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Childrens Miracle Network CUs start holiday fundraising

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (10/26/10)--Paper icons linked to a variety of seasonal themes are available as part of the Credit Unions for Kids holiday campaign to benefit Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. The campaign allows credit unions to choose the theme that works best for their members. For example, a credit union that chooses a football-themed promotion can offer paper football icons. Other icon options include turkeys, a Christmas bulb and snowmen. Credit union members typically purchase the seasonal icons for as little as $1, with all proceeds benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network hospital serving the credit union’s community. Holiday campaign kits can be ordered at no cost to participating credit unions. The kits include the icons, campaign information, a donation reporting form and a pre-addressed envelope for submitting the donation. Use the resource link below for orders.

Mid-America CU Assoc. launches small-biz lending website

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BISMARCK, N.D. (10/26/10)--Mid-America Credit Union Association has launched a website to promote credit unions as a small-business lending resource for consumers, credit union members and prospective members in North Dakota and South Dakota. The Credit Union Business Lending website reflects efforts to increase awareness in the Dakotas about credit unions’ role in fostering small businesses and offering small-business loans and financial services without government assistance or taxpayer funds. Small businesses in the Dakotas are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain credit, according to Mid-America CEO/President Robbie Thompson. The business lending website offers frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the credit union difference, information about credit union’s “safe and sound” financial operations; and help in finding a credit union. Mid-America intends to expand the interactive site by sharing member business lending success stories from credit unions in the Dakotas and adding links to agencies such as the Small Business Administration. For more information, use the link.

Illinois League announces award winners

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (10/26/10)--The Illinois Credit Union League announced the winners of its statewide Desjardins, Dora Maxwell and Louise Herring awards. Winners of the Dejardins Youth Financial Education Award for leadership in youth financial literacy were:
* NuMark CU, Joliet, first place in the $50million to $150 million-asset category; * Argonne CU, Romeoville, first place, $150 million to $500 million; and * Great Lakes CU, North Chicago, first place, more than $500 million.
Winners of the Dora Maxwell Award for outstanding community projects and activities were:
* Cornerstone CU, Freeport, first place, $50 million to $100 million-asset category; * Streator Onized CU, Streator, first place, $100 million to $200 million; * Financial Plus CU, Ottawa, second place, $100 million to $200 million; * GCS FCU, Granite City, first place, $200 million to $500 million; * Great Lakes CU, North Chicago, first place, more than $500 million; and * Scott CU, Collinsville, second place, more than $500 million.
The Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action went to Scott CU, Collinsville, which received first place in the more than $500 million asset category. The award honors credit unions that make exceptional efforts to include credit union philosophy in daily operations and member service.

CU System Briefs (10/25/2010)

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* PORTLAND, Maine (10/26/10)--At its annual conference Oct. 14, the Maine Public Relations Council (MPRC) presented Jon Paradise, governmental and public affairs manager at Maine Credit Union League, with the 2010 Edward L. Bernays Award, the highest honor given by the council to an individual public relations professional. This award was created in 1987 to honor outstanding contributions to the public relations profession and is named for Edward L. Bernays, widely regarded as the father of modern public relations. MPRC has more than 300 members, including representatives from most of the state’s largest and most influential organizations. Paradise is past president of MPRC. He oversees communication efforts for the organization and the state’s 64 credit unions. He was recognized for his work for the Maine league and member credit unions and for his community service activities, including his efforts in support of the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger, Maine Children’s Cancer Program, and Financial Literacy ...

