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Arizona State CU Honors Veterans With 27 Versions of Flag

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PHOENIX (11/12/13)--Arizona State CU, Phoenix, displayed at its corporate headquarters all 27 congressionally approved versions the American flag and a banner recognizing veterans for their service.
Click to view larger image Arizona State CU installs a banner and 27 American flags to recognize veterans for their service. (Photo provided by Arizona State CU)
"It is an honor to provide a symbolic tribute to our veterans thanking them for their years of service," said David E. Doss, CEO/president of Arizona State CU. "On behalf of Arizona State CU associates, we would like to wish our members and all veterans a happy Veterans Day."
The flags and banner will be displayed through Nov. 18 on the credit union's corporate headquarters for its Celebration of Veterans. The tribute banner and all 27 versions of the American flag will remain on display both day and night in recognition of the constant vigil servicemen and women keep over the country.

Mexico's UNISAP Visits Border FCU

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DEL RIO, Texas (11/12/13)--Representatives from Mexico's National Federation of Financial Cooperatives (UNISAP) visited Border FCU, Del Rio, Texas, on Nov. 4 and 5.  
Click to view larger image Representatives from Mexico's National Federation of Financial Cooperatives (UNISAP) visited Border FCU in Del Rio, Texas, Nov. 4 and 5. From left: Gerardo Santillan Garcia, chairman of UNISAP's board and board vice chairman of Caja Hipodromo in Durango, Durango, Mexico; Rosalba Carreno Cisneros, UNISAP vice chairman of the supervisory committee and executive director of Caja San Jose in Tlajomulco, Jalisco, Mexico; Jose Gabriel Gutierrez, executive director of UNISAP in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico; Maria J. Martinez, president/CEO, Border FCU; Ramon Lopez, UNISAP board member and board member of Caja 15 de Mayo in Tecoman, Colima, Mexico. (Photo provided by Border FCU)
After a welcoming breakfast Nov. 4, UNISAP members toured BFCU's main office learned about Border FCU's products and services and its marketing and community outreach strategies. 
After lunch, the group visited BFCU's Laughlin Air Force Base branch and BFCU's HEB branch, which is currently under construction. The day's final stop was a visit to Del Rio's Val Verde Winery and dinner at the residence of BFCU President/CEO Maria Martinez, where the group was joined by BFCU's management team and about 15 representatives from Shreveport FCU who were also in Del Rio to visit BFCU to exchange ideas and learn how to better serve the Hispanic community.

On Nov. 5, UNISAP representatives visited BFCU's Gibbs branch, where the group learned about BFCU's financial counseling program and community outreach programs.  BFCU's information technology department showcased its services and BFCU's core, network and data communication systems. The group also learned about asset recovery and collections, and the duties and responsibilities of BFCU's board and supervisory committee, as well as the board meeting structure and agenda items.

World Council Will Provide Relief To Haiyan Victims

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MADISON, Wis. (11/12/13)--In the wake of super typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded to make landfall,  the World Council of Credit Unions is in contact with local authorities in the Philippines to assess how to best help the 4.5 million people affected.
According to the World Council's 2012 Statistical Report, there are 1,320 credit unions in the Philippines serving 4.3 million members. The World Council has committed resources, including donations made to the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, to alleviate suffering of Philippine citizens who are credit union members.
The World Council also is set to provide disaster relief to credit union staff and support credit union rebuilding efforts following this latest disaster. Much-needed cash contributions from credit unions and individuals will provide assistance to those whose lives have been devastated by the disaster.
To support the international credit union disaster relief fund and rebuilding of Philippine credit unions, payments via check, credit card or wire may be sent to: Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, Inc., 5710 Mineral Point Road, Madison, Wis.  53705, or online at /give. Contributors should indicate the donation is designated for Philippine Disaster Relief Fund.
According to reports, authorities fear as many as 10,000 people may have been killed by typhoon Haiyan and as many as 9.7 million may have been affected in the Philippines.
The World Council has led relief and rebuilding efforts during past international disasters, including the January 2010 Haitian earthquake, February 2006 Philippine Islands landslide, and December 2004 Asian tsunami. Following the Haitian earthquake, WOCCU led a $1.2 million dollar project to provide immediate relief, provide shelter and revitalize the country's credit union system. Following the 2006 Philippines landslide in Leyte, WOCCU supported the local league's administration of "livelihood loans," small microloans that helped credit union members and employees rebuild their homes and businesses.

