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  • FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (11/14/13)--A prominent figure in the New England credit union scene was honored at a party celebrating his retirement at Gillette Stadium. Dan Egan--president/CEO of the Massachusetts Credit Union League, the New Hampshire Credit Union League, and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island--was joined by 250 friends, colleagues and family members at the New England Patriots' home on Nov. 7. The party, which took place in a suite overlooking the field and was emceed by Mark Sievewright, Credit Union Solutions at Fiserv president, featured industry figures from around the country, including: David Surface, CEO of St. Jean's CU and chairman of the Massachusetts league; David Suvall, president of the Rhode Island CU; Gerry Dumoulin, president of Guardian Angel CU; Bill Sinibaldi, president of Metro CU; Bob Delaney, chief operating officer of Members Insurance; Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney; CUNA Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues Susan Newton; Cornerstone Credit Union League President Dick Ensweiler; and former Senior Vice President of CUNA Mutual David Cry. Egan (pictured posing in front of the ballfield's Jumbotron with his family) spoke at the end of the program, praising the cooperative nature of credit unions. He worked in the industry for 32-years (e-Weekly Nov. 13) (Photo provided by the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Credit Union Leagues and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island) ...
  • CHESTERFIELD, Va. (11/14/13)--A 21-year-old man pleaded guilty to crimes related to an April 2012 fatal shooting that took place in a Virginia State University FCU parking lot (Richmond Times-Dispatch Nov. 12). Khaliq H. Oliver pleaded guilty to attempted robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, using a firearm in the commission of attempted robbery, and being an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder. Oliver was sentenced to 24 years with 19 years suspended by Chesterfield Circuit Judge Steven McCallum. Co-defendent Ryan Christopher Simms was convicted of the second degree murder of Tyrail Hughes, 20. A jury agreed with prosecutors that he shot Hughes after a drug deal in which Oliver stole an ounce of cannabis. Simms allegedly plotted with Oliver to arrange the deal, and Oliver, armed with a BB gun, was accused of taking the drugs without paying before fleeing. Simms, who was armed with a .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol, opened fire on Hughes, who was discussing the occurrence with three others in the parking lot. Simms also accidentally shot then-VSU freshman William Penn in the foot, and was found guilty of malicious wounding for the act. VSU FCU surveillance cameras captured the entire incident (News Now April 20, 2012) ...
  • TAMPA, Fla. (11/14/13)--A couple was arrested by federal agents in Tampa, Fla., in relation to a string of 15 robberies that ended with the holdup of  Alabama CU in Gulf Shores, Ala. last week (Mobile Press-Register Nov. 13). Immanuel Lee Williams and Cara Lee Williams, both 28, were arrested after a 10-month investigation. A federal criminal complaint filed at a U.S. District Court in Florida accuses the couple of 13 robberies netting $54,740 in Alabama and Florida between December 2012 and October 2013. Federal investigators got a major lead in the case after an Aug. 28 robbery at MidFlorida CU in Davenport, Fla. A surveillance camera near the credit union captured the license of a getaway car registered to Cara Williams. Prosecutors believe that in all cases except one, the robber was Immanuel Williams, consistently described by witnesses as a black male, about 6 feet tall and wearing an afro wig. According to the complaint, Williams passed threatening notes to tellers demanding money in block lettering. The complaint also details agents tracking his movements through his cell phone and through photos he posted on Facebook. It also alleges that Cara Williams was responsible for a robbery on Nov. 4. Witnesses reported a white woman wearing a disguise who passed the teller a threatening note similar to the ones Immanuel Williams is accused of using ...
  • SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (11/14/13)--Sioux Falls (S.D) FCU was recently presented with counterfeit checks, the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas reported (Memo Nov. 13). When verifying information on the checks, the credit union learned the checks were counterfeit. The checks are issued from a company called Asset Nation Inc. and are drawn on Bank of America, with the routing number 026009593 and account number of 488029549928. The company and the account number are legitimate, but the checks are counterfeit. The routing number is not used by BofA for check clearing ...
  • LANSING, Mich. (11/14/13)--Fred Schuster will retire as president/CEO of Wexford Community CU, Cadillac, Mich. effective in December. Julie Rushing, current chief operating officer, has been named to succeed him as president/CEO. Schuster served in that position for 12 years since 2001, said the Michigan Credit Union League (Michigan Monitor Nov. 11). Schuster started working in the credit union movement in 1980, when he took over as manager/treasurer of Livonia Parishes FCU, which is now Catholic Vantage Financial FCU, Livonia. He became president/CEO of Isabella Community CU, Mt. Pleasant, in 1999. At Wexford Community CU, Schuster has helped the credit union more than double its asset size to $46 million from $19 million and expand its field of membership to three counties from one. Rushing has been with WCCU for seven years and is a recent graduate of CUNA Management School ...
  • WASHINGTON (11/14/13)--The U.S. Department of Agriculture Wednesday bestowed the "Fired Up" Award to the National Credit Union Administration in recognition of its "incredibly successful" food drive effort, which brought in over 22,000 pounds of food to the Capital Area Food Bank. This award, which is a part of the annual Feds Feed Families food drive, honored the agency with the largest increase in donations from 2012 (News Now Oct. 17). NCUA's 2013 donation was nearly 1,000% larger than its contribution in 2012 and was enough to provide more than 18,000 meals to Washington, D.C., area residents. Since the Feds Feed Families annual food drive began in 2009, the government-wide effort led by the USDA has collected nearly 25 million pounds of food and non-perishable items to support families across the U.S. Shown here: Krysta Harden (left), deputy secretary, USDA, poses with Todd Harper, director of the NCUA's Office of Public and Congressional Affairs and the plaque awarded to NCUA and its employees (Photo provided by NCUA) ...

