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Michigan OFIR Commissioner Ken Ross resigns

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LANSING, Mich. (4/14/11)--Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) Commissioner Ken Ross Wednesday announced his resignation from the position, effective Friday. Ross was appointed by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm in February 2008 to a four year term, which expires in 2012 (The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News April 13). "As Michigan’s first chief regulator of financial institutions with a credit union background, Ken understands the industry, the challenges we've faced in a tough economic climate and the services we provide in the community," said David Adams, CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League and Affiliates. "He has listened to credit union issues and has been a fair regulator for our industry, and we wish him well in his future endeavors." One of Ross's most recent acts was to write a letter to the Federal Reserve Board requesting that it reconsider its approach in implementing the debit transaction fee rule under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, according to the Michigan league's website. Earlier this year, Ross was appointed to the board of directors of the National Association of tate Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) to fill the unexpired term of retiring Roger Little. His term expires in September. Previously, Ross was the agency's deputy commissioner for policy and the chief of staff. He also worked as a state assistant attorney general and as vice president of regulatory and legal affairs for the Michigan league. Gov. Rick Snyder has not named a successor.

Moyer confirmed as Pa. Secretary of Banking

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (4/14/11)--Glenn Moyer, acting secretary of banking in Pennsylvania, was unanimously confirmed Tuesday by the State Senate Banking and Insurance Committee as secretary of banking. Moyer, who was nominated by Gov. Tom Corbett, is familiar with credit unions. While serving as as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexicohe he was a volunteer member on the credit committee of a credit union for armed services personnel, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) (Life is a Highway April 13). Moyer said his priorities are to make all financial institutions aware of the department’s strengths, to provide support for a strong economy and to support business models that are good for the market. The Dodd-Frank Act is a “sea of change that will have a significant impact on how financial firms do business,” he said. Though he does not know how Dodd-Frank will change the industry, as a state Pennsylvania must be heard as new interpretations and regulations are considered in Washington, he said. “We need to let the Washington regulators know that, while we respect them and their work, we are not going away--and that the balance between the state and federal charters needs to be clear and preserved for the future,” he said. In congratulating Moyer on the appointment, PCUA President/CEO Jim McCormack said: “We appreciate his leadership in protecting the well-being of state-chartered financial institutions and his depth of knowledge of the needs and challenges of Pennsylvania’s financial institutions. We look forward to working with him in the years to come,” Moyer will address PCUA’s Annual Convention on May 11.

IN.Y. TimesI Two CUs ahead of big banks on smart cards

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NEW YORK (4/14/11)--Two credit unions are well ahead of the big banks on providing smart cards, solving a problem many travelers face with U.S.-based credit and debit cards not working overseas, said The New York Times Tuesday. U.S. cards rely on older magnetic-stripe technology. Many countries, especially in Europe, use chip technology. That means many vendors overseas can't process Americans' magnetic stripe cards. "So if, like most Americans, you bank at a financial institution in the U.S. your card could potentially cause you some problems overseas--unless, that is, you happen to be a member of a small credit union," said the Times. It noted that the State Employees' CU (SECU) of Raleigh, N.C., just began offering debit cards with the E.M.V. (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) chips to members. Leanne Phelps, senior vice president of card services at SECU, told the Times the credit union had heard about problems with acceptance of cards from members traveling internationally. Although the problem was sporadic and affected a small percentage of the credit union's debit transactions, the credit union made the switch after learning that Canada and Mexico were moving to chip cards. Another credit union, the United Nations FCU, based in New York, has offered credit cards with chips for about a year, said the article. The Times questioned why credit unions could offer the latest card technology while big banks don't. Experts told the newspaper that big banks are still waiting for widespread adoption of the chip technology and that the only country not advanced in the technology is the U.S. Also banks haven't felt a serious financial hit from crime to justify the switch to the more fraud-resistant chip cards, the article said. To read the article, use the link.

