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CU System Archive

CU System

TMG Veridian invest in alternative payments service

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DES MOINES, Iowa (11/18/10)--The Members Group (TMG) and The Veridian Group have taken steps to ensure credit unions and community financial institutions have access to emerging payments technologies by investing $1 million in Dwolla, an online and mobile payment platform. The investment was made to fund the growth of the platform and to be able to offer the product to financial institutions. Dwolla allows cash payments to be transferred digitally between two users from more places, more quickly and at lower costs than most traditional services, said TMG and The Veridian Group. TMG will be the primary distribution channel for the Dwolla platform as a product offering to community-based financial institutions. Also, TMG will contribute development expertise, including counsel on processing and security procedures, to ensure success and compliance with financial industry regulations, the company said. Jeff Russell, TMG executive vice president, and Nick Evens, president of The Veridian Group, will continue to advise Dwolla leadership as members of Dwolla's board of directors. Government regulations and other factors have created an environment in which financial institutions must be innovative in providing different methods for consumers to move money through payments networks, Russell said, adding that the current economic climate has caused businesses to look for less expensive alternatives that still provide convenient transactions. Dwolla is a two-year-old, fully functional software platform that has processed millions in transactions, said Ben Milne, founder/ CEO of Dwolla. “Our recent capital investment from TMG and The Veridian Group creates a strategic business relationship worth more than money. The relationship validates our mission to craft a technology that empowers individuals and organizations to share and spend money while avoiding the high costs associated with many other payment systems.” The alternative payment platform will keep deposits, transactions and market share with its financial institution clients. The platform complements several of TMG’s recent product roll outs, including mobile banking.

PCUA has working relationship with state House Dems leaders

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (11/18/10)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) has a solid working relationship with the state's new House Democratic leaders, which the Democratic caucus chose Tuesday. PCUA congratulated the newly elected House Democratic Leadership Team and told its credit unions that it has "a solid working relationships with them and looks forward to continuing this rapport" (Life is a Highway Nov. 17). The new leaders are:
* Minority Leader: Frank Dermody, Allegheny; * Minority Whip: Mike Hanna, Clinton; * Caucus Chairman: Dan Frankel, Allegheny; * Caucus Secretary: Jennifer Mann, Lehigh; * Minority Policy Committee Chair: Mike Sturla, Lancaster ; * Caucus Administrator: Ron Buxton, Dauphin; and * Minority Appropriations Chairman: Joe Markosek, Allegheny.
State Senate leaders were being elected yesterday, PCUA said.

CUs contributions to auto sales noted by dealers

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DOTHAN, Ala. (11/18/10)--Credit unions are helping consumers purchase automobiles in the Dothan, Ala., area, according to a local newspaper. Auto sales “are trending upward in Dothan” with taxable sales reaching more than $181 million for fiscal 2010--up roughly $11 million from 2009, said the dothaneagle.com (Nov. 16). One dealer particularly mentioned credit unions. “The economy is coming back,” Jamie Snell, general sales manager for Dothan Chrysler Dodge Kia, told the newspaper. “This year has definitely been way better than last year. The banks have loosened up and started lending, and local credit unions stepped up and have been doing their part for sure. All dealers are getting help from the credit unions. The banks crunched down big-time during the crisis.” During the past three years, car sales at his lot dropped 30% to 40% below normal levels, Snell told the paper. People were not understanding that everyone has to purchase items for the economy to thrive, Snell added. Purchases were spotty, but now are becoming more consistent, with some months in 2010 being as good as any in years past, he added. To read the article, use the link.

