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September 12, 2014

100M memberships celebrations brings in the major leagues

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WASHINGTON (9/12/14)--No strikeouts here--just solid home runs by credit unions as they celebrate the movement's 100 million memberships milestone at big league baseball parks.
Sunday has been designated as Credit Union Day at U.S. Cellular Field when the Chicago White Sox take on the Minnesota Twins at its home ball park. Look for Illinois Credit Union League President/CEO Sean Hession to take the mic for the singing of the "National Anthem." Hession is a former principal first tenor and tenor soloist for the National Men's Chorus in Washington, D.C.

The game also will honor World War II veteran Dick Lockhart as "Hero of the Game." Lockhart has been a lobbyist for the league for more than 50 years.
The hits keep coming Tuesday when the Baltimore Orioles host the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards for "100 Million Membership Day." Ticketholders get a 100 million memberships T-shirt to wear at the game, too.
For the Washington Nationals home game vs. the Florida Marlins Sept. 26, the Credit Union National Association and other credit union sponsors will have a giveaway for game-goers, a booth inside the stadium to educate spectators about credit unions and the credit union difference, and between-innings announcements that focus on the milestone.
Nationwide, credit union leagues have teamed up with local minor league teams to celebrate as well. Utah Credit Union Association President/CEO Scott Simpson tossed the first pitch at the Aug. 9 Salt Lake Bees vs. the El Paso (Texas) Chihuahuas game (News Now Aug. 14)
In early August, CUNA sponsored another entertaining event---a food-truck festival called Truckeroo where CUNA staff and credit union volunteers distributed "Credit unions are a smarter choice" T-shirts and slap koozies to keep beverages cold (News Now Aug. 11).
All of the activities have been celebrating the 100 millionth membership which occurred in June, according to CUNA credit union data. ReadMore

Millennials eschew credit cards, put future credit at risk

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NEW YORK (9/12/14)--Millennials are carrying around much less plastic than their older counterparts, a study from has found, as 63% of people ages 18 to 29 don't possess a single credit card ( USA TODAY Sept. 11).

While this choice could steer many away from the pitfalls of overwhelming debt, the decision to swear off credit cards could inevitably hurt this younger generation, personal finance expert Jean Chatzky told USA TODAY .

Credit scores play critical roles in determining whether a consumer can secure a car loan, how much a consumer will pay for car insurance, or even how he or she will look to prospective employers.

"They are widely considered a mark of how responsible you are as a member of society," said Chatzky. "As far as for car insurance goes, your credit history is a better indicator of risk than even your driving record."

On the other side of the coin, as consumers get older, credit card use climbs. The study found that only 35% of adults 30-and-over don't possess a credit card.

The reason for the disparity, perhaps, is that millennials simply don't want credit cards.

"I don't really feel like there's a need for one in the way I live my life," Melissa Pileiro, 24, from Vineland, N.J., told . "The idea with a credit card is you're essentially putting money down that you don't have."

Further, a Gallup poll from earlier this year found that Americans' reliance on credit cards in general has declined over the past few years since the economic downturn.

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 also made it more difficult for those under 21 to gain access to a credit card.

Finally, it could be that because many millennials grew up during the recession, they saw the problems credit cards could create, according to David Pommerehn, senior counsel with the Consumer Bankers Association ( ).

"There was great concern about jobs and debts and paying off bills," he said.

But no matter the reason for shying away from credit cards, paying with plastic remains one of the top ways to build a solid credit score.

Millennials "have to understand that it costs you money not to use credit, just as it costs you money to use credit," Mike Sullivan, director of education at nonprofit credit and debit counseling agency Take Charge America, told .

No or low credit scores won't help consumers qualify for low loan rates, he said. ReadMore

See who's 1st to earn CUNA's new biz development designation

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MADISON, Wis. (9/12/14)--So emerges the first-ever group of credit union professionals to receive the newly offered Credit Union Business Development Professional (CUBDP) designation--developed by the Credit Union National Association--CUNA announced this week.

The group of 40 individuals earned their new credentials by demonstrating exemplary knowledge and expertise during CUNA FUSE: Branch Operations and Business Development School last month.

"CUNA FUSE lit the fuse for the group of business development professionals eager to engage, share and promote one another in a dynamic setting," said Natalie Bradley, Ventura (Calif.) County CU, with $677 million in assets. "Having been in this industry for almost a decade, I walked away with fresh ideas, new resources, a supportive business development posse and a strategic focus for my credit union."

