Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive

CU System Archive

CU System

CU serving churches among Ponzi scheme victims

 Permanent link
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (10/12/10)--A Southfield, Mich.-based investment adviser has been indicted on felony bank fraud and wire fraud charges related to an elaborate Ponzi scheme that stole $10 million from investors that included a local union, state municipalities, a school district, and a credit union serving churches. According to federal prosecutors, Dante DeMiro, 43, founder and managing director of MuniVest Financial Group and MuniVest Services LLC, allegedly promised clients he would buy millions of dollars in certificates of deposit but instead alleged used the funds to make loans to a jewelry store and repay earlier investors (The Detroit News and mlive.com Oct. 8). Ponzi schemes are a fraudulent practice in which funds paid by later investors are used to pay off earlier investors. The indictment said the scheme had run since at least March 2009. The credit union was not named in the report. Other victims included taxpayers of Lapeer County, Mich., Mona Shores Public Schools in Muskegon, schools in Comstock Township near Kalamazoo, and Boiler Makers Local 169 in Allen Park, Mich. (The Detroit News Oct. 8). If convicted, DeMiro faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted of bank fraud, plus 20 years and $250,000 if convicted of wire fraud.

Transportation Northwest CU Alaska USA FCU merge

 Permanent link
SEATTLE and ANCHORAGE, Alaska (10/12/10)--Transportation Northwest CU (TNCU), based in Seattle, has merged with Anchorage, Alaska-based Alaska USA FCU, the credit unions announced. The merger was effective Friday. In a letter sent to members Wednesday and posted on its website, Transportation Northwest Board Chair Mia Waters noted that the "depressed real estate market and higher unemployment levels here in Washington have hit TNCU particularly hard." Hoping to gain a better balance, Waters said, the$30 million asset credit union had pursued a merger with another credit union. However, that merger was called off earlier this summer because it was not consistent with the other credit union' long-range strategic plan, Waters said. TNCU redirected its efforts to $4.1 billion asset Alaska USA and the merger was approved by both boards in August. Washington State's Department of Financial Institutions approved the merger and waived the membership vote to speed up the merger for a faster reinstatement of dividends, the letter said. NCUA also approved the merger, effective Friday. Then, dividends on share accounts at TNCU were reinstated as Alaska USA assumed the credit union. Alaska USA operates 17 branches in the Pacific Northwest plus four mortgage lending offices and three insurance agency offices. "Over the next few months it will be business as usual at TNCU" while Alaska USA transitions TNCU accounts to its data systems, Waters said.

CUNA Mutual celebrates 75th anniversary of first claim

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (10/12/10)--Seventy-five years have passed since CUNA Mutual Group paid its first claim of $40 on the death of a Milwaukee Road switchman. Today, CUNA Mutual pays daily claims worth almost $3.4 million. In 2009, it disbursed $851 million to policyholders. Since it was founded in 1935, CUNA Mutual has paid out more than $28 billion in life, health, property and casualty insurance benefits. Larry Holweger, CUNA Mutual’s senior vice president of claims, noted the company is committed to continuing to deliver on its promises in the years ahead. CUNA Mutual employees marked the anniversary with a picnic lunch that was also part of their observance of Customer Service Week.

Desjardins Awards hit 10-yr. milestone CUNA announces

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (10/12/10)--After 10 years, interest in the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award shows no signs of decline. This year saw a record number of state entries (105), national entries (58), and states represented through their leagues (30). "It’s exciting indeed to note the steady growth in credit unions’ participation in the Desjardins recognition program,” said Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney. “That shows that, despite serious competitive business concerns over the past decade, the movement has reinforced its historical commitment to improving members’ financial well-being from childhood on.” “Desjardins Award recipients serve to model and stimulate creative new ways to better young people’s lives through financial education. I look forward to honoring this year’s exemplary credit unions at CUNA’s 2011 Governmental Affairs Conference," Cheney said. Desjardins winners (asterisks below indicate repeat award recipients) include:
* The Credit Union League of Connecticut; * Arapahoe Credit Union,* Centennial, Colo.; * Maine Credit Union League*; * Mission SF FCU, San Francisco, Calif.; * Palmetto Citizens FCU,* Columbia, S.C.; * Travis CU, Vacaville, Calif.
Honorable mentions will be presented to:
* A+ FCU,* Austin, Texas; * Altra FCU, Onalaska, Wis.; * Credit Union 1, Anchorage, Alaska; * DOCO Regional FCU, Albany, Ga.; * Horizon CU, Spokane Valley, Wash.; and * Tinker FCU, Oklahoma City, Okla.
In December, PDFs of the winning entries will be available for viewing on CUNA’s website. The actual winning entries will be on display and the awards presented at CUNA's GAC (Feb. 27-March 3) in Washington, D.C. The youth financial education award is named for Alphonse Desjardins, the founder of the North American credit union movement. It honors credit unions for their work on behalf of youth financial literacy.

