Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive

CU System Archive

CU System

Heartland VeriFone suits may impact CUs

 Permanent link
SAN JOSE, Calif. (11/10/09)--Heartland Payment Systems and VeriFone Holdings are in a legal spat over their merchant processing terminals, with merchants are caught in the middle. Any problems with transactions at the merchant level could seep into the payments transactions from the merchants to financial institutions, including credit unions. Both the Princeton, N.J.-based Heartland Payment Systems and San Jose, Calif.-based VeriFone have filed lawsuits against each other in recent weeks. VeriFone claims that a design for processing terminals in Heartland's new end-to-end encryption system infringes on one of its patents. In turn, Heartland's suit says VeriFone is using unfair trade practices to keep its business (ISO&Agent Weekly Nov. 5). The two companies have worked together for years. But in January, Heartland announced a large data breach that compromised millions of cardholders accounts. The breach and its continuing impact on Heartland's finances have prompted a drive toward tougher encryption of its payments processing system. As a result, Heartland decided to use its own end-to-end encryption platform. VeriFone said it told Heartland that it will terminate its "support relationships" affecting joint customers on Dec. 31. Roughly 75% of Heartland's customers in the retail, restaurant and petroleum markets rely on VeriFone systems, said VeriFone (Finextra.com Nov. 3). But on Nov. 3, VeriFone offered to provide "alternative support" for its Heartland merchant clients. To use the VeriFone support service in 2010, Heartland merchants must register by Dec. 15 with VeriFone. If the two companies can't solve their differences to ensure a smooth transition for merchants, problems could arise during transactions and in the payments system. Heartland last week reported a $13.6 million third-quarter loss, compared with net income of $13.4 million for the same quarter in 2008 (Reuters Nov. 3).

Washington announces states 75000th CU member

 Permanent link
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (11/10/09)--A Seattle woman who became the 75,000 new credit union member in Washington state this year was awarded more than $2,300 in prizes when she joined Seattle Metropolitan CU. Kristin Henkus, who joined the credit union July 24 at its Northgate branch, was the honoree in conjunction with the Washington Credit Union League's 75th anniversary. Prizes included items representing more than 30 donating credit unions' original charter or location. For example, it included an antique telephone from a former telephone company employee credit union, a model train set from a former railway employee credit union, and bottles of Washington wine. One credit union gave a $100 gift certificate to a popular online shoe store because that it started in a shoebox. Henkus said that being a credit union member is a much more pleasant experience that being the customer of a big bank. Using the credit union "is really convenient because you can use everyone's ATMs; you don't get charged," she said. "It's a nicer community feeling." During a taped address on Nov. 3, league President/CEO John Annaloro said that the landmark 75,000th member could only have been achieved with the cooperation and good work of many credit unions. "Like many new credit union members this year, Kristin Henkus was dissatisfied with the new management of her bank," said Annaloro. "I'm sure this is only the beginning of a long relationship." Henkus, a small business owner, was pushed away from her bank after being charged hundreds of dollars in fees, said Seattle Metropolitan CU President/CEO Bob Harvey. "She, like many other Washingtonians, said 'enough is enough.'" he said, adding, "She decided she needed to make a move, and her move was to a credit union." Henkus was one of 15 new members to join Seattle Metropolitan on July 24. She was chosen randomly from among them, just as Seattle Metropolitan was randomly chosen from among the 30 participating credit unions. Washington credit unions, like those in other states, have experienced record new membership growth the past 12 months as Americans migrate to more stable financial institutions, the league said. As a result, some have increased earlier estimates of Washington credit unions' growth for 2009. New estimates range between 95,000 and 120,000 new members for the year. For more information, use the links to a YouTube video of Annaloro's taped message and footage of Henkus, and to prize information.