CUAD Rallies To Head Off County Commission Vote On Tax Status

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BISMARCK, N.D. (11/14/13)--South Dakota credit unions are rallying to turn back an attempt by state banks to change the credit union tax status.
 
On Tuesday, South Dakota's Brookings County Commission will vote on a resolution that supports taking the tax-exempt status away from credit unions and farm credit services.
 
South Dakota banks claim that they have met with U.S. Sen. John Thune (R) and that Thune supports the measure, said the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (Memo Nov. 13). Thune is a member of a Senate Tax and Finance sub-committee that will help draft tax reform.
 
"Unfortunately we continue to see banker attacks on our tax status at the state level just as in Washington," said Trey Hawkins, Credit Union National Association vice president of political affairs. "CUNA is committed to working with CUAD and South Dakota in any way we can to help beat this latest tax threat back."
 
CUAD is committed to rallying the troops and telling the credit union story, Jeff Olson, CUAD vice president of advocacy and awareness, wrote in the association's newsletter.
 
"All of the banks' rallying points are based on the typical hollow arguments," Olson told News Now Wednesday. "For every argument they make we have a rebuttal. We just want a chance to tell our side of the story. We think our arguments will prevail."
 
CUAD coordinated a state-wide conference call Monday to roll out a response strategy.
 
Dakotaland FCU, Huron, has requested rebuttal time on the commission's agenda Tuesday. Members of the CUAD advocacy department also will be prepared to respond.
 
The league has contacted a reporter who wrote an article about the hearing. CUAD secured a rebuttal article near the date of the commission meeting, regardless outcome of the vote.
 
CUAD also is preparing collateral materials to be sent to each commissioner this week.
 
The league also asked the state's credit unions to fill the commission hearing room with supporters as well as credit union staff and members in the Brookings County area to contact commissioners.  A postcard drop will be delivered on Monday.
 
CUAD also asked credit unions across the state to be on the lookout for similar resolutions on their local city and county commission agendas. 
 
CUAD has placed a radio media buy in the Brookings market to counter bank radio ads.

MyCUmortgage Announces Mortgage Lending Awards

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FAIRBORN, Ohio (11/13/13)--myCUmortgage announced the recipients of its Awards for Excellence in Mortgage Lending. The winning partner credit unions were recognized for outstanding results in helping members with home ownership at the credit union service organization's Annual Partner Conference in Fairborn, Ohio, Oct. 1-3.
 
Credit unions were recognized for their outstanding achievements. Awards were based on mortgage activity from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013.
 
