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CU System briefs (02/11/2014)

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  • PORTSMOUTH (2/11/14)-- Peter Kavalauskas, president/CEO of $918 million-asset Northeast CU, Portsmouth, N.H., died as the result of a snowmobiling accident early Saturday morning. Police say Kavalauskas, 62, was snowmobiling with his son and friends when he lost control and crashed near Washington, N.H. ( Seacoastonline.com Feb. 9). He was pronounced dead at the scene. Kavalauskas and Northeast CU had announced that Thursday he was retiring as president/CEO after 35 years of service. He was a former member of the Association of Vermont Credit Union's (then Vermont Credit Union League) board of directors while employed by the former Windsor-Orange CU in White River Junction before joining Northeast CU in 1978. "The thoughts and prayers of our Vermont credit union family go out to Peter's family and Northeast CU," said Joe Bergeron, president/CEO of the Association of Vermont Credit Unions ...
  • WASHINGTON (2/11/14)-- The U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund)  announced that the 2014 National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference will be March 30-April 2 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, Ill.  The CDFI Fund, an event co-sponsor, said the program will feature innovations in community development policy and practice, Community Reinvestment Act--CRA--examination training, the National Community Development Lending School, and community development tours of Chicago. Participants must register by March 14 ...
  • MADISON, Wis. (2/11/14)- -A new book, "Development of the Modern U.S. Credit Union Movement 1970-2010," explores the transformation of many American credit unions from small, limited service institutions run largely by volunteers to today's full-service, professionally staffed institutions serving more than 98.9 million members.  Author Paul Thompson won the 2013 Individual Achievement Award of the Credit Union Development Education Program of the National Credit Union Foundation for his work on the book. He is a journalist and student of credit union history. He served as speechwriter for the leadership of the Credit Union National Association from 1986 to 1998. The 379-page book chronicles the factors that have moved credit unions into the mainstream of American life ...
  • WASHINGTON (2/11/14)-- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will convene a Small Business Review Panel, as required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act . Specifically, the CPPB will use the panel to seek early feedback from small lenders, including feedback on how data can be updated to better reflect what is happening in the market. While this information would be reported to regulators, not all of it would be disclosed in the public Home Mortgage Disclosure Act dataset. Potential changes under consideration by the CFPB include improvements required by Dodd-Frank; new developments in the market; monitoring access to credit. A factsheet about the changes the CFPB is considering is on its website ...
  • POCATELLO, Idaho (2/11/14)-- Idaho State University CU, with $140 million in assets, Pocatello, Idaho, donated $7,000 to the university's cheer team to replace the team's mats. The team previously practiced on an area that only covered two-thirds of a competition-sized area, making routines difficult. The old mats also were heavy and difficult to move. The new mats will be used at basketball games and for performances and competitions. ISU CU is the first credit union in the U.S. to have its logo featured on cheer mats of this type ( Idaho State Journal Feb. 9) ...
  • HELENA, Mont. (2/11/14)-- Ranel Smith, director of education services at the Montana Credit Union Network, recently completed the requirements and testing to become a certified meeting professional (CMP), becoming only the fifth person in Montana to hold the certification. Smith, a Great Falls native, has worked in the credit union industry for more than two decades. She started at MCUN in 2004 and previously worked at $88 million asset Embark CU, Great Falls, Mont. Smith also assists the Credit Union Association of Dakotas with its conference planning ...

Mich. league to CFPB: Regulate retailers to protect consumer data

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LIVONIA, Mich. (2/11/14)--The Michigan Credit Union League has sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) urging the agency to begin regulating retailers in the wake of recent data breaches, including incidents at retail giants Target and Nieman-Marcus.
 
The league said the retailers caused extensive harm to consumers by not implementing proper security protocols and not protecting consumers' sensitive personal and financial information.
 
The Dodd-Frank Act gives the CFPB authority to regulate retailers because the breaches have caused substantial injury to consumers, said MCUL CEO David Adams.
 
"MCUL strongly urges the CFPB to engage in supervision of retailers that pointedly fail to take proper steps to protect consumers and their private information in the course of offering and providing consumer financial services," Adams wrote in the letter. "Consumers would certainly benefit from the regulation of a retail industry that, at the moment, relies on largely self-policing standards that are inadequate to the point of consumer deception."
 
The interchange rule in the Dodd-Frank Act has shifted billions of dollars of interchange income from financial institutions to retailers with no discernable consumer benefit, according to the letter. However, financial institutions still bear most of the risk regarding potential fraud losses.
 
"This liability dynamic represents an arbitrary windfall that does nothing to encourage real reform or consumer protection, and cuts at financial institutions particularly hard-lost revenue, and lost wherewithal to pay for the sins of the retail community," Adams said. "It is time to bring shared accountability back into the equation for data breach liability."
 