CU System Briefs (11/12/2013)

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  • PITTSFIELD, Mass. (11/12/13)--An Adams, Mass. woman received a four-year jail sentence after pleading guilty to stealing almost $60,000 from the Greylock FCU branch where she was head teller in Pittsfield, Mass.  (New England Newspapers Nov. 8). Felisa Kazimierczak, 44, initially claimed that an unidentified individual left a note on her car threatening to harm her daughter unless Kazimierczak delivered a substantial amount of cash to a nearby location. But police said the story was fabricated and that Kazimierczak embezzled the money by taking cash allocated for area ATMs and delivering it to the false drop off site after coercing a co-worker into standing watch while she was gone. Pittsfield police allegedly found a bag of cash in Kazimierczak's car totaling the amount missing from the vault, less $58,000, and learned she allegedly had moved money between ATMs shortly after an impending audit was announced by Greylock managers. A search of Kazimierczak's home allegedly yielded thousands of used lottery tickets. Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Richard M. Locke also said that Kazimierczak's family was heavily in debt. The $58,000 was never recovered, but Greylock FCU was insured for the loss so no members lost deposits. Kazimierczak pleaded guilty to kidnapping, larceny over $250, misleading a police officer, making a false crime report, and making false entries into corporate books. Greylock FCU has $1.129 billion in assets ...
  • RHINELANDER, Wis. (11/12/13)--Two credit union members in Oneida County, Wis., reported they were targeted by con artists via text message ( Nov. 7). Oneida County Sheriff's Lt. Lloyd Gauthier said the pair filed complaints after receiving text messages purporting to be from their credit unions, stating that the members were approaching their credit limit and asking for credit card numbers and PINs so that the limit could be increased. Both individuals contacted their credit unions--Ripco CU and CoVantage CU--and were notified by employees that the texts were part of a scam. They contacted the police afterward. Ripco CU, based in Rhinelander, Wis., has $113.1 million in assets. CoVantage CU, based in Antigo, Wis., has $1 billion in assets ...
  • HARRISBURG, Pa. (11/12/13)--U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) (center) toured the new headquarters of Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania State Employees CU on Thursday, reported the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Life is a Highway Nov. 8). The facility, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, has a natural gas powered cogeneration system; bicycle, high occupancy, and fuel efficient vehicle parking; a rooftop garden, and it maximizes natural light. PSECU Gregory Smith (left) said that the building "will give us the ability to grow and also provide better member service. Also pictured is PSECU Government Relations Manager Nate Muiz.  During the event, Barletta was also thanked by PCUA Vice President of Governmental Affairs Christina Mihalik for joining 117 of his colleagues in urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to delay the January implementation of new mortgage rules ...

Affinity FCU Receives Grant To Fund N.J. Spanish Fin. Ed Program

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BASKING RIDGE, N.J. (11/12/13)--The Affinity FCU Foundation has been selected as this year's recipient of the Mary O'Neill Financial Literacy Mini Grant by the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education to build a Spanish-language, culturally grounded, community-based financial education program in New Jersey.

According to the New Jersey Credit Union League, the coalition's mission is to improve the personal financial literacy of New Jersey's citizens by promoting the teaching of personal finance to people of all ages (The Daily Exchange Nov. 8). New Jersey's credit unions are the organization's premier sponsor through funds provided in part by the New Jersey Credit Union Foundation.

Affinity FCU is a $2.29 billion asset credit union based in Basking Ridge, N.J. Its foundation plans to develop a curriculum grounded in the culture and traditions of New Jersey's Hispanic community and deliver it through partnerships with community-based organizations serving those communities.

It will pilot the new program at the Morris County Organization for Hispanic Affairs' offices in Dover and Morristown and evaluated before a wider rollout.

