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Colo. police probe thousands of stolen debit card numbers

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (10/19/09)--Colorado Springs, Colo. police are investigating the thefts of thousands of debit card numbers stolen from members and customers of at least five financial institutions--including three credit unions--serving the area. Police spokesman Lt. David Whitlock said "thousands" were victims of the theft, but said police are still putting together the situation (The Gazette Oct. 16). The three credit unions named in the report were Ent FCU in Colorado Springs, Security Service FCU in San Antonio, and Air Academy FCU, in Colorado Springs. The other two institutions were not named. The $2.852 billion asset Ent FCU began notifying between 1,500 and 1,700 cardholders Oct. 10 that their numbers had been compromised. About 150 had fraudulent transactions posted to their accounts, the credit union told the Gazette. Security Service FCU, which has $5.264 billion in assets, said about 200 cards issued to its Colorado Springs area members were affected. The $464.6 million asset Air Academy FCU told the newspaper the security breach occurred at a local merchant. Fewer than 100 cardholders served by the credit union were affected.

Its National Protect Your ID Week

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WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (10/19/09)--This week is National Protect Your Identity Week, and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is marking the event with a webinar Wednesday on identity theft fraud. The webinar, "Scammed, Spammed and Stung: Protect Your Credit Union and Your Members from ID Theft Fraud," will be at from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (CT). It is sponsored by CUNA Strategic Services, CUNA and three strategic alliance providers. Topics covered include:
* Anti-money laundering and fraud deterrence; * Network and information security; * Identity theft protection; and * Consumer education.
The week is sponsored by the National Foundation of Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), and supported by members of the Protect Your Identity Week Coalition, which includes CUNA. Many organizations will have educational events and document shredding activities to make consumers more aware of how they can protect their identity. NFCC notes that nearly 10 million Americans were victims of identity theft fraud in 2008--an increase of 22% over 2007. Last year financial institutions lost an estimated $4,800 per victim. It takes a victim an average of 44 hours to recover from identity theft. According to a report from Javelin Strategy and Research, low-tech methods are still the most popular method for identity thieves. Of the cases where consumers knew how their identity was compromised, stolen wallets and physical documents accounted for 43% of all identity theft, while online methods were responsible for 11% of theft.

CU System briefs (10/16/2009)

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* GREENSBORO, N.C. (10/19/09--North Carolina Credit Union League (NCCUL) President/CEO John Radebaugh won the Executive of the Year Award for 2009-2010 from the Winston-Salem Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). The award is given by each of the more than 600 chapters of IAAP each year in recognition of an executive’s interest and support of their administrative staff person through support of their membership in IAAP and support of their continuing education endeavors. NCCUL Director of Administration Frances Moore, who is a member of the IAAP, submitted Radebaugh for the award. In her nomination essay, Moore noted that Radebaugh “is a strong advocate for our members both locally, nationally and internationally. Although executive of the state’s organization, [Radebaugh] is involved with many other affiliated organizations across the nation and tirelessly defends our purpose” (Weekly Update Oct. 15) … * HONOLULU (10/19/09)-- The University of Hawaii FCU (UHFCU) has named Jeanine M. Morse as its next CEO, effective Dec. 16. She replaces Ariel Chun, who is retiring. Morse currently works as UHFCU’s director of sales and service. Previously, she worked as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Premier Community CU in Stockton, Calif., and executive vice president for The Golden One CU in Sacramento. She also is secretary of the Oahu Chapter of the Hawaii Credit Union League. UHFCU, Honolulu, services the faculty, staff, students and alumni of the University of Hawaii and its affiliated colleges. UHFCU has $394 million in assets ... * WASHINGTON (10/19/09)--Six credit unions are included in the NCB Co-0p 100, which lists the nation's top 100 revenue-earning cooperative businesses, totaling $209 billion in 2008. In the Finance category, CoBank, Greenwood Village, Colo., and Navy FCU, Merrifield, Va., were the top revenue earners, with $2.7 billion each in revenues. CoBank was No. 14 on the Top 100 list and Navy Federal was No. 15. Other credit unions on the list were U.S. Central FCU, Lenexa, Kan. ranked 28; Western Corporate FCU (WesCorp), San Dimas, No. 54; State Employees' CU, Raleigh, N.C., No. 58; Pentagon FCU, Alexandria, Va., No. 75; and BECU, Tukwila, Wash., No. 94 … * RALEIGH, N.C. (10/19/09)-- State Employees' CU members through the SECU Foundation are providing funding for a $1.1 million, 0% interest construction loan to assist in renovating a building in Winston-Salem, N.C., to benefit pregnant and teen mothers. The Reynolds Cottage building will be renovated with six one-bedroom suites, two efficiency apartments and common areas for residents including a kitchen, dining area, living and recreation rooms, and laundry facilities. It will be called "My Aunt's House." SECU is partnering with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency to support the project, which is sponsored by The Children's Home, a non profit that provides housing and services to youth (Photo provided by State Employees' CU) …

