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CU System Archive

CU System

Maine CUs well-positioned to absorb corporate plan

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KENNEBEC, Maine (2/17/09)--Credit unions in Maine are reassuring a local newspaper that they are well-positioned to absorb any hit in capital they'd take under the National Credit Union Administration's currently proposed Corporate Stabilization Program. Sebasticook Valley FCU, Pittsfield, noted that a higher premium to absorb losses in the corporate system would deplete its capital and it would have to delay some capital improvements. However, Sebasticook President Jim Lemieux and other credit unions told the Kennebec Journal Morning Sentinel (Feb. 15) that they have enough capital on hand to see them through increases in insurance premiums from the program. Rick Lachance, president of Maine Education CU, based in Augusta, told the publication the industry as a whole is well-positioned to absorb the premiums "if it comes down to that." Maine Credit Union League John Murphy told the newspaper that the premium is an issue from a budgeting standpoint. Credit unions nationwide currently have the average equity-capital of 11.2%. Assuming additional insurance fees would reduce the industry average to a 10.5% ratio. Waterville-based New Dimensions CU also assured the newspaper the credit union was prepared. The credit union, which has $46 million in assets, would see its insurance assessment increase by $305,000 under the stabilization plan, according to President Ryan Poulin. Augusta-based Maine State CU, with $245.1 million in assets, would likely assume $1.7 million more in insurance premiums in the corporate program. Maine State CEO Norman Dubreiul suggested holding corporate credit unions to the same conservative standards that govern natural person credit unions, according to the Journal.

Alarm triggers statewide disruption to CUs service

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (2/17/09)--A fire alarm Friday triggered a five-hour disruption that shut down The Golden 1 CU’s 270 ATMs statewide and other services. The alarm in the Sacramento branch of the credit union went off at 7:15 a.m. and automatically triggered a power shutdown, said Scott Ingram, Golden 1 spokesman (The Sacramento Bee Feb. 14). The disruption not only took the ATMs offline, but also disabled the credit union’s website, automated call systems, call centers and online banking, Ingram told the newspaper. All operations were restored by 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. None of the credit union’s 77 branch locations were affected by the disruption, Ingram added. The Golden 1 is a $6.955 billion asset credit union, based in Sacramento, Calif.

Filenes IBlueprintsI catalogs innovation efforts

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MADISON, Wis. (2/17/09)--The Filene Research Institute has released Key Findings: Blueprints for Innovation, a report on the latest findings from Filene's i3 innovation group. The report, which features 12 new idea blueprints and three updated blueprints designed to fuel credit union growth, is authored by Denise Gabel, Filene's chief innovation officer. The report includes i3 (ideas, innovation and implementation) team outputs developed to help credit union members build wealth, navigate financial waters, meet life's milestones, make community connections and borrow. Three updated ideas are on topics gaining national traction: Prize-Linked Savings, The Savings Revolution, and Virtual Finance. "We encourage credit union innovators to keep this catalog of ideas at hand as they develop their organization's goals and tactics for today's challenging times," said Gabel, "and consider how these solutions may meet member needs." Credit unions can review the ideas and evaluate where they fit for their organizations, then consider how to improve the ideas or customize them in the spirit of open source innovation, Gabel said. Full concept documents are available at filene.org/home/innovation. Filene i3 is committed to strengthening the credit union system through the development of new products, services and business models. The work is accomplished by a team of executive-level volunteers supported by their individual credit union. Their aim is to drive open source innovation that benefits all, said Filene.

Arizona Federal closes four branches

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PHOENIX (2/17/09)--Arizona FCU announced Friday that it is closing four branches to deal with a decline in demand for financial services in the economy. The $1.894 billion asset, Phoenix-based credit union said a troubled economy contributed to a large fourth-quarter loss and an undercapitalized position (azcentral.com Feb. 13). No layoffs are anticipated, and the credit union plans to transfer employees from the closed branches to other locations, a company spokesman told the newspaper. “At Arizona Federal, we’ve experienced a decline in demand for financial services across our branch network, which has led us to a difficult but appropriate decision,” Ronald L. Westad, Arizona FCU president/CEO, said in a message on the credit union’s website. “We will be closing four of our branch locations effective April 4, 2009, consolidating them with other nearby locations,” he added. The branches that will close are:
* Greenfield branch, Mesa; * Fiesta Mall branch, Mesa; * South Mountain Branch, Phoenix; and * 48th Street in-store branch, Tempe.
“While we regret having to take this action, we do so as an appropriate step to ensure the long-term success of your credit union,” Westad said on the website. “The operating costs to maintain a 29-branch network in this economic environment are no longer prudent, given the reduced demand. “We remain committed to serving your financial needs, and we’ll re-examine our branch network from an expansion perspective when we return to better times, just as we have from a contraction perspective during these times,” he concluded.

Appeals court upholds life sentence in CU robbery

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (2/17/09)--A North Carolina Court of Appeals has upheld the life sentence of a man convicted as a violent habitual felon in a 2006 robbery of Charlotte, N.C.-based Carolina Postal CU. Gregory Edward Stacey appealed the March 6, 2008 decision by Judge Edwin G. Wilson Jr. in Forsyth County Superior Court. He had been convicted in the Oct. 27, 2006, heist of the credit union, in which he placed a semi-automatic handgun on the counter and told the tellers to fill up a bag. He left with more than $4,229. Stacey had several prior records and served prison terms for previous robberies with firearms. He was convicted of attaining the status of a violent habitual felon and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. The appeals court said the lower court did not err when it allowed inclusion of evidence related to previous crimes committed during the credit union case and that the evidence was not prejudicial. It overruled Stacey's motion for a new trial based on insufficiency of evidence that he had endangered the lives of the tellers. The appeals court also disagreed with the defendant's argument that the lower trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion for a mistrial after a jury twice informed the court it couldn't reach a unanimous court also was refused. And it said the life sentence did not violate the Eighth Amendment.

