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CU System Archive

CU System

CUANY announces movement award winners

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ALBANY, N.Y. (3/27/14)--The Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) announced this week the winners of four of its Recognition Awards, which honor credit unions for their work in fields such as community service, member service and youth financial education.

Winners will be honored April 29 at the CUANY Governmental Affairs Conference  ( The Point March 26). First-place winners now advance to their respective national competitions in the fall.

First-place winners for the 2014 Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award are:
  • Clarence Community & Schools FCU, for credit unions with $5 million-$20 million in assets;
  • Western New York FCU, West Seneca, $20 million-$50 million in assets;
  • CORE FCU, Syracuse, $50 million-$100 million in assets;
  • Hudson River Community CU, Corinth, $100 million-$200 million in assets;
  • Sidney FCU, $200 million-$500 million in assets;
  • AmeriCU CU, Rome, more than $500 million in assets; and
  • The Utica-Rome Chapter of Credit Unions.
The first-place winner of the 2014 Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Member Service Award is Visions FCU, Endicott, in the more than $250 million in assets category.

First-place honors for the 2014 Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award went to:
  • Clarence Community & Schools FCU, less than $50 million in assets;
  • CORE FCU, $50 million-$150 million in assets; and
  • Corning FCU, more than $500 million in assets.
Hudson River Community CU also is the first-place winner of the 2014 Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award in the $150 million-$500 million in assets category.

Winners of CUANY's individual recognition awards will be announced in the weeks ahead, including for the New York Credit Union Hall of Fame, outstanding volunteer, outstanding professional and outstanding young professional. All will be honored at the association's annual meeting and convention.

CU System briefs (03/27/2014)

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  • LYNCHBURG, Va. (3/27/14)-- The Virginia Credit Union League added a special session on risk-based capital during its upcoming annual meeting . The April 3 session will address the National Credit Union Administration's proposed risk-based capital rule with panelists from the Credit Union National Association--Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn and Chief Economist Bill Hampel. Those interested in attending the session do not have to be registered for the annual meeting, but the league is asking those who are interested to contact them at pr@vacul.org ( Current March 20) ...
  • PROVIDENCE, R.I. (3/27/14)-- Thirty-one teams representing 11 credit unions struck gold with record-breaking fundraising during the Special Olympics Rhode Island bowling tournament Tuesday ( Daily CU Scan March 26). The Credit Union Association of Rhode Island's annual "Strike for Gold" fundraiser brought in more than $20,000. Two teams from Warwick-based Greenwood CU took first in the alleys and in donations. The Rhode Island unified bowling team will represent the state at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey in June. Greenwood CU bowlers Jim Irving (left), Cassie Novicky, Joslyn Clemm and Joe Lajoie celebrate their tournament win with Special Olympics athletes and unified partners Jill Neubauer, Jim Tourgee, (back), Jim Tourgee, Maureen Newbauer and coach Joni Lonczak ( Credit Union Association of Rhode Island photo) ...
  • PALM BEACH, Fla. (3/27/14)-- Velocity Community CU, a $283 million-asset credit union in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., boosted the efforts of Jupiter (Fla.) Community High School to install artificial turf in its stadium . The credit union donated $100,000, bringing the total funds raised to $650,000 of the $800,000 needed. The school is renaming its stadium to Velocity Community CU Stadium for the next five years ( The Palm Beach Post March 26) ...
  • BILOXI, Miss. (3/27/14)-- The $4.8 million-asset Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) FCU, Jackson, will merge with Keesler FCU, Biloxi , effective Monday with accounts being converted by June 30 ( CU Connection March 26). All MDOT employees will be able to join the $2.1 billion-asset credit union, which will retain MDOT FCU's branch and employees in Jackson  . . .

Member experience at CUs high across channels

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MADISON, Wis. (3/27/14)--Credit unions continue to be heralded for their excellent service--in person and online, according to two recent surveys.
 
Credit unions ranked at the top of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for website experience. ACSI's new survey measured more than 200 companies within 33 industry categories, and it found that credit unions had the highest satisfaction score of 86.
 
The national average website satisfaction index clocked in at 78.2, and consumer shipping and banks came in at just a tick mark shy of credit unions at 85. Social media was at the bottom of the list with a ranking of 68.
 
Two of the top three industries for website satisfaction--credit unions and consumer shipping--also do well in terms of overall customer satisfaction, ACSI said. The third-quarter 2013 score placed credit unions at 85 for member satisfaction.
 