Target announced in December that between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15--during the busy holiday shopping season--that debit and credit card information of about 40 million consumers had been compromised, a number that has grown to 70 million since. In addition, Neiman-Marcus announced a data breach to its system and Michael's said that its system may have also experienced a data breach.
 
The Credit Union National Association's survey on the cost of the Target breach to credit unions is an estimated $25 million to $30 million.

'Save to Win' helps Mich. members save $33M

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LIVONIA, Mich. (2/11/14)--Six Michigan credit union members each will receive $10,000 for taking part in the "Save to Win" program, which resulted in $33 million in savings overall.
 
More than 12,500 "Save to Win" accounts were opened through the end of 2013, with an average balance of $2,600 per account ( Monitor Feb. 10).
 
This week, two grand prizes will go to members of Community Driven CU, Ypsilanti, $59 million in assets. The other four winners are members of Christian Financial CU, Roseville, $284 million in assets; Sunrise Family CU, Bay City, $95 million in assets; and Public Service CU, Romulus, $137 million in assets.
 
More than $38.5 million has been saved among the four states--Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina and Washington--that use the "Save to Win" program, with more than $1 million in prizes being distributed.
 
Participating members earn one entry into the grand prize drawing for every $25 deposit they make into a "Save to Win" account. Smaller prizes also are awarded through the year. All deposits generate interest, build accounts and encourage savings behavior.

XCEL FCU CEO updates N.J. committee on state of CUs

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TRENTON, N.J.  (2/11/14)--Linda McFadden, president/CEO, XCEL FCU, presented an update on the state of credit union to the New Jersey Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee last week.
 
McFadden, who also is board chair of the New Jersey Credit Union League, briefed the committee, which is nearly double its size from the last session. Only two members carried over from previous committee, and four are completely new to the legislature ( The Daily Exchange Feb. 7).
 
She outlined the unique structure of credit unions' not-for-profit cooperative model, giving a big picture of the state's 197 credit unions and their membership.
 
McFadden expressed appreciation for the expansion of the Credit Union Advisory Committee to include federally chartered credit unions, recently signed by Gov. Chris Christie.
 
She also talked about modernizing the charter for state credit unions, the stress of foreclosures on financial institutions and the importance of moving to electronic lien titling for auto loans.
 
Lastly, she reiterated that data breach legislation--that was first introduced in 2006 and has been re-introduced in successive sessions--should be acted upon in light of the Target breach.

"While Congress continues to debate a national standard which credit unions could support, we believe it's time for New Jersey to act to protect consumers by enacting A-1239," she said.

Scorecard: Wis. CU members saved $103M in '13, $1B since '07

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PEWAUKEE, Wis. (2/11/14)--Credit union members in Wisconsin saved more than $103 million in 2013 and $1 billion since 2007, according to the 2013-2014 Wisconsin Credit Union Scorecard, released Monday by the Wisconsin Credit Union League.
 
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"Because credit unions exist to improve the financial position of the consumers who use them, credit unions go where other financial institutions can't, helping members create budgets, improve credit scores, escape payday loan traps, and refinance costly loans," said Brett Thompson, league president/CEO.

"This helps Wisconsin citizens make ends meet, weather job losses, prevent foreclosures and free up income to save for a rainy day, education or retirement," he added.
 
The scorecard focuses on four key areas for the state's 2.4 million members:
  • Keeping money in members' pockets;
  • Leading in financial education;
  • Helping communities and Main Street prosper; and
  • Delivering decades of service.
 
In 2013, nine in 10 Wisconsin credit unions provided free checking, offered loans of $1,000 or less, and adjusted loan terms to help members facing financial hardship due to unemployment, furloughs or temporary job loss.
 
Wisconsin credit unions saved members $57.7 million on loan interest and $24.8 million on fees. Higher interest on savings put $20.8 million in members' pockets, according to the scorecard.
 
Financial education is strong within credit unions, which provided 300,000 hours of free financial counseling, operated 113 in-school branches and engaged nearly 21,000 students with reality fairs. They also provided 300,000 hours of free financial counseling.
 
Since the start of the recession, loans at Wisconsin credit union rose 73%, while loans at banks inched up 1.5%.
 
Community efforts include over 24,000 hours in volunteer time and more than $1 million raised for local causes.

Ind. league announces new ignite team members

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INDIANAPOLIS (2/11/14)--Nine Indiana credit union representatives have been selected to be part of ignite, an initiative of the Indiana Credit Union League focused on developing innovations to help credit unions better the financial lives of their members.
 
