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CU signs 20-year naming rights contract

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MADISON, Wis. (3/12/09)--Madison-based Summit CU has signed a 20-year naming rights agreement with the Sun Prairie, Wis., school board. The $1.287 billion asset credit union donated $99,537 for a baseball field, which will be known as Summit Credit Union Baseball Field (Wisconsin State Journal March 11). The field will be at Sun Prairie's new high school, slated to open in fall 2010. The donation pays for about one-third of the cost of the field's artificial turf on the infield. The Sun Prairie School Board approved the agreement Monday night. It is the first district in Dane County to sell naming rights for a specific school facility, said the article. The article included the price tag for various other facilities at the school-- from $500,000 for naming rights to the school's performing arts center or its field house, to $4,714 for a corner mounted scoreboard.

Apology extended by CU in head-scarf incident

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WASHINGTON (3/12/09)--A Muslim woman who wore an Islamic head scarf received an apology Tuesday from a credit union that made her leave the teller line and conduct financial business in a back room because of the credit union's new "no hats, no hoods, no sunglasses" policy. Kenza Shelley received the call from Navy FCU's senior vice president for security, who apologized and said the credit union's new security policy should have allowed Shelley to be served by tellers at the front counter of its branch in Southern Maryland. The credit union is headquartered in Vienna, Va. The religious scarf left Shelley clearly identifiable, the credit union told The Washington Post (March 10), adding that its policy does not prohibit religious head gear. The credit union implemented the policy in December as a deterrent to robberies and identity theft. It is in the process of training employees. The Maryland incident is the second at a branch of the credit union within a month. In February the credit union issued an apology after another woman in an Islamic head scarf experienced the same situation at a branch in Mission, Calif. (News Now March 11).

IWSJI reader denied bank credit gets CU OK

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NEW YORK (3/12/09)--A Wall Street Journal reader was denied a credit card by Bank of America, but was pre-approved for an auto loan after joining a credit union, according to a letter Wednesday. Morgan Myrmo of San Diego wrote in response to an op-ed by Bank of America CEO Kenneth D. Lewis titled “Some Myths About Banks.” Lewis said in his op-ed piece that it is not true that banks aren’t lending. Federal Reserve data shows “bank credit has actually increased over the course of this recession,” he said. Myrmo writes: “I was denied a credit card from his bank on March 2. I was a bit surprised since I have an Equifax credit score of 750 and a solid credit history. I wonder why the bank would not want to extend credit to a healthy borrower with no debt and taxable income of $50,000 per year. Perhaps the banks are in bigger trouble than we think. “After joining a local credit union I was pre-approved for an auto loan. I know where my deposits are now headed. Do you?” Myrmo added.

PCUA announces community award winners

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (3/12/09)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association announced the winners of its 2009 Credit Union Community Awards. The 2009 state-level awards were given for the Dora Maxwell Award for Social Responsibility, the Louise A. Herring Award for Philosophy in Action, and the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award (Life is a Highway March 11). Maxwell Award first-place winners:
* Wyrope Williamsport FCU, South Williamsport, in the $5-million-to-$20-million-assets category; * Timberland FCU, Du Bois, $20 million to $50 million; * Cross Valley FCU, Wilkes Barre, $100 million to $200 million; * Belco Community CU, Harrisburg, $200 million to $500 million; and * American Heritage FCU, Philadelphia, $550 million-plus.
Desjardins Award first-place winners:
* Wyrope Williamsport FCU, less than $35 million; * Keystone FCU, West Chester, $35 million to $75 million; and * Erie (Pa.) FCU, more than $250 million.
The Herring Award first-place winner was Wyrope Williamsport FCU, less than $50 million.

Michigan unveils ads for Invest in America

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LANSING, Mich. (3/12/09)--Michigan credit unions have run television and radio ads since March 9, asking consumers to buy American. Four of the ads carry the Invest in America theme--credit unions’ auto loan discount program with auto manufacturers General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Corp.
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The nearly 1,000 participating Invest in America credit unions nationwide will be able to run the ads in their respective media markets. The two TV ads and two radio ads focus on helping consumers buy from General Motors and Chrysler through the Invest in America program while pushing consumers to the program’s newly redesigned website. The Invest in America program has a built-in advertising pool which stands at $1 million for participating credit unions. The ad pool will grow as more credit unions actively promote Invest in America. “There has never been a more important time to buy a domestic automobile,” said David Adams, president/CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL). “Invest in America has shown tremendous results
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in the first few months. These ads will help credit unions across the country step up their marketing efforts, while showing that they have money to lend. That’s important right now for the automakers and the economy.” The timing of the new ads couldn’t be better for credit unions because many are seeing their auto loans grow exponentially, MCUL said. CUcorp, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MCUL, will coordinate the marketing with credit unions. The Invest in America program has yielded more than 25,000 vehicle sales nationwide since January. The campaign is supported by 40 state credit union state leagues, CUNA Mutual Group, American Automobile Association, Credit Union Direct Lending and GroovCar. To see the ads, use the link.

