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Conversion merger one-sided deal says CEO

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AUGUSTA, Maine (10/9/08)--Paul Guerrette, vice president of Alliance of Maine FCU and former member of Kennebec Valley FCU (KV FCU), says he is “both personally and philosophically opposed” to the merger of KV FCU with another local bank. Guerrette wrote a column Wednesday in the Kennebec Journal about KV FCU’s proposed merger in response to another column written by Kennebec Savings Bank President Mark Johnston. Guerrette acknowledged that he should support the proposed merger because it would take a competitor out of his market, but argued against it. KV FCU's board is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a proposal to convert to a federal mutual savings bank. Immediately following the conversion, the credit union would merge into the bank (News Now Sept. 10). KV FCU members may submit comments to the credit union about the merger until 5:30 p.m. today. If the board approves the proposal for the conversion and merger, the proposal will be submitted to the credit union’s membership for a vote following a notice period that is no longer than 90 days, the credit union said on its website. If KV FCU merges with Kennebec Valley Savings Bank, only the bank "will survive and become more competitive by increasing its assets, expanding its reach and eliminating a competitor. The credit union will cease to exist," Guerrette said. KV FCU said the conversion and merger would expand its ability to meet the current and future needs of members. “It makes sense to consider combining our efforts with a local institution that has similar values,” said Beverly Beaucage, president/CEO of KV FCU (News Now Sept. 10). According to Guerrette: “If mutual savings banks were ‘just like credit unions’ the Federal Credit Union Act of 1934, which paved the way for the establishment of credit unions across the country, wouldn’t have been necessary.” KV FCU, Augusta, Maine, has $51 million in assets.

CUs on the Tube Bethpage FCU

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NEW YORK (10/9/08)--Bethpage (N.Y.) FCU was featured in a recent televised news story by NBC 4 in New York. Credit unions are thriving, according to the NBC 4 story. Deposits at credit unions are up $43 billion this year--6.8%, the news outlet said. NBC 4 also interviewed Kirk Kordeleski, Bethpage FCU CEO. He told the news outlet that the credit union has experienced growth of 11%. “With a cooperative there’s just a different relationship with the owners--who are the members. Better rates, better value,” he told the news station. NBC 4 also noted that credit union accounts are insured, and that they generally offer lower rates and fees than larger financial institutions. To see the video, use the link.

ICU Day webcast to celebrate global CU growth

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SAN DIMAS, Calif. (10/9/08)--The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and WesCorp of San Dimas, Calif., will sponsor a first-ever International Credit Union Day (ICU Day) webcast on ICU Day Oct. 16. This year's ICU Day theme, “It Belongs to Me” recognizes credit unions' identity as member-owned financial cooperatives and celebrates the concept of member ownership. Pete Crear, WOCCU president and CEO, will be the guest in an hour-long Oct. 16 discussion with moderator Paul Berry, a former Washington, D.C., television news anchor who hosts Home & Family Finance, a weekly radio program sponsored by the Credit Union National Association. The program will be recorded and available for viewing on both WesCorp's and WOCCU's websites. It is the first such broadcast to take place on ICU Day. Participants hope it will help spread the good news about the global credit union movement, Crear said. “As a lifelong member of the credit union movement, I know we've always had a good story to tell,” he added. The webcast's goal is to make the ICU Day discussion as global as the movement that the annual holiday represents, said Bob Siravo, WesCorp president/CEO. The 60-minute webcast, produced with Overland Studios, will allow time at the end of Crear's interview for questions from a studio audience. International webcast listeners can e-mail questions that will be answered on the air. “Overland Studios' technology will enable us to invite credit unions throughout the world to unite and celebrate the valuable contributions all of them are making to their members and the communities in which they live,” Siravo said. The webcast begins at 12 p.m. PT Oct. 16. It is open to the public and may be accessed by registering at www.wescorp.org or www.woccu.org. ICU Day has been celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October since 1948. The event provides a time and opportunity to honor those who have made contributions to the global financial cooperative movement, to recognize the hard work of staff and volunteer board members working on behalf of credit unions and cooperatives today, and to express appreciation to members of credit unions and cooperatives living at home and abroad.