Excellence Awards presented by HRTD Council

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MADISON, Wis. (4/14/11)--The inaugural CUNA Human Resources and Training Development Council Excellence Award winners were announced during the councilfs 17th annual conference, this week in San Francisco.
Click to view larger image Executives from eight credit unions accepted awards for inaugural CUNA HR/TD Council Excellence Awards at the councilfs national conference in San Francisco this week. From left, front row: Anthony Daniels, SECU, Linthicum, Md.; Marla Casley, Oregon Community CU, Eugene, Ore.; and Michelle Trekas, Red Canoe CU, Longview, Wash; Middle Row: Lynn Stephens, Mountain America CU, West Jordan, Utah; Ken Kelly, Red Canoe CU; and Darryl Shiroma, HawaiiUSA FCU, Honolulu; and Back Row: Linda Krakora: NuMark CU, Crest Hill, Ill.; Kimberly Maxwell, SunState FCU, Gainesville, Fla.; and Lee Wiersma, UW CU Madison, Wis. (Photo proved by CUNA HR/TD Council)
The award recognizes credit unions that exemplify excellence in the human resources and training disciplines and serves to promote credit union philosophies through people leadership. This yearfs winners by category are:
* Employee Engagement (less than $499 million in assets): NuMark CU, Joliet, Ill. for its Profit & Cash program. This program challenged staff to grow services within the current membership and increase overall membership in spite of the depressed economy. The resulting growth led to the need for a new branch, which opened in January. * Employee Engagement ($500 million to $1 billion): HawaiiUSA FCU, Honolulu, for its Junior-ee Summer Internship Program. By making the students Junior Employees (Junior-ee), HawaiiUSA FCU redesigned its internship program with an emphasis on providing students with real]world work experiences. * Employee Engagement (more than $1 billion): UW CU, Madison, Wis., for creating a culture of high engagement. Working from the results of employee surveys, UW CU improved its employee engagement score and was recognized as one of the gBest Places to Workh by Madison magazine. * HR/TD Management Practices (less than $499 million): SunState FCU, Gainesville, Fla., for its SunWell Program, which promoted health and well-being for employees. The program included wellness challenges, encouraged team participation, and led to a more pleasant and productive work force. * HR/TD Management Practices ($500 million to $1 billion): Oregon Community CU in Eugene, Ore., for its 360 Training: Excelling in a Sales Culture. The training, created by Oregon Community CU staff, blended product and service training with sales training, and served to help transition staff into a high functioning sales team that exceeded all goals. * HR/TD Management Practices (more than $1 billion): SECU in Linthicum, Md., for its Connections 4.0 Upgrade Learning Program. The upgraded learning system resulted in cost and time savings by changing training from a traditional brick-and-mortar classroom to a more effective blended learning approach. This allowed staff to acquire new skills through an on-line learning solution while applying targeted face-to-face resources to support managers in the rollout. *HR/TD Strategic Leadership ($500 million to $1 billion in assets): Red Canoe CU in Longview, Wash., for its Professional Activities to Direct and Develop Leadership Excellence (PADDLE) Program, which was created as a targeted approach to cultivating true talent in the organization. Six of the initial 12 PADDLE participants have been promoted to a higher level within the credit union. * HR/TD Strategic Leadership (More than $1 billion in assets): Mountain America CU in West Jordan, Utah, for its Talent Management and Succession Planning Process. The credit union developed a full-circle talent management process that matched employee aspirations with company needs and provided on-going employee development. The result was lower turnover and increased employee satisfaction.

