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Eight members accounts cleaned out in scam

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SANFORD, Fla. (11/26/08)--The checking accounts of at least eight members of a credit union in Florida were cleaned out by what is believed to be skimmers who cloned their credit cards. Seminole Schools FCU, a $37.9 million asset credit union in Sanford, said that every dime the members lost will be restored to their accounts ( Nov. 24). Sanford police were going through account data Monday, trying to find a common purchase point. They suspect an organized skimming operation is operating in Central Florida and skimmed the account information from devices where victims swiped their cards. Card losses due to skimming total more than $1 billion a year, and the crimes have been reported all over the world. The article cautioned that consumers should check their account balances for even the smallest expenditures. Skimmer thieves typically withdraw a small amount first to "test" whether the account is good.

CUs mark 100th anniversary of nations first CU

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MADISON, Wis. (11/26/08)--Credit unions in North Carolina and in Florida were among those marking the 100th year anniversary Monday of St. Mary's Bank, Manchester, N.H., the first credit union in the nation.
Click to view larger image Nationally syndicated radio host and credit union supporter Clark Howard, third from left, made a surprise visit Monday to Coastal FCU, Raleigh, N.C., to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the credit union movement and the nation's oldest credit union, St. Mary's Bank. Howard is shown with Coastal FCU CEO Larry Wilson (center) and the credit union's senior management team. (Photo provided by Coastal FCU)
Coastal FCU, a $2.019 billion asset credit union in Raleigh, N.C., decorated its headquarters and made refreshments available to all its branches. While the festivities were intended for members, the credit union's celebration attracted one big name to help celebrate, said Joe Mecca, Coastal's director of community and corporate relations. Nationally syndicated radio host Clark Howard was in Raleigh Monday, and took time out of his schedule to make a surprise visit to Coastal, Mecca said. Howard, he added, is a "vocal supporter of credit unions." Howard made a brief appearance at the credit union's St. Albans Drive building, pausing for a few handshakes and photos before helping to cut the cake served to members and employees throughout the day. Power Financial CU in Pembroke Pines, Fla., reported that it is taking part in the year-long, industrywide celebration in honor of the first credit union's centennial. "While Power Financial CU may only be celebrating its 56-year-anniversary, we pride ourselves in playing an invaluable role in the growth of the credit union movement here in South Florida by providing outstanding customer service, lower loan rates, higher dividend rates and fewer fees than our big bank neighbors," said Allan M. Prindle, president/CEO. To celebrate the centennial, the $480 million asset credit union will educate the local community on the benefits of credit union membership through various marketing communication programs. "In addition, we are offering complimentary financial checkups for members as well as non-members to assist them with their financial goals and evaluate their current plants to determine if any adjustments are recommended to weather any adverse or changing conditions," he said. "At this time of the year when traditions play such an important part of our holiday celebrations, we want to remind the community that credit unions are also built on a tradition"--of people helping people, Prindle said. St. Mary's Bank CU was organized in November 1908.

Michigan summits discuss foreclosure process

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PLYMOUTH, Mich. (11/26/08)--The Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) conducted the first of two Economic Summits with credit unions
Greg Wischmeyer, vice president of lending for Frankenmuth (Mich.) CU, speaks during the Michigan Credit Union League’s Economic Summit.
leaders Nov. 19 at Michigan Credit Union Center. The foreclosure process dominated the discussion. Ideas discussed to make the process more practical for lenders included shortening redemption periods, allowing the lender to obtain titles more quickly for abandoned homes, and adding penalties to help mitigate damage to property during the foreclosure process (Michigan Monitor Nov. 24). George Hofheimer of the Filene Research Institute was present to hear credit union discussion on the issues. The Michigan Credit Union Foundation commissioned the institute to generate a report on the housing crisis in Michigan. The report is expected to be complete in January.
Michigan Credit Union League President/CEO David Adams reviews pressing economic issues with credit union leaders. (Photos provided by the Michigan Credit Union League)
Issues were divided into 10 categories that ran from preserving the credit union tax exemption, capital reform and reducing regulation, to ideas related to student lending, savings incentives, expanded credit union investment authority and key accounting issues. MCUL President/CEO David Adams addressed the group and invited dialogue regarding issues facing credit unions and the economy in general. The topics will be reviewed with a broader credit union audience during the second part of the Economic Summit, to be conducted by webinar Dec 17.