The initiative is a joint venture between the Indiana Credit Union League and the ignite leadership team--comprised of two Indiana credit union representatives who are alumni of the Filene Research Institute's i3 group.

"This is the seventh group of igniters to enter the program," said league Vice Chairman Doug True, CEO of $939 million-asset FORUM CU, Fishers, Ind. True is one of two members of the ignite leadership team. "The track record of leadership development, collaboration and networking that ignite has fostered has been tremendous," he said.
 
"The ignite experience prepares these team members to make high-level contributions at their credit unions," said Bob Falk, CEO of $786 million-asset Purdue FCU, West Lafayette, Ind.  "Some have even used their experience with ignite to contribute to projects that have a national scope."
 
"Under the direction of our leadership team, the ignite initiative has thrived in Indiana," said league President John McKenzie. "The credit union support has been tremendous, as many have shared very talented and innovative employees."
 
At the group's first meeting of the year, held Jan. 31, igniters began to develop their 2014 innovations in small working groups.
 
So far, 26 innovations have been developed by past ignite participants. Several ignite innovations have been adopted by credit unions in Indiana and elsewhere. To develop and promote them, members of the working groups attend meetings coordinated by the league and make presentations during the league's annual convention and at state chapter meetings.
 
New igniters, who will each serve a two-year term, include:
  • Brandon Speckman, FORUM CU;   
  • Curtis Meyer, Interra CU, Goshen;
  • Daren Johnson, Indiana Members CU, Indianapolis;
  • Jenna Turner, Three Rivers FCU, Fort Wayne;
  • Jessica Certain, Three Rivers FCU;        
  • Latonya Gaither, Teachers CU, South Bend;
  • Mark Moulton, Financial Center FCU, Indianapolis;     
  • Shelby Schuh, Beacon CU, Wabash; and
  • Stephanie Snow, Eli Lilly FCU, Indianapolis.          
 Continuing igniters, who have one year remaining on their two-year terms, include:
  • Amy Benner, Solidarity Community FCU, Kokomo;
  • Amy Wells, Teachers CU, South Bend;
  • Andrea Buescher, Evansville (Ind.) Teachers FCU;
  • Ashli Moore, Eli Lilly FCU, Indianapolis;
  • Bryan Myers, Crane FCU, Odon;
  • David Dekker, Interra CU;
  • Kelly Baran, FORUM CU;
  • Micaela Wise, AAA FCU, South Bend; and
  • Sven Leander, Financial Center FCU.

Gov. declares 'CU Day' while R.I. CUs visit legislature

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (2/11/14)--Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) declared last Friday Credit Union Day in the state.
 
He gave Feb. 7 the annual designation as the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island hosted its yearly Governmental Affairs Day at the State House ( Daily CU Scan Feb. 10).
 
The Credit Union Association of Rhode Island's Governmental Affairs Day gave Stephen White, president/CEO, Westerly (R.I.) Community CU, left, an opportunity to meet with State Sen. Juan Pichardo (D-2). (Credit Union Association of Rhode Island photo)
More than 80 credit union officials and legislators participated in the event. The latter were led by state Sens. Chris Ottiano (R) and William Walaska (D), both volunteers for credit unions, and members of the State House Corporations Committees.
 
Rhode Island General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who recently received a Credit Union National Association Desjardins Financial Education Award for State Government Policymakers award, gave the keynote speech.
 
One of two public policymakers who received the national award this year, Raimondo said she is a "huge fan" of credit unions and praised the partnership she has with them in key areas, such as financial counseling.
 
She said that it is her belief that now, more than ever, the residents of Rhode Island are in need of safe and reliable financial services.
 
In opening remarks, association President/CEO Paul Gentile noted that Rhode Island credit unions expanded lending by 10.7% over the past year. Gentile said that credit unions' ability to extend credit in lean economic times is "a strong testament" to the relevance of the movement's "historic mission," according to the Daily CU Scan .

Friday is last chance to buy Wegner tickets

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MADISON, Wis. (2/11/14)--Tickets for this year's Herb Wegner Memorial Awards dinner are going quickly, and the deadline to purchase them from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) is Friday.
 
The 26th annual dinner will be Feb. 24 in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.
 
 NCUF Executive Director Gigi Hyland said the top two tiers of sponsorships already are sold out.
 
The awards will honor Gary Oakland, retired president/CEO, BECU, Tukwila, Wash.; Jim McCormack, retired president/CEO, Pennsylvania Credit Union Association; Tim Haegelin, retired president/CEO, Generations FCU, San Antonio, Texas; and Sarah Canepa Bang, president/chief operating officer, CO-OP Shared Branching/FSCC, and chief strategy officer, CO-OP Shared Branching.