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Sen. Toomey tours PSECU with PCUA

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (6/3/14)--U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, met with credit union employees and representatives of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) Friday in Harrisburg, Pa.
Greg Smith, president/CEO, PSECU, left; Patrick Conway, president/CEO, Pennsylvania Credit Union Association; Christina Mihalik, vice president of governmental affairs, PCUA; and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) chat during Toomey's visit to the Harrisburg, Pa., credit union. (Pennsylvania Credit Union Association photo)
Toomey's visit to $4.1 billion-asset PSECU included a tour from President/CEO Greg Smith and a meet-and-greet with PCUA President/CEO Patrick Conway and Vice President of Governmental Affairs Christina Mihalik ( Life is a Highway June 2).
Credit union employees shared their stories of what PSECU is doing for its members and the community.
The group thanked Toomey for co-sponsoring the Privacy Notice Modernization Act (S. 635) and the Mortgage Choice Act of 2013 (S. 1577). Among the topics of discussion were regulatory concerns, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, mortgage issues, interest rates and the National Credit Union Administration's risk-based capital proposal.
Toomey also is a member of the Senate Finance Committee. He is the ranking member of the financial institutions and consumer protection subcommittee and of the Social Security, pensions and family policy subcommittee.

CU System briefs (06/03/2014)

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  • TUCSON, Ariz. (6/3/14)-- Vantage West CU, a $1.2 billion-asset credit union in Tucson, Ariz., has committed $100,000 to building a Fisher House on the Southern Arizona Veterans Health Care System campus ( Tucson News May 30). "The Fisher House provides an important service to our military veterans who have done so much for us," said president/CEO Robert Ramirez. "We would encourage other local businesses to join Vantage West in supporting this worthy cause." Vantage West was originally chartered to serve the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The Arizona Fisher House Foundation is raising $3 million to be matched by the national foundation to build a facility where military and veterans' families can stay at no cost while a family member is receiving medical treatment ...
  • CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (6/3/14 )--At their 60th annual meeting, members of Valley CU, Chippewa Falls, Wis., voted to approve a merger with WESTconsin CU, a $871 million-asset credit union based in Menomonie, Wis. "We thought it would be best to take a proactive approach to continue to serve our members through a partnership with a credit union with similar values to our own," said Timm Smith, president/CEO of the $20 million-asset credit union ( Leader Telegram June 1). The merger will be completed by the end of this year after final regulatory approval ...
  • EAST ORANGE, N.J. (6/3/14)-- Samuel Greene, former president of East Orange (N.J.) VAH FCU, died May 14 ( The Daily Exchange June 2). He was 95. Greene served in the Army during World War II and was employed by the Veterans Affairs Hospital of East Orange before retiring. He was the president of the $13 million-asset credit union for more than 40 years. He also was chairman emeritus and the credit union's historian. Greene was a source of inspiration to the board, the supervisory committee and employees, noted The Daily Exchange ...

NCUA RBC proposal dominates May News Now Top 10

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MADISON, Wis. (6/3/14)--The National Credit Union Administration's risk-based capital (RBC) proposal dominated the News Now Top 10 list in May with four entries, including the three most-read articles.
The comment deadline for the proposal was 11:59 p.m. (ET) May 28. The NCUA logged in 1,850 comment letters on its risk-based capital proposal as of Thursday morning ( News Now May 30). The Credit Union National Association encourages credit unions to stay engaged in the RBC regulatory process as the NCUA works to create a final rule.
CUNA's announcement of Bill Hampel as interim CEO, effective June 11, was the fourth most-read article in May. Hampel currently serves as CUNA's chief economist and senior vice president of policy and analysis.
On June 11, Bill Cheney, CUNA's current president/CEO, returns to California to become president/CEO of Santa Ana-based $9.8 billion-asset SchoolsFirst FCU, the largest credit union in that state.
The Top 10 list for May:

10. Mobile banking usage tied to time, day

AUSTIN, Texas (5/5/14)--Financial institution members and customers are switching to the mobile channel as their exclusive choice for remote account access, according to mobile banking provider Malauzai Software's latest Monkey Insights "little-data" report.
9. Senators call for quick passage of privacy notification tweaks

