Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive

CU System Archive

CU System

CU System Briefs (05/17/2013)

 Permanent link
  • DALLAS, Texas (5/17/13)--Theresa Portillo, 44, former CEO of the defunct Women's Southwest FCU has been sentenced for the embezzlement of more than $3.4 million from the Dallas-based credit union.  Portillo was sentenced to  six and a half years in prison, and ordered to pay  $3.4 million in restitution. She also forfeited nine properties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, a time share in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and jewelry after pleading guilty in January to the embezzlement. Federal Bureau of Investigation investigators alleged that Portillo stole from 18 financial institutions, selling many certificates of deposit and having the proceeds wired to a JP Morgan Chase account in the credit union's name. Other credit union employees had assumed the account was inactive. She allegedly used an account under a fake name to make her transactions. The National Credit Union Administration liquidated the credit union in November (The Dallas Morning News May 10) ...
  • OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (5/17/13)--National Credit Union Administration Board Chairman Debbie Matz visited Oklahoma City-based WEOKIE CU's main office and operations center on May 14th. "As the leader of the National Credit Union Administration, Chairman Matz plays a very important role in the regulation of credit unions. We are honored that she visited our state and credit union," said Brent Taylor, WEOKIE president/CEO. Matz was visiting the area to speak at the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma's Annual Meeting this week. Pictured during the visit are, from left: WEOKIE CU Board Members Jack McCurdy, Ron Wynne and Leonard Well; Matz; and WEOKIE Board Members Gary Tarkington, Frank Cory, Wanda Beaman, Warren Pybas and Tony Carl. (Photo provided by WEOKIE CU) ...
  • MILTON, Pa. (5/17/13)--After 36 years, the founders of the Milton, Pa.-based NU Community CU, Leroy and Patricia Miller, have announced their retirement. The Millers founded the credit union in 1977, when Leroy Miller was employed with Chef Boyardee. He approached the union about forming a credit union. The credit union's board of directors would meet in the Millers' home on Sunday afternoons to complete the weekly transactions. The credit union began with $81 and now has nearly $20 million in assets, he said. Discussing changes over the years, he said computers made transactions easier but also added rules that complicated the process. The Millers both said they will miss the people they have worked with over the years. Their daughter, Mindy Plasters, will become manager after working for the credit union for 27 years (Standard Journal May 11) ...

CEOs Upbeat On Economy For Members, Cautious For CUs

 Permanent link
PLANO, Tex. (5/17/13)--Credit union CEOs are upbeat about economic conditions for their members, but are more downcast about the operating environment for their own institutions, according to the results of Catalyst Corporate FCU's First Quarter 2013 CEO Confidence Survey.

CEOs' confidence in their members' current and future  (six months from now) financial condition increased by 4.13 points and 1.17 points, respectively from the fourth quarter of 2012 survey levels. However, CEOs' confidence in their own institutions' financial condition--both current and future--dropped by 1.99 points and 0.18 points, respectively, from the previous quarter.

"Credit union executives see member finances improving as a result of declining unemployment, a protracted low interest rate environment and practically no inflation," said Brian Turner, Catalyst Strategic Solutions' director and chief strategist. "Although wages remain flat and job growth continues to be weak--keeping job security a concern--consumers have been branching out a little more with their spending, which certainly helps economic growth."

The overall Confidence Index in the most recent survey inched up by half a point over the fourth quarter. Similarly, CEO expectations for loan demand and share deposit growth saw relatively little movement from the previous report.

Tight marginal spreads between asset yields and cost of funds continue to challenge credit unions' net interest margins, Turner said. About 31% of total credit unions experienced loan growth in 2012, according to National Credit Union Administration data.

"That means the remaining 69% have elevated surplus cash and a greater reliance on investment portfolio income to replicate revenue streams--a difficult task to accomplish in this environment," Turner said. "With an outlook that reflects a continuation of the low-rate environment for two to three more years, CEOs don't see these challenges for their institutions going away anytime soon."

Filene: Top Factors In Consumers' Auto Finance Choice

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (5/17/13)--Auto loan loyalty stems from more "high touch" factors, such as good member service, ease of contacting the lender and lender responsiveness, than from quantifiable factors, such as interest rates and down payment requirements, according to a new report from the Filene Research Institute.

Credit unions' relationship strengths play a large role in auto loan selection, while their historical pricing strength (at least in aggregate) seems to be less important, said the paper, "Predicting Members' Choice of Auto Lender: Borrowing from Credit Unions or Elsewhere?"