Delaware league to vote on dues restructuring

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (10/19/09)--The Delaware Credit Union League (DCUL) will vote on a change in the league dues structure at a special meeting Oct. 30. The meeting will permit member credit unions to vote on the recommendation of the DCUL board of directors on a proposed dues formula and cap changes (Together Oct. 15). The meeting will be held at Dover (Del.) FCU. Each credit union must provide credentials for two voting delegates or alternates to the league. Each credit union CEO and board chair received a packet of information, including details about each credit union’s financial responsibility if the dues increase passes, the league said.

Ohio CUs seek public deposits law banks oppose it

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (10/19/09)--The Ohio Credit Union League is working to change a state law so credit unions can begin accepting deposits from public entities, which bankers oppose. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus), would make credit unions eligible depositories for communities, schools and other public systems. The bill is expected to be introduced “soon,” John Kozlowski, Ohio league counsel, told News Now. This is the second time the league has tried to pass legislation to help credit unions accept public deposits. The last attempt was in 2004. The league is looking to help credit unions accept public deposits because a lot of local communities, schools, municipalities and townships have come to the state’s credit unions looking to do business. “The credit unions are being approached [by public entities], and they want to serve the community,” Kozlowski said. Many public entities also want to diversify their deposits because of concerns regarding deposit insurance, Kozlowski said. The league also believes that public entities should have a choice when making deposits and should not be restricted by an “archaic” law, Kozlowski said. He estimated that there are about 20 or more states that allow credit unions to accept public deposits. Banks argue that credit unions should not be able to accept public deposits because they are tax-exempt. “Credit unions do pay taxes but not the same as bankers,” Kozlowski said. He noted that credit unions’ tax exemption is structured differently because it is a nonprofit organization. Credit unions pay rural property taxes, which benefit schools and towns. Also, there are nonprofit hospitals and nursing homes in Ohio that receive money from the state through a cooperative structure, he added. The league is hopeful that the bill will pass and it will continue to work on the issue. “It’s important that entities want to keep their money where credit unions are,” Kozlowski said. “Credit unions make a difference in Ohio citizens’ lives.”

