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CU System briefs (03/13/2014)

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  • JACKSON, Miss. (3/13/14)--Nearly 40 individuals representing Mississippi credit unions meet with their congressional representatives during the Credit Union National Association's 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference last month. "I think our 2014 meetings were some of the best we have ever had," said Charles Elliott, president/CEO, Mississippi Credit Union Association (CU Connection March 12). "We discussed maintaining our tax exempt status, eliminating the requirement to send privacy notices to members unless there is a change in the credit unions' practices and the need for enhance security standards to prevent security breaches at retailers." U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Gulfport), left, meets with the Mississippi contingent (Mississippi Credit Union Association photo) ...
  • HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (3/13/14)--New Jersey credit unions are challenged to bust the March Madness bracket of New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Greg Michlig--all in the name of charity. Credit unions can enter up to three brackets each for a chance to win a $1,000 donation to the winner's charity of choice (Daily Exchange March 12). Submitted NCAA brackets will be judged against those of each credit union and of Michlig. Deadline to register is Saturday ...

Thomson named president at Idaho league

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BOISE, Idaho (3/13/14)--The Idaho Credit Union League named longtime league employee and interim leader Kathy Thomson to the president/CEO position.
 
The appointment of Thomson, who had been interim president/CEO since the November departure of Chris Johnson, was official Feb. 12.
 
"I truly believe in the power of credit unions to change their members' lives," Thomson said, adding, "...and I believe Idaho credit unions need the Idaho Credit Union League to do that."
 
Credit unions need to be able to focus on serving their members while the league focuses on supporting credit unions, she said.
 
The 2013 Quarterly U.S. Map Review from the National Credit Union Administration showed Idaho led the nation in loan and membership growth, clocking in with 16.7% and 8.1% gains respectively. Idaho also was home to the largest increase in shares and deposits nationwide. (See March 6 News Now: State data shows where strongest growth occurred.)
 
Thomson has served the league in a number of capacities since joining the staff in 1973. She is a Credit Union Development Educator and holds designations as a Certified League Executive and Certified Credit Union Executive.
 
"Kathy is a capable, devoted and hard-working professional," said Shane Berger, league board chair and president/CEO of $178 million-asset Beehive FCU, Rexburg. "We have great confidence that she will lead our trade association to future success."

Bert Hash honored with AACUC Crear achievement award

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BALTIMORE (3/13/14)--Bert J. Hash Jr., president/CEO of Municipal Employees CU (MECU) of Baltimore, has been named the 2014 Pete Crear Lifetime Achievement Award recipient by the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC).
 
Hash was selected because of his commitment to the credit union philosophy and dedication to moving the credit union world forward at the local, regional, national and international levels, AACUC said.
 
Hash has led MECU of Baltimore for more than 15 years. During that time, the credit union increased to more than 100,000 members and $1.2 billion in assets from more than 50,000 members and $435 million in assets.
 
He is a past chairman and vice chairman of the AACUC board of directors.
 
Hash is a champion for causes not only in the Baltimore area, but outside of the U.S. During the Haiti earthquake crisis, not only did the MECU help as an organization, but Hash and his wife, Joan, provided personal support to the cause. Hash has also been instrumental in spearheading the Capital Credit Union in Scotland partnership.
 
In 2013, he led MECU's purchase of Advance Bank operations. The credit union-bank acquisition was the first of its kind in Maryland.
 
The award will be presented to Hash at a dinner in his honor Aug. 1 during the 16th Annual AACUC Conference in Memphis, Tenn.

Student-run CUs touted at social studies conference

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (3/13/14)--More and more, school districts throughout the U.S. are emphasizing to their students the importance of personal financial literacy.
 
President Barack Obama's Council for Financial Capability of Young Americans, meanwhile, recently began work in encouraging young people to take stock in their financial futures as well (News Now March 11).
 
What better way to teach personal finance, than to have students run a financial institution of their own?
 
Credit unions are on top of it.
 
