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PCUA notes working relationship with both parties leaders

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (11/19/10)--Pennsylvania State Senate Democrat and Republican caucuses held their leadership elections Wednesday. The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) notes that it is looking forward to continuing its existing working relationship with the newly-elected State Senate Democratic and Republican Leadership Team. Among those elected to the Senate Republican leadership are:
* President Pro Tempore: Joe Scarnati (Jefferson); * Majority Leader: Dominic Pileggi (Delaware); * Majority Whip: Pat Browne (Lehigh); * Caucus Secretary: Bob Robbins (Mercer); and * Majority Appropriations Chairman: Jake Corman (Centre).
The party's caucus administrator and caucus policy chair will be determined at a later date, PCUA said (Life is a Highway Nov. 18). Elected to the Senate Democratic leadership are:
* Minority Leader: Jay Costa (Allegheny); * Minority Whip: Mike O'Pake (Berks); * Caucus Secretary: Christine Tartaglione (Philadelphia); * Minority Appropriations Chairman: Vince Hughes (Philadelphia); * Caucus Chair: Anthony Williams (Philadelphia); * Caucus Administrator: Lisa Boscola (Northampton); and * Minority Policy Chair: Richard Kasunic (Fayette).
PCUA also has strong working relationships with the House leadership team, as well as with leaders at the federal level (News Now Nov. 18). "We are fortunate to have a good rapport with both the Republican and Democratic leaders," PCUA told News Now.

SE Corporate urges teamwork in IDisaster Recovery JournalI

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (11/19/10)--Credit union and other private sector business continuity planners should build relationships with public sector emergency operations planners, according to a Southeast Corporate FCU executive writing in the fall issue of Disaster Recovery Journal. Ken Schroeder, vice president of business continuity for Southeast Corporate was author of the article, "Building a Partnership." Business continuity planners need to establish this cooperation before a disaster occurs to be sure the company's disaster plan aligns with that of community emergency planners, he wrote. The article provided several suggestions for building partnerships, as well as disaster plan exercises. "I have found that I really improved my own planning process at Southeast Corporate through partnerships, and credit unions can benefit from these types of partnerships as well," said Schroeder. He cited the example of establishing a relationship with a local bomb squad in Tallahassee, Fla. "When I met with the bomb squad, I was able to develop new procedures that aligned to the services our county would provide to Southeast Corporate. Our disaster recovery team now knows what to expect from the bomb squad, and the bomb squad knows what to expect from us. If I had not formed this partnership, my previous disaster procedures would not have worked in the event of an actual bomb threat." Disaster Recovery Journal is a publication that serves private and public employees working in the disaster management field. To view the article, use the resource link.

Moodys assigns NCUA Guaranteed Notes Trust ratings

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NEW YORK (11/19/10)--Notes issued under the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Guaranteed Notes Trust for legacy asset securities in four corporate credit unions under conservatorship have been assigned ratings by Moody's Investors Service, the ratings agency announced Wednesday. Moody's assigned ratings of Aaa to $2.62 billion Senior 1-A notes that are due November 2017 and to more than $2.86 billion in Senior 11-A notes due November 2020. The trust was established to issue notes for roughly $6.11 billion in private label residential mortgage-backed securities from NCUA in its capacity as liquidating agency for U.S. Central FCU, Lenexa, Kan.; Western Corporate FCU, San Dimas Calif.; Members United Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill.; and Southwest Corporate FCU, Plano, Texas. The notes are part of NCUA's securitization program for legacy assets obtained in the corporates' conservatorships. Moody's said the ratings address the ultimate receipt of all required interest and principal payments, as provided by the notes' governing documents. "The ratings on the notes are based primarily on the guaranty provided by NCUA in its capacity as an agency of the executive branch of the U.S. government," Moody's said in its ratings rationale. "Accordingly, any change in the rating of the U.S. government will cause a change in the rating of the notes," it added. The service said it did not receive or take into account any third-party due diligence report on the underlying assets or financial instruments in the transaction.

