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Saskatchewan CUs have record year

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SASKATCHEWAN, Canada (4/16/12)--By generating record-high net income of nearly $92 million, credit unions in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan posted a record year in 2011.

The credit unions also returned $18 million to members through patronage and dividend programs (TheStar Phoenix April 12).

In 2010, credit unions posted a net income of $88 million and returned roughly $20 million to members.

Last year, assets grew 11.3% to $15.6 billion, and deposits rose  9% to $13.8 billion.

Also, loans grew by 10.5% $11.7 billion from $10.5 billion in 2010, with the increase coming mostly from consumer loans--75% of the growth. Loan delinquencies decreased to historic lows of 0.75% in 2011 from 1.09% in 2010. The five-year average is 0.98%.

The numbers reflect a strong business model, Ken Anderson, CEO of SaskCentral, the umbrella organization for the provinces 60 credit unions, told the publication.

As a support organization, SaskCentral recorded a consolidated net income of $27.2 million. Assets grew to $2.2 billion, compared with $1.9 billion in 2010. SaskCentral's return on equity was 8.4 %, compared with 11.8 % in 2010.

SaskCentral is owned by 60 Saskatchewan credit unions that serve about 500,000 members in 270 communities through 303 service outlets.

Conn. CU league annual meeting has record attendance

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MERIDEN, Conn. (4/16/12)--The 78th Annual Meeting of the Credit Union League of Connecticut attracted record attendance of more than 300 participants, including league staff, credit union employees and volunteers, league strategic partners and exhibitors.

Joanne Todd (left), president/CEO, Northeast Family FCU, Manchester, named 2012 Connecticut Credit Union Professional of the Year, receives her award from Tony Emerson, Credit Union League of Connecticut president/CEO.
Held last Tuesday in Plantsville, Conn., the one-day gathering offered more than 50 industry-related vendors, three education sessions, an address by Cardtronics CEO Steve Rathgaber, a luncheon buffet, and a cocktail reception.

Attendees listened to guest speakers covering current hot topics--investing in today's unpredictable economic climate; avoiding pitfalls in establishing core processing agreements; and developments in the ATM industry--as well as the wide range of products and services germane to the credit union industry.

At the conclusion of the annual business meeting, award presentations were made to honor two individuals for their outstanding contributions to the credit union industry: Joanne Todd, president /CEO, Northeast Family FCU, Manchester, was named 2012 Connecticut Credit Union
Rosa Taylor (left) , board chair, Hartford (Conn.) Healthcare FCU, receives her award after being named 2012 Connecticut Credit Union Volunteer of the Year. (Photos provided by the Credit Union League of Connecticut)
Professional of the Year, and Rosa Taylor, board chair, Hartford (Conn.) Healthcare FCU, was named 2012 Connecticut Credit Union Volunteer of the Year.

"It was gratifying to see so many of our member credit unions participate in this annual event with such enthusiasm," said League President/CEO Tony Emerson.

"We wanted to provide a friendly, informative, and professional opportunity--at no cost to attend--for credit unions to network, discuss the state of the industry, and discover the latest in products and services that will help them enhance their service to their own members. Mission accomplished," he concluded.

Pa. CUs familiarize political candidates with CU issues

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Erie (Pa.) area credit unions meet Republican State Senate candidate Janet Anderson at Erie FCU.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (4/16/12)--Pennsylvania credit unions statewide have been initiating early involvement with political candidates to make them familiar with credit unions and credit union issues, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA).

Elections bring many opportunities for credit unions to engage with candidates, volunteer for campaigns and build relationships. Early relationship building of this type is how credit unions gain friends in the state General Assembly and some have risen to become members of Congress, PCUA said.

Republican State Senate Candidate for the 49th district, Janet Anderson, met with Erie-area credit unions to discuss issues that are important in the district, and at the state and federal level (Life is a Highway April 11).

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Steve Welch (fourth from left) meets with a group of credit union leaders at TruMark Financial CU in Trevose, Pa.
Discussion topics included: the Erie airport expansion; keeping jobs and businesses in Erie; the need to match workforce with skill sets; energy initiatives; differences between credit unions and banks; state and federal regulatory burdens; fiscal responsibility; downsizing Pennsylvania government responsibly; urgency to pass the member business lending bill; and data breach responsibility.

Credit union leaders from the Philadelphia and Harrisburg areas met Wednesday with U.S. Senate Republican candidate Steve Welch at TruMark Financial CU in Trevose (Life is a Highway April 6) .

The meeting allowed credit unions to learn more about Welch's platform, share legislative and regulatory concerns facing credit unions, and further educate him on credit unions.

Lonny Maurer, president/CEO of Belco Community CU, Harrisburg, Pa., meets with State House Democratic Candidate Patty Kim. (Photos provided by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association)
Welch shared his thoughts about the damage of the Dodd/Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and how he believes it hurts businesses and credit unions. He also expressed his commitment to credit union member business lending legislation (S. 2231) and supplemental capital.

