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Massachusetts League Names Gentile President/CEO

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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (11/25/13)--The Massachusetts Credit Union League (MCUL) Board of Directors has named Paul Gentile as president/CEO effective Jan. 6th.
Gentile succeeds Dan Egan who is retiring after 32 years of service to the league. The Massachusetts Credit Union League has management agreements in place with the New Hampshire Credit Union League and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island. The appointment of Gentile culminates a comprehensive search process that included members of the boards from each of the three leagues.
"Paul is a proven leader. He brings a track record of success in advocacy, communication and product development that will serve our member credit unions well as we strive to meet their changing needs," said St. Jeans CU CEO and MCUL Chairman David Surface.
Gentile currently serves as executive vice president of strategic communications for the Credit Union National Association. During his tenure at CUNA, he helped launch a number of new national communication vehicles, including The Cheney Report and "Inside Exchange."
"It is a great honor to succeed Dan and build on the strong foundation he helped create here. I look forward to working strategically with the dedicated volunteers on the boards and the talented staff to best serve our member credit unions in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island," said Gentile.
Prior to CUNA, Gentile was the president/CEO of the New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL). Under his leadership, NJCUL spearheaded cooperative advocacy initiatives such as the statewide "Banking You Can Trust" consumer awareness campaign and successful passage of public deposit legislation that enabled New Jersey's credit unions to accept public funds. NJCUL also developed a student loan credit union service organization, a shared compliance program, a regional conference (Credit Union Reality Check), and an array of strategic communication tools during his tenure. Before joining NJCUL, Gentile was the editor/publisher of Credit Union Times, the nation's largest independent credit union trade publication.
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney wished Gentile well in his new role. "In a short time, Paul has made significant advancements here at CUNA. I am thrilled that he remains part of the CUNA/League system and I look forward to our continued partnership as he brings his leadership to the three associations," said Cheney.
"It has been a great experience at the national association. CUNA has a dedicated team of professionals that are relentlessly advocating for the credit union system. The work being done here in Washington is not easy, and they do it well. From their tireless work on the Hill to their advocacy with NCUA, CFPB and other key regulators, they are constantly moving the ball forward so credit unions have a good operating environment to succeed," said Gentile.
MCUL blazed the trail for league cooperation with the New Hampshire management agreement in 1985 and later with the Rhode Island agreement in 1992. The leagues are managed under the jointly owned New England Credit Union Services.

CU System Briefs (11/25/2013)

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  • ST. PAUL, Minn. (11/25/13)--Affinity Plus FCU has named Dave Larson as its new president/CEO. A longtime member of the credit union's leadership team, Larson also has served as executive director for its charity arm, the Affinity Plus Foundation. In that role, Larson has established a working relationship between the credit union and Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. He also is a board member of the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation. "I am extremely honored to be offered this incredible opportunity," Larson said in a statement. "I have always had a strong passion for Affinity Plus, our members and employees, and will leverage this passion as CEO to continue to put people's needs at the heart of all that we do." Affinity Plus FCU is based in St. Paul, Minn., and has $3.5 billion in assets ...

Hope CU Investment Helps Create 22 Jobs

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NASHVILLE, Ark. (11/25/13)--Hope Enterprise Corp. and Hope CU, Jackson, Miss., (HOPE) have committed $8 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC ) allocation to Husqvarna Group's Nashville manufacturing facility.
The funding will be used to purchase new machinery, which will bring the plating and honing process in-house and will be more efficient and environmentally friendly than commonly used methods.
The new plating and honing line will create 22 new jobs at the 1,200 employee facility. 
Husqvarna Group operations in Nashville support more than 800 additional jobs in Southwest Arkansas.
"The jobs supported by this investment offer good wages and benefits, and generate a tremendous economic impact in southwest Arkansas," said HOPE CEO Bill Bynum. "Companies like Husqvarna are vital to a prosperous community, which makes it a perfect fit for our mission, and for our New Markets Tax Credits."
The NMTC allocation from HOPE is being paired with a $2 million allocation from Chase New Markets Corp. to support an equity investment by Chase Community Equity (JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.) into the $10 million equipment purchase and installation.
Credit unions are among those eligible to participate in the NMTC, which seeks to spur the investment of new private sector capital into low-income communities. To do so, it permits individual or corporate taxpayers to receive a credit against federal income taxes for making Qualified Equity Investments. Those investments must be made in designated Community Development Entities.
The U.S. Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund oversees the tax credit program and allocates the tax credits annually through a competitive application process.

