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CU System Briefs (10/30/2013)

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  • WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (10/30/13)--A man faces up to 60 years in prison and fines of $750,000 after pleading guilty to robbing three financial institutions, including Choice One Community FCU, Hazleton, Pa. Senior U.S. District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo accepted the guilty pleas in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Monday. The robberies occurred over nine days in April 2012. Shawn Luther Kelly allegedly robbed PNC Bank in Hazle Township of $3,980 on April 16, 2012. He was accused of robbing Choice One FCU in Wilkes-Barre of $1,140 on April 20, 2012. Kelly was arrested shortly after a robbery of Citizens Bank in Hazleton of $1,420 on April 24 (The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader Oct. 21). Authorities used a combination of apprehension tools and strategies to capture Kelly, including a tracking device inserted into one of the money bags, surveillance footage and cellphone tracking ...
  • PHILADELPHIA (10/30/13)--A Williamstown, N.J., woman Friday was sentenced to nine years in prison for an identity theft, loan, and tax fraud scheme involving more than $1.6 million at five financial institutions, including four credit unions. Katrina Taniesha Waters, 33, pleaded guilty to 83 counts, including bank fraud, false statements on loan applications, filing false tax returns, and false statements to a government agency. She allegedly applied for fraudulent personal loans, credit accounts, and automobile draft loans using falsified identification, employment, income and tax information, and false sales and vehicle documents, including fraudulent vehicle identification numbers. Waters was accused of applying for loans at Police & Fire FCU, Philadelphia; Navy FCU, Vienna, Va.; Philadelphia (Pa.) FCU; American Heritage FCU, Philadelphia; Freedom FCU, Warminster, Pa.; and Susquehanna Bank, Lititz, Pa., according to a press release from the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation ...

CUNA Survey: Most Smartphone Users Make Mobile Payments

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WASHINGTON (10/30/13)--More than half of smartphone users surveyed have used their phone to make some type of mobile payment, according to a survey released today by the Credit Union National Association.
 
The survey defines "mobile payment" as "any payment done using a mobile phone."
 
CUNA's survey also found that regardless of whether or not smartphone owners make mobile payments, security remains their foremost concern, with 77.7% listing security as their most serious concern about mobile payments.
 
Other concerns were much less significant, with no other category garnering more than 10%, CUNA said. Those included concerns about the battery life of the phone (6.9%), confusion in using the device (6.4%), not having enough rewards/bonus features (5.1%) and the inability to track a budget (4%).

"The fact that the overwhelming majority of smartphone users listed security as a top concern is a reminder to financial institutions and others that offer mobile payments that users won't sacrifice convenience for security," said CUNA Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications and Engagement Paul Gentile.
 
"While there have been many advances made with mobile security in recent years, respondents' concerns over security indicate financial institutions and companies in the mobile space must continue to stress their focus on security with their customers," Gentile said.
 
Among respondents who use mobile payments, 91.6% indicated that ease of use is the greatest benefit. The most common single transaction dollar amount for a mobile payment was over $50 (34%).  That was followed by:$25.01 to $50 (9.2%),$10.01 to $25 (7.6%), $5.01-$10 (3.2%) and $0.01 to $5 (1.7%).  Of those surveyed, 44.3% indicated that they don't use mobile payments.
 
When it comes to rewards, traditional payment methods are still preferred over mobile payments.  Mobile payments were viewed the least favorably with regard to rewards, bonus features, and points, with 6.1% preferring mobile payments.  About 41.8% preferred credit cards, while 25.9% preferred debit cards, and 26.2% were unsure.
 
When broken down by age groups, the greatest use of mobile payments came from respondents ages 30-44 (59.6%), followed by those ages 18-29 (57.9%), 45-60 (47.8%), and 61 or older (24.1%). The survey also suggested that more women (54.5%) than men (47.6%) made mobile payments.
 
CUNA's Mobile Payments Survey polled 1,046 people via the Internet from a population of mobile phone users.  The respondents were 51.3% female and 48.7% male.  Roughly 18.2% of respondents reported household income of less than $25,000, while 13.9% reported less than $50,000 annual income; 32% reported less than $100,000; 18.1% reported less than $150,000 and 17.8% reported more than $150,000. The U.S. Census Bureau regions reported were representative as well, with no region making up more than 16.5% of responses.
 
The survey is the third edition of CUNA's quarterly consumer survey.  Previous topics were on student loans and women in finance.

