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CU System

Midwest Corporate election results officers announced

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BISMARCK, N.D. (4/23/08)--Midwest Corporate FCU announced the results of its 2008 elections for board of directors during its 66th Annual Meeting Friday. Elected to three-year terms were:
* Debra Gallagher of Capital CU, Bismarck; * Jay Landsiedel of Town and Country CU, Minot; and * Shirley Kondelis of City and County Employees CU, Fargo.
Other board members are Darwin Brokke, Citizens Community CU, Devils Lake; Eric Musland, LaMoure (N.D.) CU; Cheryl Malm, Med Park CU, Grand Forks; and Scott Schwindt, Western Cooperative CU, Williston. After the annual meeting, the board elected officers. Gallagher was elected chair; Msuland, vice chair; and Malm, secretary/treasurer.

Membership growth just ahead of population growth

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (4/23/08)--Credit union membership growth is barely staying ahead of population growth, an industry expert told the Texas Credit Union League’s Annual Meeting and Expo last week. Steve Rodgers, editorial director for the Credit Union National Association, addressed the issue of why 78 million consumers eligible for credit union membership aren’t joining (LoneStar Leaguer April 21). There are many reasons consumers aren’t joining credit unions, Rodgers said. Consumers don’t perceive credit unions to be convenient, they are not aware of their eligibility for membership, and they don’t want to hassle with switching financial institutions. Rodgers shared case studies of 15 U.S. credit unions that are growing at a significantly faster pace than other credit unions--not only in membership, but also in assets and loans. When considering growth strategies, credit unions should go for planned, controlled growth--defining why they want to grow--and don’t just grow for growth’s sake, Rodgers said. While each of the 15 credit unions approached growth uniquely--whether it be membership, loans or assets--there were many similarities in their strategies, he said. For example, in five case studies the credit unions sought to grow their assets. Each credit union maintained high community visibility; allocated resources to conduct member and nonmember research to test its assumptions; added new and profitable products; and invested heavily in training staff so the credit union could offer better member services. The five credit unions that focused on growing their loans had a higher risk tolerance, were effective in product bundling, and worked closely with members to understand their unique circumstances, Rodgers said.

Alabama league celebrates 75th Annual Meeting

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (4/23/08)--The Alabama Credit Union League hosted its 75th Annual Membership Meeting and Education Symposium April 16-18 in Birmingham.
Alabama Credit Union League Board Chairman Steve Swofford, president/CEO, Alabama CU, Tuscaloosa, addressed the league’s 75th Annual Meeting in Birmingham. (Photo provided by the Alabama Credit Union League)
About 203 credit union executives and 72 guests attended. “This meeting was a culmination of 75 years of service to the credit unions of Alabama,” said Gary B. Wolter, league president/CEO. “Over the years, we have grown the movement, sometimes swiftly and sometimes achingly slow. But by working together, we have all moved it forward.” The theme for the meeting, and for 2008, is Stronger Together. As a tribute to the 75 years of credit union growth, a wall of pictures culled from the league archives was displayed to commemorate the steps made by credit union pioneers. “We took this opportunity to showcase some of the people who made inroads for credit unions,” Wolter said. “But we didn’t have enough wall space to show pictures of every person who makes the movement special. Every one of our member credit unions and their volunteers should have been pictured. “Without their ongoing contributions and dedication to the credit union movement, we would not be able to keep moving forward and reaching out to the 1.7 million credit union members in Alabama,” he added. The league hosted Chips for Kids Casino Night Wednesday, benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) and Children’s Hospital. CO-OP Financial Services was a co-sponsor for the event and will provide matching funds. At the opening general session, Mike Schenk, vice president of economics and statistics for the Credit Union National Association, discussed, “The Changing Economy and the Impact on Credit Unions.” Guest speakers included Tim Hornbrook, associate regional director for the National Credit Union Administration, with a regulatory update; Jim Power, senior vice president of sales with CUNA Mutual Group; and Steve Delfin, executive director of the National Credit Union Foundation.

