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CU System briefs (06/05/2008)

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* FLINT, Mich. (6/6/08)--Security FCU, Flint, Mich., and Lapeer County (Mich.) Community CU announced Wednesday they plan to merge. The new credit union will be called Security CU. Terry Pierce, president/CEO of Security FCU, will serve as president/CEO of the combined credit union, which will be headquartered in Flint, and have assets of about $350 million. The merger will not cause job losses or office closings. Approval by regulators is expected in September. Troy Garvin, president/CEO of Lapeer, said that by merging, the credit unions will gain efficiencies and cost leveraged into member-focused products ... * SAN DIMAS, Calif. (6/6/08)--Donna Bland, Golden 1 CU senior vice president and chief financial officer, was appointed to a one-year term on Western Corporate FCU's (WesCorp) Supervisory Committee. She joins Darren Williams, Wescom CU CEO, and David Roughton, SAFE CU executive vice president and chief operating officer. Bland fills a seat vacated by Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of San Francisco Fire CU, who was elected to WesCorp’s board of directors ... * DENVER (6/6/08)--Kerry Spradling has been appointed as president/CEO at White Crown FCU, Denver, announced credit union board Chairman Tom Ferguson. Spradling has worked in the credit union industry for 17 years in top positions, said the credit union. His experience in lending and sustaining a sales and service culture will help shape the credit union's strategic direction. White Crown FCU has $47 million in assets and serves employees who work or live in downtown Denver ... * SAN DIEGO (6/6/08)--A member of Point Loma CU (PLCU), Stephen Stamper, threw a ceremonial first pitch at a San Diego Padres game May 9 courtesy of the San Diego-based credit union. “I stood on the pitcher’s mound to absorb the ambience of the occasion, then I moved 10 feet closer to home and managed to get the ball over the plate,” he said. Stamper, of Spring Valley, Calif., has been a PLCU member for 35 years. The first pitch ceremony was part of Family Fireworks night, presented by PLCU, which has worked with the Padres organization for several years. From left are Stamper’s wife, Stamper, and his son. (Photo provided by Point Loma CU) ... * ATLANTA (6/6/08)--Mike Killeen, a 28-year veteran of the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance and a supervisory manager for the second district, has been named new supervisory manager for Georgia's state-chartered credit unions. He succeeds Wayne Orr, who retired June 1 as supervisory manager of credit unions and banks. Orr had been supervisory manager since 1984 and joined the department in 1976 as an examiner … * SAN DIEGO (6/6/08)--An armed man--covered so well with a mask, gloves and hooded jacket that witnesses couldn't tell his age or race--cleaned out the vault and cash drawers at a branch of California Coast CU in San Diego Wednesday. The incident occurred at about 5 p.m. Armed with a pistol, he forced one teller to escort him to all the teller stations and the vault. He wore a Bluetooth earpiece and was heard asking, "Where's the van?" said police. He put the money in a large dark bag and left (Union-Tribune June 5) …

National media CUs dress policy reveals gen differences

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WICHITA, Kan. (6/6/08)--Mid-American CU, Wichita, Kan., last week lifted its pantyhose dress code requirement--garnering some attention from The Wall Street Journal and Good Morning America in the process. The Wall Street Journal published an article yesterday about the credit union’s decision to make wearing hose optional.Good Morning America is scheduled to visit the credit union today, Mid American President Jim Holt told News Now. Holt, 58, lifted the hose requirement after encouragement from his assistant, Kristen Spear. Spear, 28, works in human resources and heads the credit union’s employee committee. Spear believes in looking professional, and her philosophy is “dress for the day.” But she agreed with some employees who told her that they shouldn’t have to wear hose, as the dress code requires. After contacting 17 area financial institutions, Spear found that 71% of credit unions didn’t require their female employees to wear hose with slacks. About 57% didn’t require hose with skirts, she told News Now. The credit union wasn’t completely convinced that it should lift the requirement, so Spear e-mailed a local newspaper asking for a story. Holt e-mailed Wall Street Journal reporter Christine Brinkley, who published an article about women’s dress in the workplace. Brinkley was interested in the topic and interviewed Mid American. After the interview, and Spear’s research, Holt decided to end the hose requirement. The pantyhose issue is definitely related to generational differences, Spear said. While one young employee told her she didn’t own a pair of hose, members of older generations thought hose should be worn, she said. Spear noted that older generations “are realizing that hose are awkward at professional events.” She referenced the Journal article, which said that Kathy Garland, 54, chair of the National Association of Women Business Owners in Dallas, recently threw out a bag full of hose. A few years ago, Garland noticed that she was the only one wearing hose at a fundraiser, the newspaper said. Before the pantyhose issue, Mid American hadn’t updated its dress code in three years. Now, it plans to review the code annually, Holt said. Fashion changes throughout the decades, he said. At one time, men wore leisure suits, double-breasted jackets and other business attire that is no longer worn, Holt noted. Now that the hose requirement is gone, employees have begun making other requests--like being allowed to wear sandals, Spear said. Mid American wants its employees looking professional. But the credit union also has fun with the dress code, Holt said. During the NCAA basketball Final Four tournament, employees were allowed to wear clothing with their favorite team’s colors, and jeans. In the fall, the credit union also will host days where employees can wear football jerseys to support their favorite teams on game days, he added.

