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Illinois foundation awards 37000 in second grant round

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (9/8/11)--The Illinois Credit Union Foundation has awarded $37,207 in Small Credit Union Development (SCUD), Community Service, Marketing and Business Development, and Financial Independence & Revitalization Effort (FIRE) grants, bringing the total awarded for the year to nearly $68,000. SCUD grants totaled $15,439 and were awarded to eight credit unions. SCUD grants are used for computer hardware and software, equipment and upgrades, and other operational needs. The recipients were:
* Blaw Knox CU, Mattoon; * Bloom Township High School CU, Chicago Heights; * CT Community CU, East St. Louis; * D-B Employees CU, Johnston City; * Decatur (Ill.) Postal CU; * Northside L FCU, Chicago; * Ottawa (Ill.) Hiway CU; and * St. Mark CU, Chicago.
The foundation also awarded a $500 Community Service Grant, designed to encourage and reward chapter or credit union participation in local community projects to Hawthorne CU, Naperville. The credit union supports “Families Helping Families,” a local social service organization that provides apartments and volunteer mentors to homeless families while they work to reclaim their lives through education. Also, five credit unions and one chapter received Marketing and Business Development grants that totaled $13,268. The recipients were:
*Altonized Community FCU, Alton; * CSX Chicago Terminal CU, Calumet City; * NICE FCU, St. Charles; * Riverside Community CU, Kankakee; and * Tinley Forest Employees CU, Oak Forest.
The Rockford Area Chapter was the other recipient. Last year, the foundation awarded $56,209 in SCUD grants, $7,300 in community service grants, $6,000 in FIRE grants, $26,100 in marketing and business development grants, and $33,286 in scholarships.

Texas wildfires affect members CUs safe

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (9/8/11)--Tropical Storm Lee whipped up strong northwesterly winds across Texas that are blamed for the rapid spread of several wildfires burning tens of thousands of acres, affecting some credit union members, but not harming any credit unions to date, according to the Texas Credit Union League (TCUL).
Winds from Tropical Storm Lee are blamed for the rapid spread in Texas of several wildfires burning tens of thousands of acres. Some credit union members are affected, but no credit unions have been damaged to date. (Photo provided by the Texas Credit Union League)
Central Texas has been hard hit with fires raging in Bastrop, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties. The fires reportedly have scorched 40,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes. Many more hundreds of properties have been damaged or threatened by the blazes (LoneStar Leaguer Sept. 7). TCUL has been in contact with credit unions in the affected areas. Based on preliminary reports, the credit unions in the area are safe. At least one credit union has reported that a branch in the affected area is limiting its hours of operation. While the credit unions have not experienced any physical damage, there have been reports that some members and credit union staff have been affected. TCUL is communicating with the credit unions to determine the extent of damage that the wildfires have caused to the homes of members and staff. The Texas Credit Union Foundation is ready to assist credit union staff. Phase one emergency grants are provided to credit union employees to assist with immediate disaster relief needs, such as out-of-pocket costs that may result from being evacuated. The grants are up to $500 per credit union employee. The intent of the grants is to help stabilize credit union employees’ situation so they can return to work. Preliminary estimates for insured homeowner losses from Texas wildfires tally more than $100 million--setting records for the state, according to Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas (Property Casualty 360 Sept. 7).

Missouri CUs took MBL message to lawmakers

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ST. LOUIS (9/8/11)--Missouri credit union leaders met with two members of Congress in two days during the final week of the August congressional recess.
Missouri credit union leaders met with members of Congress in two days during the final week of the August congressional recess. From left, are: Carolina Decker, CU Community CU, Springfield; Craig Tabor, BluCurrent CU, Springfield; Judy Hadsall, CU Community CU; U.S. Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), Justin Lumby and Ashlee Oldham, Assemblies of God CU, Springfield; and Amy McLard, Missouri Credit Union Association.
U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) met with Missouri credit unions during the August congressional recess. From left, are: Rick Nichols, River Region CU, Jefferson City; Sharon Ichord, Mid Missouri CU, Fort Leonard Wood; Louie Delk, Conservation Employees CU, Jefferson City; Hartzler; Dana Alderman, River Region CU; Hal James, Missouri CU, Columbia; Peggy Nalls, Missouri Credit Union Association, and Pat Yokley, CommunityAmerica CU, Lenexa. (Photos provided by the Missouri Credit Union Association)
Member business lending (MBL) was the focus of the discussions with both U.S. Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) and U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R- 4). Bills S. 509 and H.R. 1418, the Small Business lending Enhancement Act, would raise the credit union business lending cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25% (The Missouri difference Sept. 6). The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are pressing Congress to increase the MBL cap to open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said. Long met with Springfield credit union representatives Aug. 31 at his district office. Attendees included Justin Lumby and Ashlee Oldham, Assemblies of God CU, Springfield; Carolina Decker and Judy Hadsall, CU Community CU, Springfield; Craig Tabor, BluCurrent CU, Springfield; and Amy McLard, Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA). They explained the MBL bill and the potential impact to the community. The three credit unions are approaching the 12.25% cap on MBL, and will soon be unable to lend to small businesses due to the arbitrary limit. Freshman Rep. Hartzler learned about the credit union difference from eight credit union representatives on Sept. 1 The meeting in Hartzler’s Jefferson City office provided an opportunity to discuss credit union’s structure, the debit interchange issue and how credit unions are monitoring the impact of this legislation, and the need for supplemental capital. Attendees included:
* Louie Delk, Conservation Employees CU, Jefferson City; * Sharon Ichord, Mid Missouri CU, Fort Leonard Wood; * Hal James, Missouri CU, Columbia; * Rick Nichols and Dana Alderman, River Region CU, Jefferson City; * Pat Yokley, CommunityAmerica CU, Kansas City; and * Peggy Nalls and McLard, MCUA.
Since mid-July, Missouri credit union representatives have met with:
* U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D); * U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D); * U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D); * U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R); * U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D); * U.S. Rep. Billy Long (R); and * U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R).
MCUA representatives also met with U.S. Rep. Sam Graves’ (R) chief of staff Tom Brown. Members of Congress returned to Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

