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American Airlines FCU to pay OT back wages

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FORT WORTH, Texas (8/11/11)--A credit union in Fort Worth, Texas, has agreed to pay $83,608 in back overtime wages to 295 current and former employees after an error in calculating the formula for overtime resulted in its classifying salaried employees as exempt from overtime and record-keeping provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). American Airlines FCU will pay current and former tellers, loan officers and member service representatives, according to the regional administrator at the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (Houston Workplace Issuers Examiner Aug. 8). An investigation by its Dallas District Office found improper classification for the employees, who were paid straight-time wages instead of time and a half wages required by FSLA. The office also said it did not keep accurate work time and payroll records for employees. FSLA requires covered employees to be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and a half of their regular rate of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week, said the division. The time and a half requirement also includes incentive pay, bonuses and commissions.

Louisiana award winners honored by league

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HARAHAN, La. (8/11/11)--The Louisiana Credit Union League recognized recipients of the state-evel Desjardins Youth and Adult Financial Literacy Awards and the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award during the league's 77th Annual Meeting and Convention last week in New Orleans. More than 400 credit union professionals and volunteers attended the convention, said the league (eNews Aug. 10). Awards and the recipients are:
* Desjardins Youth Financial Literacy Award, presented to Greater New Orleans FCU, Metairie; * Desjardins Adult Financial Literacy Award, to Pelican State FCU, Baton Rouge; and * Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award, to New Orleans Firemen's FCU, Metairie.
The three credit unions will move into the competition for the national Desjardins and Maxwell awards presented by the Credit Union National Association. The league also presented a number of marketing awards for best annual report, best newsletter and best website.

Pa. CU Foundation tops 3M in funds raised

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (8/11/11)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation has reached a milestone of $3 million in funds raised during the past 15 years and four months. Since it was chartered on March 19, 1966, the foundation has issued 444 grants totaling more than $1.85 million, reported the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) (Life is a Highway Aug. 10). Among the grants:
* 115 were financial literacy grants totaling $688,068 since 2003; * 38 were disaster relief grants for $309,522 since 1996; * 210 were small-credit union development grants totaling $549,180 since 2000; and * 19 were outreach grants totaling $242,113.
"The foundation has always served as an instrument that helps the underserved, both within and outside our movement," said foundation board Chairman Ray Brunner, who credited seven previous foundation board chairmen with the success. Jim McCormack, PCUA president CEO and foundation ex officio board member, noted that many volunteers serving on the foundation board "have devised a first-class strategy resulting in the foundation's success during the past 15 years." Joe Wambach, foundation executive director, pointed out that fundraising chairmen John Kebles, Bob Marquette and Dave Ackerman "have provided leadership and magnificent service." The caliber of grants also lent itself to the fundraising success, he said.

Twelve inducted into Louisiana CU Hall of Fame

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HARAHAN, La. (8/11/11)--The Louisiana Credit Union League (LCUL) inducted 12 individuals into the Louisiana Credit Union Hall of Fame at the league’s 2011 Annual Meeting and Convention last week. The hall was established to recognize the leadership, commitment and contributions of credit union professionals and volunteers statewide (LCUL’s eNews Aug. 10). The 2011 inductees recognized during the opening ceremonies were:
* Paul J. Bertuccini, inducted by Louisiana Central CU, Harahan; * Jessie J. Champagne, inducted by Section 705 FCU, Lafayette; * Anne Cochran, inducted by Louisiana Credit Union League staff; * M.E. “Red” Craighead, inducted by Centric FCU, West Monroe; * Charles B. George, Jr., inducted by Jefferson Parish Employees FCU, Harahan; * Helen Godfrey-Smith, inducted by Shreveport (La.) FCU, * Carl E. Lazarone, inducted by Jefferson Parish Employees FCU, Harahan; * Donald P. Leblanc, inducted by Lafayette (La.) Schools FCU; * Frieda Massingale, inducted by Centric FCU; * LaNard J. Robinet, inducted by Louisiana FCU, La Place; * Stanley H. Stucke, inducted by Louisiana Central CU; and * Julius Wagoner, inducted by Ouachita Valley FCU, West Monroe.
A special wall designated for the Louisiana Credit Union Hall of Fame will be located in the league’s headquarters. Also, a $500 donation on behalf of the inductee will be made to the Louisiana Credit Union Foundation. The donation will help develop educational programs for credit unions and monetary support to Louisiana credit unions during times of natural disasters.

