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CU System Archive

CU System

CUs media work gaining more attention

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MADISON, Wis. (10/6/08)--Credit unions can expect more notice of their safety, soundness and security as more leagues and credit unions complete another round of media efforts. The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association board (PCUA) Friday approved an emergency ad campaign to spread a message of credit union safety throughout Pennsylvania on behalf of credit unions (Life is a Highway Oct. 3). "The special radio campaign will provide intense ad messages telling consumers that credit unions are safe and sound; National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) share insurance coverage is backed by the full faith of the U.S. Government--the same as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC); and that non-credit union members can visit iBelong.org to find a credit union right for them," said PCUA. The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) also worked the past week to keep everyone abreast of the developments in the economy and their affect on credit unions. "Through radio advertisements, e-mails and online resources, MnCUN is impressing upon the state that credit unions are safe and secure during turbulent economic times," said MnCUN. A two-week radio flight to educate consumers will air on major stations throughout the state and will be available to credit unions to customize and air on local radio. (Use the link to hear the ad). The league also has state newspapers and television outlets, encouraging them to include credit unions in their stories about deposit safety. MnCUN President/CEO Mark Cummins has discussed credit union insurance and security on Minnesota Public Radio and the Minnesota News Network. Uncertain times call for "us to be communicating that credit unions are a safe haven for member deposits," said Cummins. "We are doing all we can to emphasize how credit unions operate differently than other financial institutions, which has lead to the continued strength and stability of credit unions." Meanwhile, credit unions in North Carolina were successful in their media contacts. Truliant FCU, Winston-Salem, N.C., told Carolina News 14 that it experienced a 22% increase in mortgages. The credit union did no subprime lending. “Our focus is making sure our members are well-educated and make sure they can afford the mortgage they’re signing up for,” said Joseph Whitaker, Truliant FCU chief operating officer. Marcus Schaefer, Truliant FCU CEO, told Fox 8 WGHP-TV about the credit union’s prudent lending standards. “We haven’t absorbed any losses from subprime lending--we don’t do subprime lending,” he said. “And so we should be able to pay better rates on savings and low rates on loans.” Joe Mecca, Coastal FCU’s director of community and corporate relations, told the Raleigh News & Observer: “We have seen some pretty strong growth this year.” Coastal Federal has added 13,600 members this year, an 8.5% increase, Mecca told the Observer. It also has seen a nearly 60% increase in new checking accounts; loans are up 20%, the newspaper said (Sept. 28). For more information and to hear the reports, use the links.

Season Three of Biz Kid in production

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (10/6/08)--The next season of Biz Kid$, a TV show that teaches kids how to make and manage money, is in editing and being delivered to American Public Television for broadcasting starting in January. At least 311 stations in 49 states will air the 13 new episodes of the 30-minute show, reports the Washington Credit Union League (FOCUS Oct. 1). Biz Kid$ is exclusively underwritten by America’s Credit Unions. The next key phase of program is outreach of the show and its complementing curriculum into classrooms, libraries, after-school programs, and so forth. To support that effort, the Washington Credit Union Foundation and the show's producers are offering credit unions a full master box set of the show's first two seasons--26 episodes. Each episode is contained on a separate DVD. Accompanying curriculum also is included on a separate CD. Credit unions, leagues and foundations are purchasing box sets to donate to libraries and resource centers of school districts to serve as a companion to the Biz Kid$ curriculum. Others are giving the set to after-school programs, summer camps, Boys & Girls Clubs, children’s hospitals, and daycare facilities. And others plan to use the DVDs in credit union branch lobbies. Credit unions can support in-branch screenings by posting customized Biz Kid$ posters or flyers with the times and dates of when the series broadcasts in your market, said the foundation. Collectively, credit unions must order a minimum of 100 master DVD box sets to secure the $50 per set price, which covers the costs of producing the master set and shipping. For more information, contact Sarah Hyman at