CU Foundation Of the Dakotas Awards Grants, Donation

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BISMARCK, N.D. (11/25/13)--The Credit Union Foundation of the Dakotas recently awarded three financial literacy grants and made a donation to local community foundation.
Rural Offices of Community Services, Lake Andes, S.D., and Interlake's Community Action Partnership, Madison, S.D. received $750 financial literacy grants. Junior Achievement of South Dakota, Sioux Falls, received a $1,250 financial literacy grant.
The Rural Offices of Community Services and the Interlake's Community Action Partnership will be use the awarded funds to support their local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs supporting the elderly as well as low- to moderate-income families with free tax preparation assistance.  Foundation funds will also support the classroom programs offered by Junior Achievement throughout the state of South Dakota.
The foundation also made a $500 donation to the Black Hills Community Foundation to help local ranchers who lost cattle in early heavy snows the Dakota plains were hit with in October. Highmark FCU, Rapid City, led the local effort to collect funds for ranchers.
The Credit Union Foundation of the Dakotas is funded by participating North and South Dakota credit unions. It funds projects in the areas of access to financial services, financial education, savings and asset accumulation, and small credit union development.

CUs Collect Food For Thanksgiving Holiday

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MADISON, Wis. (11/25/13)--Credit unions and credit union organizations nationwide are collecting food and volunteering their time to bring comfort to their neighbors during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Click to view larger image At a ceremony at Good Shepherd Food Bank's Brewer, Maine, location, representatives from Maine's credit unions present a check to fund the Food Mobile and purchase 8,000 Thanksgiving meals. (Photo provided by Maine Credit Union League)
Among the credit unions that are serving their local communities:
  • Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger celebrated its partnership with the Good Shepherd Food Bank with a contribution that will help purchase 8,000 Thanksgiving meals for Maine people and their families across the state.
  • Veridian CU, Waterloo, Iowa, is preparing for the annual Mike and Leona Adams Thanksgiving Dinner. Union retirees and credit union volunteers expect to feed about 1,000 people seeking a free hot meal and companionship. The Northeast Iowa Agency on Aging will deliver 350 dinners to its current Meals on Wheels recipients.
  • Several Green Bay area credit unions are participating in the Stock the Shelves campaign to assist local food pantries. Participating credit unions include Fox Communities CU, Community First CU, Appleton; Harbor CU, Green Bay; PCM CU, Green Bay; Horizon Community CU, Green Bay, Northern Paper Mill CU, Green Bay, and Schneider Community CU, Green Bay.
  • Employees of RTN FCU, Waltham, Mass., are holding food drives and other activities to help families in local communities. RTN's Employees Community Outreach Committee's Thanksgiving activities this year include: collecting Thanksgiving food items for eight Waltham families at RTN's Waltham branch; holding a Thanksgiving food collection for needy families in Amesbury, Danvers and Lawrence through RTN branches in those communities; holding a Thanksgiving non-perishable food collection for the Brookline Food Pantry through the Brookline branch; and holding a toy drive to Benefit the Wish Project in Lowell through RTN's Tewksbury branch.
  • Click to view larger image Security Service FCU, San Antonio, kicked off the annual Food4SA campaign Nov. 1 with a $30,000 donation to the San Antonio Food Bank. From left, Art De Leon, San Antonio Food Bank; Laura Cohrs, SSFCU Volunteer Corps; Jennifer Carter, San Antonio Food Bank; Marinda Noe and Amy Cardenas, SSFCU Volunteer Corps. (Photo provided by Security Service FCU)
    America's Christian CU, Glendora, Calif., is partnering with the City of Glendora and the Glendora Community Coordinating Council in the annual Holiday Basket Program. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons each year, Glendora's Holiday Basket Program provides food baskets for over 400 families in need in Glendora and surrounding communities.
  • On Nov. 9, Citizens FCU, Midland, Texas, and the West Texas Food Bank teamed up to fill a truck with donated food as part of the annual "Stuff the Truck" event. The event was created to allow the community to donate canned food items to the West Texas Food Bank, which is in need of food assistance, especially during the busy holidays, said the Cornerstone Credit Union League (Leaguer Nov. 13).
  • Security Service FCU, San Antonio, kicked off the annual Food4SA campaign Nov. 1 with a $30,000 donation to the San Antonio Food Bank.
  • On November 14, Heritage Family Credit Union teamed up with Northwest Elementary School in Rutland to deliver 7,680 items to the Salvation Army for the Stuff-A-Bus campaign. A check for $1,540 was also presented to the Salvantion Army, said the Assocation of Vermont Credit Unions (Newslines Express Nov. 22).
  • IC FCU, Fitchburg, Mass., donated $2,500 to the Worcester County Food Bank to support its hunger-relief efforts during the holiday season.