30 Under 30 reports young adult financial habits

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MADISON, Wis. (3/12/09)--The report of Filene Research Institute’s ’30 Under 30’ group about young adult financial habits and needs is now available.
Click to view larger image The Filene Research Institute’s a “30 Under 30” group focused on research about young adult financial habits and needs to help credit unions attract younger members, professionals and volunteers. (Photo provided by Filene Research Institute)
Because credit unions need to attract younger members, professionals and volunteers, Filene created the “30 Under 30” group to focus on research regarding young adult financial habits and needs. The group’s final report is "10 Young Adult Innovations: From the 30 Under 30 Group," edited by Filene’s driver of the CU Tomorrow project, Ben Rogers. The research, funded in part by PSCU Financial Services, Credit Union Executives Society, Fiserv, and the Corporate Credit Union Network, highlights 10 business plans that align facets of young adult life with credit union needs. The business plans fall into three categories. "Plans for Younger Members" has the following features:
* Change Your Savings: Harnesses the power of debit to fund worthy goals; * CUre Card: Members improve their communities with a credit union debit card; * GrassHopper: Life planning meets credit union products; * Mortgage Down Payment Accelerator: Rewards those who are saving for a home; * Win-Win Savings: Prize-based savings for young adults; and * What’s Next? A responsible way to build credit and save.
"Plans for Talented Young Professionals" has:
* Shared Staffing: Short-term sabbaticals for professional development; * Gen Y Fast Track: Mentorships and job rotation for superior retention; and * iAdvanceCU.com: Credit union career paths and improved recruiting.
"A Plan for Younger Volunteers" features a “Member Advisory Panel (MAP): Connecting young adult volunteers with credit union leaders.” Each business plan details the product’s overall aim, outlines its benefits for the member and the credit union, explains how to put the product into practice at a credit union, and shows what further considerations apply to each. “The aging of credit union membership is a challenge for the credit union system,” Rogers said. “Engaging ambitious young professionals and giving them enough room to improve and innovate is essential for credit union success over the next 10 years.”

CU System briefs (03/11/2009)

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* OMAHA, Neb., and ALEXANDRIA, Va. (3/12/09)--Before his keynote address at the Omaha Chapter meeting, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Vice Chairman Rodney Hood toured Gallup FCU, Strategic Air
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Command (SAC) FCU, Omaha FCU and Omaha Police FCU, and praised their innovative products and services, noting each has found ways to offer affordable loans even in the national credit freeze. Before the chapter, Hood discussed the unstable economy and steps the NCUA Board has taken to ensure safety and soundness of the credit union industry, including the Corporate Stabilization Program, the "Making Home Affordable" Loan Modification Program and recent modifications to the NCUA Call Report. He applauded the Nebraska Credit Union League for taking a proactive approach to provide its members with information about the stabilization efforts to maintain open communication lines. At Omaha Police FCU are, from left: Mary Johnson, president; John Friend, board secretary; Hood; and Eric Buske, board vice chairman. (Photo provided by the National Credit Union Administration) … * KANSAS CITY, Mo. (3/12/09)--Mazuma CU employees manned a phone booth at a local NBC affiliate news station during the national America Saves Week Feb. 22-March 1, as part of a local initiative, Kansas City Saves. Joell Dickerson, financial counselor, and Bill Sherman, MEMBERS Financial Services, were among the volunteers from financial institutions who fielded questions from area residents about personal finance during economically challenged times. The goal, said Dickerson, "was to help people find the resources to help with their personal finances." Any person who joined Mazuma that week received a "Save a Buck with a Cup" coffee mug. The program enrolled almost 150 savers for the week, said Heather Davis Richards, vice president of public affairs for Essential Knowledge LLC, a partner in the local initiative … * HARRISBURG, Pa. (3/12/09)--Erie (Pa.) FCU has deployed the first credit union-owned shared-branch kiosk in Pennsylvania, says the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Life is a Highway March 10). The kiosk functions as an ATM, allowing transactions by not only members of Erie FCU and other credit unions, but also by other financial institutions' customers. Members on the shared-branching network can process deposits, withdrawals, transfers, transaction history, cashier check withdrawals, loan payments and loan advances for line-of-credit accounts. The kiosk is located in a Shell gas/convenience store in Union City. The kiosk brings the total shared branching locations in the state to 88 …

Michigan OFIR orders ceasedesist to fake online CU

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LANSING, Mich. (3/12/09)--Michigan's credit union regulator has issued a cease-and-desist order against a fake online credit union, doing business as Communal CU of Dearborn. The Michigan Office of Insurance and Financial Regulation (OFIR) said no one is at the physical address listed on the bogus credit union's website (Detroit Free Press March 11). The address was listed as 330 Town Center Drive, Suite 900, Dearborn, MI 48126. OFIR says that scam artists are promoting the fake credit union on the Internet to consumers looking for a break on a loan or wanting to refinance their mortgage. News Now visited the website at www.communalcreditunion.com. On it, Communal says it specializes in refinance loans and home mortgage loans. "Whether your dream is to buy a home or refinance your mortgage, our Mortgage Specialists are there to help. Refinance today to consolidate debt, lower monthly payments and get cash out," it says. OFIR discovered the bogus credit union after consumers complained about its website. They told OFIR they were asked to provide two pay stubs, Social Security numbers and bank account numbers, information that could be used for identity theft and unauthorized access to financial and card accounts, according to the article. The Detroit Free Press offered websites where consumers could check to verify that a credit union actually exists. They included OFIR's website and the website of the National Credit Union Administration.

Point Loma CU sponsors YouTube video contest

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SAN DIEGO (3/12/09)--Point Loma CU (PLCU) is sponsoring a YouTube video contest to help the next generation of moviemakers--or to least give younger members a chance to have fun--with its “PLCU in :30” video contest. Teens and young adults can enter by creating a 30-second spot about PLCU’s checking account. The commercials, aimed at youth peers, should cover what makes PLCU checking the best, promote the convenience of PLCU’s 24-hour nationwide access services, and explain how to open an account. The winner will receive an iPhone and could have the winning ad played on a local cable TV station. Four runners-up will each win an iPod. The entry deadline is March 31. “YouTube is ubiquitous, so this contest is a great way to reach our younger members,” said Ted Dennis, PLCU president/CEO. “I’m looking forward to seeing the results of their creative vision; I expect we’ll discover some real talent.” PLCU has assets of more than $475 million.