CU helps community recover from Gustav Ike

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BATON ROUGE, La. (10/6/08)--Pelican State CU got right down to business to help members and others in the Baton Rouge, La., community recover during the days after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The $145.7 million asset credit union returned more than $3,100 in ATM fees to members who used a non-Pelican ATM in the days after the hurricanes. "In a disastrous situation, you've got to get gasoline and cash wherever it's available. That is why we decided to refund our members," President/CEO Jeff Conrad told the Louisiana Credit Union League (eNews Oct. 1). "During times like these, every little bit counts." Before the storms hit, the credit union put into action its disaster recovery plans, including mobile generators and back up computer servers. It also created a Member Relief Program to assist members whose homes were destroyed. The flat rate loan helps members meet their high insurance deductibles. So far, Pelican has received 288 applications and disbursed over "$327,000 in loans for home repairs. Because of the demand, Pelican extended the program through the end of October. Also, Conrad, Senior Vice President Ronnie Stephens and other Pelican employees served free jambalaya to more than 450 staffers of Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center in Houma, one of the hardest hit cities in Louisiana. "Staff members had been working around the clock to make the repairs to the hospital and take care of their patients," said Conrad. "We wanted to lend a helping hand and they were truly appreciative.

CU System briefs (10/03/2008)

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* WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (10/6/08)--Purdue Employees FCU (PEFCU) President/CEO Bob Falk will host a Town Hall Meeting on Oct. 14 to discuss the nation's current financial crisis, how the credit union has avoided it, and why it remains a safe harbor for members' funds, announced the credit union. The meeting, free and open to the public, will emphasize PEFCU's federal insurance coverage by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and Excess Share Insurance (ESI), a private insurance company that offers additional coverage to members … * SAN DIMAS, Calif. (10/6/08)--Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based Pacific Marine CU has partnered with the Financial Service Centers Cooperative (FSCC) to provide a shared mobile branch at Camp Pendleton for members' use. The mobile branch, operated by Pacific Marine, will open by year-end and is expected to operate primarily on base. The traveling branch will cover roughly 200 square miles and serve more than 60,000 military members and families …

CU With 10 what would you do for someone else

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SEATTLE (10/6/08)--Seattle Metropolitan CU will hand out $10 bills today to 200 people. All those people have to do is answer the question, “If we gave you $10, what would you do for someone else?” The credit union will videotape the answers and put them on YouTube and on the credit union’s website. From Oct. 14-Oct. 19, the public can vote for the best seven answers (Seattle Post-Intelligencer Oct. 3). Seven is an important number for Seattle Metropolitan because it symbolizes the credit union’s core principles, which include giving back to the community, spokesman Andy Wright told the newspaper. The winner will be announced Oct. 20 and will receive $1,000 from the credit union to give to the cause or person specified in the answer.

CUNA Uptick of peak borrowers at expense of youth

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MADISON, Wis. (10/6/08)--Credit unions are increasing their ranks of "peak borrowers" (members age 25 to 44) but apparently are slipping in their abilities to attract "future borrowers" (those 18 to 24) to their memberships. So says the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) 2008 Member Statistics research study--a precursor to its National Member Survey and Survey of Potential Members, scheduled for release in April, 2009. "Over the past several years, many credit unions have been working diligently to attract more members in the peak borrowing ages, in an effort to improve their lending volume," said Jon Haller, CUNA's director of corporate and market research. "Success in these efforts, combined with the initial signs of a long-awaited turnaround in the prevalence of peak borrowing consumers, are no doubt behind the first rise in peak borrowers that credit unions have recorded in more than two decades." (See chart.)
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But while great news from a near-term lending perspective--the negative impact of the current U.S. economy notwithstanding--credit unions' gains in peak borrowers appear to come at the expense of any significant growth in future borrowers, who are one of the primary keys to credit unions' longer-term success, Haller said in his October Research Review. Past CUNA studies have shown that non-member young adults are the group most likely to say they are eligible to join a credit union and least likely to be familiar with the benefits, advantages, and financial services that credit unions provide. They comprise a large, attractive target--if perhaps a somewhat unwilling one, to this point--for credit unions' membership-growth efforts, he said. "It's clear that a number of credit unions have recognized--some of them, years ago--the extreme importance that young adults hold for the organization's future, and have had tremendous success in bringing them into the fold," Haller said. "However, the credit union movement, as a collective group, appears to still have a great deal of room for improvement in this area." Many credit unions that have attracted large numbers of young adults would say that it takes time, effort and especially, commitment--from the CEO, executives, and board, alike--to make this happen, he said, adding, "If your credit union has yet to take these steps, there's no better time than the present to begin the process."

