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Church to pull 3M out of BofA for local CU

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (10/24/11)--A church in California is ending a longer-than 20-year relationship with Bank of America (BofA) and moving its $3 million into a local credit union.

Most Holy Trinity Church and its school in San Jose, Calif., are moving their money to Micro Branch CU to say, "'No more' to Bank of America to use our money in investing in bad loans and not negotiating fairly," said Pastor Eduardo Samaniego (Good Culture Oct. 21).

Samaniego said he is joining with others in solidarity in calling for the California State Attorney General to pursue litigation against BofA, Wells Fargo and other banks "to help struggling homeowners keep their homes."

He hopes other states' attorneys general follow suit, Samaniego added.

To see the announcement by Most Holy Trinity, use the video link.

One in four rate personal fin. situation as poor

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (10/24/11)--Nearly one in four U.S. adults (22%) rate their personal financial situation as "poor," a slight increase from the 16% to 19% range during and after the recent recession, and the highest percentage since Gallup began asking thequestion in its annual poll in 2001.

Twice as many Americans say their financial situation is either excellent (7%) or good (37%), but that is on the low end of what Gallup has measured in the past. The question is asked each April as part of Gallup's Economy and Personal Finance survey, and has been asked periodically at other times since August 2001. The current results are based on an Oct. 6-9 Gallup poll.

Credit unions will be interested to know Americans also are less optimistic about their future personal financial situations. Nearly half (48%) say their personal financial situation is "getting worse," up from 41% in April and nearly tying the record-high 49% who said so in April 2008. A new low-- 29%--say their personal financial situation is getting better.

About 78% of those earning $75,000 or more per year rate their situation as excellent or good, compared with 14% of those making less than $30,000 per year. This is a wider gap than was seen in April, when those percentages were 67% and 20%, respectively. At the same time, all income groups have become less likely to say their financial situation is getting better, and now 60% of the lowest income group says their personal financial situation is getting worse.

When asked about the most important financial problem facing their family, lack of money/low wages (14%), too much debt (13%), high cost of living/inflation (13%), healthcare costs (12%), and unemployment/loss of job (10%) are most often cited. Lack of money/low wages was the clear leader in July, and it has been either first or tied for first in every measurement since February 2009.

Credit unions noting these trends can step up their efforts to assist members through rough times and ensuring members are educated about their financial options.

iYahoo Newsi more ICU Day coverage stronger than usual

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MADISON, Wis. (10/24/11)--Consumer unrest over high bank fees helped put International Credit Union Day (ICU Day) on the media map this year, and some credit unions adapted their activities to convert accounts from banks as Bank Transfer Day Nov. 5 nears.

With consumers agitated about high bank fees as Bank Transfer Day nears, International Credit Union Day received more media converge than usual. Chippewa Eagle FCU, Mt. Pleasant, Mich., celebrated by offering its members cake. The credit union also paid the $5 minimum deposit for anyone who opened an account on ICU Day. (Photo provided by  Chippewa Eagle FCU) "Thanks to the Occupy Wall Street movement and big bank bail outs, credit unions and economic democracy, there's never been a better year to celebrate International Credit Union Day," was the opening sentence of an article on Yahoo! News.

"Unlike commercial mega-banks, credit unions are not-for-profit organizations," the article explained. "Credit unions answer to their customers not to stockholders. Unlike banks who divvy their earnings in the form of dividends, earnings are returned to members in the form of lower loan rates, higher interest on deposits, and lower fees."

The Credit Union National Association considers credit unions to be "economic democracy," since each member of the credit union has one vote regardless of the member's balance, the article said.

Among the ways credit unions celebrated ICU Day on Thursday:

  • Hershey FCU (HFCU), Hummelstown, Pa., provided refreshments and snacks to members who visited the credit union's three branch locations. A special gift was given to each member who attended the celebration, and everyone had a chance at winning an MP3 player and a $25 VISA gift card at each branch location. HFCU employees also collected donations during the day to benefit Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
  • With a budget of $150 dollars,  Laura Eblen, branch manager of Central Missouri Community CU,  and her staff performed 75 random acts of kindness throughout the town of Richmond, Mo. Central Missouri Central CU staff spend the day buying lunch, snacks, flowers, lots of coffee and providing transportation for their neighbors.
  • Each branch of Amplify CU, based in Austin, Texas, celebrated a different culture. The branches offered food and drinks, giveaways, activities and music.
  • Horizon FCU, Williamsport, Pa., served grab-and-go snacks representing a different country different each day of week. Treats included Italian biscotti, French eclairs, German pretzels and Chinese fortune cookies. On Friday the credit union hosted first chili cookoff to benefit the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
  • Timberland FCU, DuBois, Pa., took up a collection from members to fight breast cancer. Employees donned pink and jeans for a donation to the cause. Employees offered personal finance tips to members to help them improve their credit, protect their identity, and financial literacy.
  • Chippewa Eagle FCU, Mt. Pleasant, Mich., celebrated with donut holes and cider in the morning and pizza, cake and soda in the afternoon on ICU Day. The credit union paid the $5 minimum deposit for anyone that opened an account on ICU Day. Branch visitors received an ICU Day cup with a brochure, pen and candy. Children were also provided with pictures to color, which will be on display throughout October.
  • Annie Karr of Kansas City (Mo.) CU, appeared on WDAF television describing the difference between banks and credit unions in anticipation of Bank Transfer Day.

Intrust Bank sues Entrust FCU over name

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WICHITA, Kan. (10/24/11)--Intrust Bank, which operates 45 branches in Kansas, Oklahoma Arkansas, has filed a federal trademark infringement suit against $67 million Entrust Financial CU, based in Richmond, Va.

Entrust has one branch. Its members must be employees or family members of employees of churches and Christian organizations based in Richmond.

In the suit, filed in Wichita, Intrust Bank claims the credit union markets itself as a nationwide financial institution and is a competitor. It requests the court to cancel Entrust's trademark, block the name from being used in advertising, and turnover all printed marketing materials for destruction (The Wichita Eagle Oct. 20).

Susan Adams, Entrust Financial CU CEO, said she is skeptical there is any overlap between her credit union's membership and Intrust Bank's customers.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded the credit union a trademark earlier this year.

Intrust Bank appears to have been provoked by a special Website serving Entrust members who live overseas, Adams said.

"Entrust Financial Credit Union serves Christian-based organizations in Richmond, Va.," Adams told News Now. "That's been our focus for 41 years. We don't market outside of the Richmond area."
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