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Tennessee CUs league join anti-fraud program

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (11/2/10)--About 23 credit unions and banks across Tennessee are participating in an anti-fraud program created to educate consumers and financial institutions about fake check scams. Under the program, credit unions and banks will distribute a "Don't Become a Target" brochure to consumers who deposit a check or money order totaling more than $1,000 or who withdraw $1,000 or more. The program is sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, the state's Department of Financial Institutions, the Tennessee Credit Union League, and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). CFA created the brochure and is providing brochures to participating credit unions and banks at no cost. "Fake check scams are a serious problem for consumers," said Trish Patterson, vice president, education and information, at the league. "Credit unions want to do all they can to educate their members," she said. "Consumers and financial service personnel need to be able to recognize the warning signs of fraud in order to prevent it." The program is similar to programs in several other states. Tennessee credit unions participating so far include: Bowater Employee CU, Calhoun; City Employees CU, Knoxville; Trust Enrichment CU, Chattanooga; Foothills FCU, Louden; Healthcare Services CU, Chattanooga; HealthNet FCU, Cordova; iTrust FCU, Memphis; Kennedy VA Employees FCU, Memphis; and Northeast Community CU, Elizabethton.

Damage closes Members Cooperative CU branch

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DULUTH, Minn.(11/2/10)--Members Cooperative CU (MCCU) has closed permanently its Central Duluth, Minn., branch because of irreparable damage from a storm last week. Tammy Heikkinen, president/CEO of the $289 million asset credit union, said the branch has suffered from infrastructure issues for several years. Although MCCU addressed each problem as it rose, the storm on Oct. 26 created irreparable damage. "The recent rainstorm caused substantial water damage, to the point that the building is now beyond repair," Heikkinen said. "We will not risk the safety of our staff and our membership." No jobs are in jeopardy from the closure. Staff at the Central branch will be reassigned to other branches in Duluth, said a press release on MCCU's website. "We apologize for any inconvenience this closure may cause our members," said Heikkinen. Members can visit other Duluth locations in Spirit Valley and on Miller Hill, said Heikkinen. An ATM at Whole Foods Co-op, which was adjacent to the credit union's Central Duluth branch, also is available.

CUs MBL creates 25 jobs

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WYOMISSING, Pa. (11/2/10)--A credit union's member business loan (MBL) will help create 25 jobs in its area at a time when banks are lending less, according to the Reading (Pa.) Eagle (Oct. 31). Discovery FCU, based in Wyomissing, Pa., assisted a couple in expanding their restaurant business and creating 25 new jobs, according to Edwin L. Williams, president/CEO of the $134 million asset credit union. The Reading Eagle picked up the story about restaurant owners Joseph A. and Carol J. Nemec, who will open a Johnny & Hon's Smokehouse in the city later this month. The Nemecs own similarly named restaurants in Muhlenberg Township and Robesonia, and plan to hire 15 to 20 new employees during the winter, with the rest hired in the summer, said the article. The credit union had been making MBLs for less than a year and the loan to the Nemecs was the first loan it closed, Williams told the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). The Nemecs renovated a vacant floral shop that had been vacant for three years, he added. The Nemecs were so grateful to get the loan that they plan future loans with the credit union to refinance their other restaurants, said Williams. "Imagine what credit unions can do to create even more jobs in the lending cap were expanded," he said, referring to credit unions' push to increase their MBL cap to 27.5% from 12.25% of assets. In other business lending news, CBS News' "60 Minutes" featured an episode on Newton, Iowa, a heartland town hit hard by the recession. At one point a small business owner comments on his inability to get a loan from area banks. Lending to small businesses actually dropped by $13 billion or 2% during second quarter 2010, the segment said. "So three years after the beginning of the Great Recession, with interest rates the lowest have ever been in history, banks are lending less money to the engines that create jobs," said commentator Scott Pelley. One businessman, Dave McNeer, told Pelley he had gone to a bank, which "won't loan me a dime." The bank said to "come back when you have a couple of good years behind you. Really? 'Cause I won't need you then." Another business owner, Alan Yegge, told Pelley, "You know they'll offer money to you when you don't need it. But when you need it, you can't get it."

