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CU System

CU movement support for Haiti totals 142000 so far

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MADISON, Wis., and WASHINGTON (1/19/10)--The credit union movement began stepping up to the plate and in two days last week contributed $142,000 to disaster relief efforts for Haiti's 175 credit unions, their staff and volunteers and members affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake. As of 2 p.m. CT Friday, the total collected was at $142,000, said Valerie Breunig, executive director of the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, the international charitable arm of the World Council of Credit Unions. That includes more than $98,736 in donations sent via the National Credit Union Foundation's CUAid Disaster Relief fund via www.CUAid.coop. "This isn't just from organizations, either," said Jill Stevenson of NCUF's marketing and communications department. "Donations from credit union employees, volunteers and members are coming in online via www.CUAid.coop in $10, $25, $50, $100 and up. The outpouring of support warms the heart," she told News Now. CUNA Mutual Group announced Friday it is contributing $20,000 and said it would match employees' donations up to $5,000. "This is a disaster of epic proportions, and CUNA Mutual wants to assist in the recovery effort," said Jeff Post, CUNA Mutual president/CEO. "In the true spirit of people helping people, we're proud to be part of the credit union industry stepping up to help residents rebuild their lives." The CO-OP Financial Services and CO-OP Shared Branching are donating $15,000 to CUAid. "The credit union movement is dedicated to uplifting communities, and it is hard to image a case where there is a greater need to financially aid a community than right now," said Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Services president/CEO. "We thank our member credit unions for the ability to make this contribution, and we encourage all organizations within our industry to participate." Earlier last week the Credit Union National Association and WOCCU contributed $20,000 and the NCUF $10,000. The efforts are worldwide. The Canadian Cooperative Association, The Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions and Credit Union Foundation of Australia are all carrying out campaigns, said Breunig. Leagues and their state foundations are also contributing. The Washington Credit Union Foundation approved $5,000. Patrick Harris, director of media relations at the Ohio Credit Union League, noted that the Ohio Credit Union Foundation granted $15,000. "I know individual credit unions in Ohio are making donations, including Wright-Patt. Ohio Catholic FCU is matching each dollar its employees and volunteers are donating," Harris told News Now. Many credit unions are also collecting funds for the American Red Cross's International Disaster Fund. Freedom CU, Warminster, Pa., has donated $1,000 and said it is offering members a way to make safe donations through a quick payment link on Members' Online Bill Payer portals. UW CU, Madison, Wis., said members could donate directly from their Web Branch accounts to the fund. Some know what being in an earthquake is like. Bay FCU, Capitola, Calif., established a fund for the Red Cross fund. "The victims of this devastating earthquake are in dire need of assistance," said Bay Federal President/CEO Carrie Birkhofer. Referring to a Loma Prieta Earthquake that devastated the Bay Area in 1989, Birkhofer said she and other Bay Federal employees "recalled the fear and tragedy we experienced and knew we must help these people." Others are finding other ways to help. MoneyGram International, a CUNA Strategic Service provider based in Minneapolis, announced that it is offering special pricing of $1 and similar pricing in other currencies for money transfers to Haiti from any of its 186,000 locations throughout the world. MoneyGram said the level of disaster confronting Haiti will spark an increase in money transfers from people sending financial support to family and friends. The discount will help them maximize their funds sent. "Our priority is to ensure our agents are operational as quickly as possible and to help our customers get the most out of the funds that reach their loved ones." Even MasterCard announced it would waive its interchange fees on Haitian relief donations. WOCCU staff working on a project in Haiti say that cash is one of two priorities right now. See related story, "WOCCU's Haiti staff's priority needs: satellite phones, cash" in today's News Nowfor details on how to donate. Or use the resource links. The 175 credit unions in Haiti serve 404,000 members. The American Red Cross has estimated the death toll could be between 45,000 to 50,000, while Haiti officials estimate it could reach 100,000. Other estimates are much higher (The Wall Street Journal Jan. 15).

