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Survey How CU members celebrate the holidays

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MADISON, Wis. (11/21/12)--How do credit union members celebrate the holidays? TruStage, the consumer brand of CUNA Mutual Group, surveyed 750 members about their holiday celebrations and traditions that matter most to them.

The study focused on the importance of the upcoming holidays, family traditions and memories of past experiences.  Of members surveyed, 97% consider Christmas as the main holiday to be with family members. However, Thanksgiving is the most important holiday to connect with multiple generations of family members.  Half of those surveyed celebrate Thanksgiving with members of three generations.

"Part of our new consumer focus is to surface the stories and emotional mindset of how credit union members are thinking and feeling," said Susan Sachatello, senior vice president of TruStage. "Every time we talk with members, they tell us that the generations before them made

decisions that allowed them to be where they are today.

"Since this holiday season is an important time of year to get multiple generations together, we wanted to understand what traditions and celebrations matter most and are passed from generation to generation. This survey shows just how important it is for members to connect with multiple generations of their families," Sachatello said.

Although the survey found that Christmas is the "most important holiday," 79% of respondents indicated that sharing a special meal is the most important part of a holiday. In that regard, Thanksgiving ranked highest.

Another key finding:  Nearly two-thirds (64%) of members said they intend to donate to charities and organizations  this year at the same level they donated in 2011. What's more, 13% others said they plan to increase their charitable giving this year. "That might be because of the economy stabilizing, but it's remarkable to see that 77% of credit union members plan charitable donations at or above the levels they gave last year," Sachatello said.

TruStage's consumer team is always exploring what's on the minds of credit union members, she said. "The election is over, the holidays are coming and this survey indicates credit union members are looking forward to the holidays as a respite from the noise and stress the rest of the year brings and returning to focus on what really matters most to them."

For a colorful infographic available for free use and distribution, use the link.

Lending Council discusses Fannies quality assurance

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MADISON, Wis. (11/21/12)--A new white paper from the CUNA Lending Council discusses how having a quality assurance (QA) system in place is about more than credit risk and making loans; it's about developing better working relationships with examiners.

During the past several years, considerable emphasis has been placed on mortgage lending and the internal policies and eligibility/underwriting processes lenders use, according to "Fannie Mae Quality Assurance: Understand and Comply with Requirements for a Stronger Loan Portfolio."

Lenders requesting approval to sell loans to Fannie Mae must have a QA system in place and must agree the system will remain in place as long as the lender does business with the government-sponsored enterprise.

Fannie Mae acknowledges there's no single, preferred plan that will satisfy every credit union's needs. Fannie encourages credit unions to think creatively and use a broad risk management perspective when developing or changing their approaches to QA, said the council paper.

To help credit unions think creatively about their QA systems, the paper identifies:

  • Minimum requirements for a credit union's QA system;
  • How to develop quality control policies and procedures;
  • How to examine policies for QA gaps;
  • How to make changes when existing policies fall short; and
  • How to build good working relationships with examiners.
The paper also includes three case studies of credit unions experienced with the Fannie Mae QA process.

The paper is available online. Use the link.

Listerhill CUs new youth initiative-a magazine

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MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (11/21/12)--In an age when 140 online characters is the standard for communication among young people, Listerhill CU, Muscle Shoals, Ala., has made the bold move of publishing its own print magazine to reach the youth market.

SET will also be published online, Anderson said. "SET's online home will be constantly refreshed with news, articles and opinions on the things important to youth in this area because they will generate the content," Anderson added.

The magazine and website will cross-reference each other with ads in the magazine, driving readers to content exclusive to each.

Listerhill will print 10,000 of the free publication monthly and distribute them throughout its branches, to local establishments frequented by young people, and to local universities and community colleges, Mashburn said.

Listerhill will host monthly launch parties for SET to highlight the theme of the magazine's feature story along with the edition's contributors.

"SET will allow us to positively reinforce our brand, promote the credit union philosophy of cooperation, and further our mission of financial literacy," said Brad Green, Listerhill CU president/CEO. "It will also give us the opportunity to create engaging contests and bolster both our social media and online presences."

As the only advertiser in the magazine, Listerhill CU can brand The Hill Account in a more targeted fashion, and eliminate the "noise" that Gen Y typically tunes out.