Mich. lawmaker CUs have best grassroots advocacy

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LANSING, Mich. (10/19/09)--The Michigan Credit Union League's (MCUL) Capitol Day grassroots lobbying luncheon Wednesday saw a strong turnout, proving Michigan credit unions are making their relationships with lawmakers a high priority. And, judging from the kudos received from lawmakers, the legislature is taking their credit union constituents' concerns seriously, said MCUL.
With Michigan's House Resolution for Credit Union Week are (from left) E&A CU Executive Vice President Michelle Myrick, State Rep. Andy Coulouris, State Rep. Dan Scipps, and Michigan Credit Union League President/CEO David Adams.
Michigan State Rep. Vincent Gregory (left), D-Southfield, mingles with credit union attendees at the Michigan Credit Union League's Capitol Day Wednesday. (Photos provided by the Michigan Credit Union League).
More than 80 legislators and staffers attended the event in Lansing with about 86 credit union people, who discussed issues affecting the industry against the backdrop of International Credit Union Week. After lunch, Credit Union Week resolutions and a proclamation were presented by State Sen. Alan Sanborn (R-Richmond Township), State Reps. Andy Coulouris (D-Saginaw) and Dan Scipps (D-Leland), and Jerome Marks from the office of Gov. Jennifer Granholm. All three lawmakers expressed a positive message about credit unions, said the league, but Coulouris, also chairman of the House Banking and Financial Services Committee, "heaped praise on the industry's advocacy efforts and the role of the state economy," said MCUL. "You're probably going to think what I'm about to say to you I say to all the girls, but I don't," Coulouris told the group. "You have, bar none, the best grassroots advocacy team in the state. Nobody does a better job advocating in Lansing, and nobody does a better job advocating in our districts. You make our jobs as proponents of credit unions easy," Coulouris said. "It's a lot easier for me to get my colleagues to support your interests and our state's interests when you do such a good job on my behalf speaking to them in your districts. We live in a time where trust is hard to come by, and you stand alone in your ability to instill that trust again. The role that credit unions play in their communities as beacons of trust, of bedrocks that the people we represent know they can count on--that role is so important and has never been more critical." Before the luncheon, credit union attendees convened for a Government and Political Affairs Forum and a briefing on important legislation that could impact credit unions. These included account inactivity fees (Senate Bill 772), account error notification (Senate Bill 779) and financial elder abuse (House Bill 5187). Bills addressing financial privacy and an annual political action committee signature requirement also were covered. "The large attendance by lawmakers shows that the Michigan legislature views credit unions as an important part of our state economy and vital for consumers as trustworthy financial service providers," said MCUL President/CEO David Adams. "It's encouraging to see this high level of credit union participation, also." Coulouris also thanked Adams and MCUL's government affairs team for their role in the creation this year of a new law that temporarily freezes the foreclosure process while lenders and borrowers work out a plan, among other measures. He cited this law as "one of the most important things [the state has] done this year in response to the foreclosure crisis."

WOCCU member groups launch European CU network

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (10/19/09)--The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and six European credit union organizations last week
Click to view larger image European Parliament member Marian Harkin, Ireland, co-hosted a European Credit Union Network meeting in Brussels last week to launch the European Network of Credit Unions.
Click to view larger image "Credit unions have operated with sound regulatory and internal standards," the National Association of Cooperative Savings & Credit Unions’ Grzegorz Bierecki told participants at the European Network of Credit Unions breakfast.
Click to view larger image “We welcome the launch of the new organization representing credit unions,” Malcolm Harbour, chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, told the European Network of Credit Unions. (Photos provided by World Council of Credit Unions)
launched the European Network of Credit Unions. The network will serve as a platform to exchange information among member organizations and speak in a unified voice about issues affecting European credit unions. The network convened its first meeting at a Tuesday breakfast dedicated to presentations on responsible lending in Brussels. European Parliament members Marian Harkin, Ireland, and Jacek Kurski, Poland, co-hosted the event. “For the past five years, we have been working together to create a greater awareness of the contributions credit unions make to the European Union,” said Dave Grace, WOCCU vice president of association services and as the network's vice president. “This is a historic day for European credit unions because the network will strengthen the role credit unions play in providing important financial service alternatives to European citizens.” More than 40 people attended the meeting. They included 14 members of the European Parliament, four members of the European Commission and three from the Council of Ministers. Speaking about responsible lending were Grzegorz Bierecki, second vice chairman of WOCCU’s board and president of the National Association of Cooperative Savings & Credit Unions (NACSCU), WOCCU’s member organization in Poland; and Mick McAteer, director of the United Kingdom’s Financial Inclusion Centre, an independent research and policy innovation think tank dedicated to promoting fair, affordable financial services and an efficient, accountable financial system. Both speakers stressed the importance of sound lending practices, especially in light of the ongoing global economic crisis. Credit unions have an important role to play in maintaining economic stability, especially on behalf of their members, the speakers said. “In analyzing the causes of the financial crisis, it is clear one of the focal points has been the provision of unsustainable credit,” Bierecki said. “Credit unions have not been involved in the subprime market in the European Union. Instead, credit unions have operated with sound regulatory and internal standards in place that guarantee responsible lending to members.” The response to the session and the network's formation was positive among officials present at the breakfast, WOCCU said. “We welcome the launch of a new organization representing credit unions in Europe and look forward to working with them,” said Malcolm Harbour, chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee. In addition to WOCCU and NACSCU, WOCCU member groups that participate in the network include the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd.; the Central Federation of Romanian Credit Unions; the Estonian Union of Credit Cooperatives; the Irish League of Credit Unions; and Macedonia's FULM Savings House. The six European organizations represent more than 1,000 credit unions serving 5.5 million members. For more information, use the link.