Banks, however, have an overall customer satisfaction score of 78, which falls well below their website rating and credit unions' overall satisfaction rating.
 
Also, research firm Temkin Group found that credit unions earned an 81% rating for customer/member experience across 19 industries covering 268 companies. The term "a credit union" ranked higher than any branded bank with a proper name in the financial institution portion of the survey.
 
In fact this is the second year credit unions have been at the top of the Temkin Experience Ratings, which measure:
  • Functional: How well do experiences meet customers' needs?
  • Accessible: How easy is it for customers to do what they want to do?
  • Emotional: How do customers feel about the experiences?
Overall, credit unions tied for eighth place, coming in behind grocery stores such as H.E.B., Trader Joe's and Aldi, and fast-food restaurants Chick-fil-A and Sonic Drive-in. Credit unions are 10 points above the industry average for their category as well.

Ark. governor most recent to proclaim Fin. Lit. month

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (3/27/14)--All three states represented by the Cornerstone Credit Union League have now proclaimed April National Financial Literacy Month.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe signed his state's proclamation March 19, joining Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who both proclaimed that April 2014 be National Financial Literacy Month in their respective states recently as well.

National Financial Literacy Month is described as a time to "highlight the importance of financial literacy and to teach Americans to establish and maintain healthy financial habits."

"Whatever their income level, Arkansans can have a bright future if they take charge of their financial management skills today," Beebe said in the Arkansas proclamation. "Financial education plays a key role in helping our youth mature into responsible adults, and ultimately leads our adults to financial freedom."

Many credit unions, partner organizations and schools celebrate the month with promotional events and additional educational opportunities.

"At this time, I encourage all Texans to recognize the importance of saving, investing and having clear financial goals," Perry said. "Through the application of sound financial planning principles, we can live well now and in the future."

High-tech design increases branch security

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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (3/27/14)--Union Square FCU's newest branch is driven by technology, merging security with a Starbucks-like service experience.
 
The $324 million-asset credit union's branch includes time locks, hand scanners and mini vaults--known as cash recyclers--between teller stations that allow for cashless drawers. Members are served in a casual, open area "cash bar" ( Times Record News March 24).
 
Financial service representatives also staff a technology center to assist members with digital banking channels.
 
The branch's retail and mortgage sides run virtually autonomously, so each can run independently during extended hours on weeknights and weekends--an added security feature.
 
Multifactor authentication is required to access the branch's safe deposit vault. Members with safe deposit accounts must enter a PIN, and then place their hand on a scanner before they are allowed to enter the room. They also have a key to open their specific box.
 
When cash is dropped off by couriers, a high-tech video and entry system monitors activity, with a "man trap" in the entry way to ensure only authorized personnel access the building.

Charter change opens Mo. counties to CU services

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ST. LOUIS (3/27/14)--With its recent charter change, Poplar Bluff (Mo.) FCU will be able to serve six counties in southeast Missouri--including three that do not have any credit union services at all.
 
The $41 million-asset credit union received approval for a rural district community charter from the National Credit Union Administration and can serve the low-income designated area.
 
"The region is essentially without credit unions," said Kirk Mondy, president/chief operating officer ( Missouri Difference March 24).
 
"Three of these counties have no credit unions at all. One county has one credit union beside us, and another has only a branch office from a Michigan-based credit union," he added.
 
Poplar Bluff FCU previously was a multi-SEG charter with Butler County at its center. Dunklin, Ripley and Wayne counties do not have any credit union services, while Stoddard County has one other credit present.
 
"This charter expansion fits hand-in-glove with our NCUA low-income credit union designation and with our recent (community development financial institution) certification," Mondy said.

CU difference more than tax status: Minn. Business

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MINNEAPOLIS (3/27/14)-- Minnesota Business Magazine recently ran an article describing the "war" raging between credit unions and banks. The piece also highlighted the key differences between the two types of financial institutions.

While bank representatives were quoted heavily questioning the tax status of credit unions, credit union leaders like Pat Brekken, president of Richfield-Bloomington CU, Richfield, Minn., with $254 million in assets, spent his time explaining how credit unions differ from their banking counterparts--and why members who manage their money with credit unions hold an advantage.

"Banks, I believe, try to maximize profits for their shareholders," Brekken said in the March 26 article. "Profits of the bank are dispersed to the owners (stockholders) through dividends at year end. Credit unions try to maximize returns to their owners as well, which again are the entire membership, but do it...in the form of lower loan rates, higher savings rates or lower fees. This is how credit unions pay back their member owners."

