Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive

CU System Archive

CU System

CU System Briefs (03/07/2013)

 Permanent link
  • ALBANY, N.Y. (3/7/13)--Employees of credit unions across New York state raised more than $12,000 by participating in the Credit Union Association of New York's first statewide fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. The "dress down for work" fundraiser was held on Feb. 14.  Employees of credit unions and the association donated money to dress down, with proceeds going to Children's Miracle Hospitals in New York. The money raised was matched by funds from CO-OP Financial Services' Miracle Match program. Pictured are staff from The Summit FCU, Rochester, on Valentine's Day. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of New York) …
  • HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (3/7/13)--The New Jersey Credit Union League will host its 2013 CU Reality Check  [ http://www.CURealityCheck.com ] April 8-10 in Atlantic City. Speakers include Paul Gentile, Credit Union National Association executive vice president of strategic communications and engagement, and former president/CEO of the league; Max Wolff, chief economist with GreenCrest Capital; Moisette I. "Tonya" Sweat, National Credit Union Administration director of consumer compliance policy and outreach; Tom Farin, president, Farin & Associates; Lisa Renner, co-founder and managing principal of Renner Group; Jonathan Bowman, CEO of Clear Picture Leadership; Ed Speed, retired CEO of Texas Dow Employees FCU, Lake Jackson, Texas; and Theran Colwell, director of strategy and business development, CUNA Mutual Group …
  • HARRISBURG, Pa. (3/7/13)--Representatives of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association and six credit unions participated in Junior Achievement of Central Pennsylvania's 11th annual Young Women's Futures symposium at Lebanon Valley College, Annville. Janice Appleby of Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU and Toni Montgomery of AmeriChoice FCU served as co-chair and budget session presenter, respectively (Life is a Highway March 6). The event benefited 125 high school students from Dauphin, Lebanon and Schuykill Counties, and included sessions such as team building, interview, dress, resumes, social media and career exploration. The symposium is one of five events in 2013 made possible in part by a $10,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation to Junior Achievement. Pictured is Kimberly Berrier, left, of New Cumberland FCU working with two students during a session. Other participants included PCUA staffers T. Fetsko, Sheba Wallish and Vanessa Dettmore; Hershey FCU staffers Radica Persaud, Nicole Smith and Jill Sottile; Tricia Heisey of Belco Community CU and Sara Firestone, Members 1st FCU. (Photo provided by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association) …
  • MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (3/7/13)--Massachusetts made a "Blanket Statement" during January with the third annual Blanket Drive to help support the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. These blankets help children and families seeking relief from bitterly cold weather. The Massachusetts Credit Union League and 20 credit unions distributed 513 blankets to the coalition and 10 other community agencies in the state (eNews March 6 .  Some credit unions collected sheets, comforters and throws to help the coalition's "A Bed for Every Child" initiative. Collecting the most blankets was Leominster (Mass.) CU, whose staff are pictured presenting two organizations with blankets. From left: Arthur Heusser, Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network; Karen Inderwish, Leominster CU branch manager; Rachel Terrell, Leominster executive assistant; and Judith Nest-Pasierb, Our Father's House Inc. (Photo provided by the Massachusetts Credit Union League) …
  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (3/7/13)--Charles L. Ray Jr., who was chair of the board of directors at  Huntsville, Ala.-based Redstone FCU from 1983 to 2011, died Tuesday morning (Madison County Record March 5). Ray began serving the credit union as a volunteer in 1977 as a committee member. He oversaw Redstone's growth into a credit union with $3.4 billion in assets, the largest in Alabama and in the top 25 in assets of federal credit unions. "Mr. Ray will be especially remembered for his unwavering commitment to serving the underserved," said the credit union. "He led the great expansion of Redstone's facilities as well as the development of many of the outstanding products and services that Redstone is now known for." Ray owned and operated Nelms Memorial Funeral Home and was a teacher in the Madison County Public Schools. He also held key positions with the Huntsville-Madison County Community Action Agency and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command. He is survived by his wife, Willie Mae, and one daughter, Terri L. Ray …

CUs Prove Commitment to Members During Tax Time

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (3/7/13)--Credit unions nationwide continue to build trust within their communities by providing members with member-centric services. This time of year they do so with free assistance on tax preparation.

