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CU System Archive

CU System

Serving Underserved Conference adds speakers

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NEW YORK (1/10/11)--New keynote speakers have been added for the 37th Annual Conference on Serving the Underserved to be held June 15-18 in Hollywood, Calif., according to the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. Speakers include:
* Sister Corrine Florek, a pioneer in community investing and founder of the Mercy Investment Partnership. The partnership was the first investor in the federation's Community Development Investment Program over 25 years ago. * Pete Crear, president/CEO of the World Council of Credit Unions, who will offer a global perspective on credit union community economic development activities worldwide. * A. Rex Johnson, owner/founder of Lending Solutions Consulting, an instructor at the Credit Union National Association's Advanced Lending School, former credit union manager and inductee into the Illinois Credit Union Hall of Fame; * Mark Pinsky, president of the Opportunity Finance Network, who will provide his vision for the future of community development finance; and * Jennifer Tescher, president/CEO of Center for Financial Services Innovation, who is active in raising the profile of underbanked access and asset-building in the industry for the industry. She will focus on innovative programs and products credit unions can adopt to better serve their communities.
The federation has limited scholarships to assist member community development credit unions in attending the conference. For more information use the resource link. Scholarship applications are due Feb. 18. For more information, use the link.

CU targets Milwaukee ZIP codes for IDA grants

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MILWAUKEE (1/10/11)--Brewery CU is targeting neighborhoods with specific Milwaukee ZIP Codes to disperse $100,000 in Individual Development Account (IDA) grants. The $33 million asset community development credit union announced it will partner with Select Milwaukee and the $427,000 asset CTK CU in a neighborhood stabilization effort that involves nine of Milwaukee's ZIP codes. The program is open to all residents of southeastern Wisconsin. Brewery CU is taking applications from members in the community who wish to participate in an IDA program. The program was made possible by a $100,000 grant from the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund. IDAs are special savings accounts set up to help people purchase an asset, in this case a first-home. Brewery CU will match up to $2,500 to use toward a down payment and other home purchasing costs, said the credit union in a press release. The program has no income limitations. The member's account must be opened for at least six months and cannot be opened longer than 12 months to earn the matched funds. The IDA funds can be earned only if the first-time homebuyer is purchasing a home in one of nine ZIP codes.

12 nonprofits compete in CUs charity contest

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MADISON, Wis. (1/10/11)--Twelve Madison, Wis.-area nonprofit organizations have been selected for Heartland CU's "Go Local" contest, in which they will compete for a $10,000 donation from the credit union. The 12 organizations have posted what they would do with the $10,000 on the Go Local Contest page of the credit union's website (use the link). Voting is open on Heartland's website and the public can cast votes until April 3 on which nonprofit should receive the donation, said the credit union. The organization receiving the most votes will receive the donation. The contest is part of Heartland's "Go Local" campaign, which gives $75,000 back to the credit union's communities via donations, services and employees' volunteer time in 2010 and 2011. Earlier it enlisted the public's help in nominating local nonprofits that make a difference and do their part to support their communities. "We were so impressed by the hundreds of nominations that we had for the contest, and even though we planned on 10 finalists, there were so many deserving nonprofits we chose 12," said Sally Dischler, CEO of Heartland CU. "Our Go Local semifinalists represent so many great projects and stories, and we can't wait to see how the community votes." The winner will be announced in May.

Maine CUs awareness campaign underway

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PORTLAND, Maine (1/10/11)--The Maine Credit Union League kicked off its 2011-2012 statewide awareness campaign under the new theme, “Look into Maine’s Credit Unions. You’ll like what you see.” The centerpiece of the campaign is a set of TV commercials built on gaming and 3-D concepts. The topics of the 15-second spots are lending, technology, convenience, shared branching, savings, locality, and the fact that consumers are always welcome at credit unions, said the league’s newsletter Weekly Update Jan. 7). The league’s media buy includes placement in programs popular with Gen Y, such as “Glee.” The program also includes the league’s sponsorship of the National Basketball Association Developmental League team, the Maine Red Claws, and quarterly public service announcements featuring financial tips. The campaign’s reach has expanded to include Web advertising, including Facebook and Google. Another addition to the program is the league’s sponsorship of Young & Free Maine, a campaign to attract young adults. The program’s spokesperson will interact with the state’s 25-and-under crowd in person and through social media, sharing financial advice and advocating for Maine credit unions. The program will launch in April.

