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CU System

CU System briefs (11/01/2012)

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  • WILMINGTON, Del. (11/2/12)--Delaware First FCU, based in Wilmington, was  damaged by a car last month, according to the Delaware Credit Union League (Together Oct. 30). The credit union reported to the league that the went over an embankment and rammed into the side of the building. The car damaged the outside brickwork, but a closer inspection indicated cracks to the wall and ceiling inside the building as well.  No one was hurt in the incident, which occurred Oct. 17 …
  • BOULDER, Colo. (11/2/12)--Boulder Valley CU, based in Boulder, Colo., has received approval from the Colorado Division of Financial Services to expand to a community-based charter. It can now serve people who live or work in Boulder County, Broomfield County, or in the towns of Estes Park, Drake and Glen Haven. Since 1959, it has served  the faculty and administration of the Boulder Valley School District. Over time it expanded to include students and family members and other diversified employee groups. A community charter will help it develop a stronger presence in the Boulder and Broomfield Counties and the Estes Park Community, the credit union said Wednesday …
  • NEW HAVEN, Conn. (11/2/12)--Connex CU's board of directors has named Frank Mancini as president/CEO, effective yesterday, announced the New Haven, Conn.-based credit union Thursday. Mancini has been part of Connex's executive team since 2003, serving as chief financial officer. In that position, he oversaw Information Services, Operations and Collections and helped the credit union growth to $380 million in assets. Mancini succeeds John Edwards, who is retiring after leading Connex for 34 years …

New reports on status of CUs in hurricane aftermath

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MADISON, Wis. (11/2/12)-
Click to view larger image Flooding of New York City's tunnel--including the Battery Tunnel here--from Superstorm Sandy's storm surge kept many commuters at home part of the week. CUNA Strategic Services provider Agility Recovery, a business continuity firm, worked with impacted credit unions and other businesses in the area.
More and more credit unions that had been closed since Superstorm Sandy swept through the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic states earlier this week are beginning to open for business.

Credit unions in New Jersey and New York, which bore the brunt of the storm surge and flooding damages, were starting to assess the damages and report into their leagues, their insurance agencies and regulators of their condition (See related News Now story: Sandy so far: 25 CUs damaged, CUAid raises $65,000).

In New York, Bethpage FCU reported on its website Thursday that its telephone service is available but it is experiencing high call volumes. These branches have power and are open: Bay Shore, Bay Shore King Kullen, Bethpage, Central Islip, Commack King Kullen, Elkmont, Farmingdale, Freeport, Hempstead, Huntington, Levittown, Lynbrook, North Babylon, Patchoque, Port Jefferson, Riverhead, Seaford  and West Babylon,  and Westbury. All branches will close at normal hours, except Bay Shore King Kullen, Commack King Kullen, Elmont and Levittown, which will close at 5 p.m.

Bethpage said it will waive late fees on loan payments and insufficient fund fees for deposit accounts for members affected by the storm.

Click to view larger imagePower outages are the biggest problem for most credit unions, their employees, volunteers and members in the states affected by the storm Monday and Tuesday. Here is a look at New York City, with large areas unlit as a result of the storm.
Although the New Jersey Credit Union League offices are closed, staff  are working remotely to serve member credit unions. It is issuing credit union status updates twice a day. At 5 p.m. ET Thursday, here was the status that credit unions reported to the league:

