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CU System Archive

CU System

Former president of Wis. Federation of Cooperatives drowns

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (7/23/10)--Rod Nilsestuen, secretary of Wisconsin's Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and a long-time former president/CEO of the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives, drowned Wednesday evening while swimming in Lake Superior off Michigan's Upper Peninsula (Wisconsin State Journal and Madison.com July 22). He had been on vacation, working for Habitat for Humanity in northern Michigan, an activity he had performed every summer. Nilsestuen, 62, had been secretary of the state agency since 2003. He served as president of the cooperatives organization from 1978 to September 2002. He helped establish the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board and the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, and was a founding chairman of the National Rural Cooperative Development Task Force. He is survived by his wife and three sons. Funeral services will be Tuesday at Bethel Lutheran, 312 Wisconsin Ave., Madison, Wis., with visitation at 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and a memorial service at 1 p.m.

CUAC selects search firm for new CEO

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DENVER (7/23/10)--The board of directors of the Credit Union Association of Colorado (CUAC) has selected executive recruitment firm O’Rourke & Associates to conduct the search for a new president/CEO of the organization. Interim CEO Pete Kirchhof, former CUAC senior vice president of government affairs, is leading the association during the transition. “O’Rourke & Associates has a reputation for finding the most committed and talented people for credit union management, and we are confident it will identify and recruit the most capable person to lead the association,” said Mike Williams, chair of the CUAC board and president/CEO of Colorado CU, Littleton. Based in San Francisco, O’Rourke & Associates specializes in executive searches for credit unions backed by the resources of RSM McGladrey Inc. and the California Credit Union League. The CEO search committee is chaired by Dave Maus, president/CEO of Public Service CU, Denver; and comprised of committee members: Gerry Agnes, Elevations CU, Boulder, president/CEO; Steve Pearson, Fellowship CU, Lamar, president/CEO; Sundie Seefried, Eagle Legacy CU, Arvada, president/CEO; and John Uchida, Space Age FCU, Aurora, president/CEO. Committee members will work with the search firm to identify potential and with the CUAC board to determine who will be contacted and interviewed. “The search for a CEO is expected to take several months,” Williams said.

PCUA board to realign governance

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (7/23/10)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) board unanimously approved a recommendation of its Dues and Governance Task Force to realign association board seats to ensure representation from all asset-size credit unions. Beginning with the May 2012 election cycle, directors will be elected by asset category instead of district. The number of directors will remain at nine with three elected from credit unions with less than $30 million in assets, three from $30 million to $100 million in assets and three from credit unions with more than $100 million in assets, said PCUA (Life is a Highway July 22). “Moving from a geographic to an asset-based board of directors completes the process of the restructured board governance that began in 2005 when the board was downsized to nine from 21,” said Bill Lavage, chairman of PCUA’s Dues and Governance Task Force. “It was a feeling of the task force that credit unions of a similar asset size have more in common with each other than those that are in a particular district. This new structure will ensure that all sized credit unions are represented on the association board now and in the future,” Lavage added. Details of the new model are being finalized. The association will need to change its bylaws to implement it.

Clearview FCU to drop trademark suit

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MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (7/23/10)--Clearview FCU (CFCU) officially withdrew its trademark infringement lawsuit against a Florida debt settlement company this week after the company agreed to change its name from Clearview Credit Inc. (CCI) back to its previous name of Debt Reduction America Inc. “They [Debt Reduction America Inc.] have filed all the paperwork with the state of Florida to do that [change the name back],” Ralph Canterbury, Clearview vice president of marketing, told News Now Thursday. “We have just withdrawn our complaint against them.” “They satisfied our complaint, so we agreed to drop it,” he added. “They did everything we asked them to do.” CFCU, based in Moon Township, Pa. has $619 million in assets. The credit union had alleged that the debt settlement company was targeting the credit union's 79,000 members via phone and mail solicitations “in an apparent attempt to trade on the goodwill established by CFCU in connection with the Clearview marks,” and causing confusion in the market place, according to the suit filed in May in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh (News Now May 25). CCI’s solicitation of CFCU’s members “has, in fact, caused several instances actual confusion in the marketplace as to the source and/or sponsorship of CCI’s services,” the complaint added. Solicited credit union members “learned that CCI’s solicitations did not originate from CFCU only upon being reassured by CFCU representatives that the solicitations were not authorized or provided by CFCU and that CCI is in no way associated or affiliated with CFCU.”