"This demographic is a savvy group when it comes to marketing," said Mashburn. "They are quickly able to distinguish who is being real and who is simply trying to sell them something."

iNerdWalleti interviews CUs mascots on saving

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MADISON, Wis. (11/21/12)--NerdWallet's Credit Card blog recently "interviewed" five credit union mascots to learn more about saving money.

Interview subjects included a penny, a tree, a monster, a dinosaur and an eagle.

They included:

  • Penny Saved, president, Super Saver Club for Kids, Vantage West CU, Tucson, Ariz.;
  • Reddy the Redwood, mascot and financial literacy expert, Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif.;
  • Moola Moola the Magical Monster, president, Moola Moola Savings Club, Philadelphia (Pa.) FCU;
  • Max the Dinosaur, president, MoneyKids Program, Michigan First CU, Detroit; and
  • Cash the Eagle, president, Cash's Club, Texas Trust CU, Mansfield, Texas.
The mascots were each asked five questions:

  • What do you like most about being a mascot? "There is nothing more fun than teaching kids about money in a way that makes them laugh and smile," said Max the Dinosaur.
  • Why is it important to save money? The earlier in life you begin saving money, the more financially healthy you'll be when you grow up, Moola Moola advised readers.
  • What should you buy with the money you save? Penny Saved suggested readers always keep some for long-term savings, but the money they spend should go toward something meaningful.
  • When you have a question about money, whom do you ask? "If I have money questions, I always ask someone at my credit union," said Reddy the Redwood. "Because credit unions are focused on people (and trees), I know that they've got my best interests in mind," he added.
  • If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it? Cash the Eagle said he would spend some of the money on his friends and family, but he would talk to his credit union financial adviser to set up a structured savings plan for the rest of the money.

CUs food drives take on new meaning after Sandy

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Click to view larger image Staff at Andrews Federal's Mt. Laurel, N.J., branch prepared more than 30 food bags to support the Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort. (Photo  provided by Andrews FCU)
MADISON, Wis.  (11/21/12)--Some credit unions' annual Thanksgiving food drives this year have taken on an extra dimension--besides providing a Thanksgiving dinner for the needy--because of people suffering losses in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Other credit unions continued to make sure that the needy in their local areas will be fed on Thanksgiving and during the holidays. 

Some examples are:

