Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive

CU System Archive

CU System

CU announces 6.90 fixed-rate credit card

 Permanent link
TUMWATER, Wash. (11/13/08)--O Bee CU announced it is offering a new 6.90% annual percentage rate, fixed-rate credit card dubbed “The ONYX.” “With credit-card rates spiraling out of control for consumers, and higher interest and default rates up to 36%, we decided to resist this trend,” said Lee Wojnar, O Bee vice president of marketing. “At O Bee, we see an opportunity where we can help consumers by offering a low-rate credit card (MarketWatch Nov. 11). “The ONYX is our premiere card with no points or rewards, but just a low interest rate,” he added. O Bee CU is a $118 million asset, Tumwater, Wash.-based credit union.

Check imaging at all-time high in October

 Permanent link
NEW YORK (11/13/08)--A record volume of check images and dollar value was posted in October on the SVPCO Image Payments Network, said The Clearing House Payments Co. Monday. During October, the company reported average daily check-image volume of 24.9 million items, a 67.1% increase from October 2007. These included items processed for Members United Corporate FCU, Southwest Corporate FCU, Suncoast Schools FCU, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase Bank, U.S. Bank, Wachovia Bank and Wells Fargo Bank, as well as a number of other major banks. The network also processed:
* Roughly 549.4 million check images, also a 67.1% increase from the 328.7 million items processed a year earlier; * About $816.3 billion in dollar value, an increase of 52.4% over October 2007's $535.7 billion;
Oct. 14 saw the largest exchange for the month--a record 45 million items valued at $66.1 billion. October had 22 processing days. According to Susan Long, senior vice president of The Clearing House, the October numbers marked the "eighth time in 10 months that the key indicator of check image volume set a new record." She attributed the growth to financial institutions realizing they can save costs and improve their processes by moving from paper to electronic payments.

CEFCU receives 25 million from state for loans

 Permanent link
PEORIA, Ill. (11/13/08)--Citizens Equity First CU (CEFCU) received a $25 million deposit from the Illinois state treasurer’s office this week to help ease tight credit in the state. Illinois has provided nearly $100 million to date to 16 institutions statewide in efforts to help melt the credit freeze, said State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (Journal Star Nov. 11). The program is part of a $1 billion initiative to ease the credit crunch and spark investment returns to the state by making interest-bearing deposits available to healthy Illinois financial institutions. The arrangement works for the participating institution and the state, Chuck Walker, chief financial officer at the $3.635 billion asset, Peoria, Ill.-based CEFCU, told the newspaper. The credit union has partnered with Illinois in the past, obtaining state deposits ranging from $1 million to $10 million, Walker said. CEFCU doesn’t require a bailout and is going to have a record year for dispensing loans since central Illinois is buffered from many of the current economic problems affecting the U.S., he added. The Illinois treasurer’s office has $500 million available to financial institutions, with another $500 million available for allocation between December and March, Giannoulias told the paper. Any Illinois-based state or federally chartered credit union that is an approved depository institution is eligible for deposits through the program up to one year.

Shots fired in CU no one hurt

 Permanent link
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (11/13/08)--Police are seeking two robbery suspects who fired shots inside of Suncoast Schools FCU late Friday afternoon. No one was injured. No members were inside of the credit union when the shooting occurred, Patti Barrow, Suncoast director of marketing, told News Now. “Our staff handled everything according to their training,” Barrow said. “They were amazing, and we applaud them. “We’re grateful nobody was injured,” she added. The shots were fired at Suncoast’s Pinellas Park branch. Suncoast Schools FCU, based in Tampa, Fla., has $6.2 billion in assets.