Texas credit unions are participating in the Internal Revenue Service's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). The program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income individuals who cannot prepare their own tax returns.

City CU in Dallas is among the credit unions involved in the initiative. "We decided to participate with the VITA project based upon two of our guiding principles: People helping people and commitment to education," Sharon Moore, City CU president/CEO said in a Texas Credit Union League press release.

NCI Community Development CU, chartered in Houston last year, also participated in the Texas VITA initiative. "Many families do not file a return and/or lack the knowledge of where to turn for help, and as a result, are not realizing the amount of income they can receive through the Earned Income Tax Credits, for example," said Randy Martinez, president/CEO of NCI Community CU. "It is our hope that by offering free income tax preparation services, the individuals who seek our service will also open an account with the credit union for direct deposit of their tax returns."

The El Paso Affordable Housing Credit Union Service Organization (AHCUSO) has championed VITA for years. It serves as the managing organization for the El Paso Coalition for Family Economic Program. Larry Garcia, president/CEO of AHCUSO, chairs the coalition, a consortium of 22 private, public and not-for-profit organizations instrumental in assisting thousands of El Paso residents with gaining access to the IRS‟ Earned Income and Child Tax Credit Programs.

"There are approximately 30,000 families in our area that have not claimed their Earned Income and Child Tax Credits," Garcia said. "This equates to $100 million left out of our community every year." This year, the coalition is offering 16 VITA sites.

Coastal Community and Teachers CU's VITA program participation is part of the Corpus Christi-based credit union's community outreach efforts, President/CEO Gina Prince told the league. The credit union has 36 employees who assist taxpayers. Through Feb. 23, the credit union has assisted in filing 283 returns totaling $533,660.

Other credit unions nationwide taking part in VITA:

  • Electro Savings CU, St. Louis, partnered with the Gateway EITC Community Coalition, an organization that offers free tax preparation at more 30 sites throughout  the St. Louis area to families with incomes less than $51,000. The credit union will offer free financial services on Saturdays through April 13 (stltoday.com Feb. 12). The credit union seeks to help people avoid high fees in managing their money and those who do not have accounts with financial institutions, said Laura Mugge, community development specialist for Electro Savings CU.
  • For the 10th year, Bethpage (N.Y.) FCU, is helping low- to moderate-income households on Long Island prepare their tax returns for free, by offering Long Island's largest VITA program at 12 of its branch locations.
  • Belco Community CU, Harrisburg, Pa., is providing free tax preparation services through VITA from Jan. 29 to April 29.

Arizona CUs Take Top Spot In Net Income

 Permanent link
PHOENIX (3/7/13)--Credit unions in Arizona told how the state's credit unions took the top spot in the nation on net income earned compared with assets under their management last year in an article entitled "Arizona credit unions earn their way to the top spot" in Tuesday's Arizona Capitol Times.

The state's 50 federally insured credit unions saw a net income of 1.39% of their average assets last year. The national average for credit unions is 0.86%. The article cites statistics from the National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA) quarterly report, which was released Tuesday. (See related story in Wednesday's News Now, "NCUA 4Q Map Details Financial, Membership Gains For CUs.")

Prescott (Ariz.) FCU, which has $6.3 million in assets, hasn't raised fees in more than two and a half years, and the credit union takes care of its members, CEO Kathleen Wallis told the publication.  The credit union is doing better because its "rates are so low, and we haven't had a lot of bankruptcies and collections issues," she added.  It also noted that it doesn't have a lot of delinquencies on auto loans because it is lending to members.

Phoenix-based Arizona State CU, which has $1.43 billion in assets, also had a strong year, with a return on average assets of 1.28%, largely due to auto and mortgage lending, Paul Stull, senior vice president of strategy and brand, told the publication.

During 2012, Arizona State refinanced thousands of mortgages through the federal government's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). By doing this, the credit union helped members reduce their monthly payments by $369 a month, on average, he said.

Arizona's credit unions are seeing loan delinquencies drop as the state's economy recovers from the Great Recession, which means they can hold less in reserves against losses, which helps boost earnings, NCUA told the publication.

The article noted that the return on assets measures how well a credit union invests its members' deposits and can "translate to higher savings rates, lower loan rates and new services such as banking by phone," said the article.

"For the credit union itself, it's a measure of how well it has made lending decisions, primarily auto loans and mortgage loans, as well as how well it has controlled expenses," it added. To read the entire article, use the link.

