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Dayton area CUs bond to fight foreclosures

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DAYTON, Ohio (11/19/07)--Eleven Dayton, Ohio-area credit unions and the Ohio Credit Union Foundation have joined to provide over $65,000 to the HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton, aimed at helping homeowners keep their homes amid the rising number of foreclosures in the area. As a part of the initiative, the funds have allowed the HomeOwnership Center to hire a certified foreclosure counselor to exclusively serve the local area. The Ohio Credit Union Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Ohio Credit Union System, aided the efforts with a $10,000 grant. Ohio ranked 3rd-highest in the nation with over 46,000 foreclosures during the third quarter, according to RealtyTrac. Montgomery County ranks as the second worst county in Ohio due to job loss, illness and predatory lending practices. The efforts of Dayton’s credit unions and the HomeOwnership Center expect to assist over 300 Miami Valley families in avoiding foreclosure. The initiative will help borrowers by providing them with resources, necessary steps and other tools. “Foreclosure affects more than individual families, it affects entire communities and it’s having a huge impact in the Miami Valley. The need for this partnership has never been greater,” emphasized Tim Mislansky, spokesperson for the credit unions. “This crisis needs leadership to solve,” he added. “There has been lots of talk of solutions, but credit unions are taking meaningful action to take a leadership role in stemming the rise of foreclosures. The solution for our community needs to be solved by the community in order to ensure the prevention of future foreclosures.” As member-owned cooperatives, credit unions exist solely to serve the needs of its members. One of the biggest advantages that credit unions have is the fact that they make decisions at the local level, which allows them to direct their resources to solve local problems and help members, Mislansky said. “No one wins during the foreclosure process. It causes hardship for the families, vacant properties reduce home values in neighborhoods, and the lenders lose money,” said Beth Deutscher, executive director of the HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton. “I’m extremely impressed with Dayton credit unions’ willingness to step forward on this critical issue, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with them,” she continued. “Their commitment sets an important example for our community, and we need more partners like this that are willing to help us reach families before it’s too late.” The initiative is available to all homeowners in the Miami Valley area having trouble paying their mortgage. Homeowners will receive free foreclosure prevention counseling by a certified expert mortgage counselor, and in most cases will be connected to the HomeOwnership Center. Homeowners will get advice about their options, assistance in working with their lender, help in trying to refinance their loan and possible access to grant dollars to help cure their delinquency. In addition to the foreclosure counselor, the effort will also provide public service announcements developed by the Ad Council and NeighborWorks America to encourage people to act early and not ignore the problem. “For a homeowner who is experiencing trouble in paying their mortgage, the most important thing is that they act fast,” said Deutscher. “The sooner they reach out for assistance, the greater our chances of being able to identify a solution.” The eleven participating credit unions are: Affinia FCU, Kettering; Bethel Baptist FCU, Dayton; Code CU, Dayton; Day Air CU, Kettering; DayMet CU, Dayton; FirstDay Financial FCU, Dayton; Incenta FCU, Dayton; Montgomery County CU, Dayton; River Valley CU, Miamisburg; Universal 1 CU, Dayton; and Wright-Patt CU, Fairborn.

CU steps up on universitys savings program

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (11/19/07)--K-State CU, the campus credit union of Kansas State University, is helping to give a boost to a unique savings campaign for college students. Kansas State University is one of three universities in the U.S. to offer the program. Kansas State, Utah State University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute are credited with starting the Students Save Initiative, which is a part of the America Saves program. American Saves was created in 2001 to teach Americans how to save money and has helped 90,000 to date (Kansas State Collegian Nov. 1). Kansas State’s campaign is themed “Build Wealth, Not Debt.” The program educates students about finances and helps them set savings goals. About 150 students have participated in the program so far. K-State CU is the only financial institution involved with the program, but Dustin Furrey, the program’s undergraduate coordinator, said the campaign committee is looking to involve other financial institutions. K-State’s Students Save Initiative’s campaign committee members are planning to provide a progress report in May 2008. K-State CU has $3.4 million in assets.

Members United donates car to needy family

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WARRENVILLE, Ill. (11/15/07)--Members United Corporate CU recently applied the credit union
Kevin Brauer, president, Members United Corporate FCU, Northeast Operations, (left) presents Bernard with the keys and title to the Taurus station wagon, which the credit union donated to help him and his family.
Bernard shows his appreciation for the car he received from Members United Corporate FCU in Warrenville, Ill. “I’m so grateful,” he told the credit union. (Photos provided by Members United Corporate FCU)
philosophy to reach out to a family in need. Members United had an unused company vehicle, a 1996 Ford Taurus station wagon. After a receiving a reference from a local agency, the credit union decided to donate the vehicle to a young man who is working to turn his life around. Bernard, 25, is working toward his GED and has a job manufacturing granite countertops. He's also raising three young children and doesn't have enough money to buy a vehicle. On Oct. 31, Members United presented Bernard, 25, with his first car. Because Bernard did not have a car, he was taking his younger children to daycare every morning in a taxi, and then continuing on to work. Members United also provided bags of treats for Bernard’s children to celebrate Halloween, and gave Bernard a gift card to offset gasoline and insurance costs. “I’m so grateful, I think I will smile through my sleep tonight,” Bernard said. Members United has $12.1 billion in assets.