  • Andrews FCU in Suitland, Md., held a food drive at each of its branches and headquarters to assist with the physical needs of Hurricane Sandy victims. In addition to collecting food items, donations included blankets, clothing, juice, water and grocery gift cards. The $897.3 million asset credit union also provided extra help to its members who were impacted by the devastation caused by Sandy. Members with an Andrews FCU home loan who experienced property damage could call the credit union to explore financial options to assist with the extenuating circumstances created by the storm. "We know that natural disasters can leave families in an uncomfortable place," said Jim Hayes, Andrews interim CEO. "Superstorm Sandy certainly left an enormous impact on our communities, which is why Andrews Federal readily assisted the physical and financial needs of those affected by the storm."
  • Click to view larger image Helping to distribute food and food vouchers to more than 1,000 California families during Kinecta FCU's  39th Annual Holiday Food Drive are, from left: Nix Financial Branch Manager Dana Collins; Carson City Councilman Mike Gipson; California State Senator Curren D. Price Jr.; "Sweet" Alice Harris, executive director, Parents of Watts; and Kinecta CEO Keith Sultemeier.  (Photo provided by Kinecta FCU)
    More than 1,000 local California families identified by community-based organizations as in need during the holiday season received bags of traditional Thanksgiving food items, along with a $75 gift certificate, through  Kinecta FCU's 39th annual Holiday Food Drive. In the annual event, employees of the $3.14 billion asset, Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based Kinecta FCU and its subsidiary Nix Financial collaborate with more than 35 non-profit organizations and churches in the county to provide temporary relief to deserving families. More than $53,000 was raised through member, employee and customer donations at Kinecta and Nix locations, and at corporate sponsors, including NuVision FCU in Huntington Beach, Calif.
  • As part of the ongoing MADTAG campaign, the Credit Unions of South Carolina donated 150 turkeys to the Miracle Hill Rescue Mission for their annual turkey fry in Greenville, S.C. Volunteers gathered at the mission Tuesday to fry, roast and smoke more than 300 turkeys that will feed the homeless at several Miracle Hill shelters in South Carolina. Dozens of additional turkeys will be distributed to local shelters and organizationsto use for their Thanksgiving dinners. "This donation is a true blessing" said a representative with Miracle Hill. "We started with only 40 turkeys this year, but thanks to the generosity of the credit unions so many more hungry men, women and children will have a hot meal this Thanksgiving." It's estimated that more than 2,000 people will be fed through the Miracle Hill turkey fry this year. Local radio celebrities joined dozens of volunteers Tuesday morning to assist with the turkey fry.
  • After spending an afternoon packaging 4,050 pounds of potatoes, many
    Employees from the Michigan Credit Union League pack potatoes in five-pound bags for distribution by Forgotten Harvest, a nonprofit company that provides food access to those in need in Michigan. (Photo provided by the Michigan Credit Union League)  
    employees from the Michigan Credit Union League were not interested in dining on French fries or mashed potatoes, but they were glad to have helped Forgotten Harvest process the spuds to help feed the poor and hungry people who count on Forgotten Harvest, a nonprofit company that provides food across the area (Michigan Monitor Nov. 12). The group was the second from the league to work at Forgotten Harvest's Southfield warehouse. Another group of employees from the league, CUcorp and CU Solutions Group worked an afternoon two weeks earlier and packed more than 2,500 pounds of beef jerky, tomatoes and yogurt chips. The organization "rescues" tons of food--most of which would otherwise be thrown away--from organizations such as restaurants, grocery stories and food processors. It then distributes the food to the needy. Forgotten Harvest counts on volunteer groups to package the food.
  • Credit Union Link sponsored the 2012 WDVD/WDRQ Canned Film Festival to benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan (Michigan Monitor Nov. 19). Through the program, people who brought five or more canned food items to a participating MJR Theatre on Nov. 14 received free admission to the movie of their choice. The sponsorship, part of additional fall advertising opportunities funded by CUcorp, allowed CU Link to be part of a community project and included announcements in radio spots, two e-newsletters for listeners and press releases about the event. The CU Link logo was also used on posters and radio station websites.

Texas CU exec helps hurricane victims

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (11/21/12)--Mark Massey, president/CEO of My CU, Fort Worth, Texas, is among the volunteers assisting victims of Hurricane Sandy in the North East.

Click to view larger image Mark Massey, president/CEO of My CU, Fort Worth, Texas arrived in Long Island, N.Y., Nov. 12, as part of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Massey arrived in Long Island, N.Y., Nov. 12, as part of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, a group he works with as a chaplain, the Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) said (LoneStar Leaguer Nov. 19.) Among Massey's duties is assessing damage to the homes of Hurricane Sandy victims.

Most homes on south Long Island were flooded with five to six feet of water. Volunteer Southern Baptists are helping tear away debris, wet sheetrock, insulation and furniture to prepare for contractors to make repairs, said the league.

"There is still much more work to be done," Massey told the league. "There is a back log of victims to help who have not been able to stay in their homes due to the mold smell. We could definitely use more volunteers."

With the support of his credit union board of directors, Massey is using two weeks of vacation to serve in Long Island. After long days of volunteer work, Massey returns in the evening to an area church, where he sleeps on a cot.

Click to view larger image Volunteer Southern Baptists are on in Long Island to help tear Hurricane Victims tear away debris, wet sheetrock, insulation and furniture to prepare for contractors to do repairs. (Photos provided by Texas Credit Union League)
Massey visited Bethpage (N.Y.) FCU on Friday. The $5 billion credit union was just out of flood range, and held a food-and-clothing drive the day Massey visited.

Massey has volunteered in many different capacities, in the credit union movement, and in his church and community. He served on Credit Union Resources' board of directors, and is an advisory board member to the Fort Worth Chapter.  He also serves on TCUL's International Relationships Committee, and on the State Affairs Working Group of TCUL's Governmental Affairs Committee.

He is a chaplain for the Euless, Texas, police department, and is starting a chaplain program for another police department and a local mission network. At his church, Massey leads a financial class, helps with church safety, and is a deacon.

