adults to give to their children, or they can be mailed to young members with a flyer about Youth Week. Free coloring pages, Savings Game jerseys and other promotional materials and products are available on the Youth Week home page (use the link). Credit unions also can register for the National Saving Challenge on the website and sign up for Youth Week e-News to receive newsletters with Youth Week ideas and updates. For more information, use the links.

NuUnion CU launches K-12 education loans

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LANSING, Mich. (2/1/10)--NuUnion CU in Lansing, Mich., has launched a tuition loan program for families with children who attend private kindergarten, elementary and high school. The credit union cited research that indicates the average annual cost of tuition to attend a private elementary school is $2,500, and average tuition for a private high school is $6,000 and continues to rise (PRWeb Jan. 29). Providing for a child’s private education is one of the biggest financial commitments a family can make. NuUnion’s new K-12 Education Loan offers a tuition loan program that covers both tuition and books, and comes with no fees, no prepayment penalty, and competitive interest rates. “Private school costs really add up, especially when you have more than one child, and a short-term tuition loan can make all the difference for our members,” said Teresa Mayer, NuUnion’s vice president of lending. Mayer said the K-12 Education Loan complements the credit union’s student financial aid program, Credit Union Student Choice. In 2009, NuUnion established the position of college outreach specialist to build relationships with high schools and colleges in Michigan, provide educational support in the classroom and provide financial assistance to the more than 10,000 student members helped by the Credit Union Student Choice student loan program. “We’ve been at the forefront of offering financial education to our members and communities for many years,” said Steve Winninger, NuUnion president/CEO. “Our in-class financial education, free seminars, and website resources are some examples of NuUnion’s commitment to empowering our members to be informed consumers. It’s a commitment that runs from our board of directors all the way through our organization. This is a cause we’re passionate about.” NuUnion has $807.6 million in assets.

CUNA seeks nominations for committees

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MADISON, Wis. (1/29/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Executive Committee is seeking recommendations for appointments to CUNA's committees for 2010. The executive committee will begin considering nominations at a meeting in early March. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 26. Anyone interested in providing recommendations to the committee can use the resource links to access a list of current committees, their purpose statements and their members, and a form to submit information. Committee members appointed last year will continue to serve until new members are announced. Generally, CUNA considers replacing members who have served on a same committee for more than three or four years; however, there are exceptions. For more information or to submit recommendations, use the links.

New Mexico CUs exceed 1M goal for hospital

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (2/1/10)--The Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM) received official notification from the Children’s Miracle Network that the association exceeded its five-year goal to raise $1 million for the pediatric emergency unit at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. In 2004, CUANM was approached by the hospital to help with its major capital fund-raising program. The association’s board voted to support the campaign, and its staff agreed to spearhead the campaign for credit unions (CUANM Network January 2010). “It is extremely gratifying over the years to see the unique and creative ways our participating credit unions have raised money,” said Sylvia Lyon, CUANM CEO. “We have seen cookbook sales, Frito pie sales, revenue from coin-counting machines, golf tournaments, raffles and plenty of other methods. “These ideas really demonstrated that, when given an opportunity to make a difference, credit unions will rise to the challenge every time to help their communities,” she added. “And I think they particularly liked the idea that they would be helping New Mexico children who really needed the extra help.” The hospital helps thousands of New Mexico children annually, and the pediatric emergency unit is in full operation, the association said. Children’s Miracle Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals.

CUs banks wooing new members with merchandise

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MADISON, Wis. (2/1/10)--A growing number of credit unions and banks are attempting to attract and retain new members by offering marketing merchandise--such as toasters, iPods and luggage--instead of offering cash and gift cards. “Cash, it seems, is no longer king,” said Alan Yarbrough, director of sales for River Rock Marketing Services, a company that specializes in developing incentive-based acquisition and retention programs that use merchandise as incentive gifts (Business Wire Jan. 28). “With $50 offers regularly being topped by $250 offers, our clients are telling us that they are giving up on a cash ‘arms race’ that has become prohibitively expensive and questionable in value,” Yarbrough added. Research conducted in December by AlixPartners LLP indicated that consumers want to switch from big banks to credit unions and local banks. The research also showed that 75% of banking customers were unhappy with banks in general, said River Rock. “Now more than ever, consumers want a transparent relationship built on old-fashioned values like honesty, integrity and respect,” Yarbrough said. “Small- and mid-sized banks and credit unions are turning to branded bank marketing gifts as an inducement to earn their business and help build that relationship.” Branded merchandise motivates consumers to take immediate action, he added. It has a long-term “trophy value.” Once cash or a gift card is spent, it’s gone, Yarborough said.

N.Y. foundation grants total 100000 in 2009

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ALBANY, N.Y. (2/1/10)--The New York Credit Union Foundation awarded 90 grants for a combined total of $99,922 last year. The majority of the grants, 57 totaling $34,148, were Professional Development grants awarded to credit unions for participating in education and training programs.
Click to view larger image Kathy Getz, manager and chief operating officer of Sweet Home FCU, Buffalo, N.Y., is pictured with the credit union’s new security system. Sweet Home purchased the system with a grant from the New York Credit Union Foundation. (Photo provided by the New York Credit Union Foundation)
Seventeen Financial Fitness grants totaling $26,774 went to credit unions to improve their member services through the purchase of items such as computer equipment and software, security systems and loan processing modules. Underwriting support for the national Biz Kid$ television series and a REAL Solutions initiative to educate credit unions about youth outreach, coordinated by the Credit Union Association of New York in partnership with the Filene Institute, was provided by two of five Organizational grants awarded to entities. They totaled $24,250. The remaining $14,750 in Smart Money grants were awarded to 11 credit unions for financial education programs that increased or improved access to financial services. Some of the programs include: Financial Literacy Training, Money $marts in East Harlem Workshop Series, Moneywise for Life Program, High School Finance Forum, and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Inner City Outreach and Rural Outreach.