Nelson CU murder case delayed

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GREELEY, Colo. (11/19/07)--The Shawna Nelson murder trial, resulting from a fatal shooting at a Colorado credit union, has been delayed after a request by defense attorneys and likely will not begin until 2008. The trial was set to commence Nov. 29 in Larimer County Court, but two events changed the timeframe for the case. A defense witness changed her testimony and will not testify that Nelson told her about the plan to commit murder; and an expert witness has come forward with new evidence in the case, regarding tire tracks at the murder scene (Greeley Tribune Nov. 16). In January, Nelson, 35, was arrested in the slaying of Heather Garraus, 37, outside the Greeley branch of the Denver-based Colorado State Employees CU. Garraus worked at the branch (News Now Jan. 31). Nelson, who has been charged with first-degree murder and faces life imprisonment, is accused of shooting Garraus the evening of Jan. 23 outside the credit union as Garraus was leaving work. Garraus was found in the credit union parking lot and was taken to North Colorado Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead as a result of multiple gunshot wounds (News Now July 30). After the murder, authorities learned that Shawna Nelson and Ignacio Garraus, a Greeley police officer and Garraus's husband, had been involved in an affair. Ignacio Garraus has since resigned from the police department and moved out of the state (News Now Jan. 31).

Irish CU league helps members buy computers

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DUBLIN, Ireland (11/19/07)--Irish credit unions have begun a program, which is part of the government-backed Home Computing Initiative, to help their members buy computers. About 60 credit unions who are members of the Irish Credit Union League are offering the computer deal, which makes low-cost loans and discounts on desktop and laptop computers available to participants (Irish Independent Nov. 14). “The program offers many of our members their first opportunity to own a home computer and become technologically connected to the wider world, improving skills and gaining access to all the Internet has to offer,” Liam O’Dwyer, chief executive of the league, said in a statement. Three million credit union members can take advantage of this program, which gives discounts up to 800 euros (about $1,170). Interest rates offered in the initiative compare well to in-store financing, said an Irish league spokesman.

CU System briefs

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* MILWAUKEE (11/19)--Royal CU of Eau Claire, Wis., and UW CU of Madison, Wis., are teaming up with other financial institutions through a partnership to offer a toll-free hotline to help homeowners facing foreclosure. The credit unions are partnering with the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, Neighborworks America, Housing Resources Inc. of Milwaukee and the City of Milwaukee. The hotline is managed by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation and helps callers create budgets and work out foreclosure problems with their lenders. The hotline can be reached by calling 1-888-995-HOPE and is available 24 hours per day … * RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (11/19/07)--California Credit Union League (CCUL) President/CEO Bill Cheney (left) awarded Robert V. Chaffino CEO of Camino FCU in Montebello, Calif., the 2007 Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award, the CCUL’s highest honor. The award recognizes excellence in credit union philosophy and a lifetime of contributions to the California credit union movement. It is named after Leo H. Shapiro, father of the California credit union movement and founder of the league. Chaffino received the award Tuesday during the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ 2007 Annual Meeting and Convention in San Diego. Chaffino has worked in the credit union movement for 35 years … (Photo provided by the California Credit Union League) * ST. LOUIS, Mo. (11/19/07)--House Minority Floor Leader Paul LeVota (D-District 52) shared insights on the political process and highlighted credit union advocacy opportunities at credit union meetings in St. Louis, Jefferson City and Kansas City Nov. 6-8. LeVota encouraged credit unions to take credit for their good works in the community and show how those efforts affect a lawmaker’s constituents. LeVota’s presentation was a part of the “You Make the Difference” Advocacy program. The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) Advocacy Committee, together with MCUA board members and Credit Union Political Action Committee (CUPAC) members created the program. Credit union presidents, senior management and marketing staff are invited to attend regional meetings … (Photo provided by the Missouri Credit Union Association) * VACAVILLE, Calif. (11/19/07)--More than 1,000 children attended Pacific Service CU’s Child Safety Day Oct. 6. The event feature free DNA LifePrint kits, child safety journals and other safety information. The event also was the first in the county to offer free biometric fingerprinting. DNA Life Print provides parents and guardians with a sample of each child’s DNA that can be preserved up to 80 years. Pacific CU of Walnut Creek, Calif., has more than $1 billion in assets … * NORTHVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (11/19/07)--The 2008 Midwest Management Issues Conference will be held Jan. 13 to Jan. 16 at the Hyatt Regency in Savannah, Ga. The conference is sponsored by the Illionois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin credit union leagues. Featured speakers include Tom Glatt, president/CEO of Continental FCU in El Segundo, Calif.; Ron Galloway, filmmaker and producer of “Why Wal-Mart Works;” and Dan Mulhern, husband of Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm …