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Texas league adopts dues change elects officers

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (4/22/08)--Delegates unanimously adopted a dues formula to be effective for 2009 at the 74th Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) Annual Meeting April 17. The formula, which is identical to this year’s, reads: “Dues shall be based on the square root of credit union assets plus 0.52, a minimum of $500 or 6% of gross income, whichever is less, plus Credit Union National Association dues. Assets are determined as reported as of June 30 of the preceding year by the credit unions to their regulatory agency” (LoneStar Leaguer April 21). The board elected the following officers:
* Chairman--Ayn Talley, CEO Houston Police FCU; * First Vice-Chairman--Pamela Stephens, CEO, Security One FCU, Arlington; * Second Vice-Chairman--Jada Kelley, CEO/DuPont Goodrich FCU, Nederland; and * Secretary-Treasurer--Jim Minge, senior vice president, Randolph Brooks FCU, Universal City.
Elected district directors are:
* North Central District--Gary Parker; * Dallas District 2--Jim Brisendine and Sandy Smith; * East District 3--Debbie Martin; * Fort Worth District 4-- Stephens; * Houston District 5--Debbie Blackshear and Tally; * North District 6--Robert Sheppard; * Panhandle District 7--Art Hornell; * San Antonio District 8--Minge; * Southeast District 9--Kelley; * Valley District 10--Al Beltran; * Far West District 11--Robert Peterson; * South Central District 12--Paul Trylk; * South District 13--Gary Davis; and * Mid West District 14--James Boyd.
Not seeking re-election were Dean Daly from District 11 and Anne Boatright from District 12. Boatright will serve as ex-officio member on the league board as the immediate past chair.

CU Aid supporters reallocate 180000 for major disasters

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (4/22/08)--Responding to an appeal by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), credit union supporters from across the country have reallocated over $180,000 in California wildfire relief donations to help credit union people wherever and wherever a major disaster strikes. The appeal enabled NCUF to use CU Aid to make 17 more grants so far totaling over $87,000 for credit union employees and members who lost their homes after tornadoes ripped through Alabama. “Thanks to the generosity of CU Aid donors in 31 other states, we were able to make meaningful grants of up to $10,000 to credit union families in Alabama,” reported NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin. Limited grant dollars are still available for credit union people who suffered unrecoverable losses from the Alabama tornadoes and the California wildfires. Speaking at the Alabama Credit Union League Annual Meeting last week, Delfin noted that June 1 marks the official beginning of Hurricane Season. “Now we are encouraging credit union supporters in every state to consider donating through CU Aid before the next major disaster, wherever it may hit,” Delfin emphasized. “A critical component of disaster preparedness is disaster relief fundraising,” explained Delfin, a former disaster relief fundraiser for the American Red Cross national headquarters. “While it is human nature to want to give in response to a disaster, we encourage credit unions to consider making disaster relief contributions now in advance so we can push funds out the door as soon as a disaster strikes.” Delfin said the most important aspect of disaster relief fundraising is to build the capacity to do it into the credit union’s disaster preparedness and business continuity plans. “CU Aid provides the tools to do that if your interest is helping credit unions affected by major disasters.” NCUF has restructured the CU Aid donation form so it can channel relief money efficiently to any major disaster area that impacts credit unions, employees, volunteers and members. NCUF dedicates 100% of disaster relief donations to grants. It does not use disaster relief donations to pay for the Web platform, travel to disaster areas, or any of the foundation's costs to administer the national disaster relief program for credit unions. CU Aid was developed by NCUF in cooperation with state credit union foundations, state credit union leagues, and the Credit Union National Association’s Disaster Preparedness Committee.

Security continuity are CUs biggest tech costs

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MADISON, Wis. (4/22/08)--Technology-wise, credit unions plan to spend the biggest portions of their budgets on security and business continuity planning over the next three years, according to a recent Credit Union National Association (CUNA) survey.
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In the 2008-2009 CUNA Technology and Spending Report, respondent credit unions ranked their top three technology expenditures in the next three years: information technology (IT) security (47%); business continuity (39%); risk management/compliance automation (34%); and expanding e-commerce activities (34%). Larger credit unions, with $500 million or more in assets, tended to cite expanding e-commerce activities, rather than IT security as one of their top three. The CUNA report details credit union technology spending in terms of total technology budget and its percent of overall operating expenses, average annual vendor expenses, and functions support by IT staff and vendors. It also uncovers the average dollar amount and percent of total budget allocated to specific areas such as hardware, software, security measures, data-voice communications, online banking and training. The report explores credit unions’ current use of future plans for Internet banking, electronic bill payment, online loan applications, marketing customer information files and relationship management, security and general technology services. The survey will be the topic of an “Exploring Credit Union Technology and Spending Trends” webinar May 15, CUNA said. For more information, use the links.