Ala. Fla. CUs provide support in Costa Rica

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (11/18/10)--The League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU) and five credit unions from Alabama and Florida spent a few days in Costa Rica last week addressing the government and working with credit unions to improve operations and other areas.
The League of Southeastern Credit Unions contingent meets with Luis Gerardo Villanueva Monge, president of the Asamblea Legislativa de la Republica de Costa Rica (center right) in Costa Rica last week. (Photos provided by The League of Southeastern Credit Unions)
The league--when it initially was known as the Alabama Credit Union League--has partnered with Costa Rica since 2005 through the World Council of Credit Unions’ International Partnerships Program. The participants included Joe Melbourne, CEO of CFE FCU in Lake Mary, Fla; Andy Price, general counsel for Florida Commerce CU in Tallahassee; David Southall, CEO of Innovations FCU in Panama City, Fla.; Gina Turner, assistant vice president of operations and branch administration at Alabama Teachers CU, Gadsden, Ala.; Peter Alvarez, Hispanic program manager for Redstone FCU in Huntsville, Ala.; and Laura Vann, LSCU vice president, cooperative initiatives.
The League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU), along with five credit unions, spent a few days in Costa Rica last week addressing the government, working with credit unions to improve operations and address areas where the credit union movement can improve in the country. Pictured are Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla Miranda (left) and David Southall CEO of Innovations FCU in Panama City Beach, Fla.
The LSCU contingent met with members of the government, including Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla Miranda and the equivalent of the Speaker of the House. Costa Rica has 76 credit unions with 600,000 members. However only 31 credit unions--those with $1 million or more in assets--are regulated. Credit unions also are the only “banking” segment without government deposit backing. State banks are backed by the government, while private banks have a fund of roughly $600,000 Costa Rica’s president thanked credit unions for their place in the economy. Chinchilla addressed the group in English and talked about how the country was trying to reduce its carbon footprint. She also talked about the effects Hurricane Tomas had on the country’s infrastructure. Price, fluent in Spanish, addressed a group of credit union CEOs, board members, and legislators as part of a panel discussion on deposit insurance. The panel discussion was held at the Assemblea Legislativa. More than 70 individuals attended.

Georgia members holiday spending plans reflect consumer trends

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ATLANTA, Ga. (11/18/10)--When it comes to holiday spending, it looks like it’s going to be the “same old, same old” in Georgia this year, with about half of the state’s credit union members indicating they will spend about what they did last year. Of nearly 6,000 credit union members surveyed statewide, 52.8% said they plan to spend about the same as last year during the holiday season, while 44.3% indicated that they plan to spend less, according to Georgia Credit Union Affiliates. Data from 39 credit unions statewide indicate that Georgia credit union members are leaning toward frugality, and are even increasing their account balances in some cases. During the first nine months of 2010, savings deposits grew by 6.3% and checking account balances increase by 11.4%. Most shoppers plan to spend modest amounts on gifts, with 43.9% of respondents saying they plan to spend between $100 and $500; 28.7% plan to spend between $500 and $1,000. The majority of respondents (77.8%) are planning to pay mostly or completely with cash, compared to 17.3% who plan to pay using a credit card. About 5% plan to use savings for their holiday spending.

Survey Southeastern CUs approve of LSCUs work

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. And TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (11/18/10)--Six months after consolidating credit unions in Alabama and Florida, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU) is delivering on its promise to be a more effective and efficient resource for its members, the league said. According to the results of the recent LSCU Member Survey, 87% of member credit unions that responded are satisfied with the new league. When asked if the league understands credit unions’ needs, 88% agreed. Also, three out of four credit unions surveyed say they get good value for their dues dollars, indicating the league is focused on the right areas, according to Patrick La Pine, LSCU president/CEO. The new league has focused on advocacy and information. “When the Alabama and Florida leagues consolidated, we knew the new LSCU would need to re-focus on the needs of credit unions,” La Pine said. “In less than one year, member credit unions are seeing a more personal LSCU that is spending more time in their credit unions, listening and responding to their needs. “The member results are consistent across asset sizes and between both states, proving that our members’ needs are being met,” he added. “We know we have more work to do as our credit unions are under a lot of financial and regulatory pressure right now and we need to continue to provide solutions to ease their burdens.”

