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CU System Briefs (10/29/2013)

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  • ALBANY, N.Y. (10/29/13)--The Credit Union Association of New York, Community Resource FCU of Latham, Sunmark FCU of Latham and Capital Communications (CAP COM) FCU of Albany were named among the 30 best places to work in the Albany region in 2013 by the Albany Business Review. The publication will honor the winners for their employee-friendly work environment at a Dec. 6 lunch event--timed to coincide with the release of a special publication dedicated to discussing the 30 companies' best practices, said CUANY ...
  • HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (10/29/13)--The New Jersey Credit Union League is accepting submissions for a league board position vacated by Raymond Del Nero. The deadline for applications is Thursday. The league board will then decide who is eligible and is expected to select a replacement by Nov. 15. Del Nero, who recently stepped down, was a Tier C "At-Large" director. His replacement can come from any asset-sized credit union. The appointee will have to run for election at the end of 2014, when Del Nero's term would have expired (The Daily Exchange Oct. 28) ...

Welch, Sanders Confirm CU Tax Status Support

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WASHINGTON (10/29/13)--Two members of Congress from Vermont--U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I)--conveyed their unqualified support for the current credit union tax status during Vermont credit union leaders' visit in Washington, D.C., last week, said the Association of Vermont Credit Unions.
Meeting in U.S. Rep. Peter Welch's (I-Vt.) office in Washington, D.C., were, from left: Seated, Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU) Directors Bernie Isabelle, Vermont FCU, and Jim St. Peter, New England FCU, and Vice-chair Susan Poczobut, Granite Hills CU. Standing, Director Bob Morgan, NorthCountry FCU; Chairman Sean Gammon, Members Advantage Community CU; Welch; Vice-president Bryan Kent; Secretary Susan Best, ORLEX Government Employees CU; Treasurer Jeff Morse, River Valley CU; and AVCU President Joe Bergeron. (Photo provided by the Association of Vermont Credit Unions).
Welch's first unsolicited point with the delegation was affirmation of the tax treatment of credit unions because of their uniqueness among financial service providers and the benefits they bring to consumers, said AVCU (Newslines Express Oct. 25).

The Senate was in an unscheduled break due to the debt ceiling and government shutdown debate the week before the meeting. However, Sanders called from his Burlington, Vt.,  office to speak with the group, who met with his lead financial issues staffer. As with Welch, Sanders' first unsolicited comments were to affirm his unequivocal support for the current tax treatment of credit unions and the many benefits they provide in the marketplace, said AVCU.

The group also held detailed separate discussions with Welch and key aides for Sens. Sanders and Patrick Leahy (D) about business lending for credit unions, the importance of a viable secondary mortgage market for credit unions, and legislative proposals to reduce privacy disclosure burden on financial institutions.  On increased business lending limits for credit unions, Welch said he is currently neutral but recognizes the need for capital by small business and the competitive benefit credit unions provide to borrowers in the marketplace.

"Although Vermont's congressional delegation has always supported the tax treatment of credit unions in the past, it's especially assuring to get unsolicited affirmations at a time when Congress is scrutinizing future tax exemptions of more than 400 equally concerned interest groups," said AVCU President Joe Bergeron.

In addition to meeting with lawmakers, the AVCU board, president and vice-president held a legislative issues briefing with Credit Union National Association senior management and conducted its annual strategic planning process.

MnCUN Holds Education Session For Examiners

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (10/29/13)--
Click to view larger image A meeting of Minnesota Department of Commerce examiners and the Minnesota Credit Union Network included Chief Examiner Carl Schwartz and his team of examiners, left, and, on the right, MnCUN President/CEO Mark Cummins and Vickie Ganrude, MnCUN director of business development. (Photo provided by Minnesota Credit Union Network)
The Minnesota Credit Union Network conducted an education session last week with a group of credit union examiners from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the state's regulatory agency of state-chartered credit unions.
The group met on Thursday with MnCUN President/CEO Mark D. Cummins and Director of Business Development Vickie Ganrude.
MnCUN presented an overview of its mission and an overview of consulting services provided by Ganrude and MnCUN Compliance and Audit Consultant Marcia Armstrong Lewis.
"From a compliance standpoint, receiving a document of resolution (DOR) is never a pleasant thing for a credit union," said Ganrude. She noted the consulting services "can help guide credit unions through the challenging process of addressing the issues raised in the DOR."
Other topics discussed included the scope of industry regulations and the potential impact of credit union taxation.
"This was a good opportunity to meet with the state regulators who work directly with our credit unions on a regular basis," Cummins said. "It's important for us to keep the lines of communication open so we can best serve our credit unions."

