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CU System

Online registration open for World CU Conference

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MADISON, Wis. (1/25/13)--Online registration is open for the 2013 World Credit Union Conference, presented by the World Council of Credit Unions July 14-17, in Ottawa, Canada.

The conference will feature presenters, networking and opportunities for attendees to meet with exhibitors and sponsors, WOCCU said.

In conjunction with the conference, the World Council annual general meeting will be held July 15.

WOCCU expects about 2,500 credit union professionals to attend.

CU System briefs (01/25/2013)

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  • WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (1/25/13)--This is the official legal notice to all members of the Credit Union National Association's 79th Annual General Meeting (AGM), scheduled for Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference. The AGM will update member credit unions and leagues on the actions of their association over the past year …
  • CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (1/25/13)--Starr Irvine Beach, a mother of four whose husband is deployed, is this year's winner of $1,000 in a Military Saves Challenge at Fort Campbell FCU, Clarksville, Tenn. During Military Saves Week 2012, the credit union challenged active duty and retired military personnel to open a special Military Saves Challenge Share Certificate and save $1,000 between Feb. 29 and Nov. 29, 2012. Those meeting the challenge were entered into a drawing to win $1,000 matched by the credit union. Starr, shown here with three of her four children ages 5, 6, 8 and 17,  said the money really came in handy, especially at this time of year.  She said her husband is the budget-maker and she just followed his plan. Fort Campbell FCU said it will participate in this year's Military Saves Week Feb. 25-March 2. (Photo provided by Fort Campbell FCU) …
  • WESTBURY, N.Y (1/25/13)--NEFCU, Westbury, N.Y., is the exclusive sponsor of the Newsday FutureCorps program, the largest student-driven community service project on Long Island with 14 years of service and more than 900,000 Long Island students participating. "At NEFCU, we are committed to serving the local community, especially with the recent impact of Hurricane Sandy. At this time, we believe giving back is more important than ever," said Edward P. Paternostro, president/CEO of the $1.92 billion asset credit union. The program is for all schools in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. FutureCorps projects focus on protecting the environment, providing food and clothing for the homeless, mentoring fellow students and more  …

Pa chapter hosts home buyer education TV show

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READING, Pa. (1/25/13)--With more consumers interested in pursuing homeownership, one group of Pennsylvania credit unions is educating the public about buying new homes--and raising awareness of credit unions as a source of mortgage loan expertise--on television.

The Schuylkill Valley Chapter of Pennsylvania Credit Unions presented the first in a six-part series of Home Buyer Education on Berks County Television (BCTV). The program is based on the "Seminar in a Box for Members" curriculum developed by the Credit Union National Association.

Trish Shermot, marketing and planning manager for CTCE FCU, Reading, hosted the show, which was televised Tuesday from BCTV studios in Reading.

Shermot and guests Bob Zwolinski of Sun FCU and Linda Kleinsmith of CTCE FCU discussed the home buying process and how consumers can "ready their finances" to prepare for purchasing a home.

The group's communication model was successful because all the credit unions worked collaboratively on the project instead of marketing their own credit union, said Shermot.  Their key message was "support the local credit unions." She told CUNA that one credit union reported Wednesday receiving an inquiry from a viewer.

CUNA created an agreement specifically for the public TV in the event other groups of credit unions wish to replicate the public TV model.

The group broke the seminar into six 30-minute presentations, and the next Home Buyer Education session will air Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. ET. The chapter comprises 14 credit unions, serving more than 191,600 members with more than $2.429 billion in assets.

For more information about Seminars in a Box, use the links.

WOCCU extends leadership program for second year

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MADISON, Wis. (1/25/13)--The World Council of Credit Unions is extending its International Credit Union Leadership Program to a second year, offering emerging leaders from Brazil, Costa Rica and the U.S. intensive short-term credit union internships to broaden their professional expertise.

"The first year of the International Credit Union Leadership Program proved to be an eye-opening and transformational experience for both the interns and their host credit unions," said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO.

The program facilitates idea exchanges, promotes foreign language skills and cultural diversity, and improves problem-solving skills related to credit union development and management globally. Participating U.S. credit union leaders will learn about methods to better serve an increasingly diverse membership, including youth, low-income and Hispanic members, WOCCU said.

The program also will allow credit union professionals from Brazil and Costa Rica to work alongside U.S. credit unions' counterparts to find solutions to similar challenges. The International Credit Union Leadership Program is part of the U.S. Department of State's Professional Fellows Program and is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of Citizen Exchanges.

The program offers internship opportunities to 24 participants from the U.S., 12 from Brazil and 12 from Costa Rica through an open application and interview process that evaluates applicants' leadership skills, adaptability to new surroundings and potential to initiate change in their credit unions.

Ideal participants have intermediate Spanish-language skills. The first application process for 12 U.S. participants to intern in Costa Rica June 16 to 29 will open this April. The next internship opportunity for 12 U.S. participants will take place in Brazil in January 2014.

