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SECU adds 500 million to 1.1 billion student loan funds

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RALEIGH, N.C. (12/8/08)--State Employees’ CU (SECU) will provide an additional $500 million in funding for student loans to North Carolina students, it announced Friday. The $500 million is in addition to a previous SECU investment of $1.1 billion for student loans it announced in June, bringing SECU’s total commitment to student loans to $1.6 billion, the Raleigh, N.C.-based credit union said. The new funds are part of an agreement SECU has entered with North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) and College Foundation Inc. (CFI). The funds will provide dollars for federally insured Stafford and Plus Student Loans. The funds were made available because the turbulent economic times has resulted in other providers of education loan funds pulling out of the market, said SECU. Its funding ensures that there will be funds available for students’ 2009 spring semester needs.

Iowa league Challenges bring opportunities for CUs

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DES MOINES, Iowa (12/8/08)--The Iowa Credit Union League believes that the current economic challenges and changes present credit unions “with a significant opportunity to be part of the solution,” says Patrick S. Jury, league CEO. They can do that by “serving the underserved Hispanic market--the largest, fastest-growing and most-underserved ethnic group in America,” Jury said. “Amid the current economic challenges and political changes, credit unions are working diligently to increase their membership, comply with increasing regulatory pressures, serve a growing number of underserved communities, and combat a predatory financial industry,” he said. Nearly one-third of the U.S. population will be Hispanic by 2042, he said. “This growth will not be a product of immigration, but of U.S.-born children and grandchildren of immigrants. Hispanics demonstrate a high work force participation rate, increasing household income, collective purchasing power, booming entrepreneurship, and it is one of the youngest populations that are largely unbanked and in need of financial services. “Credit unions have an opportunity to serve this market while increasing membership, portfolio and asset growth,” he added. ICUL’s subsidiary, Coopera Consulting, is helping Iowa credit unions and system partners such as Credit Union National Association, World Council of Credit Unions, U.S. Central CU and state leagues explore how they might best integrate strategic Hispanic outreach, he said in a press release. “Credit unions’ success, in part, is tied to developing the right mindset to reach unexplored areas of membership and growth.,” Jury said. “As credit unions realize that they need to serve this market, they also need to ask how they can do this effectively. As they establish this foundation, strategic planning can help align efforts and provide accountability. He advocated a “comprehensive approach” to adapt to this market rather than waiting for it to adapt to the credit unions. “This involves analyzing the credit union’s personnel, products, processes, and promotion strategies. It is not sufficient to merely translate materials, to implement a few scattered marketing campaigns, or to hire bilingual tellers. These steps are important, but should be components of a broad, pre-determined, proactive strategy in order to experience success more quickly and efficiently,” he urged. He compared the pursuit of the Hispanic market to “a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time, commitment and dedication to reach the Hispanic population. A successful effort will incorporate a deliberate and comprehensive approach that will ultimately result in a true partnership with the Hispanic community.”

CUNA Board election ballots due Dec. 19

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WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (12/8/08)--Credit unions in some districts/classes still have time to vote for their respective Credit Union National Association (CUNA) director representatives on CUNA’s board. Credit unions can still vote in two districts. For District 2, Class C, candidates are:
* Rod Staatz, president/CEO, State Employees CU of Maryland, Linthicum, Md.; and * Ron Collier, CEO of Indiana Members CU, Indianapolis.
For District 4, Class B:
* Bohdan Watral, president/CEO, Selfreliance Ukrainian American FCU, Chicago; and * Pete Dzuris, Northland Area FCU, Oscoda, Mich.
Ballots are due to an independent auditing firm by Dec. 19. Results will be made known Dec. 22.

