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Latest CUs-in- the-media roundup

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MADISON, Wis. (3/30/10)--Consumers are getting all kinds of financial advice in the media and credit unions head the list as good deals. For example:
* AARP's Bulletin for March told consumers that Michigan credit unions' prize-linked Save to Win program turned Communicating Arts CU member Barbara Cornish of Detroit into a regular saver. Last year, eight Michigan credit unions pooled resources to award a $100,000 grand prize and smaller monthly cash prizes in a savings raffle, the article said. "Save to Win has been so successful, with 11,700 account holders putting away $8 million, that the program will continue this year," said AARP. Save to Win was the No. 6 suggestion in an article on "Eight Fun Ways to Save Money." Use the resource link. * Friday's issue of CreditRatings.com expounds on "Credit Union Credit Cards: The Bad, the Good and the Excellent." The article lists these upsides for credit union credit cards: excellent customer service, competitive rates, consumer-friendly terms. Downsides: stricter underwriting, lower credit limits and less robust rewards programs. The article mentions the Pew Charitable Trusts study's findings that credit unions have much lower advertised rates than banks. See resource link. * The latest article addressing the "move your money" campaign for consumers to send big banks a message by moving their accounts to a credit union or community bank appeared in Sunday's Chicago Tribune. The article mentions credit unions and directs readers to creditunion.coop to find a new institution. * Readers of the St. Louis Post Dispatch may think they're in a time warp when they see the First Community CU's share draft rate of 4%, which will fall to 3% during April, said stltoday.com (March 28). The newspaper says bankers haven't taken "happy pills"; they're just staying competitive in a competitive banking market. * McGraw-Hill FCU, East Windsor, N.J., is among the institutions discussing the trend for homeowners to turn to home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), which have cheaper interest rates, to pay for home renovations, student loans and other loans (The Star Ledger via nj.com March 29). Shawn Gilfedder, president of the credit union, noted that consumers are using the tax advantages of HELOCs to buy cars or pay tuition, or for refinancing a small first mortgage. Use the resource link.

CUNAs Mad City Money a hit in Sacramento

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (3/30/10)--The Credit Union National Association's (CUNA's) Mad City Money life simulation game was a big hit with high school students, parents, teachers and credit union professionals in Sacramento, Calif., last week.
Click to view larger image Students from Gonzales (Calif.) High School and Santa Catalina High School, Monterey, Calif., participate in the Mad City Money life simulation session during the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues' FOCUS 2010 CU EduConference in Monterey March 20.. The event was conducted by the California and Nevada Youth Involvement Network. (Photo provided by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues)
A coalition of credit unions took the game to Gonzales High School and Santa Catalina High School, where young adults learned how to manage their money. The students had to learn what many adults have trouble learning: How to balance the demands of work, family and a tight budget. "Having a program like this, where they're actually hands-on doing a simulation, I think they are learning so much more than just listening to an adult lecturing them about it," Carrie Birkhofer of Bay FCU told KSBW.com. About 25 volunteers from the the California and Nevada Youth Involvement Network and credit unions in those states helped put the program on, which was also covered by The Herald of Monterey County. Andy Anderson, manager of corporate relations and government affairs for Travis CU, told the newspaper that his credit union had offered the Mad City Money simulation game five times, and "the kids really get involved with it. And when it's over, we get letters and phone calls from their parents, thanking us for teaching their kids how to balance a budget. I think it's a great thing." The program occurred during the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues' FOCUS 2010 CU EduConference in Monterey on March 20. The event was conducted by the California and Nevada Youth Involvement Network, said the California league.

Laptop theft hits 3.3M with student loans

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (3/30/10)--Personal data on about 3.3 million people with student loans were stolen from Educational Credit Management Corp. (ECMC) in St. Paul, Minn., a nonprofit guarantor of federal student loans, during the weekend of March 20-21. The information was on a portable media device. It was not a hacking incident--rather, it was a “simple, old fashioned theft,” said ECMC spokesman Paul Kelash (The Wall Street Journal March 29). Sixteen percent of credit unions offered Federal Family Education Loans, and 12% offered private student loans as of December 2008, according to the Credit Union National Association Department of Economics and Statistics. ECMC services and insures about $11 billion in student loans for the Department of Education. The theft could affect up to 5% of federal student loan borrowers, the newspaper said. The incident is the latest in a series of consumer financial data thefts in the past few years. More than 347 million records with sensitive consumer information have been compromised in the U.S. since 2005, according to statistics the newspaper cited by Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. In 2006, about 1.7 million computer records held by Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corp. were breached, and a U.S. Department of Education website bug compromised data on 21,000 individuals.

