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Student-run CUs in the limelight

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MADISON, Wis. (10/2/09)--Several student-run credit unions were in the news Thursday. Two reports highlighted student run branches in an elementary school and a middle school. Another credit union announced the opening of two branches in local high schools. ABC news affiliate WJLA aired a feature Wednesday on Apple FCU, Fairfax, Va., which has a branch in a converted storage room at Saunders Middle School. There, sixth, seventh and eighth graders can learn the business by working in it. The station conducted interviews with credit union staffer Jamie Gatchell, seventh grade employees of the credit union, Prince William County school administrative officials and a parent. To access the report, use the resource link. Educational Systems FCU, Greenbelt, Md., opened a credit union branch at Lake Arbor Elementary School on Sept. 23, according to the Gazette and Washington Post (Oct. 1). Lake Arbor is one of eight county schools using the $313 million asset credit union's program, which allows students to open savings accounts and make deposits. Julio Martinez, a school financial education coordinator for the credit union, told the Gazette that 23 students opening savings accounts on opening day. He will visit the school every two weeks to collect student deposits. Use the link to access the article. Blackhawk Community CU, Janesville, Wis., in a press release Thursday, announced it opened two student-run branches in Janesville high schools on Sept. 1. The Cougar Student CU branch is at Craig High School and is open from 11:45 a.m. until 12:25 p.m. each day school is in session. Viking Student CU branch at Parker High School will be open 11:15 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. each day school is in session. The joint project between the Blackhawk Community CU and the schools are the result of two years' preparation. Celebrations were held Sept. 23 at Cougar and Wednesday at Viking. They are the 86th and 87th student-run credit unions in Wisconsin, according to Marketing Director Donna M. Wagner.

CU System brief (10/01/2009)

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* DUBLIN, Ohio (10/2/09)--Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has appointed Vidya Iyengar, CEO of Marion (Ohio) Community CU, to a three-year term on the state's Credit Union Council Board. Part of the Ohio Division of Financial Institutions, the council of seven members provides advice and recommendations to the regulatory agency and governor on issues of importance to credit unions. Chaired by Deputy Superintendent for Credit Unions Rose Bartolomucci, the council meets quarterly. Other council members are: Aaron Michael, Atomic CU, Piketon; Gary Soukenik, Seven Seventeen CU, Warren; Matthew Studer, Toledo Postal Employees CU; Robin Thomas, Taleris CU, Cleveland; and Linda Williams, Akron Fire Fighters' CU …

TrinidadTobago CU Policy Act draws opposition

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PORT OF SPAIN (10/2/09)--Trinidad and Tobago Labor Minister Rennie Dumas said that new legislation, the Credit Union Policy Act, will benefit credit unions. He made the statement after dozens of credit union stakeholders rejected the 67-page proposed policy at a Central Bank public meeting. Dumas' comment was read on his behalf by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labor Roslyn Khan-Cummings Wednesday during the National Credit Union Symposium in Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago Express Oct. 1). "The credit union sector is one that is stable for decades has consistently provided access to credit facilities for our citizens," said Dumas' speech. The proposal would mean the Central Bank would supervise credit unions, although development support would continue under the Cooperative Development Division. Those opposed to the proposal said the approach to governing credit unions was a one-size-fits-all policy. They also said the proposed legislation is too stringent.

OpSS Council names two best practices winners

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MADISON, Wis. (10/2/09)--Two credit unions--Red Canoe CU of Longview, Wash., and Missoula (Mont.) FCU--are winners of the fifth annual CUNA Operations, Sales and Service (OpSS) Council's Best Practices Awards. The awards recognize innovative solutions optimizing credit union performance. Winners delivered presentations on their entries during the council's 12th annual conference, which began Sunday and ended Thursday in San Diego. Red Canoe CU won in the Sales and Service Management category for its creative implementation of the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Creating Member Loyalty program. With the program, the credit union saw results that included 20% deposit growth for the first six months of 2009. It exceeded its loan growth, sales performance and service goals. Staff esteem also has grown. The credit union attributes its success with the program to:
* Senior management immersion; * Pre- and post-session reporting; * Creation of follow-up sessions; * Internal promotions; * All-staff recognition; * Consistent measurement standards; and * Clarification of the terms "sales" and "service."
Missoula FCU won the Branch Design category for its Platinum LEED Certified Branch, the second building in the state to achieve the highest LEED certification. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a green building rating system.) In addition to being viewed as the "green" financial institution in its area, Missoula FCU's ongoing, long-term operational expenses will be reduced. It estimated it will save $20,000 a year in energy costs. Double-stacked drive-up tubes and grey-water irrigation system, which filters and reuses water from fountains, sinks and showers for watering native grass landscapes, have resulted in an ongoing public blog. The branch design also has garnered press and non-industry awards. To access the winning presentations, use the resource link.

Texas league CUR announce board elections

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (10/2/09)--Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) President/CEO Dick Ensweiler announced results of the TCUL and Credit Union Resources, Inc. (CUR) elections held Sept. 24. Jim Minge was elected second vice-chairman of TCUL and chairman of CUR. Minge is a senior vice president at Randolph-Brooks FCU in Universal City. He has served on the board since 2006 and represents League District 8 (LoneStar Leaguer Oct. 1). Paul Trylko was elected secretary-treasurer of TCUL and CUR. Trylko is CEO of Amplify FCU in Austin. He has served on the TCUL board since 2008, representing League District 12. In his new position, Trylko will also serve as chairman of TCUL’s Political Action Committee. Christa Hollier, was elected to the TCUL board by District 9 at a special meeting Sept 17. Hollier is CEO of Golden Triangle FCU in Groves. Last year, she was elected to the CUR board. However, with her election to the TCUL board, her CUR directorship became vacant. TCUL, as sole shareholder of CUR, elected two individuals to fill vacancies on the CUR board:
* John Barad, CEO of Union Square FCU, Wichita Falls; and * Jason Landry, CEO of Neches FCU, Port Neches.
Continuing board officers are:
* League Chair--Ayn Talley, CEO, Houston Police FCU; * League First Vice Chair--Pamela Stephens, CEO, Security One FCU, Arlington; and * CUR Vice Chair--Sandy Smith, CEO, Texas FCU, Dallas.

United FCU works to revive Clearstars auto lending

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ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (10/2/09)--United FCU--the St. Joseph, Mich.-based credit union that acquired the ailing Reno, Nev.-based Clearstar Financial CU last week--is working to revise Clearstar's auto loan program with new standards. Duane Nelson, United chief operating officer, told a local newspaper that auto loans, not risky mortgage loans, were the main factor in Clearstar's failure (The Herald-Palladium Sept. 30). Clearstar's policies on what it would loan on collateral were liberal and its rates were probably too low considering the risk involved, he said. The deal, which was coordinated with support from the National Credit Union Administration, will help United get a foothold into one of the nation's fastest-growing areas, Nelson told the publication. The Reno-Sparks metropolitan area grew 21% from 2000 to 2008. Once the economy turns around, the Reno area will grow again, Nelson said. He added the merger gives United some diversity in its member base. With the merger, United will have more than $1 billion in assets and serve more than 111,000 members in Michigan, Ohio, Arkansas, North Carolina and Nevada. Of those totals, $141 million in assets and 16,000 members are from Clearstar.

INews NowsI top 10 stories for September

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MADISON, Wis. (10/2/09)--A story about the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) banning 12 from financial institution heads up September’s top stories for News Now. Other top 10 stories involve National Credit Union Administration Chair (NCUA) Debbie Matz’s first board meeting, and two credit union robberies. Here are the top 10 most requested News Now stories during September. Use the links to read the full stories: 10. Fed limits CARD Act minimum payment warnings to credit cards WASHINGTON (9/30/09)--Proposed amendments to Regulation Z released by the Federal Reserve today would limit the required minimum payment warning disclosures outlined in the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act to credit card accounts. 9. Schumer to back Sen. overdraft bill WASHINGTON (9/09/09)--Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Tuesday that he wants to see more consumer protections associated with overdraft protection plans and that he will back legislation targeting abusive practices. 8. Government lets UBIT filing date pass WASHINGTON (9/16/09)--The government let its 60 days come and go and failed to file an appeal to a federal court judge's July decision that backed a favorable verdict for credit unions in an unrelated business income tax (UBIT) case. 7. MACUA CEO resigns BISMARCK, N.D. (9/11/09)--Tony Richards, president/CEO of Mid-America Credit Union Association (MACUA), has resigned, effective immediately. 6. Dodd may introduce overdraft fee bill this week WASHINGTON (9/21/09)--Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd as early as this week could introduce a bill that would require financial institutions to seek permission before they can enroll their accountholders in an overdraft protection program. 5. Former CU exec commits suicide during arrest MACON, Ga. (9/9/09)--A former manager of a Georgia credit union committed suicide when local authorities tried to arrest her on charges of embezzlement. 4. Matz’s first meeting: 0.15% NCUSIF assessment, CLF changes ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/25/09)--As anticipated, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) on Thursday approved a 0.15% of insured shares assessment on federally insured credit unions. The action is intended to help the NCUA return the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund's (NCUSIF) equity to 1.3% of June 30, 2009 shares and repay $310 million in funds the Stabilization fund has borrowed from the U.S. Treasury. 3. U.S. Central 2008 financial statement released WASHINGTON (9/14/09)--When assessing the December 2008 U.S. Central FCU financial statement released Friday, interested parties should remember that the reporting was completed under a since revised accounting standard that forced the corporate credit union to record a larger other than temporarily impairment (OTTI) charge than current accounting rules require, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) said upon the release of the statement. 2. One dead, three arrested after CU robbery TAMPA, Fla. (9/28/09)--Three robbery suspects were apprehended by police and one person was found dead, an apparent suicide, in the aftermath of a Thursday robbery of Grow Financial CU, in Tampa, Fla. 1. NCUA bans 12 from financial institution work ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/24/09)--Twelve former credit union employees have been banned by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) from participating in the business of any federally insured financial institution.

