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Majority of N.Y. CUs positive going into 2014

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ALBANY, N.Y. (1/15/14)--The majority of New York credit unions are optimistic about lending in 2014, according to an economic survey conducted by the Credit Union Association of New York.
 
More than 60% of respondents to the December survey said they anticipated loans to increase, with first mortgages leading the way at 33.3% followed by member business loans at 29.7%. Just under 19% said they expected to see mortgage refinance volume rise, followed by student lending at 17.6%.
 
"These findings reflect a cautious optimism among New York credit union leaders as our economy continues to recover," said league President/CEO William J. Mellin. "It's encouraging to see that, while there are still many challenges facing our industry, the majority of New York credit unions are planning to increase their lending, serve more members and expand the products and services they provide in the year ahead."
 
Nearly 80 New York credit union professionals representing every asset category and region responded to the survey.
 
The survey provided other insights:
  • About 55% rated themselves "very optimistic" or "somewhat optimistic" regarding the national and state economies. Sentiment was higher--57.7%--when asked about their region. Forty-five percent are either "somewhat pessimistic" or "very pessimistic" about the national and state economies.
  • For credit union shares, 57% anticipate an increase while another 38% expect levels to remain stable.
  • The majority of respondents--57%--are planning to expand products and services in 2014.
  • New hires and new branches are not high on the radar. Fifty-three percent are not planning to hire new employees, and 72% are not planning to open new branches.
  • In the Adirondack, Metropolitan and Rochester regions, respondents are the most optimistic about their regional economies. Those in the Central New York, Finger Lakes and Long Island regions are the least optimistic.
 

NEW: Stull named CEO of N.M. league

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (1/15/14, UPDATED 5:05 p.m. CT)--The Credit Union Association of New Mexico board of directors announced that Paul B. Stull will be its new CEO.
 
Stull has been with Arizona State CU, Phoenix, for seven years as senior vice president of strategy and brand, overseeing corporate strategy and planning, product management, and marketing.
 
"I am proud to be selected to lead a strong group of credit unions in New Mexico. One-third of all New Mexico residents are credit union members, so leveraging that strength and the cooperative power of our credit unions is at the top of my agenda," Stull said.
 
"New Mexico is a state that exemplifies the American spirit of independence, and its credit unions are a symbol of that spirit. I look forward to speaking up and speaking out on issues that impact them and their members," he said.

Financial expert Chatzky headlining Cornerstone foundation summit

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (1/15/14)--Financial expert and best-selling author Jean Chatzky will be the keynote speaker for the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation's FOCUS Summit.
 
Chatzky is director of education at SavvyMoney and financial editor for NBC's "Today" show. For the past year, her book "Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security" has been distributed through a National Credit Union Foundation initiative.
 
The FOCUS Summit, set for Feb. 6-7, connects financial education advocates. The agenda for the Dallas meeting includes:
  • An overview of financial education tools aimed at various age ranges;
  • A performance by The Disclosures, a Madison, Wis., musical duo that focuses on financial literacy and social responsibility;
  • A life simulation facilitated by Lois Kitsch, REAL Solutions national program manager, National Credit Union Foundation; and
  • A best-practice panel with school officials that will focus on sustainable relationships with schools.

Banks' 'concerned' citizens a no-show in S.D. tax-status fight

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BISMARCK, N.D. (1/15/14)--While South Dakota banks continue to claim they are representing citizens "concerned" that the credit union tax status is unfair, citizens have yet to show up in support of banks' "tax equality" resolution, as credit unions and their members advocate on behalf of state cooperative financial institutions, the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas pointed out Tuesday.
 
On Monday, state credit unions fended off two more attempts by banks to persuade local boards to support an anti-credit union tax resolution (The Memo Jan. 14).
 
"Their entire 'awareness effort' is geared toward stirring up the masses to jump up and shout  'taxation fairness," said Jeff Olson, Credit Union Association of the Dakotas vice president of advocacy, told News Now. "There has yet to be one 'concerned citizen' who has shown up or spoken in support of this resolution at any of the 12 committees, commissions and councils where it has been considered."
 
The Vermillion School Board considered the South Dakota Bankers Association's "Equalization in Taxation" resolution, but did not take action during its meeting Monday. South Dakota credit unions were represented by Olson and Janet Mount, CEO of Vermillion (S.D.) FCU, who addressed the board.
 
Also, on Monday the Brookings School Board tabled the bankers' resolution for two months and will hear the issue in March. CUAD President/CEO Robbie Thompson attended the meeting, along with Dan Cumbee, president/CEO, and Chad Moller, branch manager, from Dakotaland FCU, Huron.
 