CU System briefs (03/29/2010)

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* RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (3/30/10)--The Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation, the state credit union foundation in California and Nevada, has given five community service grants totaling $26,500 to three California credit unions and two community organizations for financial literacy efforts. Recipients are: Antelope Valley FCU, $3,500 for a financial education program for junior and high school students; Mid-Cities FCU, $2,500 for its new youth financial education program; Redwood CU, $500 to continue its Financial First program; and California Counsel on Economic Education and ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, $10,000 each, for their youth financial literacy programs ... * ST. PAUL, Minn. (3/30/10)--Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) Vice President-Communications Kristina Wright was named to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal's 40 Under Forty list for 2010 Thursday. Wright was selected from among nearly 300 nominees evaluated on their professional and community accomplishments. Initiatives she has worked with include: overhauling MnCUN's website, establishing a networking group for young credit union professionals, creating a vendor advertising program for companies working with Minnesota credit unions, acting as staff liaison to MnCUN's international partnership with a credit union association in Paraguay, representing credit unions and MnCUN as vice president of the Minnesota Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, working with the University of Minnesota Extension to host financial education training; and being involved with Minnesota Financial Fitness Network, National Youth Involvement Board and the Minnesota Family Involvement Council ... * RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (3/30/10)--CO-OP Financial Services is encouraging general interest business publications to include coverage of credit unions when dealing with personal finance issues, the credit union-owned cooperative network services provider said in a news release. Its release provides general public media with information about credit unions' history, structure and philosophy ... * HEATH, Ohio (3/30/10)--Hopewell FCU President Alan P. Smith has retired after a 43-year credit union career, 27 of them with the Heath, Ohio-based Hopewell. Smith led the credit union in converting its charter from an occupational charter to a community credit union in 1994 (Newark Advocate March 28). He was honored in 1999 as the Ohio Credit Union League's Credit Union Professional of the Year. Hopewell FCU's board of directors has unanimously appointed James G. Johnson, executive vice president and chief operations officer, as the $70 million asset credit union's next president ...

Illinois governor appoints state CU board

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (3/30/10)--Leaders from several Illinois Credit Union League affiliates were recently appointed by Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn to the Board of Credit Union Advisors, according to the league. The board makes recommendations on rules and policies related to credit unions, and on appointments of the state’s supervisory panel. It also consults with, advises and makes recommendations to the governor and director on matters that pertain to credit unions, and advises upon appointments and employment of personnel, the league said. Those elected to the board include:
* Chair Peggy Cummins, CEO, Three Rivers Community CU, Mount Carmel; * Alice Clements, director, Consumers Cooperative CU, Waukegan; * Brian McDaniel, director, Argonne CU, Romeoville; and * Karen Woods, marketing manager, Decatur Earthmover CU.
“Illinois credit unions have enjoyed a positive working relationship with Gov. Quinn throughout his political career and his support continues to this day,” said Dan Plauda, league president/CEO.

Barbados CUs move forward on deposit insurance

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (3/30/10)--Credit unions in Barbados last week accepted the World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) design for a program that will implement deposit insurance for the country's financial cooperatives. The program's implementation will not only strengthen the Caribbean nation's credit union movement, but enable it to compete more effectively with foreign banks that currently dominate the island, said WOCCU.
Click to view larger image Barbados Cooperative Credit Union League (BCCUL) and World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) officials met to discuss a WOCCU-proposed deposit insurance program. From left are Anthony Pilgram, BCCUL CEO; Dr. Delisle Worrell, governor, Central Bank of Barbados; Dave Grace, WOCCU vice president of association services; and Dean St. Hill, BCCUL president.
"Credit unions are Barbados' only locally owned financial institutions and serve more than two-thirds of the population," said Dave Grace, WOCCU vice president of association services, who led the design of the deposit insurance system. "It's time that credit union member deposits were given the same level of government guarantee with deposit insurance as those held by foreign-owned banks." Credit unions' unanimous support for the program came after a series of meetings Grace held with Barbados' policymakers and officials. Meeting participants included Dr. DeLisle Worrell, governor of the Central Bank of Barbados; Dr. David Eastwick, the government's minister of economic affairs; Warrick Ward, CEO of the Barbados Deposit Insurance Corp.; and Ronald Bascombe, secretary of special projects for the Ministry of Finance. In February, officials from the Barbados Cooperative Credit Union League (BCCUL) attended the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs in Washington, D.C., and participated in Capitol Hill visits with the Iowa Credit Union League. The delegation also met with WOCCU representatives to discuss its deposit insurance design draft and visited with officials at the National Credit Union Administration to better understand the workings of the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.
Click to view larger image Credit union officials joined Barbados Minister of Economics Affairs Dr. David Eastwick, third from right, in the Barbados Parliament. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
Last July BCCUL contracted with WOCCU to design and help advocate for deposit insurance implementation. The deposit insurance design delivered last week calls for credit union members to maintain a minimum of BDS$25,000 (US$12,500) in deposit insurance, which will use the Barbados Deposit Insurance Fund (BDIC). But the design also advocates for establishing a credit union fund separate from the commercial bank fund within the agency, and it requires credit unions to attain minimum financial standards to enter into the deposit insurance system. WOCCU and BCCUL hope to have the needed legislative changes enacted later this year. "It is an important initiative in this era of global financial instability to further strengthen the safety and soundness of the local credit union sector," said Dean St. Hill, BCCUL president. "We're happy with the overall response of key stakeholders. All of us are working together to ensure that members' money is safer than ever."

