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CU System Archive

CU System

Michigan CUL Board cuts dues again

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LANSING, Mich. (12/21/11)--The Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) & Affiliates' Board of Directors voted at its December meeting to cut membership dues again.

Its dues is already the lowest in the nation, the league said (Michigan Monitor Dec. 19). The league cut dues by 40% in 2001 and an additional 35% in 2010 and 2011.

The board voted to maintain the discounted dues levels for 2012 as a result of strong income from subsidiaries, high member capital at the league, and the desire to keep the cost low for member credit unions.

It also authorized an additional 50% rebate of 2011 dues, to be returned to member credit unions by year end. Credit unions paying dues by check will receive a rebate check in the affiliation package. Those paying by electronic funds transfer will see the rebate deposited into their account on Dec. 29.

"Our members' support is the reason for all of our success, and it's fitting that they should also benefit financially," said MCUL & Affiliates CEO David Adams.

CUNA Board election results announced

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MADISON, Wis., and WASHINGTON (12/21/11)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Board of Directors will welcome six incumbents and two new directors, to take office March 19.

CUNA announced the election results Tuesday. There were no contested elections, which means all eight positions were elected by acclamation.

New directors are Paul Hughes, Greenville (S.C.) FCU, representing District 3, Class A, and Michael L'Ecuyer, Bellweather Community CU, Manchester, N.H., representing District 1, Class B.

Incumbents elected are:

  • Rod Staatz,  SECU, Linthicum, Md., District 2, Class C;
  • Mike Mercer, Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, Duluth, Ga., District 3, Class D;
  • Peter P. Dzuris,  Northland Area FCU, Oscoda, Mich., District 4, Class B;
  • Patrick S. Jury, Iowa Credit Union League, Des Moines, Iowa, District 4, Class D;
  • Winona Nava, Guadalupe CU, Santa Fe, N.M., District  5, Class A; and
  • Brett Martinez, Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., District 6, Class C.
They will take office in conjunction with CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

Money Mission to receive Wis. Financial Literacy Award

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MADISON, Wis. (12/21/11)--Money Mission LLC, an interactive, Web-based simulation game designed to educate young adults about the fundamentals of personal finance, is being awarded the Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award for 2011 by the Wisconsin Governor's Council on Financial Literacy.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the Wisconsin Credit Union League were contacted Tuesday by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions about the award. An awards ceremony is being planned in early 2012 in Madison, Wis.

The Wisconsin league rolled out the program in 2009, and in July 2010 CUNA and the league announced the launch of Money Mission nationwide, said Benjamin Schweder, vice president of W.C.U.L. Services Corp.

"Money Mission has been introduced to local schools, and teachers have embraced it as a tool to teach kids. Some have integrated the program into their classrooms," Schweder told News Now.

As players move through the video game and fictional city of Mission Heights, they make decisions on life events and financial choices such as managing a checking account, financing a car, buying stock or building a retirement nest egg.  They also participate in lessons that teach financial principles (News Now July 12, 2010)

Money Mission can be accessed by players only through participating credit unions' websites. The program is customized to the participating credit unions. When a member signs up for the game, they go to a weblink from the credit union site.  About 27-28 credit unions in Wisconsin participate, said Schweder. Nationally, credit unions participate from Hawaii, North Carolina, Texas, and Illinois as well as Wisconsin.

Earlier this year, Money Mission  was approved for inclusion in the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy Clearinghouse (News Now July 12, 2011). Also, the program began offering scholarship opportunities to high school seniors and is included in the nation's most comprehensive collection of financial education resources for students.

Interested credit unions can contact Josh Jones, CUNA manager of young adult programs, at 608-231-4262. For more information, use the link.

CUs mortgage loans noted by media

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MADISON, Wis. (12/21/11)--Consumers know now--thanks to Bank Transfer Day--that credit unions are good deals on checking and savings accounts. Two recent media reports also touted the benefits of getting a mortgage at a credit union.

"Credit unions have become a banking alternative of choice for disgruntled debit card and checking account holders nickeled and dimed by fees, but credit unions also hold their own in the mortgage market," wrote Broderick Perkins in The Californian.com (Dec. 12). 

While banks offer better fixed-rate mortgages for conforming and jumbo loans, "credit unions consistently offer better rates for adjustable- rate mortgages (ARMs) and home equity loans," the article said, citing the National Credit Union Administration and interest rate analyst Informa Research Services.

For consumers looking to use their wallets to make a political statement, "financing a home loan with a credit union can be more effective than bellowing through a bullhorn while occupying a city square," the article said.

