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CU System briefs (11/16/2011)

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  • CONCORD, N.H. (11/17/11)--The New Hampshire Credit Union League and its  credit unions joined Gov. John H. Lynch and others last month to launch the sales season of the Make-A-Wish 2012 Calendar Raffle (fosters.com Nov. 16). The raffle, which is limited to 2,500 calendars, featured speeches from representatives of the league, Make-A-Wish, and the governor. Lynch commended New Hampshire credit unions for assisting the state's residents in the event of disasters, on meeting community-based needs, and for meeting the needs of their members when called upon.  Fundraising goal for this year's raffle is $140,000 ...
  • ONTARIO, Calif.(11/17/11)--Honda FCU CEO Jim Updike, right, was presented an
    Click to view larger image Click for larger view
    "Unsung Hero" award by the California Credit Union League. The award honors those in the credit union industry with at least 20 years' service who have make significant contributions to the community.  Henry Kertman, left, California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues vice president of public affairs, presented the award at Honda FCU in Torrance, Calif. Updike serves on the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation's board and on various league committees, including the Government Relations Committee, International Task force, League Elections Committee where he is currently chairman, and the league board. He also is active with the San Diego and Southwest Chapters of the league. (Photo provided by the California Credit Union League) …

Two employees pistol-whipped during robbery

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ORLANDO, Fla. (11/17/11)--Two employees of a credit union in Central Florida were treated at a local hospital after being pistol-whipped during a robbery Wednesday morning (The Florida News Journal Nov. 16).

One suspect is in custody and another was still at large, according to police. The incident occurred just before 8 a.m. when employees were opening Sunbelt CU on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando. Two masked men wearing dark long-sleeved clothing walked in, ransacked the office, and pistol-whipped the employees, then left.

One robbery suspect was arrested later behind the credit union, and police were searching for the second man.  Police did not say whether they took any money (cfnews123.com and myfoxorlando.com Nov. 16).

The credit union's employees, who did not suffer major injuries, were treated at Florida Hospital and released.

CUs participate in Underbanked Solutions Exchange

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CHICAGO (11/17/11)--Credit unions and mid-sized banks met Tuesday at the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI)'s seventh Underbanked Solutions Exchange in Chicago to learn best practices in serving the underbanked.

Exchange participants put themselves in the shoes of the financially underserved consumer, cashing checks, buying and using prepaid cards, transferring money, and seeking small value loan options.

"This exercise is especially well-timed, as this is a particularly important moment for banks and credit unions to contemplate how they can maximize the value of the products they offer to all of their customers," said Karen Andres, manager and consultant, Advisory Services.  The goal of the discussion was to prompt "participants to think about ways in which their organization can contribute to a future where financial services are a force for good in people's lives."

Attendees also discussed what defines "quality" in financial services as outlined by CFSI's Compass Principles; participated in an applied behavioral economics workshop with John Balz of ideas42, and advised two credit unions--$447 million asset Centris FCU, Omaha, Neb.,  and $4 billion asset ESL FCU, Rochester, N.Y.--about their underbanked strategies.

Others participating included Kinecta FCU, Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Redstone FCU, Huntsville, Ala.; Self-Help CU, Durham, N.C., and eight banks.

CFSI is a research and consulting group specializing in financial services for underserved consumers.

October index CUs small lenders fill biz lending gap

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NEW YORK (11/17/11)--Credit unions, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), microlenders and others approved 61.8% of funding requests for small business financing applications surveyed in October, an increase from the 61.5% approval rate recorded in September, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index.

That compares with 9.3% approvals from large banks (with assets of $10 billion or more) in October, a slight increase from September's 9.2%. Small business loan approvals at big banks have not risen above the 10% rate since April, said the Biz2credit.com.

Smaller lenders continue to fill the vacuum left by banks and traditional financial institutions, said the company. The index is an analysis of 1,000 loan applications on Biz2credit.com.

Loan approvals by smaller banks increased to 46.3% from September's 45.1%--the highest increase this year.

"Big banks continue their reluctance to lend money," said Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora. "The causes of this cautiousness include the continuing global financial crisis, as well as U.S. policy uncertainty and the impact of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, which tightened regulations," Arora said.

Arora noted that the Occupy Wall Street movement is making an impact and said the influx of deposits credit unions gained from disgruntled bank customers who switched institutions impacts small business borrowing because credit unions now have more money to lend.

The index also discovered that 17% of small companies surveyed reported revenue growth of 5% or more through the first 10 months of the year. However, 25% of potential small business borrowers said their sales remain flat.

The index also identified five reasons small business borrowers haven't received funding:

  • Decline in sales: More than 68%  of small businesses said sales declined in the first nine months of 2011;
  • Declining profitability: Profitability declined at more than 86% of small businesses the past two years;
  • Stricter bank underwriting criteria;
  • Big banks' uncertainty, which  is leading to increased dissatisfaction among small business owners; and
  • Avoidance by small business owners who believe they won't get a loan or that the process is too time-consuming.

Halleck named Calif. league board chairman

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ONTARIO, Calif. (11/17/11)--Teresa Halleck, president/CEO of San Diego County CU, has been elected chairman of the California Credit Union League's 2012 board.

Halleck began her one-year term at the league's recent annual meeting and convention.

Larry Palochik, president/CEO of Alta Vista CU, Redlands, was elected first vice chairman; Teresa Freeborn, president/CEO of Xceed FCU, El Segundo, was elected as second vice chairman.

