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CU System

CU System briefs (02/21/2011)

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* WHITESTOWN, N.Y. (2/22/11)--A man who was supposed to load money into an ATM on Jan. 21 at the Whitestown branch of Rome, N.Y.-based AmeriCU CU, has been charged with stealing $26,000 in $20 bills during the delivery. David A. Thurston, 30, of Brutus, was employed by Loomis & Co. when he and a driver delivered the cash to the ATM. While Thurston was loading it, he allegedly took the amount in $20 bills, said state police. He was charged with third-degree grand larceny, a felony (Syracuse.com Feb. 17) … * SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (2/22/11)--Steve Becker, chief operating officer of Arrowhead CU since it was put into conservatorship, has been named interim CEO-designate. He succeeds Kay Woods, who led Arrowhead after the National Credit Union National Association placed it into conservatorship in June 2010. Becker, who assumes his new position at the end of March, retired as CEO of Credit Union West, Glendale, Ariz., in 2009 and has 22 years' experience in the industry (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Feb. 16 and The Press-Enterprise Feb. 17) … * SACRAMENTO, Calif. (2/22/11)--The Golden 1 CU paid $3.75 million in annual rebates to its Visa credit card holders in January, the $7.7 billion asset credit union announced last week. The 1% cash rebates were paid for qualified purchases made with certain Golden 1 Visa Credit Cards during 2010. Since 2004, Golden 1 has returned nearly $30 million to its members. "Giving back to our members shows them how much we appreciate their business and their continued loyalty and support," said President/CEO Donna A. Bland … * CHILDERSBURG, Ala. (2/22/11)--Coosa Pines FCU, Childersburg, Ala., kicked off 2011 the same way it did in 2010--by giving members a bonus dividend and interest refund. In early January, members receive an additional 5% of their share account dividends and 5% of their total loan interest paid to the credit union during 2010. The amount totaled more than $300,000 (The Daily Home Feb. 16) … * HARRISBURG, Pa. (2/22/11)--Bill Pfeifer, former board director of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) and founder of the Line Material Employees FCU, East Stroudsburg, Pa., died Feb. 15. He was 89. He started the credit union in 1951 and had served on its board since 1955. He was PCUA director for 12 years, from 1985 to 1997. He also is credited with organizing eight credit unions and the Monroe County Chapter of Credit Unions, said PCUA (Life is a Highway Feb. 17) … * ORLANDO, Fla. (2/22/11)--Ralph E. Ullman, 88, one of the founding fathers of Riegel FCU, Milford, N.J., died Feb. 11 in Orlando, Fla. He served as president of the credit union for 29 years and retired to Orlando in 1989 (The Express-Times Feb. 13) … * GLOUCESTER, Va. (2/22/11)--Helen Deane, former manager of the Mica Plant Employees CU and Newport News (Va.) Post Office CU, died Feb. 13 at the age of 85. She was manager of the Newport News credit union until her retirement after 25 years of service (Daily Press Feb. 15) …

Maine league gets kudos from media on breach alert

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PORTLAND, Maine (2/22/11)--The Maine Credit Union League's proactive work in alerting consumers last week to a breach at a jewelry store that affected about 1,000 credit union members as well as other consumers not only garnered attention from the media, but also media kudos for the way it handled the situation. "Our primary goal in making this public was to warn consumers," said league President John Murphy when asked why the Maine's credit unions were getting the word out about the breach (Weekly Update Feb. 18). The breach involved Day's Jewelers. People who made purchases there in November and December found fraudulent transactions on their debit and credit cards. The league sent out a press release Feb. 15 informing consumers about the transactions and reassuring them that "credit unions are working to ensure that the inconvenience to members is minimal." It noted credit unions' advanced fraut protection and fraud prevention systems, and provided tips on how consumers can protect themselves. (News Now Feb. 17). It fielded a number of inquiries from media and drew positive comments. "Our decision to make this public when we did was in the best interest of our credit unions and members," Murphy said.

League testifies against child support bill in Maine (02/21/2011)

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PORTLAND, Maine. (2/22/11)--Quincy Hentzel, the Maine Credit Union League’s director of governmental affairs, testified Feb. 15 before the Maine Legislature’s judiciary committee in opposition to a proposed child support law. The bill would exempt a debtor’s interest in funds or assets that are necessary for the debtor to pay child support. The bill also stipulates that child support orders have priority over previously filed orders that are not made for the purpose of enforcing or paying child support, said the Maine Credit Union League (Weekly Standard Feb. 18). “The issue we see is that the creation of a new category of exempt property will undermine the ability of creditors to collect on their claims while doing nothing to assure that support orders are fulfilled, “ Hentzel testified. “As a practical matter, a debtor could avoid paying a creditor by declaring that he is in arrears of his support order and needs the cash to fulfill that obligation.” Hentzel also voiced the league’s opposition to another provision of the bill that would give a new priority lien to trump consensual liens given by borrowers to secure their obligations to a credit union. “Should we allow other liens to take priority over our established first priority lien, the potential now exists to erode our first mortgage and increase credit risk to the lending institution,” she said.

