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CU System briefs (12/15/2011)

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  • LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (12/16/11)--Joyce Judy, 57, a former credit union president who invested $500,000 of a member's money in a racetrack that turned out to be an international scam, was sentenced Wednesday to 26 months in prison for one count of fraud. Judy was president of Little Rock, Ark.-based Arkansas Employees FCU when the incident occurred in late 2009. She allegedly persuaded a member to invest in what she thought was a certificate of deposit, said prosecutors. Judy pooled the funds with $500,000 of her own funds. A business partner wired the money overseas without her permission, and the funds disappeared (The Associated Press via Dec. 14) …
  • ROCHESTER, N.H. (12/16/11)--Holy Rosary Regional CU (HRCU), based in Rochester, N.H., is commemorating its 50th anniversary next year by publishing a book, Comme D'Or (Good as Gold). Written by Michael Berhendt, a Rochester city planner, the 196-page historical memoir  explains how the credit union was established in 1962 by parishioners of the Holy Rosary Church to provide credit to French Canadian immigrants who had difficulty securing loans from local banks. It conducted business in the church's basement on Sundays after Mass, with funds reserved in a shoebox. Today, HRCU is  a full-service community institution with 17,000 members, more than $170 million in assets, and four branches …
  • MONT ALTO, Pa. (12/16/11)--Charles A. Recard of Mont Alto, Pa., died Tuesday in a Chambersburg, Pa., hospital.  He was 83.  Recard was past president, past secretary and one of the founders of the Cumberland Valley Chapter of Credit Unions (The Record Herald Dec. 14).  He worked for 33 years at Landis Machine Co., and served as past president and board member of the Lanmaco FCU, Waynesboro, Pa. He also was a plant manager at Beck manufacturing, Waynesboro, for 10 years, and was a member of the PA Central FCU in Harrisburg …

Making the holidays merrier--a CU tradition

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Oregon Community CU employees gathered in Springfield, Ore., Dec. 3, for the 59th Annual Springfield Christmas Parade, themed  "Through the Eyes of a Child." Springfield branches of the Eugene, Ore.-based credit union displayed their holiday spirit in a Dr. Seuss-inspired float for the parade, complete with Cindy Lou Who, The Grinch and The Cat in The Hat, winning them first place in the vehicles category. (Photo provided by Oregon Community CU)
MADISON, Wis. (12/16/11)--Many credit unions nationwide are taking part in an annual credit union tradition, making the holidays merrier through events such as charitable fundraisers and donations, parades and community outreach activities.

A poll taken earlier this month by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association asked credit unions how they participate in holiday community events (Life is a Highway Dec. 8).

While the poll can't be generalized to credit unions across the nation, most credit unions will recognize the activities as events they participate in, too. The 48 individuals responding to the survey selected one or more charitable events of participation.

The results were:

  • Toys for Tots--43.8% (21 people);
  • Food donations--35.4% (17);
  • Angel/mitten tree--31.3% (15);
  • Gifts for local home/organization-- 8.3% (4);
  • Clothing drive--8.3% (4);
  • Party for Needy Children/Families--4.2% (2);
  • Other events--37.5% (18); and
  • No participation--10.4% (5).
Other credit union holiday activities include:

