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Penrod No Indymac failure with a CU

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (10/21/08)--Credit unions are weathering the economic storm, according to an industry analyst with the California Credit Union League. “Credit unions are well-capitalized,” Daniel Penrod, league analyst, told the Business Press (Oct. 13). “You will not see an IndyMac-type failure with a credit union.” Some credit unions have mortgage-backed securities, but haven’t required “one dime of bailout,” Penrod added. The newspaper also interviewed two San Bernardino, Calif.-based credit unions--Arrowhead CU and First Valley CU. Arrowhead has a reserve ratio of 10.1%, Larry Sharp, Arrowhead president, told the newspaper. The credit union didn’t engage in subprime lending and wasn’t hurt by many of the problems in the mortgage sector, he added. First Valley has “stuck close to what credit unions traditionally do,” CEO Gregg Stockdale said. The credit union also avoided the subprime mortgage market. It focuses on auto and home loans, savings and checking accounts, he told the newspaper.

CUSOs have pivotal role in biz lending says SBA rep

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SAN DIEGO (10/21/08)--Credit union service organizations (CUSOs) have a “pivotal role” in providing their expertise when it comes to business lending at credit unions, according to a speaker at a recent National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (NACUSO) conference. “CUSOs have an extraordinary opportunity,” said John M. Wade, chartered financial analyst with the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Financial Assistance. He also noted that the SBA also offers additional resources some individuals might be unfamiliar with and that CUSOs could provide as additional lines of service, such as ETRAN capability. ETRAN is a web-based loan application developed by the SBA. The NACUSO conference, the Member Business Services Alliance, was held Thursday in San Diego. It drew 125 attendees. The conference also offered member business lending training led by Member Business Lending LLC President Kent Moon.

CU official tells paper CUs better way to save

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ASBURY PARK, N.J. (10/21/08)--Because credit unions “share a long history of embracing prudent lending standards” they are a safer place for consumers to place their money, a credit union official wrote in an editorial to a newspaper. Susan Aitoro, assistant vice president, real estate lending at First Atlantic FCU, Eatontown, N.J., wrote in the Asbury Park Press Sunday that credit unions, by and large, have not participated in subprime lending and answer to members--not stockholders and CEOs. As a result, credit unions provide members with loans that have “a monthly payment to fit their budget.” Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) are one of the main reasons for the current financial crisis, Aitoro wrote. Most credit unions mortgages are traditional fixed-rate loans, according to the National Credit Union Administration, so borrower can be assured of the same payment for the duration of the loan that they take out and avoid the uncertainty caused by upwardly moving payments cause by ARMs, she added. With federal deposit insurance increasing to $250,000 from $100,000, credit unions now are safer than ever, Aitoro wrote.

N.Y. CU Assoc. endorses candidates for Congress

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ALBANY, N.Y. (10/21/08)--The Credit Union Association of New York’s board of directors voted to endorse three candidates running for “open” Congressional seats in the 2008 election. The association grants endorsements to pro-credit union candidates and encourages credit union leaders and members to support elections and “Get out the Vote” for the candidates of their choice. In the 21st Congressional District (Capital), which will be vacated by retiring Rep. Mike McNulty (D), the association endorses Paul Tonko (D). The New York 21st Congressional District is a strong Democratic district, reflected in the heavy competition for the Democratic Primary win in September. Tonko won in a crowded primary race and is now running against Republican candidate Jim Burhmaster. Tonko is a former assemblyman and was a credit union supporter in the assembly. As assemblyman, Tonko sponsored association-drafted legislation to promote financial literacy in schools in 2005, and was a cosponsor of legislation to create a CDFI fund. In the assembly, Tonko chaired the Energy Committee. He also received support from the Credit Union Political Action Committee. For the 25th Congressional seat (Central), left open by retiring Rep. Jim Walsh (R), the Association backs Dan Maffei (D). Maffei is a former staffer to House Ways and Means Chairman and New York Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-Metro). The association has received a candidate questionnaire from Maffei, and he shares his former employer’s support of credit unions. Maffei is running against Dale Sweetland (R), a businessman and the former Onondaga County Legislative Chair. The 26th Congressional District will be left vacant by retiring Rep. Tom Reynolds. The association endorses Chris Lee (R), who faces Democrat Alice Kryzan. The race for the Congressional seat made national news in September following a victory by Kryzan, who surprised pundits with her win over the two favored candidates as a relative unknown. Lee is a businessman and is endorsed by Rep. Reynolds. “We are pleased to back these candidates, who have demonstrated support for credit unions and understand the value of offering New Yorkers a not-for-profit financial option,” said William J. Mellin, president/CEO of the association. “We look forward to working with these candidates during the remaining days of their campaigns and after they take office.”

Texas CU employees share Hurricane Ike stories

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (10/21/08)--Dick Ensweiler, CEO of the Texas Credit Union League, and other league staff visited credit unions and their employees over the past few weeks in Southeast Texas--an area that was heavily impacted by Hurricane Ike in September. League representative Marie Russ accompanied Ensweiler on several of the visits, and shared her impressions and thoughts (LoneStar Leaguer Oct. 20). “My family and I suffered very little damage and were out of electricity and communications for over a week, but that is nothing compared to those that I have seen in the past several weeks,” Russ said. “In one community-- Bridge City--it was estimated of the 3,500 plus homes in the community, only 14 were considered livable. “I have learned that as many as 60, if not more, credit union employees have lost their homes due to the storm surge--water up to six feet in their homes,” she added. “These employees have lost everything--furniture, children's toys, appliances, clothing, personal items, vehicles, livestock, everything,” Russ continued. “The majority of homes and businesses are still standing but the insides are gutted, leaving only the structure. One credit union employee said she didn't realize that she would miss something as simple as Q-tips. Employees are living with other employees, friends, families--and some families are split up between all--probably for the next six months to a year so they may rebuild. “Yet despite their personal hardships, they still report to work with a smile on their face--for others--others that are going through the same. I'm so proud to be a part of such a wonderful credit union family,” she concluded. TCUL has posted several interviews with credit union employees on its website. For more information, use the link.