League testifies against child support bill in Maine

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PORTLAND, Maine. (2/22/11)--Quincy Hentzel, the Maine Credit Union League’s director of governmental affairs, testified Feb. 15 before the Maine Legislature’s judiciary committee in opposition to a proposed child support law. The bill would exempt a debtor’s interest in funds or assets that are necessary for the debtor to pay child support. The bill also stipulates that child support orders have priority over previously filed orders that are not made for the purpose of enforcing or paying child support, said the Maine Credit Union League (Weekly Standard Feb. 18). “The issue we see is that the creation of a new category of exempt property will undermine the ability of creditors to collect on their claims while doing nothing to assure that support orders are fulfilled, “ Hentzel testified. “As a practical matter, a debtor could avoid paying a creditor by declaring that he is in arrears of his support order and needs the cash to fulfill that obligation.” Hentzel also voiced the league’s opposition to another provision of the bill that would give a new priority lien to trump consensual liens given by borrowers to secure their obligations to a credit union. “Should we allow other liens to take priority over our established first priority lien, the potential now exists to erode our first mortgage and increase credit risk to the lending institution,” she said.

Western Bridge Corp. council OKs stand-alone option(1)

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TORRANCE, Calif. (2/22/11)--Western Bridge Corporate's Member Advisory Council has voted in favor of a recommendation to apply for a new charter as a stand-alone corporate credit union. A new charter would enable the corporate to take the next step toward consolidation with Members United Bridge Corporate. The council announced Friday that 80 credit unions (94%) on the council voted in favor of the recommendation. The council and its Executive Committee had met the past six weeks to review and refine several alternative business models for the new corporate entity to take the place of Western Corporate (WesCorp). Originally, the council chose consolidation with Members United Bridge Corporate, but on Feb. 8, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) issued a guidance letter regarding large consolidation issues. As a result, committee Chairman Jim Updike, CEO of Honda FCU, Torrance, Calif., and Vice Chairman Scott Waite, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Patelco CU, San Francisco, met with NCUA to discuss the council's preferred choice in aggregating services for payment processing, liquidity and investments. On Feb. 11, NCUA issued a policy stating that "such a consolidation would only be considered after the bridge corporates transition to independently operating corporate." With that, the Executive Committee developed a new recommendation to apply for the stand-alone corporate charter, and the full advisory council ratified the recommendation. "We are very pleased with the level of participation by the members of the Advisory Council and the results of the vote set a clear direction for a new corporate entity," Updike said in a news release. He acknowledged that member support is the first step in the process. The next step: the committee will engage NCUA's Office of Corporate Credit Unions to gain support of a business plan to be submitted before March 31. Before the Western Bridge plan is submitted, the council will seek ratification of the final plan by the entire Western Bridge Corporate membership. "It is important for members of Western Bridge Corporate to be part of the decision making process," Updike said.

Western Bridge Corp. council OKs stand-alone option

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TORRANCE, Calif. (2/22/11)--Western Bridge Corporate's Member Advisory Council has voted in favor of a recommendation to apply for a new charter as a stand-alone corporate credit union. A new charter would enable the corporate to take the next step toward consolidation with Members United Bridge Corporate. The council announced Friday that 80 credit unions (94%) on the council voted in favor of the recommendation. The council and its Executive Committee had met the past six weeks to review and refine several alternative business models for the new corporate entity to take the place of Western Corporate (WesCorp). Originally, the council chose consolidation with Members United Bridge Corporate, but on Feb. 8, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) issued a guidance letter regarding large consolidation issues. As a result, committee Chairman Jim Updike, CEO of Honda FCU, Torrance, Calif., and Vice Chairman Scott Waite, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Patelco CU, San Francisco, met with NCUA to discuss the council's preferred choice in aggregating services for payment processing, liquidity and investments. On Feb. 11, NCUA issued a policy stating that "such a consolidation would only be considered after the bridge corporates transition to independently operating corporate." With that, the Executive Committee developed a new recommendation to apply for the stand-alone corporate charter, and the full advisory council ratified the recommendation. "We are very pleased with the level of participation by the members of the Advisory Council and the results of the vote set a clear direction for a new corporate entity," Updike said in a news release. He acknowledged that member support is the first step in the process. The next step: the committee will engage NCUA's Office of Corporate Credit Unions to gain support of a business plan to be submitted before March 31. Before the Western Bridge plan is submitted, the council will seek ratification of the final plan by the entire Western Bridge Corporate membership. "It is important for members of Western Bridge Corporate to be part of the decision making process," Updike said.

