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In the Media Maine CUs tell it like it is

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BANGOR, Maine (6/26/08)--Maine credit unions, a member, and the Maine Credit Union League educated readers of The Maine about the credit union difference in an in-depth article Wednesday. The article began with Brewer (Maine) FCU member Mike Curran. Curran told the newspaper he likes his $37.5 million asset credit union for its simplicity, convenience of location, and the financial services--and for recognizing him every time he visits the branch. He preferred a small institution that can't be bought. Bangor FCU President/CEO Stephen K. Clark talked about the democratic, cooperative structure of credit unions, which represents "a much different model than the conventional stock ownership of most banks." Bucksport-based Seaboard FCU CEO Kyle Cashburn described the difference in for-profit (where the company maximizes the financial return for stockholders) and not-for-profit (it maximizes the financial return for its member owners) businesses. Richard Kaul, president/CEO of Brewer FCU, noted credit unions' rich history based on urban financial cooperatives in Germany and credit unions' service to people of modest means. He also said credit unions are expanding to serve small businesses. "The backbone of Maine's economy is moms and pops," Kaul told the newspaper. Jon Paradise, spokesman for the Maine Credit Union League, discussed the growth in popularity the credit union industry has seen in the state and why credit unions are popular. About half of the state's population belongs to a credit union, he told the newspaper. As cooperatives, credit unions are exempt from state and federal income taxes and return excess profits to their members, Paradise said, noting the constant battle with banks. Also discussed: field of membership growth and expansion through technology and shared branching; credit unions cooperation with each other in shared branch networks,, and credit unions' cooperative nature meaning combining. The article noted credit unions' collaboration, concluding that "all who were interviewed shared a common belief in community…but also a camaraderie among seeming competitors not normally found in any industry." Use the link for the full article.

CDCUs tax help returns 2 million to Ithaca community

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ITHACA, N.Y. (6/26/08)--Taxpayers in the Ithaca, N.Y., area received more than $2 million in income tax returns, thanks to 79 volunteers from Alternatives FCU's Community Tax Program. The credit union's volunteers filed more than 1,200 federal tax returns, with an average $1,514 returned to taxpayers, and more than 1,200 state tax returns, for an additional $403, on average. The program, also known as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), helped low- and moderate-income working families for the sixth consecutive year. The tax preparation service is available from Alternatives for families whose household income is $40,000 or less annually or individuals whose annual income totals $25,000 or less. The credit union encouraged filers to direct-deposit their refunds and offered a low-cost solution to predatory refund anticipation loans. This year's Refund Express Loan saved 58 taxpayers a combined $11,500 in fees. The credit union cited two examples of how it helped taxpayers:
* Henry, a single father of two who worked four jobs last year but earned less than $7,000. He was not required to file a return because of low income in 2005 and 2006, which mean he didn't claim the earned income tax credit (EITC) he was entitled to for those years. The credit union filed returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007. He received $10,500 in refunds, or 150% of his annual income. * Hannah, a single mother of two and a self-employed housekeeper, nets about $6,000 a year. The credit union filed her returns for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. After paying self-employment taxes owed, she received $8,100 in refunds--135% of her annual income.

CU System briefs (06/25/2008)

