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New $100 Bill Now In Circulation

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WASHINGTON (10/8/13)--The Federal Reserve begins circulating its new $100 bill today, with security features designed to thwart forgery.

The bill has a blue three-dimensional ribbon and holographic imagery less likely to be replicated by counterfeiters than previous versions.

In April, Fed officials accurately predicted that the bill would be released today (News Now April 25).

The new note has been under development for over a decade, and its release had been delayed by the Federal Reserve for two and a half years. Four months before its originally scheduled February 2011 debut, the Fed delayed introducing the note into the money supply, blaming a printing malfunction that caused some bills to be creased and unable to be circulated. In 2012, the Treasury Department's inspector general said that printing problems could have been avoided.

The $100 bill is one of the U.S.'s largest exports. The Federal Reserve estimates that between one-half and two-thirds of the notes in circulation are abroad.

CU System Briefs (10/08/2013)

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  • LATHAM, N.Y. (10/8/13)--Two Brooklyn residents were arrested Friday for allegedly defrauding local credit unions (Albany Times Union Oct. 4). New York state law enforcement officers charged Ronice J. Sahadeo, 32, with attempted grand larceny, forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, criminal possession of stolen property, and attempted identity theft. They also charged Antoine L. Barksdale, 25, with criminal possession of stolen property. The arrests were made after Colonie police received a tip Monday that an individual was allegedly using falsified documents to take out a $25,000 loan from Sunmark FCU in Halfmoon. Officers then investigated allegations of similar crimes at other credit unions in Colonie and Clifton Park, and identified the same woman as a suspect. On Tuesday, Sahadeo allegedly went back to the SEFCU in Halfmoon to ask about the loan, after attempting to withdraw funds from another line of credit at an SEFCU branch in Glenville--a transaction Sunmark denied as suspicious. Glenville police apprehended Sahadeo and Barksdale as they drove to the Clifton Park branch. They allegedly had in their possession money obtained from identity theft committed in New York, Alabama, and North Carolina. The pair's next court appearance is scheduled to take place on Wednesday. SEFCU is based in Latham N.Y., and has $400 million in assets ...
  • BROOKLYN, N.Y. (10/8/13)--Michael E. Fryzel, board member of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), was named an honorary grand marshal of the 2013 Pulkaski Day Parade on Sunday. The annual celebration, held in New York City since 1937, commemorates Kazimierz Pulaski--the Polish brigadier general and Revolutionary War hero who died fighting the British at the Battle of Savanah. Fryzel was presented a sash for the parade by Polish & Slavic FCU CEO Bogdan Chmieleski. "As a Polish-American and the first chairman and board member of Polish descent to serve on the NCUA Board, it was a great honor to be named Honorary Grand Marshall and to walk the parade with you," Fryzel said at the Brooklyn-based credit union on Monday. "The Pulaski Day Parade is just one of many activities Polish & Slavic is involved in. Their scholarship program for students is outstanding and yet another way they take part in the community they serve, truly exemplifying the credit union philosophy of people helping people." ...
  • ROYAL OAK, Mich. (10/8/13)--Michigan credit unions gave $100,000 to Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals, a nationwide alliance of hospitals for kids (Michigan Monitor Oct. 7). The donation was presented at Beaumont Children's Hospital. From left, John Kozich and Judi Desilets of Credit Union ONE, Ferndale: Ken Ross and Stephanie Klocinski of the Michigan Credit Union League; and Dan Davidson from Alliance Catholic CU, Southfield,  presented the gift to Beaumont Foundation manager Lisa Stewart and Matt Romnkey, associate director of the foundation. (Photo provided by the Michigan Credit Union League) ...
  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (10/8/13)--A 57-year-old Alabama man accused of a fraud scheme that involved a Tuscaloosa credit union and the U.S. Small Business Administration is facing 51 charges, a 1,000 year-sentence and up to $35 million in fines, after being indicted by a federal grand jury (Huntsville Times Oct. 6). Danny Ray Butler stands accused of forging and altering documents, and overestimating the cost of a proposal to obtain millions in loans from the SBA, West Alabama Bank and Trust and Alabama One CU, Tuscaloosa, to open a grocery store. After the store was built, Butler allegedly defaulted on the loans, costing the SBA over $1.7 million and the $161 million asset Alabama One CU almost $1.3 million. Butler is also accused of operating a check-kiting scheme, with one account tied to his grocery store, and another tied to a Tuscaloosa used-car lot he owns and operates. The alleged scheme was discovered by Alabama Bank and Trust in February 2012, after Butler allegedly wrote hundreds of fraudulent checks ...