SECU takes lead with new EMV card chip (02/21/2011)

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RALEIGH, N.C. (2/22/11)--State Employees’ CU (SECU) in Raleigh, N.C., announced the addition of EMV (chip) technology to its debit card portfolio, making it one of the first financial institutions in the U.S. to add the microchips for increased transaction security over traditional magnetic-stripe cards. Oberthur Technologies will provide SECU with the technology for its EMV migration. While there is widespread adoption of the new technology worldwide, virtually none of the more than one billion chip cards in circulation are in the U.S. SECU’s 1.6 million debit cardholders will now lead the U.S. migration. Chip cards securely store and process data efficiently, said SECU. The cards are also more difficult to copy, providing enhanced security against lost, stolen and counterfeit card fraud. SECU will begin its migration in March, with a completion target date for later this year. “SECU’s goal is to provide products and services which offer enhanced value and protection,” said Leanne Phelps, senior vice president of SECU’s card services department. “The EMV technology enables us to offer members increased fraud protection along with stress-free use of their card worldwide.” SECU has more than $21 billion in assets.

SECU takes lead with new EMV card chip

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RALEIGH, N.C. (2/22/11)--State Employees’ CU (SECU) in Raleigh, N.C., announced the addition of EMV (chip) technology to its debit card portfolio, making it one of the first financial institutions in the U.S. to add the microchips for increased transaction security over traditional magnetic-stripe cards. Oberthur Technologies will provide SECU with the technology for its EMV migration. While there is widespread adoption of the new technology worldwide, virtually none of the more than one billion chip cards in circulation are in the U.S. SECU’s 1.6 million debit cardholders will now lead the U.S. migration. Chip cards securely store and process data efficiently, said SECU. The cards are also more difficult to copy, providing enhanced security against lost, stolen and counterfeit card fraud. SECU will begin its migration in March, with a completion target date for later this year. “SECU’s goal is to provide products and services which offer enhanced value and protection,” said Leanne Phelps, senior vice president of SECU’s card services department. “The EMV technology enables us to offer members increased fraud protection along with stress-free use of their card worldwide.” SECU has more than $21 billion in assets.

Oklahoma regulator approves CUs merger

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OKLAHOMA CITY (2/22/11)--The Oklahoma State Credit Union Board approved a merger between Tulsa Metro FCU and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) CU, both of Tulsa. FOP CU, with $25.6 million assets absorbs Tulsa Metro CU’s $6.8 million assets. Gilbert told News Now that FOP/Tulsa Metro merger made sense from both cultural and operational perspectives. “They were not interested in becoming part of a big credit union,” he said of Tulsa Metro CU. “They still maintain that small credit union atmosphere through this merger.” FOP CU CEO Carol Webb had previously held the same position at Tulsa Metro, Gilbert noted. “She knew its operations, as well as the limitations and struggles it had,” Gilbert said. One of those limitations was access to branch facilities. Tulsa Metro FCU was previously housed in the fifth floor of a downtown building, said Gilbert. The National Credit Union Administration has also approved the merger.

Oklahoma regulator approves CUs merger (02/21/2011)

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OKLAHOMA CITY (2/22/11)--The Oklahoma State Credit Union Board approved a merger between Tulsa Metro FCU and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) CU, both of Tulsa. FOP CU, with $25.6 million assets absorbs Tulsa Metro CU’s $6.8 million assets. Gilbert told News Now that FOP/Tulsa Metro merger made sense from both cultural and operational perspectives. “They were not interested in becoming part of a big credit union,” he said of Tulsa Metro CU. “They still maintain that small credit union atmosphere through this merger.” FOP CU CEO Carol Webb had previously held the same position at Tulsa Metro, Gilbert noted. “She knew its operations, as well as the limitations and struggles it had,” Gilbert said. One of those limitations was access to branch facilities. Tulsa Metro FCU was previously housed in the fifth floor of a downtown building, said Gilbert. The National Credit Union Administration has also approved the merger.