  • 1st Bergen FCU--Will be open from noon to 6 p.m. today at its Hackensack location. Equipment and facility OK, but had no power.
  • ADP FCU--Roseland office open and operational.
  • Affinity FCU--Following branches will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Basking Ridge, Piscataway, Cedar Knolls, Flemington, Hillsborough, Edison (all other branches remain closed). Online Banking is unavailable, but the credit union is working to restore it as quickly as possible. Affinity's Casino Night, scheduled to take place last night, was postponed. Information will be communicated once available.
  • Atlantic FCU--Kenilworth office is without power; will open once power is restored.
  • Bay Atlantic FCU--Operational and all systems are functioning properly. Used disaster recovery/business continuity (DR/BC) plans to service members on Monday.
  • Bridgeton Onized FCU--Open but no e-mail. Used DR/BC plans to service members on Monday.
  • Central Jersey FCU--Woodbridge office open and fully operational; South Plainfield office closed until power is restored.
  • Click to view larger image Walking and driving in New York City became impossible with the flooding in some areas in Lower Manhattan, the city's financial district. Pictured is the flooding near the city's Freedom Tower. (Photos by Agility Recovery)
    Community Financial Services FCU--Credit union has no power and will reopen when power is restored. All back office transactions including ACH, share draft and ATM are being processes. Online banking and bill pay are also up and running.
  • Credit Union of New Jersey--Operational at its main office and branch in Ewing as well at its Lafayette Branch and Willingboro Branch.
  • Essex County Teachers FCU--Credit union has power, phone, and DP communications; reported that many shared branching CUs aren't available on the network, communicated these issues to NCUA.
  • Financial Resources FCU--Bridgewater, N.J., branch was open until 3 p.m. Thursday, but all other New Jersey branches remained closed. Experienced power and telecommunications outages,but otherwise suffered little to no damage. All locations outside of the state are operational and processing normally otherwise. The credit union's website, mobile, mobile apps, text messaging and other electronic services are up and running. Its 800 number is not operational.
  • First Financial FCU--Neptune andToms River Branches will be open today at 9 a.m. with limited service.
  • Hamilton Horizons FCU--Closed due to power outage. All back office transactions, including auto clearinghouse (ACH), checking and ATM are still operating. Power is estimated to be up on Monday.
  • Garden Savings FCU--Parsippany branch re-opened; Newark branch without power and is closed.
  • Jersey Central--Cranford office open.
  • Jersey Shore FCU--All offices are fully operational.
  • McGraw-Hill FCU--2 Penn Plaza, 1221 Ave. of the Americas, and East Windsor branches are now open and operating under normal business hours. 55 Water St. branch is still closed due to the forced evacuation of the building. The credit union has reestablished its phone communications and is continuing to monitor Online Banking/Bill Payment and Mobile Banking and Shared Branching locations, which are currently offline.
  • MidState FCU--CU has remained closed due to thefts and no power in Carteret; it is posting remotely all ACH drafts, etc., and will attempt to hire off duty police to sit with the staff so that it can open today.
  • North Jersey FCU--All branches open.
  • Parlin DuPont FCU--Now has power but no phone/Internet; making do with file transfers and PBF.
  • Picatinny FCU--Main branch in Rockaway and Denville branch are fully operational. The arsenal had a delayed opening of noon yesterday and the Mt. Olive branch is closed due to power outage. The credit union has allowed the league Business Consultant Angel Santos to work at the Rockaway office for the time being.
  • Rancocas FCU--Open and operational.
  • Renaissance CDCU--Credit union has been shut down without power, Internet access, phones, and so forth since Monday. It hopes the power will be back on in the area of the credit union by the end of the day so it can begin processing ACH, share drafts and ATMs.
  • Rutgers FCU--Busch is open, College Ave. is running on a limited schedule, Newark is closed. All services are available.
  • United Teletech FCU--Tinton Falls branch is currently open for business. Due to local curfews, the credit union has modified hours (lobby open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., drive-up from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). All other locations are closed pending the restoration of power to those locations.
  • West Orange Municipal FCU--It has a generator and should be able to continue operations with little interruption going forward.
  • XCEL FCU--Bloomfield, N.J. office is OK, but most branch staff depend on PATH and New York subways for transportation. Fed Plaza branch in Manhattan and Journal Square branch in Jersey City will remain closed until further notice. The branch at 3680 Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City is open. All ACH and share drafts were posted remotely each day.

Sandy so far 25 CUs damaged CUAid raises 65000

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MADISON, Wis. (11/2/12)--About 25 credit union policy holders in seven states have reported damages from Hurricane Sandy so far, and more damage reports are expected, said CUNA Mutual Group Thursday.  Credit unions and movement supporters have already chipped in $65,000 to CUAid to assist credit unions through the aftermath, with several organizations making appeals, even internationally.

