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CU System briefs (09/23/2009)

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* NEWARK, N.J. (9/24/09)--A New York man was sentenced Tuesday to 141 months (nearly 12 years) in prison for stealing Social Security numbers and selling them to an identity theft ring that targeted home equity lines of credit at New Jersey credit unions and banks. Yomi Jagunna, 44, of Queens, pleaded guilty in May to selling 39 of the numbers for $30 each to a group believed to have siphoned at least $2.5 million from dozens of banks and credit unions, including New Jersey credit unions in Basking Ridge, Bridgewater and Toms River. Jagunna was one of eight people charged last year in connection with the ring (The Star Ledger Sept. 22) … * PROVIDENCE, R.I. (9/24/09)--A Pawtucket man was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison for robbing a bank and the Central Falls branch of Smithfield-based Navigant CU. Anthony Soares, 46, pleaded guilty in June to the Sept. 15, 2008, robbery of the credit union. He also pleaded guilty to robbing a bank in Providence five days later (Associated Press Newswires Sept. 23) … * FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (9/24/09)--John Reap, president/CEO of Town North Bank, which is owned by a group of Texas credit unions, has announced his retirement. He had been at the bank for 30 years, the past 15 as CEO. Steve McDonald, who served as executive vice president and chief financial officers of the bank since September 2008, was been appointed as Reap's successor. Town North Bank was purchased by credit unions in 1975 and formed its card processing operation, TNB Card Services, in 1976. Initially focused only on Texas credit unions, it now provides credit and debit card processing for more than 550 credit unions nationwide. Reap was also a charter member of the Texas Credit Union Foundation board of directors as an advisory director, said the Texas Credit Union League (LoneStar Leaguer Sept. 23) …

Seek CU input WOCCU urges G-20 nations

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MADISON, Wis. (9/24/09)--As finance ministers from the Group of 20 (G-20) nations prepare for this week's summit in Pittsburgh, World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) leadership hopes the gathering will consider credit unions’ point of view more than it has in the past. Despite success in reaching other international regulatory bodies, WOCCU does not feel the G-20 has effectively used input from the global financial cooperative movement, according to a letter from Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO, to the G-20 leaders. “While we recognized the need for the G-20 governments to act rapidly over the past year, we have been disappointed by the lack of consultation in the process,” Crear wrote. “We hope that greater consultation with all parts of the financial sector will occur as the reform process continues.” This week's G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, a location chosen by President Barack Obama because of the area's strong economic recovery, will review the progress made since the Washington D.C. Summit in November 2008 and London Summit in April. Plans include outlining further actions to assure a sound and sustainable recovery from the global economic crisis. Crear's letter commented on several areas that will be discussed by summit attendees, the finance ministers and central bank governors of 19 nations and the European Union. WOCCU said it largely applauds and supports the G-20 efforts to date, particularly as they relate to capital adequacy, liquidity needs and executive compensation. The organization hopes that greater distinction will be made between large, complex international banks and retail cooperative financial institutions in designing new guidelines, Crear’s letter said. “We agree that retained earnings should be the cornerstone of capital bases,“ Crear wrote, “but the rules for non-joint stock firms, such as financial cooperatives, must also recognize the importance of access to additional forms of capital.” Crear urged the G-20 ministers to support improved access to liquidity, clearing and settlement systems for credit unions in both developed and developing countries. Also, financial institution executive compensation should be tied to meeting long-term performance goals in an effort to assure that consumers’ well being is not compromised by bankers in pursuit of pay bonuses, he added. “Finally, as the implementation of regulatory reforms proceeds, we favor a gradual process to allow sufficient time for changes to be communicated,” Crear wrote. “This will help organizations and institutions work through the ongoing aftermath of the economic crisis.” The G-20 is an informal forum that promotes discussion among industrial and emerging-market countries on issues related to global economic stability. The G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union. In G-20 countries, financial cooperatives serve 637 million people and have more than $9 trillion in assets.

Ten no budget ideas for ICU Day

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MADISON, Wis. (9/24/09)--If credit unions have no budget for International Credit Union Day (ICU) celebrations on Oct. 15, no problem, says the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Joanne Sepich, ICU Day coordinator for CUNA, has 10 ideas for resourceful staffs. They include:
* Add an ICU Day poster design to your website; * Print signs for your branch announcing your plans; * Color. Put out crayons and coloring pages to entertain children; * Open the door. Valley Oak CU, Three Rivers, Calif., opens doors all day long, giving staff the opportunity to personally thank members; * Clean windshields in the drive-up--another idea from Valley Oak CU; * Put out Small Change, Big Difference boxes to help credit unions worldwide; * Hold a book drive, and donate books to a school or library in need; * Cook off. Hold a “best treats” cook-off contest for staff to feed members on Oct. 15; * Send a letter to the editor of a local paper; and * Dress up for the occasion. Employees at Chemical FCU in Texas dress in attire native to countries around the world.
For more information, use the link.