Seven scams targeting small businesses

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MADISON, Wis. (1/10/11)--Credit unions serving small businesses with member business loans should note seven scams, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB). “Small-business fraud can come from internal threats, such as employee fraud, or from external full-time scammers,” said Alison Southwick, BBB spokeswoman. “Because small-business owners often lack the time and resources to fight fraud, they are a popular mark for any number of different scams” (LoneStar Leaguer Jan. 5). Credit unions can warn their business members about these scams:
* Directory Scams--Usually the scammer will call a business to “update” the company’s entry in an online directory, or the scammer might lie about being with the Yellow Pages. The business is later billed hundreds of dollars for listing services it didn’t agree to or for ads which it thought would be in the Yellow Pages. * Office Supply Scams--Some scammers prey on small-business owners and hope they won’t notice a bill for office supplies--such as toner or paper--that the company never ordered. * Overpayment Scams--Businesses should be cautious if a customer overpays using a check or credit card and then asks the business to wire the extra money back to them or to a third party. Overpayment scams often target catering businesses, manufacturers, wholesalers and even sellers on sites like eBay, Craigslist and Etsy. * Data Breaches--No matter how vigilant a company is, a data breach can still happen. Whether it’s the result of hackers, negligence or a disgruntled employee, a data breach can have a severe impact on the level of trust customers have in a business. * Vanity Awards--While it’s flattering to be recognized for hard work, some awards are just money-making schemes and have no actual merit. If approached about receiving a business or leadership award, research the opportunity carefully and be wary if asked to pay money. * Stolen Identity--Scammers often will pose as legitimate company to rip off consumers. A company whose identity is stolen doesn’t necessarily lose money, but its reputation is potentially tarnished when angry customers ripped off by the scammers think the real company is responsible. * Phishing e-mails--Some phishing e-mails specifically target small-business owners with the goal of hacking into their computer or network. Common examples include e-mails pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service that claim the company is being audited, or phony e-mails from the BBB saying the company has received a complaint. Companies receiving a suspicious e-mail from a government agency or the BBB should not click on the links or open attachments. Contact the agency or the BBB directly to confirm the legitimacy of the e-mail.

Callahans names Filson chairman Mancinelli new CEO

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WASHINGTON (1/10/11)--Chip Filson, co-founder and president of Callahan & Associates, Washington, D.C., is stepping aside from the daily operations of the credit union consulting firm to serve as company chairman. Bruce Mancinelli, a management and technology entrepreneur, has been named interim CEO of the credit union consultancy. The realignment will allow Filson to focus on the company’s external initiatives, including opportunities for credit union cooperative reforms, Callahan said. Mancinelli has been CEO of several high-technology companies during a 40-year career and serves on the board of DigitalMailer, Inc., a Herndon, Va.-based credit union service organization.

Voting opens for best Real Solutions testimonial

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MADISON, Wis. (1/10/11)--For the second consecutive year, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) is asking individuals to vote for the best credit union testimonial out of five finalists posted on the REAL Solutions Impact Center. Capturing testimonials on video from members who have been positively impacted by their credit union illustrates how NCUF’s signature program, REAL Solutions, is impacting the credit union movement, said NCUF. To cast a vote, individuals can visit the Real Solutions Impact Center web site and click the “Vote” link on the homepage. Each voter can cast only one online ballot per computer. Voting ends Jan. 21. The field was narrowed by NCUF from 30 video entries to 10 that were judged to be compelling examples of credit unions in action. Then an external judging committee representing credit unions and credit union organizations narrowed the field to five. The finalists are:
* Tamika Anderson, who relays how her spending habits, particularly relating to her car and home, got back on track through financial consultations and budgeting help from ELGA CU, Burton, Mich.; * Andrew Gaines, who talks about how Lakeside CU, Milwaukee, saved him from buying a home he couldn’t afford; * Robin Pharo, who shares how Summit CU, Madison, Wis., put people before profit when granting her small business a loan; * Saundra Marie Ramirez, who discusses how SchoolsFirst FCU, Santa Ana, Calif., repeatedly helped her with honest financial advice and support; and * Oscar Rivera, who shares his story of becoming a homeowner and small-business owner with help from Guadalupe CU, Santa Fe, N.M.
The grand prize-winning entry will earn a free trip to Washington, D.C., for the featured member and one representative from the credit union and state league. As guests of NCUF, the winners will share the stage at a VIP event held prior to the Wegner Awards Dinner, which is held during the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference, Feb. 27-March 3. Also, the winning member will receive a savings account deposit of $500. The member(s) featured in the four remaining videos will receive a savings account deposit of $250.

