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Mich. CU members benefited by $226M in '13, league reports

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LIVONIA, Mich. (2/27/14)--In 2013, Michigan credit union members benefited to the tune of $226 million for being part of the credit union community, according to the Community Reinvestment Report from the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL).
 
The league report found members saved $49 million in lower or fewer fees and $153 million in lower interest rates on loan products. They gained $23 million in higher interest rates on savings.
 
Fifty-three percent reported a "very favorable" consumer opinion of credit unions, according to the league's credit union awareness study. Eighty percent of credit union members had confidence in their primary financial institution, while 66% believe credit unions are doing what is in their best interest. Banks were rated at 38% and 27%, respectively.
 
 "It's a conscious choice to be part of something bigger: a movement, a community that is united for good," league President/CEO David Adams wrote in the introduction.
 
Michigan credit unions contributed to financial literacy with 253 student credit unions that teach money management skills to 22,631 students, and nearly 145,100 adult members received financial counseling.
 
As membership grows, so does the pool of credit union employees who support members. Credit unions alone account for 13,358 employees, and credit union service organizations are not covered in that list.  Six credit unions have been named top places to work by the Detroit Free Press.
 
Credit unions continue to offer loans to small businesses, topping $1.2 billion in 2013. "Deeply rooted in their communities, credit unions never stopped supporting the member businesses," the report noted.
 
The league also highlighted its "Save to Win" program, the Invest in America member discount program and the work by the Michigan Credit Union Foundation.

Hunger campaign's influence felt throughout Maine

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WESTBROOK, Maine (2/27/14)--The Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger ended with a record-setting $513,309 in funds raised, but the reverberations of the annual project are even more far-reaching.
 
The Maine Credit Union League found that the campaign resulted in nearly $2 million in "positive coverage and goodwill" of the credit unions' efforts (Weekly Update Feb. 21). Newspapers ran more than 600 articles. Sixty-one news stories aired on TV. Radio interviews and stories tallied 217. That doesn't include the word-of-mouth coverage by Maine residents at sporting events, schools and online.
 
The money raised will purchase about $7.6 million worth of food, and the campaign's year-round activities keep the issue top of mind.
 
"The ongoing efforts of credit unions to raise funds and bring attention to hunger in Maine keeps the issue visible and in front of people throughout the year," said Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank, Auburn.
 
"The Maine CUs' Campaign for Ending Hunger reinforces the values and philosophy of credit unions with members, in the community and with the media," said league President John Murphy. "That benefits all credit unions throughout the year."

LSCU honors Bachus, Hastings as lawmakers of the year

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WASHINGTON (2/27/14)--The League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU) honored U.S. Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) and Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) as its Lawmakers of the Year Tuesday.
 
Patrick La Pine, president/CEO, League of Southeastern Credit Unions, left, and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.).
"Reps. Bachus and Hastings have shown, through their actions, that they understand the issues facing credit unions," said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine. "Each has co-sponsored multiple pieces of legislation that will help credit union members."
 
Both consistently meet in-person with credit union advocates throughout the year and are open to listening to real-world stories, La Pine added (eSignal Feb. 26).
 
Hastings, who is a member of Sunrise, Fla.-based BrightStar CU, said he was humbled by receiving the award from people who really are on the ground in the business of credit.

La Pine, left, and U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.). (LSCU photos)
Hastings has co-sponsored legislation for supplemental forms of capital, privacy notification reform and member business lending.
 
Longtime supporter Bachus said he didn't think there's ever been a greater need for credit unions. There is such a need for a local financial institution "where you know the people and they know you," he said.

He also is a co-sponsor of supplemental capital and privacy notification reform legislation.

The reception was held in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association's 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

CU System briefs (02/27/2014)

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  • HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (2/27/14)--Three New Jersey credit unions have been named as "best places to work in New Jersey" according to NJBIZ magazine (Daily Exchange Feb. 26). In the small- to medium-business category for 15-249 employees, Credit Union of New Jersey, $326 million in assets, Ewing; and XCEL FCU, $148 million in assets, Bloomfield, were honored. Basking Ridge-based Affinity FCU, $2.2 billion in assets, was named in the large category for 250 or more employees. One hundred businesses are on the 2014 list, which was determined by assessing workplace policies and philosophies, followed by employee experience ratings. ...
  • COLCHESTER, Vt. (2/27/14)--Heritage Family CU, a $351 million-asset credit union in Rutland, Vt., announced its president/CEO, Ron Hance, will retire after 36 years (Newslines Express Feb. 21). He will stay on at the credit union until a successor is hired, which the board said would be this fall. When Hance began as CEO the credit union had just over $2 million in assets, three employees and one branch. Now it serves nine branches with two student credit unions and more than 145 employees. Hance started his relationship with the credit union in 1967 as a director, becoming president/CEO in 1978. He has been a board member for the World Council of Credit Unions, board chairman for the Vermont Credit Union League and a board member for the Credit Union National Association. ...
  • HARAHAN, La. (2/27/14)--Nicholls FCU, $1.3 million in assets, and ASI FCU, Harahan, La., have been approved for a merger (eNews Feb. 26). The Thibodaux, La., credit union is located near Nicholls State University. ASI FCU CEO Mignhon Tourne met with members during a Feb. 18-19 gathering that provided information about the $311 million-asset credit union. ...

Prize-linked savings bill still alive in Ore.

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (2/27/14)--The Oregon legislature is nearing the end of its four-week session, and credit unions are keeping their eye on two pieces of legislation.
 
House Bill 4079 addresses the creation of prize-linked savings accounts in the state. It would direct the Oregon State Lottery commission to form a work group to study and make recommendations regarding the feasibility of such accounts under its authority.
 
Oregon's neighbor Washington allows all financial institutions to offer prize-linked savings programs as do Maine and Maryland. Nebraska, North Carolina and Rhode Island programs are limited to credit unions.
 
HB 4079 passed out of committee and was referred to the Ways and Means Committee. Any official work group established by the state has to be funded, the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) noted, and that puts the bill at risk (Anthem Feb. 25).
 
NWCUA submitted testimony in favor of the bill earlier this month.
 
The failure to provide notice of a foreclosure sale would become an unlawful trade practice under House Bill 4103.  Mechanic and towing liens are currently being foreclosed without notice to the lien holder and/or the party with security interest in the vehicle.
 
The bill passed the House and was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where amendments are being considered.
 
NWCUA wants the final bill to:
  • Give credit unions a legal claim against the lien claimant--for example, a repair shop--if the lien claimant doesn't give notice of the sale to the credit union;
     
  • Include attorney's fees as part of the claim that credit unions can make for not giving notice; and
     
  • Require the lien claimant to provide details about the amount of the lien as part of the notice process.