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CU System briefs (06/27/2014)

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  • nn062614_4.jpgSACRAMENTO, Calif. (6/27/14)--The Salvation Army of Sacramento, Calif., bestowed its Spirit of Caring honor to Henry Wirz, president/CEO, SAFE CU, North Highlands, Calif., for his commitment and involvement in the Sacramento community (Carmichael Times June 26). In 2013 alone, the $2. 1 billion-asset credit union gave more than $290,000 to The Salvation Army, educational programs at local schools, nonprofit health organizations, The Aerospace Museum of California, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento and the Paul Hom Asian Clinic. "None of us want to see people without shelter, without food, without means to support themselves," Wirz said. "If people are willing to give time, money, or surplus items, they can make a big difference in the community. Over time, it will also benefit you as a person" ...
     
  • COLUMBUS, Ohio (6/27/14)--After more than 16 years leading the OCUL Services Corp. (OSC), Dave Fearing will be leaving July 1 to become CEO of CU Partner Link, a collaboration of the California, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and Texas  state credit union leagues focused on product innovation and revenue growth (eLumination June 26). Fearing has been interim CEO at CU Partner Link since December and will continue to work from the Ohio Credit Union League offices in Columbus. Among Fearing's new projects are working with the league, OSC and the state's credit unions on partnerships with NOWaccount Network Corp. and the National Cooperative Bank. "It's business as usual for OSC during this transitional period," said league President Paul Mercer ...
     
  • TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (6/27/14)--Two Michigan credit unions announced their intent to merge after receiving board approval. Members CU, Traverse City, with $224 million in assets, and Bay Winds FCU, Charlevoix, with $175 million in assets, expect the merger to take effect at the end of October. The agreement will make the new financial institution, which will have 13 branches, the "largest local credit union north of Midland/Mount Pleasant," said Andy Kempf, president/CEO, Members CU (The Traverse Ticker June 25). The agreement requires a vote by members of Bay Winds FCU and consent from the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation and the National Credit Union Administration ...
     
  • ALEXANDRIA, Va. (6/27/14)--The man allegedly behind a fake online credit union and accused of defrauding thousands of investors pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court. Timothy J. Coughlin, 63, of Indianapolis pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud and impersonating an Internal Revenue Service official while operating the Oxford International Credit Union (OICU), which Coughlin used to solicit online investments. He allegedly used OICU and a fake investment vehicle--the Oxford International Cooperative Union--to collect nearly $15 million from almost 5,000 people worldwide for investment and members' annual dues. According to a statement of facts filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to further the fraud, Coughlin allegedly posted a fake certificate stating that OICU was an insured credit union and forged the signature of an IRS employee. Coughlin faces a maximum penalty of 23 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 26. In April, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a suit against Coughlin for "Internet offering fraud" (News Now April 15) ...

S.C. CU, civil rights leader receives Smithsonian honor

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Esau Jenkins, center, was an iconic civil rights figure who leveraged the cooperative business model to improve the lives of African-Americans in the low country of South Carolina. A section of Jenkins' VW bus will be displayed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. (Carolinas Credit Union League photo)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (6/27/14)--In 1966, Esau Jenkins founded the Community Organization FCU, capping a lifetime of work fighting for civil rights in the South by establishing cooperative organizations that served African-Americans.

For his work, a piece of Jenkins' Volkswagen bus, which features his personal motto: "Love is progress, hate is expensive, help our scholarship fund," will be displayed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture once it opens in 2016.

Friends and family gathered at a special event in Charleston earlier this month to celebrate the artifact's send-off to Washington, D.C.

Jenkins (1910-1972) formed the credit union, which has since been renamed CO FCU, Charleston, with $1.7 million in assets, in order to offer low-interest loans to African-Americans.

But founding a credit union only scratches the surface of the work Jenkins accomplished in his life.

Jenkins established his first cooperative in 1948: an outfit called the Progressive Club that functioned as a food co-op for African-Americans on John's Island.

With the food co-op in place, Jenkins and his colleagues built on the operation's success by starting a Citizenship School within the organization. The school taught African-Americans how to qualify to vote in South Carolina.

The school was so effective, according to the National Cooperative Business Association, civil rghts leaders from throughout the nation traveled to see it first hand in order to launch similar schools of their own.

Some of the iconic visitors to the school included Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, Stokely Carmichael and Andrew Young.

The museum where Jenkins' bus will be featured is currently under construction. Located on the Washington Mall, the museum will teach visitors about the history of African-Americans in the United States and how the African-American experience has impacted American life.

Ohio CUs report strong lending results

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (6/27/14)--Ohio credit unions posted strong first-quarter lending results, largely driven by strong consumer lending performance, the Ohio Credit Union League reported.
 
As interest rates rise and the mortgage market slows, consumer loans are playing an increasingly important role in leading balance-sheet loan growth, the league said ( eLumination June 26).
 
Used-auto loan balances in Ohio increased 7.8% annually, while new-auto balances rose 19.3%. Auto loans now make up 41.4% of state credit union loan portfolios.
 
Average loan balances increased nearly 4.5% over the past 12 months, the league reported. Total expenses dropped nearly 5%, showing credit unions' focus on return to members.
 
Regular shares and deposits rose nearly 6%, and total loans were up nearly 8%.
 
Ohio credit unions also posted decreases in delinquency and charge-offs, but trailed the nation in year-over-year membership growth at 1.2% compared with 2.7% nationally

Mich. Young & Free 'spokester' featured in Detroit Free Press

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DETROIT (6/27/14)--In a story about the contradictions of millennials' financial habits, the Detroit Free Press drew upon the expertise of Ebeth Fielder, the "spokester" for Young & Free Michigan.
 
Fielder told the paper's personal finance columnist, Susan Tompor, that she thinks young consumers can save money--if they re-evaluate their spending habits.
 
As a spokester for Lathrup Village-based Michigan First CU's program, Fielder said one of her goals is to help young adults map a route through their finances. One trick she uses to control her urge to shop is to compare how many hours she'd have to work to pay for clothing or shoes.
 
Take the example of a "bargain" pair of shoes. At 50% off, those $40 shoes may seem like a deal.
But, Fielder advised, you might stop and consider how much your daily wage is. "If you're earning $10 an hour, you could ask if the shoes are really worth four hours of my time--or half of a regular work day?" she said.
 
The article also noted that depending on the survey, "millennials either are 'super savers' with an eye on retirement or so dogged by debt that they don't know which way to turn."

One in 4 unaware of auto refinancing option, survey says

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FORT ATKINSON, Wis. (6/27/14)--Credit unions looking to educate consumers that switching their existing auto loans to a cooperative financial institution is a better deal may face an uphill battle, according to a new survey.
 
The survey, conducted by Fort Atkinson, Wis.-based RateWatch, a banking data and analytics service owned by TheStreet Inc., found that many consumers overlook or are not interested in refinancing their auto loans.
 
Among the findings:
  • 27% of respondents did not know that refinancing their auto loan was an option;
  • 59% of respondents knew that refinancing was an option, but chose not to refinance;
  • Consumers age 30 to 44 were most likely to be aware of auto refinancing options, but only 20% had taken advantage of them; and
  • Consumers who have owned their vehicle for five or more years were most likely to have known refinancing was an option and followed through with a refinance loan. More than half of those who have owned their vehicles for less than five years were not aware refinancing was an option.
"Auto-loan refinancing tends to be somewhat uncommon, and it's unfortunate since consumers can save thousands of dollars in the course of paying off their loan," said Ross Kenneth Urken, personal finance editor for TheStreet. "It's a technique more consumers need to recognize as beneficial to their finances."
 
The survey also revealed that consumers are paying off their loans with varying interest rates:
  • Those who have owned their vehicle for two to five years are most likely to have an interest rate between 2% and 3%; and
  • The percentage of respondents paying an interest rate between 1% and 2% is the same as the percentage of respondents paying an interest rate of 8% or greater, demonstrating the large range of available rates.

Dakota professionals, volunteers honored by CUAD

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BISMARCK, N.D. (6/27/14)--Excellence across all credit union areas was noted by the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas during its recent Summit awards banquet.
 
Joanne Lautenschlager, a director at $352 million-asset Town and Country CU, Minot, N.D., was honored as the North Dakota volunteer of the year. She was appointed to the board in 1990 and has served on the credit committee for 11 years.
 
Burt Elliott, board member at Aberdeen (S.D.) FCU, with $114 million in assets, received the South Dakota volunteer of the year award. A 40-year member of the credit union, Elliott has been on the board for 31 years and currently serves as the board's legislative director.
 
The professionals of the year in both states are well-tenured. Travis Kasten, president, $132 million-asset Service First FCU, Sioux Falls, was honored as the South Dakota professional of the year. Kasten has been involved with the credit union movement for more than 30 years.
 
Darwin Brokke, president, Citizens Community CU, Devils Lake, was named North Dakota professional of the year. Brokke started his career in 1983 when the credit union held $3 million in assets. Today, it is a $151 million-asset credit union that serves nearly 10,000 members.
 
Two credit unions also were feted for their outstanding achievements.
 
The Five Star Award--which recognizes individual credit unions for their work in education, legislative activities, public relations/marketing, member contact and community service--went to Voyage FCU, Sioux Falls, S.D., with $75 million in assets.
 
Town and Country CU, Minot, N.D., with $352 million in assets, was awarded the Building Connections Award for exhibiting the credit union and co-op philosophies and for supporting their communities during National Co-op Month and International Credit Union Day.       

CUNA Brokerage completes inaugural Program Leadership Institute

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MADISON, Wis. (6/27/14)--Twenty-two credit union executives recently attended the inaugural meeting of CUNA Brokerage Services Inc.'s (CBSI) Program Leadership Institute.
 
The program trains credit union executives on how to manage and grow a strong, robust and fully integrated investment and insurance program at their credit unions.
 
"Investment and insurance products represent the largest potential untapped source of member-friendly, non-interest income for credit unions," said Hendrix Niemann, managing director of wealth management at CBSI.
 
Credit unions only attract roughly 3% of their members' investment dollars, while 46% of members have investment accounts with other financial service providers, according to Filene Research Institute data from 2012.
 
"We understand that many of the credit union executives tasked with supervising the investment program may have little knowledge or experience in the investment world, and many also have 'day jobs' elsewhere in the credit union," said Niemann. "Therefore, the curriculum for our Program Leadership Institute is constructed to include content and material applicable to every program manager and champion, regardless of knowledge or experience."
 
The Program Leadership Institute's curriculum tracks include:
  • General program management;
  • Managing, motivating and working with financial advisers;
  • Marketing investment programs;
  • Operations and technology; and
  • General industry knowledge.
 
 

Mid-Atlantic Corporate announces board election results

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (6/27/14)--Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU, Middletown, Pa., announced the results of its board of directors' election during its 38th annual meeting June 20 in Harrisburg, Pa.
 
Directors who ran unopposed and were re-elected to the board to serve three-year terms included:
  • Abby Kiebach, president/CEO, Lancaster (Pa.) Red Rose CU, with $66 million in assets;
  •  Joan M. Moran, president/CEO, Department of Labor FCU, Washington, D.C., with $71 million in assets; and
  • Michael P. Pastirik, president/CEO, United Community FCU, West Mifflin, Pa., with $42 million in assets.
Officers for Mid-Atlantic Corporate's board of directors included:
  • Chairman: Pastirik;
  • Vice chair: Moran;
  • Treasurer: David B. Whitehead, president/CEO, Merck Sharp and Dohme FCU, Chalfont, Pa., with $529 million in assets; and
  • Secretary: Brian J. Vittek, president/CEO, Destinations CU, Baltimore, with $58 million in assets.

Reminder to News Now subscribers: Please update email permissions to ensure delivery

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MADISON, Wis. (6/27/14)--As of this morning, News Now has upgraded its email delivery system to better serve our readers--and we'd like to ensure there is no interruption in its delivery to our subscribers.
 
Starting today, News Now's timely and comprehensive daily news content is being delivered through a more powerful communications application.
 
This change means subscribers must take some simple actions to keep the latest news dropping directly into their email box each morning. If you are a subscriber, please look for email from the Credit Union National Association this week with details.
 
The vast majority of our subscribers simply need to add News Now to their safe-senders list--so the headlines email does not go to a junk mail folder. A small percentage of our readers must set up a CUNA.org profile.
 
Either way, subscribers will get an email with instructions tailored to their needs.
 
If any reader requires additional assistance, please contact CUNA's IT department at webservices@cuna.coop for immediate help.

TransUnion: Consumers concerned about ID theft, but lack protection

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CHICAGO (6/27/14)--Roughly 80% of U.S. adults worry they will fall victim to identity theft, but most don't grasp what exactly puts them at risk, a TransUnion survey released Thursday has found.

While identity theft has ramped up in recent months--more than 13 million Americans were victimized last year--the majority of U.S. adults don't take steps to safeguard their information.

"From the time we're born, everyone in the world has their own identity, and the risk of having it stolen can come at any moment during your life and even after death," said TransUnion Vice President Julie Springer. "With a new victim falling prey to identity theft every two seconds, it's more important than ever to take protective measures."

The survey also found that more than half of adults don't know they can be victimized in stores, online and through social media.

While 60% believe shopping with card information online puts them at risk, only 34% of consumers believe using a credit or debit card at a retail store leaves them vulnerable.

This despite the fact that data breaches at retail stores have affected millions of people in recent months, including breaches at Target, Michaels and P.F. Chang's. 

The Credit Union National Association, which continues to urge federal lawmakers to address data security relative to merchants, discovered that credit unions incurred $30.6 million in costs directly related to the Target breach.

Finally, the survey found that one-quarter of adults believe posting on social media sites poses the least risk of identity theft.

"(But) identity theft is happening everywhere, especially on social media where people are posting even more personal information and reusing the same passwords," Springer said. "Simple changes like adjusting privacy settings and strengthening your password can help ward off cyber thieves."

Mo. league shares CU message during Hike the Hill

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Missouri credit union advocates had one-on-one visits with Sens. Roy Blunt (R), above center, and Claire McCaskill (D), below center, during recent Hike the Hill visits. (Missouri Credit Union Association photos)

ST. LOUIS (6/27/14)--Risk-based capital was the hot topic for Missouri credit union advocates during their recent Hike the Hill visits in Washington.
 

"Every member of Congress who we met with really seemed to understand and support our positions on our topics, especially risk-based capital," said Randy Yeck, executive vice president, $737 million-asset Vantage CU, Bridgeton (Missouri Difference June 24). "It was one of our most effective visits yet."
 
Attendees thanked each of Missouri's House members for signing a letter sent to the National Credit Union Administration regarding its risk-based capital proposal and asked both Sens. Roy Blunt (R) and Claire McCaskill (D) to consider sending a letter regarding the proposal.
 
The group visited all 10 offices of the state's congressional delegation and attended the June 19 NCUA board meeting. Other issues included data security breach concerns, supplemental capital, member business lending, patent trolling, housing finance reform and preserving the credit union tax status when Congress addresses comprehensive tax reform.
 
Delegates included staff and volunteers from the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) and five credit unions--including Anheuser-Busch Employees' CU, St. Louis, with $1.4 billion in assets; BluCurrent CU, Springfield, with $150 million in assets; CommunityAmerica CU, Kansas City, with $1.9 billion in assets; Mid Missouri CU, Fort Leonard Wood, with $212 million in assets; and Vantage CU.
 
"The staff and volunteers made excellent points during the meetings with lawmakers," said Amy McLard, MCUA senior vice president of advocacy. "That really makes the difference with lawmakers--being able to bring the stories and issues to life with examples from back home in the district."

CU System briefs (06/26/2014)

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  • ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (6/26/14)-- The Credit Union Association of New Mexico elected new officers for its board at its annual convention June 4-6. Harold Dixon, CEO, State Employees CU, Santa Fe, with $366 million in assets, was elected board chair, and Vice Chair is Karen Griffo, CEO, Roswell Community FCU, with $25 million in assets. Ron Moorehead, president/CEO, First Financial CU, Albuquerque, with $431 million in assets, retained his position as secretary/treasurer. Other members of the board are: Chris Fitzgerald, CEO, Rio Grande CU, Albuquerque, with $245 million in assets; Ronnie Johnston, CEO, Artesia CU, with $90 million in assets; Matt Schmidt, CEO, Los Alamos Schools CU, with $16 million in assets; and Judy Carrasco, CEO, Financial Security CU, Carlsbad, with $35 million in assets ...
     
  • SOMERVILLE, Mass. (6/26/14)-- For the past year, employees of Cambridge Portuguese CU, Somerville, Mass., have nourished their community through the Community Cooks program. Community Cooks brings together volunteers to provide home-cooked meals for ShortStop, a community-based residence and transitional house for homeless young adults. The $114 million-asset credit union is a founding member of the Executive Chefs Circle, a core group of businesses who support local human service programs. "This unique program is a great way for employees to personally get involved in organizations that CPCU supports," said CEO Rui Domingos. Each month, 10 employees each prepare a part of a meal to serve 12 young adults. "CPCU is an example of what a company can do under caring leadership," said Daniele Levine, Community Cooks executive director ...
     
  • MADISON, Wis. (6/26/14)-- Julio Rios, associate vice president of mortgage lending at UW CU, Madison, Wis., was elected to the Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association's (WMBA) board of directors . Rios has been with the $1.8 million-asset credit union since 2005. UW CU has been named the top mortgage lender in Dane County for purchase financing the past four years and has been consecutively ranked as one of the state's top lenders. WMBA represents legislative and regulatory interests before the Wisconsin Legislature, the governor's office, the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and other regulatory agencies ...

The power of co-op principle No. 6: Collaboration

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AUSTIN, Texas (6/25/14)--Courtney Moran, executive director of the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, the Cornerstone Credit Union League's charitable arm, presented the keynote address at the National Cooperative Business Association's 2014 Co-op Talks in Austin, Texas.
 
The event is a town hall-style meeting designed to bring together leaders from all cooperative sectors and provide the opportunity for networking and growing strategic alliances that will advance the cooperative movement.
 
Moran's message, "The Importance of Cross-Sector Collaboration Between Credit Unions and Other Cooperatives," highlighted the need for cooperation among cooperatives. She asked the audience to consider the principles and values that credit unions and other cooperatives have in common ( Leaguer June 25).
 
"Credit unions take our credo very seriously: Not for profit, not for charity, but for service," Moran told the audience. "This effort is not meant as a charitable endeavor; it is simply good for business and will help improve our local communities. Credit unions and other cooperatives are strong forces independently, but they can be stronger together."
 
The Austin Co-op Talk came just a week after the Austin City Council approved a resolution drafted by the Austin Cooperative Business Association (ACBA) to foster cooperative solutions for affordable housing, quality jobs, and local food production and distribution in the city.
 
Moran announced that ACBA received a grant of $3,500 from the foundation to conduct a financial services survey and credit union membership drive among the association's founding member cooperatives.

'Selfies' via new website will help show the face of 100 million CU memberships

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MADISON, Wis. (6/26/14)--Collecting and displaying the faces of thousands, if not millions, of credit union members through "selfies," and to show the face of the credit union movement as it closes in on the milestone of 100 million memberships, is the aim of a new website to be unveiled Friday by the Credit Union National Association and the state credit union leagues.
 
The website,  www.americascreditunions.org , allows credit union members to upload their selfies--those ubiquitous photos or
Click to view larger image Credit union members already are sending selfies of their happy faces to CUNA's new website, which will be launched on Friday as part of CUNA's overall "100 Million Credit Union Memberships" campaign. 
videos people take of themselves, typically with a smartphone or tablet--and post to the site. The pictures submitted will be posted to the website.
 
The website is part of CUNA's overall "100 Million Credit Union Memberships" campaign, aimed to draw attention to credit unions reaching the 100 million memberships mark later this summer.
 
"The strength of our movement is the people who own it and benefit from it," said CUNA Interim President/CEO Bill Hampel. "In advance of reaching the 100 million membership mark, we want as many people as possible to understand, and see, the strength of our movement through the faces of our membership."
 
Those wishing to post a selfie don't have to wait until Friday to begin participating. Photos or videos posted beginning today have the opportunity to be among the first featured on the website. To upload a video or photo, just visit the website, fill out the form, upload from your computer (or via social media), and submit.
 
Social media can also be used by members to share submitted selfies with the hashtag #100MM on Google+, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Doing so, CUNA's Hampel said, can additionally demonstrate the power of the credit union movement online and on social media.
 
In addition: Next week at the America's Credit Union Conference (ACUC) in San Francisco, a special "100 Million Memberships" photo booth will be available. Anyone attending the conference may have their "selfie" taken in the photo booth--which will then be available to be shared via social media and posted to the Americascreditunions.org website.

CUs, leagues throw a social media party for FCU Act's 80th birthday

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MADISON, Wis. (6/26/14)--On June 26, 1934, exactly 80 years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act into law, solidifying the growing movement of member-owned, not-for-profit financial institutions.

The act promoted thrift in the United States and established a national system of credit unions that could be chartered under state or federal law. (See related story: CUNA's Hampel: CUs mark 80 years of dedicated member service under FCU Act.)

Spokane FCU created fun photos to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Federal Credit Union Act as part of a Northwest Credit Union Association social media contest. (Spokane FCU photos)
Credit unions and leagues will take to social media today, among other planned events, to celebrate and remind their employees and members of that important day for the ongoing credit union movement.

The Credit Union National Association--capitalizing on the fact that Thursdays in the social media universe are called "Throwback Thursdays," where people post items about anything pertaining to the past--is encouraging credit unions and leagues to post old photos, such as photos of original branches or headquarters, in honor of the day.

Leagues and credit unions participating also will be tacking on the hashtags: #throwbackthursday, #TBT and #FCUA80 to social media posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google+.

Meanwhile, the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) held a contest for credit unions to send in photos they felt commemorated the day--the winners of which would be awarded tickets to a gala in Spokane City, Wash.

In response, Spokane (Wash.) FCU, with $131 million assets, turned to its own Facebook page to ask its members which of the photos it created was best, including one of Roosevelt sitting at the table signing the act with a party hat on.

The credit union also is hosting a party today in the lobby of its main branch, where it will serve coffee and treats. Those who pop through the drive-up window also will be surprised with treats.

The NWCUA encourages credit unions signing on to social media to use the hashtag #CUAnniversary80.

"Social media is a great venue for raising awareness, and we thought this would a fun, interactive way of engaging members of credit unions," the league said ( Anthem June 24).
 

Las Vegas site of this year's CUNA Tech/OpSS Council conference

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MADISON, Wis. (6/26/14)--The annual conferences for the CUNA Technology Council and CUNA Operations, Sales and Service (OpSS) Council will be held concurrently Sept. 21-24 in Las Vegas.
 
"This year's conference will focus on connections. Specifically, the connections between leaders, ideas and opportunities that are driving the credit union movement forward," said Cheryl Sorenson, CUNA Councils conferences and meetings manager. "There is no better way for credit unions to discover effective technology solutions and advance their sales and service standards all in one place."
 
Conference tracks will cover issues specific to each audience. Attendees then will converge for general sessions and a keynote address by Lisa Bodell, CEO of the innovation think tank futurethink.
 
An optional preconference workshop by Neen James, author of "Folding Time: Achieve Twice as Much in Half the Time," is available, as well as speed-round presentations from 15 industry service providers.

CUAD encourages CU staff to attend SMART program

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BISMARCK, N.D. (6/26/14)--The dates are set for the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas' (CUAD) Staff Member Awareness and Response Training program (SMART), which aims to embolden and amplify the credit union movement in North Dakota and South Dakota.

"This important and necessary program is free and open to our members," CUAD Executive Vice President of Government Relations Jeff Olson said in Wednesday's The Memo . "Participation in this program is highly encouraged and recommended."

Organized by CUAD leadership, the free workshops will train credit union professionals to articulate and relay the credit union message to staff, volunteers, members, lawmakers and community leaders.

Then, those who complete the SMART program will have the ability to turn around and train other credit union employees on how to help promote the member activation program, and the credit union message in general, within each credit union ( News Now April 29).

The program is also part of the league's overarching Taxation Awareness and Response Strategy.

Credit union vice presidents, human resources professionals, trainers, leaders, managers and volunteers are welcome to attend.

The workshops last two to three hours and include lunch and refreshments.

To register, use the link. Dates, times and locations are:
  • July 14, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (CT): Town and Country CU, Minot, N.D., with $353 million in assets;
     
  • July 15, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (CT): Cass County Electric Cooperative, Fargo, N.D.;
     
  • July 16, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (CT): Service First FCU, Sioux Falls, S.D., with $132 million in assets; and
     
  • July 29, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (MT): Sentinel FCU, Rapid City, S.D., with $60 million in assets.

Q1 numbers reflect deep member ties to Ala., Fla. CUs, league says

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala., and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (6/26/14)--Alabama and Florida credit unions continue to report record asset and membership numbers, and now lending is showing signs of strength, especially in Florida, which was among the states hardest hit by the recession, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions reported.
 
The 278 collective credit unions in the two states added $2.2 billion in new assets and 100,000 new members in the first quarter. When broken down by state, Alabama's 120 credit unions added $479 million in new assets for a record $18.8 billion and 9,000 new members for a record 1.88 million members. Florida's 158 credit unions added $1.8 billion in new assets for a record $49 billion in assets and 91,000 new members for a record 4.8 million members.

"We can see that members are doing more than just joining a credit union," said Patrick La Pine, LSCU president/CEO. "The loan growth shows that more small businesses are getting help from their credit union, more families are able to upgrade their vehicle, and families continue to save money."

In Alabama, credit unions added $23 million in new loans, with the surge driven by used-auto lending. Alabama's credit unions are making 8% more used auto loans than the national credit union average. They are also making 4% more than the national credit union average on overall auto loans. In Florida, credit unions added $339 million in new loans, with $48 million coming from new member business loans. Florida's credit unions also are making about 3% more auto loans than the national credit union average.
 
Alabama members added $429 million to their savings in the first quarter, while Florida members saved $1.5 billion.
 
Delinquency and charge-off rates are dropping in both states. Delinquencies at Alabama's credit unions delinquency rate fell 30 basis points (bp) to just over 1% and the net charge-off rate is 0.56%, right at the national credit union average.
 
Florida's credit unions have seen their delinquency rate cut in half in five years. Delinquencies improved another 33 bp in the first quarter to drop to 1.29%. Net charge-offs were also cut in half over the past five years to 0.77%, which is just 25 bp above the national credit union average. This is a dramatic improvement since 2011.
 
Credit unions are local with the workforce all coming from within the communities where they are located. Alabama credit unions added 52 new full-time employees in the first quarter and have added nearly 300 new full-time employees since 2011. In Florida, 77 new full-time employees were added to payrolls in the first quarter, and 836 new full-time employees have been hired since 2011.

CU System briefs (06/25/2014)

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  • MERIDEN, Conn. (6/25/14)--More than 80 golfers helped raise about $24,000 for the Connecticut Credit Union Charitable Foundation during the annual Dick Abely Golf Tournament June 16 in Bristol, Conn. (Weekly Update June 24). The foundation primarily focuses on food insecurity, supporting the Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare food pantries year-round. It also donates to local charities and the Boys & Girls Club youth of the year event ...
     
  • BALTIMORE (6/25/14)--More than 600 people attended the June 13 retirement party for Bert Hash Jr., who retired after 17 years as president/CEO of MECU of Baltimore Inc. During his tenure, the credit union grew to more than $1.3 billion in assets from $400 million and now counts more than 106,000 members. Among the attendees were Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore), and representatives of the African-American Credit Union Coalition and Hash's alma mater, Morgan State University. "This has been the most rewarding part of my career, working with the wonderful team at MECU to develop an exceptional financial institution to serve the people of the community I love," Hash said. Gary J. Martin, MECU senior vice president/chief lending officer, is Hash's successor. Andy Pataki, MECU former chief operating officer, left, and board Chair Herman Williams Jr., right, watch Hash slice into his retirement cake (MECU of Baltimore photo) ...
     
  • ONTARIO, Calif. (6/25/14)--The financial literacy work of Astrid Rives, chief marketing officer at $427-million asset SkyOne FCU, was recognized by U.S. Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), a member of the House Financial Services Committee (In the News June 19). Rives was honored for being an outstanding business leader in the financial services Industry--particularly in the realm of financial literacy. The Hawthorne, Calif., credit union uses both the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation's "Bite of Reality" financial simulation workshops and "Borrow and Save" small-dollar loans to help members build financial knowledge. "It was such an honor to receive this recognition from Congressman Campbell," Rives said. "His continued dedication over the years to fiscal restraint and responsible budgeting is something we at SkyOne also believe in, making it core to our mission as a credit union when serving our members" ...

News Now subscribers: Please update email permissions to ensure delivery

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MADISON, Wis. (6/24/14)--News Now is upgrading its email delivery system to better serve our readers--and we'd like to ensure there is no interruption in its delivery to our subscribers.

Starting this Friday, readers will receive the same timely and comprehensive daily news content from the Credit Union National Association and it will be delivered through a more powerful communications application. 

This change means you may have to take some simple action to keep the latest news dropping directly into your email box each morning. Please look for email from CUNA this week with details.

The vast majority of our subscribers will simply need to add News Now to their safe-senders list--so the  headlines email does not go to a junk mail folder. A small percentage of our readers will need to set up a CUNA.org profile. Either way, subscribers will get an email with instructions tailored to their needs.

If any reader requires additional assistance, please contact CUNA's IT department at webservices@cuna.coop for immediate help.

Suncoast foundation awards $88K to 4 college freshmen

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TAMPA, Fla. (6/25/14)--At $88,000, this year's scholarship distribution is the most ever by Suncoast Credit Union Foundation, the charitable arm of $5.7 billion-asset Suncoast CU, Tampa, Fla.
 
"We believe that an investment in our youth is an investment in our community," said Mary Tlachac, foundation executive director.
 
Four high school seniors will receive funds for degree tracks and vocational-technical programs.
 
The $10,000 scholarship, renewable for four years, went to Caitlin Early, a graduate of Golden Gate High, Naples. She plans to major in education at Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers.
 
Monica Olvera graduated from Dunbar High School, Fort Myers, and will be attending Edison State College, Fort Myers, to study nursing. Her $6,000 per year scholarship will cover two years toward an associate in arts degree followed by $10,000 per year for two years to complete a bachelor's degree at a four-year university.
 
Another $6,000 scholarship winner is Justice Alvarado, who graduated from Manatee High School, Bradenton, and will attend Manatee Technical Institute. The two-year renewable scholarship will go toward Alvarado's nursing studies at the State College of Florida, Bradenton.
 
Immokalee (Fla.) High School graduate Alan Garcia has been accepted into the heavy equipment program at i-Tech-Immokalee Technical Center and will receive a $4,000 scholarship.
 

Debit card usage weathers data security issues

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HOUSTON (6/25/14)--Credit unions and other financial institutions definitely took a  operational hit from the Target security breach, but debit card use continued to surge in 2013, according to the 2014 Debit Issuer Study, commissioned by PULSE.
 
The Target breach affected every financial institution that participated in the study, causing fraud loss rates to increase in 2013 and compelling issuers to re-evaluate their strategies for improving card security in 2014, the study found.
 
Overall, 14% of all debit cards were exposed in data breaches in 2013, compared with 5% in 2012. The resulting 2013 fraud losses to financial institutions amounted to 5.7 basis points (bp) for signature debit and 0.7 bp for PIN debit. Compared with the prior year, PIN debit fraud loss rates remained constant at 0.3 cents per transaction, on average, while signature debit loss rates increased to 2.2 cents per transaction, up from 2 cents.
 
Issuers also reported on fraud loss rates by payment usage. International transactions caused loss rates of 51 bp, compared to 8 bp for domestic card-not-present transactions and 2 bp for domestic card-present transactions.
 
Financial institutions weathered the Target data breach and are looking for solutions to enhance security, with many issuers now planning to implement the Europay-MasterCard-Visa (EMV) standard debit, the study indicated.
 
About 84% of financial institutions reissued all exposed cards in response to the Target breach, compared with only 29% that typically reissue all exposed cards as a standard response to breaches.
 
The study found that 86% of participating U.S. issuers plan to start issuing EMV debit cards within the next two years, and most will begin EMV debit issuance in 2015. The most common strategy among financial institutions is to provide account holders with an EMV debit card as part of their regular card reissuance cycle.
 
Outside of the challenges caused by data breaches, debit continued its growth trajectory in 2013. Consumers continue to shift to electronic payments, with transactions per active card increasing to 20.1 per month from 19.4 a year earlier. Metrics such as penetration, active rate and ticket size remained consistent year-over-year. There was an uptick in usage of business debit cards: Transactions per active card per month increased to 14.5 from 13.5.
 
Continuing historical trends, signature debit declined in its share of total transactions between 2012 and 2013, falling to 62% from 64% for consumer cards, and to 70% from 72% for business cards. As regulated issuers--those with more than $10 billion in global assets--receive equivalent interchange for signature and PIN transactions but incur lower costs on PIN transactions, large debit issuers now tend to prefer PIN transactions.
 
To foster continued debit growth, issuers reported working both to improve current performance and to make their debit offerings more attractive. Forty-eight percent of regulated issuers now offer debit rewards programs, and most of these use merchant offers.
 
As issuers continue to promote the migration of cash payments to cards, PULSE expects overall ATM use to naturally decline. In 2013, ATM withdrawals reached a study-wide low of 2.3 per active card per month. Large banks expect ATM transactions to continue to decline, but credit unions and community banks project increased ATM transaction volume as they seek to drive traffic from the branch to the ATM.

Half of Americans have little to no emergency savings: Bankrate

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NEW YORK (6/25/14)--More than a quarter of the U.S. population has not saved a dime for emergency situations, according to a Bankrate.com report released Monday.

In addition, two-thirds of Americans have saved less than the equivalent of six months' worth of expenses--the recommended emergency savings balance--and half have put away less than three months' worth (Bankrate.com June 23).

The number of people who have stocked up enough savings to cover the cost of three months of expenses dropped to 40% this year from 45%.

"Americans continue to show a stunning lack of progress in accumulating sufficient emergency savings," said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com's chief financial analyst. "Even among the highest-income households--those with annual income of $75,000 or above--fewer than half (46%) currently have a six-month savings cushion."

Adults age 30 to 49 are the least likely to have any emergency savings, the report found. On the other hand, the 18-to-30 demographic is the most likely to have at least five months' worth of expenses saved.

McBride says the reason for the disparity is that "many of those under the age of 30 have the benefit of lower expenses due to roommates, living with their parents or being students," while those in the 30-to-49 bracket are living through their "high-spending" years when expenses climb at a fast clip.

Meanwhile, Bankrate.com also reported this week that its Financial Security Index rebounded to 101.5 this month, indicating an "improvement over one year ago" and mirroring the positive consumer sentiment report released by the Conference Board Tuesday. (See related story: Despite modest income growth, June consumer confidence jumps.)

Within the survey results, 24% of respondents feel more secure in their jobs than they did a year ago, compared with 17% who feel less secure. And 23% are more comfortable with debt than they were in June 2013, while 20% have become less comfortable.

Net worth and overall financial health also both posted strong survey results, according to Bankrate.com.

"Savings remains a weak spot and has been in negative territory every month since polling began in December 2010," Bankrate.com said.

CUNA volunteer program adds ERM course

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MADISON, Wis. (6/25/14)--The Credit Union National Association has introduced a new course for credit union directors on enterprise risk management (ERM), developed in partnership with The Rochdale Group Inc. 
 
The course, "Enterprise Risk Management for Directors," is now available through the CUNA Volunteer Achievement Program.
 
"We developed this course based on the success of our biannual ERM conference, which continues to attract more and more attendees," said Kevin Smith, CUNA director of learning and events. "As more credit unions discover the growing necessity of an overarching risk management process, we want to make sure that quality content is readily available to volunteers across the movement."
 
Available in both print and ebook formats, "Enterprise Risk Management for Directors" introduces credit union volunteers to the concept and scope of ERM as well as directors' roles in in incorporating it into credit union operations.
 
Course topics include:
  • Introduction to ERM fundamentals;
  • ERM roles and responsibilities;
  • Risk appetite development;
  • ERM governance, integration and risk traps;
  • Board liability, risk management regulations and ERM policy;
  • ERM and strategic planning;
  • Capital adequacy, risk-based capital and risk-adjusted return measures; and
  • Theory into practice: ERM in your credit union.
 
The CUNA Volunteer Achievement Program's self-study courses teach the philosophical and financial topics that volunteers need for their decision-making responsibilities--and provides participant recognition along the way. For more information, use the resource link.

Thompson, Katin inducted into Dakotas' CU Hall of Fame

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BISMARCK, N.D. (6/25/14)--The Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD) has enshrined two new members into its Credit Union Hall of Fame.

Created to commemorate those who have significantly impacted the credit union movement, the awards were presented June 6 at the CUAD Awards Banquet in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The inductees were Donald Thompson, longtime member and board member of Service First FCU, Sioux Falls, with $132 million in assets; and Janice Katin, former CEO of Affinity First FCU, Minot, N.D., with $49 million in assets.

Thompson has been a member of Service First since 1960 when it operated out of a small building run by three employees. It has since grown to four branches and employs 60 people.

Thompson also has served on the credit union's board of directors since 1982 and sat on its credit committee from 1982 to 1987, with a stint as vice chair from 1990 to 1995. He also served on the supervisory committee from 1995 to 1996.

Katin was acting CEO of Affinity First from 1995 until last month and served on the North Dakota Credit Union League board from 1993 to 1999.

A graduate of the 1986 Credit Union National Association Management School, Katin served on the league's Family Involvement Board for nearly a decade where she developed the Pee Wee Penguin youth savers program, which earned her the nickname "Pee Wee's Mom."

CU campaign 'moo-ves' members to support 4-H, food pantry

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GERMANTOWN, Md. (6/25/14)--Mid-Atlantic FCU, with $279 million in assets, is encouraging members and the community to make a "[MOO]ve Against Hunger."
 
The Germantown, Md., credit union is using social media to solicit donations to purchase locally raised steers during the Montgomery County 4-H auction and, in turn, give the meat to the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg.
 
Donations to the "[MOO]ve Against Hunger" campaign can be made either at the custom website or by texting "BEEF" to 55155. Text donors will receive a link directing them to a mobile donation page.
 
For every dollar donated between now and July 31, Mid-Atlantic FCU will match up to $5,000.
 
All donors will receive a social media thank you via MAFCU's Facebook page, along with an image of the "[MOO]ve Against Hunger" poster that can be shared and reposted on personal social networks.
 
Last year, the credit union provided a quality protein source to close to 400 families last year, said Marc Wilensky, Mid-Atlantic FCU vice president of marketing. He added that the credit union wanted to do more and enlisted CafeGive Social expand its reach into the community and inspire others to join it in helping Manna Food Center provide even more quality local beef to its neighbors in need.

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 ...

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.

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.

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."

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.

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 moneypossible.org blog and on various social media platforms.

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.

N.Y. legislature passes FOM improvements bill

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/23/14)--The New York Senate passed legislation last week that would allow state-chartered credit unions to further diversify their fields of membership.
 
The legislation would allow state-chartered credit unions to apply for the ability to combine select employer groups, associational and community groups into a single field of membership.
 
The state Assembly version of the bill was passed earlier in the week. The legislation is now ready to be delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be signed into law.
 
"We modeled the legislation after a handful of other states that have similar laws for state charters," Michael Lanotte, Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) senior vice president/general counsel told News Now . "Those states have pretty high percentages of credit unions with state charters, so we believe this legislation will make the state charter a more attractive choice for our credit unions."

CUANY has strongly advocated for the legislation, which was passed during the last day of the legislative session. The league has worked closely with the governor's office and top lawmakers to address certain language revisions requested by Cuomo.

CU System briefs (06/23/2014)

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  • WASHINGTON (6/23/14)-- Just hours after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) (left in photo) learned of his success in securing an important House leadership position last week, John Magill (right), of the Credit Union National Association, offered the new House majority leader CUNA's congratulations on the victory. Magill, who is CUNA executive vice president of government affairs, notes that McCarthy is "well-respected, and well-liked among his colleagues, and his door is open to credit unions for our views." McCarthy has addressed CUNA's premier Governmental Affairs Conference numerous times and when he did so in 2014 he called credit unions "a symbol of free enterprise, low risk and upward mobility." He also expressed concerns that regulations are hindering the not-for-profit institutions.  McCarthy also noted the key role that credit unions have played in his life: When he attended junior college, he took out a loan from Kern Schools FCU, Bakersfield, Calif. He added that he'd never had made it to the position of majority whip, his leadership position at that time, if he didn't belong to a credit union ...
  • DES MOINES, Iowa (6/23/14)-- The Iowa Credit Union Foundation (ICUF) raised more than $12,000 at its 2014 Annual Golf Classic Fundraiser. The funds will help ensure that ICUF is able to reach more low-income families in Iowa. "Thanks to our generous sponsors and donors, the Iowa Credit Union Foundation is able to offer a variety of programs that help Iowans build wealth, responsibility and independence," said Jaimie Miller, ICUF executive director.  Founded in 1995 as the philanthropic arm of the Iowa Credit Union League, ICUF's primary focus is to eliminate poverty in the state of Iowa ...
  • COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (6/23/14)-- Charles Emmer, CEO of Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Ent FCU, will retire in October after 18 years at the helm of the $3.9 billion-asset credit union ( The Gazette June 20). Randy Bernstein, who has served as Ent's president and chief operating officer since 2011, will succeed Emmer as CEO and continue as president ...

CUAD names N.D. Dora Maxwell Award honorees

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BISMARCK, N.D. (6/23/14)--North Dakota credit unions recently received high honors at the state level in the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Awards program.

The awards were presented at the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas Annual Summit held at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., June 4-6. 

The Dora Maxwell Awards for Social Responsibility Award signifies a commitment to volunteering time, energy, and resources to boost the living standards of others.

 Award winners included:
  • $5 million to $20 million in assets: Postal Family FCU, Fargo, with $20 million in assets;
  • $50 million to $100 million in assets: Railway CU, Mandan, with $88 million in assets;
  • $100 million to $200 million in assets: Citizens Community CU, Devils Lake, with $151 million in assets; and
  • $200 million to $500 million in assets: First Community CU, Jamestown, with $491 million in assets.
The award is named for Dora Maxwell, a credit union pioneer who worked to improve the living standards of the underserved. Maxwell was an original signer of the Credit Union National Association's constitution, and an organizer of hundreds of credit unions and volunteer clubs in the U.S.

The winners will move on to CUNA's national award competition. National winners are honored at the 2015 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

Pearl Harbor FCU shields victims from predatory lenders

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HONOLULU (6/23/14)--Pearl Harbor FCU, Waipahu, Hawaii, with $341 million in assets, has launched a program that offers members an alternative to predatory payday loans.
 
Called the Smart Advance, the program offers short-term loans to members without forcing them to navigate the traditional application process, all with an interest rate substantially lower than what payday lenders tag people with ( Hawaii Reporter June 19).
 
"Our goal is to help our communities with products and services that will empower them financially," Neal S. Takase, Pearl Harbor president/CEO told the Hawaii Reporter . "Many individuals in our state, unfortunately, have experienced the negative consequences of a payday lending cycle. With products like the Smart Advance, we can assist and hopefully prevent members from becoming victims of financial abuse."
 
The advantages of using Pearl Harbor's program include: receiving longer repayment terms, having access to small-dollar amounts, receiving fast approval and securing manageable rates and fees.
 
The NCUA's short-term, small-amount loan program permits federal credit unions to charge an interest rate that is a maximum of 10 percentage points above the established usury ceiling at that time. Currently, this amounts to an interest rate ceiling of 28%.
 
Pearl Harbor also offers a discounted 18% rate as well.
 
On average, those who borrow from storefront, predatory payday lenders are given two weeks, or until the next payday, to pay back the entire loan, which typically pack interest rates of about 400%, according to a study by Pew Charitable Trusts. 
 
The upfront cash allows the consumer to pay off bills on short notice, but the untenable terms often leave the borrower indebted for months--forcing them to roll over the loans repeatedly.
 
When accounting for the fees and the finance charges, paying off the payday loan becomes very difficult, if not impossible, said Glen Fukunaga, Pearl Harbor vice president of lending. The Smart Advance is a better, more affordable alternative than a traditional payday loan.

Thrivent Financial members proclaim CU difference on Facebook

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (6/23/14)--While some credit union marketing specialists debate the best way to engage with members online, one credit union affiliate appears to have struck gold with a simple question.
 
Thrivent Financial, a faith-based fraternal benefit society, received almost 70 overwhelmingly positive comments about credit unions when it asked people who "like" it on Facebook: "Are you a member of a credit union? Why?"

"Better service and lower fees than a bank," replied on commenter, Gunner Cumming. 
 
"Credit Unions all the way... 1) more personable 2) lower rates and fees/if any 3) great service 4) shared branching which gives me 5000 branches nationwide," wrote Karla Matthess Roman.
 
"I like the credit unions for a number of reasons. They don't have as many fees, membership has a voice in things, higher rates on accounts," said Elizabeth Collins Stewart.
 
"I had bad experience with Bank of America . Twice," wrote Bobbie Krumm. "I won't trust them with my money. My company had a credit union and I joined. Love them. They are so nice and easy. Always willing to help."
 
Tracy Helling remarked that "free ATM is awesome and I got a truck loan I never thought I would get! Awesome."
 
Thrivent Financial then directed those it had engaged with to its "friends over at Thrivent Federal Credit Union." 
 
"I will visit your website," said James M. Edwards Jr., a commenter who had previously asked if Thrivent FCU was for everyone.
 
Thrivent FCU is based in Appleton, Wisc. It was chartered in 2012 with about $500 million in assets from the deposits and liabilities of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

Gov. Corbett signs update to Pa. state CU code

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (6/23/14)--Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett last week signed an update to the state credit union code.

House Bill 2009 was sponsored by Rep. Linda Schlegel Culver (R-Sunbury).

The legislation clarifies the ability of a credit union's membership to amend, or appeal a board initiated bylaw amendment. Credit unions will no longer need to submit a petition obtained from the Department of Banking and Securities when a credit union amends or appeals its bylaws.

Also under the bill, inactive accounts would reflect the Pennsylvania Treasury escheat to five years from six years.

The legislation would give credit unions the ability to correspond with their memberships by fax, email or other electronic communication after obtaining member consent.

Credit unions could collect fees paid to outside collectors for other share or loan service-related amounts owed to the credit union as well. In addition, credit unions could recoup the actual sums they expend.

Young & Free Maine campaign gains traction with media

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WESTBROOK, Maine (6/23/14)--Whoever wins the honor of serving as the next Young and Free Maine Spokester will already have clocked valuable speaking engagement time, as each of the three finalists made several appearances on Maine's radio airwaves last week ( Weekly Update June 20).

The finalists, who are competing to represent the 18-to-25 demographic within the credit union movement in Maine for one year as the official "spokester," appeared on two radio stations in the Portland, Maine-area and one station in the Augusta/Waterville-area.

Each answered questions about their experiences, background and what sets them apart from the other candidates.

"We are covering the state with interviews, creating a lot of awareness and excitement and driving significant traffic to the website as voting has been strong since it started," said Debra Trautman, Maine Credit Union League vice president of corporate marketing. "It's also a great way to build awareness for Young & Free Maine and, of course, Maine credit unions."

Jon Paradise, league vice president of governmental affairs, joined the finalists for their interviews and also took the opportunity to speak about the benefits of credit unions for 18 to 25-year-olds.

Young & Free, a campaign launched in 2007 by Canadian marketing firm Currency Marketing, builds a social media and product promotion campaign around a Gen Y 'spokester,' who's role is to create a credit union buzz through these various types of media. 

The finalists for Maine Spokester position are: Alexis Albert, 24, from Old Orchard; Andrew Soucy, 20, from Biddeford; and Mallory Lavoie, 24, from Orono.

With voting entering its final few days this week, the finalists will participate in several more radio interviews throughout the state. Voting ends Friday at 3 p.m.  (ET) and the winner will be announced Friday evening.

To see the challenge videos and blogs submitted by the three finalists, or to vote, use the resource link.

McKinsey: FIs must meet consumer needs anytime, anywhere

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NEW YORK (6/20/14)--Consumers have endless, around-the-clock online and off-line options for researching and buying new products and services. Financial institutions, including credit unions, must understand that digital channels no longer simply represent "a cheaper way" to interact with members and customers. Rather, they are critical for promoting, stimulating sales, and increasing market share, according to McKinsey and Company. 
 
McKinsey says that to keep up with rapid technology cycles and improve their multiplatform marketing efforts, financial institutions must take a different approach to managing the consumer decision journey--one that embraces the speed that digitization brings and focuses on capabilities in three areas:
  • Discover. Financial institutions must apply analytics to the data at their disposal to gain a 360-degree view of their members and customers, McKinsey said. Credit union member engagement strategies should be based on analysis of members' recent behaviors and past experiences with the credit union, as well as the signals embedded in members' mobile or social-media data.
  • Design. Consumers now have much more control over where they will focus their attention, so companies need to craft a compelling customer experience in which all interactions are tailored to a consumer's stage in the decision process.
  • Deliver. Employ "always-on" marketing programs, in which financial institutions engage with consumers in exactly the right way at any contact point along the decision process, and that require agile teams of experts in analytics and information technologies, marketing and experience design.
To get the full member portrait rather than just a series of snapshots, credit unions need a central data mart that combines all the contacts a members has with the credit union brand: basic consumer data plus information about transactions, browsing history, and member-service interactions, according to McKinsey.
 
"This collection effort requires input from people across multiple functions--a complex undertaking, to be sure, but the payoff can be big," the report said.

CU System briefs (06/20/2014)

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  • SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (6/20/14)--Service First FCU, Sioux Falls, S.D., with $132 million in assets, was recognized as the first-place winner of the South Dakota Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Awards. The program recognizes credit unions that have excelled in community relations and are committed to ongoing charitable programs within their communities. The award is named for Dora Maxwell, a credit union pioneer who worked to improve the living standards of the underserved. Service First FCU will move on to the Credit Union National Association's national award competition. The winners are honored at the 2015 CUNA Government Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. ...
  • HILLIARD, Ohio (6/20/14)--
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    Credit Union of Ohio hosted a community carnival June 13 at its Hilliard, Ohio, headquarters. More than 300 people attended the family-friendly event, which provided free activities for kids of all ages, including 12 carnival game stations, live music, face painting, a bounce house, balloon twisting, prizes, popcorn, cotton candy and a chance to win cash in a money-blowing machine. "We plan at least one large event per year to show appreciation to our members and positively give back to the communities we serve," said Jill Gerschutz, the $134 million-asset credit union's vice president of marketing ...

Report: Banks know customers hate them

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MADISON, Wis. (6/20/14)--Banks may often seem oblivious to the enmity they stir up with consumers. But a new report indicates they are at least aware of the impact that a bad reputation may have on their bottom lines.
 
More than 80% of communications, marketing and investor relations managers at banks, brokerages and other financial services firms said that they think the financial crisis of 2008 is still having a negative impact on their companies, according a survey of banking executives at 225 companies. The survey was done for the public relations and communications firm Makovsky by market researcher Ebiquity and reported by CNNMoney this week.
 
Those reputation problems have cost banks an estimated 27% in revenue over the past two years, according to Scott Tangney, executive vice president of Makovsky.
 
But the banks aren't accepting the responsibility for their bad rep. About 55% of the executives surveyed thought regulatory actions, fines and lawsuits were hurting the industry's reputation. State attorneys general and federal regulators continue to go after the industry, keeping banks in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, banks claim.
 
Still, more than 60% of survey respondents said that improving both customer and employee satisfaction would be a "very important" step towards improving the reputation of banks.
 
Financial services firms with Wall Street exposure have the most to prove to consumers, Tangney said. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup have suffered the biggest hits to their reputations in recent years. All have faced multi-billion dollar settlements tied to less-than-reputable banking practices.

Workers' CU marks 100th anniversary

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FITCHBURG, Mass. (6/20/14)--Workers' CU, Fitchburg, Mass., was the eighth credit union to open its doors in the United States and it is celebrating 100 years of work this year.  The $1.1 billion-asset credit union has seen new leadership come and go over the last century, but the mission of this member-owned financial institution, to serve its community, has never been altered.
 
Workers' CU Treasurer J. Gustav Laakso; President of Mass. CUNA Albert Rubin; Executive Director of Mass. CUNA Thomas N. Lowe; Secretary of WCU Savele Syrjala; and President of WCU Eino A. Tofferi, stand around Massachusetts Gov. Endicott Peabody, who signed a bill to increase deposit amounts for credit union members in 1963. (Leominster Champion photo)
Workers' opened in 1914 to serve the local immigrant community, according to Doug Petersen, current president/CEO. The first credit union in the nation--St. Mary's Bank Credit Union of Manchester, N.H.--had been founded only six years earlier (Sentinel and Enterprise June 8).
 
With language and cultural barriers barring Finnish immigrants from banks, the founder of the credit union, a 26-year-old Finnish man who Petersen has described as having "guts" for trying to cobble together his own financial institution, decided to form the credit union.
 
The passion of Workers' CU's founder, John Suominen, was captured in the meeting minutes of a 1914 Finnish Socialist Federation meeting held in Fitchburg.
 
"The existence of workers' banks in America is only a matter of time," Suominen said (Sentinel and Enterprise). "If we consider just the Finnish socialist organizations, newspapers, buildings, cooperatives and all the other efforts in America plus the private savings, we have huge amounts and shining results.
 
"So it is high time that we begin to organize matters in such a way that the resulting bank will be entirely our own. This is possible only by founding our own bank."
 
The credit union, which operated primarily in Finnish until 1963, thrived, Petersen told the Sentinel and Enterprise, and had topped $1 million in assets by 1929.
 
That was five years before the signing of the Federal Credit Union Act--the source of authority for all federally chartered credit unions, which also governs the coverage and terms of all federally-insured credit union accounts.
 
The act turns 80 on Thursday.  
 
Workers' was created to serve primarily an underserved immigrant community, but it has evolved into a credit union that now serves the entire region.
 
The institution gives money and man-hours to the local chamber of commerce, the Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts, the United Way and Relay for Life.
 
Recently, the president of the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, Phil Grzewinski, called the credit union a "Class-A organization" and a major player in community betterment for the region, according to the Sentinel and Enterprise.
 
The credit union carries on a rich history that has seen political turmoil, wars and the Great Depression, but through it all, has held true to its founding principles of helping neighbors and everyday people achieve their goals, whether it's starting a business, buying a home or paying for an education, Petersen told the Sentinel and Enterprise.

SBA, Agility partner to offer July 8 'preparedness' webinar

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WASHINGTON (6/20/14)--As part of its ongoing PrepareMyBusiness campaign, the U.S. Small Business Administration is again partnering with Agility Recovery to present an online discussion of how businesses can prepare to blunt the impact of a disaster before it strikes.     

The SBA cites an "overwhelming" Red Cross statistic: 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster.  

On July 8, the SBA and Agility will offer a free disaster-preparedness webinar entitled, "The Top 5 Risks to Business in America." Space is limited. A presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session. (Use the resource link for registration information.)

The Credit Union National Association also offers comprehensive disaster preparedness materials, including a checklist that asks credit unions if they have alternate plans to serve their members' needs if their conventional cash source is cut off, if they have the resources needed to keep their credit union open in the event of a power outage, and if they have the ability to deal with short-term relocation, if needed.

The CUNA disaster preparedness page also links to CUNA Strategic Services (CSS), which offers key products and services to assist credit unions in the event a disaster. SBA and CSS partner Agility Recovery provides disaster recovery services to credit unions across the country.

LSCU presents annual awards, announces board election results

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala., and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (6/20/14)--The League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU) made a handful of credit union professionals happy last week, announcing the recipients of its 2014 LSCU Awards. The league also elected its new board members.

The awards recognized professionals, volunteers and individual credit unions that have contributed in an outstanding fashion to the development and growth of the credit union movement in Alabama and Florida.

"The LSCU Awards signify the effort and member-focused approach by each of these recipients," said league President/CEO Patrick La Pine. "They represent some of the best and brightest of our industry and illustrate how credit unions work hard every day to help their members."

The awards were presented June 13 at the Southeast Credit Union Conference and Expo in Orlando.

Recipients included:
  • Larry Scott, past president/CEO, CAMPUS USA CU, Jonesville, Fla., with $1.2 billion in assets, for the Distinguished Service Award, the league's highest honor, which recognizes a credit union professional who has dedicated their entire career to the movement;
  • Arthur J. Wood III, president/CEO, Railroad and Industrial FCU, Tampa, Fla., with $281 million in assets, for the Professional of the Year award;
     
  • Stephen Taylor, teller and marketing services, Florida State University CU, Tallahassee, Fla., with $149 million in assets, for the Young Professional of the Year award;
     
  • Lynne April, board member, Alabama CU, Tuscaloosa, Ala., with $641 million in assets, for Volunteer of the Year award; and
     
  • Baptist Health South Florida FCU, Miami, up to $100 million in assets; First Commerce CU, Tallahassee, $100 to $500 million in assets; and CFE FCU, Lake Mary, Fla., $500 million or more in assets, each were named credit union of the year.
After the expo, which attracted more than 1,100 attendees from four states and featured 136 vendors, the league announced its new board executive committee.

The new members include:
  • Chair: Steve Swofford, Alabama CU;
     
  • Chairman-elect: Alvin Cowans, McCoy FCU, Orlando, Fla., with $485 million in assets;
     
  • Vice chair: Tina Williams, Mobile (Ala.) Educators CU, with $77 million in assets;
     
  • Treasurer: Pat Mason, Sun CU, Hollywood, Fla., with $69 million in assets;
     
  • Secretary: Bob Steensma, Five Star CU, Dothan, Ala., with $259 million in assets; and
     
  • Immediate past chair: Mary Ott Wood, Florida West Coast CU, Brandon, Fla., with $86 million in assets.

Mainstreet cites regulatory relief, desire for increased service, for charter change

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LENEXA, Kan. (6/20/14)--Citing an encroaching regulatory burden and a desire to serve more consumers, Mainstreet CU will change from a state to a federal charter. The Lenexa, Kan.-based credit union's request for the charter change was granted by the National Credit Union Administration Thursday.
 
The $353 million-asset credit union will now operate as Mainstreet FCU.
 
"Being chartered in Kansas and with branch locations here and in Missouri, we must monitor and follow both states' laws and regulations, while also following federal regulations for a federally insured credit union," said Mainstreet FCU President/CEO John Beverlin. "Switching to a federal charter means we only have to concentrate on one set of laws, not three. And it simplifies any future expansion plans we may want to pursue, especially on the Missouri side of the state line."
 
Mainstreet FCU was chartered in Kansas in 1953 as the Northeast Johnson County Teachers' Union CU. It became a community charter in 1979, open to anyone living or working in Johnson County. It expanded its field of membership in 2005 to include residents of the Kansas City metropolitan area, and then again in 2008 to residents of Douglas County. It became Mainstreet CU in 2011.
 
About 10% of Mainstreet FCU's current members live in Missouri, but 60% of its potential members live in that state. Mainstreet FCU plans to build three new branches in Missouri over the next four years, and increase its marketing budget by 20% in each of the next two years.
 
"Once Mainstreet is able to move into Missouri, they plan to target marketing efforts toward that untapped market," said NCUA Chair Deborah Matz Thursday, who called the credit union's plan "a strong commitment."
 
Mainstreet also has five branches in underserved areas, and commissioned a study of the demographics around 12 of its branches, and used that data to create different products and services tailored to demographics of each branch.
 
Mainstreet FCU also offers many low-income services, including prepaid Visa debit cards and small unsecured loans. It offered free financial education, which includes setting up a branch twice a week at a local county corrections work release facility, aimed at providing ex-cons with the training needed to create and stick to a budget.

Nifty Fifty: Brookline's Hughes to retire after five decades

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BROOKLINE, Mass. (6/19/14)--After a half-century's worth of service, Jim Hughes, president/CEO of Brookline (Mass.) Municipal CU, will retire at the end of July.
 
League President Paul Gentile, center, visits with Jim Hughes, retiring president of Brookline Municipal CU, left, and Paul J. DeMaio, newly named CEO, right. (Daily CU Scan photo)
Hughes, who took the reins of the $42 million-asset credit union in 1971, officially started his career there in 1964.
 
"We are here for the membership," said Hughes, who describes himself as a 'member guy.' "We do a lot locally. We do a lot of charitable work and we work to pay better rates on deposits and loans than banks (Daily CU Scan June 18)."
 
Brookline Municipal, which serves primarily town of Brookline employees and retired employees, as well as residents in Brookline, is in walking distance of historic Fenway Park in Boston and its vibrant surrounding neighborhoods.
 
Hughes says as the town has evolved, so has Brookline Municipal and the services it provides members.
 
"We used to have lines out the door, down the street on paydays," he said. "Now with direct deposit, ATMs, and online services, more people can use us without stopping in."
 
Hughes also has served as the chair of the Credit Union League of Massachusetts and is an advocate for the consolidation of the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island state credit union leagues.
 
The longtime credit union leader will be succeeded at Brookline Municipal by Paul J. DeMaio, who joined the credit union in 2000 in a back-office role, focusing on accounting and core processing. As new CEO, DeMaio says he plans to preserve the traditions Hughes will leave behind when he steps down.
 
"I'm staying the course," DeMaio said. "We will continue to be an important part of the community."

Corporate Central CU announces board election results

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MUSKEGO, Wis. (6/19/14)--Corporate Central CU, Muskego, Wis., announced the results of board elections conducted at its annual meeting in Waukesha, Wis.
 
New board members include:
  • Sally Dischler, president/CEO, Heartland CU, with $222 million in assets;
  • Greg Hilbert, president/CEO, Fox Communities CU, Appleton, Wis., with $982 million in assets; and
  • Al Zierler, president/CEO, Capital CU, Kimberly, Wis.; with $480 million in assets.
 Executive committee members include:
  • Chairman: Ronald Vogel, president/CEO, Fort Community CU, Fort Atkinson, Wis., with $199 million in assets;
  • Vice chairman: Kim Sponem, president/CEO, Summit CU, Madison, Wis. with $2 billion in assets;
  • Secretary: James Schrimpf, president/CEO, Brewery CU, Milwaukee, with $32 million in assets; and
  • Treasurer: Eric Chrisinger, Co-op CU, Black River Falls, Wis., with $262 million in assets.

League joins Ala. Gov. for ceremonial Alabama CU Act signing

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (6/19/14)--The League of Southeastern Credit Unions, along with representatives from state-chartered credit unions and Sarah Moore, the new head of the Alabama Credit Union Administration, this week joined Gov. Robert Bentley for a ceremonial bill signing of the updated Alabama Credit Union Act at the state Capitol.
 
From left, Steve Swofford, president/CEO of Alabama CU, Tuscaloosa, Ala., and League of Southeastern Credit Unions board chairman; Greg McClellan, president/CEO of MAX CU, Montgomery, Ala.; Merrill Mann, president/CEO of APCO Employees CU, Birmingham, Ala.; Chris Gerety, general counsel, APCO Employees CU; Gov. Robert Bentley; Jared Ross, senior vice president, association services, LSCU; Sarah Moore, administrator, Alabama Credit Union Administration; D.G. Markwell, executive vice president marketing, MAX CU; Kim Adams, lobbyist; Jason Cochran, director of governmental affairs, Alabama, LSCU. (League of Southeastern Credit Unions photo)
Language in the new bill includes limited liability for boards and directors; new expulsion policy for members of credit unions; new penalties for fraudulent use of the term "credit union;" more protection for credit unions on accounts created by minors; and stronger liability protection to $10,000 from $5,000 on accounts of deceased members.
 
The update, which makes changes to an act that's largely been untouched since its introduction,  governs all state-chartered credit unions.

"This is the first piece of standalone credit union legislation passed by the Alabama legislature in more than 20 years," said LSCU & Affiliates president/CEO Patrick La Pine. "The updates were much needed and really align credit unions more with other financial institutions while also strengthening the Alabama Credit Union Administration."
 
The signing took place in the Old House Chamber.
 
Bentley, who had officially signed the legislation updating the Alabama Credit Union Act in April, thanked credit unions for their help in passing this important legislation (eSignal Daily June 18).
 
Credit union representatives attending the signing included:
  • Steve Swofford, president/CEO of Alabama CU, Tuscaloosa, Ala., with $640 million in assets;
  • Greg McClellan, president/CEO of MAX CU, Montgomery, Ala, with $1 million in assets;
  • Merrill Mann, president/CEO of APCO Employees CU, Birmingham, Ala, with $2.4 billion in assets;
  • Chris Gerety, general counsel, APCO Employees CU; and
  • D.G. Markwell, executive vice president of marketing, MAX CU.
Sens. Slade Blackwell (R-Mountain Brook) and Roger Bedford (D-Russellville) spearheaded the effort to pass HB 165.

Cornerstone league offers 'Get Stuff Done' conference for millennials

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (6/19/14)--With the help of its Young Professional (YP) Advisors Initiative, Cornerstone Credit Union League will engage the credit union millennial generation through its "Get Stuff Done" (GSD) conference, Aug. 7-8 in Fort Worth, Texas.
 
The theme of the conference is "Engage."
 
The league selected 12 young credit union professionals from the region to serve as YP Advisors to help bring energy, new ideas and a fresh perspective to the movement.
 
Through its YP Advisors initiative, Cornerstone is giving up-and-coming young credit union professionals a leadership role in the movement, a voice, and a platform to create, innovate and be a catalyst for change. As one of many activities, YP Advisors will collaborate with Cornerstone on its annual "Get Stuff Done" conference agenda.
 
The conference is geared towards credit union professionals 35 and under who are tuned into the cooperative movement, passionate about the credit union philosophy of "people helping people" and have a desire to showcase the credit union difference in their communities.
 
Conference speakers include:
  • Ryan Jenkins, a millennial speaker, blogger, author, and podcaster who equips his online and offline audiences to leverage next-generation tools, trends, and talent to thrive in tomorrow's multi-generational marketplace;
  • Mollie Bell, chief engagement officer, Filene Research Group, Madison, Wis.;
  • Matt Tenney, author of "Serve to Be Great: Leadership Lessons from a Prison, a Monastery, and a Board Room"; and
  • Brent Dixon, founder of The Cooperative Trust, a grassroots network of hundreds of young people fighting for the future of socially responsible finance.

Rep. Payne calls CUs 'consumer lifeline' in NJ chapter meeting

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NEWARK, N.J. (6/19/14)--Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-N.J.) this month addressed a meeting of the northern chapter of the New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL).
 
From left, New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Greg Michlig and state Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10). (New Jersey Credit Union League photo)
The newest member of New Jersey's congressional delegation discussed issues pertinent to both credit unions and the congressional committees on which he serves (The Daily Exchange June 17).
 
Payne said that he is aware of data security issues facing credit unions, as a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. He also praised credit unions' small business lending, remarking that it's relevant to his work on the House Small Business Committee.
 
In fact, very shortly after taking office in November 2012, Rep. Payne signed on as a cosponsor of a bill to increase the credit union member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets, up from the current limit of 12.25%.  His predecessor and father, the late. Rep. Donald Payne, Sr., was recognized by the league as a staunch credit union supporter. In 2008, Payne the elder was named Credit Union Legislator of the Year by the NJCUL.
 
During his address to the group, Payne, Jr. acknowledged credit unions as a lifeline for consumers, especially those who may struggle with access to other mainstream financial services providers. He cited the importance of credit unions' small business lending efforts and their focus on the communities they serve.
 
The meeting was held at the Iberia Peninsula Restaurant in Newark, and all NJCUL member credit unions were invited to attend.

CU System Briefs (06/19/2014)

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MADISON, Wis. (6/19/14)--After more than 100,000 copies were distributed to credit union members and employees last year, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) announced more copies of the book "Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security" by bestselling personal finance author Jean Chatzky are now available. The book coaches readers on how to enjoy a lifetime of financial security and how to eliminate stress over money through a set of actionable, engaging rules. After ceasing distribution earlier this year, popular demand sparked the NCUF to make more copies available--at a reduced rate. "There are credit unions clamoring for more copies of these useful handbooks to distribute in a myriad of ways to make a positive impact in their communities," Christopher Morris, NCUF director of communications, said in a press release ...
 
 
GLENDALE, Calif. (6/19/14)--Los Angeles FCU (LAFCU), in partnership with the American Red Cross, collected 23 pints of blood at the "Give Blood--Save a Life" Bloodmobile Drive June 4 at the credit union's Glendale branch. The event attracted 30 employees, members and other donors. Pints collected will assist nearly 80 Los Angeles-area patients who need blood transfusions for life-saving medical treatments. As a reward for giving blood, LAFCU gave each donor two free tickets to the Laugh Factory comedy club; a voucher for two tickets to an L.A. Galaxy soccer game; and a free Wahoo's Fish taco coupon ...
 
 
PLANO, Texas (6/19/14)--InTouch CU, Plano, Texas, with $817 million in assets, will hold a check presentation on June 26 for Cell Phones for Soldiers. The credit union has decided to go above and beyond its promise to match donations made by its membership in Texas, Nevada, Virginia and Michigan by offering a total donation of $4,000 to the nonprofit. The check will be presented to Cell Phones for Soldiers co-founder Robbie Bergquist by long-time ITCU Executive Vice President Diane Gerstner. The donation of the funds and the hundreds of cell phones donated by the ITCU membership should generate well over 2,000 hours of talk time for servicemen and women overseas ...
 
 
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (6/19/14)--Hanscom FCU, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., with $1 million in assets, supported the recent celebration of the base's Airman Leadership School. Airmen must complete the five-week ALS course before attaining the rank of staff sergeant, the first step toward a career as a military supervisor. Hanscom FCU is a long-standing sponsor of the school's graduation ceremonies. Joining the most recent class of graduates from the Airman Leadership School are, left, Col. Lester Weilacher, 66th Air Base Commander; Paul Marotta, Hanscom FCU chairman of the board; and, right, Raul Zauner, president of the Air Force Association, Paul Revere Chapter ...

Iowa CUs post strong 1Q loan growth

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DES MOINES, Iowa (6/18/14)--Iowa credit unions ranked second in the nation in annual loan growth for the first quarter, according to data released by the National Credit Union Administration, while share and deposit growth also experienced robust gains.

Only Idaho outpaced the Hawkeye State in loan growth.

Credit unions in Iowa also experienced the second-fastest growth nationally in total loans year-over-year, with total loans and leases jumping 14.4% to $8.3 billion.

"Consumer confidence is building with continued low interest rates on consumer loans and an improved housing market," said Patrick S. Jury, president/CEO, Iowa Credit Union League. "We're finding that consumers are more willing to purchase big ticket items like a home or car, and Iowa credit unions are able to assist them with their financing needs."

The state's credit unions also saw a 5.1% step up in share and deposit growth, to $10.5 billion, outpacing the national average of a 3.6% increase. Total assets ticked up 5.3% to $12.2 billion as well.

Membership growth gained 1.7% in the first quarter year-over-year, bringing total membership for Iowa credit unions up to 1,021,449.

Andrews FCU provides steaks to D-Day vets

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SUITLAND, Md. (6/18/14)--Andrews FCU saluted D-Day veterans recently by serving 600 steaks to the American heroes and their families in the same place U.S. forces famously sieged 70 years earlier.

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To commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Suitland, Md.,-based credit union delivered the meals with the help of Steak Team Mission, which has served more than 50,000 steaks to servicemembers across the globe since 2002.

Meals were served to the veterans and their family members at the Château Bernaville in Picauville, the home of the Allied Conservatory Foundation in Normandy, France.

The Château also served as headquarters for the German General Wilhelm Falley, who was in command of the German defenses stationed at the Cotentin Peninsula. Falley was ambushed and killed there by troops from the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division.

Founded in 1948 to serve military and civilian personnel, Andrews provides an array of financial products and services to its members.

The $1 billion-asset credit union serves more than 100,000 members spanning the District of Columbia, Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, and military installments in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Neb. league honors volunteer, elects board officers

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LINCOLN and OMAHA, Neb. (6/18/14)--Names have been in the news for Nebraska credit unions of late, as the Nebraska Credit Union League both honored a longtime credit union leader and announced new board officers this month. 
 
The league named Tom Bolton, board chairman and director of Liberty First CU, Lincoln, Neb., with $158 million in assets, as the 2014 Volunteer of the Year during its annual awards banquet June 5.
 
Bolton has served in a leadership role for the credit union for more than 28 years, including board chair since 1995. Bolton also has been a Liberty First member since 1969.
 
"Tom's commitment to credit unions goes beyond being a volunteer," a press release announcing the award said. "He has made personal efforts to push the credit union movement forward by participating in chapter, league and national events as well as contributing to (political action committee)."
 
Meanwhile, the league also named new officers to its board and to the Cooperative Solutions Group, the league's for-profit subsidiary, at a recent reorganization meeting.
 
The following were elected as officers to the league board:
  • Chair: Ronny Miller, president/CEO, Gallup FCU, Omaha, Neb., with $16 million in assets;
  • First vice chair: Stan Fraser, president/CEO, Nebraska Energy FCU, Columbus, Neb., with $252 million in assets; and
  • Second vice chair: Jerry Barnett, president/CEO, LincOne FCU, Lincoln, Neb., with $46 million in assets.
Officers elected to the Cooperative Solutions Group were:
  • Chair: Fraser, Nebraska Energy FCU;
  • Vice chair: Kevin Frenzel, vice president of lending, Liberty First CU; and
  • Secretary/treasurer: Amy Brodersen, president/CEO, Family Focus FCU, Omaha, $29 million in assets.

Arsenal CU partners with local high school on job shadowing program

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ARNOLD, Mo. (6/18/14)--Arsenal CU opened the doors of its main office in late May and early June to five high school student interns.
 
Click to view larger image St. Mary's High School students (from left to right) Andrew Nowak, Mike Ulsas, Tim Kroger, Matt Jones and Jake Adler pose with Arsenal CU Marketing VP Ken Moser. The students learned about marketing and accounting in an internship that took place in late May and early June. (Arsenal CU photo)
 
Three members of the quintet--Jake Adler, Matt Jones and Mike Ulsas--spent four days at the Arnold, Mo. office learning about marketing, branding and advertising. The other two--Tim Kroger and Andrew Nowak--spent five days learning about basic accounting principles and practices. All five are rising seniors at St. Mary's High school in St. Louis.

The marketing interns learned how member and customer surveys are performed. They also discussed marketing campaigns, conducted online research, and developed a direct-mail marketing piece of their own. 

The accounting interns received an overview of accounts payable and the automated clearinghouse that posts and rejects credit and debit transactions in real time. They also reviewed financial statements and helped with Arsenal's charity outreach on their last day by making bag lunches for the homeless. All five received a crash course in financial commodities, credit, saving, investing, the history of the credit unions and the difference between credit unions and banks.

"We enjoyed serving as a host site for these students and assisting them with not only their post-secondary plans, but also helping them become more financially literate while they spent time with us," said Arsenal CU vice president of marketing, Ken Moser.

St. Mary's, an all-boys Catholic high school in St. Louis, has made internship programs a graduation requirement. Arsenal also participated in the program last year--the St. Mary's internship program's inaugural year.

Arsenal CU has about $200 million in assets.

Fort Campbell FCU treats military members to a free movie

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (6/18/14)--For the seventh straight year, Fort Campbell FCU, Clarksville, Tenn., with $456 million in assets, demonstrated its support for the military by hosting Warrior Week Movie Night at a local theater.  On Friday, the credit union treated 560 active duty soldiers and their family members to a free showing of the movie, "How to Train Your Dragon 2" by DreamWorks.
 
Click to view larger image From left, Fort Campbell FCU employees, Alicia DeJesus, Jenna Greene, Karen Morgan, Kim Clarkson, Vanessa Seals and Susan Dickinson greeted members of the military and their families on Warrior Week Movie Night. (Fort Campbell FCU photo)
Military families were greeted by employees of Fort Campbell FCU and were shown to a private access line, which began forming two hours before show time. By 6 p.m., the first two theaters were sold out.
 
One movie attendee expressed her gratitude by saying, "This is why I love Fort Campbell. No other military post has treated us this well. Thank you."
 
Warrior Week Movie is also a favorite among the Fort Campbell CU employees, who are provided with an opportunity to show their appreciation for those who serve in the military.

NerdWallet: Merchants do not pass on interchange savings to consumers

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MADISON, Wis. (6/18/14)--An article on NerdWallet.com Tuesday described how merchants reacted to the interchange fee cap rule by pocketing the difference rather than passing the savings along to consumers.
 
The article outlines the findings of a paper published by Todd Zywicki, a published, nationally recognized expert on consumer credit. He, along with colleagues at the International Center for Law and Economics, just studied the effects of the interchange rule.
 
Prior to the new law, interchange fees would be assessed by issuers, such as Visa and MasterCard, to merchants when a credit or debit card transaction was executed. Debit card usage was usually free of charge to the consumer. On average, the financial institutions would end up getting 2% of the transaction as interchange fees.
 
The interchange rule was intended to cap the fees, and was supposed to limit them to charges that were "reasonable and proportional to the actual cost" of the service.  It reduced the fees financial institutions were collecting, allowing merchants to save money, which, they argued during the legislative battle that won the cap--they would pass along to consumers. Not so, says NerdWallet.
 
Under the interchange rule, merchant fees are capped at 1.12%. "Yet they keep that 0.88% difference rather than pass on savings to consumers," NerdWallet explained in the article. "What genius politician thought that merchants would pass on those savings? There is no incentive for them to do so. Merchants are businesses. If a business finds a way to save on costs, they will save on costs, which increases their net profit."
 
In a letter to Congress last fall, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and finance industry partners highlighted that "there is no evidence that consumers are seeing lower prices" on retail goods, a direct contrast from what they were promised by merchants.
 
"Despite promises by retailers, and despite a realized $8 billion windfall by these retailers over this past year, consumers have yet to see discounts for using their debit cards at the register," the letter said (News Now Sept. 24, 2013).
 
Credit unions and community banks are being harmed by the regulation, according to CUNA. The letter noted a U.S. Government Accountability Office study which found smaller community banks and credit unions, which were supposed to be "exempted" from the fallout of this legislation, have instead seen interchange revenue decreases of 5% in the first three months following interchange fee cap implementation.
 
(See related story: Retailers appeal 'interchange fee' lawsuit settlement.)

Suncoast CU pledges $250K to local YMCA

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TAMPA, Fla. (6/18/14)--Suncoast Credit Union Foundation, the charitable arm of Tampa, Fla.-based Suncoast CU, with $5.7 billion in assets, announced a $250,000 capital campaign pledge to support development of the first-ever permanent facility of the YMCA of Suncoast, Citrus County.
 
The gift will be used to establish the Youth and Teen Center, a 1,000-square-foot after-school center for middle and high school students.
 
"With over 8,500 YMCA members in Citrus County, we felt it was our responsibility to support the YMCA in constructing a permanent space for children and teens," said Mary Tlachac, executive director of the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation. "This new space will allow members to come together to learn values and positive behaviors, healthy eating and exercise habits, and social responsibility."
 
The center will include skill-building and recreational opportunities, and will be staffed by positive, caring adults who are trained to work with adolescents.
 
Only 19% of U.S. children get 60 minutes of physical activity a day, according to the latest findings of the YMCA's Family Health Snapshot, a survey that gauges children's activity levels during the school year.

CU System Briefs (06/17/2014)

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JACKSON, Mich. (6/17/14)-- Michigan Community CU, Jackson, Mich., with $123 million in assets, will offer $20 of free gas to 50 cars to market its Rad Auto Loan promotion. The auto loan promotion includes a rate as low as 2.49% APR and no payments for 90 days. "We take pride in giving back to our community," said Tina Hamilton, Michigan Community CU CEO. "It is rewarding to see our members and staff really having fun with this promotion" …
 
ARLINGTON, Va. (6/17/14)-- Richard F. Stipa, CEO Trevose, Pa.-based TruMark Financial CU, with $1.5 billion in assets, has been appointed to the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors Credit Union Advisory Council. Stipa will represent District 1, which includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Vermont, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan …

First malware threats stalks mobile banking security

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WOBURN, Mass. (6/17/14)--In what may be the first major security threat to mobile banking users, Kaspersky Lab discovered that a breed of malware targeting mobile devices had made its way from Russia to the United States.
 
Svpeng was detected for the first time one year ago by experts at Kaspersky Lab. The first instances were designed to steal payment card information from customers of a Russian bank. In the last weeks, a new variant of Svpeng malware was identified, it has been locking up mobile devices of U.S. users.
 
In the most recent variant discovered in the United States, Svpeng breaks into a mobile device through a social engineering technique using text messages.
 
For now, Svpeng does not steal credentials, but it is only a matter of time, as it is a modification of a Trojan, Kaspersky Lab said. Currently, the Trojan checks a user's phone for a list of certain financial applications, most likely for future usage, and will subsequently and steal login/password of online banking as it does now among Russian banks accounts.
 
English-language Svpeng currently checks the following applications presence on a victim's device:
  • USAA Mobile;
  • Citi Mobile;
  • Amex Mobile;
  • Wells Fargo Mobile;                        
  • Bank of America Mobile Banking;
  • TD App;
  • Chase Mobile;                         
  • BB&T Mobile Banking; and
  • Regions Mobile.
After the malware identifies a mobile banking application, it locks the screen of the mobile device with the imitation of an FBI penalty notification letter and demands $200 in the form of Green Dot's MoneyPak cards.

Michigan league, CUs testify on electronic titling bill

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LANSING, Mich. (6/17/14)--The Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) and representatives from four affiliated credit unions testified before the Michigan State House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday to advocate for legislation to prevent vehicle title fraud.
 
Currently, vehicle titles in Michigan are in paper form and held by the borrower. MCUL is supporting Senate bills 915-918 to require that vehicle titles with liens be held electronically, and that transactions related to lien placement and release be conducted electronically.
 
Testimony provided real-world examples of how scammers have altered paper documents to fraudulently show that a loan has been paid off. David Richmond, a representative from the office of Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's office, said that the auto loan process would not be affected. Rather, the legislation would change how titles are issued. The secretary, along with MCUL, has spearheaded the initiative.
 
"The only difference is, there would be no piece of paper issued to you that would be utilized in order to transfer ownership in the vehicle," said Richmond.
 
Among the representatives from Michigan credit unions who testified were:
  • Doug Seaney, executive vice president, lending, Bay Winds FCU, Charlevoix, with $175 million in assets;
  • Bryan Caputo, vice president of lending, First General CU, Muskegon, with $66 million in assets;
  • Chris Mangeno, business lending and special assets manager, Cornerstone Community Financial CU, Auburn Hills, with $209 million in assets; and
  • Stephen Dedene, manager, compliance and regulatory affairs, Credit Union ONE, Ferndale, with $831 million in assets.
If enacted, the legislation would be effective by October 2015, and would provide heightened criminal penalties in the interim. The legislation appears on track for further action when the Legislature reconvenes in the fall, the league said.

DE program launched in Africa

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MADISON, Wis. (6/17/14)--The first Africa Credit Union Development Education program was recently completed in Nairobi, Kenya.
 
Click to view larger image Graduates of the first Africa Development Training with staff in Nairobi, Kenya. (National Credit Union Foundation photo)
The Africa DE program was organized by the African Confederation of Cooperatives Savings and Credit Associations (ACCOSCA) in partnership with the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), along with the World Council of Credit Unions and National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), with the aim of fostering cooperative values among the leaders in the African credit union system.
 
"It is amazing to see the ripple effect of NCUF's DE program to strengthen credit unions around the world, particularly with this new DE program in Africa," said Lois Kitsch, NCUF program director and co-facilitator of Africa DE. "Not only did George and others bring lessons learned around credit union and cooperative values back to their respective organizations after completing NCUF's DE program, but now they helped instill it in others throughout Africa, who will do the same at their organizations."
 
The Africa DE program was inspired and co-created by four African graduates of NCUF's DE Training in the United States, known as Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs). The Nairobi program was primarily convened and led by George Ombado from ACCOSCA in Kenya with assistance from Victor Botha from the Sibanye Cape SACCO Ltd. in South Africa, Sylvester Kadzola from the Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives in Malawi, and Elkanah Odembo from the World Council of Credit Unions in Kenya.
 
This first Africa DE Program joins seven other international DE programs, which are based in Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, Great Britain, the Philippines and the United States. They too were started by graduates of the NCUF program.
 
In Africa, credit unions are known primarily as Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOs). The Africa DE Training was made up of 36 senior SACCO managers from 13 different countries. All graduates made it their personal responsibility to be DE ambassadors in their respective countries upon their return. One of the attendees commented that the "DE program is a program every [African] co-operator must attend."
 
"ACCOSCA recognizes that SACCO's around Africa are at different level of development and as such, we will use this new DE Program to enhance SACCO's growth with a common agenda and purpose to the co-operators attending," said Ombado.
 
Ombado is already in planning for the next Africa DE Program to take place in South Africa early next year.
 
In addition to the African participants and organizers, there were many Americans at Africa DE. Facilitating the program were Kitsch from NCUF and Mike Beall from the National Cooperative Business Association. Three of the six Africa DE mentors included Kathy Chartier, president/CEO, Members CU, Cos Cob, Conn., with $28 million in assets; Chad Helminak, Web and member development strategist for the Wisconsin Credit Union League; and Joanne Todd, president/CEO Northeast Family FCU, Manchester, Conn, with $72 million in assets.
 
Other U.S. participants in the program included Lisa Brown, president, Tallahassee-Leon FCU, with $43 million in assets; Nancy Johns, branch manager, American Airlines FCU, Fort Worth, Texas, with $5.5 billion in assets and  Jim Morrell, president/CEO Peninsula Community CU, Shelton, Wash., with $148 million in assets.

Northwest CU Association honors directors

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VANCOUVER, Wash. (6/17/14)--The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) honored four credit union board members and two credit unions at its June 10 Directors' Conference gala dinner in Vancouver, Wash. 
 
The awards celebrated the achievements of NW Plus CU Director Warren Kuwahara, and Lee Duncan, Jerry Hauck, and Jan Uffelman--board members from IBEW & United Workers FCU, Rogue FCU and Mid Oregon CU respectively.
 
TwinStar CU and USAgencies CU were also honored for institutional achievements.
 
The NWCUA represents more than 160 credit unions in Washington and Oregon.
 
Kuwahara, who has served with NW Plus for 25 years, was recognized with the Director of the Year award for expanding the credit union by promoting open membership and shared branching.
 
Duncan was given a Spirit of the Community award for raising almost $400,000 for Doernbecher Children's Hospital on behalf of IBEW & United Workers CU. 
 
Hauck, a Rogue FCU board member for eleven years, won the Distinguished Impact Award for his service during the financial crisis, and for fostering better executive performance by creating an enhanced executive evaluation program.
 
Uffelman, a lifelong teacher before winning a seat on Mid Oregon's board, was given the Oregon Advocate of the Year award. She has attended the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference seven times and has frequented congressional town halls. She has also met with both of Oregon's U.S. Senators, Ron Wyden (D) and Jeff Merkley (D), and maintains a direct correspondence with six state legislators. 
 
The Advocate of the Year award for Washington, meanwhile, was given to TwinStar CU. Its board was recognized for its decision to endorse candidates for encouraging senior leaders to be politically engaged.  
 
The CU Commitment to Board Excellence was given to USAgencies CU. It earned the honor through its associate volunteers program, which requires potential board members to undergo a year of training. The syllabus includes a mentorship with veteran board members, and CUNA Volunteer Achievement Program (VAP) financial literacy training.
 
NW Plus CU is based in Everett, Wash. and has about $155 million in assets.
 
IBEW & United Workers FCU is based in Portland, Ore. and has about $65 million in assets.
 
Rogue FCU is based in Medford, Ore. and has about $484 million in assets.
 
Mid-Oregon is based in Bend, Ore. and has about $185 million in assets.
 
Twinstar CU is based in Olympia, Wash. and has about $850 million in assets.
 
USAgencies CU is based in Portland, Ore. and has about $72 million assets.

Pa. chapter leaders use annual retreat as idea exchange

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (6/17/14)--Leaders representing different chapters of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) met last week to discuss issues facing state credit unions.
 
The 26 attendees from 16 chapters gathered at Toftrees Resort in State College, Pa. to share ideas about training, recruiting, advocacy, financial literacy and other issues ( Life Is A Highway June 16).
 
PCUA chair Maria LaVelle led a discussion about PCUA priorities, which include advocacy and compliance. Compliance burden was reported by chapter leaders as being a major source of stress, with the group agreeing that compliance training sessions tend to be well-attended. LaVelle told attendees that PCUA advocacy would take their concerns into consideration.
 
She also discussed the resources and services provided by Pacul Services, the PCUA for-profit subsidiary, and reminded chapter leaders to respond to a proposed bylaw amendment with a July 7 ratification deadline. The amendment would add an additional three-year term to the PCUA board of directors. 
 
South Carolina FCU Chief Operating Officer Troy Hall, the keynote speaker of the meeting, encouraged the leaders to enhance their chapters' relevance by emphasizing leadership and innovation to encourage participation.

CUNA Mutual Group Chief Economist Dave Colby to retire

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MADISON, Wis. (6/17/14)--Dave Colby, chief economist for CUNA Mutual Group, is retiring after 37 years with the company. He will be succeeded in the position by Steve Rick, who currently is a senior economist for the Credit Union National Association.
 
One of Colby's most notable achievements is the "Credit Union Trends Report," a monthly "pulse check" on the economic state of the credit union movement. The Trends Report will continue under Rick, who brings a wealth of knowledge from a similar position at the national trade association for credit unions.
 
"Dave will be missed, not just as a long-term and dedicated employee but as a valued industry resource on credit union economics and consumer finance," said John Lass, CUNA Mutual Group Business Development and Strategy senior vice president.  Lass added, however, that Rick is "uniquely qualified to step into this position without us missing a beat." 
 
Colby joined CUNA Mutual Group in 1977 as a corporate research specialist and has held various corporate, operational and strategic planning positions. His knowledge of the national economy, the consumer financial marketplace and the credit union system has led him to many corporate and industry-level task force assignments, and he is widely recognized as a leading speaker at industry conferences. He is a founding member of the Credit Union Economics Group, which provides a broad perspective of macroeconomic and credit union trends.
 
Colby said, "A big thank you to CUNA Mutual for challenging me to make a difference for credit unions and their members. The most rewarding part of my job was exchanging insights with our customers who are responsible for delivering financial services to members on Main Street. I always felt re-energized after league events or credit union planning sessions. "
 
Rick joined CUNA in 1992. As a senior economist, he conducted economic research and taught at various credit union schools and conferences. He holds a senior lecturer position with the Economics Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he teaches money and banking, and macroeconomics courses.

Central Minn. CU receives $228K financial leadership training grant

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MELROSE, Minn. (6/17/14)--Financial literacy and education are critical components of a credit union's operation.  One credit union in Minnesota soon will be able to take that commitment to the next level, thanks to a sizeable financial training grant from the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development.
 
Signing the MJSP grant were (from left): Bob Defries, dean of customized training at Alexandria Technical and Community College; Rick Odenthal, CEO at CMCU; and Paul Moe, director at MJSP. (Minnesota Credit Union Network photo)
Central Minnesota CU (CMCU), Melrose, Minn., with $828 million in assets, has received $228,760 from the state to put together a CMCU Leadership and Financial Leadership training development program. 
 
The credit union will work in collaboration with Alexandria Technical and Community College to create a new curriculum and design new courses for the credit union's employees.  Employees will be required to complete the internal program on financial leaderships skills and it is expected that they will come away with the skills necessary to succeed at the management level within CMCU.
 
"The increased knowledge of the CMCU team, in direct regards to leadership and finance, will lead to increased strength, service and growth of the organization, employees, members and community," said Nadine Rieland, CMCU vice president of human resources.
 
"Our culture empowers employees to be involved in leadership and the financial planning process, which is why we are developing the leadership and financial education for our current and future leaders," Rieland added.

CU System Briefs (06/16/2014)

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  • EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (6/16/14)-- Shadoe Settle has been named Royal CU's first Young and Free spokesperson, or spokester. As the spokesperson for Young and Free Royal, Settle becomes a paid team member of Eau Claire, Wis.-based Royal CU, with $1.4 billion in assets, for one year. She will serve as a reporter and advocate for her age group, attending events and creating regular online videos and blogs to keep content fresh at YoungFreeRoyal.com . Young and Free, a campaign launched in 2007 by Canadian marketing firm Currency Marketing, is a blend of social media and product promotion built around Gen Y spokesters, who create buzz through word-of-mouth promotion …
  • ARLINGTON, Va. (6/16/14)-- The National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) recently approved the reaccreditation of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services Office of Credit Unions (DIFS OCU). Michigan was the first state to earn NASCUS accreditation in 1989. The DIFS OCU, which is led by Director John Kolhoff, supervises 187 credit unions with combined assets of roughly $35 billion …
  • CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (6/16/14)-- Members of Federal Employees CU, Des Moines, Iowa, with $19 million in assets, have voted to merge with Collins Community CU , Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with $773 million in assets. On July 1, Federal Employees CU will officially be Collins Community CU, which will have 13 locations in Iowa …
  • DENVER (6/16/14)-- C. Alan Peppers, president/CEO of Westerra CU, Denver, with $1.2 billion in assets, is retiring effective July 1. Westerra CU's board of directors named John McCloy, the credit union's chief credit and administrative officer, as Peppers' replacement. Peppers will become emeritus president/CEO at the time of his retirement …

CUNA training raises $5K for NCUF charitable efforts

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MADISON, Wis. (6/16/14)--The Credit Union National Association announced last week it has donated $5,000 to the National Credit Union Foundation, a total amassed as a result of credit unions participating in CUNA training courses throughout April.

CUNA pledged $1--up to $5,000--to the NCUF every time a credit union took an online or print course in April, which also was National Financial Literacy Month.

More than 16,000 courses were called up in the month by credit unions.

"Continuing education and training for credit union professionals is so important," said Gigi Hyland, NCUF executive director. "I want to thank each and every credit union who participated in training this April as part of the 'Pay it Forward' campaign. Your hard work and dedication will go a long way in helping NCUF and state credit union foundations improve people's financial lives."

The NCUF will split the funds with state credit union foundations to "benefit all of their efforts to improve people's financial lives."

"It's an honor to be able to make this contribution toward the noble pursuits of the National Credit Union Foundation," said Marlo Foltz, CUNA vice president of blended learning, "and to know that it came about through the advancement of credit unions nationwide. We're proud to consider ourselves a part of the NCUF mission and of all the credit unions that contributed toward this donation."

For more information on CUNA's training courses, use the resource link.

CUs donate record $180K to Make-A-Wish New Hampshire

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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (6/16/14)--New Hampshire credit unions donated a record $180,000 to Make-A-Wish New Hampshire this year, exceeding the state league's goal of $160,000 ( CU Scan June 13).

The New Hampshire Credit Union League formalized the gift this week when it handed the organization, which grants the grand wishes of sick children, a large check after a charity golf event.

The donation was made in memory of the late Northeast CU CEO Peter Kavalauskas, who recently passed away after announcing his retirement after 35 years of work for the $986 million-asset credit union in Portsmouth, Mass.

Several "Wish Children" attended the golf outing, passing out lemonade on the golf course to participants. After the event, Hannah, who had her wish granted, thanked all those who made her dream come true.

"Because of you, I was able to go to Disney World and see Cinderella's castle and have a princess makeover," said Hannah, who received a standing ovation in return.

The contribution by the league brings its total amount donated to Make-A-Wish over the past 18 years to $1.97 million.

"We thank you for being our partner," said Julie Baron, Make-A-Wish New Hampshire CEO. "Your donation orchestrates the greatest return--a child's joyful heart."

Added Baron: "The league, and its member credit unions, remains the top corporate partner of Make-A-Wish New Hampshire with the largest donation to date."

 
Hanging out with Wish Child Hannah are Ron Covey, St. Mary's Bank CU and New Hampshire Credit Union League social responsibility committee chairman, left, and committee members Nancy Nadeau, Bellwether Community CU, and Jody Ducharme, Granite State CU. (New Hampshire Credit Union League photo)

'Local Service, Global Good' is theme of 2014 International CU Day

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MADISON, Wis. (6/16/14)--The 2014 International Credit Union (ICU) Day theme--"Local Service. Global Good"--announced last week by the World Council of Credit Unions, emphasizes the positive effect credit unions have in their communities and worldwide.
 
Click to view larger image Click for larger view
ICU Day is celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October and will take place this year on Oct. 16. "ICU Day was established to acknowledge credit unions' strong base in their communities, both local and global," said Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO. "This year's theme champions the credit union model by shining light on the industry's support of charity causes at the local, national and international levels."
 
The council solicited theme ideas from its member organizations earlier this year. This year's chosen message celebrates credit unions' constant drive to help make communities better places for their members worldwide. The World Council encourages credit unions and their national associations to implement ICU Day fundraising campaigns in support of a local or national charity. It will later ask the country's national associations to report the amount of charitable contributions raised to include in a global report.
 
Official ICU Day graphics and posters in English and Spanish are available for download on World Council's website. Promotional materials, fundraising ideas and other tips to help celebrate International Credit Union Day will soon be available. Credit union representatives and members everywhere are encouraged to share photos, events and other celebration ideas on Twitter and Facebook using #ICUDay.

DuTrac Community CU celebrates successful 1st year of high school branch

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DAVENPORT, Iowa (6/16/14)--A little over 203 members. Just $30,000 in deposits. For a financial institution, these numbers don't seem very significant.

But for the Davenport (Iowa) West High School students running this DuTrac Community CU branch, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, the financial lessons learned are incredibly important ( Quad-City Business Journal June 12).

Just ask Jason Norton, senior vice president of marketing and business development for the Dubuque, Iowa-based, $594 million-asset credit union.

"This is meant to be a real-world experience for them," Norton told the Quad-City Business Journal . "It's a real-life branch, not like a dummy system or a limited system. It's actually connected to our larger DuTrac branch, and these students are making real-life financial transactions at the branch."

The goals of this in-school credit union branch, which operates three days a week largely during the school's lunch hours, are to teach students about financial literacy and how to best manage their money, and to provide hands-on opportunities to students to see how credit unions function.

With only four employees, the first in-school branch in Iowa offers students and school staff savings and checking accounts, which are accessible with debit cards.

"I wanted to learn more about how to manage money," Libby Burken, a student and branch employee, told the Quad-City Business Journal. "My mom has always tried to teach it to me, but it never clicked. When I joined this, it helped me learn more about it and it just clicked."

The credit union also offers an online budgeting tool that helps students save toward goals such as a yearbook, class ring or prom dress. Small-dollar loans to help students pay for such items also has been discussed recently.

Alaska CU league provides scholarships for business simulation

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (6/16/14)--Sixteen high school students will receive a crash course on corporate life this summer thanks to the Alaska Credit Union League, which has provided scholarship funds as part of Alaska Business Week ( Anchorage Daily News June 12).

The league has sponsored the event since 2010.

"Alaska Business Week is a unique opportunity for high school students to learn the basic principles of private sector business and develop their leadership skills," said league Chair Lauren MacVay.

Starting in late July, students will spend a week on the University of Alaska-Fairbanks' campus, living in dorms, getting a feel for college life and receiving college credit.

There, the students will experience a simulated corporate business environment, learn how to build teams and gain valuable leadership and life skills. Students also will compete in teams in various business challenges.

Alaska business professionals will serve as advisers. Registration is open to all Alaska high school students.

N.J. league briefs lieutenant gov. at chamber meeting

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TRENTON, N.J. (6/16/14)--New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Greg Michlig and Director of Government Affairs Chris Abeel provided New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno with a briefing on the credit union

 
Click to view larger image New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL) President/CEO Greg Michlig with New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and NJCUL Director of Government Affairs Chris Abeel. (New Jersey Credit Union League photo)

industry and the system's legislative and regulatory agenda at the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce's annual open house and legislative reception Thursday.
 
The league will be scheduling a meeting with Guadagno to continue the conversation ( The Daily Exchange June 13).
 
The annual open house and legislative reception was held at the state museum at the State House.
 
The reception traditionally falls on the last legislative day before lawmakers break for the summer, and is attended by business and community leaders, lobbyists, state lawmakers, cabinet member, and senior legislative and executive branch staffers.

CU System briefs (06/13/2014)

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  • ARLINGTON, Va. (6/13/14)-- Rose Conner has been named administrator of the North Carolina Credit Union Division , a branch of the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the National Association of Credit Union Supervisors reported. Conner served as the acting administrator the previous 17 months ...
  • FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (6/13/14)-- Fort Bragg FCU, Fayetteville, N.C., with $390 million in assets, presented a $3,000 check to Support Military Spouses, the nation's only program dedicated to collecting and distributing shoebox gifts to military spouses , the Carolinas Credit Union League reported ( In the Loop June 12). The Shoeboxes for Military Spouses event was held at the Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville, NC. Approximately 2,000 shoeboxes were delivered to military spouses. In addition to the check, Fort Bragg FCU also donated items that were included in each box. Gifts included Bibles, personal bath items, candles, hand sanitizer, gift cards, jewelry, scarves, coffee, mugs, magazines and flashlights ...

CUNA Volunteer Network offers special 18-month membership

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MADISON, Wis. (6/13/14)--The Credit Union National Association announced a limited-time offer: Any new CUNA Volunteer Network membership purchased for 2015 will also include free membership for the rest of 2014.
 
"This special offer will be a huge benefit to volunteers across the movement who want to get more involved in their roles immediately," said Kevin Smith, CUNA director of learning events. "Especially those who take full advantage of the opportunity by acting fast and extending their one-year membership to a full 18 months."
 
CUNA Volunteer Network is a nationwide professional organization designed to keep credit union volunteers informed, involved and connected. Membership provides credit union boards, supervisory committees and CEOs with the opportunities to:
  • Interact with fellow leaders and volunteers anytime and from anywhere;
  • Demonstrate accountability with the Certified Credit Union Volunteer (CCUV) designation;
  • Access exclusive white papers, case studies and digital publications;
  • Receive discounts on CUNA training and events; and
  • Participate in CUNA Training-on-Demand volunteer courses.
"This is really a case where everybody wins," said Smith. "For the duration of the offer, every new member will receive extra months of access while furthering the reach and effectiveness of the network as a whole."

CU SacTown Ten-Mile Run raises more than $200K

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (6/13/14)--With assistance from a CO-OP Miracle Match to $30 million-asset Diablo Valley FCU, Concord, Calif., the 2014 Credit Union SacTown Ten-Mile Run raised more than $200,000 for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues reported Thursday.

CO-OP Miracle Match is a matching program from CO-OP Financial Services that helps credit unions maximize their fundraisers.

The $25,000 Miracle Match funds will be distributed to these Children's Miracle Network hospitals: 
  • Children's Hospital of Central California, Fresno, Calif.;
  • Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego;
  • Renown Children's Hospital, Reno, Nev.;
  • Children's Hospital Orange County, Orange, Calif;
  • UC Davis Children's Hospital;
  • Children's Hospital Los Angeles; and
  • UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, Oakland.
"Many thanks to CO-OP for this wonderful program that will help sick or injured children have access to the resources they need for healing," said Diablo Valley FCU CEO John Pamer. "More than $171,000 of the money raised in this year's event will go to Children's Miracle Network hospitals--and this was only our third year."
 
The "SacTown" race--which took place April 6 in downtown Sacramento, Calif.--was sponsored by CU Miracle Day Inc., along with 55 credit unions and credit union businesses, including the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.
 
The race--which includes a three-person relay and other lively festivities, and is also designed to increase national awareness of credit unions--took place the same day as the 41st Annual Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile Run in Washington, D.C., followed by the Credit Union Freedom Runs for troops overseas. Combined, the "Family of Races" raised $487,000 for CMN Hospitals across the country.
 
More than 1,200 runners--including more than 500 credit union employees and members--participated in the race, which started and finished in front of the state Capitol building, with a $15,000-prize purse awarded. About 170 credit union staff and members worked the event as volunteers.

Launched in 2008, CO-OP's Miracle Match Program is a philanthropic matching program that encourages credit unions, chapters and leagues to create and participate in local CMNH fundraisers. In 2013, the program---along with 154 participating credit unions--helped raised more than $3 million for 98 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in 34 states.

eMarketer: Hispanic millennials show increased buying power

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MADISON, Wis. (6/13/14)--Numbering 21 million, Hispanic-Americans make up about 21% of the millennial population; certainly a demographic with buying power, and one credit unions must focus on to remain competitive in the market.

A report by eMarketer, a digital marketing research firm, recently dug into just how much buying power Hispanic millennials in the United States have.

Apparently, they carry more than previous generations of Hispanic-Americans, according to Stephen Amendt, digital service manager at EC Hispanic Media.

"Their buying power often surpasses that of older Hispanic adults," Amendt said. "We see that reflected in the different ads that they view--especially in the automotive sector. We see them interested in buying newer cars than their parents are interested in."

But it's not only older generations who Hispanic millennials outspend. Despite earning less than non-Hispanic whites on average, Hispanic millennials spend 10% more.

That trend may only increase, as Hispanics now pursue higher education at a faster clip than non-Hispanic whites, with 49% of Hispanics enrolled in higher education compared with 47.2% of non-Hispanic whites.

Other findings in the report that credit unions should note, meanwhile, were that Hispanics have taken to mobile technology just as much as other demographics.

The reason? Privacy, and independence.

"There's often one computer at home shared by the entire family," said Nancy Tellet, senior vice president of research and consumer insights at Viacom's Tr3s Digital. "They don't want to wait in line to get on the computer. And privacy, you don't want someone else to see what you're doing. If it's a shared computer, that's hard to avoid. To them, smartphones are a form of digital independence."

And with those mobile devices, Hispanic millennials are participating in social media networks at a high rate as well. Nearly 85% of Hispanic Internet users between the age of 18 and 29 use Facebook, Twitter or some other social networking site.

This trend is especially apparent when comparing social media activity during award shows, which often attract high rates of social media use.

"You can't compare the number of tweets from the Academy Awards to the Latin Grammys because the audiences are different, but if you divide tweets by audience, our viewers are significantly more prone to tweeting than non-Hispanics," said Roberto Ruiz, senior vice president of Univision Communications.

HOPE, Habitat partnership to build 41 homes

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JACKSON, Miss. (6/13/14)--Hope Enterprise Corp. (HOPE), which works hand-in-hand with Hope FCU, Jackson, Miss., with $187 million in assets, has formed a partnership with Habitat for Humanity to build 41 affordable homes for low-income families.
 
HOPE used $5 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), a program managed by the U.S. Treasury CDFI Fund, to support the project. Capital One purchased the federal tax credits, which provided financial resources to purchase materials and to cover other costs associated with building the high-quality, energy-efficient homes.
 
"Following Hurricane Katrina, our partnership with NeighborWorks played an instrumental role in building HOPE's capacity to serve residents of the Gulf Coast" said Bill Bynum, president/CEO of HOPE and Hope FCU. "NeighborWorks investments positioned HOPE to help more than 10,000 people rebuild their homes and businesses."
 
The announcement was made at the construction site of the home of Ednearl Epps, a lifelong resident of Moss Point, Miss., where she and her late husband raised five children. Epps found herself in need of a new home after hurricanes, termites and mold made her existing home uninhabitable.
 
The announcement was also made in conjunction with NeighborWorks Week. During the week, NeighborWorks America and its network of local organizations come together to celebrate successful partnerships that bring about neighborhood change.
 
This is the third NMTC transaction that HOPE has structured to develop affordable homes for low-income families with a Habitat affiliate, and the second on the Gulf Coast.

La. league forms marketing council

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HARAHAN, La. (6/13/14)--The Louisiana Credit Union League has taken the first steps in forming a statewide Marketing and Business Development Council.
 

The inaugural advisory committee met this week in Baton Rouge to build the foundation for the council and shape the purpose, structure and goals. The inaugural committee was selected based on chapter, asset size and CUNA Marketing and Business Development Business Council participation. Members of the advisory committee are:

Members of the Louisiana Credit Union League's Marketing and Business Development Council advisory council include, from left, Kelli Green, Centric FCU, West Monroe; Emily Beatmann, Section 705 FCU, Lafayette; Jill Skaggs, Bossier FCU, Bossier City; Heather Escott, Lafayette (La.) Schools FCU; and Ashley Varnam, Louisiana FCU, LaPlace. (Louisiana Credit Union League photo)
  • Emily Beatmann, marketing coordinator, Section 705 FCU, Lafayette, with $32 million in assets;
  • Heather Escott, marketing supervisor, Lafayette (La.) Schools FCU, with $173 million in assets;
  • Kelli Green, marketing director, Centric FCU, West Monroe, with $112 million in assets;
  • Jill Skaggs, marketing and events coordinator, Bossier FCU, Bossier City, with $156 million in assets; and
  • Ashley Varnam, marketing communications specialist, Louisiana FCU, LaPlace, with $183 million in assets.

Mich. league celebrates CUs with awards at AC&E

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (6/13/14)--The Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) and the Michigan Credit Union Foundation (MCUF) named the winners of the 2014 MCUL and MCUF Awards last week during the league's Annual Convention and Exhibition ( Monitor June 10).

Award winners exemplified those credit unions and credit union professionals who made a significant contribution to the industry in Michigan over the past year.

The awards and winners were:
  • Credit Union Professional of the Year: Denise Fox, CEO, Education Plus CU, Monroe, with $94 million in assets;
     
  • Outstanding Credit Union of the Year: Frankenmuth (Mich.) CU, with $306 million in assets;
     
  • Distinguished Service Award: Hank Hubbard, CEO, Communicating Arts CU, Detroit, with $33 million in assets;
     
  • MCUL Chapter Effectiveness Award: Blue Ox Chapter;
     
  • Young Professional of the Year: Nick Montie, CEO, Thunder Bay Area CU, Alpena, with $22 million in assets;
     
  • Credit Union Advocate of the Year: Sheryl Hogle, HarborLight CU, Whitehall, with $94 million in assets;
     
  • Excellence in Consumer Education: Kathy Cypher, Frankenmuth CU;
     
  • MCUF Credit Union Community Volunteer Award: Heather Luciani, Marshall (Mich.) Community CU, with $155 million in assets; and
     
  • MCUF International Credit Union Development Award: Frankenmuth CU.
To see a summary of the work done by each of these credit unions and credit unions professionals, use the resource link.

P.F. Chang's looking into data breach claim

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LONDON (6/13/14)--The popular Chinese food restaurant chain P.F. Chang's China Bistro announced this week it has launched an investigation into claims of a data breach involving debit and credit card information stolen from its restaurant locations in the United States ( Reuters.com June 10).

Card information posted on an underground website was discovered Monday, with the common tie that the cards had all been used at a P.F. Chang's sometime between March and May, according to KrebsOnSecurity.com , a computer security and cybercrime watchdog.

"P.F. Chang's takes these matters very seriously and is currently investigating the situation, working with the authorities to learn more," said Anne Deanovic, a spokeswoman for the restaurant chain ( Reuters.com) .

Owned by the private equity firm Centerbridge Partners, P.F. Chang's operates 211 restaurants throughout the country.

The Credit Union National Association continues to ask lawmakers to develop legislation that would ramp up data security standards for merchants, who aren't obligated to meet the same criteria as credit unions and other financial institutions.

CU System briefs (06/12/2014)

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  • MADISON, Wis. (6/12/14)--Effective immediately, Mike Schenk is interim chief economist of the Credit Union National Association. Bill Hampel, who normally serves as CUNA senior vice president of research and policy analysis and chief economist, is currently interim president/CEO of the trade association. As vice president of economics and statistics, Schenk conducts economic research and supports CUNA's public relations and lobbying efforts. His analyses regularly appear in trade publications, and he is a frequent contributor in the financial media. "I've worked closely with Mike for 22 years and thank him for taking on this important assignment, knowing that the economic analysis provided to credit unions and CUNA's advocacy efforts will not skip a beat," Hampel said. Prior to joining CUNA in 1992, Schenk was director of research for Financial Research Corp.  He has a bachelor's degree in economics from St. Mary's College of Minnesota, Winona and earned an MBA in finance with a concentration in banking and financial intermediation from DePaul University, Chicago. Bill Cheney, former CUNA president/CEO, stepped down June 10 to become president/CEO of SchoolsFirst FCU, Santa Ana, Calif. ...
     
  • NAMPA, Idaho (6/12/14)--Les Bois CU, Garden City, Idaho, donated new flags to the Hispanic Cultural Center of Idaho, which had been without flags for four months. On June 6, the $89 million-asset credit union helped raise flags representing the United States, Mexico and Idaho at the cultural center in Nampa. The center offers language training, loan consultation and basic business information to local residents. It also houses a free art gallery, computer lab, rental and office space. Michael Christensen, left, and Melvin Barrientos raise the Mexican flag (Les Bois CU photo) ...
  • PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (6/12/14)--The board of Northeast CU, Portsmouth, N.H., with $986 million in assets, has appointed interim President/CEO Tim Collin to be permanent CEO. Collia was CEO of Woodlands CU, Berlin, from September 2002 until it merged with Northeast in 2013. He has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, and serves on a number of New Hampshire Credit Union League committees. Collia was named interim president following the death of President/CEO Peter Kavalauskas. Kavalauskas was killed in a snowmobiling accident in February just days after announcing he was retiring after 35 years at the credit union (Seacoast Online June 11) ...

CUs make the listening easy in the summertime

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MADISON, Wis. (6/12/14)--As school lets out and the weather heats up, credit unions are helping their communities celebrate summer through sponsorships of local festivals and entertainment venues.
 
Robins FCU, Warner Robins, Ga., with $1.9 billion in assets, contributed $500 towards sponsorship of the Gray Station Better Hometowns Daylily Festival, held June 6 and 7. In addition to the flowers, the event included arts and crafts, a corn hole tournament, 5K and fun runs, a children's area, live music and a car show (WMAZ13.com May 13).
 
Teachers FCU, Hauppauge, N.Y., with $4.9 billion in assets, is the title sponsor of the 2014 Sunset Concert Series. This year's performances, scheduled from the Fourth of July through Labor Day, include rock classics, bluegrass, classical and jazz.
 
ESL FCU, Rochester, N.Y, with $4.7 billion in assets, will support the Corn Hill Arts Festival July 12 and 13. The annual festival features hundreds of artists and continuous live music (WHEC Rochester News 10 March 28)
 
Meritrust CU, Wichita, Kan., with $969 million in assets, is among the sponsors of Country Stampede, a four-day country music festival. The event takes place June 26-29 at Tuttle Creek State Park in Manhattan. Meritrust CU is a sponsor for the volunteer team at the event, and will also offer event attendees a misting tent to help cool off from the hot summer sun. The music lineup will include performances by Easton Corbin, Luke Bryan, Chris Young, Eric Church, Randy Houser, Joe Nichols and Lee Brice.
 
UW CU, Madison, Wis., with $1.8 billion in assets, sponsors the Memorial Union Summer Stage, an outdoor music venue on Madison's Lake Mendota that is popular with local residents and University of Wisconsin students. The credit union also supports larger programs such as the Isthmus Jazz Festival and the Madison World Music Festival.

Pa. state CU code update on way to gov.'s desk

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (6/12/14)--The Pennsylvania Senate Tuesday unanimously passed House Bill 2009, an update to the state credit union code.

The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Linda Schlegel (R-Sunbury), will now go to Gov. Tom Corbett's desk to be signed.

"I'd like to thank Senate leadership for moving the bill so quickly, as well as all the members of Senate for their unanimous approval," said Patrick Conway, Pennsylvania Credit Union Association president/CEO (Life is a Highway June 10).

The legislation clarifies the ability of a credit union's membership to amend, or appeal a board initiated bylaw amendment. Credit unions will no longer need to submit a petition obtained from the Department of Banking and Securities when a credit union amends or appeals its bylaws.

Also under the bill, inactive accounts would reflect the Pennsylvania Treasury escheat to five years from six years.

The legislation would give credit unions the ability to correspond with their memberships by fax, email or other electronic communication after obtaining member consent.

Credit unions could collect fees paid to outside collectors for other share or loan service-related amounts owed to the credit union. In addition, credit unions could recoup the actual sums they expend.

"We look forward to the governor signing the bill into law in the very near future," Conway said.

Cornerstone CUs' assets top $98 billion in Q1

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (6/12/14)--The Cornerstone Credit Union League announced Wednesday that its member credit unions topped $98 billion in assets in the first quarter, but an asset count is far from their only accomplishment through the first three months of the year (Leaguer June 11).

The league, which represents 628 credit unions in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, also enrolled 100,000 new members--at a rate of 1,675 members per day--pushing membership up to 9,655,736.

Further, deposits swelled by $2.94 billion, which is about $47.5 million deposited every business day, loan growth climbed more than $1 billion, and credit unions originated nearly $7.8 billion loans, equal to one new loan every 10 seconds.

League CEO Dick Ensweiler says it's the commitment from credit unions to people that has led to the movement's continued growth and success in the three states represented by the league.

Additional Cornerstone Q1 numbers:
  • Managed more than $6.46 billion in retirement accounts;
     
  • Generated more than $621 million in net interest income;
     
  • Held a net worth ratio of 13.34%, which nearly doubles what the National Credit Union Administration deems well capitalized;
     
  • Provided employment to more than 27,000 people, spending more than $393 million in salary and benefits;
     
  • Spent more than $7.31 million to send employees to educational conferences;
     
  • Managed and serviced more than $31.94 billion in auto loans, including 685,000 new vehicles and 1.36 million used vehicles; and
     
  • Held regular reserves of more than $1.27 billion and undivided earnings of more than $7.63 billion.

Rep. Peters emphasizes CU mission during Mich. league meeting

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (6/12/14)--U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Hills), a longtime supporter of credit unions, dropped in for a meet-and-greet appearance at the Michigan Credit Union League's Annual Convention and Exhibition last week (Monitor June 10).

U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters, center, talks to John Buckley, president/CEO of Gerber FCU, Fremont, left, and Michigan Credit Union League President/CEO David Adams. (Monitor photo)
Since working as a state legislator, Peters has championed the credit union movement, citing credit unions as being instrumental in seeing businesses through the recession by continuing to provide loans to small businesses.

Running for the U.S. Senate, Peters said that if elected later this year, he will fight to ease the regulatory burden that credit unions face.

"It's important that we understand that the mission of a credit union in serving the members and the local community, it's not about having an overly regulatory environment," Peters said. "If we do that, a small credit union simply isn't going to be able to hire the number of lawyers and compliance folks.

"And if credit unions go out of business, then we get even further concentration of the banking industry, which I think is not good for our country."

CUANY pays tribute to CU professionals, volunteers

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/12/14)--During next week's annual meeting and convention in Sarasota, N.Y., the Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) will honor credit union excellence embodied by professionals, young professionals and volunteers.
 
This year's outstanding professionals are:
  • $50 million to $250 million in assets: Michelle McCourt, president/CEO, Bridgeway FCU, Poughkeepsie, with $76 million in assets. Since becoming president/CEO in 2012, McCourt has led community development initiatives as well as expanding Bridgeway FCU's work as a community development financial institution and low-income designated credit union.
     
  • More than $250 million in assets: James Doig, CEO, Sidney FCU, with $385 million in assets. Doig has been with the credit union movement for more than 17 years. The credit union's mobile banking platform has an above-average adoption rate, and recently, it opened an environmentally friendly branch in Delhi.
CUANY named Kate Czarnecki, marketing and member services manager, Focal Point FCU, Syracuse, with $49 million in assets, as this year's outstanding young professional (The Point June 10). In 2013, she helped develop a program that served furloughed employees of the Canandaigua VA Medication Center. In addition to serving on CUANY's Young Professionals Commission, Czarnecki was recently appointed president of Rochester Chapter, where she serves as chair of the legislative committee.
 
The winners of the outstanding volunteer awards have nearly 100 years of credit union experience among them. Winners, listed by asset size, are:
  • Less than $50 million: Gary Brown began his tenure at $35 million-asset Compass FCU on the supervisory committee in 2007. During his time with the Oswego-based credit union, Brown helped oversee a conversion to a community charter and a merger with Oswego Hospital CU in 2009.
     
  • $50 million to $250 million: Melvin Feather, chair, Southern Chautauqua FCU, Lakewood, has held various volunteer positions on the credit union's board since the 1970s. He has helped guide the credit union from a small, teacher-based credit union to a community-based credit union with $61 million in assets.
     
  • More than $250 million: Paul Pavlovich, former chair, Mid-Hudson Valley FCU, Kingston, served on the board for 37 years. During his 15-year span as chairman, the community's largest local employer and the credit union's sponsor, IBM Kingston, closed. Pavlovich oversaw the conversion to a community charter for the credit union, which now has $779 million in assets. He retired from the board in 2013 but continues to be involved as director emeritus.
     
  • More than $250 million: Edward Gilligan has served on $1.08 billion-asset Capital Communications FCU's board for 21 years. He has been chair of the Albany credit union for the past 14 years. In the past five years, Gilligan has helped guide the acquisition of a mortgage lender and title agency, increased investments in Web and mobile banking, and the construction of a state-of-the-art financial center.

New Ala. regulator looks to CUs for innovation, expansion

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (6/12/14)--In an interview with the League of Southeastern Credit Unions, newly appointed Alabama Credit Union Administrator Sarah Moore said she would like to see innovation and expansion of credit union services to state consumers during her tenure.
 
"Alabama has many consumers that do not use financial institutions but rather use more expensive alternative providers of financial services," Moore said in the interview, which appeared in SIGNAL, the league's quarterly magazine.
 
Moore served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Colonial BancGroup, based in Montgomery, Ala., which was seized by federal regulators in 2009. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. approved the sale of Colonial's $20 billion in deposits and about $22 billion of its assets to BB&T Corp (News Now April 22).

Colonial was a major lender to developers in Florida and Nevada and was hit hard by the collapse of the real estate market in those states. The bank ran into problems after it was revealed that it had bought $1 billion in mortgages from Taylor, Bean & Whitaker that Taylor Bean did not own.

Moore said she recognizes and embraces the differences in business models and regulations governing credit unions and banks.
 
"Credit unions serve vital roles in our communities by granting loans and providing financial services to members," Moore said.  "The walls separating banks and credit unions have been chipped away as personnel have moved from one to the other. The knowledge and experience gained in my previous careers as an auditor, bank executive and consultant to financial institutions and real estate professionals all contribute to my understanding of the business of credit unions."
 
When asked what drew her interest in becoming credit union administrator, Moore said she could use her prior experience to make a difference. She said she will strive to communicate effectively with management and boards of credit unions and provide information on risks and new regulatory proposals.

Boston's FinTech startups have home at Digital FCU center

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BOSTON (6/12/14)--Digital FCU, Marlborough, Mass., will open the doors to its new DCU Center of Excellence in Financial Services later this month with a launch event in partnership with the local shared-work space firm Workbar.

Located in downtown Boston, the facility will offer "co-working," or collaborative work space and other resources specifically wired for finance sector startups.

"Through this collaboration, we hope to play a vital role in the changing environment of the financial services industry," said David Araujo, vice president of information systems at the $5.6 billion-asset credit union. "The partnership we've created with Workbar is setting the stage for continued innovation on our part and allowing (Digital) to foster and give back to emerging FinTech companies."

The center held a soft launch in January and has already secured a core group of startup companies that focus on credit scoring, wealth management and investing.

In addition to the collaborative workspace, the startups will receive industry-specific mentorship, be able to work with senior-level executives from the credit union, and have access to programming, resources and networking.

Beyond the center, startups in the new space also will have access to Workbar's network of co-working spaces--which sit just down the street--events, programming and its 700-member community.

"I think it's great how (Digital) is showing that credit unions can be some of the most innovative entities in the financial sector," said Ernesto Humpierres, founder of Socrex and member of Digital's new center since April. "By embracing entrepreneurs and change (Digital), through its Center of Excellence, is lowering the barriers for the appearance of new business models that can have a positive impact on society."

The launch event will take place June 25. It will be open to the public and will feature demos from member startups.

CU System briefs (06/11/2014)

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  • HARRISBURG, Pa. (6/11/14)-- The Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation board unanimously approved a $1,000 disaster relief grant to Bellco FCU, Wyomissing, to assist repairing a roof that was damaged by a severe hailstorm May 27 ( Life is a Highway June 10).  "I thank the foundation board for acting so swiftly to assist Bellco FCU during this time of need," said Patrick Conway, president/CEO of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association. "I also hope for a speedy recovery of credit union staff and members who sustained damage to personal property." (Pennsylvania Credit Union Association photo) ...
  • MIAMI and SAN ANTONIO (6/11/14)-- As the NBA finals kick into high gear this week with the San Antonio Spurs taking on last year's champion, the Miami Heat, credit unions in each city are getting into the competitive spirit. San Antonio-based Generations FCU, with $519 million in assets, is challenging Miami's South Florida Educational CU, with $876 million in assets. If San Antonio wins the series, South Florida Educational's CEO Mike DiBenedetto will have to wear a Spurs jersey to his office for a day. If Miami wins, Generations CEO Steve Schipull will have to wear a Heat jersey for the day. Photographic proof will be sent to the winning credit union. Also, the losing CEO will make a $250 donation to Credit Unions for Kids on behalf of the winning CEO and his credit union ...
  • FITCHBURG, Mass. (6/11/14)-- Members of IC FCU, Fitchburg, Mass., can take advantage of sweet treats courtesy of their credit union Friday. The talent management team of the $538 million-asset credit union gave away Dylan & Pete's ice cream last Friday and will be passing out coupons at branches for this week's giveaway. "Who doesn't love ice cream?" said President/CEO Tony Emerson, who served up members last week. "Sharing a summer treat with our members and employees is just another way we have fun here" (IC FCU photo) ...
     
  • WESTBROOK, Maine (6/11/14)-- Young and Free Maine announced the finalists for its spokester position: Alexis Albert, 24, Old Orchard; Andrew Soucy, 20, Biddeford; and Mallory Lavoie, 24, Orono. This is the fourth year Maine credit unions have had a spokester to represent credit unions, write blog entries and post videos to the Young and Free website. "While the competition from our field of applicants was fierce, these three candidates truly demonstrated their potential to fill this unique role, and we look forward to seeing how they apply these talents to the next phase of the competition," said John Murphy, president/CEO, Maine Credit Union League. Voting is open on the YoungFreeMaine.com website until June 27 ...
  • MADISON, Wis. (6/11/14)-- Tom Moller is the new president/CEO of Affinity First FCU, Minot, N.D. Moller succeeds Janice Katin who recently retired from the $49 million-asset credit union ( The Memo June 10). He previously worked at Walhalla (N.D.) State Bank and Citizens State Bank, Waverly, Minn. He most recently owned and managed a family business in Rugby, N.D. Moller graduated from North Dakota State University with a bachelor of science in agricultural economics and a minor in business. The board of Coast360 FCU, Maite, Guam, announced Monday that Gener Deliquina is its new CEO. Deliquina, who had been the chief financial officer for the $321 million-asset credit union, replaces Richard Northey , who retired last month. Deliquina received his bachelor's of business administration in accounting from the University of Guam. "Having been with the credit union for almost 10 years now, he has played a key role in moving our credit union forward in this ever-changing environment," said board Chair Paul Leon Guerrero ( Pacific Daily News June 10). CorePlus FCU, a $195 million-asset credit union in Norwich, Conn., announced that Nicholas Kortson is the new president/CEO. Kortson succeeds Warren Scholl , who retired after a 36-year credit union career ( Your Weekly Update June 10). Fortson joined CorePlus in May 2009 as chief financial officer. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Valparaiso (Ind.) University and is a certified public accountant ... 

Mass. league CEO weighs in on student loan relief

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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (6/11/14)--Credit unions and the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island Credit Union Leagues received prominent media coverage Monday when league president Paul Gentile was quoted in a Fox Business News article on President Barack Obama's executive order to expand the 2010 "Pay as You Earn" student loan program.
 
The executive order allows borrowers to limit repayment of federal student loans to 10% of their monthly incomes. It will take effect in December 2015 and will affect roughly 5 million borrowers.

The order also increases eligibility in the program to include those who took out loans before 2007 or stopped borrowing by October 2011 ( Daily CU Scan June 10).  It is expected that the new guidelines will make it possible for an additional 5 million people to participate in this program.
 
Obama also announced he is directing the government to renegotiate contracts with federal student loan servicers to encourage them to make it easier for borrowers to avoid defaulting on their loans. He asked the U.S. Treasury and Education departments to work with major tax preparers to increase awareness about tuition tax credits and flexible repayment options available to borrowers.
 
In the article, Gentile suggested the government should allow private lenders to consolidate federal student loans.
 
Also, more information should be provided to students ahead of college enrollment, Gentile suggested. "We need to train our young adults to make sound decisions in their choice of college and loan amounts," Gentile said. "Right now, they don't have the necessary data to make these decisions with all the information they need."
 
To read the full article use the link.

Monday is deadline for World Council young professional program

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MADISON, Wis. (6/11/14)--Only a few days remain to apply for the World Council Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) scholarship program.

Those interested must submit their nominations for the program by Monday, the World Council of Credit Unions said this week.

Applicants should demonstrate a passion for credit unions and should be interested in networking with young leaders from around the world.

The winners of the scholarship will be announced at an awards ceremony July 30 at the World Credit Union Conference in Gold Coast, Australia.

Each winner will receive an all-expenses-paid trip--including conference registration fee, travel costs, hotel accommodations and meals--to attend the 2015 World Credit Union conference in Denver.

"A top priority everywhere today is to grow young adult membership," said Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO. "We find tremendous insights that the industry can tap from the generation itself."

To be eligible for the award, applicants must:
  • Be 35 years of age or younger as of Jan. 1, 2014;
     
  • Demonstrate leadership, personal commitment and the potential to significantly influence credit unions in and outside their country;
     
  • Be sponsored by a World Council member organization to attend the 2014 World Credit Union Conference in Australia;
     
  • Submit a completed nomination form and supporting materials by Monday;
     
  • Not have been a previous scholarship recipient; and
     
  • Not be a World Council employee.
To learn more about the WYCUP scholarship program or to download a nomination form, use the resource link.

CU sweetens up community with chocolate bar proceeds

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WACO, Texas (6/11/14)--First Central CU, Waco, Texas, with $61 million in assets, has a sweet deal going for the community it serves--the proceeds from the chocolate bars it sells at its branches are all finding their way back into town ( Brownwood Bulletin June 10).

Recently, the credit union used part of its chocolate sales to award two local elementary students with bicycles for achieving perfect attendance at school this year.

First Central granted the new bicycles through a partnership with Waco I.S.D. Bells Hill Elementary School, which rewards one boy and one girl with perfect attendance a brand-new set of wheels twice a year.

Any elementary student with perfect attendance is eligible for the prize, according to Brownwood Bulletin.

The credit union also funded part of the elementary school's field day festivities with the candy money, providing drinks, snacks and popsicles.

Also, First Central uses the chocolate cash to help fund Books 4 Kids, a program that guarantees that every second-grader in Brown County receives a book at Christmastime.

Finally, after hearing the story of an 8-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in McLennan County, the credit union used part of its chocolate-bar sales money to help pay for his family's expenses, such as for gas money for the boy's mother to drive him to doctor's appointments, and to recoup money lost from her missing work.

Bethpage FCU's custom card benefits Long Beach relief fund

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LONG BEACH, N.Y. (6/11/14)--New York's largest credit union has opened its first branch in Long Beach and, with it, has launched a community-specific debit card that will drum up donations for Superstorm Sandy relief efforts ( Newsday June 9).

Bethpage FCU's newest branch will issue debit cards to raise funds for the City of Long Beach Relief Fund. (Bethpage FCU photo)
Bethpage (N.Y.) FCU, with $5.6 billion in assets, said it will donate $50 to the City of Long Beach Relief Fund and $50 to the credit union member for each checking account opened with direct deposit at the new branch.

This initiative comes on the heels of the credit union helping drive an "Open for Business" ad campaign last year, in partnership with the city, to bring attention to the city's resurgence following the deadly and destructive hurricane that ravaged the East Coast in 2012.

A Bethpage representative told Newsday that the debit card program will serve as a pilot for potential, future customized community debit cards.

The new branch--the credit union's 28th--will offer service to both English- and Spanish-speaking members, and will be staffed by six full-time and two part-time employees.

CUNA community conference focuses on CUs' timeless message

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MADISON, Wis. (6/11/14)--Jeff Rendel has been announced as the emcee and opening keynoter for this year's Credit Union National Association Community Credit Union and Growth Conference, to be held Nov. 3-6 in Las Vegas.
 
Rendel will discuss the need for a reinvented movement propelled by timeless credit union principles.
 
"The idea of CUNA's Community Credit Union and Growth Conference is to prompt future-focused action by bringing credit union leaders together," said Meghann Dawson, CUNA director of learning events. "With a forward-thinker like Rendel at the helm, this year's event will not only foster important relationships between credit unions, but inspire change in line with this year's theme: Looking back to look forward."
 
Attendees of Rendel's keynote session, "It's 1934 All Over Again--A Revitalized Movement and a Promised Future for All," will hear how credit unions' pursuit of universal value and service can be directed to fuel the growth and innovation that they will need to thrive.
 
During hot-topic sessions, industry experts and speakers will introduce new perspectives, strategies and action plans for overcoming the biggest challenges facing today's community credit unions.
 
Also onsite, the 2014 Community Credit Union of the Year award will be presented. This distinction is bestowed upon credit unions that, in all aspects, consistently excel in the advancement of the ideals of the credit union movement, are proactive in their community and provide a wide array of services that meet the needs of their diverse communities.

Dubuque neighborhood perks up with CU's Caisse Cafe

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (6/11/14)--Credit unions, and other community financial institutions, have long sought a formula to create a branch that could serve as more than a place for routine transactions, but as a destination for members and the community to gather. Later this summer, Dubuque, Iowa-based IntegrUS CU, with $19 million in assets, will offer its community just that when it opens a branch that includes a wireless cafe and coffee shop.

In addition to serving as a full-service branch, Caisse Cafe-- a loose French translation of "credit union coffee"--will serve gourmet and flavored coffees, specialty beverages, and a limited assortment of baked goods and breakfast items. The location will also feature a 24-hour ATM in the branch entry.

"People will get a chance to stop by, buy a great cup of coffee, sit awhile and relax. Caisse Cafe will help us serve our members and potential members on a more personal basis," said President/CEO Jonathon Miller.

The coffee and food served at Caisse Cafe will also have community ties. Jumpy Monkey Coffee is made with select beans from around the world and then hand-roasted in Sioux City, Iowa, by individuals with disabilities.

Opportunities Unlimited purchased the Seattle-based Jumpy Monkey brand for the purpose of providing meaningful and purposeful employment to persons with disabilities.

The cafe will also feature baked goods produced locally by East Mill Bakeshop and Catering. The bakery uses locally farmed ingredients in many of its products.

Dakotas board makes officer changes at annual meeting

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (6/11/14)--The Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD) held its eighth annual business meeting June 6, during which it elected new directors to its board.
 
CUAD President/CEO Robbie Thompson led the meeting of nearly 90 delegates representing credit unions in North Dakota and South Dakota ( The Memo June 9).
 
The board determined its executive committee for the next term:
  • Chair: Travis Kasten, president/CEO, Service First FCU, Sioux Falls, S.D., with $132 million in assets (South Dakota Division A);
     
  • First vice chair: Steve Davis, chief operating officer of Capital CU, Bismarck, N.D., with $362 million in assets (North Dakota Division A);
     
  • Second vice chair: Shannon Webster, senior vice president of marketing, Town and Country CU, Minot, N.D., with $352 million in assets (North Dakota at-large position);
     
  • Secretary/treasurer:  Veronica Holweger, manager, Riverfork FCU, Grand Forks, N.D., with $23 million in assets (North Dakota Division C); and
     
  • Mid-America Service Corp. chair: Peter Butterfield, president/CEO, Dakota Plains FCU, Lemmon, S.D., with $46 million in asset (South Dakota Division B).
The board of directors includes:
  • Mike Reisnour, president/CEO, Dakota Plains CU, Edgeley, N.D., with $62 million in assets (Multi-state at-large position);
     
  • Mary Connick, president/CEO, Minuteman Community FCU, Rapid City, S.D. (South Dakota Division C);
     
  • Joel Metz, director, Prairie FCU, Minot, N.D., with $106 million in assets (elected unopposed for North Dakota Division B); and
     
  • George Jewett, director, Black Hills FCU, Rapid City, S.D., with $995 million in assets (won election for South Dakota at-large position).

