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CU System Archive

CU System

CDCU volunteers receive MLK Service Awards

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NEW YORK (1/17/12)--Thirteen community development credit union (CDCU) staff and volunteers Monday were honored with the Martin Luther King Drum Major Service Awards, presented by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.

The awards are for volunteers who perform extraordinary everyday acts of service with reliability and commitment, said the federation. Combined, the recipients have 417 years of service to their credit unions, communities and the credit union movement.

"Many CDCUs were born in response to injustices, economic and otherwise, that the Civil Rights struggle sought to address," said federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal," so it was only fitting that these CDCU leaders be honored with the Drum Majors for Service Award, named after the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

Award recipients and their years of service are:

  • Laurel Benjamin of All Souls FCU, New York, N.Y.,  20 years;
  • Lillian Bent, Bethex FCU, New York, N.Y., 21 years;
  • Willie Carpenter, FOGCE FCU, Eutaw, Ala., 33 years;
  • Tom Connors, America First CU, Riverdale, Utah, 30 years;
  • George Daniels, St. Mark's FCU, New York, N.Y., 18 years;
  • Rita L. Haynes, Faith Community United CU, Cleveland, Ohio, 53 years;
  • Marvin G. Jensen, Episcopal Community FCU, Los Angeles, 37 years;
  • Melvina Johnson, All Souls FCU, New York, N.Y., 40 years;
  • Daniel Morrisey, Queen of Peace Arlington FCU, Arlington, Va., 32 years;
  • James H. Parson, Church of the Master FCU, New York, N.Y., 46 years;
  • Eunice J. Rogers, NRS Community Development FCU, Birmingham, Ala., 30 years;
  • Sharon Saulters, Triumph Baptist FCU, Philadelphia, Pa., 17 years;
  • Shirley Inez Spruill, Renaissance Community Development CU, Somerset, N.J., 40 years.
"In this time of economic challenge for our nation, Dr. King's vision of service and volunteerism are more critical than ever," said Rosenthal.

To learn more about each of the awardees, use the link.

Sen. Snowe invites Maine CUs to small biz event

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PORTLAND, Maine (1/17/12)--U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) asked the Maine Credit Union League to encourage credit union attendance at today's Facebook for Small Businesses event in Augusta, Maine.  Snowe is slated to be a guest speaker at the event.

The league reported in its Weekly Update (Jan. 13) that Snowe's office contacted the league. Snowe is the ranking member on the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Her senior counsel on the committee contacted Quincy Hentzel, the league's director of governmental affairs, to invite credit unions to attend.

Hentzel said the event is a "great opportunity for those credit unions who would like to use Facebook and social media outlets to reach new members and stay connected with current members. " The free event also is a way to keep credit unions visible to lawmakers, she said.

Member business lending (MBL) is a key priority among credit unions. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions have been urging Congress to increase the MBL cap for credit unions to 27.5% of assets from the current 12.25% to help inject more than $13 billion in small business loans into the economy. Doing so would help generate 140,000 new jobs, without cost to the taxpayer, CUNA said.

Ohio DFI announces revisions on CU rules

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (1/17/12)--The Ohio Division of Financial Institutions (ODFI) has finished its quinquennial review of the  Ohio Administrative Rules for state-chartered credit unions and filed changes with the Legislative Services Commission, according to the Ohio Credit Union League.

The most significant changes, said the league in its eLumination Newsletter (Jan. 11), include:

  • Waivers or approvals for rules or authorities were tightened to include specific time frames that ODFI must meet or the requests are deemed approved;
  • The "Investment" section would allow federally insured credit unions to participate in participation loans without prior approval from the National Credit Union Administration and ODFI, subject to the agency's approval of the ODFI regulation;
  • A new merger rule establishes time frames for the ODFI to approve or disapprove a merger application; and
  • The superintendent's authority was expanded to allow approval of less restrictive policies.
League General Counsel John Kozlowski worked with the ODFI on the revisions and will continue to encourage additional clarifications, the league said. A public hearing before the ODFI and Credit Union Council has been scheduled for Feb. 1.