Wis. CUs beat other lenders with mortgages to underserved

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PEWAUKEE, Wis. (10/26/10)--Credit unions are more likely to approve low-income and minority borrowers’ home loans in Wisconsin than are non-credit union lenders, according to the most current figures available under the Federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, said the Wisconsin Credit Union League. Based on 2009 data--the most recent available--low-income mortgage borrowers’ approval rate was 72.2% at Wisconsin credit unions compared to 65.5% at non-credit union lenders. For minority mortgage applicants, the credit union approval rate in Wisconsin was 78%, compared with 58.2% at non-credit union lenders. “Credit unions continue to outperform other lenders in mortgages to financially underserved groups because of their unique member-ownership structure,” said Brett Thompson, league president/ CEO. “Because credit unions exist to serve their member owners, as opposed to chasing profits, credit unions can make mortgage decisions based primarily on members’ needs. So credit unions will make smaller loans on more modest homes. They’re also more accessible to low-income and minority borrowers.” Although credit unions have only about a 10% market share for financial services in Wisconsin, they operate 40% of the financial institution branches in the state’s low-income census tracts. By contrast, 94% of all Wisconsin banks--including 12 of the largest 20 banks--have no branches in low-income census tracts. Credit unions have been applauded for serving the underserved while avoiding the exotic lending practices that led to today’s economic stress. Barney Frank, chair of the House Financial Services Committee has said, “If credit unions made all of the mortgage loans, then there would have been no subprime crisis, and therefore no economic crisis.” Overall, Wisconsin’s lower income consumers save an estimated $44 million because they have access to member-owned credit unions instead of higher-cost for-profit institutions, the league said. Helping members save and build wealth is the aim of credit unions’ REAL Solutions initiative. The effort has been honored with four Governor’s Financial Literacy Awards.

Final nomination received for CUNA Board

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MADISON, Wis. (10/26/10)--One final nomination has been received for seats on the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) board of directors. The most recent nomination was for Scott Waite, senior vice president/chief financial officer for Patelco CU, San Francisco, for the District 6, Class C seat. The nomination brings the total nominations to 14 for board seats. The deadline for nominations was Friday. Voting will take place from Wednesday through Dec. 17. Ballots will be sent on Wednesday for the three contested elections in District 2, Class B; District 4, Class A; and District 6, Class C. Nominations also have been received for:
* Robert Falk, president/CEO of Purdue Employees FCU, West Lafayette, Ind., District 2, Class B; * Patrick J. Drennen, CEO of 1st Gateway CU, Camanche, Iowa, District 4, Class A; * Dennis A. Fisher, president/CEO, First Security CU, Lincolnwood, Ill., District 4, Class A; * Brian Smith-Vandergriff, board member of Catholic Family CU, Kansas City, Mo., District 4, Class A; * Patricia A. Wesenberg, governmental affairs liaison, Marshfield (Wis.) Medical Center CU, District 4, Class A; * Jeff York, president/CEO of CoastHills FCU, Lompoc, Calif., District 6, Class B seat; * Stephen G. Behler, president/CEO of Kemba CU, West Chester, Ohio, District 2, Class B seat; * Brett Martinez, president/CEO, Redwoods CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., running for a District 6, Class C seat in a special election; * Harriet May, president/CEO, GECU, El Paso, Texas, District 5, Class C. May is currently CUNA's chairman; * 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; * 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.
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. The others elected will take office Feb. 28 and serve a three-year term that expires at the adjournment of the 2014 CUNA Annual General Meeting.

Conn. CUs host first Financial Reality Fair

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MERIDEN, Conn. (10/25/10)--More than 320 students from Hillhouse, North Haven, ACES and Shelton high schools participated in the first Connecticut Financial Reality Fair for the 2010-2011 school year in the New Haven Field House, New Haven, Conn.
Students wait their turn, make their choices, and enter details on their budget sheets at the first Connecticut Credit Union Financial Reality Fair of the 2010-2011 school year held Wednesday at the Field House in New Haven, Conn. (Photo provided by the Credit Union League of Connecticut)
Credit unions in the state identified and responded to the need for high school students to learn how to properly handle their finances by creating this unique experience, said the Credit Union League of Connecticut. Partnering with local businesses, credit unions have produced fairs for high schools in Connecticut since the 2008-2009 school year. On Wednesday, students experienced the real-life challenges of living within a budget and paying bills, while being tempted by “fun” purchases. “This is harder than I expected,” said a student from Hillhouse High. “I thought I was making good money, but I can’t buy a new car and pay for my apartment without a roommate.” Some students found they could not afford the level of living they expected to have after graduation, while others stated they were going to reevaluate their career choice. Connecticut credit unions will hold their next Financial Reality Fair in Hartford on Nov. 17.