At a Minnesota Council on Social Studies conference earlier this month, representatives of the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation spoke about the importance and success of five student-run, in-school credit unions that have been established over the past few years, a growing trend not just in Minnesota but nationwide.
  
Student tellers at Poquessing Middle School, Feasterville-Trevose, Pa., will staff the school branch of Bucks First FCU two days per week during lunch. (Pennsylvania Credit Union Association photo)
For instance, Bucks First FCU, Bristol, Pa., and the Neshaminy School District partnered to open the first student-run credit union branch to be located in a Pennsylvania middle school (Life is a Highway Feb. 27).  The branch at Poquessing Middle School, Feasterville-Trevose, is part of the "Project Flipside" youth financial literacy program from the $83 million-asset credit union.
 
"Minnesota credit unions large and small have a commitment to financial education, and no two credit unions' efforts are exactly alike," said Kristina Wright, MCUF executive director. "The dedication by our credit unions that have established these first five in-school branches is spectacular, and it's a concept that I hope to see more of in the coming years."
 
The in-school branches that opened in Minnesota worked with credit unions such as St. Paul (Minn.) FCU, $124 million in assets; Postal FCU, $6.9 million in assets; and Cook (Minn.) Area Credit Union, $28 million in assets.
 
With the help of teachers, most of the branches are run by students and for students, offering myriad educational opportunities in financial literacy.
 
Wright led a breakout session during the conference called "Educational Benefits of Student-Run Credit Unions."
 
At the Minnesota Council on Social Studies conference, Tartan High School student Marc Buchmayer shared his experience of working at Postal CU's student-run branch in Oakdale, Minn. (Minnesota Credit Union Network photo)
There, she introduced the concept of student-run credit unions and provided resources and information on operational models, considerations and the many benefits of partnerships between schools and credit unions.
 
Participants also heard from educators who'd been directly involved in establishing student-run credit unions in the state, including Scott Pierce of Owatonna High School--the first to open a branch in Minnesota--and Craig Spreiter of Tartan High School, Oakdale.
 
"We felt that it would be a great tool to help students learn about financial literacy, and we could also incorporate it into classes," Pierce said. "The students that work at the credit union gain great experience, and the other students benefit as well through peer education and in dealing with other students."

CU advocates earn lifetime achievement awards from PCUA

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (3/13/14)--Kipp Stecher, retired CEO of $159 million-asset AmeriChoice FCU, Mechanicsburg, Pa., has been selected as the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association's 2014 Outstanding Credit Union Professional of the Year.

Charles Lantz, a board member at $109 million-asset Hidden River FCU, Pottsville, Pa., was named the association's 2014 Outstanding Credit Union Volunteer of the Year (Life is a Highway March 12).
 
Stecher retired at the end of 2013 after more than 30 years in the credit union movement. He started his career in 1979 as manager of IBM Pennsylvania Central FCU, with six employees and limited services. The credit union changed its name to AmeriChoice FCU, and converted its charter from a single select-employee group to a four-county community charter. AmeriChoice now has seven branches and 65 employees.
 
Stecher served on the board of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Service Centers Inc. and was vice chairman from 2005 to 2008.

Lantz has served on the board of Hidden River FCU for more than 40 years. His credit union volunteer experience began in 1970 when he was asked to fill a vacancy on the board of the Schuylkill County School Employees CU. He has served as board president/chairman since 1984.
 
He was involved in the Anthracite Chapter of Credit Unions and served as chapter president.
 
The Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented during the closing banquet at the PCUA's annual convention, May 20, in Atlantic City, N.J.

Cornerstone year-end numbers indicate favorable '14

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (3/13/14)--Credit unions across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas witnessed growth in deposits, members, loans and assets in 2013, a Cornerstone Credit Union League year-end report found, potentially indicating good things to come in 2014.  

"With an economic upturn in 2014, credit unions in the region are heading into a good growth year," said Rick Grady, Cornerstone's vice president of research (Leaguer March 12).

