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Members United Corp. delays 1Q financials to end of May

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WARRENVILLE, Ill. (4/28/10)--Full first quarter 2010 financial results for Members United Corporate FCU have been delayed another month, according to a portfolio update the corporate posted on its website. The corporate is now targeting the end of May to release audited financial statements. The $9.3 billion asset corporate said the delay is prompted by a March 25 announcement of an organizational restructuring by monoline insurer Ambac. The restructuring means Members United, like several other corporates, must revisit its Other Than Temporary Impairment (OTTI) estimates on bonds insured by Ambac. Ambac ceased payment of claims as of March 25 per an order by the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. Original estimates indicated Ambac was expected to pay 80% on claims; however, the restructuring announcement indicated the insurer would pay 25% on claims. Members United said it has more than $300 million total holdings (based on a book value) wrapped with Ambac. The full financial report was to be released on Friday. "We are now targeting the end of May 2010 to release the audited statements," said the portfolio update. The corporate expects to record additional OTTI losses once McGladrey and Pullen completes its review of the year-end 2009 estimate recorded as of Dec. 31, including the final determination regarding Ambac support. The losses are expected to result in a retained deficit and the corporate will be required to deplete membership capital shares in accordance with federal regulator's rules related to Paid-in Capital and Membership Capital. "At this time, Members United believes that existing capital in the amount of $151 million will be sufficient to absorb losses that will arise from the OTTI review," said the update on the website. In lieu of providing the full financial results, Members United provided these financial highlights:
* Core net income year-to-date, excluding the OTTI loss estimates, totaled $3 million, compared with $2.9 million for the same period in 2009; * Operating expenses year-to-date were $2.2 million less that the previous year; * Liquidity is adequate as cash and cash equivalents totaled $4 billion; and * Capital totaled $151 million prior to any OTTI charges that may result from the review underway.

CUs a topic on AOLs IWalletpopI

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NEW YORK (4/28/10)--AOL's Walletpop Tuesday featured an article that tells why credit unions are "the good guys" and banks aren't, and directs readers to Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) website as the key source to find out about credit unions. The article, "Should You Join a Credit Union? Here's What You Need to Know," was written by Geoff Williams, co-author of Living Well With Bad Credit. The article asked the question "what makes credit unions so wonderful?" Credit unions are nonprofit, noted Glen Lazovick, senior vice president of business development and marketing, Mid-Atlantic FCU, Germantown, Md. Credit unions are local and therefore accountable, said consumer/credit union advocate Remar Sutton. They don't make "opportunity profits," he told the publication. And, "a bad credit union is better than the best bank," he said. Credit unions are more willing to work with members and offer back up options so members can avoid fees and penalties on nonsufficient funds, said Amy Stanton, assistant vice-president, Connex CU, North Haven, Conn. The number of ATMs available was seen as a major drawback, but credit unions are engaged in partnerships to create ATM networks, said Williams, who added that "it's pretty hard to come up with a significant drawback to banking at a credit union." The article also noted credit unions have federal insurance. And it suggested going to the CUNA website or a state league website to locate a credit union. The National Credit Union Administration site is a "good follow up" for those interested in checking a credit union's financial performance, it said. For the entire article, use the link.

CU System brief (04/27/2010)

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* CHANDLER, Ariz. (4/28/10)--First CU, based in Chandler, Ariz., has teamed up with the Arizona Rattlers football team, becoming the official 2010 "Kick-to-Win" sponsor. The promotion gives one Rattlers fan the opportunity to win $25,000 by kicking a field goal from the 25-yard line after the game's third quarter. First CU maintains a booth where fans can sign up. One entry form is randomly selected by the Rattlers at each of the team's eight home games. The eight chosen will kick for a chance to win the prize. First CU has more than $400 million in assets ...