NY mandate reforms include CUs municipal deposits

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ALBANY, N.Y. (1/19/10)--New York Gov. David Paterson Thursday introduced a mandate reform agenda that would ease the burden on taxpayers and local governments during the continuing fiscal crisis. One of the reform initiatives would allow local governments to bank at credit unions. The inclusion of municipal deposit legislation in the package, which accompanies the release of the governor's budget, represents a major step forward in the Credit Union Association of New York's advocacy efforts to ensure credit unions' ability to offer the service, the association said Friday. By amending several provisions of state law to provide depository flexibility, the state would allow credit unions to accept deposits from municipalities, which in turn would lower town operating expenses and save taxpayers money, said the association. "The law addressing municipal funds was enacted in 1909 before credit unions existed in New York," said William J. Mellin, association president/CEO. "The association and the credit unions of New York applaud and thank Governor Paterson for his leadership on this important issue and his commitment to offering localities flexibility to choose where they do their financial business." Currently, only commercial banks and trust companies can accept deposits from local and state governmental units, giving them a monopoly over the deposit of public funds, said the association. Municipal deposits would enable credit unions to further reinvest in their communities by offering more loans to members, small businesses and more. "This proposal is a clear indication of the governor's support for municipal deposit legislation," Mellin said. The association urged legislature to act on the mandate.

Chartway moves to assist more CUs

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (1/19/10)--In the aftermath of Chartway FCU’s decision to purchase and assume the $311 million asset Tooele, Utah-based HeritageWest FCU--announced Jan. 1--Chartway has been fielding questions from other credit unions with similar issues. Ron Burniske, president /CEO of the $1.22 billion asset, Virginia Beach, Va.-based Chartway, sees the merger of HeritageWest as more than an example of a failed financial institution. “We didn’t see a troubled credit union,” he said. “We saw a credit union reaching out for help. We saw an opportunity to save the culture, heritage and traditions of a great institution, made even greater through a strong partnership with Chartway. The decision to retain the HeritageWest name is a testament to our desire to maintain the legacy of the credit union.” Other credit unions are contacting Chartway because they see the benefits that partnering with a strong, well-capitalized organization such as Chartway can bring, Burniske added. “In most cases, when an organization is liquidated, everything changes,” Burniske said. “That’s not our philosophy. When we talk to credit unions that are looking for solutions, they know they’re dealing with an organization that will support them--not tear everything down they have worked so hard to build. We just want to help them continue serving their members through greater strength and opportunities.” Bruce Bryan, HeritageWest CEO, will continue as regional president of Heritage West. “Through Chartway’s help, we’ll be able to do more of what we do best: meet the financial service needs of our combined members,” he said. “Ultimately, the opportunity to integrate both credit unions will provide the financial strength that we need to offer stronger pricing and service advantages.” In the future, Burniske said he believes Chartway may be able to assist more credit unions looking for creative ways to continue serving their members.

Mica to IFox Business NewsI More Consumers seek CUs

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WASHINGTON (1/19/10)--More U.S. consumers are moving their money to credit unions from banks because credit unions are easy to join, accessible and dependable, Dan Mica, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), told Fox Business News Friday. “Anytime there is an economic problem, people tend to fly to safety, and we have had a tremendous turn toward credit unions,” Mica said. “In fact [it’s been] double the population growth over the past year--over 2% growth for credit unions and 1% with the population. People are moving with their feet. “That is the biggest growth in over a decade,” he added. Accessibility is easy because CUNA provides an online credit union locator so consumers can join a credit union near them, Mica told Fox (use the link). Also, with more than 25,000 ATMs and the widening use of electronic technology--such as making deposits by electronically scanning them--credit unions are reaching out more than ever, Mica added. As for the future viability of credit unions in troubled economic times, Mica told Fox that people don’t lose money in credit unions because their accounts are insured up to $250,000. During the past 100 years in which credit unions have been in the U.S., no one has lost money in credit unions, he said. To view the segment, use the link.

