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CU System Archive

CU System

National CU Youth Week just a month away

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MADISON, Wis. (3/15/10)--National Credit Union Youth Week, sponsored by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), is one month away. As credit unions prepare to celebrate Youth Week and participate in the National Youth Saving Challenge, they should keep in mind that the takeaway from the event is more than just saving money for a designated period. Youth Week runs April 18-24, while the National Youth Saving Challenge will take place the entire month of April. Lin Standke, CUNA Youth Week manager, said when she thinks about Saving Challenge activities, she also thinks about Mother’s Day. “The Saving Challenge is like Mother’s Day. You celebrate your mom on Mother’s Day, but you’re thinking about her all year,” she said. “That’s really the lesson from this. The challenge is a designated event where people are inspired to save their money, but we really want them to make deposits all year long.” This year’s theme for Youth Week is “Get in the Savings Game.” School District 3 FCU, Colorado Springs, Colo., will celebrate Youth Week by collecting money through donation jars in the lobby to support two local high schools’ sports programs. During the week, the credit union also will pay $1 for each “A” earned on report cards, waive coin counting fees for kids who bring in their piggy banks to deposit the money into the accounts, said Theresa M. Schutts, vice president of operations. Bell West Community CU, Westchester, Ill., is raffling off two family fun packs from a local minor league baseball team, the Windy City Thunderbolts. The credit union also is sponsoring a youth baseball team in one of its communities.

CUs banks overtake captives in auto financing

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MADISON, Wis. (3/15/10)--Credit unions and banks have emerged as some of the winners in auto financing, according to Experian Automotive’s AutoCount ranking. Lenders in credit union categories increased their share of outstanding auto loans. Credit unions’ portfolios jumped 1.2% to $149 billion in 2009 (Automotive News March 11). Credit unions and banks received the “upper hand” because of frozen credit markets, and they had better liquidity than some captives and independent finance companies, the newspaper said. The top auto lenders in the U.S. and their market share in 2009 were:
* Chase Auto Finance, 6.75% market share; * Toyota Financial Services, 6.14%; * Wachovia Dealer Services, 4.3%; * American Honda Financial Services, 4.26%; * GMAC Financial Services, 3.7%; * Ford Motor Credit Co., 3.46%; * Nissan Infiniti Financial Services, 2.29%; * Bank of America, 1.99%; * BMW Financial Services, 1.84%; and * Capital One Auto Finance, 1.76%.

CU System briefs (03/12/2010)

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* ST. LOUIS (3/15/10)--Missouri credit unions and hundreds of volunteers will have the opportunity to help build Staff Sergeant (SSG) Robert Canine’s home April 9 through April 11 during the Build Brigade. The Build Brigade--part of Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds specially adapted homes for severely injured service members--takes the home from a concrete foundation to a weather-tight structure in just three days. By the end of the last day, the home will have interior walls framed, windows installed, doors hung, roof shingled and siding installed. The brigade will kick-off with a special ceremony on April 9. Credit union representatives, legislators, community members, local media and Canine’s family are expected to attend, said the Missouri Credit Union Association (The Missouri difference March 12) … * DETROIT (3/15/10)--Paul Bashi, Royal, Mich., pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and to commit wire fraud in relation to a $6.2 million loan fraud scheme. During a plea hearing Thursday, he admitted that from 2006 to 2008, he recruited straw borrowers and helped them apply for loans to buy homes based on false information (WDIVDetroit March 11). Loans totaling $480,000 were issued by area credit unions and banks, which were not paid back. Bashi faces seven to nine years in jail ... * CINCINNATI (3/15/10)--A former employee of Cincinnati-based Good Samaritan Employees CU pleaded guilty Thursday in a U.S. District Court to defrauding the credit union of more than $245,432. Ann Bryson, 63, of Cincinnati, allegedly wrote checks and money orders from 1998 to 2005 to pay personal expenses. She used several methods to manipulate records in the credit union's ledgers. Bryson faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines. Her sentencing is set for July 1 (WLWT.com March 11) ... * KANSAS CITY, Mo. (3/15/10)--Six team members from Mazuma CU taught 150 girl scouts in grades six through 12 how to manage a checking account and debit/ATM cards during a financial education workshop called Making Cent$ in the City. The event was on Feb. 27 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The sessions were also available to parents to help them teach young people about money and the importance of saving and preparing for college. The workshop was sponsored by The Women's Foundation of Greater Kansas City and the Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri ...

