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The Tennessee CU to open student branch name academy

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (4/29/10)--In an unprecedented move, The Tennessee Credit Union will open a branch inside Antioch High School, Nashville, Tenn., and will serve as an official sponsor of the school's academy of business and finance. The credit union will open in the fall and be run by students enrolled in The Tennessee Credit Union Academy of Business and Finance, which is part of the school's Academy of Business and Hospitality--one of three career academies at the school. Career academies are similar to college majors, where students are grouped by subject interest. It is the first time in the history of Nashville's public school system that a local business has earned the rights to be an official, named sponsor of a school program, said the credit union and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) in a joint release. According to local media, the credit union paid $150,000 for the right to name the program. The school board approved a two-year contract Tuesday night. The credit union will train Antioch students to run the fully functioning branch, which will operate during school lunch hours, 10:33 a.m. to 12:28 p.m. The branch will offer deposit and withdrawal transactions for checking and savings accounts and take loan payments, although it will not make loans. Students will get lessons in business ethics, corporate values and financial literacy. Principal Aimee Wyatt and credit union CEO Michael Martin have worked toward the partnership for several months to provide students and staff exposure to "real world" experiences and practical application of course material. "Since our beginning in 1950, The Tennessee Credit Union has been a supporter of public education," said Martin. "Our loyal members employed by MNPS have contributed greatly to our success. We see this opportunity to partner with an excellent school like Antioch as a way we can help promote financial literacy as well as help to prepare students for a career in the field of personal finance." School administrators anticipate that more than 50 local businesses, organizations and post-secondary institutions will sign letters of intent to partner and support individual school academies during an Academy Partners signing event on May 5. The high school has planned and implemented a school redesign since 2006 when the district was awarded a $6.5 million smaller learning communities grant. It has a Freshman Academy and three primary academies, each with two areas of emphasis.

Moodys Canada CUs chipping at big banks market

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TORONTO (4/29/10)--Canada's credit unions are eroding the stranglehold held by the "Big Six" full-service banks in the retail banking market, and Moody's Investors Service says that trend will accelerate if the Canada's government allows credit unions to incorporate on a federal level. A proposal in the Canadian government's budget would allow legislation to amend the Bank Act so that Canada's 419 credit unions can build membership beyond their provinces to build national franchises (Dow Jones April 27). Currently they are limited to staying within their province, but many have formed alliances to build up their service offerings and infrastructure. Credit unions already have significant shares in certain areas, said Moody's analysts. In 2009, credit unions' market share included 16% of retail deposits, 19% of residential mortgages and 13% of Canada's automated clearing settlement system. The government's proposal could accelerate consolidation, but that trend has already been developing for most of the past decade, said Moody's.

Biz Kid kicks off fourth season rings NYSE closing bell

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NEW YORK, N.Y. (4/29/10)--The Emmy Award-winning Biz Kid$, the credit union-funded public television series that educates youth about finances, launched its fourth season by ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Wednesday. The Biz Kid$ team, accompanied by credit unions, visited NYSE in celebration of National Financial Literacy Month.
Click to view larger imageStars from Biz Kid$ and credit unions ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday in celebration of National Financial Literacy Month and the launch of the fourth season of the popular credit union-funded public television series that educates youth about finances. (Photo provided by the Washington Credit Union League)
Bringing down the gavel were three of the show's young stars, Seattle natives Kaelon Horst, Alexander Oki and Austin Siedentopf; executive producers Jamie Hammond and Jeannine Glista; and Washington Credit Union League President/CEO John Annaloro, who represented the show's underwriters, America's Credit Unions. "This hit series has been such a success," said Annaloro. "Ringing the closing bell is just the latest recognition of Biz Kid$' importance and scope, as well as all the work and dedication that [is from] the credit union community." Glista said the new episodes, funded entirely by the credit union system, were some of the best and most timely the series has made. Also attending were:
* Mark S. Brantley, chairman, Municipal CU, New York, representing the African American Credit Union Coalition; * Clifford Rosenthal, president/CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions; * Kent Buckham, director of the National Credit Union Administration's Office of Consumer Protection; and * Ray Harris, vice president of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
Biz Kid$ was involved in a similar event last April at the NYSE's cross-street rival, NASDAQ. Other events tied with Biz Kid$' efforts to highlight financial literacy:
* The show is partnering with New York PBS station WNET to demonstrate the show's curriculum and collateral materials to New York City teachers. * Young entrepreneurs profiled on the show will teach the city's youths in a separate workshop about how to start business ventures and the importance of financial literacy. * The Washington Credit Union Foundation is instigating a new donation recognition program where contributors receive thank you gifts, tiered to the level of giving. Gifts include signed thank you letters, DVDs, t-shirts, studio tours and a chance to have a child appear on an episode of Biz Kid$.
To watch a video of the group ringing the bell, use the resource link.

