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LSCU endorses gubernatorial candidate

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (9/29/10)--The League of Southeastern Credit Unions' (LSCU) advocacy group is endorsing Democrat Alex Sink in the gubernatorial election in Florida. Sink's broad base of business experience and solid understanding of the financial difficulties facing Florida consumers and small businesses fit what Florida's economy need right now, said the board of trustees of the league's political advocacy group, CUPAC. Before she was elected Florida's chief financial officer, Sink fostered a "solid working relationship with Florida's credit unions," the league said. During her campaign she made a point of visiting the league officer to speak with its governmental affairs staff. In the past four years, Sink spoke at the league's legislative summit, met with multiple credit union CEOs, and was guest of honor at an event in June at the league's Annual Convention & Exposition. "Alex understands the issues that concern credit unions. She understands that in this down economy, it is important for Floridians to have access to credit," said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine. "Her financial background will ensure that Florida's financial institutions, including credit unions, will continue to be able to offer affordable products and services Floridians need and want," he said. "Alex sees that credit unions are working with their members right now to keep them in their homes, cars and on the path to saving more." Sink said she was "honored" to receive the league's support. "Getting affordable loans to small businesses and homeowners is vital to rebuilding Florida's economy as it struggles to recover, and it is important to have a governor with the right kind of business experience and who understands the critical role credit unions play in getting Floridians back to work," Sink said. She added she looks forward "to working with the league to create jobs and support small businesses." The CUPAC board of trustess also announced endorsements of two other high profile races in the state: Republican Adam Putnam for commissioner of agriculture and Republican Jeff Atwater for Florida chief financial officer. The league also is making available to Alabama and Florida credit unions its 2010 LSCU Alabama and Florida Congressional Report Voter's Guide and the 2010 State Legislative Issues Voter Guide. For more information use the link.

FBI 2Q report 7 of robberies were at CUs

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WASHINGTON (9/29/10)--During second quarter of 2010, roughly 1,146 robberies and incidental crimes affecting financial institutions were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Of those, 85 or 7% were at credit unions. Commercial banks were hit by 1,013 instances, said the FBI's report, released last week. Credit unions were second highest with the 85, followed by savings and loan associations with 26 robberies, then mutual savings banks, with 11. The figures are not a complete statistical picture of the nation's robberies of financial institutions because not all are reported to the FBI. The agency noted that in 91% of the incidents, suspects stole more than $8.4 million, mostly in cash but about $4,130 in checks, including traveler's checks. Of that amount, 21% --more than $1.3 million--was recovered. Bank crimes continued the trend of occurring most frequently on Friday, traditionally pay day. Monday was the second-most popular day for the crimes. Regardless of the day, the most popular time of day for bank crimes occurred from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Five percent of the robberies included acts of violence, resulting in 23 injuries, five deaths and nine persons taken hostage. Oral demands and demand notes were the most common method used by the culprits. The most crimes occurred in the Western U.S., which reported 403 incidents. The South had 348 robberies. North Central and Northeast regions had 212 and 163 incidents, respectively. Among states, Pennsylvania financial institutions reported the most robberies--62, followed by Illinois with 56, Ohio with 49, New York with 48, and Georgia with 42 incidents. Use the link for the full report.

Michigan names Maxwell Herring Desjardins awards

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LANSING, Mich. (9/29/10)--The Michigan Credit Union League this week named the winners of its annual Maxwell, Desjardin and Herring awards. The Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award recognizes leadership on behalf of youth financial literacy. The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Recognition Award honors a credit union, chapter or credit union group for community involvement. The Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action is presented for special programs and activities offered to credit union members, such as consumer financial education and money management (Michigan Monitor Sept. 27). First-place Maxwell award-winners were:
* Education Plus CU, Monroe, $50 million to $100 million in assets; * Central Macomb Community CU, Clinton Township, $100 million to $200 million; * Co-Op Services CU, Livonia, $200 million to $500 million; and * Genisys CU, Auburn Hills, $500 million or more.
First-place Herring award-winners were:
* Central Macomb Community CU, $50 million to $250 million in assets; and * Michigan State University FCU, East Lansing, greater than $250 million.
First-place Desjardins award-winners were:
* Catholic Parishes FCU, Livonia, $50 million to $150 million in assets; * Community Financial Members CU, Plymouth, $150 million to $500 million; and * Michigan First CU, Lathrup Village, more than $500 million.