Southwest CUNA Management School graduates 41 execs

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DALLAS (7/23/10)--Forty-one credit union executives--33 of them from Texas--graduated yesterday from Southwest CUNA Management School (SCMS) in Fort Worth, Texas. Graduates also represented Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, Kansas and Arkansas. CMS is a three-year course of study accredited by the Credit Union National Association and recognized or innovative, intense, hands-on professional development, said the Texas Credit Union League. The program offers courses designed to challenge, broaden financial industry knowledge, and sharpen management skills. Tim Reibe, collections supervisor with Citizens FCU in Big Spring, Texas, said the opportunity to learn from and share experiences with an elite team of instructors and peers has expanded his level of awareness and knowledge of the credit union industry. “SCMS has made me a well-rounded manager and exposed me to a collective group of dedicated and resourceful professionals whom I consider to be experts in their field,” Reibe added. Dick Ensweiler, SCMS oversight committee member and president/CEO of the Texas league, noted that "the class of 2010 has shown tremendous discipline and dedication. During their three years in the program, they’ve demonstrated their ability to face challenges and overcome obstacles." SCMS is held at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Classes are led by university/college faculty, credit union industry leaders, and professional consultants. To graduate, students must develop a real-world strategic business plan for their own credit union.

IBankrateI study Consumers look to debit card rewards

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NEW YORK (7/23/10)--Consumers nationwide can obtain good rewards from using their debit cards from financial institutions, including credit unions, as long as they choose wisely, according to Bankrate.com’s 2010 Debit Card Rewards Study (PR Newswire July 19). Some of the findings include:
* Sixty-five percent of the programs surveyed offer rewards only on debit purchases that require a signature; * Thirty percent of the programs offer rewards on both signature and personal identification number (PIN) debit transactions; * The range for rewards on signature purchases was between 0.2% and 3%; * The range for rewards on PIN purchases was significantly lower, between 0.1% and 0.5%; * Ten percent of the programs surveyed had higher payouts for specific categories of purchases such as groceries, gasoline, dining and travel; * Half of the cards surveyed had no annual fee. Of those that did cost money annually, the most common fee was $25.
“As many Americans face mounting credit card debt, consumers may want to look into their options with debit rewards programs,” said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com. “Though the debit rewards card programs don't often offer as much as their credit card competitors, they can offer a nice boost without the fear of getting in over your head with debt.” Bankrate looked at programs offered by the largest banks and thrifts in large markets nationwide and those offered by the biggest credit unions. Forty different offerings were evaluated.

Phishing alert E-mail claims to be from NACHA

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WASHINGTON (7/23/10)--A phishing e-mail scam claiming to be from NACHA, the electronic payments association, has prompted an alert to key players, including financial institutions, in the electronic auto clearinghouse (ACH) payments system. NACHA received reports that individuals and/or companies received the e-mail. The subject line of the e-mail states, "Unauthorized ACH transaction," however, recipients should be alert for different variations of fraudulent e-mailes. The message contains a link that directs recipients to a fake Web page sporting a link with an executable virus with malware. NACHA warns recipients not to click on the link. "Both the e-mail and the related website are fraudulent," it said in the alert. "Do not follow Web links in unsolicited e-mails from unknown parties or from parties with whom you do not normally communicate, or that appear to be known but are suspicious or otherwise unusual," NACHA said. NACHA does not process or touch the ACH transactions that flow to and from organizations and financial institutions. It does not send out communications to individuals or organizations about individual ACH transactions that they originate or receive.