Southeast CUs prepared for Ida

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (11/10/09)--As Atlantic hurricane season comes to a close Nov. 30, credit unions in the Southeastern U.S. prepared for Tropical Storm Ida, which was supposed to affect parts of the Gulf Coast early this morning. Ida was downgraded Monday to a tropical storm from a hurricane. Affected states include Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The League of Southeastern Credit Unions sent communications in Alabama and Florida to its credit unions about the storm, Amy Jowers, vice president of communications, told News Now. Florida was experiencing a “lot of rain and wind.” Gov. Charlie Crist has issued an executive notice saying that financial institutions could close because of the storm, Jowers said. Gulf Winds CU, Pensacola, Fla., said it would close its branches and contact center at 3 p.m. ET Monday. The credit union also is prepared to be closed today. If the storm dissipates, the branches and contact center may re-open, the credit union said (NorthEscambia.com Nov. 9). The credit union plans to post updates on its website, gogulfwinds.com. It reminded members that even though the branches are closed, they can still use ATMs and conduct transactions through online and phone banking, the newspaper said. The Mississippi Credit Union Association has talked with several credit unions about preparations for Ida. Several credit union branches in the Mobile, Ala., area will close, because the storm will likely hit in the northern and northeastern quadrant of Mississippi near Alabama, Charles Elliott, association president/CEO, told News Now. “We’re not expecting a whole lot,” Elliott said. “Everyone has disaster plans in place, and some credit unions are planning to close their branches tomorrow morning. Some schools are closing--which may affect employees at credit unions.” The association is located about 170 miles north of the Gulf Coast in Jackson. As of press time, Elliott said the weather was okay. “There may be wind and rain later in the week,” he said. Communication is the most essential part of Louisiana credit unions’ disaster plans, according to Lacey Hyer, public relations specialist at the Louisiana Credit Union League. Hyer told News Now that the league has been in contact with credit unions about the storm and would continue to monitor the situation.

CU donates 10000 to Vermont clinics for uninsured

 Permanent link
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (11/10/09)--The Vermont State Employees CU (VSECU) recently donated $10,000 to the Vermont Coalition of Clinics for the Uninsured to give more Vermonters access to quality health care. As Vermont families struggle to make ends meet, health care often is neglected due to inadequate or no health insurance, so Vermont credit unions decided to do something to help, said the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (NewsLines Express Nov. 6). “The coalition of clinics is a vital resource in Vermont’s health care system by providing medical and dental services to over 5,000 Vermonters who cannot afford adequate health insurance,” said Judy Rosenstreich, member of VSECU’s board of directors and chair of its Charitable Contributions Committee. The coalition is an association of 10 free clinic programs and two dental programs, which provides free care and assistance to Vermonters without adequate medical and dental insurance. The clinics are located throughout the state and are supported by volunteers, community hospitals, local fund-raising and an annual grant from the state of Vermont. “In the first quarter of this fiscal year we have experienced a 34% increase in the number of patients we served over this same period three years ago,” said Lynn Raymond-Empey, the coalition’s executive director. “Unfortunately, our main funding sources have not increased since that time,” she added. “The donations of organizations like the VSECU, have allowed us to continue assisting uninsured/underinsured Vermonters with accessing health care when they are in need, and helping them enroll in the Green Mountain Care programs, become insured and find a permanent primary care home.” The announcement was made as President Barack Obama commended the U.S. House of Representatives for passing a sweeping health care reform bill late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. The bill now awaits consideration in the U.S. Senate.

