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CU System briefs (06/24/2014)

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  • ONTARIO, Calif. (6/24/14)--The California State Controller's Financial Literacy Advisory Committee announced the state's first week designated to financial education ( In the News June 18). "Manage Your Money Week"--set for Oct. 18-25--encourages credit unions and others to host free workshops that week or become a "Manage Your Money Week" partner. The project website will showcase partners' services and resources. Tena Lozano, executive director, California Credit Union League, is a member of the "Manage Your Money Week" steering committee  ...
  • KALISPELL, Mont. (6/24/14)-- Park Side CU, Whitefish, Mont., with $127 million in assets, and Gateway Community FCU, Missoula, Mont., with $59 million in assets, are working toward a July 1 merger ( The Daily Inter Lake June 21). The combined credit union will operate under the Park Side CU name, have less than 19,000 members, and offer updated services such as remote deposit, full-service ATMs, instant-issue debit cards and a more robust mobile application, said Jeremy Presta, Park Side CU president/CEO. Gateway Community FCU President Jim Jacobson will retire in November. Park Side CU began in 1965 to serve Great Northern Railway employees and their families. Gateway Community CU was formed in 1968 by the International Paper Workers Union Local No. 885 and later added the Blackfoot Telephone Co-operative and the Missoula Electric Co-operative ...

State of Vt. taps $37M-asset CU for wastewater loan program

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WINOOSKI, Vt. (6/24/14)--The state of Vermont has called upon a small credit union to provide financing to residents who have been turned away by banks or other financial institutions and need to repair or replace home wastewater or drinking water systems.

Through an initiative to ensure residents with limited financial capacity have access to updated water systems, the state has tapped Opportunities CU, Winooski, Vt., with $37 million in assets, to facilitate the loan program ( Newslines Express June 20).

Approved by the state Legislature in 2012, the program also aims to protect both public health and the environment.

To qualify for the program, a homeowner must meet the following criteria:
  • The system must be failed;
  • The loan recipient must reside in the residence on a year-round basis;
  • The recipient must have been denied financing for needed repair by at least one financing entity; and
  • Gross household income must be equal to or less than 200% of the statewide average median income.
The loans carry a 3% interest rate and a standard term of 15 years, though the term can be extended to 20 years for affordability purposes if needed.  

Loans are secured with a lien on the property. The program is underwritten and serviced by Opportunities CU, and funded and administered by the Agency of Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Fla. gov. signs league-backed data breach security law

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (6/24/14)--On Friday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law The Florida Information Protection Act of 2014, legislation which was finalized with input from the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU).
The law updates Florida's data breach notification laws, giving more power to the attorney general to protect Florida's consumers from data breaches. While the law does not go as far as requiring merchants to reimburse financial institutions for losses that occur during a breach, it makes data security more of a legal priority in Florida, LSCU said ( eSignal June 23)
The law becomes effective July 1.
The action in Florida is the latest in a series of proposals and laws being considered in several states, including California, New Mexico, Iowa and Kentucky.
The law expands the definition of personal information to include health insurance, medical information, financial information and online account information, such as security questions and answers, email addresses and passwords ( JDSupra Business Advisor June 23).
Previous law covers an individual's first name or initial and last name, in combination with: a social security number; drivers' license or identification card number; or account number, credit or debit card number combined with any required security code or password to access the account.
The law authorizes enforcement actions by the attorney general under Florida's Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act for any violations. Civil penalties can be up to $500,000--$1,000 per day for the first 30 days of violation, and $50,000 for each subsequent 30-day period for up to 180 days. If the violation continues for more than 180 days, the penalties can be up to $500,000.
The new law requires proper notice to be provided to consumers within 30 days of a breach. Previous law required notification without unreasonable delay and no later than 45 days after discovery of the breach.
If the breach involves more than 1,000 individuals, the company must also notify the major consumer reporting agencies--Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.
Notice is not required if, after the organization conducts an appropriate investigation and consults with relevant law enforcement agencies, the company reasonably determines that the breach has not and is not likely to result in identity theft or any other final harm to the affected individuals. The determination must be documented in writing, maintained for at least five years, and provided to the attorney general within 30 days after the determination is made.
The law requires that businesses must use reasonable measures to protect and secure personal information in electronic form, although it does not provide details on what these measures may be. In the event of a security breach, the company must demonstrate at a minimum that it used commercially reasonable safeguards to protect personal information consistent with industry standards.