New Jersey league exhibits at municipalities convention

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (11/18/10)--The New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL) is among the exhibitors this week at the New Jersey League of Municipalities Convention & Annual Meeting in Atlantic City. The convention is attended by more than 20,000 officials statewide and provides an opportunity to bring credit union messages to state and local lawmakers and policy leaders from around the state. Foremost among those messages is the need to amend the state’s 39-year-old Government Unit Depository to Protection Act (GUDPA), which gives banks a virtual monopoly on, and precludes local government entities from utilizing credit unions as, depositories, said the The Daily Exchange (Nov. 17). The municipalities league has adopted as one of its legislative priorities support for the pending bill to bring GUDPA into the 21st century. In May, state legislation that would create a New Jersey Banking Development District (BDD) Program was reported favorably from the state’s Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee (News Now May 11). Credit unions are included in the bill’s definition of “bank,” according to NJCUL. The league supported the bill, said Chris Abeel, NJCUL government affairs director. Beyond the league’s legislative agenda, the conference is invaluable from a business development standpoint, the NJCUL said. Visitors to the league booth receive “Find a Credit Union” cards, which direct them to the findacreditunion.com website. Several employers have requested information on how to offer their employees the opportunity to join a credit union, NJCUL said.

TULIP CU offers option to predatory lenders

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OLYMPIA, Wash (11/18/10)--TULIP Cooperative CU, Olympia, Wash., is challenging predatory lenders in its area, not with an alternative lending products, but with some old-fashioned credit union philosophy: people helping people. “We just work very hard to get people out of the payday cycle and into structured debt,” said Eric Bowman, the $2.2 million-asset credit union’s board chair. “We’ll make $250 loans just to get people into the loan cycle. We counsel our members. We sit down and work with them. Our goal is to get people back on the grid after being on the fringe of financial services. "The credit union has been in existence just seven years. We’re young; we honestly don’t have it down yet,” Bowman explained. “But we are always open to new strategies and ideas.” TULIP CU is a true community credit union whose members want to make a difference in each other’s lives, Bowman told News Now. “We have members who are small business owners, politicians, people with six-figure incomes and people on fixed incomes.” The core membership though, is comprised of those most in need; 77% are low income. TULIP CU members are currently being showcased in a new campaign of television, radio and print ads aimed to increase awareness of the credit union and its mission. To view the ads, use the link.

CU System briefs (11/17/2010)

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* MACON, Ga. (11/18/10)--A Macon police officer was injured after he lost control of his patrol car and struck a utility pole while responding to a burglary at Robins FCU (Macon Telegraph Nov. 17). Sgt. Kenny Smith sustained serious injuries and could not move after the accident, but police said the injuries are not life threatening. At the credit union's parking lot, a pick up truck rolling through the lot with its driver's door open crashed into a nearby building's wall. Two men fled when officers arrived. Police said the burglars were using a sledge hammer to try stealing the credit union's ATM. Robins FCU is a $1.36 billion asset credit union based in Warner Robins, Ga. … * ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/18/10)--Two military financial institutions--USAA and Pentagon FCU--are teaming up in a marketing alliance to give troops better access to financial products. USAA, a bank, will offer access to its non-banking products such as investments and insurance through the credit union. USAA will offer its members new, lower-rate jumbo mortgage options, which Pentagon Federal will buy and service. Members of the credit union will have access to USAA's auto and home insurance, annuities, life insurance and investment products, with USAA as the credit union's preferred provider for those products (NavyTimes Nov. 17) … * HAMILTON, N.J. (11/18/10)--Marvin R. Jones, a longtime New Jersey credit union leader, has died at the age of 81, according to the New Jersey Credit Union League (The Daily Exchange Nov. 17). Jones was president of Dow Jones Employees FCU for 20 years and also was employed by Healthcare Employees FCU for three years. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and three grandchildren. A graveside service was held on Tuesday … * HARRISBURG, Pa. (11/18/10)--Robert Eiler, a credit union volunteer for 50 years, died Nov. 9, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Life is a Highway Nov. 17). He held volunteer leadership positions with Barta-Berks Community FCU of Reading, and was chairman of the board since 1997. His daughter, Sharon Glase, is president/CEO of the credit union …