Fitch withdraws ratings of three more corporates

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CHICAGO (11/2/10)--Ratings organization Fitch says it has affirmed and then withdrawn its ratings for three corporate credit unions under conservatorship. The corporates--Constitution Corporate FCU, Members United Corporate FCU, and Southwest Corporate FCU--were placed into conservatorship by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Sept. 24. The NCUA's plans for legacy assets calls for liquidating the charters of the three corporates and re-establishing bridge corporate charters, which means Fitch no longer considers the ratings of the three corporates as relevant to the agency's coverage. NCUA plans to employ a "Good Bank/Bad Bank" model and transfer the operations and good assets and member share deposits into bridge corporates for Members United and Southwest, Fitch said. The conserved charters, which will retain the legacy assets, will become inactive and be placed into an asset management estate for liquidation, said the ratings company. NCUA is seeking a purchaser to assume operations, good assets and member share deposits for Constitution Corporate, while its conserved charter will retain the impaired assets. Since Constitution would become inactive under a purchase and assumption transaction, Fitch affirmed and withdrew its rating. In October, Fitch affirmed and withdrew ratings for U.S. Central Corporate FCU (now U.S. Central Bridge Corporate FCU) for similar reasons.

CUNA Mutual renovating its Iowa facility

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WAVERLY, Iowa (11/2/10)--CUNA Mutual Group is nearing the end of a multi-million renovation at its Waverly, Iowa, facility. The $12 million to $14 million overhaul of the 140,000 square-foot facility is mostly a behind-the-scenes endeavor, with the replacement of the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, which is more than 30 years old (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Oct. 26). The building is worth the investment, Reid Koenig, CUNA Mutual vice president, customer operations, told the newspaper. “It’s a solidly built building,” Koenig added. “We thought it would make more sense to renovate than build new.” CUNA Mutual employs roughly 500 of its 4,000 employees at two Waverly offices. Some of the employees work at a 50,000 square-foot location that CUNA Mutual rents. The company will move all of its Waverly employees to its main facility in town once the renovation is complete, the paper said.

CUAO awards announced

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (11/2/10)--The Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO) honored outstanding credit unions, volunteers and professionals at its 2010 annual awards banquet during its recent annual meeting. Awards presented to volunteers and professionals included:
* Volunteer of the Year: Harold Welborn, SELCO Community CU, Eugene; * Professional of the Year: Helen Byrnes, Northwest Community CU, Springfield; * Top Classroom Presenter of the Year: Anissa Arthenayake, OSU FCU, Corvallis; * Heidemann Scholar: Teri Robinson, Pacific Northwest Ironworkers FCU, Portland; and * Young Credit Union Professional of the Year: Jennifer Stephens, Rogue FCU, Medford.
Awards were presented to credit unions to recognize organizations that make a difference in local communities. First-place winners of the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Recognition Award were:
* Linn-Co FCU, Lebanon, $50 million to $100 million asset category; * Mid-Oregon FCU, Bend, $100 million to $200 million; * Rogue FCU, $200 million to $500 million; and * OSU FCU, $500 million plus.
The Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action went to Rogue FCU. First-place winners of the Desjardins Youth Education Award were Mid-Oregon FCU in the $50 million to $150 million asset category and OSU FCU in the $500 million plus asset category. Awards for advocacy on behalf of the credit union movement were presented to both individuals and organizations. Advocacy awards included:
* Credit Union Advocacy Leadership Award: First Tech CU, Beaverton; * Congressional Legislator of the Year: U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader from Oregon’s 5th District; * State Legislator of the Year: Dave Hunt, Oregon House speaker (D-Clackamas County); * CU Advocate of the Year, Volunteer: Jan Uffelman, Mid Oregon FCU; and * CU Advocate of the Year, Professional: Ron Barrick, Advantis CU, Portland.

Top 10 INews NowI stories for October (11/01/2010)