Tellers abducted during robbery at Keesler but are safe

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BILOXI, Miss. (4/22/08)--Because Keesler FCU employees “did exactly what they are trained to do,” a robbery and hostage situation at the credit union Friday left its employees and members unharmed. On Friday, an armed man entered the credit union and took two employees hostage, Tammy Brister, Keesler vice president of branch operations, told News Now. The man had several weapons, and the credit union was “extremely busy” at the time of the robbery, she added. The man proceeded to take two tellers hostage. Because he came to the credit union on foot, he forced them into one of the teller’s cars to escape. The three left the credit union, and after a high-speed chase, the car drove into a ditch and the robber was caught by police, Brister said. “The tellers are fine,” she said. “No one was hurt physically.” Keesler closed Saturday to give employees time to relax and “work through it,” Brister added. The credit union also contracted with a trauma counseling service for its employees. “All of the employees are shocked, but fine,” she said. “Nobody quit.” Keesler also analyzed staff’s response to the robbery from a management perspective to see if anything could have been done differently. The employees did everything they were supposed to, Brister said. “We are proud of our employees at all locations,” she said. From Thursday through Saturday, five robberies occurred at area financial institutions. Only two of the robbers, including the Keesler robber, have been apprehended, Brister said.

Phishing vishing and and now smishing

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EUGENE, Ore. (4/22/08)--A type of fraud that scammers are using called “smishing” is gaining prominence as a way to fraudulently obtain consumers’ personal information. Smishing is text-message fraud that occurs when criminals, posing as financial institutions, attempt to dupe mobile-phone users into sending personal information through text messages. Financial institutions should restrict text-based messages to information such as balance updates or overdraft alerts, and should not send account numbers and transaction details through text messages, said industry expert Lisa Stanton (ATM & Debit News). Oregon Community CU (OCCU), and a $388 million asset, Eugene, Ore.-based institution, is under attack from fraudsters sending cell phone text messages that state “Your Oregon Community CU account is closed due to unusual activity.” The message then requests that recipients call a phone number in Florida. Recipients should not reply by texting, nor respond to the phone number listed, OCCU said in a press release. The credit union’s phone center and branch staff are being overwhelmed with phone calls and walk-ins. OCCU said it has received thousands of phone calls from worried people, not just members. Since the credit union is the largest in the area, scammers probably sent the text message to the entire list of Oregon phone numbers hoping to trick as many members as possible to fall for it, according to Eugene police (KVAL 13 April 19). Paragon FCU, a $374.8 million asset, Montvale, N.J.-based institution, also was beset by fraudulent text messages using its name and telling recipients their accounts are expiring. Recipients were told to call a toll-free number or visit a website (The Allentown Morning Call March 18). An alert on the credit union’s website said, “If you receive any such messages, do NOT click the links or call the numbers provided. Instead, immediately delete the message from your computer.” Universal CU, a $55.4 million asset, Huntington, W.Va.-based credit union, was hit by a bogus text messaging scam earlier this month (WSAZ 3 April 15). Other recent example of credit unions targeted in phishing, vishing or smishing attempts:
* WV University Employees FCU, a $15.4 million asset, Morgantown, W.Va.-based institution, was targeted by a scam in which members receive automated phone calls and fake e-mails, informing them that their counts were frozen due to fraud. Recipients were asked to call a telephone number to regain access to their accounts and then were asked for account, debit card and personal identification numbers (The Charleston Gazette April 19). * Members of the $305 million asset, Lihue, Hawaii-based Kauai Community CU were the target of a phishing e-mail, asking recipients to take a survey regarding its customer service. The message provided a link to another page and promised respondents $90 for filling out online questionnaire, which asked for full names, ATM card numbers, and personal identification number information (Honolulu Advertiser April 17). * The $2.270 billion asset, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based Hudson Valley FCU said that members and nonmembers received text messages pretending to be from “Hudson Valley FCU bill service.” The message asked members to call an 806 number to “renew your service.” (Poughkeepsie Journal March 19). * Members United Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill, sent out a fraud alert regarding a recent phishing e-mail that purports to be from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It warned against identity fraud and told recipients how to sign up for a program that awards $500 worth of insurance to help victims of Internet fraud. The e-mail asked recipients to click on a link to be redirected to “an online signup page for this program.”

