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CU System briefs (12/22/2010)

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* LAKE FOREST, Calif. (12/23/10)--Counterfeit official checks bearing the name of Eagle Community CU, Lake Forest, Calif., are in circulation, the credit union reported to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). The fake checks display a routing number assigned to Preferred Bank, Los Angeles, and are similar to authentic official checks. However, they have the phrase, "Drawee: Preferred Bank, Los Angeles, CA" above the date field. Authentic checks display the credit union's routing number and display the phrase: "Drawee: The Bank of New York Mellon, Everett, MA" above the date field … * WASHINGTON (12/23/10)--A video of the 2010 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run was named on of Callahan & Associates' top credit union videos for the year. The list of top credit union videos can be found at Callahan's website. The 2011 run--the 10th year the run has been sponsored by the credit union movement--will be April 3, 2011. According to Juri Valdov, chairman of Credit Union Miracle Day, planners "plan to stream the race live across the Web so that more credit unions can become involved." For more information, use the online giving site … * SAN DIEGO (12/23/10)--San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl kicks off today at 5 p.m. PST, with the U.S. Naval Academy football team competing against San Diego State University at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The game, which will be televised nationally by ESPN, could get soggy. The bowl's executive director said the game will go on as scheduled, despite flooding in the stadium from days of rain. It rained so hard Tuesday that the teams had to practice in hotel ballrooms and the teams' bands and spirit squads had to cancel their "battle of the bands." A large portion of the parking lot also was reported as flooded. About 51,000 fans are expected at today's game ( This is the third year that San Diego County CU has sponsored the event …

CUNA closed FridayMonday INews NowI resumes Tuesday

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WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (12/23/10)--In observance of the holidays, the Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wis., offices of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will be closed Friday and Monday. News Now will not produce Friday and Monday editions, but it will resume its regular publication on Tuesday.

Woman killed two injured in robbery at CU ATM

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (12/23/10)--A woman died Wednesday morning after she was shot during a robbery attempt while withdrawing cash from an ATM at a credit union in Knoxville, Tenn. Also injured were the shooting suspect, who was shot by police, and a man in a second car at another ATM. Davida Nicholson, 46, was withdrawing funds from the ATM at TVA Employees CU when she allegedly was approached by the suspect, Brandon James Johnson, 20, who was wielding two guns. When she tried to shut the door to her truck and pull away, the suspect allegedly shot her. The truck struck the credit union building, police said ( Dec. 22and Dec. 22). Johnson then apparently opened fire on a second vehicle pulling away from another ATM. The driver, William Letsinger, 36, was hurt but not taken to a hospital. The suspect then allegedly continued shooting at other vehicles and pulled Nicholson's 21-year-old mentally challenged son from the truck and climbed in. Two officers arrived while he was still shooting. He reportedly refused to drop his guns and was shot in the neck by an officer. Nicholson and Johnson were rushed to a nearby hospital where Nicholson was pronounced dead at 9:07 a.m. Johnson was treated and released. He has been charged with felony murder, attempted first degree murder, and three counts of aggravated assault against Nicholson's son and two police officers. The shooting did not involve the credit union or its employees. The credit union was closed at the time, but employees were inside preparing to open for business. The first call to 911 came from the credit union, said (Dec. 22).

Three new CUNA Board members elected

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MADISON, Wis., and WASHINGTON (12/23/10)--Three credit union executives have been elected to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) 2010-2011 Board of Directors seats in contested elections. The winners and their opponents are:
* District 2, Class B: Stephen Behler, president/CEO of Kemba CU, West Chester, Ohio. He won against Robert Falk, president/CEO of Purdue Employees FCU, West Lafayette, Ind. * District 4, Class A: Patricia Wesenberg, government affairs liaison, Marshfield (Wis.) Medical Center CU. She won against three other candidates: Patrick Drennen, CEO of lst Gateway CU, Camanche, Iowa; Dennis Fisher, president/ CEO, First Security CU, Lincolnwood, Ill.; and Brian Smith-Vandergriff, board member, Catholic Family CU, Kansas City, Mo. * District 6, Class C: Brett Martinez, president/ CEO of Redwoods CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., who won against Scott Waite, senior vice president/chief financial officers, Patelco CU, San Francisco, Calif.
Friday was the deadline for casting ballots in the three contested elections.