Hannaford introduces new data security measures

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SCARBOROUGH, Maine (4/23/08)--Maine-based grocery chain Hannaford Bros. announced Tuesday it expects to spend millions to beef up its information technology (IT) security in the wake of a data breach that resulted in the theft of 4.2 million credit and debit card numbers. Hannaford announced it plans to install new intrusion-prevention systems that will monitor activities 24/7 on its network and individual systems at its stores. It also will deploy PIN pad devices featuring Triple DES encryption support in store checkout aisles (Computerword April 22). The card numbers were stolen during the authorization process after customers swiped their cards at the grocery stores in New England, New York and Florida. The cards were compromised from Dec. 7 to March 10. Credit unions in those states were among the financial institutions reissuing credit and debit cards due to the breach. Maine credit unions were especially hit, since the chain is prevalent in that state. In Tuesday's announcement, Hannaford Bros. President/CEO Ron Hodge apologized again for the breach and said the company had seen no drop in sales since the data breach was announced March 17 (Associated Press and The Boston Globe April 22). A recent survey released by the Ponemon Institute found that nearly one-third of consumers notified of a security breach terminate their relationship with the company, with frustration about the timeliness of notification of a breach (SCMagazine April 16). Roughly 83% of people surveyed said they had received at least one notification of a data breach in the past two years, while 47% received multiple notifications. More than half said it took the company involved longer than a month to contact them. Seventy-one percent said notification should be made within a week after a breach. About 63% of survey respondents said notification letters they received offered no direction on steps to take to protect their data, according to the Consumer's Report Card on Data Breach Notification, sponsored by ID Experts. That was not the case in the Hannaford Bros. breach. The company posted information on its website to aid customers affected by the breach.

Texas league representative testifies on data security bill

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FARMERS BRANCH and AUSTIN, Texas (4/23/08)--A credit union testified Tuesday on behalf of the Texas Credit Union League about data security breaches and their impact on credit unions before a Texas House committee conducting an interim hearing on identity theft. Gary Davis, president of Chocolate Bayou Community FCU, a $68 million asset credit union based in Alvin, testified before the Texas House Committee on Business and Industry. Noting that the use of plastic cards has become so integral that many people cannot conduct their normal activities without a credit or debit card, Davis called for protection of the sensitive financial data. “It is important that the State of Texas make sure that protections are in place for payment card data,” he told the committee. “Neither the consumer nor card issuers are able to require that businesses who retain consumers' sensitive personal financial information protect the data from thieves," he added. While the hearing was not on behalf of a specific bill, Committee Chairman Gary Elkins (R-Houston) noted he was interested in following up on his efforts last session to finding a solution to the issue of data security. “The question is what standard do we use and how do we enforce it?” said Elkins. The interim hearing is the first step toward the development of legislation for the Texas Legislative session in 2009. Data security remains one of several top interests for the league, Winter Prosapio, advocacy communications director for the league, told News Now.

Michigan GAC addresses economy foreclosures

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NORTHVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (4/23/08)--Mortgage foreclosures, the struggling economy and national elections were among the topics
State Rep. Darwin Booher (R-Evart), left, chats with Members CU President/CEO Dan Witkowski at the Michigan Governmental Affairs Conference Legislative Luncheon. (Photos provided by the Michigan Credit Union League).
added to credit unions' regulatory and legislative issues discussed at the 2008 Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) Governmental Affairs Conference. The event, held April 16-17 in Lansing, was attended by more than 100 credit union leaders (Michigan Monitor April 21). MCUL President/CEO David Adams opened the conference by detailing the league's work in several areas including regulatory relief, the mortgage crisis, strengthening the credit union charter, credit union cooperative advertising and the MCUL Community Reinvestment Initiative (CRI). Other speakers discussing political and economics issues were keynote speaker Matthew Cooper, former Time Washington bureau chief and now Washington editor at Conde Nast Portfolio, and Emily Kolinski Morris, Ford Motor Co. senior economist.
At the 2008 Michigan Credit Union League Governmental Affairs Conference last week, the league named State Rep. Andy Coulouris (D-Saginaw), left, as its State Lawmaker of the Year, and Teri Ambs, legislative director to State Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe), as State Staffer of the Year.
Kolinski Morris said that while the state's economy is becoming more diverse, it still relies heavily on the manufacturing and auto industry. Roughly 23% of the nation's auto production occurs in Michigan. Manufacturing contributes 15% of Michigan's non-farm employment and 22% of its total payroll. She predicted manufacturing will continue to exert a strong influence over the state's near-term performance. Other speakers included Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis and Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer; State Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe); Jodi Morris of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority Division of Homeownership; and newly appointed Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation Commissioner Ken Ross.