CU System briefs (12/05/2008)

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* DURHAM, N.C. (12/8/08)--Self-Help CU is offering a $2,500 reward for information about an attack Nov. 24 by four men its CEO and founder, Martin Eakes. The credit union’s reward is in addition to one offered by CrimeStoppers for information leading to an arrest. Eakes was beaten repeatedly and robbed in a parking garage adjacent to the credit union. The men took his wallet, cash and two cell phones (The News & Observer (Dec. 4) … * MOBILE, Ala. (12/8/08)—A man who fired a gun during a credit union robbery and stole a manager’s car was sentenced to seven years and 11 months in prison by a federal judge Thursday. Jarvis Latron McAllister, 22, fired a shot into the ceiling of Mobile-based New Horizons CU on May 9 and yelled, “Everybody get on the ground.” Another man jumped the teller counter and stuffed money from teller drawers into a trash bag. Richardo Eason faces robbery charges in the incident ( Dec. 4) … * MODESTO, Calif. (12/8/08)—Four men at a Merced, Calif.-based auto dealer were arrested Wednesday in connection with an auto financing scam involving half a million dollars. Federal agents raided Auto Expo USA and arrested Abdel “Fred” Baset Jawad; Abdul “Manny” Muniem Mohamad Jawad; Najeh “Alex” Kamal Jawad, and Armand Fathic Abdallah, also known as Armando Souza. The indictment alleges that the suspects operated a scheme to enable customers to obtain financing, even if they didn’t qualify, by preparing false financial documents and forwarding the falsified information on loan applications to Modesto, Calif.-based Valley First CU. Based on the incorrect information, the credit union granted financing to about 60 people who were not qualified for a loan (Merced Sun-Star Dec. 4) … * DALLAS, Texas (12/8/08)--Three Tulsa, Okla., men have been charged in federal indictments with a series of burglaries in four states, including a June 30 burglary of $168,000 at Euless, Texas-based Southwest Airlines CU. The affidavit is four Matthew G. Moreland, 20; Jerry Clyde Stephenson Jr., 39; and Victor Revilla Jr., 39 (Fort Worth Star-Telegram Nov. 29). Burglars used power tools to cut through the front-door lock, disabled the alarm and outside lights, and drilled through the safe ... * BURLINGTON, Vt. (12/8/08)--Vermont FCU, a $215 million asset credit union based in Burlington, has named Bernard J. Isabelle as its new president/CEO, announced Board Chairman Curran “Spike” Robinson last week. Isabelle succeeds Joseph M. Finnigan, who served as president/CEO since 1978. Finnigan announced his retirement plans earlier this year and will assist in the transition through first quarter 2009. Isabelle previously served as senior vice president/chief financial officer and senior vice president/chief investment officer at Greylock FCU, a $1 billion asset credit union in Pittsfield, Mass. He also served in senior level positions at several northeast financial institutions including Sikorsky FCU and First Federal Savings & Loan of East Hartford … * ARLINGTON, Va. (12/8/08)--Drema Isaac, president/CEO of Central Macomb Community CU, Mt. Clemens, Mich., has been appointed as a director on the Credit Union Executive Council of the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS). The announcement was made by NASCUS Credit Union Advisory Council Chairman Mendell Thompson. Isaac has been president/CEO of the credit union since 2002. Before that, she served in key executive positions at Northland Area FCU, Oscoda; and was chairperson of the Community Reinvestment Initiatives Future Vision Committee; vice chairperson of the Metro East Chapter of Credit Unions; and a member of the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Michigan Credit Union League. She will represent District I, filling the unexpired term of Mary McDonald of Genisys CU, Troy, Mich., who retires at the end of the year. Isaac’s term will end in September 2010 …

Members United Wisconsin CUs offer college savings plan

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WARRENVILLE, Ill. (12/8/08)--Wisconsin credit unions can participate in their state’s EdVest college savings program as result of a partnership between Members United Corporate FCU, Wells Fargo Fund Management LLC, and Primary Financial Company LLC. EdVest, a 529 college saving program, recently introduced a credit union certificate of deposit (CD) portfolio. The portfolio invests in underlying share certificates issued by Wisconsin credit unions. Primary Financial Co. is the corporate credit union service organization (CUSO) that provides the SimpliCD program, which allows credit unions to invest funds in federally insured certificates of deposit without the hassles, time and expense of finding and making investments on their own. Through SimpliCD, credit unions can issue certificates to raise liquidity by accepting investments from the EdVest program. “Members United, the Wisconsin Savings Program Board and Wells Fargo worked diligently to bring this program to fruition,” said Mike Lee, president of Members United’s Midwest region. “As a result, EdVest is the first 529 plan in the country to include credit union certificates. Working with the Wisconsin Credit Union League, we’ve engaged multiple local credit unions to participate in the program.” Warrenville, Ill.-based Members United, in partnership with the league and the CUSO will locate credit unions willing to participate. “Credit unions are in business to help members, and this program does just that by giving EdVest access to credit unions’ most competitive rates statewide,” said Brett Thompson, league president/CEO. “EdVest is an under-tapped resource that Wisconsin credit unions can use to help members reach their educational savings goals,” he added. The league worked on the project for two years before it became available to the public.