  • Employees and family members of Freedom CU in Warminster, Pa., along with Dollar Dog, march at the 51st Annual  Hatboro Holiday Parade in Hatboro, Pa. (Photo provided by Freedom CU)
    For a fourth consecutive year, Freedom CU in Warminster, Pa., took part in the Hatboro Holiday Parade, a tradition for the community of Hatboro, Pa., and its neighboring towns. Held on Nov. 20, the parade--now in its 51st year--drew nearly 50,000 spectators as it traveled a mile. When earlier this year it was announced that the parade faced funding challenges, the $498.7 million asset Freedom also became a Gold Sponsor of the parade, donating $500 to help with operational costs. The credit union serves the Hatboro community, with a branch location just minutes away in neighboring Warminster Township, and said it sought to help preserve the long-standing and treasured event.
  • Community Financial CU in Plymouth, Mich., announced Dec. 1 it would support local nonprofit organizations by surprising them with donations throughout December. During its "Season of Giving" conducted in the spirit of the holiday season, the $471.2 million asset credit union will donate more than $50,000 to groups in areas the credit union serves, which includes seven cities. One recipient will be announced through Community Financial's social media outlets on Facebook and Twitter each business day through Dec. 23.
  • For more than 20 years, employees of Aberdeen (Md.) Proving Ground FCU (APGFCU) have partnered with The Salvation Army and its Angel Tree program each December to provide assistance to local families in need during holidays. This year, APGFCU staff collected hundreds of new toys and gifts of clothing for area children. Through the Angel Tree program, local families in need register their children for holiday gifts through The Salvation Army. Gift-givers may choose to donate all of the items on a child's wish list or additional gifts. Once donations are collected, The Salvation Army sorts and then distributes the gifts to the families before Christmas Eve.
  • Great Lakes CU staff in Sylvania, Ohio, organize holiday presents purchased by employees throughout the credit union for delivery to One Hope United. (Photo provided by Great Lakes CU)
    Staff from Great Lakes CU (GLCU) in Sylvania, Ohio, used their personal time to shop for 75 young patrons of the charity One Hope United.  Throughout the year, the $28 million asset GLCU recycles aluminum cans and collects donations from staff for such things as "Jeans Days" and 50/50 raffles to fund the gifts. Shoppers received the child's first name, age, gender and wish list. Gifts were collected at the credit union and then delivered to One Hope United for its annual Christmas party for the kids.
  • For the sixth consecutive year, WEST-AIRCOMM FCU employees in Beaver, Pa., donated $700 for gifts to an underprivileged family. This year's record total was matched by the $179 million asset credit union for a grand total of $1,400. The employees did all the shopping and wrapping for the family of eight (Life is a Highway Dec. 13).
  • Employees of  Erie (Pa.) General Electric FCU held a holiday party for the YMCA Kids Club and presented area children with gifts that included a new entertainment center, flat screen TV, Xbox Kinect, and games purchased with the money raised this year. The Credit Union SuperFan, Bubba Luv, also joined in on the fun and presented a check for $500 to the YMCA program (Life is a Highway Dec.9).
  • Norristown Bell CU (NBCU) employees in Blue Bell, Pa., adopted a family through CADCOM's "Father's Initiative Program," helping a Dad and his children with food, clothing and gifts. Also, NBCU employees and members participated in the Lt. Patty Simmons Law Enforcement Food Drive sponsored by Norristown and other local police departments for the Salvation Army. The event stocks the pantry at local Salvation Army locations for their shelters and food assistance programs (Life is a Highway Dec. 9).
  • Texoma Community CU in Wichita Falls, Texas, received positive media attention recently for its "Tree of Life" initiative. The credit union, for the fifth consecutive year, has partnered with Adult Protection Services, to brighten the holidays for abused, neglected or underprivileged elderly people in the community. In the credit union's two lobbies, Texoma Community decorated a Christmas tree with ornaments that have cards attached. On the cards are the name of an elderly or disabled person, and a wish list (LoneStar Leaguer Dec. 8).
  • Thirty-eight employees at First Commonwealth FCU, Lehigh Valley, Pa., donated Christmas gifts for the kids at Camelot for Children. The kids, ranging in age from one to 18, will receive their gifts at Camelot's annual Christmas party. Camelot for Children is a non-profit organization where seriously, chronically and terminally ill children can meet and play (Life is a Highway Dec. 8).

Three CUs donate 1M to fund iBiz Kidi

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MADISON, Wis. (12/16/11)--Three credit unions have collectively donated $1 million to help nationally underwrite Biz Kid$, the Emmy Award-winning, credit union-funded public television series that teaches kids about money management and entrepreneurship.

"We've seen great success with the show and accompanying curriculum throughout middle schools in North Carolina, so it's an easy decision to continually support Biz Kid$," said Mark Twisdale, executive director of the SECU Foundation.

