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N.Y. league visits U.S. Rep. Hayworth

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ALBANY, N.Y. (3/23/11)--Credit Union Association of New York staffers recently visited the Goshen office of U.S. Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.).
Credit Union Association of New York staffers and state credit union leaders recently visited the Goshen office of U.S. Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.). Pictured from left: William Spearman, president/CEO, Mid-Hudson Valley FCU, Kingston; Thomas Powers, CEO, Hudson River Teachers FCU, Mohegan Lake; U.S. Rep. Nan Hayworth; Mark Welshoff, president/CEO, Palisades FCU, Pearl River; Roland Faucher, president/board chairman, Hudson River Teachers FCU; and Michael Lanotte, association senior vice president and general counsel.
Also in attendance were: Thomas Powers, CEO, and Roland Faucher, president/board chair, Hudson River Teachers FCU, Mohegan Lake; William Spearman, president/CEO, Mid-Hudson Valley FCU, Kingston; and Mark Welshoff, president/CEO, Palisades FCU, Pearl River. During their time with Hayworth, the group discussed the unique structure and philosophy of credit unions and their role in the financial services industry. They emphasized credit unions’ legislative priorities, including interchange, supplemental capital and member business lending. “The credit union leaders in attendance clearly demonstrated the credit union difference to Representative Hayworth, providing her with numerous examples of the ways they have benefited their members--her constituents--and the communities in her district,” shared Michael Lanotte, association senior vice president and general counsel. “Congresswoman Hayworth was very engaged, and our priorities aligned with her position on taxes and a competitive, fair business environment,” he added. “The meeting established a solid foundation for building a strong relationship.” Hayworth serves on the House Financial Services Committee.

Wanted CUs to take part in National Youth Saving Challenge

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MADISON, Wis. (3/23/11)--National Credit Union Youth Week, sponsored by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), is less than a month away. By sponsoring the National Youth Saving Challenge, a credit union can generate excitement about setting money aside for personal goals.
A young saver makes a deposit at Erie Community CU during the 2010 National Youth Savings Challenge. (Photo provided by CUNA)
The National Youth Saving Challenge puts the spotlight on credit unions and highlights its community service and financial education efforts. Although the 2011 National Credit Union Youth Week is officially April 17-23, credit unions can challenge youth savers any time during the month. A saving challenge can be run during Youth Week, over several weeks, or through the entire month of April. Registration is open through the end of April. There is no charge for credit unions to participate in the contest. CUNA provides marketing materials, forms and creative ideas. CUNA also provides mentors from credit unions who have participated in the savings challenges previously to share their experiences and offer ideas. CUNA reports the deposits and uses Saving Challenge figures to promote the credit union difference in both state and national lobbying efforts. Thus far, 227 credit unions have registered. Participating credit unions hope to see 70,000 youth make deposits worth more than $9 million--that’s an average deposit of just under $130. “Each year, credit unions call and write me about how surprised they were to see how much youth deposit,” said Joanne Sepich, CUNA’s Youth Week coordinator. “When we first launched the Challenge in 2004, the average deposit was $87. It has grown over the years. Last year the average was $147. Clearly our youth are thinking ahead--saving for major expenses such as cars and college.”

