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FHLB offers 1B in disaster relief funding

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HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (11/13/12)--In response to the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (FHLBNY) is making $1 billion in disaster relief funding available to nearly 340 community-based lenders, including credit unions, to help rebuild communities in New Jersey and New York designated by FEMA as disaster areas.

The funds are being made available by the FHLBNY through its Community Lending Programs (CLP) to be used as immediate gap financing, the New Jersey Credit Union League reported Friday.

"Hurricane Sandy brought unprecedented destruction to cities and towns across New Jersey and New York," said Alfred A. DelliBovi, FHLBNY president/CEO. "We now begin the long process of recovering and rebuilding. The $1 billion in funding we are making available will help our members--the local lenders serving these communities--make a long-term, positive impact on recovery, relief and rebuilding efforts."

The $1 billion CLP commitment can be used for any residential lending activity for households whose incomes are at or below 115% of the area median income, and all small business and economic development lending in FEMA-designated disaster areas, and bridge financing. The low-cost loans can be used by the FHLBNY's member-lenders to support critical disaster relief financial activities, and meet the short-, medium-, and long-term funding needs of affected communities in New Jersey and New York.

Last year, the FHLBNY announced a $500 million CLP commitment in response to the massive scope of damage created by Hurricane Irene.  Home Loan Bank members tapped this funding to make small business loans in the wake of that storm.

Other aid efforts for New Jersey credit unions continue. The National Credit Union Administration collected clothing and non-perishable food items from its employees that were delivered to New Jersey Credit Union League offices Friday. The donations will are available for credit union employees, volunteers, members, and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.

VisaMasterCard deal granted preliminary approval

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NEW YORK 11/13/12)--A federal judge on Friday granted preliminary approval of $7.5 billion antitrust settlement among Visa, MasterCard and several big banks, despite the objections of retailers.

The plaintiff's motion for class settlement preliminary approval was granted by Judge John Gleason and a motion by retailer Home Depot for interlocutory appeal was denied in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

A group of large retailers filed a brief Nov. 2 requesting that the proposed settlement be rejected. The retailers, representing 19 companies, roughly 17,000 separate retail outlets and more than $150 billion in annual sales, argued the settlement could not legally be certified as a class action because it attempts to force a one-size-fits-all solution onto a diverse group of merchants (News Now Nov. 5).

Retailers also argued that a provision barring all retailers--including those who opt out of the settlement--from filing future lawsuits over swipe fees is impermissibly broad under federal law.

The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) also announced Friday that it has filed an amicus ("friend of the court") brief in the U.S. District Court of Eastern New York, in conjunction with other opponents of the proposed class-action settlement between merchants and MasterCard/VISA. Although credit unions were not part of the litigation, they would be affected by temporary reduction in credit card interchange, surcharging and buying groups.

The $7.5 billion settlement would require a reduced interchange rate fee (IRF) of 10 basis points for an eight month period, likely beginning in mid-2013, and would apply to all card issuers, including credit unions (News Now Nov. 1).

If the total credit IRF reduction is $1.2 billion, credit unions with credit card programs would lose about $50 million in total revenues, or about 0.5 basis points on their total assets, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) said. The loss would be concentrated among a relatively small number of credit unions with very active credit card programs.

The proposed settlement also calls for Visa, MasterCard and the banks to create a $6.05 billion fund to repay retailers for past fees charged and says retailers would be permitted to assess "check out" fees or surcharges on credit card purchases, which has previously been prohibited by Visa and Mastercard rules.

The surcharging aspect of the settlement--as well as the provision that consumer-owned credit unions would see a reduction in interchange revenue--are signs that the settlement does nothing for consumers, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney has said. Interchange revenue enables credit unions to provide "essential and cost-effective credit card services" to members. "We also know that the temporary reduction in interchange revenue that credit unions will experience will not likely find its way into the pockets of consumers, but will more likely into those of merchants," Cheney said.

Illinois Maine report positive election results

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. and PORTLAND, Maine (11/13/12)--Maine and Illinois credit unions reported positive results for the roster of candidates they supported in last week's general election.

