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Defense CU Council sponsors Operation Best Wishes

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (10/26/11)--This holiday season, the Defense CU Council will once again sponsor Operation Best Wishes, the mobile studio that gives family and friends of military members the opportunity to send video messages.

The studio comes with cameras, lights and a technician, the ability to superimpose families over moving backgrounds through the use of a "green screen." Families and the military alike record their personal greetings free of charge.

The holiday video cards come complete with a password that is used to view the greeting time and time again on the Operation Best Wishes website.

The annual campaign, about to launch its eighth national tour, is sponsored by the Defense Credit Union Council and its member credit unions serving the military and their families.

"Nothing can replace the warm embrace of a spouse, the kids or family members during the holidays," noted Arty Arteaga, President/CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Defense Credit Union Council. "However, by providing an opportunity to reach out with a video greeting card that's memorable and different from Skyping or the usual e-mail exchanges, our credit unions hope to offer the next best thing to being there and by doing so, brighten the holiday season for those who serve our country and for their families as well.

"Connecting military families is just a small token of our appreciation for those who make great scarifies on a daily basis," added Arteaga.

Operation Best Wishes will kickoff its national tour at Andrews FCU, Suitland, Md. during the week of Nov. 14 by visiting their branches at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey and Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Other stops along the tour include: Hanscom FCU, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.; AmeriCU Credit Union, Rome, N.Y.; Kirtland FCU, Albuquerque, N.M.; and Sea Air FCU, Seal Beach, Calif. The tour concludes on Dec. 16 at Hawaiian Tel FCU, Honolulu.

The Defense Credit Union Council is a niche membership association representing the interests of credit unions operating on military installations worldwide. By maintaining a close and constant liaison with the Pentagon, the council supports its member credit unions and the Department of Defense (DoD) in coordinating policy, procedures and legislation impacting morale and welfare, financial readiness, and the delivery of quality financial products and services to DoD personnel and their families. The council comprises 235 credit unions serving more than 14 million members.

Holy Rosary CU hosts American Cancer Society Hot Spot

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ROCHESTER, N.H. (10/26/11)--Holy Rosary CU's Dover, N.H., branch recently hosted the "Pink Hot Spot" for the American Cancer Society's Annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K walk/run.

For the third year, Holy Rosary CU's Dover, N.H. branch was the site for American Cancer Society's Annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K walk/run participants to pick up their T-shirts and team packets and drop off donations. Front row, from left: Rosemary Shields, Holy Rosary CU's vice president of operations; Megan Dean; and Kristy Randazzo, Dover branch manager. Back row, from left: Virgie McQuade, Dover assistant branch manager; Michelle Brown; Nicole Huntress; Christine Donnelly; Carol Breadmore; Kalena Bartoszak and Sarah Kirkwood. (Photo provided by Holy Rosary CU)
For the past three years, the Holy Rosary CU branch has been chosen as the financial institution representing the Hot Spot for this event.

As the Pink Hot Spot, Holy Rosary CU in Dover was the site for individuals and teams to pick up T-shirts, team packets and drop off donations.

Every year in honor of breast cancer awareness, Holy Rosary paints murals on its windows and purchases special give-a-ways for the branch. This year was the credit union's first time taking part in the 5k Run/Walk. Some Holy Rosary CU staff walked on behalf of family members.

"It was great that we were able to take part in the event this year," says Kristy Randazzo, branch manager. "This year was extra special as we HRCU staff members walking on behalf of a family member."

The American Cancer Society's "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk" brings together communities to educate people about ways to reduce risk, celebrate those who have combated breast cancer, and to empower communities to join in on the fight.

Since 1993, nearly 7 million walkers have raised more than $400 million dollars to help fight breast cancer through the participation in the noncompetitive, three- to five-mile events. In 2010, nearly 800,000 walkers nationwide collected more than $60 million to help save lives from breast cancer.

CUNA Mutual mortgage insurance company pledges service

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MADISON, Wis. (10/27/11)--CMG Mortgage Insurance Company (CMG MI) responded Friday to the Maricopa County, Ariz., superior court order directing the Arizona Director of the Department of Insurance to take possession and control of PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. (PMI).

PMI currently owns a 50% stake in CMG MI, the other 50% being owned by Madison, Wis.-based CUNA Mutual Group.

CMG MI's executive leadership emphasized that the company's operations remain strong despite this announcement, and that the company's focus on credit unions' mortgage insurance needs is unaffected. CMG MI is a stand-alone, corporate entity with its own capital and dedicated staffing from its shareholders. Arizona's regulatory action with PMI has no impact on CMG MI's operations and claims-paying activities.

"We remain dedicated to providing the same excellent service credit unions have grown to expect from our company," said Kim Shaul, CMG MI senior vice president and co-general manager.

"In addition to the company's solid operating performance and financial strength, CMG MI continues to enjoy the strong support from its joint venture partner CUNA Mutual Group," said Sean Dilweg, CUNA Mutual Group vice president. Dilweg reiterated earlier statements that: "CMG MI will continue to benefit from CUNA Mutual's management and financial strength as well as PMI's ongoing operational services and expertise. The company is committed to serving credit unions over the long term."

