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Realtors association creates task force to form CU

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CHICAGO (11/28/07)--The National Association of Realtors (NAR) added a realtor to its 10-member task force in charge of forming a credit union for the organization’s 1.36 million members and their families. Jeff Barnett, vice president and regional manager for Alain Pinel Realtors in California, is a policy advisor in local, state and national real estate associations (RISMEDIA Nov. 26). “Creating a credit union of this scale is a huge, national initiative for the organization,” Barnett said. “Realtors and their families nationwide will benefit by having a credit union of its own.” NAR directors voted Nov. 16 to initially fund the credit union with a $10 million grant, using association money. A supplemental grant of $5 million can be used any time during the next five years if needed, said NAR. Barnett joins Pat V. Combs, NAR past-president; Dale Stinton, NAR CEO; Michael Brodie, NAR past-treasurer; Jim Helfel, NAR treasurer; and Richard Rosenthal, past-president of the California Association of Realtors on NAR’s financial policies subgroup to establish the credit union. Once the credit union is formed, a regulatory board will be established from the task force to direct and manage the credit union.

Who will buy Norlarco Decision expected in December

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (11/28/07)--Three Colorado credit unions have submitted bids to acquire Norlarco CU of Fort Collins, which was placed into conservatorship by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) in May. A decision is expected next month, according to a letter to members on Norlarco’s website. Bellco CU, Greenwood Village; Ent CU, Colorado Springs; and Public Service Employees CU, Denver, have allegedly submitted bids to the NCUA (Coloradoan Nov. 27). Of the three credit unions, Ent Vice President James Moore is the only one who has confirmed his credit union's bid to News Now. The bids likely will be considered at the next closed-session NCUA board meeting in a process used in similar situations in the past. However, John McKechnie, NCUA director of public and congressional affairs, told News Now that he could not confirm the date of the bid decisions or what items would be addressed at any closed NCUA meeting. The next closed board meeting is Dec. 13, according to the NCUA’s website. Colorado state regulators placed Norlarco into conservatorship in May after a number of construction loans it issued in Lee County, Fla., became delinquent. In July, the NCUA took control of the credit union and removed its board of directors (News Now Sept. 20). Norlarco’s delinquent loans total more than $65 million, said the Colorado newspaper. Norlarco CU’s letter to members details the bidding situation and says the credit union expects the bidding process to be completed next month, with consolidation finalized in early 2008. The Norlarco case could be handled similarly to that of Huron River Area CU in Ann Arbor, Mich., which was liquidated by the NCUA Nov. 19. Detroit Edison CU purchased and assumed members’ accounts (News Now Nov. 19). NCUA took over Huron River Area CU in February when it was placed in conservatorship by the Michigan Commissioner of the Office of Financial and Investment Services. Norlarco has $334 million in assets.

ASI FCU working on Web micro-lending pilot

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NEW ORLEANS (11/28/07)--ASI FCU in New Orleans is working to create a Web-based micro-lending pilot program that will assist small businesses trying to reopen and foster growth of start-up businesses. Shannon Cian, community development specialist for ASI FCU, delivered a keynote address on disaster preparedness during the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations’ (NACUSO) third annual Business Services Collaborative Nov. 7-9 in New Orleans. She recounted the impact Hurricane Katrina had on ASI’s membership, employees and the credit union’s viability in the weeks and months following the disaster. “You always want to have a disaster plan in place,” Cian said. Cian detailed ASI’s efforts to help members, including offering “workout loans” for members with severely overdrawn accounts who wanted to re-establish their membership with the credit union and building new branches to serve the Asian-American and Latino communities. ASI also created A Shared Initiative Inc., a foundation dedicated to anti-poverty programs and the rebuilding and redevelopment of the Upper Ninth Ward, where many of its members resided when the hurricane hit.

WOCCU to administer new international disaster relief fund

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MADISON, Wis. (11/28/07)--Four credit unions ravaged by floods last month in the Dominican Republic will receive grants for immediate rebuilding from CUNA Mutual Group’s Global Credit Union Disaster Relief Fund. The new fund is administered by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and was established to provide immediate financial assistance when a disaster strikes international credit unions. The first grant of $5,000 was sent to Asociación de Instituciones Rurales de Ahorro y Crédito (AIRAC), World Council’s member in the Dominican Republic. AIRAC will oversee the grant distribution to affected credit unions. “This grant will help the local credit unions and, through them, their many members, get back on their feet more quickly,” said Javier Tejeda-Vera, vice president of Latin America for CUNA Mutual Group. The region has many farm families who need to replant their crops lost in the floods. AIRAC has 14 credit unions with more than 200,000 credit union members in the Dominican Republic. They recently signed a partnership with the Wisconsin Credit Union League, and AIRAC leaders were visiting Wisconsin earlier this month when they learned of the grant. The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions often carries out special appeals when a disaster strikes in countries with a credit union system. Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation executive director, said this program differs from traditional relief appeals. “The CUNA Mutual Global Credit Union Disaster Relief Fund is a permanent program, ready to allow WOCCU to respond immediately when disaster strikes, without waiting for a fundraising appeal,” Breunig explained. “This is the first of its kind for World Council.” To donate to the Worldwide Foundation for general credit union preparedness, use the resource link for WOCCU and click "Support WOCCU" or call Valerie Breunig at 608-395-2055.