Two N.J. CUs aided members through flooding

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EDISON and TINTON FALLS, N.J. (9/8/11)--Two New Jersey credit unions found ways to operate and help members affected by Hurricane Irene, despite several days without power and with numerous road closures, said the New Jersey Credit Union League. Pinnacle FCU, based in Edison, traveled through detours to obtain back-up tapes and began operating from its disaster recovery site in Hagerstown, Md., said the league (The Daily Exchange Sept. 7). It set up a phone line for members to call for special requests and it met all members' emergency needs. The $158 million asset credit union also took off 25 basis points from home equity lines of credit and personal loans up to $5,000, and provided no-fee, skip-a-pays. These will be available throughout September. United Teletech Financial FCU, with $291.3 million assets and based in Tinton Falls, had power issues, but still put together options for members impacted by the storm. Existing borrowers could increase loans, defer payments and increase credit card limits. The credit union also waived normal documentation fees for new real estate loans and provided options for unsecured loans up to $30,000. New- and used-auto loans were also available for pre-approval within hours, said the league. Both credit unions also waived and/or reimbursed fees. "The willingness of these credit unions to step up and aid impacted members just shows credit unions' 'people helping people' philosophy in action," said Paul Gentile, league president/CEO. "These are the stories of just two of the 204 credit unions in the state. I am sure there are many more area credit unions stepping up to help members during this difficult time."

CUs wage increases freezes steady--CUNA report

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MADISON, Wis. (9/8/11)--Wage increases among credit unions have remained steady, but wage freezes held their own, too, according to a staffing survey from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Roughly 75% of credit unions with $1 million or more in assets offered a salary or wage increase to at least some full-time employees, reported CUNA's 2011-2012 Complete Credit Union Staff Salary Survey. A similar percentage expects to provide wage increases to employees in 2011. That compares with average salary/wage increases in 2010 of about 2.25% for both management and non-management employees at credit unions. "As the economy slowly improves and business conditions allow it, organizations will provide higher wage increases," said Beth Soltis, senior research analyst for CUNA. "To remain competitive, credit unions will need to regularly assess their ability to do the same." Many employers, including credit unions, are waiting until the economy stabilizes before increasing their fixed costs. In 2010, about 45% of credit unions initiated a wage freeze for at least some full-time employees, said the report. "The challenge for credit unions not providing wage increases is to find other ways to reward employees," Soltis added. "It's critical for credit unions to compensate employees with both monetary and intangible rewards. These two reward types work together to bolster employee morale, staff retention efforts and the credit union's bottom line." The survey provides compensation data for 89 full-time and eight part-time positions at credit unions with $1 million or more in assets. The data include base salaries, incentives, bonuses, total cash compensation and salary ranges. The report, available in print or Adobe PDF format, also contains job descriptions, benchmarks for salary and benefit expenses, base pay increases and turnover rates. An electronic version of the survey's data tables, which allow users to apply formulas and insert the data directly into the credit union's spreadsheets, is also available. Two other reports available can serve as companions to the survey. They are:
* The Geographic Customized Salary Survey, which provides average and median base salaries as well as percentile figures for selected cities or geographic areas; and * The Online Peer Comparison, which provides unlimited access to the 2011 salary survey database. It allows users to create customized peer groups using criteria such as credit union name, asset size, number of members, field of membership, number of full-time employees, number of services offered, total loans outstanding, state and geographic region.
Customized report parameters include percentiles and date-specific trending. For more information, click the link or call 800-356-9655, press three, and use these stock numbers as a reference: 29890 (print) or 29890P (PDF)