Members placing more importance on service were far more likely (by 41%) to choose a credit union for their auto loan. Similar increases in credit union share were found for ease of contacting the lender (40%) and lender responsiveness (38%).

Most members report being greatly satisfied with their credit union and being committed to credit unions in general. However, questions about those topics are not useful predictors of members' choice of an auto lender, the report said.

For instance, members who rate highly their credit union's prompt resolution of problems are only moderately more likely (by 13%) to choose credit unions for their auto loans. Members who report that they specifically seek out credit unions to serve their financial needs are barely more likely (by 5%) to choose credit unions for their auto loans than more "casual" members.

The research did not find a clear correlation between preferred communication channels and choosing a credit union for an auto loan. However, it did reveal a member preference for electronic information. The credit union website is the most preferred communication channel, followed by e-mail and then by credit union employees. The least preferred are branch brochures, and signage and social media.

"In short, credit unions should care about price, but not too much," the report said. "They should double down on electronic communication methods to advertise and originate loans. And they should remember that auto loan-loyalty stems from good member service and ease of contacting the credit union. Nurture those, and you'll do well."

Idaho League Board Chair, Award Winners Announced

 Permanent link
BOISE, Idaho (5/17/13)--The Idaho Credit Union League elected a new board chair and a presented awards for outstanding professional of the year and outstanding volunteer of the year at the league's 77th annual meeting in Couer d'Alene.

Shane Berger, CEO of Beehive FCU in Rexburg, was elected board chair Former Board Chair Brent Neibaur, CEO of Advantage Plus FCU in Pocatello, completed his term May 10.

Berger, who has been CEO of Beehive FCU for 28 years, is a previous recipient of the Idaho Credit Union League's Professional of the Year Award. He has been an active member of the league for many years, serving on the board and the Board of League Services Inc.--a wholly-owned subsidiary--as well as committees, including Member Advocacy Subcommittee, Governmental Affairs Committee and League Finance Committee.

He also serves on the World Leadership Development Committee and on Catalyst Corporate CU's Advisory Council.

The league named Greg Sonnen, CEO of Cottonwood Community FCU in Cottonwood the winner of this year's Outstanding Professional of Year the Award.

When Sonnen began as CEO in 2004, the credit union had assets of $28,713,661. Under his leadership, the credit union now has more than $73 million in assets. Sonnen attends the league's educational and governmental affairs events and serves on its committees. He recently was appointed to the Board of Directors of League Services Inc. He participates at the national level by traveling to Washington, D.C., to present Idaho credit union concerns to Idaho's congressional delegation.

The league named Kimber Ricks, board director, Beehive FCU in Rexburg, as this year's Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award-winner. Ricks has served as Beehive FCU's vice chair and on several committees.

Ricks also serves on a subcommittee of the league's Governmental Affairs Committee, and has participated in trips to Washington, D.C., to meet with the Idaho congressional delegation.

Cornerstone CU League Transitional Board Appointed

 Permanent link
NORMAN, Okla. (5/17/13)--The Cornerstone Credit Union League has appointed a transitional board of directors.

Member credit unions of the Arkansas Credit Union League, the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma and the Texas Credit Union League had voted to consolidate into the Cornerstone league, as of July 1.

The league's transitional board includes three directors from Arkansas, three from Oklahoma, and 12 from Texas. Some will serve one-year terms while others will serve two- and three-year terms, ensuring continuity on the board (LoneStar Leaguer May 16).

Arkansas directors are:

  • Dwayne Ashcraft, Arkansas Superior FCU, Warren;
  • Allen Brown, Mil-Way FCU, Texarkana; and
  • Windy Campbell, Electric Cooperatives FCU, Little Rock.
Oklahoma directors are:

  • Jason Boesch, Oklahoma RE&T Employees CU, Oklahoma City;
  • Michael Kloiber, Tinker FCU, Oklahoma City; and
  • Gina Wilson, Oklahoma Central CU, Tulsa.
Texas directors are:

  • Jim Brisendine, Resource One CU, Dallas;
  • James L. Boyd, Abilene Teachers FCU, Abilene;
  • Z. Suzanne Chism, Texas Health Resources CU, Dallas;
  • Nancy M. Croix Stroud, First Class American CU, Fort Worth;
  • Kenny Harrington, MemberSource CU, Houston;
  • Wayne Mansur, Texoma Community CU, Wichita Falls;
  • Carol Murray, Express-News FCU, San Antonio;
  • Robert Peterson, One Source FCU, El Paso;
  • Paul A. Trylko, Amplify FCU, Austin;
  • James S. Tuggle, Transtar FCU, Houston;
  • JoBetsy Tyler, First Central CU, Waco; and
  • Paul Withey, Texas Bay Area CU, Houston.