Nearly 91% the Illinois Credit Union League's (ICUL) Credit Union Political Action Council's (CUPAC) contributions were directed toward winning candidates. Among the winners were Bill Enyart (D-12) who defeated Jason Plummer for an open Congressional seat.  Enyart recently visited credit unions in the Metro East area. Those in attendance for a meeting that took place at Shell Community FCU, Wood River, Ill.; are, from left: Mike Frye, chairman, Shell Community FCU and CUPAC board member; Alan Meyer, executive vice president/chief operating officer, 1st MidAmerica CU, Bethalto, Ill.; and ICUL director, Class C, District 1; Enyart; Frank Padak, CEO, Scott CU, Edwardsville, Ill., and CUPAC board member; Keith Sias, ICUL vice president of governmental Affairs; and Greg Lyons, CEO, Shell Community FCU. (Photo provided by Illinois Credit Union League)
Nearly 91% the Illinois Credit Union League's Credit Union Political Action Council's (CUPAC) contributions were directed toward winning candidates.

CUPAC supported 31 candidates, with 28 winning their elections, including 14 of 16 winning candidates in the state Senate. On the Illinois House side, 14 of 15 winning candidates were backed by CUPAC.

Maine credit unions also enjoyed success in last week's elections. Independent Angus King, who was endorsed by the Maine Credit Union League, won Maine's open U.S. Senate seat. King, who won his race by 25 percentage points, will replace the retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) in January.

In Maine's Second Congressional District, Rep. Mike Michuad (D), a former credit union board member, was re-elected to a sixth term by a 58% to 41% margin.

In Maine's First Congressional District, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) captured her third term by a margin of 65% to 35%.

"Congressman Michaud and Congresswoman Pingree have been strong supporters of our important issues, including raising the cap on member business lending, and ATM disclosure legislation," said John Murphy, Maine league president.  "In the U.S. Senate, we look forward to continuing and building upon the solid relationship we have with Angus King, having worked well with him during his eight years as governor."

Southeastern CUs expected to receive dues rebate in 2013

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala., and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (11/13/12)--The League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU) & Affiliates announced Nov. 8 that it will offer affiliated credit unions in Alabama and Florida a dues rebate in 2013.

With less than two months remaining in 2012, the LSCU said it is shaping up to have another great financial year. Several factors contributed to the success, including strong LSCU and LEVERAGE--the League Service Corporation-- earnings, as well as an efficiently run organization, said LSCU.

"Through consolidation we've been able to streamline our operations," said League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates president/CEO Patrick La Pine. "That means that the league is running more efficiently. LEVERAGE has had a very good year financially and we feel it's important to have our credit unions share in our success in the form of a dues rebate."

LSCU Board Chairman Mary Ott Wood, who also is the CEO of Florida West Coast CU in Brandon, said, "It's important that our credit unions in Alabama and Florida know that the LSCU & Affiliates is not only working for them to advance our industry, but we understand the challenges they are still facing back at home."

She noted "This is the first dues rebate ever offered in either state."

Even though the economy is beginning to show signs of a recovery, many credit unions in Alabama and Florida continue to struggle to increase earnings and they are feeling regulatory pressure to cut operating expenses. Since consolidation, and with the support of the boards and credit unions, the LSCU & Affiliates have met and exceeded earnings the last two years and is on track to do so again this year, the league noted in a release.

A final LEVERAGE dividend and LSCU dues rebate will be announced once the books close on 2012, which is expected to be around mid-February. The dues rebate would be funded by a combination of the net income derived from the league, with the remaining amount funded through the dividend from LEVERAGE to the league.

Credit unions will pay their full 2013 dues as scheduled. The dues rebate will be returned to member credit unions in the form of paper check around the end of the first quarter. The following restrictions will apply:

1) Any credit union that did not remit dues by March 31, would not be eligible for a dues rebate;

2) Any credit union granted a dues waiver or reduction in 2013 would not be eligible for a dues rebate;

3) Credit unions that were not affiliated in previous years would be eligible to receive a dues rebate in 2013, but the previously mentioned restrictions would apply

Credit unions should still budget for their league and Credit Union National Association dues, based on the estimated dues invoice that the league sends out each September.

"A dues rebate illustrates how the financial success of LEVERAGE is vital to the long-term sustainability of the league," said La Pine. "By credit unions purchasing products and/or services through LEVERAGE, it has a direct correlation to the dues they are being asked to pay. Credit unions need to know that there's no guarantee a dues rebate will be declared every year. Level of affiliation, net income for the league and LEVERAGE as well as identified priorities, will play key factors in our future decisions."