Members write Wis. DFI to save CU car-sales operation

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RACINE, Wis. (4/22/08)--Members of Educators CU (ECU) in Racine, Wis., are stepping up to help their credit union continue its used-car sales operation after the Wisconsin Office of Credit Unions ruled that the credit union could not sell used cars. “Our members are writing letters to the Wisconsin State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI),” Jim Henderson, ECU senior vice president, told News Now. ECU was ordered to cease its operation several weeks ago. The credit union plans to file an appeal and the regulator has stayed its order. “We’re still in the appeals process,” Henderson added. The office ruled against ECU’s sales operation after the Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealers Association filed a complaint, charging that ECU’s used car sales were not a part of its charter. ECU would still be allowed to lease and repossess vehicles. The credit union has placed information on its website regarding the ruling and appeals process. The website,, also has information about what members can do to voice their opinions on the ruling. Members can help by writing the DFI, or by submitting letters to the editor at the Racine Journal-Times, the website said. The credit union expects a response to its appeal by summer.

CUs commitment to youth spotlighted on Good Morning Texas

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (4/22/08)--Texas Credit Union Foundation (TCUF) Director Courtney Nickles addressed the importance of financial education and the role credit unions play in empowering young people to make smarter financial choices Monday on ‘Good Morning Texas.’ Sharon Moore, City CU, Dallas, also appeared on the show to discuss financial education. The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP) educates young people on critical money matters such as savings, budgeting and investing, Nickles told viewers (LoneStar Leaguer April 21). “Excessive spending and irresponsible management of our money is a learned behavior,” Nickles said. “If we want to break the cycle, we must change behavior. It’s really important that we educate our youth at a very young age on how to effectively manage their finances. Get them saving early and explain to them how to open a savings account at a credit union.” Nickles said more young people file for bankruptcy than graduate from college. She also stressed the growing importance of financial knowledge in the younger generation today.

CU System briefs (04/21/2008)

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* HARRISBURG, Pa. (4/22/08)--Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) greeted supporters at a rally Saturday in the Discovery FCU gymnasium at Wilson High School in Wyomissing, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association. Although the credit union did not receive mention in the local news reports, its sign is visible in a photo of Gov. Ed Rendell introducing Clinton in the Reading Eagle (April 20). Discovery has a three-year sponsorship agreement with the school district to obtain naming rights for the gymnasium. In return, the credit union can hold financial literacy classes and establish a credit union branch beginning next fall (Life is a Highway April 21) … * BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (4/22/08)--The Minnesota Family Involvement Council (FIC) and Minnesota's Credit Union for Kids committees honored LeAnn Achtenberg, vice president of marketing at Anoka Hennepin CU, Coon Rapids, and Jeff Schwalen (left), president of Hiway FCU, St. Paul, with outstanding volunteer awards during a banquet at the Minnesota Credit Union Network's (MnCUN) 2008 Annual Meeting and Convention. Achtenberg received FIC's award and Schwalen was presented the CUs for Kids award. Presenting the awards was Mark D. Cummins, MnCUN president/CEO. (Photos provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network) … * RICHMOND, Va. (4/22/08)--Richmond Postal CU announced that Joseph "Joe" M. Haddon Jr. has been named as the new president/CEO of the $80 million asset credit union. Before joining the credit union, Haddon served as senior vice president for Dominion CU, also in Richmond, where he led the credit union's information technology systems for internal and external member/customers. He was instrumental in developing and implementing Dominion's debit and ATM card programs, and developed and maintained its compliance policy and procedure program. Haddon has more than 20 years experience with credit unions … * DES MOINES, Iowa (4/22/08)--Linda Zech, 53, of Spencer, Iowa, was sentenced to five years in prison on charges that she embezzled $770,000 from a credit union where she worked, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa. She pleaded guilty in Sioux City court to one count of financial institution fraud and one count of money laundering ( April 19). Zech also was ordered to repay the money she took from Eaton Employees CU from January 2003 to January 2007. During that time she was the credit union's only full-time employee …