Banks hold 91.3% of the market share of deposits in Minnesota, compared with 8.7% at credit unions.

Commercial lending is also dominated by banks because of the regulatory limits with which credit unions must contend. Credit unions are limited to 12.25% of total assets in member business loans and $100,000 unsecured lines of credit to any one business.

Brekken, who has regularly approached state legislators in Minnesota about increasing member business lending limits for credit unions, says one of the best things that could happen for businesses in his state would be to allow credit unions to lend to businesses at a higher rate.

"And credit unions are limited to 15% of capital as the largest amount they are able to lend to any one member, including businesses," Brekken told Minnesota Business Magazine.

The Credit Union National Association is pushing for the U.S. Congress to raise the member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets, from 12.25%, to allow credit unions to do even more to support the small business lending needs of their communities.

CUNA estimates the MBL cap change would help credit unions lend an additional $13 billion to small businesses in just the first year after the statutory change. The additional money, made available at no expense to taxpayers, would help small businesses create around 140,000 new jobs.

Despite banks' strong grip on the market in Minnesota, credit unions have made up ground of late, like many states throughout the country. According to Brekken, as people have become "fed up with the bailouts or the high fees and impersonal service of big banks," awareness of and membership at credit unions has increased.

Richfield-Bloomington, for example, experienced more than 10% net member growth in 2011.

Looking ahead, one key long-term strategy for credit unions centers on financial literacy. The recession demonstrated that many people don't know how to manage their money effectively.

"This realization reaffirmed credit unions' commitment to financial literacy, which is something that they've been doing for decades," said Mark Cummins, Minnesota Credit Union Network president/CEO. "In fact credit unions around the state provided more than 110,000 hours of formal and informal financial education to more than 37,600 consumers and members."

Neb. league launches young professionals group Friday

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OMAHA, Neb. (3/27/14)--The Nebraska Credit Union League will kick off the creation of its Young Professionals for Credit Unions (YPCU) with a Friday gathering.
 
The informational meeting will be from 7 to 10 p.m. at GLO in Omaha. The group aims to engage young credit union professionals through a wide variety of networking opportunities, educational seminars and community events.
 
"The skills acquired with a membership with YPCU are paramount to the success we push our young professionals to strive for within their credit unions," said Matt Hill, YPCU advisory board chairman.
 
Committee participation gives members a chance to work in recruitment, networking, philanthropy, marketing and professional development.
 
In addition to its new website, YPCU has a Facebook page and Twitter account (@ypcune).

New Orleans business students learn about CU careers

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NEW ORLEANS (3/27/14)--Louisiana credit union representatives Tuesday addressed more than 60 business students during the University of New Orleans' (UNO) College of Business Career Week.
 
The "Careers in Credit Unions" session helped students gain a better understanding of credit unions and possible career paths available within credit union system.
 
"This was a great opportunity to get in front of a young audience and deliver our message," said Chris Maurer, president/CEO of $23 million-asset UNO FCU, New Orleans ( eNews March 26). "It is a testament to our commitment to the future of the credit union movement."
 
Joining Maurer was Lacey Hyer, Louisiana Credit Union League vice president of communications and public relations; Kati Buchanan, vice president of operations at $28 million-asset NAS JRB FCU, New Orleans; and Armand Parvazi, a graduate student at UNO who is responsible for UNO FCU's marketing and business development. Parvazi is also employed with the Parvazi Consulting Firm.

Maine CU ready to help workers after plant closes

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PITTSFIELD, Maine (3/27/14)--Sebasticook Valley FCU, with $78 million in assets, Pittsfield, Maine, has extended an offer of assistance to its membership after a business announced plans to shut down a local plant next year.
 
Last week, United Technologies Corp. (UTC) announced that it is closing its plant in Pittsfield, costing the state about 300 jobs ( The Washington Times March 19). The plant will close in March 2015. UTC provides technology products and services to the global aerospace and building systems industries.
 
Within days of the announcement, Sebasticook Valley FCU contacted affected members to offer support, such as loan restructuring or budgeting.
 
"We looked in our database to find members that were employed there and sent a letter out telling them if they needed anything or if they had any questions we would be here to help," President/CEO James Lemieux told News Now .
 
About 150 to 200 UTC employees are members of the credit union, Lemieux said.
 
A few members have already taken the credit union up on the offer, he said.
 
A local television station also ran a story about Sebasticook FCU's offer of support. To view the story, use the link.