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CU System briefs (02/13/2014)

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  • TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (2/13/14)- -The League of Southeastern Credit Unions and Affiliates has rebranded its annual convention for 2014 . Now open to all league-affiliated credit unions, the Southeast Credit Union Conference and Expo will be June 11-13 in Orlando, Fla. "For four years we have averaged 1,000 attendees at our convention," said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine ( eSignal Feb. 12). "With our location in Orlando, it's already a destination location so growing our conference makes sense," he added. Bobby Bowden, retired coach of the Florida State Seminoles, will be the keynote speaker at the conference, which is themed "Living the Seven Cooperative Principles." ...
     
  • MERIDEN, Conn. (2/13/14)-- Through the Connecticut Credit Union Charitable Foundation, the state's credit unions donated $10,000 to Operation Fuel , which works to ensure residents have access to energy year-round. "Our winter funds are nearly depleted," said Lynn McDonald, Operation Fuel director of development. "This donation will help not only to keep families warm, but also to keep freezers cold, stoves hot and provides the comfort and safety of reliable energy." On hand for the Feb. 6 presentation were McDonald; Nick Moalli, Abbi Stamler and President/CEO Jill Nowacki, Credit Union League of Connecticut; Jim Howard, New Haven County CU, North Haven; Robert Aresti, 360 FCU, Windsor Locks; Andy Klimkoski, Achieve Financial CU, Berlin; Paul Dorner, First Bristol FCU, Bristol; John Keet, Personal Care America FCU, Trumbull; and Annette Janovic, Alloya Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill. ...
     
  • OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (2/13/14)-- Michael Kloiber, president/CEO of $3.1 billion-asset Tinker FCU, was honored as one of "Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs," as selected by The Journal Record . As a three-time recipient in the private company category, the president/CEO of the Oklahoma City-based credit union also was inducted into the Chain of Distinction. Kloiber and 31 others were selected based on leadership characteristics, integrity, values, vision, commitment to excellence, financial performance, and commitment to community and diversity.  ...

CU CEO confidence rebounds to pre-shutdown levels

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PLANO, Texas (2/13/14)--Credit union CEOs' confidence in the economy rebounded in the fourth quarter, according to a survey conducted by Catalyst Corporate FCU.
 
The Plano, Texas-based wholesale cooperative financial institution's CEO confidence index rose more than three points over the third-quarter survey to 27.04, approximating levels recorded for the first and second quarters of 2013.
 
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the confidence survey. Looking back to 2004, U.S. GDP was around 4%, unemployment was around 5.5%, and the CU CEO Confidence Index registered almost 20 points higher than it does today.
 
CEOs' optimism regarding their members' current and future financial conditions improved over last quarter, rising 2.19 points and 3.38 points, respectively. Analysis of their own institution's current and future financial conditions also rose over last quarter's results by 1.99 points and 4.65 points, respectively.
 
Only two survey measurements reflected new highs for the year--loan demand and credit union future financial condition--while the remaining measurements stayed at or dipped lower than the average for the past four quarters.
 
The improvement in loan demand and future financial condition is accounted for by higher mortgage rates and improved auto sales, said Brian Turner, Catalyst Strategic Solutions director and chief strategist.
 
"Interest rates are not expected to be significantly higher during 2014, loan demand should improve, but most likely will be concentrated with the larger credit unions, and share growth should be at the most, moderately better," Turner said.

Deadline nearing for WOCCU Distinguished Service Award nominations

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Whitehouse named to CUNA Mutual board

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MADISON, Wis. (2/13/14)--CUNA Mutual Group has appointed Janet V. Whitehouse to its board of directors.
 
Whitehouse brings nearly three decades of business and insurance industry experience to the CUNA Mutual Group board, most recently as president of Wentworth Advisory Group, which provides strategic advice to corporations in various stages of development.
 
She began her career as an elementary school teacher, then after earning an MBA in 1985, she entered the corporate world.  Whitehouse served as a senior executive at Sun Life Financial and Unum Corp. In those roles, she led complex mergers and acquisitions, financial turnarounds, organizational restructuring and business development ventures.
 
"Janet's proven leadership experience and vast knowledge of the insurance industry will be tremendous assets to the board of directors and our company," said Jeff Post, president/CEO, CUNA Mutual Group.
 
