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Governor to Ohio CUs Keep making a difference

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (5/9/08)--Ohio’s credit unions provide vital financial services and help to millions of Ohioans to realize their dreams of home ownership, maintain a healthy family and sustain a sound budget, said Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.
Gov. Ted Strickland (center) at the Ohio Credit Union System ZENITH08 conference with Ohio Credit Union League General Counsel John Kozlowski and Department of Commerce Director Kim Zurz. (Photo provided by the Ohio Credit Union League)
His remarks were made at the opening session of the Ohio Credit Union System ZENITH08 conference held April 24-25 in Columbus (eLumination May 8). Nearly 800 attended. Strickland acknowledged the importance of credit unions in the financial services marketplace. He thanked Ohio credit unions for offering fair financial services, payday lending alternatives and financial education, which “make my life as governor easier,” Strickland said. Strickland also helped kick off the culmination and celebration of the 2008 Ohio Credit Unions: Marching Mile for Miracle Kids, which supports children’s hospitals in Ohio.

WOCCU young peoples scholarship deadline is June 2

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MADISON, Wis. (5/9/08)--The deadline for the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) Scholarship program is June 2. Applicants must submit their completed nomination materials by the deadline. Scholarship winners qualify for an all-expenses-paid trip to WOCCU’s 2009 World Credit Union Conference in Barcelona, Spain. WOCCU said the organization is committed to ensuring the future sustainability of the international credit union system by recognizing and promoting its next generation of leaders. The WYCUP Scholarship Program seeks individuals 35 years of age or younger who already have made significant contributions to the development of their own credit unions, regional or national credit union systems, and who have demonstrated the potential to employ their talents at the international level. WOCCU member credit unions and organizations can nominate their candidates to compete for the WYCUP Scholarship. To be eligible for the scholarship, nominees must:
* Be sponsored by their credit union or credit union organization to attend WOCCU's 2008 World Credit Union Conference in Hong Kong in July; * Be 35 years of age or younger as of Jan. 1, 2008; and * Submit a completed nomination form and supporting materials to WOCCU by June 2.
The WOCCU scholarship will be awarded to five recipients at the 2008 conference in Hong Kong. WYCUP nominees will be recognized formally in Hong Kong. They will be invited to take part in events, including a networking session organized specifically for those who are 35 years of age and younger. They also qualify for a discounted registration fee.

Pa. assembly bill would authorize CUs land purchase

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (5/9/08)--The Pennsylvania House is considering a bill that would authorize the Pennsylvania State Department of General Services to grant land in Susquehanna Township to Pennsylvania State Employees CU (PSECU). The 47-acre parcel of land would be used for PSECU’s headquarters and would cost about $3 million. PSECU’s current headquarters is located on 10 acres in Harrisburg. The State Senate approved the transaction last December (News Now Dec. 12, 2008).

NCBA Celebrate co-op principles as a business advantage

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 9, 2008)--Credit unions need to celebrate their cooperative principles, which represent a significant business opportunity in a world in which people are yearning for something with which to connect. Paul Hazen, president/CEO, National Cooperative Business Association, delivered this message as a keynoter at the Ohio Credit Union System ZENITH08 conference, held April 24-25 in Columbus (eLumination May 7). “While the cooperative model isn’t perfect, it’s better than all of the rest,” Hazen said. Credit unions and other cooperatives must ensure that their unique principles are put into action every day to deal with an increasingly complex and competitive business world, he added. Fellow keynoter Carol Schillios, businesswoman, humanitarian and winner of credit unions’ highest honor--The National Credit Union Foundation’s 2007 Herb Wegner Award for Individual Achievement--emphasized Hazen’s point by sharing her experiences of putting credit unions’ cooperative principles to work in some of the world’s neediest countries. “Credit unions are the only financial institution exporting democracy,” Schillios said. “People who can’t say anything [due to political or social situations] can have a voice in their credit union. The power of decision is afforded to anyone.”