CU rewards checking gets nerdwalletspotlight

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MADISON, Wis. (1/25/13)--The benefits offered by many credit union reward checking accounts go above and beyond those included in free checking accounts, and nerdwallet.com highlighted these benefits and some credit unions that offer them in a recent article.

"Many credit unions offer rewards checking accounts that not only offer the same benefits as free checking accounts, but they also earn interest--sometimes really good interest! They also might give you little perks like ATM fee refunds to show you that they appreciate your membership," the article noted.

Rewards checking account programs highlighted in the article include:

  • McGraw-Hill FCU, New York, N.Y.'s, S3 Account, which offers a 1% annual percentage yield and monthly ATM fee refunds for account users that make one direct deposit each month;
  • The e.Rewards Checking accounts offered by ELGA CU of Burton, Mich. An APY of 1.76% on balances up to $25,000 and monthly ATM fee refunds of up to $25 are available to members that make 10 check card purchases, a minimum of one direct deposit and meet other qualifications; and
  • Deseret First CU's First Choice Checking, which offers 10-cent refunds on debit card purchases of more than $5, $25 in monthly ATM fee refunds and an APY of 1%.
To read the article, use the link.

Ohio General Assembly to consider sales tax reform, revenues

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (1/25/13)--Tax reform proposals in Ohio are earning the close examination of the state's league--not because a tax on credit unions is imminent, but because local credit unions are already subject to sales and use taxes. And the league wants to make sure that burden doesn't grow.

"The governor wants to re-examine some of the taxes such as the sales tax, because there are some 140 loopholes and exemptions, and he wants to close some of those--especially with sales and use taxes," John Kozlowski, Ohio Credit Union League general counsel, told News Now. "He also is looking at reducing taxes for small businesses.

"We will be watching to see what effect it will have on state-chartered credit unions,' he added, noting that the league is "not concerned at this time, but always watchful when it comes to taxes' effects on credit unions."  

The Ohio league is monitoring the progress of bills related to sales tax reform and revenue in the state's General Assembly and their impact on Ohio credit unions.  

Unlike their federal counterparts, Ohio's state-chartered credit unions are not exempt from paying Ohio's sales and use taxes, the league explained. If many of the deductions and exemptions are eliminated, Ohio's citizens and businesses-- including credit unions--would pay more sales and use taxes for goods and services purchased (eLumination Newsletter Jan. 23).

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has said he will submit a comprehensive tax reform proposal this year, the league said.

The reforms likely will target more than 140 tax credits, deductions and exemptions--which total more than $7 billion--Ohio permits annually. A sales tax reform could be a factor in reducing or eliminating the state's personal income tax, along with increasing the severance taxes on oil and gas, the league said.

The Ohio league said it will track developments and provide updates as they arise to credit unions.

CU fills void in area with donated branch

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (1/25/13)--A Rochester, N.Y., neighborhood at risk of losing its only convenient financial institution will have services after all, thanks to Lexington Avenue FCU stepping in to fill that need.

The $18 million asset credit union became the solution after the city sought to preserve financial services in the underserved area after learning a bank would close its branch there. And in a new twist, the bank closing the branch donated that same brick and mortar to the credit union.

The credit union received a former HSBC branch from First Niagara Financial Group Inc. after the city met with First Niagara to express concern about the branch's closure. The nearest branch is about 1 1/2 miles away on the other side of the Genesee River, and it would take customers two bus rides each way to conduct their financial business, the city said.

Forty percent of the neighborhood people don't have their own transportation, Charles Casaceli, CEO of Lexington Avenue FCU, told the Democrat & Chronicle (Jan. 17).

First Niagara had acquired the building when it purchased the upstate New York branches of HSBC last spring. HSBC sold the branches to competing banks as part of a federal anti-trust requirement.

The new branch, to open in March, will be the credit union's second branch, said Casaceli.

"When First Niagara and the City Council approached us, we saw this as an excellent opportunity for government, business and not-for-profit to do something with the best of intentions for Rochesterians in mind," said Casaceli.

It was the first time the bank had ever worked with a credit union, said Suzanne Nasipak-Chapman, the bank's Rochester marketing executive. "We couldn't find an example of any other agreement" similar to this one, she told News Now. "Often there is more than one answer to a problem in any given situation. This was for the good of all parties concerned."

The donation, valued at about $200,000, includes the property title and all the building's contents, technology and furniture (Globe Newswire Jan. 15).

NCUF raises nearly $1M in supporter campaign

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MADISON, Wis. (1/25/13)--The National Credit Union Foundation has raised nearly $1 million from credit union organizations as part of its annual Supporters' Program. The program raises funds for NCUF's programs and grants while providing benefits such as heightened visibility for donors, said NCUF.

Currently, there are a total of 26 credit unions and credit union organizations that support the program, NCUF indicated.

"NCUF Supporters help provide critical support for our programs to help make financial freedom achievable through credit unions," said Bucky Sebastian, NCUF executive director. "It's also a great way for organizations to demonstrate their commitment to the credit union movement and our philosophy of 'People Helping People.'"