Survey 64 dont have funds for unplanned expenses

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WASHINGTON (8/11/11)--About 64% of Americans would use a source other than their savings account to satisfy a $1,000 unplanned expense, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s (NFCC) July online poll revealed. This could be an opportunity for credit unions to help members bolster their savings for emergencies. The largest number of those surveyed--nearly 2,700 respondents or 36%--said they would tap their savings account to fund an unplanned expense. Using rainy day funds for an emergency is exactly why a person saves, to protect them against the unknown, said NFCC. However, the remaining 64% are in a much different situation, living on a slippery financial slope, NFCC said. “Without adequate savings, consumers have poor resolution choices when an emergency arises,” said Gail Cunningham, NFCC spokesperson. “People often say they can’t afford to save, but the truth is that they can’t afford not to.” To resolve the problem, 17% of respondents surveyed indicated they would borrow the money from friends or family. Another 17% said they would neglect existing obligations to satisfy the emergency need. This option can easily get out of control and have serious consequences, NFCC said. Twelve percent of those surveyed would sell or pawn assets. Disposing of unwanted or unused items can be a positive way to raise funds, but not out of desperation, NFCC said. Taking out a loan or obtaining a cash advance from a credit card were each selected by 9%. The low number of individuals choosing these categories could indicate a lack of access to credit. “Selecting any option other than taking the money from savings should be a red flag,” Cunningham said. “If saving money has always seemed out of reach, there is no better time than now to get to the root of the problem and protect yourself, your family and your financial future.” Those needing help finding hidden money in their budget can reach out to a trained NFCC Certified Credit Counselor. Call 800-388-2227, or use the link. For help in Spanish, call 800-682-9832. The NFCC’s July Financial Literacy Opinion Index was conducted via the homepage of the NFCC website from July 1 to July 31 and was answered by 2,667 individuals.

Social network mobile apps flunk security test

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NEW YORK (8/11/11)--About 25% of mobile banking programs received a “fail” rating for security in a study conducted by viaForensics. The failures mostly occurred because testers could capture a user password or other sensitive user data from a user’s mobile device (American BankerAug. 8). In some cases, the apps stored a security personal identification number or a user name and password. Testers also were able to recover payment history, partial credit card numbers and other transaction-related data. About 31% of mobile banking apps received a “warn” grade because a user name or other app data were present, but the information was not considered a significant risk to the user. The other 44% of mobile banking apps passed the test. Unencrypted passwords are the major source of risk for financial institutions, according to Andrew Hoog, chief investigative officer at viaForensics. Hoog noted users tend to store their passwords on their devices and carry the devices with them. The devices usually are online--susceptible to hackers--and outside of the financial institution’s control, Hoog said. The report also said that of social networking or retail mobile apps tested, none passed.

CU System briefs (08/10/2011)

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* ST. LOUIS (8/11/11)--U.S. Rep Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) reiterated his
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support of credit unions’ member business lending bill at a meeting with St. Louis area credit unions, according the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) (The Missouri Difference Aug. 9). Carnahan, who is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1418--Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, met with credit union leaders on Friday in his St. Louis County district office. Pictured, from left, are: Micki Milonas, West Community CU, O’Fallon; Mike Beall, MCUA president/CEO; Jennifer Wright, Arsenal CU, Arnold; Brian Eyestone, Southpointe CU, St. Louis; Carnahan; Stan Moeckli, Electro Savings CU, St. Louis; Laura Alfeldt, First Community CU, Chesterfield; Dave Osborn, Anheuser-Busch Employees CU, St. Louis; Amy McLard, MCUA; and Steve Poniewaz, First Missouri CU, St. Louis. (Photo provided by the Missouri Credit Union Association) … * ST. LOUIS (8/11/11)--Membership of North Jefferson County Catholic CU, with $1 million assets, Arnold, Mo., voted to approve a merger with Southpointe CU, St. Louis, according the Missouri Credit Union Association (The Missouri Difference Aug. 9). The vote was 99 to 9 to approve the merger. The merger will be effective Sept. 30, pending Missouri Division of Credit Union approval. Southpointe has also agreed to provide financial education to the church and school. One board member from North Jefferson County Catholic CU will be added to the Southpointe board. The existing office for North Jefferson County Catholic CU will be closed, but Southpointe participates in shared branching so there are convenient alternatives, said MCUA. This is the third U.S. merger within three months of a credit union servicing Catholic parishes. Catholic CU and Yakima Valley CU, both of Yakima, Wash., received approval of their merger application from the Washington Department of Financial Institutions and the National Credit Union Administration in July. St. John’s of Little Canada (Minn.) CU, acquired Minnesota Catholic CU, Spring Lake, Minn., on July 1 …

Pact made for Iowa CUs correspondent services

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ARLINGTON, Va. (8/11/11)--An agreement to provide delivery of correspondent services to Iowa credit unions has been established by The Members Group (TMG), a subsidiary of the Iowa Credit Union League, and Washington, D.C.-based NCB, FSB, a federally chartered financial institution that serves cooperatives and their members. The solution combines member service capabilities of TMG with products and financial strength of NCB and will serve Iowa credit unions as the Iowa Central Corporate CU winds down its services. According to the two companies, the NCB proposal:
* Requires no capital investment by Iowa credit unions now or in the future; * Provides products and services consistent with those offered today by the Iowa corporate; * Delivers better rates than the Fed and keeps cost of services generally consistent with pricing today; * Offers local delivery of services using support staff at TMG; * Demonstrates financial security with NCB's strong balance sheet, high level of liquidity and a total risk-based capital ratio in excess of 15%. It also offers 100% protection by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s deposit insurance fund through at least the end of 2012; and * Supports the credit union community with NCB's history of industry leaders serving on its board and its focus on collaboration with credit unions and other cooperative organizations.
"As the Iowa Corporate works towards unwinding our operations, we are happy to be able to offer Iowa credit unions an attractive alternative for their correspondent banking services," said Sara Flynn, CEO of Iowa Corporate. "We look forward to working with Iowa credit unions to transition them to the new solution." The transition will take place over the next few months.