CU System briefs (01/29/2010)

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* CHICAGO (2/1/10)--The Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of three individuals responsible for the Oct. 7 armed robbery of the Sherwin-Williams CU, Harvey, Ill., and abduction of an employee. Two armed men confronted a credit union employee outside her home in the early morning hours as she left for work. They handcuffed her and forced her to accompany them to the credit union. A third robber served as a lookout while the original two demanded she unlock the credit union and de-activate the alarm. They forced her to open the vault, then locked the employee in the basement and fled in her vehicle with an undisclosed amount of cash (Targeted News Service Jan. 27) ... * GREENBELT, Md. (2/1/10)--A former loan supervisor pleaded guilty Thursday to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft related to the theft of $171,033 at Educational Systems FCU, Greenbelt, Md. According to a plea agreement, Felicia Douglas, 41, of Upper Marlboro, Md., created fraudulent checking and share accounts, loans, lines of credit and credit card accounts in the names of at least five members without their authorization. She also manipulated existing credit lines and card accounts without members' knowledge and used the accounts to obtain at least $171,033. She concealed the thefts by using some of the funds to repay some of the loans, lines of credit and card accounts. She backdated transactions and changed terms such as due dates, and altered mailing instructions so the members would not receive statements and notifications about the accounts. Douglas faces a maximum 30 years in prison on bank fraud and two years more for the ID theft charge. Sentencing will be April 19 (Targeted News Service Jan. 28) ... * GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (2/1/10)--Gerald Coulombe, 25, was sentenced Monday to four and a half years in prison for a July 13 robbery at the Rockford, Mich., branch of Lake Michigan CU (The Grand Rapids Press Jan. 26). In addition to the prison term, Coulombe must repay $5,879 spent on gambling and drugs. The robber used a BB gun to threaten employees at the branch during the heist and fled on a motorcycle to his roommate's waiting van ... * ALBANY, N.Y. (2/1/10)--The Credit Union Association of New York met with State Senate Democratic Conference Leader John L. Sampson (D-Metropolitan) to discuss credit union issues and priorities, including the role credit unions in the state's economic recovery. "Much of our dialogue centered on gaining Sen. Sampson's support for credit union access to municipal deposits. I'm pleased to report that he has vowed to do all he can to get this legislation passed," said association President/CEO William J. Mellin. He noted that it is "clear that Sen. Sampson understands the value and commitment credit unions provide to millions of New Yorkers and is ready to work with us to build a better New York." ... * RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (2/1/10)--Tim Kramer, CEO of KeyPoint CU in Santa Clara, Calif., for the past 22 years, received an "Unsung Hero" award from the California Credit Union League. The award honors credit union industry individuals with at least 20 years of experience who have made significant contributions in the community. Kramer has more than 35 years of credit union experience. He also has served on the board of directors and as chairman of Financial Services Centers Cooperative and with the California Applied Research Institute. Kramer also was a member of the Filene Research Institute advisory board and Richard Myles Johnson Foundation board. In 1995, he traveled to Russia to provide technical assistance to credit unions there ... * JACKSONVILLE, Ark. (2/1/10)--Arkansas FCU has donated nearly $89,635 to Arkansas Children's Hospital Foundation in Little Rock (The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Jan. 28). The money will help fund a clinic waiting room in the hospital's South Wing, expected to open in 2012. Employees and members of the $730.1 million asset credit union raised more than $44,817 the past year in several events, and the credit union's board matched the amount, dollar for dollar. Arkansas FCU participates in Credit Unions for Kids, a national sponsor of the Children's Miracle Network, which raises funds for 170 member hospitals across the nation ... * RIVERSIDE, Calif. (2/1/10)--The Altura Foundation, affiliated with Altura CU, announced an expansion of its college scholarship
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program. The credit union is increasing the total scholarships awarded to 60, up from 46 in 2009. The estimated $60,000 in scholarships will be awarded graduating seniors from Riverside County area high schools, said Ricki McManuis, senior vice president and a member of the foundation board. The expansion includes the addition of 10 $1,000 scholarships for local students who attend the University of California at Riverside (UCR). Five scholarships were added for students participating in an Advancement Via Individual Determination program. From left are UCR Chancellor Tim White; Jesse Melgar, a 2005 Altura Foundation scholarship recipient who graduated last year from UCLA with a dual degree in political science and Chicano studies; and Altura CU CEO Mark Hawkins. (Photo provided by Altura CU) ... * ABERDEEN, Md. (2/1/10)--Aberdeen Proving Ground FCU (APGFCU) presented a $1,000 48-month savings certificate "scholarship" to
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Mikayla Hornedo, Edgewood, Md., for her role as a reporter for six episodes of Kids Cents!, a five minute segment on KidsTV News that introduces money and savings to kids and pre-teens. Hornedo interviewed an APGFUC "money expert" for each segment. Topics included: What is a credit union; where does money go when it is deposited; making smart money choices; using credit wisely; budgeting and savings basics; and online resources to help manage money. KidsTV News is a locally produced weekly magazine for kids. From left are APGFCU Chairman David Gilbert, Hornedo, and APGFCU President/CEO Don Lewis. (Photo provided by APGFCU) ...