CU System briefs (11/20/2012)

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  • HOUSTON (11/21/12)--News Now recently reported that fraud rings are becoming family affairs (Nov. 15). That must go for robberies, too.  Three suspects--a father, adult son and adult daughter--are in jail on charges related to a pair of robberies in Houston, including a credit union, and possibly five robberies in the Portland, Ore., area where they used to live (CNN Wire Nov. 18). They are: Ronald Scott Catt, 50; his son Hayden Scott Catt, 20; and his daughter Abigail "Abby" Catt, 18. The father and son are charged with disguising themselves in fake mustaches, painter's masks, sunglasses, hats and orange traffic vests with an "X" on the back and robbing Katy, Texas-based First Community CU on Oct. 1. Surveillance videos showed two men pointing guns inside the credit union and emptying money from the vault. Abby Catt was charged with being the getaway car driver. Authorities traced them through purchases of painter outfits, masks and the vests from two area Home Depots …
  • GAINESVILLE, Fla. (11/21/12)--Louise Hinton, former CEO of the former Campus FCU in Gainesville, Fla., died Nov. 6 after major surgery. She was 87. Hinton started out as an accountant at the credit union and worked her way up to CEO, a position she held until she retired in 1990. Hinton was known as a pioneer for women in the world of business, said a feature about her life in The Gainesville Sun (Nov. 19).  Former credit union board member Winton "Skip" Williams told the publication Hinton was a generous woman who was passionate about the credit union. "Louise saw it as friends helping other friends," he said. "It was the mutual part of the credit union that appealed to her." …
  • ALBANY, N.Y. (11/21/12)--Nino Montani, former New York Credit Union Hall of Fame member and lifelong credit union leader, died Saturday at the age of 90. He was a devoted credit union advocate since 1952, when he helped initiate the process that led to the establishment of Hooker Employees FCU (now Niagara's Choice FCU), Niagara Falls, N.Y. He served for 25 years as the credit union's treasurer, as well as volunteer secretary, vice president and president of the board. Montani was president of the Niagara Chapter and a board member of the Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002. "Nino dedicated a great measure of his life to the betterment of credit unions, and he made a lasting impact on our statewide movement," said William J. Mellin, president/CEO of CUANY. Earlier this year, Montani retired as board member and was unanimously elected to the newly created position of director emeritus. He is survived by his wife Mary, three children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren …

AACUL presents Thompson with Eagle Award

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WASHINGTON (11/21/12 ) --
Brett Thompson, right, president/CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League and former American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) chairman, was presented AACUL's highest honor--the Eagle Award--last week at AACUL's Annual Meeting by Bill Mellin, left, AACUL chairman and president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of New York. (Photo provided by the American Association of Credit Union Leagues
The American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) has bestowed its highest honor--the Eagle Award--on Brett Thompson, president/CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League and former AACUL chairman.

The presentation was made during the AACUL 2012 Annual Meeting  held  Thursday-Saturday.

Also at the meeting, the association re-elected its executive board for 2013.

The Eagle Award has been presented only 18 times in the award's 32-year history. It is bestowed on a league president who:

  • Has an outstanding record of achievement at the league level;
  • Is willing to speak out and take a stand on critical, controversial issues;
  • Demonstrates leadership beyond the league level;
  • Is innovative in creating or implementing new ideas; and
  • Maintains an unremitting dedication to credit union and personal principles, and an unflagging focus on important issues.
Mike Mercer, president/CEO of the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates and chairman of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Board, serves as chair of the Eagle Committee. In presenting the award, Mercer cited Thompson's outstanding advocacy work in the Wisconsin state capitol of Madison, and before Congress. He cited specific undertakings, including:

  • The Wisconsin league's "1 with The League" on-going public relations and advocacy campaign that has trained more than 1,100 credit union activists;
  • Creation of Wisconsin Credit Union House; and
  • Thompson as one of the top personal contributors to CULAC.
"Under Brett's leadership, the Wisconsin league has had far-reaching efforts to engage youth in credit unions," said Bill Mellin, chairman of AACUL and president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of New York. "Wisconsin credit unions now supervise 100 in-school, student-run branches with $3 million on deposit; has provided resources to help 405 teachers at 350 high schools achieve state teaching standards for personal finance; and the creation of an innovative personal finance game, Money Mission, which is being used by young people in 48 states to learn basic money management.