Georgia CUs grew membership by 2.3 in 2010

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DULUTH, Ga. (4/14/11)--Georgia credit unions grew membership by 2.3% between December 2009 and December 2010, according to new data from the Georgia Credit Union Benefits Index, announced the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates. That is an increase from the 0.9% membership growth credit unions experienced between December 2008 and December 2009, according to a release from the league (Professional Services Close-Up April 11). Between December 2009 and December 2010, total assets at credit unions statewide grew by 2.7% to $16.6 billion, according to the index. Also, total loans grew by 3.9% while savings increased by 7.6%--a sign that Georgia consumers are looking to keep more of their money, not spend it, the league said. “It’s no surprise that Georgians are continuing to entrust credit unions with their money,” said Mike Mercer, president/CEO. “Credit unions offer a safe alternative to other financial institutions and continue to save members money through better rates and fewer fees.” The group noted that interest rates for a number of loan options remained lower for the state’s more than 1.8 million credit union members. Coupled with lower fees and higher rates for savings products, total benefits equated to nearly $116.2 million or $64 per member and $122 per member household. Also:
* Georgia credit union members saved more than $63 million as a result of lower interest rates on loan products; * Higher interest rates on savings products yielded members nearly $17 million in benefits; * Members saved more than $36 million through fewer and lower fees compared to other financial institutions.
The index, based on data collected between December 2009 and December 2010, uses data compiled from more than 160 Georgia credit unions and banking institution statistics from Datatrac, a rate survey firm.

Illinois DFI credits CUs 23 on first-quarter fees

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (4/14/11)--A credit of more than 23% is being reflected on Illinois’ state-chartered credit unions’ April regulatory fee invoice for first quarter from the Illinois Division of Financial Institutions (DFI). The credit reflects a partial holiday resulting from a remaining amount due to credit unions after a total holiday on their 2010 fourth-quarter regulatory fee, which would otherwise have been paid in January to the DFI. An aggregate credit of nearly $1.5 million will be received by Illinois-chartered credit unions. The Illinois Credit Union League’s (ICUL) legislation to implement the court-approved settlement of the regulatory fee case it filed against the state in 2004 was signed into law by Gov. Patrick Quinn, effective April 6, 2009. Under the terms of the settlement, state-chartered credit unions received a cash payment from the state in June 2009, in the aggregate amount of $6.2 million. The payment represented a credit for the overpayment in regulatory fees made under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration fee escalation and transfer (“sweep”) budgetary arrangement adopted by the state in its fiscal years 2004 through 2006. The 2009 legislation implementing the settlement also accomplished two other goals. It codified a rate reduction in regulatory fees going forward, commencing Jan. 1, 2009, and also reduced the Credit Union Fund margin that triggers a credit back to credit unions. The Credit Union Fund is the dedicated fund into which regulatory fees are deposited to offset the ordinary administrative and operational expenses of the DFI Credit Union Section in supervising state-chartered credit unions. It is structured as an operating account, not a savings account. To ensure that objective was met, the legislation reduced the margin level to 25% from 50%. When the balance in the Credit Union Fund at the end of a state fiscal year exceeds 25% of the expenses incurred by the state in administering the Illinois Credit Union Act and related laws, the excess must be credited to the credit unions that paid the fees. “The environment for Illinois credit unions continues to be challenging,” said Dan Plauda, ICUL president/CEO. “As we enter the second quarter of the year, this credit is a welcome boost to their bottom line, as they continue to serve their members in this highly competitive marketplace.”

MnCUN recognizes professional volunteer of year

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (4/14/11)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) announced the recipients of its two most prestigious awards Saturday. The Outstanding Credit Union Volunteer of the Year and the Outstanding Credit Union Professional of the Year Awards are honors bestowed on two individuals for demonstrated excellence in the movement.
George and Kay Rossez of St. John’s CU, Little Canada, received the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s 2011 Outstanding Volunteers of the Year Award Saturday for their 50 years of service to the credit union movement.
These and other awards were presented at a banquet held during the MnCUN 2011 Annual Meeting and Convention Friday and Saturday in Bloomington, Minn. This year’s Volunteer of the Year Award honorees were George and Kay Rossez of St. John’s CU in Little Canada. The joint recognition acknowledged the Rossezes’ credit union careers, which have been closely intertwined the past 50 years. George served as the credit union’s manager from 1962 to 1974 and helped grow its assets by more than $1 million. During his tenure as manager, Kay volunteered at the credit union in a variety of capacities. In 1972, she became a paid employee of the credit union and eventually took over as CEO after George retired.
For the past 30 years, Kyle Markland, president/CEO of Affinity Plus FCU, St. Paul, has served the credit union movement. On Saturday, he received the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s 2011 Outstanding Professional of the Year Award. (Photos provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network)
Even though they both have retired from the credit union, the Rossezes continue to volunteer and be active members. George has served on the credit union’s board of directors since 1983 and regularly volunteers for additional committee assignments. Kay, an active leader, serving on the supervisory committee and providing guidance on credit union issues. They are both political advocates for the credit union movement and have regularly attended the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference for the past 20 years. MnCUN’s Professional of the Year Award is Kyle Markland of Affinity Plus FCU in St. Paul. Markland has worked in the credit union movement for 30 years, serving the past 14 years as Affinity Plus FCU’s president/CEO. Under Markland, the credit union has grown from $357 million to more than $1 billion in assets and doubled its membership. He led the credit union in implementing innovative and outstanding service by introducing business models that gained the attention of Harvard Business School. Markland has also been an integral part of the credit union movement serving on a number of board and committees for Members United Corporate FCU, CUNA, Member Gateways, and the Filene Research Institute. Also, Markland serves as MnCUN’s board chair.