"Affinity was selected for its direct outreach to an underserved population, exceptionally well written and realistic outreach methodology, realistic timeline, and well-reasoned evaluation methodology," said NJCFE Executive Director Michale K. Drulis.

"Having partnered with Affinity in the past, we are aware of their exemplary track record and are confident that the Affinity Foundation will provide invaluable, financial literacy programs to those who need them the most," Drulis said.

The program's goal is to provide personal financial skills and institutional support that many low- and moderate-income Hispanic families lack, and help families to save money, accumulate assets and minimize personal debt while fighting discrimination and avoiding predatory lenders.

Many of the families remain disconnected from mainstream financial institutions. Hispanics represent 17.5% of the population in New Jersey, but nearly 50% do not have a transaction account--a basic starting point in financial management and wealth-building, said the Affinity Foundation. It cited a recent study indicating that 43% of Hispanics said they knew nothing about these subjects. That compares with 12% of the overall population.

"This program will allow recent Hispanic immigrants to develop relationships with mainstream financial providers while gaining the experience with and exposure to basic financial tools that American families need in order to prosper," said Dr. Lauretta A. Farrell, executive director of the Affinity Foundation.

Cooperative Trust, CUNA Launch Crash the GAC 2014

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MADISON, Wis. (11/12/13)--The Cooperative Trust and the Credit Union National Association announced Monday that the application process for Crash the GAC 2014 is open. Applications are due Dec. 17, with decisions made in early January.
The Cooperative Trust, CUNA and state leagues/associations hope to attract 51 crashers--one crasher from each state and the District of Columbia-- at this year's Governmental Affairs Conference, which will be held in Washington D.C., Feb. 23-27.
Every crasher will receive a full conference registration from CUNA. If the chosen crasher's credit union can't cover all of the travel expenses, its league may provide some funding to help.
With more crashers than ever before, a deeper dive into the world of credit union advocacy, and support from state leagues, Crash the GAC will help arm young professionals with ideas to stay involved when they return home.
"Crash the GAC is an opportunity to give young credit union professionals a real insight into the wider credit union System and for them to engage and learn with likeminded young and experienced professionals alike," said James Marshall, leader of The Cooperative Trust.
"Now going into our fifth year of Crash the GAC, we are thankful to be partnering with CUNA to bring you the biggest crash event we've ever tried to pull off," Marshall said. "On top of that, the support from the state leagues and associations to ensure that their young professionals can attend the nation's foremost credit union event has been staggering. Bringing the focus to advocacy is key this coming year, with campaigns such as 'Don't Tax My Credit Union' going on, to make sure that our crashers head home knowing how important governmental affairs really are."
Crash the GAC will provide a tailored program alongside the main GAC event and mentor sessions with key individuals from National Credit Union Foundation, CUNA, National Credit Union Administration, Filene Research Institute and CUNA Mutual Group.
"I believe we need to develop next generation leaders to grow, promote and sustain the credit union movement," said Jill Tomalin, CUNA executive vice president and chief operating officer. "The CUNA GAC is the premier, annual, must-attend program for engaged credit union staff.  We look forward to working with The Cooperative Trust to expand the presence of young professionals in the 2014 Crash the GAC."
Use the link or email for more information about applying or about available sponsorships. The Crash the GAC is presented by The Cooperative Trust and CUNA, in association with credit union leagues/associations and sponsored by CUNA Mutual Group.