Rounding out the league's executive committee are Jon Hernandez, president/CEO of CalCom FCU, Torrance, and Hank Barrett, president/CEO of Valley First CU, Modesto.

Immediate past chairman Eileen Rivera, president/CEO of SkyOne FCU, Hawthorne, will serve as an ex-officio member of the committee.

Halleck, with more than 20 years of financial industry experience, joined San Diego County CU as president/CEO in August 2010. Prior to joining San Diego, she served as president/CEO of Sacramento-based The Golden 1 CU for nearly eight years.

Indiana league elects table officers (11/16/2011)

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INDIANAPOLIS (11/17/11)--The Indiana Credit Union League board of directors elected table officers at its reorganization meeting in October.

The meeting was held during the league's annual meeting and convention.

Table officers are:

  • Chairman--Lori Gonzalez, Members Choice FCU, Bloomington;
  • Vice chairman--Frank Gulley, Afena FCU, Marion;
  • Board secretary--Dave Fleming, Union Baptist Church FCU, Fort Wayne; and
  • Treasurer--Doug True, FORUM CU, Fishers.
Other board members include:

  • Randy Glassburn, Ball State FCU, Muncie;
  • Ron Mazur, Chiphone FCU, Elkhart;
  • George McNichols, Hoosier Hills CU, Bedford;
  • Lamoura Munse, Indiana Members CU, Indianapolis; and
  • Jack Sheets, Interra CU, Goshen.


Federation OFN team up on dual membership

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MINNEAPOLIS (11/17/11)--The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) have agreed to develop a joint membership program that includes reciprocal discounts on dues to institutions that join both OFN and the federation.

The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) Tuesday announced a memorandum of understanding to deepen collaboration between the two organizations and expand member benefits. From left, Mark Pinsky, OFN president/CEO; Pablo DeFilippi, federation director of membership; and Ignacio Esteban of the Florida Community Loan Fund, OFN board chairman. (Photo provided by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions)
Cliff Rosenthal, president/CEO of the federation, described the agreement as "formalizing and extending the cooperative relationship we have enjoyed with OFN going back more than two decades."

OFN is a national network of community development financial institutions.

Together the two groups helped establish the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, Rosenthal noted.  The fund promotes economic revitalization and community development through investment in, and assistance to, community development financial institutions.

"We recognize that CDFIs often belong to a number of national and regional organizations to meet the range of their needs for training, technical information, advocacy and other services. This agreement helps them to manage their costs," Rosenthal said.

The agreement also envisions collaboration in data collection and cooperative development of strategies for collaborations and partnerships between CDFIs. Mark Pinsky, OFN president CEO, emphasized the goal of "increasing efficiency and impact and meeting the range of financial needs of low-income individuals and communities."

Wis. DFI CUs increase assets loans deposits in 3Q

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MADISON, Wis. (11/17/11)--Wisconsin credit unions in the third quarter saw increases in total assets, loans and savings deposits, according to data compiled by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) released Tuesday. Earnings also remained steady in the quarter.

Compared with the second quarter, Wisconsin's 211 state-chartered credit unions in the third quarter:

  • Grew assets by nearly 1%, to $21.8 billion from $21.6 billion;
  • Increased savings deposits by 1%, to $19.02 billion from $18.85 billion;
  • Expanded total loans by 1.5%, to $16.3 billion from $16.06 billion; and
  • Reported earnings of 0.52%, compared with 0.53% for the second quarter. 
The increases in deposits were recorded before the growth seen since Sept. 29 and related to the events leading up to Bank Transfer Day.

"Wisconsin credit unions had another solid performance in the third quarter," DFI Secretary Peter Bildsten said. "It is encouraging to see positive trends in several key areas. This bodes well for state credit union members and the Wisconsin economy."

Brett Thompson, CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League agreed. "With some of the largest credit unions, I think what you're seeing drive a good year is an increase in demand for small-business lending," Thompson told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Wednesday. That "has probably been the largest area of growth for our credit unions over the last year," he said. "More and more small businesses are looking for a place to borrow money and finding it difficult, and many are turning to credit unions."

Ginger Larson, director of the Office of Credit Unions--the DFI agency that regulates Wisconsin's state-chartered credit unions--also pointed to improvement in the loan-delinquency ratio as a positive sign.

"The loan-delinquency rate dropped to 1.83% in the third quarter and that's encouraging," Larson said. "This is down from 1.84% in the second quarter and 1.87% a year ago."

WOCCU 30 microloans a good holiday gift

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A credit union loan helped Sri Lanka fisherman Sebastian Lusion repair his boat and  provide for his wife and three kids. Bank loans are hard for fishermen to obtain in Sri Lanka. Microloans of $30 are available to give as gifts through the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions' holiday campaign. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
MADISON, Wis. (11/17/11)--Credit union boards of directors and staff can give gifts easier this year through the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions' holiday campaign, said the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).

The campaign encourages credit union advocates to make donations to support microbusiness loans in other countries on behalf of their 2011 holiday gift recipients.

Gifts of $30 will help WOCCU support farming and microbusiness loans to credit union members in Haiti, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Afghanistan.

The loans can make the difference between a self-sufficient small business and a family left in need, WOCCU said.

"This is a great holiday gift alternative for board members and credit union staff," said Valerie Breunig Worldwide Foundation executive director.

"Instead of giving typical corporate gifts, holiday donations will help empower the working poor in developing countries," she added. "As each small loan is repaid, donations keep circulating, helping more and more hardworking families reach financial stability."

All Holiday donors will receive a recognition card to acknowledge the donation made on their behalf.

To make a donation, use the link.