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* TULSA, Okla. (6/26/08)--The BizKid$ PBS television show is inspiring its teen fans to get off the sofa, according to mail received by the nationally syndicated teen financial education program, which is sponsored by America's Credit Unions and underwritten by the National Credit Union Foundation. The e-mail said the show's fans would "like to see more shows. You have not only kid fans in our house, but Mom loves your show, too," wrote Cynthia, Michael, Joshua and Armand from Tulsa. "You have been an inspiration to us all, and we would like to thank you. Yesterday, Michael (13) and Armand (8) mowed a lawn and made $40. Please rebroadcast all your shows so we can tape them" … * DENVER, Colo. (6/26/08)--The CU Association of Colorado (CUAC) announced it has endorsed Ted Harvey a Republican candidate for Congress in the 6th Congressional District. The seat was previously held by U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, who has been a strong advocate for credit unions, said CUAC. CUAC President/CEO John Dill noted that Harvey "understands the important role that credit unions play in providing high-quality financial services to one out of three Coloradoans." Timothy Dore, CUAC senior vice president of government affairs, said Harvey has been an advocate for credit unions in the Colorado State Senate … * RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (6/26/08)--Tim Allen, community education specialist at AltaOne FCU, Ridgecrest, Calif., teaches from the National Endowment Financial Education curriculum at Bishop Union High School, Bishop, Calif. The school was one of the first to take advantage of the credit union's Substitute Teacher Program, where Allen goes into local classrooms and instructs on financial literacy in lieu of normal class material. The school received the first School of the Year Award from the California and Nevada Youth Involvement Network (CNYIN) in partnership with the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation and San Mateo CU in Redwood City, Calif.(Photo provided by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues) … * RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (6/26/08)--The California and Nevada Youth Involvement Board (CNYIB) announced that Tim Allen, community education specialist at AltaOne FCU, Ridgecrest, Calif., has been elected to its board of directors. He joins board members Marissa Lott, CNYIB chairman and marketing specialist, Farmers Insurance Group FCU, Los Angeles; Jenny Casselman, Greater Nevada CU, Reno; Mike Jones, Educational Employees CU, Fresno; Maria Angelova, Xceed Financial CU, El Segundo; Michael Lee, The Golden 1 CU, Sacramento; Marlene Myers, Travis CU, Vacaville; Jenny Ketchepaw, Telesis Community CU, Chatsworth; and Mike Randall, Silver State Schools CU, Las Vegas … * FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (6/26/08)--Texas Banking Commissioner Randall James has announced he will retire Aug. 31 to pursue opportunities in the private sector (LoneStar Leaguer June 25). James was hired in 1991 by the Texas Department of Banking as deputy commissioner. He was commissioner for almost nine years … * GLENDALE, Calif. (6/26/08)--California CU, a $1.9 billion asset credit union based in Glendale, has been approved to participate in the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 7(a) and Express loan program ( June 21). SBA's program helps business owners who generally aren't able to secure loans through normal channels by guaranteeing loans made through private lenders such as California CU. Ron McDaniel, president/CEO of the credit union noted that small business helps create jobs in an economy where jobs are harder to find …

CU ONE employee still working--at 90

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FERNDALE, Mich. (6/26/08)--Harry Nowell, an employee of Credit Union ONE in Ferndale, Mich., will turn 90 on July 8.
Credit Union ONE President/CEO Gary Moody, left, congratulates employee Harry Nowell. Nowell will turn 90 on July 8 and has worked at the credit union since 1981. (Photo provided by Credit Union ONE)
Nowell is a “joy and inspiration to those around him,” Judi Desiletes, assistant to president/CEO Gary Moody, told News Now. Nowell works 20 hours per week at the credit union in the mail processing center, sorting and distributing all of Credit Union ONE’s mail. He also still drives himself to work. Nowell, who was born in Montreal, Quebec, joined the credit union in 1981--his third career in a lifetime. He worked in the purchasing and facilities departments, but has worked in the mail processing center for the past 10 years. He came to the U.S. when he was eight years old and acquired his citizenship as a young adult. He graduated from Central High School in Detroit and established residence in Ferndale, Mich., after marrying his wife, Elizabeth, in 1941. They have eight children, 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He worked for Ford Hospital from 1946 until he retired as assistant to the chief of maintenance in 1986. He then managed a manufacturing facility in Davison, Mich. He retired--again--in 1981, returned to the Detroit area, and started work at Credit Union ONE. Nowell and his wife earned Volunteers of the Year Awards several years ago. Nowell volunteered for the Red Cross Mobile Blood Bank, Ford Hospital, Providence Hospital, St. Joseph Oakland Hospital and Beaumont Royal Oak Hospital. He enjoys spending time with his family, visiting his summer home in Beulah, Mich., and cheering on his favorite sports teams--the University of Michigan and the Detroit Tigers.

