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Irish regulator probes use of unregistered auditors

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DUBLIN, Ire. (1/6/11)--Ireland's Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement under Paul Appleby said it is investigating the possible use of unregistered auditors by several credit unions. An unregistered auditor is one who is not on the official register compiled by the Irish Companies Registration Office (CRO). Out of more than 1,500 auditors, about 85 are unregistered, said Appleby's office (Irish Independent Jan. 5). The probe will review whether companies have allowed people to pose as auditors and sign off on accounts, or whether legitimate auditors' names have been used without their knowledge to sign off on other accounts. Using unregistered auditors is a breach of the Companies Act of 1990. The CRO indicated it may use a technological solution, by giving auditors a password or encryption device in the future to make it easier to identify auditors operating illegally.

Top 20 most-read INews NowI stories of 2010

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MADISON, Wis. (1/6/11)--Compliance issues and new regulations, interchange, corporate restructuring, and business lending were among the News Now stories that drew the most readership in 2010. The top story centered on overdraft disclosures. But there were bright spots, such as the No. 2 most-read item about media and financial guru Suze Orman joining in on the "Move Your Money" movement and touting credit unions. Here are the top 20 most-read stories for 2010. 20. CUNA: Final reg reform has some CU improvements WASHINGTON (7/16/10)--Following the Senate's 60 to 39 vote approval of comprehensive financial regulatory reform legislation, Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney said that credit unions would work with regulators to ease the impact that interchange provisions could have on their operations and members. 19. Interchange vote forces CUNA opposition to Sen. reform bill WASHINGTON (5/14/10)--Late Thursday the U.S. Senate voted 64-33 in favor of including Sen. Richard Durbin's (D-Ill.) interchange amendment in S. 3217, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act. 18. CUs stand against interchange bill in media MADISON, Wis. (6/10/10)--Credit unions continue to reach out to regional media to oppose an interchange provision in pending federal regulatory reform legislation that would allow the government to set interchange fees. Credit unions also are teaming up with other financial industry groups on their anti-interchange efforts. 17. NCUA session features frank talk on corporate plan WASHINGTON (1/25/10)--At its first town-hall style meeting of the new year, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) shared some frank thoughts about its plans to revamp the corporate credit union system. 16: Compliance: Answers to overdraft questions WASHINGTON (3/17/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has added five questions to its "frequently asked questions" (FAQ) on Regulation E's new overdraft rules requiring members to consent before being assessed fees on overdraft services for ATM and one-time debit card transactions. 15. Compliance: A SAFE registration update WASHINGTON (9/13/10)--The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) briefed the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and other trade associations last week about its progress on developing the registration process that banks, credit unions, and their employees will have to follow in order to comply with the Safe and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act). 14. Fed issues final CARD Act rules WASHINGTON (1/13/10)--The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday approved amendments to Regulation Z, Truth in Lending, which implement provisions of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. The rules go into effect Feb. 22 13. CreditCards.com lists 10 places not to use a debit card MADISON, Wis. (3/18/10)--There are 10 situations where consumers should keep their debit card in their wallet, according to CreditCards.com. Susan Tiffany, the Credit Union National Association's director of consumer periodicals, provides some of the advice. 12. Friday sees one CU, seven banks closed ALEXANDRIA, Va. (4/26/10)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Friday assumed control of the operations of St. Paul Croatian FCU, headquartered in Eastlake, Ohio. 11. CUNA Compliance: CUs need to review check-hold disclosures WASHINGTON (3/2/10)--As of Feb. 27, the Federal Reserve Board consolidated all its check-processing operations into Cleveland, Ohio. This action eliminates all "nonlocal checks" under Regulation CC, which implements the Expedited Funds Availability Act. 10. CUNA 'disappointed' by reg reform bill's interchange treatment WASHINGTON (6/28/10)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica on Friday said that he was "disappointed" that House and Senate regulatory reform conferees allowed legislation that would enable government intervention in interchange fee negotiations to remain in the final version of financial regulatory reform. 9. Ten events that changed CUs in the past decade MADISON, Wis., and WASHINGTON (1/5/10)--A decade has ended and in the tradition of newshounds everywhere, the Credit Union National Association's News Now staff took time out to mull the impact the first decade of the 21st century presented credit unions. Staff sniffed out 10 events of the decade that changed the way credit unions operated and their strategies. 8. CUs outraged over biz lending snub by administration WASHINGTON (2/3/10)--Credit unions are outraged, baffled and feeling "snubbed" by the Obama administration's proposal to funnel $30 billion into smaller banks for business lending--but do nothing for credit unions, Credit Union National Association President/CEO Dan Mica said Tuesday. 7. CU movement reacts to NCUA's actions on corporates MADISON, Wis. (9/28/10)--The credit union movement responded over the weekend to the National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA's) announcements about its final corporate rule, the conservatorship of three corporate credit unions, and its plan to isolate and securitize the corporates' "legacy assets." 6. Cheney battles notion of CU 'bailout' on Fox News WASHINGTON (9/29/10)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney took to the airwaves to correct the misperception that credit unions are being "bailed out" by the National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA) recently released corporate credit union and legacy asset plans. 5. CUNA compiles FAQ on CARD Act queries WASHINGTON (2/22/10)--As promised, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) on Friday posted a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) related to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, which becomes fully effective today. 4. Tax refund fraud is among latest scams WASHINGTON (2/18/10)--Credit unions should warn members that tax-filing season brings out tax-preparation frauds. The latest scheme involves tax refunds transmitted as a direct deposit or automated clearing house (ACH) credit 3. NCUA assesses 13-bp charge to repay corporate CU coverage ALEXANDRIA, Va. (6/18/10)--Credit unions will soon be charged an assessment of 0.134% of insured shares as the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) collects a portion of the funds necessary to pay for the costs of the corporate stabilization. 2. CBS Moneywatch, Suze Orman: Time to join a CU NEW YORK (1/13/10)--It's time to say goodbye to banks and join a credit union, according to CBS Moneywatch.com, which touted credit union's lower fees, better rates and the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) credit union locator. Also this week on CNN, financial guru Suze Orman encouraged consumers to obtain credit cards from credit unions. 1. Compliance: All CUs must report NSF fees monthly WASHINGTON (1/7/10)--Credit unions have inquired whether a new Truth in Savings (TIS) disclosure requirement for overdraft services applies to institutions that do not offer overdraft protection services to their members but do charge returned-item (NSF) fees.