Award winners included:
 
Originator of the Year
  • Small credit union--Dynamic FCU, Celina, Ohio;
  • Mid-size credit union--Midwest Community CU, Defiance, Ohio; and
  • Large credit union--Workers' CU, Fitchburg, Mass.
New Producer Awards
  • Small asset--Perfect Circle CU, Hagerstown, Ind.;
  • Mid-Size asset--Ashland CU, Ashland, Ky.; and
  • Large asset--Dominion CU, Richmond, Va.
Purchase Lender Awards
  • Small asset--Dayton Firefighters FCU, Dayton, Ohio;
  • Mid-Size asset--Indiana State University FCU, Terre Haute, Ind.; and
  • Large asset--Canton Schools Employees FCU, Canton, Ohio.
Individual Originator of the Year Awards                                                                     
  • Tim Muffley, mortgage loan manager, DESCO FCU, Portsmouth, Ohio;
  • Wendy Bussa, mortgage loan officer, Hopewell FCU, Heath, Ohio; and
  • Michelle Boughan, vice president of mortgage lending, TopMark FCU, Lima, Ohio.
Peoples FCU, Nitro, W. Va., and Finance Center FCU, Indianapolis, received CU Select awards, based on mortgage loan volume.

The 2013 Susan Edwards Scholarship Award recipient was Rob Whitley of Metro Community FCU, Huntington, W. Va. The scholarship to attend the conference was created in memory of Susan Edwards, myCUmortgage's first loan coordinator, who worked her way up to become the operations manager for the company. She died of cancer in 2009.

Dancing MCUA Flash Mobs Give 'CU Movement' New Meaning

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (11/14/13)--The Missouri Credit Union Association gave a whole new meaning to the term "credit union movement" last month.

Click to view larger image Click for larger view
MCUA organizers put on flash mobs on the campuses of the University of Missouri and Stephens College, in which credit union volunteers shook their money-makers in a bid to convince students to re-think which financial institutions make money for them (Missouri Difference Nov. 13).
 
Jesse Wolken, a flash mob participant and Jefferson City-based Conservation Employees CU staffer, described it as "a lot of fun," and said she was shocked at the number of students who stopped to watch.

Following the flash mobs--held on Oct. 16 at the University of Missouri and Oct. 21 at Stephens College--MCUA employees and credit union volunteers distributed candy and brochures about the "Bank on MOre" campaign, an effort to educate Missourians about credit unions.
 
The MCUA guerrilla marketing effort was part of a statewide consumer awareness campaign called "Make the Switch Week." A five-day push that started on Oct. 14, it was a statewide effort that encouraged Missouri credit union members to discuss the benefits of credit union membership with acquaintances and friends. 
 
In addition to the flash mob, participating credit unions received T-Shirts, trick-or-treat bags, and cutout piggy banks from the MCUA. In a webinar hosted the week before, the association encouraged credit unions to use the trinkets in various "Make the Switch Week" social media contests.
 
"Make the Switch Week offered an exciting opportunity for credit unions to really ramp up their messages on social media," Nora Holloway, MCUA director of public relations and online community, said. "There was a great showing of participation from credit unions, and it made a great impact on their community.
 
According to Federal Reserve data, young adults can expect to accrue over $100,000 in money saved by choosing credit union membership over accounts at traditional banks (News Now Oct. 18).

To watch Missouri credit union volunteers perform their dance routine at the University of Missouri, use the link.

Illinois League Hosts Expanded Workshops For Small CUs

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (11/14/13)--The Illinois Credit Union League this week held expanded state-wide workshops for credit unions with less than $50 million in assets.
 
The symposia were held in Dekalb, Springfield and Edwardsville. They featured discussions about cooperation between credit unions, human resources, internal controls, strategic planning, political action, public relations and member disclosures.
 
"In our on-going, critical dialogue with small credit unions, we wanted to keep offering opportunities for them to gain industry knowledge and put it to work right away in their shops," said Joni Senkpeil, league director of small credit union development. "If there's one thing that stands out in our industry, it's the ease in which small credit unions share and learn from each other and the willingness of larger credit unions to dialogue with them by sharing information and best practices."
 
Presentations were given by league staffers, credit union employees and others.
 