CUNA CFO Council White Paper: Cooperation Helps CUs Thrive

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MADISON, Wis. (11/25/13)--If the credit union movement was founded on the principle of "people helping people," future success may depend on the similar principle of "credit unions helping credit unions," according to new white paper from the CUNA CFO Council.
"Sharing the Burden and the Success: Old and New Ways Credit Unions Can Benefit By Joining Forces," takes an in-depth look at ways credit unions are teaming up to design solutions that generate income, eliminate expenses, expand products and services, and otherwise enhance relationships with members.
Among the case studies the paper looks at is Lancaster, Pa.-based Everence FCU's participation is what participation in the "Go Big" project--an effort of six small- to medium-sized credit unions, all of which boast between $70 million and $140 million in assets, "to essentially create a shared back office," said W. Kent Hartlzer, president/CEO of Everence FCU.
"We're trying to concentrate the areas that are non-facing and non-differentiating...the administrative, corporate, behind-the-scenes things that we all do but don't set us apart," he added, with the result hopefully being that the collaborating credit unions, "can achieve the same kind of scale as a $650 million credit union--as opposed to six, $100 million credit unions."
 So far, Everence FCU and the other institutions have engaged a project manager and "put about $20,000 of at-risk capital, as working capital, on the push out a project plan and see whether or not this could work," Hartzler said.
"Our basic premise is that our operating expenses as credit unions--and not just for us six credit unions, but for the movement as a whole--are too high," he adds. "Too high relative to the number of assets we're managing at the moment."

Filene Study: Social Media Can Achieve Business Results

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MADISON, Wis. (11/25/13)--A strong social media presence can help credit unions acquire members, build relationships, retain current members, and deepen community involvement, according to a new study from the Filene Research Institute.
An organization's social media mastery has become a brand expectation for many consumers, said the paper "Beyond Engagement." Many potential new members and new hires will not even consider a credit union that doesn't have a consistent presence and a defined social media strategy.
A pilot project managed by Filene and social media research firm QueSocial allowed credit unions to leverage employees who use QUEsocial's social business portal to share credit union-related content, recruit new employees and promote sales. The 90-day Filene-QUEsocial pilot investigated whether credit unions can generate real business wins by connecting with people via employees' social networks on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Among the recommendations made by the study:
  • Use employees as ambassadors through social media activities. While a corporate social media presence is one of the foundational building blocks of a fully realized social media strategy, incorporating individual employees as credit union ambassadors has the power to drive the organization's social media efforts forward toward even stronger bottom-line business outcomes.
  • Allocate time to social media activities. The amount of time participants can spend on social media should be optimized based on each individual's experience and social network size.
  • Target a set amount to time each week for social media activities. One approach to help participants learn about how to integrate social into their daily routines and activities was through game playing. For example: Participants were challenged to accomplish in 30 minutes a week