CUNA marketing council honors three CU executives

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MADISON, Wis. (3/23/11)--Three credit union executives were honored for their credit union marketing and business development achievements during a ceremony at the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council (CMBDC) Conference, which took place March 16-19 in Las Vegas. Joye Cox, vice president of marketing for SAFE FCU in Sumter, S.C., was the 2011 Hall of Fame inductee. Cox first served as SAFE Federal CU’s marketing director in 1984, when it was a military credit union with $64.5 million in assets and 36,800 members. A proponent of the philosophy of sharing the credit union with the entire community, Cox was instrumental in the addition of adding underserved communities in eight counties. Now the vice president of marketing, her credit union has $671 million in assets and serves more than 100,000 members through 10 branch locations. Cox was also instrumental in developing and growing SAFE’s program for members age 55 and older, and is laying the groundwork for a student-run branch in a local high school. In addition to being a co-founder and executive committee member of the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council, Cox has won numerous industry and non-industry awards. Amy McGraw, marketing director for Public Service CU in Romulus, Mich. won the Marketing Professional of the Year Award. McGraw has helped her credit union grow from more than 19,000 members and $89.5 million in assets to more than 23,400 members and $126.3 million in assets today. This represents a 23% growth in membership and a 41% growth in asset size in a little more than 4 years. Her responsibilities, which include all aspects of marketing and design, public relations, community involvement, and the credit union’s growing scholarship program, have helped the credit union accomplish this growth during a down economy. McGraw is also very active in her local credit union chapter, the Michigan Credit Union League and serves on the conference committee for the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. Brynn Ammon, project manager for Pen Air FCU in Pensacola, Fla., was presented with the Business Development Professional of the Year Award. Ammon has worked in credit unions for 11 years with the past couple being at Pen Air where she is responsible for business development, community outreach, off-site loan events, business account development and management of the Mobile Service Center. In 2010, under Ammon’s leadership, Pen Air FCU opened more than 100 new business accounts and 120 new SEGs, surpassing its goals by 375% and 220%, respectively. In addition to her work at the credit union, Ammon is also very active in her local community as well as being a past executive committee member of the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council.

Interchange rule hits CUs and consumers hard says league president

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LAS VEGAS (3/23/11)--Consumers nationwide would face increased fees when using their debit card if pending legislation before Congress becomes law, according to a speaker at a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) conference last week. Credit unions face a $1.5 billion annual price tag if the debit interchange fee regulation goes into effect, Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, said Friday during the 18th Annual CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference in Las Vegas. At issue is Section 1075 of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Interchange Amendment, which lacks any enforcement mechanism to protect small issuers such as credit unions. “We’re exempt, but there are no rules to protect us,” Dykstra said. “We can’t afford to take a $1.5 billion hit.” Credit unions should budget to receive 30% less in interchange income this year, and 70% less income six to 12 months after the interchange legislation’s implementation, she added. Magnifying the impact of potential cuts to interchange income are insurance fund assessments and declining revenues due to the economic slowdown. “Marketing is hit the hardest by budget cuts during tough times,” Dykstra said. She called upon conference attendees to contact elected officials about this issue, and to encourage friends and colleagues to do the same. The interchange provisions, which were passed as part of comprehensive financial regulatory legislation last year, direct the Fed to write rules on interchange fees for debit card purchases. While the interchange provision exempts small credit unions and other financial institutions with under $10 billion in assets from any interchange changes, these institutions would still be impacted directly by whatever rates are established, CUNA says. CUNA opposes the cap on interchange fees and has told federal lawmakers that such action would harm consumers by driving up costs of debit cards, limiting consumer options, competition and technological innovation. Interchange fees allow business costs, including the risk of consumer nonpayment, to be shared by the payments participants, CUNA says. Other key issues facing credit unions discussed at the conference are:
* Pending member business lending legislation. Dykstra acknowledged that although many credit unions don’t offer business services, the legislation is important to the movement as a whole.“We need an environment where all credit unions can thrive,” she said. “And, business lending might be important for your credit union five years from now.” * Supplemental capital. Too many credit unions are dealing with capital constraints by shrinking their assets. “That’s not acceptable,” Dykstra said. * Deficits. Cash-strapped states and the national government are looking everywhere for income, which requires constant vigilance about protecting the credit union tax exemption.
“We don’t think the government will set out to tax credit unions,” Dykstra said, but the movement needs to watch for last-minute amendments tagged onto other legislation. “It could be the Durbin Amendment all over again.”

