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Iowa league announces board at convention

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Click to view larger image The Iowa Credit Union League board was elected Sept. 24. From left are board members Tim Marcsisak, John Bentler, Rick Benhart, Pat Drennen, Dennis Choate, Mike Whittie, Tim Wallen, Joe Hearn, Janine Keim, Tim Chapman, Joe Gonzalez, and Brent Helin. (Photo provided by the Iowa Credit Union League)
DES MOINES, Iowa (10/21/09)--The Iowa Credit Union League board was announced at the league’s annual convention Sept. 24. The 12-member board represents Iowa’s 138 credit unions and one million members, the Iowa league said. “On behalf of the Iowa Credit Union League, I would like to congratulate these individuals for being elected to the league board of directors,” said Pat Jury, league president/CEO. He noted the league appreciates the board's willingness to lead the league and fulfill its long-term strategic vision. Board members for the up to 6.9 million asset category are:
* John Bentler, River Bend CU, West Burlington; * Janine Keim, Consumers CU, Denison; and * Dennis Choate, Quaker Oats CU, Cedar Rapids.
Board members for the $7 million to $19.9 million asset category are:
* Joe Gonzalez, Alliant CU, Dubuque; * Tim Marcsisak, Nishna Valley CU, Atlantic; and * Michael Whittie, Federal Employees CU, Des Moines.
Board members for the $20 million to $49.9 million asset category are:
* Tim Chapman, Members Community CU, Muscatine; * Brent Helin, Des Moines Metro CU, Des Moines; and * Tim Wallen, Ace Community CU, Ames.
Board members for the $50 million or more asset category are:
* Rick Benhart, Collins Community CU, Cedar Rapids; * Chair Pat Drennen, 1st Gateway CU, Camanche; and * Vice Chair Joe Hearn, Dupaco Community CU, Dubuque.

Clarke Community FCU merges with Gwinnett FCU

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ATHENS, Ga. and LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (10/21/09)--The Clarke Community FCU board recently agreed to merge with Gwinnett FCU. Both credit unions are in Georgia. The merger will provide Clarke Community members with access to Gwinnett FCU’s full range of financial products and will give Gwinnett a presence in Clarke County, Gwinnet said. “The merger of our two credit unions demonstrates a shared commitment and vision on the part of both boards to grow and remain highly competitive in today’s financial marketplace,” said Marshall Boutwell, Gwinnett president/CEO. “There will be no layoffs, and Clarke Community will retain its name, operating as a division of Gwinnett Federal.” Gwinnett FCU, based in Lawrenceville, Ga., has $148 million in assets and serves 27,000 members in a five-county area. Clarke Community FCU, based in Athens, Ga., has $18.7 million in assets.

Texas CU Foundation expands fin lit outreach to Belize

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (10/21/09)--The Texas Credit Union Foundation (TCUF) has expanded its outreach to Central America through a recent “train the trainer” session to help teach financial literacy in Belize. Courtney Nickles, foundation executive director, recently presented the National Endowment for Financial Education High School Financial Planning Program, a financial literacy program aimed at high school-aged students, to educators, credit union staff and community leaders in Belize. The Belize Credit Union League has a partnership with Southwest Corporate FCU in Plano, Texas (LoneStar Leaguer Oct. 20). During the session, Nickles gave classroom-style presentations and had interactive role-playing activities to help students relate to their materials. “We can see how our partnership with the foundation will facilitate a wide cross-section of credit union members and high school students to learn fundamental financial management skills, which will allow them to make informed financial decisions from an early age,” said Corinne Fuller, Belize league executive director. “We are excited about the possibility of including financial planning in our high school core curriculum.” The Ministry of Education in Belize also attended the presentation. “We at the Ministry of Education believe that financial education should definitely be included in the curriculum if we are truly educating our students to take care of themselves, as well as to participate in nation building,” said Carol Babb, Ministry of Education deputy chief education officer. “We intend to integrate this topic in the social studies curriculum.” Belize has the highest literacy race in Latin America, but the country is plagued with poverty and unemployment, said Victor Miguel Corro, World Council of Credit Unions senior manager of international partnerships. “Providing the people of Belize with the tools to make better choices with their money, coupled with access to affordable financial services, remains essential to improving the quality of life in the country,” Corro said. Nickles noted that the presentation was an emotional experience, and the participants were incredibly appreciative. “The luxury of accessible information we are afforded allows us to be aware of the basic fundamentals of financial information, but only when you see the genuine appreciation and comprehension of those individuals who have never learned something we take for granted, like how to balance their checkbook, do you realize how fortunate we are,” Nickles said.