Governor to keynote Illinois league convention

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (4/29/10)--Nearly 690 executives representing more than 120 credit unions are expected to attend the Illinois Credit Union League’s (ICUL) 80th Annual Convention starting today. The event runs through Saturday in Chicago. With a Hawaiian theme of “Surf’s Up: Catch a New Wave,” the convention will begin today with the Delegates’ Meeting. The meeting will include the swearing in of two new ICUL directors. The Exhibit Hall Grand Opening, with more than 80 vendors, will follow. This year, ICUL will host two keynote speakers: Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn, a staunch supporter of Illinois credit unions, and National Credit Union Administration Chairman Deborah Matz. The convention also includes 18 educational sessions. A closing session on Saturday morning, titled “Moving Ideas to Action,” will feature credit union speaker and president of St. Louis Community CU, Patrick Adams.

Papua New Guinea is WOCCUs newest member

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MADISON, Wis. (4/29/10)--World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) board of directors accepted--with a unanimous vote--the Federation of Savings and Loan Societies (FESALOS) in Papua New Guinea as a direct WOCCU member. The new membership, voted on by the board at its April meeting, is effective immediately. “We are delighted and thankful that the WOCCU board has accepted the Papua New Guinea Federation of Savings and Loan Societies Ltd. as a direct member,” said Michael Koisen, FESALOS president and board chair. “WOCCU’s continued support of Papua New Guinea and the Pacific is indeed acknowledged.” FESALOS, founded in 1962, today represents all 20 of the country’s credit unions--still referred to locally as savings and loan societies. The 20 institutions serve 250,000 members and hold $249 million in total assets. The federation provides advocacy, information, technical assistance, management information systems support and training services to its credit unions. Dave Grace, WOCCU vice president of association services, noted WOCCU already has “long, historical connections” with FESALOS. Over the past several years, WOCCU has assisted FESALOS in reviewing legislation for Papua New Guinea’s credit unions, and the federation sees its membership with WOCCU as critical to maintaining a strong connection with the international credit union movement, said WOCCU. FESALOS has been an active participant in WOCCU’s Pacific Technical Congress program in past years and has maintained a long-time partnership with Credit Union Foundation Australia (CUFA). This year, FESALOS and CUFA will co-host WOCCU’s Pacific Technical Congress, scheduled for Sept. 13-Sept. 17 in Papua New Guinea.

Mo. House passes resolution supporting highway CUs

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ST. LOUIS (4/29/10)--The Missouri House of Representatives unanimously voted in support of Missouri’s highway credit unions this week, according to the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA). The credit unions were in danger of losing their offices with the state transportation office. The House voted 157-0 in favor of the House Concurrent Resolution, which states that 10 highway credit unions should remain in Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) facilities despite the department’s intent to sever ties with the credit unions. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Mike Cunningham (R-145), and co-sponsored by 35 House members (The Missouri difference April 28). On Jan. 21, MoDOT told credit unions that they must vacate their premises by Sept. 30, and they would no longer be able to process payroll and benefits through MoDOT after that date. The date for credit unions to leave MoDOT facilities has been extended to December 2012. During debate Monday, House members spoke in favor of credit unions. “This issue came through my committee, and I urge the body to vote in support of it,” said State Rep. Sharon Pace (D-70). “These credit unions have been serving their members since the 1950s.” The unanimous passage sends a strong message to MoDOT and clearly demonstrates the support of lawmakers for credit unions on the issue, said Rosie Holub, MCUA president/CEO. The resolution now goes to the Senate. The House vote follows months of communication between MCUA and the legislature about the issue.

