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N.C. league votes to recap First Carolina Corporate

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (2/14/11)--The North Carolina Credit Union League and League Service Corp. board of directors voted unanimously to contribute its fair share toward the recapitalization of First Carolina Corporate CU, the league announced. The board made the commitment at its regular monthly meeting Feb. 3 (Weekly Update Feb. 11). "First Carolina has been a valuable partner to the league and to credit unions in North Carolina over the years," said league President/CEO John Radebaugh. "The corporate landscape has changed dramatically in the last two years, but we strongly believe that the leadership of First Carolina has a great plan in place to continue doing what it does best--serve its members well," he added. In December, the corporate booked its 2010 other than temporary impairment (OTTI) charges, which was offset by accounting adjustments on bonds the corporate had previously written off too much principal, according to a Jan. 24 letter to credit unions from David W. Brehmer, president/CEO. The letter accompanied First Carolina's December 2010 Financial Statements, which are posted on the corporate's website. "The net impact was a loss of $423,000. We sold one credit card asset-backed security at a positive gain of $249,000," said Brehmer in the letter. "After all of these transactions, we were still able to book strong positive earnings for the month. We ended the year with just over $3.2 million in net income." "With no remaining capital at risk at U.S. Central, we have begun building the organization's retained earnings and overall capital position," he said. All remaining deposits at U.S. Central Bridge Corporate are fully covered by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund share guarantee, he added. Assets for the corporate are $1.918 billion, about $136 million more than in December 2009. Its capital is at 1.90%, below the minimum required regulatory capital level. Under the final Regulation 704, the corporate resubmitted its Capital Restoration Plan to the National Credit Union Administration on Jan. 21. It plans to recapitalize the organization by April 29, well before the forbearance period expires, according to the financial statement. The targeted recapitalization goal and plan will put the corporate above all required minimum capital levels well before the October deadline. As of Dec. 31, capital totaled more than $39 million, excluding unrealized losses on securities and accumulated other comprehensive losses.

In the media Metaphors and mortgage modification

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MADISON, Wis. (2/14/11)--Two media reports last week on widely different topics brought up credit unions--one as a metaphor and the other as a solution in a mortgage modification request. First, the metaphor. The announcement last week that AOL was buying the Huffington Post was greeted as an oxymoron at best by Post readers. Within hours of the announcement, readers began voicing their disapproval online. There were so many that Business Insider.com (Feb. 8) wrote a story about readers' reactions. Here's part of what it reported: "Huffington Post readers even made a game of one-upping each other with metaphors that conveyed the depth of their despair about the sale. 'This feels like walking into my credit union only to find out it was bought by Bank of America,' one said. '[It's] like Carol Channing taking over for Fergie in the Black Eyed Peas. Legendary, but past the expiration date by about 10 years,' another lamented. A user with the tech analogy might have been the closest to the broader sentiment: 'It's like Friendster buying Facebook.'" In the other article, a column by personal financial columnist Harry Gross in the Philadelphia Daily News, advised a reader who had been trying to get a mortgage modification since July 2009 and was turned down repeatedly to write lawmakers or try local credit unions. "I know that too many credit inquiries can hurt your credit," Gross wrote, "but I'd like you to try for a new mortgage with two of our local credit unions. With 'too much earnings,' you should be able to get one at a rate that's appreciably lower than you have." (philly.com Feb. 10).

Ohio league board officers chosen

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (2/14/11)--The Ohio Credit Union League and its affiliated boards of directors elected their 2011 officers during their February quarterly meetings. Tim Boellner of AurGroup Financial CU, Fairfield, was elected chair of the league; Barry Shaner of Directions CU, Sylvania, as vice chair; Stan Barnes of CSE FCU, North Canton, as treasurer; and Phil Meyer of Ohio University CU, Athens, as secretary (eLumination Newsletter Feb. 9). On the OCUL Services Corp. board, Tamlyn Straight-Schervish of Unity Catholic FCU, Parma, was elected chair; Vidya Iyengar of Marion (Ohio) Community CU as vice chair; Stan Barnes of CSE FCU as treasurer, and Phil Meyer of Ohio University CU as secretary. For the Ohio Credit Union Legislative Action Committee and Ohio Credit Union League Political Action Committee Boards of Trustees, Gary Soukenik of Seven Seventeen CU, Warren, was elected chair; Mike Kurish of Associated School ECU, Youngstown, as vice chair; Catherine Herring of Communicating Arts CU, Cincinnati, as Treasurer, and Judy Andrews of State Transportation ECU, Columbus, as secretary. On the Ohio Credit Union Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Tom Furrey of Western CU, Columbus, was elected chair; Stan Barnes of CSE FCU as vice chair; Sonja Delaney of Midwest Community FCU, Defiance, as treasurer; and Sandy McCormick of Total Assurance FCU, Worthington, as secretary.