Ex-bank robber offers CUs advice on thwarting heists

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (4/23/08)--“Be aware, don’t stare,” is the best defense against robbery, former robber and now financial institution security expert Troy Evans told the Texas Credit Union League in Houston. Evans was a former robber who committed crimes at banks and credit unions in several states. At the time of the robberies, Evans was a drug addict and needed money for his next fix, he said (LoneStar Leaguer April 22). Evans lost his wife and son because of his addiction, and he was desperate. He considered himself as in a “win-win” situation where he would either receive the money he wanted, or die in “suicide by police.” Because robbers are often addicted to drugs, it’s hard to predict what they will do, Evans said. “It is imperative that you train your staff members to avoid being the hero if your credit union is robbed,” he said. Credit union staff should greet each person who walks in the door. The last thing a potential robber wants is for someone to make eye contact and start a conversation. The robber “will almost certainly walk out and find another institution to target,” Evans added. Lack of male presence also gives robbers the impression that financial institutions are vulnerable. A male should be present at all times. If that is not possible, one should be present on Friday mornings--when robberies are more likely to happen. All credit union employees should sign a nondisclosure agreement. “I got away with it for so long because I dated a teller,” he said.

Speed networking a new feature at Ohio leagues ZENITH08

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DUBLIN, Ohio (4/23/08)--Speed networking will debut at the Ohio Credit Union League’s convention, ZENITH08, Thursday and Friday. Speed networking is an opportunity for credit unions of similar asset sizes to discuss issues in a facilitated, one-on-one setting. Similar to speed dating, the time-controlled format opens the door to further dialogue and promotes sharing of success stories and best practices, the league said. A new consumer focus group that analyzes what Ohioans think about credit unions also will be conducted. ZENITH08 is the final destination of the 2008 Credit Unions for Kids: Marching Miles for Miracle Kids, a fundraiser for nine children’s hospitals in Ohio. State Gov. Ted Strickland will welcome the marchers to ZENITH08 after their 19-day trip from Toledo to Columbus. Former National Wegner Memorial Award winner Carol Schillios and Paul Hazen, president/CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association, will address attendees on Friday. Convention topics include enhancing technology for member services, benefits and drawbacks of mergers, greening operations, tapping key members and capitalization. Attendees also will view a live taping of the Home and Family Finance Radio Show, which airs weekly. About 700 credit union leaders and 300 exhibitors are expected to attend.

MnCUN hosts Paraguayan CU delegation

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (4/23/08)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) hosted three credit union professionals from Paraguay in a regulator exchange April 4-16.
The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) honors Paraguayan guests at a banquet during MnCUN’s Annual Meeting and Convention. From left are: Juan Luis Ferriera, information technology consulting firm president; CENCOPAN Vice President Pedro Elias Loblein Saucedo; MnCUN Board Chairman Dick Nesvold; cooperative institute director Maria Mercedes Ortega Martinez; and MnCUN President/CEO Mark Cummins.
The exchange was a part of Minnesota’s partnership with Central de Cooperatives del Area National (CENCOPAN), a Paraguayan credit union association. MnCUN is partnered with CENCOPAN through the World Council of Credit Unions’ International Partnerships program. The three visitors were: Juan Luis Ferriera, an information technology consulting firm president; Pedro Elias Loblein Saucedo, CENCOPAN vice president; and cooperative institute director Maria Mercedes Ortega Martinez. The representatives visited SouthPoint FCU branches in Sleepy Eye and New Ulm where they learned about the credit union’s drive-through technology and daily functions. “Many of the main ideas behind the regulations in the U.S. and Paraguay are the same,” Saucedo said. “The difference is in the methodology and processes.” Saucedo’s goal was to learn about the regulatory process so he could apply it to Paraguayan regulations, he added.
Paraguayan guests on the Senate floor during a tour of the Minnesota Capitol are from left: (seated) CENCOPAN Vice President Pedro Elias Loblein Saucedo; (standing) World Council of Credit Unions representative Josh Fetting; Juan Luis Ferriera, information technology consulting firm president; MnCUN President/CEO Mark Cummins; Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester); and cooperative institute director Maria Mercedes Ortega Martinez. (Photos provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network)
The visitors also attended MnCUN’s Annual Meeting and Convention, where they were recognized at an awards banquet; the state Capitol, where they met Rep. Joe Atkins (D-Inver Grove Heights) and Minority Leader Sen. Dave Senjem (R-Rochester); and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Other credit unions they toured include St. Paul FCU; Affinity Plus FCU, St. Paul; and Minnesota Item Processing Corp., a credit union service organization managed by MnCUN. MnCUN President/CEO Mark D. Cummins said, “The partnership allows both associations the opportunity to learn from each other’s strengths and help each other in the areas that need improvement. More than that, the relationships formed through this partnership enable us to strengthen the credit union movement.”