Survey CUs offer SERPs to keep executive talent

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (11/10/09)--Many credit unions assist senior executives in planning for the future by offering supplemental executive retirement plans (SERPs), according to the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) recently released 2010 Senior Executive Total Compensation Survey. About 30% to 50% of credit unions offer SERPs to top executives. The SERPs allow the executive and the credit union to make contributions, while these contributions--and earnings--remain untaxed until the funds are drawn on at retirement. Among credit unions with $100 million in assets or more, 51% of credit unions offer SERPs to the executive vice president, nearly 40% offer them to chief financial officers and chief operation officers, and almost 30% offer them to chief information officers. The likelihood of providing SERPs increases with credit union asset size. “Due in part to dramatic declines in U.S. retirement funds, Social Security benefits and qualified retirement plans fall significantly short of meeting the retirement income needs of highly compensated executives,” said Beth Soltis, senior research analyst for CUNA. “This increases the importance of offering SERPs to credit union senior executives. SERPs cannot only bridge the gap between current retirement funds and executive income needs, but also can be the difference between retaining highly qualified executives and losing them to another organization,” Soltis added. The survey provides nationwide compensation data for the top four credit union senior executive positions--executive vice president, chief financial officer, chief operation officer, and chief information officer--for credit unions $100 million plus in assets. Results are categorized by asset size, region, and other points of comparison to help a credit union attract or retain top executive talent. The report--available in print or PDF format--also provides the monetary value of the total compensation package to help measure the bottom-line value of senior executive compensation packages compared with other credit unions. For more information, use the link.

Texas CU entities establish Fort Hood tragedy fund

 Permanent link
KILLEEN, Texas (11/10/09)--Texas Partners FCU of Killeen, Texas, as well as the Texas Credit Union League, Credit Union Resources, Inc. and the Texas Credit Union Foundation, have established an account for donations to support the needs of affected personnel at the Fort Hood, Texas, military base and the community after last week’s tragedy. On Thursday, 13 military personnel were killed and 30 other individuals were wounded on the post when Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan, an army psychiatrist, upset about being deployed to Iraq, opened fire Thursday on a crowd of soldiers at the base (USA Today Nov. 6). The league, and its resources and foundation will open the “Fort Hood Support” account with a $2,000 donation (LoneStar Leaguer) Nov. 6. Credit unions and members wishing to donate can send their donations to: Texas Partners Federal CU

Attn: Fort Hood Support

1011 Wales Drive

Killeen, TX 76549

Childrens Miracle Network ad in IUSA TodayI

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (11/10/09)--An ad for The Children’s Miracle Network Classic Professional Golf Association tour event, Nov. 12-15, appeared in the Money section of Monday’s USA Today. It includes the Credit Unions for Kids logo in the sponsorship portion in the bottom of the ad. Credit Unions for Kids contributed more than $9.3 million to children’s hospitals in 2008, making it the third-largest fundraising sponsor for the charity. Children’s Miracle Network is a nonprofit organization that raises funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals. To see the ad, view the ad link.

Bank in dropped CU merger withdraws fed app

 Permanent link
AUGUSTA, Maine (11/10/09)--Kennebec Savings Bank, which was unsuccessful in a merger attempt earlier this year with Augusta-Maine based Kennebec Valley FCU (KV FCU), has dropped its bid for a federal charter, according to local news reports. The state-chartered bank, also based in Augusta, said it withdrew its application with the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), according to the office's website (Kennebec Journal Nov. 9). One reason the bank had applied for a federal charter. KV FCU was trying to get a charter as a federal savings bank and a merger would have been easier if both institutions had the same type of charter. However, the bank's CEO noted that the reason it withdrew its federal charter application was not because of the merger's failure but because of the uncertainty involving OTS's future in the government overhaul of the U.S. banking system. The merger "was the reason why we didn't withdraw it [the application] sooner," CEO Mark Johnston told the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, adding the bank had to wait until the credit union's membership vote occurred. The credit union members' vote concluded on Sept. 21 after a public debate in the local newspapers about the benefits and drawbacks of merging the credit union into the bank (News Now Oct. 2).

