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Mazuma CU doubles Facebook likes in a month

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (7/16/12)--A new social media campaign launched in June has doubled the number of page "likes" for Mazuma CU's Facebook page.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based Mazuma said it is not new to using social media to engage members in the greater Kansas City community but added the success of its Sponsored Story campaign on Facebook was "pleasantly surprising."

A Sponsored Story is an ad that acts much like a post from a Facebook friend. The story highlights something friends have an interest in and is shared with their network of friends on Facebook.

After a month of the Sponsored Story ads on Facebook, the credit union found that more than 24,000 people saw Mazuma's ad--doubling the page "likes" for its Facebook page. The campaign simply placed testimonial-like ads on its Friends of Friends pages.

"Mazuma's campaign objective using Facebook was to ramp up page likes and traffic to Mazuma's Facebook page," said Brandon Michaels, president/CEO of the $475 million asset credit union. "The key to success in advertising on Facebook is trying new things and seeing what works; finding out what people respond to. We're launching new ad campaigns all the time, most recently our Summer Auto Loan campaign."

The credit union employed Facebook's ad manager function to geo-target the campaign to include only people within the Kansas City metro area, which makes the ad expenditure "very efficient," said Andy Dickhut, Mazuma's account supervisor at Beyond Marketing LLC, Lenexa, Kan.

"Mazuma took advantage of Facebook's CPC (cost-per-click) budgeting tool so it only pays when someone clicks on the ad.  Mazuma can also control its budget by setting a daily spending limit," said Dickhut.

The credit union said it plans to continue to track and use Facebook Sponsored Story advertising. "It's always exciting to discover new opportunities to engage with our members and the community," Michaels said.

N.J. league working with MVC on electronic lien titling

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TRENTON, N.J. (7/16/12)--The New Jersey Credit Union League is working with the state's Motor Vehicles Commission (MVC) to bring about electronic lien titling (ELT) to help reduce costs related to providing auto loans to members, the league reported.

The league met with MVC Chief Administrator Raymond Martinez and senior management in February, and last month representatives of three credit unions met with MVC policy and operational staff to discuss the current paper-based system and potential parameters for a new electronic system (The Daily Exchange July 13).

MVC has indicated it aims to establish ELT and it will conduct indepth stakeholder meetings in August, said the league. The meetings will provide auto lenders and dealers an opportunity to weigh in on proposed procedures and potential rules.

MVC currently is surveying the state's auto lenders and dealers and consulting with other states, ELT vendors and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators to identify model ELT protocols and best practices, said the league, which urged the state's credit unions to participate in the survey.

"The MVC has been very cooperative in working with us on this and appears to be ready to move forward as quickly as possible," said league President Paul Gentile.  "It's extremely important that we take advantage of this opportunity to help shape the new program and demonstrate the broad support among our members for this initiative," he said.

Catalyst adds two new board positions

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PLANO, Texas (7/16/12)--Catalyst Corporate FCU has added two new directors to its expanded board of directors.

Joining the board are Trevor Tokishi, executive vice president of Valley Isle Community FCU in Kahului, Hawaii, and Bill Before, vice president/chief financial officer (CFO) of Spokane (Wash.) Teachers CU. Tokishi has been with Valley Isle since 1999. Before has held his position since 1989.

Last week, the board had announced it had increased the number of directors to 11 from nine to provide greater representation of its expanding membership, the result of its consolidation with the former Western Bridge Corporate FCU.  The new directors are with credit unions that belonged to the Western Bridge Corporate.  They were recommended for appointment by Catalyst Corporate's Governance Advisory Council.

Other directors and officers announced at the June 22 annual meeting are:

  • Chairman, Lin Hodges, president/CEO, Associated CU, Norcross, Ga.;
  • Vice chairman, Rod Taylor, president/CEO, Barksdale FCU, Bossier City, La.;
  • Secretary, Ayn Talley, president/CEO, Houston (Texas) Police FCU;
  • Treasurer, Rick Hein, president/CEO, OSU FCU, Corvallis, Ore.;
  • Connie Cofer, senior vice president finance/CFO, Communication FCU, Oklahoma City, Okla.;
  • Syed Dinar, vice president/CFO, Texas Bay Area CU, Houston;
  • Michael Hooper, president/CEO, La Capitol FCU, Baton Rouge, La.;
  • John Papagno, CFO, Alive CU, Jacksonville, Fla.; and
  • Bobbie Threlkeld, president/CEO, Baptist Health FCU, Little Rock, Ark.

Wash. CUs plan merger assets would be 1B

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SEATTLE and LAKEWOOD, Wash. (7/16/12)--Two Seattle-area credit unions--Harborstone CU and Prevail CU--have announced a proposed merger that would create a $1 billion-plus institution, if approved.