CU System briefs (04/13/2011)

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* MADISON, Wis. (4/14/11)--Jacqueline A. Smith, 32, of Oregon, Wis., a former branch manager and 10-year employee of Dane County CU, Madison, Wis., was charged Tuesday with fraud in the theft of more than $36,000 from the credit union. The embezzlement involved falsifying loans to family members and taking the money for personal use to pay off personal debt. The relatives were unaware of the loans, which were taken out in their names between 2008 and 2010, according to the complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court (Wisconsin State Journal April 13) … * WICHITA, Kan. (4/14/11)--The getaway driver in a Nov. 8, 2010, robbery of Catholic Family FCU, Wichita, Kan., was sentenced to 51 months in prison after pleading guilty to his role in the heist (Wichita Eagle April 12 and April 11. Christopher Crabtree, 20, of Wichita, admitted he met with co-defendant Deshane Gantt to plan the robbery. He drove with Gantt to the credit union, and Gantt, armed with a pistol, went into the credit union, announced that "This is a robbery … I don't want to turn this into a homicide," and vaulted the counter to collect cash from drawers. During their getaway, the men encountered a police patrol car. When police searched the car, they found loot in a pillow case. Gantt, who also pleaded guilty, is scheduled for sentencing on April 18 … * HARBOR, Ore. (4/14/11)--Chetco (CFCU) FCU President/CEO Stan Baron has announced he will retire May 1. He has more than 40 years' experience in the credit union industry, with nearly 20 years as a president/CEO. He arrived at CFCU in June 2000. Baron oversaw the increase of the credit union's assets from roughly $100 million to more than $370 million and the expansion of its service area to include Coos County. During his tenure, CFCU took a more active role in its communities with an emphasis on assisting small businesses and those often denied access to financial services by national and larger financial institutions. He noted that "after more than 40 years in the credit union industry, it is time to spend more time with the grandchildren." The board of directors, chaired by Dr. Jim Nelson, is working on determining a successor. In the meantime Executive Vice President and General Counsel Peter Spratt will serve as interim CEO … * HARRISBURG, Pa. (4/14/11)--Len Shimko announced his retirement as president/CEO of Cross Valley FCU, Wilkes-Barre on Monday, during the credit union's annual meeting, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) (Life is a Highway April 13). Ed Kaushas, attorney/certificated public accountant, was introduced as the credit union's new CEO. Shimko served as president/CEO for 42 years. He will remain active as treasurer of the credit union's board of directors. Shimko was the 1993 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Credit Union Professional of the Year, presented by PCUA … * OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (4/14/11)--Gary Eugene Sawyer, former chairman of Oklahoma City, Okla.-based Tinker FCU's board of directors, died April 7. He was 68. Sawyer had been a board member since 1991 and served as chairman three times. He is survived by his wife, two step-children, two step-grandchildren, and three sisters and a sister-in-law. Services were Wednesday in Oklahoma City (The Oklahoman April 10) …