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More state election analysis from leagues

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MADISON, Wis. (11/8/10)--Two more leagues--in Oregon and Vermont--have provided an analysis of their state-level election results from last week. The Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO) noted that Oregon's House will be split 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans, while the Oregon Senate will likely be 16-14 with Democratic control (Oregon Outlook Nov. 5). Democrat John Kitzhaber won the gubernatorial race against a former professional basketball player by one percentage point while Ted Wheeler, another candidate supported by credit unions, was elected state treasurer. Of the 16 races in the Oregon Senate, credit union-supported candidates won all but two races. Chuck Thompson beat credit union-supported Brent Barton for a seat vacated by Sen. Rick Metsger in District 26, and Sen. Alan Bates lost to Republican challenger Dave Dotterer in District 3. Of the 60 races for the Oregon House, credit-union supported candidates won all but two races. Mark Johnson beat incumbent Suzanne VanOrman and Jason Conger beat incumbent Judy Stiegler. Both incumbents had supported HB3700, the public funds bill, said CUAO. In Vermont, candidates supported by the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU) fared well with 38 of 43 state legislators winning their races (Newslines Express Nov. 5). "Of particular note, Shap Smith will again be Speaker of the House and strong credit union supporter Ann Cummings will chair the Senate Financial Committee," said AVCU. Peter Shumlin will be Vermont's 81st governor, AVCU noted. "Although all three branches of Vermont Government are now controlled by a single party, AVCU's lobbying team believes there will not be major changes in statehouse attitudes towards financial institution or consumer issues compared to last year," said the association. "Although Democrats and Republicans shifted a few seats around in the House, its makeup will remain ostensibly the same with 94 Democrats, 48 Republicans, five Progressives and three Independents. The Senate remains solidly in the hands of Democrats, 22-8, although Republicans did pick up a net of one seat," AVCU said.

Maine CUs survey Bottom line improving

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PORTLAND, Maine (11/8/10)--Credit unions responding to the Maine Credit Union League's most recent online survey have reported three top trends in September: membership growth, consistent interchange income and improved bottom lines. Fifty six percent of the state's credit unions responded to the September trend survey. Delinquencies increased for 14% of respondents, while 43% saw no change and 43% saw a decrease (Weekly Update Nov. 5). Lending rose for 49%, stayed the same for 31%, and declined for 20% of credit unions surveyed. Of credit unions with a lending increase, 78% were in mortgages, 44% in auto loans, 17% in home equity lines of credit and 11% in member business loans. September's survey focus was on fuel or energy loans. About 65% of Maine credit unions responding reported they offer some kind of fuel or energy loans. For those offering these loans, the average rate was 4.75%, with the lowest rate offered at 0% by one credit union and the highest rate reported at 6%. Fifteen percent of credit unions surveyed offer other special energy program, mostly weatherization loans, the league said.

10-year-old fine after python bite at CU Halloween party

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WEST JORDAN, Utah (11/8/10)--Despite due diligence, things can go awry as one credit union learned when a 15-foot python bit a 10-year-old boy at its Halloween party Oct. 30 for employees and families. The boy, who is fine, is a nephew of an employee at Cyprus FCU, West Jordan, Utah. The snake is a 150-pound star of the animal show from Scales and Tails, a local company that had been in business 10 years and performed educational programs for large public schools. "We host an event every year for employees and their families and hire different acts, such as magicians and face painters, and this year we hired Scales and Tails," said Andrea Barlow, marketing director for Cyprus FCU in West Jordan, Utah. The event was held inside the credit union's corporate offices, in a training room. The $550 million asset credit union performed its due diligence on the company before hiring it. "We carefully reviewed the website of the company, learned who its clients were," she told News Now. "We made sure the company was licensed and insured, and we had them fax their insurance [document] to us, and we reviewed its references." The trainer worked for the local zoo and the company had a permit to have alligators and reptiles. "The kids loved the show. The trainer brought out all kinds of creepy, crawling things such as tarantulas. If it weren't for the incident with the snake, it would have been our best party ever," she added. The incident occurred at the end of the program. "The snake was the last to be brought out, and kids had lined up to pet it. It was just a fluke. It reared around and snapped at the neck and cheek of the boy. The boy thinks it bit him twice. It's hard to tell how many times because the snake had multiple teeth." The snake had no grip on him and was not squeezing. The trainer immediately dropped the python into its crate and announced there had been an incident and for people to move back. "There was no blood or mayhem," Barlow said. "We took him into another room, stopped the bleeding and took him to the emergency room, where he was X-rayed and received antibiotics. "The credit union sent him a big care package. He went trick or treating the next night, and is back playing football. He's not traumatized and says he'd continue hunting for snakes in his yard," she added. The snake is being monitored by a veterinarian to make sure it's not sick. "When snakes shed, they get glassy eyed and can't see well," Barlow said, adding that the python began shedding after the event. For other credit unions considering animal acts for children's parties, Barlow urged paying attention to due diligence. "Make sure you have first responder kits, first aid kits, and have contacts for media established…if anything doesn't feel right, pay attention to it."