A merger agreement has been signed by the boards of both credit unions, according to a message on the website of $784 million Harborstone CU, Lakewood Wash.

Members of the $235 million asset Prevail CU will be asked to vote on the merger this coming fall, according to the message.

A message on Prevail CU's website said both credit unions are in strong financial shape, but increasing competition has changed the financial marketplace, creating ever-bigger banks and new competition, such as retailers that offer financial products.

"As the economic landscape changes with advances in technology and consumer demand for access, it is clear, it would likely take Prevail CU many years to achieve the size and scale to thoroughly compete for greater market share in our tech-savvy region of the country," the message said.

Harborstone FCU cited access to more locations for members, strength and growth as reasons for the merger.

Maine league legislative events top state list

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PORTLAND, Maine (7/16/12)--The Maine Credit Union League is at the top of the list for spending for state leg­islative events, according to articles written by Steve Mistler, state house reporter for MaineToday Media, which examined events that organizations hosted and/or coordi­nated for legislators during the first and second session of the 125th Maine Legislature.

The Maine league spent slightly more than $8,000 in total hosting and coordinating of three legis­lative events from January 2011 through May 2012, the figures showed. The three events were the Maine Development Foundation's Leg­islative Bus Tour and two Credit Union Days at the State House in Augusta (Weekly Update July 13).

As a major sponsor of the bus tour, the league was one of the stops on the tour and hosted a dinner that was attended by nearly 60 legislators. The two Credit Union Days at the State House events featured breakfast and coffee for legislators in the Hall of Flags. Through the three events, nearly three-quarters of the state's legislators, including most leaders from both parties, connected with credit union representatives, said the league.

"One of our most important roles is to advocate and coordinate opportunities to build and strengthen relationships on behalf of Maine's credit unions," said John Murphy, league president. "These articles and findings reiterate how engaged and involved the league and Maine's credit unions are in the political pro­cess. This is one of the many reasons we have such strong relationships with many legislators and why Maine's credit unions are viewed so positively by most legislators."

WOCCU to design new reg framework in Paraguay

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ASUNCION, Paraguay (7/16/12)--Paraguay's government has selected the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) to update the country's cooperative law and overall legal framework, including prudential norms for credit unions.

WOCCU--with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank--is working with the Instituto Nacional de Cooperativismo (INCOOP), Paraguay's regulator for cooperatives, during a five-month period to design a framework that will further protect credit union member savings and allow credit unions to better compete with other financial institutions.

Paraguay's cooperative law was established in 1994 and governs all cooperatives, regardless of their primary purpose. WOCCU's program involves a review of the 18-year-old law and INCOOP's application of it as it relates to the activity, management and operation of cooperatives.

WOCCU also will draw from its Model Law for Credit Unions publication, which was updated in 2011 and provides a sample legislative framework, as well as its corresponding Guide to International Credit Union Legislation, a compendium of credit union legislative and regulatory summaries for more than 100 countries and political provinces, and Model Regulations for Credit Unions, a matrix of regulations from 18 credit union sectors worldwide.

Paraguay's credit union association and WOCCU member, Central de Cooperativas del Área Nacional Ltda. (CENCOPAN), helped prepare the way for the current legislative initiative through its advocacy efforts on behalf of its member credit unions. A long-standing partnership with the Minnesota Credit Union Network through World Council's International Partnerships Program further aided efforts to update the country's regulatory framework.

WOCCU's program will focus on consolidating the many regulations and prudential norms, and streamlining them into Paraguay's new cooperative legal framework.

"Paraguay's credit unions have experienced impressive growth in terms of assets and operations in recent years," said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO. "CENCOPAN, with support from the Minnesota Credit Union Network, has been at the forefront making sure the credit unions' socioeconomic impact in the country is understood and supported. Those efforts have laid the foundation for this initiative."

Paraguay has 47 credit unions with $718.6 million assets, according to WOCCU's 2011 Statistical Report. Credit unions hold the majority of assets among Paraguay's cooperatives, making the legislative and regulatory updates crucial to the overall strength and development of the cooperative sector. WOCCU will submit its proposed legislative and regulatory changes to INCOOP by the end of 2012.

N.Y. Maxwell Herring award recipients named

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ALBANY, N.Y. (7/16/12)--The Credit Union Association of New York announced eight recipients of its Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Service Award and the three recipients of its Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Member Service Award.

