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Delaware league elects incumbents announces awards

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (4/21/08)--The Delaware Credit Union league elected two incumbent board members and announced several awards during its 50th annual meeting April 4-6 in Dover. Incumbents Meredith Jeffries, New Castle County Delaware EFCU, New Castle; and Jerry King, Dexsta FCU, Wilmington, were re-elected for three-year terms (Together April 15). Verle “Vic” Carter of Louviers FCU, Newark, and Bob Seaberg, Del-One FCU, Dover, were awarded the league's Outstanding Credit Union Volunteer awards. Joe Sisofo, manager of Wilmington (Del.) Police and Fire FCU, was awarded the 2007 Credit Union Professional award. Bernadette Hines, league education director, also announced that 61 certificates were earned by six credit unions in 2007. Credit unions receiving awards include:
* Delaware Alliance FCU, New Castle, for attending the most seminars; * Del-One FCU, for earning the most Managers Enrichment Training Program (MERIT) certificates; and * DPL FCU, Newark, for earning the most Volunteer Achievement Program certificates.

Alabama league CEO Wolter to retire after 42 years

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (4/21/08)--Gary B. Wolter has announced his plans to retire as president/CEO of the Alabama Credit Union League after serving almost 42 years in that capacity. The effective date will be around mid-year 2009. Wolter said he wanted to give the league board of directors advance notice so that it will not be rushed in defining the process to use in the selection of his successor. He has assured the board that he will continue to work enthusiastically on behalf of the league and Alabama credit unions until his last day at the league. "In a nearly 50-year career, Gary Wolter has had an immeasurable impact on the credit union movement and its service to consumers in Alabama and throughout the nation," said Dan Mica, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) CEO. "He is a true, visionary leader to whom colleagues throughout the credit union system, myself included, look for wisdom and counsel. To me personally Gary has been a resource I can always turn to for a solid measure of credit union issues and concerns. His guidance and advice have been invaluable, and his legacy will stand tall over the credit union movement for many years to come," Mica said. Susan Newton, senior vice president, league relations at CUNA, echoed the comments. "The contributions Gary has made to the credit union system are enormous. As the 'dean' of league presidents, Gary has played a leadership role in practically every system issue or initiative over the past 40-plus years. We have all looked to him for leadership, advice and guidance over the years, and have benefited greatly from it. He will be missed." “I have enjoyed my long association with Alabama’s credit unions,” Wolter said. “I was fortunate to be involved with credit unions as they began to grow and expand service to their members, and it has been a truly exciting journey. “While my passion and enthusiasm for the credit union movement is as strong as ever, I feel the time is right for me to step away and spend time doing things my wife, Jean, and I have planned for some time,” he continued. “I want to thank my many credit union friends, present and past board members, my excellent staff and most of all, my family for their continued support through the years,” Wolter said.

Denali Alaskan FCU sues builder

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (4/21/08)--Denali Alaskan FCU is suing a builder for $12 million in outstanding loan balances the builder owes the credit union. The delinquent loans constitute only about 4% of Denali’s loans. With penalties and late fees, the total amount that Lee Baker Jr. and his Discovery Construction business associates owe the $359 million asset, Anchorage-based credit union totals about $16 million for loans related to area building projects. Denali’s suit, filed in March, asks a judge to foreclose a number of Discovery Construction’s undeveloped or unfinished condo units. The credit union sustained $4.3 million in losses last year, Keith Fernandez, Denali’s assistant vice president of marketing, told News Now . “We are a well-collateralized credit union,” Fernandez said. “This doesn’t at all affect member accounts. We made a profit in the first quarter of 2008 and expect to earn profits for the rest of 2008. We’re continuing to grow and are opening three new branches this year. “In the 10 years that I’ve been here, this is the first time we’ve experienced a loss. We’re continuing to move ahead. We believe in our members and in Alaska,” he concluded.