In addition to Whitehouse and Post, other CUNA Mutual Group board members include:
  • Eldon R. Arnold, chairman, retired president/CEO, CEFCU, Peoria, Ill.;
  • C. Alan Peppers, president/CEO, Westerra CU, Denver;
  •  Joseph J. Gasper, retired president/COO, Nationwide Insurance, Columbus, Ohio;
  • Loretta M. Burd, retired president/CEO, Centra CU, Columbus, Ind.;
  • Bert J. Hash Jr., president/CEO, Municipal Employees CU of Baltimore Inc.;
  • Larry T. Wilson, retired president/CEO, Coastal FCU, Raleigh, N.C.;
  • James W. Zilinski, retired chairman/president/CEO, Berkshire Life Insurance Co., Pittsfield, Mass.;
  • Robert J. Marzec, retired audit partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York;
  • Randy M. Smith, retired CEO, Randolph-Brooks FCU, Live Oak, Texas;
  • Thomas C. Godlasky, vice chairman, retired CEO, Aviva North America, Des Moines, Iowa; and
  • Caren C. Gabriel, president/CEO, Ascend FCU, Tullahoma, Okla.

Removing barriers, awareness ads highlighted at Wis. GAC

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MADISON, Wis. (2/13/14)--The Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate passed a bipartisan-approved set of reforms for the state's credit unions and sent it to Gov. Scott Walker for signing.
 
The action came as more than 200 credit union activists gathered at the Wisconsin Credit Union League's Governmental Affairs Conference in Madison this week.
 
"We applaud the Legislature for passing common-sense reforms that allow credit unions to spend less time unraveling regulatory requirements and more time providing consumers and communities the services that have consistently earned them recognition for their social responsibility," said league President/CEO Brett Thompson.
 
"While no single change in the bills may be pivotal in and of itself, passage of reform packages such as this yield regulatory improvements and operational changes that reduce a small portion of the regulatory burden on state credit unions," said Tom Liebe, league vice president of government affairs. "These reforms remove a number of barriers for credit unions and are a clear expression of The League's commitment to 'Unite for Good.'"
 
Credit union awareness radio ads began playing across Wisconsin this week as well.
 
"The League's ads are designed to build awareness, fire up the faithful members and discourage bankers and their trade associations who are currently engaged in their own grassroots activity to tax credit unions," said Thompson.
 
He noted that the radio ads, which are strategically linked to the national "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign, are scheduled to run during the Wisconsin and Credit Union National Association governmental affairs conferences.
 
The ads will be broadcast on radio stations throughout Wisconsin over the next six weeks.

Legislators warm to CU message at Wash. Capitol

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (2/13/14)--Gloomy winter weather was no match for the golden glow of brightly colored scarves worn by Washington credit union advocates during Credit Union Day at the Capitol in Olympia last week.
 
Click to view larger image Northwest Credit Union Association Vice President for Legislative Affairs Mark Minickiello, left, and Harborstone CU's Roger Johansen, senior vice president and chief credit officer, and Vicky Nelson, business sales and services manager, show off their "Northwest Credit Unions: Stronger Together, Better Than Ever" scarves during Credit Union Day at the Capitol. (Northwest Credit Union Association photo)
"Everyone showed a brave face as they struggled to keep warm in our tent on the Capitol lawn," said Mark Minickiello, vice president for legislative affairs, Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). "But what they didn't struggle with was the high energy they passed along to legislators throughout the Capitol," he told The Anthem (Feb. 11).
 
Legislators quickly warmed to the more than 110 credit union delegates. Reps. Sam Hunt (D-22) and  Brandon Vick (R-18) both stepped out of committee hearings to meet with visitors from Thurston and Clark counties. Jane Parker, an advocate from Federal Way-based Woodstone CU, shared the benefits of credit union membership with Rep. Hans Zeiger (R-25) and Sen. Bruce Dammeier (R-25).
 
The response was so great that after Rep. Jeff Holy (R-6) met with Spokane-area advocates, he immediately pulled HB 2140, the NWCUA-backed credit union merger bill, out of the House Rules Committee, making it eligible for a floor vote, The Anthem reported.
 
