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Fed-hacking suspect who got CU access indicted

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. (11/22/10)--A Malaysian man has been indicted in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., for allegedly hacking into the Federal Reserve's computers and accessing data from several entities, including credit unions and a credit union data processor. Lin Mun Poo, 32, was arrested after arriving in the U.S. on Oct. 12 and selling 30 active credit or debit cards to an undercover agent for $1,000. The indictment said he was in possession of more than 400,000 stolen credit and debit card numbers and noted he made a career of compromising computer servers at financial institutions, defense contractors and major corporations, and selling or trading the information (govinfosecurity.com Nov. 19). The computer network of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland was hacked in June and affected at least 10 computers. June Gales, a spokesman for the bank, said the hacking incident involved a computer used for testing that was not hooked up to the Fed's live production system (Bloomberg Businessweek Nov. 18). Gales maintained that no data was compromised. Prosecutors said Poo gained access to several institutions, including the Firemen's Association of the State of New York and Mercer County New Jersey Teachers by hacking into FedComp Inc., a Fairfax, Va.-based data processor serving credit unions. However, Derrick Smith, president of FedComp, told Bloomberg that FedComp has never had credit card information breached. He said inclusion of FedComp may be related to an incident in 2007 involving a test platform that took test data. Poo, who is also charged with hacking into a Department of Defense contractor's computer system, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Four CDCUs receive N.Y. funds to boost small biz

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ALBANY, N.Y. (11/22/10)--Four community development credit unions (CDCUs) are among the 20 organizations receiving allocations from New York State's new Small Business Revolving Loan Fund, announced Gov. David A. Paterson and the Empire State Development (ESD) Thursday. The four credit union recipients are:
* Alternatives FCU, Ithaca, $1 million; * Bethex FCU, Bronx, $230,000; * Brooklyn FCU, $400,000 * Syracuse Cooperative FCU, $250,000.
"The funding allocations announced today are a major step in easing the small business capital crisis and promoting the growth and development of small businesses in New York," Paterson said. He noted the program "will provide the critical capital necessary to help businesses retain employees, create new jobs, and help grow our state economy." The fund will provide $50 million in loans to small businesses across the state over the next two years. The allocations will support microloans of $25,000 and below, and larger loans of up to $250,000 or above. The fund provides low-interest loan capital to alternative lenders--community development financial institutions, credit unions and small business lending consortia--to address the small business credit crisis and get millions of dollars into the hands of small businesses quickly. The Credit Union National Association and credit unions have supported federal legislation that would lift credit unions' member business lending cap to 27.5% from 12.25% so credit unions could help businesses by providing more than $10 million in loans and more than 100,000 in jobs.