CU helps out with IGood Morning AmericaI savings makeover

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OSWEGO, N.Y. (12/23/10)--Oswego (N.Y.) County FCU helped a family save more than $58,000 as part of “Good Morning America’s (GMA) Savings Makeover” on its ABC television show. GMA Consumer Correspondent Elisabeth Leamy--who last March was a guest on the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Home & Family Finance Radio show taped live at the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council’s annual conference--said she helped the Gunn family of Oswego, N.Y., save money using simple strategies. “Tom and Nancy Gunn had never tried to refinance their house and take advantage of today’s historically low interest rates because they didn’t have the cash for closing costs,” Leamy said. “I asked them if they belonged to a credit union. They do. But they had never approached their credit union about refinancing. So I took the Gunns to Oswego County FCU to see what we could cook up. Loan officer Aimee Johnson suggested taking the Gunns’ two mortgages-–a first at 6.75% and a second at 13.84%--and refinancing them both into a new loan at 5.35%. “Then she wowed me with a concept I had never heard of before: the loan would be a home equity loan rather than strictly a mortgage,” Leamy added. “It really is a mortgage, because you use it to finance your entire house, but Oswego County FCU calls it a ‘Home Equity Loan’ because it has zero closing costs. Perfect for the Gunns. Basically, to thank you for bringing in your loan business, the credit union pays the closing costs for you. “This is a concept unique to credit unions that other consumers can inquire about,” Leamy said. The $36 million-asset credit union also offered to combine the Gunns’ credit cards and car loans into a second, more traditional, home equity loan at an 8% interest rate for three years. Their current car loans are at 13% and 14.75%. “Do these offers seem over-the-top generous?” Leamy asked. “Oswego County FCU CEO Bill Carhart assured me that his people provide affordable products like these to their members all the time. It’s startling in an era when many people are frustrated with big banks, but it makes sense when you consider that credit unions are non-profit companies essentially owned by their members. “If you do not belong to a credit union you are missing out,” she added. “And contrary to popular belief, they are not hard to join.” To view the segment or read the transcript of it, use the link.

Filene report IT budgets should focus in three areas

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MADISON (12/23/10)--Information technology budgets are rising at credit unions, and member-facing technologies already capture a large part of the money spent, which makes it essential to spend wisely, says a new report from the Filene Research Institute. “The Future of Member-Facing Technologies in Credit Unions” advised credit unions to focus their attention in three areas:
* Financial advice and guidance--Personal financial management (PFM) tools like and the constellation of similar services are more than juiced-up budgeting tools; they allow members an accessible and intuitive way to see their money, said the report. But more important for credit unions, they can help members make good decisions, they can provide excellent cross-promotion value for the credit union, and they can save on staff time. * Social networking integration--Social media have become popular at credit unions, but they are not always effective at driving business results. That will change as credit unions zero in on applications that actually encourage desired behavior among members and potential members. * Purely mobile apps--Perhaps the most important of all emerging technology areas, mobile apps offer features already in demand by consumers.
What are the implications for credit unions? Even the best technology doesn’t create an edge in a strategic vacuum, said Filene. Report author Ron Shevlin, a senior analyst at Aite Group, proposed three scenarios based on the seminal 1997 book The Discipline of Market Leaders, by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema. The report said credit unions should prioritize very different technologies depending on which of the following strategies most closely matches their own:
* Operational excellence--Processes are optimized and streamlined to minimize cost and provide hassle-free service. This strategy demands purely mobile apps and cost-saving social media. * Product (or service) leadership--A focus on the core processes of invention, product or service development, and market exploitation. This strategy emphasizes connective social media and cutting edge mobile apps. * Customer intimacy--An obsession with the core processes of solution and relationship management. This strategy prizes streamlined ways to offer remote and detailed financial guidance.
Credit unions, Shevlin argues, can leverage any of the three strategies for a focus on member advocacy. But they can’t wait five years to decide on which option to choose, because credit union members are online at this moment, searching websites and app stores for services that meet their needs.