"Even non-legislators got caught up in Credit Union Day," Minickiello said. "Many of our advocates were stopped in the cafeteria and in hallways by folks outside of the Legislature who wanted to ask about credit unions or share their love for credit unions."
 
Credit Union Day came at a time when the Legislature is struggling with the state budget and tax reform. It's imperative, Minickiello said, that every legislator understands the difference between credit unions and banks, and why the credit union tax exemption is so important.
 
The credit union employees, members and volunteers were armed with information: Washington's 106 credit unions represent 2.9 million members, and those members saved more than $200 million when compared to typical bank customers from June 2012 to June 2013.
 
Legislative leaders also stopped at NWCUA's tent on the Capitol lawn to talk to constituents and to watch a financial reality fair in action. Rep. Joel Kretz (R-7), deputy House minority leader, said that credit unions are a key player in bringing financial services to his rural district. "I appreciate that you are part of the community," he told the bundled-up audience.
 
Minickiello told them to keep in mind the unique credit union structure and value, but ultimately, he said, "It's your voice as a member, as a credit union employee or director that is most important. Tell your story."
 

Neb. 'Save to Win' awards $25K to lucky saver

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LINCOLN, Neb. (2/13/14)--A member of MembersOwn CU, Lincoln, Neb., is the winner of Nebraska's "Save to Win" program.
 
Ronald Hibbert, who has been a member of the $85 million-asset credit union for more than 47 years, received the $25,000 grand prize Wednesday.
 
"The goal of the 'Save to Win' program is to show our members that building a savings nest egg is possible even in small amounts and that saving doesn't have to be boring, but rather, it can and should be fun," said Scott Sullivan, president/CEO, Nebraska Credit Union League.
 
Since the launch of the program in 2012, Nebraska credit union members have opened 1,462 "Save to Win" accounts with an average balance of $1,648 per account and more than $2.4 million in total savings.
 
In Nebraska, "Save to Win" accounts are one-year certificates of deposit, which members can open with $25 and make deposits throughout the year. For each $25 deposited, a member earns an entry into drawings for monthly and annual prizes.
 

Iowa league hosts bipartisan forum for 1st congressional district

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DES MOINES, Iowa (2/13/14)--The Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) will host a bipartisan candidate forum Tuesday for candidates seeking the state's First Congressional District nominations.
 
The forum will be moderated by Dean Borg, host of "Iowa Press," a weekly half-hour news and interview program on Iowa Public Television.
 
"ICUL and its member credit unions represent more than one million Iowans," said Jon Murphy, league director of government affairs. "Our members come from all political parties and have asked that we keep them informed on federal and state issues. This forum offers our members a unique opportunity to hear from candidates from both parties, and to hear their solutions to the important issues facing Iowa."
 
The forum will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon in Des Moines and will be streamed live at http://bit.ly/1cvVvkr . Live streaming begins at 10:25 a.m. More than 100 Iowa credit union leaders are expected to attend to learn more about the candidates' stands on the issues.

Voyage CU helps fellow co-op recover after fire

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (2/13/14)--A Sioux Falls, S.D., credit union helped an unlucky area business last week. But unlike typical credit union assistance to small enterprises, this had nothing to do with interest rates or principal reductions.
 
Click to view larger image Voyage FCU employees and Sioux Falls, S.D., community members helped restore Co-op Natural Foods after a fire. (Credit Union Association of the Dakotas photo)
Several Voyage FCU employees lent a hand to Co-op Natural Foods last Saturday, weeks after a fire set by an arsonist gutted its store. Voyage workers and other community members brought supplies and helped clean and paint the co-op's new temporary location ( The Memo Feb. 12). Employees of the $71 million-asset credit union also contributed toward the cost of cleaning supplies.
 
Voyage FCU CEO Darla Erb, who helped repair drywall and prepared walls for primer, praised the co-op, of which Voyage Marketing Coordinator Molly Brown is a member.
 
"We have such an incredible community here in Sioux Falls and have really come together in supporting one of our local cooperatives," Erb told The Memo . "Natural Foods is making strides in our community, and it is good to see their comeback since the fire."
 
Co-op Natural Foods, which has more than 1,700 members, has been in Sioux Falls since 1973.