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Toledo Blade columnist hails Nueva Esperanza

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TOLEDO, Ohio (3/7/14)--In his March 3 column, the Toledo Blade's Keith Burris praised upstart community development credit union Nueva Esperanza Community CU for making a difference in the local Hispanic community.
Nueva Esperanza, organized under the leadership of former Toledo alderman Adam Martinez, opened for business in 2011. "Now Nueva Esperanza has 450 members, a loan portfolio of about a half a million dollars, and $1.4 million in [assets]," Burris wrote.
Nueva Esperanza Community CU was also among 35 low-income credit unions to receive $21 million in funds through the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) in September ( News Now Sept. 25)
"What does it do for people? A few car loans," Burris added. "Citizenship loans--so a person can go through the naturalization process. That costs $5,000 to $7,000. Mostly, this credit union makes very down-to-earth dreams come true. Like a man who started his own landscaping business with a loan of $5,000. Or a man who borrowed $4,000 to put a furnace in his home. He had been heating the place with space heaters and could not sleep at night because he feared for the safety of his children."
Sue Cuevas, a former bank branch manager, is Nuevas Esperanza Community CU's CEO. Cuevas, the daughter of a minister, told Burris she left her job at the bank to help people. "It's how she was raised," Burris wrote.
Burris compared the work that Nueva Esperanza Community CU does for local Hispanics to civil rights work. "It's about initiatives that can really change life for people of modest means," he wrote. "The new civil rights movement is economic and pragmatic."

CU System briefs (03/07/2014)

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  • CLEVELAND, Ohio (3/7/14)--Another man has been charged in connection with the 2010 collapse of St. Paul Croatian FCU, Eastlake, Ohio--one of the most costly failures in credit union history. Sako Satka of Lakewood, Ohio, was indicted Wednesday on charges of conspiracy, bank fraud and bank bribery. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio, Satka allegedly paid bribes and kickbacks to CEO Anthony Raguz to use his position at the credit union to approve loans worth more than $4.4 million to Satka, his businesses and associates from 1999 to 2004. Satka is one of nearly two dozen players who allegedly conspired with Raguz to defraud the credit union through loan schemes. Raguz is serving a 14-year prison term for accepting bribes, kickbacks and gifts in exchange for loans. He allegedly issued more than 1,000 fraudulent loans totaling more than $70 million to about 300 accountholders and accepted more than $1 million in bribes. The collapse cost the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund more than $170 million ( News Now 11/27/12). ...
  • MADISON, Wis. (3/7/14)-- Discount pricing ends today on clothing and promotional products for National Credit Union Youth Week , scheduled for April 20-26. This year's theme is "Catch the $ave Wave." Credit unions also can register for the National Youth Saving Challenge , held in conjunction with Youth Week. Both events are hosted by the Credit Union National Association and focus on encouraging youth to learn about money and set savings goals. Last year more than 117,000 youth deposited $25.2 million into credit union savings accounts--with 6,173 of them being new accounts. ...
  • WORCESTER, Mass. (3/7/14)-- DCU for Kids, the charitable foundation of Marlborough, Mass.-based Digital FCU, sponsored the second annual statewide Bullying Prevention and Education Conference in Worcester ( Daily CU Scan March 6). More than 300 education, juvenile justice and law enforcement professionals attended the Feb. 27 event. The Bullying Prevention and Education Conference is part of DCU for Kids' ongoing initiatives to address the serious concerns of bullying. "Through the efforts of B.R.A.C.E. (Bullying Remediation and Court Education) Project partners and this conference," said John LaHair, public relations manager for the $5.2 billion-asset credit union, "we are cooperatively taking steps that will help prevent bullying and create a climate in our schools and our communities in which all children can feel safe." ...
  • EAST WINDSOR, N.J. (3/7/14)-- Shawn Gilfedder, president/CEO, McGraw-Hill FCU, recently addressed the fifth annual Workforce Planning and Analytics Conference , hosted by Human Capital Institute, in Alexandria, Va. Gilfedder was on the docket alongside Robert Reich, former Department of Labor secretary, and industry leaders from Time Warner, ConAgra and Monster Worldwide. Gilfedder said his goal was to reinforce that human resources executives and the responsibilities they have for people-related programs--"particularly financial wellness of employees"--are vital for success. ...
  • COLUMBUS, Ohio (3/7/14)-- Credit union pioneer and founder of Bellevue (Ohio) Terminal FCU,  Ivan Garman, died Feb. 7. He was 85. Garman was president of the credit union, now known as Firelands FCU, for 45 years until his retirement in 1993 ( eLumination March 5). Garman served as a director for the Lake Erie Chapter of Credit Unions and chair of the Ohio Credit Union League. He was a charter member and incorporator of Corporate One FCU, Columbus. According to his obituary in The Bellevue Gazette (Feb. 13), Garman was a "national delegate representing Ohio in the testimony before the Federal House Banking Committee in support of a bill to establish a National Credit Union banking system." ...