Eight CUs five banks start Bank on Baton Rouge effort

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BATON ROUGE, La. (1/17/12)--Eight Baton Rouge, La.-area credit unions are participating with five local banks in a public-private partnership, called Bank on Baton Rouge, which will offer free or low-cost financial accounts to residents who do not use financial institutions.

The credit unions and banks will reduce or waive fees for participants who open checking and savings accounts.

Depositors also will have their overdraft charges eliminated, and their monthly minimums for account balances will be waived.

An estimated 12.1% of Baton Rouge households are unbanked, Kip Holden, Baton Rouge mayor-president, told the publication, adding that over a life time, a person without a credit union or bank will spend an average of $40,000 to cash checks.

Credit unions involved in the partnership are:

  • Baton Rouge City Parish Employees FCU;
  • Baton Rouge Telco FCU;
  • Neighbors FCU;
  • Pelican State CU;
  • Campus FCU;
  • Southern Teachers & Parents CU;
  • Dow Louisiana FCU; and
  • E FCU.

ICNN MoneyI CUs are best borrowing alternative

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NEW YORK (1/17/12)--Credit unions are the best borrowing alternative for consumers who are fed up with big U.S. banks, according to a Friday CNNMoney article.

Although they offer similar services to banks, credit unions are not held captive by the bottom lines of their balance sheets or shareholders, the article said.

That structure usually allows credit unions to provide more favorable terms for borrowers, Bankrate.com's Greg McBride told CNNMoney.

The average five-year new-car loan is 3.5% at credit unions versus 4.9% at banks, according to Informa Research Services, a CUNA Strategic Service provider quoted in the article.

For home equity lines of credit, credit unions offer a 4.4% interest rate, and banks 4.7%, on average, said CNNMoney.

Although fixed-rate mortgages are roughly the same at credit unions and banks, consumers likely will save hundreds in fees and have more direct access to decision-makers at a credit union, the publication said.

To read the article, use the link.

NCUF grantee equips Montana CDCUs with counseling expertise

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HELENA, Mont. (1/17/12)--Credit unions in Montana have embarked on a new program that will give their members access to certified financial counselors and financial coaches

With the help of a financial education grant from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) and a grant from U.S. Department of Agriculture, Montana Credit Unions for Community Development (MCUCD) has helped establish a program offering Montana credit unions an affordable avenue to train one or more staff members as financial counselors and/or coaches. In the past seven months, professionals from 14 of Montana's 57 credit unions completed training.

Montana's first Credit Union Financial Counseling Certification Program class poses alongside instructor and REAL Solutions Coach Mark Lynch (far right). (Photo provided by the National Credit Union Foundation)
"We believe [the program] will help credit unions make an incredible difference in their members' lives," said Karen Smith, MCUCD director of outreach services. "Knowing what makes good financial sense is the first step, but the next step is applying that knowledge-- discovering and making the actual changes you need in your life. Now, imagine being able to get both at your local credit union. That's what this program is going to make possible in Montana."

The program makes it possible for Montana's credit unions to offer low‐income individuals in rural areas the same kind of financial education services more widely available in non‐rural areas.

The program also builds on the asset-building and financial education work that many Montana credit unions are, with the help of MCUCD, already engaged in. Several program participants come from credit unions involved with MCUCD's programs, which offer free tax services, matched savings accounts, consumer resource centers and payday loan alternatives.

Combining the lower cost and convenience of the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) self-study Credit Union Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP) enhanced with webinars and local in-person training and networking, the training enables credit union staff to become more confident in helping members build stronger financial futures.

Once they successfully complete the FiCEP training, participants earn the Credit Union Certified Financial Counselor (CCUFC) designation. The enhanced FiCEP program is a result of a partnership between NCUF's REAL Solutions program, CUNA's Center for Professional Development (CUNA CPD), the Montana Credit Union Network and their member credit unions.

In late 2011, MCUCD coordinated a financial coach training program through the New Mexico Project for Financial Literacy (NMPFL). Coaching is goal-oriented: it empowers clients to achieve their objectives and helps them to navigate life transitions. To provide for the long-term sustainability of financial coaching in Montana, staff from MCUCD and partner organizations received instruction from the NMPFL, enabling them to serve as in-state trainers of financial coaches.