Keller wins WOCCU Young People scholarship

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MADISON, Wis. (3/23/11)--Despite her young age, Melia Keller, CEO of Mid-Cities Financial CU in Compton, Calif., and a 2010 winner of World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) Scholarship Program, has already made a significant impact in the credit union industry.
Click to view larger image Melia Keller accepts the Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) award from World Council of Credit Unions President/CEO Pete Crear. Nominations for the 2012 WYCUP award are due June 1. (Photo provided by World Council of Credit Unions)
Keller started her credit union career at 19 as a teller and by 34 had worked her way up to CEO. Her accomplishments include launching successful youth programs to help teach children and teens about personal finance, creating financial workshops for those affected by hardships and layoffs, and last year being named a WYCUP winner. “WYCUP was a great opportunity to network with other young people from all over the world,” Keller said. “It’s very interesting to see how my counterparts in other countries are addressing their problems and then finding solutions together.” WYCUP nominations are now being accepted for the 2012 program for individuals under the age of 35 who have made significant contributions within their own credit union system--locally, regionally or nationally. The deadline for nominations is June 14. Winners will be announced at this year’s World Credit Union Conference, July 24-27 in Glasgow, Scotland, where five nominees will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the 2012 World Credit Union Conference in Gdansk, Poland. “The WYCUP Scholarship Program is a way for WOCCU to engage the next generation of credit union professionals and volunteers who already are making important contributions to the movement,” said Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO. “Melia is a great example of that initiative because she embodies the credit union movement and inspires others to make a difference.” Keller not only works in the industry, but she promotes credit unions in every aspect of her life, including during time served in Iraq. As a member of the U.S. Army Special Operations forces she went village to village working with financial institutions to help rebuild and stimulate the local Iraqi economy. Also, Keller helped fellow soldiers build their credit and published an award-winning book, In the Company of Soldiers, about her time in Iraq. As the key to her success, Keller credits her board of directors at Mid-Cities Financial CU. “I wouldn't be where I am today without my board of directors believing in me and giving me this chance,” Keller said. “It’s very progressive to hire someone so young and we need more boards and credit union leaders like that.” All WYCUP nominees will be formally recognized in Glasgow and invited to participate in events specifically organized for those age 35 and under. Conference attendees in this age group also qualify for a discounted registration fee regardless of whether or not they compete for a scholarship. To be eligible for one of five WYCUP scholarships, nominees must: 1) submit a completed nomination form with all necessary supporting materials by June 14; 2) be 35 years of age or younger as of Jan. 1, 2011; and 3) attend WOCCU's 2011 World Credit Union Conference in Glasgow this July where winners will be announced. For more information, use the link.

NCBA Write lawmakers for Year of Co-op resolution

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WASHINGTON (3/23/11)--The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) is asking all U.S. members of cooperatives to urge their U.S. Senators to co-sponsor a resolution designating 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives. The resolution is being introduced by U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). Johnson is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. "I'm pleased that this resolution enjoys bi-partisan support,” said NCBA president/CEO Paul Hazen said. “Cooperative enterprise knows no party, and the social and economic benefits of the model know no boundaries.” More than 29,000 cooperatives operate in every sector of the economy and in every congressional district; Americans hold more than 350 million co-op memberships, according to the NCBA. Credit unions alone, as financial cooperatives, enjoy the membership of 92 million Americans. U.S. cooperatives generate two million jobs and make a substantial contribution to the economy with annual sales of $652 billion and assets of $3 trillion, NCBA notes. “Cooperative enterprise is a vital part of our economy,” Hazen said. “Cooperatives improve the quality of lives of Americans all over this country, regardless of race, class, gender or party affiliation. That’s why we’re asking co-op members across America to urge Senators to co-sponsor this resolution.” NCBA has prepared a message that can be delivered to senators by e-mail or phone. See the link below. The United Nations designated 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) in order to recognize the contribution cooperatives make to social and economic development. The theme of IYC--“Cooperative Enterprise Builds a Better World”--reflects the contribution of cooperatives to the communities they serve.