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CU System Briefs

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  • ROCKFORD, Ill. (12/31/13)--A man was sentenced on Dec. 4 for robbing a Rockford, Ill.-area credit union and two local banks in 2010, joining two other co-conspirators already convicted of related crimes. A federal judge handed Delanio Benford, 34, a 113-month sentence, which will be followed by three years of supervised release. He will not be eligible for parole. Benford pleaded guilty on March 22 to the July 28, 2010, robbery of Members Alliance CU. He also allegedly admitted to the 2010 robberies of two other banks. Benford was ordered to pay $38,771 to the banks and credit union. Prince Williams, 27, and Michael Buck, 28--both Rockford residents--were also sentenced in cases related to the robberies. Members Alliance CU is based in Rockford and has about $161 million in assets (7thspace.com Dec. 30) ...
  • JACKSONVILLE, Ark. (12/31/13)--Arkansas FCU donated $55,176 to the Arkansas Children's Hospital Foundation, the credit union announced earlier this month. Arkansas Children's Hospital CEO/President Marcy Doderer (left) and the hospital's Neonatal Services Nursing Director Luann Jones (right) accepted the gift, presented by Arkansas FCU President/CEO Larry Biernacki (center) on Dec. 17 in the hospital's main lobby. The credit union has donated more than $730,000 to the hospital since 1998. This year's donation is expected to help fund isolettes--equipment designed specifically for neonatal intensive. Arkansas FCU raised money for the hospital this year through a golf tournament, gift sales and other events. The credit union has over $860 million in assets, and is based in Jacksonville, Ark. (Photo provided by Arkansas FCU)  ...
  • HARRISBURG, Pa. (12/31/13)--Today marks the last day that the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association is accepting applications for awards it plans on giving out in 2014 (Life is a Highway Dec. 30). Honors include: a lifetime achievement award for professionals; a volunteer of the year award; scholarships; the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility award; the Louise Herring Philosophy in Action award; the Desjardins Financial Education award; and communications awards for the best annual report, newsletter and website. Information, applications, and guidelines on all awards and scholarships are available on the PCUA website.  Applications may be faxed or scanned and sent by e-mail, but the association wants entries submitted to the PCUA mailing address with a Dec. 31, 2013 postmark ...
  • LONGVIEW, Wash. (12/31/13)--Fibre FCU announced last week that it has named Christopher Bradberry as its new president. Bradberry, who has been in the financial industry for 25 years, has been with Fibre since 2002, when he was hired as the credit union's chief financial officer. Current Fibre CEO/President Larry Hoff will remain the credit union's CEO. Hoff has led Fibre since May 2001, when the credit union's board elected him to the position. Fibre is located in Longview, Wash. and has about $757 million in assets ...

CUs Help with New Year's Financial Resolutions

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MADISON, Wis. (12/31/13)--A record number of consumers--54% of Americans surveyed by Fidelity Instruments--are considering making a financial New Year's resolution for 2014. Some consumers are tying their resolutions to what they have learned from credit unions.
 
For example, Cal Mathis of Brooklyn, N.Y., plans to boost his savings, eliminate card debt and open an Individual Retirement Account to save for retirement--three takeaways from a financial literacy seminar he attended that was offered by McGraw-Hill FCU's Manhattan branch, he told the New York Daily News (Dec. 30). After attending the credit union's seminar, the father of three decided to set the goals and commit himself to those goals.
 
Fidelity's survey, for the third consecutive year, found that the top three New Year's financial resolutions include saving more (54%), paying off debt (24%) and spending less (19%).  Debt resolution increased threefold since 2010, when only 8% survey respondents planned to pay off debt (Forbes Dec. 30).
 
While many members and nonmembers learn from money management seminars and reality fairs provided by credit unions, other credit unions are providing New Year's advice in the media.
 
The Denver Post (Dec. 30) advised its readers that if their New Year's resolutions included getting a better grasp on personal finances, then start by comparing their bank's checking account with other checking accounts. It noted consumers should learn more than just their balance. They should learn how long it takes for a financial institution to process the check just deposited, know what the minimum requirement is for the account, and read the fine print to determine whether the FI raises interest rates on its card if the consumer is late paying other credit card bills.
 
John Rivera, vice president of branch sales and service at Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Bellco CU, told the Post's readers to check whether their institution is local. That matters if a consumer wants a mortgage because a local institution understands the local market better, he said. Also, consumers should look at whether they would be dealing with a call center overseas or a local service representative, he added.
 
Michael Sabatino, managing director of financial planning and education at McGraw-Hill FCU, advised consumers making financial resolutions to look at their after-tax income and expenses and set priorities. Be prepared to downsize if necessary. "Everyone talks about it, but few do it," he told the New York Daily News.
 
Use the link for several personal finance resources that can help credit unions educate members about money management.

Holiday Smiles Abound, Thanks to CUs' Generosity

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MADISON, Wis. (12/31/13)--While credit unions routinely give to their communities, with donations and volunteering for local causes, children's hospitals, and more throughout the year, they go into overdrive during the holidays. Credit unions ended the year with a host of activities that made spirits bright. Here are some examples.
 