Despite Remittance Rules, CU Will Continue Service

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (10/30/13)--Saying it is putting its members' needs first, a Texas credit union will continue its international remittances transfer program--even though it and other financial institutions will face more compliance and due diligence regulations under the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's new Remittance Transfer Rule, which went into effect Monday.

Border FCU, a $120 million asset credit union based in Del Rio, Texas, says it won't stop offering international remittances to its members, despite the new rule. Instead it will tough it out in order to serve its members' needs.
 
Maria Martinez, president/CEO of the $120 million asset credit union, told the Cornerstone Credit Union League that despite the fact the rule requires more compliance and due diligence, remittances are a service that is greatly needed, so it will continue offering the service (Leaguer Oct.  29).
 
"If we were to stop offering remittances, we would be closing the doors on our members who rely on a safe and secure method of getting funds to loved ones," she told the league.
 
Border FCU offers remittances via Directo a Mexico, as well as through Catalyst Corporate FCU.  It is being forced to raise its fee for both services.  The fee for Direct a Mexico will increase to $5 from $3, the credit union said.
 
"Remittances are not a significant revenue generator for us. We offer the service because we recognize that a significant percentage of our membership has family living abroad who depend on the remittances," Martinez said.  "However, in order for us to continue providing the service, our members will have to share in the cost."
 
The Credit Union National Association is seeking information from credit unions about whether the new rules' compliance burdens are forcing closures of or cutbacks in their remittance programs.

CUNA Receives Three Nominations For Board Elections

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WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (10/30/13)--The Credit Union National Association has received the first three nominations for the CUNA Board of Directors elections.
 
CUNA is seeking nominations for eight positions on board. Nominations will be accepted through Nov. 26.
 
The first to be nominated are:
  • District 1, Class A--Edwin L. Williams, president of Discovery FCU, Wyomissing, Pa.;
  • District 1, Class D--William J. Mellin, president of the Credit Union Association of New York, Albany, N.Y.; and
  • District 5, Class C--Tony C. Budet, president of University FCU, Austin, Texas.
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.
To be nominated, an individual must be an employee or a voting board member of the nominating credit union, and the nomination must be seconded in writing by at least two other credit unions from the same district and class.
 
To become an eligible candidate to be elected by leagues, an individual must be a league president and be nominated in writing by that league, and the nomination must be seconded in writing by at least one other league from the district.
 
For contested elections, ballots will be sent Dec. 2, with voting continuing through Jan. 10.  Results of contested elections will be announced Jan. 15.  Directors elected will take office upon the adjournment of CUNA's Annual General Meeting on Feb. 24.
 
For more information, use the link.

New PCUA CEO Now On Board

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (10/30/13)--Patrick Conway joined the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association staff Monday as president/CEO. 
 
Monday was the first day in the office for the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association's new CEO, Patrick Conway, seated. From left, Rhonda Rumbaugh, vice president, marketing and professional development; Rick Wargo, executive vice president/general counsel; Kati Shoop, vice president, human resources/corporate relations; and Corinne Sherman, senior vice president, fee services. (Photo provided by Pennsylvania Credit Union Association)
Conway, who previously served as the president/CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association for 12 years, was named CEO Sept. 18. He succeeds retiring president/CEO Jim McCormack, and is the PCUA's fifth chief executive since it was organized in 1934 (Life is a Highway Oct. 29).
 
"Considering the burdensome regulatory climate today, and the economic and legislative uncertainties facing our industry, it is more important than ever to have a strong voice representing Pennsylvania's credit unions," said Conway.
 
Conway also served as president/CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County.
 
He began his career in the district office of U.S. Rep Bill Clinger (R), served as executive director of the Governor's Action Team under Gov. Tom Ridge, and ran for Congress in Pennsylvania's 5th district.

DFCU Financial Rewards Members With $23M Cash Payout

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DEARBORN, Mich. (10/30/13)--DFCU Financial said Tuesday it will return a $23 million dividend to nearly 100,000 members at year-end.
 
The dividend is the largest payout in the eight-year history of the credit union's dividend program, and brings the total payout since the program's 2006 inception to more than $154 million. The credit union has paid out an average of $20 million for the past eight years.
 
"The economy may have struggled, but we have been able to give a larger sum of cash back to our members every year," said Mark Shobe, DFCU Financial president/CEO. "Our relationship with each individual member of DFCU Financial is extremely important to us. We want our members to know we care about them, and the fact that this dividend has been increasingly successful shows their loyalty."  
 
