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NADA CUs have money for auto loans

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SAN DIEGO (10/17/08)--Many credit unions have the capacity to lend when it comes to auto loans, according to the chairman-elect of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). “It’s important for consumers to know that credit is available,” said John McEleney, NADA chairman. “It may be a tough time for business, but it’s a great time for consumers who have a stable job and solid credit scores.” “The fact is local dealers have access to multiple sources of financing, including many credit unions and community banks that have plenty of money to lend,” he added. Gesa CU, Richland, Wash., has made $51 million in auto loans this year, which is an increase of $7 million compared with last year, Sandi Blakely, Gesa vice president of marketing, told the Tri-City Herald (Oct. 10). HAPO Community CU, Richland, Wash., told the Tri-City Herald that although the number of auto loans from credit unions and banks in the area declined by 300 in August compared with the year before, HAPO’s share of dealer-generated auto loans increased from 300 to 360 during the same period. The average loan size is $15,000, said Scott Mitchell, HAPO director of consumer lending. General Motors plans to launch a campaign, “Financing that Fits,” to show car buyers that there are credit unions and other lenders willing to do auto loans and leases, spokesman John McDonald, told Dow Jones (Oct. 15).

Oregon association honors CUs at awards banquet

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (10/17/08)--The Oregon winners of the Dora Maxwell, Louise Herring and Desjardins awards were announced during the Credit Union Association of Oregon’s (CUAO) 72nd Annual Meeting and Convention Oct. 8. The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Recognition Award is presented to credit unions for outstanding social responsibility projects implemented in the community in which the credit union is located. This year’s recipients are:
* Linn-Co FCU, Lebanon, first place, $50 million to $100 million in assets; * Pacific Crest FCU, Klamath Falls, first place, $100 million to $200 million; * Rogue FCU, Medford, first place, $200 million to $500 million.
The Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action is given to a credit union demonstrating the internal application of the credit union philosophy to help better financial matters and increase financial education for members. This year’s recipients are:
* Mid Oregon FCU, Bend, first place, $50 million to $250 million in assets; and * Rogue FCU, first place, greater than $250 million.
The Desjardins Award recognizes leadership within the credit union movement on behalf of youth financial literacy, and considers all activities supporting the personal finance education of young members and non-members. This year’s recipients are:
* Mid Oregon FCU, winner, $75 million to $250 million in assets: and * Rogue FCU, winner, more than $250 million.
The state winners of these awards were entered into the national level competition to compete with credit unions from around the United States.

Canadian CUs contributed record amount of community projects

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TORONTO, Canada (10/17/08)--Canadian credit unions not only celebrated International Credit Union Day Thursday, but also the more than $35.8 million they contributed in 2007 to community projects--a record total which was a 3% increase over 2006. Each year, credit unions nationwide support community initiatives, local services and sports teams, finance affordable housing, assist students, and reduce or waive service charges for community groups (Canada NewsWire October 16). Credit unions support their respective local communities with money services and time, according to the seventh national survey of credit union philanthropy. The biggest area of support was donations and sponsorships, with credit unions giving $25.3 million, up about 3% from the previous year. Credit unions also donated $3.7 million to their own charitable foundations, handed out more than $900,000 in scholarships and bursaries, and provided $2.8 million in financial services to community organizations, mostly by reducing or waiving service charges for those groups. Credit union employees also volunteered for community activities and organizations. In 2007, 47% of the credit unions surveyed said their employees participated in community activities as part of their paid work, while 67% of employees volunteered on their own time. A total of 299 credit unions participated in the 2007 Credit Union Community Involvement Survey. There are more than 5 million members who belong to 449 credit unions with assets of $109 billion that are affiliated with Canadian Central.

PSFCU shows commitment to community at parade

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. (10/17/08)--Polish and Slavic FCU (PSFCU), Brooklyn, N.Y., showed its commitment to the community in a recent parade celebrating Pulaski Day in New York. PSFCU’s mobile branch rode in the parade, with Polish music, dancers and a display. The credit union aimed to communicate its intention to help “shepherd members into the future” with the display, according to the credit union (PR Newswire Oct. 15). “The Pulaski Day Parade is a special time for all Polish-Americans, but especially for our credit union because we are able to take center stage to let everyone know how deeply committed we are to this community,” said PSFCU CEO Bogdan Chmielewski. “We are so much more than just a bank to our people. That’s where the credit union difference comes into play.” PSFCU also encouraged its members to be active in the upcoming elections. The credit union urged all parade attendees to register and vote. In June, PSFCU sent voter registration forms to members with their monthly statements. PSFCU has $1.2 million in assets and serves more than 70,000 members of the Polish and Slavic communities in New Jersey and in New York.

Delaware newspaper voices support for new CU

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WILMINGTON, Del. (10/17/08)--The News Journal, Delware’s statewide newspaper, voiced support in a staff editorial for the creation of a new credit union to help low-income Delaware residents. The Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council last week sent an application to federal regulators to create the credit union. The credit union would “appropriately” be named Stepping Stones Community FCU, the newspaper said. The credit union would be “significant and welcome progress” for eastside residents in Wilmington, Del. “Credit union membership at this time is a good idea, particularly during this extended credit crunch,” the newspaper said. To read the full article, use the link.

CUAO honors award recipients

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (10/17/08)--The Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO) announced the Distinguished Service, Young Credit Union Professional and Heidemann Scholar Award recipients for this year. The recipients were honored during CUAO’s annual meeting and convention Oct. 8. Mark Turnham, CEO, NW Priority CU, Portland, received the Distinguished Service Award. He has served as his chapter’s president for 15 years, served as a CUAO board member and on the nominating committee, and resides on the governmental affairs committee. Terry Gavin, Unitus Community CU, Portland, received the Volunteer of the Year award. He has volunteered for 25 years and has served as board chair. Paul Kirkbride, vice president of credit services, Unitus Community CU, received the Young Professional Award. He has developed consumer friendly products and held seminars on financial responsibility. Matt Stephenson, chief financial officer, Rogue FCU, Medford, received the Heidemann Scholar Award. He graduated from Western CUNA Management School this year and is the fifth person in the history of the program to graduate with highest honors.