CUNA Mutual hires insurance commissioner

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MADISON, Wis. (1/10/11)--CUNA Mutual Group has named Sean Dilweg, a former state insurance commissioner, as vice president, product executive. In this role, which he began Tuesday, Dilweg leads CUNA Mutual’s mortgage insurance business. “Sean Dilweg is well known and respected within the insurance community and a high-level addition to the CUNA Mutual team,” said Jim Power, CUNA Mutual senior vice president and chief products officer. “His insights and experience will help us enhance the products and services we provide to credit unions.” Dilweg’s responsibilities also will include managing CUNA Mutual’s interest in CMG Mortgage Insurance Company. CMG MI operates as a corporate joint venture between CUNA Mutual Insurance Society and PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. CMG MI provides private mortgage guaranty insurance to protect credit unions against potential losses in the event of borrower default. “This new position represents CUNA Mutual’s ongoing commitment to the mortgage insurance business and its important role in the credit union marketplace,” Power said. Most recently, Dilweg served as the insurance commissioner for Wisconsin, overseeing the regulation of all insurance in the state, including life, bond and mortgage insurers. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing the de-risking of the Ambac Assurance Segregated Account, the second largest financial guarantee insurer in the nation. Also, he’s served as the vice chair of the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission.

Kansas CUs beat national trends

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WICHITA, Kan. (1/10/11)--Despite a turbulent year in the financial industry, Kansas credit unions show higher than average numbers for national trends in assets, shares, and loans during 2010, with a 5.18% year-over-year growth in total capital, announced the Kansas Credit Union Association. Member growth increased as well, with the state's 102 credit unions reporting more than 27,000 new members as of June 2010, which means Kansas credit unions serve more than 600,000 consumers. Kansas credit unions also ranked third in loan growth, at 6.4%; third in member growth, at 4.71%--more than four times the national average--and first in auto loans per members, at 25.5% annually). The state's credit unions remain a stable option for financial services to both individuals and businesses, said the association. "These statistics reinforce that more and more people realize the true value of financial cooperatives like credit unions," said Bob Mayes, vice president of credit union support services at KCUA. "Kansas credit unions work hard to serve their members, and the association is proud of their dedication to the credit union philosophy: people helping people." Callahan and Associates conducted the survey for the association.

Maine league part of governors inauguration events

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PORTLAND, Maine (1/10/11)--Paul LePage was inaugurated Wednesday as Maine's 74th governor, with Maine's credit unions represented at the inauguration and other associated events. Maine Credit Union League President John Murphy attended the inauguration with members of the league’s governmental affairs team, including Quincy Hentzel, league director of governmental affairs; Phil Moreau, chair of the league Governmental Affairs Committee; Tucker Cole, chair of the league Political Involvement Committee, and other credit union officials (league’s newsletter, Weekly Update Jan. 7). Hentzel represented Maine’s credit unions at the Governor’s Reception. The league also was a sponsor of LePage’s inaugural activities. At the reception, Hentzel spoke briefly with LePage, who said he is looking forward to meeting with Maine's credit unions and working together in the coming weeks. U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) also attended and reiterated her support of credit unions. Snowe said she will be excited to see credit union officials at the league’s Breakfast for Maine’s Congressional Delegation, during the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference next month. “Our participation in this event goes a long way in building and strengthening relationships with the new governor and legislators,” Murphy said.