As a result, after the initial training from NMPFL, MCUCD will be able to train additional financial coaches without requiring outside assistance. MCUCD's intent is to provide several financial coach trainings across the state in 2012.

NCUF grants are made possible by supporters of the foundation and the Community Investment Fund, a system of investments that help credit unions earn dividends while donating to national and state community development programs.NCUF grantee equips Montana CDCUs with counseling expertise.

CU System briefs (01/13/2012)

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  • LAREDO, Texas (1/17/12)--A former credit union employee has been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 robbery of Laredo (Texas) CU, said police. Asael Cruz, 29, of Laredo was arrested Tuesday without incident. The robbery occurred at 7:08 p.m. when an employee who exited through the credit union's rear door was confronted by a man with a handgun. The armed robber allegedly threatened to kill the employee if he called police, and bound his wrists and ankles, taped his mouth shut and left him in a storage room. The armed man told a female employee to open the vault and fill a plastic bag with money. He allegedly also threatened her life. He taped her to a chair and fled with the money (7thspace.com and pro8news.com Jan. 12) …
  • WAUSAU, Wis. (1/17/12)--A Feb. 29 hearing has been set for David Samuelson, 52, of Green Bay, Wis., who is charged with robbing the Tower CU in Wausau on Jan. 10. During the heist, the robbery suspect allegedly showed a gun to a teller and demanded money. The teller froze, and the robber screamed at a second teller to give him money; pounded on the counter; and threatened to shoot the credit union's operations manager. The robber fled and police gave chase. Samuelson was arrested while allegedly hiding behind trees (WSAU.com Jan. 12)  …
  • HOUSTON (1/17/12)--The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) says Houston-based Members Choice CU (MCCU) earned the No. 10 spot among the Top 10 Lenders  in the Houston SBA District Office. The presentation was made at a recent Houston Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders luncheon to MCCU President/CEO Steve Gilman and staff by Manuel R. Gonzalez, SBA district director.  In June, the credit union earned a Preferred Lender designation from SBA, giving the credit union authority to streamline the process to provide financial assistance to small businesses. At the presentation are, from left, Regina Jenkins, Bruce Hurta, Pat Harris, Gilman, Gonzalez, and Yolanda Garcia Olivarez. (Photo provided by Members Choice CU) …

Thrivent plans to become CU

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MINNEAPOLIS and APPLETON, Wis. (1/17/12)--Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, with dual headquarters in Minneapolis and Appleton, Wis., will convert its bank subsidiary to a credit union pending approval from the National Credit Union Administration and other regulators, several news outlets reported Friday.

Thrivent FCU, as the credit union would be called if approved, would open around mid-year (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Jan. 13).

The proposed credit union would have about $530 million in assets and 40,000 members.

The bank was formed in 2001 through the consolidation of three affiliated credit unions, a trust bank and a community bank. At that time, Thrivent opted for a thrift charter because it provided the most flexibility, said Todd Sipe, Thrivent Financial Bank president/CEO (American Banker Jan. 13).

Sipe would stay on as CEO of the new credit union.

Pasadena FCU story of the day on IYC site

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PASADENA, Calif. (1/17/12)--Pasadena (Calif.) FCU's story of partnership with its local community was the "Story of the Day" for Friday on the website, Stories.coop, devoted to 2012 International Year of Cooperatives (IYC).

Stories.coop is an initiative of Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises) and the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) that will result in the world's first digital library of cooperative stories (News Now Jan. 9). The site takes the message of the United Nations' IYC--Cooperative enterprises build a better world"--to the global public.

Pasadena FCU recently commissioned a mural, "Building Pasadena," created by Art Center College of Design alumnus Jerry Ortega. It is designed to demonstrate the credit union's commitment to building community. 

"The mural celebrates more than 75 years of standing strong in the community and provided a unique way for us to tell our rich story," said Ron Berry, Pasadena FCU president/CEO. 

That story resonated with coordinators of the website, located in Italy, who announced that the credit unin would be featured as one of its first "Stories of the Day."  Each day a cooperative from around the world is featured on the site. 

"We want the stories of cooperation from every corner of the globe; from the smallest cooperative to the biggest; from the cooperators with personal stories to tell or the stories of business success; to those with observations on the cooperative model," said the organization's website. 