Georgia CUs raise 825000 in CMN radiothon

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DULUTH, Ga. (11/26/08)--Staff from six Georgia credit unions and Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) stepped up to help at the Sixth Annual Children’s Miracle Network “Star 94 Cares For Kids Radiothon,” Nov. 13 -15.
From left, Kodisha Taylor, marketing account executive, Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA); Shunielle Monroe, GCUA credit card account specialist; and Judy Kinney, LGE Community CU, Atlanta, helped at the Sixth Annual Children’s Miracle Network “Star 94 Cares For Kids Radiothon,” Nov. 13-15. (Photo provided by Georgia Credit Union Affiliates)
LGE Community CU, Marietta; CDC CU, Atlanta; Georgia FCU, Duluth; Retail ECU, Atlanta; Pinnacle CU, Atlanta; and Delta Community CU, Atlanta, all participated. The radiothon raised more than $825,000, with 100% of the donations going to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Stories about the lives of children and their families were broadcast live from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, giving listeners an idea of the impact their donations would have. Many of the credit union volunteers were inspired by this event and are looking forward to the next radiothon, GCUA said. Celebrity R&B singer Ne-Yo participated in the event and stopped by the radiothon to encourage volunteers. Donations for the past six years total $6.6 million.

CUNA closed for holiday no INews NowI

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WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (11/26/08)--The Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wis., offices of the Credit Union National Association will be closed for the holiday on Thursday and Friday. News Now will not publish on those days and will resume regular publication on Monday.

CU System briefs (11/25/2008)

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* FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (11/26/08)--A man was seriously hurt after he plunged down a 40-to-50-foot ravine with a stolen Bobcat skid loader and a 3,000-pound ATM stolen from Frontier Community CU in Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Police responded to an alarm at the credit union at 2 a.m. Sunday and found the outdoor ATM had been removed. A trail of debris and tracks led them to the ravine behind the credit union. At the bottom were the skid loader, the ATM, and the 49-year-old suspect trapped inside the Bobcat cage. He was transported to a local hospital then airlifted to a hospital in Kansas City, Kan. His injuries were not life-threatening. The credit union removed the money from the ATM until it could be recovered. Damage estimates were not available (Leavenworth Times Nov. 25 and Kansas City Star Nov. 24) … * TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (11/26/08)--A second suspect was sentenced to a 20-year prison term Monday for the Feb. 21 armed robbery of Score CU, Tallahassee. Jarrod Chavers received the same sentence as another suspect, Dontae Howard, who was sentenced in October. Howard allegedly took control of the credit union lobby at gunpoint and forced the manager to crawl out of her office and lie face down on the ground while Chavers robbed two tellers at gunpoint (Tallahassee Democrat Nov. 25) … * SAN ANTONIO (11/26/08)--Security Service FCU has donated a Ford
Click to view larger image Click for larger view
F150 truck to the American Red Cross San Antonio Area Chapter. The $4.652 billion asset credit union is located in San Antonio. The chapter is responsible for providing disaster assistance in 23 counties in South Central Texas. This includes responding to floods, tornadoes and, on a daily basis, fires. The credit union wanted a durable, reliable vehicle to reach those needing assistance. Pictured are Michael L. Bennett, CEO of the American Red Cross San Antonio Area Chapter, and Steven J. Schott, vice president, finance and accounting, Security Service FCU. (Photo provided by Security Service FCU)… * FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (11/26/08)--Larry Strong, CEO of Velocity CU (formerly Austin Municipal CU) in Austin, Texas, died Sunday unexpectedly. Strong served the $425 million asset credit union for more than 30 years, assuming the role of president/CEO in 1988. In January, he stepped down as president but maintained an active role as CEO of the 60-year-old credit union. Services will be held today at 10 a.m. at the Harrell Funeral Home in Austin. He is survived by his wife Vicki Puryear-Strong, two daughters, and three grandsons (LoneStar Leaguer Nov. 25) … * MADISON, Wis. (11/26/08)--Eleanor Rosenberger Jacobs, former assistant managing director of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), died Monday in Madison, Wis., two days before her 96th birthday. In 1966, she joined the Latin American Regional Office of CUNA in Panama. In 1972, she returned to Madison as special assistant in charge of public relations and advertising. Later that year, she was promoted to assistant managing director--the first woman to serve on the seven-person executive team. She received numerous awards for her work and retired from CUNA in 1976. Jacobs continued her association with CUNA by serving on the board of the national Association of Retired Credit Union People and the Herb Wegner Memorial Fund. She is survived by one daughter, three step-grandchildren and four step great-grandchildren …