CUNA FUSE is an annual event that gives attendees the opportunity to discuss and deliver innovative ideas alongside credit union branch managers and business development professionals to fuel growth and increase efficiency at their individual credit unions.  

The CUBDP designation, created in collaboration with the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council, is available to anyone who attends CUNA FUSE's entire business development track and successfully completes the exam.

The designation demonstrates that the professional possesses the initiative and pertinent expertise needed to be a credit union business developer.

"Early on it was clear that we'd done the right thing in creating this designation," said Kathy Smith, CUNA instructional design manager of learning events. "Every one of the new CUBDPs has shown that they have what it takes to step up and be an authority on business development and a representative of their credit union."

Next year, CUNA FUSE will take place Aug. 17-20 in Seattle. For more information on CUBDP or to register for CUNA FUSE 2015, use the link. ReadMore

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Consumers have bleak view of U.S. economy, finances, reports find

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LOS ANGELES and PHILADELPHIA (9/12/14)--Two recent studies--one by and one from the Pew Research Center--capture the sentiment that Americans continue to be stressed about the economy and fearful for the financial futures.
A third of respondents to a recent poll said they worry about their finances "all the time."
When asked to select their top three fears from a list of 10, four financial fears--always living paycheck to paycheck, falling into serious debt, becoming homeless and losing a job--made up 66% of the responses.
"When money problems comes up, we are forced to consider every aspect of our lives falling apart instead of just one or two. It is all subconscious but it is huge," said Leisa Peterson, certified financial planner and founder of WealthClinic.
Of the financial fears, being unemployed led with 27%--the most common fear among 18- to 24-year-olds at 30%.  The next highest fear of never getting out of debt--26%--was selected most often by those older than 45.
Although the employment market is improving slightly, overall consumer sentiment about the economy is bleak, according to a new national survey by the Pew Research Center.  
Incomes that are lagging behind the cost of living concern 56% of the respondents, which is almost in line with those who said their incomes were falling behind--57%--in October 2008 during the financial crisis.
Among those families with less than $30,000 per year, 66% have confronted as least one serious financial problem such as becoming unemployed or having hours cut, being unable to pay for health care, struggling to pay rent or mortgage, or having been contacted by a collection agency. Overall, 45% say they have experienced one or more such serious financial hardships over the last year.
Cost of living concerns run along the lines of income differences. Of those with family incomes of $75,000 or more, most say they are at least keeping pace with the cost of living. Among those with incomes of $100,000 or more, 48% are staying even.
However, in the two lowest income categories, respondents say they are not keeping up. More than half of those with family incomes between $30,000 and $75,000 say they are falling behind, and just under 40% are staying even. For those with incomes under $30,000, 70% say they are falling behind. ReadMore

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Minn. biz loans outpace national Q2 trends

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (9/12/14)--Business lending is thriving at credit unions in Minnesota, posting a 14.4% annual improvement in business loan growth for the second quarter, according to numbers released by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) in its quarterly data review this week. 

Minnesota credit unions also beat the national average for business lending of 12%.

"Credit unions are more willing to make smaller loans that help businesses get off the ground," said Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) President/CEO Mark D. Cummins. "With these loans, Minnesota credit unions are helping not only businesses, but also families and communities (to) grow."

The credit union movement in Minnesota also experienced rising levels of membership growth in the second quarter, climbing by nearly 10,000 to reach a new state high of 1,636,000.

Credit unions in the state have seen positive membership growth since 2011 and steady asset growth each year since 2007, according to MnCUN.

Nationally, overall median growth rates for assets and shares slowed year-over-year, according to the NCUA's numbers, while national membership growth climbed in the quarter ( News Now Sept. 10).

In Minnesota, credit unions witnessed dropping levels of delinquent loans in the second quarter, decreasing 5% from the same time last year.

Delinquencies remained steady throughout the country, according to the NCUA.

"Minnesota consumers and businesses are feeling more confident about their long-term financial picture," Cummins said. "And they're continuing to choose credit unions because they are trusted, locally owned financial partners." ReadMore

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NASCUS announces board, CU advisory council members

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (9/12/14)--Three new members started terms and officers were named to the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) board this week at the 2014 NASCUS annual meeting on Sept. 10 in Nashville, Tenn.