New regulator addresses Iowa reg. conference

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DES MOINES, Iowa (2/22/11)--The Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) held its annual regulatory conference Wednesday in Des Moines, with more than 100 Iowa credit union representatives convening to learn more about regulations affecting the credit union industry and to hear from a new regulator. Newly appointed Iowa Division of Credit Unions Superintendent JoAnn Johnson, former chairman of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), kicked off the conference with an address. Johnson noted that Iowa credit unions are some of the most well-capitalized credit unions in the U.S. “Iowa credit unions are healthy, and by working together we’ll make them even stronger,” she said. As the new superintendent, Johnson said she wants to have regular and two-way communications with credit unions. Johnson and her staff intend to review as many Iowa credit union regulations as possible to determine if there are ways to streamline. “We want effective rather than excessive regulations,” said Johnson. Conference attendees also learned about federal and state regulations affecting Iowa credit unions, risk-based lending, collections issues, social media compliance and human resources/employment law update. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad named Johnson the superintendent of IDCU after receiving the resignation of the current superintendent, James Forney, on Feb. 8. Johnson will serve the remainder of Forney’s term which ends April 30. Gov. Branstad has submitted Johnson’s name for confirmation as superintendent of IDCU for a four-year term beginning May 1. Johnson was elected to the Iowa State Senate in 1994 and served as chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee for four years, and the Senate Commerce Committee for one year. She was appointed to the NCUA in 2002 and served as chairman of the agency from 2004 through 2008.

New regulator addresses Iowa reg. conference(1)

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DES MOINES, Iowa (2/22/11)--The Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) held its annual regulatory conference Wednesday in Des Moines, with more than 100 Iowa credit union representatives convening to learn more about regulations affecting the credit union industry and to hear from a new regulator. Newly appointed Iowa Division of Credit Unions Superintendent JoAnn Johnson, former chairman of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), kicked off the conference with an address. Johnson noted that Iowa credit unions are some of the most well-capitalized credit unions in the U.S. “Iowa credit unions are healthy, and by working together we’ll make them even stronger,” she said. As the new superintendent, Johnson said she wants to have regular and two-way communications with credit unions. Johnson and her staff intend to review as many Iowa credit union regulations as possible to determine if there are ways to streamline. “We want effective rather than excessive regulations,” said Johnson. Conference attendees also learned about federal and state regulations affecting Iowa credit unions, risk-based lending, collections issues, social media compliance and human resources/employment law update. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad named Johnson the superintendent of IDCU after receiving the resignation of the current superintendent, James Forney, on Feb. 8. Johnson will serve the remainder of Forney’s term which ends April 30. Gov. Branstad has submitted Johnson’s name for confirmation as superintendent of IDCU for a four-year term beginning May 1. Johnson was elected to the Iowa State Senate in 1994 and served as chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee for four years, and the Senate Commerce Committee for one year. She was appointed to the NCUA in 2002 and served as chairman of the agency from 2004 through 2008.

Federation to hold Mid-South Mid-Atlantic conferences

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NEW YORK (2/22/11)--Registration is open for two regional conferences organized by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. The Mid-South Regional Conference, held in collaboration with the Louisiana Credit Union League, will take place March 21, in New Orleans. The conference is offered for the benefit of credit unions that are low-income designated or community development financial institution (CDFI) certified, have expanded into underserved areas, or want to serve low- and moderate-income (LMI) members within their fields of membership more effectively. Among the topics:
* Benefits of CDFI certification and low-income designation; * Resources available to strengthen a credit union’s capacity to serve underserved communities; * Innovative programs and products to meet the needs of LMI members and consumers; * Community partnerships to leverage and expand credit union service to the underserved; * Tools to help management develop effective outreach strategies for LMI markets; and * Reporting requirements and the regulatory environment;
The second conference, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, organized in partnership with the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, will be April 27, in Charlottesville, Va. Professor Gregory Fairchild, executive director of the Tayloe Murphy Center and associate professor of business administration at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, will unveil research that analyzes the impact of CDFIs , including CDFI credit unions. Participants also will learn about resources available from the federal government and regional programs, explore how to design successful strategies to meet the needs of LMI communities, gain insights from field experts and listen to community-based organizations serving these markets.