CUAid: Need $100K More For Colorado CU Members' Flood Relief

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MADISON, Wis. (10/8/13)--Colorado credit union members, volunteers and staff affected by recent flooding in that state have requested more than $200,000 in disaster relief, which means at least $100,000 still needs to be collected through, the online disaster relief system. was activated two weeks ago by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) and Mountain West Credit Union Foundation (NWCUF). Since then, they have received more than $200,000 in requests. Currently, NCUF has roughly 40% of the funds needed to meet those requests.
The flooding in Colorado last month destroyed nearly 2,000 homes, damaged another 16,000 homes, and hit hard nearly 1,000 businesses. Highways are just reopening with reduced volume of traffic. Floodind debris is being removed from neighborhoods and business districts, allowing some people to begin rebuilding their lives, personally and professionally. 
Click to view larger image Pictured is the aftermath of flooding to a credit union member's condominium kitchen in Boulder, Colo. For more photos, use the "Photos of Flood's Aftermath" resource link.
"There are numerous folks who are still waiting for the infrastructure necessary to their lives to be rebuilt adequately, allowing them to return to their properties," said Dan Santangelo, executive director of the MWCUF.

"Many people who need help are credit union members. Since our philosophy in credit unions has always been summed up by the phrase 'people helping people,' I'm respectfully, but urgently, asking you to help credit union members in Colorado as they try to move forward from this disaster," he said.
For example, Michelle (last name withheld by request), a 35-year member of Elevations CU in Boulder, lost her home for a second time in the floods. The first time was due to a short sale that she suffered when her income as a realtor decreased 75% during the recession. The September flooding hit her 650 square foot condominium in Boulder with a four foot wall of water, destroying walls, doors and windows, along with all of her uninsured appliances, furnishings and personal belongings.

Click to view larger image This photo shows a bedroom in a Boulder, Colo., credit union member's condominium after floods. For more photos, use the "Photos of Flood's Aftermath" link. (Photos provided by the National Credit Union Foundation)
Michelle has been denied any help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and she is currently living in a motor home on a friend's property. She expects to remain there for the next six to eight months, while her condo is rebuilt. 
"We are hearing hundreds of stories similar to Michelle's and would like to help them with a CUAid grant," noted Santangelo. "Please consider helping Colorado credit union members by making a donation to CUAid."
Credit union supporters in every state can make donations at CUAid is the only program of its kind that enables credit union employees, volunteers, and members, as well as credit unions and credit union organizations across the U.S., to contribute directly to support other credit union people.
As donations are posted through, NCUF is coordinating with the Mountain West foundation in the disaster area to distribute money efficiently to affected credit union employees and members. One hundred percent of the donations through CUAid goes to credit union disaster relief. If all donations are not used for Colorado Flooding relief, NCUF will transfer unused funds to its "General Disaster Relief fund" for future disaster relief efforts.
Organizations and individuals can use a variety of CUAid Web buttons, including those specific to the Colorado Flooding campaign, for their website. Use the link.

In the Media: Furlough Assistance, Economy, CU Benefits

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MADISON, Wis. (10/8/13)--The Credit Union National Association and credit unions weighed in on furlough assistance, the economy and the benefits of credit unions in national media this week.