Connecticut league launches small CU support program

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MERIDEN, Conn. (12/8/08)--The Credit Union League of Connecticut’s Small Credit Union Support program was launched Wednesday with its first educational session for small credit unions.
Jay Friedland of M&M Consulting addresses regulatory issues raised by a credit union manager during the Credit Union League of Connecticut’s Small Credit Union Support Program educational session on Red Flag Identity Theft compliance. (Photo provided by the Credit Union League of Connecticut)
Jay Friedland, compliance professional for M&M Consulting, a league strategic partner specializing in compliance, audit and commercial loan review and risk management services, presented a two-part session on Identity Theft Red Flag guidelines to management groups representing 31 small credit unions throughout the state. The morning session focused on M&M’s Identity Theft Compliance Management Program, featuring regulatory issues, variances, approaches and potential consequences for noncompliance, and also methods and procedure for abidance. The interactive afternoon session provided a sampling of model situations during which Friedland addressed specific issues raised by attendees. The league’s program is part of a Strategic Process it launched in 2008 and is designed to provide smaller credit unions with free, appropriate information and regulatory compliance guidance.

Apartments for homeless vets funded by SECU

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RALEIGH, N.C. (12/8/08)--State Employees' CU (SECU) members, through the SECU Foundation, are providing permanent financing for transitional housing for homeless veterans in Durham, N.C.
State Employees' CU (SECU), through the SECU Foundation, Raleigh, N.C., is helping develop the Maple Court Apartments, to provide permanent financing for transitional housing for homeless veterans in Durham, N.C. Pictured is the construction site. (Photo provided by State Employees' CU Foundation)
The initiative is a partnership with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. The new facility, known as Maple Court Apartments, is being developed by Volunteers of America of the Carolinas, with support from the City of Durham and the Veterans Administration (VA). The project responds to a large number of homeless veterans served by the VA Hospital in Durham. The vets are disabled or have chronic health problems exacerbated by the lack of safe, decent, affordable housing, said SECU. “The individuals served by Maple Court Apartments are citizens who have graciously served our country and are now suffering very difficult times,” said SECU board Chairman Shirley Bell. “This SECU Foundation project, which is a true example of the ‘People Helping People’ cooperative spirit, is providing assistance to these veterans on a much larger scale than we as individuals could begin to accomplish.” Maple Court Apartments will offer 24 rental units on a 1.6-acre site in North Durham. The Travis Porter Veterans’ Resource Center at Maple Court will be available for residents and for other veterans living at the adjacent LIFE House, developed by Volunteers of America for persons with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities. The Travis Porter Center will be staffed by supportive services coordinators and offers space for other community services providers. Services include life skills, education, employment, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, general health and dental care. SECU, based in Raleigh, N.C., has more than $15 billion in assets.

New Mexico association board freezes dues

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PHOENIX (12/8/08)--The Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM) Board of Directors has voted to freeze the membership dues again for 2009. The announcement was made Friday by William Jacobs, president/CEO of White Sands FCU, Las Cruces, and CUANM Board chairman. The current dues schedule has not been raised since 2004, CUANM said. “While our organizational costs continue to increase, CUANM’s non-dues related activities help to absorb the impact normally passed on to member credit unions in the form of dues increases,” said CUANMN President/CEO Sylvia Lyon. “We are delighted that our financial performance affords us the opportunity to return this savings to our credit unions for the fourth straight year,” she said. “We realize how difficult it is for our members to sustain their earnings in these uncertain times, and we hope that this will be another signal of how much we appreciate their support year in and year out,” Lyon added.