AACULs Pro Blockbuster Award recipients announced

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MADISON, Wis. (6/26/08)--The annual Pro and Blockbuster Award winners--for excellence in public relations, marketing, and advertising by state credit union leagues and league service corporations (LSC)--were announced during the American Association of Credit Union Leagues’ 2008 Public Relations and Communications Conference in Washington, D.C. The Best of Show Pro Award went to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) for its “Credit Union Better Choice” payday lending alternative program. The program provides credit unions, especially smaller institutions, with a communications campaign and resources to serve the unbanked and underserved populations. It helps credit unions demonstrate that they are concerned with the financial health of all Americans and differentiate themselves from for-profit financial institutions. The Best of Show Blockbuster Award was also presented to PCUA for its iBelong Campaign. First place Blockbuster Awards for best league or LSC advertising collateral materials included:
* Best Sales Promotion: Wisconsin Credit Union League--league marketing agency, The Credit Union Story; * Best Print Materials, two colors or less: Credit Union Marketing Resources (Texas), Texas Credit Union League Political Action Committee Fundraising Resources Guide; and * Best Print Materials, three or more colors: North Carolina Credit Union League, Marketing Council Conference Promotional Brochure.
Two first-place Blockbuster Awards for league/LSC advertising campaigns went to:
* Best Campaign, budget $10,000 or less: California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, 2007 Big Valley Educational Conference Campaign; and * Best Campaign, budget more than $10,000: Credit Union Association of New Mexico, CU Succeed Teen’s Financial Network.
Under Best Credit Union Electronic Media Advertising, the California and Nevada leagues placed first in the best credit union radio spot category for its “Famous” spot. Two first-place winners for best credit union advertising collateral material were:
* Best Credit Union Sales Promotion: Credit Union Association of New York for its “Want a Quarter Percent Off of Your New Mortgage?” Campaign; and * Best Credit Union Print Materials, three or more colors: Credit Union Association of Colorado, Routt Schools FCU Membership Brochure.
Three first-place finishes for credit union advertising campaigns were awarded to:
* Best Credit Union Campaign, budget $10,000 or less: Growth by Design (Georgia), Time to Upgrade Campaign; * Best Credit Union Campaign, budget more than $10,000: PCUA, iBelong Campaign; and * Best Logo Design: North Carolina league, Advanced Fraud Solutions Corporate Logo.
First place Pro Awards went to:
* Blow Your Own Horn: Texas league, Value of Membership; * Best Community Relations Program: PCUA, Credit Union Better Choice Program; * Best Public Relations Project: Iowa Credit Union League, Advocacy Campaign; and * Best League Piece on the Uniqueness of Credit Unions: Mississippi Credit Union Association, Reflections of Katrina: “People Helping People”--Mississippi Credit Unions Express Thanks.
Pro Award first place finishers for best publications were:
* Magazine, small budget: Missouri Credit Union Association, Missouri Courier Magazine; * Magazine, large budget: Texas league, LoneStar Perspectives; and * Most Improved Publication: California and Nevada leagues, Credit Union Digest.
Other first place Pro Awards went to:
* Best League Annual Report or Yearbook, small budget: North Carolina league, Meeting the Credit Union Challenges--NCCUL 2006 Annual Report; * Best League Annual Report or Yearbook, large budget: Wisconsin league--league marketing agency, Lead the Way--WCUL 2006 Annual Report; * Best World Wide Web Site: California and Nevada leagues, Web site; and * Best Online Publication: Credit Union Association of Oregon, Oregon Outlook.