CUs keep troops in mind for holidays

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MADISON, Wis. (11/22/10)--With a strong legacy of serving members of the military and their families, credit unions nationwide are thinking of U.S. troops when they share the holiday spirit. Here’s a look at how some credit unions are saying thank you to our soldiers worldwide.
SECU employees and member volunteers packed 5,000 gift boxes to send to deployed soldiers.
* State Employees CU staff and member volunteers gathered in Raleigh, N.C., on Nov. 6 to prepare and pack 5,000 holiday gift boxes for North Carolina National Guard and other North Carolina-based military soldiers deployed overseas. The gift boxes were packed with travel size items, including dental supplies, soap, shampoo, first aid items, travel games, socks and food. The items were collected in all 233 SECU branches statewide. With 180 people on hand, the boxes were filled within a couple hours. A U.S. Postal Service 18-wheeler soon arrived to take delivery of the boxes. Leigh Brady, senior vice president of education services at SECU, said the level of participation shows that the holiday spirit is contagious. “When SECU decided to initiate a statewide campaign, we had no idea that the volume of donations and volunteers would be so tremendous. We are elated with the results.” * Southpointe CU, St. Louis, is helping members prepare for their Thanksgiving dinner while supporting Homes for Our Troops--an effort to build specially adapted homes for severely disabled service members returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Southpointe CU is selling homemade pies for a $10 donation during November. Credit union employees are making the pies themselves, according to Member Service Manager Nancy Buehler. With only 10 employees, they may have their work cut out for them. “So far we have 31 orders,” Buehler told News Now Friday. “We know we’ll be busy, but it’s for a good cause. It’s fun for all of us.” * Belvoir FCU, Woodbridge, Va., is providing both members and non-members with the opportunity to visit any branch on select days or times to film a holiday message to send their loved ones this holiday season. The credit union has created a YouTube channel that includes all the messages. The credit union was organized in 1946 as Fort Belvoir FCU to serve the local military base. Since then, the credit union had expanded to serve a broader market in the Greater Washington DC area. * Like Belvoir, AmeriCU CU, Rome, N.Y., is offering military families an opportunity to send video messages to their deployed loved ones during the holiday season. The Rome, N.Y., credit union is partnering with WesCorp FCU and the Defense Credit Union Council to host Operation Best Wishes on Dec 7. * Southeast Ohio credit unions, including Atomic CU offices in Chillicothe, Waverly, Piketon and Welleston, and Chivaho FCU in Chillicothe, have begun their annual Sweats for Vets clothing drive to benefit local military veterans. Donations of new sweatshirts and pants will be accepted at Ohio Credit Union League participating sites. * Earthmover CU, Oswego, Ill., is accepting donations for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots Drive during the holiday season. Toys for Tots began in 1947 when Marine reservists from Los Angeles collected and distributed toys to 5,000 needy children.

Maine CUs meet with energy companies on energy financing

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WESTBROOK, Maine (11/22/10)--The Maine Credit Union League hosted a meeting on energy financing Nov. 15 with representatives from the Maine Green Energy Alliance (MGEA), the Efficiency Maine Trust (EMT), and representatives from credit unions in southern Maine. MGEA is a nonprofit organization that helps home owners make weatherization and energy efficiency improvements on their homes and receive tax credits from the federal government, as well as rebates from the Efficiency Maine Trust, which is responsible for Maine's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs (Maine Credit Union League’s Weekly Update Nov. 19). “[The meeting was] an opportunity to explore how credit unions can possibly partner with these two agencies to provide options for members looking to make their homes more energy efficient,” said league President John Murphy. “The visibility of Maine credit unions in working with the legislature and other agencies in the past few years to develop special loans and programs to help reduce energy costs for consumers was one of the reasons why MGEA and EMT reached out to us.” MGEA has selected a few communities to test its effectiveness. The league committed to work with MGEA to provide this information to credit unions that fall in those selected areas and into the hands of members interested in home energy improvements. Credit unions also gave an overview of what lending initiatives and programs for energy efficiency and weatherization they offer. The league will help facilitate the distribution of follow-up information to credit unions state-wide, Murphy said. “The state of Maine has a goal of weatherizing 100% of the housing stock by 2020, and the feedback from credit unions attending this meeting was to help in any way we can to assist in achieving this goal,” Murphy said. “The end result would be good for Maine and, most importantly, good for members.”

Wis. Young Pros Council gets CU orientation

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MADISON, Wis. (11/22/10)--The Wisconsin Credit Union League’s Young Professional Council met at the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Madison offices Thursday to learn more about the trade association and supporting organizations located on the CUNA campus that provide services and ideas to credit unions to help improve member service.
Click to view larger image Cheryl Erickson, left, league relations specialist with CUNA Mutual Group, provides a tour of the Credit Union National Association's campus to members of Wisconsin's Young Professionals Council. (Photo provided by the Wisconsin Credit Union League)
Speakers from CUNA, CUNA Mutual Group, the National Credit Union Foundation, World Council of Credit Unions and Filene Research Institute met with nearly 20 council members during the all-day meeting, which included a tour of the campus. “As a young professional, we don’t have as many opportunities to interact with industry leaders. It was great to get a statewide, national and global perspective of the credit union movement,” said Dan Winters, council member and lending supervisor/branch manager at Cooperative CU, Racine. The council consists of credit union staff ages 35 and younger from all areas of the state. Its goal is to promote its members' personal and professional growth, and strengthen the network of young credit union staff and volunteers in Wisconsin. “It was great to see the worldwide impact credit unions have and take a step back from our daily interactions with members to realize what credit unions, as an entire movement, do for their members and communities,” said Dominic Sloma, council member and operations leader at Best Advantage CU, Brillion. The council's next meeting is set for Jan. 26 in Madison and will coincide with the league's State Government Affairs Conference.