W. Va. league elects officers presents awards

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CHARLESTON, W. Va. (4/22/08)--The West Virginia Credit Union League elected Ron Bragg as chairman of the board during its 72nd Annual Meeting April 19. Bragg is CEO of Hope FCU in Clarksburg, W.Va. Other elected officers are:
(From left) Jack Thayer, director, and Scott Winwood, CEO, both of First Choice Community America FCU, Weirton, W. Va., received the William Bryan Hawkins and Pacesetter Awards respectively at the West Virginia Credit Union League’s 72th Annual Meeting. (Photo provided by the West Virginia Credit Union League)
First vice chairman, Tom Walker, Universal FCU, Huntington; * Second vice chairman, Dave Van Middlesworth, Eastern Panhandle Community FCU, Martinsburg; * Treasurer, Doris Cunningham, Members Choice WV FCU, Charleston; and * Secretary, Donna Gordon, Mercer County WV Teachers FCU, Bluefield.
Jack R. Thayer, director, First Choice America Community FCU, Weirton, received the William Bryan Hawkins Award, which recognizes excellence among credit union volunteers. Scott Winwood, CEO, First Choice America Community FCU, received the Pacesetter Award, which recognizes excellence among professional credit union staff.

CUNA growth task force initiatives progress to the Web

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MADISON, Wis. (4/22/08)--The Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Membership Growth Task Force initiatives now include three interactive applications on the Web to help fast-growing credit unions share their strategies. The alternatives now available include:
* E-mailing the task force's CUNA growth e-mail account established for this purpose at; * Joining the CUNA Membership Growth Discussion Group at See the resource link for more information; or * Filling out a short Web-based survey, which will be available Friday on CUNA's website. (News Now will inform readers when the survey is available.)
"We have been at this for the better part of a year," said Task Force Chairman Dick Ensweiler, president/CEO of the Texas Credit Union League. "We developed a preliminary report and gave it to CUNA's board and membership at the Governmental Affairs Conference (in March)," he said. "We've identified markets and opportunities, and there seems to be a heightened awareness that there are unique opportunities for membership growth," Ensweiler told News Now. "What we need now is examples of credit unions that have been taking the initiative and growing." The task force is chiefly interested in organic, sustainable growth rather than big, one-time increases. These efforts typically don't involve mergers or indirect lending. Mike Schenk, vice president of CUNA economics and staff liaison to the task force, noted that staff used year-end National Credit Union Administration data to identify the fastest-growing credit unions. Aggregate growth was adjusted in these two cases, reducing the membership number "one-for-one" by the number of members added through mergers or indirect lending. "We want the real member growth and especially want to know about efforts focused on growth of three populations of members: young people, unserved, or immigrants," Ensweiler said, "These are where some of our richest opportunities for growth lie." The task force also wants to know how credit unions are using awareness initiatives, collaboration, and back-office consolidation in their efforts to grow and nurture memberships. Ensweiler encouraged credit unions to share their initiatives. The next task force meeting will be May 29 in Chicago. "We want to hear from the credit unions and others that have success in the growth initiative. They can come in, call in, or write a synopsis of the things that have worked and their results." That day's discussions will be incorporated into a paper and presented as a report to the CUNA Board and membership during the America's Credit Union Conference & Expo June 29-July 2 in New York City. Meanwhile, News Now will introduce its Focus on Growth weekly series of interviews with the fast growers early next week. The Membership Growth Task Force was convened at the request of CUNA's Immediate Past Board Chair Allen Kemp-McMorris to investigate, report on, and encourage credit unions to embrace opportunities, techniques and processes that will increase credit unions' membership retention and growth.

Oregon CUs only FI on state Financial Ed Task Force

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (4/22/08)--Oregon credit unions are the only financial institutions invited to participate on the state’s Financial Education Task Force, the Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO) said Monday. Credit unions helped create the task force during the 2007 Oregon Legislative session. The task force will review the civics curriculum at local schools and secure funding for financial literacy efforts through the Oregon Department of Education. The task force held its first meeting March 21. Credit unions will be represented by task force member Cori Frauendiener, director of educational partnerships at MaPS CU, Salem, Ore. Oregon credit unions continue to keep financial literacy at the top of their priorities by implementing programs to teach financial education. In addition to financially supporting the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Finance, credit unions run workshops for youth, establish in-school branches, provide classroom presentations and create legislation, said CUAO.