Man shot five times at CUs ATM

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SALISBURY, Md. (2/17/09)--A county official using an ATM at State Employees CU (SECU) of Maryland Inc. was robbed and shot up to five times Saturday. Theodore Shea II, Wicomico County director of administration, was in his van using SECUs’ drive-up ATM at the Salisbury branch when an armed man approached the vehicle and demanded money, said a law enforcement officer familiar with the investigation (delmarvanow.com Feb. 16). The suspect fired several times into the vehicle, and Shea was hit three-to-five times police said. The suspect then fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. Shea sustained injuries, including a gunshot wound to the leg, and was transported to a local hospital. His injuries required surgery, but appear to be non-life threatening, Jim Finneran, a spokesman for Wicomico County, told the newspaper. SECU of Maryland Inc has $1.793 billion assets and is based in Linthicum, Md.

Financial Education Resources Center to debut at GAC

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WASHINGTON (2/17/09)--For the first time, five national financial education providers will come together to present a Financial Education Resources Center at the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). At the Washington Convention Center Feb. 22-25, the Financial Education Resources Center will feature adjacent booths in the Exhibit Hall with resources from these providers:
* CUNA offers resources for credit unions, youth, adults, and underserved consumers. CUNA’s Personal Finance Initiative (PFI) is a new interactive resource. PFI includes research and policy materials as well as best practices and networking opportunities. * The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) makes grants to credit unions and partners in innovative programs. NCUF’s largest grant is for Biz Kid$, the first national public television series underwritten by America’s Credit Unions. * The Washington Credit Union Foundation manages the Biz Kid$ program. Biz Kid$’ new season is airing in all 50 states on 97% of PBS stations. Credit union educators can download a curriculum for each episode. * The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) supplies a turn-key curriculum for credit union educators to teach financial planning in high schools. NEFE is also bringing financial education into workplaces to reach young adults and at-risk workers. * The National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) provides a platform for credit union educators to report on presentations to classrooms and other youth events. NYIB also shares marketing materials to help credit unions attract youth.
NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin initiated the Financial Education Resources Center after serving on CUNA’s Financial Literacy Task Force. “All of our missions align around providing financial education,” said Delfin. “To carry on this cooperative movement, we must collectively promote financial literacy for Millennials and the next generations of credit union members.” (Millennials are people born between 1980 and 2000.)

New Mexico CUs raise awareness at state capital

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SANTA FE, N.M. (2/17/09)--About 75 New Mexico credit union professionals met in the state’s capital Feb. 4 during Credit Union Day at the Legislature to raise awareness about credit unions and their issues, and to get an update from lawmakers on the legislature now in session.
Showing off New Mexico House Memorial 18 proclaiming Feb. 4 as Credit Union Day are, from left, Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM) Vice President of Governmental Affairs Juan Fernandez, CUANM CEO Sylvia Lyon, and New Mexico’s House Minority Floor Leader State Rep. Tom Taylor--who sponsored the bill. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of New Mexico)
The Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM) hosted the event, which started with a luncheon, including guest speakers from the legislature, followed by a trip to the Capitol and an evening reception for lawmakers and credit union professionals. During the luncheon, Rep. Tom Taylor (R-San Juan County), House minority floor leader, announced the passage of House Memorial 18, proclaiming the day as Credit Union Day. The proclamation noted that credit unions serve more than 615,000 New Mexicans, and that credit unions encourage good financial practices and work cooperatively with each other and their members toward economic advancement. The proclamation also recognized the campaign New Mexico credit unions are conducting to raise $1 million for the state’s children’s hospital. The proclamation marked CUANM’s 50th anniversary and the service provided to members since credit unions were established in New Mexico in 1935. Other legislative guest speakers expressing their support for credit unions were State Rep. Al Park (D-Bernalillo County); State Sen. Kent Cravens (R-Bernalillo and Sandoval counties); State Rep. Rodolpho Martinez (D-Grant and Hidalgo counties), who is also a member of the Chino CU board; and Secretary of State Mary Herrera, a member of the Rio Grande CU board. Richard L. Anklam, president of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute, gave an overview of the state’s taxation and budget issues, and former lobbyist Jeff Rendell explained effective ways to communicate and spread awareness of credit union issues. During the luncheon, the New Mexico Little Guy, a redesign of the original Credit Union National Association Little Guy developed in 2007, was unveiled. The New Mexico Little Guy is dressed in a cowboy hat and boots, Zia belt buckle and turquoise bolo tie. He represents the average, hardworking New Mexico credit union member. Credit union also headed to the Capitol to deliver candy and touch base with lawmakers and their staff. Outside the Capitol, Andi Baum, CEO, Everyone’s FCU, Tucumcari; Phyllis Crawford, CEO, Four Corners FCU, Kirtland; and CUANM CEO Sylvia Lyon set up a New Mexico Little Guy standup figure and handed out cutouts and Post-It pads featuring the icon. Passersby expressed enthusiasm for both the new Little Guy and credit unions. Most said they were members of at least one credit union, CUANM said. More than 30 lawmakers attended the evening reception and mingled with the credit union contingent. “About a quarter of the legislative body of New Mexico attended the event and it was obvious from talking to them that they understand and approve of credit unions and the credit union philosophy and mission,” said Juan Fernandez, CUANM vice president of governmental affairs. “I think all our credit union professionals felt the event was an effective way to communicate with their lawmakers and raise credit union awareness.”