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Wright-Patt near 1B mark on home loans since 2009

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FAIRBORN, Ohio (2/24/12)--Wright-Patt CU helped more than 2,500 members  in the Dayton, Ohio, area with more than $300 million in financing for homes last year. That means it has loaned nearly $1 billion to members since 2009.

The $2 billion asset, Fairborn, Ohio-based Wright-Patt  said that the Dayton Business Journal reported the credit union now ranks third in total home loan market share in the Dayton metropolitan area.

In addition to its own mortgage production, the credit union generated another $600 million in mortgage loans for credit unions across the country during 2011 through its wholly owned subsidiary, myCUmortgage.  During the past three years, the credit union has added 22 employees to its mortgage division, which now employs 70 people.

"Homeownership is the best way to build wealth and strong communities," said Tim Mislansky, chief lending officer at Wright-Patt CU.

Although the economic downturn has been longer than expected, Wright-Patt has seen first-hand that homes are being bought and sold. Low housing prices and historically low interest rates continue to motivate people to buy a home or refinance, Mislansky said. "As history suggests, when the economy makes consistent upward progress, home prices will increase, but the fluctuations in home values we've experienced still remain a top challenge for sellers and buyers, as well as homeowners refinancing," he added.

"Our members appreciate that we work with them to determine a solution that's in their best interest because of these uncertainties," Mislansky said. He noted that the credit union's delinquency, loan losses and foreclosure activity have remained at less than half the averages for Ohio and about one-third of national averages.  "These results show that the credit union not only helps people buy homes, we help people maintain their home ownership as well."

One way the credit union encourages homeownership is through its Savings Race, in which five teams compete for a $10,000 top prize toward the purchase of a home. It also provides free home ownership classes to the general public.

Louisiana governor reappoints FI commissioner

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HARAHAN, La. (2/24/12)--Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has reappointed John Ducrest as the Louisiana Commissioner of Financial Institutions, according to the Louisiana Credit Union League (eNews Feb. 22).

The commissioner has supervisory and regulatory authority over state-chartered financial institutions, including credit unions. The position is subject to state Senate confirmation.

Ducrest has served in the commissioner position since 2004, said the league. He was deputy chief examiner of the Office of Financial Institutions from 1994 to 2004, overseeing the corporate applications related to chartering new banks, bank mergers and bank branching. He also serves as chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors.

N.J. CU a member resource during America Saves Week

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MADISON, Wis. (2/24/12)--As the national campaign America Saves Week winds down Sunday, credit unions are among those educating consumers about the importance of saving.  A credit union in New Jersey is just one example.

America Saves Week, which began last Sunday,  is dedicated to providing information, advice and encouragement through this year's motto: "Set Goals, Make a Plan, Save Automatically." 

In Tinton Falls, N.J., United Teletech Financial (UTF)  FCU  joined in the efforts of the nationwide campaign through its state extension, called New Jersey Saves Week, according to the New Jersey Credit Union League (The Daily Exchange Feb. 21).

UTF FCU says the goals of the campaign coincide with its mission to help people prosper. "We are here to help our members achieve financial security," said Leo R. Ardine, president/CEO of UTF. "Whether it's through affordable loans or working toward building  savings for whatever their wants or needs are, we can provide the help, information and support to reach those goals," he told the league.

"We want to be a resource for not only our members, but to our community. Getting on the right path to financial security can be a daunting task, which is why we're here to help lead the way," Ardine said. He pointed out the credit union had a "highly qualified team of financial coaches available" to work with members on their individual savings plan.

America Saves Week is coordinated by Consumer Federation of America in partnership with the American Savings Education Council and America Saves. Other efforts during the week include Military Saves Week for members of the military and their families, and Hispanic Saves Week as well as state level efforts.

On Feb. 16, National Credit Union Administration Chairman Debbie Matz encouraged credit unions to participate in the America Saves Week/Military Saves Week activities, saying that the week gives credit unions new opportunities to kick-start their savings promotions and financial education programs.  The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) supports the goals of the week, and America Saves Week was one of the topics discussed on CUNA's Home and Family Finance Radio Feb. 19 broadcast.