Media Bust those bank fees move to a CU

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FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (1/6/11)--Media coverage of new charges by banks trying to recoup revenues they'll lose under new regulations includes this advice to consumers: Move their accounts to credit unions. The latest article is "Bust your bank fees," in WickedLocal.com (Jan. 4), which published a syndicated article by GateHouse News Service. It notes that new regulations make it harder for banks to hit customers with overdraft fees and that banks have created or reinstituted charges on consumers' monthly statements. (See related article in News Now's "News of the Competition.") In the article, personal finance blogger Jeffry Strain of SavingAdvice.com offered consumers tips to avoid the bank fees, and No. 1 on the list: "Move your account to a credit union." "Credit unions generally have lower fees, better service and lower minimum balance requirements for checking accounts," said the publication. The item has been published in a number of media outlets, including The Patriot-Ledger, Norwich Bulletin, and the Utica Observer-Dispatch. Use the link to access the article

PCUF Fundraising up in 2010

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (1/6/11)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation announced Tuesday that it raised $261,333 in total funds in 2010, or 16% more than in 2009. It also raised 231,583 in unrestricted funds, or 5.3% more than its 2009 total. This result highlighted a successful year in which the foundation also awarded 28 grants for $126,500 to credit unions and non-profit organizations, principally for financial literacy projects (Life is a Highway Jan. 5. Foundation Executive Director Joe Wambach noted that the foundation board personally raised $143,894, or 14% more from credit unions and vendors than in 2009. The turnaround was also spurred by an 11% increase in the foundation’s Fall Leadership Viva Las Vegas special event. Foundation Chair Diana Roberts praised the generosity of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association board, which supported small credit unions through its $20,000 restricted grant during the final week of 2010. “We expect to see a significant increase in our grants portfolio in 2011 because of an increase in educational webinar activities by small credit union staff that will result from this unexpected grant,” Roberts said. Roberts also expressed hope that the financial literacy project grants will increase as more credit unions participate in school and community-based activities during 2011.

