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Education CUs plan Feb. conference in New Orleans

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SPANISH FORT, Ala. (1/16/14)--The Education Credit Union Council will host its annual conference in New Orleans Feb. 15-18.

The ECUC provides a forum for education-niche credit unions to share common membership and mission issues.
 
Conference speakers include:
  • Elizabeth Ellis, deputy assistant director for the Office of Financial Institutions and Business Liaison and former senior adviser to the chief of staff at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau;
  • Joe Lombardi, New Orleans Saints assistant coach;
  • Steve Gilliland, author of "Enjoy the Ride;"
  • John McKechnie, former National Credit Union Administration director of public and congressional affairs;
  • Peter Ricchiuti, economist, Tulane University; and
  • Jason Young and Tracy Moore, entrepreneurs, Mindblown Labs.
Registration is open for the full conference or single days.
 
Connie Kennelly, CEO of $20 million Tulane-Loyola University FCU, New Orleans, and a member of the ECUC West Orleans chapter, will kick things off with opening remarks (eNews Jan. 15).

Minn. AG presses for senior financial protection

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (1/16/14)--During a Tuesday meeting with credit unions, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson commended them for their work to prevent senior fraud--an area that her office is monitoring statewide.
 
From left, Mara Humphrey, vice president of governmental affairs, Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN); Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson; and Mark Cummins, president/CEO, MnCUN, at the Archer Doig Chapter meeting Tuesday in St. Paul.
"Seniors are often targeted because they have some money, but not a lot of money," Swanson told the meeting of the Archer Doig Chapter of the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN).
 
"Many credit union employees have acted as good stewards when assisting senior members with suspicious financial activities--such as wire transfers--and have helped report fraud to my office," she said.
 
"Attorney General Swanson has a critical role in helping to protect Minnesota consumers--a mission that credit unions share," said Mark Cummins, MnCUN president/CEO, adding that the league will continue to work with her office on consumer protection and regulatory matters.
 
Swanson also is monitoring the practice of selling trusts to avoid probate or selling annuities and insurance products that are not appropriate for an elderly person. Also, her office is on the lookout for instances of where a senior is induced to act because they are concerned for their physical safety.

CU fills BofA branch on Puget Sound island

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SHELTON, Wash. (1/16/14)--Our Community CU (OCCU), with $280 million in assets, Shelton, Wash., will open a branch formerly operated by Bank of America on Vashon-Maury Island near Washington.
 
Vashon-Maury Island is about 13 miles long and eight miles at its widest point, with a population of 11,000, but OCCU will be the island's second credit union. Puget Sound Cooperative CU, with $79 million in assets, Bellevue, Wash., also operates a branch on the island (Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Jan. 15).
 
Daris Devaney, an OCCU spokeswoman, said there's room on the island for both branches. Credit unions have co-existed for a long time and even have a history of working together. It could even happen on Vashon-Maury Island, she said.
 
OCCU's opening is just another indication that consumers have grown weary of big banks and are seeking not-for-profit financial institutions and personalized financial services, said Puget Sound Cooperative CU branch manager Patte Wagner.
 
OCCU also offers business services, which is a great benefit for island businesses, said Rex Stratton, an island attorney.
 
The credit union announced plans to move to the island after Bank of America announced it would close its location after 35 years of service. The credit union has hired four islanders to staff the branch, which will open Jan. 27. One of the employees is a former employee of the Bank of America branch.

Wis. announces $250K for financial literacy grants

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MADISON, Wis. (1/16/14)--The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Wednesday announced a $250,000 statewide grant program to bring personal finance education into state schools.
 
Funding for the program will be provided by DFI, which through its Office of Financial Literacy is charged with promoting financial literacy in Wisconsin. The Office of Financial Literacy works in concert with the Governor's Council on Financial Literacy to measurably improve the financial knowledge of Wisconsin's citizens.
 
The application deadline is March 21. DPI, which is administering the program, will begin accepting nominations online Jan. 31. Award recipients will be notified by e-mail May 1. Grant money will be made available to grantees June 1.
 
The intent of the program is to support the efforts of teachers and school districts to begin new and sustainable programs and events. Teachers in K-12 school districts are eligible to apply for awards of up to $10,000 and may submit proposals for elementary, middle school and high school.
 
