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Guam CU aims to be first certified commercial green building in country

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MAITE, Guam (10/25/10)--Coast360 FCU hopes to be the first commercial building in Guam to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as environmentally friendly. The new three-story, 49,000-square-foot headquarters’ building in Maite, Guam, provides several green solutions to reduce its environmental footprint (Pacific Daily News Oct. 21). Among the feaures are:
* Outside, a rooftop garden over the drive-up window lanes makes it cooler for members driving up to do their banking; members with low-emission vehicles have their own parking spots; and customers with electric cars can park near a recharging station to power up while they’re inside. * Inside, large wind-resistant windows let in the natural light, lowering the use of electricity; and a rainfall retrieval system catches rainwater to be used for watering drought-resistant plants and providing water for restrooms.
The certification process can take up to eight months. Once the entire process is finished, Coast360 FCU said it hopes to be able to hang the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified silver plaque on its sustainable lumber walls.

Filene report maps Walmarts banking moves

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MADISON, Wis. (10/25/10)--Filene Research Institute’s latest report maps out the shape of Walmart’s retail financial services footprint in the U.S. and Mexico, going on to suggest that the world’s largest retailer has much more in store. The Blended Walmart Business Model, by Filene Research Fellow Robert Manning, knits together the many angles of Walmart’s involvement in banking services: from its 2007 charter travails to its foray into Mexican banking and to its long-term strategy of providing financial services--with or without a formal bank charter. In the report, Manning studies Walmart’s claims of low-price leadership in financial services and its retuned approach of offering financial products through partnerships in the U.S. and through an independent charter in Mexico. Highlights from the report include:
* Walmart still wants a bank charter. The potential from finance and penalty fees combined with interchange fee savings’ could easily garner more than $1.3 billion annually from Walmart’s payment card system and portfolio of customer credit card balances. * Walmart already offers a compelling range of benefits to potential banking customers: convenient locations and hours, welcoming atmosphere, familiar customer service, straightforward fees and fast transactions. * Walmart is targeting finance because it pays. The profit margins of Walmart’s traditional retail sales average 23.7% gross and 3.5% net, whereas the averages for comparable financial services companies range from 14% to 38% gross and 6% to 9% net.
Manning makes a case that Walmart’s plan is advancing even without a U.S. bank charter. Today, the retailer mainly offers ancillary financial products, but it may soon operate in the more traditional business model of deposits and loans, said Filene.

SECU annual meeting boasts 1000 attendees

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RALEIGH, N.C. (10/22/10--State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) welcomed more than 1,000 member-owners for its 2010 Annual Meeting, Oct. 12, in Greensboro, N.C. The meeting featured a luncheon and educational workshops for SECU Advisory board and Loan Review committee volunteers. Guest speaker Patrick Adams, president of St. Louis Community CU, empowered luncheon attendees, and volunteer educational sessions highlighted a variety of topics including fraud prevention, SECU services provided to members at various life stages, and newer SECU products and initiatives to combat overdrafts. The day concluded with the general membership meeting for all SECU members, with Board of Director’s Chair Jim Barber presiding over the event. During the general meeting, Barber presented an overview of the SECU’s fiscal health and stability, along with updates on previous and current year initiatives. “With the ongoing economic crisis, members are looking to do business with an institution on which they can trust and depend--folks that put members first,” Barber said. “That’s why SECU’s unique credit union model is so successful in today’s financial marketplace. With fair treatment of members, continued financial stability, low-cost services, a desire to help others and tremendous branch convenience, SECU truly is serving all of North Carolina.” Joining Barber during the general meeting, SECU Foundation Chair Shirley Bell highlighted numerous Foundation initiatives from the past fiscal year. “Through the SECU Foundation, SECU members collectively invest in the future of North Carolina," Bell said. "Whether in the field of education, housing, health or human services, large-scale projects are being accomplished with much enthusiasm and excitement.” A video pictorial featuring the statewide projects of the member-funded Foundation also was presented to attendees.