N.Y. league announces board election results

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/24/14)--The Credit Union Association of New York announced the results of its board elections during its recently completed annual meeting in Saratoga, N.Y.

Four board seats were contested and voted on during this year's statewide election, and each director will serve a three-year term.

Randy Martin, president/CEO of Dannemora FCU, Plattsburgh, N.Y., with $141 million in assets, was newly elected to the association's board in the asset category of more than $100 million.Directors were re-elected in the following asset-size categories:

The Credit Union Association of New York board of directors, front row, from left: Laurie Baker, chair and senior vice president/chief operating officer, The Summit FCU, Rochester; Alfred Frosolone, president/CEO, Niagara's Choice FCU, Niagara Falls; and Marie Betti, CEO/treasurer of Western New York FCU, West Seneca. Back row, from left: Michael Tobler, president/CEO, Albany (N.Y.) Firemen's FCU; Robyn Young, president/CEO, Great Erie FCU, Orchard Park; Barbara Dillon, president/CEO of SUNY Geneseo (N.Y.) FCU;  Ann Hynes, president/CEO of St. Pius X Church FCU, Rochester; Randy Martin, president/CEO of Dannemora FCU, Plattsburgh, N.Y.; John C. Gibardi, president/CEO, Entertainment Industries FCU, New York;  and Mark Pfisterer, president/CEO of AmeriCU CU, Rome. Louis Jimenez, CEO/treasurer of Montauk CU, New York, is not pictured.  (Credit Union Association of New York photo)

The board also elected the following officers:

  • Up to $25 million in assets: Barbara Dillon, president/CEO, SUNY Geneseo (N.Y.) FCU, with $5 million in assets; 
  • $25 million to $100 million in assets: Marie Betti, CEO/treasurer, Western New York FCU, West Seneca, with $40 million in assets; and
  • More than $100 million in assets: Louis Jimenez, CEO/treasurer, Montauk CU, New York, with $162 million in assets.

Rounding out the 11-member board were:

  • Chair: Laurie Baker, senior vice president/chief operating officer, The Summit FCU, Rochester, with $727 million in assets;
  • Vice chair: Mark Pfisterer, president/CEO, AmeriCU CU, Rome, with $1.2 billion in assets;
  • Treasurer: Betti; and
  • Secretary: Ann Hynes, president/CEO, St. Pius X Church FCU, Rochester, with $69 million in assets.
  • John C. Gibardi, president/CEO, Entertainment Industries FCU, New York, with $13 million in assets;
  • Michael Tobler, president/CEO, Albany (N.Y.) Firemen's FCU, with $13 million in assets;
  • Alfred Frosolone, president/CEO, Niagara's Choice FCU, Niagara Falls, with $137 million in assets; and
  • Robyn Young, president/CEO, Great Erie FCU, Orchard Park, with $72 million in assets.

Members' financial health better with CU coaching: Filene report

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MADISON, Wis. (6/24/14)--People want to save money, but often they need help acquiring the skills necessary to achieve their savings goals.

That's the thesis of a report released by the Filene Research Institute this month, which demonstrates how a credit union can positively affect the financial health of its members, particularly those with low to middle incomes, by offering personalized financial management interventions.

The report illustrated the importance of this type of financial coaching by describing the results of a pilot program administered in a Portland-based credit union that compared individuals who received financial intervention with those who didn't.

Members who received help from a financial coach, the report found, earned 21% more in savings.

"The pilot has demonstrated that customized, one-on-one coaching sessions can help individuals remain accountable to their financial goals," Filene said. "For credit unions, the key is to remain invested in these individuals as they leave your branches."

The pilot program, Financial Health Check, was created by a nonprofit organization called ideas42, which hopes the program can lead to better financial health, especially for those lower on the income chain. 