Click to view larger image CUNA Strategic Services provider Agility Recovery took photos in parts of  New York City after Superstorm Sandy swept through  the area Monday and Tuesday. One building lost its walls. (Photo provided by Agility Recovery)
"We have received damage reports from about 25 credit union policyholders so far, located in seven states. Most of the claim reports are for minor building damages in the New York City, Long Island and Jersey Shore areas," said Phil Tschudy, media relations manager at CUNA Mutual Group.

"Many credit unions are still without power, and we expect to receive more claim reports. The damage reports we have received do not include those caused by flooding or storm surges, which are insured through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) National Flood Insurance Program," he said.

"Power is, and will continue to be a major problem for many days. However, per our findings and discussion with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) all credit unions are operational. Some branches are closed, but members can transact business via the Web, or at other branch locations of their credit union," Tschudy told News Now Thursday afternoon.

"CUNA Mutual Group has been proactively reaching out to credit unions in the impacted areas to determine how they are faring, and not waiting for them to contact us for help.  If we have not been able to reach a credit union or if the credit union was unsure if a branch was damaged due to evacuation, we have had our adjusters work with authorities to make onsite inspections, which have sometimes meant arranging for police escorts. These inspections help us determine if damages need to be immediately addressed, if power is on, and if it is necessary to arrange for security to protect the building and its contents," he said.

"Our staff has been working closely with the NCUA and credit union leagues to share information. We are continuing our attempts to contact a small number of credit unions we have not yet reached and are asking they contact CUNA Mutual Group at 800-637-2676 and let us know of any problems they are having, big or small, as well as if they are aware of any other credit unions they know of that need help."

The National Credit Union Foundation late Thursday afternoon told News Now that since it activated its online disaster relief system CUAid.coop Wednesday morning, credit unions and organizations have donated nearly $65,000 to the efforts to help credit unions.  It had raised $25,000 in the first 24 hours and by the end of Thursday the funds had more than doubled, said Christopher Morris, NCUF's director of communications.

The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) Thursday encouraged international credit union organizations to support disaster relief efforts through CUAid.coop.

"Credit unions, their staff and employees in the Northeast have been significantly affected by this disaster. Many of these are credit unions that have given  to help rebuild other countries hit by disaster," said WOCCU President/CEO Brian Branch. "As a global community committed to building up and helping one another, we encourage our global community to help NCUF support credit unions trying to get their members back on their feet," he added.

"Everyone who supports CUAid is helping affected credit union people directly with critical needs, longer-term recovery needs, operational needs and assisting credit union members," said NCUF Executive Director Bucky Sebastian.

The Texas Credit Union Foundation (TCUF) Thursday announced it had approved a $5,000 grant for hurricane relief efforts to be given to CUAid.coop (LoneStar Leaguer Nov. 1).

"When Hurricanes Ike and Rita struck Southeast Texas, the credit union movement came to our aid. The support we received from credit unions across the country allowed us to respond to the immediate needs of credit union employees affected by the devastating hurricanes," said TCUF Executive Director Courtney Moran. "That is one of the many wonderful things about the credit union movement--we are a family that helps and supports one another in good times and in bad."

NCUF has provided special webpage buttons with Hurricane-Sandy specific materials credit unions can use in their fundraising efforts.

Two congressmen named Outstanding Hoosier Legislators

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INDIANAPOLIS (11/2/12)--The Indiana Credit Union League has named two congressmen-- Andre Carson (D-7), who represents Indiana's 7th Congressional District, and Marlin Stutzman (R-3), who represents Indiana's 3rd Congressional District--as Outstanding Hoosier Legislators for 2012.

The award is presented each year during the league's annual convention to honor legislators who have gone the extra mile to support Indiana's credit unions and their 2.2 million members. This year's convention was held Oct. 3-5.

Since joining Congress in early 2008, Carson has proven to be a strong credit union supporter, said the league. As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, he has been interested in credit unions' perspectives on critical issues that have come before the committee. For the third time, Carson signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation that would help create jobs by increasing the limit on loans that credit unions can make to small businesses.

