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Michigan league meets with OFIR

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LANSING, Mich. (9/9/10)--The Michigan Credit Union League’s association services staff met Aug. 30 with Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation’s (OFIR) Deputy Commissioner Roger Little and Assistant Director John Kolhoff to discuss issues and trends in the state credit union industry. The second bi-annual meeting for this year touched on Michigan credit union and bank performance trends, board responsibilities, foreclosures and loan portfolio risk management. While assets across the industry increased by 6% in the last quarter, many Michigan credit unions have experienced a sharp drop on their return on assets (Michigan Monitor Sept. 7). OFIR stressed proper risk management of loan portfolios, and reporting loan modifications and troubled debt restructurings properly. Little and Kolhoff encouraged credit union CEOs to contact OFIR to discuss any unresolved differences with exam issues, including unprofessional examiner conduct. Michigan league staff meet regularly with senior staff from OFIR and the National Credit Union Administration as a part of the league’s regulatory outreach efforts. The league will meet with NCUA Supervisory Examiners Andrew Healy and Dennis DeMilner Oct. 4.

CU gives away new home

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JACKSON, Miss. (9/9/10)--CP FCU, Jackson, Miss., gave away a home and changed the life of a local family. CP FCU announced that it would give a new home to Tina Greer Friday through its “Wish Upon a Home Giveaway” contest. Greer, who has five children, was chosen out of a group of four finalists after going through an interview process and completing a 17-page application ( Sept. 3). John Crist, CP president, said he was excited to change Greer’s life. He said the community has given the credit union “so much” and CP wanted to give back. Greer will move into the four-bedroom home in October. She has lived in a trailer park, and has struggled since losing her husband in a car accident and her job in 2006. After living in the home for five years, Greer will own the home and be responsible for property taxes, insurance and utilities. Greer now works for a realtor in Florida from her home. Her determination has caught the attention of her friends and family. Dan Good, Greer’s brother-in-law, told WILX that she is a “very strong woman.” CP FCU has $323 million in assets.

Illinois foundation provides 28k in grants scholarships

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (9/9/10)--The Illinois Credit Union (ICU) Foundation recently awarded $17,709 in Small Credit Union Development (SCUD), Community Service, Marketing and Business Development, and Financial Independence & Revitalization Effort (FIRE) grants, and $10,768 in scholarships, bringing the total awarded for the year to nearly $73,000. SCUD grants totaled $11,209 and were awarded to seven credit unions. Purposes for the SCUD grants included computer hardware and software, equipment and upgrades, and other operational needs. The recipients were: Alton Bell Community CU, Alton; CTA C&M FCU, Chicago; D-B ECU, Johnston City; IBEW Local 146 CU, Decatur; Ottawa (Ill.) Highway CU; Peru (Ill.) Municipal CU, and Urbana (Ill.) Municipal ECU. The foundation also awarded a single $500 Community Service Grant. The program encourages and rewards chapter or credit union participation in local community projects. Credit unions and chapters qualify for grants by hosting an established event, creating an event, or volunteering at an event. One chapter, Southern Illinois, received the grant. Two credit unions received Marketing and Business Development grants that totaled $6,000. The recipients were: Armstrong Preferred Members FCU, Bourbonnais; and Three Rivers Community CU, Mt. Carmel. Established in 2006, these grants help credit unions with assets of up to $30 million to start or expand outreach efforts. The maximum grant award is $5,000 per credit union per year. Also, $10,768 was awarded in scholarships to 28 recipients. Individuals and groups--as a chapter or group of credit unions--are welcome to apply. Scholarships may be used toward ICUL’s educational opportunities and CUNA schools. Recipients included:
* Alton Bell Community CU, Alton; * Archer Heights CU, Chicago; * Blaw Knox CU, Mattoon: * Effingham Highway CU, Effingham; * Financial Partners CU, Springfield; * First Security CU, Lincolnwood; * Generations CU, Rockford; * Heights Auto Workers CU, Burnham; * IBEW Local 146 CU, Decatur; * Israel Methcomm FCU, Chicago; * Jeff-Co Schools FCU, Mt. Vernon; * School District No. 9 CU, Granite City; * Shell Community FCU, Wood River: * SIUE CU, Edwardsville; * Southern Illinois Area CU, Swansea: * St. Mark CU, Chicago; * Urbana Municipal CU, Urbana; and * Wrigley Associates CU, Yorkville.
One chapter, Kankakee Valley, also was a recipient.

