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CU System Archive

CU System

CU seeds services for Calif. farm workers

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SALINAS, Calif. (3/24/14)--Time and again, credit unions have proven they can mold their services around the needs of their members. Teachers, for example, may have their loan payments lowered in the summer by credit unions when they're not pulling in regular paychecks.

In a similar vein, a Salinas, Calif.-based credit union has started offering services to another type of member with non-traditional income schedules: farm workers ( The Salinas Californian March 20).

Recognizing that farm workers are employed seasonally, allUS CU, with $34 million in assets, will chop down loan payments after season-ending harvests--a time when many workers begin relying solely on government benefits.

"We can adjust loan payments around seasonal employment," Robin Ceralde, allUS loan manager, told The Salinas Californian . "We can lower the payments during the off-season, constructing a loan around their budgets."

But it's not only farm workers allUS has started to serve of late. Formerly the Monterey County Employees CU, the institution renamed itself last year and has now rolled out a plan to reach many underserved individuals in the area, including seniors and people with disabilities.

At a workshop held last week to discuss the new direction of the credit union, allUS President/CEO Patrick Redo cited several stark statistics illustrating how the financial industry is leaving out large chunks of the population.

More than 50% of black residents are considered unbanked or under-banked, he said, and 43% of Latinos have little contact with financial institutions. By contrast, only 18% of white residents experience similar circumstances.

The terms unbanked or under-banked refer to those who either don't have a bank account or may have meager savings accounts, but no checking account.

About 11,600 residents in Salinas are considered unbanked, Redo said.

For those who already use the credit union, meanwhile, allUS will host a "Banking 101" session in May, another valuable service in financial literacy the credit union provides its growing and diversifying membership.  

"We have heard clearly from our members and the community that they want to build better money habits, but often lack straightforward and accessible guidance," Redo told The Salinas Californian .

Conscience more important than C-suite for Millennial workers

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ALBANY, N.Y. (3/24/14)--When trying to retain Millennial workers, credit unions may want to consider conscientious coaching instead of corner offices.
 
In a guest column for the Credit Union Association of New York's The Point newsletter, Kate Czarnecki of Focal Point FCU, Syracuse, shared insights about what drives this new breed of employee (March 19).
 
Czarnecki, who is manager of marketing and member services of the $47 million-asset credit union, said it is important to think about succession planning and the next C-level executives.
 
In the meantime, credit unions have young, energetic employees "who simply want to be trained, coached and nurtured to become masters in their given skill sets," she noted.
 
To retain the generation of employees, credit unions should consider:
 
Sharing your vision and goals. A clear vision statement will help credit unions recruit and maintain a dedicated and passionate workforce. They want to know the "why" behind their work and how it affects the members the serve, she noted.
 
Letting them help. As an industry that puts a premium on "people helping people," credit unions are uniquely appealing to the Millennials who place a higher value on helping those in need (21%) vs. having a high-paying career (15%). "We share our stories with legislators, but it's important to share them with employees, too," Czarnecki said, adding, "They will feel valued and motivated."
 
Listening to them. Make a point to engage younger employees in conversations.
 
Bending and stretching. No, not yoga. Consider flexible work schedules or emphasize vacation time over salary to accommodate Millennnials' desire for work-life balance.
 
Supporting education and development. Let them know the credit union in interested in developing them as people and professionals. Offer opportunities to attend meetings, conferences and training sessions: "Your employees will become professionally well-rounded, and they will feel that you have a vested interest in their success," Czarnecki said.
 
"Reward their hard work in meaningful ways--and that doesn't always include a promotion or increased responsibility," she said, adding, "Chances are, you won't be disappointed."
 

Secret's out: Maine CU membership hits record

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WESTBROOK, Maine (3/24/14)--There is "plenty to smile about" a headline in the Maine Credit Union League's Weekly Update read last week.

The reason? A record-breaking year in 2013 for membership, and strong growth across the board for the state's credit unions.

"Over the years, I have often said that credit unions are the best kept secret in consumer financial services," said league President John Murphy. "It is evident that the secret is getting out and the message that credit unions offer the best value in financial services is being heard loud and clear."