DFI Secretary Peter Bildsten pointed out that a survey commissioned by the agency last year showed that 44% of Wisconsin school districts currently require a course in personal financial literacy in order to graduate from high school.
 
Credit union financial educators reached 400,097 students nationally in 12,243 classroom presentations involving financial literacy during the 2012 school year, according to data from the National Youth Involvement Board (News Now Sept. 26).

CU System briefs (01/16/2014)

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  • BEAVERTON, Ore. (1/16/14)--The Northwest Credit Union Association announced this week that it has added Samantha Beeler to its political and grassroots advocacy team. The role, the NWCUA says, will have her working with credit unions in Oregon and Washington to develop the association's legislative and political agenda (Anthem Jan. 14). Beeler has experience with grassroots advocacy from her time in charge of international outreach efforts for a relief organization called The World Race. She has also worked as a business development and marketing coordinator for BakerHostetler LLP in Washington, D.C.--a city where, last year, she opened her own events firm ...
  • HARAHAN, La. (1/16/14)--University of Louisiana FCU, Lafayette, named Debbie Kidder as its new president/CEO (eNews Jan. 15). She replaces Patsy Matthieu. Kidder, who has been with the $44 million asset-credit union for 36 years, has been a senior vice president since 2003. Before that, she worked as a teller, a member service representative, a bookkeeper, an accountant and an operations manager ...
  • GAINESVILLE, Fla. (1/16/14)--SunState FCU reported this week passing the $500,000 mark in a refund program, after doling out the 10 millionth nickel since the promotion started. The Gainesville, Fla., credit union promised members in October 2009 that they would receive 5 cents back for performing signature debit card transactions. "We are very excited to reach this milestone, not only because 10 million of anything is substantial, but also because that nickel will represent $500,000 we have given directly to our members right here in North Central Florida," said Robert Hart, vice president of marketing at the $300 million-asset credit union ...

Leagues voice appreciation for congressional response to Target breach

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WASHINGTON (1/16/14)--Credit unions continue to inform lawmakers of the repercussions of the Target security breach and are recognizing those who have responded to the growing issue.
 
For instance, immediately after the Target breach notification, the Missouri Credit Union Association contacted the Missouri congressional delegation, and continues to follow developments.
 
In a letter released Tuesday, Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) called for a briefing from the retailer about the data breach that exposed personal information of more than 70 million consumers.
 
McCaskill is chair of the Senate subcommittee on consumer protection, product safety and insurance; Rockefeller is chair of the Senate Commerce Committee.
 
"It has been three weeks since the data breach was discovered, and new information continues to come out," the senators wrote. "We expect that your security experts have had time to fully examine the cause and impact of the breach and will be able to provide the committee with detailed information."
 
"It is clear that members of the Missouri delegation understand data breaches are a concern for credit unions in the state and are taking steps to address that concern," said Don Cohenour, president/CEO, Missouri Credit Union Association (Missouri Difference Jan. 15). "We will continue our efforts to communicate information that will help lawmakers better address these issues."
 
Last week, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) reintroduced the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act--a move that drew praise from Joe Bergeron, president, Association of Vermont Credit Unions. Although the bill is not specific to credit unions, he said, it addresses growing marketplace issues that are detrimental to credit unions. (NewsLines Express Jan. 10)
 
Also, the Credit Union National Association has reached out to House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committee leaders, encouraging them to "fully examine the chronic issue of merchant data breaches, their impact on consumers and financial institutions." (See Tuesday's News Now "House Financial Services will have data security hearings, chairman says.")

CUANM selects Arizona CU's Stull for CEO position

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (1/16/14)--Paul Stull, a senior vice president at Arizona State CU, will be the next CEO of the Credit Union Association of New Mexico, the board announced Wednesday.
 
Stull has been with the $1.47 billion-asset credit union in Phoenix for seven years as senior vice president of strategy and brand, overseeing corporate strategy and planning, product management, and marketing.
 
He replaces Sylvia Lyon, who is retiring March 7. Lyon joined CUANM in 1994 and became CEO in 2003.
 
"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.
 
Stull is active at the state and national level of political advocacy programs, earning the honor of Arizona political advocate of the year in 2010. He is a director of the OneAZ Community Foundation and has served on the Marketing Association of Credit Unions board of directors.
 
Stull has an undergraduate degree in marketing from Elmira (N.Y.) College and is a graduate of the Said Business School at Oxford University.
 
"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.