Credit unions in attendance included: TruMark Financial CU; Sb1 FCU, Philadelphia; Fairless CU, Morrisville; Sun East FCU, Aston; Keystone FCU, West Chester; Upper Darby (Pa.) Belltelco FCU ; American Heritage FCU, Philadelphia; PSECU, Harrisburg; and Members 1st FCU, Mechanicsburg.

If successful in the primary election, Welch will face U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in the November general election.

Belco Community CU President/CEO Lonny Maurer recently met with the 103rd State House Democratic Candidate Patty Kim. Kim is running for recently retired Representative Ron Buxton's seat, which is being contested by three other candidates (Life is a Highway April 2).

The meeting allowed Kim to learn more about credit unions and share what she envisions for the district, PCUA said.

Two Maryland educational CUs to merge

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ROCKVILLE/GREENBELT, Md. (4/16/12)--Montgomery County Teachers (MCT) FCU, Derwood, Md., has signed a letter of intent to join Educational Systems FCU, Greenbelt, Md.

The merger would create a combined credit union of nearly $750 million in assets and serve more than 95,000 members to establish one of the largest education-based credit unions in the region, serving educators, students and their families in six Maryland Counties.

"We have found a partner who truly shares a similar history, membership, and mission to help the members of the education community achieve their financial goals and dreams," said Tom Hickman, chairman of MCT FCU with $384 million in assets.

"We welcome the members, volunteers and staff of MCT FCU to our organization," said Rosemary Brinkley, chairman of Educational Systems FCU, with $367 million in assets. "Together, we hope to create the premier financial services provider for the education community."

NCUA WesCorps Swedberg settle suit

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LOS ANGELES (4/16/12)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and Thomas Swedberg, one of the officials it sued as a result of the collapse of Western Corporate FCU, Wednesday filed a settlement agreement with a federal court in Los Angeles to dismiss the case, according to a stipulation filed Friday.

The documents were filed before U.S. District Judge Margaret Nagle of the U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

A further settlement conference will be conducted off the  record, according to the court document.

Swedberg was the director of human resources for the former $34 billion corporate credit union.

Settlement discussions continue under court supervision regarding the claims of NCUA against defendant WesCorp CEO Robert Siravo, according to the document filed Wednesday.

Swedberg's agreement follows a settlement with Timothy J. Sidley, the former chief risk officer at WesCorp.

WesCorp was hard hit by losses related to mortgage-backed securities. NCUA's lawsuit had alleged that senior WesCorp executives were negligent in monitoring the investments of the corporate and that there was a breach of fiduciary duty and fraud related to investments that resulted in $6.8 billion in portfolio losses (News Now Jan. 24).  The executives filed counterclaims and affirmative defenses against NCUA, alleging the agency was aware of WesCorp's investment strategies and approved of and encouraged the strategies.

Study FIs not promoting mobile banking

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BOSTON (4/16/12)--If credit unions want more of their members to use mobile banking, it might be as easy as asking them to do so. Financial institutions are not adequately promoting their mobile banking offerings, according to a new study.

The ath Power 2012 Mobile Banking Study found that only 10% of consumers using mobile banking were prompted by their financial institution to do so.

This indicates a clear lack of consumer education, yet an obvious opportunity for financial institutions to take initiative to promote their offerings, said Mike McEvoy, managing director of ath Power.

Also, remote deposit capture was the missing feature most sought by consumers, according to the study.

Other key findings:

  • Mobile bankers are more loyal. About one in eight mobile bankers say they'll change banks within two years compared to one in fiveamong the general customer base.
  • The quality of a mobile offering is a major factor in choice of financial institutions among the mass affluent and small business owner segments.
  • The mobile channel is set to play a big role in fraud prevention as mobile adoption improves and consumers become more familiar with alerts.
  • Customer support is lacking. Only one out of five users were offered any option to customize their user interface and 40% failed to find links for technical support.

iWashington Posti article cites credit union-friendly resources

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MADISON, Wis. (4/16/12)--A recent article in The Washington Post on financial literacy resources for teens and families offered three sources with credit union ties.

April is Financial Literacy Month and credit unions nationwide are encouraging their members to budget, save, manage credit, and pay down debt.

In the Post article, the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) was cited as a source for information to help students comprehend the financial world. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA)  has partnered with NEFE to provide financial curriculum to high schools. Use the link.

The article also described Jump$tart as a curriculum-based website on financial responsibility, planning and money management, credit/deb savings and investment. Jump$tart works with credit unions and state credit union leagues nationwide.

Apple FCU, Fairfax, Va., was highlighted for its student-run credit unions and for providing tips on good financial habits for teens.

Credit Union Youth Week, sponsored by CUNA, is April 22-28. This year's theme is "Be a Credit Union Super Saver."

National Youth Saving Challenge, also sponsored by CUNA, is held during the entire month of April. Last year nearly 146,000 young members deposited $28.5 million into their saving accounts during National Youth Savings Week---with 9,058 new accounts.