First CU transaction recreated at 100th celebration

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MANCHESTER, N.H. (11/26/08)--St. Mary’s Bank, America’s first credit union, celebrated its 100th anniversary Monday with a re-enactment of the nation’s first credit union transaction. “It was spectacular,” said Elizabeth Stodolski, St. Mary’s Bank vice president of marketing. “The actors were wonderful.”
Click to view larger image St. Mary’s Bank held a re-enactment of the first transaction at its credit union as a part of its 100th anniversary celebration Monday. From left are actors portraying millworkers--the credit union’s first member--and one of the credit union’s founders, attorney Joseph Boivon. (Photo provided by St. Mary’s Bank)
The transaction took place at the original location of St. Mary’s Bank, which is now America’s Credit Union Museum. Professional actors wearing costumes reflecting the early 1900s played the roles of the credit union’s founders, Monsignor Pierre Hevey, Alphonse Desjardins, and Joseph Boivon, and millworkers, who were the credit union’s first members. The re-enactment was videotaped through a partnership with Credit Union Journal. CO-OP Financial Services also supported the videotaping. The videotaping took about four hours. “We took a more ambitious approach,” Stodolski said. “We shot multiple scenes in the interior and exterior of the museum. The nature of the re-enactment was not conducive to a live audience, but neighbors and community members walked by the filming and watched, she said. St. Mary’s Bank President/CEO Ron Rioux, who was instrumental in getting America’s Credit Union Museum off the ground, also was in costume. The video is being edited, and will be available on the St. Mary’s Bank website, After the re-enactment, a reception was held at the museum. About 100 individuals attended, including Dan Eagan, president/CEO of the New Hampshire Credit Union League, Rioux, and two guests from Canada--France Dionne Quebec, delegate to Boston, and Esther Normand of the Alphonse Desjardins Historical Association. The credit union also continues to collect ideas and online votes for items that will be placed in a St. Mary’s Bank time capsule, which will be buried as a part of the 100th anniversary celebrations.

SECU hosts Chinese banking delegation

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RALEIGH, N.C. (11/26/08)--A Chinese banking delegation from Shijizahuang City Commercial Bank met with State Employees CU (SECU) in Raleigh, N.C., Nov. 19. The delegation learned about credit unions and how not-for-profit cooperatives in the U.S. operate. The delegation comprised 10 department and branch managers, and an executive leader. Delegates toured a SECU branch and saw technology demonstrations. They also met with SECU Senior Executive Vice President Bobby Hall and board chairman Shirley Bell.
A Chinese banking delegation from Shijizahuang City Commercial Bank met with State Employees CU (SECU) in Raleigh, N.C., Nov. 19. At center is Bobby Hall, SECU executive senior vice president. The delegation was hosted by a global training initiative at North Carolina State University. (Photo provided by State Employees CU)
The visit was “an opportunity to share the credit union message with an international audience,” Bell said. “Our bank shares very similar goals with SECU,” added Junlong Sheng, Commercial Bank board chairman. “We are very impressed with the management and state-of-the-art technologies that are used in SECU and its network. What we need to learn from SECU is how to improve the quality of our loans, especially personal loans, through risk management, services, innovative technologies and more personal management style.” The delegation was hosted by North Carolina State University’s Global Training Initiative. SECU has $16.4 billion in assets.