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CU System Archive

CU System

Wash. DFI rule protects seniors from misleading marketing

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (10/29/08)--The Securities Division of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has adopted a rule governing the use of professional designations that imply knowledge about issues relating to seniors. The rule is to protect seniors from misleading marketing by people offering investment transactions. The rule adopted is the North American Securities Administrators Association's Model Rule on Senior Designations. DFI says Washington is the first state to adopt the rule. "The purpose of the rule is to protect seniors by prohibiting the misleading use of senior and retiree designations," said DFI in a press release. "There has been a proliferation of professional designations that purport to show special knowledge of issues relating to seniors." Some of the designations represent a significant course of study, while others are mere marketing devices. Under the new rule, which became effective in July, the Securities Division can take license action against securities salespeople who use a senior designation to mislead seniors about their expertise. DFI warned consumers to check out anyone offering investment services or investment opportunities prior to signing any agreements, and to avoid those opportunities accompanied by high-pressure sales tactics that imply the offer won't last.

CU System briefs (10/28/2008)

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* RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (10/29/08)--CLARIFICATION: RaAnn Wood, president/CEO of California Central CU, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., was named deputy commissioner of the division of credit unions at the California Department of Financial Institutions. She will remain as CEO of California Central until Nov. 21. News Now reported Monday Wood was CEO of another credit union ... * CHANDLER, Ariz. (10/29/08)--First CU has partnered with Junior Achievement of Arizona to sponsor the financial institution at its second JA BizTown T learning experience for fifth and sixth grade students. Representatives of the $500 million asset credit union attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for its newest "branch." JA BizTown T encourages students to learn about the free enterprise system by participating in a simulated town. Student experiences vary from working in a financial institution, a television station or a retail store to managing personal finances. The partnership enables First CU to reach nearly 10,000 Arizona elementary students, said Desiree Hoogerhuis, community outreach coordinator at the credit union … * RALEIGH, N.C. (10/29/08)--State Employees' CU's (SECU) annual meeting Oct. 14 in Greensboro, N.C., attracted 900 members, says SECU. Many attending serve as volunteers on local branch Advisory Boards or on regional Loan Review Committees. SECU has more than 2,500 volunteer members serving statewide, acting as ambassadors for the credit union in the community. Board Chairman Shirley Bell noted that "SECU volunteers are crucial to the success of our member-owned financial cooperative, and we are thrilled so many were able to attend … Now is a crucial time for all financial institutions, and we are extremely proud to report our credit union is financially safe and sound, and is still seeing positive growth during difficult economic times." President/CEO Jim Blaine also focused on the safety and soundness of the credit union. (Photo provided by State Employees' CU) … * WESTERVILLE, Ohio (10/29/08)--A woman described as "dressed like a church lady" but "intimidating" robbed three financial institutions--including a credit union--in Franklin County, Ohio, last week (The Columbus Dispatch Oct. 25). Authorities have tied her with a bank robbery in the area in early 2006. The most recent robbery was Thursday at BMI FCU in Westerville and occurred near closing time. A note the woman handed to a teller said she had a gun and wanted a large amount of cash. However, the teller didn't have that much cash on hand and gave her rolls of coins. The woman also robbed a bank on Monday and another bank on Wednesday. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, female robbers are rare and one so prolific is an anomaly. Nationally, 6.4% of the 7,411 financial institution robberies last year were committed by women. In 2003, the figure was 5.4% …

Missouri CUs hit airwaves newspapers

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (10/29/08)--Missouri credit union representatives statewide are reaching out through the media to share the story of the credit union difference in tough economic times. Presidents Dan Alderman, Missouri Baptist CU, Jefferson City; Marsha Borgmeyer, First Financial CU, Jefferson City; and Rick Nichols,
Missouri Credit Union Association President Rosie Holub, left, talks about the credit union difference at radio station KCLR in Columbia, Mo. Rick Nichols, River Region CU, and Marsha Borgmeyer, First Financial CU, also were interviewed. (Photo provided by the Missouri Credit Union Association)
River Region CU, Jefferson City; and Rosie Holub, Missouri Credit Union Association, used airtime on radio station KCLR in Columbia to spread the message (The Missouri Difference Oct. 24). Credit union lending, benefits of membership, safety and soundness, and how credit unions avoided the financial crisis were among the issues they addressed. The interviews ran Oct. 20. “Banks dominate the news, and by default, credit unions get some of the cynicism that is generated by the press,” Nichols said. “This helps plant seeds about the real story of credit unions.” Missouri credit union leaders also are appearing in print media. The Daily American Republic included a photo of Polar Bluff (Mo.) FCU and information about credit union share insurance. President Dennis Sommer, Alliance CU, St. Louis, wrote two letters to the editor in October, countering articles written in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the St. Louis Business Journal. The letters pointed out that credit unions continue to meet the borrowing needs of their members, even as national banks cut back their lending.