Adjusting currency for blind would impact ATMs CUs

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MADISON, Wis. (3/15/10)--Credit unions could be impacted by proposed changes to U.S. currency that would make denominations easier to read for the visually impaired. The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing is working to redesign banknotes after the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia in 2008 upheld a 2006 lower court ruling that the federal government violated the U.S. Rehabilitation Act by not providing meaningful access to banknotes for the blind and visually impaired (Payments Source March 9). The Treasury is proceeding to redesign currency and will soon seek comment on the proposed designs. The comment period is expected to last about 90 days, said James Hanisch, executive vice president of CO-OP Financial Services in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., a credit union service organization. Currency size could change, or the size could remain the same with the inclusion of a Braille feature. The inclusion of a Braille feature could have a modest impact. If the size is changed, it could have a “fairly material impact,” Hanisch told News Now. Depending on which design the Treasury proposes and what denominations will be affected, the changes could be a “fairly expensive proposition” for credit unions. The $20 bill is the most commonly dispensed at ATMs, and its change would have the largest impact. The $1 bill will be exempt, and the $100 bill will be grandfathered in the next redesign, Hanisch said. Changes in currency sizes could mean adjustments to cash drawers, vaults, and ATM canisters and dispensers. ATM manufacturers already have the capabilities to change the machines, since many countries have already adjusted their currency sizes for the visually impaired, he added. The technology in Diebold’s ATMs, which include the Opteva and the IX, is designed to support global currencies, Rebekah Smith, Diebold spokesperson, told News Now. The ATMs also are equipped to handle currencies of different sizes, materials and thickness. “Diebold is confident in the design of its ATMs,” she said in regards to the proposed changes. Diebold is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. Currency changes could cost $3,000 to $5,000 per ATM, depending on the denomination. CO-OP offers about 28,000 ATMs, Hanisch said. At minimum, the changes are a year a way. “It’s just starting to sink in how significant this could possibly be,” Hanisch said.

NCUF board approves DE Fund for CIF investors

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WASHINGTON (3/15/10)--National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) board members approved the creation of a new Development Education Fund during their January board meeting. The fund allows investors in the Community Investment Fund (CIF) to designate future investments to support the Credit Union Development Education (DE) Program. The new Development Education Fund within CIF joins three others: the African-American Credit Union Coalition (Pete Crear Fund); the World Council of Credit Unions (International Development Fund); and the NCUF and State Credit Union Foundations (General Fund). The DE program is recognized within the credit union movement as a training program that fosters credit union values and philosophy and applies these fundamentals in the DE training curriculum. More than 900 credit union professionals have participated and are now certified Credit Union Development Educators. “The value and success of the program is evident in what DEs have gone on to accomplish within their credit unions, state leagues and foundations,” said Tom Candell, NCUF interim executive director and managing administrative director. “The interest in attending training and the expense of running the program deem it crucial to establish this fund to help financially support the program.” An investment designation in the DE Fund supports:
* Annual training programs focusing on credit union philosophy, cooperative principles, and credit union development; * Aid to international credit union and small credit union staff so they may attend development education program; and * The strengthening of cooperative social responsibility within the credit union movement.
Celebrating its 11th year, the CIF enables credit unions to leverage their investments to support innovative credit union programs. Credit unions invest in a CIF account at their corporate credit union. Each corporate invests in corresponding CIF accounts at U.S. Central FCU. Then, each quarter, half of the CIF dividends is returned to investing credit unions. The other half is donated to NCUF. In turn, NCUF disburses its half of the CIF dividends accordingly. When credit unions designate NCUF and State Credit Union Foundations (General Fund), NCUF grants half of its NCUF dividend to the credit union’s state foundation or league. NCUF uses the remainder to support its national programs. When credit unions designate the Credit Union Development Education Fund, Pete Crear Fund, or the International Development Fund, half of the CIF dividend that goes to support the activities of these funds is disbursed as 42.5% directly to the particular fund, 42.5% to the credit union’s state foundation or league and 15% to NCUF as a maintenance fee. For more information, contact your corporate credit union, state credit union foundation, league or NCUF Resource Development and Donor Relations Director Josie Collins at jcollins@ncuf.coop or at 800-356-9655, ext. 4397.

Arrest ends High Country Bandits four-state spree

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PHOENIX (3/15/10)--Two Linden, Ariz., men were arrested Thursday in connection with 16 bank robberies in four states that involved credit unions. Joel Jay Glore and Ronald Michael Capito are believed to be the “High Country Bandits” suspected in the armed robberies of credit unions and banks in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah that began in September. They were apprehended after a week of surveillance by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and local law enforcement officials (abc15.com March 12). The robbers got the name “High Country Bandits” because the initial robberies occurred in Northern Arizona, the TV station said. Armed with semi-automatic handguns, the bandits usually would enter a credit union or bank near closing time and demand cash from the teller drawers, Navajo County Sheriff K.C. Clark told the station. The men involved in the heists would tell everyone in the credit union or bank to “kiss the ground” before they left on all terrain vehicles, which were loaded onto a van before leaving the area, the station said.