Click to view larger image Chartway FCU and its divisions of HeritageWest and SouthWest Community CUs held a company-wide toy drive, collecting more than 2,951 presents to benefit the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. (Photo provided by Chartway FCU)
SPIRE FCU, a $597 million asset credit union in Roseville, Minn., teamed up with its partner, NBA basketball team the Minnesota Timberwolves, to help take care of kids' needs during the holiday season, according to an interview with SPIRE FCU CEO Dan Stoltz on NBA.com.
 
The Wolves and the credit union, which have been partners for two years, took 21 youngsters awaiting adoption on $500 shopping sprees through a local Target store as part of the annual Holiday Shopping for Kids events during its month-long Season of Giving.
 
During the shopping event, one child said "this is the greatest day, ever,"  Stoltz told NBA.com. "...how many of us take our own homes and gifts under our tree with our names for granted? We have that every year. These kids, this was their day brightener--actually their life brightener...It was such a big day for them. It's just so great if you can impact them in some small way." He termed the event "one of the greatest give-backs we do."
 
Click to view larger image It was all smiles for this youngster, one of 600 students at Lincoln Elementary School to get gifts from Virginia Beach, Va.-based Chartway FCU.  Students had the opportunity to request a "need" and a "want." Among the gifts: a Christmas tree for a boy whose family couldn't afford one, and her very own pillow to a young girl.  (Photo provided by Chartway FCU).
Kids were thrilled that the basketball players got on their knees with them "eye to eye" to shop. Many bought groceries and clothes. "It just shows how thoughtful these kids are about how they spend that money," Stoltz said.
 
Throughout the month of December, Chartway FCU, Virginia Beach, Va., and its HeritageWest and SouthWest Community CUs divisions spread holiday magic across the country through numerous charitable drives.  The $1.93 billion asset credit union:
  • Donated 2,951 toys to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program;
  • Raised funds to purchase gifts through its "Christmas Wishes" program for nearly 600 students at an elementary where 90% of the students live below the poverty line;
  • Donated socks and shoes to children in the HeritageWest division's "Warm the Soles" donation drive;
  • Collected gifts for families in need through its Angel Tree drive;
  • Brought holiday cheer through its employees' annual caroling event;
  • Served as parade liaisons for the Downtown Norfolk Council's Annual Grant Illumination Parade; and
  • Raised funds through its We Promise Foundation for children battling life-threatening illnesses, enabling it to donate $924,300 to charitable organizations.
 
Click to view larger image Face painting and making holiday cards were on the fun agenda at Merrimack Valley FCU's We Love Santa Party in Lawrence, Mass. The holiday event raised funds for Credit Unions Kids at Heart, which benefits Boston Children's Hospital, The Joe Andruzzi Foundation and The Professional Center for Childhood Development. (Photo provided by Merrimack Valley FCU)
Non-profit organizations in Lawrence, Mass., benefited from a special family event, the second annual We Love Santa Party, hosted by Merrimack Valley FCU. The event entertained all ages and raised funds for local charities. Merrimack transformed its corporate office into Santa's Village, where children decorated ornaments, made holiday cards, played reindeer games, danced, sang and got their faces painted. Donations totaling $1,405 benefitted the Credit Unions Kids at Heart, which benefits Boston Children's Hospital, The Joe Andruzzi Foundation, and the Professional Center for Childhood Development.  Merrimack Valley focuses its community support on education, health, homelessness and youth-related causes.
 
Alliant CU, an $8.225 billion asset credit union in Chicago, conducted a Holiday Food Drive to benefit northwest suburban Chicago residents needing assistance. The credit union's Civic Affairs Committee coordinated the drive, which collected hundreds of non-perishable food and household items for the Maine Township Community Food Pantry. The items are distributed to people in Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Niles, Glenview, Morton Grove and Rosemont.  Alliant CU Foundation also provided a grant to help the food pantry purchase goods for those in need. "With many people still affected by difficult economic times, it's extremely important to provide assistance, especially during the holiday season," said David Mooney, Alliant CU president/CEO.
 
A community challenge by Northern Hills FCU, a $49 million asset credit union in Sturgis, S.D., benefitted five charities, including Northern Hills Area CASA Program, Spearfish Community Pantry, Front Porch Coalition, Crisis Intervention Shelter Service Inc., and Autism Society of the Black Hills. The annual campaign strives to save the community money in loan interest, while benefiting local charities. This year's campaign, which ran from April 24 to Dec. 13, saved members more than $1 million in loan interest.  Community members voted for the charity to receive the largest donation. NHFCU made $7,000 in donations, ranging from $3,000 to $500.
 
Liberty Savings FCU, Jersey City, N.J., held a gift drive for women and children of the city's York Street Project, said the New Jersey Credit Union League (The Daily Exchange Dec. 30).  Both staff and members of the $76 million asset credit union donated toys and gifts.
 
Throughout December, News Now has reported  examples of credit unions' holiday and community service efforts.

Canadian MP Opposes Business Tax Change for CUs

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OTTAWA, Canada (12/31/13)--A Canadian Member of Parliament has written an op-ed opposing a budgetary proposal to eliminate the small business tax rate for Canada's credit unions.
 