Carson has strong relationships with the credit unions in his district and understands the important role credit unions play in their communities, the league said.

Stutzman also has become a strong credit union supporter since joining Congress in late 2010. Beginning early on, he met on many occasions with credit unions in his district and in Washington, D.C. and has voiced support for credit unions on key issues, including debit card swipe fees and member business lending (MBL).

Stutzman is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1418, which would increase the credit union MBL cap.

"With the many important issues being discussed in Congress, Indiana's credit unions appreciate the support of these two leaders," said league President John McKenzie. "They both support increasing the cap on credit union small business lending and they are willing to take a stand on legislation that will help create jobs in Indiana communities."

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are urging Congress to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. CUNA and credit unions say that increasing the cap would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in business loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers.

NCUF Wegner Awards Dinner tickets available (11/01/2012)

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MADISON, Wis. (11/2/12)--Credit union leaders and supporters can purchase tickets for the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) Dinner Presenting the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards. The 25th annual dinner will take place Feb. 25 in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

Tickets can be obtained online at ncuf.coop or registrants can use the link to download a printable form, complete it offline and fax or mail their completed form to NCUF. The deadline to purchase tickets is Feb 1.  

Individual tickets for the three-course dinner are $275 each. Tables of 10 are t $2,750. The estimated fair market value of goods and services received is $150, said NCUF.

"2013 is the 25th anniversary of the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards, and this year's winners are an outstanding addition to the list of past recipients," said Bucky Sebastian, NCUF executive director.

The awards ceremony will celebrate the highest national honors in the credit union movement, specifically:

  • Lifetime Achievement: Rick Craig, former president/CEO of America First FCU, Riverdale, Utah;
  • Lifetime Achievement: Hubert H. Hoosman Jr., president/CEO of Vantage CU, Bridgeton, Mo.; and
  • Outstanding Program: Credit Union Miracle Day.
For more information on the award winners, use the link.

CUs see strong financial performance in September

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MADISON, Wis. (11/2/12)--Credit unions reported strong financial performance, mostly driven by declining loan-loss provisions in September, according to a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) economist's analysis of September's monthly sample of credit unions.

"Net income as a percentage of average assets (return on assets) came in at 0.85% in September and 1.06% for the third quarter," Steve Rick CUNA senior economist, told News Now. "This is significantly better than the 0.72% reported in the third quarter of 2011.

Click to view larger image
"Earnings rose year over year despite a slight drop in the loan-to-savings ratio, which fell to 68.4% in September from 69.6% in September 2011. The rise in earnings will allow credit union to compete more effectively in the credit market place as banks begin to loosen the underwriting standards and pursue loans more aggressively," he said.

"The 34-basis point rise in earnings was mainly driven by falling provisions for loan losses," Rick continued. "Loan charge-offs and delinquency rates have fallen significantly over the last year. We expect credit unions to charge off 73 cents for every $100 in loans this year, down from 90 cents last year. We expect this charge-off ratio to fall to 0.65% in 2013. It will take a few more years before this ratio reaches the 0.5% considered normal for credit unions and banks."

Credit union loans outstanding grew 0.3% in September 2012, up from 0.5% growth in

August. Credit union loans totaled $605.4 billion in September, compared with $582 billion in September 2011. Fixed-rate mortgages led loan growth with a 2.1% increase, followed by new- auto loans and used-auto loans, which grew at 1.2% and 0.9% respectively. Credit card loans remained flat during September, while home equity loans fell 0.6%, adjustable-rate mortgages fell 1.2% and unsecured personal loans fell 2.3%.

Credit union savings balances fell 0.6% in September, compared with a 1.2% increase in

August. Credit union savings in September totaled $885.2 billion--or $48.4 billion more than the $836.8 billion in September 2011. Individual retirement accounts led savings growth with a 0.8% increase, followed by regular shares (0.4%) and money market accounts (0.1%). One-year certificates and share drafts fell 0.8% and 4.6% respectively.

Regarding asset quality, credit unions' 60-plus-day delinquency improved slightly from 1.2% in August to 1.1% in September.