Risk high, actual loss low for remote deposit capture

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NEW YORK (6/11/14)--Remote-deposit capture (RDC) technology brings physical checks into the digital world but with a risk that still has some credit unions wary.
 
With 33% of non-cash transactions still occurring via checks, both in-person check-cashing services and RDC are needed by consumers.
 
According to a recent report from the Center for Financial Services Innovation, duplicate presentment of a check is the significant source of mobile RDC-related fraud.
 
One of the most common schemes is when a consumer deposits funds with his mobile device and goes almost immediately to a check-cashing service with the same item, the report noted. The mobile RDC channel has more than twice the average rate for returned checks both in the prior two years and past 60 days, according to data provided to CSFI from Certegy.
 
However, in a survey of nearly 250 financial institutions, 80% reported no losses had occurred due to RDC, according to RemoteDepositCapture.com (May 21).
 
Availability of funds is one way to control risk, said John Leekley, founder/CEO of RemoteDepositCapture.com. Twenty-eight percent of respondents provide same-day or immediate funds, 51% offer next-day availability, and 16% have a two-day policy.
 
An additional tool to mitigate fraud is to apply risk ratings to individual deposits based on account size, deposit amount, frequency of deposits, previous fraud incidents and member segmentation, said Leekley ( Bank Systems and Technology May 21).

PCUA amends bylaws to extend director term limits

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (6/10/14)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) is considering a bylaw amendment that would allow four three-year terms of service on the league's board, an increase from the current three, three-year term-limit.
 
"We believe the extra term will give our board members valuable experience and continuity," said Patrick Conway, PCUA president/CEO ( Life is a Highway June 9).
 
At the league's annual business meeting May 18 in Atlantic City, N.J., board Chair Maria LaVelle presented the bylaw amendment, which was adopted by the board April 4.
 
Mail ballots were sent to all member credit unions Friday. The deadline to return ballots is July 7.

N.H. league elects board at 60th annual meeting

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MANCHESTER, N.H. (6/10/14)--The New Hampshire Credit Union League announced board officers at its 60th annual meeting, held Friday and Saturday in Bretton Woods. 
 
Table officers re-elected at the meeting include: 
  • Chairman: Gerald Dumoulin, president/CEO, Guardian Angel CU, Berlin, with $42 million in assets;
  • Vice chairman: Timothy Naro, executive vice president/COO, Granite State CU, Manchester, with $33 million in assets; and
  • Secretary/treasurer: Brian Hughes, president/CEO, Holy Rosary CU, Rochester, with $203 million in assets.
Other board members include:
  • Ronald H. Covey Jr., president/CEO, St. Mary's Bank CU, Marlborough, with $641 million in assets;
  • Michael A. L'Ecuyer, president/CEO, Bellwether Community CU, Manchester, with $389 million in assets;
  • Maurice Simard Jr., president/treasurer, Triangle CU, Nashua, with $515 million in assets; and
  • John Young, president/CEO, New Hampshire FCU, Concord, with $241 million in assets.

ACUC speaker drops in for #CUNAchat on social media

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WASHINGTON (6/10/14)--Anyone just itching to get to the Credit Union National Association's 2014 America's Credit Union Conference had the opportunity Monday to fire off questions to one of the keynote speakers headlining the event.

For nearly an hour, Amber MacArthur, TV host, bestselling author and social media maven, shared knowledge during CUNA's first-ever Twitter chat about best practices in social media, while also dropping hints about the topics she will broach during the conference in San Francisco, set for June 30 to July 3.

Using the hashtags #CUNAchat and #ACUC, credit unions from throughout the country were able to pick the brain of "AmberMac," who's built a following of nearly 100,000 Twitter users.

"What should #creditunions know to get started on social media?" one industry professional tweeted @AmberMac.

"Most important, have a plan in place--a long-term strategy to achieve your goals and objectives--don't just jump in!" MacArthur tweeted back. "Also, you can't master all platforms at once. Figure out where your audience is and connect with them there."

The Twitter account for Vantage CU, Bridgeton, Mo., with $737 million in assets, also participated, asking MacArthur how bloggers can create engaging content on a continuous basis.

Replied @AmberMac: "That's where editorial plan can help. Pick content themes that are triggers around key dates ... (such as) holidays."

Other information shared by MacArthur during the Twitter chat:
  • Most organizations don't post or engage enough. "Do three times more than what you're doing daily, and you will see results;"
     
  • Remember, "no one shares boring;" and
     
  • Rarely is too much use of social media a problem. As long as the quality is good and engagement is good, keep doing it more.
Scroll through the tweets below.

N.J. CU CEO warns of borrowing against retirement funds

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TRENTON, N.J. (6/10/14)--A New Jersey credit union poll and CEO were the dual pegs of a recent article in The Times of Trenton that spells out a growing, and perhaps disheartening, trend of workers pulling money from their retirement savings too soon (June 8).

The poll, sponsored by McGraw-Hill FCU, East Windsor, N.J., with $312 million in assets, found that employees were more apt to request an advance on their retirement savings over the last year than they were three years ago.

Specifically, 62% of respondents said they had seen a jump in loan requests over the past 12 months, while 44% reported that employees were more likely to request a hardship withdrawal from their retirement savings compared with last year, according to The Times of Trenton article.

Shawn Gilfedder, McGraw-Hill president/CEO, told the newspaper that the problem likely signals deeper financial issues both with the borrower and with the culture of the U.S. workforce.

"More and more, we're being asked to help individuals that have taken loans out against their retirement accounts," Gilfedder told The Times of Trenton. "By the time we get that request, most of these people are heading down a path that we may not be able to resolve."

Added Gilfedder: "That money was meant for a different purpose, and you don't get that money back. We want to get ahead of those people before they decide to do that. When people start sooner in the money-planning process, time is their friend. When they start later on, it makes it much more difficult, and because it's harder, they take on more risk than they should, and that could cause a problem."

The survey, which polled 401 human resource professionals, also found a correlation between the problems employees are having with their finances and their performance in the workplace (See News Now May 16: Financial stress seeps into workers' lives, CU-sponsored survey finds).

Senate leader McConnell talks to CU constituents at home base

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (6/10/14)--The top Republican in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, came by the Kentucky
Click to view larger image Sen. Mitch McConnell, minority leader in the Senate, addresses almost 50 credit union representatives at the Kentucky Credit Union League offices in Louisville. (KYCUL photo)
 Credit Union League office in Louisville to address 48 credit union constituents from Louisville, Fort Knox and Frankfort during the recently ended District Work Period.

On Friday, the senator discussed a broad range of issues, including health care, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, and the volatility and violence in Ukraine. 

The Senate leader also  took time to answer questions from the credit union audience. He ended his remarks by thanking credit unions for their important role in helping Kentucky's consumers and the nation's economy. 

"Sen. McConnell has been a friend of credit unions for many years, and we appreciate his support and taking time out of his schedule to meet with our credit unions," Debbie Painter, executive vice president of the Kentucky league, noted Friday.

McConnell recently co-sponsored the credit union-backed Privacy Notification Modernization Act (S. 625), which is supported by the Kentucky league and the Credit Union National Association. 

The bill would eliminate a requirement that privacy notices be sent on an annual basis and instead allow the notices to be sent only when the privacy policy of a financial institution has changed--cutting the nuisance of duplicative notices for consumers and unnecessary costs to financial institutions.
 
Both Senate and House are back in session now, entering a three-week work period before both chambers recess for a July 4 District Work Session.

Cheney reflects on tenure as CUNA CEO

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WASHINGTON (6/10/14)--Today marks the last day that Bill Cheney will walk through the doors of 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW as president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association.
 
Cheney is returning to California, where he served as president of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and was president of Xceed Financial CU, El Segundo, with $851 million in assets. He takes the helm of SchoolsFirst FCU, Santa Ana., Calif., from Rudy Hanley who is retiring after more than 30 years at the $10 billion-plus-asset credit union.
 
Cheney joined CUNA in July 2010, following the retirement of Dan Mica, a former U.S. representative from Florida, who headed the trade association for 14 years.
 
News Now posed five questions to Cheney about his time at CUNA and the credit union movement.
 
Q: Why is SchoolsFirst a "dream job?"
 
A: It is a credit union that has done a great job of identifying the needs of its members and creatively meeting them. This only happens with a strong team and visionary leadership and SchoolsFirst has all of the above.
 
For almost 80 years, SchoolsFirst FCU has worked for the educational community in Southern California, first in Orange County and now throughout the region. Its products and services are uniquely designed to address school employees' pay schedules. Members can turn to SchoolsFirst FCU for loans for classroom supplies or furthering their education, in addition to more traditional uses. 
 
It has long been known for having an active voice in the political arena. I know it takes commitment, knowledge, perseverance, action and time to influence political leaders, and SchoolsFirst is committed to that ideal.
 
It is a profound honor to follow Rudy Hanley as SchoolsFirst FCU's CEO after his 31 years of unsurpassed leadership and success. I look forward to working with the amazing team of more than 1,300 professionals and volunteers to build on that success.
 
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney discussed the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign during a 2013 appearance on the Fox Business Network. (CUNA photo).
Q: In February, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) submitted a tax reform package that left the credit union tax status untouched. Of course the victory in this first stage of maintaining the credit union tax status didn't just "happen," but what specifically do you think was most effective?
 
A: CUNA prepared the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign well in advance of when Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced that tax reform was going to be approached with a "blank slate" in June 2013.
 
The success of "Don't Tax My Credit Union" should be credited to the members who responded in a strong and positive manner to the campaign. CUNA, leagues and credit unions generated more than 1.4 million contacts with Capitol Hill in less than nine months as part of our "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign.
 
Some might say credit unions never were on the list to lose their tax exemption, but we know for certain that we were at risk. CUNA and the leagues could not sit back and take that risk. That's why "Don't Tax My Credit Union" was--and still is--important to getting the message out.
 
At the 2013 America's Credit Union Conference, Cheney emphasized the "Unite for Good" campaign, which seeks to have the whole credit union industry speak with one unified voice to remove barriers, increase awareness and foster service excellence for credit unions in reaching the strategic vision in which "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner." (CUNA photo)
Q: Outside of legislative and regulatory successes in D.C., what other feathers did CUNA add to its cap while you were president/CEO?
 
I'm delighted that the shared, strategic vision initiative--"Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner"--is receiving traction within the credit union movement. I strongly believe that if credit unions are all headed in the same direction, in terms of where we want to be by 2023, there is very little that can stop us from getting there.
 
The vision's "shared agenda" of removing barriers, creating awareness and fostering service excellence is the pathway for achieving the vision and getting us to our overall goal. And we'll know we've achieved success by the numbers we reach: At least 55 million "primary financial institution" members, and $20 billion returned annually in financial benefits. I look forward to the day we reach our goals--which I hope will be sooner than later.
  
Q: How do you think the National Credit Union Administration's risk-based capital proposal will turn out?
 
A:  The record 2,050 comment letters submitted to the regulator shows that credit unions are concerned, as are the hundreds of members of Congress who have weighed in. There will be some type of risk-based capital--and CUNA agrees with that--but the proposal by the NCUA is untenable. I believe the chairman and other board members when they say they will make substantive changes, and I know CUNA will be tracking this closely, as will leagues and credit unions. 
 
Q: What words of wisdom do you have for your successor?
 
A: Be tenacious. It is difficult to win grand successes with a Congress that is gridlocked and regulators that are under ever increasing pressure to prevent the last crisis, but CUNA, leagues, credit unions and members should make sure their voices are always being heard. And while Washington and Madison are both key to the success of the credit union movement, make sure you take the time to visit with credit union professionals and volunteers from throughout the country. We have an amazing group of passionate leaders from all walks of life.
 
On top of that: I know CUNA is in good hands with Bill Hampel guiding the organization in this interim between permanent CEOs, ably assisted by the tremendously talented senior management team and the entire staff at our national trade association. Together, they won't miss a beat in advocacy, representation and service for credit unions.
 

Colo. gov. inks first ever pot co-op into law

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DENVER (6/10/14)--Colorado is inching ever closer to removing cash from the marijuana industry equation, as Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill Friday that could establish the world's first financial system for pot businesses ( the Cannabist June 6).

Concerned for the safety of the cash-only businesses working within the recently legalized industry-- businesses banks won't yet offer services to for fear of breaking federal law--advocates of the legislation hope that this network of uninsured cooperatives the legislation would form would provide pot businesses basic financial services such as checking accounts.

A credit union in Washington, the only other state in the United States to legalize recreational sales of marijuana, has begun offering services to a select group of pot businesses--though marijuana retailers are still barred ( News Now May 9). 

Running these businesses entirely on cash is becoming more and more of a perilous operation, as the high volumes of on-hand currency are likely to attract robberies and other crime.

Mike Elliot, Marijuana Industry Group representative, told the Cannabist that a member of his organization was recently robbed, and that tensions are beginning to rise for employees and businesses trying to make their way in this new business world.

"We don't need a vault. What we need is checking," Elliot told the Cannabist . "We're looking for a way to take cash out of the businesses."

The only way the financial cooperative will happen, however, is with the approval of the Federal Reserve, which has not yet agreed to approve a financial system for marijuana businesses.

While Colorado legalized recreational marijuana on Jan. 1, federal law still deems recreational sales and use illegal.

Some have even called the legislation symbolic, as it carries no weight without the endorsement of the federal government. Though, lawmakers in Colorado say it's still important to pass the bill.

"At minimum, it's a 'send a message' bill," Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver) told the Cannabist. "Hopefully, it becomes a leverage point to get some attention and get some action on the part of the federal government," he said. "Because they hold the keys on this one. We can't solve this problem at the Statehouse in Denver. It's going to require action and participation on the part of federal officials, and hopefully this gets us there."

Bellco's Ferraro elected chair of CO-OP

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (6/10/14)--Doug Ferraro, president/CEO of Bellco CU, Greenwood Village, Colo., has been elected board chair of CO-OP Financial Services.
 
Ferraro has been a director on the CO-OP board since 2010. He has been president/CEO of $2.5 billion-asset Bellco CU since 1992. He also serves on the boards of Open Technology Solutions, Gateway Services Group and Credit Union Direct Connect. 
 
In addition to Ferraro, three other credit union leaders were elected to officer positions on CO-OP's board:
  • Vice chairman/chairman-elect: Jeff Napper, president/CEO, LBS Financial CU, Westminster, Calif., with $1.1 billion in assets;
  • Treasurer: Allan McMorris, president/CEO, Oakland County CU, Waterford, Mich., with $192 million in assets; and
  • Secretary: Chuck Purvis, president/CEO, Coastal FCU, Raleigh, N.C., with $2.8 billion in assets.
The board of directors of CO-OP Financial Services consists of 11 members. The six other members of the board include:
  • Tom Dorety, president/CEO, Suncoast CU, Tampa, Fla., with $5.7 billion in assets;
  • Shruti Miyashiro, president/CEO, Orange County's CU, Santa Ana, Calif., with $1.1 billion in assets;
  • Benson Porter, president/CEO, BECU, Tukwila, Wash., with $12 billion in assets;
  • John Radebaugh, president/CEO, Carolinas Credit Union League, Raleigh, N.C.;
  • Lisa Schlehuber,  president/CEO, Eli Lilly FCU, Indianapolis, with $1.1 billion in assets; and
  • Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, Travis CU, Vacaville, Calif., with $2.2 billion in assets.

League's skilled trades program hailed by Mich. gov.

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (6/10/14)--Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said the state has many unfilled good-paying skilled trade jobs, and a program from the Michigan Credit Union League is a way to encourage and support students to explore those opportunities.
 
Gov. Rick Snyder said encouraging more Michigan young people to explore careers in skilled trades is a "top priority." (Michigan Credit Union League photo)
Snyder, who spoke at the league's annual convention in Grand Rapids last week, thanked the league for its Career and Technical Training program--an initiative of the league, U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Iron Mountain) and the Michigan Workforce Development Agency.
 
"We have thousands of open jobs and still too much unemployment," Snyder said ( Michigan Monitor June 6). "The skilled trades is the best place to look."
 
He said the problem goes back to when the emphasis for post-secondary education was shifted to a four-year degree and away from the well-paying skilled trades jobs.
 
"That was the mistake we made 20 years ago or so," Snyder said. "I want Michigan to be the leader in emphasizing both tracks."
 
Aimed at teens and young adults, the Career and Technical Training guide outlines Michigan industries--ones that don't typically require a four-year university education--that are short of workers.

Take it from your dad: Financial advice worth heeding

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WASHINGTON (6/10/14)--When in need of some guidance, many often turn to their dads in hopes of attaining ever-valuable fatherly advice.

With Father's Day fast approaching, financial experts from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling would like to impart some advice of their own in honor of that day for dads.

When asked to finish the sentence, "If I knew what I know now," concerning what they would have done differently at the outset of their financial lives, these financial experts offered the following tutelage:
  • Wait at least 24 hours before making a major purchase, and "I'm not sure 48 hours wouldn't be a better suggestion," one expert said, citing the example of a time the individual impulsively bought a car that needed entirely too much maintenance.

    "Although numerous hikes from a car broken down on the side of the road did provide a lot of exercise, I let my wants override my needs and paid for it over many years," the expert said;
     
  • "I would stress the importance of saving for college," answered another expert, who described seeing many clients recently shackled with overwhelming student loan obligations. "This is something I'm working on with my own kids, and something I hope they pass along to theirs. ... Consider having them contribute to it so they are part of the process. It might even make them study harder;"
     
  • Seek professional management of retirement savings early in your career. Putting someone in charge of monitoring personal finances made a difference for one financial expert;
     
  • Lobby school officials and districts to incorporate financial education as part of their standard curriculum; and
     
  • The two ways of getting everything you want in life is to, one, work harder and accumulate more, or, two, desire less."

    "When I accepted No. 2, life was much more enjoyable," an expert said.

College students benefit to the tune of $15M from N.Y.'s CUs

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/9/14)--The combination of the generosity of the Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) and the state's credit unions resulted in the distribution of more than $1.5 million in total scholarships.
 
Nearly 100 credit unions representing every chapter participated in CUANY's statewide program, and approximately 1,500 applications were submitted. Twenty high school seniors will receive $1,000 scholarships, and 19 will receive $500, for a total of $29,500 for this year. The program was open to high school seniors with membership in a New York credit union who are planning to enroll in a two- or four-year college.
 
"The Credit Union Association of New York is proud to help these hardworking young men and women--our future leaders--pursue a college education," said CUANY president/CEO William J. Mellin. "All of these scholarship recipients should be commended for their diligence and their choice to obtain a higher education."

CU System Briefs (06/09/2014)

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WASHINGTON (6/9/14)-- Eric S. Belsky becomes the Federal Reserve Board's director of Consumer and Community Affairs in August , according to a Friday announcement form the agency. He succeeds Sandra F. Braunstein who retired earlier this year after serving nearly 27 years at the central bank, including a 10-year stint as director of the consumer division. Belsky currently serves as managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University and is a lecturer in urban planning and design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The Consumer and Community Affairs division of the Fed is responsible for carrying out the board of governors' consumer financial protection and community development programs. It also conducts consumer-focused supervision, research, and policy analysis to promote a fair and transparent consumer financial services marketplace ...

WASHINGTON (6/9/14)-- The slides from a webinar on cybersecurity are now available from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council . The FFIEC offered the webinar in May to raise awareness of pervasiveness of cyber threats, discuss the role of executive leadership in managing these risks, and to share actions being taken by the FFIEC. About 5,000 chief executive officers and senior managers from community financial institutions tuned into the May webinar ...

SAN DIEGO (6/9/14)-- Marla Shepard, president/CEO of $1.8 billion-asset California Coast CU, San Diego, will retire in early 2015 after a 42-year career. Shepard began her career as a teller with Santel FCU in 1972 and became CEO of the credit union in 1982. She led the credit union through five mergers and a name change in 2001 to First Future CU.  In 2008, she orchestrated what was the largest credit union merger in the United States, uniting First Future and California Coast. An ardent advocate for credit unions, in the 1990s Shepard led a political effort to get all five of San Diego County's congressmen to co-sponsor H.R. 1151, a bill allowing credit unions to expand their fields of membership ...
 
GREENVILLE, S.C. (6/9/14)-- The Carolinas Credit Union Foundation (CCUF) has launched its re-designed website . With a more modern design, the website now has the capability of processing online donations as well as incorporating videos and other social media content into the site. "The foundation is very grateful to Your Marketing Co., led by Bo McDonald, for donating its web design services," said CCUF President/CEO John McGrail. "Your Marketing Co. has shown its philanthropic colors over and over again from building our new site to providing media materials for the CCUF Awards Gala" ...

Cornerstone CU Foundation 'granted my wish' with networking opportunity

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SAN ANTONIO (6/9/14)--Thanks to an educational grant from the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, one credit union professional was able to take part in some serious networking with industry leaders recently, while taking critical steps in advancing her career within the credit union movement.

Last year, the Cornerstone Credit Union League's charitable arm awarded Sarah Rosas from Generations FCU, San Antonio, with $519 million in assets, with the opportunity to attend the Credit Union National Association's Operations Sales and Service Council (OpSS) Conference in Los Angeles.

Needless to say, she made the most of her time.

"It was a little overwhelming at first, but such an amazing experience," Rosas said ( Leaguer June 6). "I got to meet and greet with credit union executives from across the nation, and it really broadened my horizons. And I got to experience this because the Cornerstone Foundation read my story and granted my wish."

The OpSS Council Conference is a networking and educational event for operations, sales and service professionals in the credit union industry.

Rosas took the opportunity at last year's conference to shake every hand she could and exchange contact information with everyone she had conversations with.

The Generations FCU employee also said she appreciated the gift that Cornerstone gave her and, inspired by the event, suggested that other follow in her footsteps if they can.

"My advice to other young professionals who are looking for career advancement would be to become involved with your local credit union chapter, and jump on any networking events within the organization to find opportunities such as (this one)," Rosas said.

This year's conference is Sept. 21-24 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. See the resource link.

Brokerage firms nervous about sloppy security practices

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MADISON (6/9/14)--Advanced technology can improve online security but it can't overcome carelessness on the part of financial professionals, and Wall Street brokerage firms are nervous about the potential consequences.

Practices such as taping sensitive passwords to computer monitors and storing them in binders labeled "passwords" compromise the technological advances made in recent years, according to officials from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Wall Street's industry-funded watchdog ( Reuters June 6).
 
Some firms give login information to temporary workers then neglect to cancel their access when the workers move on. Examiners traded anecdotes about how careless brokerage employees were at a recent FINRA conference.
 
The problems are being highlighted as major online security breaches in other industries are giving Wall Street reason to think twice about online security standards.
 
Security breaches could trigger privacy law violations and trouble with financial regulators, which have noted a spate of breaches in other sectors and companies, including eBay Inc., Target Corp, Neiman Marcus Group LLC and other retailers.
 
FINRA and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into measures that brokerages and asset managers have put in place to safeguard against cyber attacks. On June 3, the top Massachusetts securities regulator announced cyberaudits of state-registered financial advisers.
 
The increased focus on cybersecurity is causing some firms, especially smaller ones, to step up prevention measures, said Joseph Rivela, chief strategist for Breach Intelligence LLC, a Farmington, Conn., information security firm. Many smaller firms lag their large counterparts in terms of security policies and procedures, Rivela said.
 
But even employees at large firms are vulnerable. For example, scam artists sometimes pose as customers and make wire transfer requests. FINRA has disciplined sales assistants who transferred funds without first verifying those requests with the actual customers.

Scam artists also send "phishing" emails that appear to be from customers and ask for personal data. Another scenario involves fake wireless hot spots that scam artists set up in public spaces to invade firms' systems.
 
Educating employees about scams is a critical first step, said Rocco Grillo, who heads a global information security unit at Protiviti, a division of California-based Robert Half.

Report: Massive 401(k) outflows on the horizon

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BOSTON (6/9/14)--Credit unions and other financial advisers will have an opportunity to assist more members and consumers in financial planning and management, as defined contribution plans will experience seismic outflows as baby boomers retire, creating both opportunities, and real challenges.
 
That's the upshot of new analysis from Cerulli Associates that projects distributions from 401(k) plans will outpace new contributions by 2016.
 
"This has significant implications for asset managers and other financial services providers," said Bing Waldert, a director at Boston-based Cerulli. "Distributions create opportunities as money moves from employer-sponsored plans to IRAs. On the other hand, the allure of the defined contribution market fades as the stickiness of assets comes into question, and net flows decline or may turn negative for some asset managers."
 
In its report, "Evolution of the Retirement Investor 2013," Cerulli aggregates data on enrollees' contribution habits throughout their investing life cycle, examining IRA rollovers and enrollees' relationship with advisers as they cash out their 401(k)s and begin to allocate resources for retirement.
 
Cerulli's report suggests advisers redouble their efforts on increasing contribution rates with younger workers in order to counter the massive outflows following boomers into retirement.
 
Over 60% of workers under the age of 30 use their company match as a gauge of how much they contribute to their plans, suggesting that an increase in match would lead to increased contributions. Short of that, Cerulli says advisers will have to intensify their efforts to safeguard their sponsor relationships.

Bloomberg's Brusuelas to keynote CUNA Economics and Investments Conference

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MADISON, Wis. (6/9/14)--Joseph Brusuelas, senior economist with Bloomberg LP and the Bloomberg Briefs newsletter group, will deliver a keynote presentation at this year's CUNA Economics and Investments Conference, Aug. 17-20 in Boston, the Credit Union National Association announced Friday.
 
Preparing leaders to thrive in today's economy, the CUNA Economics and Investments Conference digs into the numbers with industry economists and introduces strategies for approaching investments in the year to come.
 
Brusuelas has more than 20 years of experience in finance and economics, specializing in analysis of the U.S. economy, monetary policy, labor markets, fiscal policy, economic indicators and the condition of the U.S. consumer. As co-founder of the award-winning Bloomberg Economic Brief , he was recently named as one of the 26 economists to follow by the Huffington Post . He regularly appears on Bloomberg Television, Bloomberg Radio and is frequently quoted by the financial press on the U.S. and global economies.
 
"Bloomberg is at the top of the class when it comes to economic analysis and forecasting, "said Kevin Smith, CUNA director of learning events.

During his keynote session, "An Overview of the Current Economic Climate--The Big Picture," Brusuelas will examine the major indicators and statistics behind current economic trend insights.

N.Y. young pros volunteer at Ronald McDonald House

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/9/14)--Eight young professionals from New York credit unions volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House in Buffalo last week.

The volunteers represented four credit unions from the greater Buffalo area, including $72 million-asset Great Erie FCU, Orchard Park; $727 million-asset The Summit FCU, Rochester; $40 million-asset Western New York FCU, West Seneca; and $90 million-asset Buffalo (N.Y.) Metropolitan FCU.

Three of the volunteers--Cara Carlevatti, Katie Sugorovskiy and Angelina Incorvaia--are members of the Credit Union Association of New York's Young Professionals Commission.

Together, the volunteers participated in the Cook for Kids program, which included going grocery shopping, cooking dinner and cleaning for 20 temporary residents currently staying at the house. The families have children receiving medical treatment in Buffalo-area hospitals.

