Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive
150x172_CUEffect.jpg
Contacts
LISA MCCUEVICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
MICHELLE WILLITSManaging Editor
RON JOOSSASSISTANT EDITOR
ALEX MCVEIGHSTAFF NEWSWRITER
TOM SAKASHSTAFF NEWSWRITER

CU System Archive

CU System

U.S. Central announces AL management change

 Permanent link
LENEXA, Kan. (2/6/09)--U.S. Central Thursday announced that Dave Dickens, executive vice president of asset/liability management, has left the firm, effective immediately. The wholesale corporate's asset/liability division, which manages its $33 billion investment portfolio, will report directly to President/CEO Francis Lee. "This is a critical junction for U.S. Central," Lee said. "We will continue to evaluate our needs in portfolio management, and we will act accordingly based on our ongoing assessment." In assuming direct accountability for the division, Lee will direct eight portfolio managers and related staff who handle day-to-day portfolio functions. "We have an experienced asset/liability team that already handles portfolio operations effectively on a daily basis," said Lee. "I am confident it will continue to do so under my leadership." Last week the National Credit Union Administration announced a corporate stabilization plan that would include injecting a $1 billion capital note into U.S. Central. The corporate system was facing growing demands on liquidity and capital stemming from the dislocation of the market.

Economic turmoil brings more data scams

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (2/6/09)--When members and other consumers face an economy in turmoil, they also face another beast: cybercriminals, who step up their financial scams to prey on people worried about their accounts, their houses, their jobs, and the future. For example, after Wachovia failed, e-mails began phishing Wachovia's current and former customers, asking them to install "new" Internet security certification and to provide crucial financial information to "activate" the installation. Also, the number of malicious software programs on the Internet tripled to more than 31,000 a day in mid-September, about the time the nation's financial sector began collapsing, say security analysts, who add the boom in cyberthreats could accelerate in an economy with an extended slump (USA Today Feb. 2). They predict a rise in phishing, vishing and smishing attempts and other con games to gather information from consumers considering switching financial institutions, pulling investments and retirement accounts, or wanting to know if their deposits are safe. All types of con games increased, according to government regulators, law enforcement officials and security firms. Last fall Trojan viruses began circulating more widely in e-mail and instant-message spam. These became embedded in thousands of websites and spread in a barrage of online ads. By clicking on the wrong thing, consumers downloaded the Trojan to steal information. And the trend in data breaches is more organized. several security experts have told various publications. Organized groups of cybercriminals are finding where huge masses of data are located and have begun hitting data processors, according to a survey of law enforcement officials and security experts reported by the newspaper. Credit unions already are dealing with these issues, and many use the data thefts as an opportunity to educate members that legitimate financial institutions don't ask for such information. But their members may be targets of wider schemes--for bogus computer virus protection, get-rich schemes and videos and ads that contain hidden software that can dump a malicious code into a computer--that can affect their accounts. Here are the latest scams hitting credit unions and their members: \
* A cell phone text message scam from "Piramid CU" spoofs the legitimate credit union, Pyramid CU, Tucson, Ariz. A similar text message poses as Vantage West CU, also of Tucson. The scam number has been traced to Michigan and an e-mail address traced to Germany. (Tucson Citizen Feb. 5). * First Choice FCU, New Castle, Pa. reported members and non-members received fraudulent messages via phone calls and text messaging. The messages indicate a third party has accessed the individual's debit or credit card account and ask the caller to contact the security department. Members have been hanging up and not providing the information (Life is a Highway Feb. 3). * Altoona Regional Health System FCU, Altoona, Pa., said its members received text messages on a cell phone indicating their credit union account was locked. They were told to call a phone number and provide information to access the account (Altoona Mirror.com Feb. 5). * Thousands of people in the Indianapolis area received fake bank alerts--including one supposedly from Indianapolis-based Forum CU--on their pagers and cell phones. Even the police received the messages. Several people reported fraudulent charges from their account (WTHR-TV via MSNBC.com Feb. 4).

