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HR/TD Council Announces Exec Committee

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MADISON, Wis. (4/23/13)--The CUNA HR/TD Council announced its executive committee and officers for 2013 during 19th annual conference, taking place through Wednesday in Anaheim, Calif.

Council officers include:

  • Chair--Suzanne Oliver, senior vice president of educational services and governmental affairs, Mountain America FCU, West Jordan, Utah;
  • Vice chair--Robert Davis, senior vice president of human resources, VyStar CU, Jacksonville, Fla.; and
  • Secretary/treasurer--Cindy Swigert, chief human resources officer, United FCU, St. Joseph, Mich.
Robert Carmichael, senior vice president of human resources and training and development for Maine Savings FCU in Hampden, Maine, was re-elected as an incumbent.

Two new members were elected to the executive committee. They include:

  • Lisa Baron, senior vice president of human resources and talent management, Baxter CU, Vernon Hills, Ill.; and
  • Linda Steger, vice president of human resources, NRL FCU, Oxon Hill, Md.
The new members replace outgoing executive committee members Jennifer Godel, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, Desert Schools FCU, Phoenix, and Diane Wozniak, vice president of human resources, Tampa Bay FCU, Tampa, Fla.

The CUNA HR/TD Council executive committee also includes:

  • Jeffrey Duke, innovation program manager, BECU, Seattle;
  • Jennifer Huggard, assistant vice president of talent, Northwest Credit Union Association; and
  • Roberta Smith, senior vice president of human resources, Missoula (Mont.) FCU.

CU System Briefs (04/23/2013)

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  • OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA. (4/23/13)--
    Click to view larger image Click for larger view
    To honor a $1 million gift to Children's Hospital Foundation from Oklahoma City Credit Unions for Kids-Boomer Sooner Chapter, the second floor of the OU Children's Physicians Building, owned and operated by University Hospitals Authority and Trust, will permanently bear the Credit Unions for Kids name (see photo).  The $1 million gift was pledged over five years. The gift brings the chapter's donations since 1997 to more than $2 million, ranking the chapter as 10th in the nation. A floor dedication and check presentation ceremony was held  March 15 on the second floor of the Children's Atrium in the Children's Hospital. "Credit Unions for Kids has made such a long-term contribution and created such a sustaining impact on the well-being of the children of our community," said Dr. Terrence Stull, CMRI Patricia Price Browne Distinguished Chair ...
  • CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (4/23/13)--Dolores Cox, who was a grassroots leader in the growth of Texas credit unions, died Friday after a heart attack. She was 80 years old. Cox managed Harte-Hanks FCU in the 1970s and later became president/CEO of Homeport FCU, a $15 million asset credit union based in Corpus Christi, Texas. She was active in the Texas Credit Union League. Cox is survived by her husband of 60 years, two sisters, six daughters, 25 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren (Corpus Christi Caller Times April 20) ...

CUNA To USNews: Five Reasons To Shop For CU Car Loan

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MADISON, Wis. (4/23/13)--Among all the reasons to shop at a credit union for car loans, five in particular stand out, Mike Schenk, senior economist at the Credit Union National Association, told U.S. News and World Report Monday.

In the article, "My Money: 5 Reasons to Shop at a Credit Union for Car Loans," Schenk said consumers are better off choosing a credit union over a commercial bank for a new- or used-car loan because:

1.  You have a better chance of having your loan approved. A credit union might be "more likely to listen to your story than a commercial bank," if you have mediocre credit or have had credit problems in the past, Schenk said.

2. You obtain lower rates. A five-year term is the most common loan term for a new or used car, and credit union rates usually are much lower than the average rate at a competitor bank.

3. You get personalized service. Because credit unions are non-profit organizations and try to provide members with high-quality customer service, members have a more personable experience at a credit union because credit unions are run by volunteer boards.

4. You have availability of educational resources. Nearly all credit union branches have a dedicated education and resource center, where members can learn more about financing options and how to make the best decisions when assessing the value of their car purchase.

