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21 grads from SE CUNA Management School

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (7/6/11)--Twenty-one credit union leaders from eight states graduated June 17 from the 2011 Southeast Regional Credit Union Schools' (SRCUS) CUNA Management School in Athens, Ga. The Southeast CUNA Management School is held each summer at the University of Georgia's Georgia Center with faculty from Terry College of Business and credit union industry experts. "This class that has graduated at the 40th anniversary of SRCUS started in 2009 at the beginning of the economic downturn," said SRCUS Chair Barbara Lehew-Bickley. "It began as our smallest class ever, yet the graduating class finished at 21 students." The curriculum is delivered over three years, with students in residence annually during the summer for eight days of course work. Between annual sessions, they apply their new knowledge to projects that require strategic analysis of their credit unions and research of relevant issues facing the credit union industry. Students are from Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. For more information about CUNA Management Schools, use the link.

Ariz. Colo. Wyo. leagues merger final

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PHOENIX, DENVER, and CASPER, Wyo. (7/6/11)--Member credit unions of the former Arizona Credit Union League & Affiliates and the Associations of Colorado and Wyoming are now part of a single cooperative network, the Mountain West Credit Union Association, which was effective Friday.
The membership voted in favor of merging the organizations in March. "A year ago this wasn't even on our radar screen," said Scott Earl, president/CEO of the new association. "It is unbelievable to me that we have traveled so much ground so quickly. It has been very busy and very exciting. I am certain that as we move forward, we are building a stronger organization and that credit unions will only see increasing value." Mike Williams, board chairman, noted that at the first Mountain West board meeting "the organizations have come together in such a short amount of time. We have an extraordinary amount of talent and passion to make the future of this organization a success." The Mountain West Credit Union Association's board of directors includes a number of directors from each state's previous board. In addition to Chairman Williams, board officers include:
* Co-Vice-Chairs: Bob Ramirez, president/CEO, Vantage West CU, Tucson, Ariz., and Marsha Tynsky, president/CEO, Trona Valley Community FCU, Green River, Wyo.; * Treasurer: John Uchida, president/CEO, Space Age FCU, Aurora, Colo.; and * Secretary: Susan Frank, president/CEO of Desert Schools FCU, Phoenix, Ariz.
New board members include:
* Keith Cowling, president/CEO, Credit Union of Denver; * Colleen Curtis, president/CEO, Southwest Healthcare CU, Phoenix; * Dan Desmond, president/CEO, TruWest CU, Scottsdale, Ariz.; * Dave Maus, president/CEO, Public Service CU, Denver; * Sundie Seefried, president/CEO, Eagle Legacy CU, Arvada, Colo.; and * Jim Yates, president/CEO, First Education FCU, Cheyenne, Wyo.
Tuesday, the association also introduced its brand identity and website. For more information, use the link.

Bankruptcies down for first half of year

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (7/6/11)--U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings dropped 8% during the first six months of 2011 from the same period a year ago, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) using data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center. From Jan. 1 through June 30, personal bankruptcy filings totaled 709,303 nationwide, compared with the 770,117 filings for the period in 2010. The overall June consumer filing total was 119,768, which represented a 5% decrease from 126,270 bankruptcies filed in June 2010, but also was a 4% increase from May's filings of 114,803 filings. "The drop in bankruptcies for the first half of the year shows the continued efforts of consumers to reduce their household debt, and the overall pull back into consumer credit," said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. The decline in bankruptcies dovetails with the economic forecast that Credit Union National Association (CUNA) economists issued in March in their 2011-2012 forecast for credit unions, as well as figures collected in 2010 related to loan delinquency and chargeoffs for CUNA's U.S. Credit Union Profile. Although these cannot be compared specifically with bankruptcy statistics, loan delinquencies and chargeoffs are often an early sign of financial trouble. Delinquencies and chargeoffs in mortgage-related loans are even a better indication of trouble leading to a possible bankruptcy. In December of 2010, credit unions experienced mortgage delinquencies of more than 60 days at 2.3% of total outstanding loans for first mortgages and 1.55% for home equity lines of credit and second mortgages. Net chargeoffs were at 0.42% of average outstanding loans for first mortgages and 1.40% for HELOCs and second mortgages. CUNA's economic forecast indicates that "credit quality will improve in 2011 and 2012. Overall loan delinquency and chargeoff rates will fall as job growth picks up. Provisions for loan losses will also decline as credit unions shift from building their allowance for loan loss accounts to maintaining the current level." The forecast expects a delinquency rate of 0.90% in 2011 and 0.80% in 2012, and an annualized net chargeoff rate of 0.90% and 0.80%, respectively. For more information check the U.S. Credit Union Profile resource link. According to The Wall Street Journal (July 5), the declines are a positive indication that a flood of consumer filings has slowed. In 2010 more than 1.5 million personal bankruptcies were filed, the largest number since Congress reformed the bankruptcy system in 2005 to make it more difficult for consumers to walk away from debts.

