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Carolina Leagues Roll Out New Face of Merger

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RALEIGH, N.C. (12/9/13)--As they approach the Jan. 1 date of their official merger, the North Carolina and South Carolina Credit Union Leagues are revealing the brand identity of the Carolinas Credit Union League through various social media platforms.
On Dec. 2, the new CCUL Facebook and Twitter pages revealed a snippet of the league's brand story through video on YouTube, the North Carolina Credit Union League said. (Weekly Conversation Dec. 6).

"Staff in both states have worked hard this year to create a league that stirs pride within each of us and member credit unions," said Geoff Finken, NCCUL director of administration. "Seeing the new identity of the Carolinas Credit Union League really brought it home for me. We will be the strongest advocate and more for credit unions in the Carolinas--that message really gets at the heart of what we're all about."
For the past several months, a joint league team worked with 3rd Degree Advertising, Durham, N.C., on developing a logo, brand vision and communications strategy for the new league. A Nov. 21 all-staff meeting in Columbia, S.C. included an internal brand rollout and celebration.
The new logo and a full video will be unveiled in the coming weeks along with a new website.

SECU Brings Fin. Education To Correctional Facility

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RALEIGH, N.C. (12/9/13)--State Employees' CU (SECU), Raleigh, N.C., is helping inmates at Pasquotank Correctional Institute make a successful transition back into society by offering a series of financial education sessions. 
Staff members at the credit union's Elizabeth City-17 North branch teamed up with the correctional facility to develop a financial program for inmates who are working in the community and due to be released soon. The program includes three workshops covering the fundamentals of money management, including an overview of account types, budgeting and understanding credit reports.
"The program has been well received by the inmates," said Cindy Emory, SECU vice president of the Elizabeth City-17 North branch.  "Participants were very interested in learning the basics of managing, saving and borrowing money.  Hands on exercises and references to real life stories helped encourage questions and discussions about their future plans."
Before their release, inmates work in the community at animal shelters, food banks and with other local programs, Emory said. "Our financial workshop coincides perfectly with their community involvement, offering support and helping them recognize the importance of planning and successfully managing their money to improve their financial future," Emory said. 
SECU's investment in delivering adult financial education programs within communities across North Carolina is foundational to its belief of helping others, Emory said  By seeking partnerships with local state agencies and non-profit organizations, SECU uses its financial expertise as a resource for those in need of guidance during difficult times.

CUs Play Prominent Role In NJ Fin. Lit. Coalition

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MERCERVILLE, N.J. (12/9/13)--High school requirements for personal finance courses were the highlight of a recent financial literacy symposium in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education is one of the New Jersey Credit Union Foundation's partners, and it hosted the seventh annual Financial Literacy Symposium Dec. 5 (The Daily Exchange Dec. 6).
New Jersey credit union representatives talked about financial literacy during a symposium Dec. 5. (Photo courtesy of The Daily Exchange)
New Jersey is one of 16 states that three years ago added the personal finance course requirement for high school graduation. Nine New Jersey schools participated in the pilot, and the initial findings were discussed at the symposium.
The data appears to support a full year of courses--students who took the test in the spring semester had better post-test scores than those who took the test after having just the fall semester, said Candice Nigro, league director of marketing and communications. A full report will be released next year.
New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Greg Michlig moderated the panel.
The audience included teachers, community leaders, financial advisers, and Social Security Administration representatives. Afterward, many of the attendees thanked Michlig for being a resource for their students, Nigro told News Now, adding, "they also said it was good education for themselves."
Credit union representatives on the panel were:
  • Ann South, president/CEO, Novartis FCU, East Hanover, and foundation chair;
  • Lou Vetere, CEO, Garden Savings FCU, Parsippany, and league chairman;
  • Cindy Rein-Zima, president/CEO, Hamilton Horizons FCY, Hamilton, and foundation board member;
  • Bret Rigby, president/CEO, Deepwater Industries FCU, Deepwater; and
  • Jean-Albert Maisonneuve, vice president of marketing and eCommerce, Affinity FCU, Basking Ridge.

National Journal Touts Latino Community CU For Member Support

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (12/9/13)--Through "The Next Economy" project, National Journal and The Atlantic are profiling innovative programs that build and support a strong middle class. As the year closes, the publications are focusing on the best of the year, and that includes the work done by Latino Community CU (LCCU) in Durham, N.C.
It's not enough for low-income consumers to start relationships with financial institutions by opening accounts and saving money, according to National Journal (Dec. 6). They need to establish good credit--a challenge for those with no history of any type of borrowing.
That's where a place like LCCU comes in. The $125 million-asset credit union has a mission of inclusive economic opportunity with a focus on Latino immigrants. All services are provided in both Spanish and English.
National Journal cited the credit union's lending success--it has a lower delinquency rate than the industry average. Members with no credit history can obtain loans at no extra cost, and many members previously were unbanked.
Other asset-building programs cited in the "Next Economy" are a San Francisco lending circle, an identification card that doubles as a prepaid debit card, online low-interest lending, and a fund that works to prevent mortgage delinquencies or foreclosures.