Furloughs were the big topic as the government shutdown entered into a second week. CUNA Chief Economist told MarketWatch's Breaking News Monday that the effects of the government shutdown are, so far, significant but localized or "micro" rather than "macro." For instance, he said, the shutdown affects 800,000 workers, but that is a few out of a 150 million-worker labor force.

"The shutdown is significant but for a few or a small number," Hampel said.  If it were to last the whole month, the economic growth--which is currently 2%--might drop to 1.9%--which would not be game-changing, he said.  However, not meeting the deadline for the federal deficit is a "completely different matter." Use the link to hear the conversation.

Credit unions are quick to offer assistance to members in times of trouble because they are " in touch with the needs of their members," said Paul Gentile, CUNA' executive vice president of strategic communications and engagement, in an article on Monday  about how financial institutions are helping consumers during the government shutdown.
"You'll find that credit unions are much more organized and much more responsive when it comes to something like this because of their experiences with it," Gentile added. He noted many credit union members are government employees who have been furloughed before.
Among those cited as examples of financial institutions with policies designed to help affected federal workers were:
  • Andrews FCU, Suitland, Md., offering bridge loans of up to $5,000 to qualified members. The loans are interest-free for 90 days. After that, usual interest rates apply.
  • Hanscom FCU, Hanscom AFB, Mass., offering federal employees up to a $5,000 line of credit extended if their checking accounts become overdrawn. The credit line is interest-free for 60 days. The credit union is also waiving penalty fees for withdrawals from certificates of deposit, the article said.
See related News Now story, CUs Offering Help To Furloughed  Fed Employees, by using the link.

More stories about the shutdown and what credit unions are doing to help have appeared  in American Banker, Yahoo!Finance, Politico, Money Talks News, BBJ Today, Des Moines Register and WDRBNews.
Also, in the media:
  • The Daily Rundown featured cooperatives offering health insurance in 23 states;
  • Daily noted secured cards issued by credit unions are most likely to be fee-free; and
  • Politix reminded readers that credit unions did not cause the financial crisis.
Use the "In the Media" link to access most of the stories.

Most Common Consumer Complaint: Big Banks' Checking Accounts

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LANSING, Mich. (10/8/13)--Credit unions have another round to add to the stockpile of reasons credit unions are a better value for consumers than banks are.  Banks--especially big ones--have generated the most consumer complaints since March 2012, says a recent Public Interest Research Group in Michigan Education Fund (PIRGIM) study.
The non-profit group based in Lansing, Mich., analyzed 19,000 consumer complaints made to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's public Consumer Complaints Database. The report highlights banks that generated the most complaints through their various banking services in each state.  Checking account services bore the brunt of the complaints, said PIRGIM.
Some key findings:
  • The top 25 U.S. banks were targets of 90% of the complaints. Credit unions could make a case that this is a signal of consumers' frustration with their banks' policies, although the study concluded the numbers are so high because these banks have most of the customers.
  • Banks with the most complaints overall included the three largest banks in terms of dollars deposited: Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase. Wells Fargo chalked up 3,453 complaints, while BofA had 3,135, and JPMorgan Chase has 2,032 complaints. PNC Bank and U.S. Bancorp were targets of 880 and 776 complaints, respectively.
  • On a per-dollar basis--the banks with the most complaints per deposit-- TCF National Bank, Sovereign Bank and Capital One topped the list of complaints. TCF National had 24.9 complaints per billion dollars deposited, Sovereign had 9.1 complaints per billion  and Capital One had 6.5 complaints per billion.
  • On checking account issues, 78% of the problems related to opening, closing and managing the accounts.
  • One in four complaints (28%) resulted in monetary relief to a consume and an additional 5% resulted in nonmonetary relief such as adjusting account terms. About 95% of the complaints were closed through the process. That means that although banks responded to 95% of the complaints, roughly one in every five resolutions is still being disputed by the consumer.
"Thanks to the CFPB's complaints database, consumers who get misled or exploited by their banks can make their voices heard and get satisfaction," said Eric S. Mosher, program associate for the PIRGIM Education Fund. "Other consumers can view the public database and make smarter, more informed financial choices," he added, noting that  the database provides "a transparent roadmap for navigating the financial marketplace."
The report, "Big Banks, Big Complaints: CFPB's Consumer Complaints Database Gets Real Results for Consumers," is the first in a series that analyzes the database complaints. Upcoming reports will analyze complaints about private student loans, credit cards, credit reporting and debt collection.

