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CU System briefs (04/20/2009)

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* SWARTZ CREEK, Mich. (4/21/09)--Two Michigan credit unions are pitching in to help teach money management to local students. Raul Alvarez, marketing director at Financial Plus FCU, Flint, Mich., is helping teach a money management class at Swartz Creek High School ( April 14). Security CU, another Flint-based credit union, also sends two staff members once a week to help teach a money course at the GASC Technology Center. Michelle Williams, head teller and Michelle Gauthier, member service representative, have helped the class for three years. A December 2008 law signed by Mich. Gov. Jennifer Granholm allows financial literacy classes to count toward math credits ... * ABILENE, Texas (4/21/09)--Abilene (Texas) Teachers FCU donated $95,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Abilene this month through donations from members who participated in a holiday “Skip a Payment” program (Abilene Reporter-News April 4). Members were given the option of skipping one or two loan payments during the Christmas season for a fee of $10. The money was then donated to the club. The $233 million-asset Abilene Teachers FCU has given more than $400,000 to the club in the past six years ... * SEATTLE (4/21/09)--Police are looking for a man who dressed as a woman to rob Kitsap County CU April 13. The robber has been dubbed the “Man Hands Bandit” by authorities because of a “Seinfeld” TV episode where the show’s main character, Jerry, dates a woman with “man hands.” The robber wore a black wig, blank pantsuit, white skirt and white shirt. The suspect stole an undetermined amount of cash from the credit union after handing a note to the teller. Kitsap County, Bremerton, Wash., has $781 million in assets ...

Wisconsin league announces new directors

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PEWAUKEE, Wis. (4/21/09)--The Wisconsin Credit Union League’s director elections came to an end after an election season that included a runoff election in Region 5. Newly elected directors include:
* Class A (less than $20 million in assets). Carol Pecsi, First CU, Oak Creek; *Class B ($20 to $100 million in assets). Kimberly Youngblood, Focus CU, Menomonee Falls; * Class C ($100-$500 million in assets). Daryl Gessler, Connexus CU, Wausau; * Class D (over $500 million in assets). Paul Kundert, University of Wisconsin CU, Madison; * Region 1. Kevin Hauser, Westby (Wis.) Co-op CU; * Region 2. Jack Gill, First Community CU of Beloit (Wis.); * Region 3. Jennifer Schilling, Empower CU, Milwaukee; * Region 4. Patrick Lowney, Lakeview CU, Neenah; and * Region 5. Mike Mallow, Sheboygan (Wis.) Area CU.
All nine directors will assume their roles on the league board at its meeting during the 75th annual convention this May.

After attack CU CEO focuses on employee safety

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DURHAM, N.C. (4/21/09)--Martin Eakes, co-founder and CEO of Self-Help CU, Durham, N.C., is focusing on employee safety after he was robbed and severely beaten by four men in a parking garage as he left his Durham, N.C., office Nov. 24. Eakes has credit union employees monitoring downtown Durham parking efforts, and hired an off-duty police officer to make sure Self-Help employees reach their parked vehicles safely (The News & Observer April 18). When Eakes was attacked, he suffered multiple bruises to the head and face, a gash to his forehead that required 15 stitches and a torn bicep (The Herald-Sun Nov. 30). The incident occurred at night as he was about to enter the parking garage used by employees of Self-Help. The men delivered between 20 and 30 blows, targeting Eakes’ head and face. They took his wallet and cell phone. Eakes told the newspaper he did not know the men or whether they were waiting for him in particular. The city-owned parking garage, located in Durham’s center city, has generated several complaints about safety (News Now Dec. 2).

Wash. CUs help senator advance fin-lit bill

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FEDERAL WAY, WASH (4/21/09)--U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is touring the state of Washington to advance her Financial and Economic Literacy Improvement Act of 2009--and has asked three credit union executives to help. The executives are: Washington Credit Union League President/CEO John Annaloro, who spoke at Foster High School; Richland-based Gesa CU President/CEO Christina Brown, who appeared in Pasco at Columbia Basin College; and Spokane Teachers CU President/CEO Steven Dahlstrom, the Washington League said. Starting at Tukwila’s Foster High School, Murray traveled the state, speaking to groups about her legislation, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss). The bill aims to promote age-appropriate courses and activities for K-12 students and those attending two- and four-year colleges. The bill also would distribute $250 million per year for five years to states for financial literacy programs at the K-12 level, and at two- and four-year colleges. Washington credit unions are hosting a forum today for teachers to explore, reveal and problem-solve financial issues affecting youth. The forum seeks to develop and implement solutions to meet youth’s financial needs.

Former Iowa league president dies

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DES MOINES, Iowa (4/21/09)--The Iowa Credit Union League announced that Alvin W. (Al) Jordan, former league president/CEO, died April 18 at the age of 101. Jordan committed his life to furthering the credit union movement and lived by the philosophy of “people helping people,” the league said. “Al Jordan was one of the greatest credit union advocates in the 20th century,” said Patrick Jury, league president/CEO. “He was the central figure in the development of the Iowa Credit Union League, and our industry mourns his passing.” "Al Jordan had a tremendously positive influence on the careers of many in the credit union movement over his own long and fruitful tenure," said Dan Mica, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association. "A pioneer for credit unions, he will be much missed--but is certainly appreciated." Jordan’s credit union career spanned seven decades. He served as treasurer of the old Western Union Employees CU from its founding in 1938 until he joined the staff of the league in 1953. While with the credit union he served as vice president of the league board and president of the Central Iowa Chapter of Credit Unions. He started at the league as a special representative, more commonly known in those days as a “field man.” In this position, he helped organize new credit unions and assisted existing credit unions in the area of operations--much as the league’s management consultants do today. When the managing director--the league’s chief executive--resigned in 1953, the board named Jordan temporary managing director. The appointment was made official in 1954, with the title later being changed to president. In the early 1950s, when Jordan took over, the league had only four employees, offered limited services and operated out of rented office quarters. By the time he retired 28 years later, in 1981, the Iowa Credit Union League had emerged as a national leader in the credit union movement, the league said. The National Credit Union Foundation presented Jordan with its highest honor, the Herb Wegner Memorial Award, to recognize his national cooperative leadership. Also, in 1995, the National Cooperative Business Association bestowed Jordan its highest honor by inducting him into its Hall of Fame at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. More than any other individual, Jordan was responsible for the development of the league’s data processing center. He traveled throughout the state talking to credit union groups, explaining how the center would work and what it would allow credit unions to do. “Al Jordan was a wonderful diplomat because he was the consummate gentleman,” said Tom Griffiths, former league CEO. “His genuine interest in the ideas and requirements of others allowed him to move comfortably and with respect among leaders in highly competitive situations. Today, many of his competitors are only remembering Al as their friend.”