Regulator CUs should keep paper copies of loan docs

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (10/21/09)--Credit unions may want to keep paper copies of an original note, deed or loan agreement in addition to an electronic copy in case a document is needed for litigation, said the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). Many credit unions have adopted electronic record storage systems, consistent with some state and federal laws, such as the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000, which provides that a signature, contract or other record may not be denied legal effect because it was signed electronically. However, the laws do not resolve all legal or practical issues necessary to make sure the records comply with requirements. Therefore, credit unions should design and operate their electronic record systems to serve:
* Potential use in litigation support; * Internal and external audits and controls; and * Compliance with regulatory requirements.
Credit unions adopting electronic record systems should address the risks of inadequate record retention. Failing to maintain adequate record retention systems can create risk, the DFI said. For more information, use the link.

CU System briefs (10/20/2009)

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* DOVER, Del. (10/21/09)--A Dover (Del.) FCU teller was pushed to the ground during an attempted armed robbery at the credit union last month, according to the Delaware Credit Union League (Together Oct. 15). Police reported that one suspect pushed the teller onto the floor while the other suspect held a gun on another employee, demanding the key to the vault. The teller was not able to comply, so the robbers fled the credit union. A surveillance tape shows that one of the suspects had two handguns. No one was physically injured during the incident ... * ALLENTOWN, Pa. (10/21/09)--James B. Baily, 86, a founding member of A.B. Bellco FCU--now Lehigh Valley FCU--died Thursday. He worked for the credit union as an officer for 50 years (Allentown Morning Call Oct. 17). Lehigh Valley FCU has $14 million in assets ...

IUSA TodayI says try CUs to obtain credit cards

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MADISON, Wis. (10/21/09)--Consumers should consider credit unions when they are looking to apply for credit cards, a columnist for USA Today wrote Tuesday. “If you don’t care about rewards and just want a credit card that doesn’t charge an annual fee, consider applying for a card through a credit union,” wrote personal finance columnist Sandra Block. “Many credit unions charge no annual fee and offer below-average interest rates.” Due to credit card legislation that will--among several mandates--restrict credit card issuers ability to raise interest rates on existing balances, the credit card industry--in response--is implementing other fees, Block wrote. For instance, starting in 2010, Bank of America will charge some customers an annual fee ranging from $29 to $99, Block explained. Also, Citigroup Inc. is beginning to charge annual fees to cardholders who don’t charge more than a specific amount on their cards--usually $2,400 per year, she added. Other banks are charging inactivity fees for customers who don’t use their credit cards during a specific period of time, Block wrote. “You heard that right: You could be spanked for staying out of debt,” she added.

Minn. foundation adds 2 new board seats appoints directors

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SAINT PAUL, Minn. (10/21/09)--The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation (MnCUF) added and filled two new seats to its board of directors at the board’s Oct. 8 meeting as part of the foundation’s recent development progression. Dave Larson of Affinity Plus FCU (APFCU) and Pat Brekken of Richfield/Bloomington CU (RBCU) have been appointed to one-year terms on the MnCUF board, following an affirmative membership vote on the bylaw amendments recommended at the annual meeting in July. Larson is senior vice president of APFCU, where he has worked for nearly eight years. He also serves as the executive director of the Affinity Plus Foundation, whose mission is to promote financial literacy statewide. Brekken is RBCU’s president, a position he has held for the past five years of his 13-year career with the credit union. He currently serves as a director of the Richfield Spartan Foundation, which raises money to support youth participation in sports and fine arts activities throughout Richfield. In 2008, Brekken served as chair of the MnCUF’s Homes for Our Troops Fundraising Committee. Through this initiative, Minnesota credit unions contributed $150,000 to build a specially-adapted home in Woodbury, Minn., for a wounded Iraq War veteran. The two newest board members join the five existing MnCUF directors, re-elected by the membership in July. The directors and term expiration dates are:
* Chuck Albrecht, Mid-Minnesota FCU, Baxter (2012); * Vice Chair Lynn Kothe, North Memorial FCU, Robbinsdale (2012); * Mukomela, Novation CU, Oakdale (2012); * Mary Hansen, Mayo Employees FCU, Rochester (2011); * Secretary/Treasurer Judy Root, Bluestone FCU, Eagan (2011); * Larson, APFCU, St. Paul (2010); and * Brekken, RBCU, Richfield (2010).
Since attaining status as a 501(c) 3 public charity in 2007, the MnCUF board has undergone a strategic planning process, with the aim of strengthening its governance structure and broadening its focus. Other recent accomplishments have included revising bylaws, creating and improving operational policies, establishing a greater Web presence, and recruiting a volunteer administrator. “I am energized by our progress, and we are very excited about continuing to develop the foundation into the premier charity that we know it can be,” said MnCUF Chair Kristi Mukomela.