S.C. CUs step up to fake-check campaign

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (11/19/10)--The South Carolina Credit Union League is in a partnership with three other organizations in "Don't Become a Target," a program unveiled Wednesday to educate consumers and financial institutions about bad check scams. The league is partnering with the South Carolina Bankers Association, the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). South Carolina is one of 10 states that are rolling out the program (McClatchy Newspapers Nov. 18). “Because of the close relationship that credit unions have with their members, they’re committed to doing whatever they can to protect them from fraud. That’s why we’re excited to be a partner in this consumer education program,” Steve Fowler, president/CEO of the South Carolina Credit Union League, said in a joint press release. “Consumers and credit union personnel need to be able to recognize the warning signs of fraud in order to prevent it.” CFA also plans to conduct the program in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, New York, Tennessee, Virginia and the Los Angeles area in California, Susan Grant, CFA director of consumer protection, told News Now (Sept. 16). State credit union leagues/associations will be involved in the program in each of the states, she added. The two-year project will end in December 2011 and is being funded by a grant from an anonymous donor.

Wettrich officially named Ohio CUs deputy superintendent

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (11/19/10)--The Ohio Department of Commerce has officially named Mike Wettrich deputy superintendent for credit unions for the Ohio Division of Financial Institutions, according to the Ohio Credit Union League. Wettrich has held the position in an acting capacity since October 2009. Wettrich previously served as Ohio’s chief examiner for state-chartered credit unions (eLuminations Newsletter Nov. 17). “This is good news for credit unions, as Mike understands and appreciates the structure and philosophy of credit unions, and how they serve their members, and the progress of the credit union movement in Ohio,” said league President Paul Mercer. “He is accessible to state-chartered credit unions and continues to work with the league and credit unions on issues and concerns relating to regulation and examination.”

N.Y. Times blog notes CUs prize-linked savings efforts

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NEW YORK (11/19/10)--Credit unions’ efforts to promote personal savings and to reach the underserved were noted in a Thursday New York Times blog. The blog discusses the concept of prize-linked savings (PLS): “PLS is a kind of savings account that pools some of the interest from all depositors and pays out a big lottery prize every month or so. It combines the thrill of the lottery with the safety of a savings account. It’s sometimes called a ‘no-lose lottery,’ since a depositor is automatically entered into the lottery but can’t lose the original money she deposits.” The blog mentioned Michigan’s “Save to Win” program--the creation of Harvard professor Peter Tufano, which has been offered among several credit unions in the state. The program, by attaching a lottery prize to deposits, encourages people who would not normally be inclined to do so, to deposit money into a credit union and keep it there. For every $25 that goes into a certificate of deposit, a credit union member gets one chance at winning a weekly lottery and one entry for an annual grand prize of $100,000. The program recently paid out its first $100,000 prize to an 86-year-old woman who had deposited $75 in her account at Nu Union CU, Lansing, Mich. (News Now Feb. 5). To read the blog, use the link.

CU System briefs (11/18/2010)

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* ORLANDO, Fla. (11/19/10)--Amy Bretches, 49, a retired Orlando police officer, was sentenced to two years in prison for embezzling funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the city of Orlando. Bretches was convicted of two counts of money laundering. In July 2000, she opened an in the police department's name at Orlando FCU and registered the city as a FEMA recipient tied to the account (Orlando Sentinel Nov. 18 and Associated Press Nov. 17) … * LOS ANGELES (11/19/10)--Robert York has been appointed president/CEO of California Bear CU, based in Los Angeles. York has 13 years of credit union management experience and 18 years' experience in the financial services industry. For the past six years, he has been vice president of marketing and business development at the $108 million asset credit union. He is a 2010 graduate of Western CUNA Management School, where he won the Charlie Clark Award for most outstanding student in his class. He is involved in various credit union organizations … * BATON ROUGE, La. (11/19/10)--The board of the La Capitol FCU announced the selection of Michael Hooper as the credit union's new president/CEO. Hooper will succeed retiring President/CEO Susan Parry Leake, according to the Louisiana Credit Union League (eNews Nov. 17). Hooper has been with the credit union since 1993 and has served as chief financial officer and executive vice president there for the past 10 years. La Capitol is a $391 million asset credit union based in Baton Rouge … * BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (11/19/10)--America's First FCU, Birmingham, Ala., has named Bill Connor as its new president/CEO, effective March 1. He will take the helm over from David Adcock, who is retiring (The Birmingham News via Nov. 18). Adcock has served as CEO since 1996 and has been with America's First for 38 years. Connor, currently chief financial officer at America's First, has held that position since 1996. He has been with the credit union since 1980 and served in a number of positions. The nearly $1.1 billion asset credit union has 18 branches serving 110,000 members in eight counties as well as parts of two other counties … * AKRON, Ohio (11/19/10)--Former Ohio Credit Union League board member Hazel B. Pancoast Rohan, 79, died Nov. 10 in Stuart, Fla., according to the league (eLumination Newsletter Nov. 17 and Akron Beacon Journal Nov. 15). She was a former president and board member of MedPro FCU near Akron, Ohio. She served on the Summit Chapter of Credit Unions' board of directors and was chapter president from 1987 to 1993. Rohan instituted credit union amusement park ticket sales to replete the chapter's treasury, started the chapter's program committee to oversee event planning and content, and created its first marketing committee. Rohan was elected to the league board in 1993. She had lived in Florida since 1996 …