Credit Union Association of New York first- and second-place winners of the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Service Awards are, from left: Mario DiFulvio, Horizons FCU, Binghamton; Wayne Winkler, Mid-Hudson Valley FCU, Kingston;  Mike Parsons First Source FCU, New Hartford;  Marsha Brauer, Clarence (N.Y.) Community & Schools FCU; James Pyra, Boulevard FCU, Amherst; and Rick Mantey, Ulster FCU, Kingston. (Photo provided by  the Credit Union Association of New York)

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The credit unions receiving first-place 2012 Dora Maxwell Awards based on their demonstration of credit union philosophy and their community activities are:

  • Clarence (N.Y.) Community & Schools FCU in the $5 million to $20 million asset category for its community-wide Books 4 BUCK$ fundraiser, which benefited a Kenya orphanage run by two of the credit union's members. Donated books were sold during a one-day community book sale, and proceeds were used to stock the orphanage's new library with shelves and books.
  • Boulevard FCU, Amherst, $20 million to $50 million, for developing an employee-based volunteer group, which completed eight community service projects in 2011. Together, "The Difference" volunteer group raised money for six local charity organizations, volunteered at a local food pantry and provided eligible community members with free tax preparation.
  • Ulster FCU, Kingston, $50 million to $100 million, for its fundraising to benefit the American Cancer Society and the Gateway Foundation--a foundation to support to Gateway Community Industries Inc. Credit union staff helped coordinate the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and raised more than $8,000, winning the Business Team--Most Money Raised Award. They also helped coordinate three large fundraising events for the Gateway Foundation, raising more than $50,000 and earning a Lifetime Achievement Award from the foundation.
  • First Source FCU, New Hartford, $200 million to $500 million, for its efforts to raise funds for  the American Cancer Society and the Gateway Foundation. Staff helped coordinate the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, raising more than $8,000 and winning the Business Team-Most Money Raised Award. Staff helped coordinate three large fundraising events for the Gateway Foundation, raising more than $50,000 and earning a Lifetime Achievement Award from the foundation.
  • Visions FCU, Endicott, $500 million or more, for its relief efforts after last September's storms and floods. Despite suffering severe damage to several branches, the credit union sponsored two fundraising concerts and the publication of a photo documentary book to raise money for four relief organizations. The credit union also created a special, low-rate disaster relief loan to help members and the community recover.
In recognition of the practical application of the credit union philosophy, these credit unions were first-place recipients of 2012 Louise Herring Awards.

  • Cooperative Federal CU, Syracuse, $50 million and under, for its Matched Savings Program. The program provides low- and moderate-income members with Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) for first-time homeownership, microbusiness funding, higher education or vehicle purchases. IDAs are offered as matching grants, and the amount of funding depends upon how much the member has already saved. Each participant also receives a personalized education and counseling plan from the credit union. Fifty-eight members were enrolled in the Matched Savings Program as of Dec. 31, and more than $74,000 in matching grants were disbursed.
  • Visions FCU, $250 million and over. In 2011, the credit union focused on providing members with convenient service through mobile banking. By launching a comprehensive, multi-channel marketing campaign, Visions FCU built awareness about the three mobile banking platforms available to members: a mobile browser, text banking and a custom app for the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Using these platforms, members can manage their accounts, transfer funds, find current rates, make payments, locate a Visions FCU branch and more. By the end of last year, 3,200 members completed $1.4 million in mobile banking transactions with the credit union.
Winning entries for the awards go on to the national finals presented by the Credit Union National Association. The national results will be announced in March 2013.

CU System briefs (07/13/2012)

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  • CHESTERFIELD, Va. (7/16/12)--Preliminary hearings were held Wednesday for three men charged in the April 17 shooting death of Virginia State University student Tyrail H. Hughes in the parking lot of VSU FCU, Ettrick, Va. Witnesses, including credit union employees, testified at the hearing.  Witnesses said in their testimony that Hughes was shot four times by VSU student Ryan Christopher Simms, 19.  The incident began when co-defendant Khaliq H. Oliver, 19,  allegedly grabbed marijuana from Hughes without paying for it and ran. Hughes waived a gun and threatened Simms and others with him over the deal. Simms allegedly fired nine shots--including four that hit Hughes, one that hit a passerby in the foot, and one that hit a parked car. The judge certified to a grand jury charges of first-degree murder, malicious wounding and two felony firearms against Simms; first-degree murder and robbery counts against Oliver; and possession of a gun by a felon against Damon M. Wright, who was with Hughes and tried to drive him to the hospital before crashing his car. The judge dismissed charges of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to distribute drugs against Oliver, and prosecutors withdrew a charge of conspiracy to distribute drugs against Wright (Richmond Times-Dispatch July 13) …
  • TEMPLE, Texas (7/16/12)--DeWayne Jordon, of Temple, Texas, was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in federal prison for his role in a scheme to defraud area credit unions. In addition to the prison sentence, Waco U.S. District Court Judge Walter Smith ordered Jordon to undergo five years of supervised release after the prison term and to pay nearly $15,000 in restitution and special court assessments ( July 12). According to court records Jordan allegedly admitted he used checks drawn on multiple bank accounts at various locations that had closed to establish accounts at other credit unions and banks. He allegedly opened an account at Scott & White Employees CU in Temple in March 2011 and immediately began withdrawing funds. An employee told police, who arrested Jordon. He also allegedly admitted similar schemes in Amarillo, Lubbock and Lamesa, said the documents …
  • HARRISBURG, Pa. (7/16/12)--Pennsylvania credit unions from the Wilkes-Barre and Scranton area met Wednesday with Matt Cartwright, a Democratic candidate for the 17th Congressional District, which changed significantly due to redistricting, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA)  (Life is a Highway July 13). At the meeting, credit unions shared information about the industry and discussed legislative priorities, regulatory concerns and issues concerning the district. Cartwright commended credit unions for what they do for the community and their efforts to assist Scranton city employees during the city's financial hardship. He said he was not surprised that former U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski was such a champion to credit unions.  Cartwright said he looked up to the congressman and considered himself a fan "because he stood up for the little guy and gal. Each of you in this room hold that same philosophy and principle. I intend to continue that role when elected to office and stick up for credit union issues on a national stage." The event was hosted by Cross Valley FCU. From left are, Karen Wood, vice president of community relations, and Jeff Balestrini, vice president lending, both of Service 1st FCU; Cartwright; Ed Kaushas, president/CEO of Cross Valley FCU; and Christina Mihalik, vice president, governmental affairs at PCUA. (Photo provided by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association) …