The deadline to become a Foundation Supporter is Feb. 1. Supporters will be recognized at NCUF's  2013 dinner presenting the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards on Feb. 25. The dinner is in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference, Feb. 24-28 in Washington, D.C. A private reception will be held for NCUF supporters.

The program allows the foundation to provide assistance to credit unions and credit union members through REAL Solutions, Credit Union Development Education training, grants, Biz Kid$ and disaster relief fundraising. Additional ways to support NCUF include investing in the Community Investment Fund or by making a donation, said NCUF.

For more information, use the link.

Barks to chair St Louis Fed advisory council

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ST. LOUIS (1/25/13)--A credit union CEO has been named chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis's Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council (CDIAC).

Glenn D. Barks, president/CEO of First Community CU, Chesterfield, Mo., is the new chairman, succeeding Dennis Terry, an Edwardsville banker.  Barks, who has served on the council since it began meeting in 2011, will represent the regional council at biannual meetings of the Fed's Board of Governors CDIAC meetings with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The regional council meets twice a year to advise St. Louis Fed President James Bullard on the credit, banking and economic conditions experienced by financial institutions and businesses in the fed's Eighth District.  It represents Arkansas and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

The national-level CDIAC was formed in 2010 as a means for credit unions, community banks and thrifts with assets of $10 billion or less to provide input from their district to the Fed. The Fed District Banks then established local advisory councils, with one representative chosen to serve on the national CDIAC.

Among the outgoing members of the St. Louis Fed's first CDIAC councilis William J. Rissel, president/CEO of Fort Knox FCU, Radcliff, Ky. Barks is the sole credit union representative on the St. Louis council.

Barks is not the only credit union person to serve as chairman of a regional CDIAC. In October, Albany, N.Y.-based SEFCU President/CEO Michael Castallana was named chairman of the New York Fed Bank's CDIAC. He will represent that district on the national CDIAC (News Now Oct. 25).

Senate pages get fin ed, thanks to Virginia CU

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RICHMOND, Va. (1/25/13)--Youth who serve as pages and messengers in the Virginia Senate received financial education Monday from Richmond-based Virginia CU.

Click to view larger image Cherry Hedges, Virginia CU's financial education director in Richmond, presented an hour-long session on financial education Monday, which included hands-on budgeting activities, to youth who serve as pages and messengers in the Virginia Senate. (Photo provided by Virginia CU)

The 40 students, most of whom are 13 or 14 years old, are in Richmond during the General Assembly session and serve the Senate clerk's office. They come from all regions of the state and stay on course with their schoolwork while in Richmond. The financial education session was one of several offered while the General Assembly convenes. The credit union's financial-education program is in its second year.

"We have received very positive feedback from the students themselves and from the Senate staff who work with them to coordinate enrichment activities," Glenn Birch, Virginia CU's public and media relations director, told News Now. "This is an extension of the financial education programs we offer in schools, libraries, community centers, and our own facilities each year. Last year, our financial education programs reached more than 12,000 youth and adults."

"The pages who serve the Senate of Virginia are a very bright group of students," he added. "They become very engaged in the hands-on budgeting activities that our credit union's financial education director leads. It's exciting to see middle school students develop a realistic budget based on the expected take-home pay for real-world jobs and careers."

Cherry Hedges, the $2.33 billion asset credit union's financial education director, presented an hour-long session that included hands-on budgeting activities.

Based on the average income for several occupations, the students developed realistic budgets. They were randomly assigned careers as short-order cooks, child-care workers, legal secretaries, mail carriers, financial planners, physicians and others. They considered the impact of those careers on their future earning potential and learned-- based on the salaries they were assigned--to develop a realistic monthly budget.

The lesson also included information about debit cards, credit cards, cash and checks. The students then discussed the opportunity-cost of certain types of spending and the importance of managing credit as adults.

Paper: Data analysis is 'looking glass' into card programs

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DES MOINES, Iowa (1/25/13)--Data analysis of card programs provides a "looking glass" into credit union member behavior and is key to mining long-term mutually beneficial relationships, according to a new white paper.

The paper is written by payments processor The Members Group (TMG) and its data analysis partner IQR Consulting.

While traditional member segmentation has largely been based on demographic information, data analysis focuses on member behavior, according to the paper, "Data Analysis Points the Way Forward for Card Management Teams." With an in-depth understanding of this behavior, credit unions can better identify patterns, and gain insight to develop effective campaigns for growth.

Data analysis has three components for card-management teams. First, issuers must capture pertinent fields of data. Second, they must analyze that data to both develop and test a hypothesis. Third, and most important, data analysis must lead issuers to an action--the "What next?" of portfolio management.

For many community-based card teams, increasing transactions among existing cardholders is a chief goal. The intent is not to encourage members to spend more money, but to become the member's card of choice. Credit unions and community banks can level the playing field between themselves and their large competitors for walletshare.

With member-level analysis, including statement and credit bureau data, credit unions can understand which members are most likely to generate the revenue needed to take a portfolio to the next level.