Ga. CUs report 6% increase in loans in 2013

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DULUTH, Ga. (3/7/14)--Total lending numbers edged savings for Georgia credit unions in 2013, according to a Georgia Credit Union Affiliates report, potentially signaling brighter days ahead for the state's economy ( Paying Attention Feb. 24).

Collectively, the state's 138 credit unions enjoyed a 6% increase in total lending over the 12-month stretch. Total savings balances, meanwhile, crept up 2.81%.

Both automobile loans and housing drove the lending gains, with new- and used-car loans climbing 11.2% and 7% respectively, while first- and second-mortgage loans rose by 5.9% and 2.3%.  

"Family finances have been squeezed for a long time," said GCUA President/CEO Mike Mercer. "We're pleased to see more people participating in the recovering economy, moving past the uncertainty of the great recession (and) having the confidence to engage in household formation activities and in upgrading their vehicles."

Credit card balances at the Peach State's credit unions experienced a 2.9% increase, unsecured loans rose 6.7% and transaction account balances climbed 7.12%.

At the same time, credit quality improved with credit union member bankruptcy filings dropping by almost 25%.

The 2013 report also found:
  • Regular savings account balances increased by 7.72%;
  • Money market account balances grew 5.38%;
  • IRA/Keogh account balances decreased 1.57%;
  • Transaction account balances increased 7.12%; and
  • Georgia credit union membership grew by 2.57%.

Partnership treats CMN Hospitals with Biz Kid$ DVDs

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MADISON, Wis. (3/7/14)--Credit Unions for Kids and the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) are partnering to enhance the financial education opportunities for patients and families at every Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospital nationwide.
Click to view larger image Credit unions and leagues can now sponsor a box set of "Biz Kid$" DVDs for their local CMN Hospital for $300. Donations will help patients suchs Tony Signorelli, the Children's Miracle Network's "Miracle Child" from Oregon, who is holding the eight-DVD set of the TV show "Biz Kid$." Signorelli was born with Dandy-Walker syndrome and Liddle's syndrome, both of which are extremely rare. Dandy-Walker syndrome is a congenital brain malformation that causes intracranial pressure. Liddle's syndrome involves abnormal kidney function when too much sodium is reabsorbed and too much potassium is lost. (Photo provided by National Credit Union Foundation)
Credit unions and leagues can now sponsor a box set of 65 episodes of "Biz Kid$" on DVDs for their local CMN Hospital for $300. If box sets are purchased by March 15, donations to the hospitals will be during April, which is National Financial Literacy Month.
Under the umbrella of Credit Unions for Kids, the credit union movement is the third-largest corporate contributor to CMN Hospitals, behind only Wal-Mart and Costco. Credit Unions for Kids has raised more than $110 million for CMN Hospitals since its inception in 1996.
Biz Kid$ is a financial literacy initiative of the NCUF that includes an award-winning TV series, free classroom curriculum, outreach activities, a website and a monthly online newsletter targeting children 9 to 16 years old.
"We hope the donation of the 'Biz Kid$'" program will develop an even deeper credit union/hospital relationship where credit unions not only support the financial needs of the hospital but also the financial needs of the patient families," said Danielle Brown, NCUF director of development and donor relations.
Each eight-disc set of "Biz Kid$" for the CMN Hospitals donation program has been specially created with room for a credit union or league to customize the DVD box set with its logo or URL.
Each participating credit union or league that sponsors a "Biz Kid$" DVD box set by March 15 will be included in CU4Kids and NCUF press releases touting the initiative and receive acknowledgement on the NCUF and CU4Kids websites. Sponsors will also receive thanks via Twitter by @CU4Kids and appear in a "thank you" ad running in credit union trade publications.
"In addition to being valuable for the kids and their families, we strongly believe this initiative will be beneficial for credit unions as well," said Felicity Guerin, Credit Unions for Kids development manager for the American Association of Credit Union Leagues.