CU System briefs (04/28/2010)

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* COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (4/29/10)--Ent FCU, based in Colorado Springs, has awarded 11 regional organizations its Youth Endowment Series (YES) program grants for 2010. The program, which was introduced in 2000, directs specific support to organizations benefiting children and young people in the Pikes Peak region and Pueblo, Denver and Weld Counties. So far, the program has provided nearly $475,000 to agencies servicing education, health care, and cultural needs, among other services. Sixty organizations applied for the grants. Among the criteria: past and projected benefit to the community, potential ability to use the grant to obtain additional funds, and degree of community support ... * FLINT, Mich. (4/29/10)--Six lawmakers and 25 representatives of credit unions attended the Flint (Mich.) Chapter's legislative breakfast at Financial Plus FCU April 19 (Michigan Monitor April 26). Pictured is State Rep. Lee Gonzalez (D-Flint Township) addressing the group. Others attending were State Sens. Deb Cherry (D-Burton) and John Gleason (D-Flushing); Gleason's district representative Berton Brown; and State Reps. Rick Hammel (D-Flushing), Jim Slezak (D-Davison) and Woodrow Stanley(D-Flint). They discussed issues such as government restructuring, the state budget, taxes, payroll debit card legislation, foreclosure consultant scams, notary requirement legislation, road funding, texting while driving and the 2010 elections. (Photo provided by the Michigan Credit Union League) ... * LOUISVILLE, Ky. (4/29/10)--Kentucky credit unions have been busy with advocacy efforts, with three meetings with legislators, according to the Kentucky Credit Union League's newsletter By The Way (April 27). In Frankfort, Members Choice CU CEO Pat Ferry and volunteer Johnny Abbott visited with House Banking and Insurance Committee Vice-Chair Kevin Sinnette (D-100), a credit union advocate who has pledged his support on credit union issues. In Elizabethtown, Fort Knox FCU CEO Bill Rissel and Senior Vice President of Branch Operations Ray Springsteen, and Kentucky Credit Union League Director of Governmental Affairs Debbie Painter attended an event for U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, a supporter of credit union issues. (Pictured are, from left, Rissel, Guthrie, Painter and Springsteen.) Also, Dr. Rand Paul, a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Jim Bunning, visited Kentucky Telco FCU. Paul said he supports the credit union tax exemption and expressed support for increasing the member business lending cap. (Photo provided by the Kentucky Credit Union League) ...