CU System briefs (11/09/2009)

 Permanent link
* LANCASTER, Pa. (11/10/09)--Two Lancaster County, Pa.-based credit unions announced Friday they will merge by Dec. 31 (Lancaster New Era/Intelligencer Journal Nov. 7 and Life is a Highway Nov. 9). The 800 members of $3.1 million asset Millersville (Pa.) FCU voted overwhelmingly to merge with Lancaster-based LANCO FCU, which has $50.5 million in assets. The Millersville office will remain open and operate as a LANCO branch, and Millersville's three employees have been offered jobs with LANCO. Local newspapers said the smaller credit union had struggled with losses for six quarters and was too small to grow. Barry Ashenfelder, LANCO FCU president/CEO, told the publications the merger will bring Millersville members products and services such as certificates of deposit, money market savings accounts, individual retirement accounts, business loans, business checking accounts, 24-hour telephone banking and three ATMs … * DUBUQUE, Iowa (11/10/09)--A 13-year-old who found a pellet gun picked the wrong place to stop and examine it--outside the Cedar Rapids branch of Dubuque, Iowa-based Dupaco Community CU. Someone thought Darian Gossett was going to rob the credit union and called police. Officers stopped Gossett a few blocks away and determined the teen had never entered the credit union and did not use the pellet gun to threaten anyone. One officer called the 12:50 p.m. Friday incident a "brain fade." Gossett will face a misdemeanor charge for carrying the pellet gun and having tobacco in his possession. He was released to his mother's custody. Cedar Rapids in May passed an ordinance making it illegal to carry a loaded pellet gun, air gun or BB gun in public (Cedar Rapids Gazette Nov. 7) … * MISSOULA, Mont (11/10/09)--Peter M. Thompson, 24, of Missoula, Mont., was sentenced Friday in a federal court to more than 11 years in a federal prison for robbing the Missoula FCU Jan. 12. Peter M. Thompson pleaded guilty in July to robbery and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence. Court records indicated he entered the credit union with a rifle, fired a shot and told everyone to get down. As he fled with $11,000, he bid those in the credit union a nice day. A deputy pursued him and Thompson's truck left the road. Thompson allegedly fired a shot, and the deputy returned fire, shooting Thompson in the face (Associated Press Newswires and Great Falls Tribune Nov. 6) …

Education CU Council new tradition Fin lit awards

 Permanent link
SPANISH FORT, Ala. (11/10/09)--The Education Credit Union Council (ECUC) will announce two awards at its 37th annual conference in February that will highlight credit unions’ dedication to the financial well-being of their members. The awards are: the Lifetime Achiever Award, which recognizes a credit union that has a long-term strategy of incorporating financial education into its brand, marketing, internal employee training and credit union sponsored events; and the Foolproof Partnership Award, which recognizes an ECUC credit union that is partnered with Foolproof to provide youth with financial education through a school or community group. “These awards will give credit unions the chance to be recognized by other credit unions who believe in the real mission of any credit union--helping their member-owners,” said Lorraine Zerfas, ECUC executive director. Foolproof is a financial literacy tool for consumers of all ages that is affiliated with the Colorado and Wyoming Credit Union Associations. The awards will be announced during the conference Feb. 13-16 in Orlando, Fla. ECUC provides education and networking opportunities to credit unions who serve educational communities.

Connecticut CUs host fin lit fair at Capitol

 Permanent link
MERIDEN, Conn. (11/10/09)--Thirty-six Connecticut credit unions provided 70 staff and board members who volunteered at a Financial Reality Fair Nov. 4 for seven high schools at the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford. “The Connecticut Financial Reality Fair provides students with an opportunity to understand what it takes financially to live on their own,” said Barbara Bass, Credit Union League of Connecticut vice president of education and human resources development.
Thirty-six Connecticut credit unions recently participated in the Connecticut Financial Reality Fair at the state Capitol in Hartford. Pictured is a volunteer who worked with students at the fair to teach them about money management. (Photo provided by the Credit Union League of Connecticut)
“Schools are encouraged to have students study budgeting, investing, and credit in advance of the fair where it is the student’s job to live within a specific salary while paying bills for the month,” she said. “They are successful when they are able to make cost-effective living choices, pay bills and have funds left over to deposit into savings,” she added. Students, teachers, political representatives and state officials attended the event. Connecticut credit unions have hosted financial reality events as a part of their commitment to address youth financial literacy. Studies indicate that young adults leave school burdened with heavy credit card and student loan debt, yet often are ill-equipped to deal with the realities of budgeting and successful money management, the league said.