SACU announces sponsorship with U. of Texas-San Antonio

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SAN ANTONIO (11/13/12)--San Antonio FCU (SACU) has announced a sponsorship with the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) to become the "Official Financial Institution for Roadrunners Athletics."

"UTSA and SACU's missions of service to the San Antonio community are well aligned and we are thrilled to formalize our partnership," said Laura Johnston, SACU chief marketing officer.

As UTSA's financial institution athletics sponsor, SACU will have marketing rights at UTSA athletics events, such as home football and basketball games. Also, SACU will sponsor the UTSA student section during regular season football games and will be included in UTSA athletics media promotions.

The sponsorship opportunity also allows UTSA and SACU to jointly offer a series of programs to UTSA students on the importance of responsible financial management. Also, SACU's pledge for excellence will allow the university to allocate financial resources to students for scholarships, academic programs and other opportunities over a five-year period.

To mark the partnership, Frank Burk, chairman of the board of SACU, tossed the coin at the Roadrunners Oct. 27 home game against the Utah State Aggies.

Two more CUNA board nominations received

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MADISON, Wis. (11/13/12)--Two more nominations have been submitted for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) board positions.

The nominations were made in District 1, Class C, for Robert Cashman, president/CEO, Metro CU, Chelsea, Mass., and in District 3, Class B, for Brad Green, president/CEO, Listerhill CU, Sheffield, Ala.

Other previous nominations include:

  • District 6, Class D, for Troy Stang, president/CEO, Northwest Credit Union Association, Federal Way, Wash.
  • District 4, Class C: Dennis Pierce, CEO, CommunityAmerica CU, Lenexa, Kan.;
  • District 6, Class A: Susan Streifel, president/CEO, Woodstone CU, Federal Way, Wash.;
  • District 5, Class D: J. Scott Sullivan, president/CEO, Nebraska Credit Union League, Omaha, Neb.;
  • District 5, Class B: Incumbent Roger Heacock president/CEO, Black Hills FCU, Rapid City, S.D.
  • District 2, Class A: Incumbent John Graham, president/CEO, Kentucky Employees CU, Frankfort, Ky.
Positions up for election are:

  • District 1, Class C;
  • District 2, Class A;
  • District 3, Class B;
  • District 4, Class C;
  • District 5, Class B;
  • District 5, Class D;
  • District 6, Class A; and
  • District 6, Class D.
A nominee must be an employee or voting board member of the nominating credit union to be an eligible candidate elected by credit unions. The nomination must be seconded in writing by at least two other credit unions from the same district and class.

League candidates must be a league president and nominated in writing by their league, and seconded in writing by at least one other league from the district.

Nominations are due through Nov. 16. For contested elections, ballots will be sent Nov. 21, with voting continuing through Jan. 4. Results of contested elections will be announced Jan. 8.

Directors will take office upon the adjournment of CUNA's Annual General Meeting on Feb. 25 in Washington, D.C.

Nomination packets are available by calling 800-356-9655, ext. 4013; using the resource link; or e-mailing thanson@cuna.coop.

Wis. N.C. CUs host Dominican Fellows through WOCCU program

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International Credit Union Leadership Program participant Gervis Portes Nina met with U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-4) of South Carolina during his internship with SC Telco FCU in Greeneville S.C.

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WASHINGTON (11/13/12)--Credit unions in Wisconsin and North Carolina have hosted Dominican Republic fellows through a World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) International Credit Union Leadership Program (ICULP) during the past few weeks.

After four weeks away from their homes and families, Gervis Portes Nina, regional business manager for Coopcentral in Las Matas de Farfán, Dominican Republic, and Gelson Rodriguez, loan officer for Cooperativa Maimon in Maimon, Dominican Republic, completed the final week of their U.S. credit union internships last week at the Professional Fellows Congress in Washington, D.C.

Nina and Rodriguez are part of a group of more than 200 professional fellows from 51 countries are meeting at the event to discuss topics such as entrepreneurship, women's empowerment and worldwide legislative issues. The Professional Fellows Congress is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of Citizen Exchanges, and includes participants from WOCCU and the 16 other Professional Fellows Program grantees.

Nina spent the past month with SC Telco CU in Greeneville, S.C., where he studied the credit union's policies, procedures and best practices. Each of the credit union's departments shared with Nina their challenges and keys to success. Nina also visited a Spanish class at Landrum High School in Landrum, S.C., where he discussed life and culture in the Dominican Republic. Later in the month, Nina met with U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-4).

Click to view larger image Gelson Rodriguez, loan officer for Cooperativa Maimon in Maimon, Dominican Republic, focused on lending products and procedures at Dane County CU in Madison, Wis. Pictured, from  left are: Carla Wolf, human resources manager; Katie Kruger, branch manager; Crystal Brandt, member service representative; Rodriguez; Bridget Brei, underwriter; and Marshall Arehart, lending manager.
"These exchanges build bridges of understanding and friendship throughout the worldwide credit union movement," said John Radebaugh, North Carolina Credit Union League president/CEO. "They also show staff at North Carolina credit unions that they are part of something larger. It was a pleasure to see our credit unions embrace this program and provide a transformational learning experience to their Dominican guests and the staff members who worked alongside them."

While Nina interned in South Carolina, Rodriguez was working at Dane County CU in Madison, Wis. Rodriguez focused primarily on loan processes and procedures and the way in which Dane County CU serves its members with credit builder loans and one-on-one credit report reviews. Like Nina, Rodriguez had the opportunity to participate in other activities such as a Wisconsin Credit Union League event and a visit to WOCCU headquarters in Madison.

"We appreciated the opportunity to visit once again with our international colleagues and discuss credit union awareness, advocacy and other important issues," said Brett Thompson, president/CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League, which has had an official partnership with the Dominican Republic's credit union association, AIRAC, though WOCCUs International Partnerships Program since 2007.

"The knowledge and perspective we gain through this partnership is invaluable, and we'll look forward to continuing to foster our relationship with credit unions in the Dominican Republic," Thompson added.

Rodriguez and Nina are among the nine fellows that traveled to the U.S. through WOCCU's International Credit Union Leadership Program (ICULP), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of Citizen Exchanges. In coordination with the Wisconsin Credit Union League and North Carolina Credit Union League, WOCCU paired each participant with a U.S. credit union for the duration of the internship. Participants will return home with new ideas and strategies to improve their credit unions and promote growth in the Dominican credit union system.

International Credit Union Leadership Program participants,  from left: Claudio Wolters, Coopmedica manager; Naty Lamourthe, Coopmedica training manager; and Gelson Rodriguez met with World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) President/CEO Brian Branch at WOCCU headquarters in Madison, Wis. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions) 

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"This program directly aligns with World Council's vision to build a global community," said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO. "It provides an opportunity to directly connect our member associations, AIRAC in the Dominican Republic and Credit Union National Association in the U.S., to exchange ideas, experiences and best practices in an effort to positively influence credit unions in both countries."

Wisconsin credit unions participating in the program were Summit CU, Madison, Wis.; Taylor CU, Medford, Wis.; Glacier Hills CU, West Bend, Wis.; and Dane County CU, Madison, Wis. Participating North Carolina credit unions were Latino Community CU, Durham, N.C.; State Employees CU, Raleigh, N.C.; Coastal FCU, Raleigh, N.C.; and United Services CU, Asheville, N.C. SC Telco CU, Greeneville, S.C., also participated in the program.

Dominican fellows also met with National Credit Union Administration representatives to hear a regulatory perspective of the U.S. credit union system.

WOCCU is accepting applications through Nov. 16, from U.S. credit union employees interested in participating in the next ICULP opportunity in the Dominican Republic. WOCCU will select 11 U.S. participants to travel to the Dominican Republic for a two-week internship with one of 15 WOCCU-affiliated credit unions, Jan. 13–16, 2013.

For more information on ICULP and an application, use the link.

New Jersey CU League launches search process for new CEO

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HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (11/13/12)--After notifying its membership that its president/CEO, Paul Gentile, is leaving at year-end to join the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL) lost no time in launching a national search to find its next leader.