Operation Best Wishes gears up for holiday

 Permanent link
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (11/13/08)--AmeriCU CU helped military families send wishes to deployed soldiers through the Operation Best Wishes program at its Fort Drum branch Nov. 4.
Amanda Godlewski (left) sends a greeting to her soldier, Joshua Flint, at AmeriCU CU in Rome, N.Y. through the Operation Best Wishes program. From left are Godlewski, Flint’s mother and father, and Godlewski’s son, Landon. (Photo provided by AmeriCU CU)
Families were given 10 minutes each to record and send greetings to their family members. The deployed could watch the webcast live or access an archived recording. “This is our second year as a host for this program and we’re pleased to say we tripled the number of families participating,” said Tina Wildhaber, AmeriCU CU regional manager. Operation Best Wishes is offered free to military families by America’s credit unions through WesCorp FCU and the Defense Credit Union Council. Operation Best Wishes will visit families in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming this year. Rome, N.Y.-based AmeriCU has $654.1 million in assets.

Small-CU council brainstorms on challenges

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (11/13/08)--Dealing with what is yet to come in the down economy and helping members navigate through it are among the top challenges facing small- and mid-size credit unions, according to a council of a dozen CEOs convened by CUNA Mutual Group.
Jeff Post, center, CUNA Mutual president/CEO, and Bob Trunzo, right, chief sales officer, address a meeting of the small- and mid-size credit union council that recently met in Madison, Wis. (Photo provided by CUNA Mutual Group)
The council met with CUNA Mutual leaders for the second time in two years to brainstorm best practices, discuss challenges unique to the movement’s smaller credit unions and to provide feedback on how CUNA Mutual can help them grow and thrive. Other challenges cited include:
* Proactively communicating the value of credit unions to the American public; * The burden of compliance and regulation; * Attracting younger members; * Increasing operating efficiency; * Keeping loan growth up with deposit growth; and * Attracting quality employees and balancing the costs of new delivery channels with member usage.
“The council provides a forum to discuss the unique challenges faced by small- and mid-size credit unions and an opportunity for best-practice sharing among members,” said Dave Sweitzer, CUNA Mutual vice president, small- and mid-size credit unions. “The council also provides valuable feedback to CUNA Mutual on how we can become a better business partner by supporting their needs and those of their members.” Members of the council of small- and mid-size credit unions include:
* Andi Baum, Everyone’s FCU, Tucumcari, N.M.; * Lucile Beckwith, Palmetto Trust FCU, Columbia, S.C.; * Phyllis Cochran, Richmond Community FCU, Gracewood, Ga.; * Jon Hernandez, City of Downey FCU, Downey, Calif., Mattel FCU, El Segundo, Calif. and CALCOM FCU, Torrance, Calif.; * Michael Kerr, CU of the Rockies, Golden, Colo.; * Diane Moilanen, Settlers Co-operative CU, Bruce Crossing, Mich.; * Rick Parker, Miami University Community FCU; Oxford, Ohio; * Stuart Phillips, United Business & Industry FCU, Plainville, Conn.; * Larry Roland, ECU CU, Largo, Fla.; * James Tuggle, Transtar FCU, Houston, Texas; * Bill Winter, St. Cloud FCU, St. Cloud, Minn.; * Debra Woods, Taylor CU, Medford, Wis.; and * Stephen Brindamour, Susquehanna Valley FCU, Camp Hill, Pa.
“The council provides an excellent forum for credit union executives from different parts of the country to share information,” Hernandez said. “It’s also an opportunity to share our issues, frustrations, suggestions and appreciation to CUNA Mutual leadership. It’s good to know someone values smaller credit unions’ needs and there is a commitment to our success.” “Council members identified business challenges that they would like to see CUNA Mutual address, such as help in attracting younger members, providing financial counseling for members and helping to promote the “credit union difference” in the current economic crisis,” Sweitzer said. “It was a real give-and-take between two parties interested in making sure credit unions remain relevant to their members.” “This forum has created an invaluable networking opportunity for every member of the Council. Through it, we have established relationships and shared ideas that ultimately benefit the service we all provide to our members,” Cochran said.

