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K.C. Police CU forms Code 1 CU subsidiary

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (4/19/10)--K.C. Police CU Thursday launched a subsidiary, Code 1 CU, aiming its outreach at a specific select employee group (SEG)--public safety employees in the Kansas City metropolitan area and throughout the state of Missouri. Code 1 CU, "will allow us to strengthen and grow the credit union by allowing us to more effectively reach out to other public safety agencies in our existing field of membership," the credit union said in a member announcement on its website. The credit union's field of membership includes police officers, firefighters and public safety employees in Missouri and in three Kansas counties within the Kansas City metropolitan area. The new subsidiary would allow it to grow beyond its historic boundaries in the police department (Kansas City Business Journal April 14). Code 1 CU installed an ATM at the Independence Police Department headquarters and will seek other ATM or branch locations. K.C. Police CU was founded in 1934 as K.C. Policemen's CU. Today, it has about $95 million and about 8,000 members.

New Hampshire CUs see record growth of 10.7

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MANCHESTER, N.H. (4/19/10)--New Hampshire's credit unions grew 10.7% in aggregate assets during 2009--exceeding credit unions' overall national growth rate of 8.9%, according to the New Hampshire Credit Union League. The league cited year-end results from the National Credit Union Administration, which indicated that aggregate growth in assets for the state's credit unions grew to $4.68 billion--from $4.22 billion in 2008 (Business Wire April 15). Deposits at New Hampshire's credit unions rose $437 million. Loans increased by $276 million. Their membership rolls increased by 26,000 members to 452,000. "As the financial crisis unfolded in last year, more people discovered and embraced the credit union difference," said league President Daniel F. Egan Jr. "Simply put, locally member-owned credit unions devote all of their energy and resources to making sure that they meet the financial needs and expectations of their members here in New Hampshire right on Main Street." Savings were up 13.2% since the beginning of the year, compared with more than 10% nationally. Egan noted credit unions' competitive savings rates and cited data from the Credit Union National Association highlighting credit unions' performance over banks, and an October 2009 study by Pew Charitable Trust noting the credit union advantage on card services. Loans outstanding at New Hampshire credit unions grew by 9.7% to $3.13 billion in 2009, outpacing the national rate of 1.2%. Business loans at the Granite State's credit unions rose by 11.9% during the period. Egan noted that credit unions are ready and able to make more business loans, but they are bumping against an arbitrary cap that limits member business loans to 12.25% of assets. Credit unions are working to get the cap increased to 25% by Congress, he said.

CUs vital to small firms--letter in Detroit News

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DETROIT (4/19/10)--Small businesses are being squeezed from all directions and finding it tough to get capital in the current economy, but credit unions are in a unique position to make loans to help small businesses turn around. So says a letter in The Detroit News Friday from Michigan Credit Union League President/CEO David Adams. "Banks statewide have had to shrink their balance sheets to get stronger. Credit union small-business loans were up 18% in 2009 while banks' commercial and industrial loans fell by 68%. We all hope that banks return to full strength soon because our economy needs a strong banking sector. In the meantime, credit unions are a viable alternative for small businesses and they are doing their part to move Michigan forward," wrote Adams. He listed credit unions' Invest in America program that promotes buying American products such as vehicles through credit unions, and Michigan credit unions' partnership with the Small Business Financing Alliance, where 30 credit unions have made available $43 million for small business loans. He also mentioned credit unions "significantly lower" delinquency rates and the movement's push in Washington, D.C., to lift the 12.25% of assets cap on member business loans to 25%. for credit unions. The article also notes the Credit Union National Association's calculation that loans from credit unions could help provide more than 100,000 jobs across the nation.

Redwood CU offers discount on jumbo loans

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. (4/19/10)--To assist local homebuyers, Redwood CU (RCU) is offering special pricing on adjustable rate loans over $417,000--commonly known as jumbo loans. Buyers can receive the same rate as they would on a lower-priced mortgage, making it easier and more affordable to buy or refinance properties that would otherwise only qualify for jumbo rates, the credit union said. Although home prices in general declined over the past few years, Northern California is a desirable geographic location with many modest properties still within the jumbo loan price range, making the offer particularly relevant for residents seeking to purchase or refinance and stay local, RCU said. Typically, jumbo home loans have interest rates averaging about 0.75% higher than standard or “conforming” loan rates. Under RCU’s current pricing, buyers would see lower monthly payments and lower interest paid over the life of the loan, resulting in thousands of dollars in savings, RCU said. “There are many desirable areas in the North Bay and San Francisco where home prices are high and sales can be facilitated only with jumbo loans,” said Michael Conway, RCU senior vice president of lending. “By offering jumbo loans at conforming rates, we are helping local buyers better afford the cost of home ownership in a responsible manner, whether they are purchasing a new home, or refinancing their existing property.” The limited-time pricing is available on loans for California properties up to $1 million.