Illinois league foundation elect officials

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Incoming Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) chairman, John Bratsakis (left), receives his oath of office from outgoing chairman, Carl Sorgatz, at ICUL’s annual convention last weekend.
NAPERVILLE, Ill. (4/23/08)--The Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) elected its table officers for the coming year at its 78th Annual Convention in Chicago last week. Also, the Illinois Credit Union Foundation (ICUF) and the Illinois Credit Union Political Action Council (CUPAC) elected officers and directors to their respective boards. John Bratsakis, senior vice president of business development for Baxter CU, Vernon Hills, was elected league chairman for a one-year term. He also will serve as chairman for the ICUL Service Corporation (LSC). Outgoing chairman Carl Sorgatz will continue his term as ICUL director for the Aurora Chapter of Credit Unions, a position he has held since 1993. Sorgatz is CEO of Hawthorne CU, Naperville. Geraldine Burek, CEO, South Division CU, Evergreen Park, was elected as secretary/treasurer.
The Illinois Credit Union Foundation (ICUF) board of directors elected at the Illinois Credit Union League’s annual convention include (from left): Front row, John Fiore, CEO, Motorola ECU; Vice Chairman Greg Worthen, director of lending, Olin Community CU; Janet Francoeur, CEO, Riverside Community CU; and Peggy Cummins, CEO, Three Rivers Community CU; and back row, Steve O’Mara, US ECU; Chairman Ed Jacob, CEO, North Side Community FCU; Geraldine Burek, CEO, South Division CU; and Secretary/Treasurer David Mooney, CEO, Alliant CU. (Photos provided by the Illinois Credit Union League)
The ICUF held its annual meeting and elected new officers and one new director. They included: Chairman Ed Jacob, CEO, North Side Community FCU, Chicago; Vice Chairman Greg Worthen, director of lending, Olin Community CU, Bethalto; and Secretary/Treasurer David Mooney, CEO, Alliant CU, Chicago. Geraldine Burek, CEO, South Division CU, Evergreen Park, was elected to a three-year term as a new member on the board. Current board members include: Peggy Cummins, CEO, Three Rivers Community CU, Mt. Carmel; John Fiore, CEO, Motorola Employees CU, Schaumburg; Janet Francoeur, CEO, Riverside Community CU, Kankakee; Katherine Hoeper, CEO, KONE Employees CU, Moline; and Steve O’Mara, US Employees CU, Chicago. CUPAC elected its board of directors at its annual meeting. Officers elected to one-year terms included: Chairman Frank Padak, CEO Scott CU, Collinsville; Vice Chairman
Illinois Credit Union Political Action Council’s (CUPAC) board and officers include: (front row) Secretary Brenda Crane, chief operating officer, Credit Union 1; Vice Chairman Karen Woods, marketing director, Decatur Earthmover CU; Treasurer John Fiore, CEO, Motorola ECU; RaeAnn Love, CEO, Commonwealth CU; and Christine Dickover, CEO of H-F CU. Back row, Bob Schroeder, CEO, Illinois Community CU; Chairman Frank Padak, CEO, Scott CU; Mike Frye, chairman, Shell Community FCU; and Pete Fauth, vice president/chief financial officer, Financial Plus CU.
Karen Woods, marketing director, Decatur Earthmover CU, Decatur; Secretary Brenda Crane, chief operating officer, Credit Union 1, Rantoul; and Treasurer John Fiore, CEO, Motorola ECU, Schaumburg. Board members re-elected to one-year terms included: Tom Enos, business development director, First Northern CU, Chicago; Pete Fauth, vice president/ CFO, Financial Plus CU, Ottawa; Mike Frye, chairman, Shell Community FCU, East Alton; and Robert Schroeder, CEO, Illinois Community CU, Sycamore. Also, Christine Dickover, CEO of H-F CU, Country Club Hills; and RaeAnn Love, CEO, Commonwealth CU, Bourbonnais, were elected to one-year terms as a result of two directors retiring from the CUPAC board.