Many SECU employees are trained on the show's curriculum and the credit union works with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to train teachers on the program.

"Biz Kid$ has had a tremendous impact in advancing financial literacy, not only within the educational community, but in households across the world," said Rudy Hanley, SchoolsFirst FCU president/CEO. "At SchoolsFirst FCU we are honored to support a program that educates, inspires and motivates the next generation of credit union members."

CU Solutions Group (CUSG), through its Invest in America program, also donated $700,000 for the second year in a row. CUSG's gift, combined with its $700,000 contribution last year, makes it one of the largest independent sponsors of Biz Kid$.

During the past six years, more than 260 credit unions and affiliates have raised about $10.4 million to support the show's production, website and curriculum. Every Biz Kid$ episode begins and ends with a narrator reminding viewers that: "Production funding for Biz Kid$ is provided by America's Credit Unions, where people are worth more than money."

CUs active in holiday food drives

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MADISON, Wis. (12/16/11)--Credit unions nationwide are holding food drives to help feed their less fortunate neighbors during the holidays.

Twenty-nine Hawaiian credit participated in "Have a Rice Day," a fundraiser for the Hawaii Foodbank and its neighbor island food distribution partners. From left, Jon Takushi, sales manager, Starwood Hotels and Resorts (sponsor); Anabel Lindsey, vice president of operations, Hawaiian Tel FCU, Honolulu; Dick Grimm, president, and Polly Kauahi, director of development, both of the Hawaii Foodbank; Gohan Da Hawaii Rice Guy; Randall Okamoto, vice president of lending, Hawaiian Tel FCU; and Kim Bartenstein, food drive manager, Hawaii Foodbank. (Photo provided by the Hawaii Credit Union League)
It doesn't snow Hawaii, but many favorite dishes are made with another white staple--rice. Twenty-nine credit unions from Oahu, Big Island, Maui, and Kauai participated in "Have a Rice Day," a fundraiser for the Hawaii Foodbank and its neighbor island food distribution partners. More than $39,771 representing the equivalent of 66,286 pounds of rice, was donated.

The program ran from Sept. 9 to Nov. 10. Each credit union gave away plastic rice paddles, imprinted with the credit union's logo, to those who donated 20 pound bags of rice or cash equivalents.

Each credit union held rice-themed events throughout the "Have a Rice Day" program, including plate-lunch sales, rice dish samplings, and rice cooker give-aways to drive awareness and increase donations.

Gohan Da Hawaii Rice Guy, a life-sized mascot created for the program, made appearances at credit unions on Oahu. ("Gohan" is the Japanese word for "rice.")

A check presentation was held on Wednesday at the Hawaii Foodbank in Honolulu. The money received and the rice donations were distributed to Hawaii Foodbank, Maui Food Bank, The Food Basket (Big Island) and Hawaii Foodbank--Kauai.

Thirteen credit unions joined to support Long Island Credit Unions' annual October Food Drive to help feed Long Island's hungry adults and children. Pictured from participating credit unions are: From left: Robert G. Allen, Teachers FCU, Hauppauge, Joann Doyle, North Shore-LIJ Heath System FCU, Jericho; Ed Paternostro, Nassau Educators FCU, Westbury; Carol Allen, People's Alliance FCU, Hauppauge; Brian Clarke, Bethpage FCU; Frank Cordano, Nassau Financial FCU, Westbury; Stacy Carter, Winthrop University Hospital Employees FCU, Mineola; and Bret Sears, Island FCU, Hauppauge. (Photo provided by the Long Island Credit Unions)
Other efforts taking place nationwide:

  • Honor CU, St. Joseph, Mich., and Greater Niles (Mich.) Community CU have partnered to collect food for the Salvation Army in Niles. The two groups gathered more than 2,000 canned goods and packaged items (Niles Star Dec. 14).
  • Texas Trust CU, Mansfield, Texas, donated $28,715 and 11,417 pounds of food collected during the "Together We Can Feed More Campaign" to the North Texas food bank. YOUR Community CU, Irving, Texas, collected 746 pounds of non-perishable items for the North Texas Food Bank during the "Together We Can" Feed More" campaign (Texas Credit Union League LoneStar Leaguer Dec. 8).
  • During November, RCU, Eau Claire, Wis., collected more than 800 stuffed bears and over 920 pounds of food during its annual Holiday Food and Bear Drive. Donated food items were delivered to community food pantries. Stuffed bears were distributed to children in local communities.
  • Long Island Credit Unions, a group of 13 credit unions, joined to support the efforts of Long Island hunger relief organizations Island Harvest and Long Island Cares, Inc.--The Harry Chapin Food Bank. This year the campaign yielded 2,508 pounds of food and raised more than $38,642.
  • As part of the International Year of the Cooperatives, about a dozen Texas Credit Union League chapters joined to form "Collaborating to Fight Hunger" (LoneStar Leaguer Dec. 8).
  • First Commonwealth FCU, Bethlehem, Pa., is holding a holiday food drive to benefit Second Harvest of the Lehigh Valley and The Greater Berks Food Bank. First Commonwealth has also partnered with some of its select employee groups to serve as additional collection sites, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Life is a Highway Nov. 22).

NCUA OKs CO-OP to buy Corp. Network eCom onlinemobile bill pay

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ARLINGTON, Va., and RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (12/16/11)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has approved CO-OP Financial Services' plans to purchase the online and mobile bill pay services of Corporate Network eCom LLC, a subsidiary of U.S. Central Bridge Corporate FCU.

NCUA selected CO-OP as a result of a competitive bidding process for U.S. Central Bridge operations conducted in October. CO-OP, based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.,  is a cooperative of more than 3,000 credit unions across the country. eCom is based in Lenexa, Kan.

"Today's action is another important step toward the goal of winding down U.S. Central Bridge," said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz. "In implementing the corporate resolution plan, NCUA has successfully continued payment services to consumer credit unions without interruption, and managed to the lowest possible long-term cost. The selection of CO-OP is also consistent with our preference, wherever feasible, to find solutions within the credit unions' system. This deal achieves all of these objectives."

Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-Op noted that "the bill pay services of eCom are a perfect extension of the e-commerce business line of CO-OP Financial Services, which already includes the online CO-OP Bill Pay and advanced CO-OP Mobile banking solution.  The transition of eCom services to CO-OP is so complementary that eCom clients will not need to change payment processing platforms as a result of the ownership change.

Hollen noted that  CO-OP will provide "the same high level of service eCom clients have always received for bill pay" which will help "all of our clients compete even more effectively in the future against banks in terms of access and convenience services they can offer their members."

All eCom employees will become employees of CO-OP Financial Services and continue to service eCom online and mobile bill pay clients.  eCom, located in Lenexa, Kan., was founded in 1999. Today more than 750,000 credit union members use at least one of its three electronic bill payment solutions. The flagship MemberPayPlus enables members to receive, view, manage and pay all of their bills from a credit union website.

U.S. Central was placed into conservatorship by NCUA in March 2009.

CO-OP expects to complete the purchase within 90 days. For more information, use the link. Going forward, CO-OP will communicate directly with eCom's clients about the transition process, said NCUA.  For more information, use the link.

CorporateOne CheckLog expand cutoff times for processing items

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COLUMBUS, Ohio, and MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (12/16/11)--Corporate One FCU, Columbus, Ohio, and its partner eDOC Innovations have expanded the cutoff time for processing forward collection items to 9:15 p.m. (ET).

Corporate One FCU, based in Columbus, Ohio, provides services to more than 750 credit unions nationally with more than $4 billion in assets.

The cutoff extension will benefit users of eDOC's CheckLogic, imaging suite for check processing. CheckLogic includes branch, merchant and member capture, with integrated in-clearing and automated return processing capability, said eDoc.

Dwolla feature avoids waiting period for funds transfers

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DES MOINES, Iowa (12/16/11)--Dwolla, the online, location-based, social and mobile payment platform, released a new feature Thursday called Instant, an opt-in feature that provides users instant access to cash, avoiding the two- to three-day waiting period for transfer of funds.