Iowa judge lifts land-deal injunction

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NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (2/14/11)--A judge in Iowa has lifted a temporary injunction against the city of North Liberty, which means the city can move forward with a land deal to develop the new headquarters of University of Iowa Community CU (UICCU). The city had been negotiating with UICCU, landowner North Liberty LLC and several development groups for several months on the project, which would provide a tax incentive to the credit union for moving its headquarters there (press-citizen.com Feb. 11). In December, the Concerned Taxpayers for North Liberty, saying the project would cause taxes to increase, received a temporary injunction to prevent the project from developing. The city negotiated a new deal, and Tuesday night the City Council passed resolutions authorizing the construction of the building (News Now Feb. 10). The city had a hearing scheduled for Friday morning to determine whether the resolutions violated the injunction, but before the hearing took place, District 6 Judge Paul Miller told attorneys he was lifting the injunction, said the Press-Citizen. North Liberty will provide up to $5.4 million in incremental tax rebates on the property. Originally the city had planned to buy $11 million in bonds and use the money as a grant to a local development group to buy 64 acres. The development group would then sell the credit union the property for $1. The city would have paid for the bonds by placing the credit union in a tax incremental funding or TIF district. Instead the development group and credit union will purchase the land directly and be eligible for incremental tax rebates. A second plan would involve UICCU buying 24 acres of land, with the city rebating 100% of the taxes generated by the new headquarters for eight years.

Kansas CUs brave weather to storm Capitol

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Kansas State Rep. Richard Proehl visits with Marla Marsh, president/CEO of the Kansas Credit Union Association (KCUA), during KCUA’s Annual Day at the Capitol on Feb. 9. Proehl is vice chairman of the financial institutions committee. (Photo provided by Kansas Credit Union Association)
TOPEKA, Kan. (2/14/11)--Braving cold and snowy weather, credit union representatives throughout Kansas traveled to the statehouse Feb. 9 to meet with legislators and discuss issues affecting the state’s 101 credit unions and the 605,000 members they serve. At the Kansas Credit Union Association’s (KCUA) Annual Day at the Capitol, the message to legislators was two-fold: Be mindful of new legislative and regulatory burdens that affect credit unions’ ability to serve their members, and remember that credit unions remain especially valuable to consumers in today’s tough economy. “While the weather prevented some attendees from participating, those taking part did a great job of carrying the message,” said Marla Marsh, president/CEO of KCUA. “We heard from several legislators that they not only understand the impact of increasing regulations on credit unions, but will work to maintain a balance between protecting consumers and stifling business growth.” That was a main point made during the day’s keynote event--a panel discussion featuring the state’s top legislative leaders: Senate President Steve Morris, Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, House Speaker Pro-Tem Jene Vickrey and House Minority Leader Paul Davis. “People are becoming increasingly mindful that we are over-regulated in certain areas,” said Davis. “But we also have to be cognizant that regulations are in place for a reason. It’s a balancing act.” Morris agreed. “Congress hasn’t figured out how to regulate the big institutions, so they’re over-regulating, and that is affecting smaller institutions,” he said. “We are very conscious about the effects of the laws and try to limit those that aren’t needed.” The day also included scheduled visits with state legislators in both chambers and an afternoon presentation by Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes, whose office works with KCUA to provide financial literacy camps for students statewide.

First Gentleman launches student program at SECU

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North Carolina First Gentleman Bob Eaves (center, back row) recently visited the State Employees’ CU (SECU) Raleigh Centennial Parkway branch. Eaves, and SECU Board Chairman Jim Barber (right, back row) and Branch Vice President Tim Swinson, spoke with students from Centennial Middle School about the importance of education in workplace success. (Photo provided by State Employees’ Credit Union)
RALEIGH, N.C. (2/14/11)—North Carolina First Gentleman Bob Eaves visited the State Employees’ CU (SECU) branches in Raleigh and Greensboro Jan. 31 to begin N.C. Business Committee for Education’s Students@Work Week. Eaves, SECU’s Board Chairman Jim Barber and Raleigh Centennial Parkway Branch Vice President Tim Swinson, spoke with a group of students from Centennial Middle School about the importance of education in workplace success. Eaves, the husband of North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue, also traveled to SECU’s Greensboro Summit Avenue branch to speak with students from Aycock Middle School. Students@Work, a program spearheaded by Eaves, focuses on raising North Carolina’s graduation rate by giving middle-school students a chance to connect their classroom learning to real-world workplace experiences. SECU branches statewide participated in the campaign, which ran through Feb. 4. Eaves launched the program in New Bern in 2010, encouraging businesses to provide job-shadowing opportunities for middle-school students. Eaves has enlisted the support of the state Department of Public Instruction and the state Business Committee for Education to grow Students@Work to 30 companies spanning all 100 North Carolina counties. The program focuses on middle-school students because middle school is a crucial time for dropout prevention. Of every 100 students who enter the ninth grade, about 29 drop out, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. “Too many students don’t see the value in their education,” said Eaves. “We need to motivate these kids and let them see there is a bright future.”

Save to Win 100000 grand-prize winner presented

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Charmain Hanners (right), winner of the $100,000 grand prize in the Save to Win contest, poses for pictures with her husband Ronald (left) and grandson Charlie. (Photo provided by Michigan Credit Union League)
LIVONIA, Mich. (2/14/11)--Charmain Hanners, a member of $243 million-asset Alpena Alcona Area CU, Alpena, Mich., won the $100,000 grand prize in Michigan’s groundbreaking Save to Win contest. Save to Win is a Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) program designed to encourage saving. Each $25 deposit into a Save to Win certificate by a credit union member is good for one entry into the annual $100,000 grand-prize drawing. The program also awards smaller monthly cash prizes ranging from $125 to $1,000. As of Dec. 31, roughly 157 Aplena Alcona Area CU members had saved $84,000 through the Save to Win program. Statewide, credit union members saved $28 million, according to the MCUL (Michigan Monitor Feb. 11). Hanners and her husband Ronald have been credit union members since 1973. Her father served on a credit union board. Hanners opened the account in July to save money for her grandson’s education. She said she plans to use some of her winnings for that purpose, and for the education of any future grandchildren. She also indicated she will share her winnings with battered women’s and homeless shelters and the American Cancer Society.

CU System briefs (02/11/2011)

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* KOHLER, Wis. (2/14/11)--Art students at Sheboygan (Wis.) High School designed checks for the Kohler CU, based in Kohler, as part of a graphic design unit, said The Sheboygan Press Feb. 6). Each student in Drawing Intensive classes was required to design a check, make it visually appealing and include all the components of a check. Students used a variety of media, including pen and ink, acrylic paint, watercolor and Prismacolors. The artwork will be displayed at Kohler's Taylor Drive branch until the end of the month … * SANTA ROSA, Calif. (2/14/11)--Redwood CU employees showed their
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support for healthy hearts on the American Heart Association's (AHA) National Wear Red Day on Feb. 4. In addition to wearing red, employees went the distance by walking 65 miles during their breaks and lunch hour to take action against heart disease. "RCU is focused on helping people be financially healthy, but we also want our communities to enjoy the benefits of being physically healthy, so participating … is a natural fit," said Robin McKenzie, RCU senior vice president. By adding the walk-a-thon this year, "our staff was able to enjoy the unseasonably warm February sunshine while reminding our communities that there are simple steps everyone can take to prevent heart disease." (Photo provided by Redwood CU) … * HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (2/14/11)--The New Jersey Credit Union League's
cooperative advertising campaign, "New Jersey's Credit Unions, Banking You Can Trust," this year is expanding its existing TV and radio coverage, continuing its New Jersey Transit ads, and branching into new outlets, such as this billboard (The Daily Exchange Feb. 10). Billboards will carry the message throughout Essex, Middlesex and Union Counties. (Photo provided by the New Jersey Credit Union League) …

Minnesota network restructures

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (2/14/11)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) has undergone an internal reorganization so it can better serve member credit unions as a more focused, strategic trade association, announced MnCUN Friday. MnCUN has separated its not-for-profit operations from its for-profit operations to allow individual focus on both areas. Governmental affairs continues as one of the network's core functions. The new executive team includes:
* Kristina Wright, formerly vice president-communications, now vice president-association services; * John Ferstl, who will join MnCUN as vice president-Network Service Corp.; and * Mara Humphrey, who will continue as vice president-governmental affairs.
Wright has led the communications department since 2000. Ferstl has nine years' experience with a metro area credit union, where he directed sales and consumer lending. Humphrey joined the network as its chief lobbyist in 2006. According to MnCUN President/CEO Mark Cummins, "this new internal structure will allow the network staff to contribute more resources to areas of major importance, including governmental affairs and public relations. In addition, we look forward to strengthening the Network Service Corp. to offer additional value and increased products and services to credit unions."