CUs Add More Mergers To the Consolidation Trend

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MADISON, Wis. (11/12/13)--Mergers continued to redefine the credit union landscape nationwide, as credit unions consolidate to meet an increasing burdensome regulatory environment and to continue serving the growing needs of their memberships.
The merger between San Antonio-based Firstmark CU, with $794 million in assets, and $20 million asset Southside CU, also of San Antonio, has been finalized. The credit unions expect to integrate operations by Dec. 1, the Cornerstone Credit Union League said (Leaguer Nov. 7). Leon Ewing, president/CEO of Firstmark CU, will continue to lead the combined organization.
Fire Police County FCU,with $97 million in assets, Fort Wayne, Ind., has merged with $4 million N&W FCU, New Haven, Ind., effective Nov. 1.
The National Credit Union Administration has approved the merger of $3.2 billion asset Visions FCU, Endicott, N.Y., with $81 million asset CTCE FCU, Reading, Pa., said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Life is a Highway Nov. 4). The merger is scheduled to be finalized Dec. 1.
Erie (Pa.) FCU, with $380 million in assets, has merged with $6 million asset  Erie (Pa.) Flagship Community FCU, effective Nov. 1 (Life is a Highway Nov. 5). The merger will expand Erie FCU's presence in Northwest Pennsylvania and offer Erie Flagship Community FCU members additional financial products and services, including with online and mobile banking.
McKee CU, with $14 million in assets in Collegedale, Tenn., has merged into Western FCU, Manhattan Beach, Calif. In addition to the current McKee Branch, members now have access to Western's network of 43 multi-state branch locations, including five branches in Northwest Arkansas.
Capitol Region FCU, with $30 million in assets, Wethersfield, Conn., has merged into $194 million asset Dutch Point CU, also of Wethersfield.
SIR FCU, with $77 million in assets, Negaunee, Mich., is merging with $469 million asset Honor CU, St. Joseph, Mich. (SunnyFM Oct. 11).
United Services CU, with $60 million assets, Ashville, N.C., has merged into Durham, N.C.-based Self-Help CU, with $583 million in assets (MarketLine Oct. 1).
The Massachusetts Division of Banking has approved the merger of $90 million asset River Works CU, Lynn, Mass., with $6 million asset Delta-Wye FCU, Dorchester, Mass. Under the terms of the agreement, Delta-Wye will be retained as a branch office of River Works CU.

CUNA Mutual Names Trunzo CEO To Succeed Retiring Post

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MADISON, Wis. (11/12/13)--Robert N. "Bob" Trunzo will be CUNA Mutual Group's next president/CEO, succeeding Jeff Post, announced CUNA Mutual Group's board Friday. Post is retiring and Trunzo's appointment will be effective Jan. 1.
Trunzo, who joined CUNA Mutual in June 2005, has held a number of senior leadership positions, most recently as president of CUNA Mutual Group Insurance and Financial Services. Trunzo becomes the company's eighth president in its 78-year history. 
"After a thorough succession planning process and extensive consideration, the Board of Directors is excited to have Bob carry on CUNA Mutual Group's rich tradition and execute our future strategy," said Eldon Arnold, board chairman.
"Bob is uniquely qualified to carry on the work we started nine years ago to help credit unions, their members, small business owners and America's farmers reach their financial goals" said Post. "He has been an integral part of what we built and is the best person to carry the vision forward."
Trunzo received his bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Kentucky and his law degree from Marquette University.  He also completed the Kellogg School of Management Executive Program at Northwestern University in 2011. 
A native of Louisville, Ky., Trunzo was Secretary of Commerce under former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson. He is a board member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Council of Life Insurance.  He also served as chairman of the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park Board, which oversaw the design, financing and construction of Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Trunzo and his wife, Anne, have three children.
In his role as president of CUNA Mutual Group Insurance and Financial Services, Trunzo was responsible for the products, distribution and service of the company's U.S. credit union businesses as well as its 401(k) business. He also was responsible for nearly 3,000 of the company's 4,500 employees and approximately $2 billion of CUNA Mutual Group's annual revenues.
"The Board of Directors is pleased with the progress and past successes of CUNA Mutual Group and looks forward to many more years of serving all of its stakeholders. Jeff will be assisting the Board and Bob to assure a smooth transition through July of 2014," Arnold said.
"It is an honor to be selected to succeed Jeff, and the previous leaders who have made CUNA Mutual an industry leader," said Trunzo. "I am energized and excited about the challenge."
Post joined CUNA Mutual Group in January of 2005. He led a multi-year transformation plan that repositioned the organization for success in the credit union marketplace and beyond. The plan included reinvention of CUNA Mutual Group's sales distribution model and its customer service, product and investment strategies.
As CUNA Mutual's eighth president, Trunzo follows a long line of leadership that included:
  • 1934-1945: Roy R. Bergengren, managing director of CUNA, CUNA Mutual and CUNA Supply Cooperative;
  • 1945-1955: Thomas W. Doig, managing director of CUNA, CUNA Mutual, and CUNA Supply Cooperative;
  • 1956-1973: Charles F. Eikel Jr., managing director of CUNA Mutual;
  • 1973-1988: Robert L. Curry, president of CUNA Mutual;
  • 1988-1995: Richard M. Heins, president of CUNA Mutual Insurance Society and CEO of its wholly owned U.S. subsidiaries;
  • 1995-2004: Michael B. Kitchen, president/CEO of the CUNA Mutual Group and Century Companies of America; and
  • 2005-2013: Jeff Post.

