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REAL Solutions Illinois talks savings immigrant outreach

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (10/11/10)--Partner credit unions of the Illinois REAL Solutions met at the end of September to discuss savings challenges, immigrant outreach and other topics, said the Illinois Credit Union League. REAL Solutions field coach Mark Lynch presented information about The Savings Revolution, an idea from the Filene Research Institute through its i3 teams to allow people to overhaul their financial lifestyles to save money and reduce debit. Savings Revolution has two components: a savings challenge and a savings revolution. The challenge is an event in which selected members of the credit union compete toward their defined savings and debt reduction goals, and the participants closest to or exceeding their goals wins a prize. Monitoring of the participants' progress via media interaction stimulates other members and consumers to check on their progress and prompts them to think about taking a step toward their own goals. The revolution involves a mass, nationwide implementation of setting financial goals and working toward them in concert with neighbors and fellow members. This requires networking of members and the ability to easily set their goals and monitor their progress. They also must actively share notes with their friends and neighbors who face similar challenges and see how others respond to those challenges. At the meeting, Warren Morrow, CEO of Coopera Consulting, shared information about the most effective ways to reach the Hispanic market. Coopera partnered in March with the league to help Illinois credit unions strengthen their Hispanic outreach efforts via its Hispanic Opportunity Navigator. Also discussed was a Savings Products for Low-Wealth Households Tool Kit from the REAL Solutions Impact Center. It includes examples of small savers products, reverse-tiered savings products, round-up savings products, attached savings products, prize-linked savings products, savings challenge programs, individual development accounts and other savings products. The Illinois Institute of Technology Stuart School of Business also shared information at the meeting about its Advancing Careers and Education (ACE) Program. Credit unions located near public transportation serving the school's campus in Chicago have opportunities to take on new projects with the assistance of masters degree students.

Texas league addresses Southwest Corp. transition roles

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (10/11/10)--Texas Credit Union League President/CEO Dick Ensweiler hosted a statewide call Thursday for credit unions to address options for moving forward in light of the conservatorship of Texas-based Southwest Corporate FCU. The key to moving forward stems largely from what the interests are of credit unions themselves, Ensweiler told a record number of CEOs attending (LoneStar Leaguer Oct. 8). Those interests will be gauged by an advisory council being formed by the Southwest Bridge Corporate. Although the bridge corporation itself cannot be recapitalized, the council will consider four options: a new charter, a credit union service organization, a merger with an existing corporate, or shuttering the corporate. Ensweiler discussed a timeline to allow credit unions to fully review their choices and noted some choices will not be fully realized until the eventual disposition of Southwest Corporate is completed. For now, the safest action for members is to keep their funds in the corporate during the transition, he said, noting that the National Credit Union Administration has advised waiting until March 2011 to allow for securitization of legacy assets. The league has requested a place on the council, which will meet to determine what option credit unions want. It also is working with other leagues to develop a consultative service to fully analyze the options available, specifically in payment systems. Ensweiler said the league will continue to be an advocate with the bridge corporate for credit unions and will remain open to options supported by the movement for the future of payment systems. "At the end of the day, we must avoid being fragmented," he told the group. "Credit unions, which are undoubtedly getting pressure from boards to make a decision, are best served by keeping their powder dry and not miss(ing) options designed to serve their needs."

Santa Fe Springs City ECU merges with Financial Partners

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SANTE FE SPRINGS and DOWNEY, Calif.(10/11/10)--Santa Fe Springs (Calif.) City Employees CU merged with Financial Partners CU in Downey, Calif., effective Sept. 30, according to the California Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). Financial Partners has nearly $709 million in assets, six branches and 52,000 members. Two other pairs of credit unions in California also have applied for mergers. The California DFI has approved one. The other still is in the filing stage. California DFI has approved a merger of Focus One Community CU in Monrovia, Calif., into First City CU, Los Angeles. UFCW #916 FCU, Redding, Calif., has applied to merge into Members 1st CU in Redding.