Credit unions in Maine added 12,000 new members last year, a net increase of 1.9%, bringing total membership to a record 637,370 members for the state's 61 credit unions.

Membership at Maine's credit unions has jumped by more than 40,000 members since 2008.

As for financial growth, the state credit unions also posted a 4.3% spike in combined assets, up to $6.14 billion. Loan growth swelled by 7.1%, and savings bumped up 3.9% to $5.2 billion.

"Whether it be through the ability to obtain an affordable loan on a car or home, the use of the latest in mobile technology, or access to the largest surcharge-free ATM network in Maine ... there has never been a better time to be a credit union member in our state," Murphy said.

CU System briefs (03/24/2014)

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  • MADISON, Wis. (3/24/14)-- The Filene Research Institute will hold a free webinar reintroducing The Cooperative Trust. Rebranded from the Crash Network to The Cooperative Trust in 2012, the grassroots community consists of young people who work in credit unions and cooperatives. The webinar, set for 11 a.m.-noon CT April 9, will cover the group's purpose, community, and Crash events ...
  • NEW YORK (3/24/14)--After 21 years as president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, Alfred DelliBovi announced he will resign April 1 ( National Mortgage News March 21). A former deputy secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, DelliBovi will be succeeded by Jose Ramon Gonzalez, who was named executive vice president in October. Gonzalez served as vice chairman of the bank's board from 2008 to 2013 ...
  • TACOMA, Wash. (3/21/14)-- The boards of Darigold FCU, Shoreline, Wash., and Sound CU, Tacoma, Wash., unanimously approved a merger agreement , which now will go before members and state and federal regulators. Donna Subera, president/CEO of the $5 million-asset credit union, cited technological services such as online and mobile banking and an expanded branch network as a reason for the merger. Once combined with $1.08 billion-asset Sound CU, the credit union will have 96,000 members and 21 branches throughout Pierce, Thurston and King counties in Washington . . .

3 honored at Utah league convention

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SALT LAKE CITY (3/21/14)--The Utah Credit Union Association (UCUA) honored three credit union professionals as its annual convention in Salt Lake City earlier this month.
 
The three were selected by UCUA's education committee.
 
Scott Weber, president/CEO, Box Elder County CU, Brigham City, received the Innovator Award for his work in training, employee benefits and incentives. At the $92 million-asset credit union, Weber implemented an idea log for employees to share their thoughts. Every idea is considered and receives a response ( Association Update March 19).
 
The Inspiration Award went to Roland Whitesides, vice president of collections, Deseret First CU, Salt Lake City, $431 million in assets. UCUA cited his passion for the credit union movement and his strong desire to help members who are struggling to make payments. He focuses on balancing the needs of the members with those of the credit union.
 
Over the past 16 years, Ilene Rollo has helped Moroni-based Utah Heritage CU increase its assets to nearly $50 million from $13 million. She received the Visionary Award for her work in expanding the credit union's geographical presence as well as products and services. Rollo will retire from the credit union movement this year.

Updated CU act headed for Ala. governor's desk

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (3/24/14)--Score a major win for Alabama credit unions, as a bill that will clean up and modernize the Alabama Credit Union Act got the green light from the state Senate last week.

It now only needs a signature from Gov. Robert Bentley for ratification.

"This much needed update to the Alabama Credit Union Act will benefit credit union members as soon as it is signed by the governor," said Patrick La Pine, president/CEO of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions ( eSignal March 21). "Credit unions thank Alabama legislative leadership for seeing the value in updating the act."

Sens. Slade Blackwell (R-Mountain Brook) and Roger Bedford (D-Russellville) spearheaded the effort to pass House Bill 165.

Language in the new bill includes limited liability for boards and directors; new expulsion policy for members of credit unions; new penalties for fraudulent use of the term "credit union;" more protection for credit unions on accounts created by minors; and stronger liability protection to $10,000 from $5,000 on accounts of deceased members.

The update, which makes changes to an act that's largely been untouched since its introduction,   governs all state-chartered credit unions.