CU System briefs (09/28/2010)

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* LANSING, Mich.(9/29/10)--Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm mentioned credit unions and the Credit Union Small Business Financing Alliance in her weekly radio address, said the Michigan Credit Union League (Michigan Monitor Sept. 27). The address focused on opportunities in the state for small businesses. In her February State of the State address, Granholm announced the alliance, in which the state's credit unions work with 12 small business and technology and development centers to assist businesses ... * BOISE, Idaho (9/29/10)--The Idaho Credit Union League hosted a reception of the Council of State Governments-West (CSG) meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho, where conference attendees toured the Redfish Lake area and learned about the area. State Rep. Rich Wills (R-22), CSG-West chairman (shown here), and state Rep. Wendy Jaquet (D-25) were among legislators and legislative services staff who helped coordinate the conference. Valerie Brooks, regulatory and governmental affairs director for the league, attended the meeting. The event provided opportunities for legislators to meet with their peers from across the West and to discuss issues important to their states. Topics discussed included the economy, state budgets, education, the courts, water and environment, said Brooks ... * MISSOULA, Mont. (9/29/10)--Ben A. Diveley, 34, of Helena, Mont., has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison after pleading guilty in embezzling nearly $77,000 from Helena Community CU. During his employment of five years at the credit union, Diveley took out loans totaling $75,000 using fake borrower names. The loans were guaranteed with a member's share certificate without the member's permission. Diveley told the court he used the money to pay off credit cards. He was making payments on the loans at the time they were discovered. He also was ordered to pay nearly $89,000 in restitution (Associated Press Newswires Sept. 27) ... * SAN ANTONIO (9/29/10)--Firstmark CU was honored in a resolution by Texas state Rep. Joaquin Castro for its efforts in supporting SAReads, an annual summer citywide book drive (PRWeb Sept. 28). Leon Ewing, CEO, of the more than $700 million asset credit union, noted it collected about 2,000 books and donated more than $1,000 to the SA Reads program. The program was founded this year by Castro, Literacy San Antonio and San Antonio Youth Centers. Firstmark CU joined the collaboration with the shared goal to help collect and distribute books to schools and nonprofit organizations across the city ... * KANSAS CITY, Mo. (9/29/10)--Kansas City credit unions talked with 12 legislators and candidates during a breakfast meeting Sept. 22.
In thanking credit unions for their "member-driven focus," Jeff Grisamore (R-47) noted, "Credit unions are a great aspect in the spectrum of financial institutions." (The Missouri difference Sept. 24). Outgoing State Rep. Ray Salva (D-51) asked incoming and current legislators to support credit unions in Missouri. Attendees included Melissa Rowe, a staffer of U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-6). Eleven credit unions explained the credit union difference to the candidates and updated lawmakers on current credit union issues. From left are Pat Yokley, CommunityAmerica CU; Ira Anders, Dist. 51 candidate; state Rep. Jerry Nolte (R-33); and state Rep. Mike McGhee (R- 122). (Photo provided by the Missouri Credit Union Association) ...

Florida Telco CU now 1-2-1 Financial CU

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (9/29/10)--Florida Telco CU in Jacksonville, Fla., has changed its name to 1-2-1 Financial CU. The new name was chosen after input from members, employees and its board of directors, the credit union said (The Florida Times Union Sept. 27). The credit union’s surveys found membership would grow if members of the general public understood they don’t have to be employed by a telecommunications company to join. “The consistent value statement appearing in our feedback meetings was personal service,” said Cynthia Breslin, 1-2-1 Financial vice president of marketing, told the newspaper. “Our members and staff felt that our one-on-one attention to everyone is what really sets us apart, so the name was an easy fit.” “We needed a name that would align us more with our broad and diverse community-based membership,” the credit union said in an FAQ section on its website regarding the name change. “By selecting a new name, we have made an investment in our future and have provided a foundation for growth in the years ahead.” 1-2-1 Financial CU has more than $455 million in assets.