NCCUL CEO WOCCU in Romania to aid CU growth

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CURTEA DE ARGUS, Romania (3/15/10)--John Radebaugh, North Carolina Credit Union League (NCCUL) president/CEO, and Brian Branch, executive vice president and chief operating officer and for the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), traveled to Romania last week to assist its growing credit union movement.
John Radebaugh (center), president/CEO of the North Carolina Credit Union League, traveled extensively through Romania last week as part of a World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU)-sponsored trip. He is pictured with representatives from a Romanian credit union and Brian Branch (second from right), WOCCU executive vice president and chief operating officer. (Photo provided by the North Carolina Credit Union League)
The visit to the Eastern European nation is the second WOCCU-sponsored trip in the past few months, said the league (Weekly Update March 12). Radebaugh and Branch traveled extensively through the country with Florin Simion, the Romanian Federation of Credit Unions (FEDCAR) president/CEO. “Our mission is to help Florin increase his membership and develop services he can offer to the Federation’s members,” Radebaugh said. Romanian credit unions have no government oversight--and some 2,000 credit unions in the country have no verifiable internal controls. Separate from this group are 17 credit unions that are members of the FEDCAR that work together and have adopted PEARLS standards. PEARLS is the internationally recognized credit union monitoring system aimed at helping the world's credit unions be more safe and sound. Radebaugh and Branch visited Casa de Ajutos Recirpoc Concordia in Curtea de Arges, a city of about 25,000 people. A Casa de Ajutos Recirpoc (CAR), which translates as a “Mutual Help House,” is Romania’s equivalent of a credit union. “We learned a lot about their credit union and the challenges they face--some very similar to the challenges credit unions in North Carolina face every day,” Radebaugh said. Radebaugh and Branch asked why CAR members do business at the credit union instead of a bank. “We have heard the same answer at each credit union we have visited--trust,” Radebaugh said. “Members trust credit unions and they don’t trust banks.” In November, Jeff Hardin, NCCUL’ director of communications, and Victor Corro, senior manger of WOCCU’s international partnerships, visited the credit unions and made recommendations to FEDCAR aimed at helping the Romanian movement grow. Radebaugh and Branch also met with the head officials of the County of Alba. They also were interviewed by four TV stations. They also met with a meeting with several credit union officials to discuss FEDCAR and with Omar Corneliu, a member of Romania’s House of Representatives.

MCUL Michigan Association of CUs to combine

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LANSING, Mich. (3/15/10)--The Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) and the Michigan Association of Credit Unions (MACU) will become one united trade association, they announced Friday. The organizations had completed the first year of a two-year agreement, and a special MACU membership meeting was held Feb. 19 in Mt. Pleasant to review the progress of the alliance and determine future steps MACU membership considered the level of service provided by the league and voted to authorize the MACU Board of Directors to begin the complete integration with the league and begin dissolving MACU before the agreement expires. “Consolidation in our industry continues to challenge associations nationwide, and that is why the MCUL and MACU alliance was formed--to provide a single voice for all Michigan credit unions with one strong trade association,” said David Adams, president/CEO of MCUL. “This arrangement offers member credit unions a united voice in Lansing and Washington, D.C. It also provides great value to all credit unions by creating a single source of funding and support for trade association services. This is particularly important in this climate of economic challenges and opportunities,” Adams added. MCUL Board Chairman Andy List noted that the current financial services environment requires a unified credit union trade association. “This is good news for Michigan credit unions and their members," List said. "The MACU credit unions cover a wide range of asset sizes and geographic locations. They have much to contribute to our state association by participating in the legislative lobbying process, networking with colleagues in the MCUL family and contributing ideas for strengthening our credit union community through the power of association.” During the past 12 months, 18 MACU member credit unions have benefited from MCUL’s advocacy efforts, information and education services, fee-based services and networking opportunities.

.org domain to add security to protect donors

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WASHINGTON (3/15/10)--Credit unions and nonprofit organizations using the .org Web domain will see beefed up security on the domain beginning in June. The Public Interest Registry will add a layer of security known as DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) to the domain to protect millions of non-profit organizations and their donors from hacking attacks known as cache poisoning. (Networkworld.com March 11). Cache poisoning refers to the practice of hackers redirecting visitors from a legitimate website to a bogus one without the website operator or end user knowing about the switch. The practice stems from a flaw in the Domain Name System (DNS) disclosed in 2008 by a security researcher. The registry will support DNSSEC for first and second-level .org domain names. "There are credit unions that use .org ... and there are non-profit organizations that are in fundraising and have been targets for attacks, some of them quiet public," said Alexa Raad, CEO of The Public Interest Registry. DNSSEC will allow customers who require security to have it, she told Networkworld.com. DNSSEC is an emerging standard that allows websites to verify their domain names and corresponding internet provider addresses using digital signatures and public-key encryption. Other domains deploying DNSSEC include .gov and country code top-level domains operated by Brazil, Bulgaria, Puerto Rico and Sweden. VeriSign will deploy DNSSEC in the .edu domain by second quarter of this year. The .net domain will deploy it in fourth quarter and the .com domain during first quarter 2011.