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CU System briefs (10/13/2010)

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* MADISON, Wis. (10/14/10)—Kim Sponem, president of Madison, Wis.-based Summit CU, has added the title of CEO, effective Oct. 1, following Andy Faust’s planned retirement on Sept. 30. Sponem was president/CEO of Great Wisconsin CU (formerly CUNA CU) for more than six years until it merged with Summit CU in 2008. The $1.5 billion asset credit union has more than 118,000 members and 24 locations in the Madison and Milwaukee areas (Wisconsin State Journal Oct. 12) … * LANSING, Mich. (10/14/10)--Catherine Roberts, former CEO of Research FCU and Community Choice CU, Farmington Hills, Mich., has achieved the designation of international credit union development educator (DE) from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, according to the Michigan Credit Union League (Michigan Monitor Oct. 11). “Credit unions around the world share the same passion and enthusiasm for the credit union movement as we do,” Roberts said. The next DE class will be in April 2011 at the Credit Union National Association’s Madison, Wis., offices. Roberts is a member of the World Council of Credit Unions’ board … * NASHVILLE, Tenn. (10/14/10)--Jimmie Watson Bearden, former CEO of AEDC FCU in Tullahoma, Tenn., for a number of years, died Monday in Murfreesboro, Tenn. She was 77. She is survived by two sons, a daughter and three grandchildren. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at the First United Methodist Church, Tullahoma, with visitation Saturday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Tullahoma Funeral Home (The Tennessean Oct. 13) …

Text banking launched at UW CU

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MADISON, Wis. (10/14/10)--—UW CU has launched Text Banking, a new online banking feature for its members, the credit union announced Wednesday. Text banking is a free service that allows members to interact with and manage their UW CU accounts using text messages on their mobile phones. Members can perform common banking functions--such as checking balances on their accounts, transferring money between accounts and initiating Money Link--without having to log in to Web Branch, said the Madison, Wis.-based credit union. To use the service, members must have a text messaging (SMS) service and sign up through Web Branch. “We created this system so members can manage their accounts effectively, wherever they go--even if they don’t have Web access,” said Eric Bangerter, director of Internet Services at UW CU. “For instance, in the past, if members received an automatic low balance alert via text message, they had to log in to the Web Branch, either at a computer or with their Web-enabled mobile device with Mobile Banking.” Now, they can text a command to the credit union and transfer funds between accounts, with funds available immediately, Bangerter said. “For many people, it isn’t easy to keep on top of their finances,” said Paul Kundert, president/CEO of UW CU. “We’re providing this tool so people can check balances and transfer funds wherever they go.”

Dudley gains CU support in Oregon gubernatorial race

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (10/14/10)--Political newcomer Chris Dudley has won the support of the Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO) in the state’s gubernatorial race. Dudley, a former professional basketball player with the Portland Trailblazers, won the Republican nomination last May in a fiercely contested primary, said CUAO. He has not held political office before, but the association said its board believes he offers a fresh perspective on many issues facing the state. “Our board has great respect for former Gov. (John) Kitzhaber and what he has done for the state,” said Pam Leavitt, CUAO’s vice president/governmental affairs. “But in these unprecedented times our board believes that Mr. Dudley is best suited to help unify citizens and seek common ground in what has become a very partisan atmosphere over the last few years.”

TCUF grants total over 203234 for 2010

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (10/14/10)--A grant to Unity One CU in Fort Worth, Texas, is the latest from the Texas Credit Union Foundation (TCUF), which has made 74 grants to credit unions, chapters and local partners totaling more than $203,234 in 2010. The grants provide credit union training and education, financial education initiatives and local outreach programs (LoneStar Leaguer Oct. 13). Unity One CU received its $2,500 grant for $2,500 to sponsor its “Build Your Own Credit Union Program,” which introduces teens to the importance of being financially literate through hands-on education. Students interact with members of the business sector, who provide real life situations and share their expertise in their fields. The students also serve as an informal focus group to help the credit union identify products and services to attract members from GenY and beyond. TCUF also provided 41 Southwest CUNA Management School scholarships totaling $51,246 to 15 first-year students, 12 second-year students and 14 third-year students. “This year has been one of change, from the economical standpoint through the operations within the industry, but it was one that the foundation took extra steps to provide exceptional training and assistance through,” said Courtney Nickles, executive director of TCUF. “We’ve taken financial literacy to the classrooms of hundreds of schools around the state, brought our efforts to a global audience in Belize and have made plans to make 2011 even more successful.” TCUF also administers the Community Investment Fund (CIF) Grants program on behalf of the Texas Credit Union League. Throughout the year, it has made 66 grants totaling $123,795 to credit unions for training and education, small credit union workshops, system upgrades, audits, planning sessions, equipment and a scholarship to attend the Development Educator Program. The foundation also has a new video, “Together We Make a Difference,” which details exceptional results that are gained when credit unions, their members and their communities are engaged and the efforts of TCUF during 2010. It can be viewed at TCUF’s website.