SC league names Diversity Award recipients

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (4/23/08)--The South Carolina Credit Union League (SCCUL) presented its first Laura M. Fleming Diversity Awards to Family Trust FCU and South Carolina FCU during the SSCUL and Affiliates Annual Meeting Saturday. Family Trust FCU, Rock Hill, received the award for its payday loan alternative program. Family Trust also partnered with United Way to host a poverty simulation program in York County at the credit union’s training facility. South Carolina FCU, Charleston, was recognized for promoting diversity through a cross-cultural job fair. More than 55 employees were involved, and more than 600 job-seekers from surrounding communities attended. “Between them, these two credit unions embody the complex nature of diversity as it relates to financial services,” SCCUL President/CEO Garry L. Parks said. “Family Trust has taken a particular interest in recognizing South Carolinians’ diverse needs and conditions, while South Carolina FCU has emphasized the value in having an organization that reflects and identifies with the citizens it serves.” The Laura M. Fleming award was introduced by the league’s diversity committee. It was named in memory of an exemplary credit union leader and recognizes South Carolina credit unions or organizations that exemplify diversity in the workplace.

Just File It has a banner year

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PLYMOUTH, Mich. (4/23/08)--Eighty-five Michigan credit unions promoted the Just File It! tax filing program this year, helping 3,733 residents claim a total of $6,511,263 in tax credits and refunds--a 240% increase from last year. More than $1.4 million of the amount represented the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), designed for low- to moderate-income families and individuals (Michigan Monitor April 22). The total between credit unions and other non-profit Just File It! partners in Michigan was $12,852,336 in returns and 7,726 filers. “To put well over $6 million back into the pockets of Michigan families during this difficult time for our state’s economy is something of which credit unions should be very proud,” said Michigan Credit Union League President/CEO David Adams. “Credit unions are here to help Michigan through challenging times and will continue to live this philosophy through programs like Just File It! that give lower-income households more money they can use to put food on the table, invest in education or save for the future.”

CU System briefs (04/22/2008)

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* SAN DIMAS, Calif. (4/23/08)--Jim Hayes, who led the business development and marketing teams, has been appointed as WesCorp’s new chief financial officer and senior vice president. Tony Kitt, who has led the payment systems team, has been promoted to executive vice president to lead member services, announced WesCorp CEO Bob Siravo yesterday. Hayes joined WesCorp in 2003 after working for the National Credit Union Administration and the Office of Thrift Supervision. Kitt served as an U.S. Air Force officer and comptroller for the North American Aerospace Defense Command before joining WesCorp. He is the board chairman of Procura LLC and is vice chair of Pacific Processing Partners. WesCorp is the largest corporate credit union in the U.S. with $30 billion in assets and more than 1,000 member credit unions ... * RANCHO CUCAMONGA (4/23/08)--The Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation recently gave a $20,000 community service grant to Community Trust CU, Modesto, Calif., to support sponsorship of a financial literacy program for low-income youth in the East Palo Alto area. Community Trust has opened a branch, known as Community Trust CU of East Palo Alto, in the underserved Bay Area city. The new branch opened in December after joining forces with the Northern California Urban Development Corp. and several area credit unions, including Stanford FCU and Addison Avenue FCU, both based in Palo Alto, and San Francisco-based Patelco FCU … * MORENO VALLEY, Calif. (4/23/08)--Visterra CU, a $466.2 million asset credit union in Moreno Valley, and $526.2 million asset Whittier, Calif.-based Credit Union of Southern California have announced their intent to merge (The Press-Enterprise April 19). The merger is pending approval from regulators and members of Credit Union of Southern California. The combined credit union will take the Visterra name and remain headquartered in Moreno Valley. It will have more than $1 billion in assets, 86,000 members, 11 branches and 260 employees. The merger is expected to be completed by early August. Credit Union of Southern California President/CEO Dave Gunderson will be CEO of the combined firm, and Visterra President/CEO Robert Cameron will serve as president …