It referred to statistics from the Credit Union National Association on credit unions' growth as a result of consumer backlash to bank fees. The article also noted that the lack of the profit motive kept credit unions out of harm's way during the mortgage meltdown, andit cited other advantages of credit unions including structure, federal insurance, and membership.

In MortgageLoan.com, featured on the NASDAQ website (Dec. 9), the article, "Consider a Credit Union Home Loan," pointed out: "If you're shopping around for a mortgage, don't overlook credit unions--even if you don't belong to one."

The article noted that "credit union mortgage rates can be very competitive, on par with and even lower than major banks. And because credit unions typically don't pile on lots of  'junk fees' to their closing costs, the actual cost of borrowing is often lower than it would appear from just their posted mortgage rate."

Credit unions have doubled their market share of mortgage applications since 2007, said the article, which added that UW CU, based in Madison, Wis., was the first credit union to be listed as a major source of  home loans in a major U.S. metropolitan area. It was the No. 1 provider of mortgage loans in the area in 2010, according to statistics from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, the article reported.

EU clears state aid to Irish CUs

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DUBLIN, Ireland (12/21/11)--The Irish government can bail out distressed credit unions in the country, said the European Commission Tuesday.

The commission said the resolution plan for distressed Irish credit unions was in compliance with European Union rules that provide aid to help remedy a serious economic disturbance in a member state (aibcorporate.com Dec. 20).

However, the actions taken must provide safeguards to avoid harming competition, ensure proper burden-sharing, and be limited in time--the authorization is granted until June 2012--and scope.

The Irish plan fulfills those conditions, Joaquin Almunia, commission vice president in charge of competition policy, said in a statement.

The plan ensures that a failing credit union sufficiently contributes to its exit costs while all its assets and liabilities are transferred to the buyer, and that the aid provided the credit union is the minimum necessary to facilitate the process, Almunia said.

Also, the process will prevent a buyer from gaining an unfair economic advantage through acquisition of underpriced assets, Almunia added.

CU System briefs (12/20/2011)

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  • NEW CASTLE, Del. (12/21/11)--The state of Delaware now has a second student credit union branch. New Castle County School Employees FCU opened a branch in Christiana High School in September. The branch joins Louviers FCU, which opened a branch in 2009 at Newark High School. The new branch is located near the school cafeteria and provides services such as deposits and withdrawals. A credit union staffer supervises the operations. Five students serve as tellers. Shown are, from left, credit union staff member Colin MacArthur with student teller Da'Near'a Henry. (Photo provided by the Delaware Credit Union League) …
  • DENVER, Colo. (12/21/11)--Denver-based Westerra CU has awarded grants to 38 schools for a total of more than $23,000 during the 2011-2012 school year. The program, launched last year, provides teachers and schools with financial resources for programs and activities for students such as field trips, art supplies, sports fees and equipment, after-school programs, workbooks and other activities. The average grant ranged from $400 to $700. Since the program began in 2010, Westerra CU has awarded grants to 115 schools in Denver Public Schools and Jeffco Public Schools systems. Westerra has more than $1 billion in assets …
  • EL PASO, Texas (12/21/11)--El Paso (Texas) Employees FCU, which will change its name on Jan. 1 to Evolve FCU, will host its first annual film festival--the Evolve Film Festival--to celebrate the credit union's name change and to spotlight its support of local artists. The change is not the result of a merger but more to reflect a new direction for the $292.2 million asset credit union. Deadline for local artists to submit their DVD or CD entries is Jan. 9. Entries should be no more than 10 minutes long and should depict facts, concepts or questions on the videographers' take on evolution. The films will be shown at the credit union's main branch next month during an open house and press conference unveiling the new name. The winner will receive a GO PRO HD Hero Camera. Date and time will be announced later …

Kenyan orphans see early Christmas thanks to CUs

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Bruce Foulke, president/CEO of American Heritage FCU, Philadelphia, dressed as Santa Claus, delivers a book to a resident of Busia Compassionate Centre, an orphanage in Western Kenya supported by World Council of Credit Unions.
KISUMU, Kenya (12/21/11)--Because of the work of a Pennsylvania credit union and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, Christmas came early for the residents of Busia Compassionate Centre, an orphanage in Western Kenya supported by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and Kenya's savings and credit cooperatives.

Bruce Foulke, president/CEO of American Heritage FCU, Philadelphia, last week found himself donning a white beard and red suit and delivering a sack full of toys, games and books to 85 residents of the orphanage. Rick Myxter, director of small credit union development with the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, acted as "head elf" and delivered a lighted four-foot Christmas tree.

