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NEW: Washington DFI To Continue Operations, Despite Budget Process

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (6/21/13, UPDATED 1:45 p.m. CT)--Although a budget impasse could cause a Washington state government shutdown, credit unions can expect continued operations from their state regulators, the Northwest Credit Union Association reported Friday.

A second special legislative session had failed to produce a state budget, the league said (Anthem Recap June 21). If a shutdown cannot be averted, the Washington Division of Credit Unions (DCU) and Department of Financial Institutions will continue operations, the league said.

Non-appropriated agencies like DCU continue operations without interruption under a contingency plan, DCU spokeswoman Rhonda Mires informed the league in a memo.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee alerted state workers and taxpayers Thursday to the possibility of a government shutdown and employee furloughs if the legislature does not produce a budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

CU System Briefs (06/21/2013)

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  • ABBEVILLE, S.C. (6/21/13)--Greater Abbeville FCU surprised dozens of hungry diners with a free
    Click to view larger image Click for larger view
    lunch Wednesday. GAFCU representatives showed up at Theo's restaurant and paid the tab for more than 50 people. "This is amazing," said one diner on a work lunch break. "In times like this, when every penny counts, this is just amazing." Faye Crocker, CEO of GAFCU greeted diners, like the ones shown here, and joined a table for lunch.  "Last year we developed a new mission statement, and that is to be the source of hope for Abbeville County," Crocker said. "In everything we do, we strive to live up to that mission statement. With so many people hurting financially in our community, this is an opportunity for us to put our mission statement in action," she added. A larger initiative that is part of the South Carolina Credit Union League MADTAG Campaign will travel to other parts of the state in July and surprise diners with free lunches in smaller communities. (Photo provided by the Greater Abbeville FCU) ...
  • RALEIGH, N.C. (6/21/13)--State Employees' CU of Raleigh, N.C., held a two-day orientation session
    Click to view larger image Click for larger view
    to kick off its Public Service Internship program for 47 college students and their county mentors. SECU Foundation and North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center officials welcomed the new interns and presented expectations for the summer program. The group also engaged in team building and leadership activities and attended a dinner reception. Day Two's session provided a rolling workshop/study tour of Chatham and Montgomery Counties to learn more about the people, history, culture and economy of rural regions. SECU members, via the foundation, provided funding for the program in partnership with the Rural Center. Originally, 35 interns were approved, but the response to the program prompted SECU Foundation's Board of Directors to expand it to 47 interns. (Photo provided by the State Employees' CU) ...

Louisiana CUs Launch a 'Smarter Choice' Campaign

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HARAHAN, La. (6/21/13)--Louisiana credit unions have united to launch an eight-week advertising campaign to inform consumers they have a "smarter choice" when choosing a financial institution, said the Louisiana Credit Union League.

The campaign was developed by the league on behalf of participating credit unions and launched June 10 (eNews June 19). Statewide media coverage includes radio, billboards, and online and Petro TV  (digital on-the-go ads on gas pumps) advertisements.

The campaign is a cooperative campaign designed to build awareness of credit unions and to assist consumers in finding a credit union that is right for them by directing them to  It includes messages such as "Watch your savings grow" and "Saving money is a bright idea," which raise awareness that switching to a credit union is "a smarter choice."

Louisiana credit unions launched the first phase of the state level campaign in 2012 and the results were outstanding, said the league. Louisiana rose from No. 32 to as high as No. 4 in total searches on the aSmarterChoice website. More than 2,200 searches for "Louisiana Credit Unions" were made during that campaign--an increase of more than 600% over pre-campaign levels.

The league said that the goal this year is to "build on this success in order to increase awareness of Louisiana credit unions and educate consumers on the benefits of membership."  Twenty-five Louisiana credit unions are participating.

Raising awareness of the benefits of credit unions is one the three key prongs underpinning the Credit Union National Association's and leagues' Unite for Good campaign, which works toward the movement's strategic vision that "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial institution." For more information about Unite for Good and, use the links.

NEW: N.Y. State Assembly Passes SEG Bill To Enhance FOM

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/21/13--UPDATED: 5:15  p.m.)--Legislation that expands the ability of credit unions to provide vital financial services to New Yorkers and their families has passed the State Senate and Assembly. The legislation gives state-chartered credit unions the ability to include select employee groups (SEGs), associations and communities within the same field of membership.

The new measure, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Griffo and Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, enhances the credit union state charter through expanded membership and investment options, said the Credit Union Association of New York, which advocated strongly for passing the legislation.