The nonprofit randomly selected members of a credit union to work with a coach who, among other steps, helped them set up automatic payments to increase their savings balance. ideas42 was able to compare two groups of about 400 people.

In addition to the pilot, the report also described what services an efficient financial advice product might feature, including guidance for members in setting specific goals, following through on intentions, setting up reminders and monitoring progress.

The bottom line? According to the report: "The more involved credit unions are in the financial lives of their members, the more success they will have in helping their members sustain financial responsibility."

Wichita 'Debt Destroyers' successful in KCUA budget project

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WICHITA, Kan. (6/24/14)--Three credit union members from Wichita decimated their household debt recently thanks to a Kansas Credit Union Association (KCUA) financial literacy campaign called "Money Possible: Destroy Debt."

The campaign tracked and documented the journey of three destroyers, each with a unique financial issue to tackle, as they worked with a credit counseling service to pulverize household debt and hone their money management skills.

"The campaign promotes the idea that household budgets and finance are up to the families, and it's a lifelong process, not just something they can do once and be done," said Melissa Baptista, KCUA research and development director.

One destroyer, Raquel, was saddled with overwhelming payday loans and during the campaign was able to pay down 30% of her debt, become current on her monthly bills and start an emergency fund. She also stopped relying on payday loans.

Destroyer No. 2, Fredica, needed to taper her spending habits and was able to stop using credit cards, pay down existing credit card debt and learn to live within her means thanks to Money Possible.

Finally, destroyer team Lisa and Bryan wanted to save enough money for retirement and accomplished paying off four credit cards, grasped the difference between needs and wants and involved their children in developing a family budget.

Each participant learned various financial literacy skills, including budgeting practices and finding small ways to save, and each were taught about the real cost of predatory payday lenders, according to KCUA.

The campaign also made waves in the media, as each of the three destroyers were featured in television segments on KAKE-TV , on the blog and on various social media platforms.

CUNA Council numbers swell with tech, HR members

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MADISON, Wis. (6/24/14)--Two CUNA councils recently reached membership milestones. The CUNA HR/TD Council has surpassed 800 members, while the CUNA Technology Council hit the 700-member mark.
"The councils are a vital source of information and collaboration for credit union leaders, providing an active community of peers, and resources specific to our responsibilities at the credit union," said Bob Davis, HR/TD council executive committee chair and senior vice president of human resources of VyStar CU, Jacksonville, Fla., with $5 billion in assets. "Our jobs are increasingly multi-faceted, and these resources are incredibly valuable for anyone managing HR, training, or development programs and strategies--members recognize how unique the HR/TD Council is to our industry"
Added Belinda Caillouet, Technology Council executive committee chair and chief operating officer/chief information officer at Spokane Teachers CU, Spokane, Wash., with $1.9 billion in assets: "The Technology Council's continued growth signifies how much our membership values being part of a peer-led, industry-focused and discipline-focused organization. Considering technology is becoming an even greater challenge, I can't imagine being in the credit union industry in a leadership capacity without being a CUNA Technology Council member."
Earlier this year, the CUNA Lending Council reached the 1,200-member milestone ( News Now May 5).

NCUA approves merger of Volunteer, Kentucky corporates

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NASHVILLE, Tenn., and LOUISVILLE, Ky. (6/24/14)--During a closed meeting last week, the National Credit Union Administration board approved the merger of Volunteer Corporate CU (VolCorp), Nashville, Tenn., and Kentucky Corporate CU.
The membership of the Louisville, Ky.-based corporate will vote today during a special meeting. Once that vote is certified, the merger will need final approval from the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions.
"The addition of Kentucky members will allow VolCorp to continue to be very competitive on pricing, yet remain small enough to provide a high level of service to each of our members," said VolCorp President/CEO Rick Veach.
Marsha Hahn, president/CEO, Kentucky Corporate, noted, "We truly appreciate the patience and encouragement our member credit unions have shown throughout the merger process. The strong member service culture at VolCorp will not only allow Kentucky credit unions to continue receiving the high level of member service they are accustomed to, but provide them with the opportunity for additional products and services."
With the addition of Kentucky Corporate, VolCorp will have assets of roughly $1.4 billion with more than 400 members.