WASHINGTON (5/9/14)--Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) this week called on colleagues to follow up on the release of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau privacy notification proposal by supporting their own bill, The Privacy Notice Modernization Act.
8. Mixed emotions for Tinker FCU one year after the storm

OKLAHOMA CITY (5/20/14)--One year ago today a half-mile-wide tornado destroyed Tinker FCU's (TFCU) branch in Moore, Okla. While the EF5 tornado devastated much of the Moore area, killing 24 people and injuring 377 others, it somehow spared 23 employees and members who took shelter in the branch's vault.
7. CUNA: Risk-based capital plan has 'serious flaws,' should not proceed

WASHINGTON (5/28/14)--The NCUA should not proceed with its proposed rule RBC, CUNA wrote in its comment letter submitted today. CUNA believes that the proposal has serious flaws and could damage credit unions, and has recommended that the proposal be withdrawn on the grounds that the NCUA has not established economic or legal grounds as a basis for their proposed changes.
6. Senate Banking approves Johnson-Crapo housing finance reform bill

WASHINGTON (5/15/14 UPDATED 11:07 a.m. ET)--The Senate Banking Committee voted this morning to approve its Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014 (S. 1217). The vote was 13-9.
5. CU relief bills sail through House vote

 WASHINGTON (5/6/14)--Three credit union regulatory relief bills were adopted by the U.S. House this evening. The bills, two of which are stand-alone credit union measures, are all important steps in CUNA's larger relief agenda and attack credit union regulatory burden from a number of fronts.
4. Bill Hampel named interim president/CEO of CUNA, effective June 11
WASHINGTON (5/7/14 UPDATED 2:15 ET)--Current CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel will be interim president/CEO of CUNA, effective June 11, the same day that Bill Cheney, the current president/CEO, returns to California to become president/CEO of Santa Ana-based SchoolsFirst FCU, the largest credit union in that state.
3. Court keeps NCUA N.Y. RMBS suit alive

NEW YORK (5/16/14)--The District Court of New York has denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit involving the NCUA and Wachovia Capital Markets, LLC, now known as Wells Fargo Securities, LLC.
2. Concerned about RBC proposal, 75% of U.S. Reps. sign letter to NCUA

WASHINGTON (5/13/14 UPDATED 9:30 A.M. ET)--A bipartisan collection of more than 320 U.S. House members have joined Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Gregory Meeks  (D-N.Y.) to express their concern over the NCUA's proposed risk-based capital regulation.
1. Former Speaker Gingrich: RBC proposal 'extraordinarily troubling'

WASHINGTON (5/27/14)--Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who worked on amending the Federal Credit Union Act in 1998, submitted a letter Friday to the NCUA regarding its risk-based capital (RBC) proposal, calling the proposal "extraordinarily troubling."

Biz Kid$ campaign reaches 100% goal for CMNHs

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MADISON, Wis. (6/3/14)--A joint effort by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) and Credit Unions for Kids has resulted in every Children's Miracle Network Hospital in the U.S. now having at least one boxed set of the "Biz Kid$" TV series.
During April, which was National Financial Literacy Month, a full-court press was put on to get the Emmy Award-winning financial education videos into all 158 hospitals. Credit unions and leagues--including their chapters and foundations--worked to meet the challenge set out by the foundation.
CO-OP Financial Services volunteered to underwrite half the purchase cost as well.

"The donation of the 'Biz Kid$' program DVDs has developed an even deeper credit union/hospital relationship where credit unions not only support the financial needs of the hospital, but also the financial needs of the patient families," said Gigi Hyland, NCUF executive director. Financially educating and supporting families during a health, and likely a financial, crisis exemplifies the credit union spirit.
"Over the last almost two decades, our credit union partners have been indirectly improving the financial lives of our patients and families by providing donations for everything from research to facilities to uncompensated care which funds treatment for those families who have no medical coverage or have exceeded their insurance policy cap," said Joe Dearborn, Credit Unions for Kids senior director.

"Bringing direct financial education to patients and families through 'Biz Kid$' will truly be a huge benefit to the millions of kids treated at CMN Hospitals each year," he added.