Kentucky League Honors Award Winners

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (10/29/13)--The Kentucky Credit Union League honored three leaders from member credit unions with Kentucky Distinguished Awards at an award ceremony held earlier this month at the league's 79th Annual Meeting & Convention.

Edgewood-based SEMC FCU CEO Bennie Hoppius was given the Frank Moore Award. Louisville-based Class Act FCU board member Cindy Potts received the Steve Broady Award, and Louisville-based Kentucky Telco FCU branch manager Josh Williams was presented the Richard B. Zimmerman Award (By the Way Oct. 25).

Other honors bestowed upon institutions included Credit Union National Association Distinguished Awards, state-level awards that recognize member and community service, and an award granted for youth financial education.

Member credit unions that received Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Awards included:
  • For institutions with assets between $20 million and $50 million, SEMC FCU, Edgewood;
  • $50 million and $100 million, Kentucky Employees CU, Frankfort;
  • $100 million and $200 million, Service One CU, Bowling Green;
  • $500 million and $1 billion. Park Community FCU, Louisville; and
  • Over $1 billion in assets, Fort Knox FCU, Radcliff.
Member credit unions that received Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Member Service awards were Commonwealth CU, based in Frankfort, for institutions with between $250 million and $1 billion in assets, and Fort Knox FCU for institutions with over $1 billion in assets.

Commonwealth CU was also granted the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award.

The 79th Annual Meeting & Convention took place from Oct. 9 to Oct. 11, at the Louisville Marriott Downtown.

Copies of handouts from the convention's learning sessions can be found on the league's website.

Mich. League's Card-skimming, Other Bills Progress In Legislature

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LANSING, Mich. (10/29/13)--Several bills initiated or supported by the Michigan Credit Union League are making progress in state legislature. They include a card-skimming package, a group of commercial code bills and affidavit bills regarding real estate.
A five-bill partisan card-skimming package initiated by the league, after a Michigan credit union brought the matter to the league's attention, was voted out of the state House Criminal Justice Committee last week (Michigan Monitor Oct. 28).  House Bills 5050, 5051, 5052, 5053 and 5054 all deal with card-skimming, a significant form of fraud and loss, said the league.  Current law does not specifically address card-skimming devices. 
Financial institutions have found that skimming devices are readily available for sale and take a minimal amount of time to install on ATMs, gas pumps and other card terminals. Criminals install the devices, often a camera, to read cards or capture personal identification numbers as they are keyed in so they can collect personal information, said MCUL.
Currently there are conflicting penalty provisions in the state law, and jurisdictional adjustments are needed to facilitate easier prosecution, said the league.
MCUL, Steve Dedene of Ferndale-based Credit Union ONE and Michelle Mattson of Pontiac-based Genisys CU  provided testimony supporting the bills. Although the matter had been scheduled before the committee only for testimony, the committee voted unanimously voted to support the bills.  MCUL will continue working with the sponsors of the package as it moves through the House and into the Senate.

Other bills of note in the state:
  • Senate Bills 547, 548, 549, 550 and 551, a group of commercial code bills supported by the league, were voted out of the state Senate, 36-0, and now head to the House chamber for a first reading and committee assignment. The league worked with Sen. Darwin Booher (R-Evart), the bills' sponsor, throughout the drafting and committee process.
  • House Bills 4638, 4639 and 4640, a bipartisan package of affidavit bills supported by the league, received testimony in the House Committee on Local Government and a vote is expected at this week's committee hearing, the league said. The bills would amend various acts governing the recording and indexing of real estate conveyances and affidavits with the county register of deeds.  The bills would enable use of verified copies for recording and protect chain of title where documents are lost, which would prevent some legal challenges and help to ensure title. The bills also would ease concerns about electronic signatures in electronic recording, the league said.
MCUL will continue monitoring the progress of the bills through the legislature.