CU System briefs (05/08/2008)

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* ST. LOUIS (5/9/08)--The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) has sponsored a series of white papers about the subprime mortgage industry and its impact on Missouri consumers (CourierNet May 7). The state ranks fifth in the nation in mortgage delinquency rate and foreclosure rates are skyrocketing. While credit unions aren't part of the subprime mortgage problem in the state, they can be part of the solution, said MCUA. Authors of the papers are Robert O. Weagley, Personal Finance Department chair at the university of Missouri, and Nancy Pierce, president, Tipton Research Group. Pierce is former CEO of Mazuma CU and former board chairman of the Credit Union National Association. The papers discuss the state's situation, the impact on its consumers and credit unions, and how credit unions can assist consumers … * BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (5/9/08)--Bob Steensma, president/CEO of Five Star CU, Dothan, has been seated as the newest member of the Alabama Credit Union League's Board of Directors, reported the league. He has served as president/CEO of the $152 million asset credit union since July 2007. Prior to that, Steensma served as president/CEO of Georgia Heritage FCU, Savannah, Ga. He has 21 years' experience with credit unions. Steensma was elected to a four-year term … * ARVADA, Colo. (5/9/08)--The Credit Union Associations of Colorado and Wyoming (CUAC and CUAW) have hired two new staffers--Andrew Guthrie and Debra Larrabee. As the new association consultant, Guthrie will serve as liaison among credit unions, state and national supervisory authorities, and the association and its affiliates. He has worked for eight years in a variety of positions, including overseeing branch operations, at Elevations CU, Boulder. Larrabee serves as the government affairs administrator and works with the associations' government affairs department to help facilitate daily operations of the team. She has more than 20 years' experience in office administrative support at divisional and local levels and was an administrator for CUNA Mutual Group for more than 10 years... * LEVIS, Quebec (5/9/08)--One in three of Quebec residents--roughly two million people--use Desjardins AccesD internet and telephone services for financial transactions. Desjardins, the largest financial institution in Quebec, is the largest integrated cooperative financial group in Canada. During 2007, members carried out 672 million transactions, a 14% increase from 2006. Desjardins holds 56% of the market share for an area surveyed by NETendances 2007 (Canada News Wire May 8) … * ST. PAUL, Minn. (5/9/08)--A former city employee of St. Paul--who admitted stealing more than $34,000 in coins from parking meters--was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 10 years of probation, and ordered to pay restitution of between $25,000 and $62,000. Vincent Schettner, 63, pleaded guilty in March to one count of felony theft of public funds. He was arrested after a teller at City & County CU told an off-duty police officer that a member regularly deposited large amounts of coins. Schettner deposited $1,000-$1,500 a week and received $800-$900 cash back. The final amount of restitution will be determined by probation officials (Star-Tribune May 3) …

Pew project pushes account standards for underserved

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WASHINGTON (5/9/08)--A new project aimed at helping U.S. workers who are underserved by mainstream financial institutions was announced Wednesday by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Pew Safe Banking Opportunities Project is designed to help workers secure access to safe, affordable, fair and empowering bank and credit union accounts (PR Newswire May 7). The two-year, $2.1 million initiative will develop and promote standards for the accounts so that moderate-and low-income households that are new to, or have been left out of, the mainstream banking system are less likely to rely on overly expensive, income-stripping financial products. The project will develop standards for bank accounts, promote their voluntary adoption by credit unions and banks, and educate the public about the standards. It also will work with industry representatives, state and local governments, consumer advocates, and personal finance experts to develop and promote the standards. “The three core principles that will guide the development of the standards are clarity, consent and fairness,” said Shelley Hearne, managing director, Pew health and human services. “For too long, millions of households that lack a basic bank account have had to rely on expensive check-cashing establishments.” Credit unions and banks that adopt the standards will be eligible to use a logo that will help consumers know the product is safe.