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MADISON, Wis. (11/2/10)--Stories about interchange and compliance dominated October’s list of top 10 stories in News Now. Other stories that made the list were about International Credit Union Day and a husband/wife team convicted of stealing $200,000 from a credit union. October’s top stories are:
10. HELOC scam tapped $220,000 from member’s equity PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (10/20/10)--A lawsuit over coverage of $220,000 of home equity line of credit (HELOC) funds that went missing from a credit union member's account has provided some details on the methods used by international fraudsters in a dozen similar cases in the eastern section of the country. 9. ”Bridge’ corporates ready for business ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/6/10)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) on Tuesday chartered the two bridge corporate credit unions to assume the operations of now conserved U.S. Central Corporate FCU (US Central) and Western Corporate FCU (WesCorp), completing another vital step in its corporate credit union resolution process. 8. FDIC proposal would broaden overdraft rule’s reach WASHINGTON (10/12/10)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) recently proposed rules that would make state-chartered banks under its jurisdiction go farther in incorporating consumer protections in their overdraft programs than the Federal Reserve's rules dictate. 7. St. Paul Croatian FCU fraud may cost NCUSIF $170M ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/14/10)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) revealed today that St. Paul Croatian FCU was catapulted into a liquidation by fraudulent loans, some allegedly masked by the credit union's CEO. 6. Husband/wife team convicted of $200,000 CU theft WORCESTER, Mass. (10/28/10)--A husband and wife have be found guilty of stealing more than $200,000 in 2002 from the Wyman-Gordon FCU, now called W-G FCU, in Worcester, Mass., where the woman worked. 5. Payment protection disclosures cast bad light: CUNA WASHINGTON (10/21/10)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney this week said that CUNA and CUNA Mutual will be working with credit unions to oppose proposed changes to the Federal Reserve's Regulation Z that would require new disclosures for credit life, credit disability, debt cancellation and debt suspension. 4. Interchange rules unconstitutional, lawsuit charges WASHINGTON (10/12/10)—Decrying Sen. Richard Durbin's (D-Ill.) interchange fee legislation as "unconstitutional," TCF National Bank on Tuesday brought legal action against the Federal Reserve, the agency charged with implementing the law. 3. Compliance: CUNA lays out timeline for ADA-ATM compliance WASHINGTON (10/15/10)--By now, most credit unions have heard about the Department of Justice's (DOJ) update to the accessibility standards governing the construction and alteration of facilities covered by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). 2. Compliance Challenge: Watch for these NCUA examiner ‘red flags’ WASHINGTON (10/1/10)--With National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Debbie Matz earlier this month saying that the NCUA would likely redesign some aspects of its examination process to better interact with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), credit unions should be sure that they are up to date on NCUA examination practices. 1. Happy International CU Day WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (10/21/10)--It's finally here--the day in which credit unions take note of what they do and celebrate--while honoring those who have made contributions to the global financial cooperative movement.

Canadian Mexican CUs in partnership

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CORDOBA, Mexico (11/2/10)--Four executives from Servus CU in Alberta, Canada, recently visited Caja Yanga, a credit union in Cordoba, Mexico, to share information and reaffirm their participation in the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) International Partnerships program. The Canadian delegation learned about the Semilla Cooperativa or “cooperative seed” model used by Caja Yanga to provide rural
Click to view larger image Servus CU and Caja Yanga CU reaffirmed their international partnership in Mexico when a Spanish-language agreement was signed by (from left) Garth Warner, president/CEO of Servus CU, Alberta, Canada; Brian Branch, World Council of Credit Unions executive vice president and chief operating officer; Mario Humberto Valencia, chairman of Caja Yanga CU, Cordoba, Mexico; and Margarito Saavedra Morales, Caja Yanga general manager.
outreach in remote locations using technologies such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and pocket-sized printers. The visitors viewed how these technologies can create a mobile branch by traveling to Potrero Nuevo, a rural mountainside community. The Canadian credit union may adopt similar remote technologies to serve members who lack mobility in Alberta, including the elderly and disabled. While in Mexico’s Veracruz state, the Canadian group provided training in governance, risk management and technology to Caja Yanga. Servus CU offered information technology consulting to follow up on the internship of two Caja Yanga staff in Edmonton earlier this year. A second internship in 2011 will send Caja Yanga staff to Edmonton to focus on money management and money laundering compliance.