"I cannot think of better person to receive this high honor from our association," Mellin added.

Thompson's work beyond Wisconsin includes several leadership positions with AACUL, CUNA, and the Minnesota & Wisconsin Cooperatives.

"Brett has shaped many of AACUL's initiatives over the past 10-plus years.  I can't think of anyone more deserving of this recognition," noted Susan E. Newton, AACUL executive director.

Also during the three-day meeting, AACUL re-elected Mellin to another term as AACUL chairman.  Other members of the Executive Board elected include:

  • First vice chairman Wendell Lyons, CEO, Kentucky Credit Union League;
  • Second vice chairmanTracie Kenyon, CEO, Montana Credit Union Network;
  • Treasurer John Radebaugh, CEO, North Carolina Credit Union League;
  • Secretary Mark Cummins, CEO, Minnesota Credit Union Network;
  • Immediate past chair Thompson; and
  • Newton.

CUNA closed Thursday-Friday no INews NowI (11/20/2012)

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WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (11/21/12)--The Washington D.C. and Madison, Wis., offices of the Credit Union National Association will be closed Thursday and Friday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

News Now will not publish a Thursday or Friday edition but will resume regular publication on Monday.

NEW Thompson presented AACUL Eagle Award exec board re-elected

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WASHINGTON (Filed at 10:30 a.m. ET 11/20/12)--
Brett Thompson, right, president/CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League and former American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) chairman, was presented AACUL's highest honor--the Eagle Award--last week at AACUL's Annual Meeting by Bill Mellin, left, AACUL chairman and president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of New York. (Photo provided by the American Association of  Credit Union Leagues)
The American  Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) bestowed its highest honor--the Eagle Award--on Brett Thompson, president/CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League and former AACUL chairman, during the AACUL 2012 Annual Meeting held Thursday-Saturday.

Also at the meeting, the association re-elected its executive board for 2013.

The Eagle Award has been presented only 18 times in the award's 32-year history. It is bestowed on a league president who:

  • Has an outstanding record of achievement at the league level;
  • Is willing to speak out and take a stand on critical, controversial issues;
  • Demonstrates leadership beyond the league level;
  • Is innovative in creating or implementing new ideas; and
  • Maintains an unremitting dedication to credit union and personal principles, and an unflagging focus on important issues.
Mike Mercer, president/CEO of the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates and chairman of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Board, serves as chair of the Eagle Committee. In presenting the award, Mercer cited Thompson's outstanding advocacy work in the Wisconsin state Capitol of Madison, and before Congress. He cited specific undertakings, including:

  • The Wisconsin league's "1 with The League" on-going public relations and advocacy campaign that has trained more than 1,100 credit union activists;
  • Creation of Wisconsin Credit Union House; and
  • Thompson as one of the top personal contributors to CULAC.
"Under Brett's leadership, the Wisconsin league has had far-reaching efforts to engage youth in credit unions," said Bill Mellin, chairman of AACUL and president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of New York. "Wisconsin credit unions now supervise 100 in-school, student-run branches with $3 million on deposit; has provided resources to help 405 teachers at 350 high schools achieve state teaching standards for personal finance; and the creation of an innovative personal finance game, Money Mission, which is being used by young people in 48 states to learn basic money management.

"I cannot think of better person to receive this high honor from our association," Mellin added.

Thompson's work beyond Wisconsin includes several leadership positions with AACUL, CUNA, and the Minnesota & Wisconsin Cooperatives.

"Brett has shaped many of AACUL's initiatives over the past 10-plus years.  I can't think of anyone more deserving of this recognition," noted Susan E. Newton, AACUL executive director.

Also during the three-day meeting, AACUL re-elected Mellin to another term as AACUL chairman.  Other members of the Executive Board elected include:

  • First vice chairman Wendell Lyons, CEO, Kentucky Credit Union League;
  • Second vice chairman Tracie Kenyon, CEO, Montana Credit Union Network;
  • Treasurer John Radebaugh, CEO, North Carolina Credit Union League;
  • Secretary Mark Cummins, CEO, Minnesota Credit Union Network;
  • Immediate past chair Thompson; and
  • Newton.