Scottish Parliament welcomes WOCCU conference

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EDINBURGH, Scot. (7/6/11)--A motion by Members of the Scottish Parliament officially welcomes the World Credit Union Conference, which will be in Glasgow later this month, according to the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd. (ABCUL), the credit union association member organization of World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). WOCCU is sponsor of the conference, which will be held at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Center July 24-27 in Glasgow. (For more information on the conference, use the link.) A motion by Johann Lamont, MSP, Scottish Labour's deputy leader and MSP for Glasgow Pollok, has so far been signed by 30 MSPs. The resolution says that Parliament looks forward to the arrival of up to 1,700 credit union delegates from around 60 countries to Scotland for the conference. It congratulates WOCCU on its development work with credit unions across the globe and praises the contribution of the directors, staff and volunteers of Scotland's 110 credit unions. It also calls for support for the movement's development as outlined in the ABCUL Scotland Credit Union Charter. "MSPs of all parties have a great record of supporting the credit unions in their areas, and it's very encouraging to see this level of support from the Scottish Parliament not only for the arrival of the World Credit Union Conference, but also for the measures required to ensure the development and growth of Scotland's credit union movement," said Frank McKillop, ABCUL policy and relations manager in Scotland, on ABCUL's website.

Speakers set for Western CUNA School graduation

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CLAREMONT, Calif. (7/6/11)--The slate of speakers has been set for Western CUNA Management School’s (WCMS) 50th anniversary celebration and conference July 20-21. Laszlo Bock, Google senior vice president of people operations, will serve as keynote speaker; Bill Cheney, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) president/CEO, will deliver the commencement address; and U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) will discuss current legislation affecting credit unions. Sponsored by CO-OP Financial Services, the two-day event will be held at the Pomona College campus in Claremont, Calif. The celebration and conference, “Half a Century of Leaders,” also will include an opening session from WCMS President James Likens and receptions, breakout sessions and the graduation ceremony for the school’s 50th class. Bock will discuss ways credit unions may learn from the experiences of Google in his keynote address, “Don’t Be Evil: The Head and Heart of Google’s Culture.” Bock joined Google in 2006, and has since spoken nationwide on how Google uses and maintains its unique corporate culture that includes more than 7,000 employees. The company currently ranks fourth on Fortune Magazine’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” and 102nd on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations. Cheney became president/CEO of CUNA in July 2010, having previously served as president/ CEO of the Ontario, Calif.-based California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. Prior to that, he worked in the same capacity at Xerox FCU (now known as Xceed Financial FCU) in El Segundo, Calif., where he guided the credit union’s growth to more than $800 million in assets from $350 million. Cheney served on the WCMS Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2010. Royce represents California’s 40th District based in Orange County, and has been one of the strongest advocates for credit unions in the House of Representatives. A member of the House Committee on Financial Services, he serves on two other subcommittees that directly affect credit unions: the subcommittee on capital markets and government sponsored enterprises, and the subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit. In addition to recognizing WCMS’s role in the credit union movement, Royce will discuss legislation under consideration that will directly affect credit unions, including member business lending caps. Founded in 1960, WCMS serves credit unions from the participating 13 western states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The school is dedicated to training credit union leaders in both the business skills and people-helping-people philosophy of the credit union movement. More than 3,500 students have graduated from WCMS, and are serving in positions of leadership and responsibility at some of the leading U.S. credit unions.

CUNA Mutual sells equipment insurance business

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MADISON, Wis., and CINCINNATI (7/6/11)--CUNA Mutual Group has sold its equipment insurance business, based in Wauwatosa, Wis., to Great American Insurance Group of Cincinnati. Great American announced Friday it has entered into an agreement with CUNA Mutual to offer its equipment management products to organizations such as credit unions that previously purchased the Equipment Maintenance Insurance product underwritten by CUMIS Insurance Society Inc. CUMIS is a member of CUNA Mutual. Great American said it expects the transaction to expand its market share in equipment management for the credit union and financial services segments. Under the agreement, Great American will immediately assume responsibility for the underwriting and servicing of the CUNA Mutual portfolio and for the operations and staff in the Wauwatosa offices. CUNA Mutual said it was important to find a buyer with the same level of commitment to credit unions and their members. Noting that Great American “is dedicated to this line of business, has a great service reputation and strong financial strength ratings,” John Wallace, CUNA Mutual vice president of credit union protection, said, “We know our customers will be well taken care of.”