Entrepreneur 8 wins Biz Kid contest

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NEW BERLIN, Wis. (10/25/10)--Landmark CU in New Berlin, Wis., is honoring some special kids who have started their own businesses and created their own jobs. Addie Buege, age 8, of Wauwatosa, is a great example. She is the grand prize winner in the Landmark CU Biz Kid$ Essay Contest for young entrepreneurs age 8-15.
Click to view larger image Winners in New Berlin, Wis.-based Landmark CU’s Biz Kid$ Essay Contest for young entrepreneurs age 8-15 were, from left: Kevin Mikolajczak, Bryce Jurss, Addie Buege, Jenna Gazzana and Lawrence Bell. (Photo provided by LandMark CU)
Buege’s business is called “Pretty U Boutique”. She makes hair accessories and sells them at farmers’ markets. “This is the type of entrepreneurial spirit we were looking for with our Biz Kid$ Essay Contest,” said Ron Kase, Landmark’s president. “All the entries are delightful and show how clever and industrious kids can be. Landmark supports small business and supports youth financial literacy. This essay contest is a fun way to promote both at the same time,” he added. There are 12 winners in all, with Buege receiving the $500 Grand Prize. Four runner-up prizes of $100 each were awarded to:
* Jenna Gazzana, age 11, of Germantown, Wis., for her “Charity Helpers”, selling jewelry, bookmarks, etc.; * Bryce Jurss, age 13, of Hartford, Wis., for his video productions, conversions, photography and sound track editing business; * Kevin Mikolajczak, age 13, of Milwaukee, for CiedWeb, Inc., a graphic design and tech support and training business; and * Lawrence Bell, age 15, of Milwaukee, for Belltown Productions, his special-occasion photography and videography business.
Seven honorable mention prizes of $25 each were awarded to:
* Rylee Smith, age 10, from Milwaukee, for “RyleeCakes”, selling brownies, cookies and cakes using less sugar and organic ingredients; * Payton Fitzgerald, age 9, of Milwaukee, for her bottle-cap necklaces and ornaments; * Lora Fetzer, age 10, of Brookfield, Wis., for her J.O. Jewelry; * Hunter Tunnicliff, of Waukesha, Wis., age 14, for his Online Training/Pro Web Design business; * Christopher Kneiser, of Oconomowoc, Wis., age 12, for his Lemonade Stand; * Luis Gomez of Milwaukee, age 9, for his J.R’s card, toys, lollipops business; and * Michael Tiffany, of Kenosha, Wis., for his “Church on the Go” business.
Entries were judged on the success of the business, the creativity/originality of the business, and the organization/legibility of the submitted entry materials. Judges were Paula Kiely, director of the Milwaukee Public Library and Tim Greinert, president of Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, Inc. Landmark CU, sponsor of the Biz Kid$ Essay Contest, also sponsors the Biz Kid$ TV program on Milwaukee’s PBS station.