South Koreas CU movement celebrates 50 years

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SEOUL, South Korea (9/9/10)--On Tuesday, the credit union movement in the Republic of Korea celebrated 50 years since the country’s first credit union was established by 27 hospital employees in 1960.
Click to view larger image Participants in the World Council of Credit Union’s (WOCCU) December 2008 visit to South Korea included, from left, CUNA Mutual Group’s Paul Treinen, National Credit Union Federation of Korea Training Center Director Kwangtaek Choi and WOCCU Vice President of Association Services Dave Grace. (Photo provided by World Council of Credit Unions)
The movement’s unified and collaborative development approach has fostered its rapid growth to nearly 1,000 credit unions serving five million members, making it the world’s third largest, said the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). The most visible byproduct of the credit unions’ efforts is a marketing program that positions the cooperatives under one common brand and set of values: self-help, self-reliance and cooperation. South Korean credit unions still operate as individual, member-driven financial cooperatives, but their position in the markets they serve rival those of the largest banks. With common signage and similar products and services, they maintain a distinct member service approach. Cooperative movements in Brazil and Poland, among other countries, have also found the approach effective. “South Korea’s credit unions serve as an excellent example for credit unions around the world of how a collaborative and unified approach to both front-office and back-office operations can truly propel an entire system to new levels of efficiency and reach economies of scale,” said Barry Jolette, World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) board chair and CEO of San Mateo (Calif.) CU. “The Korean movement has made tremendous progress since its founding, and I know they will be celebrating their outstanding success for a long time to come,” he added. The South Korean credit union movement began as a two-tier system, as it is today, with individual credit unions being direct members of the National Credit Union Federation of Korea (NACUFOK). In 1988, the movement restructured, leading to a nine-year stint as a three-tier system with another level of association in between the credit unions and NACUFOK. Similar structures are found in the U.S. and in several other countries. The movement restructured again in 1997, reverting back to its original two-tier organization. This change led to greater cohesion and collaboration among credit unions in their move toward a more unified brand, WOCCU said. In October 2000, all credit unions in the country became connected through an online system, and at year-end 2008, credit unions began using a single centralized information technology system to run operational software and store credit union data. The strategic approach to technology, a daunting proposition for many credit union movements, is one of the key components of the collaborative approach that characterizes South Korea's credit unions. Shared technology is just the latest collaborative effort that has helped South Korea's credit union movement grow, according to Dave Grace, WOCCU vice president of association services. “Credit unions in many countries are looking for ways to centralize operations and gain national brand recognition without sacrificing local ownership and the member service touch,” Grace said. “Credit unions around the world can be proud of the great success that the South Korean movement has achieved in finding that balance and effectively serving its membership over the past 50 years.”

CU System briefs (09/08/2010)

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* BEAVERTON, Ore. (9/9/10)--First Tech CU, Beaverton, Ore., has partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SmartWay program to offer members a 0.25% reduction when financing a “green car.” First Tech’s discount can be applied to all SmartWay certified cars with a maximum of 100,000 miles (BusinessWire Aug. 25). “We created our green auto program to save our members some ‘green’ as a bonus for choosing an environmentally friendly vehicle,” said Deborah Colby, First Tech vice president of marketing. “And with the additional tax incentives offered by the federal government, purchasing a green car or hybrid vehicle is really a smart financial decision.” First Tech has $2.186 billion in assets ... * MERIDEN, Conn. (9/9/10)--The Credit Union League of Connecticut has released an electronic version of the program guide for its education series of workshops, seminars and discussions at no cost to affiliated credit unions. The guides are being printed and will be sent shortly, the league said. The program is scheduled in eight full-day and eight half-day sessions March through November, except in August. Subjects include check law, the economy, security, strategies for growth, political perspectives, bankruptcy and collections, the Bank Secrecy Act, use of social media and human resources ... * DES MOINES, Iowa (9/9/10)--Miriam De Dios has been promoted to vice president of Coopera Consulting. De Dios will oversee the company’s client delivery operations, product development process and marketing efforts. De Dios has worked for Coopera for three and a half years to provide products and services to clients. Prior to Coopera, she worked as an account credit manager and market analyst for John Deere Credit. Coopera is a subsidiary of the Iowa Credit Union League and a partner of the Credit Union National Association. (Photo provided by the Iowa Credit Union League) ...

