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Friday deadline for Annie Vamper Award nominations

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NEW YORK (3/3/11)--Nominations for the National Federation of Community Development Credit Union’s 2011 Annie Vamper “Helping Hands” Award are open until Friday. The award celebrates individuals whose unselfish work for the community development credit union (CDCU) movement carries on Vamper’s legacy. The award recognizes individuals whose contributions to their credit unions have gone above and beyond the call of duty and exemplify the CDCU values. In 1990, the CDCU movement lost one of its heroes with the passing of Vamper, the federation’s associate director. Her life-long dedication to the credit union movement, and to small credit unions in particular, served as inspiration to credit union organizers and practitioners in low- and moderate-income communities nationwide, the federation said. For more information, use the link.

PCUA Lifetime Achievement Award winners announced

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (3/3/11)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) announced the winners of its 2011 Lifetime Achievement Awards. Fran Muto, president/CEO of People First FCU in Allentown, is the recipient of the William W. Pratt Professional of the Year Award (Life is a Highway March 2). Prior to assuming the CEO position at People First FCU in 1974, Muto was a National Credit Union Administration examiner for nine years. Muto served on the association’s board of directors from 2003 to 2008. He is a member of the Card Services for Credit Unions Board of Directors. Under Muto’s leadership, the former Mack Local 677 FCU has grown from a $15 million financial institution to a $285 million full-service community credit union. He is a strong supporter of community organizations and has been recognized for his involvement and activities, said PCUA. Jim Stere, a board director of Wheatland FCU, Lancaster, is the recipient of the Joseph A. Moore Volunteer of the Year Award. Stere has been a credit union volunteer for more than 27 years and served as board chairman from 1983 to 1989, and 2001 to 2002. He is an advocate of credit union education and promotes the importance of continued education among his peers to improve knowledge and training to better serve members. The awards will be presented at the association’s annual convention May 13 in Hershey.

N.C. CU regulator first to sign MOU with CFPB

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WASHINGTON (3/3/11)--The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) between a state credit union regulator and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was signed Wednesday to establish a framework for cooperation and information sharing for oversight mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Elizabeth Warren, head of CFPB, and North Carolina Administrator of Credit Unions Jerry Jay signed the MOU to address information sharing and regulatory coordination between the two entities for oversight of the nation's largest state-chartered credit union, State Employees' Credit Union (SECU), based in Raleigh, N.C. On Tuesday Warren told more than 4,000 credit union representatives attending the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) 2011 Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington D.C., that the agency will be an ally to credit unions and help ensure that the movement's goals become reality, and that the bureau will work with credit unions "from the beginning." CFPB was given exclusive authority by the Dodd-Frank Act to examine credit unions and banks with more than $10 billion in assets and all nondepository insitutions regardless of size for consumer protection compliance. It must coordinate its exam schedule with the National Credit Union Administration or state regulators, said Kathy Thompson, CUNA senior vice president for compliance. SECU is one of three credit unions in the nation to exceed the $10 billion asset limit, said Thompson. It is also the only state-chartered credit union at this time to do so, said the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS). The $10 billion cutoff doesn't mean that other credit unions will be hands-off to the bureau, said Thompson. CFPB and state regulators already have formally agreed to promote consistent examination procedures not only for banks but for nondepository institutions such as mortgage brokers, check cashers, payday lenders, finance companies and debt adjustors. CFPB will have to define what nondepository financial entities will it oversee, including privately insured credit unions, she said. CFPB will have access to all examination reports, regardless of credit unions' size or charter, so credit unions can expect more consistent and detailed consumer protection exams by their federal and state regulators, she added. At Wednesday's signing, Jay, who is also a NASCUS board director, said, "The North Carolina Credit Union Division is committed to coordination with the CFPB to fulfill both agencies' statutory and regulatory responsibilities." NASCUS will continue to facilitate the regulatory coordination necessary among state credit union agencies and the CFPB. NASCUS is working with the agency to sign an agreement to establish a framework for sharing information among state credit union regulators and for coordinating certain supervisory activities. "NASCUS will continue to work with the CFPB to facilitate additional agreements for NASCUS state credit union regulators as the agency starts to perform its duties," said NASCUS President/CEO Mary Martha Fortney.

CU member wins Visa Super Bowl Trip for Life

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CLEARWATER, S.C. (3/3/11)--With more than nine billion entries to obtain Visa’s Super Bowl Trip (and pair of tickets) for Life, a credit union member bucked the odds to win. Robyne Thomas made a $2.10 purchase at a Bi-Lo store in Clearwater, S.C., with her Visa card issued by SRP FCU in North Augusta, S.C. ( March 1). Although Thomas saw the Visa commercial--which ran many times in the days leading up to the Super Bowl XLV--promoting the contest, she didn’t think anything about it. “I could have have won the lottery easier than I won this,” she told the newspaper. Ed Templeton, SRP president/CEO called and left a message with Thomas’ niece for Thomas to call the credit union. After several missed calls, Thomas finally reached Templeton when he called her back and then … she hung up on him. Thomas said she thought the whole situation was a scam, especially when Templeton asked her to confirm her Visa card number. “[Templeton] contacted me on his personal cell phone, and I hung up on him,” Thomas said. The credit union arrived at her workplace and left cards for her to call. “I actually went to the SRP building to talk with the president,” she added (WRDW-TV News 12 Feb. 28). She received airfare, a four-night stay in Texas, and two tickets to Super Bowl XLV, and had “the experience of a lifetime,” rooting for the Green Bay Packers. However, it’s her last Super Bowl. Thomas decided to take the cash payout option for an undisclosed amount instead of the Super Bowl trip and tickets for life. With the payout, she paid off her house and car (WJBF-TV March 1).

Plenty of folks making the move to CUs--IBankrateI

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MADISON, Wis. (3/3/11)--In the aftermath of the December 2009 launch of the Move Your Money movement, people are moving their cash to credit unions. Credit union membership nationwide went up 2% in 2009, according to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). The movement urged consumers--angered by the reckless lending practices of large national banks--to move to a credit union or community bank (Bankrate Inc. March 2). This Bankrate article was picked up by Yahoo! Finance and published March 3. “Do your banking at a community bank or credit union and there’s a good chance you'll land better interest rates on everything from credit cards and saving accounts to money markets and certificates of deposit,” the article said. “For example, a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts in July 2009 found credit card rates at the 12 largest banks at 12.24% to 17.99%. At the 12 largest credit unions, the rates were 9.9% to 13.75%.” Credit unions return surplus revenues back to members in the form of dividends, low fees, and competitive interest rates, Pat Keefe, CUNA vice president of communications and media, told Bankrate. Also, the average annual cost of fees on bank checking accounts is twice as high as the average annual cost of fees on credit union accounts, according to a November 2009 study by the Madison, Wis.-based Filene Research Institute, the article said. To read the article, use the link.