Pa. CUs performance improves in 2Q

 Permanent link
HARRISBURG, Pa. (10/12/10)--Pennsylvania credit unions saw improved financial performance in the second quarter because net interest margins stabilized and operating expenses declined, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA). The Pennsylvania Profile, Economic Summary for Second Quarter 2010 shows Pennsylvania credit unions outpaced national growth rates in all categories: assets, loans, total surplus funds, total savings and total members, for the 12-month period ending June 30 and for the second quarter 2010 (Life is A Highway Sept. 30). Credit union membership in Pennsylvania grew 2.2% in the 12-month period, and 0.5% for the second quarter. The national growth rate for the 12 months was 0.9%. Since second quarter 2009, Pennsylvania credit union total assets grew 8.9%; loans increased 5.4%; and savings rose 9.3%. However, savings growth slowed to 1.2% growth in the second quarter from 3.6% in the first quarter. Pennsylvania credit union loan balances increased 0.9% in the second quarter, faster than the national average of 0.3%, PCUA said. In loan categories, member business loans grew 6.7% in the second quarter and 26% in the 12-month period. Other top-performing loans were first mortgages, which grew 2.8% in second quarter and 16% since June 2009; used-auto loans, 2.6% for second quarter and 6.9% over the 12-month period; and credit cards, 2.3% in second quarter and 12% for the 12-month period. Slight second-quarter growth in consumer spending is reflected in loan growth, PCUA said. The housing market continues to struggle in Pennsylvania, and the labor market continues to deteriorate, the association added.

CU System briefs (10/11/2010)

 Permanent link
*
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (10/12/10)--Ten small New Jersey credit unions that participated in the Small Credit Union Initiative (SCUI) the past year and completed all requirements were recognized at the New Jersey Credit Union League's 76th Annual Business Meeting Oct. 4. Representatives pictured are from: Elizabeth NJ Firemen's FCU, Franklin-St.John's CU, Jersey Central FCU, Lakewood Community FCU, Messiah Baptist FCU, Parlin DuPont Employees FCU, Public Service FCU, Rancocas FCU, Salem Baptist FCU, and St. James A.M.E. FCU. SCUI provided participants with services at no cost, including membership satisfaction surveys, board/management training through the Credit Union National Association's CPDOnline and league sessions, quarterly participant meetings and networking, field staff support, registration for chapter meetings, peer analysis and facilitated strategic planning sessions. The program is funded by the National Credit Union Foundation, New Jersey Credit Union Foundation and the New Jersey league (The Daily Exchange Oct. 11). (Photo provided by the New Jersey Credit Union League) ... * HARAHAN, La. (10/12/10)--A former teller at Jefferson Parish Employees FCU has been charged in the theft of $31,000 from her teller drawer, said the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. Leslie Leblanc, 24, of River Ridge, a teller for about five years, was charged Wednesday with theft of more than $1,500 after the credit union performed a surprise cash count Oct. 5 as part of its auditing procedures and her teller drawer came up short. She told police the thefts occurred over a period of 10 months to finance gambling at casinos and some cash bills. The credit union said no member accounts or vault funds were affected. (The Times-Picayune via nola.com Oct. 7) ... * DES MOINES, Iowa (10/12/10)--The Iowa Credit Union Foundation has hired Adam Carroll as financial education consultant. Carroll will provide financial education training and technical assistance to Iowa credit unions through a grant from the Northwest Area Foundation. He will develop turn-key solutions and templates for credit unions delivering financial education and will teach credit unions how to present the information for their members. Carroll is founder of National Financial Educators, a financial literacy program designed to educate college students across the country. He is publisher of "Winning the Money Game" in 2005 ... * PANAMA CITY, Fla. (10/12/10)--A Florida-based credit union has opened a loan office in Mobile, Ala. Panama City, Fla.-based Tyndall FCU announced The Lending Center had opened on Oct. 4. Through the center, the more than $1 billion asset Tyndall will offer products and services such as auto loans, mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and credit cards. The credit union said the new center is Tyndall's first location in the Mobile and Baldwin County areas, but it would not be its last. The credit union plans to add multiple full-service branches in the counties soon. "The opening of this new facility is just the beginning," said Tyndall President/CEO Jim Warren. "We want to become a big part of the community and help as many people as possible save money," he added ...