Vermont FCU signs WOCCU partnership with Peru CU

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (10/11/10)--Vermont FCU in Burlington, Vt., and AELUCOOP, the second largest credit union in Peru, signed a World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) international partnership agreement in Burlington Thursday.
Signing a World Council of Credit Unions international partnership agreement in Burlington, Vt., on Thursday between Vermont FCU and AELUCOOP, the second largest credit union in Peru, are, from left: Joe Finnigan, Vermont FCU treasurer; Bernie Isabelle, Vermont FCU president/CEO; Joe Bergeron, president of the Association of Vermont Credit Unions; Pedro Miyasato, Peru Credit union (AELUCOOP) board chair; and Manuel Rabines, president of FENACREP--the Peru credit union association. (Photo provided by the Association of Vermont Credit Unions)
The credit unions were assisted by the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU) and the Federacion Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Credito del Peru (FENACREP). The signing creates the second such partnership between Vermont and Peru credit unions, said AVCU (Newslines Express Oct. 8). AELUCOOP Board Chairman Pedro Miyasato and Manuel Rabines, FENACREP president, spent Thursday meeting with Vermont FCU managers and staff at the credit union’s Burlington and South Burlington offices. They learned the history of the credit union from President/CEO Bernie Isabelle, and received overviews of Vermont FCU’s balance sheet from Vice President of Finance Jean Giard and of deposit and loan products from Vice President of Lending Lisa Randall. Lance Potter, the credit union’s vice president of information systems; Lori Crowley, assistant vice president of marketing; and Patrick Reeves, deposit operations manager, also provided information about Vermont FCU and interacted with the visitors throughout the day. WOCCU’s Tom Belekevich provided translation services. AVCU President Joe Bergeron and Rabines facilitated the signing of the international partnership agreement by representatives of the two credit unions. Isabelle said both financial institutions, and their respective trade associations and fellow member credit unions, will continue to benefit from the cooperation that the WOCCU program fosters. “These international partnerships are another example of the collaborative spirit and efforts that have become commonplace in the credit union movement,” Isabelle said. “The information disseminated and the friendships developed in these arrangements will help us all in our ultimate goal of serving our members. These partnerships also reinforce the worldwide credit union concept of ‘people helping people’ which will further differentiate us from the ‘for profit’ institutions in our respective marketplaces.”

EECU to get juntos flag on ICU Day

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DALLAS (10/11/10)--EECU, Fort Worth, Texas, has earned a Juntos Avanzamos, or “Together We Advance” designation. The Texas Credit Union League will present the credit union with a newly redesigned Juntos Avanzamos flag on Oct. 21--International Credit Union (ICU) Day. To be eligible for the designation, EECU completed an application process and documentation that it serves the Hispanic community in Fort Worth in a comfortable environment. EECU has $1.1 billion in assets. ICU Day is an annual worldwide celebration of the credit union movement on the third Thursday of October. This year’s theme, “Local. Trusted. Serving You,” focuses on credit unions’ trusted, community-focused approach to member service, said the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). In the U.S., cooperatives celebrate Co-op Month in October. For the first time, the National Cooperative Business Association and its cooperatives will join credit unions and Canadian co-ops to share a common theme and graphics. In Canada, ICU Day coincides with the country’s Co-op Week, Oct. 17-23.

Southeastern CUs add 615M in assets 2Q

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (10/11/10)--Second-quarter statistics indicate credit unions in Alabama and Florida added $615 million in assets, providing members in the Southeast evidence of the value of credit unions, said the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU). This represents five straight years of collective growth in assets. Credit unions’ assets in Alabama grew at a 4% rate, which is double the national credit union average. The net worth ratio for Southeastern credit unions remains very healthy, the league said, with Alabama credit unions’ net worth ratio at 11%, while Florida credit unions’ net worth ratio is 9%. The industry standard for a well-capitalized financial institution is 7%. Florida credit unions added 25,000 members in the first two quarters this year. They have seen positive member growth for three straight quarters. Southeastern credit unions also are seeing their loan delinquencies drop. Alabama’s delinquencies are 0.5% below the national credit union average, and net charge-offs have fallen to their lowest level in three quarters. Florida’s credit unions also experienced drops in loan delinquencies and net charge-offs for the first time in two years. This shows credit unions in the Southeast are turning the corner from the economic downturn of the past few years, the league said. “The challenges facing credit unions in Alabama and Florida have been steep with the high unemployment rates in both states and the depressed housing market in Florida,” said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine. “Credit unions’ philosophy centers on helping people. The second-quarter statistics show that credit unions are working with members to keep them in their homes and to make payments on their loans. This will help position the member for long-term financial success.” While more credit union members are paying off debt, many in Alabama and Florida continue to save. Alabama credit unions recorded savings growth of nearly 1% greater than the national credit union average. Florida credit union member savings also has been positive for the past four quarters. Even with a tight credit market, Southeastern credit unions are maintaining loan portfolio numbers. New-, used- and first-mortgage loans have remained steady the past four quarters, the league said.