State-level candidates receive MarylandDC CUs support

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COLUMBIA, Md. (10/14/10)--The Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association (MDDCCUA) has given support to several state-level candidates in the November elections. The MDDCCUA board has endorsed Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot as he seeks re-election. It named him to “Friend of Credit Unions” status. “Maryland credit unions strongly approve of the work that Comptroller Franchot has done over the past four years,” said MDDCCUA Interim CEO Jennifer Simmons. “Credit unions have been particularly thankful of Franchot’s passion for financial literacy education, and look forward to continuing to work with him on ensuring that Maryland public high school students graduate with a firm understanding of how to properly manage one’s finances.” The board also has voted to endorse Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler for re-election and bestowed upon him the “Friend of Credit Unions” status. “Maryland credit unions believe that Attorney General Gansler is a strong advocate for consumers,” said Simmons. “We hope to forge a strong working relationship with the Attorney General as credit unions work to deliver the best possible services for consumers.” The board also endorsed 40 candidates seeking seats in the Maryland General Assembly under the “Friend of Credit Unions” status.

Aldi data breach prompts account closures

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MADISON, Wis. (10/14/10)--A data breach at Aldi’s grocery stores as a result of tampered debit card payment terminals at some stores has affected many financial institutions, including at least one credit union. ESL FCU, a $3.74 billion-asset credit union based in Rochester, N.Y., shut off 3,700 member debit cards Saturday to prevent infiltration of accounts, said ESL spokeswoman Francine Patella Ryan (Democrat & Chronicle Oct. 13). The credit union has been reviewing account activity for unusual transactions, the newspaper added. The breach has occurred in at least 11 states, according to Aldi’s website, but could be even more widespread. Aldi said its machines were tampered with between June 1 and Aug. 31 ( Oct. 2). Roughly 200 people notified authorities that unauthorized withdrawals ranging from $100 to $900 were taken from their accounts, the Chicago Tribune reported (via Aldi operates more than 1,100 U.S. stores in 31 states from Kansas to the East Coast.

CUNA Technology Council re-elects executive committee members

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MADISON, Wis. (10/14/10)--The CUNA Technology Council recently re-elected its executive committee. Rudy Pereira, senior vice president of operations and technology, Alliant CU, Chicago, and Butch Leonardson, senior vice president/chief information officer, BECU, Seattle, Wash., were re-elected to the two committee seats up for election. Continuing to serve in leadership roles are Pereira as chair and Robert Reh, chief information officer, Nassau Financial FCU, Westbury, N.Y., as vice chair. John Drago, vice president of information technology at the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, was appointed to serve as the leagues’ representative to the executive committee. Other executive committee members include:
* Jennifer Weiss, vice president, technology services, Sandia Laboratory FCU, Albuquerque, N.M.: * Jeff Johnson, senior vice president, information technology, Baxter CU, Vernon Hills, Ill.; * Heather Moshier, executive vice president, information technology, San Diego County CU; * Belinda Caillouet, vice president, information technology, Spokane (Wash.) Teachers CU; and * Chad Graves, vice president, information technology, Ent FCU, Colorado Springs, Colo.

MDDCCUA endorses Kratovil other candidates for Congress

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COLUMBIA, Md. (10/14/10)--The board of directors of the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association (MDDCCUA) voted to endorse U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-Md.) and designate him with “Friend of Credit Unions” status. “Congressman Kratovil has been an independent thinker and a very approachable member of the Maryland congressional delegation,” said MDDCCUA Interim CEO Jennifer Simmons. “We look forward to continuing to work with the congressman to improve the lives of the residents of the First District.” In its endorsement of Kratovil, the board noted how he was willing to meet with credit union members and staff to discuss many issues, including his support for an increase in lending to small businesses. Also, the board was impressed by Kratovil’s ability to work across party lines to ensure that the interests of his district were best represented. “Congressman Kratovil has shown that it is possible to be a strong voice for consumers by being willing to work with Democrats, Republicans, and community and business leaders,” Simmons said. “Because of his non-partisan style of leadership, Maryland credit unions hope to continue their strong working relationship with Congressman Kratovil in the years to come.” “By extending credit to homeowners and small businesses, credit unions are playing an important role in our economic recovery, and I look forward to continuing to work with the district's credit unions in the months ahead to get our economy back on track,” Kratovil said. Kratovil is one of nine candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives to receive the MDDCCUA “Friend of Credit Unions” designation. The others are:
* Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-5); * Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-2); * Rep. John Sarbanes (D-3): * Rep. Donna Edwards (D-4); * Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-6); * Rep. Elijah Cummings (D -7): * Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-8); and * Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).

Hunt Schrader named Oregons legislators of the year

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (10/14/10)--The Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO) has named Oregon Speaker of the House Dave Hunt (D-Clackamas County) “State Legislator of the Year” and U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) “Federal Legislator of the Year.” Hunt was recognized for his leadership in helping to pass CUAO’s Public Funds Bill in the last special session of the Oregon Legislature. Schrader was honored for his leadership in sponsoring HR 3880, which would increase member business loans. “Both Speaker Hunt and Congressman Schrader have been long-time supporters of credit unions and they have proven that commitment again this last year,” said Pam Leavitt, CUAO vice-president for governmental affairs. Hunt made passing the Public Funds Bill a top priority in the February session. “Speaker Hunt didn’t waver in his support despite the strong rush of opposition from some powerful lobbyists,” said Pat Smith, president/CEO of Unitus Community CU, Portland. The bill will allow government entities to deposit funds such as tax receipts and payroll into credit unions for the first time in the state. “Congressman Schrader has always been there for us,” said Rick Hein, president/CEO of OSU FCU, Corvallis. “To take a leadership role on this important bill, as a freshman in Congress, is quite remarkable.” Schrader was the first member of the Oregon delegation to sign on to the federal legislation to increase the cap on member business loans. “We hope Congressman Schrader will continue to be a strong advocate for the bill in the next Congress and that will help us leverage his support to obtain additional sponsors,” Leavitt said.

CUs prepare for ICU Day next week

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MADISON, Wis. (10/14/10)--Webinars, board games, free credit checks and other innovative events will help credit unions, members and communities celebrate the credit union difference on International Credit Union (ICU) Day, Oct. 21. Leaders from the credit union movement will participate in the free webinar, Celebrating Our Cooperative Heritage , at 3 p.m. ET. The webinar will originate at Credit Union House in Washington, D.C. with host Paul Berry, the voice of the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Home and Family Finance Radio, along with Bill Cheney, president/CEO, CUNA; Pete Crear, president/CEO, World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU); Paul Hazen, president/CEO, National Cooperative Business Association; and Mark Meyer, CEO, Filene Research Institute. Participants can ask questions and make comments throughout the program, which is hosted by the U.S. Credit Union Development Educators and WOCCU. To register, visit the ICU Day webinar site. Credit union plans for celebrating ICU Day across the country often stretch into multiple days or even a full week of activities. Some examples include:
* Volunteers from Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., will appear unannounced at sites throughout the North Bay and San Francisco area on ICU Day to perform good deeds. The $1.7 billion asset credit union announced that its activities will include bagging groceries with free eco-totes at select supermarkets, handing out free lunches, distributing free school supplies at local colleges and paying parking fees for drivers. * A Shred Fest will help members of Ticonderoga (N.Y.) CU learn ways to prevent identity theft. A mobile shredder will be available at three credit union branches on Oct. 18 and 19 to shred paper, folders and envelopes, which will then be recycled. A Ticonderoga CU press release said members who participate are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to local food pantries. The $77.1 million asset credit union will also distribute information on guarding against identity theft and promote e-statements. * Reality-based financial education events will teach money management skills to students in the Columbus, Dayton and Toledo areas in Ohio Oct. 18-22 (eLumination Oct. 6). Miami Valley High School students will play the “Life After High School” board game created by Universal 1 CU, Dayton, to learn how life choices impact their financial future. The Northwest Chapter will guide students with a “real world” simulation called “Finances 101” at Bowling Green State University and schools in central Ohio. The Ohio Credit Union League is joining with the Central Ohio and Miami Valley Chapters to sponsor the events, which rely on financial education initiatives developed for statewide use with Ohio Credit Union Foundation grants. * Forum CU, Indianapolis, will participate in Indiana’s fifth annual Money Smart Week Oct. 18-22. The $999 million asset credit union announced special offers for members that include free credit checks on Oct. 18; a comprehensive budgeting review on Oct. 19; $5 for opening a qualifying savings account on Oct. 20; information about the credit union difference for ICU Day on Oct. 21; and candy, kids’ activities and information on kids’ and teens’ accounts as part of Kids’ Day on Oct. 22. * A pumpkin giveaway, a coloring contest for kids and free doughnuts and cider will highlight week-long ICU events at $335 million-asset Consumers CU, Kalamazoo, Mich., according to a Consumers CU press release. * The Mid-Michigan Chapter of Credit Unions will launch its 18-week sponsorship of the Biz Kids television program on local Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations on Oct. 22. The sponsorship spotlights youth financial literacy and spreads the word about credit unions in the community with an introduction and exit that names the 19 credit unions involved in the chapter. The Mid-Michigan Chapter uses the proceeds of its summer golf outing to support a cooperative community project each year. * Louisiana Credit Union League chapters, like other chapters across the country, will host receptions and dinners to celebrate ICU Day (eNews Sept. 29 and Oct. 6).
CUNA’s ICU Day web site (use the resource link) offers a wide range of ideas for highlighting credit union contributions with community projects, product and services promotions, financial education, and special events. A sampling of ICU Day ideas includes:
* Offering loans or new share draft accounts for the same fees that were charged the year your credit union opened; * Making your credit union into an elementary school field trip destination to help teachers build real-world experience into math lessons; * Telling members about the worldwide credit union movement by serving international foods and displaying posters; * Offering a series of lectures on basic finance topics during the lunch hour or in the evening; * Rewarding employees and recognizing members who provide exceptional service to the community; * Sponsoring a safe Halloween program for local children; * Planting a tree in a nearby park or on your credit union grounds; and * Collecting business clothes to donate to a local organization that helps people prepare for the workplace.