Develop strategies to win Gen Y--Online Discovery

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MADISON, Wis. (11/8/10)--Generation Y, the second-largest generation ever, holds tremendous lending potential for credit unions. Yet banks are outperforming credit unions in reaching Gen Y. Shelly Vils, senior manager, credit union training for CUNA Mutual Group, shared that message with participants in CUNA Mutual’s Online Discovery Conference. Members of Gen Y, also known as “Millennials,” were born between 1982 and 2000, making them 10 to 28 years old. There are roughly 76 million members of Gen Y, compared to 77 million in the Baby Boom Generation, she said. Gen Y members are entering their prime borrowing years, Vils said, which positions them to replace Baby Boomers’ declining loan volume due to retirement. To attract Gen Y members, Vils said credit unions must understand their unique characteristics. Gen Y is the most diverse and best-educated generation in history, Vils said. They often carry heavy credit card and college debt, with 56% planning to live with their parents after college. They rely on friends and family for advice, with parents playing a key role in Gen Y decision-making. Other traits of Gen Y members:
* They will change jobs roughly every five years, so credit unions should reconsider loan policies related to job stability. * They are loyal to their financial institution. Once linked to the credit union by the right products and delivery channels, they are two times more likely to purchase additional products than Baby Boomers. * They are tech savvy and always “plugged in.” To reach Gen Y, replace traditional marketing channels and branch visits with tactics such as Facebook and Twitter posts and online seminars. * They are eager to learn and seek information online before buying. Credit unions can also consider holding seminars in places where young adults gather, rather than at the branch.

TCUF awards 49350 in fourth-quarter grants

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (11/8/10)--The Texas Credit Union Foundation (TCUF) announced it has distributed $49,350 in grants in the fourth quarter 2010, in addition to $137,240 awarded in the first quarter, $23,544 in the second, and $27,750 in the third, for a yearly total of $237,884. TCUF’s grants program included programs to benefit all Texans, and core programs such as credit union and chapter grants and financial literacy initiatives (LoneStar Leaguer Nov. 5). The foundation provided Harlingen (Texas) Area Teachers’ CU a financial literacy grant designated to co-sponsor the Stock Market Game with Harlingen’s local newspaper, The Valley Morning Star. TCUF said it believes it must empower students with the tools and resources to invest in their futures and become successful money managers. “The mission of [the game] is to provide financial literacy, academic education and enrichment for students,” said Vanessa Serna, marketing director of Harlingen Area Teachers’ CU. “The Stock Market Game is a 10-week Internet-based stock trading simulation offered in the fall and spring.” Additional grants include:
* Two Junior Achievement partnerships with credit unions; * Sponsorship of the Texas Credit Union League Chapter Leader’s Conference; * One chapter grant for the expenses to attend the Chapter Leader’s Conference; * Two scholarships to send credit union professionals to the National Credit Union Foundation’s Development Educator Program; * Ten scholarships to assist Project NEFE Network members with expenses for the TCUF’s In-Person Project NEFE Network meeting in Dallas. NEFE stands for National Endowment for Financial Education; * A grant to Coastal Community & Teachers CU, Corpus Christi, to sponsor the Raskal Reading Program, encouraging young children to read while promoting the importance of saving; * Support of Universal City-based Randolph Brooks FCU’s new Youth Advisory Board; * Collaboration with the El Paso Affordable Housing Credit Union Service Organization to deliver financial education workshops for persons with disabilities; * Assistance with implementing El Paso-based GECU’s new turnkey youth accounts program, Money Mammals; and * Two training and conference grants for credit union staff and volunteers.

IBankrateI blog CU members in good company financially

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MADISON, Wis. (11/8/10)--Consumers who conduct their financial transactions at credit unions have a more positive view of their personal finances than those who don’t, according to a recent survey. And that has prompted Bankrate to look at what causes the correlation between belonging to a credit union and being financially sound. “According to credit union data released from the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor in September, 38% of credit union members rate their personal finances as good or excellent, compared to 30% amongst noncredit union members surveyed,” said a blog posting on (Nov.4). “Just 17% of credit union members rate their finances as poor, while 29% of noncredit union members feel the same way. “Twenty-one percent of credit union members feel their finances are getting better compared to 19% of noncredit union members, a two-point difference,” the blog continued. “Both groups also differ when it comes to whether their personal financial situation is getting better or worse; 48% of credit union members feel their finances are worsening compared to 51% of noncredit union members, a three-point difference.” What causes the correlation between being financially sound and belonging to a credit union? The likely reason is that people who belong to credit unions tend to seek them out for more generous interest rates and lower loan rates, the blog said. Also, because credit unions generally lack the resources large banks have to build more branches and provide ubiquitous ATMs, consumers eschew convenience to conduct their financial business at credit unions, the blog added. “It follows then, that credit unions are attracting a consumer who is more proactive and diligent when it comes to financial matters, and one who is willing to do a little more legwork and sacrifice some convenience to get credit unions’ better deals,” the blog concludes. To read the blog, use the link.