Kennebec Valley members vote to stay a CU

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WESTBROOK, Maine (10/2/09)--Members of Kennebec Valley FCU (KV FCU) have voted against a proposal to convert to a bank charter and then merge with Kennebec Savings Bank in Augusta, Maine. The Maine Credit Union League called the vote “a very positive outcome for both the credit union and its membership.” A credit union charter is the best choice for consumers, the league added. “This vote underscores the important role that members have in a credit union and the value that being a member-owner truly offers,” said John Murphy, Maine league president. Voting by KV FCU members on the proposed merger concluded Sept. 21. Last year, the credit union’s board approved a proposal to convert to a bank and then merge with a local savings bank (News Now Sept. 23). The board said the proposed merger and conversion would place the credit union in a better position to grow. After the proposal was approved by the board, members from KV FCU began sending letters to the editor of a local newspaper, expressing their thoughts about the proposed merger. Many members were against the proposal. Members also formed several groups regarding the merger, such as KV Members Matter, which opposed the conversion; and KV Members Voting Yes for the Merger. A group also petitioned the credit union for access to board meeting minutes in which the proposal to convert was discussed (News Now Feb. 11). KV FCU, Augusta, Maine, has $54 million in assets.

Cards help students establish credit history

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ITHACA, N.Y. (10/2/09)--Credit cards can help fiscally responsible students establish credit histories, according to a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) youth expert. If a student has the financial stability to keep up with a credit card’s balance, it can be a valuable way for the student to create a good credit score and get educated about finances, Josh Jones, CUNA manager of young adult programs, told The Ithacan (Oct. 1), Ithaca College’s student newspaper. Credit history also is important for acquiring loans, financial services, and for getting a job. Some employers look at applicants’ credit reports to see if they are in good standing--especially if the applicant would be handling money at the job, Jones told the newspaper. About 84% of undergraduates surveyed by student lender Sallie Mae have at least one credit card--an increase from 76% in 2004. Students use the cards to pay for textbooks, school supplies and commuting costs. The average amount charged by students was $2,200--compared with $942 in 2004, the newspaper said.

Its National Co-op Month

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MADISON, Wis. (10/2/09)--October is National Co-op Month, and resources are available from the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) to help credit unions with activities and celebration ideas. The Credit Union National Association is a member of the NCBA board of directors. The 2009 theme--“Your Values, Your Business!”--emphasizes that doing business with a cooperative means doing business with an entity that shares the same values as most Americans. To promote this year’s theme, the National Co-op Month Committee will use several vehicles to promote co-ops. They include:
* Marketing advertisements--Ad templates that convey a unified message for increasing consumer awareness; * A “group” page on the social networking site Facebook to educate consumers about Co-op Month and cooperative business; * Status updates on co-ops through social networking site Twitter; * Co-op themed promotional items to increase awareness of cooperatives available on Zazzle.com; * A Day in the Life, a publication available for download at Lulu.com and that can be distributed to members; and * A redesigned website, go.coop, for information about cooperative business.
For more information, use the link.

Schenk speaks of CU MBL on Marketplace radio

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NEW YORK and MADISON, Wis. (10/2/09)--Credit unions' ability to offer member business loans can help small businesses in a tightening market, Credit Union National Association senior economist Mike Schenk told a public radio audience on "Marketplace." He was interviewed Wednesday as part of a story about business lending becoming rarer, now that the CIT Group--the nation's largest lender to small and medium sized businesses--is scrambling to work out a deal with its bondholders to stay out of bankruptcy. CIT, which lends up to 70% of the funds businesses borrow, had earlier received $2 billion in funds from the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). If that deal doesn't gel, CIT would become one the of biggest bankruptcies in the nation. A CIT failure would jolt the still-fragile economy, Schenk told senior business correspondent Bob Moon. "It would more than likely cause some small businesses to go out of business themselves. The key for any small business at this point is to be looking for alternatives." Schenk said there aren't many places for small businesses to go to get loans. Credit unions can help businesses with some types of business loans. "We keep stepping to the plate and helping these folks out as much as we can. Loans at credit unions--business loans--actually grew 14% in the 12 months ending June." For the full story, use the resource link.