The Credit Union National Association offers materials from the International Credit Union Day campaign built on the IYC theme. Use the link.

Corpus Christi mayor signs CUs IYC proclamation

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (1/17/12)--Corpus Christi, Texas, Mayor Joe Adame Tuesday signed an International Year of Cooperatives (IYC)  proclamation presented by the Coastal Bend Chapter of Credit Unions, said the Texas Credit Union League.

"Corpus Christi residents now have a deeper understanding of credit unions a
Representatives from the Coastal Bend Chapter of Credit Unions were present Jan. 10 when Corpus Christi, Texas, Mayor Joe Adame signed the International Year of Cooperatives proclamation presented by the chapter. (Photo provided by the Texas Credit Union League)
d the value these financial cooperatives bring to their community," said the league in its newsletter (LoneStar Leaguer Jan. 13).

The mayor proclaimed the year 2012 as International Year of Cooperatives for the city

"Cooperative organizations, including the 22 credit unions that make up the Coastal Bend Chapter of Credit Unions, help build and sustain healthy communities by promoting jobs and enhancing the quality of life for those in our community; and they are an important economic force, employing 587 people; governed by more than 196,300 members; with total combined assets of nearly $2 billion," the proclamation noted.

The city's proclamation encourages "all citizens to recognize the many contributions credit unions have made to the communities in this state, both tangible and intangible, through the years, and express appreciation and support for the service and commitment of cooperative credit unions."

Events for the United Nations-designated IYC began officially worldwide last week, with the theme, "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World."

The Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) International Credit Union Day last October built on the cooperative theme. CUNA says it still has materials available. Use the link for more information.

Check these dates for fin. education opportunities

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MADISON, Wis. (1/17/12)--Credit unions have many opportunities to tie promotion of their financial education programs to national events through April, including National Credit Union Youth Week, April 18-24.

Among the events scheduled:

  • The President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability meeting, Thursday. The council assists Americans in understanding financial matters and making informed financial decisions to encourage financial stability, according to the California Department of Financial Institutions. It is composed of nongovernmental representatives with relevant backgrounds, such as financial services, consumer protection, financial access and education. The meeting will be held at the Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day, Jan. 27. The sixth annual event promotes public understanding of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The web site has information on how to participate in EITC Awareness Day and about the availability of free tax preparation sites. Many credit unions will be working with this in relation to their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs.
  • America Saves Week, Feb. 19-26. The Consumer Federation of America (CFA), the American Savings Education Council and America Saves host the annual America Saves Week. The event's goal is to encourage people, particularly lower-income families, to save money and build wealth. The event offers information and advice on paying down debt, building an emergency fund, and saving for a home, education and retirement.
  • Military Saves Week, Feb. 19-26. Military Saves is a social marketing campaign to persuade, motivate, and encourage military families to save money every month, and to convince leaders and organizations to be aggressive in promoting automatic savings. Military Saves was developed and tested by its non-profit sponsor, CFA and the military services from 2003 to 2006 and launched throughout the Department of Defense. The Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) is the primary liaison to the Department of Defense for defense credit unions. The DCUC ensures members of the U.S. armed forces are provided financial services in the finest traditions of the credit union philosophy. While Military Saves Week is an ongoing campaign, the entire military community joins together to focus on financial readiness during the week.
  • 2012 National Consumer Protection Week, March 4-10. The Federal Trade Commission, other federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations sponsor this event. It highlights the importance of consumer education and offers free resources to help consumers protect their privacy; manage credit and debt; avoid identity theft; understand mortgages and other loans; and recognize fraudulent scams that target consumers.
  • National Financial Capability Challenge, March 12-April 13. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Education, this event challenges high school students to increase their financial knowledge and capability. The program includes a voluntary online exam and classroom toolkit designed to help educators teach students about personal finance.
  • National Credit Union Youth Week, April 18-24. America's credit unions are shining the spotlight on how young people earn, spend, save and manage their own money. The celebration takes place during the Jump$tart Coalition's Financial Literacy for Youth Month. The Credit Union National Association offers resources and ideas for promoting credit unions to America's youth. Use the link.