Melbourne honored as FCUL professional of the year

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ORLANDO, Fla. (6/26/08)--The Florida Credit Union League (FCUL) announced that Joseph A. Melbourne, president/CEO, CFE FCU, is the 2008 Professional of the Year.
(From left) Rich Helber, chairman of the Florida Credit Union League (FCUL) board of directors, presents Joseph Melbourne with the Professional of the Year Award. Guy Hood, president/CEO of the league, helped present the award. (Photo provided by the Florida Credit Union League)
Melbourne was honored at the FCUL’s 2008 Annual Convention and Exposition. Melbourne has been with CFE for 14 years, serving as CEO for the past 10 years. His philosophy is to serve the growing, diverse membership with services and timely products. He personally takes calls daily from members and resolves any issues they bring to his attention, the league said. He also guided CFE through its highest growth period in the history of the credit union, the league said.

Teenagers learn the importance of saving by spending

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MADISON, Wis. (6/26/08)--Teenagers learned they needed to spend less than they earned at a Mad City Money simulation sponsored by Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) center for personal finance. The event was one of the elective classes for youth at the Wisconsin 4H Leadership Conference. Students from an investing class at Madison, Wis.’s Edgewood High School joined the group.
Edgewood High School student Dylan Williams pays for a TV and computer at the “mall” during a Mad City Money simulation offered by Credit Union National Association’s center for personal finance.
Students Maame Brewoo, left, and April Morris learn about the importance of entering check and debit card transactions to balance their checking accounts. (Photos provided by CUNA).
More than 50 teenagers received an identity that included an occupation, a family, and a set monthly income. Debt--both credit card and school loan--were included in their mythical future. With calculators in hand, the students visited eight Mad City merchants to purchase housing, transportation, household goods, child care, clothing, entertainment and more. A credit union provided financial counseling. Chance played a role in the form of the Fickle Finger of Fate, which delivered unexpected expenses such as a flat tire or broken eye glasses and windfalls such as winning a local karaoke contest or hosting a successful garage sale. “The power of a simulation is much greater than a school lecture or advice from Mom and Dad,” said Lin Standke, manager of youth programs for CUNA. “We take money seriously, but that doesn’t mean that learning about it can’t be fun. This was an opportunity for the teenagers to experience for themselves the effects of making bad money decisions. “You can see those mental light bulbs click on when students discover that the buying an expensive house and a luxury truck means they can’t afford food or diapers for their kids. This is a realistic, non-boring way for them to learn how to make choices about money.” One student summed up the activity: “Now I will spend my money wisely and think carefully about what I need and then go with some wants. And when I need help, I will come to the credit union.” Another student put it in succinct teen speak: “I’m gonna save my butt off!”

Discovery attendees contribute 13538 to NCUF disaster aid

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MADISON, Wis. (6/26/08)--Credit union attendees of CUNA Mutual Group’s Discovery Conference contributed $13,538 to the National Credit Union Foundation’s (NCUF) Disaster Relief Fund, which provides disaster relief to credit unions and their employees, volunteers and members.
Contributions to the National Credit Union Foundation's Disaster Relief Fund help out in crises such as the recent floods in the Midwest. Here, Iowa Community CU, located in hard-hit Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is in the midst of cleaning up after the flooding receded. (Photo provided by CUNA)
The money was generated through a silent auction on donated items including guitars signed by a band--the Bodeans--electronics, vacations and Brett Favre memorabilia. So far, the NCUF has received $225,000 in donations to help Iowa credit unions, employees and members affected by flooding. “These disaster relief donations come at a most critical time,” said NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin. “Given all the recent disasters, the NCUF, state foundations and leagues have received far more grant applications than we can fund. We are very grateful to CUNA Mutual Group for dedicating the Discovery Conference’s silent auction to helping rebuild the NCUF Disaster Relief Fund.” The relief grants are used to help credit union employees through critical emergencies, provide for longer-term recovery, help restore credit unions’ operations and assist members. NCUF also activates to help credit union supporters raise disaster relief donations for the credit union community. NCUF dedicates 100% of the donations to grants. For more information, use the links.