Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive

CU System Archive

CU System

CU System Briefs (10/22/2013)

 Permanent link
  • CLEVELAND, Ohio (10/22/13)--Fugitive credit-union executiveAlex Spirikaitis, former CEO the defunct Cleveland-area credit union, Taupa Lithuanian CU, which regulators shuttered on July 15, has been arrested in Collinwood by FBI agents, reported the Oct. 21 online version of The Plain Dealer. The FBI declined to describe the arrest or to say how they tracked Spirikaitis to the Collinwood area, but did report that the arrest was about 3:15 p.m. local time and that it occurred as the former fugitive walked down a street. The article reported that FBI agent Vicki Anderson said Spirikaitis had significantly changed his appearance by shaving his goatee, losing weight and allowing his formerly shaved hair to grow out. The former credit union exec is wanted for "false credit institution entries" related to the collapse of the $23.6 million-asset credit union ...
  • WASHINGTON (10/22/13)--Consumer Financial Protection Bureau staffers answered frequently asked questions about a variety of rules in a Mortgage Bankers Association webinar last week. Their answers focused on routine queries about mortgage servicing and loan origination rules. Topics included ARMs, prompt crediting, periodic statements, error resolution and information requests, force-placed insurance, general servicing policies, procedures and requirements, early intervention, loss mitigation, the Truth in Lending Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act...
  • NORTH COUNTY, Calif. (10/22/13)--A former employee of Pacific Marine CU, who used to process fraud claims, stands accused of defrauding members herself (San Diego Union-Tribune Oct. 20). Prosecutors have alleged that Schrelle Lachae Malone, 35, secretly activated members' ATM cards to steal approximately $20,000. Pacific Marine sends new ATM cards to members as their current one approaches expiration--they're sent back if the member is serving in the military and on active duty. Malone, a fraud claims clerk at an Oceanside branch, is accused of using 14 of the stored cards to carry out the theft. She worked on the claims of three of her alleged victims, including one case in which she allegedly altered a report to hide an ATM withdrawal. Malone pleaded not guilty last week to 18 charges, and faces a sentence of more than 14 years, if convicted. Pacific Marine CU is based in Oceanside, Calif., and has more than $675 million in assets...
  • WASHINGTON (10/22/13)--The U.S. Department of Treasury has released new educational material for credit unions and others through the Community Development Financial Institution Fund. The information, published in conjunction with the "Stengthening Small and Emerging CDFIs" series, includes training curriculum for organizational growth, effective business models, community development advice, and organizational change management...

In the Media: Government Shutdown, CU House, Great Rates

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (10/22/13)--The Credit Union National Association and credit unions last week received media coverage for helping members navigate the government shutdown, serving the Hispanic market and offering great loan rates.
 
In an article about the government shutdown on CNNMoney, Paul Gentile, CUNA executive vice-president of strategic communications and engagement, described how many credit unions are working with furloughed employees, offering services such as special loan rates, salary equivalent loans and skip-a-payment programs.
 
In an article on Yahoo Finance, Bill Hampel, CUNA chief economist, said "consumer confidence is likely to take a major hit as a result of the government shutdown, and could slow the economy for the rest of the year.
 
HispanicBusiness.com cited Gesa CU, Richland, Wash, for being recognized as with CUNA's Excellence in Technology Award for its digital branch initiative.
 
An article on WRBL News 3 highlighted several Georgia credit unions for their efforst in assisting government employees affected by the shutdown:
Credit unions mentioned include:
  • TIC FCU, Columbus;
  • GeoVista, Hinesville;
  • Associated CU, Norcross; and
  • Robins FCU, Warner Robins.
The Las Vegas Review Journal cited One Nevada CU, Las Vegas, and America First CU , Riverdale, Utah, for offering short-term, interest-free loans to furloughed government employees.

The Sioux Falls Business Journal featured Sioux Falls, S.D.'s Sioux Empire FCU's Black Saturday loan sale, which included 0.75% annual percentage rates for new or used vehicle loans for the first 50 members. The next 50 qualifying members receive rates at 1.50%, and the next 100 members receive 2.25%.

IC FCU Recognized For YouTube Campaign

 Permanent link
FITCHBURG, Mass. (10/22/13)--IC FCU, Fitchburg, Mass., has been recognized by Ragan's PR Daily Digital PR Awards for 2013 in two categories--Best Specialty Campaign and Best Video Marketing Awareness--for its YouTube videos targeting Generation Y.
 
"We were honored and very pleased that the judges of Ragan's PR Daily Digital Awards chose us for these categories over the many that were submitted," said Monica Turner, IC FCU Internet and social media specialist, "We are humbled to be among such notables as Dana Farber, Domino's Pizza and High Tower."
 