H&FF Teams With Consumer Reports On Health Law Helper

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MADISON, Wis. (10/8/13)--The Credit Union National Association's Home & Family Finance Resource Center and Plan It retirement microsite now include the Consumer Reports Health Law Helper to help credit union members and employees sort through their options under the Affordable Care Act.
The interactive tool will be added to CUNA's MoneyMix for Young Adults microsite this week.
Consumer Reports approached CUNA about including the Health Law Helper as a resource for consumers.
"It's gratifying that Consumer Reports recognizes credit unions as a primary and trusted information provider for their member consumers," said Susan Tiffany, CUNA director of consumer periodicals.
The Health Law Helper is offered free by Consumer Reports a public service.
The tool's primary objective is to provide consumers with unbiased and simple Consumer Reports guidance so they can comply with new healthcare requirements.
Users enter basic information about family size, income range, citizenship status, state of resident, and source of insurance, and insurance status. They receive a personalized list of options based on their situation.
Users who do not have insurance, will be shown options that vary depending on age, household size, income, and the state of residence.
Enrollment under the Affordable Care Act opened Oct. 1.

National CU Foundation Board Opens Nominations

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MADISON, Wis. (10/8/13)--Nominations for four open National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) board seats are due Oct. 31.
The nominations are for two credit union executive or director seats, a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) board representative and a corporate credit union representative.
Volunteers serve up to three terms of three years each on the NCUF Board as long as they are re-nominated by the NCUF Nominations Committee and re-elected by the NCUF Board.
Qualifications for the four NCUF board seats include:
  • Two credit union executives or directors--Each candidate must be an executive officer or director of a credit union;
  • One CUNA board representative--Each candidate must be and remain a CUNA board member and shall be designated by the CUNA board of directors;
  • One corporate credit union representative-Each candidate must be and remain a president of a corporate credit union and shall be designated by the Association of Corporate Credit Unions.
Incumbents serving in three of the four board seats open for nominations include:
  • Winona Nava, president/CEO Guadalupe CU, Santa Fe, N.M., who is completing her first term in the CUNA board representative seat;
  • Angela McCathran, president/CEO of People's Trust FCU, Houston, who is completing her first term in the credit union executive or director seat; and
  • Lee Butke, president/CEO Corporate One FCU, Columbus, Ohio, who is completing his first term in the corporate credit union representative seat.
All three incumbents have expressed interest in serving another term. The second credit union executive or director seat that will be vacant is filled by Rudy Hanley, president/CEO of SchoolsFirst FCU, Santa Ana, Calif. Hanley is not running for re-election.
Qualified candidates interested in applying for any of these four seats can click "Volunteer for our Board" from the NCUF homepage to obtain the NCUF Declaration of Candidacy document.
It is also possible that the NCUF board will be expanded in the near future and more seats will be available, said NCUF. If so, an announcement will be made with another call for nominations.

Brazil CU Execs To Intern At Arkansas, Okla., Texas CUs

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (10/8/13)--Credit unions in Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma will host middle and upper level executives from Sicredi, a 128 institution-strong Brazilian credit union trade association on Oct. 10 (Leaguer, Oct. 7).

The dozen executives from the Porto Alegre-based Sicredi will be in the three states until Nov. 1 for a "people to people" internship program. The program was first launched in 2010 through the World Council of Credit Unions and the Cornerstone Credit Union League--the state league for credit unions in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The program will be financed by a division of the U.S. Department of State called the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.