Illinois chapters keep message before lawmakers

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (11/2/10)--Credit union chapter officials in Illinois have again banded together this fall to facilitate gatherings of credit union officials and lawmakers.
Click to view larger imageThe Illinois Credit Union League's (ICUL) chapter system holds "Chapter Legislative Appreciation" events because successful legislation rests largely in developing a good personal relationship with lawmakers in what has become a very competitive legislative environment, ICUL said. At a recent event are, from left, Illinois Rep. Jim Sacia (R-89, Freeport); Joe Green, chairman of the board, Cornerstone CU, Freeport; Illinois Sen. Tim Bevins (R-45, Dixon); Illinois Rep. Jerry Mitchell (R-90, Rock Falls); and Gail Clore, chapter legislative forum representative for the Northwest Illinois Chapter and CEO, Cornerstone CU. (Photo provided by the Illinois Credit Union League)
The Illinois Credit Union League’s (ICUL) chapter system holds “Chapter Legislative Appreciation” events because successful legislation rests largely in developing a good personal relationship with lawmakers in what has become a very competitive legislative environment, ICUL said. This year, the meetings continued to be held by more than half of the league’s chapters. “Chapter lawmaker appreciation events are just one example of the strong effort shown by our chapter network of political activists, especially our legislative forum representatives,” said Keith Sias, ICUL director of state governmental affairs. “These functions serve as excellent opportunities to better acquaint legislators with the credit union movement and build good will.” One of the most successful meetings this year was a joint effort between the Northwest Illinois and Rockford Area chapters in northern Illinois. In an area that spans eight mostly rural counties and is home to 23 credit unions, the event saw nearly 80 people attend plus several lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.), a member of the House Financial Services Committee. The keys to success include the strong relationships credit unions continually maintain with lawmakers, early planning, and a mutually beneficial and enjoyable meeting for everyone involved, the league said. “We actually started back in June by getting on the calendars of our key lawmakers first and then arranged the meeting to be convenient for them,” said Gail Clore, chapter legislative forum representative (LFR) for the Northwest Illinois Chapter and CEO of Cornerstone CU in Freeport. “From there, we planned for a top-notch event and prepared them for what they could expect in terms of dialogue during the meeting.” Another chapter that has good success is Kankakee Valley, the league said. In addition to having well-attended appreciation meetings, the credit unions there look for other opportunities to stay in front of their local lawmakers. “It is very important to also attend any events that are going on in support of the legislators in your area, letting them know you are there to support them also,” said Debbie Eilts, Kankakee Valley LFR. “That way, when you call for their support they know you and that you have supported them in the past.” However, the strong participation of these and 11 other events statewide was not manifest this year just because it is an election year. The same chapter effort has continued annually for the past 15 years. The purpose of the events is not for debate, but to provide groups of credit unions a forum to thank supportive lawmakers on a regular, public basis. “It is important to help keep the credit union philosophy and message regularly in front of our state as well as federal lawmakers, especially at the local level,” said Don Edwards, ICUL senior vice president of federal governmental affairs. “These events help to significantly augment our other political action activities, such as Hike the Hill, our annual state legislative day event in Springfield, district office visits, candidate interviews, and fundraising efforts,” he added.

Wegner Awards Dinner tickets now available

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MADISON, Wis. (11/2/10)--Tickets are now available for the 23rd Annual Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner on Feb. 28 in Washington, D.C. The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) event will be held during the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA’s) 2011 Governmental Affairs Conference at the Grand Hyatt Washington. Individual tickets for the three-course dinner are $225, while tables of 10 are $2,120. The estimated value of the tax-deductible portion of each ticket is $75. Tickets are available online at ncuf.coop. Registrants can also download a printable form to be completed and sent via fax or U.S. mail. The deadline for ticket purchases is Jan. 28. Awards to be presented at the event include the Lifetime Achievement Award to Rudy Hanley, president/CEO of SchoolsFirst FCU, Santa Ana, Calif.; the Individual Achievement Award to Dan Mica, former president/CEO of CUNA; and the Outstanding Organization Award to the National Youth Involvement Board.

Arizona Maxwell Herring Desjardins awards named

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PHOENIX (11/2/10)--The Arizona Credit Union League (ACUL) recently named the winners of its statewide Dora Maxwell, Louise Herring and Desjardins awards.
Arizona Credit Union League President/CEO Scott Earl (left) presented Tucson FCU's Desjardins Award to Jason Zeider, assistant vice president of marketing, and Susan Stansberry, president/CEO (Photos provided by Arizona Credit Union League).
First-place winners of the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Recognition Award were:
* Canyon State CU, Phoenix, $100 million to $200 million-asset category; * Credit Union West, Glendale, $200 million to $500 million; * Desert Schools FCU, Phoenix, $500 million plus; and * Valley of the Sun Chapter, credit union chapters.
There were two first-place winners of the Louise Herring Award for Philosophy In Action:
* Credit Union West, $100 million plus category; and * Desert Schools FCU, $500 million plus.
First place for the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award went to Tucson FCU.
Accepting Desert Schools FCU's Dora Maxwell Award were (from left) Cathy Graham, assistant vice president of marketing; Emma Garcia, director of community development; Lori Sevensky, vice president credit services; and Robin Simmons, assistant vice president, mortgage servicing and loss mitigation.
Celebrating Canyon State CU’s Dora Maxwell Award were (from left) Pat Bodnar, senior vice president, Arizona Credit Union League; and Steve Dunham, president/CEO, and Lenore Froehlich, vice president of marketing, both of Canyon State CU.

CU System brief (11/01/2010)

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* SACRAMENTO, Calif. (11/2/10)--Donna Bland has been appointed president/CEO of Sacramento-based The Golden 1 CU, announced the credit union's board after its meeting Thursday. She has served as interim president/CEO since July 30. Bland has been with the more-than-$7-billion-asset credit union for 16 years as "an integral member of our management team and has contributed to the significant growth and progress of Golden 1," said board Chairman Pedro R. Reyes. She has more than 20 years' experience in the financial services industry …