The year-long campaign introduced in 2012 consisted of six financial educational videos. Topics included "Credit Unions vs. Big Banks," "Zombie Life Insurance," "The S Word" (S is for Savings), "Budgeting in B Minor," "The Landlord and Broker," and "Credit Card Murphy-Behind the Plastic."
 
The videos went viral and to date have views of over 700,000, with an explosion after release of the final video "Credit Card Murphy."
 
Creators of the videos, James & Matthew + Company, IC FCU with an idea to help raise financial education awareness to the famously sought-after Gen Y population. "With the millions of YouTube videos out there, competing for views can be a difficult task, but adding humor to the educational aspect helped make these videos a huge success, not only because of the viral factor, but because the credit union reported a 51% increase in new Gen Y Members over 2011 where no special Gen Y campaign existed," said Jim Pond of J&M+Co.

JPMorgan Reaches $13 Billion Deal With U.S. Justice Department

 Permanent link
NEW YORK (10/22/13)--JP Morgan Chase has reached $13 billion settlement agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to settle charges that it sold low-quality mortgage-backed securities sold in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.
 
The provisional agreement does not include a criminal investigation of the bank's conduct. The agreement includes $4 billion in relief for unspecified consumers and $9 billion in payments and fines, according to another person briefed on the terms (Bloomberg Oct. 21).  The payouts would cover a $4 billion accord with the Federal Housing Finance Agency over the bank's sale of mortgage-backed securities
 
The bank is expected cooperate in criminal inquiries of individuals involved in the conduct at issue as part of the deal, Bloomberg reported.
 
The broad outline of the deal was reached Friday in a telephone call among U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan General Counsel Stephen Cutler and Associate U.S. Attorney General Tony West. The details of the agreement are still being negotiated.
 
The settlement would represent more than half of JPMorgan's record $21.3 billion profit last year, the article said.
 
JP Morgan, the largest U.S. bank, has run into troubled with multiple federal regulators and authorities in several states and foreign countries over large trading losses, poor risk controls and probes into whether it manipulated financial markets.

PCUA Appoints Young Professional Leadership Council

 Permanent link
HARRISBURG, Pa. (10/22/13)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association announced appointments to its Young Professionals Network (YPN) Leadership Council (Life is a Highway Oct. 21).
 
Young professional groups seek to engage a younger generation of leadership at a time when credit union membership is aging. The average age of an adult credit union member in the U.S. currently stands at 47.9 years old, according the Credit Union National Association.
 
The PCUA Council members include:
  • T.J. Adkinson, assistant branch manager, Members 1st FCU, Mechanicsburg;
  • Amanda Carozza, human resource representative/compliance officer, Eagle One FCU, Philadelphia;
  • April Dunn, web account specialist, Citadel FCU, Exton;
  • Joe Gimble, vice president operations, Superior CU, Collegeville;
  •  Stacy Hovan, comptroller, P & G Mehoopany Employees FCU, Tunkhannock;
  • Melissa Polan, marketing and sales coordinator, Washington (Pa.) Area Teachers FCU; and
  • Michael Williams, director of business development, Widget Financial FCU, Erie.
Council members will represent their regions and promote membership in the association's Young Professionals Network (YPN).

They will also be responsible for attending at least one meeting of each chapter in their designated region; hosting an education seminar/idea sharing event directed to YPN concerns; and promoting YPN membership at meetings and through networking events. Employees and volunteers, ages 18-35, are eligible to join the YPN.
 
The network is a dues-supported initiative of the PCUA. Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU has been a sponsor.

Harley-Davidson Exec: Time For CUs To Roar

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (10/22/13)--Ken Schmidt is Harley-Davidson's brand visionary and communications strategist and he says if he were to open a business in 2013, it would be a credit union.
 
According to the Credit Union National Association's members-only Credit Union Front Line Newsletter, Schmidt believes small community-based businesses can grow by capitalizing on today's anti-big business mindset among consumers. He made his remarks to the 2013 Solutions Conference hosted by Card Services for Credit Unions, a credit union card processing association with over 3000 members.
 
Schmidt presented the following blueprint for member service representatives, the newsletter reported recently:
  • Get people to talk about your credit union and its services with passion. Don't just seek customers, but strive for disciples: members who believe so strongly in your credit union that, without prompting, they'll tell others about their good experiences and your good products and services.
  • Call members by name. "While I finance my bikes with the credit union, I have an account at a major bank that I go into every Friday," Schmidt says. "Do you know what those bank employees think my name is? They think my name is 'Next.' Don't underestimate the importance of using your members' names."
  • Humanize the business. Harley-Davidson learned the hard way that data and numbers alone don't sell a product. That's because most decisions come from the heart or an affinity to something--they're illogical, according to the Harley exec. So, forge a connection with members. "Only one in 100 members will choose a credit card from your credit union because of a brochure you have at the front counter," he says. "But how about saying to members: 'Do you want to see something cool?' No one's going to say 'no' to that. And then you can physically show members a card and explain where and how they can use it to obtain rewards or other benefits."
Use the resource link to subscribe to the newsletter.