"After spending most of the day at the hospital, a simple home cooked meal can really go a long way," said Sugorovskiy ( The Point June 6). "I am grateful for the opportunity through the commission to provide a helping hand to those who are going through a difficult time."

League exec advocates team approach to social media success

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ST. LOUIS (6/9/14)--A credit union's social media profile should be more than the face of the credit union--it should be the many faces of the credit union.
 
Nora Holloway, PR and online community director for the Missouri Credit Union Association, advises a team approach to fostering a social media relationship with members--both current and potential ( Missouri Difference May 28).
 
More than half of consumers are more likely to trust an average employee than a CEO, Holloway said, citing the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer. "When a frontline staffer comments on an update the credit union posted, it shows fans (or followers) that real people work at the credit union AND that they enjoy working at the credit union," she wrote.
 
Also, content shared by employees receives more clicks, likes and comments than that shared from the brand or business site.
 
Chances are employees already are advocating for the good work credit unions do, Holloway said, urging, "Get them to take their support online."
 
On visual platforms like Facebook, photos are a big draw to readers. Highlight a new employee, or take a hint from $35 million-asset CSD CU, Kansas City: Draw big signs that congratulate a local school district on its 100th anniversary and have employees hold them up for a photo. Not only did it get many likes, but it also drew comments such as, "Absolutely love CSD credit Union ... You are the Best!"
 
Holloway advised credit unions to create a social media policy and request that employees sign a photo release. Encourage employees to participate whether it's with a simple reminder email or an incentive program, she added.
 
However, keep update duties to a limited team: "If too many people have access to the social channels, it can get messy," she advised.

Wis. state CU director Santos appointed to NASCUS board

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ARLINGTON, Va. (6/9/14)--The National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) appointed Kim Santos, director of the Office of Credit Unions at the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, to its board.
 
Santos was selected to fill a vacancy created by last week's departure of John Kolhoff, director of the Office of Credit Unions of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. Kolhoff had been chair of the association for state agencies that charter, regulate and examine state-chartered credit unions.
 
Santos, who has been with the Wisconsin office for more than 20 years, also has served on a number of NASCUS committees and task forces.
 
"Kim is a respected longtime member of NASCUS and the state regulatory community, and she will be a valuable addition to our board," said NASCUS Chair Mike Wettrich, deputy superintendent for credit unions in the Division of Financial Institutions of Ohio's Department of Commerce.
 
"Obviously, as the regulator with a state system the size of Wisconsin's, Kim joins the board with a solid understanding of the diverse issues and challenges our system faces today," said NASCUS President/CEO Mary Martha Fortney.

Nat'l Journal features 'CU in disguise' helping Latino communities

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WASHINGTON (6/9/14/)--On the outside, Community Trust Prospera looks like an ordinary check-cashing service in a Latino community. On the inside, however, it holds a credit union and a commitment to people helping people--especially the low-income Latinos who live in the East San Jose, Calif., neighborhood.
 
The June 6 edition of National Journal featured the work of credit unions and credit union leaders in California, North Carolina, Iowa and Ohio who are bringing banking services to low-income communities.
 
Community Trust Prospera is a project of Self-Help FCU, $560 million in assets, and its Chief Financial Officer Randy Chambers said it's a "baby step" to get Latinos out of a cash-based world and into one where they can build wealth and credit. The first one opened in 2010, and now all six of the Durham, N.C. -based credit union's specialized divisions count a total 11,000 members and $1.3 million in savings, according to Chambers.
 
Thirty-six-year-old Darwin Moran first used Community Trust Prospera to cash his paychecks and wire money to his mother in El Salvador. At first, he didn't want an account, but, "I started to become friends with them and slowly I started to change my mind," Moran told National Journal.
 
He opened a savings and checking account three years ago and recently added a credit-building loan that increased his score by three points. "Fixing my credit and paying my debts was so important to me," he said.
 
National Journal also noted the relationship between the Credit Union National Association and Coopera, a Hispanic consulting firm located in Iowa.
 
Coopera CEO Miriam de Dios told the Journal she often teaches credit union employees to recognize the different types of foreign government-issued IDs to help the cash-only community become banked. "They have been missing out. By dealing in cash, you can't build credit. It affects what you pay in rent and your insurance," she said.
 
National Journal also highlighted President/CEO Sue Cuevas and Nueva Esperanza Community CU--the first one chartered by the state of Ohio to serve Latinos--in south Toledo, Ohio. Less than five years old, the $1.5 million-asset credit union serves about 400 members with savings accounts and personal and auto loans.

CU System briefs (06/06/2014)

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  •  ALEXANDRIA, Va. (6/6/14)-- A recording of the brief May National Credit Union Administration open board meeting is now available online . There were three agenda items at the May 22 session: The Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund quarterly performance review; an application from $205 million-asset AERO FCU of Glendale, Ariz., to serve underserved portions of Maricopa County, Arizona, and Bernalillo County, New Mexico; and a notice of regulatory review under the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 to identify rules needing modification, simplification or repeal. The agency started posting video recordings of its open meetings in mid-2013 as part of an effort to provide transparency and to allow those unable to attend board meetings the opportunity to become better informed. Archived videos of past board meetings may be viewed online, and each video remains on the site for one year ...
     
  • ARLINGTON, Va. (6/6/14)-- John Kolhoff, director of the Office of Credit Unions of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, resigned from his position as chair of the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors , effective June 2. The new chairman is Michael Wettrich, deputy superintendent for credit unions of the Division of Financial Institutions of Ohio's Department of Commerce ...
     
  • HONOLULU (6/6/14)-- University of Hawaii FCU, Honolulu, expanded its network of surcharge-free ATMs to more than 375 locations throughout all the Hawaiian Islands . "Wherever our members are, they will find more surcharge-free ATMs on university campuses, in more shopping centers, in more entertainment venues, and in more retail locations than ever before," said Jeanine Morse, president/CEO of the $547 million-asset credit union ( League News June 1). The credit union added American Savings Bank ATMs to its network that also includes First Hawaiian Bank ATMs ...

Pa. exec 1st CU rep on veterans' small-business panel

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EXTON, Pa. (6/6/14)--Military members often leave the service equipped with a skillset that positions them well to run their own businesses. But even the most gifted leaders need a little guidance when it comes to entrepreneurship.

And for the first time through the U.S. Small Business Administration's "Boots to Business: From Service to Start" program, which provides servicemembers with the guidance they need to start their own business, military personnel will benefit from the tutelage of a credit union professional.

Thanks to work by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, Kevin Dion, vice president of lending for Citadel FCU, Exton, Pa., with $1.8 billion in assets, will be a panelist on a financial module during this month's training program, scheduled for June 17-18 at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.

Dion will be the first credit union professional to participate in the program.

"I think this is a great opportunity," Dion told News Now. "We talk about the opportunities and challenges of member business lending in the credit union world, so this is a great opportunity ... for credit unions to give back to the community, and to give back to servicemembers."

Boots to Business, a two-day entrepreneurial class for veterans interested in starting a business, caters to active military members and guides them through an initial feasibility study of their business concepts.

The program also aims to help servicemembers transition from the military to the business world, and leaves participants with the ability to identify a business opportunity, develop a business plan, link up with local small business resources and get their business off the ground.

At the event Dion will outline services and loan programs offered by credit unions, such as eligibility requirements and criteria for loans, and he will also answer questions from aspiring entrepreneurs.

"It's a great opportunity for us to reach out and get the message across that credit unions are out there and they can help where sometimes the larger institutions (don't)," Dion said.

The panel also includes lenders from economic and community development organizations.

For more information use the resource link.

N.Y. foundation awards nearly $53K in grants

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/6/14)--Since January, the New York Credit Union Foundation has awarded nearly $53,000 in grants to state credit unions and credit union professionals.

Applications for professional development grants are accepted year-round on a rolling basis.The most recent grant cycle took place January through May.

Forty-three professional development grants totaling $23,575 were awarded to employees and volunteers from 30 credit unions.
 
Five Smart Money grants totaling $11,253 were awarded to:
  • Cooperative FCU, Wooodridge, with $9 million in assets;
  • Alternatives FCU, Ithaca, with $84 million in assets;
  • Buffalo Metropolitan FCU, with $86 million in assets;
  • CORE FCU, East Syracuse, with $80 million in assets; and
  • ServU FCU, Painted Post, with $237 million in assets.
Smart Money grants can be used for projects such as youth or adult financial education programs, homeownership programs or services, financial counseling, savings and wealth-building initiatives, providing the unbanked with access to financial services and earned income tax credit tax preparation.

Seven small credit union grants totaling $17,989 were awarded to the following credit unions:
  • Local 41 IBEW FCU, Orchard Park, with $41 million in assets;
  • Buffalo Cooperative FCU, with $6 million in assets;
  • Greece Community FCU, Rochester, with $8 million in assets;
  • GRS EFCU, West Henrietta, with $2 million in assets;
  • South Towns Community FCU, Lackawanna, with $14 million in assets;
  • Spencerport FCU, with $24 million in assets; and
  • Upstate Milk EFCU, Cheektowaga, with $2 million in assets.
Small credit union grants can be used for general operating needs that help to improve member service, including (but not limited to): technology, security improvements, operations and consulting services.

As compliance concerns ease, confidence in social media climbs

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MADISON, Wis. (6/6/14)--Credit unions and other financial institutions are feeling more and more comfortable tying social media into their business strategies now that regulation and compliance issues have softened, according to data released by American Century Investments ( eMarketer June 3).

Though still the top concern, over the last few years the percentage of financial professionals who worry about the use of social media in their business has fallen nine points to 36%.

Privacy breaches, meanwhile, have remained steady with professionals reporting being concerned with data security at 21%, the same as in 2010.

The level of concern over use, time and technology restrictions each climbed higher in 2014 from 2010 levels as well.

"As concerns about compliance and regulatory issues have dropped, and others have remained at relatively low levels, the financial industry's opinion about social media has become more positive," eMarketer said. "In 2014, more than one-third of U.S. financial professionals said that social media was valuable for their business, compared with around one-quarter who said so in 2010."

The majority of respondents also said they believed social media was an emerging trend and that it would have significant benefits for their businesses in the future. Only 44% believed that in 2010.

This has led financial services companies to allocate more money to their social media campaigns. Marketing executives from financial institutions said they expect their budgets for social media to grow by 7.4% in the next year and 15.7% in the next five years, according to numbers from a poll administered by Duke University's Fuqua School of Business in May.

Currently, those polled said that their institution spends 5.9% of their marketing budget on social media.

Education, savings part of Resource One CU's IDA program

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (6/6/14)--Dallas-based Resource One CU, with $389 million in assets,  has partnered with Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Greater Dallas to help area consumers create emergency savings and reverse the asset-poverty trend by offering free financial counseling, education and matched savings during a 12-month savings and financial capability program.
 
Accountable, Inspirational and Motivational (AIM) is a CCCS individual development account (IDA) through which CCCS will match up to $25 each month for 12 months for participants who engage in one hour of monthly education, coaching  or counseling, and make at or below the income requirement of $56,080 for a household up to four people.
 
Resource One CU will open and hold the matched savings accounts for CCCS AIM clients during the 12-month program ( Leaguer June 5).
 
At least 39% of Dallas residents are considered "asset poor," according to the latest poverty report card from the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. The asset poor are those who do not have a cushion or emergency savings--and live one crisis away from poverty without the ability to save.
 
Dallas-area consumers will be allowed to enroll in AIM at any of the eight Resource One CU Dallas locations. AIM is available for up to 400 consumers each year for the next three years. Those enrolled in AIM have the potential to create $600 in savings at the end of a 12-month period.

Supervisory, audit committees focus of CUNA conference

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MADISON, Wis. (6/6/14)--Dec. 7-10 is the date for one of the few credit union programs specific to the supervisory committee and internal audit audience--the Credit Union National Association's Supervisory Committee and Internal Audit Conference.
 
The three-day conference, which will be in Las Vegas, addresses trends in fraud, types of audits, growing internal audit departments, oversight and more.
 
"Supervisory committee content often gets paired with board events," said Kevin Smith, CUNA director of volunteer education. "The motivation behind this conference is to provide an exclusive gathering place for committee members and internal auditors where they can access resources and opportunities specific to their roles."
 
This year's program also features a pre-conference session, CUNA Supervisory Committee Fundamentals Workshop, for newcomers to get up to speed on oversight in today's credit union movement.
 
Successful completion of specific conference sessions will earn credit toward Certified Credit Union Volunteer designations.

Cooperative Hall of Fame calls for nominations

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WASHINGTON (6/6/14)--Nominations are now open for the Cooperative Hall of Fame, which honors individuals who have served the cooperative community in genuinely heroic measures.
                                                                                                                                       
Locally, regionally or internationally, the work of the inductees goes to enhancing and advancing cooperative enterprises, empowering people and contributing to the broader acceptance of the cooperative model in the United States and around the world. Inductees include volunteers, public officials, cooperative employees and members.
 
Past inductees include Harriet May, former president/CEO, $2 billion-asset Government Employees CU, El Paso, Texas; Joy Cousminer, president/CEO, $19 million-asset Bethex FCU, Bronx, N.Y.; and former Credit Union National Association President/CEO Dan Mica.
 
Nominations may be submitted by organizations or individuals and include a nomination form, narrative of the nominee's life as it relates to the selection criteria and letters of endorsement. Inductees are evaluated by the following criteria:
  • Statesmanship: Demonstrated statesmanship, innovation, personal commitment, leadership and vision beyond the professional competence and requirement of the position for which the inductee served the cooperative sector;
     
  • Lasting achievement:  Achieved identifiable and lasting change to improve and promote cooperatives;
     
  • Cooperative advancement: Inspired and persuaded others to act to advance the cooperative system; and
     
  • Recognition:  Recognized for work relating to cooperatives at the local, regional, national or international level.
Nominations are due Aug. 1. Use the resource link for more information and nomination forms.

Three new members complete Carolinas league board

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COLUMBIA, S.C., and RALEIGH, N.C. (6/6/14)--The recent election of three at-large completed the organization of the Carolinas Credit Union League board, following the consolidation of the North and South Carolina credit union leagues last year.
 
The additional members join eight sitting directors--four from each state--to complete the 11-member body. The group confirmed officers in a reorganization meeting following the business session.
 
Joining the board, with term expiration in parentheses, are:
  • Mark Curran, president/CEO, Lion's Share FCU, Salisbury, N.C., with $35 million in assets (2016);
  • Bob Donley, executive vice president, Members CU, Winston-Salem, N.C., with $244 million in assets (2015); and
  • Robert Harris, president/CEO, Health Facilities FCU, Florence, S.C., with $23 million in assets (2017).
Officers confirmed in the reorganization meeting include:
  • Chair: Faye Crocker, president/CEO of Greater Abbeville FCU, with $12 million in assets, (2015);
  • Vice chair: Patty Idol, president/CEO of Mountain CU, Waynesville, N.C., with $156 million in assets (2015);
  • Treasurer: Jeff Jones, president/CEO, Freedom FCU, Rocky Mount, N.C., with $51 million in assets (2017);
  • Secretary: Linda Weatherford, vice president of marketing and business development, SPC CU, Hartsville, S.C, with $125 million in assets (2016); and
  • Executive officer: Anne Shivers, president/CEO, Carolina Collegiate FCU, with $82 million in assets, Columbia, S.C. (2016);
Also serving on the CCUL board of directors are:
  • Lola Bumbarger, president/CEO, Century Employees Savings Fund CU, Hickory, N.C., with $8 million in assets (2016);
  • Maurice Smith, president/CEO, Local Government Employees FCU, Raleigh, N.C., with $1.3 billion in assets (2015); and
  • Nick Wodogaza, president/CEO, Palmetto Citizens FCU, Columbia, S.C., with $602 million in assets (2017).
The full board will meet Aug. 7 in Columbia with an agenda that includes orientation with the league's structure and strategic plan.

Hawaii league installs board officers

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HONOLULU (6/5/14)--The Hawaii Credit Union League announced its board officers and executive committee during its 76th annual meeting, held May 17.
 
The executive committee is:
  • Chair: Alan Arai, director, Valley Isla Community FCU, Kahului, with $106 million in assets;
  • Vice chair: Clayton Fuchigami, president/CEO, Maui FCU, Kahului, with $59 million in assets;
  • Secretary: Cheryl Weaver, assistant vice president, CU Hawaii FCU, Hilo, with $242 million in assets; and
  • Treasurer: Scot Tsuchiyama, manager, Kekaha FCU, with $19 million in assets.
Other board members are Mel Chiba, president/CEO, $360 million-asset Kauai Community FCU, Lihue; Jeanine Morse, president/CEO, $547 million-asset University of Hawaii FCU, Honolulu; and Gordon Sam, chair, Pearl Harbor FCU, Waipahu, with $337 million in assets.
 
The directors also serve on the board of the league's wholly owned subsidiary, HCU Services Corp.

CU System briefs (06/05/2014)

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  • CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. (6/5/14)--Organizers are inviting credit union leaders to attend this year's Combined Council of America's Credit Unions annual conference. Slated for Sept. 10-13 at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa in Clearwater Beach, Fla., council leaders encourage those from credit unions with a focus on the automotive industry to attend. The combined council is the association for automotive industry credit unions, including Daimler Chrysler, Ford, GM and International ...
     
  • SACRAMENTO, Calif. (6/5/14)-- The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have hired Lindsey Freitas as its new manager of grassroots advocacy ( In the News June 3). Before joining the leagues, Freitas worked for the American Lung Association and the California Professional Firefighters, where she helped advance the legislative and political goals of firefighters from throughout the state ...
     
  • BROOMFIELD and BOULDER, Colo. (6/5/14)-- Community Financial CU, Broomfield, Colo., with $146 million in assets, and Boulder (Colo.) Municipal Employees FCU, with $65 million in assets, announced this week they will merge ( Boulder County Business Report June 3). While both credit union boards have approved the plan, the merger still awaits a vote of their memberships and approval by regulators. "There is tremendous competition in our industry, and this move will allow us to grow and ensure long-term value for our members," said Ann Babiak, Boulder Municipal president/CEO. The new credit union, which will retain the Community Financial name, will serve more than 18,000 members and hold more than $200 million in assets. . . 

CU to pilot payday-loan consolidation program

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MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (6/5/14)--A California-based credit union is one of five institutions to begin piloting a type of small-dollar loan program whose creator, the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), hopes will lead to better financial health for millions of borrowers.  

Kinecta FCU, Manhattan Beach, Calif., with $3.2 billion in assets, as part of the Small-Dollar Credit Test and Learn Working Group, will roll out a payday consolidation loan this month that will enable members to convert multiple outstanding payday loans into a single installment loan.

Consumers spent more than $41 million in 2012 on small-dollar credit products such as payday loans, deposit advances and auto title loans, often receiving the loans from predatory lenders who charge unmanageably high-interest rates that can shove borrowers deep into debt ( News Now Feb. 28).

Each of the members of the Working Group, funded by the MetLife Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Omidyar Network, will test a different small-dollar loan tool, which harness ideas developed by CFSI's Compass Guide to Small-Dollar Credit, released earlier this year.

"We believe that supporting initiatives like the Test and Learn Working Group will offer critical insights into aspects of financial inclusion that will enhance programs and advance our common goals," said Dennis White, president/CEO of MetLife Foundation. "We know that providing access to quality, affordable products and services for low-income individuals and families is important, but it is equally important to ensure that these programs advance research and deepen knowledge in this area."

Other institutions within the working group will test programs that will allow consumers to borrow money with less funds in their savings accounts; increase usage of a "Save as You Repay" program that incentivizes consumers to contribute additional funds to their savings each time they make a payment on an installment loan; and provide access to an online loan product where consumers can customize their loan terms and monthly payment amounts.

As defined by CFSI's guide, high-quality, small-dollar loans:
  • Are made with high confidence in the borrower's ability to pay;
     
  • Are structured to support repayment;
     
  • Create opportunities for upward mobility and improved financial health;
     
  • Are accessible and convenient; and
     
  • Provide support and rights for borrowers.

Data security concerns empty shoppers' online carts

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SAN FRANCISCO (6/5/14)--Security breaches at Target and eBay and other large entities have apparently caused consumers to think twice before entering card data and other personal information to make purchases online, according to a USA TODAY survey.
 
Almost a quarter of U.S. consumers have at least temporarily stopped buying online because of concerns about security, according to the survey.
 
About 24% of those surveyed said they had stopped making online purchases in recent weeks because they were concerned about the safety of information they might put online.
 
Another 56% said they limited the number of Internet sites they used and were visiting the sites of large, well-known companies they deemed safe.
 
Consumers are logging online to keep tabs of their money. About 55% of respondents said they are checking banking, investment and credit card sites more often to verify that no one had accessed their accounts.
 
Whether the more cautious behavior will necessarily last is another question. Cameron Camp, a security expert with ESET, a San Diego-based security and antivirus company, likened the online purchasing freeze to a diet. "You're on good behavior for a while and then you return to whatever you were doing before," Camp told USA TODAY .
 
People with less education and lower incomes were more likely to stop buying anything online, according to the USA TODAY poll. Respondents with more education and higher incomes were more likely to have changed passwords and limited the sites they visit.
 
Thirty percent of people who had not attended any college had stopped buying online, compared with 16% of those with college degrees.
 
Of people with incomes under $30,000, 34% had stopped buying online compared with 15% of those with incomes of $75,000 or more.
 
About 64% of those surveyed said they had changed a password in the wake of security breaches.
The USA TODAY poll of 790 internet users was conducted May 29-June 1 by Princeton Survey Research, with a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
 
And consumers are likely to be even more cautious with their online information after American Express announced Wednesday in a letter to the California Attorney General's Office that 76,608 people in the state will get a breach notification letter after some of their data was published by Anonymous Ukraine earlier this year ( CSO June 4).
 
In March, Anonymous Ukraine released more than 7 million records as part of a protest against the financial firms that helped "enslave" people the world over.
 
"AXP was informed by law enforcement that several large files containing personal information were posted on internet sites by claimed members of Anonymous, a worldwide hacking collective. The source(s) of the posted data is/are not currently known. The posted records contained varying data elements, but AXP has identified, and is providing notice via mail to, 58,522 California residents whose names and corresponding AXP account numbers were involved," the company's letter to the attorney general explained.

One more stop for Ill. league-backed balanced-exam law

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (6/5/14)--Both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly last week overwhelmingly passed an Illinois Credit Union League-backed bill that would provide consistency in the regulatory examinations of state-chartered credit unions.
 
House Bill 5342 was sponsored by longtime credit union supporters Deputy Majority Leader Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) and Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). The Illinois league worked with the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to draft guidelines that ensure all state regulatory examinations are conducted in a procedurally and substantively consistent manner. 
 
"This measure will help ensure we maintain a consistent exam protocol in Illinois for the benefit of all parties concerned," said Stephen Olson, league executive vice president/general counsel. "There will now be standards that state-chartered credit unions can reference and rely upon with respect to the entire regulatory examination process."
 
League President/CEO Sean Hession said, "The contents of the bill, as well as the rules and guidelines to promulgate it, are cause for celebration and will serve as a model across the country for state and federal regulators."
 
The bill passed in the Illinois House by a vote of 109-0-1 on March 21 and then in the Senate 56-0 on May 28. It is awaiting signature by Gov. Pat Quinn.
 
Key elements of HB 5342 include:
  • Board members must have a basic understanding of the credit union's financial statements, services and products offered to the membership, operational risks and internal control structures;
     
  • Supervisory committee members must receive annual training with respect to their statutory duties;
     
  • Authorization for credit unions to forego the burden of procuring a new appraisal in connection with a mortgage loan renewal, refinancing or restructuring, when no new money is advanced (other than closing costs).
     
  • By written agreement, credit unions can share daily operational services, correspondent services and fixed assets to achieve improved economies of scale.
     
  • Establishment of charitable donation to buttress credit union charitable giving efforts in the current low-yield environment. These accounts, which may include otherwise impermissible investments, will give a credit union the opportunity to achieve a higher yield provided that at least 51% of the return from the account is donated to a recognized charity.

Okla. gov. signs CU-backed tow-truck bill

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OKLAHOMA CITY (6/5/14)--Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin Tuesday signed into law legislation that addresses questionable business practices among the state's tow truck operators, marking the final hurdle for a bill drafted on behalf of Oklahoma credit unions.
 
SB 0582 requires towing companies to notify lien holders when a vehicle is towed.
 
The legislation was supported by the Oklahoma Credit Union Association--a subsidiary of the Cornerstone Credit Union League (Leaguer June 4).
 
"Getting this bill passed was a long haul, and extremely contentious, but in the end, credit unions have persevered," said Nate Webb, association president. "This isn't just a victory for credit unions. It's also a victory for our members who own their credit union."
 
Oklahoma credit unions have reported instances in which operators will tow a vehicle and store it without timely notification to the lien holder. In cases in which notification was not sent in a timely manner, storage fees accrued and, in many instances, the cost of recovering the car reportedly was more than the collateral.

Registration now open for July's NYIB conference

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MADISON, Wis. (6/5/14)--Registration is now open for this year's National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) Conference, set for July 30-Aug. 1 in Grand Rapids, Mich.
 
Keynote speaker Ted Beck, president/CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education, will discuss successes in financial education and the importance of teacher training.  As a member of the new President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, Beck also will address the need for a national evaluation program.
 
Other sessions will cover technology, leadership, best practices for school programs and how to reach markets such as young families and college students.
 
For more than 40 years, NYIB has collected and shared information regarding youth and credit unions. Today it is a resource for credit unions and their youth financial literacy programs, tracking the hundreds of educational opportunities delivered to students nationwide.

S.F. reality fair seeks ACUC volunteers

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MADISON, Wis. (6/5/14)--Learning is a given for attendees of America's Credit Union Conference, but this year, the Credit Union National Association's summer event is giving attendees a chance to teach as well. The conference will be June 29-July 3 in San Francisco.
 
More than 50 students from the San Francisco area will have an opportunity to take part in the June 30 reality fair, presented by the National Credit Union Foundation and the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation.
 
The "Bite of Reality" financial education fair needs volunteers to set the stage for the simulation where students learn to navigate the challenges of work, home, family and budgets.
 
During the registration process, interested attendees can select the volunteer option, which is free but has limited space.
 
CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference also has offered Washington, D.C.-area high schools, credit unions and conference attendees a chance to take part in a reality fair.

Summer finance academy keeps high school students in the books

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. (6/5/14)--Redwood CU is partnering with the Sonoma County Office of Education and Santa Rosa City Schools to offer a free financial academy for California high school students.
 
This is the 11th time the $2 billion-asset, Santa Rosa-based credit union has offered the program ( North Bay Business Journal June 2).
 
Using the high school financial planning program created by the National Endowment for Financial Education, the 16-hour program includes topics such as budgeting, financial planning, saving and investing, credit and debt management and other life skills related to managing money.
 
Teens come together to work on group activities and are also given presentations from Redwood CU experts in their respective fields.
 
The six modules included in The Summer Banking and Finance Academy program are:
  • Money Management: Control Your Cash Flow;
  • Borrowing: Use--Don't Abuse;
  • Earning Power: More Than a Paycheck;
  • Investing: Money Working for You;
  • Financial Services: Care for Your Cash; and
  • Insurance: Protect What You Have.
The four-day program will be held June 17-20 at the Redwood CU administrative offices in Santa Rosa. While past academies have been limited to high school juniors and seniors, eligibility has been extended to include students entering their sophomore year at any Sonoma County high school.