The league's website also features resources for small credit unions which include documents, templates, and other information, and the league hosts an annual SAS (small asset size) Credit Union Conference. The league's SAS Advisory Group is charged with four priorities on behalf of SAS credit unions:  reducing regulatory and compliance burden, promoting collaboration, enhancing communication, and increasing competitiveness.

Illinois has 276 credit unions with less than $50 million in assets. They make up 80% of the league's member credit unions.

Pa., N.Y. CU Marketers Meet To Tackle Trends, Compliance

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ALBANY, N.Y. (11/14/13)--Credit union marketers explored topics such as cross-selling, compliance and social media at the Credit Union Association of New York's Marketing Conference last week.
 
Click to view larger image Credit union marketers from New York and Pennsylvania gathered at the Credit Union Association of New York's Marketing Conference last week. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of New York)
The conference, held Nov. 7-8, attracted attendees from across New York and Pennsylvania.
 
The conference kicked off with a presentation from featured speaker Sean McDonald, president of Your Full Potential LLC and founder of Credit Union Business Development Academy. McDonald described how to build an effective cross-selling culture and overcome challenges associated with cross-selling. Attendees then broke into groups to develop cross-selling ideas for hypothetical situations.
 
CUANY Compliance Director Mike Carter then explained how and why compliance applies to marketing and communications professionals and cited specific examples of potential compliance pitfalls.
 
On Nov. 8 Tansley Stearns, impact director at Filene Research Institute, explained findings from Filene's social media research and shared ideas on building effective social media strategies. She also previewed the QUEsocial Social Media Solution, which is designed to help credit unions expand their social media presence.
 
The conference concluded with presentations from Covera Fraud Analyst Christina Duncan and Portfolio Consultants' Carol Ann Pacco-Long and Walter Wittemann. They focused on EMV technology and debit/credit card marketing strategies.
 
Additional speakers included: Allison Barna, CUANY vice president; Chris Pajak, CUANY human resource management consultant; and Elise Glassett, marketing specialist at Sidney (N.Y.) FCU.

Leadership Development Wraps Up LSCU's 2013 Conferences

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (11/14/13)--A Leadership Development Conference presented by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions and its affiliates last week in Point Clear, Ala., wrapped up the league's major conferences for 2013.
 
Click to view larger image Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, keynote speaker at the League of Southeastern Credit Unions' governmental affairs luncheon, speaks with Kenneth Livingston, Supervisory Committee chairman at Family Security CU, Decatur, Ala. (Photo provided by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions)
LSCU & Affiliates President/CEO Patrick La Pine welcomed 400 attendees and provided updates on comprehensive tax reform as well as talked about the primary results from the Congressional District One race. Republican Bradley Byrne won the primary and will face Democrat Burton LeFlore on Dec. 17, with the winner assuming U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner's seat. Building a relationship with Byrne is key in a district that has been credit union friendly in the past, La Pine told the group.
 
CO-OP Financial Services CEO Stan Hollen spoke about the future of card services and the next generation ATMs that include shared branching. The CO-Op credit union ATM network is the largest in the country and includes all financial institutions, Hollen said, noting this is a unique selling point for credit unions. The shared branching network is the fourth largest branch network among financial institutions, with only three large banks having bigger networks, he said.
 
NCUA Region III Director Herb Yolles presented an overview of the credit union industry. The first look at third-quarter data shows that Alabama credit unions have $18 billion in assets, while Florida credit unions have $47.1 billion, Yolles said. Loans were up nationally, as well as in the two states.  Auto loans were showing major signs of improving, he added. Yolles provided a look at the agency's top regulatory concerns, which included Prompt Corrective Action risk on net worth and stress testing.
 
Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, speaking at the league's governmental affairs luncheon, said the current state administration stressed three keys: streamline government without raising taxes, create jobs, and maintain essential services. The state has done all three, and Alabama is in a much better state today than four years ago and on greater financial footing, she said.
 
Body language expert Jan Hargrave provided the keynote address. She invited Corporate One FCU CEO Lee Butke on stage to demonstrate body language in handshakes. Palms up is a sign of respect, while a finger pointing means the person is looking for control, she said. Hargrave also told how to spot a liar: the person wipes his face or ears with the left hand. A right hand on the heart is a sign of respect. Hargrave left attendees with tangible ways to look at their staff, members, and friends.