Vernon Elliott Honored With Cal./Nev. Leagues' Unsung Hero Award

 Permanent link
ONTARIO, Calif. (10/22/13)--The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues named Vernon Elliott the 2013 recipient of the Unsung Hero Award. The award honors individuals within the credit union industry with at least 20 years of service who also have made significant contributions in the community.
 
Click to view larger image From left, Courtnay Lynch, Xceed Financial FCU vice president of human resources; her father and 2013 California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues Unsung Hero Award recipient Vernon Elliott; Richard Myles Johnson; Lucy Ito, California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues executive vice president/chief operating officer; and Susan Conjurski, league awards committee chairman and CEO, Printing Industries CU, Riverside, Calif. (Photo provided by California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues)
Richard Myles Johnson--who has known Elliott since they were in the Marines in the early 1970s and who led him into a career in the industry--presented Elliott with the award Oct. 18 at the leagues' Ontario, Calif., offices.
 
Attending the presentation were Elliott's wife, Marilyn, and daughter Courtnay Lynch, vice president of human resources for Xceed Financial FCU in El Segundo, Calif., Lucy Ito, leagues executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Susan Conjurski, league awards committee chairman and CEO of Printing Industries CU, Riverside, Calif.
 
Among the credit unions Elliott served throughout his career were San Diego County CU, where he has his first credit union job, TRW Systems CU, Cal Bear CU, Tiger Federal CU, Western CU, Raincross CU, and Pacific Community CU.
 
"I've enjoyed all of my 36-plus years in the credit union industry," Elliott said upon receiving the award. "And I'm proud of my daughter, who is carrying on the tradition."
 
In addition to Elliott's work with various credit unions, he also worked for the California Credit Union League, where he promoted the idea of a credit union ATM network--now known as the CO-OP network. He served on the Operations Committee for Financial Service Centers Cooperative when the company was first established as well as the League's Assembly/board of directors, CUNA board, and CO-OP Financial Services board.
 
Elliott also served on WesCorp's board of directors. He was chairman his last two years on the board.

GoBankingRates.com Highlights CU Community Halloween Events

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (10/22/13)--Always on a quest to reach out to their communities, credit unions around the country are gearing up for Halloween with a number of holiday-themed events, promotions, and contests. And 10 of them were highlighted in a GoBanking.com article called, "10 Best Credit Unions With Ghoulish Halloween Events This Year."
 
"As financial institutions completely invested in the communities they serve, ten local credit unions are also taking part in the Halloween festivities and celebrating the holiday with their valued members," said the article's introduction.

Celebrations include a movie night, a concert, trick-or-treating, costume parties, children's art competitions and a series of races:
  • Bridgewater CU, headquartered in Bridgewater, Mass., is hosting an art contest. Members can submit their children's Halloween-themed drawings for a chance to win a $100 gift card;
  • Collins Community CU, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is hosting safe trick-or-treating, and a charity rock concert for members;
  • Community 1st CU, which serves central Iowa, is hosting a number of parties, including a day-long "Zombiefest" fair on Oct. 26. Some of its branches are also giving away goodie bags and pumpkins to members on Halloween Day;
  • Community Focus FCU, based in the Detroit, Mich.-area, is having a Halloween coloring contest for kids, with winners receiving gift certificates to Toys "R" Us;
  • Dupaco Community CU, headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa, is partnering with a local radio station and a movie theater to screen Hotel Transylvania, with admission costing 92 cents and proceeds going to a local theater company;
  • M-O FCU, based in Huron, S.D., will be having an open house on Halloween day, with costumed characters, and giveaways;
  • Safe Harbor CU, based in Ludington, Mich., will be giving away gifts in exchange for candy donations, which themselves will be given away as part of trick-or-treat bags at the cooperative's second annual Halloween parade;
  • Secured Advantage FCU, based in Simpsonville, S.C., is asking members to submit photos of family members and pets in costume for a chance to win a $50 VISA gift card, with the photo attracting the highest number of "likes" on Facebook winning the prize;
  • Solidarity Community FCU, based in Kokomo, Ind., is having a party for kids, with games, giveaways and a costume contest; and
  • Summit CU, based in Madison, Wisc., is organizing races--a 10k, a 5k and a 5k stroller derby race, and a marathon and a half marathon.