Paper: Data Analytics An Eye-opener For CUs

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DES MOINES, Iowa (11/12/13)--Three credit card teams at credit unions in Illinois, Washington and Iowa discuss their eye-opening experiences with data analytics and provide advice in a new white paper released last week.
Data analytics is a long-term strategy in which results take many months to appear, said "The Data Analytics Experience," issued by Des Moines, Iowa-based payments processor The Members Group. But financial institution leaders are finding that analytics has the potential to change their entire culture of decision-making.
In the paper, IH Mississippi Valley CU, based in Moline, Ill., shares how data analytics enhanced its cash advances and balance transfer deals. The credit union's goal was to grow its credit card portfolio by 25% within one year. It offered two promotions to credit cardholders that included cash advances and balance transfer deals.
The $869 million asset credit union went against the grain with its strategy of offering deals only to cardholders identified as most likely to respond by TMG's partner, IQR Consulting. The consulting firm, instead of looking at one or two criteria, reviewed data from several sources, including credit bureaus, credit card statements, prior campaign results and checking account histories. It analyzed which categories of cardholders should receive which types of offers.
So far, the promotion has yielded more than $2 million in cash advances or about 10% of the credit union's entire portfolio.  "Our plan is to use data analytics to really dial into the people who use our cards to understand better what they need from us," said Curt Johnson, assistant vice president of mortgage and card services at IH Mississippi Valley CU.
Also in the paper, Spokane (Wash.) Teachers CU, with $1.7867 billion assets, tells how the successful use of segmentation strategies in its credit card portfolio influenced its other departments, and the $1.99 billion asset University of Iowa Community CU, Iowa City, Iowa, notes that data analytics helped take its already successful cards program to new levels.
"Data analytics is not reinventing the wheel; it's reshaping it," said the paper. "Often these strategies simply boost the results of programs a card team is already familiar with, like balance transfers, holiday promotions or line increase.
To download the free white paper, use the link.

Maine CUs Hit Marketing Home Run During World Series

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PORTLAND, Maine (11/12/13)--A Maine Credit Union League website saw its traffic spike by 10% the day after the Boston Red Sox's World Series-clinching victory because league executives pulled off the marketing equivalent of knocking it out of the park.
During Game 6's victory Oct. 30, in the middle of the fifth inning, FOX 23 in Portland aired a 30-second advertisement promoting Maine's credit unions (Weekly Update Nov. 8). And the league didn't even have to pay a premium for getting the commercial placed.
League Assistant Vice President of Corporate Marketing Debra Trautman explained that the organization was able to cut a deal with the local FOX outlet because of an amicable history between the two organizations.
"Karen St. Clair, the long-time TV media buyer for your league, worked with FOX 23 earlier that day to negotiate that one of our 30-second commercials would, in fact, air during the World Series game," she explained in the league's newsletter.
"The opportunity came about because of several earlier pre-emptions of our spots," Trautman said. "Karen was able to leverage our relationship as a strong and consistent advertiser into having one of our commercials air during a time when hundreds of thousands of viewers were watching the game. It was really exciting to see our commercial air during a truly special event and to such a wide audience. It reinforces the value of relationships because our spot aired at no extra charge."