Heartland breach costing CUs a bundle

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (2/6/09)--The Heartland Payment Systems data breach, announced Jan. 20, is costing credit unions anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Public Service CU is reissuing about 25,000 cards, President/CEO David Maus told local media. Replacing the cards will cost the credit union $100,000. The cost is high, but the credit union wanted to protect its members, Maus told the Loveland Connection (Feb. 5). A student at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh reported to campus media that her account at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh CU was drained to $6 (The Advance-Titan Feb. 5). The student’s money was allegedly spent by a thief in Houston, the newspaper said. North Carolina State Employees’ CU, Raleigh, N.C., reported that about 50,000 of its 1.5 million members have been affected by the breach. The credit union is sending its members new cards and personal identification numbers (FayObserver.com Jan. 29). Fort Bragg FCU, Fayettebille, N.C., also is notifying affected members of the breach, but has not yet seen any fraudulent transactions. About 200 of the credit union’s members were affected, President David Elliot told the Observer. Other credit unions affected by the breach:
* Warren FCU, Cheyenne, Wyo., which reported to WyomingNews.com (Feb. 2) that 1,400 of its members were affected; however, no fraud has been reported; * CU Community CU, Springfield, Mo., which sustained $11,000 in fraudulent charges on members’ accounts (Bankinfosecurity.com Feb. 5); * HealthFirst FCU, Waterville, Maine, which reported that its members’ cards were compromised. About 130 members with Visa cards found money taken from their accounts, and 38 members with MasterCard credit cards were affected (Bankinfosecurity.com Feb. 5); * Spokane (Wash.) Media FCU, which reported that half of its membership’s 650 cards were compromised (Seattle Times Jan. 25); and * O Bee CU, Tumwater, Wash., which is reissuing cards at $10 per card. The credit union doesn’t know what the final cost will be, credit union President Bruce Cramer told the Seattle Times (Jan. 25).
The Washington Credit Union League has been in touch with its member credit unions, and some confirmed that they have blocked and reissued cards, David Bennett, Washington league director of public relations, told The Tacoma News-Tribune (Jan. 25).

First CU is first FI in immigration IMAGE program

 Permanent link
CHANDLER, Ariz. (2/6/09)--First CU announced it is the first and only financial institution in the nation to become a full partner in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) IMAGE Program. IMAGE is an acronym for ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers. The goal of IMAGE is to help employers in targeted sectors develop secure and stable work forces, and to enhance fraudulent-document awareness through education and training. ICE has scheduled a press conference for Thursday in Phoenix to announce the launch of the new program. Speakers from ICE will explain the benefits to employers who achieve full partnership status. Full partnership status involved First CU’s Human Resources team conducting an extensive audit with ICE on I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms, demonstrating compliance with E-Verify laws, performing a Social Security number verification on current employees, writing a hiring procedure for review/approval by the Office of Special Counsel, and imaging all the I-9 forms into a secure system. Pat Richardson, First CU human resources manager, recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to take part in the formal signing ceremony and three days of intensive training. As part of the agreement, ICE will provide the employees of First CU with free document recognition and/or I-9 training as appropriate. First CU is based in Chandler, Ariz., and has more than $450 million in assets.

Select 1000 Financial Fitness idea winner

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (2/6/09)--Voting began Sunday for the grand prize winner in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center 2008 Financial Fitness Challenge. The challenge solicited reader input throughout 2008 for money management ideas. “We received entries from hundreds of credit union members,” said Jim Hanson, vice president of center for personal finance at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). “Each month, we selected and published five winning entries, with each winner receiving a $50 Visa gift card as thanks for the submission,” he added. The voting, which closes at 11:59 p.m. CST Feb. 28, will select the best of the field, with that winner taking a $1,000 award. “When we know the winner, we’ll send a check to the member’s credit union to make the presentation locally,” explained Michelle Dosher, managing editor for the resource center. “It’s been interesting all year to see how creative people are about managing their money--and all the ideas fit so well with family needs in today's economy.” The 2008 Financial Fitness Challenge chose 60 winners from 37 credit unions. Multiple winners came from American Airlines FCU (seven winners), Oklahoma Employees CU (five), NASA FCU (four), Midwest Financial CU (three), Keesler FCU (three), A+ FCU (two), and AlaskaUSA FCU (two). Anyone may vote, casting up to five votes daily, at any credit union site featuring CUNA’s Home & Family Finance Resource Center. Voters should also remember to register for the 2009 Financial Fitness Challenge, which again will award $50 Visa cards each month to five winners, chosen at random from that month’s registrants, Dosher said.

Texas foundation to debut difference campaign

 Permanent link
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (2/6/09)--The Texas Credit Union Foundation (TCUF) will launch "Make The Difference," a campaign to promote financial education efforts among credit unions and their communities in the state, during National Financial Literacy Month in April. The foundation will use the month-long event as a springboard to encourage Texas credit unions to begin or expand their efforts to provide financial and consumer education to members, local schools and communities (LoneStar Leaguer Feb.5). Tuesday TCUF approved $10,000 for "Make the Difference" grants of up to $500 to credit unions and partner organizations to spur activities. Programs can include credit union-based programs or credit unions' work with local groups such as Junior Achievement, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA/YWCA, churches and schools. TCUF also is working with Project NEFE Network, a group of about 150 members implementing local financial education programs that offer the National Endowment of Financial Education (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP) training sessions in the state. Last year the foundation and the project's members introduced HSFPP to more than 2,100 individuals and to tens of thousands of Texas high school students. The foundation will track the month's activities, with participants reporting activities to win prizes and receive recognition.