N.Y. association takes compliancelegal conference to Puerto Rico

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ALBANY, N.Y. (11/22/10)--The Credit Union Association of New York recently offered a Compliance and Legal Conference for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Island credit unions in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Luis Lopez, CEO of Abraham Rosa Cooperativa, starts the Compliance and Legal Conference with introductions of Credit Union Association of New York Senior Vice President/General Counsel Michael Lanotte and Director of Compliance Michael Carter as presenters.
Michael Lanotte, senior vice president/general counsel for the Credit Union Association of New York, leads 44 representatives of the Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Croix credit union movements through the ins and outs of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (Photos provided by the Credit Union Association of New York)
The Nov. 4 event attracted 44 attendees from credit unions, consulting firms and other cooperativas. Michael Lanotte, the association’s general counsel and senior vice president of association services, and Michael Carter, the association’s director of compliance, led the conference. "When credit union entities come together as they did for this conference, everyone wins--especially the credit union movement," Lanotte said. "Its truly representative of the "people helping people' commitment credit unions have made thoughout the world." During the conference, Lanotte provided an overview of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and Carter offered an update on recently passed regulations. The pair also presented a compliance workshop, posing compliance scenarios and working through potential issues and solutions as a group. The conference was offered as part of the association’s ongoing partnership with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) International Partnerships Program. The groups have partnered since 2005. This conference marked the fourth collaborative event. “The association’s partnership with Puerto Rican credit unions has been and will continue to be an active one,” Carter said. “The group has a Compliance Officers Association, which I look forward to working with to help provide up-to-date compliance information.” "It reflects the true cooperative nature of our industry and shows the value in sharing resources through this partnership," said Victor Miguel Corro, WOCUU senior manager of international partnerships. "I received such positive feedback from the credit unions in Puerto Rico."

CU System briefs (11/19/2010)

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* HONOLULU (11/22/10)--Noxious odors triggered an evacuation of 15 people Thursday morning from the Kapolei branch of Honolulu-based Hickam FCU and a neighboring business center, according to the Star-Advertiser (Nov. 18). The problem was pinpointed to an uninterrupted power supply device that was malfunctioning in the credit union. The incident occurred at about 10 a.m. One person reported nausea but no one required treatment, said the Honolulu Fire Department … * HARRISBURG, Pa. (11/22/10)--A segment of Pennsylvania Newsmakers featured Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Joe Wambach, right, and Chris Woods, center, foundation director and CEO of Keystone FCU, West Chester, discussing their recent mission trip to Haiti. Also pictured is the program's host, Dr. Terry Madonna, left. They talked about the disaster relief efforts in restoring family life for Haitians, and the remittance processing and facilities for credit unions. The segment began airing Sunday across the state and will continue through Saturday.(Photo provided by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association) … * PALMER, Alaska (11/22/10)--Norma J. Benson, board chairman of the Matanuska Valley FCU in Palmer, Alaska, died Wednesday at Providence Hospital, Anchorage, said the $330 million asset credit union. She served as chairman for the past 30 years. Benson also was active in both the Alaska Credit Union League and the National Association of Credit Union Chairmen. For many years, she served as a member of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Awards Committee and was a regular attendee at CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference. A supporter of the World Council of Credit Unions, Benson was a member of a delegation from Alaska in the mid-1990s that worked to encourage credit union development in the Russian Far East …