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CU System briefs (12/29/2010)

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* NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (12/30/10)--Niagara DuPont Employees CU, Niagara Falls, N.Y., has received approval from state regulators to widen its field of membership and change its name to Encompass Niagara CU. The credit union, founded in 1934 to serve employees of the DuPont Co. plant, will convert from a multi-employer-based charter to a community charter. It will serve anyone who lives, worships, attends school, volunteers or works in Niagara County. The credit union, which has $11 million in assets and 970 members, is also moving its office from Buffalo Avenue to 2525 Military Road in Niagara Falls ( Dec. 29) … * HARTFORD, Conn. (12/30/10)--Connecticut's longtime Banking Commissioner Howard Pitkin has been reappointed to the position, Gov.-elect Dan Malloy announced Tuesday (New Haven Register Dec. 29). Pitkin has been with the Banking Department for more than three decades, and has headed it for five years. Before that, he was chief of administration, which oversaw the agency's technological initiatives and restructured the bank examination and credit union divisions into the financial institutions division. He oversees the supervision of 34 state-chartered credit unions and 40 state-chartered banks and thrifts … *SPOKANE, Wash. (12/30/10)--Tom Johnson will take the helm of Spokane Teachers CU as president/CEO Saturday (The Spokesman-Review Dec. 29). He will succeed Steve Dahlstrom, who has been with the credit union for 30 years--the last 20 as CEO. A former vice president of Whitworth University, Johnson joined the credit union's board of directors in 1994. In 2006, he became vice president for administration. He was to executive vice president in May as part of the credit union's success plan. Spokane Teachers CU, has $1.4 billion in assets, with 11 branches in Washington and three in Idaho … * HARRISBURG, Pa. (12/30/10)--Don Kilcullen, a founding board member of Philadelphia-based American Heritage FCU, died early Wednesday at a hospital in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association has learned (Life is a Highway Dec. 29). He was 91. Kilcullen served on the credit union's board since 1986, most recently as vice chairman. He helped initiate the credit union in 1948 and served on various committees since. As chairman of the Planning Committee, Kilcullen was instrumental in the growth of the credit union to today's $1 billion in assets. He was a graduate of Penn State Judge/Bradley Credit Union School …

Maine CUs helping states unbanked efforts

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PORTLAND, Maine (12/30/10--Thanking the Maine Credit Union League and the state's credit unions for their "strong support and participation," Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions Superintendent Lloyd P. LaFountain III announced a new initiative to help Maine people who do not have a relationship with a financial institution. The collaborative effort between the bureau and a "Bank on ME" working group --which included three credit union representatives and was established by the state Legislature--aims to help unbanked people save and protect their money through low or no-cost accounts at credit unions and other financial institutions. LaFountain, in the announcement, explained that the individuals without an account at a credit union or bank "may be unaware of the security and benefits that come from such accounts. Many people pay expensive charges for check cashing and other services from storefront operations. The Bureau of Financial Institutions, the governor and the Maine Legislature worked together to develop a plan of action to help the 'unbanked.'" John Murphy, president of the credit union league and a member of the working group, said credit unions' participation in the project "goes hand in hand with what credit unions across Maine are already doing to help Maine consumers." Murphy noted the initiative's brochure and other resources will "raise awareness among that segment of the population who are unfamiliar with the safety and benefits of accounts at credit unions and other financial institutions. Maine credit unions are committed to helping to reach out to consumers and provide low-cost financial services to individuals who have had little or no contact with financial institutions." LaFountain highlighted three services that have been finalized to assist the unbanked:
* Save and Protect Your Money Brochure, which explains what's needed to open an account, defines "overdraft" and other terms, and provides a check-list of questions to ask in opening an account to ensure that it will provide needed protections and services. Copies will be available at credit unions and other financial institutions as well as a number of community-based non-profits. Plans are underway to make the brochure available in other languages. * Online Consumer Library: The Bureau of Financial Institutions' online consumer library has resources for unbanked individuals and others seeking information about topics such as foreclosure, credit cards, borrowing, credit reports and financial scams. The library can be accessed in the "Consumer Tools" menu on the bureau's homepage. * Personal Assistance. The bureau has a consumer outreach specialist available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, to personally assist callers with questions about opening a low- or no-cost account and walk them through the process.
"This should benefit individuals throughout our state who too often rely on people and businesses that charge significant fees," said LaFountain.

Pacul Services offers loyalty rebate

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (12/30/10)--Pennsylvania Credit Union Association member credit unions will receive a $500,000 “loyalty rebate” from the league’s credit union service organization (Life is a Highway Dec. 29). The payment from Pacul Services was calculated based on assets and will be allocated using a formula that returns 18 basis points with a minimum rebate of $100 for smaller credit unions. In the aggregate, Pacul Services will return almost $500,000 of the projected $1 million it earned in 2010. In addition to providing rebates to all member credit unions, the Pacul Services board of directors also authorized a $20,000 contribution to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation to establish a fund for educational assistance for small credit unions.