Ohios small CUs in good shape says league

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (7/6/11)--Small credit unions in Ohio did well in 2010, and overall credit union performance in the state during the first quarter 2011 was above national averages, said the Ohio Credit Union League. Smaller credit unions--those with assets of $35 million or less--are in “good shape,” despite the problems and hardships of the past few years, according to a special report, “A Snapshot of Ohio’s Dynamic Small Credit Union Market,” from the league (eLumination Newsletter June 29). Overall, Ohio credit unions with assets of $35 million or less outperformed their Midwest peers in nearly all balance-sheet growth categories. Loan growth in 2010 was 0.2%, but bucked the national trend by remaining positive. Share growth recently exceeded the national average after years of lagging. The group also avoided the spike in delinquencies seen by others, which could be because many of the state’s credit unions don’t offer mortgages or they have very strict underwriting standards, the league said. Ohio’s smaller credit unions posted a positive bottom line during the past two years, besting the negative national averages. While member growth is -0.24%, it is experiencing an upward trend, said the league. Also, overall credit union performance in the state fared well during the first quarter 2011, with annual growth figures for assets, shares and loans all exceeding or similar to national averages, according to the latest Ohio Credit Union Quarterly Performance Summary from the league. Loan volume increased 14% over March 2010, with delinquencies declining 15 basis points to 1.21%--below the national average of 1.63%. Membership growth remained positive for the ninth consecutive quarter and now exceeds the national average, the league said.

WOCCU Groupon to promote Kenyan orphanage

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MADISON, Wis. (7/6/11)--World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and Groupon’s G-Team, a site for supporting causes with collective action, have partnered to provide a Groupon promotion in support of Busia Compassionate Centre, an orphanage in rural western Kenya. Through Thursday, every donation through Groupon’s G-Team will be equally matched by the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions.
Click to view larger image A little girl at Busia Compassionate Centre, an orphanage in rural western Kenya, gets ready to start a school project. Credit unions can make donations via Groupon--a site for supporting causes with collective action--through Thursday. Donations will provide educational scholarships for children at the orphanage. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
WOCCU started working with Busia Compassionate Center in 2006 in partnership with a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program to mitigate the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in western Kenya. One of the program’s three goals was to provide educational grants to children of HIV/AIDS-affected households through the area’s savings and credit cooperatives, or credit unions. Primary school tuition is government-subsidized in Kenya, but secondary school education requires additional funding, a resource Busia Compassionate Centre lacks. When the USDA program concluded in 2010, WOCCU continued to support the orphanage with the help of the global credit union movement, providing scholarships to cover secondary school tuition and books, uniforms and school supplies for both primary and secondary students. WOCCU also helped the orphanage with major building upgrades. These included installing toilets and a septic tank and wiring the orphanage with electricity to give children a greater sense of security and the chance to study or walk to the toilets after the sun goes down. “This Groupon promotion will only work if a minimum of 50 people each give $10,” said Brian Branch, WOCCU executive vice president and chief operating officer, who will become WOCCU’s president/CEO in August. “Please share this promotion with your co-workers, friends and family and help the 69 children at the orphanage get a strong foundation to build brighter futures for themselves.” All Groupon G-Team donations will go directly toward providing scholarships so Busia Compassionate Centre residents can attend school. Donors interested in contributing can use the link though Thursday. To learn more about the children at Busia Compassionate Centre, use the link.

CU System briefs (07/05/2011)

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* COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (7/6/11)--Ent FCU's employees and members
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raised a record $42,561 for the 2011 Colorado Springs Heart Walk, a fundraising event that benefits the American Heart Association. More than 115 employees participated as registered walkers in the event. The $3.2 billion asset credit union also conducted company-wide fundraisers, including events such as barbeques, raffles, jeans days and bake sales. Ent's members also contributed with donations at the credit union's area service centers. Pictured is Ent's walk team before the Heart Walk, which was held at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. (Photo provided by Ent FCU) … * ST. LOUIS (7/6/11)--St. Louis-based Gateway Metro FCU recently
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helped a small business start up with the credit union's first small business loan. The loan opens a new area of member service for the $174 million asset credit union. Dr. Lorie Lofquist, D.C., and Dr. Angela Woodson, D.C., shown here with Gateway Metro employee Tracy, will officially open their business, the Chiropractic Wellness Center of South County, with a Grand Opening on July 18. "All of our questions and concerns were dealt with in a timely and efficient manner," said the new business owners. "The entire process was made simple especially by Tracy when she would contact us and give us clear directions about the next step … You have made our small business dreams a reality and now we can joyfully help the public with their chiropractic needs." (Photo provided by Gateway Metro FCU) …