Two leagues CUs promote safety and soundness

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MADISON, Wis. (10/17/08)--Some state credit union leagues and individual credit unions are continuing to promote the message about the safety and soundness of credit unions in the unsettled U.S. marketplace. During the recent financial uncertainty, the Alabama Credit Union League (ACUL) has reached out to various media outlets in the state in an effort to inform and reassure the public about the safety of credit unions. In addition to spreading the message that credit unions continue to be safe havens, the league has actively been providing the media with financial experts and information. “During these times, people are looking more carefully than ever at their own personal financial situation. The league has been providing pertinent information on the safety and soundness of credit unions to the media to help reassure the public,” said league Gary B. Wolter, president/CEO. “In particular, during the Wall Street panic and the economic relief package debates, the league stressed the message about deposit insurance, reassuring the public that like banks, credit union accounts are federally insured through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. In addition, we are using the opportunity to point out some of the distinct benefits of credit unions and credit union membership,” he added. Articles and letters to the editor have appeared in the Montgomery Advertiser, the Mobile Press-Register, the Birmingham News, and are planned for additional newspapers across the state. Credit union CEOs have been featured in television news interviews and newspaper articles on the economy within the last weeks and the league is currently looking for additional ways to raise the visibility of credit unions in Alabama. The Wisconsin Credit Union League issued a press release Oct. 7 on credit unions’ share insurance being raised to $250,000 after passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. “Recently, credit unions have gained national attention as strong and secure institutions that have generally avoided the bad lending practices that contributed to today’s financial crisis. As a result, credit unions are recognized as healthy lenders that are well positioned to fill a growing demand for personal, auto, business and student loans, as well as mortgages and more,” the release read. Brett Thompson, president/CEO of the Wisconsin league, said in the release: “Although credit unions have remained stable and well capitalized through our nation’s ongoing economic struggles, we welcome this extended coverage on deposits and hope this further strengthens people's confidence in their financial institution.” Community First CU, a $1.089 billion asset, Appleton, Wis., credit union, has placed radio, newspaper and TV ads locally to highlight the strength of the credit union for its members and communities in Northeastern Wisconsin. The spots highlight not only the credit union’s safety and soundness, but its gratitude to members, and Community First’s willingness to continue lending. In addition, Community First’s website highlights safety and soundness with a home page banner and landing page, as well as a similar banner within its Home Banking product. Its current newsletter edition also carries a similar message on the front page. Citadel FCU, A $1.086 billion asset, Thorndale, Pa.-based credit union issued a press release earlier this month about the new share insurance fund bump to $250,000. “Recently, the majority of our member questions have revolved around the security of their deposits,” said Carol Humenick, Citadel senior vice president, in the release. “There has been a great deal of media attention on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, but a lack of focus on credit unions and their security in general. With the increase in deposit insurance, we are pleased to have an additional opportunity to reinforce the message of deposit security to our members and the marketplace.” “Citadel focuses on the long term needs of our members. We have avoided risky lending practices, preventing us from being caught up in the current credit crisis. The increase in deposit insurance provides further safety, soundness and security for Citadel members,” the press release concluded.

Delta Community CU builds energy-efficient branch

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ATLANTA (10/17/08)--LEVEL5, a consulting and facilities development firm specializing in financial institutions, recently completed Atlanta-based Delta Community CU’s newest energy-efficient branch in Newnan, Ga.
Click to view larger imageAtlanta-based Delta Community Credit Union’s newest branch in Newnan, Ga., is the 12th facility for which LEVEL5 and Delta Community have partnered together to design and build and the first location to incorporate various energy efficient features.
This branch is the 12th facility for which LEVEL5 and Delta Community have partnered together to design and build and the first location to incorporate various energy efficient features. The exterior of the branch has energy-efficient blue-tinted glass and a “cool roof” comprised of white thermoplastic olefin. The white color reflects solar radiation rather than absorbing it. This reflection, in conjunction with the well-insulated roof adds to the building’s energy efficiency. Contemporary design “air foil” sunshades provide shade for the windows and reduce internal heat caused by the sun.
Click to view larger image An interior view of Delta Community Credit Union’s newest branch in Newnan, Ga., incorporating various energy efficient features. (Photos provided by Delta Community CU)
“LEVEL5 was an asset in the planning and fulfillment of our retail delivery strategy,” said Rick Foley, president/CEO of Delta Community CU. “They incorporated our branding and retail merchandising elements throughout the Newnan branch, both internally and externally. This facility offers everything a state-of-the-art financial institution needs to have today, and, perhaps best of all, the Newnan branch is energy efficient.” “Focusing on energy efficiency is more than just a trend--it is a responsible way to protect member’s investments,” said J. F. Kassler, president/CEO of LEVEL5. “The progressive design of Delta Community’s Newnan branch will save its members money for decades to come,” he added. “The environmental benefits are huge as well. Building an energy efficient branch that also resourcefully uses the latest technology and design layout on the inside, Delta Community Credit Union will experience the highest possible return on investment from a branch where members want to conduct their business.” Delta Community is the largest credit union in Georgia, with 174,000 members and more than $2.8 billion in assets. Initially founded to serve the employees of Delta Air Lines, the credit union is expanding its membership base to provide financial services to much of the greater metro Atlanta community, including residents of 10 counties.