TCUF Assessing Tornadoes' Impact On CUs

 Permanent link
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (5/17/13)--Staff of North Texas credit unions in the area of two tornadoes Wednesday in Granbury and Cleburne are reporting damage to their homes.

The Texas Credit Union Foundation said it was assessing the situation and is ready to assist credit unions and their employees impacted (LoneStar Leaguer May 16).

Tornadoes late Wednesday hit north-central Texas, damaging several homes, injuring 100 people and killing six (Property Casualty 360 May 16).

"I have spoken to the CEO [Paul Elkins] at Members CU in Cleburne," TCUF Executive Director Courtney Moran told News Now. "His staff is all OK, but almost everyone is without power, so they have not had much time to assess damage, if any. He has distributed the foundation's Phase I grant application to staff and we will stay in communication.

"I received word that a couple of staff members at Texas People FCU [in Fort Worth] did receive damage to their homes," Moran added. "Neither one of them are in the office today, but I did leave a message with her assistant, have sent her an e-mail, and they will receive all direct messages as well."

TCUF will activate its disaster relief fund if it is determined that the damage is widespread.

"In times of crisis, the foundation is here to help our credit unions and their staffs get back on their feet so that they in turn can be there for their members," said Moran.

"Already I received countless e-mails and phone calls from credit unions across the state wanting to know how they can help," Moran said. "It's so gratifying to know that we serve in a movement where people really care about each other."

News reports indicated more than 50 people were taken to a Granbury hospital, where 14 were admitted for treatment of injuries and two were transferred to a hospital in Fort Worth, TCUF said.  

TCUF will notify credit unions if and when its disaster relief fund is activated.

Ohio League: State Budget Still Absent Tax Reforms

 Permanent link
DUBLIN, Ohio (5/17/13)--Ohio's state budget bill is still being debated in the state's General Assembly, and so far it remains absent any major reforms that would impact credit unions' tax status, said the Ohio Credit Union League. However, the league said Wednesday, "until it passes, this could change at a moment's notice" (eLumination May 15).

"It is most likely that separate legislation will be introduced in the coming months that could change Ohio's tax code, especially considering the buzz by state legislators and administration officials about 'reform,' which suggests moderate tax implications at minimum," the league said.

Taxes are always on the top of the list for "reform" to make up lost revenue streams, said league General Counsel John Kozlowski.

In addition, entities such as the Ohio Chamber of Commerce are proposing that the state close tax exemptions to lessen the need for tax increases, the league reported.

Because of the fluid nature of the tax reform issues at the state and federal levels, the league said it is constantly monitoring lawmakers' discussions to protect credit union interests.

The league, like leagues in other states, have joined the Credit Union National Association in rallying 96 million credit union members to proactively advocate for preserving credit unions' tax exemption on the state and federal levels.  Preserving and defending the tax status is CUNA's and the leagues' No. 1 priority.

For more information, use the links.

Camilla, Duchess Of Cornwall, Joins a CU

 Permanent link
LONDON (5/17/13)--Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has applied for membership at London Mutual CU in Peckham, England.

It will be the first credit union she has joined, although she has visited five credit unions in England and Scotland since 2010. She is eligible as a resident of Westminster (The Telegraph May 15).

A spokeswoman at Clarence House said the Duchess, who is married to Prince Charles, wanted to join the credit union to show her support of the credit union's bid to tackle payday lenders.

Last year, LMCU became the first British credit union to offer short term payday-loan alternatives. It offers short term loans at 28.6% annual percentage rate (APR), compared with other payday lenders who charge 4,000% APR. During its 12-month pilot, LMCU received 6,087 applications, with loans averaging nearly $363 (in U.S. dollars).

The credit union said it is attracting 250 new members a month. It plans to share its technology with other credit unions across the country, said The Telegraph.

A year ago, News Now reported on the Duchess' visit at Capital CU in Edinburgh,Scotland, where she praised credit unions' work to increase financial inclusion (serve the unbanked) and money management skills in disadvantaged communities (News Now May 14, 2012).