Three nominations received for CUNA board

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WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (10/21/08)--Three more nominations for positions on the CUNA board of directors were received at the end of last week. Eugene Foley, president/CEO, Harvard University ECU, Cambridge, Mass., has submitted his nomination for the District 1, Class B position. Pete Dzuris, president/CEO, Northland Area FCU, Oscada, Mich., has submitted his nomination for the District 4, Class B position. Dave Rhamy, president/CEO, Silver State Schools CU, Las Vegas, Nev., has submitted his nomination for the District 6, Class C position. The deadline for nominations for eight positions on CUNA’s board was Oct. 17. Already nominated are:
* Rod Staatz, president/CEO, State Employees CU of Maryland, Linthicum, Md., District 2, Class C; * Mike Mercer, president/CEO, Georgia Credit Union League, Duluth, Ga., District 3, Class D; * Bohdan Watral, president/CEO, Selfreliance Ukrainian American FCU, Chicago, District 4, Class B; * Ron Collier, CEO of Indiana Members CU, Indianapolis, District 2, Class C; * Sandy Lingerfelt, Clinchfield FCU, Erwin, Tenn., for District 3, Class A; * Brett Thompson, Wisconsin Credit Union League, Pewaukee, Wis., for District 4, Class D; and * Winona Nava, Guadalupe CU, Santa Fe, N.M., for District 5, Class A.
The eight directors elected will take office Feb. 27, 2009, for three-year terms to expire at the adjournment of the 2012 CUNA Annual General Meeting. Positions up for election are:
* District 1, Class B; * District 2, Class C; * District 3, Class A; * District 3, Class D; * District 4, Class B; * District 4, Class D; * District 5, Class A; and * District 6, Class C.
Nominators must submit the appropriate forms and obtain consent of the candidate. Voting will begin Oct. 22 and will close on Dec. 19. For more information, use the resource links.

CU System briefs (10/20/2008)

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* FORT WORTH, Texas (10/21/08)--Students at Washington Heights Elementary School saved $21,000 at their in-school Unity One CU branch in Mapsco, Texas, during the 2007-2008 school year (Targeted News Service Oct. 8). Unity One is an adopt-a-school partner for Washington Heights, and serves pre-kindergarten through 5th grade students at the in-school branch ... * BURNSVILLE, Minn. (10/21/08)--US FCU, Burnsville, Minn., has launched its Minneapolis Community and Technical College cinema scholarship program. Students vied for production excellence awards by submitting their projects in film, video, screenwriting, sound arts, media production and digital photography categories. The credit union recently honored 12 finalists and six winners. Production Excellence Award recipients also received $1,000 scholarships. From left are US FCU Chief Administration Officer David Hutchins and Tyler Jensen, ‘best film’ winner. (Photo provided by US FCU) ... * SAN ANTONIO (10/21/08)--San Antonio FCU (SACU) raised $184,892 for the United Way in 2008--a record-breaking donation. The credit union’s 670-plus employees recorded 100% participation. “Having 100% voluntary employee participation three years in a row is really living SACU’s ‘people helping people’ philosophy,” said Jeff Farver, SACU president/CEO ... * HARRISBURG, Pa. (10/21/08)--Brad Stewart, senior vice president and chief investment officer for Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU, spoke at the Beaver Valley of Credit Unions meeting Oct. 8 (Life is a Highway Oct. 10). The credit crunch is not as bad as reported by the media, he said. “Unemployment is at 6%; however, no one mentions the 94% of people who are working,” Stewart said ...

Maine CUs help students become financially fit

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WESTBROOK, Maine (10/21/08)--Maine credit unions helped students become financially fit at the first-annual Financial Fitness Money Management Experience Wednesday in Topsham, Maine. About 220 students, the entire senior class at Mt. Ararat High School, participated in the half-day event. Students received an interactive “game of life” with a scenario packet of their lives at age 22, including their occupations, income and credit history. Students mapped out their financial future, financing housing, and purchasing food and clothing, said the Maine Credit Union League. “As high school seniors, these students are preparing to enter the
Adam Morris (right), Five County CU in Bath, Maine, helps a student during the Financial Fitness Money Management Experience in Topsham, Maine.
Roger Carbonneau (left) of Atlantic Regional FCU, Brunswick, reviews credit options with a student during the Financial Fitness Money Management Experience. (Photos provided by the Maine Credit Union League)
real world, be it through applying to college or joining the work force,” said Jon Paradise, Maine league governmental and public affairs manager. “It is critical they gain a strong understanding of money and how to spend and save. The interactive nature of this event allows them to do just that.” Students remarked that the event gave them a “dose of reality.” “This fair showed me that I’m going to have to make some tough choices,” one student said. “It took me a couple of times to get a spending plan that didn’t have me in debt. This was a really helpful day.” Credit unions participating in the event included:
* Atlantic Regional FCU, Brunswick; * Five County FCU, Bath; * Midcoast FCU, Bath; * Lisbon ME FCU, Lisbon; and * Down East CU, Baileyville.