KCUA sets September move date for Wichita office

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WICHITA, Kan. (6/3/14)--The Kansas Credit Union Association (KCUA) has purchased a building for its Wichita headquarters that is a move to both improve efficiency and strengthen its investment.
After a facilities evaluation, KCUA bought a building in Topeka last year and set a course for a new location in Wichita.
It now has its first permanent location in Topeka, which will improve advocacy access in the state capital, KCUA President/CEO Marla Marsh told News Now . The Topeka location will eventually become the headquarters, she added, with staff being added to cover governmental affairs, compliance, regulatory affairs and consulting services.
As part of the facilities plan, the league also looked at reducing space for its Wichita offices, which house education, training, marketing, communications, research, development and its for-profit entity, Shared Financial Solutions.
The new location reduces the square footage to 3,200 from 6,500 and provides a secure area for both the item-processing service and KCUA's information technology department, Marsh said.
The move--set for September--is also a good investment, Marsh added, because the association will have ownership of the building with a tenant vs. paying rent to another party. KCUA plans to continue the lease agreement with the current tenant at the new location.

N.J. CUs share best practices for board communication

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PARAMUS, N.J. (6/3/14)--Two New Jersey credit union CEOs shared the dividends that good board communication pays during COMMERCE magazine's annual bank/credit union CEO roundtable.
  COMMERCE , the flagship publication of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, interviewed two credit union leaders and four bankers for its May 30 best practices article.
The board of $212 million-asset North Jersey FCU, Totowa, provides direction and responds to changes in the financial services industry, said President/CEO Lourdes Cortez.
"One of the key aspects of their high-performance would be the oversight they provide to the quality of management at North Jersey Federal," she said. "They maintain a governance structure that adds value to the business, and they ensure our values and reputation remain intact as each board member brings fresh perspectives and thoughtfulness to the communities we serve."
Cortez said she keeps the lines of communication open with the board and relies on it for its expertise in solving critical issues.
The volunteer aspect of credit union board service was strongly emphasized by Linda McFadden, president/CEO of XCEL FCU, Bloomfield, with $151 million in assets.
"Since they are volunteers, their only goal is to do what is best for the members," McFadden told COMMERCE , adding, "They serve as member advocates."
The board members donate hundreds of hours, making sure that the credit union is moving in the "best direction" for its members, even during a lagging economy.

Maine league co-authors brochure to battle elder financial abuse

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WESTBROOK, Maine (6/3/14)--Continuing its fight to curb elder financial abuse, the Maine Credit Union League, as a contributing member of the Maine Council on Elder Abuse Prevention, has co-authored a brochure designed to help the public identify and prevent the statewide problem.

With facts and information about elder abuse, the brochure, released last week, is the latest effort by the league in its collaborative work with the council to raise awareness and illustrate how individuals can help prevent abuse.

"Unfortunately, this is a growing issue in Maine," said Quincy Hentzel, league director of governmental affairs. "Elder abuse comes in a variety of forms, including financial exploitation, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and abandonment.

"Maine credit unions have been proactive in participating in training and making other resources available to staff and members to learn the warning signs of not only financial exploitation, but other kinds of elder abuse."

The council has stepped up its efforts in raising awareness of this issue recently with new tools and education campaigns, such as the Senior$afe program that teaches staff members and other groups on how to keep seniors safe from financial exploitation, in addition to other types of abuse.

Facts included in the brochure:
  • One in 14 cases of elder abuse go unreported, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse;
  • About 33,000 Maine elders are abused each year, according to recent data, and 90% of the offenders are family members of the victim; and
  • The risk of death triples for those elders who suffer even modest amounts of abuse.

CU's debit program aims to 'swipe out' childhood hunger

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FREDERICK, Md. (6/3/14)--Nymeo FCU has partnered with the Maryland Food Bank to fight childhood hunger in Frederick County, Md. 
The $247 million-asset, Frederick, Md.-based credit union has launched Swipe out Hunger, a new program that will provide financial support to the Frederick School Pantry Program and provide credit union members with an opportunity to give back to the community.
Through the program, Nymeo FCU will donate a half-cent per debit card swipe on every point-of-sale transaction made by its members.
As many as 251,730 children are food insecure in Maryland every day, and 43% of them do not qualify for food programs.
"Nymeo is part of the Frederick community, and we want to give every child in that community the chance to succeed," said Victoria Johnston, Nymeo FCU's CEO. "The school food pantries provide a basic need to a child to help them be more successful in school. Since they don't have to worry about where their next meal will come from, they can focus on being a better student and a better community member."
The first donation from Swipe out Hunger was presented to the Maryland Food Bank Thursday in the amount of $4,691, and includes a one-time donation from Fiserv, Nymeo FCU's debit card processor.