CU4Kids CUSWAG launch slogan contest

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WASHINGTON (8/11/11)--Credit Unions for Kids and CU*SWAG have joined to launch a T-shirt slogan contest benefitting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Credit union employees can submit a T-shirt slogan through Tuesday. The top 10 slogans will be voted on from Aug. 19 through Aug. 25. The slogan with the most votes will win the creators a trip for two to Disney World and an invitation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ annual celebration event. “Winning a trip to Disney--including your flight, hotel stay, park passes and tickets--is awesome,” said Nida Ajaz, sprouter of strategy for CU*SWAG. “But the celebration event is beyond words. I had the privilege of attending last year, and I have been dedicated to supporting the Credit Union for Kids program since then. “It’s incredibly moving to meet these young kids and see firsthand how local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals truly make a difference in our communities,” Ajaz added. The winning slogan will be made into a T-shirt available through CU*SWAG. The profits will benefit the purchasing credit union’s local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. For more information, use the links.

NCUF grant funds N.M. CUs savings challenge

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (8/11/11)--Several New Mexico families who belong to credit unions now have better financial habits after participating in the 11-month-long “Savings Challenge New Mexico”--and one family earned $10,000 for its efforts.
Shawn and Tina Maria Schiller, members of High Plains FCU, Clovis, N.M., won $10,000 after reducing their debt and increasing their savings and credit score during “Savings Challenge New Mexico.” From left, front row, High Plains FCU Savings Challenge coach Tammy Lewis and Tina-Maria Schiller; back row, High Plains FCU Savings Challenge coach Kathy Allenberg, Shawn Schiller, and High Plains FCU CEO Marty Tressell. (Photo provided by National Credit Union Foundation)
The challenge provided participants with three goals: reduce debt, build savings and improve their credit score. The challenge provided each family with the skills to achieve a better financial situation. The Savings Challenge was made possible by a grant from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) to the Credit Union Association of New Mexico, which provided management, educational resources and financial support to the five New Mexico credit unions that participated. Shawn and Tina-Marie Schiller, members of High Plains FCU in Clovis, were the top winners, receiving $10,000 after meeting the three challenge goals. The couple was coached by Tammy Lewis from High Plains FCU. At the start of the challenge, Tina-Marie Schiller admitted she did a lot of unnecessary shopping with department store credit cards. Shawn Schiller said it was important for the couple to have good financial habits and save money. Although the Schillers had a good credit history and score, they were lived paycheck to paycheck and “getting nowhere,” they said before the challenge. The family’s goal was to be debt-free (aside from its mortgage) and set some money aside for its sons’ college education and medical insurance. The Schillers reduced their debt about 10%, significantly built savings and improved their credit score more than 5%. The prize money will go into a savings account for their sons’ education. A total of $22,750 was awarded to the Savings Challenge participants. Other winners in the challenge were:
* David and Denice Pratesi, Chino FCU, Silver City, N.M. With help from Chino FCU coach Bill Stites, David, a disabled veteran, and his wife, Denice, a home health care provider, reduced their debt 64.73% and won $2,500. * Athena Beshur, Guadalupe CU, Santa Fe. Coached by Diane Sandoval, Beshur--the owner of a local landscape company--eliminated her debt, built her savings more than 600% and improved her credit score, winning $2,500. * Reyes and Isabel Gonzales, Everyone’s FCU, Tucumcari. Coached by Everyone’s FCU CEO Andi Baum, the Gonzaleses won $2,500. The couple reduced debt almost by half, increased the credit score and multiplied savings by more than 900%. * Sharla Frazier, Rio Grande CU, Albuquerque. A police dispatcher and the single mother of three girls, Frazier was coached by Stephanie Szpunar. Frazier’s debt remained level but she was able to build her savings and raise her credit score, earning $2,500. * Brandi Jo Thomas, High Plains, FCU. Coached by Kathy Allenberg, Thomas reduced her debt, increased her savings by almost 500% and improved her credit score. She received $2,500. * Deeanza Duran, Guadalupe CU. Coached by Annette Hernandez, this single mother did not meet the challenge goals, but received a new awareness of the importance of healthy financial habits. She received $250 for finishing the challenge.
NCUF grants are made possible by supporters of the foundation and the Community Investment Fund (CIF), an award-winning system of investments that help credit unions earn dividends while donating to national and state community development programs.