Filene fellows blog on economy Bullish for CUs

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MADISON, Wis. (10/6/08)--The economy’s troubles present an opportunity for credit unions, according to several Filene Research Institute Fellows, who are blogging on the economy. The bloggers comprise a panel of research fellows in Portland, Ore. They recently answered some questions on the blog about credit unions and how they can help the economy for “September Madness.” The “madness” mimics “March Madness” collegiate basketball brackets with major financial institutions moving their way to a “stressful sixteen and awkward eight,” according to Filene. All of the bloggers encouraged credit unions to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the faltering economy. “I’m bullish about the opportunity for credit unions,” said Dorian Stone, McKinsey and Co. partner. Jim Wilcox, University of California-Berkeley professor, agreed. “For credit unions, it’s going to be raining members,” he said. Credit unions need very aggressive and more sophisticated marketing to add members, Stone said, acknowledging that “there’s a blind spot in the media that affects credit unions.” “Every credit union should call up their local paper and ask to have lunch to explain the key issues about the crisis, then explain how credit unions can play a [role],” said Robert Manning, professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The fellows also expressed concerns. Peter Turfano, Harvard Business School professor, said he worries that as consumers make a flight to quality, credit unions will make a flight to safety by not serving new groups. Credit unions should be convinced to take advantage of the market by knowing that “people who take out loans with a credit union are less likely to default because of the affinity,” Stone said. Regarding regulatory fallout, “the tax advantage is going to be back on the table when this is all done, and if credit unions can show what they did both before and during the crisis, they will be in better stead,” Turfano said. For more information, use the link.

Texas disburses 295660 in disaster grants

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (10/6/08)--The Texas Credit Union Foundation (TCUF) continues to receive grant applications from credit union employees who experienced personal losses as a result of Hurricane Ike’s destruction, according to the Texas Credit Union League. As of late Thursday, TCUF has distributed 613 grants, totaling $295,660. To fulfill these grant requests in a timely manner, the foundation urged the continued support and efforts of the credit union community (LoneStar Leaguer Oct. 3). "We are very grateful for the level of support from our credit union family, not for us, but for the hundreds who have experienced such devastation and upheaval in their lives. We want to remind all of our generous contributors that 100% of the donations go directly to the credit union employees who need help with the disaster recovery," said Jill Pharr, TCUF executive director.
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Pledges are updated daily, with the actual dollars received into TCUF’s Disaster Fund standing at $343,793.06, which now includes those contributions made through the National Credit Union Foundation’s (NCUF) CUAid. In the three weeks since Hurricane Ike made landfall, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has received a total of $124,230 in donations through online donations), wire transfers, and checks, according to Steve Bosack, NCUF deputy director. NCUF has wired a total of $113,985 to TCUF to provide emergency grants to Texas credit union employees. Donors have designated the remaining $10,245 to Louisiana credit union employees who are facing needs ranging from "serious" to "critical," he added. Some credit unions are still suffering from the storm’s aftermath, but all have begun recovery repairs, said Phil Tschudy, CUNA Mutual Group media relations manager. “As expected, we are seeing some new losses, all involving auto, repossessed auto and ATMs. The bottom line is the long route to recovery is well under way,” he added. The Texas league rescheduled its 2008 Compliance, Audit and Human Resources Conference for Nov. 2-4 because of Hurricane Ike. The conference will be held in Dallas. Attendees who already registered will have their commitments honored, though they will have to rebook their rooms with the new hotel. Early bird discounted registration rates will be extended until Nov. 2, the league said. The league also plans a stuffed animal drive on International Credit Union Day Oct. 16. The toys collected will be given to children affected by the hurricane. The league also plans to work with the Credit Union National Association on an Adopt-a-CU program, in which credit unions are matched with credit unions recovering from the storm. Dr. Susan Fletcher, a psychologist, will be invited to assist those recovering from the disaster. Fletcher is a former aide to television personality Dr. Phil. Dick Ensweiler, league president/CEO, also visited a number of credit unions impacted by the disaster (see slideshow), including Firestone Community CU, Bridge City, Texas, and Five Point CU of Nederland, Texas, which operated out of a mobile unit after the storm. The Texas league crisis-management team will continue meeting each Monday and Thursday through the end of November. About 11,000 households are still without power on Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula, the league said. Roughly 190 credit unions were affected by the hurricane; 29 are partially operational. CU Resources is working with its alliance partners to review services they can provide to affected credit unions. Critical needs include furnishings and equipment.