For photos from the LDC, check out the LSCU Facebook page by using the link.

Biz2Credit: Shutdown Nicked CUs' MBLs

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NEW YORK (11/14/13)--The federal government's partial shutdown in October took a toll on small business lending at financial institutions, including credit unions, according to Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index.
 
The index provides a monthly look at loan applications on Biz2Credit.com, which arranges small business loans throughout the U.S. by matching borrowers to financial institutions.
 
Biz2Credit noted that during October, the Small Business Administration was closed for three weeks.
 
"SBA loan approvals stalled because the agency was not working for three weeks," said Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora. "Similarly, non-SBA [loans] could not be processed during the government shutdown because the Internal Revenue Service was shut down.
 
"Banks could not acquire income verification from the IRS during the shutdown, which is needed to approve many loan requests," Arora said, adding, "A major backlog of SBA loans from the shutdown will take months to process, and the debt ceiling debate could negatively impact small business lending even further in the coming months."
 
Credit unions in the survey experienced a 4% decrease in approval rates during October. Their lending approval rates dropped to an all-time index low of 43.4%, down from 45.50% in September.  That compares with 49.2% approval in October 2012.
 
During October, big banks approved 14.3% of business loan applications, down from 17.50% in September and 14.8% in October 2012. Small banks' approval rate also dropped to the lowest approval rate since August 2011.
 
The study indicated that small business owners desperate for capital at a time when small businesses typically search for funding turned to alternative lenders who charged higher interest rates than a credit union or bank would charge.
 
Arora said loan approval rates for small businesses likely would grow in November while the banking industry recovers from the shutdown's repercussions.

CU House Report: Contributors Up From 2012

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WASHINGTON (11/14/13)--The nation's Credit Union House continues to play a key role in credit union advocacy efforts, with more credit unions using it as a base for their Hill activities in Washington, D.C.
 
Click to view larger image This group from Montana get the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" message across during a visit to Credit Union House in Washington, D.C. From left are: Al Vukasin, president/CEO of Bear Paw CU, Havre; April Baimonte; Tristan Vukasin; Eddie Black, president/CEO of Trico Community FCU, Helena; and Tracie Kenyon, president/CEO of the Montana Credit Union Network. (Photo provided by Credit Union House)
"Credit Union House maintains a highly valuable and unique presence for credit unions on Capitol Hill," said Sue McCue, Credit Union House director. "It is sought out by top-tier lawmakers for a wide variety of events and remains a strategic place for CUNA and league representatives to coordinate advocacy efforts," she added.
 
During third quarter, Credit Union House contributor numbers increased to 387--up from 310 in July and an overall 5% increase from the same period in 2012, according to its quarterly newsletter, Highlights from the Hill.
 
Twelve leagues representing 17 states already have reached their annual contribution goals. They include:
  • Alaska Credit Union League;
  • Cornerstone Credit Union League;
  • Georgia Credit Union Affiliates;
  • Hawaii Credit Union League;
  • Idaho Credit Union League;
  • Iowa Credit Union League;
  • Maine Credit Union League;
  • Mississippi Credit Union Association;
  • Montana Credit Union Network;
  • Mountain West Credit Union Association;
  • Northwest Credit Union Association; and
  • Ohio Credit Union League.
Fifteen other states have reached half or more of their goals.
 
During third quarter, Credit Union House hosted league Hike the Hill programs and credit union planning sessions as well as political fundraisers and functions. Leagues and their member credit unions welcomed in recent months have represented California and Nevada, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Florida and Alabama, Maine, Maryland and District of Columbia, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon and Washington, and Ohio.
 
This year, Credit Union House hosted nearly 3,000 guests. Among them were 75 members of Congress from 22 states. It hosted 20 political fundraisers, split evenly between parties and attended by credit union-friendly officials.
 
The Credit Union House Hall of Leaders, which provides lasting recognition for credit union leaders whose commitment has significantly impacted the credit union movement at the local, state or national level, accepts nominations year-round. However, Jan. 17 is the deadline for nominations to be recognized during the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington in February.
 
For more information, use the link or contact McCue at 202-548-3130.