Wisconsin CUs prepare to assist GM employees

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JANESVILLE, Wis. (6/6/08)--With the recent announcement that General Motors is closing its assembly plant in Janesville, Wis., some area credit unions are preparing to assist the roughly 2,600 displaced workers. Blackhawk Community CU (BCCU), a $288 million asset Janesville credit union, counts many General Motors employees and retirees among its members. It has five branches, three of them in the city (The Janesville Gazette June 5). BCCU is considering ideas to offer new products and services to help displaced workers, Frank Beres, BCCU marketing director, told the newspaper. “There are a lot of ideas being kicked around right now,” Beres told News Now. “The thing we need to keep in mind is that the plant is not closing tomorrow. It will take about two years for it to shut down, although some General Motors suppliers are already facing layoffs.” BCCU is looking at instituting financial checkups in which members come in to see where they stand financially right now, such as with their net worth situation, he explained. “In the short term, for the members who are slated to be laid off, we would provide them with budget tips, loan consolidations, and assist them in making decisions now that will help them in the future,” Beres concluded. Although it is not doing anything specifically geared to the GM workers, the Janesville branch of First American CU, did send out a letter to affected members when the first layoffs were announced, Tracy Blaske, First American CEO, told News Now. First American is a $253.3 million asset, Beloit, Wis.-based credit union. “We just told them, ‘We are here,’” Blaske said. “We review financial situations on a case-by-case basis, and tell members to come in [if they are having financial difficulties]. We don’t have a lot of United Auto Workers as members. We have about 150 total members from General Motors and ancillary companies. “We are anticipating an impact from the layoffs. We will do deferrals on payments and refinancings on loans on an individual basis,” she concluded.

Ohio CU ops modernization bill headed to governor

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DUBLIN, Ohio (6/6/08)--A bill that would modernize Ohio's credit unions with amendments on operations, administration and governance is on its way for signature by Gov. Ted Strickland. Senate Bill 247 includes a number of amendments, according to the Ohio Credit Union League (eLumination Newsletter June 4). It:
* Eliminates written ballot approval every time a ballot is necessary, provided it meets established guidelines; * Authorizes no board of directors election if candidates are less than equal to positions and does not require consent or acclimation; * Reviews appointment for the Ohio Credit Union Council, which would be based on asset size (one member from a credit union with less than $35 million; another from a credit union of less than $50 million); * Clarifies joint account holder deposits payable on death; * Sets forth conditions for safes, safe deposit boxes and other secure receptacles and addresses the use of safe deposit boxes by minors; * Establishes record retention time periods and provides additional flexibility for merging with another credit union, and establishes retention time lines to limit liability if documents are destroyed; * Sets forth requirements for storing records electronically and the use these documents, which is same as the Banking Code; * Addresses merger requirements, allowing additional flexibility and structure and providing guidelines for waiver of membership vote; and establishes a required vote of a majority, not 2/3, vote during a membership vote; * Changes language regarding letters of credit by credit unions for agricultural commodity handlers from "bank" to "financial institutions."
"This bill is a strong step toward better enabling credit unions to have the flexibility and ability to operate more efficiently," said league General Counsel John Kozlowski in a press release. The bill will become effective 90 days after the governor's signature.

Community development archives now available

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ITHACA, N.Y. (6/6/08)--The archives of Community Development Banking-L (CDB-L) List--an active free ongoing e-mail discussion resource that serves community development practitioners, including credit unions, is available. It was shut down due to a hacking attack in November. The attack was on the archive, not the list itself, Bill Myers, list moderator, told News Now. The archive uses a free bulletin board system, called PHP. “The software hadn’t been updated in years, and known PHP vulnerabilities were exploited on the CDB-L site in an attempt to take over the server,” Myers said. To remedy the problem, the site was brought down. Now the most up-to-date version of the PHP software has been deployed, hosted with an active partner--Governance & Accountability Institute Inc., Myers explained. The list has served community development practitioners since 1994 with no particular emphasis on type or subtype, Myers said. CDB-L has about 3,200 subscribers from a variety of institutions, including credit unions, banks, loan funds, trade associations, regulators, researchers, and government and nonprofit advocates, he added. “Two staple topics are offerings and conferences,” Myers said. “Not unexpectedly, there was an active discussion this spring on housing and the mortgage crisis.”