Gap in mobile services in large small FIs Study

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SAN FRANCISCO (2/24/12)--More than 50% of consumers will become mobile bankers by 2016, but will they use credit unions for their mobile banking needs?  One research group says there's a gap in mobile banking adoption rates between smaller institutions, such as credit unions and community banks, and the large banks.

Only 15% of consumers at credit unions and 21% of consumers at regional and community banks used mobile banking in the 90 days preceding a survey conducted by San Francisco-based Javelin Strategy & Research. That compares with 37% of consumers  at giant banks who used the devices.

Fueled by smartphone adoption, mobile banking took off last year, growing by 63%, said Javelin. The explosion in use of tablets such as iPad likely will transfer mobile banking again, and smaller financial institutions (FIs) will continue to fall behind, the research firm said.

Javelin noted that 92% of the top 25 banks now offer mobile banking, which means credit unions and smaller banks risk losing valuable customers--especially smartphone and tablet customers--to these institutions.

"The key challenge for FIs is attracting the right demographics," said Mary Monahan, executive vice president and research director, mobile at Javelin. "The typical mobile banking customer is young (ages 18 through 44), ethnic (typically Asian, Latino or African American)  and high income (earning more than $75,000).  Customers at regional and community banks and credit unions are significantly older, less wealthy, Caucasian and less tech-savvy," she added. "FIs must broaden their services, appeal to a wider range of demographics and attract new clients if they want to succeed."

Other findings:

  • Mobile is now the top communication channel. Mobile usage is surpassing online usage.
  • Consumers' use of mobile banking rose dramatically in 2011. Roughly 57 million U.S. adults conducted mobile banking in 2011--a 63% hike over 2010.
  • Consumers use an assortment of channels for mobile banking. Most continue to access their mobile banking accounts through the browser, a financial habit established through online banking. At the nation's largest banks, where the triple play--mobile banking through browsers, apps and SMS text--is offered, this tendency flips.  There, more customers use apps and SMS than browsers.
"Smaller banks and credit unions have always prided themselves on providing superior customer service, so they cannot continue to ignore the mobile channel," said Javelin President Jim Van Dyke.

"Resource-constrained institutions should focus initially on the browser method, currently used by a majority of mobile consumers. It is the most cost-effective and easiest to deploy. However, these FIs need to focus future efforts on developing app and SMS text banking to appeal to a broader array of users and technology," Van Dyke concluded.

League Include CUs in Ohio ag-linked deposit bill

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (2/24/12)--John Kozlowski, general counsel for the Ohio Credit Union League, testified against an Ohio Senate bill last week regarding the state's Agricultural Linked Deposit Program, because it failed to include credit unions in its expanded list of eligible participants.

Credit unions should be included as lenders in the linked deposit programs, Kozlowski argued (eLumination Newsletter Feb. 22).

"While [the Ohio Credit Union League] realizes there is a greater issue regarding public funds than what is contained in Senate Bill 281, I can tell this committee with certainty that many banks do not fully participate in linked deposit programs such as those contained in SB 281, and credit unions would gladly participate in programs such as Ag-LINK for the benefit of their communities," Kozlowski said.

"By continuing to maintain the mandate that prohibits credit unions from serving their communities in this capacity, Ohio, its citizens, and its businesses are missing important development opportunities," he added.

State Sen. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood), ranking minority member on the state Senate Financial Institutions Committee, spoke in favor of credit unions during the hearing and agreed they should be included, the league said.

Consumers hanging onto cars fewer loans for CUs

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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (2/24/12)--Credit unions could experience reduced auto loan demand as study by the firm R.L. Polk indicates American consumers are holding onto their cars and trucks longer than ever.

In the third quarter of 2011, the average length of ownership of vehicles purchased new rose to a record 71 months. Retention of vehicles bought used climbed to an all-time high of 50 months.

The average age of vehicles on the road is also on the rise, hitting a record of 10.8 years as of July, Polk said.

For credit unions that means there are fewer new cars and few used-cars on the market for financing.

Even though credit has eased in recent months, consumers may be hesitant to invest in vehicles while the job market remains weak and unemployment levels stay high, Polk said. Many consumers have financed their vehicles for longer time periods to create less expensive monthly payments, leading to longer ownership cycles.

Cars and trucks are also more durable than in the past, according to automotive agencies.