The measure also includes a provision that enables state-chartered credit unions to increase investments in their communities and programs aimed at community reinvestment--including projects of state corporations that work with housing projects, slum clearance corporations, small business investment corporations and urban development corporations.

The bill will now be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"We salute the New York State Legislature for passing this legislation, which enhances the state charter and opens the door for more New Yorkers to have a not-for-profit, cooperative financial services option," said William J. Mellin, CUANY president/CEO. "OuraAssociation will continue to advocate for legislation that benefits New Yorkers and promotes parity among state and federal charters."

TMG Survey Shares CUs' Plans For EMV Migration

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DES MOINES, Iowa (6/21/13)--Sixty-two percent of credit union and community bank respondents to a survey by The Members Group (TMG) said they need to develop a Europay-MasterCard-VISA (EMV) strategy to reduce fraud losses or to meet the liability-shift deadlines put in place by the major card networks.

Satisfying cardholders who live, work or frequently travel overseas was another major motivator. Nearly 14% of TMG's clients cite travelers as the primary reason their financial institution is looking to issue EMV cards.

TMG clients undergoing EMV implementation now are pursuing migration to provide a better member/customer experience, particularly for frequently traveling cardholders--according to Brandon Kuehl, product development architect and a leader of TMG's EMV operations team. These cardholders are increasingly reporting difficulty using mag-stripe cards outside the U.S., Kuehl said.

TMG client Alliant CU of Chicago  has a significant base of members traveling internationally. It began its EMV migration planning in 2012, said Carolyn Hatten-Kissick, Alliant CU senior manager of operations. The primary driver is the member experience overseas, she added.

"More kiosks and unmanned terminals in international locations are EMV-enabled, creating a significant challenge for mag-stripe cardholders," Hatten-Kissick said. "We want to give our members dependable, consistent access to their money and believe EMV is an important step to creating that reliable experience for our cardholders throughout the world."

When it comes to which authentication format TMG clients will pursue, 59% of credit unions and community banks that have already decided chose chip-and-personal identification numbers. However, many financial institutions are uncertain, with another 35% undecided between chip-and-PIN or chip-and-signature formats. Respondents were split about their plans to pursue dual-interface plastics, meaning their EMV cards will be capable of both contact and contactless payments. Among respondents who have made firm decisions, 45% said their cards would support both forms of payment.

About 37% of respondents said their plan includes migration to EMV cards before October 2015, the month Visa and MasterCard will shift fraud liability to the least secure entity. Another 52% were undecided.

Most undecided financial institutions will shift to EMV before the deadline and firm their implementation strategies within the next 12 months, Kuehl predicted.

To help clients navigate to EMV, TMG is sharing strategies and templates with its clients. The payments processor also is offering an EMV Client Forum, so clients can ask questions of TMG experts and peers. Through the forum, blog posts, webinars and podcasts, TMG also provides updates on industry deadlines, implementation timelines and case studies from like-sized financial institutions.

Cardholder education is a major component to migrating a portfolio to EMV, said TMG. More than 75% of clients said they would appreciate educational support. The company is preparing consumer-facing materials, such as card carriers, inserts, labels and in-branch displays.

CU Strategic Planning Appoints Augustine As President

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TACOMA, Wash. (6/21/13)--CU Strategic Planning, a Community Development Financial Institutions grant writing firm, has named Stacy Augustine as the company's new president.

Augustine, who was formerly general counsel at the Northwest Credit Union Association until joining CU Strategic Planning in early 2012, started her new leadership role June 3. She will transition to CEO in 2014.

Augustine's primary responsibilities will include coaching and guiding CU Strategic Planning's staff, along with strategic and financial management. She will oversee daily operations, implement new products, and pursue new prospects in the grant writing space for credit unions.

Her goals are twofold: (1) Continue to build on the strength and capability of the organization, and (2) attract and retain staff that are the best in their fields.

"CU Strategic Planning has undergone tremendous growth over the past five years as it has developed depth and expertise in several core areas," Augustine said. She noted that the company will make sure it can sustain growth.

Prior to joining CU Strategic Planning, Augustine served as NWCUA senior vice president and general counsel, where she managed the association's government relations, compliance, communications, public relations and strategic planning functions for nearly 20 years.

Canada's Largest CU Deemed 'Too Big To Fail'

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MONTREAL (6/21/13)--Desjardins Group, the largest Canadian credit union, has been deemed too big to fail by the Quebec Financial Markets Authority.

By labeling Desjardins Group as a "systemically important institution," the Quebec authority placed it in the same class as the Big Six banks in Canada (National Post June 20).