Click to view larger image
"The credit union loan delinquency ratio also fell significantly over the last year," Rick said. "Credit unions reported that 1.14% of all loans were delinquent in September, down from 1.59% in September 2011. The decline in the loan delinquency ratio was caused by a 25% drop in the dollar amount of delinquent loans (the numerator of the ratio) and a 4% rise in total loans (the denominator of the ratio). These dynamics resulted in the almost 29% drop in the delinquency rate over the last year. This is the biggest one-year drop since the delinquency rate hit its high-water mark of 1.88% in January of 2010. We are forecasting the credit union loan delinquency rate to fall to 0.90% in 2013, slightly above the 0.80% long-run average," Rick said.

The loan-to-savings ratio remained constant in September at 68%.

The movement's overall capital-to-asset ratio is 10%. Credit unions have a total of $107 billion in capital.

CU doesnt let Sandy shut down trick-or-treat

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CANTON, N.C. (11/2/12)--Champion CU, Canton, N.C., made trick-or-treat happen for the the kindergarten classes of North Canton and Meadowbrook Elementary schools in Canton, N.C. despite the havoc wrought this week by Hurricane Sandy.

Click to view larger image Champion CU brought Halloween treats to kindergarten classes of North Canton and Meadowbrook Elementary schools in Canton, N.C. this week. The students were unable to attend annual Town of Canton Trick-or-Treating because of school delays caused by Hurricane Sandy. (Photo provided by Champion CU)
Each year, downtown businesses open their doors to students and preschool classes from the area for Town of Canton Trick-or-Treating. Merchants hand out candy to the eager children that come through their doors dressed in their Halloween costumes. With the unpredictable weather and school delay that resulted from Hurricane Sandy, kindergarten classes were not able to participate in Wednesday's planned event.

Management at Champion CU, an annual participant in the event, decided that if the children  couldn't come to the credit union, the credit union would go to the schools.

"We love when the children come to the credit union," said Noralynn Grindstaff, Champion CU marketing and communications manager. "We dress up and enjoy ourselves as much as they do. We were just as disappointed that they couldn't make it, so we wanted to find a way to still share this with them." 

Grindstaff, Loan Servicing Officer Marc Trull and the credit union's Explore Account mascot, Kaycie the Kangaroo, loaded up the treat bags and made a visit to both North Canton and Meadowbrook Elementary Schools.

"Champion CU went out of its way to send some special visitors with Halloween goodies for our kids," said Whitney Trull, Meadowbrook kindergarten teacher. "Our kids were so excited to see a kangaroo, a hunter, and a spider at our door. We can't thank them enough."

Bethpage study Free checking main reason for choosing CU

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BETHPAGE, N.Y. (11/2/12)--Consumers stressed the importance of free checking with no hidden fees as a top attribute when choosing a financial institution, according to a recently released study from Bethpage (N.Y.) FCU.

In the study, designed to determine how last year's Bank Transfer Day (BTD) movement and credit union support has impacted the banking market longer term, 60% of Long Islanders said they would most likely leave their current financial institution if they charged hidden fees and did not offer free checking.

The survey, administered in August by CoreBrand, a Manhattan-based brand consultancy, polled 874 Nassau and Suffolk checking account holder residents.

The research follows a recently released Bankrate 2012 Checking Survey that indicated checking account fees are at an all-time high. The Bankrate survey found that the average monthly maintenance fee for a non-interest checking account is now at a record high of $5.48, a 25% jump from last year.

"Last year's BTD movement certainly helped fuel consumers' demands to expect more from their financial institution," said Kirk Kordeleski, Bethpage FCU president/CEO. "As we see bank fees continue to soar to unprecedented highs, those strong demands will continue and consumers will not only express their discontent, but continue to make changes in where they do their banking. BTD helped Bethpage experience record growth as consumers leveraged their voices and chose credit unions for the valuable options they offer."

Bethpage has seen significant growth in checking accounts and new members since BTD, which was Nov. 6, 2011. Bethpage opened more than 27,500 checking accounts, a 49% increase compared with the 11 months prior to BTD. Bethpage has also added 35,800 new members since Bank Transfer Day, an increase of 68% compared to the previous 11 months.

Other key findings in Bethpage's study include:

  • When asked what attributes are important when choosing a bank or credit  union, 68% of respondents said providing free checking with no hidden requirements is important.
  • When asked to identify what traits they look for when choosing where to bank, 73% said they want to bank at a financial institution that is honest, 72% said trustworthy, and 71% said ethical.
  • Among people actively looking to switch to a different financial institution, 37% would leave their current financial institution for better rates and lower fees.
Bethpage said its Bonus Checking offers account holders free checking including free debit card transactions, no maintenance fees, and no minimum balance fees. It also includes free online banking, mobile banking and telephone banking, plus the ability to earn interest.

Top 10 iNews Nowi stories for October (11/01/2012)

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MADISON, Wis. (11/2/12)--An article announcing the CO-OP Financial Services and SHAZAM Network agreement to allow members of participating credit unions access surcharge-free and shared-deposit ATMs was the most read News Now article in October.

The list of Top 10 stories for October includes:

10. Hurricane Sandy aftermath: Damages and closures

MADISON, Wis. (10/31/12)--Credit unions not impacted by Hurricane Sandy's flooding have reported some damages, but those in the storm surge/flood areas have yet to determine how badly their buildings are damaged. Meanwhile, a number of closures and postponements continued Wednesday.

9. NCUA prohibits WesCorp exec from CU work

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/19/12)--Robert Siravo, the former CEO of the failed Western Corporate FCU, has been prohibited from participating in the affairs of any federally insured credit union by the National Credit Union Administration.

8. Verizon data-breach report points to challenges for FIs

MADISON, Wis. (10/26/12)—Data-breach incidents worldwide last year were more numerous, were caused by more players, and represent a broader and more diverse geographical scope, Verizon said Wednesday in releasing its "2012 Data Breach Investigations Report."

7. Third new FCU for 2012 will launch

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/3/12)--Come November, about 150,000 people who live, work, worship, volunteer, attend school, and transact business in the Kalamazoo, Mich., area will have a new federal credit union to serve their financial services needs.

6. CBS 'CUs 101' story drives viewers to CUNA's aSmarterChoice.org

WASHINGTON (10/10/12)--CBS This Morning in an Oct. 8 segment made a strong case for credit union membership, highlighting the CUNA consumer Website aSmarterChoice.org as one resource for potential members.

5. August CU loans, savings grow, BTD effect continues

MADISON, Wis. (10/2/12)--Although credit unions' savings growth outpaced loan growth by a wide margin in August, the combination of a slowly improving economy, significant pent-up demand, and seasonally strong borrowing should result in relatively strong loan growth in the coming months, according to a CUNA economist's analysis of CUNA's monthly sample of credit unions for August.

4. Happy International Credit Union Day

MADISON, Wis. (10/18/12)--Several states will receive International Credit Union Day proclamations from state governors and lawmakers today as credit unions around the world celebrate the credit union philosophy.

3. CUNA economists adjust quarterly CU, economic outlook

MADISON, Wis. (10/16/12)--CUNA economists met last week to complete their quarterly update of the economic and credit union outlook, affirming the belief the economy will be OK despite looming national fiscal issues and fallout from European debt problems.

2. Vermont DFR, CU reach agreement on use of 'bank'

MONTPELIER, Vt. (10/9/12)--The Vermont State Employees CU and the State Department of Financial Regulation announced Friday they have reached an agreement on when VSECU and other state-chartered credit unions can use the words "bank," "banking" and similar words in marketing their services.

1. CO-OP, SHAZAM sign ATM sharing pact

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (10/17/12)--CO-OP Financial Services and the SHAZAM Network have signed an agreement that will allow members of participating credit unions to access surcharge-free and shared-deposit ATMs nationwide.

MDDCCUA fosters new CU federation in Colombia

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COLUMBIA, Md. (11/2/12)--A group of eight Colombian credit union representatives last week traveled to Columbia, Md., to sign a partnership agreement with the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association (MDDCCUA) through World Council of Credit Unions' International Partnerships Program.

The Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association (MDDCCUA) and the Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito Financieras (FECOLFIN), the new Colombian credit union federation, last week signed a partnership agreement at PAHO/WHO FCU headquarters in Washington D.C.. Pictured, from left, Juan Carlos Borda, FECOLFIN vice chairman; John Bratsakis, MDDCCUA president/CEO; Jaime Chavez, FECOLFIN chairman; Miguel Boluda, PAHO/WHO FCU president/ CEO; and Victor Miguel Corro, vice president of the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
The delegates represented the board of directors of the new credit union federation, Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito Financieras (FECOLFIN), one of WOCCU newest members.

FECOLFIN's newly appointed board of directors sought a credit union association partner to jumpstart the organization in terms of best practices, policies and procedures. MDDCCUA offered to fill that role and assist the group of credit union CEOs and volunteers by sharing its business strategies and advising how to increase affiliation in a critical phase of development.

The creation of FECOLFIN is an important milestone for the Colombian credit union movement, WOCCU said. Although Colombia has one of the highest rates of cooperative membership, the infrastructure of the credit union sector was missing key elements of a cohesive movement, such as a credit union federation. FECOLFIN will focus on giving a credit union-specific voice to its members before legislators and the government. The new federation also will seek to improve collaboration among credit unions nationwide.

"Currently, regulations in the country are either inconsistent or lacking detail, and credit unions do not have a seat at the table during talks about regulatory changes," said Jaime Chavez, FECOLFIN chairman. "The credit unions in Colombia need to come together with a unified voice to help tell our story and convince the regulators that credit unions need to be treated differently than banks."

The first phase of the partnership will focus on providing advocacy assistance to the Colombian credit union sector through workshops for credit unions and special visits with government officials. The partnership also will help FECOLFIN develop educational services and other services relevant to its membership.

MDDCCUA said it hopes to learn from Colombian credit unions about the needs of South American immigrants living in the Maryland and D.C. area, and strategies particular to that population that can be shared with MDDCCUA member credit unions.

In addition to visiting the offices of MDDCCUA, the group also visited the offices of three member credit unions: Montgomery County Employees FCU and Mid-Atlantic FCU, both of Germantown, Md., and PAHO/WHO FCU, Washington, D.C. During the credit union visits, delegates focused on learning the characteristics of a U.S. credit union's balance sheet and the regulatory challenges U.S. credit unions face.

MDDCCUA plans to form a delegation of association and credit union representatives to provide onsite assistance and learn about FECOLFIN firsthand.

NEW 25 CUs file damage reports so far N.J. CU status update

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MADISON, Wis. (FILED 12:25 p.m. CT 11/1/12)--About 25 credit union policy holders in seven states have reported damages from Hurricane Sandy and more damage reports are expected, said CUNA Mutual Group today.

"We have received damage reports from about 25 credit union policyholders so far, located in seven states. Most of the claim reports are for minor building damages in the New York City, Long Island and Jersey Shore areas," said Phil Tschudy, media relations manager at CUNA Mutual Group.

"Many credit unions are still without power, and we expect to receive more claim reports. The damage reports we have received do not include those caused by flooding or storm surges, which are insured through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) National Flood Insurance Program," he said.

"Power is, and will continue to be a major problem for many days. However, per our findings and discussion with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) all credit unions are operational. Some branches are closed, but members can transact business via the Web, or at other branch locations of their credit union," Tschudy told News Now.

"CUNA Mutual Group has been proactively reaching out to credit unions in the impacted areas to determine how they are faring, and not waiting for them to contact us for help.  If we have not been able to reach a credit union or if the credit union was unsure if a branch was damaged due to evacuation, we have had our adjusters work with authorities to make onsite inspections, which have sometimes meant arranging for police escorts. These inspections help us determine if damages need to be immediately addressed, if power is on, and if it is necessary to arrange for security to protect the building and its contents," he said.

"Our staff has been working closely with the NCUA and credit union leagues to share information. We are continuing our attempts to contact a small number of credit unions we have not yet reached and are asking they contact CUNA Mutual Group at 800-637-2676 and let us know of any problems they are having, big or small, as well as if they are aware of any other credit unions they know of that need help."