South Carolina CUs elect smaller league board

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (4/28/10)--South Carolina credit unions elected seven directors to a new, downsized South Carolina Credit Union League (SCCUL) Board of Directors. The streamlined board replaces a 14-member group that existed for decades. Election results were announced at Saturday's business session of the SCCUL & Affiliates 2010 Annual Meeting in Myrtle Beach, S.C. New to the 2010-2011 SCCUL board of directors are Rick Hammond, president/CEO of S.C. State CU, Columbia, and Robert Harris, CEO of Health Facilities FCU, Florence. Re-elected from the 2009 body are:
* Faye Crocker, CEO of Greater Abbeville (S.C.) FCU; * Jerry Miller, president/CEO of Carolina Trust FCU, Myrtle Beach; * Ray Partain, chairman of the board for Anderson (S.C.) FCU; * Ed Templeton, president/CEO of SRP FCU, North Augusta; and * Linda Weatherford, vice president at SPC Cooperative CU, Hartsville.
New board officers are: Weatherford, chairman; Templeton, first vice chairman; Crocker, secretary; and Miller, treasurer. As former chairman, Scott Woods—president/CEO of SC FCU, Nothr Charleston--remains as an ex-officio board member, as is league President/CEO Steve Fowler. League-member credit unions had voted on Oct. 28 to reduce the SCCUL board size in light of changes in organizational complexity--including the spin-off of some services to a limited-liability corporation--and the slowly diminishing number of in-state credit unions. Of the 75 member credit unions eligible to vote for the new directors, 54 sent ballots to independent accounting firm Cantey, Tiller, Pierce, & Green LLP of Camden, S.C.

Dupaco pairs Twitter with digital billboard

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (4/28/10)--Dupaco Community CU forged new ground in promoting this year's Community-Wide Garage Sale in Dubuque, Iowa. It paired a Twitter feed with iSpot digital billboard technology, which caught the attention of the local media.
Click to view larger image Dupaco Community CU's digital billboard featured tweets by staff about a Community-Wide Garage Sale and drew local media attention as well. (Photo provided by Dupaco Community CU)
Dupaco co-sponsors the sale, which was in its 17th year and held Thursday through Saturday. To get more exposure for the event, credit union staff sent real-time message updates to display on Dubuque's LAMAR-owned digital billboards via Web and mobile phone texting. They highlighted featured items of registered garage sale locations. On Saturday morning the credit union and Radio Dubque staff used Twitter to announce registered garage sale locations where free prizes were awarded. Shoppers followed the announcements on Dupaco's Twitter page at www.twitter.com/dupaco. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald featured a story on the new technology's application to a traditional spring event. To access the article, use the link. Eastern Iowa's KCRG-TV news also reported the event, with Dupaco staff tweeting in front of the big digital billboard, on the Friday 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. and Saturday morning newscasts. The credit union featured a complete list of the 400 garage sale locations and full descriptions at www.dupaco.com/garagesale and inside the official garage sale directory published in the April 21 edition of The Dubuque Advertiser. "The purpose of the garage sale is to stimulate economic activity while promoting recycling and positive social interaction among area residents," said Dupaco President/CEO Bob Hoefer. "From a credit union perspective, we're about people, thrift and the community. That's also what the Community-Wide Garage Sale is about, and why it's a perfect fit for Dupaco." Hoefer noted that the credit union's use of modern technologies to help promote the event makes sense. "Using Twitter and iSpot technology is allowing Dupaco to bring the garage sale message to people in a new environment," he said. "Combining this technology with a more traditional promotional mix helps ensure our message about this worthwhile, community-focused event is received."

CUs a trusted source for fin ed--Minn. league CEO

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (4/28/10)--As many organizations celebrate Financial Literacy Month this April, Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) President/CEO Mark D. Cummins discussed credit unions’ involvement in financial education in the April 23 issue of Finance & Commerce newspaper. A regular columnist for the publication, Cummins cited that only three states include personal finance education as a high school graduation requirement, and he provided examples of how credit unions work in this arena. “The need for financial education is staggering,” Cummins wrote, using recent statistics from a HarrisInteractive 2009 poll on consumer financial literacy to make his case. Some of the statistics include:
* Forty-one percent of U.S. adults--more than 92 million Americans--gave themselves a grade of C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finance. This number is highest among Generation Y adults at 47%; * Showing no improvement since 2007, less than half of adults--42%--keep close track of spending; * Twenty-six percent--more than 58 million adults--admit to not paying all of their bills on time; and * One-third of adults--72 million people--report that they have no savings. Forty-eight percent of Gen Y adults--more than any other age group--report having no savings;
Cummins commended Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and President Barack Obama for making financial literacy proclamations this month. Their formal statements recognize the need for financial education--especially in today’s economic climate--and discuss how learning the basics of personal finance will improve citizens’ quality of life, Cummins said. “While there is still much that can be done in the realm of financial education--both for youth and for adults--your local credit union should be viewed as a trusted source for information and advice,” Cummins wrote, providing examples of credit unions’ financial literacy efforts, through grants an classrooms presentations. “Personal finance is among [credit unions’] top priorities, because we know that improving financial literacy, increasing personal savings, decreasing debt and living within your means is a formula for success,” he said. To read the column, use the link.