Vermont credit card acceptance bill passes House committee

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (4/29/10)--The Vermont Legislature’s House Commerce Committee voted out a version of a credit card bill that could endanger card programs at Vermont credit unions. The bill, S. 138, was voted out of an 11-member committee Tuesday, 10-1-0, according to the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU). The bill will go to the House floor for initial reading later this week, and then be sent back to the Senate Judiciary Committee for review. If senators support the House version, the bill will be sent to the Senate floor for approval. If not, it will go to a conference committee. “We’ve been working very hard for many weeks to minimize several negative unintended consequences of S. 138 as introduced in the Senate,” said AVCU President/CEO Joe Bergeron. “Originally S.138 was mostly a consumer protection effort, but just before the legislature’s crossover date, the Senate Judiciary Committee removed the consumer protection provisions, and replaced them with ‘merchant protection’ provisions proposed by grocer and retailer associations. “We would have preferred no bill at all, but given deep support among legislators for laws to address claims by small business, complaints of increasing card processing costs and so-called abuses by credit card companies, there has been little doubt that some kind of legislation would ultimately pass. Our challenge, and that of banks, credit card networks, and processors, has been to insure against unintended ramifications--particularly for credit unions, from our perspective,” Bergeron said in an update to Vermont credit union CEOs Tuesday night. He also noted some key changes made in the House bill:
* Verbiage that AVCU believes would have allowed surcharging by merchants for use of plastic has been removed/altered. Although the wording allows merchants to provide discounts, or other benefits for other forms of payment, AVCU was told by the networks this was already allowed. * Merchants have been limited to setting an allowable minimum plastic card transaction of no more than $10, which many small merchants already do in technical violation of network rules. Previously, merchants had sought a limitless minimum of their choosing. The bill requires merchants to disclose the minimum prominently at the point of sale. * Although merchants will not be required to accept plastic at all of their locations, this was already allowed under network regulations. * Statutory penalties for violations by networks of provisions regarding locations, minimums and discounts, have been limited to offenses in those areas only, as opposed to prior language that opened the door for penalties against other possible violations. * A confusing definition of “processor” that could have unintentionally included credit union card processors--as opposed to merchant processors or credit unions as processors--has been eliminated. * The bill’s provisions are available only to merchants with a physical presence in Vermont.

Mica D.C. mayor highlight unveiling of Bank on DC program

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WASHINGTON (4/29/10)--Six District of Columbia credit unions are taking a central role in a program aimed at opening 10,000 new accounts and establishing 10,000 direct deposits for D.C. residents by the end of 2010.
Click to view larger image From left: Credit Union National Association President/CEO Dan Mica, Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association President/CEO Mike Beall and Fiona Greig, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's Bank on DC program director. Also speaking were Patricia Ellis, second from right in background, HEW FCU chair, and Fenty (in hat). Six credit unions have a central role in the program. (Photo provided by CUNA)
The program was launched Wednesday at Credit Union House on Capitol Hill. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica attended the event. In opening the new accounts and direct deposits, according to the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association (MDDCCUA), the credit unions are offering low or no-fee savings and checking accounts. Further, the accounts are being offered to all current members of the credit unions. The six credit unions are:
* Agriculture FCU; * District Government Employees FCU; * Signal Financial FCU; * Treasury FCU; * DVA FCU; and * HEW FCU.
HEW FCU has been honored as a leader in the program, earning a “platinum” designation. Other participants in the program--which is billed as the “first comprehensive program in the District of Columbia to serve the ‘unbanked,’ those who live without access to mainstream financial institutions and those forced to rely on expensive check-cashing services"--include national and local banks and thrifts. At Wednesday’s launch, CUNA’s Mica noted that the program is natural fit for credit unions, whose checking accounts--by and large (80%)--provide one free account with no minimum balance requirement and no maintenance or activity fees. Mica was joined at the launch by Mayor Fenty and U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary Michael Barr. “Credit unions are a dominant force in area consumer finance with more than 60 credit unions located in the District of Columbia, about 40% of D.C. residents owning accounts at a local credit union and 20% calling a credit union their primary financial institution,” said MDDCCUA President/CEO Mike Beall. “One in five auto loans in the area is made through a credit union, and credit unions experienced a 20% increase in mortgage originations in the D.C. area in 2009. Clearly, credit unions have been the open outlet of safe, reasonable credit to DC consumers in spite of the economic downturn,” he said.

N.Y. CUs to hear baseballs Johnny Bench at convention

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ALBANY, N.Y. (4/29/10)--Major League Baseball great Johnny “Catcher of the Century” Bench will give the keynote address at the Credit Union Association of New York’s Annual Business Meeting and Convention, June 8 in Cooperstown, N.Y. As a Baseball Hall of Famer, broadcaster, author, philanthropist and Emmy Award winner, Bench is a symbol of winning through hard work and teamwork, said the association. He will offer his strategies for success--drawing parallels between the worlds of sports, entertainment and civic involvement. Bench signed a limited number of baseballs to be sold during the convention’s vendor expo. The proceeds will benefit CUPAC, the association’s Political Action Committee, which provides non-partisan contributions to pro-credit union New York State and local political candidates. Bench made the Cincinnati Reds’ roster for the 1968 season and stayed with the team until his retirement. Bench was a 14-time All-Star and 10-time Golden Glove recipient. He holds the major league record for home runs by a catcher (327) and set an endurance record by catching 100 or more games for 13 consecutive seasons. In 1989, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with the third highest percentage of total votes cast.