CUAD's Social Good Site Marks 1,500 Stories Posted

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BISMARCK, N.D. (10/29/13)--CU Social Good, a website launched in January by the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas to share good things credit unions do for people and communities, has posted more than 1,500 individual stories about credit unions' outreach into their communities since it launched.
That is 500 more than the site had in mid-July. Then, most of the stories involved charitable work and community service projects and financial literacy projects (News Now July 23).
"At CU Social Good, you will find these 'good news' stories of credit unions and credit union people being involved in their communities--helping charities, promoting financial literacy, providing scholarships, volunteering their time, and supporting people and planet over profit," said CUAD' in a press release.
CUAD encouraged credit unions from throughout the nation to contribute stories that can be used for lobbying, awareness campaigns and community relations.
Credit unions can also post their good news stories on the Credit Union National Association's Unite for Good website or on the aSmarterChoice website. Some leagues, such as the Minnesota Credit Union Network, are collecting stories in their states and reporting them to media contacts to raise awareness about the value of credit unions to their members and community.
CUNA's and the leagues' Unite for Good campaign aims to raise awareness, remove barriers, and foster service excellence in a campaign toward a united strategic vision for the movement, where Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner.  Use the links for more information.

CUNA CPDOnline's System Wins Best Enterprise Learning System

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MADISON, Wis. (10/29/13)--SumTotal Systems LLC, the provider of CUNA CPDOnline's learning management system, won the Best Enterprise Learning System at the ninth annual Best of Elearning! Awards, announced the Credit Union National Association.

It was selected by Elearning! readers for its dedicated learning management resource, SumTotal Learn.

SumTotal Systems provides professional development and human resources solutions and increases performance standards of successful organizations worldwide.

The company also took home the Elearning! award for the Best HR Solution and honors in two categories: Best E-learning Development Tool and Best Simulation Tool. SumTotals's 2013 accomplishments also include the Gold Award for Best eLearning/Learning Management System--bsoco Software of the Year Awards.

CUNA Center for Professional Development Senior Vice President Todd Spiczenski noted that SumTotal's learning management resources is a key component of CUNA CPDOnline. "Their pristine record and reputation are backed by a strong foundation of content and innovation that keeps our system effective. There's a reason we haven't had to seek out learning management solutions since first going into business with them."

By using the SumTotal learning management system, CUNA CPDOnline can offer credit union trainers and managers the ease of assigning, recording, tracking and reporting training for their credit union, said CUNA.

For more information, use the link.

'CU Planet' Blog Launches With Videos From NWCUA Conference

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PORTLAND, Ore. (10/29/13)--A man traveling the country to document the work of credit unions launched his project on International Credit Union Day, publishing videos he recorded at the Northwest Credit Union Association's Amplify Convention in Portland, Ore.  (Anthem Recap Oct. 25).

Click to view larger image Gene Pelham, right, CEO of Medford, Ore.-based Rogue CU, discusses credit unions' community impact with Carlos Rodriguez, founder and publisher of "CU Planet," a blog aimed at telling credit unions' stories and capturing collaboration between people and credit unions.  (Photo provided by the Northwest Credit Union Association)
Carlos Rodriguez, founder and publisher of the blog "CU Planet," posted an interview with NWCUA President/CEO Troy Stang, and a profile of Gene Pelham, CEO of Medford, Ore.-based Rogue CU, as part of his blog's launch on Oct. 17.

The inaugural post also includes a video about Seattle, Wash.-based Verity CU's Mom Blog, a report about credit unions' role in helping Vancouver, B.C., turn 2010 Winter Olympics dormitories into condominiums, and a report about a partnership between Connection, Kitsap and Peninsula CUs designed to help members deal with the federal government's sequestration budget cuts.

A former credit union employee who most recently worked as a marketing manager at Santa Cruz Community CU in California, Rodriguez launched the blog because he said that he believes credit unions can help end poverty.
Rodriguez works alone for now, but is planning on allowing credit unions to upload their own material to "CU Planet," and says he hopes to expand operations with a view of turning the blog into a cooperative.

The NWCUA Amplify convention took place from Oct.8-10.