Student loan bill introduced in Connecticut legislature

 Permanent link
HARTFORD, Conn. (2/6/09)--A Connecticut low-interest student loan bill, developed by the state’s credit unions and Gov. M. Jodi Rell, has been introduced in the Connecticut General Assembly. General Assembly Governor’s Bill No. 842--“Credit Union League of Connecticut Student Loan Program”--will allow the Credit Union League of Connecticut and credit unions to offer low-interest rate loans to students who can’t obtain financing for post-secondary education because of restrictive underwriting criteria, reduced access to home equity loans or decreased market value of homes. The bill was introduced by State Sen. John McKinney (R-28) and State Rep. Lawrence Cafero (R-142). It has been referred to the assembly’s Committee on Higher Education and Employment Advancement. Credit unions started accepting applications for the loans when the program officially began Dec. 8, Gov. Rell announced (NorwalkPlus.com Dec. 8). About $17.5 million in loans was committed for the new program. The credit unions expect to offer rates ranging from 5.75% to 6%, which is below the 6.99% rate offered by the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority. As of the end of last year, about 15 Connecticut credit unions were participating in the new state program (News Now Dec. 9).

SACU provides ATM service at rodeo

 Permanent link
SAN ANTONIO (2/6/09)--San Antonio FCU (SACU) is “getting ready to rodeo” as it installs ATM equipment for the 2009 San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. The rodeo opened Thursday and ends Feb. 22.
San Antonio FCU installed mobile ATM units for the 2009 San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo throughout Feb. 5-22. (Photo provided by San Antonio FCU)
SACU is setting up 11 ATM locations, with seven stand-alone ATM units plus the SACU Mobile ATM. Two ATMs are permanently installed in separate buildings on the rodeo grounds. “As a long-time sponsor of the stock show and rodeo, SACU believes in their mission to raise money for scholarships, awarded to deserving student participants,” said SACU President/CEO Jeff Farver. “We want to do everything we can to make it easier for the public to participate in this unique San Antonio event,” he added. SACU is a $2.7 billion asset credit union, with more than 247,000 members.

CU System briefs (02/05/2009)

 Permanent link
* JANESVILLE, Wis. (2/6/09)--Blackhawk Community CU was one of the sponsors of a four-day visit to Janesville, Wis., by the Mexican Consulate out of Chicago in response to increasing demand for
Click to view larger image Click for larger view
identity documents by Mexican immigrants. The consulate spent Jan. 29 through Feb. 1 assisting with visas, passports and other identifying documentation. Also sponsoring the visit was YWCA Rock County. According to Evelyn Woodring, YWCA immigrant outreach program director, many people assisted during the visit normally would have to travel to Chicago or Milwaukee for the services. From left are: Woodring; Francisco Vales, consul of Mexico; Carla Garcia, Blackhawk Community CU; Jim Drouge, Wisconsin Credit Union League; and Josh Fetting, World Council of Credit Unions. (Photo provided by Blackhawk Community CU) … * BATON ROUGE, La. (2/6/09)--LA DOTD FCU, which has sponsored several student-run credit unions with local schools, has opened its
Click to view larger image Click for larger view
first student-run high school branch, The Hornet's Nest CU. The new branch, whose tagline is "We won't sting your pockets," opened this week at Scotlandville Magnet High School in the East Baton Rouge Parish Public School System. The branch is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and offers savings and checking accounts, check-cashing, debit cards, deposit services and limited cash withdrawals. It is staffed by students, pictured here, in the school's Education for Careers class and is overseen by an LA DOTD FCU employee. Two seniors participating in Louisiana's Cooperative Education program have paid positions as part-time employees at Hornet's Nest CU …

PCUA announces department changes

 Permanent link
HARRISBURG, Pa. (2/6/09)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) has made several staffing changes and department realignments to meet the changing needs of its membership. Corinne Sherman will lead PCUA’s service corporation as vice president of fee services. She will oversee the cards department, shared branching and sales force. Sherman has been with the organization since 1986, most recently as vice president of business development.
Russell Evans was promoted to assistant vice president of business development, where he will be in charge of vendor relationships. Evans has been with the organization since 2007, most recently as an account executive. Monika Scott was promoted to senior account executive. She works with credit unions in the western counties of the state. Scott joined PCUA in 2001. Christina Mihalik was promoted to vice president, governmental affairs. Mihalik was formerly an assistant vice president and joined PCUA in 2000.
Christine Seitz was named director, political affairs and fundraising. Seitz joined PCUA in 2006 as a governmental affairs specialist. Diane Powell was named director of communications.