Over the next few years, new U.S. light vehicle sales will continue to trend upward slowly, reaching pre-downturn levels of 16 million by 2015, Polk projects. As the economy improves, pent-up demand for new vehicles will increase, Polk said.

However, average length of ownership will not immediately decline, Polk said. With unemployment still high and many consumers continuing to feel the effects of a long economic downturn, the trend of longer length of ownership likely will continue for at least the next few years.

Longer length of ownership has resulted in a lower used-vehicle supply, Polk said. The inventory of used vehicles and a declining supply of off-lease vehicles have allowed dealers to charge more for used cars. With the trend of increased vehicle retention expected to continue in the near future, used-vehicle sellers will benefit from higher prices for their top-line vehicles, Polk said.

Auto loan trends at credit unions reflect these trends. Growth rates for new-vehicle loans at credit unions declined 1.5% in the third quarter, according to the Credit Union National Association's U.S. Credit Union Profile Quarterly Results. In the second quarter, the new-vehicle growth rate declined 1.8%. Growth rates for used auto loans increased 2.2% in the third quarter after rising 2.3%.

New-auto loans accounted for 10.1% of credit union loan balances in December 2011, a decrease from 11% in December 2010, according to CUNA's December 2011 Monthly Credit Union Estimates. Auto loans accounted for 18.6% of loan balances in December, compared with 17.8 in December 2010.

New customer rankings CUs only FI rated excellent

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WABAN, Mass. (2/24/12)--Credit unions were the only financial institutions to receive "excellent" ratings in the Temkin Experience Ratings, which ranks the customer service across 18 industries. Credit unions ranked third across all industries.

For the purposes of the report, published by the Temkin Group, credit unions were rated as a single financial institution.

The research, which is based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers in January, includes 16 financial institutions. Four banks earned "good" ratings: PNC, TD Bank, USAA, and ING Direct. Eight banks received "okay" ratings, while three banks received "poor" ratings: Citibank, Bank of America and HSBC.

The banking industry received the fifth-highest average customer experience rating, falling behind grocery chains, fast food restaurants, retailers and parcel delivery services.

Compared with 2011, financial institutions increased their ratings by three percentage points, an improvement that was outdone only by insurance carriers and personal computer makers. Thirteen of the 16 banks improved their customer experience ratings between 2011 and 2012.

"Banks made some strides to improve customer experience this past year, but some big banks continue to fall behind," said Bruce Temkin, author of the report and managing partner of Temkin Group.

To see the full report, use the link.

Global womens network offers scholarships

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MADISON, Wis. (2/24/12)--The Global Women's Leadership Network, a World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) initiative that addresses the contributions and needs of women credit union leaders worldwide, is offering scholarships to support education and networking opportunities.

Success Swanzi Mbiliyawaka (right), recipient of a Global Women's Leadership Network scholarship, talks with Harriet May, chair of the Credit Union National Association board of directors, at the 2011 Global Women's Leadership Forum in Glasgow, Scotland, last July. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
Success Swanzi Mbiliyawaka, business development coordinator with the Malawi Union of Savings & Credit Co-operatives (MUSCCO), knows that professional progress is best made through the support of friends and a strong network of peers. Raise that network to a global level, she said, and there is no limit to what can be done. Mbiliyakawa raised the stakes on her professional success because of a 2011 scholarship from the network.

nbice@woccu.org or (608) 395-2027.

Mass. league presents 125k to homeless coalition(1)

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MARLBORUGH, Mass. (2/24/12)--The Massachusetts Credit Union League has made a $125,000 donation to Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, representing contributions from the league's member credit unions in 2011.

The largest individual contribution came from Medical Area FCU, Brookline, Mass., which raised $24,000 by the "Walk Home" fundraiser.

Hanscom FCU, Hanscom Air Force Base, raised $10,000 from an employee raffle along with various other fundraising efforts.

The league also presented its Paul J. Marotta Outstanding Service Award to Nicole James, president/CEO of the Medical Area FCU.

In presenting the award, Bernie Winne, league chairman and president/CEO of Boston Firefighters CU, Dorchester, Mass., cited James' efforts in raising funds for the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

Two Nevada CUs announce merger

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RENO, Nev. (2/24/12)--Two northern Nevada-based credit unions, Great Basin FCU in Reno and Sparks (Nev.) City Employees FCU, have announced plans to merge.