Michigan CUs Ramp Up Lending

 Permanent link
LANSING, Mich. (3/7/13)--A strong lending performance propelled Michigan credit unions to record-setting results for 2012, said the Michigan Credit Union League in an analysis of data from the National Credit Union Administration.

Michigan consumers also continue to choose credit unions in record numbers. State credit unions added 76,829 new members in 2012, more than the previous nine years combined, said the league.

With auto sales rising 13.4% in 2012 to the highest point since the start of the recession, Michigan credit unions posted an increase in new-auto loans for the first time since 2009. Credit unions have captured 15.5% of the new-auto loan market, up 3% from 2011, according to data from Experian AutoCount. Michigan credit unions increased their used auto-loan portfolios about 8% during 2012, gaining an additional 1.5% market share.   

"We know that there is tremendous pent-up demand for new cars and we fully expect this growth to continue, which is great news for consumers and for our domestic auto industry," said Dave Adams, MCUL CEO. 

In 2012, Michigan credit unions financed 65% more first mortgages than in 2011, a record. Member foreclosures were down 11.8% in 2012. Overall foreclosure activity in Michigan dropped by 23.5% in 2012, a rate of decline that is among the highest in the nation, according to RealtyTrac.

Student loans at Michigan credit unions also increased--by 42% in 2012---with total student loans nearing $100 million.

Total member business loans (MBL) for the state's credit unions were up 4.3% for the fourth quarter and rose 17% for the year, topping $1 billion for the first time. Nationally, credit union MBLs are up 2.9% on the quarter and 9.2% for the year.

Credit unions, the leagues and the Credit Union National Association are urging Congress to help credit unions make even more business loans by raising their MBL cap to 27.5% of assets, up from 12.25%. Doing so would help boost the economy by generating $14.5 billion in new loans and 158,000 new jobs, says CUNA, with no cost to taxpayers. Raising the MBL cap is one of CUNA's top priorities for 2013.

'Rekindle' Sparks CU Collaboration In Mid-Atlantic States

 Permanent link
MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (3/7/13)--To build on its momentum, Rekindle--an initiative to reawaken credit unions' passion for collaboration and for restarting the economic engine that founded the cooperative movement--is launching a website and releasing the second in a series of animated short films.

"The Story Continues," a second animated short about Rekindle, highlights the case for the rebirth of cooperation among credit unions, going deeper into a conversation about bloated back-office expenses.

"Essentially, Rekindle provides credit unions with a structure and method to find solutions to common problems," said Jay Murray, president/CEO of Mid-Atlantic Corporate in Middletown, Pa. "Nearly everyone we speak with sees value in collaboration. What Rekindle has taught us over the past year is that collaboration--for real impact--requires a great deal of hard work."

Rekindle springs from a core group of Pennsylvania credit unions interested in working together to solve problems. Since its debut last fall, Rekindle has grown steadily through the middle-Atlantic states.

After a founding meeting convened by Belco Community CU in Harrisburg, Pa., Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU assumed a leadership role to develop a scalable collaboration framework for the middle-Atlantic states.   

"Whether it's driving down redundant system costs or sharing staff expertise, our movement has always been at its best when we collaborate," Murray said. "And today--with a growing regulatory burden, ever-thinner margins and fierce competition from the banking sector--it's past time to reignite the cooperation that made our movement strong."

The Rekindle website is designed to enhance the collaboration framework. Hosted by Ongoing Operations, a Maryland credit union service organization that offers cloud-computing, and data backup and recovery solutions, the site will be used to build community, house Rekindle's video library, and keep credit unions updated on Rekindle developments.

CO-OP Shared Branching Hits Milestone 5,000 Branches

 Permanent link
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (3/7/13)--CO-OP Shared Branching network has reached 5,000 "live teller" branch locations nationwide, just over three years after reaching 4,000 in February 2010.

"Shared branching is one of the best examples we can show potential members that credit unions really are different from banks," said Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Services president/CEO. "Through the cooperative spirit of credit unions we have assembled a network leapfrogging all but the very largest banks in terms of convenient access to a branch almost anywhere in the country." 

The 5,000 branch locations gives the credit union system the fourth largest branch network with teller service, trailing three national banks--Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase, CO-OP said. CO-OP's records show Wells Fargo at 6,382 branches, Bank of America at 5,916 and Chase at 5,833.