CU System briefs (11/05/2010)

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* FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (11/8/10)--A new video from the Texas Credit Union League examines the passion, commitment and vision that made the Credit Union House, located in Washington, D.C., a reality. Credit Union House has served as a gathering place for leaders in the credit union movement and a key location for grassroots efforts, said the league (LoneStar Leaguer Nov. 5). To watch the video, use the link … * LATHRUP VILLAGE, Mich. (11/8/10)--Michigan First CU has added Michigan First Mobile, a new mobile banking service to its services that will enable members to check balances, view transaction history, transfer funds and pay bills from their mobile device anytime, anywhere. Members can access the service through their mobile browser, by texting, or by downloading a free application. The applications are available for Blackberry, iPhone, Android and other devices. It also offers a mobile locator service to help members on the go locate the nearest Michigan First branch, MoneyWorks Banking Center or an ATM through the CO-OP Financial Service Network … * PEARL RIVER, N.Y. (11/8/10)--Palisades FCU celebrated its 10,000th member recently when Miguel Hernandez, a quality assurance document specialist at Pfizer, walked into a branch on the Pfizer campus to open a savings account. The $160 million asset, 69-year old credit union presented Hernandez with an Apple iPad. "This credit union rocks," he said. "I look forward to banking with them for a very long time" … * AUGUSTA, Maine (11/8/10)--Maine credit unions Thursday launched
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the Ninth Annual Maine Credit Unions' Ending Hunger Walking Tour at Maine State CU, Augusta. Brenda Davis, executive director of Cross Roads Ministries, a hunger agency based in Old Town, will walk the tour. Davis will walk 700 miles on foot and visit 79 credit unions in 72 communities to pick up their contributions to the campaign. Maine State CU was the top fundraising credit union for 2009, and Davis began her month-long journey there. The Augusta Food Bank received the first contribution of the 2010 tour. Credit unions will contribute nearly $30,000 through the tour, part of a larger credit union initiative that has collected more than $3.5 million in the past nine years. From left are: Jon Paradise of the Maine Credit Union League; Davis; a representative of the Augusta Food Bank; and Cindy Barnes of Maine State CU. (Photo provided by the Maine Credit Union League) … * TEMPE, Ariz. (11/8/10)--Bill Heier, a long-time volunteer at Tempe (Ariz.) Schools CU, died Oct. 29 in Tempe. He was 90. Heier was a member of the Black Sheep Squadron in the Royal Canadian Air Force, the squadron on which a television show starring Robert Conrad was based. He also was involved in the credit union industry in Arizona, and was instrumental in getting a federal charter for Citizens Union Bank to provide Arizona credit unions with access to electronic transfers within the U.S. banking system. A memorial service was held Saturday. He is survived by his wife, two sons, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren (The Arizona Republic Nov. 3) …

Conn. CUs discuss issues at banking dept. roundtable

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MERIDEN, Conn. (11/8/10)--More than 45 Connecticut credit unions were invited to participate in an informal two-day roundtable hosted by the Connecticut Department of Banking to address common issues on the minds of the state’s credit union leaders, according to the Credit Union League of Connecticut.
Click to view larger image Attending a recent roundtable hosted by the Connecticut Department of Banking to address credit union issues were, from left, Mary Ellen O’Neill, Connecticut Banking Department financial institutions manager; Howard Pitkin, Connecticut banking commissioner; Marcia Sarrazin, National Credit Union Administration Region 1 associate director of programs; and Tony Emerson, Credit Union League of Connecticut president/CEO. (Photo provided by the Credit Union League of Connecticut)
Some issues discussed included credit unions’ regulatory and compliance burdens, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) conservatorship of Constitution Corporate FCU in Wallingford, Conn., concerns about alternative capital and what the league and the Credit Union National Association are doing about it, NCUA assessments and legislative questions. Participants included Mary Ellen O’Neill, Banking Department financial institutions manager; Howard Pitkin, banking commissioner; Marcia Sarrazin, NCUA 1 associate director of programs; and Tony Emerson, league president/CEO. The roundtable was held in three sessions, with credit unions grouped by asset size, to form manageable gatherings and give attending credit unions an opportunity for specific and personal attention to questions and concerns. “This is your meeting,” said Pitkin, opening one session. “We are here to address your concerns, looking to see what is on your mind and what questions you have.” “This was an excellent opportunity for credit unions to communicate directly with regulators,” said Emerson. “We appreciate the efforts of Commissioner Pitkin, the banking department, and the NCUA to provide this information exchange on a personal level in a comfortable setting.”