NCUF grant helps teens in New York

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ALBANY, N.Y. (1/6/11)--The New York Credit Union Foundation (NYCUF) is looking to extend the reach of a financial education program in 2011 with an additional National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) Innovation Grant.
Financial education participants from Union Settlement FCU in New York. (Photo provided by National Credit Union Foundation.)
NCUF recently announced that NYCUF will receive a grant for phase two of its Money & Me program. NYCUF designed the financial education program for teens. Credit unions across New York offer financial education workshops throughout the year--typically during summer, winter and spring breaks. Using an award-winning curriculum and interactive, hands-on activities, credit union staff teach teens essential financial skills, such as budgeting, saving, maintaining a checking account, managing credit and planning for the future. In 2009, NYCUF piloted the program with six credit unions, conducting six sessions serving about 80 students. Assisted by an Innovation Grant from the NCUF in 2010, NYCUF expanded the program with 15 credit unions conducting 19 sessions for 270 teenagers. During phase two, NYCUF will develop alternate versions of workshop curriculum to meet the diversified needs of credit unions and to tell the stories of the students and parents who benefit from the program. With this approach, NYCUF said it hopes to raise the profile of New York credit unions and the credit union movement. “Financial education is a core philosophy of credit unions and both the New York Credit Union Foundation and the National Credit Union Foundation,” said Christopher Morris, NCUF’s director of communications. “We look forward to watching the program progress and continue to make a difference in teenager’s lives.”

Canadas Atlantic Central to serve CUs in five provinces

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HALIFAX, Novia Scotia (1/6/11)--The creation of Atlantic Central results in a business combination that benefits 61 Canadian credit unions with 1,500 employees and more than 340,000 credit union members in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Each Canadian province has a central credit union. Centrals are similar to corporate credit unions and credit union service organizations in the U.S. The creation of Atlantic Central is the end-product of more than two years of work on the part of each provincial central office, in cooperation with regulators in each province, said Bernie O’Neil, president/CEO of Atlantic Central (TheDailyGleaner Jan. 5). Atlantic Central provides banking, treasury and other services to member credit unions. Atlantic Central deals directly with credit unions and isn’t a retail operation, he said. “We’ll have the ability to syndicate larger loans among credit unions,” O’Neil told the publication. “A larger group of credit unions would participate in particular loans as opposed to one or two credit unions and thereby be able to spread the risk throughout the region.” All employees of the three combining centrals were offered positions in the new central, said O’Neil. The headquarters for the new operation will be in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The change will result in improved services for credit unions, such as more consistent products across the region, better cost control as a region because much business is volume driven, back-office economies of scale, and better marketing, O’Neil added.

Ohio CUs help homeless viral video star

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (1/6/11)--In a story that received national media coverage, a Columbus, Ohio-area homeless man has gone from down on his luck, to the latest viral sensation, to a likely spokesperson for the Central Ohio Chapter of the Ohio Credit Union League. Ted Williams, who was featured on The Columbus Dispatch website in a video story titled “Golden Homeless Voice,” claims to be “an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times,” according to the sign he uses to panhandle. (Use the link to access the video.) Nicole Carey, marketing manager for BMI Federal CU in Dublin, Ohio, set in motion events to give Williams his second chance. “I heard the story on a local radio station and thought there might be some way credit unions can help,” Carey said. “He has the talent, and he appears driven to return to his voiceover roots.” Carey contacted the Ohio Credit Union League, who in turn contacted Central Ohio Chapter President Amanda Thomas, marketing and business development manager for Members First CU in Columbus, to see if any credit union opportunities existed for Williams. The chapter board agreed he would serve well as the vocal talent for their upcoming video marketing campaign. Wednesday morning, live on Columbus’ WNCI-97.9, Thomas offered Williams up to $10,000 in voiceover work. The work is contingent on a background check. Meanwhile, the video of Williams has appeared on social media outlets such as YouTube, Facebook, and Reddit.com and started trending on Twitter. Mainstream media such as CNN, CBS, ABC, Inside Edition, and local Columbus television affiliates pursued Williams’ story. Williams appeared on the CBS Early Show Wednesday. The Central Ohio Chapter is also working on securing funds to help subsidize everyday needs for Williams, including an apartment, transportation and groceries. The chapter also has offered to provide Williams with financial counseling services. Patrick Harris, director of media relations for the Ohio Credit Union League, said that although everything is still in progress it appears that Williams’ life has indeed changed within a matter of hours. “In these depressing economic times, it’s nice to see somebody turn his life around,” Harris said. “I’m glad credit unions could be a part of that.”

Maine league breakfasts lay foundation with lawmakers

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PORTLAND, Maine (1/6/11)--The Maine Credit Union League’s first Breakfast with Legislators series in December is providing opportunities for Maine credit unions to speak face-to-face with state lawmakers. The league coordinated a series of regional breakfasts prior to the holidays for credit union representatives and legislators that covered most regions of the state (News & Views January 2010). By the time of the final breakfast just before Christmas, nearly half of the 186 members of the Maine legislature had attended, the league said. “The impressive participation rate demonstrates the positive and important role that credit unions have in Maine,” said league President John Murphy. Consensus among credit union representatives who attended was that the breakfasts were beneficial and valuable, the league said. Issues generating the most discussion between credit unions and legislators were foreclosures, member business loans and financial education.