Tenn. league VolCorp honor Hall of Fame inductees

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (4/28/10)--The Tennessee Credit Union League and Volunteer Corporate CU (VolCorp) inducted two individuals into the Tennessee Credit Union Hall of Fame during the league's Annual Convention and Expo in Chattanooga, Tenn. Jointly sponsored by the league and VolCorp, the Hall of Fame induction recognizes the commitment, leadership and dedication to the credit union movement of individuals from the state. Inducted were Dr. W. Craig Esrael, president/CEO of First South CU, Bartlett, and Milton Ward, chairman of the board for Kimberly Clark CU, Memphis. Esrael arrived at First South CU (formerly Navy Memphis FCU) in 1983, when the credit union was nearly placed into conservatorship. Six straight quarters of net losses and rising delinquencies had sunk employee morale and almost caused the credit union to close its doors. Seeing only opportunity, Esrael led the credit union to one
Milton Ward, center, board chairman of Kimberly Clark CU, is one of two inductees into the Tennessee Credit Union Hall of Fame. With him are, from left, Tom Gaines, Tennessee Credit Union League president, and Rick Veach, president/CEO of Volunteer Corporate CU (VolCorp.) (Photos provided by the Volunteer Corporate CU)
of the most extraordinary transformations in credit union history, said the league and VolCorp. The credit union achieved asset growth of more than 950%, capital growth of more than 4,000%, an increase to 15 service centers from two, an increase in employee efficiency to one employee per $3.5 million in assets from one employee per $800,000, and 63 consecutive quarters of perfect five-star ratings by a rating agency. Ward, with 37 years of service to the credit union system, exemplified the spirit of a true volunteer, according to Kimberly Clark CU CEO Janice Welch. "From changing light bulbs at the credit union to replacing water heaters, he understands the true credit union spirit and philosophy by putting the needs of others first."

Mica reports on quake-damaged Haitian CUs

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WASHINGTON (4/28/10)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica returned April 22 from a World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) field-engagement program in Haiti, where the credit union delegation met with credit unions and their members suffering from the effects of the Jan. 12 earthquake. Mica and the group studied the credit union movement in Haiti and discussed how WOCCU and the global credit union community can best help the country rebuild, using strengths inherent in credit unions’ financial cooperative structure.
Dan Mica, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association, (right) meets Bozil Jean Sanon, director of Mamev CU, Gressier, Haiti. Mamev is operating out of a tent supplied by the credit union system, and Mamev's staff have received tents, allowing them to get back to work after the earthquake earlier this year. (Photo provided by World Council of Credit Unions)
“The deterioration was beyond what TV could show,” Mica told News Now upon his return. “I looked down every street I came upon and saw rubble on all sides of the streets. I saw miles and miles of tents and tent cities, and people selling scraps they had scavenged, such as bed frames, batteries and auto parts. Schools consist of blackboards placed on stands inside tents with the sides up, located on what used to be sports fields. Kids, still dressed in school uniforms, walk home, stepping over rubble. “It was one of the most depressing sights I have ever seen--balanced by the human spirit--people trying to get their lives to go on,” he continued. “There was poverty and need beyond everything you can imagine. There was an overwhelming sense of human disaster. I’m not an emotional person, but it was very moving.” Fourteen participants representing major credit union organizations and WOCCU leaders participated in the intensive experience led by Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO. The delegation first gathered in Miami for a pre-visit briefing from WOCCU staff and a Haitian microfinance leader. Discussion topics included the economic impact of Haitian emigration, financial literacy work and the impact of Haiti’s underdeveloped financial infrastructure. While in Haiti, the delegation visited three credit unions, known as “caisses populaires.” The credit unions’ buildings were destroyed so they operate out of office tents donated by WOCCU. WOCCU Haiti program director Greta Greathouse, who led the delegation’s program, now also leads the credit union disaster relief and rebuilding effort. WOCCU has been working with Haiti’s credit unions since July, with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development through the Academy for Educational Development. Mica and the other participants toured damaged credit unions in Port-au-Prince and in the earthquake epicenter of Leogane, hearing first-hand how the earthquake affected credit union operations, as well as the staff and members of the credit unions. The visit has helped focus credit union leaders on what to do to help Haiti’s credit unions. “I will soon send a letter to our credit union system looking for 150 volunteer credit unions, each to partner with one credit union in Haiti to send it supplies, equipment or money once a quarter,” Mica said. “The need is astronomical. Credit unions can’t do nearly enough to help the earthquake situation overall. But the least we can do is help credit unions there directly. Also, WOCCU will set up a stabilizations fund to help.” Will Haiti’s credit unions survive? Mica said he believes they will. “People there need credit unions more than ever right now,” he said. “People were coming and going to credit union tents wherever we went. I have no doubt they will survive. This is going to be a very long long-term situation. “People on that island benefit tremendously from the presence of credit unions,” he concluded. “If they weren’t down there, we’d go down there and set them up.”