CUAD noted that as the South Dakota legislature reconvened Tuesday, no state school board, city council, county commission or chamber of commerce that has heard the banks' request to support the resolution has moved to have the legislature review the credit union tax status.

'Lone Survivor' author Luttrell announced as 2014 ACUC keynoter

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MADISON, Wis. (1/15/14)--Marcus Luttrell, one of a team of four Navy SEALs ambushed by a large Taliban force in 2005 and the only one to survive the following hours of combat, will be a keynote speaker at the Credit Union National Association's 2014 America's Credit Union Conference (ACUC), to be held June 29-July 3 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square in San Francisco, Calif.
 
Luttrell, critically wounded in the attack, crawled into the mountains and was taken in by the Afghan villagers of Sabray, who nursed and protected him, despite escalating Taliban threats, until he was rescued. After recuperating, he redeployed to Iraq for a second tour. In the spring of 2007, Petty Officer 1st Class Luttrell retired. He was awarded the Navy Cross for combat heroism in 2006 by President George W. Bush.
 
America's Credit Union Conference, praised by attendees as an energizing, forward-thinking event, features the nation's best business innovators and motivational leaders to deliver ideas for growth and the inspiration to drive positive change for credit unions.
 
"It is with great pleasure that we welcome Marcus Luttrell to tell his heroic story," said Jill Tomalin, CUNA executive vice president and COO. "His conference-closing keynote presentation on courage, sacrifice and community is sure to connect with credit union values, giving us a patriotic sendoff just in time for Independence Day."
 
For more information about speakers and sessions at the ACUC, and to register, use the resource link.
 
Luttrell has written two books: "Lone Survivor" (2007), which recounts the harrowing trials of Operation Redwing and is now in movie theaters across the United States; and "Service: A Navy SEAL at War" (2013), in which Luttrell turns his focus to the nature of service on America's battlefields and the soldiers who give their lives to defend their nation and each other.

Community platform new feature of Carolinas website

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COLUMBIA, S.C., and RALEIGH, N.C. (1/15/14)--The Carolinas Credit Union League's newly designed website includes a community section that fosters networking and collaboration among league members.
 
The community section allows members to join online groups within three group types: chapters, asset size, and expertise. Once a user joins a group, he or she can network with its other members, start and join forum discussions, post group-related photos, keep up with group events, and learn from each other.
 
"We heard clearly that credit unions want their league to be a unifying influence and a champion of cooperation, and the community section will empower them to connect and collaborate," said CCUL Vice President of Public Relations and Communications Brandon Pugh.
 
The newly designed website completes a four-month process of consolidating the North Carolina and South Carolina leagues' sites.
 
Built on the same membership management platform as the former South Carolina Credit Union League's website--carolinasleague.org--optimizes navigation with added tabs for advocacy, compliance, professional development and community. The leagues' web team was led by Pugh and included CCUL staff, with design support from Third Degree Advertising.
 
The site includes the ability for league-member credit unions, business partners, and CCUL staff to create individual profiles within the site. Once logged in, users have access to exclusive site features including CU directory search, community groups and a job posting form.
 
Details are added to the site daily, and companion sub-sites include the grassroots action platform Vocus, League InfoSight for compliance resources, and the Credit Union Webinar Network through Financial Education and Development (FED) to round out professional development offerings.

138 BECU-branded ATMs placed in Wash. Rite Aid stores

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SEATAC, Wash. (1/15/14)--Tukwila, Wash.-based BECU announced it will brand 138 ATMs at Rite Aid stores in the Puget Sound area and throughout the state of Washington.
 
"One of our top member requests is to add more ATMs," said Doug Marshall, senior vice president of digital product management (Anthem Jan. 14). The $11.7 billion-asset credit union will partner with Payment Alliance International to expand surcharge-free ATM access.
 
The new Rite Aid locations will bring the number of BECU-branded ATMs to more than 300 in the Puget Sound area and nearly 350 statewide.
 
BECU currently offers its members free access to approximately 200 company-owned and -operated ATMs in Washington as well as the nearly 30,000 ATMs that are part of the CO-OP Financial Services network.
 
Marshall said the addition of the drugstores gives its members ATM access in the Olympic Peninsula to the west and Lynden and Bellingham to the north.
 
When expanding its ATM footprint, the credit union factored in the opportunity to add convenience for its members who travel and that fact the ATMs will be part of the CO-OP shared network. "It made sense for us to include all of the Rite Aid locations in Washington state," Marshall said.