The following are key factors supporting CMG MI's solid financial position:

  • CUNA Mutual Group's statutory capital, which grew to $1.45 billion through June, up $30 million from year-end 2010. The company holds an "A" (Excellent) A.M. Best financial strength rating with a Stable Outlook.
  • As of the last available reporting period, June 30, CMG MI had among the industry's strongest financial and operating ratios, including a risk-to-capital ratio of approximately 19.7:1 and the industry's lowest portfolio delinquency ratio at 5.3%.
  • As a separate legal entity, CMG MI's investment grade ratings--BBB from Standard & Poor's (S&P) and BBB from Fitch Ratings (Fitch)--are based primarily on CMG MI's own capital, operating performance and loss mitigation efforts, independent of our shareholders. CMG MI's Standard & Poor's rating was reaffirmed in September, while the Fitch rating was affirmed in July of this year.
  • As of June 30, CMG MI enjoyed a strong two-to-one liquidity-to-reserves ratio, one of the highest in the mortgage insurance industry, with claims-paying resources, backed by cash and readily marketable securities of $328 million. This liquidity compares favorably to the company's $171 million in loss reserves for claims as of the end of second quarter 2011.

Peninsula Methodist FCU to merge with Dover FCU

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DOVER, Del. (10/26/11)--Dover (Del.) FCU announced that, effective Oct. 1, it has completed incorporation of Peninsula Methodist FCU, Crisfield, Md., into its membership and operations.

Peninsula Methodist FCU, a $198,000 asset faith-based credit union serving 155 ministers and employees of Methodist churches located in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, had no full-time employees or branch locations. Peninsula offered loans and savings accounts to its members.

The merger with $330 million asset Dover FCU expands the services available to former Peninsula members who will now have access to more financial products, including Dover FCU's low-rate loans and no-fee checking accounts with no minimum balance restrictions.

Peninsula savings accounts have been automatically converted to basic share savings accounts at Dover FCU.

David Clendaniel, CEO of Dover FCU, said that the credit union was looking forward to welcoming its new members. "Dover Federal draws its strength from its membership and gives back to its members in the form of low-cost financial services and great member service," he said. "We welcome all our new members from Peninsula Methodist FCU."

Ohio league completes board elections

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COLMBUS, Ohio (10/26/11)--The Ohio Credit Union League recently completed its board elections.

Mike Kurish, CEO of Associated School ECU, Youngstown, Ohio, has been elected to the Ohio Credit Union League 2012 board of directors to continue representing credit unions in the Mahoning Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Stark County and Summit Chapters (e-Lumination Newsletter Oct. 19.)

John ("Jack") Wilster, chairman of Seven Seventeen CU, Warren, was the other candidate vying for the District IV seat. The ballot vote election concluded Oct. 17.

Four league directors were elected by acclamation in August: Christine Blake of Cardinal Community CU, Mentor, will represent Membership Category B; Scott Hicks of Tiffin (Ohio) St. Joseph FCU, will represent District I; Sandy McCormick of Total Assurance FCU, Worthington, will represent Membership Category A; and Kevin Ralofsky of VacationLand FCU, Sandusky, will represent District III.

Terms for the newly elected directors will begin in February and expire in 2015.

Maryland CUs focus on MBLs reported

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GAITHERSBURG, Md. (10/26/11)--An article on Gazette.net described how Maryland credit union member business lending (MBL) is helping state small businesses.

"More credit unions, which have long focused on consumer lending, have been offering business loans, particularly serving an often neglected small-business segment," explains the article, headlined "Maryland credit unions sharpen focus on commercial lending."

The article cites Credit Union National Association (CUNA) statistics that say 30% of credit unions provided members the opportunity to obtain business loans in June, up from 25% in 2007.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) FCU, Rockville, Md., is featured in the article. The MBL program at NIH FCU began last year. The credit union has about $14 million in business loan volume, with most loans ranging from $250,000 to $500,000, said CEO Juli Anne Callis.

The article describes how NIH FCU provided an MBL to Maryland dentist Steven Rattner, who sought a lender to refinance his commercial property.

"The application was quick and straightforward, plus [credit union] representatives had an impressive one-on-one approach that helped me understand the process while also saving me valuable time," Rattner in the article.

The article also describes how CUNA and credit unions are urging the U.S. Congress to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% from the current 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create about 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, according to CUNA.

In other MBL news, the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) recently facilitated a discussion with  U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) at his district office in Dearborn, Mich. Jim Kirk, director of community relations at University of Michigan CU, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Mike Newman, president/CEO of Monroe County Community CU, Monroe, Mich.; and Tony Carnarvon, president/CEO of Co-Op Services CU, Livonia, Mich.; discussed the importance of pending MBL legislation in making more credit available to Michigan businesses.

In addition to discussing bill language specifics, credit union leaders in attendance provided Dingell with letters of support from both the Department of Treasury and National Credit Union Administration. The MCUL also shared CUNA's "Open Letter," which highlights the growing list of other trade associations/groups supporting the MBL authority increase. The participants asked Dingell to consider co-sponsoring the legislation. H.R. 1418 currently has seven co-sponsors from Michigan.

To read the article, use the link.