CU's cashless branch featured in crime prevention TV report

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (3/7/14)--Columbus, Ohio's WBNS-TV recently featured Wright-Patt CU's cashless branch environment as a potential deterrent to robberies.
The Ohio Credit Union League connected WBNS-TV reporter Angela An with the $2.7 billion-asset Fairborn, Ohio-based credit union.
The Columbus area has experienced an increase in financial institution robberies, with more than 550 robberies reported in the last decade, An reported. Some financial institutions were robbed more than 10 times.
Wright-Patt CU recently opened a cashless branch equipped with personal teller machines, which look and operate much like ATMs, but members interact with a credit union representative through remote video.
"There's no need for cash drawers, and when members conduct their transactions, the money goes into a secure vault into the machine that the employees in the location do not have access to," Tammy Jones, Wright-Patt CU market leader, told WBNS-TV .
Without accessible cash, credit union employees feel safer, Wright-Patt CU member representatives told An.  
Wright-Patt CU is planning to open at least five more member branches with PTMs in Central Ohio in the next few years.
To read the full article and watch the video, use the links.

Power of GAC Hill visits still resonating

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MADISON, Wis. (3/7/14)--Stories of successful visits with Congressional delegates--and welcome news of the preservation of credit unions' tax status--continue to reverberate in the days after the Credit Union National Association's 2014 Government Affairs Conference (GAC).
Click to view larger image U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister (R-Swartz), left, greets Glen Beard, board chair, Alexandria (La.) Municipal Employees CU, and board chair, Louisiana Credit Union League. ( eNews photo)
More than 4,400 people attended the annual advocacy conference Feb. 23-27 in Washington, D.C. Nearly 60 Louisiana credit union professionals and volunteers attended the GAC.

"I commend our members for being actively involved with the political process and interacting with legislators at events such as the CUNA GAC," said Anne Cochran, president/CEO, Louisiana Credit Union League. "Louisiana credit unions make it a top priority to educate members of Congress on the benefits of being a credit union member, and I applaud them for that."
More than 80 Ohioans met with 17 of the state's 18 Congressional delegates. During their meetings, they reinforced the message: "Support legislation that allows credit unions to better serve their members" ( eLumination March 5).  Access to supplemental capital, member small business lending and merchant data security were hot topics.
Click to view larger image Back row: Bernie Winne, Boston Firefighters CU (left); Bob and Ed Foley, Liberty Bay CU; Mike Maloney, Members Plus CU; Gene Leahy, Marty Quinn, Steve White and P.J. Foley, Liberty Bay CU. Front row: Christopher Stockbridge, City of Boston CU (left); U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Boston); Paul Gentile, Massachusetts Credit Union League; Gerry Burm, Liberty Bay CU; and Bob Walsh, City of Boston CU. ( Daily CU Scan photo)
"We had a successful day on the Hill," said Patrick Harris, director of legislative affairs, Ohio Credit Union League. "We secured at least one new co-sponsorship, and built upon existing relationships with our members of Congress and their staffs. We made an impact."
The Cornerstone Credit Union League, which represents credit unions in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, had 197 attendees who met with 44 members of Congress or their staff, including U.S. Reps. Markwayne Mullin (R-Tulsa), Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas), Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin), Randy Neugebauer (R-Lubbock), Pete Gallego (D-Alpine), Texas Sens. John Cornyn (R) and Ted Cruz (R), Arkansas Sens. John Boozman (R) and Mark Pryor (D) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).