Elections important to CUs--Minn. network article

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (10/11/10)--Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) President/CEO Mark D. Cummins encouraged consumers to vote in the Nov. 2 elections in an article, "Elections important for credit unions--and consumers," in Friday's Finance & Commerce. Minnesota has led the nation in highest voter turnout for the past decade, said MnCUN. In his monthly column in the Twin Cities financial publication, Cummins reminded readers that legislators make decisions every day "that impact the environment, local schools, taxes, health care and financial institutions--like your hometown credit union. "As not-for-profit, cooperative financial institutions, credit unions do not have bottomless coffers to influence the political process," he wrote. "But what we do have is strong grassroots support from Minnesota citizens who feel passionate about their member-owned credit union." Throughout the year, Minnesota credit union professionals and volunteers cultivate relationships with elected officials through regular meetings and campaign volunteerism, he said. Credit union activists have the fundamental goal of ensuring that politicians support credit unions and understand the credit union difference, he wrote. "With more than 1.5 million credit union members in the state, this group of individuals has the capability to shape any election," Cummins said, encouraging participation in the 2010 election cycle. Use the link to access the column.

CUs in Indiana receive league awards

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INDIANAPOLIS (10/11/10)--The Indiana Credit Union League honored credit unions for their community service, credit union philosophy in action and excellence in youth financial literacy with several awards. Winners of the Dora Maxwell Award for Social Responsibility in their asset categories were:
* Evansville (Ind.) FCU, $20 million to $50 million in assets; * Heritage FCU, Newburgh, $200 million to $500 million in assets; and * Indiana Members CU, Indianapolis, $500 million or more.
The Louise Herring Award for Credit Union Philosophy in Action went to:
* Indiana State University FCU, Terre Haute, $50 million to $250 million in assets; and * FORUM CU, Fishers, $250 million or more in assets.
Winners of the Desjardins Award for Excellence in Youth Financial Literacy were:
* First Trust CU, Michigan City, $50 million to $150 million in assets; and * Finance Center FCU, Indianapolis, $150 million to $500 million.

Indiana league elects new directors officers

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INDIANAPOLIS (10/11/10)--The Indiana Credit Union League board elected table officers at its reorganization meeting Sept. 24. The meeting was held during the league’s annual meeting and convention. Table officers include:
* Chairman--Ron Mazur, Chiphone FCU, Elkhart; * Vice chairman--Lori Dauksas, Members Choice FCU, Bloomington; * Secretary--Frank Gulley, Afena FCU, Marion; and * Treasurer--Dave Fleming, Partners 1st FCU, Fort Wayne.
Jack Sheets, president, Interra CU in Goshen, was elected to a three-year term on the board. Leaving the board at the conclusion of the annual meeting was Sandy Heller, president, Northern Indiana FCU in Merrillville. Other board members are:
* Randy Glassburn, Ball State FCU, Muncie; * George McNichols, Hoosier Hills CU, Bedford; * Lamoura Munse, Indiana Members CU, Indianapolis; and * Doug True, FORUM CU, Fishers.

West. CUNA Management School board members announced

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ONTARIO, Calif. (10/11/10)--The Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) has announced four new members on its Board of Trustees. They are:
* Incoming California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues President/CEO Diana Dykstra; * SchoolsFirst FCU CEO Rudy Hanley; * Addison Avenue FCU CEO Benson Porter; and * Credit Union Association of Oregon President/CEO Troy Stang.
Dykstra, currently CEO of San Francisco Fire CU, will begin her new role at the leagues on Oct. 18. She previously was CEO of CoastHills FCU, Lompoc, Calif.; served as a senior vice president at Patelco CU, San Francisco; and worked for The Golden 1 CU, Sacramento. She helped develop a prototype that later become the Credit Union Direct Lending (CUDL) program. She is a 1992 graduate and current instructor at WCMS, and is a recipient of the James D. Likens Alumni Recognition Award. Prior to joining the Santa Ana, Calif-based SchoolsFirst FCU (the former Orange County Teachers FCU) in 1982, Hanley worked for the California Credit Union League and the Washington, D.C. office of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Hanley is a member of, and has served on, numerous boards and committees. Before Porter joined Palo Alto, Calif.-based Addison Avenue FCU, he served as executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Washington Mutual Bank. He also has held management positions with Key Bank of Washington, the Washington State Senate Banking Committee, and the Washington State financial institutions regulator. Stang served under the U.S. Treasury Cabinet Secretary as a senior advisor for public and legislative affairs. Prior to that, he served as the vice president of the Texas Credit Union League, developing and implementing the league's public policy agenda. WCMS is sponsored by the leagues of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming in cooperation with Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. Graduates who have developed their skills and knowledge at the school occupy positions of leadership and responsibility at some of the nation’s leading credit unions.