Online registration opens for The 1 CU Conference

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MADISON, Wis. (1/19/10)--Registrations and hotel reservations are now being accepted online for The 1 Credit Union Conference, a one-time event co-hosted by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). More than 2,500 attendees from 60 countries are expected to attend the conference July 11-14 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Those registering at vegas2010.org by May 20 will receive a $200 early bird discount. CUNA and WOCCU have joined forces for this year only to offer The 1 Credit Union Conference, a combination of The World Credit Union Conference and America’s Credit Union Conference. The event’s agenda will include speakers bringing attendees’ ideas from the global credit union movement and the international business world. Breakout sessions will follow six tracks so participants can customize their educational programs. Track themes include strategy and leadership, topics for developing credit union movements, lending and operations and membership growth. The conference provides attendees from the U.S. and abroad the opportunity to gain new perspectives that can help credit unions continue to serve members and gain market share, said WOCCU and CUNA. Both WOCCU and CUNA will still offer additional events that have characterized their individual conferences. The organizations encourage attendees under the age of 35 to take part in WOCCU’s Young Credit Union People Program (WYCUP). A special ceremony will recognize recipients of WOCCU’s Distinguished Service Award and WYCUP winners, and also CUNA’s Credit Union Magazine Hero of the Year Award. Rooms at the MGM Grand Hotel will cost $159 per night (single or double), with a $25 hotel voucher for additional savings. Pre- and post-tours will be offered in addition to optional day tours during the conference. For more information, use the link.

WOCCU Haiti staff priority needs satellite phones cash

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PETIONVILLE, Haiti (1/19/10)--The World Council of Credit Unions' team in Haiti, led by program chief of party Greta Greathouse, has continued its efforts to regroup in the wake of the Jan. 12 devastating earthquake.
Click to view larger imageWith financial institutions shuttered by the Jan. 12 earthquake, Haiti has become a cash-only society, making life inconvenient and dangerous for people on the street, report the World Council of Credit Unions' project team leader there. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images and provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
With all 16 HIFIVE team members safe, but an office in ruins, the effort has been difficult at best, according to Greathouse. Friday she took a "brief window of opportunity for Internet access" to report on the status there. "Right now, our priority needs are satellite phones and cash. Haiti will be a cash-only economy for some time due to the lack of communication, data security and other electronic issues," Greathouse reported. "Financial institutions are closed and will be for some time. I need to give cash to my employees to tide them over. They can't access anything in their accounts and need money to survive the next few days and to help their family members. Unfortunately, I only have about $30 in personal cash," she said. "Today (Friday) we will try to safely salvage as much as possible from the office, including the checkbooks. Our accounting office took a direct hit, and with collapsed walls and ceilings, we may not be able to get in there. We need to have a place for the things that we salvage so that they are secure and we have access to them. "I have asked a colleague organization for use of their conference room as temporary office space so we can start working again. However, it is a small space and won't give us the room we need. We will have to search for new space. Most houses on the road to our office were destroyed. We are lucky that our office didn't collapse. It is very heavily damaged, but standing. That's why everyone was able to get out unharmed." Greathouse and her team will continue with dispatches to WOCCU as long as communications work. U.S. credit unions can support WOCCU's relief efforts by donating through the National Credit Union Foundation's CUAid system at www.CUAid.coop. Others can provide support to Haiti's credit unions, members, staff and volunteers by making payments via check, credit card or wire to:


Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions Inc.

5710 Mineral Point Road

Madison, WI 53705 USA

Donations may be made online with a credit card at www.woccu.org/give. For wire transfer information, contact Valerie Breunig at the foundation at 608-395-2055 or e-mail vbreunig@woccu.org. Contributions should indicate that the donation is for the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund.

