Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive

CU System Archive

CU System

Mergers announced in Florida and Hawaii

 Permanent link
PENSACOLA, Fla., and HONOLULU (12/18/12)--Credit union mergers in Florida and Hawaii were announced Monday.

Gulf Winds FCU, Pensacola, Fla., said SCORE FCU, Tallahassee, will become Gulf Winds FCU on Jan. 1. Also, Kapalama Pacific FCU, Honolulu, merged with Honolulu-based Hawaii Central FCU on Dec. 2.

The Florida merger, approved by the National Credit Union Administration, will add more than 5,500 members and three branches in the Tallahassee area to Gulf Winds.

Once the merger is complete, Gulf Winds will have 12 branches, assets more than $475 million, more than 56,000 members, and a field of membership that includes Escambia, Santa Rosa, Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla and Jefferson counties, Fla., and Escambia County, Ala.

SCORE FCU members will have access to more competitive savings and loan rates, enriched online banking capabilities, mobile banking, a convenient contact center, and more.

"We are already working hard with the SCORE FCU team in preparation to offer our market leading savings and loan rates," said Chris Rutledge, president/CEO of Gulf Winds. "As we plan for the future, our goal is to find ways we can expand our footprint within the communities we serve and beyond."

Randy Glover, president/CEO of SCORE, noted its board "invested a significant amount of time searching for a merger partner. Gulf Winds is the best merger partner for our credit union and this partnership insures that our members will receive increased benefits and quality service."

In Honolulu, with the merger of Kapalama Pacific, Hawaii Central now has more than 13,000 members and $157 million in assets (Pacific Business News Dec. 17). Kapalama had roughly 2,228 members and $5.3 million in assets. The Kapalama Pacific board and NCUA have approved the merger.

Hawaii Central FCU President/General Manager Drake Tanabesaid said the credit union is "committed to helping build stronger financial futures for all our members." Hawaii Central is the 10th largest credit union on Oahu.

Irish league efforts ease restrictions in CU bill

 Permanent link
DUBLIN, Ire. (12/18/12)--Efforts by the Irish League of Credit Unions to ease some of the restrictions in Ireland's new Credit Union Bill 2012 have yielded results, local media say.

Early drafts of the bill would have restricted the length of time people could serve on the board of a credit union. However, that was amended in the legislation after intense lobbying by credit unions, said the Irish Independent (Dec. 15). The measure, passed last week, also no longer includes provisions to ban people related to a person doing voluntary work for a credit union from becoming a credit union director.

A government-appointed commission report in April had recommended that credit unions should collaborate together to benefit from economies of scale and to weather the economy. The European Commission has approved government plans to encourage mass mergers among credit union. About 250 credit unions may merger in the next three years, said the article.

The government also put aside funds to assist troubled credit unions this year and next. The European Union has said that is in line with its state-aid rules.

Increased debit card use sparks overdrafts rebound

 Permanent link
LAKE BLUFF, Ill. (12/18/12)--After a sharp decline that began during the financial crisis, overdraft revenue at financial institutions is starting to pick up as consumers begin using their debit cards more, according to new data.

Annualized overdraft revenue for third quarter was $31.8 billion, a 2% increase over third quarter 2011, according to Lake Bluff, Ill.-based Moebs Services (American Banker Dec. 14).

In third quarter of 2008, annualized overdrafts revenue hit at peak at $37.6 billion, said the fees consulting firm. That revenue dropped by 1% in 2009, 9% in 2010 and 8% in 2011.

Banks began reducing overdraft fees when they came under criticism for manipulating the order of overdrafts to maximize their fees, said the Banker.

The recent growth of debit card use among consumers may be a factor in the uptick in overdrafts, said the Banker. On an annualized basis, U.S. consumers made 52.6 billion debit card transactions during third quarter, up 11% from third quarter last year.

The increase in card use has helped offset some interchange revenue banks lost when the Dodd Frank Act became effective last year. Just before the price caps went into effect last year, banks with more than $10 billion in assets in third quarter 2011, earned $19.9 billion annualized in debit swipe fee revenue. Third quarter this year they earned $18.5 billion, a 7% decrease.

Pa New TV campaign promotes CU loans

 Permanent link
HARRISBURG, Pa. (12/18/12)--Pennsylvania credit unions have joined together, along with the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA), to develop and run television and radio spots promoting the credit union difference.

The cost of creating the ads was paid for by Pacul Services Inc., PCUA's service corporation.

Every day, credit unions help their members fulfill their dreams of purchasing a new home, paying college tuition, buying a car or financing a small business. In the series of new TV and radio commercials, Pennsylvanians will hear that credit unions are financial service providers that provide loans to fund their goals, PCUA said.

"For more than 80 years, credit unions have provided affordable financial services to members in Pennsylvania," said Michael Kaczenski, PCUA chairman and CEO of Sun East FCU in Aston. "However, there are many Pennsylvanians who do not know that they can use the products and services offered by credit unions. Credit unions are one of the best kept secrets, and we are looking to tell others all about the benefits of belonging."

As non-profits, credit unions can provide consumers with lower rates on loans and lower or no fees, compared with traditional banking institutions. Research indicates that Pennsylvanians who are members of credit unions save an average of $66 per member or $126 per member household annually. Statewide, this equates to more than $241 million in direct financial benefits to the state's 3.6 million members during the 12 months ending in June, PCUA said.

Still, millions of Pennsylvanians are not saving money because they are not credit union members, PCUA added.

"Our goal with the ads is to inform consumers that credit unions are the best option for loans and to promote awareness about the benefits of membership," said PCUA President/CEO Jim McCormack. "Not everyone can join every credit union, but there is a credit union for everyone."

Consumers seeking a credit union will be directed to iBelong.org, a website that features the campaign spots, facts about credit unions and an online locator. The campaign is a cooperative effort by credit unions in Pennsylvania affiliated with PCUA.

To see the commercials, use the link.

Acupuncture clinic another MBL success story

 Permanent link
LONGVIEW, Wash. (12/18/12)--Fibre FCU in Longview, Wash., through its member business lending (MBL), has helped the owner of a local acupuncture clinic expand her business.

Acupuncture Northwest in Longview, Wash. has three state-of-the-art treatment rooms, a full line of healthy products and an infrared sauna. It's a busy and popular place because of the efforts and planning of owner Patty Kuchar, said the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) (Anthem Recap Dec. 14).

When medical insurance plans recognized the benefits of acupuncture, doctors began recommending it to complement their patients' protocol. "Acupuncture became really popular, really fast," Kuchar told NWCUA, adding she needed to quickly expand.

"I went through the normal avenues with regular big banks, because at the time that was really all that was offered to me," Kuchar added. "I had, you know, the normal experiences with that. It wasn't easy being a woman and being self-employed."

Kuchar began researching credit unions and went to the $736.2 million asset Fibre FCU. Member-service representatives made it easy for her to switch accounts and later, to get an MBL to expand her clinic again, NWCUA said.

The loan enabled her to purchase and install an infrared heat sauna. "It was maybe a day or two and I had the funds to go ahead," Kuchar said. "They looked at me as a person instead of as a number. So, I was taken care of in a personal way because they knew my needs."

Kuchar is one example of businesses Fibre guided through the MBL process. However, the credit union is close to the current 12.25% of assets lending cap on MBLs, NWCUA said.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are urging Congress to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% of assets so that more loans could be made to small businesses. CUNA and credit unions say that increasing the cap would inject $13 billion in business loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers.

CUNA conservatively estimates Fibre could make an additional $28 million in small-business loans in the Longview-Kelso community, creating more than 300 new jobs in the first year alone, NWCUA said.

Kuchar extolled MBLs at locally operated credit unions. "The process was so much easier and friendlier especially because they are here in our community," Kuchar told NWCUA. "And they are people that you know."

To see a video about Kuchar and her relationship with Fibre FCU, use the link.

Iowa foundation renames scholarships for Morrow

 Permanent link
DES MOINES, Iowa (12/18/12)--The Iowa Credit Union Foundation (ICUF)  has renamed its Family Involvement Board Scholarship program the Warren A. Morrow Scholarship program.

Warren Morrow, the late CEO and founder of Coopera, a consulting organization that helps credit unions reach Hispanic markets, died unexpectedly in February. Morrow was instrumental in ICUF's ability to obtain a $428,323 grant that provided matching funds to launch Iowa's first Credit Union Individual Development Account program (News Now March 27).

"The Warren A. Morrow Memorial Scholarship will keep Warren's spirit alive by providing young adults and nontraditional students with education opportunities," said Marybeth Foster, ICUF executive director. "Without Warren, ICUF would not be where it is today."

The program includes two scholarship categories.

One category is for high school seniors with a projected graduation date of 2013. The high school scholarship competition will award $3,750. The first place prize is $1,500; second place is $1,000; third place is $750 and fourth place is $500.

The second category is the post- high school scholarship, which is open to any person who is entering or attending an accredited undergraduate, graduate or vocational program. This category will award two $1,000 scholarships.

Applicants must complete the entry form on IowaCreditUnionFoundation.org and answer this question in no more than 500 words: "Given the fragile state of our national economy, with record unemployment and deficits, describe how having an emergency savings account is more crucial than ever. How might someone utilize their credit union to focus on saving?"

Essay questions are designed to encourage learning about the credit union movement and its mission.

Judges will base their scores for the essay on originality, clarity, meaningful content, accurate presentation of facts, adherence to contest rules, spelling, grammar and punctuation. The deadline for applications is Feb. 1. Winners will be notified via mail by April.

CO-OP promo hikes debit card spending 201

 Permanent link
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif., and FRANKLIN, Mass. (12/18/12)--CO-OP Financial Services reported a 201% increase in average monthly debit card spending among credit union members in a "Season of Giving" promotion.

The 201% increase is based on spending that rose to $188.87 per card for November from $62.60 per-card, per-month.

During November, credit union members nationwide participated in the CO-OP Financial Services debit card marketing promotion, managed by Saylent Technologies. The program targeted low-spending debit cardholders, identified through the CO-OP Total Revelation payment intelligence tool.

In addition to the 201% increase, program results included:

  • Average signature debit transactions per card increased 74%, to 6.73 from 3.87.
  • Average per-transaction spending amount grew almost identically with the number of transactions--a 73% increase, to $28.01 from $16.18.
  • Average signature debit interchange per card rose by 131%, to $2.78 from $1.21.
When targeted members increased their spending, a contribution was made in their name to a tree-planting program, in which 8,240 trees will be planted on behalf of the 824 cardholders. The trees will be planted at more than 40 reforestation projects worldwide, half of which were located in the U.S. The tree plantings are provided by Treecycler, an organization that connects businesses with a network of reforestation organizations.

"CO-OP's 'Season of Giving' marketing campaign helped our credit unions recognize real growth in an inactive member segment," said Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP. "We are committed to not only providing products and services that help credit unions keep their cards 'top of wallet' among members, but also the programs and strategic counsel to achieve that goal."

CO-OP facilitates four turnkey marketing campaigns, called CO-OP Preferred, every year. The turnkey campaigns include: target segmentation, campaign concept and creative design, customized creative, results analysis, incentive fulfillment, and report on return on investment.

Arkansas Okla Texas leagues announce intent to consolidate

 Permanent link
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (12/18/12)--The boards of three leagues--the Arkansas Credit Union League, the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma and the Texas Credit Union League--announced Monday they intend to pursue consolidation into a single regional league operating as Cornerstone Credit Union League.

The consolidation will allow credit unions in each state to enjoy the services and strengths of the new larger league. The new league will maintain an advocacy-focused office in each state capital to continue a strong local presence. All three leagues have worked closely over the years.

"There's no question that leagues are looking for more opportunities to collaborate," noted Michael  Kloiber, CEO, of  Oklahoma City-based Tinker FCU and chairman of the Regionalization Task Force. "League consolidations nationwide have one driving force at their core: credit unions must have top-flight offerings from their trade associations.

"Credit union leaders are looking for real value in their league membership--value that both shapes the credit union operating environment from a legislative and marketing perspective, and provides a full suite of products and services to its members to leverage our cooperative strength," Kloiber said.  "By consolidating, we will ensure our region has enhanced services as well as a strong, united voice for credit unions in the marketplace, with elected officials, and within our movement."

The league boards have agreed to a governance structure and transition plan for consideration by their membership.

The next step is to conduct information sessions across the region to address any questions members may have about the proposed consolidation. A vote on the consolidation will be held at specially called meetings of each state in the spring.

Ill state-chartered CUs get third Q4 fee credit

 Permanent link
NAPERVILLE, Ill. (12/18/12)--For the third straight year, Illinois state-chartered credit unions will receive a credit of more than $1.051 million toward regulatory fees paid to the state for the fourth quarter, the Illinois Credit Union League announced Friday.

The credit is expected to be slightly less than the 2012 fourth-quarter billing for credit union regulatory fees.

The credit is the result of legislation that implemented a court-approved settlement of a regulatory fee case filed by the league against then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2004.

The settlement was signed into law by Gov. Patrick Quinn in 2009.

Under the terms of the settlement, Illinois state-chartered credit unions received a $6.2 million cash payment from the state in June 2009. The payment represented a credit for the overpayment in regulatory fees made under the Blagojevich administration's fee escalation and transfer ("sweep") budgetary arrangement adopted by the state in its fiscal years 2004 through 2006.

The 2009 legislation that implemented the settlement also accomplished two other goals, according to Stephen Olson, ICUL executive vice president and general counsel. First, it codified a rate reduction in regulatory fees. Second, it reduced the Credit Union Fund margin that triggers a credit back to Illinois state-chartered credit unions.

Regulatory fees are deposited into the Credit Union Fund to offset the ordinary administrative and operational expenses of the Department of Financial Institutions' Credit Union Section in supervising state-chartered credit unions.

NEW Arkansas Oklahoma Texas leagues intend to consolidate

 Permanent link
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (FILED 3:15 p.m. CT 12/17/12)--The boards of the Arkansas Credit Union League, the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma and the Texas Credit Union League announced today they intend to pursue consolidation into a single regional league operating as Cornerstone Credit Union League.

The consolidation will allow credit unions in each state to enjoy the services and strengths of the new larger league. The new league will maintain an advocacy-focused office in each state capital to continue a strong local presence. All three leagues have worked closely over the years.

"There's no question that leagues are looking for more opportunities to collaborate," noted Michael Kloiber, CEO, of  Oklahoma City-based Tinker FCU and chairman of the Regionalization Task Force. "League consolidations nationwide have one driving force at their core: credit unions must have top-flight offerings from their trade associations.

"Credit union leaders are looking for real value in their league membership--value that both shapes the credit union operating environment from a legislative and marketing perspective, and provides a full suite of products and services to its members to leverage our cooperative strength," Kloiber said.  "By consolidating, we will ensure our region has enhanced services as well as a strong, united voice for credit unions in the marketplace, with elected officials, and within our movement."

The league boards have agreed to a governance structure and transition plan for consideration by their membership.

The next step is to conduct information sessions across the region to address any questions members may have about the proposed consolidation. A vote on the consolidation will be held at specially called meetings of each state in the spring.

CUAD meets with new Sen Banking Committee member

 Permanent link
BISMARCK, N.D. (12/18/12)--
From left, Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD) President/CEO Robbie Thompson, CUAD Vice President of Advocacy and Awareness Jeff Olson; U.S. Sen.-elect Heidi Heitkamp; and CUAD Board Chair Steve Davis. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas)
Leadership from the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD) attended a meeting with U.S. Sen.-elect Heidi Heitkamp at her campaign office in Mandan, N.D., Friday.

The new senator from North Dakota could prove to be a powerful advocate for credit unions in Washington, D.C., because one of her committee assignments will be to serve on the Senate Banking Committee, said CUAD.

Heitkamp, the former North Dakota attorney general, is familiar with the financial cooperative model and credit unions.

CUAD legislative advocates took the opportunity to discuss several issues that may impact credit unions during the 113th Congress--such as tax status, increasing regulatory burdens and increasing credit unions' member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%.

Indicating the association looked forward to working with Heitkamp and noting her committee appointment, CUAD President/CEO Robbie Thompson said that Heitkamp "knows and understands credit unions--especially the issues facing small and rural area credit unions. We are confident that she will always be willing to listen to our concerns."

CU System briefs (12/17/2012)

 Permanent link
  • ALBANY, N.Y. (12/18/12)--
    Click to view larger image Click for larger view
    The Credit Union Association of New York Monday debuted a redesign of its home page, www.cuany.org, which features a new look and feel while delivering information to association members and the public.  The restructuring incorporated these interactive tools and easier access to content: Buttons and links to popular content for effortless navigation; rotating announcements and offers; enhanced functionality for an updated feed of CUANY's videos; and direct links to information about CUANY's strategic partners. The page also brings to the forefront a popular blog, "New York's State of Mind," written by Henry Meier, the association's associate general counsel, and an RSS feed, advocacy tools, "Of Interest" items and social media links. More features and content will be added in the coming months. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of New York) …