Systemically important institutions are financial companies considered to be so big and interconnected that if they failed, it would be a threat to the financial system, according to International Basel financial rules, the Post said.

Such institutions are required to hold a more substantial capital cushion than their peers as a means to handle losses if they get into financial difficulty, under the Basel rules.

At the end of last year, Desjardins Group, which is a network of caisses populaires (credit unions) based in Levis, Quebec, had assets of $196.7 billion--making it the biggest financial group in the province of Quebec, the Post said.

Desjardins has been expanding its reach from Quebec to other provinces during the past few years. For example, it acquired Western Financial, a bank and insurance company based in Alberta, in 2010 (News Now Feb. 6).

In February, Desjardins accumulated a substantial minority stake in Qtrade Financial, a discount brokerage firm with business spanning from Ontario to the west coast of Canada. The move expanded the cooperative's online trading services outside Quebec to complement its discount brokerage, Disnat (The Globe and Mail Feb. 5).

CUANY Young Professionals Plan Initiatives

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/21/13)--Members of the Credit Union Association of New York's Young Professionals Commission (YPC) elected new officers, welcomed new members and began planning several initiatives for the months ahead during a meeting June 13.

Click to view larger image Members of Credit Union Association of New York's Young Professionals Commission gathered June 13-16 at CUANY's Annual Meeting and Convention in Albany.  (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of New York )
These YPC officers were elected:

  • Chairperson--Aimee Johnson, Oswego County FCU, Oswego;
  • Vice chairperson--Cara Carlevatti, Great Erie FCU, Orchard Park; and
  • Secretary/communications chairperson--Stephanie Carl, Corning (N.Y.) FCU.
The group recognized Lisa Totaro, Sunmark FCU, Latham, who was a charter member of the YPC and has served as chairperson since 2010.

Six young professionals were installed as new YPC members. They include:

  • Alexa Bennett, Northern FCU, Watertown;
  • Whitney Cochran, CFCU Community CU, Ithaca;
  • Meghan McGee-Pelkey, UFirst FCU, Plattsburgh;
  • Jennifer Preston, Reliant Community FCU, Sodus;
  • Katie Sugorovskiy, Western New York FCU, West Seneca; and
  • Christin Vincent, The Summit FCU, Rochester.
New this year, the CUANY board appointed YPC members to represent the group on four of CUANY's boards/committees. Appointed were:

  • Awards Committee designee: Adam Amesbury, St. Pius X Church FCU, Rochester;
  • CULAC/CUPAC board of trustees designee: Heather Wood, AmeriCU CU, Rome;
  • Governmental Affairs Committee designee: Stephanie Carl, Corning FCU; and
  • New York Credit Union Foundation board of trustees designee: Cara Carlevatti, Great Erie FCU.
YPC members also are developing initiatives to promote engagement and cross-generational cooperation. They plan to create an alumni group, enabling former YPC members to continue networking and sharing insights with younger peers. They also intend to plan a young professionals only Hike the Hill event in Washington, D.C., this fall.

LSCU Elects Board, Announces Awards

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (6/21/13)--The League of Southeastern Credit Unions announced the results of its board elections and annual award winners at its annual meeting June 12-14 in Orlando, Fla.

Click to view larger image The League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU) Executive Committee includes, bottom row, from left, Chairman Mary Ott Wood, CEO, Florida West Coast CU; Chairman-elect Steve Swofford, CEO,  Alabama CU; and Vice Chairman Tina Williams, CEO, Mobile Educators CU. Top row, from left, Patrick LaPine, LSCU president/CEO; Immediate past president Joe McGee, CEO, Legacy Community FCU; Treasurer A.C. Cowans, CEO, McCoy FCU; and Secretary Brent Lister, CEO, First Florida CU.
More than 110 credit unions from Alabama and Florida were represented, while the exhibit hall hosted 120 vendors, 28 of which were new this year. The LSCU debuted a new AC&E mobile app, which was downloaded by more than 300 attendees.

The meeting also featured Bill Cheney, Credit Union National Association president/CEO; former Blue Angel lead solo pilot John Foley; and National Journal's The Hotline editor-in-chief Reid Wilson.

Kevin Johnson, executive vice president, Suncoast Schools FCU, Tampa, Fla., was seated as the newest board member. Rich Helber, CEO, Tropical Financial CU, Miramar, Fla., stepped down from the board.