Four added to Miss. Hall of Fame at annual meeting

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BILOXI, Miss. (6/3/14)--Nearly 600 credit union professionals, volunteers and guests witnessed the induction of four new members into the Mississippi Credit Union Association's Hall of Fame last month during its annual meeting.

Held in Biloxi, Miss., four new league board members were also elected during the meeting.

Hall of Fame inductees included:
  • James Dewey, director, Gulf Coast Community FCU, Gulfport, Miss., with $81 million in assets. Dewey recently passed away at the age of 67 after 41 years of service at credit unions (See News Now May 29).
  • Lonnie Boykins, director, Mutual CU, Vicksburg, Miss., with $175 million in assets, for 38 years of service;
  • Charles McNair, director, Magnolia FCU, Jackson, Miss., with $128 million in assets, for 38 years of service; and
  • James Ware, director, Gulf Coast Community CU, for 41 years of service.
Credit union leaders elected to serve three-year terms on the league board included: Billy Bridges, board chair, Mutual CU; Steve Pollman, president/CEO, Magnolia FCU; Elmer Dickens, board chair, Gulf Coast Community FCU; and Brig. Gen. Richard Moss (retired), director, Keesler FCU, Biloxi, with $2.1 billion in assets.

Chris Hammond, president/CEO, Central Sunbelt FCU, Laurel, Miss., with $192 million in assets; and Kathy Scarbrough, chief communications officer, Navigator CU, Pascagoula, Miss., with $273 million in assets, were each elected to finish out unexpired terms.

Nearly $6K in Morrow scholarships awarded in Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa (6/3/14)--The Iowa Credit Union Foundation (ICUF) distributed $5,750 in scholarships to four high school students and two post-secondary students as part of the 2014 Warren A. Morrow Memorial Scholarship program.
Each applicant was required to complete an entry form and write a 500-word essay answering the question:
Financial literacy is now part of Iowa's Department of Education's core curriculum. What are the most important aspects of money management that should be taught when it comes to savings, checking, borrowing or investing for the long term? How can credit unions help you and others with financial education?
Winners were selected by a panel of judges including teachers and credit union professionals. Scores on the essay were based on originality, clarity, meaningful content, accurate presentation of facts, adherence to contest rules, spelling, grammar and punctuation.
"The mission of the Iowa Credit Union Foundation is to help Iowans build wealth, responsibility and independence," said Jaimie Miller, ICUF executive director. "We do this through critical programs such as the Warren A. Morrow Scholarship. The six scholarship finalists demonstrated outstanding knowledge around the essay topic of financial literacy and we are proud to award them with funding to support their higher education."
High school winners included:
  • First place ($1,500): Jace Holton, Veridian CU, Waterloo, with $2.4 billion in assets;
  • Second place ($1,000): John Klopfenstein, Community 1st CU, Ottumwa, with $475 million in assets; 
  • Third place ($750): Nicole Schrader, Linn Area CU, Cedar Rapids, with $309 million in assets; and
  • Fourth place ($500): Brittany Gilkes, DuTrac Community CU, Dubuque, with $571 million in assets.
Post-secondary winners ($1,000) each, included:
  • Cally Bengston, Veridian CU; and
  • Emily Bruns, Cedar Falls Community CU.
 The Warren A. Morrow Memorial Scholarship was named in celebration of Morrow's life and achievements in the Hispanic and credit union industries. Morrow passed away unexpectedly in 2012 at the age of 34.
He founded Coopera, a full-service Hispanic growth firm that provides custom solutions for credit unions nationwide to grow by reaching and serving the Hispanic market, in 2006 in partnership with the Iowa Credit Union League. In 2007, Warren helped secure funding for ICUF, including its Individual Development Account program to help low-income families build financial assets.