CU System briefs (06/04/2014)

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  • FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (6/4/14)--Of the more than 560 high school seniors in Cumberland County who qualified, three came away winners in the "Driven to Excel" program, co-sponsored by Beasley Broadcast Group and Fort Bragg FCU, Fayetteville, N.C. (In the Loop June 3). Students had to have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher and no more than five absences. The $396 million-asset credit union provided scholarships worth $3,000 and $2,000 for second- and third-place winners. The grand-prize winner took home a 2014 Toyota Scion ...
  • MADISON, Wis. (6/4/14)--Jean Chatzky, director of education for SavvyMoney, will be part of a free, live web chat at 1 p.m. (CT) June 17, presented by the Filene Research Institute and moderated by SavvyMoney CEO JB Orecchia. Chatzky, author of "Money Rules," will share her behavioral finance research about how credit unions can encourage members to save more and spend less.  She will offer her advice for getting more members in the door. Also on the agenda is a discussion of SavvyMoney, which began as a Filene i3 program ...
  • SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (6/4/14)--After 29 years as president/CEO of $860 million-asset Motorola Employees CU, John Fiore announced his retirement, effective Aug. 29. He has been with the Schaumburg, Ill., credit union for 45 years, starting in the loan department. Fiore has served the credit union movement in a number of capacities including, but not limited to: director, Illinois Credit Union League; director, Credit Union National Association; vice chair, Alloya Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill.; chair, National Credit Union Foundation; and chair, Illinois Credit Union Foundation. He was named to the Illinois Credit Union League Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Credit Union House Hall of Leaders in 2011. Michael Murphy, current executive vice president and chief operating officer, will succeed Fiore on Sept 1. He has been with Motorola Employees for 18 years ...
  • COLUMBIA, S.C., and SEATAC, Wash. (6/4/14)--Credit unions on both coasts recently announced plans for mergers. The board and membership of VARO No. 319 FCU, Columbia, S.C., with $1.2 million in assets, approved a merger with Carolina Collegiate FCU, Columbia, with $82 million in assets. VARO members will have access to four Carolina Collegiate branches and more than 5,000 shared branch locations, said Anne Shivers, Carolina Collegiate CEO. The merger will be completed with all accounts transferred and services available by June 18. In the Northwest, four credit unions announced merger plans (Anthem June 3). In Eugene, Bi-Mart FCU, with $6.9 million in assets and 2,300 members, will merge July 1 with $1.2 billion-asset Oregon Community CU. The merger has been approved by boards, members and regulators. Specifically, Bi-Mart CEO Chad Olney said the merger will provide more branches, remote services and surcharge-free ATMs. In Washington, $9.3 million-asset Central Washington University FCU, Yakima, will merge with Washington State Employees CU, Olympia, with $1.9 billion in assets. Central Washington's services include deposit accounts and vehicle loans. The merger gives members access to checking accounts, debit and credit cards, online banking, mortgages and investment services. Aug. 1 is the expected effective date ...

Mass. banking division earns accreditation across the board

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BOSTON (6/4/14)--The Massachusetts Division of Banks has received accreditation from the National Association of Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS), the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR).
 
Certification means that the division maintains the highest standards and practices for state banking, credit unions, and mortgage supervision as defined by each of the three supervisory bodies.
 
Massachusetts achieved accreditation in all three programs as part of a joint pilot program among CSBS, NASCUS and AARMR. The program is being developed to help states gain multiple accreditations at one time.
 
"This reaccreditation confirms that the division's regulatory programs are strong and positioned to protect Massachusetts consumers while ensuring the safety and soundness of the state financial system," said David Cotney, Massachusetts commissioner of banks. "Because of the CSBS, NASCUS and AARMR joint-review, the division was able to obtain several accreditations at once, saving time and allowing the division to focus more of its resources on supervision."
 
This is the division's fifth bank accreditation, receving the first in 1994. Massachusetts was first accredited by NASCUS in 1996. The division's initial mortgage accreditation was received in 2008--the first mortgage accreditation awarded as part of the nationwide program.

Lending, hiring on upswing in small-biz forecasts

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MADISON, Wis. (6/4/14)--Optimism is in the air for small businesses with indications that they are willing to lend and adding to their payrolls.
 
In a Sageworks survey of nearly 420 credit union and banking professionals, 67% responded that their institution would be either making "more" or "significantly more" loans to businesses this year compared with 2013.
 
About 20% said their loan volume would remain stable, and only 3% told the financial information company that they would be making fewer loans.
 
Privately held companies are growing stronger--a rate of 8%, according to Sageworks--which signals they are healthy enough to take on debt.
 
"There's a possibility that banks and credit unions may be recognizing this slow but steady improvement on the income statements and balances sheets of privately held companies that are applying for loans," said Sageworks' Tim McPeak.
 
Small businesses added 35,000 jobs in May, according to Intuit Inc.'s monthly small business employment and revenue indices. The increase is the largest in more than a year--and triple the average of 12,000 new jobs per month since April 2010.
 
The employment index is based on April 24-May 23 data from Intuit and QuickBooks online payrolls of about 231,000 small business employers.
 
"This month's employment increase is the largest we've seen in more than a year. In addition to the impressive increase of jobs this month, the hiring rate is also at the highest level we've seen since early 2009," said economist Susan Woodward.
 
However, Newtek Business Services Inc. released the May results of its SB Authority Market Sentiment Survey, which offered a different take. Of the more than 1,500 respondents, only 30% of business owners plan on hiring in the next three to six months.

"Our May survey depicts a lack of intention in our small business clientele to hire over the next two quarters and that the trend of a jobless economic recovery may continue," said Barry Sloane, Newtek chairman/president/CEO.

CUs have competitive advantage for CD rates: GOBankingRates

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LOS ANGELES (6/4/14)--They don't make certificate of deposit (CD) rates like they used to.

But it would behoove consumers who prefer the guaranteed interest offered by these time deposits anyway to look no further than credit unions, which consistently offer better rates on CDs than banks (GOBankingRates.com June 2).

In a recent survey conducted by GOBankingRates.com, participants were asked what interest rate it would take to compel them to put savings into a CD account for two years.

More than half of respondents answered that they'd like to see a number above 3.01%.

While neither credit unions nor banks can accommodate that type of rate these days, which pale in comparison to rates that rose above 10% in the 1980s, credit unions by far come the closest.

For one-year CDs, credit unions swept the top 10 rankings, ranging from 1.56% to 1.26% annually, according to GOBankingRates.com.

For two-year CDs, 11 out of the top 15 rates were offered by credit unions, ranging from 1.76% to 1.5%.

Credit unions also dominated two-year jumbo CD rates and both five-year CD regular and jumbo rates.

"This comprehensive list of today's high-yield CD account rates suggest that rewarding CD products do, in fact, exist," GOBankingRates said. "As the economy continues to draw closer to a full recovery, savers can expect to see CD rates rise in tandem."

Perhaps especially so at credit unions.

Monthly CU survey indicates double-digit loan growth

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MADISON, Wis. (6/4/14)--Credit unions continued to experience solid loan growth in April, as year-to-date increases head toward double digits, according to the Credit Union National Association monthly credit union estimates released Tuesday.  
 
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Loans outstanding rose by 1% in April, bringing growth for the year to 2.4% and 8.9% over the past 12 months. The year-to-date growth rate of 2.4% is the strongest since 2005. The National Credit Union Administration released first-quarter numbers Tuesday, which show an 8.8% year-over-year increase in outstanding loan balances. (See related story: NCUA Q1 report highlights CU loan, membership growth.)

Adjustable-rate mortgages led loan growth, rising 4.4%, followed by unsecured personal loans at 1.9%, new and used-auto loans (both 1.8%), home-equity loans and other mortgages (both 0.8%), and credit card loans (0.4%). On the decline were fixed-rate first mortgages (-1.4%).
 
"If loans growth continues to accelerate, we could see double-digit growth for the year, and it's nice balanced growth across the portfolio," said Bill Hampel, CUNA chief economist and senior and senior vice president of policy and analysis.

In the first three months of the year, the credit union share of consumer credit outstanding inched up to 8.7% from 8.6%. 
 
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Savings fell by 0.5% in April, bringing growth for the year to 3.2%, and 3.7% over the past 12 months.  The 3.2% growth for the year-to-date is consistent with the modest savings growth recorded over the past several years and suggests full year growth won't be much more than 5%, Hampel noted.
 
Credit unions are not the only institutions experiencing soft savings growth as the credit union share of the household savings market is up slightly in the first four months of the year, to 9.7%. from 9.6%
 
The net capital-to-asset ratio rose during April to 10.5% from 10.4% while the loan delinquency rate was unchanged at 0.9% of loans outstanding. 
 
Total membership in credit unions rose by 0.2% to 99.6 million, bringing memberships very close to the 100-million milestone. "Membership growth of 2.9% over the past year is very strong, and suggests more and more Americans are choosing credit unions as their best financial partner," said Hampel.

Regional branching legislation inching through Mass. Legislature

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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (6/4/14)--A bill that would allow Massachusetts credit unions to open branches in nearby states has advanced in the state's legislative process: to the third reading in the House--a step that precedes both a review by the House Committee on Bills and the house's final vote (Daily CU Scan June 3).

The key provisions of the bill include authorizing branching into Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont; expanding the branching radius for credit unions to 100 miles from the main offices outside of the county; a one-year delayed effective date; and a limit on applications to one per 12 months.

The state's House Ways and Means Committee--led by Chairman Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill)--and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Costello (D-Newburyport) worked closely with the Massachusetts Credit Union League over the past two weeks to produce the amended bill.

"We truly appreciate the careful consideration that the committee put into this piece of legislation," said league President Paul Gentile. "Because of their effort, we now have a bill that will really benefit the people who rely on credit unions."

Two other credit union bills have advanced alongside the interstate branching legislation, including a bank recodification bill and the Massachusetts Credit Union Share Insurance Corporation's credit union service organization bill.

The league expects all bills to reach the Senate before formal sessions conclude.

ACUC speaker teases social media practices with Monday's #CUNAChat

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MADISON, Wis. (6/4/14)--The Credit Union National Association will host a Twitter chat on social media best practices for credit unions at 3 p.m. (ET) Monday with Amber MacArthur, who is also a keynote speaker at America's Credit Union Conference in San Francisco, June 29-July 3.
 
The chat will last about 30 minutes.
 
Participants can follow and use #CUNAChat in their tweets. @CUNA will be the moderator and ask questions to develop the conversation. Credit union participants should also feel welcome to ask questions and share their own experiences.
 
Twitter chats work when the hashtag is included in all tweets pertaining to the conversation. Monday's hashtag is #CUNAChat. The moderator (@CUNA) will ask questions, and guest participants can respond in a conversational manner using #CUNAChat.
 
MacArthur, also known as Amber Mac, is an established speaker, author, host, producer and consultant based out of Toronto. As president of the digital marketing agency Konnekt Digital Engagement, MacArthur's areas of expertise include digital marketing, social media, branded content and other new media.

Filene snapshot: Bill payment most popular use of mobile

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MADISON, Wis. (6/4/14)--Bill payment is the most widely used form of mobile payment today, followed by mobile point-of-sale (POS) and person-to-person payments, according to a new white paper from the Filene Research Institute.
 
About 39% of online consumers used their mobile phones to make a bill payment, according to the white paper, "Bank Shopper Snapshot Survey Vol. 10: Mobile Payments Tracker II." Another 20% used their mobile phones to make purchases at a store, using POS capabilities provided by retailers.

About 12% used their mobile phone to send someone money. However, mobile P2P adoption is on the rise. P2P payments usage has grown by 69% since the last time the survey was taken nine months ago.
 
The report is based on 1,695 consumers responding to a Shopper Insight Survey in January.
 
In the "That's No Surprise" category, mobile POS is most likely used by consumers age 30 to 39 because they have the necessary checking accounts and credit cards and are comfortable with the technology. More than 50% of consumers in the 30-to-39 demographic who made mobile retail purchases in the last 30 days used PayPal.

Coffee and convenience retailers are winning younger consumers by providing their own mobile apps for payment. About 46% of online consumers used these apps.
 
Younger consumers are more likely to use mobile P2P because they don't have engrained customs on how to exchange money with people, are comfortable using smartphones, typically don't carry much cash, and are most likely to want to exchange small sums of money with people while they're on the go, the paper said.
 
Older consumers are less likely to pay people with their phone, and that appears to be a function of lifestyle, according to the paper. "Consumers over 40 are more likely to have established households and in a position where owing friends money isn't a concern," the paper said. "Married couples have shared bank accounts and don't exchange small amounts of money as much as younger single consumers do."
 
Last-minute payments are driving usage of mobile bill payments. Consumers using mobile bill payment services want their payments credited immediately. For that reason, the paper recommends credit unions should offer expedited bill payments to protect their role in the payments cycle.

The ability to give confirmation that the payment was accepted by the biller would also help increase the use of the credit unions mobile app to make payments, the paper said.
 
Because of this "right here, right now" expectation, consumers are closely tethered to their smartphones. The paper estimates the average smartphone user checks his or her phone more than 150 times a day.
 
To download the report, use the link.

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 ...

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.

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.
 

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

'Take charge' of training at Experience Learning Live!

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MADISON, Wis. (6/2/14)--San Antonio is the place to be in October for credit union training staff who want "take charge" at CUNA Experience Learning Live!
 
The Oct. 26-29 conference offers insight into training trends, employee best practices and service cultures.
 
"Last year's take-charge program really struck a chord with attendees," said Marlo Foltz, vice president of blended learning at Credit Union National Association. "So we're building on the idea this year, with the timely updates and action-driving resources to ensure that professional development programs movement-wide are being led by talented, take-charge trainers."
 
Also, CUNA is now accepting entries for this year's Experience Learning Live! (ELLy) training awards that recognize the innovative and unique initiatives of take-charge trainers across the nation. Winners will each receive one complimentary registration to this year's conference and national recognition in industry training and credit union publications.
 
For more information or to submit an entry for a CUNA ELLy Award, use the resource link.

CU System briefs (06/02/2014)

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  • WASHINGTON (6/2/14)-- Shelton Roulhac, manager of state legislative information and research at the Credit Union National Association, is one of 12 scholars selected for the Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) from the American Society of Association Executives . "CUNA is happy to support Shelton's application and delighted that he has been selected from a wide array of applicants," said Pat Sowick, CUNA senior vice president of league relations. DELP is a two-year leadership program that provides education, mentoring, career guidance, networking and volunteer service opportunities in the association community. Sowick added, "This is an honor for both Shelton and CUNA, as it will broaden our connections in the association community and provide new sources of ideas and development" ...
  • PHILADELPHIA (6/2/14)-- American Heritage FCU showed off souped-up cars and cool tunes to raise more than $10,000 for the music therapy program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia . The $1.3 billion-asset credit union teamed up with WOGL-FM for its member appreciation day that included a car show with nearly 300 vehicles. The Kids-N-Hope Foundation is the charitable arm of the Philadelphia-based credit union ...
  • Click to view larger image (Georgia Credit Union Affiliates photo)
    SAVANNAH, Ga.(6/2/14)-- Attendees at the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates' (GCUA) annual convention in Savannah, Ga., raised more than $1,300 for the local Children's Miracle Network Hospital at Memorial University Medical Center . Participants could purchase "Casual for Kids" T-shirts to wear on the last day of the four-day meeting. Last year Georgia credit unions donated more than $400,000, with the funds staying in the communities where they were raised. "There are so many wonderful stories of how these hospitals have impacted families and communities," said Kristi Arrington, GCUA vice president of information development. "The Georgia credit union community is happy to support their efforts in whatever way we can"  ...
  • PEORIA, Ill. (6/2/14)-- At CEFCU's recent annual meeting, the $4.9 billion-asset credit union announced it would distribute a reward bonus dividend of $12 million to its members . CEFCU saw its assets increase 2.5% to 2013 from 2012, and membership was boosted by more than 5,500 members. "Over the past 14 years, CEFCU has returned $75 million in extraordinary dividends to member/owners," said Thea Robinson, board chair of the Peoria, Ill., credit union ...
  • CLEVELAND (6/2/14)-- The former assistant manager/treasurer of G.I.C. FCU, Euclid, Ohio, was sentenced to more than seven years in prison and ordered to pay $7 million in restitution . William J. Memmer, 63, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of embezzlement and one count of making false entries in credit union records and reports. According to a statement released by the Northern District of Ohio U.S. Attorney's Office, Memmer allegedly used credit union funds to pay off more than a dozen personal credit card accounts, causing a loss to the credit union of at least $1.8 million. Also, the statement alleges that Memmer falsified quarterly financial reports to hide operating losses to the tune of $5.7 million. The credit union was liquidated by the National Credit Union Administration in December 2012, at which time it had $15.5 million in assets and 3,476 members ...

GE branch closing marks end of SEG era

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (6/2/14)--An 86-year-old credit union that once served thousands of General Electric (GE) employees in Fort Wayne, Ind., will close the doors to its original branch next month.

As GE has slowly uprooted its operations from Fort Wayne, management of Midwest America CU, formerly the General Electric Employees FCU, says operating the branch is no longer feasible.

"These last three years, GE has pretty much eliminated all of their employees there," Mike Woehnker, vice president of marketing and corporate communications of the $482 million-asset credit union, told The News-Sentinel (May 30) . "You've got virtually none of the employees that were originally there to serve; they no longer work in that area."

The credit union was originally established by 12 GE employees, who ran the institution out of a supply closet.

In 1969, the organization opened its first branch right across the street from GE's Fort Wayne campus. By the 1970s, the credit union was serving more than 10,000 employees from GE.

Once GE began paring down personnel at the plant, the credit union counterbalanced the losses in membership by rebranding itself as Midwest America CU and expanding its field of membership beyond the GE select employee group.  

"We saw the writing on the wall," Woehnker told The News-Sentinel. "When GE kept cutting back and cutting back, we had to look at gaining other business partners."

Midwest took in employees from several local hospitals and then moved on to other large employers, which allowed it to spread out from Allen County.

But in the end, with the shuttering of the GE plant across from the member-owned institution's original location, the credit union's first branch could not be saved.

Midwest will sell the building--which like the GE plant, likely will sit abandoned--but will continue to operate a 24-hour ATM in the parking lot, perhaps as a beacon of hope that the area will someday be reinvigorated.

"We've kept thinking, 'maybe something will change,'" Woenker said. "We've held out as long as we could. But there's just no one there."

Study: Minorities value place, people, price for their PFIs

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WASHINGTON (6/2/14)--Minorities in low- to middle-income communities appreciate, and are more likely to use, financial institutions that are located in their communities or near their workplaces, according to a recent study by the Alliance for Stabilizing Our Communities.
 
Add in superior service and low fees--credit unions' historical strengths--and you have the optimum combination for what these demographic groups want for financial services.
 
The report, "Banking in Color," was produced by the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, the National Urban League and the National Council of La Raza. It surveyed more than 5,000 individuals in Chicago, Houston and south Florida in the beginning of 2013.
 
Taking into account the top three most-desired elements, banks held the lead at 76% for those who have checking or savings vehicles, while credit unions came in at 17%. African-American and Hispanic respondents were more likely than Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) respondents to use credit unions at 24%, 19% and 7%, respectively.
 
Given that nearly 70% use cash to conduct daily transactions and 45% use it for paying bills, "it is clearly important for individuals to access their funds with convenience," the report noted. Security concerns about electronic banking also tilt the scales toward the personal touch that comes with superior member service.
 
Also identified as "very important" when selecting a financial institution were account balance minimums, direct deposit for paychecks, ATM withdrawals for no or little cost, and cashing checks quickly and with reasonable fees.
 
The study recommended that in order to expand financial capability for the underserved, financial institutions should leverage community- and faith-based institutions that are trusted by their members.
 
Another finding was physical branches with bilingual staff "have an opportunity to be a trusted and reliable source of information for many immigrant communities." (See related story: GPO FCU embraces immigrant community.)
 
Although the amount may be small--few said they were prepared for a financial emergency--45% are committed to saving monthly, likely with in-person deposits into a savings account. Despite the challenges of employment rates and income levels, only 8% reported they did not save at all.

GPO FCU embraces immigrant community

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NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (6/2/14)--Utica, N.Y., is a hotbed for immigration. Refugees represent about 12% of the city's population, according to the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees. GPO FCU, New Hartford, N.Y., with $202 million in assets, has embraced that diversity to reflect its commitment to the community it serves.
 
"It's a melting pot here, and we recognize that," said Jodi Blydenburgh, GPO FCU vice president of administration. "We have a branch that's located right smack in the middle of all this immigration activity, and we want to have an everyday presence that's beneficial to the entire community."
 
Utica's most recent wave of immigrants, arriving within the last decade, hail primarily from Bosnia and Myanmar.
 
"They fit very well with our community," Blydenburgh told News Now . "They've made a home in our neighborhoods, and the community has embraced them, but at times, as you would expect, there can be gaps in communication."
 
As with virtually any new group of residents, Utica's immigrant population was in need of financial services. "Initially, we reached out to the refugee center," Blydenburgh said. "We were getting a lot of traffic, and we weren't sure the level of financial services they required. When they had a new group come through, they would take field trips to our branch. At some point we realized we needed to stand alone."
 
The most direct way to bridge the communication gap--and gain trust from the community--was to hire member service representatives who spoke the same language as the new residents. The credit union initially hired three or four tellers who spoke Bosnian.
 
More recently, GPO FCU has made a more substantial commitment to integrate the branch. Branch manager Ibrahim Kajtezovic is Bosnian, and he brings more than management skills and financial acumen to his job.  "It seems like he knows everyone who is Bosnian in Utica," Blydenburgh said. "He is a great point of contact for us. He's been a tremendous asset."
 
The credit union also employs two additional employees who speak Bosnian, another who is fluent in Burmese, Karen and Hindi and one who speaks Spanish.

Serving the immigrant community has been beneficial for the credit union and the community, Blydenburgh told News Now .
 
"They've been very thoughtful about where they're going financially," she said. "We are more than happy to extend credit to this segment of our community. They're looking for home ownership opportunities and they're cleaning up neighborhoods. They are very committed."

NCUF adds 3 to board in special election

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MADISON, Wis. (6/2/14)--After expanding its membership by four spots to 17, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) named three new credit union leaders to its board of directors.

The NCUF board amended its bylaws and expanded potential membership to "enhance (its) fundraising capabilities and further the foundation's impact."

Elected May 13 during a special meeting, the new members include:
  • Teresa Halleck, president/CEO, San Diego County CU, with $6.4 billion in assets;
     
  • David Mooney, president/CEO, Alliant CU, Chicago, with $8.2 billion in assets; and
     
  • Howard Spencer, chairman of both the Michigan Credit Union League and Northland Area FCU, Oscoda, Mich., with $273 million in assets.
"I'm looking forward to working with Teresa, David and Howard," said Laida Garcia, NCUF chair and president/CEO of Floridacentral CU in Tampa, Fla., with $387 million in assets. "These three individuals bring a wealth of experience to the NCUF board, which will go a long way to help NCUF improve more people's financial lives through credit unions."

CU-supported lien-holder legislation successful in Okla.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (6/2/14)--When Oklahoma legislators adjourned May 23, among the credit union-supported initiatives lawmakers had approved was legislation designed to address the questionable business practices among the state's tow truck operators.
 
The passage of SB 0582 was supported by the Oklahoma Credit Union Association--a subsidiary of the Cornerstone Credit Union League ( Leaguer May 30). The bill was approved overwhelmingly in both chambers, and addresses long-standing problems in Oklahoma's Title 42 possessory lien process.
 
The bill would change a state law to require towing companies to notify lien holders when a vehicle is towed. Oklahoma credit unions have reported a growing number of instances in which operators will tow a vehicle and store it without timely notification to the lien holder.
 
"For years, loopholes in current law have been exploited to the detriment of credit unions, banks and financial institutions," Nate Webb, president of the Oklahoma Credit Union Association. "In cases where notification was not sent in a timely manner, storage fees accrued, and in many of these instances, the cost of retrieving the car ended up being more than the collateral was worth. Other cases resulted in costly litigation."
 
The legislation resulted from two years of contentious negotiation with the Oklahoma Wreckers Association. Although association representatives were at the negotiating table throughout the process, its membership opposes final passage.
 
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has yet to sign the bill. However, Webb said it looks promising that she will.
 
This is the first legislative session in which Oklahoma's advocacy team enjoyed additional resources available through the three-state consolidation of the Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas leagues, creating the Cornerstone Credit Union League.
 
"The synergy and expertise now available were a major component of this year's success at the Oklahoma State Capitol," Webb said.

CU awards 15 Fla. students with 4-year scholarships

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MIAMI (6/2/14)--Fifteen students from South Florida will have their college educations paid for in full, thanks to South Florida Educational FCU, which awarded a total of $197,000 to the winners of its college scholarship program this year.

Click to view larger image (South Florida Educational FCU photo)
The winners of the 19th annual Hubert O. Sibley scholarship award were named in May.  

"We take pride in helping these students fulfill their educational goals," said Michael DiBenedetto, president/CEO of the Miami-based $843 million-asset credit union. "It's a great feeling to be able to help fund their college efforts."

All 15 students receive a full-ride to any of Florida's 11 state universities through the Florida Prepaid University Plan. The scholarships cover tuition and fees for 120 undergraduate credit hours, or about four full school years.

Scholarships through this program, founded in 1995, have been extended to 278 students, totaling about $3 million.

Three generations serve Del. CUs for 45 years

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (6/2/14)--For one Delaware family, credit union service is a three-generation tradition.

Click to view larger image From left, Evelyn Kyritsis, Sara Bartley and Susan Kyritsis Winward represent three generations of on family's credit union service in Delaware. (Photo provided by Delaware Credit Union League)
The tradition began in 1970 when Evelyn Kyritsis became manager at Delaware Central FCU, according to the Delaware Credit Union League ( Together June 1). Evelyn went on to work as manager of  City of Newark FCU, where she remained until 1992. Evelyn told the Delaware league she enjoyed working at credit unions "because it felt like family" and the work performed was benefiting financial standing of members.
 
Her daughter, Susan Kyritsis Winward, got her first credit union experience when she helped Evelyn prepare the monthly member statements for mailing. When an opportunity to work as a loan officer Capitol Trail Auto Workers FCU was presented to Susan in 1977, she followed in her mother's footsteps. Capitol Trail Auto Workers FCU is now known as Delaware First FCU, Wilmington, with $26 million in assets.
 
In 1994, Susan returned to her credit union roots, following a stint with the U.S. Postal Service. She combined the two career paths, becoming an assistant manager at Wilmington (Del.) Postal FCU. In 2000, the board of directors at Wilmington Postal FCU rewarded Susan's dedication naming her CEO, a position she still holds with the $16 million-asset credit union.
 
The family tradition continued when Susan told her niece, Sara Bartley, the daughter of her sister, Marilynn Kyritsis Bartley , about a job opportunity at Delaware First FCU. Although Sara had never planned to work at a credit union, she accepted a teller position at Delaware First FCU--the same credit union where Susan Winward started her career.
 
Sara has set her sights set on advancing in the credit union system, with hopes of following in the footsteps of her grandmother and aunt to eventually become  a credit union CEO herself. She takes advantage of training opportunities whenever possible and joined the Delaware Credit Union League's Young Professionals Network. Sara finds the group's energy invigorating and likes being able to "share ideas with other young credit union employees."