Final breach conspirator sentenced to five years

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BOSTON (4/19/10)--The sixth--and last--U.S. defendant in the data breach of TJX Cos. was sentenced in a Boston court Thursday to five years, $100,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Damon Patrick Toey, 25, allegedly helped TJX hacker Albert Gonzalez breach the networks of several companies in 2007 and 2008, and sold stolen card data (Wired.com April 15). Toey, who earned about $80,000 for his role in the crimes, had faced a maximum of 22 years in prison. He cooperated with authorities, leading investigators to two servers in Eastern Europe and providing them the encyption keys to access evidence. Authorities found 16.3 million stolen card numbers on a Latvian server and another 27.5 million stolen numbers on a server in Ukraine. Toey also helped persuade Gonzalez to plead guilty to the hacking, said prosecutors. In March, Gonzalez was sentenced to three concurrent sentences, totaling 20 years in prison, for hacking TJX, Hannaford Brothers, Heartland Payment Systems and more. TJX's breach, along with other high-profile breaches, cost credit unions millions when they had to reissue cards that were compromised in the attacks.

OregonSW Wash. raise 847600 for CUs for Kids

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (4/19/10)--With the 2009 fundraising tally for the Credit Unions for Kids campaign in Oregon and Southwest Washington complete, a new milestone has been achieved, with more than $847,600 raised during 2009. The tally brings total amount raised since 1986 by Oregon and Southwest Washington credit unions to more than $10.6 million. “Even in these challenging times credit unions, friends of credit unions and members have not forgotten the importance of helping the children in our region and holding true to the credit union mission of people helping people,” said Kasey Rockwell, director of credit union development for the Credit Union Association of Oregon. Rockwell is the statewide Credit Unions for Kids campaign coordinator.

Testimony on Vermont card bill slated for Wednesday

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (4/19/10)--Testimony will begin Wednesday in the Vermont House Commerce Committee on a bill that would endanger how and where Vermont credit union members’ credit and debit cards are accepted, according to the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU). ACVU President Joe Bergeron issued an action alert to the state’s credit unions with talking points aimed at helping legislators understand the consequences the bill would have for consumers and merchants (Newsline Express April 16). “Credit unions need to explain to member of House Commerce why this bill is bad for Vermont consumers and the potentially seriously negative consequences it could have on the entire state economy,” he said. AVCU is urging credit union leaders across the state to make contact with House Commerce members. The bill, S. 138, is part of a national strategic effort that seeks passage of interchange control legislation, AVCU said. It would:
* Allow merchants to set minimum and maximum amounts for acceptance of debit and credit cards; * Forbid electronic payments system network processors from imposing penalties or requirements on the way merchants advertise, thus allowing merchants to add a surcharge for customers using a credit or debit card in the state; and * Require a state regulatory study, due Dec. 15, 2011, to determine the economic impact on banks, credit unions and consumers of prohibiting electronic networks from inhibiting merchants as to whose cards they can not accept.

Vote for iCU Magazinesi 2010 CU Hero

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MADISON, Wis. (4/19/10)--Credit Union Magazine subscribers have nominated four individuals for the 2010 Credit Union Hero of the Year Award. Readers are asked to vote for the individual they think deserves the award. Nominees are:
* Leslie Ellis, CEO of Credit Union 1, Anchorage. Ellis assumed leadership of the credit union 25 years ago, at the credit union’s lowest point in terms of capital but also operational problems, and turned it around. * Augustine Kang (posthumous), first CEO of the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions and special project director for the World Council of Credit Unions’ China project. Kang died in August. He was known by some as a “a man of the world” and “a humble giant.” * Dave Maus, CEO of Public Service CU, Denver, and a former Credit Union National Association chairman. Maus also received the 2009 Ally of the Year Award from Denver’s Women’s Vision Foundation. * Vic Thate, executive vice president of FAA CU, Oklahoma City. He has the nickname as the “godfather” of Credit Unions for Kids because he donated large portions of time and effort to the organization, a partner with Children’s Miracle Network.
Voting takes place through May 31. To vote, use the link. This year’s winner will be honored at The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas July 11-14 and will receive free conference registration and lodging. Last year’s winner was Cathie Tierney of Community First CU, Appleton, Wis.

Blaine discusses SECU decision on risk-based lending

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WASHINGTON (4/19/10)--State Employees’ CU of North Carolina (SECU) President/CEO Jim Blaine recently discussed SECU’s decision not to rely on risk-based lending, opting instead to consider each loan request on a case-by-case basis. “A credit score can tell you 10% will default, but not who will default. The reverse--90%-- will do exactly what they say they’ll do and pay their loans on time,” he said. “We look for the 90%.” The $19.6 billion credit union, based in Raleigh, N.C., is one of many credit unions increasing its loan portfolio and growing loans faster than the national average, said Callahan & Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based firm specializing in financial publications, software development, strategic planning and investment management for credit unions. At a time when banks saw their largest drop in lending since World War II, credit unions provided a record-breaking $271 billion in new and refinanced loans during 2009, a 7% increase over 2008, according to Credit Union Strategy and Performance (CUSP). Blaine’s message was captured in a new video component of the quarterly publication, CUSP, by Callahan & Associates. “Credit unions’ most important role is to make loans to members, and their cooperative system lets them do it very well,” says Alix Patterson, Callahan’s chief operating officer. “In fact, for the past 64 out of 65 years, credit unions have increased their loan portfolios.”