Members of nearly 1,800 credit unions that participate in CO-OP Shared Branching can enter any branch and conduct their business as if they were at their own credit union. CO-OP estimates that if all 7,000-plus U.S.-based credit unions participated in shared branching, the industry's network of shared branching locations would total 20,519 branches.

The rapid growth of CO-OP Shared Branching during the past three years accelerated in 2012, after a merger of CO-OP Financial Services and Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc., which became effective in January 2012. At that time, 502 branches were added to CO-OP Shared Branching.

Michigan Cooperative Ad Campaign Tops Record $1M

 Permanent link
LANSING, Mich. (3/7/13)--With record contributions topping $1 million, more than half of Michigan's credit unions have contributed to the 2013 CU Link cooperative advertising campaign, said the Michigan Credit Union League.

As of March 1, contributions totaled $1,021,352, MCUL said (Michigan Monitor March 4).

In addition to credit union funding, the Michigan Credit Union League is adding another $2.8 million to the campaign including:

  • $1 million in matching funds from CUcorp, a league subsidiary;
  • $286,000 from MCUL;
  • Another $1 million from CUcorp will be added to the media buy to increase credit union buying power and promote additional product messages for Invest in America and member business loans.
  • $500,000 from CUcorp will be allocated to credit unions for integrating their marketing efforts with the campaign, through pre-printed marketing collateral pieces and direct reimbursements for marketing costs.
The 2013 credit union media spend will be worth more than $3.8 million, and will focus on messages that promote the low rates, products and services, member discounts and value of membership that credit unions bring to the marketplace, MCUL said.

Kenya's Ambassador Lauds CUs For Promoting Economic Stability

 Permanent link
WASHINGTON (3/7/13)--
Elkanah Odembo, Kenya's ambassador to the U.S., thanked credit unions for their support of his country at a reception at the Kenyan Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Kenya's ambassador to the U.S. recognized 60 U.S. credit union representatives last week for their work to improve Kenya's economic stability in a region hit hard by post-election violence in 2007.

With a new election on the horizon, Ambassador Elkanah Odembo expressed appreciation for the partnership between credit unions in Kenya and in the U.S., and for the difference they make in Kenyans' lives. Odembo made the comments during a reception at the Kenyan Embassy in Washington last week in Washington, D.C.

After ethnic clashes following the 2007 presidential election left more than 1,000 people dead, the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) began providing assistance to Busia Compassionate Centre, a western Kenya orphanage, through support from the international credit union community.

WOCCU initially worked with the orphanage through a U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded  program that extended local credit union financing to small farmers, families and caretakers affected by HIV/AIDS. That program ended in 2010, but WOCCU and credit unions globally continued to support the center.

Credit unions financed educational scholarships, taught caretakers and orphans how to grow crops and raise animals for better nutrition and an income source, and supported building  a safer, more secure facility.

Among 60 credit union representatives and Busia Compassionate Centre Supporters at a reception at the Kenyan Embassy were, from left, Jeff York, Lompoc, Calif.-based CoastHills FCU CEO; Brian Branch, World Council of Credit Unions president/CEO; and Bill Cheney, Credit Union National Association president/CEO. (Photos provided by Larry Glatt)
The orphanage's local volunteers and children have also established a credit union to serve the Busia community. Donations from the international credit union system helped subsidize start-up costs and provide tools and methods to establish the credit union. The credit union is one of Kenya's two digital credit unions, where members can access their accounts via cellphone.

"Through our work with Kenya's savings and credit cooperatives, we were able to provide a sense of hope and security for people deeply affected by the post-election violence," said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO.

"From the seeds of this work sprouted our partnership with the Busia Compassionate Centre, which has grown into a promising foundation for economic stability and growth in western Kenya. Millions of Kenyans streamed to the polls on Monday to cast their votes for a new president, and we are hopeful that this election will mark an era of greater prosperity for the country."

The Global Women's Leadership Network, a World Council initiative, is organizing an engagement program to Kenya, May 25 to June 4, 2013, to help launch the Busia Compassionate Centre's credit union. Participants will learn about the Kenyan credit union system and life in rural Kenya as well as conduct credit union staff and board trainings. Use the link for more information.