Low-income CDCUs growing despite economy

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NEW YORK (7/23/10)--A new study released by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions examines the impact of the financial crisis on credit unions that specialize in serving low-income populations. The nonprofit community development credit unions (CDCUs) suffered significant stress but also demonstrated resilience and growth in 2009, according to the study. “Despite the enormous pain inflicted by the crisis, CDCUs remain a viable and vital resource for the recovery of low-income communities,” said Clifford N. Rosenthal, federation president/CEO and co-author of the study. The study, entitled “Low-Income Communities and the Great Recession: Financial Trends in CDCUs, 2009,” presents data on trends in lending, savings, operations and balance sheets of 208 CDCUs nationwide. In 2009, these institutions with aggregate assets exceeding $5 billion served more than one million members. The study compares CDCU performance to that of all federally insured credit unions, and also includes analyses by region and asset size. Among the findings:
* CDCU membership grew by 41,000 during 2009; * Deposits in CDCUs grew by 16.2%, substantially exceeding the robust growth of all federally insured credit unions; * The CDCU loan portfolio grew by 4.83% to $3.69 million; * Loan originations totaled $1.51 billion in 2009, a decline of 3% over the pace in 2008; * Return on Average Assets was slightly negative (-9 basis points) for the typical (median) CDCU, reflecting charges to replenish the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund; * Most CDCUs remained “well-capitalized” by regulatory standards, with a median net-worth ratio of 9.53%; * Net loan charge-offs totaled 1.43%; and * CDCUs provided services to help low- and moderate-income consumers preserve and build assets, ranging from Individual Development Accounts, to no-cost checking, to alternatives to payday lending.

18 arrested in bad-check scam

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WATERLOO, Iowa (7/23/10)--Eighteen individuals have been arrested for involvement in a bad check scam that affected two credit unions in Iowa. Veridian CU and Iowa Community CU, both of Waterloo, Iowa were hit with a check scam that cost the credit unions and several other financial institutions a total of $125,000, according to local media reports (Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier July 22). Police arrested 10 individuals Monday and another group Tuesday and charged them in the scam. According to authorities, the individuals opened accounts at several institutions to get starter checks and debit cards. Then, they swapped checks and made false deposits, inflating the value of the accounts. They also are accused of using debit cards and checks to get cash and purchase items. The money was laundered through U.S. Postal money orders. Veridian CU has $1.6 billion in assets. Iowa Community CU has $74 million in assets.

WOCCU auction raises record amount

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LAS VEGAS (7/23/10)--Frenzied bidders--both online and in person--helped the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) raise a record
Click to view larger image Crissy Cheney, wife of Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney, bids on an item during the World Council of Credit Unions’ charity auction at The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas last week. Crissy Cheney co-chaired the auction.
amount during its annual silent and live auctions held at the close of The 1 Credit Union Conference, the joint meeting of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and WOCCU last week in Las Vegas. Bidders in the silent auction, which for the first time allowed online bids, pledged more than $28,800 compared to $8,261 raised during WOCCU’s 2009 World Credit Union Conference in Barcelona, Spain. Bidders in the live auction pledged more than $45,000 compared to $9,410 in 2009. Total funds pledged were roughly $74,000--more than four times the amount raised last year. The money will be used to support global credit union development. The move to an online format with higher-value items that contributed directly to the auction’s success was largely the work of auction co-chairs Judy Ensweiler, wife of Texas Credit Union
Click to view larger image Scott Kennedy of Mississauga, Ontario, waves a Canadian flag to catch the attention of auctioneer Dick Ensweiler, president/CEO of the Texas Credit Union League. Kennedy’s wife, Sandy, pledged to support the Busia Compasionate Centre, a Kenyan orphanage supported by the World Council of Credit Unions. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
League President/CEO Dick Ensweiler, and Crissy Cheney, wife of CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney. The highest bids came during the live auction for items that included a week in a Las Vegas condo; a Chicago shopping spree; lunch and a private U.S. Capitol tour in Washington, D.C., hosted by former CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica; and a New York hotel night, dinner and tickets for the Broadway production of Jersey Boys. Conference registrations were auctioned and also awarded to two winners in a drawing held at the conference. The auction concluded with an open call for participants to fund Busia Compassionate Centre, an orphanage that WOCCU supports in rural Kenya. More than 70 bidders responded with an additional $28,000 in pledges for the orphanage.

Cheney Sweeney Fryzel to headline NJCUL convention

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HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (7/23/10)--The New Jersey Credit Union League’s 76th annual meeting and convention Oct. 3-5 in Atlantic City, N.J., will feature Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) board member Michael Fryzel and New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney.
Cheney will talk about how Congress perceives credit unions, Fryzel will offer insight on NCUA’s approach to the corporate network and regulatory issues, and Sweeney will present an insider’s look at the latest in the state capital. Sweeney is a credit union supporter and helped pass legislation in the state Senate that would allow New Jersey credit unions to accept public deposits. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Banking You Can Trust,” the tagline for the New Jersey league’s statewide advertising program aimed at spreading the credit union message to consumers. Bill Rancic of the TV show “The Apprentice” will give the keynote speech and share his strategies for successful organizations in today’s tough economic climate.