Study Vendor partnerships key to fighting fraud

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BOSTON (4/21/09)--Credit unions plan to increase their efforts to fight fraud, and vendors should work on creating strategic partnerships to present more complete solutions, according to a recent study. Fraud is a serious concern for financial institutions, and credit unions spend millions of dollars each year on solutions to prevent attacks, Boston-based Aite said in its new report, “Fraud Management at Retail Banks and Credit Unions: The Vendor Landscape.” "The sheer number of fraud management vendors used by financial institutions speaks to a lack of ability for any one vendor to address the gamut of fraud management needs," said Nick Holland, senior analyst with Aite Group and author of the report. "Vendors looking at the fraud management landscape for financial institutions should realize that institutions are likely to gravitate to vendors that can provide fewer touchpoints to the overall fraud picture. Vendors should explore strategic partnerships in order to present a more complete offering,” he added. The report is based on a November 2008 survey of executives at 23 of the top 150 U.S. financial institutions. It reveals financial institutions’ perceptions of fraud management technology vendors and ranks vendors in four areas: new account opening fraud detection, ID verification, authentication and ID fraud monitoring; fraud database; enterprise fraud case management; and check fraud detection.

CUs help youth celebrate the magic of saving

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MADISON, Wis. (4/21/09)--Credit unions are helping youth celebrate the “magic of saving” during the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) National Credit Union Youth Week, which kicked off Sunday and continues through Saturday.
NuVista FCU, Montrose, Calif., celebrated National Credit Union Youth Week with a pinata at the credit union. The credit union also offered goody bags, a free movie, games, hotdogs and soda for youth. (Photos provided by NuVista FCU)
Youth at NuVista FCU, Montrose, Calif., wore magician’s top hats to celebrate this year’s National Credit Union Youth Week, which is themed, “The Magic of Saving.”
“Youth Week began in 2001 as an opportunity for credit unions across the country to focus on the financial needs of young people and provide financial literacy education,” said CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica. “The Savings Challenge was then added in 2004 as an opportunity to bring youth to the credit union to open new accounts or make deposits into existing accounts.” For the first time, the Savings Challenge will run throughout April. During the challenge, credit unions invite youth to open savings accounts and deposit their money. Ten credit unions also will win $100 each to pass along to their youth. “This year’s theme [The Magic of Saving] celebrates the magic of one of the most basic, albeit most fundamental, pillars to financial independence,” Mica said. “Now more than ever, it is vital that credit unions emphasize the importance of saving to our nation’s youth to build for their future financial health and freedom.” Youth Week activities include:
* Downriver Community FCU, Ecorse, Mich., has rented a bowling alley for an evening and invited youth account holders and their parents. The credit union will offer bowling, a pizza party and prize drawings; * Horizon Community CU, Green Bay, Wis., sent a direct mailing to youth with a list of Youth Week events, a coloring page and an invitation to a magic show. Youth who refer new members under age 18 in April will receive a $5 deposit coupon; * Bell West Community CU, Oak Lawn, Ill., is supplying Thrive by Five materials to parents, which explain the importance of saving to children as young as two years old; * Beaver Valley FCU, Beaver Falls, Pa., set up tables in the lobby with magician’s capes, top hats, gloves and magic wands. On Friday, the credit union will offer refreshments, magic tricks and give away four $100 savings bonds; * First CU, Chandler, Ariz., is offering a “Good Start Guide to Money” to youth and will offer refreshments, gifts and a $5 opening deposit to youth; and * Andrews FCU, Suitland, Md., launched a “Kid$ Boot Camp” which offers products and information that teach money management. Members under age 12 can join the “Cadet$ Club” and 13- to 17-year-olds can join the “Money $quad” with a free checking account, Visa Check Card, and Visa Platinum card.

Filene report examines mortgage risks and rates

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MADISON, Wis. (4/21/09)--Credit unions concerned with mortgage risks and questionable interest rates that are circulating among lenders and borrowers can consult the Filene Research Institute’s latest report. Mortgage Borrower Risk Profiles, Delinquencies and Interest Rates in 2005-2008 reviews demographic information across a surveyed group from the three previous years and provides some findings for credit unions to implement in future operations (LoneStar leaguer April 20). The report is the third in a series of Consumer Finance Research briefs derived from research and discussions from Ohio State University’s Consumer Finance Monthly. The report examined and interpreted findings based on questions, including:
* What might a simplified mortgage pricing model look like? * How do delinquency rates vary across borrowers’ financial characteristics? * How do delinquency rates vary across demographic groups? * Did mortgage pricing based on rising house prices contribute to delinquencies? and * How can both underpriced and overpriced mortgage loans be avoided?
For more information, use the link.