AP Consumers new money mindset includes CUs

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NEW YORK (9/24/09)--The recent recession has created a new mindset for consumers to take control of their finances, and one way to do that is to join a credit union, according to a Tuesday Associated Press article. “In ways big and small--from scrutinizing their bills and joining credit unions to scaling back weddings and college plans--people are finding creative ways to deal with the worst recession in a generation,” the article said. “In short, there's a quiet revolution taking place in the way people save, borrow and spend that represents a retreat from old habits, and the first steps toward new ones.” The article, “Meltdown gives consumers new money mindset,” by Candice Choi and Eileen AJ Connelly, says that because credit is harder to obtain nowadays, people are becoming more creative in locating sources of money. “Bank loan balances declined by 4.6% for the year ending in June,” the article said. “But credit union loan balances rose by 4.5%, according to industry associations. Credit unions--which are nonprofits and weren't as tangled in subprime mortgages--are in better shape to make consumer loans.” For the full article, use the link.

Missouri Oklahoma CUs attend first joint convention

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BRANSON, Mo. (9/24/09)--Missouri and Oklahoma credit unions are meeting in Branson, Mo, this week for a combined Credit Union Convention and Exposition. It is the first time the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) and the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma (CUAO) have held a conference together. MCUA President/CEO Rosie Holub and CUAO President/CEO D.J. Morrow Ingram welcomed 170 participants from 65 credit unions and nearly 40 vendors. Morrow Ingram noted that by combining the events, the states "doubled the valuable networking opportunities." The conference, which ends today, opened with a panel discussion moderated by Mark Sievewright, Fiserv senior vice president of strategic marketing. Providing perspectives on a variety of issues were National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors President Mary Martha Fortney, Missouri state Rep. Paul LeVota (D-52), and economist Dr. Christopher Thornberg. Fortney shared what she is hearing from state agencies regarding credit union examinations. "Regulators are seeing a 'back to basics' mentality," she explained. "Due diligence is very important and regulators are also very mindful of the difficult times our credit unions are in." Speakers addressed what they view as the most critical issues facing credit unions today and steps for the future. "Credit unions have taken their lumps, but they are not at the center of this economic mess," said Thornberg. "You look great in comparison, and it's an opportunity--don't squander it." LeVota said it is a "critical time in the credit union movement. It's incumbent on you to use this time to educate your members and lawmakers. Otherwise, the people with the loudest voices--which usually are those who have the most money--will be the ones who are heard." The event also included a concert with Lee Greenwood and the Bellamy Brothers to raise funds for Homes for Our Troops, a non-profit organization that builds adapted homes for severely injured veterans.

Indiana league elects table officers

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INDIANAPOLIS (9/24/09)--The Indiana Credit Union League board elected table officers at its reorganization meeting Sept. 11 during the league's annual meeting and convention.
Table officers elected are:
* Chairman: Lamoura Munse, Indiana Members CU, Indianapolis; * Vice chairman: Ron Mazur, Chiphone FCU, Elkhart; * Board secretary: Lori Dauksas, Members Choice FCU, Bloomington; and * Treasurer: Frank Gulley, Afena FCU, Marion.
Others serving on the board include:
* Dave Fleming, Partners lst FCU, Fort Wayne; * Randy Glassburn, Ball State FCU, Muncie; * Sandy Heller, Northern Indiana FCU, Merrillville; * George McNichols, Hoosier Hills CU, Bedford; and * Doug True, FORUM CU, Fishers.

Illinois CUs active during legislative recesses

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Credit union representatives from Illinois met with Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) during a summer legislative recess. From left are: Robert Palumbo, CEO, DuPage CU, Naperville; Bill Hicks, board chairman, DuPage CU; Robert Schroeder, CEO, Illinois Community CU; Libby Calderone, CEO, Earthmover CU; and Don Edwards, senior vice president of governmental affairs at the Illinois league.
Rep. Kay Hatcher (R-Ill.) also met with credit union representatives. From left are: Libby Calderone, CEO, Earthmover CU; Robert Schroeder, CEO, Illinois Community CU; and Hatcher. (Photos provided by the Illinois Credit Union League)
NAPERVILLE, Ill. (9/24/09)--Credit union representatives from Illinois visited with U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) and State Rep. Kay Hatcher (R) in their local districts during recent legislative recesses, according to the Illinois Credit Union League. Credit unions updated Foster with key legislative and regulatory issues and priorities, including maintaining the independence of the National Credit Union Administration and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, support of increasing the member business lending cap, and opposing to proposals regarding interchange. Foster serves on the subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit of the House Financial Services Committee. Staff from the Illinois Credit Union League; DuPage CU, Naperville; Earthmover CU, Aurora; and Illinois Community CU, Sycamore, were at the meeting. During a session with Hatcher, staff from the league, Earthmover CU and Illinois Community CU discussed credit union principles and how credit unions serve everyday consumers.

CUNA Mutual on CIO InfoWeek top tech lists

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MADISON, Wis. (9/24/09)--CUNA Mutual Group has been named to the CIO 100 and InformationWeek 500, two technology award rankings that recognize companies for their information technology. The 22nd annual CIO 100 award program, sponsored by IDG’s CIO Magazine, recognizes organizations worldwide for their operational and strategic excellence in information technology. CUNA Mutual was honored for its Retirement Recordkeeping Web system and fully integrated back-office processing. CUNA Mutual has received the CIO 100 honor four of the past five years. The InformationWeek 500 is an annual listing of the nation’s most innovative users of business technology. CUNA Mutual has been listed at No. 134 in this year’s InformationWeek 500, marking the seventh year it has been named to the list and the third time it has been ranked in the top 150. CUNA Mutual’s voice signature technology also was recognized as one of InformationWeek’s 2009 technology great ideas.