Also, the National Credit Union Foundation said that since opening its CUAid Disaster Relief Fund yesterday, it has raised more than $25,000 in donations. Use the link to donate.

The New Jersey Credit Union League issued an updated status report at noon today and will issue another one at 5 p.m.

  • 1st Bergen FCU--Equipment and facility OK, but no power. Opening limited hours today and Friday, if necessary, at one of its other sponsor sites.
  • ADP FCU--Roseland office open and operational.
  • Affinity FCU--Following ranches will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Basking Ridge, Piscataway, Cedar Knolls, Flemington, Hillsborough, Edison (all other branches remain closed. Online Banking is unavailable, but we are working to restore it as quickly. Affinity's Casino Night, scheduled to take place today at 6 p.m. has been postponed. Information will be communicated once available.
  • Atlantic FCU--Kenilworth office is without power; will open once power is restored.
  • Bay Atlantic FCU--Operational and all systems are functioning properly. Used disaster recovery/business continuity (DR/BC) plans to service members on Monday.
  • Bridgeton Onized FCU--Open but no email. Used DR/BC plans to service members on Monday.
  • Central Jersey FCU--Woodbridge office open and fully operational; South Plainfield office closed until power is restored.
  • Credit Union of New Jersey--Operational at its main office and branch in Ewing as well at its Lafayette Branch and Willingboro Branch.
  • Essex County Teachers FCU--Credit union has power, phone, and DP communications; reported that many shared branching CUs aren't available on the network, communicated these issues to NCUA.
  • Financial Resources FCU--Experienced power and telecommunications outages. All branches in New Jersey remain closed as a result of the outages, but otherwise suffered little to no damage. All locations outside of the state are operational and processing normally otherwise. The credit union's website, mobile, mobile apps, text messaging and other electronic services are up and running.
  • First Financial FCU--Toms River Branch opened at 9 a.m. today. All other offices and branches will remain closed until further notice.
  • Hamilton Horizons FCU--Closed due to power outage. All back office transactions, including auto clearinghoiuse (ACH), checking and ATM are still operating.
  • Garden Savings FCU--Parsippany branch re-opened; Newark branch without power and is closed.
  • Jersey Central--Cranford office open.
  • Jersey Shore FCU--All offices are fully operational.
  • McGraw-Hill FCU--2 Penn Plaza, 1221 Ave. of the Americas, and East Windsor branches are now open and operating under normal business hours. Verizon is still down at East Windsor branch so CU can't get member info out. 55 Water St. branch is still closed due to the forced evacuation of the building.
  • MidState FCU--CU has remained closed due to thefts and no power in Carteret; posting remotely all ACH drafts, etc. Will attempt to hire off duty police to sit with the staff so that it can open for Friday.
  • North Jersey FCU--All branches open.
  • Parlin DuPont FCU--Now has power but no phone/Internet; making do with file transfers and PBF.
  • Picatinny FCU--Main branch in Rockaway and Denville branch are fully operational. The arsenal had a delayed opening of noon yesterday and the Mt. Olive branch is closed due to power outage. The credit union has allowed the league Business Consultant Angel Santos to work at the Rockaway office for the time being.
  • Rancocas FCU--Open and operational.
  • Renaissance CDCU--Credit union has been shut down without power, Internet access, phones, etc. since Monday. It hopes the power will be back on in the area of the credit union by the end of the day so it can begin processing ACH, share drafts and ATMs.
  • Rutgers FCU--Busch is open, College Ave. is running on a limited schedule, Newark is closed. All services available.
  • United Teletech FCU--Tinton Falls branch is currently open for business; all other locations are closed pending the restoration of power to those locations.
  • West Orange Municipal FCU--Has a generator and should be able to continue operations with little interruption going forward.
  • XCEL FCU--Bloomfield, N.J. office OK, but most branch staff depends on PATH and NY subways for transportation. Fed Plaza branch in Manhattan, and Journal Square branch in Jersey City will remain closed until further notice. Branch at 3680 Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City is open. All ACH and share drafts were posted remotely each day.