Click to view larger image Jim Mitchell, middle, Army Aviation Center FCU, Daleville, Ala., was honored as the League of Southeastern Credit Unions' Professional of the Year award at the league's annual meeting June 12-14 in Orlando, Fla. Mitchell received his award from Patrick LaPine, left, president/CEO of the LSCU and LSCU board secretary Brent Lister, CEO, First Florida CU, Jacksonville, Fla.
Board members re-elected to new terms included:

  • Linda Walker, CEO, Riverdale CU, Montgomery, Ala.;
  • A.C. Cowans, CEO, McCoy FCU, Orlando, Fla.; and
  • Ron Summerall, CEO, Alabama Teachers CU, Gadsden, Ala.
The board's executive committee remained the same. Committee members include:

  • Chairman--Mary Ott Wood, CEO, Florida West Coast CU, Brandon, Fla.;
  • Chairman-elect--Steve Swofford, CEO,  Alabama CU, Tuscaloosa, Ala.;
  • Vice chairman--Tina Williams, CEO, Mobile (Ala.) Educators CU;
  • Treasurer--Cowans;
  • Secretary--Brent Lister, CEO, First Florida CU, Jacksonville, Fla.; and
  • Immediate past president--Joe McGee, CEO, Legacy Community FCU, Birmingham, Ala.
Click to view larger image Patrick LaPine, left, president/CEO of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions, presents Betty Petree, a board member at Pen Air, Pensacola, Fla., with the league's Distinguished Service Award. LaPine and Petree are joined by LSCU board Secretary Brent Lister, CEO, First Florida CU, Jacksonville, Fla. (Photos provided by League of Southeastern Credit Unions)
Other board members include:

  • Sharon Downing, CEO, Alabama River CU, Monroeville, Ala.;
  • Pat Mason, CEO, Sun CU, Hollywood, Fla.;
  • Anice Prosser, senior vice president, Envision CU, Tallahassee, Fla.;
  • Bob Steensma, CEO, Five Star CU, Dothan, Ala.;
  • Jeannette Keller, CEO, Blue Flame CU, Mobile, Ala.;
  • Leianne Harden, CEO, Florida Customs FCU, Tampa, Fla.;
  • Marie Ferngren, CEO at Hialeah (Fla.) Municipal Employees FCU;
LSCU presented seven awards during the general session. Betty Petree, a board member at Pen Air, Pensacola, Fla., received the Distinguished Service Award. Her photo will hang in the Credit Union House Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C.

Other honorees included:

  • Volunteer of the Year--the late Roger Turnquist, Army Aviation Center FCU, Daleville, Ala.;
  • Professional of the Year--Jim Mitchell, Army Aviation Center FCU, Daleville, Ala.;
  • Young Professional of the Year--Brooke Covington, Alabama State Employees CU, Montgomery, Ala.;
  • Credit Union of the Year, under $100 million in assets--Tallahassee-Leon FCU, Tallahassee, Fla.;
  • Credit Union of the Year , between $100 million and $500 million in assets--Five Star CU, Dothan, Ala.; and
  • Credit Union of the Year, more than $500 million in assets--Achieva CU, Largo, Fla.
The AC&E Silent Auction, which benefits Children's Miracle Network and the FedPAC, raised more than $15,000.

CU Boston Marathon Team Raises $128,000 For Hospital

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BOSTON (6/21/13)--Members of the Credit Unions Kids at Heart Boston Marathon Team and their families presented a check for $128,000 April 13 to Boston Children's Hospital at the group's Pre-marathon Party in Boston. Now they are looking forward to the 2014 Boston Marathon.

The funds were raised by the credit union community to sponsor the team and are earmarked for pediatric cardiac research.

Click to view larger image Members of the Credit Unions Kids at Heart Boston Marathon Team present a check to Carola Cadley, vice president, corporate development and special events at Boston Children's Hospital Trust, at the Credit Unions Kids at Heart Pre-marathon Party. (Photo provided Credit Unions Kids at Heart)
After the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15, Credit Unions Kids at Heart announced that all members of its team and cheering section were safe and sound. The Credit Unions Kids at Heart families, runners and sponsors are already looking ahead to 2014 with hope that they can honor the victims and their families by rallying together to do even more for the hospital.

"As we find closure to the events that took place during the Boston Marathon, we look forward to all that we can do for Boston Children's Hospital in the future," said Jane Melchionda, president/CEO of EasCorp and founder of Credit Unions Kids at Heart. "We expect to surpass $4 million in contributions to the hospital before the end of 2013."