Michigan program involving CUs announces 6300 jobs

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LANSING, Mich. (11/19/10)--Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm has announced that companies will invest $420.6 million in the state, creating and retaining 6,293 jobs as part of an economic development program that involves Michigan credit unions. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is helping seven companies grow in the state by backing six redevelopment projects. More than 30 state credit unions have previously committed $43 million for small business loans in cooperation with the MEDC to form the Credit Union Small Business Financing Alliance (CUSBFA). Michigan Credit Union League Director of Public Affairs Glen Ray said programs such as CUSBFA helped the MEDC leverage the business-friendly environment to attract more companies to the state. “We’re playing a strong role in generating new jobs and new business in Michigan,” Ray told News Now. “Efforts like the one announced yesterday affect virtually everyone in the state. We’re very proud of the role credit unions play in those efforts.” The MEDC played a role in creating credit union-related jobs in Michigan this week. On Wednesday, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA), which is administered by the MEDC, announced that Member Driven Technologies (MDT), a technology service organization owned by five state credit unions was awarded a $557,000 state tax credit. The credit was awarded to encourage the company’s construction of a $6.4 million expansion and second data center. The project will create 101 jobs at MDT, and as many as 230 in the area through related business.

Ill. CUs continue dialogue with reg secretary

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (11/19/10)--Following a recent meeting of the Illinois Governor’s Board of Credit Union Advisors (GAB), credit unions from throughout Illinois were in the state Capitol Tuesday for an informal “meet and greet” to continue advancing issues of mutual interest and to share information about their initiatives and discuss shared concerns.
Click to view larger image Illinois credit unions were at the state Capitol Tuesday for an informal “meet and greet” to continue advancing issues of mutual interest and to share information about their own initiatives and discuss shared concerns. Pictured are, from left: Robert Meza, director, Illinois Division of Financial Institutions; Brent Adams, secretary, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR); Susan Gold, chief of staff, IDFPR; Stephen Olson, executive vice president, general counsel and chief operating officer, Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL); Keith Sias, director, state governmental affairs, ICUL; and Farah Muscadin, legislative liaison, IDFPR. (Photo provided by the Illinois Credit Union League)
More than 20 people attended the meeting, including many credit union representatives, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) Secretary Brent Adams, Division of Financial Institutions (DFI) Director Robert Meza, and other legislative, regulatory and legal staff from the agency, and the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL). Called by Adams, the meeting aimed to provide an atmosphere of collaboration and transparency between the Illinois regulatory agency and state-chartered credit unions on mutual issues. Adams intends to maintain this level of dialogue on a going-forward basis through these types of functions and the formal meetings of the GAB, said ICUL. He mentioned that similar conferences were also scheduled with the state’s other banking groups this week. At the meeting, the IDFPR and ICUL staff previewed highlights of their legislative proposals for the upcoming spring state legislative session. While both parties are still finalizing details of these proposals, they agreed to continue efforts to maintain DFI as an independent credit union regulator under IDFPR. Adams and Meza indicated they would continue to oppose any effort to consolidate state credit union and bank regulatory functions within the same department or attempt to branch off as a separate agency for the supervision of depository institutions. Participants had the opportunity to openly discuss the preliminary initiatives, and operational and regulatory concerns. Credit unions are of particular interest to the IDFPR not only from the regulatory perspective, but also from the standpoint of how Illinois plays a leadership role in advancing the interests of state-chartered institutions. The state is home to the largest number of state-chartered credit unions in the nation with 297, ICUL said. “Dialogue among the credit unions, IDFPR, DFI and the league has become increasingly frequent and open. This is critically important,” said Stephen Olson, ICUL executive vice president, general counsel and chief operating officer. “During this very challenging business environment in which credit unions are currently operating, credit unions appreciate the opportunity to have direct access to the agency that handles their regulatory supervision.”