CUNA announced last week that Gentile will fill a newly created position at CUNA as Executive Vice President, Strategic Communications and Engagement starting Jan. 7. In that role, Gentile will develop and implement an overarching, company-wide communications and marketing strategy to enable CUNA to more completely and comprehensively engage all of its key audiences and stakeholders.

In announcing its search plans, the NJCUL said its search committee is currently evaluating search firms and plans to hire a firm by Nov. 19. NJCUL said it will appoint an interim CEO from outside its own ranks.

"The search committee will move aggressively to find our new CEO. Communication with the membership will be key. We plan to provide status updates where appropriate," said NJCUL Chairman and Garden Savings FCU CEO Lou Vetere.

Vetere noted that NJCUL has a number of important initiatives in the works that will not lose momentum during the transition. These include the launch of a new home energy efficiency loan program in partnership with the State of New Jersey; new creative media for NJCUL's popular "Banking You Can Trust" consumer awareness campaign; the push to bring Electronic Lien Titling to New Jersey, which NJCUL spearheaded in 2012; and more.

"All of these initiatives bring tremendous member value and we will work to ensure they stay on track," Vetere said.

Of Gentile's new position with CUNA Vetere said: "We wish Paul all the best in his new position and thank him for his valuable contribution to NJCUL's success over the past five years."

Cameron announces retirement from Idaho CU

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BOISE, Idaho (11/13/12)--Idaho Credit Union League President/CEO Alan Cameron has announced his plans to retire on June 30. He informed the league's board of directors on Nov. 8.

Cameron has served as president/CEO of the league and its wholly owned subsidiary League Services Inc., since 2000 and as the league's retained legal counsel and lobbyist since 1977.

During his tenure, Cameron has fought for the rights of more than one-half million Idaho credit union members and their credit unions, and served national and international members through the league's partnership with the credit unions of the Solomon Islands. He has served on several committees and task forces for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

Cameron served as chair of CUNA's Consumer Protection Subcommittee and as chair of the State Issues Advocacy Committee of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues. He was as a member of the Federal Reserve Board's Consumer Advisory Council for three years. In Idaho, Cameron served as treasurer of the Hispanic Financial Education Coalition, treasurer of the Consumer Information Council, and was on the board of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Idaho for more than 20 years.

The league's board and staff have thrived under Cameron's leadership, the league said. His passion for credit unions and their members has been a beacon during a time of increasing regulatory burden and financial upheaval, the league added. In announcing its leader's retirement the league called Cameron a trusted friend and voice of reason to state government, business owners, regulators and credit union leaders.

"Alan has done a tremendous job representing the Idaho Credit Union League and the credit unions in Idaho and at the national level," Idaho Department of Finance Director Gavin Gee said in his remarks to the league board this week. "He enjoys an outstanding reputation and has been a pleasure to work with."

NEW Cameron to retire as head of Idaho CU League in June

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BOISE, Idaho (11/13/12)--Idaho Credit Union League President/CEO Alan Cameron has announced his plans to retire on June 30. He informed the league's board of directors on Nov. 8.



Cameron has served as president/CEO of the league and its wholly owned subsidiary League Services Inc., since 2000 and as the league's retained legal counsel and lobbyist since 1977.

During his tenure, Cameron has fought for the rights of more than one-half million Idaho credit union members and their credit unions, and served national and international members through the league's partnership with the credit unions of the Solomon Islands. He has served on several committees and task forces for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

Cameron served as chair of CUNA's Consumer Protection Subcommittee and as chair of the State Issues Advocacy Committee of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues. He was as a member of the Federal Reserve Board's Consumer Advisory Council for three years.  In Idaho, Cameron served as treasurer of the Hispanic Financial Education Coalition, treasurer of the Consumer Information Council, and was on the board of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Idaho for more than twenty years.

The league's board and staff have thrived under Cameron's leadership, the league said.  His passion for credit unions and their members has been a beacon during a time of increasing regulatory burden and financial upheaval, the league added.  In announcing its leader's retirement the league called Cameron a trusted friend and voice of reason to state government, business owners, regulators and credit union leaders.

"Alan has done a tremendous job representing the Idaho Credit Union League and the credit unions in Idaho and at the national level," Idaho Department of Finance Director Gavin Gee said in his remarks to the league board this week. "He enjoys an outstanding reputation and has been a pleasure to work with."