San Antonio CU offers solar home-improvement loan

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SAN ANTONIO (9/9/10)--San Antonio CU (SACU) announced a solar home improvement loan program Tuesday that is available for homes located in San Antonio, Texas, and Houston, making solar energy affordable for homeowners.
Click to view larger image Kicking off the Bring Solar Home initiative in San Antonio are, from left, Chris Eugster, CPS Energy; Aurora Geis, senior credit officer for San Antonio CU (SACU), and Chuck Smith, SACU director of lending; Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, Bexar County; Bill Sinkin, Solar San Antonio; Mayor Julian Castro, City of San Antonio; and Lanny Sinkin, Solar, San Antonio. (Photo provided by San Antonio CU)
The program provides financing to those individuals who value energy alternatives and access to solar home improvements that will reduce their monthly utility bill. SACU and community partners also kicked off Bring Solar Home, an initiative of Solar San Antonio, designed to encourage local solar commitments and educate the community on the benefits of solar energy. The goal of the Bring Solar Home campaign is to make installing solar systems easier for residents. For years, the barrier for most homeowners to installing solar energy has been a large up-front cost. SACU said it can help those who have been waiting for the right time to transition to energy efficiency. Because of a significant price drop in the cost of installing solar systems, plus CPS Energy rebates for San Antonio properties and a federal tax credit, installing a residential solar system is an easy and cost effective option for homeowners on both primary residences and residential investment properties, SACU said. “SACU is proud to provide this innovative solar home improvement product that promotes alternative energy use and lower energy costs,” said Chuck Smith, SACU director of lending. Based in San Antonio, Texas, SACU has $2.8 billion in assets.

Report CU CEO pay declined 3.5 in 09

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MADISON, Wis.--(9/9/10)--Credit union CEO total compensation declined 3.5% in 2009, and that decline can be traced to a reduction in variable pay, says a new Credit Union National Association (CUNA) report.
Click to view larger image Click for larger view
Overall, 59% of CEOs of credit unions with $100 million or more in assets received a bonus and/or incentive reward in 2009, down from 73% in 2008, according to the 2010-2011 CEO Total Compensation Survey Report. The median amount awarded in 2009 is $16,345, down 37% from $26,000 in 2008. “Because credit unions cannot offer the equity vehicles which make up the bulk of compensation packages for CEOs of publicly traded companies, base salary comprises the largest portion of the total compensation package for credit union CEOs,” said Beth Soltis, CUNA senior research analyst. “Therefore, credit unions have historically used variable pay plans to reward performance and boost credit union CEO compensation levels.” “In fact, if CEOs are eligible for variable pay but don’t receive payouts and perceive the cause to be external market factors they cannot control, the result can be diminished motivation and a greater likelihood for them to seek opportunities elsewhere,” she added. “As business performance improves, credit unions will need to evaluate their variable pay plans--and their ability to provide payouts--in order to reward and retain their CEOs.” The survey provides nationwide CEO compensation data for credit unions $100 million plus in assets. Results are conveniently categorized by asset size, region, and many other points of comparison to help credit unions attract or retain top CEO talent. The report--available in print or Adobe PDF format--also assigns a monetary value of the total compensation package to help measure the bottom-line value of a CEO compensation package to other credit unions. Purchasers of the survey report may also receive a discount on the CEO Total Compensation: Self-Selected Peer Analysis. This customized analysis reveals CEO salaries, health plans, contract terms, bonuses and retirement plans for 10 or more specific credit unions that meet a credit union’s own peer criteria. For more information, use the link.