ITulsa WorldI Quite a year for CU branching

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TULSA, Okla (12/30/10)--Credit unions altered the Tulsa, Okla. financial services skyline in 2010, with several notable branches opening in the area (Tulsa World Dec. 26). Encentus FCU broke ground on a new branch at 1320 S. Lewis Ave. Encentus FCU, formerly known as the St. John Tulsa FCU, was established in 1970 to serve medical professionals affiliated with St. John Health System. Oklahoma Central CU broke ground on its ninth location at 8075 S. Olympia Ave in the Tulsa Hills . Tulsa FCU announced plans to build a branch at 7447 S. Riverside Drive. TTCU, The Credit Union broke ground for its newest branch facility at 7155 S. Riverside Parkway. When it opens next year, the 4,050-square-foot facility will be the credit union’s 13th location. Red Crown CU closed its downtown location at 509 S. Boston Ave. to focus on growth at other branches. The branch had been open since 1938.

Aussie CUs seek to add bank terms to regs

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CANBERRA, Australia (12/30/10)--Small credit unions in Australia are lobbying for changes in terminology that would include the words "banking," "bank" or "banker" in regulations so they could compete with big banks. Financial institutions' regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), has called for comments on using the term "bank," according to The Advertiser (Dec. 29). APRA's approval is required for financial businesses to use the terms. Abacus-Australian Mutuals, a credit union and building society association that is a member of the World Council of Credit Unions, is advocating the change. Abacus CEO Louise Petschler said "banking" should become part of the regulatory language. The organization supports regulated financial institutions being allowed to market themselves as "mutual banks." Credit societies, similar to savings and loans, may use "banking" to describe their business. However, only institutions with at least $50 million in special capital can use the term "bank" or "banker" in their business names.

Desjardins buys Alberta company to expand nationwide

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MONTREAL, Que. (12/30/10)--Quebec-based Desjardins Group, Canada's largest credit union, has taken steps to expand nationally throughout Canada with its $443 million acquisition of Western Financial, a bank and insurance company based in southern Alberta. Desjardins CEO Monique Leroux said the deal, announced Dec. 24, will kick-start its growth in Western Canada. So far, the $175 billion asset Desjardins' operations are located mostly in Quebec and southern Ontario, with a smaller number of branches in New Brunswick and Manitoba (The Globe and Mail Dec. 26). Western Financial, which began as a collection of insurance brokers in 1996, has 121 offices stretching from British Columbia to Manitoba, and 550,000 banking and investment customers. Its assets will allow Desjardins access to operations across most of Canada. Western Financial will keep its headquarters in High River, Alberta. The deal was approved by Western Financial's board of directors and is subject to approval of its shareholders. It is expected to be completed in second quarter of 2011. The acquisition includes a $10-million break fee and the assumption of $56 million in debt.

N.Y. CU foundation re-elects board officers for 2011

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ALBANY, N.Y (12/30/10)--The New York Credit Union Foundation, the charitable arm of the Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY), re-elected officers for 2011 at its recent annual meeting.
Re-elected as chair of the foundation’s Board of Trustees is Vicki O’Neill, president, ACMG FCU, Solvay, N.Y., Bruno Sementilli, president/CEO, Quorum FCU, Purchase, N.Y., and Brian Clarke, chief financial officer, Bethpage (N.Y.) FCU, Bethpage, N.Y., were elected vice chair and secretary/treasurer, respectively. During the meeting the trustees also thanked outgoing board member Michael Lotz, CEO, British Airways Employees FCU, East Elmhurst, N.Y., for his years of service to the Foundation’s board of trustees. Rounding out the foundation Board of Trustees are:
* Linda Bourgeois, CEO, UFirst FCU; Plattsburgh, N.Y.; * Kevin A. Brauer, senior vice president, Members United Bridge Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill; * Alfred Frosolone, CEO, Niagara’s Choice FCU, Niagara Falls, N.Y.; * John C. Gibardi, president/CEO, Entertainment Industries FCU, New York; * Chris Guild, account consultant manager, CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, Wis.; * Gerard Herrling, community volunteer; * Shirley Jenkins, secretary/board of directors, Municipal CU, New York; * James L. Mack, business development executive, Sunmark FCU, Latham, N.Y.; * William J. Mellin, president/CEO, CUANY, Albany, N.Y.; * Mark Pfisterer, CEO, AmeriCU CU, Rome., N.Y.; * Christine Peters, CEO, Family First of NY FCU, Rochester, N.Y.; * John Prumo, president/CEO, GPO FCU, New Hartford, N.Y.; * Mike Vadala, president/CEO, The Summit FCU, Rochester, N.Y.; and * Robyn Young, CEO, Great Erie FCU, Orchard Park, N.Y.

CUNA closed Friday INews NowI resumes on Monday

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WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (12/30/10)--The Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wis., offices of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will be closed Friday in observance of the New Year holiday. News Now will not publish a Friday issue but will resume regular publication on Monday.