Nomination for board seat arrives says CUNA

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (10/12/10)--A sixth nomination has been received for a seat on the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) board of directors. The deadline for nominations is Oct. 22. Voting will take place from Oct. 27 through Dec. 17. The most recent nomination was for Harriet May, president/CEO of GECU, El Paso, Texas, for the District 5, Class C position. May is currently CUNA’s chairman. Nominations also have been received for:
* Paul Gentile, president/CEO, New Jersey Credit Union League, Hightstown, N.J., District 1, Class D; * Ed Williams, president/CEO, Discovery FCU, Wyomissing, Pa., for District 1, Class A; * Patricia A. Wesenberg, governmental affairs liaison, Marshfield (Wis.) Medical Center CU, District 4, Class A; * Wendell Lyons, president/CEO of the Kentucky Credit Union League, District 2, Class D; and * Maurice Smith, CEO, Local Government FCU, Raleigh, N.C., District 3, Class C.
Positions up for election are:
* District 1, Class A; * District 1, Class D; * District 2, Class B; * District 2, Class D; * District 3, Class C; * District 4, Class A; * District 5, Class C; and * District 6, Class B.
Those elected will take office Feb. 28 and serve a three-year term that will expire at the adjournment of the 2014 CUNA Annual General Meeting. There is one special election: CUNA’s current District 6, Class C director will step down from the board at the end of this year. The successful candidate in that election will be seated Jan. 1 and serve through the 2012 CUNA Annual General Meeting.

N.C. sets 6.5M to insure Self-Helps small-biz loans

 Permanent link
DURHAM, N.C. (10/12/10)--North Carolina has set up a $6.5 million Small Business Assistance Fund to insure Self-Help CU in Durham, N.C., as it helps small businesses that might not otherwise qualify to borrow. The fund uses $1.5 million from the North Carolina legislature, plus a $5 million grant from the North Carolina Golden LEAF Foundation (The Fayetteville Observer Oct. 7). The $6.5 million will allow the fund to cover defaults, Dan Gerlach, Golden Leaf Foundation president, told the newspaper. “This enables them to take some of those loans that might be at the edge, might give them enough confidence to take the loan,” he said. Self-Help agreed to leverage the $6.5 million to lend as much as $32.5 million, Donna Flick, an underwriter at the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, which is administering the project for the state, told the paper. To read the article, use the link.

N.J. CUs 2Q performance exceeds national stats

 Permanent link
HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (10/12/10)--The New Jersey Credit Union League released the New Jersey Credit Union Quarterly Statistics for the second quarter 2010, indicating credit unions in the state exceeded national performance benchmarks. The report is made up of statistics compiled by the Credit Union National Association. It provides an overview of the trends in New Jersey in the second quarter, such as economic growth, home prices, employment changes and the unemployment rate. It also compares averages for New Jersey credit unions with the national averages for credit unions (The Daily Exchange Oct. 11). Highlights of the report include:
* New Jersey credit union memberships increased to 1.15 million--a first-half 2010 jump of 24,000 or 4.25% (annualized). The increase follows annual declines in memberships in each of the past three years. * The state’s 2.1%, 12-month increase in total membership is noteworthy when compared with population growth trends, the league said. The U.S. Census Bureau reports a 0.4% average annual increase in New Jersey’s population during the past decade. * If sustained through year-end, the increase would be the fastest in New Jersey credit union membership since 2002, when membership rose 2.2%.

Central City CU CEO in Kenya to aid orphans

 Permanent link
Items donated by staff at Central City CU, Marshfield, Wis., for an orphanage in Kenya were taken personally with credit union CEO Pat Wesenberg, who was one of five U.S. members asked by the World Council of Credit Unions to visit Kenya to help lessen the impact of HIV/AIDS by helping credit unions and their communities. (Photo provided by Central City CU)
MARSHFIELD, Wis. (10/12/10)--A trip to help lessen the impact of HIV/AIDS by helping credit unions and their communities in Kenya received media attention for Central City CU, Marshfield, Wis., and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and its fundraising arm, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions. Pat Wesenberg, president/CEO of the $166.2 million asset credit union, is one of only five U.S. members asked by WOCCU to help with the project, said Marshfield News-Herald (Oct. 7). The group has been in Kenya since Oct. 3 and will return home Wednesday. While in Kenya, the group worked to provide reliable food sources and education to Kenyan children. More than 3,990 credit unions serve 3.6 million members in that country. Wesenberg is working at Busia Compassionate Centre's orphanage in western Kenya, where she is helping install rain gutters, beds and mosquito netting; repairing rooftops; painting walls; assessing medical needs; and distributing books, clothes and shoes. The materials for the projects were funded by council member credit unions. Before she left, Wesenberg told the newspaper that credit unions in Kenya "really do make a big difference because otherwise people wouldn't have money to plant the crops." Kenya is a coffee and tea exporter and crops dominate its economy, the newspaper article said. Valerie Breunig, executive director of the foundation, said Wesenberg was selected from more than 100 women in 22 countries who are part of the Global Women's Leadership Network. Breunig noted that an annual foundation auction in July raised $28,000 to distribute to the orphans' scholarships and food costs on the next two Kenya trips. Others on the trip included Chrissy Cheney, wife of Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney; Judy Ensweiler, wife of Texas Credit Union League President/CEO Dick Ensweiler; CUNA Chief Financial Officer Joanne Duncan; and Dr. Bernard Micke.