"I don't know how many of the kids knew who I was, but you could tell they didn't know what a present was because they never had anything of their own before," Foulke said.

Bruce Foulke (right) and World Council of Credit Unions President/CEO Brian Branch construct a fence around a land parcel that will be home to a newer, more modern orphanage in Kenya.
Foulke and American Heritage have been feeding the orphanage, committing $12,000 annually to cover a year's worth of food for residents and staff. This was Foulke's second trip to Kenya but his first to the orphanage, which he described as a life-changing experience.

"It's so rewarding to help people who have so few things in life," Foulke said. "It makes me appreciate my life and the freedom we have so much more."

Delivering presents wasn't the only task that brought Foulke, Myxter and other volunteers to the orphanage, first introduced to WOCCU through its Kenya development program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). During the weeklong trip, the volunteers also built a fence around a 3.5-acre parcel of land that will serve as home to a new orphanage, scheduled to break ground in 2012.

World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) volunteer Busia (orphanage) delegation in Kenya this month included (from left) Bruce Foulke, president/CEO of American Heritage FCU, Philadelphia; Pennsylvania Credit Union Association Director of Small Credit Union Development Rick Myxter; WOCCU President/CEO Brian Branch; WOCCU Senior Vice President Mark Cifuentes; WOCCU Kenya staff member Julius Savala; and local contractor Joel Odongo.  (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
The original orphanage was established in 2003 by Stella Achieng Egesa to house Kenya's growing number of homeless children, many of whom lost their parents to HIV/AIDS. Staff from WOCCU's development program assisted Egesa and her staff, introducing agricultural crops for greater food security. When the USDA project ended in April 2010, WOCCU stepped in and, with donor support, improved security and sanitary facilities, provided the orphanage's residents with nutritious food and medical care, and eventually secured the land to construct the new facility.

"It's always a draw for me to see how much progress Busia has made," said Myxter, who has traveled to Kenya six times, including three trips with WOCCU to the orphanage. "If it hadn't been for Stella and her staff, these children would literally be living on the street."

Dr. Bernard Micke, a Madison, Wis., physician, and his wife Linda, a nurse, also made their second trip to Busia, providing physical exams and first aid for many of the children. The couple created a medical records system for the orphanage and taught health education courses to older residents. WOCCU staff also reviewed the orphanage's business practices and carried out other tasks.

"Our goal ultimately is to make Busia financially self-sustaining," said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO, who led the volunteer delegation. "In the meantime, the children are happier, healthier and more likely to succeed in life thanks to the financial and volunteer support contributed by American Heritage FCU, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association and other generous individuals and organizations."

CU 24 board elects officers

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (12/21/11)--Bradley Blake, president/CEO of Florida State University CU in Tallahassee, Fla., has been elected as chairman of the board of Credit Union 24, the credit union-owned ATM and point-of-sale (POS) network.

Joan Nolan, vice president of operation support at IBM Southeast Employees FCU, Boca Raton, Fla., was elected vice chairman. Becky Hulett, chief financial officer of 121 Financial CU in Jacksonville, Fla., remains secretary/treasurer. 

A 17-year veteran of the credit union industry, Blake started his credit union career as a part-time teller at FSU CU and has since worked his way up to president/CEO, a position he has held for nearly a decade. 

Credit Union 24's remaining board members include:

  • Alvin Cowans, president/CEO of McCoy FCU, Orlando, Fla.;
  • Adrian "Casey" Duplantier Jr., president/CEO, of 1st Advantage FCU, Yorktown, Va.;
  • David Mooney, president/CEO of Alliant CU, Chicago;
  • David Southall, president/CEO of Innovations FCU, Panama City, Fla.; and
  • Dan Wollin, president/CEO of PCM Employees CU, Green Bay, Wis.

Elevations municipalities join on 25M grant

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BOULDER, Colo. (12/21/11)--Elevations CU, with $1.1 billion in assets, Boulder, Colo., has been selected to participate in a new EnergySmart loan program by Boulder County.

The credit union will provide energy efficiency loans in partnership with the EnergySmart service and the Denver Energy Challenge.

The loans, for energy efficiency upgrades, will help residents, businesses and commercial property owners in Boulder County and Denver make improvements that save energy and money.

EnergySmart is a suite of energy efficiency services available to all residents and businesses in each Boulder County community.

"The EnergySmart loan program is a perfect fit for Elevations, said Jay Champion, Elevations chief lending officer. "Our goal is to provide a seamless process for home owners and commercial building owners to secure financing for energy efficient upgrades. Given recent upgrades to our lending platforms and our footprint in the community, we are confident that this partnership can make a real impact on the program's goals."