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Altura CU to close Coachella branch

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (2/22/10)--Riverside, Calif.-based Altura CU will close its Coachella branch on March 24, according to Altura President/CEO Mark Hawkins. The branch originally was scheduled to close May 7, 2009. At that time, the City Council of Coachella intervened and asked Altura to reconsider, said Hawkins' announcement. The council, concerned about losing one of only two financial institutions in town, requested Altura keep the branch open at least through Dec. 31, 2009. "We understood their concerns and decided to give the location more time," said Hawkins. "Unfortunately, difficult economic conditions continue to affect the Inland Empire, including Coachella." Hawkins noted the area's high unemployment and foreclosure rates "created challenges for all financial institutions, us included. It was a very difficult decision and one we hoped we wouldn't have to make in 2010." All positions at the branch are being eliminated. "Our Coachella employees have been offered severance packages, outplacement services and Altura's loan modification packages to assist them in this transition," Hawkins said. Altura has $890 million in assets.

Vermont CUs planning iBelong campaign

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (2/22/10)--Vermont's credit unions are planning a spring 2010 iBelong television campaign to tout the benefits of credit union membership, said the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU). AVCU's Marketing Committee chaired by Matt Levandowski of Heritage Family FCU, Rutland, is creating the campaign, which is based on materials from the iBelong program created by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Newslines Express Feb. 19). The two associations signed an agreement last year allowing Vermont to use the Pennsylvania campaign. Commercials will begin airing in broadcast and cable markets throughout the state the week of April 12 and will continue until Memorial Day, said AVCU. Prior to the launch, the iBelong website will debut upgraded credit union locators and search engine optimization that will bring up the iBelong site as a first option when someone enters "Find a credit union" into a search engine like Google.

Silver State Schools CU gets infusion from ASI

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LAS VEGAS (2/22/10)--Silver State Schools CU has received a capital infusion to bolster its general reserves from its private share insurer, announced President/CEO Dave Rhamy. In a bulletin to members on the credit union's website Thursday, noted the credit union's plan, announced in December, "to immediately increase our reserves through a cooperative effort with our deposit insurance provider. "I am pleased to announce that we have successfully completed this transaction," Rhamy said. "This capital infusion bolsters our general reserves now, and positions us to continue to help our members as we move forward." A specific amount was not mentioned, but a local newspaper said the state's largest credit union had received $22 million from its insurer, Ohio-based American Share Insurance (ASI) (Las Vegas Review-Journal Feb. 19). On the credit union's website, Rhamy said the credit union has "seen periodic downturns in the national economy, but certainly nothing compares to the past two years." In 2008, the credit union reported a record $10 million net income from operations but set aside $10 million in reserves for potential loan losses, Rhamy said. During 2009, as property values continued to ecline and record numbers of members experienced reduced income, the credit union recorded $8.1 million net income from operations but set aside $59 million to cover current and potential future loan losses. "We have plans to replace those set asides, but the replacement rate will be slow given the continued sluggish economic recovery," he said. According to the local newspaper, local banking professionals said the collaborative effort is "extremely unusual and possibly unique." Nevada is one of five states hit hardest by the recession. The 60-year-old credit union serves primarily teachers and their families.

More pubs see CUs as lending option for small biz

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MADISON, Wis. (2/22/10)--Credit unions could lend and are looking to lend more to U.S. small businesses, according to two publications. The California Credit Union League and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) support legislation that would allow expanded lending to small businesses. The California league is supporting the federal Small Business Lending Enhancement Act (House Resolution 3380 and Senate Bill 2019) that would raise credit unions’ small business lending cap to 25% of total assets from 12.25% reported the San Gabriel Valley Tribune (Feb. 19). The article also was published in the Pasadena Star-News. Whittier Daily News and USA Today featured a link to the Valley Tribune. Passage of the legislation could infuse up to $10 billion into the national economy and create more than 100,000 jobs--at no cost to taxpayers, Bob Arnould, league senior vice president of government affairs, told the newspaper. For California, raising the lending cap could potentially result in more than $2 billion in new loans, he added. “We came through this current economic crisis without any [Troubled Asset Relief Program] money,” Arnould told the paper. “We think we can create 25,000 jobs in the state of California by freeing up credit unions to expand lending.” About 180 credit unions nationwide are at their lending limit and can’t lend more unless the cap is raised, CUNA said in the (Feb. 18). Because credit unions are nonprofits and offer lower interest rates than other financial institutions, an increase in their lending capabilities could be especially positive for small businesses, the publication said. To read the articles, use the links.