The Monday editorial, "Credit unions not banks and should not be taxed like them," in the Cowichan News Leader was written by Jean Crowder, a New Democrat Party MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan, a district in British Columbia.
 
"I'm a proud member of many different cooperatives and I bank at a credit union," she wrote. "That's why I was so dismayed when the Conservatives announced they would eliminate the small business tax rate for credit unions in the last federal budget," she said, adding that credit unions have a different mandate than big banks.
 
An amendment in the budget would change the definition of which income is eligible for a rate reduction but only for credit unions, which Crowder said would double the federal tax burden on Canadian credit unions over the next five years. "That doesn't seem like a level playing field to me," said her article.
 
She noted credit unions have a proposal before parliamentarians, called the Credit Union Investment Tax Credit, which would provide a "fair and neutral financial system." It would focus on retained earnings, not shares, under certain conditions.
 
"Credit unions are important resources for people in small markets where banks can't be bothered opening a branch," said Crowder. "Their strong focus on community economic development is an important driver for the sustainability of businesses.
 
For the full article, use the link.

Loans Up 4.4% for Calif. State-chartered CUs

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (12/31/14)--Loans at California state-chartered credit unions increased 4.4% in 2013 to $41.8 billion from $40 billion in 2012, according to the California Department of Business Oversight Quarterly Report. Loans were up $1.1 billion in the third quarter, 2.8% from the previous quarter.  
 
Total assets of California state-chartered credit unions were $79.3 billion as of Sept. 30, up $2.9 billion or 3.7% from $76.4 billion a year earlier, and up a fraction of a percent in the second quarter. Shares increased 3.6% to $68.2 billion from $65.8 billion one year ago and were up a fraction of a percent from the prior quarter.
 
Net worth was up 10.3% to $8.6 billion from $7.8 billion the previous year and up 2.1% from the $8.4 billion reported in the second quarter. The net worth to asset ratio improved to 10.81% from 10.17% one year ago and from 10.63% in the previous quarter. The allowance for loan losses decreased 27.8% to $695.7 million from $963 million one year ago and was down 8% from $756 million in the second quarter.
 
Delinquent loans fell $113.6 million or 21.5% to $415.6 million from $529.2 million in 2012. They also were down $63.1 million or 13.2% from $478.7 million in the second quarter. Delinquent loans as a percentage of total loans were 1% as of Sept. 30, compared with 1.32% a year earlier and 1.18% in the last quarter. Other real estate owned totaled $57.2 million at the end of the third quarter, a decrease of $59.5 million or 51% from $116.7 million a year previous and a drop of $6.1 million or 9.7% from $63.4 million reported in the last quarter.
 
The number of state-chartered credit unions in California at the close of the third quarter stood at 146, compared with 153 at the same time last year.

Part of Clearview FCU Members to Join Piedmont Advantage CU

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (12/31/13)--In a move described as a "spin off" by both credit unions, North Carolina-based members of Clearview FCU, Moon Township, Pa., have voted to join to Piedmont Advantage CU, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., the credit unions announced Monday.

Piedmont Advantage will also acquire Clearview FCU's Charlotte branch and combine it with one of its existing facilities.

The Charlotte branch was the only one of Clearview's 29 branches not based in Pennsylvania.

Clearview FCU and Piedmont Advantage worked closely over the past few months to finalize the "win-win" situation, as described by the credit unions. All Charlotte employees of Clearview FCU will be retained in the agreement.  

"We are eager to show our new members how we are easy to do business with, and always work to improve the financial well-being of every member we serve," said Judy R. Tharp, Piedmont Advantage president/CEO. "Our vision at Piedmont Advantage is to enhance the lives of our members by providing quality products and caring solutions with a "can-do" attitude."

The new members of Piedmont Advantage also will have access to a complete line of financial service solutions at all the Piedmont Advantage CU branches throughout North Carolina. Members also have access to the CO-OP Shared Branch Service Center Network, Credit Union Service Center locations, and nationwide CO-OP surcharge free ATMs.

CUNA Closed Wednesday, No News Now

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WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (12/31/13)--The Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wis., offices of the Credit Union National Association will be closed Wednesday, Jan. 1, in observance of the New Year's holiday.
 
News Now will not publish an issue Wednesday but will resume regular publication on Thursday.

CFE FCU Buys Former Bank Site

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ORANGE CITY, Fla. (12/31/13)--Central Florida Educators FCU has purchased a facility formerly owned by Hancock Bank in Orange City, Fla.
 
The Lake Mary, Fla.-based credit union paid $1.2 million for the one-acre lot and 4,081-square-foot bank building, which was built in 2002 (The Daytona Beach News-Journal Dec. 30).
 
Hancock Holding Co., based in Gulfport, Miss., announced it was closing 40 to 45 branches by the end of the year in the five gulf states where it operates Hancock Bank and Whitney Bank branches.
 
CFE FCU, with $1.4 billion in assets, was founded in 1937 and has 19 branches. The Orange City branch will be the credit union's first in the Volusia-Flagler county area.
 
The branch is scheduled in the first quarter of 2014 and will have about eight employees, the credit union said.