Citys 1 land deal with CU in court

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NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (1/6/11)--A three-hour hearing was held Tuesday in a Johnson County, Iowa, District Court on whether a judge should issue a temporary injunction to prevent the city of North Liberty and a development group from buying land and transferring some of the acreage for a new University of Iowa Community CU (UICCU) headquarters. In the hearing, the city defended its economic development project, saying that its process is standard procedure for municipalities' developments (Press-Citizen.com Jan. 5). A group of residents filed a petition in November to halt the sales transaction, saying the plan goes against the city's comprehensive future development plan and that the public wasn't informed adequately about the project. The group also expressed concerns that it would increase property owners' taxes. The city planned to partner with 380 Development Group to buy 64 acres for $11 million and then transfer 24 acres to the credit union for $1 as an incentive to build (News Now Nov. 15). According to the Press-Citizen, the city began discussions with the credit union about relocating in North Liberty in early 2010. In October, it passed a resolution authorizing the sale of $11 million in tax bonds, which UICCU would purchase. Then the credit union location would be placed in a Tax Increment Finance district and the city could use that tax revenue to repay the bonds over 20 years. State law requires the city to have a third-party development group facilitate such a sale because the sale is for a below-fair-market price. Parties in the case will file briefs within the next month and Judge Paul Miller will decide whether to issue a permanent injunction. At that point, the city would have to take the case to trial. Meanwhile, the city is moving forward with UICCU and the current landowner, said the article.

Nine Iowa CU execs enroll in global womens group

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DES MOINES, Iowa (1/6/11)--Nine executives from the Iowa Credit Union League and its affiliated organizations are new enrollees in the Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN), an international education and advocacy group created in 2009 by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).
New enrollees in World Council of Credit Union’s Global Women’s Leadership Network from the Iowa Credit Union League and its affiliates are, from left, front row: Tina Hoffman, vice president of marketing, TMG Financial Services; Marybeth Foster, executive director, Iowa Credit Union Foundation; Dianne Taylor, management consultant at the league; Cynde Urness, senior vice president of product management, The Members Group; Darlis Wambold, senior executive assistant, the league. Back row: Miriam De Dios, vice president, Coopera Consulting; Ginger Heckman, member business lending coordinator, Community Business Lenders; Julie Vande Hoef, director of government affairs, PolicyWorks; and Anne Whatley, general counsel, Affiliates Management Company. (Photo provided the Iowa Credit Union League)
“An essential aspect to leadership development is continuing education and awareness, and for credit unions that takes on a worldwide scope,” said Patrick S. Jury, league president/CEO. “As members of the GWLN, our enrollees will have the opportunity to collaborate, learn, and share solutions with other credit union leaders both in the U.S. and across the globe.” GWLN connects credit union women leaders with a worldwide network that engages them in professional and personal development through programs, educational forums and social media. The network also offers international perspectives on common challenges that credit unions around the globe face, including growth strategies, alternative capital and operational efficiencies. “These are not just challenges for credit unions, but also challenges for the socioeconomic development of the communities in which credit unions operate, including Iowa,” Jury said. New enrollee Ginger Heckman, member business lending coordinator with Community Business Lenders, agrees. “Our mission at CBL is to build stronger communities, one business at a time, and being a part of the Global Women’s Leadership Network is really going to facilitate that,” Heckman said. “Women are fortunate in the U.S. to have already gained a high measure of respectability as business leaders. That didn’t happen overnight; we needed a strong support network over many years. So it will be very exciting to be able to provide support and insight to women business leaders in developing countries as they strive to gain independence and respect.” The leadership network also helps strengthen financial stability for families. In many countries, women often are family financial decision-makers but sometimes lack expertise or face stigma about a woman’s role. By interacting with other professionals in a business forum, network members have access to unlimited resources and can learn from their peers. “Connecting through the leadership network will be a great way for us all to benefit from best practices,” said Miriam De Dios, vice president of Coopera Consulting and new GWLN enrollee. “We’ve seen in the U.S. that as women gain financial confidence and experience, both in the family realm and in business, that helps provide overall economic growth and stability to an entire generation and region.”