Throughout the three weeks, the Sicredi executives will "shadow" their American counterparts to learn about governance, risk management, business continuity, member business lending, indirect lending, advocacy, savings products and services, youth outreach, retirement accounts, marketing, branch design, technology, social media and community outreach
"These internships are a wonderful opportunity for credit unions in the U.S. and Brazil to learn from one another; to share ideas and best practices," said league CEO Dick Ensweiler. "Sicredi is a progressive and sophisticated organization, and I am confident that the three-week internship be a mutually beneficial experience."

Last year, 11 Sicredi executives spent time with credit union executives in Texas for a similar junket (News Now Sept. 7, 2012). The partnership was first established between Sicredi and the Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) after the 1 Credit Union Conference three years ago in Las Vegas (News Now July 14, 2010).

CU Magazine Honors CU 'Rock Stars'

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MADISON, Wis. (10/8/13)--In honor of International Credit Union Day on Thursday, Oct. 17 Credit Union Magazine is publishing a special bonus edition dedicated to the credit union movement's rock stars--ordinary people who manage to do the extraordinary.
For the past several months, Credit Union Magazine's subscribers have been nominating their rock-star colleagues on its website. Visit to nominate a colleague for next year's edition.
The end result of this year's nomination process is a showcase of 48 rock stars from a broad cross-section of credit unions, leagues, and related organizations.
Next week, News Now will feature profiles of five rock stars selected by readers.
"We didn't have room for all the photos and stories about our rock stars, so check out our website for more coverage of these remarkable people," said Steve Rodgers, Credit Union Magazine's editor.
Honoring credit union rock stars is just one way credit unions and more 196 million credit union members in 100 countries are preparing to "unite for good" with a variety of activities to celebrate the credit union difference and demonstrate the value of credit unions on ICU Day.
This year's theme, "Credit Unions Unite for Good," builds on the Credit Union National Association's Unite for Good campaign, which has united credit unions to work to remove barriers, create awareness of the good credit unions do for members and their communities, and foster service excellence to encourage Americans to choose credit unions as their best financial partner.

Minnesota CUs Talk Tax Reform, MBLs, Regs With Fed Lawmakers

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (10/8/13)--Twelve Minnesota credit union advocates, including volunteers and board members, visited Washington, D.C., Oct. 1-3, for the Minnesota Credit Union Network's annual Hike the Hill event.
Click to view larger image During Minnesota Credit Union Network's Oct. 1-3 Hike the Hill event, credit union representatives met with U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.). (Photo provided by Minnesota Credit Union Network)
"Hike the Hill is a great opportunity to meet with federal legislators and regulatory officials to advocate for our credit unions and discuss the issues they face," said Mara Humphrey, MnCUN vice president, governmental affairs. "The trip is always an important way of advocating with federal officials on behalf of credit unions."
The group's primary focus in meetings with Minnesota's congressional delegation was tax reform and the credit union corporate income tax exemption. Credit union representatives urged legislators to protect the tax status in any potential rewrite of the federal tax code. Minnesota credit unions provide nearly $110 million in direct financial benefits to the state's 1.5 million credit union members. That translates into saving the average member $71 a year and the average member household $135 a year.
Another topic discussed with legislators was raising credit unions' member business lending (MBL) cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%, which would enable credit unions to help more small businesses obtain loans. The Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Bill (H.R. 688, S. 968), which would raise the MBL cap, would allow Minnesota credit unions to lend up to $193 million in its first year of enactment, creating more than 2,000 new jobs in the state, the group told lawmakers.
Nationwide lifting the cap would help create 140,000 new jobs and inject $13 billion in small business loans into the economy, without costing taxpayers a dime, said the Credit Union National Association.
Minnesota participants also met with National Credit Union Administration Chairman Deborah Matz and Elizabeth Ellis, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau deputy assistant director for the Office of Financial Institutions and Business Liaison. Discussions focused on the challenges credit unions face with conducting operations in today's stringent regulatory environment, including those related to privacy notification requirements and credit union examinations, MnCUN.
The three-day Washington, D.C., trip included a legislative and regulatory briefing with the CUNA and visits at the offices of all of Minnesota's federal elected officials.