Deposits in the region last year increased almost 6.1%, up to $82.6 billion. At banks, deposits grew 7.4% to $781.2 billion, according to Grady.

Memberships at credit unions grew by 370,000 individuals in 2013, hoisting up member numbers to 9.56 million throughout the region. That influx also ushered in more than $4.3 billion into deposit accounts.

Market share for credit unions, meanwhile, stayed relatively flat at 9.6% in 2013, Grady said. Credit unions operate 2,046 branches in the region with an average of $40.4 million in funds on deposits, while banks run 9,088 branches with average funds on deposit of $86 million. Out-of-state banks average $112.3 million in deposits per branch.

The disparity in market share also revealed itself in loan demands, with credit unions holding 9.6% and banks at 90.4%. Credit unions still increased loan demand 9.7%, up to $61.2 billion, in 2013.

Member assets in Cornerstone credit unions rose more than $5.1 billion last year, reaching $95.3 billion by year's end.

Despite modest job growth last year, credit union employment increased by 4.7%.

Farber, Sinek join ACUC's San Francisco lineup

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MADISON, Wis. (3/13/14)--Two additional speakers--Steve Farber and Simon Sinek--have been added to the lineup for the Credit Union National Association's 2014 America's Credit Union Conference, set for June 29-July 3 in San Francisco.
 
Perhaps best known for his first book, "The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership," Farber embraces extreme leadership as one would approach an extreme sport: "Learn to love the fear and exhilaration that naturally comes with the territory." He recently expanded and updated the book, releasing it as "The Radical Leap Re-Energized: Doing What You Love in the Service of People Who Love What You Do."
 
Farber is the president of Extreme Leadership Inc. and founder of The Extreme Leadership Institute, both of which are devoted to cultivating and developing extreme leaders in business and other arenas. His other two books are "Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership" and "The Radical Edge: Stoke Your Business, Amp Your Life and Change the World."
 
Sinek's concept of "Why" is the second-most-watched TED talk videos. His books, "Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't" and "Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action," address inspirational leadership.
 
"I imagine a world where people wake up every day inspired to go to work and return home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled by the work they do, feeling that they have contributed to something greater than themselves," he says.
 
Farber and Sinek join Marcus Luttrell, former Navy SEAL and author of "Lone Survivor" and "Service: A Navy SEAL at War and True Stories of American Heroism."
 
"Their insights, leadership and inspiration are sure to motivate attendees to drive positive change for their credit unions," said CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney.
 
CUNA also announced a Guess the Speaker contest for the fourth ACUC keynoter. Entrants who submit correct guesses by May 9 will be entered for one free registration for this year's conference.
 

Record no. of congressional members lace up for Cherry Blossom

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WASHINGTON (3/13/14)--A record-breaking number of congressmen and women have pledged support for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run this year, an annual event to raise money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

So far, 210 members of Congress, representing 47 states, American Samoa, D.C. and Guam, have volunteered their support for the April 6 event, including 37 U.S. senators and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

The previous record for the race had been 189. The race is part of the broader Credit Union Miracle Day's Family of Races.

Charlie Mallon, president/CEO, Congressional FCU, Oakton, Va., and board vice chair of the Credit Union Miracle Day, praised the support the event received from the Hill.

"This race showcases the credit union philosophy of people-helping-people since one of our major goals is to raise funds for children's hospitals," Mallon said.

Credit Union Miracle Day, put together by 101 credit unions and 48 business partners and CUSOs, including lead partner PSCU, has donated more than $6 million to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals throughout the U.S. from its Credit Unions for Kid-arm.

Children's Miracle Network Hospitals ties together a number of premier children's hospitals across the country, who collectively treat 10 million critically ill children every year, regardless of their economic circumstances.
 
The other Miracle Day races this year include the Credit Union SacTown Ten-Mile Run in Sacramento, Calif., and a Freedom Run at Wiesbaden Army Garrison in Germany.