The 1 conference session to feature Canadian singer

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MADISON, Wis. (4/28/10)--Bernard Lachance, a noted Canadian singer, has been added to the lineup of ‘The 1 Credit Union Conference,’ a joint venture of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). Lachance, who has sold more than 30,000 CDs, will share his story in a breakout session, “Innovation on a Shoestring.” Lachance’s innovative one-to-one approach of selling tickets landed him an appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The 1 Credit Union Conference will be held in Las Vegas July 11-14. Other keynote speakers include bestselling author Jim Collins, who wrote “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... and Others Don’t.” Collins will speak about how credit unions can go from “good to great” in serving their members. Kevin “the Katalyst” Carroll also will speak. He founded Kevin Carroll Katalyst LLC and is the author of “Rules of the Red Rubber Ball,” “What’s Your Red Rubber Ball?!” and “The Red Rubber Ball at Work,” which inspire businesses, organizations and individuals to embrace their spirit of play and creativity to maximize their human potential to sustain meaningful business and personal growth. Carroll’s keynote session, “Credit Unions: Uncommon Catalysts Turning Dreams into Reality,” Credit union leaders will discover new ways of thinking and problem solving to build a productive, passionate credit union team to better serve members, says CUNA and WOCCU.

MnCUN meeting focuses on advocacy board elections

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BROOKLYN PARK, Minn.(4/28/10)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) held its annual meeting and convention April 23-24. More than 360 credit union professionals and volunteers attended the meeting, which focused on advocacy.
Ryan Donovan, Credit Union National Association vice president of legislative affairs, spoke at the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s annual meeting and convention April 23-24. (Photo provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network)
Ryan Donovan, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) vice president of legislative affairs, spoke about the credit union movement’s grassroots advocacy efforts. He complimented Minnesota credit unions’ for their work on business lending advocacy and provided them with an overview of the political landscape. In the coming months, CUNA will remain focused on pushing member business lending legislation forward and minimizing the adverse impact of regulatory restructuring, Donovan said. He encouraged credit unions to remain “engaged political advocates” by visiting their representatives in Minnesota and Washington, D.C. Also at the meeting, one incumbent and three new representatives were elected to three-year terms on the board:
* Jeff Schwalen, incumbent, Hiway FCU, St. Paul; * Kelly McDonough, First Alliance CU, Rochester; * Kim Boysen, Mower County Catholic Parishes CU, Austin; and * David Sawin, St. John’s CU, St. Paul.
The board also elected new table officers:
* Chairman Kyle Markland, Affinity Plus FCU, St. Paul; * Vice Chairman Patrick Pierce, City & County CU, St. Paul; and * Secretary/treasurer Chuck Albrecht, Mid-Minnesota FCU, Brainerd.