CU System briefs (11/12/2008)

 Permanent link
* FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (11/13/08)--The deadline to submit Phase I Disaster Relief Emergency Grant requests stemming from Hurricane Ike is Friday, announced the Texas Credit Union Foundation (LoneStar Leaguer Nov. 7). To date, the foundation has approved 950 grants totaling $458,108 to credit union employees who experienced losses from the hurricane. Grant application forms are posted on the foundation's website … * ST. PAUL, Minn. (11/13/08)--St. Thomas Employee FCU mailed out 83 Christmas Club checks totaling more than $72,300 last week (Bulletin Nov. 11). The checks included all deposits from Nov. 1, 2007, through Oct. 31, 2008, plus a 2.5% annual dividend. The credit union also announced that its Christmas Club for 2009 is open. Deposits to the account will be available for withdrawal the first week of November 2009. St. Thomas Employee FCU is a $2.4 million asset credit union … * SUPERIOR, Wis. (11/13/08)--Superior Choice CU is featured in a local newspaper as presenting a remedy to payday loans(Superior Telegram Nov. 12). In January, Superior Choice, a $150 million asset credit union, will offer Good Money loans, an alternative short-term loan at half the price of payday loans. Superior Mayor Dave Ross noted it is "a great private-sector answer to predatory lending." Wisconsin is the only state that doesn't have regulations limiting predatory payday loans. The Good Money program was developed by Prospera CU in Appleton and earned national recognition and praise from Gov. Jim Doyle … * WORCESTER, Mass. (11/13/08)--Robert C. Taylor, 73, died Sunday at his home in Rutland, Mass. He was a vice president of GFA CU, located in Gardner, Mass., from 1994 to 2008 and had retired in April. Funeral services are 10:30 a.m. today at St. Patrick's Church, Rutland (Worcester Telegram & Gazette Nov. 11) …

CU earmarks 50 million for local government bonds

 Permanent link
RALEIGH, N.C. (11/13/08)--A credit union in North Carolina buoyed its support of local government by committing $50 million in investment funds for municipal bonds in the state. Local Government FCU, an $829 million asset credit union based in Raleigh, said that starting immediately, it is in the market to purchase municipal bonds from North Carolina's cities, towns and counties. The announcement comes as the national credit crunch and nervousness in the investment market has investors sitting on the sidelines, the credit union said in a press release. As a result, there is a lower demand for municipal investment instruments, which means key infrastructure projects in the state are delayed. The credit union said it has two purposes in earmarking the funds:
* It will be investing in ultra-sound investments that will complement its balance sheet; * It wants to encourage other institutional investors to return to North Carolina municipal bonds.
"Financial leadership will help keep North Carolina ahead of the economic crisis," said Maurice Smith, president of LGFCU. "For institutions that do business in North Carolina, we have an obligation to support our communities by showing diligent faith in our neighbors. North Carolina local governments have merited our confidence in their wherewithal to manage risk and attend to the needs of our citizens. Investing locally has appeal for us," he said. Government entities sell municipal bonds as a way to raise funds for public projects such as schools, courthouses, water/sewer infrastructure, roads and more.

100-year CU celebration website goes live

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (11/13/08)--Historical information and campaign materials for the 100-year anniversary of credit unions is now available on a new website from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). The year-long celebration marks the U.S. credit union movement’s 100th anniversary, along with the 75th anniversaries of CUNA and the signing of the Federal Credit Union Act. CUNA recently launched a public relations campaign and media outreach effort devoted to the anniversary celebration, how far the movement has come in a century, and where it is headed in the future. Campaign materials and additional resources were created for credit unions to use while promoting the celebration. At cuna.org/100years, credit unions will find:
* History--Including an interactive timeline and highlights from the past 100 years credit unions; * Video clip--CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica talks about credit unions’ 100 years of success; * Campaign materials--Credit unions can download free public relations and marketing materials, including a model speech, proclamation, celebration ideas, newsletter, press release, letter to the editor, logos, and ads to help promote the anniversary celebration; * Online store--Various promotional items and print materials for the celebration are available for purchase; and * Credit union stories and pictures--An area of the website was created for credit unions to share their pictures and stories.
“We couch the celebration in terms of the 100 years of growth and evolution that credit unions have undergone in order to continually improve service to members and further our tradition of People Helping People,” Mica said. “The website is just one of a number of activities that CUNA has planned for the celebration.” For more information, use the link.