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Illinois DesjardinsMaxwellHerring awards announced

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (11/25/09)--The Illinois Credit Union League has announced the recipients of its statewide Desjardins, Dora Maxwell and Louise Herring awards. First place winners of the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award in their asset categories were:
* Prairie Trail CU, Joliet, $35 million to $75 million; and * Financial Plus CU, Ottawa, $75 million to $250 million assets; and * Scott CU, Collinsville, more than $250 million.
The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Awards went to these first place winners:
* Streator Onized CU, Streator, $100 million to $200 million in assets; * GCS FCU, Granite City, $200 million to $500 million; and * Great Lakes CU, North Chicago, more than $500 million.
First place in the Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action went to GCS FCU, in the more than $250 million asset category.

Ohio attorney general sues national ratings agencies

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (11/25/09)--Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray has filed a lawsuit against three national investment credit ratings agencies--Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch--saying their ratings were false and misleading. The suit was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on behalf of five Ohio public employee retirement and pension funds. It charges the agencies wreaked havoc on U.S. financial markets by providing unjustified and inflated ratings of mortgage-backed securities in exchange for lucrative fees from securities issuers, said Cordray's press release. The agencies provide investments ratings for entities such as corporate credit unions and CUNA Mutual Group. In Ohio, "the rating agencies assured our employee pension funds that many of these mortgage-backed securities had the highest credit ratings and the lowest risk," said Cordray, adding the companies "sold their professional objectivity and integrity to the highest bidder." At issue is the agencies' highest investment grade rating--"AAA"--which the suit alleges were given to securities that cost the Ohio funds more than $457 million. The lawsuit is brought on behalf of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund, the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio and the Ohio Public Employees Deferred Compensation Program. The suit is Cordray's eight lawsuit aimed at holding Wall Street entities accountable. The suits have recovered more than $8 billion to date. For more detail, use the link.

Media pick up CFACUNAs holiday spending tips

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MADISON, Wis. (11/25/09)--Several prominent media outlets picked up findings from Monday’s Credit Union National Association (CUNA) /Consumer Federation of America (CFA) press conference on their annual holiday shopping survey and spending tips. Among those reporting the conference were CBS, America Online’s Walletpop, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal and The conference also generated considerable coverage in local media markets around the U.S., including WCBS radio in New York City, and WTOP radio in Washington. D.C., plus Fox TV News in Washington, and local TV coverage on stations in Chicago, Austin, Sacramento, San Francisco, Detroit, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Buffalo, Memphis, Birmingham, Ala. and Las Vegas--among others. CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel predicted that consumer spending during the upcoming holidays could increase by as much as 3% compared to 2008's numbers. Speaking during the press conference, Hampel said that 43% of consumers surveyed this year said they intend to cut back their holiday spending, compared to 55% last year (News Now Nov. 24). The San Francisco Chronicle, in a consumer column about holiday shopping tips written by Kathleen Pender, quoted Hampel in one of her tips about sticking to a predetermined holiday spending limit. “Even if you go over your limit, keeping the list will make you a more restrained spender than having no list at all,” she wrote. “It’s like the difference between going to the grocery store when you're hungry versus after a big meal,” Hampel told her.

N.J. governor signs deposit law including CUs

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TRENTON, N.J. (11/25/09)--New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed legislation that extends the range of investments for state of New Jersey Cash Management Fund and State Pension Fund monies to credit unions. The New Jersey Credit Union League lobbied to include credit unions in the legislation to make additional lending capacity available to local financial institutions and spur economic development (The Daily Exchange Nov. 23). The bill extends for up to one year the range of investment vehicles in which the state’s director of the Division of Investment may invest state monies that are intended for investment in fixed income, debt securities and non-convertible preferred stock. The bill authorizes the director to invest such monies in any issue of obligation provided that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund guarantees the obligation. “This is the first time credit union share insurance has been given parity with FDIC coverage in New Jersey law,” said league President/CEO Paul Gentile. “It’s a significant step forward and will help our efforts to enable credit unions to become eligible depositories for municipalities, school boards and counties,” he concluded.

CUs get in the holiday spirit

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MADISON, Wis. (11/25/09)--As the holidays near, credit unions nationwide are participating in several activities to celebrate
Click to view larger image Security Service FCU recently offered a holiday card contest with the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Antonio. Club member Kahill West, left, received a gift basket for his winning design from Molly Daniels, Security Service FCU vice president of human resources. Carlos Sifuentes (not pictured) was the other contest winner. (Photo provided by Security Service FCU)
Click to view larger image Employees of Freedom CU, Warminster, Pa., marched in the 49th annual Hatboro Holiday Parade with Dollar Dog, the credit union’s mascot. (Photo provided by Freedom CU)
Click to view larger image Medical Area FCU (MAFCU), Brookline, Mass., donated $11,000 to two nonprofits through a raffle for a Honda hybrid at the credit union. From left are Rob Kimmet, senior vice president of marketing and public relations for the Massachusetts Credit Union League; Linda Bessom, Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless; Joan Kuhn, MAFCU board chair and chair of the league’s Social Responsibility Committee; Carrie Eldridge-Dickson, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program; and Russ Ward, Prime Honda. (Photo provided by Medical Area FCU)
Thanksgiving and Christmas, and to help their members and local communities. The activities range from raising money for nonprofit organizations to participating in community parades.
* Maine credit unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger presented a $1,600 check to Good Shepherd Food Bank that helped buy 256 turkeys for food pantries in the state, said the Maine Credit Union League. This is the fourth consecutive year that Maine credit unions have contributed money to help Good Shepherd provide turkeys. This year’s contribution is the largest to date. * Medical Area FCU, Brookline, Mass., raised $11,000 for the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. The funds were raised through a raffle for a 2010 Honda Insight hybrid. The raffle was a joint project with the Massachusetts Credit Union League. * Security Service FCU, San Antonio, will create holiday cards based on the winning entries of a holiday card contest. The credit union gave gift baskets to the two winners--Kahill West, 14, and Carlos Sifuentes, 6--and a $1,000 donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Antonio. The credit union received nearly 200 entries. * About 35 Freedom CU employees and their family members marched in the 49th annual Hatboro Holiday Parade with Dollar Dog, the credit union’s mascot. The parade is the largest parade in Bucks-Montgomery County in Pennsylvania. Freedom CU is based in Warminster, Pa. * Andrews FCU, Suitland, Md., donated a computer to Operation Santa, a nonprofit organization that provides needy families with toys and clothing during the holidays. The credit union also donated money to Operation Warm Heart. The money will be used to give food baskets to 250 military families during the holidays. It also donated funds to help soldiers and their families affected by the Fort Hood shootings, which took place earlier this month. * San Mateo CU, Redwood City, Calif., is sponsoring Santa’s visit to a local mall. The credit union also will be on site with Santa to open up new credit union accounts for area residents. * Jetstream FCU, Miami, Fla., is collecting food and money at its six branches for Our Lady’s Hand Hearts Outreach Ministry, an agency of the Daily Bread Food Bank. * Pennsylvania State Employees’ CU sponsored a float Saturday in a holiday parade in Harrisburg, Pa. The float hosted representatives from two local nonprofits. Employees also escorted a Cookie Monster balloon and handed out animal crackers to the crowd. (Life is a Highway Nov. 24).

Kentucky league awards presented at 75th celebration

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (11/25/09)--The Kentucky Credit Union League presented several awards to credit union representatives at its 75th
Bobby White, Park Community FCU, received the Outstanding Young Leader award from the Kentucky Credit Union League. Pictured (from left) are Brian Tyler, East KY Employees FCU, the 2006 recipient; White; and Lynn Huether, league board chair.
J. Huston Reinle, Autotruck FCU, received the Frank Moore Outstanding Professional Award from the Kentucky Credit Union League. Pictured are: Pat Ferry, last year’s recipient; Reinle; and Lynn Huether, league board chair.
Reba Watson, Fort Knox FCU, was honored with the Kentucky Credit Union League’s Steve Brody Outstanding Volunteer Award. Pictured are Henry Wheatley, recipient from 2000; Watson; and Lynn Huether, league board chair. (Photos provided by the Kentucky Credit Union League)
anniversary celebration in Fort Mitchell, Ky. The league presented the Frank Moore Outstanding Professional Award to J. Huston Reinle, president/CEO of Autotruck FCU in Louisville. He also received a service award from the league that recognized 25 years of service on its board of directors (By the Way newsletter Nov. 23). Reba Watson, Fort Knox FCU, Radcliff, received the Steve Brody Outstanding Volunteer Award, which acknowledged more than 30 years of service. Bobby White, Park Community FCU, Louisville, was presented the Richard B. Zimmerman Outstanding Young Leader Award. The league also announced winners of the state-level Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award:
* Kentucky Employees CU, Frankfort, $20 million to $50 million in assets; * Autotruck FCU, $50 million to $100 million; * Park Community FCU, $200 million to $500 million; * L&N FCU, Louisville, more than $500 million; and * Commonwealth CU, Frankfort, honorable mention, more than $500 million in assets.
ClassAct FCU, Louisville, received the Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action, and Park Community FCU, received the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award.