Its National CU Youth Week

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MADISON, Wis. (4/19/10)--National Credit Union Youth Week kicked off Sunday, and credit unions nationwide are celebrating the week with community-oriented activities.
Click to view larger image Chris Wolgamott, Meritrust CU, teaches eighth grade students about money during a Money$mart financial management camp at a middle school in Hutchinson, Kan.
This year’s theme is “Get in the Savings Game.” Youth Week, which is sponsored by the Credit Union National Association, ends Saturday. The National Saving Challenge takes place all month. So far, 386 credit unions have registered for the Saving Challenge. At this time last year, 397 had registered. Credit unions can register any time, up until they report results, according to Lin Standke, CUNA Youth Week manager. Standke noted that many credit unions are choosing activities that benefit the community to celebrate this year’s Youth Week. Electro Savings CU, St. Louis, Mo., is joining three other credit unions to donate $5 to the Children’s Miracle Network for every new youth account opened or $50 deposited into an existing youth account. WESC FCU, Casper, Wyo., is collecting new or slightly used sports equipment to be donated to the Special Olympics. NorState FCU, Madawaska, Maine, will donate $1 to local food pantries for every $10 deposit made into an Eager Beaver Youth Savings Account or each new NorState FCU Youth Savings Account opened. Donations help support local food pantries in our communities provide immediate assistance to needy families.
Click to view larger image Malynda Lightsey, Hutchinson CU, teaches students about the difference between simple and compound interest during a Money$mart financial management camp. (Photos provided by the Kansas Credit Union Association)
First CU, Chandler, Ariz., will give youth a free “Good Start Guide to Money” or a “How Much Does it Cost?” worksheets for younger children. Youth who open an account during Youth Week also will receive a free $5 deposit. In other activities, a Money$mart financial management camp created in partnership with the Kansas Credit Union Association and the Wheatbelt Chapter of Credit Unions was held April 15 at a middle school in Hutchinson, Kan. The camp provided students with an overview of how to use a credit card, saving, budgeting and cash management. The event was sponsored by the Kansas state treasurer’s office. “The students were engaged in activities and discussions regarding money and choices, goal-setting, savings, budgeting and credit,” said Michelle Kaberline, financial literacy coordinator, office of the state treasurer.

CU System briefs (04/16/2010)

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* DANA POINT, Calif. (4/19/10)--A record $200,000 was raised for the Children’s Miracle Network during the fifth annual California and
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Nevada Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction March 26. Diana Dykstra, left, president/CEO of San Francisco Fire CU, generated $40,000 in pledges by shaving her head, having attendees then select a wig for her to wear during the event, and a cash paddle bid at the end of the live auction to remove her wig. Darren Williams, president/CEO of Wescom CU, Pasadena, raised $16,000 for promising not to cut his hair for a full year--until the next auction. Pictured are Dykstra and Williams. More than 230 people attended from 80 credit unions and other organizations. In addition to the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, corporate sponsors included CUDL, Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc., CUNA Mutual Group, and CO-Financial Services. (Photo provided by the California and Nevada Credit Union League ) ... * BRADENTON, Fla. (4/19/10)--Tropicana FCU announced Thursday it will change its name to Manatee Community FCU, effective June 1 (BradentonHerald.com April 16). It is making the change to better reflect its position in the community, said credit union officials. According to CEO Billy Woods, the name reflects its membership base better. The Tropicana Co., will continue to be a part of the credit union's history, he told the Herald. The $24 million asset credit unions was chartered in 1958 ... * RALEIGH, N.C. (4/19/10)-- State Employees’ CU (SECU) members are providing funding through the SECU Foundation to benefit Hospice and
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Palliative Care of Iredell County (HPCIC), helping to expand hospice services in Iredell, N.C., and surrounding counties. The project, which will include a new six-bed wing, will be accompanied by an education center to assist in training staff to better serve end-of-life patients. The $250,000 grant check from the $17 billion asset, Raleigh, NC.-based credit union was presented at the hospice's annual meeting in March. A groundbreaking ceremony was held March 25 to officially kick off the project. Pictured are various HPCIC and SECU Foundation representatives, including SECU volunteer Advisory Board members Jo Beatty of Mooresville, N.C. and Harvey Pons of Statesville, N.C. (Photo provided by State Employees’ CU) …