Federation to hold Mid-South Mid-Atlantic conferences (02/21/2011)

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NEW YORK (2/22/11)--Registration is open for two regional conferences organized by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. The Mid-South Regional Conference, held in collaboration with the Louisiana Credit Union League, will take place March 21, in New Orleans. The conference is offered for the benefit of credit unions that are low-income designated or community development financial institution (CDFI) certified, have expanded into underserved areas, or want to serve low- and moderate-income (LMI) members within their fields of membership more effectively. Among the topics:
* Benefits of CDFI certification and low-income designation; * Resources available to strengthen a credit union’s capacity to serve underserved communities; * Innovative programs and products to meet the needs of LMI members and consumers; * Community partnerships to leverage and expand credit union service to the underserved; * Tools to help management develop effective outreach strategies for LMI markets; and * Reporting requirements and the regulatory environment;
The second conference, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, organized in partnership with the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, will be April 27, in Charlottesville, Va. Professor Gregory Fairchild, executive director of the Tayloe Murphy Center and associate professor of business administration at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, will unveil research that analyzes the impact of CDFIs , including CDFI credit unions. Participants also will learn about resources available from the federal government and regional programs, explore how to design successful strategies to meet the needs of LMI communities, gain insights from field experts and listen to community-based organizations serving these markets.

CU partners may feel N.C. budget cuts says league(1)

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RALEIGH, N.C. (2/22/11)--North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue’s proposed budget will not affect the budget of the state’s Credit Union Division, but some cuts may impact partners who work with the state’s credit unions, said the North Carolina Credit Union League. “The Republican majority and now the governor have announced that state funding to a number of non-profits will be reduced,” said Lauren Whaley, league director of legislative and regulatory affairs. “It seems many non-profits will be encouraged to reorganize, consolidate or regionalize services” (The Weekly Update Feb. 18). The anticipated budget recommendations from the governor were announced Thursday. To balance her budget, Perdue relies on a combination of cuts, continuation of some temporary tax measures put in place two years ago and elimination of 10,000 state positions (3,000 of which are currently filled). The $19.9 billion budget includes a previously announced plan to narrow 14 agencies and departments into eight, and cut or eliminate 139 additional programs. In the aftermath of the governor’s budget recommendations to the General Assembly, work will begin in the House of Representatives and then the Senate before a final version is approved. “We remain cautious of the work ahead as many of the state’s agencies could see their reserves taken as an effort to close the now anticipated $2.4 billion budget gap,” Whaley said. Perdue’s office rolled out an interactive website that allows residents to attempt to balance the state’s budget by making hard choices such as the governor had to do before outlining her fiscal plan in the State of the State address Wednesday. Using “Charlie the Plott Hound,” Balance the Budget Challenge allows North Carolinians to see the major parts of the state budget and decide which ones to cut--or spend more money on in some cases. The budgeting tool includes an emphasis on the state’s major expenditure areas--including education, social services, public safety, expenditures aimed at attracting new jobs, and general areas of government spending. The site offers a range of spending choices under each emphasis area. Total savings are added up as people work through the exercise.

CU partners may feel N.C. budget cuts says league

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RALEIGH, N.C. (2/22/11)--North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue’s proposed budget will not affect the budget of the state’s Credit Union Division, but some cuts may impact partners who work with the state’s credit unions, said the North Carolina Credit Union League. “The Republican majority and now the governor have announced that state funding to a number of non-profits will be reduced,” said Lauren Whaley, league director of legislative and regulatory affairs. “It seems many non-profits will be encouraged to reorganize, consolidate or regionalize services” (The Weekly Update Feb. 18). The anticipated budget recommendations from the governor were announced Thursday. To balance her budget, Perdue relies on a combination of cuts, continuation of some temporary tax measures put in place two years ago and elimination of 10,000 state positions (3,000 of which are currently filled). The $19.9 billion budget includes a previously announced plan to narrow 14 agencies and departments into eight, and cut or eliminate 139 additional programs. In the aftermath of the governor’s budget recommendations to the General Assembly, work will begin in the House of Representatives and then the Senate before a final version is approved. “We remain cautious of the work ahead as many of the state’s agencies could see their reserves taken as an effort to close the now anticipated $2.4 billion budget gap,” Whaley said. Perdue’s office rolled out an interactive website that allows residents to attempt to balance the state’s budget by making hard choices such as the governor had to do before outlining her fiscal plan in the State of the State address Wednesday. Using “Charlie the Plott Hound,” Balance the Budget Challenge allows North Carolinians to see the major parts of the state budget and decide which ones to cut--or spend more money on in some cases. The budgeting tool includes an emphasis on the state’s major expenditure areas--including education, social services, public safety, expenditures aimed at attracting new jobs, and general areas of government spending. The site offers a range of spending choices under each emphasis area. Total savings are added up as people work through the exercise.