Stephen S. Pleger, senior deputy commissioner for the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, was elected chair of the board of directors; Mary Ellen O'Neill, director of the Financial Institution Division of the Connecticut Department of Banking, was voted to be chair; and Jay Bienvenu, deputy commissioner of Financial Institution Supervision with the Massachusetts Division of Banks, was elected secretary/treasurer.

The three state regulators beginning their new terms were previously appointed to terms on the board, however they were recently elected outright to serve full three-year terms, which end in 2017.

The board members include:
  • Bienvenu;
  • Rose Conner, administrator of the North Carolina Credit Union Division; and
  • Kim Santos, director of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Office of Credit Unions Division.
The remaining board members are John Fields, deputy chief examiner for the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions; Linda K. Jekel, director of the Washington Department of Financial Institutions Division of Credit Unions; and Werner Paul, deputy commissioner for the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions.

Two state credit union CEOs began terms on the NASCUS Credit Union Advisory Council this week as well.

Linda Childs, TNConnect CU, Knoxville, Tenn., with $48 million in assets, will continue representing District 2 during a new three-year term that expires in 2017.

In District 3, Jason Boesch, Energize CU, Oklahoma City, with $27 million in assets, also will continue to serve as a director for an additional three-year term.

The executive council also appointed its officers:
  • Chair: Childs;
  • Chair-elect: Patty Idol, Mountain CU, Waynesville, N.C., with $162 million in assets; and
  • Secretary: Terry West, VyStar CU, Jacksonville, Fla., with $5 billion in assets.

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CU System briefs (09/12/2014)

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  • COLUMBIA, S.C., and RALEIGH, N.C. (9/12/14)-- Micah Smith of SC Telco FCU, Greenville, S.C., was named the CUaware Protege during the Carolinas Credit Union League leadership conference Saturday . Smith, who is a member service specialist at the $266 million-asset credit union, will serve for one year as dual-state spokesperson for young credit union professionals. "The CUaware Protege Program has proven itself as an excellent avenue for enabling young professionals to develop themselves," Smith said. He will have a position on the CUaware Leadership Council. Troy Hall from South Carolina FCU, Charleston, S.C., with $1.3 billion in assets, introduced a new Protege-aligned mentorship pilot that partners chapter proteges with credit union leaders ... 
  • ST. LOUIS (9/12/14)-- Missouri credit union staff and volunteers met with two members of the House Financial Services Committee during the in-district work period ( Missouri Difference Sept. 9). U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D) welcomed credit union leaders to his Kansas City office Sept. 2. Top photo, from left: Chris McCreary, president, United Consumers CU, Independence, with $123 million in assets; Ron Miller, president, Edison CU, Kansas City, with $29 million in assets; John Pinzino, vice president of financial services, United Consumers CU; Brandon Michaels, president/CEO, Mazuma CU, Kansas City, with $488 million in assets; Pat Yokley, former chief administrative officer, CommunityAmerica CU, Lenexa, Kan., with $1.9 billion in assets; Janice Smith, Kansas City CU, with $28 million in assets; Cleaver; Dennis Pierce, president/CEO, CommunityAmerica CU; Amy McLard, senior vice president of Advocacy , Missouri Credit Union Association; Eric Jones, president/CEO, Kansas City CU; and Laura Eblen, assistant vice president of operations, Mazuma CU. On Sept. 3, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R) visited the Missouri Credit Union House in Jefferson City. Bottom photo, from left: Bill Mustain, CEO, Employment Security CU, Jefferson City, with $62 million in assets; McLard; Randy Yeck, executive vice president, Vantage CU, Bridgeton, with $737 million in assets; Johnny O'Hare, president/CEO, Mid Missouri CU, Fort Leonard Wood, with $212 million in assets; Luetkemeyer; Rick Nichols, president/CEO, River Region CU, Jefferson City, with $99 million in assets; Dana Alderman, business development director, River Region CU; Carol Minges, president/CEO, 1st Financial FCU, Wentzville, with $202 million in assets; and Brent Sadler, president/CEO, United CU, Mexico, with $142 million in assets (Missouri Credit Union Association Photos) ...
  • FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (9/12/14)-- The Cornerstone Credit Union League and its member credit unions food drive will help feed more than 26,000 people ( Leaguer Sept. 11). At its food drive during last week's leadership conference and expo in San Antonio, conference attendees were asked to bring one can of food or $1. Attendees and conference exhibitors donated 655 pounds of food and $1,610. Cornerstone matched the donation with $1,000 for a total donation of $2,610 (Cornerstone Credit Union League Photo) ...

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