Move money to CUs suggested in Nevada revenue hunt

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CARSON CITY, Nevada (2/22/10)--The state of Nevada should move its corporate accounts from major banking institutions to Nevada’s credit unions and community banks, according to a state policymaker. State Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) told The Nevada Appeal that many businesses cannot obtain loans from national financial corporations. Horsford spoke to the newspaper regarding ideas policymakers have to generate more revenue for the state and reduce budget cuts. The state budget has an estimated $881 million shortfall (Nevada Appeal Feb. 19). The state should put its money into credit unions and banks, Horsford said, and then provide businesses incentives to invest in them. To read the full article, use the link.

CU System briefs (02/19/2010)

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* PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (2/22/10)--CORRECTION: In its original article posted Friday about West Virginia Corporate CU's financials for 2009, News Now reported three facts incorrectly. The correct facts are: The corporate's net income for December was $22,000. The corporate's losses totaled $2.9 million in 2008, and the corporate is located in Parkersburg, W.Va. News Now regrets the errors ... * LOUISVILLE, Colo. (2/22/10)--Boulder Valley CU opened its second student credit union branch in the Boulder Valley School District at Monarch High School Feb. 12. The Coyote Student CU, named for the school's mascot, will provide an opportunity for students to learn about financial services and credit responsibility through experience in a safe environment with parents' involvement and support. It will feature an Educational Student Visa Credit Card that requires a parent's signature and joint involvement. Students are required to take an online credit responsibility course provided by a financial literacy website. A Boulder Valley CU branch manager will oversee day-to-day operations. Attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony were, from left: Coyote Student CU student staffers Rochelle Bergen, a senior, and Mandy Murray, a junior; U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.); Monarch Principal Dr. Jerry Anderson; and Coyote student employee Andrew Eberhardt, a sophomore. (Photo provided by Boulder Valley CU) ... * GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (2/22/10)--Lake Michigan CU, a $1.7 billion-asset, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based credit union, more than doubled its net income in 2009 while recording double-digit volume growth. The credit union said it recorded net income of $15.6 million last year, compared with $6.2 million in 2008. Last year’s financial results include an “unbelievable” 2.7% net interest margin, said Sandy Jelinski, president/CEO. She added that 2010 should be an even better year because an improving economy should generate greater loan demand (Mlive Feb. 19) … * MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (2/22/10)--Kinecta FCU announced that Korn/Ferry International, a recruiting firm, will help the credit union search for a new president/CEO. The firm was selected based on its track record of attracting highly qualified and diverse candidates, the credit union said. Steven Lumm, Kinecta interim president/CEO, is working with the board to advise the CEO search process and is overseeing Kinecta's operations. Kinecta has 3.5 billion in assets ...

Total collected for Haiti--805621

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MADISON, Wis. (2/22/10)--Money collected for credit unions’ Haiti earthquake relief efforts is $805,621, announced the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions. The foundation is the World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) charitable arm. Of this total, the U.S. credit union movement raised $383,964.57 through CUAid, credit unions’ online disaster relief system--$383,964.57, according to Jill Stevenson, marketing and communications coordinator for the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF). Photos taken of Haitians and the aftermath of the earthquake will be displayed at WOCCU’s booth at the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C., according to Valerie Breunig, executive director of the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions. The conference kicks off Sunday and ends Thursday. WOCCU will be located at booth #304. The photos were taken by WOCCU staff and photographer Christian Kober. In addition to contributing to the credit union disaster relief fund, credit unions nationwide have been assisting with Haiti relief efforts in other ways:
* Springfield, Mo.-area credit unions volunteered for Convoy of Hope, a nonprofit organization that feeds the hungry and provides pure drinking water to people worldwide. Credit union employees helped Feb. 9 with sorting, packing, labeling and taking inventory of supplies sent to Haiti, according to the Missouri Credit Union Association (The Missouri difference Feb. 12); * Pacific Service CU, Walnut Creek, Calif., donated $10,000 to Haiti relief efforts through the American Red Cross; * Melrose CU, Queens, N.Y. collected $100,500 to help Haitians affected by the earthquake. About $500 was collected through donation jars in the lobby. The credit union’s board also approved a $100,000 donation to be distributed among five organizations--with much of the donation going to NCUF in connection with WOCCU, Melrose CU said; and * Freedom CU, Warminster, Pa., donated shoes, crutches and other medical supplies to a relief effort. Freedom employees donated 52 pairs of shoes through Soles4Souls, a charity that collects and distributes shoes. Freedom also gave $1,000 to disaster relief efforts in late January.
To support Haiti's credit unions and members through the international credit union disaster fund, make payments, via check, credit card or wire to: Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions Inc. 5710 Mineral Point Road Madison, WI 53705, USA Donations also can be made online with a credit card at For wire transfer information, contact Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions at 608-395-2055 or via e-mail Please indicate the donation is designated for the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund. U.S. credit unions also can support WOCCU’s relief efforts by donating through CUAid. Use the link.