Two more nominations for CUNA Board

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MADISON, Wis. (10/25/10)--Two more nominations have been received for seats on the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) board of directors. The most recent nominations were for Patrick J. Drennen, CEO of 1st Gateway CU, Camanche, Iowa, for the District 4, Class A seat; and Robert Falk, president/CEO of Purdue Employees FCU, West Lafayette, Ind., for the District 2, Class B seat. The nominations bring the total nominations to 13 for board seats. Drennen will be running against Dennis A. Fisher, president/CEO, First Security CU, Lincolnwood, Ill., Brian Smith-Vandergriff, board member of Catholic Family CU, Kansas City, Mo., and Patricia A. Wesenberg, governmental affairs liaison, Marshfield (Wis.) Medical Center CU, for the District 4, Class A seat. That’s the only contested race in the elections. The deadline for nominations was Friday. Voting will take place from Wednesday through Dec. 17. Nominations also have been received for:
* Jeff York, president/CEO of CoastHills FCU, Lompoc, Calif., District 6, Class B seat; * Stephen G. Behler, president/CEO of Kemba CU, West Chester, Ohio, District 2, Class B seat; * Brett Martinez, president/CEO, Redwoods CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., running for a District 6, Class C seat in a special election; * Harriet May, president/CEO, GECU, El Paso, Texas, District 5, Class C. May is currently CUNA's chairman; * Paul Gentile, president/CEO, New Jersey Credit Union League, Hightstown, N.J., District 1, Class D; * Ed Williams, president/CEO, Discovery FCU, Wyomissing, Pa., for District 1, Class A; * Wendell Lyons, president/CEO of the Kentucky Credit Union League, District 2, Class D; and * Maurice Smith, CEO, Local Government FCU, Raleigh, N.C., District 3, Class C.
Positions up for election are:
* District 1, Class A; * District 1, Class D; * District 2, Class B; * District 2, Class D; * District 3, Class C; * District 4, Class A; * District 5, Class C; and * District 6, Class B.
There is one special election: CUNA's current District 6, Class C director will step down from the board at the end of this year. The successful candidate in that election will be seated Jan. 1 and serve through the 2012 CUNA Annual General Meeting. The others elected will take office Feb. 28 and serve a three-year term that expires at the adjournment of the 2014 CUNA Annual General Meeting.

WOCCUs Kuehn named to Co-op Hall of Fame

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MADISON, Wis. (10/25/10)--Stanley Kuehn, who heads World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) development program in Ethiopia, and his wife, Gloria, have been named to the National Cooperative Business Association's (NCBA) Cooperative Hall of Fame. The Kuehns will be formally inducted at the annual Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony on May 4 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Dan Mica, former Credit Union National Association president/CEO, also will be inducted during the ceremony.
Click to view larger image The World Council of Credit Union’s Stanley Kuehn and his wife, Gloria, pictured above in Kenya, will soon be inducted into the National Cooperative Business Association’s Cooperative Hall of Fame. They have worked in international agricultural development with small farmers for more than 25 years. (Photo provided by World Council of Credit Unions)
“We are very proud of Stanley and Gloria and our former colleague Dan Mica and pleased that NCBA has recognized their lifetime of achievements,” said Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO. “Their accomplishments tell a story of an ongoing commitment to the betterment of humankind, a commitment we know will continue at WOCCU.” Working as a family “team” of cooperative developers, the Kuehns have more than 25 years of experience working in Latin America with small farmers to grow non-traditional and organic crops to meet new and growing markets. They worked in El Salvador and Nicaragua during Stanley's tenure as country director in NCBA’s international development program and often faced civil unrest, the threat of terrorism and war in order to complete their work. Since joining WOCCU in June 2009, Stanley has supported agricultural development in Kenya through the country's savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs). In May 2010, he was named WOCCU's country representative in Ethiopia and project director for “Enhancing Food Security and Rural Livelihoods in Ethiopia through Agricultural and Credit Union Development,” a program supported by funds earned through the monetization of wheat provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The new assignment further demonstrates his belief in the cooperative model. “Co-ops provided an organized and structured platform with members in position to provide valuable services to its base,” Kuehn was quoted as saying in a 1992 interview for the publication Co-ops in Crisis Countries. “Their staff can be immediately trained to provide much-needed food, technical assistance and training to members and surrounding communities.” Mica, who retired in July, had been at CUNA's helm since 1996. During his 14-year tenure, the former congressman led a number of hard-fought legal and regulatory initiatives that helped raise credit unions' visibility and respect not only in Washington, D.C., but on the consumer front as well. Joining the Kuehns and Mica for induction will be civil rights movement pioneer Shirley Sherrod, appointed as the Georgia state director of USDA Rural Development by the Obama Administration in 2009, and cooperative pioneer Noel Estenson, retired CEO of CENEX.