The Boston Marathon team is the cornerstone of the Credit Unions Kids at Heart program, which is a group of credit unions that collectively raise funds for the hospital and other organizations benefitting children. Each year, runners sponsored by credit unions are paired with a patient partner child receiving care at Boston Children's Hospital. Runners and patient partners often build lifelong relationships that extend beyond the marathon season.

The 2013 team included nine runners: Austin Braithwait, Sue Sonia and mother/daughter duo Kris and Kayla Biagiotti, represented by the Credit Unions Kids at Heart group; Nicole Bedard, sponsored by Jeanne D'Arc, Lowell, Mass.; Tim Burch, sponsored by NASA FCU, Bowie, Md.; Kerri Comolli and Igor Ivno, sponsored by Digital FCU, Marlborough, Mass.; Jay Johnson, sponsored by Callahan & Associates Inc.; and Ray Phillips, sponsored by Hanscom FCU, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.

Missing CU Teller Is Suspect In Robbery

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (6/21/13)--A credit union employee who has been missing since May 9 is now a suspect in a robbery that occurred at the credit union on May 7, Milwaukee, Wis.-police said.

Jessica Benson, 22, who had been employed six years at the Milwaukee-based Educators CU, disappeared shortly before her college graduation, and her family had feared she had been a victim of a crime (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel June 19).

However, police suspect Benson and her boyfriend, Nathaniel Robinson, helped plan the robbery, according to a search warrant obtained Friday. The two are still missing, and their apartment had been cleared out.

The credit union last heard from her on May 11, when she called in sick.

The robbery occurred at the drive-through, while Benson was working. Two Milwaukee men, Kevin Blackburn, 25, and Ricardo Perkins, 31, were apprehended and face robbery charges. The robbery demand note contained terminology often used internally in financial institutions, said police.

Benson allegedly was driving a rental car, and a surveillance camera apparently showed her returning the car on May 13 while being followed by a second car and U-Haul truck.

CU Cherry Blossom Run Achievements Recognized

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WASHINGTON (6/21/13)--Credit unions were honored for their Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run (The Run) achievements during the Maryland & D.C. Credit Union Association's Annual Meeting and Convention held last week in Ocean City, Md.

Click to view larger image Federal Reserve Board (FRB) FCU, Washington, D.C., was among the credit unions awarded for their Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run achievements during the Maryland & D.C. Credit Union Association's Annual Meeting and Convention last week in Ocean City, Md. Here, Charlie Mallon, left, president/CEO of Congressional FCU, Oakton, Va., and chairman of the CU Cherry Blossom Race Committee, presents an award to Pauline Dunbar-Stevens, president/CEO of  FRB FCU. (Photo provided by Maryland and D.C. Credit Union Association)
"We celebrate the achievements of these three credit unions in our competitions," said Charlie Mallon, president/CEO of Congressional FCU, Oakton, Va., and chairman of the CU Cherry Blossom Race Committee. "While this is a friendly sporting event that raises a lot of money for the treatment of kids, some of our athlete members are very competitive," he said.

Among the credit unions and individuals honored:

  • Fastest credit union running team--Federal Reserve Board (FRB) FCU, Washington, D.C., "Cash Us If You Can" in a credit union team record-breaking time of 2:52:43;
  • Fastest credit union male--Dominic Smith, FRB FCU, 53:00;
  • Fastest credit union female--Andrea Fischione, FRB FCU, 63:22;
  • Most raised in credit union organizational donation challenge--Department of Labor FCU, Washington, D.C., 43 cents per member through its skip-a-pay program;
  • Most raised in credit union member donation challenge--Constellation FCU, Reston, Va., 29 cents per member through an iPad raffle; and
  • Most spirited credit union volunteer team--NASA FCU, Upper Marlboro, Md., at Water Stop No. 2.
The April 7 run in Washington, D.C., was sponsored by Credit Union Miracle Day (CUMD), a nonprofit collaboration of credit union organizations engaged in fundraising activities to benefit Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals) and is the largest national credit union fundraising event for Credit Unions for Kids,

Funds collected by CUMD stay in the credit union's community to benefit the kids served by the local CMN Hospital.

CU4Kids is a nonprofit collaboration of credit unions, chapters, leagues, the Credit Union National Association and business partners nationwide that raises funds to benefit 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Credit unions are the third-largest corporate sponsor of the hospitals, behind only Walmart and Costco.

The 2013 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and Credit Union SacTown Ten-Mile Run in Sacramento, Calif., drew together 100 credit unions from 14 states, 60 business partner organizations, 16,000 runners and over 700 volunteers. They raised more than $483,000 for CMN Hospitals.
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