Sustainability highlighted at Oregon association annual meeting

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (10/9/08)--Hundreds of Oregon credit union professionals gathered this week in Portland, Ore., for the 72nd annual meeting and convention of the Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO). The theme, “Knowledge is Evergreen,” acknowledges that building sustainability pertains to the credit union movement just as much as it does the environment. The event featured 12 educational sessions ranging from “Going Green at Your Credit Union” to “The ‘Why’ Behind Generation Y's Financial Decisions.” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) spoke at the business meeting. During these turbulent times for the financial sector, Sen. Wyden addressed the latest activity on Capitol Hill. The general sessions Wednesday featured Ron Galloway, author and filmmaker of “Boxed In: Competitive Threats from Banks, Brokerages, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart,” and Frank Diekmann, publisher, The Credit Union Journal, who analyzed today’s news and explained why he believes credit unions are more relevant than ever. Thursday will spotlight John Mitchell, Ph.D. and economist, M&H Consultants, who will provide an economic outlook for 2009. Andrea Harris, director, Community Leadership, Vancity CU, will discuss corporate social responsibility and how it is both a duty and a privilege. On Friday, Josh Sundquist will share his stories about losing a leg to cancer, ski racing in the Paralympics, and playing practical jokes with the artificial leg to give motivation for overcoming adversity and appreciating the gift of being alive. CUAO worked with its hotel to minimize the environmental impact of the meeting by decreasing the amount of solid waste produced by the event, reducing energy and water consumption at the event, off-setting harmful emissions resulting from vehicular transportation and energy, disposing of solid and liquid waste in an environmentally responsible manner and eliminating the use of harmful chemicals at or for the event.

Irish CU leader blames countrys bank chiefs in crisis

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DUBLIN, Ireland (10/9/08)--Samuel Adair, president, Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU), said it would be an embarrassment if the credit union movement ever was in the financial crisis that Irish banks now find themselves. ILCU would not seek a similar guarantee to the government’s $545 billion of Irish banks because credit unions did not want to be linked or associated with bankers, Adair said (Sunday Tribune Oct. 5). The current financial crisis besetting banks was evidence that credit unions have a better record of acting on behalf of saver’s interests than banks do, Adair told the paper. Although Irish credit unions are not underwritten by the government, savers should have confidence in them because credit unions do not give out mortgages and risk exposure there, or receive funding from international money markets, he added. Deposits in Irish credit unions are guaranteed up to about $136,000, and credit unions have to hold reserves of 10%. Also, the ILCU stabilization fund all help credit unions if they experience trouble, Adair said. Despite the fact that credit unions in the country of Northern Ireland do not have the $136,000 deposit guarantee, there has been no evidence of funds moving across the border as a consequence, he added.

CUNA offers consumer lending basics eSchool

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MADISON, Wis. (10/9/08)--Credit union professionals can learn the basic concepts of the consumer lending process through a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) eSchool beginning in November. The seven-session Consumer Lending eSchool: Foundations meets Nov. 5-Dec. 3. The eSchool begins by exploring the lending process basics, including member inquiries, credit investigations and decisions, and proper documentation. It then covers regulations affecting consumer loans and addresses the latest compliance issues impacting credit union lending. Next, participants will learn about the collections process and how to identify bankruptcy warning signs. Finally, it addresses sales and service as well as improving negotiation skills. For those who need a review of new and updated compliance issues, CUNA offers Regulatory Compliance eSchool: Update. The six-session eSchool runs from Nov. 6-Dec. 18 and provides an in-depth understanding of regulations and compliance issues surrounding vendor due diligence, consumer and mortgage lending, eBanking, and disaster planning. Also, participants will learn the National Credit Union Administration’s hot topics and red flag-issues for the year to prepare for their credit union’s upcoming examinations, along with pending and possible future compliance issues. An eSchool is a series of interactive classroom sessions that features live, real time instruction from industry experts via the Internet and a telephone conference call. Students have an opportunity to interact with the instructor and other participants via online chats and live discussions. Participants may register for specific webinars or the entire series of sessions as an eSchool. For more information, use the link.