GAC Crashers from the Cornerstone league also shared their experiences. " I gained exposure to the political engagement and advocacy with increased buy-in to explain the credit union story," said Noel Sanger, marketing vice president,United FCU, Fort Smith, Ark. ( Leaguer March 6). Sanger was joined by Joe y Griffith, compliance officer, Communication FCU, Oklahoma City, Okla. , and Josh Atkinson, risk specialist, United Community CU, Houston, who said, "It was comforting knowing that there are others who are young and passionate like me, and being around generationally similar and passionate individuals really helped me realize that we have a bright future ahead of us."
Click to view larger image Minnesota credit union advocates met with Sen. Al Franken (D). (Minnesota Credit Union Network photo)
Nearly 100 credit union delegates from across Minnesota delivered the message that "credit unions are doing great things every day that impact the lives of everyday Minnesotans--including the 1.6 million who are credit union members," said Mara Humphrey, vice president of governmental affairs, Minnesota Credit Union Network.
"But when we leave Capitol Hill, our work doesn't end. We need to continue to engage on issues," Humphrey said. "It is essential that legislators understand what you do and the value that you bring to your members and your communities."
North Carolina's credit union advocates met with Sen. Kay Hagan (D) for an early coffee meeting before heading out for full day of appointments that ended with a visit with longtime credit union friend and Rep. Howard Coble (R-Greensboro).
A giant tower of "Don't Tax My Credit Union" postcards greeted the Minnesota contingent when they visited the D.C. office of Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Crosby).
The South Carolina contingent met with Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-Lancaster), Joe Wilson (R-Charleston), Jeff Duncan (R-Greenville) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) among others ( In the Loop March 5).
During Maine's annual credit union breakfast, Sen. Angus King (I) said, "Let us know how new regulations are impacting you and your members.  I believe that regulations are too burdensome and are being proposed without considering the costs vs. the benefits.  More of that needs to be done because it is hurting your operations."
Pennsylvania credit union leaders visits the offices of all 18 of their Congressional representatives and both their senators. One of the main topics of discussion was data security breaches and the costs incurred by credit unions in their aftermath ( Life is a Highway  Feb. 27).

"Hearing personal stories from credit union representatives allows for Congress to relate to our issues and understand our role in the communities we serve," the Credit Union League of Connecticut reported ( Weekly Update March 4). Thirty-eight individuals from Connecticut visited their delegation on the Hill.

Member business services topic of CUNA lending conference

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MADISON, Wis. (3/7/14)--The Credit Union National Association announced this week the four business member services subjects it will cover during July's Business Lending and Services Conference.  

Credit union leaders looking to dive into the business member market will receive guidance on establishing a program; managing a business-lending program; cultivating a commercial credit card culture; and assembling a competitive business product portfolio.

The conference will take place July 21-22 in Madison, Wis.

"This conference was developed to make sure attendees have all the facts on business lending and services before they make a major decision for their businesses," said Kathy Smith, CUNA instructional design manager. "Rather than telling attendees how their business should work, we assemble a picture of what a member business services program would look like within their credit union, and let them decide from there."

Participants in attendance will hear from individuals who recently decided whether to add business member services to their organizations. They'll also have the chance to ask experts about any advantages and drawbacks.

By the end of the conference, those who attend will leave with a firm understanding of the market, insights on what business owners want in a financial institution, in-depth data on the current competition and access to potential product offerings.

Attendees also will have a grasp on whether their credit unions have the financial means, the expertise and potential gain to break into the market.