CU issues million dollar savings challenge

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TINTON FALLS, N.J. (7/16/12)--For the second consecutive summer, United Teletech Financial FCU is challenging its members to save a million dollars and help out local charities.

United Teletech Financial FCU, Tinton Falls, N.J., is offering members opportunities to save on interest and redirect the savings back to their community, according to the New Jersey Credit Union League (The Daily Exchange July 13).

The $306 million asset credit union said members can reduce interest rates on their mortgages and credit cards.

When the community has saved a million dollars in interest, the credit union will donate to four local charities. Upon the closing of a qualified loan, members select participating charity will receive their donation.

Donations are based on a percentage of total interest saved. The public can also vote for a People's Choice winner. The charity that receives the most votes for People's Choice will receive an additional $500 donation from the credit union.

The four charities receiving donations are Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties, Clean Ocean Action, FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and The Salvation Army-Red Bank Corps.

"Knowing we are helping individuals save money and reduce debt is great, but it's even better knowing that we are able to contribute to such worthwhile charities," said Leo Ardine, United Teletech Financial CEO.

Members can also do something for themselves through the challenge, Ardine added. "This challenge goes beyond saving money on interest expense to teach individuals how to be more financially responsible," he said.

The Second Annual Million Dollar Community Challenge will run through Sept. 29. Last year the community saved more than $1.8 million in loan interest through the initiative, and the credit union donated $13,000 to participating charities.

Carolinas foundation completes scholarship cycle

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RALEIGH, N.C. (7/16/12)--The Carolinas Credit Union Foundation has awarded 58 students $63,900 in scholarships--along with $119,000 awarded separately by Local Government FCU, Raleigh, N.C.

"It's such a 'foundational,' if you'll pardon the pun, function of what we do but it doesn't get talked about much," John P. McGrail, president/CEO of the foundation told the North Carolina Credit Union League (The Weekly Conversation July 13).

"We have credit unions and the foundation aiding students across the state reach [to] their academic dreams. In the application process we have them discuss credit union principles and how they can apply to their own lives. Who knows? I hope we could be building some of our movement's future leaders," McGrail said.

North Carolina credit unions interested in building a designated scholarship fund can contact the foundation, which manages the scholarship funds and issues checks to designated schools.

Hayes named presidentCEO of CU Holding Co.

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LENEXA, Kan. (7/16/12)--Larry Hayes has been named president/CEO of CU Holding Co. LLC, a Lenexa, Kan.-based credit union service organization (CUSO), the company announced Thursday.

Hayes has 26 years of executive credit union experience in marketing and business development. Most recently he served as vice president of marketing and business development at First Service CU (formerly Right Choice CU) in Houston. Hayes also has served as vice president of marketing at HFS FCU, Hilo, Hawaii, and worked at other credit unions in Hawaii and California.

He started his career in Washington, D.C., with HUD FCU. Later he ran a business consulting firm focusing on strategic planning, marketing strategies, promotions, business development and financial statement analysis. He also taught classes for the former District of Columbia League of Credit Unions.

CU Holding Co. manages investments in six CUSOs--Beyond Marketing LLC, XtraCash LLC, TruHome Solutions, TruHome Title Solutions, Cooperative Payroll Solutions LLC and MEMBERS Development Co. CU Holding's first CUSO, Beyond Marketing, has been operating since 2003.