NY foundation director a panelist on fin-lit forum

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ALBANY. N.Y. (4/21/08)--Diane LaVigna-Wixted, executive director of the New York Credit Union Foundation, was one of the experts on financial education who participated in a forum on how to better educate students about finances and their futures.
Diane LaVigna-Wixted (left), executive director, New York Credit Union Foundation, posed with Dan Iannnicola Jr., deputy assistant secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Financial Education, at the recent New York Financial Literacy Forum in Albany, N.Y. (Photo provided by the New York Credit Union Foundation)
The New York Financial Literacy Forum was the lead-in event for the National Urban Alliance’s “Believe to Achieve” conference recently held in Albany and attended by 2,000 leading educators and teachers. “Many people have never had the education they need to manage their money,” LaVigna-Wixted said during her presentation. “The results are all around us: spiraling levels of credit card debt and bankruptcy, an unsustainable personal savings rate, and the current mortgage crisis, to name just a few examples. “I believe that financial educations should be taught in the schools, practiced at home, and reinforced by credit unions,” she continued. The forum also provided an overview of pending New York legislation intended to enhance the current financial literacy knowledge of New York students. New York State Rep. Harvey Weinstein (D-Long Island), a former teacher and a member of the state Assembly Education Committee, opened the event. Sam Iaanicola Jr., deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Financial Education, gave the keynote address. A legislative resolution of behalf of April 2008 as Financial Literacy Month was presented on behalf of the state Senate. The foundation was one of the sponsors of the forum.

MnCUN opposes bill to track tax cheats via FIs

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (4/21/08)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) is opposing a state Revenue Department plan to enlist credit unions and other financial institutions in regularly checking their electronic member records to forward data on tax debtors to the state so it can collect its money. The Minnesota Revenue Department believes that it can collect an extra $10 million per year in outstanding taxes by employing the plan (Associated Press April 17). The provision is in the budget bill recommendations of Gov. Tim Pawlenty in both houses of the Minnesota legislature--House File 1812 and Senate File 3818. “Our concern is that this provision didn’t get vetted in the legislative committee process to look at privacy issues and liability issues to make sure that due process is in place,” Mara Humphrey, MnCUN vice president, governmental affairs, told News Now. “Minnesota credit unions are opposed to the Minnesota Department of Revenue's Data Match proposal because it places additional requirements on credit unions without adequate reimbursement," Humphrey continued. "Because this is a Minnesota-specific requirement and not a national program like child support, there will significant start-up costs," she said. "Credit unions also have significant data privacy, due process and liability concerns in regard to the proposed program.” The timing of the bill--it is to be implemented in July--is an issue as well, she added. The governor is hoping this program will help cut into the state’s $930 million budget deficit, she said.

How to get publicity for your Youth Week activities

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MADISON, Wis. (4/21/08)--Credit unions looking to garner some publicity for their activities during National Credit Union Youth Week, which kicked off yesterday, should keep a few things in mind. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) offers this advice:
* Be timely. A story in late May has little chance of publication; * Include photos--pictures of children are great--and be sure to identify everyone in the photos; * Consider using a video such as digital clip of a child explaining why he or she loves the credit union; * Keep stories concise--focus on one or two points, and offer a title. The more work you do up front, the easier it will be on the editor; and * Include all contact information. Editors may need to follow up, so be sure to give them names, titles, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
This year’s Youth Week, hosted by CUNA, is shaping up to be the “best year ever,” according to CUNA Youth Week Coordinator Joanne Sepich. The theme is “Got Green? Grow it at Your Credit Union.” Youth Week will continue through Saturday. So far, 517 credit unions from 49 states and the District of Columbia have registered for the National Youth Savings Challenge. “We have some of the very largest credit unions and some of the very smallest credit unions participating,” Sepich said. About 83,000 youth are expected to deposit $7.6 million during Youth Week. Credit unions can report their totals to CUNA until May 1. Youth Week coincides with National Financial Literacy Month, which is designated for April. Credit unions often underestimate their deposits, Sepich noted. “For example, last year we had 476 credit unions register, with the goal of 84,950 youth depositing $7,917,200. Only 393 reported results, which were more than $10 million,” she said. Some credit union Youth Week activities occurring this week:
* PEFCU, West Lafayette, Ind., is giving a free “green” gift to youth aged 18 or younger when they make a $5 deposit. The gifts have been distributed all month, and a seedling will be given during Youth Week; * Wright-Patt CU, Fairborn, Ohio, will elect a local high school student to be president for the day. The student will win a $1,000 scholarship to Wright State University, personal limousine service, an executive office and assistant, catered lunch and a prize package including $100 cash. Students can participate by writing an essay or submitting a YouTube video; * The Austin (Texas) Chapter of Credit Unions is hosting a Youth Financial Literacy Fair today to celebrate Financial Literacy Greater Austin Week and Youth Week; and * Synergy One FCU, Manassas, Va., planted a money tree at a local middle school to promote saving for Youth Week. Synergy One, school staff, and students also will attend a brief ceremony to remind students that money doesn’t grow on trees.