The feature is provided through a partnership with TMG Financial Services (TMGFS), a sister company of Dwolla partner and investor The Members Group (TMG).

"Instant puts the convenience of an ATM-like feature inside the pocket of our users," said Ben Milne, Dwolla founder.

Prior to the release of Instant, users could only initiate an immediate transfer of funds if they had money in their Dwolla account. If a user wanted to access money from a different source, such as a linked credit union or bank checking account, the transfer could take up to three days.

By opting in to Instant, users have a second option for transferring funds immediately. Those without enough funds in their Dwolla accounts or who want to bypass the two- to three-day waiting period to transfer funds from a linked account can choose Instant to pay for their purchase or transfer immediately, Dwolla said.

Instant is an opt-in feature available to all Dwolla users for $3 per month. When a user chooses Instant, Dwolla will extend a line of credit up to $500 to the user. No additional fees are charged for the first 30 days after the Instant transfer. If the Instant balance is not paid back in 30 days, the user will pay a $5 fee for every month the balance is carried.

"Consumers who have a frequent need for cash can pay large sums each month to access out-of-network ATMs," said Brian Day, Dwolla product leader for TMG. "Add in the convenience of mobility and social network integration, and it's easy to see why Dwolla and this new Instant feature will bring tremendous value to users."

TMG is owned by Iowa credit unions and their members.

CUNA Mutual announces 2012 CU protection webinar topics

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MADISON, Wis. (12/16/11)--CUNA Mutual Group fidelity bond policyholders can learn about risk trends and exposures they need to prepare for next year by participating in the insurer's free Credit Union Protection 2012 Webinar Series.

"Topics provide valuable insights and recommend effective tools to reduce losses and help protect against a wide variety of risks," said Brad Mundine, CUNA Mutual Group senior manager of Credit Union Protection Risk Management. The one-hour webinars are free.

Webinar topics and their key points of discussion include:

Online Banking Fraud & FFIEC Authentication Guidance, Jan. 11. Discussion will focus on how cyber thieves compromise online banking login credentials and introduce risk-mitigation strategies including multifactor authentication for high-risk transactions and layered security controls.

Cyber Risks & The Data Breach Hot Seat, Feb. 15. Topics address will include how potential data breaches at the credit union can present significant challenges and ways to ensure the credit union is prepared with action steps involved in managing and/or responding to an incident.

Disaster Preparedness, March 28. This will discuss:

  • An overview of insuring-to-value;
  • Tips for testing your disaster preparedness plan; and
  • Quick steps your credit union should take to get on the road to recovery.

Plastic Card Fraud, May 9. Presenters will address changes that shift liability and fraud related to payment cards and the impact of these changes on credit unions, and steps the credit union should take to stay aligned with changes.

Social Media Risks, June 27. Topics of discussion include social media risks at the credit union, including privacy, policies/procedures and employee usage; and potential policies and procedures to put in place regarding usage, monitoring and response.

Directors' Risk Oversight & Liability, Aug. 15. This will discuss the extent and nature of a board's responsibilities related to risk oversight, and key items to consider when adopting a risk oversight approach.

Staying In Compliance, Sept. 19. Attendees will learn about the risk of not staying in compliance with existing and new regulations, and focus on practical implementation of several federal regulatory compliance issues and importance of maintaining a comprehensive compliance program.

Payment & Deposit Fraud, Oct. 17. Topics under discussion include check deposit fraud-fighting tools and training needed to help protect  the credit union's assets, and traditional payment/deposit fraud risks in a changing environment.

Robbery & Burglary, Nov. 14. This webinar will address:

  • Tips for identifying robbery suspects;
  • Methods for discouraging robbery at the credit union; and
  • Ways to enhance and improve credit union policies and procedures connected to the risk of robbery.
In the past 10 years, CUNA Mutual Group has delivered in excess of 120 webinars to more than 25,000 credit union professionals.

For more information, go to the Credit Union Protection Resource Center  at the link.

For more information