Mortgage Bank Delinquencies Drop, Higher Than CU Delinquencies

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WASHINGTON (11/12/13)--Data released Thursday by the Mortgage Bankers Association show delinquency rates at a five-year low, but debtors who borrow from credit unions are still significantly less likely to find themselves in arrears.
The MBA's National Delinquency Survey found that the seasonally adjusted third-quarter delinquency rate for mortgage loans declined to 6.41%, the lowest since the second quarter of 2008.
That is more than 5% higher  than delinquency rates among similar credit union-originated loans. According to the Credit Union National Association's Monthly Credit Union Estimates for September, the 60-day delinquency rate for all loans issued by credit unions was 1% for the seven months prior. The delinquency rate in June for all mortgages loans issued by credit unions, according to CUNA, was 1.3%--1.36% for first-time mortgages, and 1.07% for home equity lines of credit and second mortgages.
While the data issued by CUNA and the MBA aren't directly comparable, they still indicate that credit union members have an easier time repaying mortgage loans than retail bank customers do.
The recent MBA data showed that the percentage of loans in the foreclosure process, at 3.08%, was even higher than the delinquency rate on any credit union mortgage loan. And while the MBA "serious delinquency rate"--the percentage of loans either with payments 90-days late or already in foreclosure--is down 1.38% over the last year, it's still at 5.65%.
The MBA also noted that the survey's delinquency rates might appear lower than they actually are because one large mortgage servicer doesn't participate in its survey.
Foreclosures are slowing down throughout the housing market, according to the MBA survey. The percentage of loans starting the foreclosure process fell by 0.03% in the third quarter to 0.61%--the lowest level since early 2007.
The MBA said that bank managers might find themselves issuing more pink slips as a result.
"Many mortgage servicers are already reducing staffs that handled delinquent loans and foreclosures, and we expect that trend to continue as the numbers continue to fall," said MBA Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann.
The MBA National Delinquency Survey has been conducted quarterly since 1972. It covers 40 million loans on one-to-four unit residential properties, which constitute more than four-fifths of all first-lien residential mortgage loans outstanding in the U.S.

BECU To Pay Stipends To Directors, Audit Committee

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SEATTLE (11/12/13)--The nation's fourth-largest credit union announced it plans to compensate its directors and Audit Committee members beginning in 2014.

Seattle-based BECU, which has more than 825,000 members and more than $11.5 billion in assets, informed members of the plans Nov. 5 on its News Center website. It noted that effective this past July 28, state law allows state-chartered credit unions such as BECU to reasonably compensate directors and Audit Committee members.

"Officials of all types of financial institutions have growing fiduciary and regulatory responsibilities that demand more time and work," said Todd Pietzsch, BECU manager of public relations. "The payment of stipends will help ensure that BECU continues to retain and attract individuals with board-level strategic and thought leadership.

"It was determined that it is in the best interest of BECU members, as well as consistent with our cooperative nature, to pay a modest stipend to officials that is lower than the median paid by other financial institutions of similar size."

BECU officials will be paid between $14,000 and $25,000 per year, effective Jan. 1, depending on each official's role on the board or committee, the credit union said. It conducted a market review with a third-party consultant to determine the level of the stipends. It also referred website visitors to a board nominations page. Elections will be held at its April annual meeting.

BECU Board Chairman Mike Sweeney, who has been on the board for nearly 10 years, told the Northwest Credit Union Association (Anthem Recap Nov. 8) that the credit union industry "is becoming more and more complex, requiring a very broad set of skills at the director level.

"Generally, our directors are expected to understand and assess this increasingly complex financial, business, legal and regulatory environment. We expect them to have executive-level business experience with a strong sense of community, previous nonprofit board experience and a passion for the credit union movement." He noted his community involvement, business experience and law background support his role on the board.

"This stipend is in recognition of the considerable time and effort our officials give in service to BECU," he said. "Payment of a modest amount to our officials also enhances our ability to attract and retain well-qualified individuals. Being on the BECU board carries with it an incredible fiduciary responsibility, not only to safeguard our members' assets, but also to ensure the future strategic direction of the credit union. Payment of a stipend is a small gesture in comparison."

The Credit Union National Association says that credit unions in nine states can currently pay at least one member of their board and 12 states allow for more comprehensive board compensation (News Now June 3).