Entries now accepted for 2010 Diamond Awards

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MADISON, Wis. (11/25/09)--The CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council (CMBDC) is accepting entries for the 2010 Diamond Awards. The awards feature 34 categories in marketing and business development. Entries are evaluated on strategy, creative concept, design and production, copy and communication, and results. Entries for the awards must be received by 5 p.m. CST on Jan. 15. Those received by Jan. 8 will receive discounts. Web site marketing category entries must be received no later than Dec. 16. Judging will take place Jan. 27-29. Winners will be notified through e-mail by Feb. 5. Awards will be presented at the 2010 CMBDC Conference March 21-24 in Washington, D.C. For more information, use the link.

CUNA closed Thursday and Friday no INews NowI

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WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (11/25/09)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will be closed Thursday and Friday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. News Now will not publish on Thursday and Friday, but it will resume regular publication on Monday.

CU System briefs (11/24/2009)

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* LAS VEGAS (11/25/09)--A Nevada state senator who co-sponsored the state's new financial literacy law, SB 317, spoke at a free workshop on offering financial literacy education in classrooms Nov. 17. Fifteen education, business and credit union professionals heard State Sen. Allison Copening (D-6) discuss the law, which requires
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financial literacy to be part of the high school curriculum. Gov. Jim Gibbons signed the bill into law recently. The seminar, sponsored by the California and Nevada Youth Involvement Network (CNYIN), was hosted by Silver State Schools CU, Las Vegas. After Copening's visit, CNYIN board members taught summarized versions of the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) curriculum's chapters. They included Kate Robinson, electronic marketing specialist at Greater Nevada CU, Carson City, Nev.; Crystal Lyon, Silver State Schools CU business development manager; and Michael Lee, member education manager, The Golden I CU, Sacramento, Calif. The workshop prepared instructors for teaching NEFE's seven-unit High School Financial Planning Program. Pictured, from left, are Lee, Copening, Lyon and Robinson. (Photo provided by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues) … * SAN ANTONIO (11/25/09)--San Antonio-based Security Service FCU
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has declared itself as a supporter of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. David Reynolds, seated, president/CEO of the more than $5 billion asset credit union, signs the declaration while flanked by volunteer committee members of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), from left, Caryl Hill, Gary Walston and Elvin Schofield. ESGR is under the directive of the U.S. Department of Defense and helps to gain civilian employer support for guard and reserve service members. (Photo provided by Security Service FCU) … * CHANDLER, Ariz. (11/25/09)--Chandler, Ariz.-based First CU hopes to help out the local economy by infusing millions of dollars into the communities it serves in the form of new loans. Its $50 Million Loan-A-Thon is underway until Dec. 31. First CU is taking applications for auto, personal, home, home equity, and business loans. While many financial institutions have stepped away from lending, First CU has stepped up to the plate, said the credit union's press release …

Small Business Caucus gets input from MnCUN director

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (11/25/09)--Chuck Albrecht, president/CEO of Mid-Minnesota FCU, Brainerd, Minn., and a board member of the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN), highlighted credit unions' service to small businesses during a state legislators' forum Nov. 19. Led by the Minnesota Small Business Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of state legislators, the meeting provided elected officials insight into efforts by financial institutions and community organizations to assist small businesses as they work through the recession. In his statement to the caucus, Albrecht outlined the steps his credit union took to assist small businesses in the community. Albrecht told caucus members that the credit union's role was to "provide the loans that are needed in the community. "Despite the press that you may have seen about tight credit, Minnesota credit unions have seen a 7% increase in member business lending over the past year," Albrecht said. "I would attribute that increase to credit unions being conservatively managed, which has put them in a relatively strong position to lend to businesses." Albrecht explained that one obstacle that hinders the credit union's service to small business is a federal cap that limits member business lending to 12.25% of a credit union's assets. This lending constraint restricts credit unions from fully contributing to the initiative to restore credit and nurture the economic recovery, he said. The caucus is focusing on addressing the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses in Minnesota. In forums and meetings throughout the state, the group is seeking input on how to make Minnesota a more competitive place for businesses. The discussions likely will form the basis for legislative action to assist small businesses, said MnCUN. The caucus plans to pursue a pro-business agenda that will create jobs and help expedite Minnesota's economic recovery. "Credit unions provide an essential service to their communities through member business lending," said Mara Humphrey, MnCUN vice president-governmental affairs. "Legislators' interest in hearing from credit unions on this issue indicates their recognition of the role credit unions are playing in the credit restoration and the economic recovery process."