Calif. CUs second-quarter results reflect economy

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ONTARIO, Calif. (9/29/10)--California credit unions’ second-quarter financial report card reflects a troubled economy, said an industry analyst. State-chartered credit unions’ assets, at $72.5 billion for June 30, were down 3.3% from the $74.9 billion reported as of June 30, 2009. Shares declined to $62.1 billion from $63 billion, down 1.3%, according to the California Department of Financial Institutions’ (DFI) second-quarter 2010 report. Loans were down 10.2% from one year ago, going to $44.6 billion from $49.7 billion. At $6.6 billion, net worth was down a fraction of a percent. This caused the net-worth-to-asset ratio to increase to 9.09% from 8.84% one year ago. The allowance for loan losses for the quarter was up 17.9%, rising to $1.4 billion from $1.2 billion, while delinquent loans increased 9.9%, to $1.2 billion from $1.1 billion, DFI said. California has been geographically impacted by the struggling economy, Daniel Penrod, senior industry analyst for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, told News Now. “Pockets are doing OK, and pockets have been hit hard,” Penrod said. “The Central Valley and Inland Empire [primarily San Bernardino and Riverside counties, east of Los Angeles] have significant declines in housing and employment.” “Credit unions go as their membership goes,” he added. “We’re so tied into our members--that if certain employment groups or populations get hit hard, credit unions get hit hard. There are some problem areas--financial services, construction and government spending--and credit unions linked to these groups are feeling the pinch along with their members. Unfortunately, credit unions are getting caught up in the wash.” Credit unions’ net margin to average assets increased to 4.41% from 4.22% one year ago, while the provision for loan losses dropped 44.6% to $429.8 million from $775.4 million over the same period, DFI said. Net income went from a net loss of $348.5 million for the first half of 2009 to a net profit of $128 million for the same period in 2010, up $476.4 million. The number of credit unions also dropped about 7% to 167 from 181. “Initially into the recession, credit unions were able to withstand the financial storm, but the duration and depth of this has hit every industry,” Penrod said. “No one is immune. “However, credit unions made smart loans, so their portfolios have remained stronger than those of any other financial institutions,” he concluded.

Oregon CUs philanthropy leadership honored

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (9/29/10)--Several Oregon credit unions were honored for their leadership in corporate philanthropy by the Portland Business Journal’s 2010 Corporate Philanthropy Awards, according to the Credit Union Association of Oregon. Advantis CU of Milwaukie, Unitus Community CU of Portland, and Oregon Community CU, Eugene, were recognized in the Small Company category. Oregon Community celebrated its 10th year of academic scholarship support with its neighbor, the University of Oregon. Oregon Community has $924 million in assets. Unitus Community was noted for its “adopt a classroom” project in which employees visit and engage students in a classroom throughout the school year. Unitus has $829 million in assets. Advantis was recognized for supporting Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and the Portland Sunshine Division. Advantis has $722 million in assets. First Tech CU, Beaverton, was honored in the Medium Company category for its donations to hunger and child abuse prevention, and literacy and environmental causes. First Tech has $2.2 billion in assets. Rivermark Community CU, Beaverton, was honored for its support of children’s charities and contributions to Clackamas Parks and Recreation. Rivermark has $497 million in assets. OnPoint Community CU, Portland, was featured in an award for Innovative Partnerships that recognized the credit union’s corporate internship program at De La Salle North Catholic High School in Portland. The school requires each of its 300 students to work five days a month in a professional work environment. OnPoint provides three annual full-time-equivalent positions for students. OnPoint has $2.8 billion in assets. Forest Park CU, Portland, also made the top rank of corporate givers. The credit union has $44 million in assets.

SW Corporate webinar Thurs. Economic Forum still on

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PLANO, Texas (9/29/10)--Southwest Corporate FCU will update its member credit unions in a webinar Thursday at 3 p.m. CT. It also announced its annual Economic Forum will go on as scheduled. Southwest Corporate is one of the three corporates placed into conservatorship Friday by the National Credit Union Administration in actions taken to stabilize the corporate system. Services at the corporate continue uninterrupted, and shares continue to be insured and guaranteed, Southwest Corporate said Tuesday in its newsletter, eFacts. It also announced that its 33rd annual Economic Forum will take place as scheduled Oct 26-27 in Frisco, Texas. It will provide leading economists' forecasts for the nation's evolving financial landscape and offer an opportunity for member credit unions to discuss Southwest Corporate's future and meet its new CEO, Dianne Addington. Southwest Corporate also will offer its optional CU Financial Management Seminar on Oct. 25. Early bird discounted registration ends Oct. 8. For more detail, use the link.