CU System Briefs (12/09/2013)

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  • ALBANY, N.Y. (12/9/13)--A mortgage servicer that works with credit unions in the Northeast announced Monday that it has donated $50,000 to the New York Credit Union Foundation. CUC Mortgage Corporation said that the gift will go toward supporting networking resources, professional development, and industry events that benefit young credit union professionals and volunteers in New York. The initiatives are organized by the Credit Union Association of New York's Young Professionals Commission, which hosts regional networking, educational sessions and conferences, publishes a quarterly newsletter and maintains an active online community. "CUC Mortgage is deeply invested in the credit union movement and in the success of the credit unions we serve. Cultivating and retaining future leaders is a goal all credit unions share, and the Foundation and Young Professionals Commission are making a real impact in that area," said CUC Mortgage Chief Operating Officer Edward Kovalefsky." The commission's events and programs are open to state credit union professionals and volunteers of the ages of 35 and younger. Elder state industry figures are often invited to mentor their younger counterparts. In 2010, CUC Mortgage donated $25,000 to the NYCUF to assist with the launching of a statewide young professionals network. CUC Mortgage is headquarted in Albany, N.Y., and licensed to serve credit unions in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Vermont …
  • PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (12/9/13)--Service CU is pitching in $75,000 to help the town where its headquartered--Portsmouth, N.H--save its indoor pool (Portsmouth Herald Dec. 3). The credit union gave the money, as a challenge grant, to members of the Save the Indoor Portsmouth Pool group, which is dedicated to supporting the financially troubled facility. If other local residents and business respond to the challenge, pool managers will have most of the $380,000 they need to install a new roof, and will achieve five-year performance bench-marks required by the municipal government in half that time. "The Indoor Portsmouth Pool & Aquatic Fitness Center is an essential public health resource that has become a vibrant family community center, serving Seacoast residents of all ages, including many of our Service Credit Union members," Gordon Simmons, president/CEO of Service CU said. "Service Credit Union is pleased to help save the Indoor Portsmouth Pool for the next generation of Seacoast citizens." The indoor pool in Portsmouth is the only such facility on New Hampshire's Seacoast with handicap ramp access. Service CU has about $2.3 billion in assets ...
  • FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (12/9/13)--The Credit Cornerstone Union League is holding a Principles and Philosophy conference this February in Dallas for its member credit unions. The symposium, run by Credit Union Development Educator certified instructors Lois Kitsch and Larry Blanchard, will explore the history and role of credit unions, the value of cooperative philosophies and why credit unions are different. Cornerstone CEO/President Dick Ensweiler has been through the program and described it as impressive. "How humbling it was during that weeklong educational excursion to realize there was so much I had not considered. So much more I could be doing. So much more to be discovered. The DE program was not only enlightening, but also inspiring," he said. "I'm confident that the knowledge credit union professionals and volunteers will gain from this two day conference will give them a strong foundation for the rest of their credit union career." The registration deadline for the Feb. 10 through Feb. 12 conference is Jan. 10. Registration costs $749, which includes a two night's stay at the DoubleTree. Cornerstone is a trade association for credit unions in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas ...
  • LENEXA, Kan. (12/9/13)--Funeral arrangements were held Friday for Kyle Van Winkle, 30, a loan operations officer for Community America CU, Lenexa, Kan. Van Winkle was found dead when police responded to a disturbance Dec. 1 during the Kansas City Chiefs-Denver Broncos football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Van Winkle leaves behind a wife, Jenni, and a son, William, who was born seven weeks ago (Kansas City Star Dec. 4). In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are asked to be made to The Kyle Van Winkle Memorial Fund in care of Jenni Van Winkle to benefit the William's education ...

Federation Offers Webinar of Homeownership Education, Counseling

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NEW YORK (12/9/13)--The Credit Union National Association and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions  are hosting a free webinar on homeownership education, counseling, and financing at 2 p.m. (ET) Dec. 17.
The federation is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved National Housing Counseling Intermediary. It helps credit unions and their local partners become HUD-approved counseling agencies.  
Since 2008, the federation has helped members of CDCUs become first-time homebuyers through counseling that connects the homebuyer to the right mortgage loan and provides the skills, knowledge and preparation for successful homeownership. Pre-purchase counseling is key to reducing mortgage delinquency, according to NeighorWorks America.  
This year, the federation has partnered with NeighborWorks America to better connect credit unions around the country to homeownership counseling and support services that will increase credit union lending for affordable homeownership.  
Featured presenters at the webinar include:
  • Ann Solomon, coordinator of the federation's Housing Counseling Network, will present pathways to building successful housing counseling programs.
  • Eileen Anderson, senior relationship manager in homeownership for NeighborWorks America, will highlight partnership opportunities with NeighborWorks organizations nationwide.
  • Cheryl Fatnassi, president/ CEO of $33 million-asset Opportunities CU, Winooskie, Vt., will showcase the credit union's range of affordable housing services and resources available to members in their Vermont communities.