Individual dividend payments will be equal to 0.5% of members' average yearly loan and deposit balances, including all savings accounts and loan balances. Each qualified member will receive at least $50, the credit union said.

CUAid Distributes $208K+ To Colorado Flood Victims

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MADISON, Wis. (10/30/13)--Since activating its online disaster relief system CUAid.coop a month ago, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has distributed more than $208,000 in grants to 248 credit union members in Colorado affected by September flooding. But more is needed.
 
NCUF is working with the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation (MWCUF) and credit unions in the Boulder, Colo., area to distribute the funds.
 
"I would like to thank all the credit union and individual donors for their generous and ongoing response to the needs of Colorado credit union staff and members," said Dan Santangelo, MWCUF executive director.
 
"This flood has taken a huge toll on the lives of many and the relief provided is really making a difference for them. The need is still strong and scores of folks still need assistance. I would like to encourage our community to continue to donate so we can continue to provide much-needed relief," he added.
 
The flooding in Colorado destroyed nearly 2,000 homes, damaged another 16,000 homes, and hit hard nearly 1,000 businesses. Highways have been re-opened and debris has been removed from neighborhoods and business districts, allowing residents to begin rebuilding their lives (News Now Sept. 25).  
 
CUAid funds have been granted by NCUF to assist credit union members. Even after they recover what they can from insurance payouts, credit union members need assistance rebuilding or relocating to new homes, and replacing lost vehicles and household items such as appliances, furniture and clothes.  
 
"The response by the credit union community to the call for donations has been amazing," said Gigi Hyland, NCUF executive director. "Credit unions are supporting each other when they need it most, which is even more evidence of the credit union difference."
 
Contributions are still needed as more grant applications from Colorado credit union members are expected. To contribute, use the link. CUAid is the only program of its kind that enables credit union employees, volunteers and members, as well as credit unions and credit union organizations nationwide, to contribute directly to support other credit union people.
 
All donations through CUAid go to credit union disaster relief. If any donations are not used for Colorado flooding relief, NCUF will transfer unused funds to its "General Disaster Relief fund" for future disaster relief efforts.
 
Organizations and individuals can use a variety of CUAid web buttons for their website. Use the link for a donation form.

California/Nevada CUs Donate $174K+ To Children's Hospitals

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ONTARIO, Calif. (10/30/13)--Several California and Nevada credit unions celebrated International Credit Union Day on Oct. 17 by helping Credit Unions for Kids create miracles.
 
They donated $174,538 to CU4Kids to benefit local hospitals belonging to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
 
Each time members used their check card or credit card on Oct. 17, the participating credit unions donated 25 cents or any self-determined amount to CU4Kids.
 
"Kids who need the most care will now be able to receive it thanks to the generosity of these credit unions, and their members," said California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues President/CEO Diana Dykstra.
 
The leagues, with support from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based CO-OP Financial Services, encouraged credit unions to participate in this year's event. The statewide initiative was an outgrowth of a 2012 program launched by four California credit unions--California CU in Glendale; Xceed Financial FCU, El Segundo; SkyOne FCU, Hawthorne; and Wescom CU, Pasadena.
 
Some credit unions were eligible for a CO-OP Miracle Match from CO-OP Financial Services. CO-OP provided $23,427 in matching funds. Launched in 2008, CO-OP Miracle Match is a $1-million philanthropic matching program that encourages credit unions, chapters and leagues to create and participate in local CMNH fundraisers.
 
Other credit unions participating included:
  • Caltech Employees FCU,  La Canada-Flintridge;
  • Clark County CU, Las Vegas;
  • Community First CU, Santa Rosa;
  • Eagle Community CU, Lake Forest;
  • Farmers Insurance Group FCU, Los Angeles;
  • Financial Partners CU, Downey;
  • First City CU, Los Angeles;
  • Health Associates FCU, Orange:
  • LBS Financial CU, Long Beach;
  • Kinecta FCU, Manhattan Beach;
  • McKesson Employees' FCU, San Francisco;
  • Orange County's CU, Santa Ana;
  • Pacific Service CU, Walnut Creek;
  • Redwood CU, Santa Rosa;
  • San Mateo CU, Redwood City;
  • SchoolsFirst FCU, Santa Ana; and
  • Southern California Postal CU, Long Beach.