Marketing and BD Council announces 2010 exec committee

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MADISON, Wis. (3/30/10)--The CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council announced its executive committee and officers during the council’s 17th annual conference last week in Washington, D.C. Anne Legg, vice president of marketing, Cabrillo CU, San Diego, will remain chair. Sean McDonald, director of business development and marketing, Liberty Savings FCU, Jersey City, N.J., was named vice chair. Michelle Hunter, senior vice president of marketing and development for Credit Union of Southern California, Whittier, is secretary/treasurer. New executive committee members include: Yvonne Garand, vice president of marketing and business development, Vermont State Employees CU, Montpelier, and Nancy Hutchinson, senior vice president of marketing and business development, Minnesota Power Employee CU, Duluth. They replace outgoing members: Susan Miller, business development representative, Delta Community CU, Atlanta; and Rene McKee, vice president of marketing, California Coast CU, San Diego. Also on the committee are:
* Lesley Carrell, vice president of marketing, Fibre FCU, Longview, Wash.; * Amy Davis, vice president of marketing, Red Canoe FCU, Longview; * Kathryn Davis, senior vice president of marketing and human resources, Xceed Financial CU, El Segundo, Calif.; * Tyler Disburg, chief administrative officer, Montana First CU, Missoula; * Tim Draper, vice president of marketing, Navigant CU, Smithfield, R.I.; and * Carol Payne, vice president of communications and marketing for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.

TODAY features COOs multigenerational lifestyle

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (3/30/10)--The chief operating officer of South Carolina FCU and his family will be featured today on a TODAY Show segment during the 8 a.m.-9 a.m. ET segment.
Click to view larger image Troy Hall, chief operating officer of South Carolina FCU, is filmed by NBC's TODAY Show while writing his blog, "Life in the Hallway," about multigenerational living.
Click to view larger image Troy Hall, second from left, and his wife, Vicki, pose at their home with the TODAY Show crew. (Photos provided by the South Carolina FCU).
Troy Hall and his family will be spotlighted as a family with four generations living under the same roof. NBC Producer Max Paul found Hall and his family while researching a series on the 2010 Census and was looking for a multi-generational family living in the same home. Paul stumbled on a recent Post and Courier article featuring the Hall family and Hall's blog, lifeinthehallway.com, about multigenerational living. With the help of TODAY Show correspondent Miguel Almaguer, the Halls shared their story in their Hanahan, S.C., home last week. "Life in the Hallway is about four generations of folks who have come together to commune in one home out of some common needs ... financial, medical, emotional and biblical," said Hall. "With an understanding built on love and our faith in God, we have joined forces to live under one roof and try to make it work," he continued. South Carolina FCU is a $1.3 billion asset credit union located in North Charleston, S.C.

NYC Council resolution supports municipal deposit choice

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ALBANY, N.Y. (3/30/10)--The New York City Council Thursday unanimously passed Resolution 17, which encourages the state legislature to allow municipalities to deposit public funds in credit unions. “It is time for New York to allow the city to invest its money in community development financial institutions,” said Al Vann, chair of the council’s committee on community development. “While major commercial banks have decreased their lending, local community development financial institutions have provided lending opportunities in neighborhoods throughout New York City. “Many of these institutions have given a lifeline to New York City’s small businesses that are struggling to find capital, while also offering individuals traditionally without bank accounts banking and financial services,” he added. “Allowing these institutions to accept municipal deposits will only strengthen the communities they serve by offering competition and an alternative to commercial banks, whom often have no significant relationship to the communities they serve.” The Credit Union Association of New York applauded the resolution. The current law addressing municipal deposits was enacted in 1909 before credit unions existed, said William J. Mellin, association president. “We hope New York’s legislative body will do the right thing and support municipal depository choice in the final budget,” he said. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg also issued a statement supporting Resolution 17. “Today’s city council resolution strengthens our message, and I applaud the members of the council for joining with us in this effort,” he said. “If Albany lifts the ban, our administration will fulfill the commitment I made in my recent State of the City speech by depositing $25 million in city funds in federally insured and regulated credit unions that pay the same interest rate as commercial banks. This will allow credit unions to increase the number of loans they issue to low-income families and small neighborhood businesses across the city.” Last week, the New York State Senate passed a municipal deposits bill.