Mich. congressman CUs play major role in recovery

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FERNDALE, Mich. (1/19/10)--Credit unions are playing a major role in the U.S. economic recovery, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said at Credit Union ONE’s grand opening Tuesday of its 19th branch, in West Bloomfield Township, Mich.
Click to view larger imageAttending Credit Union ONE’s grand opening Tuesday of its 19th branch, West Bloomfield Township, Mich., were, from left: Teri Weingarden, West Bloomfield Township treasurer; Geoff Daniels, Credit Union ONE West Bloomfield branch manager; Allan Sefton, Greater West Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce president; Gary Moody, Credit Union ONE president/CEO; U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.); Michele Economou Ureste, West Bloomfield Township supervisor; and Jan Gillespie, Credit Union ONE director. (Photo provided by Credit Union ONE)
“Not only will this new Credit Union ONE create jobs, but all credit unions must play a critical role in Michigan’s economic recovery,” said Peters. “Even while big banks return to health, I continue to hear from small business owners across Michigan who want to grow and add jobs but cannot because they still do not have access to credit at reasonable terms. “I believe this is now the biggest obstacle to creating jobs in Michigan,” he added. “Smaller institutions like credit unions must play a major role in restoring liquidity to credit markets and getting our economy moving. That’s why I’m a supporter of credit unions and other lenders that are based here in our communities.” The $760.4 million asset, Ferndale, Mich.-based credit union’s new branch will offer products and services, with the help of three member service consultants, and a ONE’s Financial Services financial planner. The new 3,100 square-foot branch was designed to provide members with access to banking services in an open and inviting environment. Members also can go to a drive-through ATM available 24 hours a day and drive-through services during normal operating hours. Attending the grand opening ceremony were Peters, Oakland County Supervisor Shelly Goodman Taub, and West Bloomfield Township Supervisor Michelle Economou Ureste. “Opening a branch in these uncertain economic times is a testament to our commitment and to our mission of serving our members as well as the trust, confidence and faith our members have in Credit Union ONE,” President/CEO Gary Moody said.

Aranjo appeals fraud conviction

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BOSTON (1/19/10)--Carol Aranjo, a well-known former advocate for community development credit unions, has asked a federal appeals court to overturn her 2008 conviction on charges of fraud in connection to the failure of a credit union she led, according to court documents. Lawyers for Aranjo, former president of D. Edward Wells FCU, Springfield, Mass., presented oral arguments in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston Jan. 4. Aranjo’s attorneys argued that the government exercised a peremptory challenge to strike the only African-American on the jury panel and that the lower court failed to compare the government’s treatment of the challenged juror with other similarly situated perspective jurors. The defense had challenged the strike. However, the prosecutor said she exercised the challenge because the prospective juror had worked at a federally funded job center with regulatory oversight serving juveniles who have been in trouble with the law. Aranjo and her husband, Alphonse Smith--who also was convicted of fraud in 2008--are African-American. Aranjo was convicted of 44 charges, including embezzlement, conspiracy to embezzle, bank fraud and filing false tax returns. She was sentenced to 54 months in federal prison in Arizona. Smith was convicted of 10 charges. He was released from prison after serving one year. D. Edward Wells FCU was closed by the National Credit Union Administration in 2003, with losses of about $3 million (News Now Sept. 26, 2008). Aranjo was chair of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions until she was removed in 1999. She left the federation in 2000.

CUDL to represent CUs at NADA convention

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (1/19/10)--CUDL, which administers an auto lending network for credit unions, will attend the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention Feb. 13-15 in Orlando, representing its 750 partner credit unions. NADA, which averages 20,000 attendees per year, represents roughly 20,000 franchised new car and truck dealers with 43,000 separate franchises. Credit unions continue to provide a reliable lending source for auto dealers, according to CUDL. Credit unions captured nine points of market share from other lenders between 2008 and third quarter 2009, reaching 23% in September. “Our goal is to increase dealers’ awareness of the market power credit unions possess-- representing 86 million potential auto buyers--and to convey the importance and viability of partnerships between credit unions and dealers,” said Tony Boutelle, CUDL president/CEO. CUDL is based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Idaho ranked fifth in NEFE fin-ed saturation

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BOISE, Idaho (1/19/10)--Idaho is ranked fifth in the nation for student saturation in the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP). The Idaho Credit Union League has been instrumental is getting the program offered to schools and other state organizations. HSFPP aims to provide high school aged students with personal finance education. The Credit Union National Association and America’s Credit Unions underwrite the costs of the program so it is free. The Idaho league partnered with the University of Idaho Extension Service to offer the program in the state. Idaho’s credit unions sponsored teacher training workshops and sent staff members to participate in training. Many credit unions served as community financial resources to teachers in classrooms. Idaho First Lady Lori Otter also promoted the program to schools, students, parents and community organizations statewide. The curriculum also has been adopted by the Idaho State Corrections Department, high schools, non profit community organizations, such as Life’s Kitchen and Boise Rescue Mission, and several Idaho colleges and universities. In 2009, roughly 7,000 program workbooks were ordered by the state, the league said.