Grant to expand Americas CU Museum program

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MANCHESTER, N.H. (10/29/08)--A $25,000 Innovation Grant from the National Credit Union Foundation will expand CU 4 Reality, a financial education program provided by America’s Credit Union Museum.
Middle school students visit America's Credit Union Museum in Manchester, N.H., to sign up for the CU 4 Reality Financial Education Fair. (Photo provided by the National Credit Union Foundation)
CU 4 Reality fosters partnerships between credit unions and middle schools to educate youth about fiscal responsibility. Its two-year curriculum combines career development and financial education. It is designed to:
* Guide students to select careers that will support their desired lifestyles; * Teach students basic financial literacy; * Provide credit unions opportunities to offer financial literacy support in partnership with educators; * Give educators a ready-to-use curriculum that is adaptable for the classroom.
Classwork is combined with hands-on learning experiences, and culminates in an interactive CU 4 Reality Financial Education Fair. “[The program’s growth] will help position credit unions as innovators and leaders in financial literacy education and community service,” said Peggy Powell, museum executive director. “It will also foster a familiarity with credit unions among our youth, an important emerging market for all credit unions.” Program grants are made possible through the Community Investment Fund.

NACUSO to CUs Its time to capture new market share

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SAN DIEGO (10/29/08)--Now is the time for credit unions to capitalize on all of the dysfunction that is occurring in the marketplace, according to National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (NACUSO) President/CEO Thomas Davis.
Credit unions should "rev up their engines" and go after market share, said National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (NACUSO) President/CEO Tom Davis at NACUSO's Member Business Alliance Oct. 15-17. (Photo provided by the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations)
“Credit unions and credit union service organizations (CUSOs) can take advantage of the market opportunities that have been created for us,” Davis said at the NACUSO Member Business Alliance Oct. 15-17. “It really is time to rev up our engines, take off and go after market share. That is particularly true with respect to business services, business deposits, lending and business services. The opportunity has never been better.” He also noted NACUSO’s National Center for Collaboration and Innovation and its four strategic pillars--critical thinking, innovation, collaboration and implementation. “It’s important to look at the risks that are changing and determine in advance what kind of corrective action might be necessary, rather than waiting to see what changes,” said Margaret Dengler Ross, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Member Business Lending program officer, during the conference. “Credit unions offering member business lending should proactively and continually validate that risk assessments are current and relevant.” NACUSO speaker Kirk Cuevas, principal partner, Dollar Associates and a former NCUA chief of staff, talked about the opportunities CUSOs and credit unions have. “Credit unions will need new and innovative products to compete in a dynamic financial marketplace,” he said. He encouraged credit unions and CUSOs to monitor NCUA Board actions and comment on proposed rules. Kent Moon, president of Member Business Lending LLC, said loan volume is up for business lending and there is a positive outlook for credit unions. “The best single piece of advice is to move,” he said. “I recommend credit unions launch their proactive mode, move into the market and look forward to building a real, strong membership for their credit union.” Lisa Renner, CEO, CU Holding Company, Kansas City, Mo., noted that the fastest growth in the next decade will be seen in women business owners, the young entrepreneurs, the immigrants and baby boomers. Credit unions can become involved with the community through the chamber of commerce and business fairs. “The credit union can garner new clients from those professional resources used to help their business service members,” she said.

Two leagues make wager for charity on World Series

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HARRISBURG, Pa. and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (10/29/08)--Jim McCormack, Pennsylvania Credit Union Association president/CEO, and Guy Hood, Florida Credit Union League president/CEO, have made a wager on their respective home teams winning the 2008 World Series. If the Phillies win, Florida will make a $250 contribution to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation. If the Devil Rays win, the association will send a $250 contribution to the Florida League’s favorite charity (Life is A Highway Oct. 28). Monday night’s Game 5 was suspended in the sixth inning due to heavy wind-driven rain. The game was to resume last night at 8 p.m. EDT, weather permitting. If the weather causes a further delay, fans will have to wait longer to celebrate a Phillies championship--or for Tampa Bay to take the series back to Florida. The Phillies lead the best 4-out-of-7 series, three games to one.