The boards of directors for both organizations have approved the merger and will seek approval from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Subsequent to NCUA authorization, Sparks City Employees FCU members will vote on the merger. Great Basin would be the continuing credit union.

The combining of the two credit unions will result in a financial cooperative serving more than 16,400 members in the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area and surrounding Washoe County. It will have assets exceeding $116 million.

The three employees of Sparks City EFCU will continue employment with Great Basin. The credit unions share similar values that emphasize focusing on local relationships. Those values were key factors in both credit unions' decisions.

Sparks City Employees FCU was established in 1958, and has $13.3 million in assets, more than 1,900 members, and one branch. Great Basin FCU was established in 1951, and has more than $100 million in assets, more than 14,500 members and three branches.

Great Basin FCU serves Washoe County.

Mass. league presents 125k to homeless coalition

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MARLBORUGH, Mass. (2/24/12)--The Massachusetts Credit Union League has made a $125,000 donation to Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, representing contributions from the league's member credit unions in 2011.

The largest individual contribution came from Medical Area FCU, Brookline, Mass., which raised $24,000 by the "Walk Home" fundraiser.

Hanscom FCU, Hanscom Air Force Base, raised $10,000 from an employee raffle along with various other fundraising efforts.

The league also presented its Paul J. Marotta Outstanding Service Award to Nicole James, president/CEO of the Medical Area FCU.

In presenting the award, Bernie Winne, league chairman and president/CEO of Boston Firefighters CU, Dorchester, Mass., cited James' efforts in raising funds for the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

CU System briefs (02/23/2012)

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  • TUMWATER, Wash. (2/24/12)--O Bee CU's new gold Visa credit card with a beer logo represents a return to the Tumwater, Wash.-based credit union's roots. The image is an Olympia beer logo, with horseshoe, Tumwater Falls, the expression "good luck" and classic "Olympia" lettering. The credit union was established in 1955 as Olympia Brewery Co. Employees and Families CU. The brewery closed in 2003. The credit union negotiated with Pabst Blue Ribbon to use the Olympia brand on its card. The new card logo is identical with the original with one exception: Visa would not permit it to use the slogan "It's the water."  The new card offers 1% cash back with no limits on most purchases, said the credit union (The Olympian Feb. 22) …
  • RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (2/24/12)--Live testing of the CO-OP NextGen ATM is underway at the CO-OP Financial Services headquarters lobby in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. CO-OP expects the service to be generally available by the end of second quarter. Project leaders inaugurating the process are, from left, Terry Pierce, senior product manager; Eric Porter, executive vice president, business development and marketing; and Dr. Kathy Herziger-Snider, vice president, product development. CO-OP and Diebold Inc. are partners on the development of the new application software, which will allow members of participating shared-branching credit unions to conduct nearly all branch transactions at a Diebold ATM. Diebold is a CUNA Strategic Services provider.  (Photo provided by CO-OP Financial Services) …
  • HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (2/24/12)--New Jersey credit unions, interns and representatives from the disability community were hosted by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions at a luncheon at the New Jersey Credit Union League's office Wednesday. The purpose was to discuss their experiences with Cycle VII of the two-year old Building Economic Strength Together (BEST) internship program, which places internships for people with disabilities. Seven credit unions are participating in the program. Accepting certificates of appreciation for their involvement in the program were, from left, Angel Santos, NJCUL; Rosanna Rever, First Jersey FCU; Jen Seder, Healthcare Employees FCU; Shirley Spruill, Renaissance Community Development CU; Michelle Fitzpatrick, North Jersey FCU; and Mike Cirillo, Affinity FCU. Mark Lynch, National Credit Union Foundation's REAL Solutions, accepted a certificate earlier for its support of the program. (Photo provided by the New Jersey Credit Union League) …
  • RALEIGH, N.C. (2/24/12)--A change made by State Employees' CU, Raleigh, N.C., in how some charities convert their donated coins has benefitted the local non-profits. SECU allows these groups to use its no-fee coin sorters, which have been in place since 2005 in each of its 240 branches. To date, SECU machines have sorted more than $1 million in coins, saving these groups roughly $75,000 in fees.  SECU's coin sorters feature a FAT CAT theme to highlight its youth program, which encourages saving at an early age.  However, sorters are popular with all ages …