Mid-Atlantic Corporate conference spotlights security

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (9/8/11)--About 70 credit unions were represented at Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU’s first Information Technology (IT) and Security Conference Aug. 16-17 in Harrisburg, Pa. The conference keynote speaker was Brian Krebs, editor of In 2010, Krebs was named the top cyber-security journalist in the U.S. at the 2010 RSA Conference, during which his blog was named the best non-technical security blog. Krebs said the majority of victims of security breaches do not report hacks to law enforcement because it puts their companies at a competitive disadvantage. He investigates these crimes to help potential victims better understand how security breaches happen and avoid falling victim entirely. In his presentation, Krebs also discussed the types of schemes attackers will use to attack credit unions, provided tips for dealing with them, and addressed how to spot red flags for possible breaches. The IT and Security Conference also featured 13 sessions geared toward credit unions. Other industry specialists speaking included Tyler Britten, EMC2 Corp.; Angie Singer Keating, Reclamere Inc.; Richard Brackett, Dell SecureWorks; Jill Hearn, EMC2 Corp.; Mark Bell, Digital Defense Inc.; Timothy Maier, CSB Technology Partners; Kirk Drake, Ongoing Operations and Rocky Giglio, Arraya Solutions. Ongoing Operations is a CUNA Strategic Services provider.

CU System briefs (09/07/2011)

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* ALBANY, N.Y. (9/8/11)--The Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) Wednesday has launched a blog, New York State of Mind, which addresses laws, regulations and political issues impacting New York credit unions at both the state and federal levels. It is provided through and written by CUANY Associate General Counsel Henry Meier. Credit unions can read and comment on Meier's blogs by signing up for for e-mail updates. "Today's credit union professionals don't always have the time to read through the myriad of information they receive on every political and regulatory issue that comes across their desks. Yet, they need to be kept informed," said William J. Mellin, CUANY president/CEO. "It's our goal to provide that information through the blog in small measures that can quickly be absorbed and acted on as necessary." … * COLUMBUS, Ga. (9/8/11)--Columbus, Ga., police had not released the identities of two robbery suspects who were shot to death near M.E.A. FCU by a young police officer who tried to stop their pickup truck Tuesday morning. The officer, one of 100 new recruits recently hired, pulled into the credit union's parking lot as a masked man fled the branch. The officer pursued him on foot to where a second man waited in a black pickup truck with a federal government license plate. The officer tried to stop the truck, but the driver put it into reverse and tried to run over the officer. The officer fired several shots. The truck driver died at the scene, and the passenger died later at a hospital ( Sept. 6) …

CUNA Mutual policyholders OK new ownership structure

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WAVERLY, Iowa (9/8/11)--Credit union and individual policyholders overwhelmingly approved a new mutual ownership structure for CUNA Mutual Group at the 2011 annual meeting of policyholders Wednesday. More than 93% of policyholders who voted approved the plan to reorganize CUNA Mutual Insurance Society (CMIS) from a mutual insurance company into a mutual insurance holding company structure. A two-thirds majority was needed for approval. More than 80,000 policyholders voted. As a mutual insurance holding company, CUNA Mutual Group will continue to be mutually owned with policyholders having full ownership of the new parent mutual holding (MHC) company entity. The new structure requires regulatory approval from the insurance commissioner in Iowa, where CMIS is domiciled. The commissioner will consider the Plan of Reorganization at a public hearing today, and will issue a final order in the coming weeks. If the commissioner approves the Plan of Reorganization, the new structure could become effective by Jan. 31. “The conversion to a mutual holding company structure will maintain policyholders’ rights and significantly enhance our ability to compete and serve,” said Jeff Post, CUNA Mutual Group president/CEO. “This is a natural and positive next step in our continuing commitment to credit unions and to the successful and proven strategy we have been pursuing in recent years.” In asking policyholders for approval, the CUNA Mutual board of directors determined the MHC structure would enhance the company’s ability to access capital and provide greater flexibility to diversify in a way that keeps its focus on credit unions and strengthens its support of the credit union system and all policyholders. Insurance policies and annuity contracts would remain the same and policyholder benefits and rights would not be reduced or altered. Premiums will not increase as a result of the MHC reorganization, said CUNA Mutual.

Michigan CUs grow deposits small-business loans

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LANSING, Mich. (9/8/11)--Michigan credit unions grew both deposits and loans during the second quarter, according to National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) data. Among the highlights cited by the Michigan Credit Union League:
*A $1.87 billion or 4.72% growth in credit union assets, which now stand at $41.4 billion; by comparison, Michigan-based bank assets dropped 4.5%; * Strong growth in small-business loans, which were up $171.5 million or 18.8% to $1.09 billion, while bank’s small-business loans dropped 10.1%; * An 8.33% increase in used-auto loans; credit unions have added $337 million and brought the total of these loans outstanding to $4.39 billion; * A rise of 5.2% in total deposits with savings accounts and money market accounts leading the growth at 11% and 9.84%, respectively. Over the same period, Michigan bank deposits fell by 3.5%; * An increase in return on assets of 0.74%, on an annualized basis; * A 12-month improvement of the overall net worth ratio, the primary measure of financial strength, to 10.71% from 10.64%, above the 7% credit unions considered by regulators as well capitalized; and * A decrease in delinquent loans to 1.53% from 1.81% of total loans.