Good Morning America on bank fees Check out a CU

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NEW YORK (10/29/08)--On a consumer financial segment aired Tuesday morning on “Good Morning America” (GMA) titled “Bank Fees Out of Control,” viewers were encouraged to check out credit unions as an alternative to banks. The segment featured an irate mother whose college-aged daughter was charged $650 in bounced-check fees at a bank for a $100 overdraft on her account. GMA host Elizabeth Piper said a government study indicated that banks did a poor job of informing customers about transactions and overdraft fees. “See if you have access to a member-owned credit union,” Piper told viewers in her parting tips. “Their fees are typically way lower.” Some specific bank fees that Piper discussed:
* The average bank overdraft fee is $29--a 34% increase from a decade ago, according to Bankrate.com. Multiple overdrafts mean multiple overdraft fees for the bank; * Using an ATM at a bank other than their own can cost consumers up to $3.43 per transaction; * Consumers can be charged a $15 fee to pay a bill by phone; * Copies of old checks can cost $5; * Stop-payment requests can cost $20 apiece; * Depositing a bad check from someone else can cost the depositor $12; and * A line of credit used to cover overdrafts can cost the consumer $10 plus interest every time the bank activates the line of credit.

ICU Day over but CUs mission continues throughout year

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MADISON, Wis. (10/29/08)--International Credit Union Day (ICU Day)--celebrated Oct. 16--may have passed, but credit unions continue to promote their philosophy of “people helping people.” Activities include:
Click for slide showStaff at Prime Financial CU, Cudahy, Wis., celebrated International Credit Union Day by representing a different country at each of its nine branches. The branches treated members to cookies and candy to represent each country. (Photo provided by Prime Financial CU).
* Prime Financial FCU, Cudahy, Wis., celebrated ICU Day by asking each of its nine branches to select a country and then treat members to cookies and candy representing each country. The credit union distributed handouts with the history of credit unions and the purpose of the celebration; * Minnesota’s Southwestern Chapter of Credit Unions packed meals for children around the world to celebrate ICU day at the chapter’s second-annual Kids Against Hunger event. More than 70 credit union employees, board members and their families packed 23,000 meals. The chapter also donated $4,500 to cover the cost of food and supplies; * The Lafayette Chapter of the Louisiana Credit Union League held a jambalaya cook-off on ICU Day with five teams and judges (eWeek Oct. 23). First place was earned by Lafayette Schools FCU. Funds raised at the event will benefit the Credit Union Legislative Action Council; * Consumers CU, Waukegan, Ill., celebrated ICU Day with a grand re-opening of its new office in Mundelein; * E FCU, Baton Rouge, LA., also celebrated ICU Day with the opening of a new branch in Zachary, La.; * Erie (Pa.) General Electric FCU provided an Italian lunch to its members, and gave away a $100 Wal-Mart gift card; and * Freedom CU, Philadelphia, served soft pretzels and candy to members at its branches.

CUNA fin-lit tools win outstanding consumer info award

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MADISON, Wis. (10/29/08)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) recently won the 2008 Outstanding Consumer Financial Information Award for its suite of online financial literacy products for credit union members from the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE). “CUNA is committed to helping credit unions achieve their mission to educate their members--and the communities they serve--about personal finance and the importance it plays in lifelong financial security,” said Jim Hanson, vice president of CUNA’s center for personal finance. “Over the years, CUNA has gone from publication-only education to life-stage-based online tools. It is these innovative tools that served as the basis for this award application.” The six online life stage products honored in the award include:
* Googolplex--a three-in-one website, written predominantly by youth for youth, that deals with money matters and life issues through stories, videos, contests, calculators, interactive games, and blogs; * Guides to Independence--a series of interactive tutorials, which includes audio track and simulations, to help high school students learn about money management; * MoneyMix--a one-stop financial resource, designed for 18- to 30-year-olds, that features videos, articles, checklists, budgeting tools, and blogs; * Anytime Adviser--seven coaches, available in both English and Spanish, with topics that cover major financial decisions; * Home & Family Finance Resource Center--timely information on personal finance topics, including consumer articles, online calculators, videos, and audio programs to help adults achieve financial success; and * Plan It: Retire Ready Toolkit--a complete online toolkit to aid baby boomers in planning for and achieving financially secure retirement years.
The award will be presented during the AFCPE’s Annual Conference Nov. 19-21 in Garden Grove, Calif. Mike Schenk, CUNA’s vice president of economics and statistics, will provide the closing remarks on the current housing crisis and its implications for the future at the conference. The AFCPE is a professional organization focused on supporting, promoting, and advancing the field of financial counseling and planning education. Its membership consists of personal finance educators, military financial counselors, private practitioners, and organization and government officials. For more information, use the link.