NACUSO meeting focuses on business services collaboration

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NEW ORLEANS (11/28/07)--Credit unions “definitely have room to grow” when it comes to member business lending, said National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (NACUSO) President/CEO Tom Davis, during NACUSO’s third annual Business Services Collaborative Nov. 7-9 in New Orleans. Business loans grew 18.6% for all credit unions from June 2006 to June 2007, with business loans accounting for 4% of outstanding loans. Only 23% of credit unions have at least one business loan outstanding, and only 11.2% have at least 10 outstanding, Davis said. Kent Moon, president/CEO of Member Business Lending LLC in South Jordan, Utah, said member business lending “is the opportunity of the future” for credit unions. “Of the top Small Business Administration (SBA) loans in the nation, the top 100 lenders do over 80% of all SBA loans,” he said. “It’s a credit union market by its very definition. We need to address it and collaborate together now to capture this market.” Moon asked what is holding credit unions back from capturing the SBA lending market. “I honestly believe we can capture over 50% of the market, but we can’t do it by sitting on our laurels and hanging back, scratching our heads.” Credit unions provide a great advantage to business owners by not charging pre-payment penalties, according to Bill Beardsley, president of Michigan Business Connection in Ann Arbor, Mich. Banks do the opposite and hurt borrowers with penalties, he said. Training is also key, said Keith Reed, president/CEO of Cooperative Business Services LLC in Cincinnati, Ohio. “I’m asked what my credit unions are doing to get educated in business lending, so that they understand what they are looking at independently of what the credit union service organization (CUSO) is putting in front of them.” CUSOs have the ability to create a channel market, and because the percentage of credit unions involved is small, “there’s no way to go but up,” said Mike Hales, partner in The Rochdale Group in Laguna Niguel, Calif. About 71 credit union representatives and CUSO members attended the conference, which featured general sessions and roundtable discussions led by industry experts on collaboration and aggregation in member business lending and regulatory issues.

Robbery suspect nabbed after 38-mile chase fiery crash

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BROWNSVILLE, Ohio (11/28/07)--An Ohio man who allegedly robbed a credit union, led police on 38-mile car chase, before he crashed into a tractor trailer and was arrested by authorities. Herman L. Hawkins, 58, was first noticed by police when he pulled into the parking lot of CME CU in Columbus. Hawkins allegedly entered the credit union, gave the teller a note that said he had a gun and then fled with an undetermined amount cash, according to Columbus Police Sgt. Rich Weiner (centralohio.com and mansfieldnewsjournal.com Nov. 27). Police had to use a Taser to subdue Hawkins, Weiner said. Hawkins also is being charged with robbing the same credit union on Nov. 7. After the robbery, Hawkins led police more than 30 miles down Interstate 70, reaching speeds of up to 100 mph, navigating through several roadblocks, before hitting the tractor trailer and rupturing the truck’s fuel tanks in Brownsville. After the collision, another car skidded into the truck. No one was injured. However, the eastbound lanes of the interstate were closed for more than five hours, while crews mopped up 75 to 100 gallons of diesel spilled from the ruptured gas tank (lancastereaglegazette.com Nov. 26).

Hiring Offer career opportunity over salary benefits

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NEW YORK (11/28/07)--Your credit union is recruiting college students for possible employment. Do you offer a good startup salary and benefits to woo them? If so, you might want to concentrate more on providing career opportunities and deal with quality of life issues, according to a new study. Fifty-seven percent of students surveyed said that career opportunities would be their primary consideration when choosing an employer, according to KPMG LLP, an audit, tax and advisory firm (PRNewswire Nov. 27). Another 22% said their primary consideration would be maintaining a work/life balance. Only 12% indicated salary and benefits as their primary consideration. While 53% of students surveyed said they expected to stay in their first job for three to five years, many seemed to have a "wait and see" attitude, with 74% responding "maybe" when asked if changing jobs is necessary for career opportunities. "While there is no doubt that companies need to think of quality of life issues when trying to attract new recruits, 'millenials' want jobs that help them build a career and create opportunities for the future," said Manny Fernandez, managing partner of campus recruiting at KPMG. "After accepting an offer, new recruits look at the career value proposition, and employers must offer a rewarding career path to retain new hires," Fernandez said. Other findings:
* Forty-seven percent of respondents indicated they would like to work abroad for an extended period while 40% would consider it; * Sixty-five percent of respondents expect to be more financially successful than their parents; * Thirty-nine percent said they will consult with their parents somewhat about their first jobs, 17% said they will spend significant time with their parents, and 28% said they "possibly" will consult with them. Only 16% said they would probably accept the job before telling their parents; * Forty-eight percent hope to retire between ages 51 and 60, with 27% indicating they would aim to retire between ages 61 and 70; * Forty-four percent expect to work 50-hour work weeks, on average, while 32% said they expected to work 45 hours per week; and * Sixty-six percent are concerned about social networking opportunities at their full-time employer.
KPMG surveyed 2,409 business students across the country in September and October.