NCUF grant to help Oregon CUs attract young adults

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (4/29/10)--A grant from the National Credit Union Foundation’s REAL Solutions program will allow the Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO) to partner with the Filene Research Institute to reach young adults, CUAO announced this week. The partnership with Filene will help Oregon credit unions create a blueprint to members of the millennial generation. Filene’s Young Adult Outreach Initiative will consist of a combination of webinars and workshops throughout 2010. Credit unions will learn about the tools and mindset needed to reach the market. The program is free to Oregon’s 21 REAL Solutions credit unions. REAL Solutions, or “Relevant, Effective, Asset-building, Loyalty-producing” Solutions, works through state leagues to help credit unions offer services that are successful for people of modest means and low-wealth.

MnCUN professional volunteer of year recognized

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BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (4/29/10)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) Saturday announced the recipients of its two most prestigious awards. The Outstanding Credit Union Volunteer of the Year and the Outstanding Credit Union Professional of the Year Awards honor two individuals for demonstrated excellence in the movement. These and other awards were presented at the MnCUN 2010 Annual Meeting and Convention during the weekend. The Volunteer of the Year Award honoree is Jim Snyder of City & County CU (CCCU), a volunteer at CCCU for nearly 20 years. Snyder served as board chair and a member of the supervisory committee. He championed numerous initiatives, such as helping to develop numerous five-year plans and the 25-year vision of the credit union.
From left, MnCUN President Mark Cummins and Jim Snyder, City & County CU, Outstanding Volunteer of the Year.
From left: MnCUN President Mark Cummins and Lynn Kothe, president/CEO, North Memorial FCU, Outstanding Professional of the Year. (Photos provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network)
MnCUN’s Professional of the Year Award is Lynn Kothe, president of North Memorial FCU (NMFCU), Robbinsdale. Since 1978, Kothe has grown the credit union to $32 million from $369,000 in assets. She has been involved in politics at the local, state and national levels. In 2007, she provided testimony that helped passage of Minnesota’s Plastic Card Security Act. Kothe represents credit unions on the Minnesota Item Processing Board and as the vice chair of the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation.

Ohios march across state nets 110k for hospitals

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (4/29/10)--
Click to view larger imageCredit union leaders presented a check for $110,000 to benefit Ohio children’s hospitals. Pictured are, from left: Kristina Hurlburt, Standard Register FCU, Dayton; Jennifer Ferguson, Bay Area CU, Oregon; Brian Brunsman, Tracy Brunsman and their children; and Mike Cronin, head basketball coach at the University of Cincinnati. (Photo provided by the Ohio Credit Union League)
Credit union leaders from across Ohio presented $110,000 to Children’s Miracle Network as a result of their annual statewide fundraising to benefit children’s hospitals. The Brunsman family, ambassadors for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, accept the check. Two of the Brunsman children have been treated at the hospital--one for cerebral palsy and the other for cancer. Spearheaded by the Ohio Credit Union League’s Credit Unions for Kids committee, the annual Ohio Credit Unions: Marching Miles for Miracle Kids walk-a-thon raises funds for the eight children’s hospitals in Ohio. Ohio credit unions have raised more than $370,000 since the event’s inception four years ago. The march kicked off in Dublin March 28 and concluded in Cincinnati April 15 at the Ohio league’s ZENITH10 annual meeting. University of Cincinnati head basketball coach Mike Cronin welcomed the final leg of marchers.