5. Credit unions use a non-sales approach. Credit unions work for their members and aren't driven to sell you anything that equates to extra money in their pocket. All profits go back to members in the form of lower rates on other financial products, such as savings and loans. Commercial banks often grant their lenders bonuses or other compensation for approved loans.

Ga., Wis. CUs Saved Members Millions In 2012

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PEWAUKEE, Wis. and ATLANTA (4/23/13)--Georgia and Wisconsin credit unions saved consumers millions of dollars in 2012, according to reports from the states' respective leagues.

Georgia credit unions saved state consumers $130 million last year by offering lower interest rates, according to a new report from Georgia Credit Union Affiliates.

"Credit unions consistently offer consumers better value than banks," said Mike Mercer, GCUA president/CEO. "With back-to-back years of membership growth, Georgia credit unions continued to provide members with lower interest rates, higher savings rates and fewer fees than banks last year."

Membership at Georgia credit unions increased 2.3% in 2012, following 3.3% growth in 2011.

The average interest rate for a 60-month new car loan in 2012 at Georgia credit unions was 3.06%, compared with 4.92% at the state's banks. Members saved an average $252 per year if they financed a 60-month loan for a new $25,000 vehicle through a credit union instead of a bank.

The average interest rate at Georgia credit unions for a 48-month used car loan was 3.2% in 2012--2.23 points lower than the average used car loan interest at banks (5.43%).

On average, credit union households saved $130, according to the latest Georgia Credit Union Member Benefits Index. Georgia credit union members saved $69 more last year than bank customers.

The index, based on data collected during the 12 months ending December 2012, is the latest installment in an ongoing series of reports updated on a semiannual basis. Compiled by the Credit Union National Association, the report leverages information compiled from banking institutions and the state's 139 credit unions.

Wisconsin credit unions have saved consumers more than $1 billion since the start of the recent recession in 2007, according to the Wisconsin Credit Union League.

Wisconsin credit union also saved members $110 per year per household because of more competitive pricing on financial services overall. Those who use a credit union extensively receive total financial benefits much greater, the league said

Credit union members saved $1,150 in interest to finance a new car compared with using a bank, the Wisconsin league said. That is based on a $25,000 vehicle with funds borrowed for five years, with a savings of $230 per year in interest.

Wisconsin credit unions offer an interest rate that's almost one percent lower than banks for a typical "gold" credit card. Credit unions' late payment fee on a credit card is about $10 less than what banks charge, the league said.

The savings underscores the value of credit union membership, said CUNA, which is urging credit unions to Unite for Good in achieving a strategic vision where Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner. Fostering service excellence, removing barriers and raising awareness are three goals. Consumers can find more information about credit unions at aSmarterChoice.org.

HarborOne Member Vote Certified By NCUA

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BROCKTON, Mass. (4/23/13)--The National Credit Union Administration has notified Brockton, Mass.-based HarborOne CU that its procedures to convert to a mutual savings bank have complied with the agency's conversion regulations.

The $1.9 billion asset HarborOne also announced Monday the Massachusetts Division of Banks had approved the membership vote results, which were in favor of the conversion.  About 62% of voting members of HarborOne cast ballots in favor of the change in March. About  21% of eligible voters voted.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has officially accepted HarborOne's application to convert, and the credit union now awaits for approval of FDIC insurance before it can complete the conversion process.

Although members have a prerogative to do what they believe is in the best interest of their credit union, said the Credit Union National Association, they are best served by the not-for-profit, cooperatively owned and member-directed ownership structure of credit unions.  CUNA emphasized it is important for members to be fully informed about any conversion proposal and its implications before any conversion.

At the time the vote was announced, the Massachusetts Credit Union League noted that any conversion should be approached from the viewpoint of the members of the credit union, but added that HarborOne members unfortunately seemed to have accepted the argument that the operational advantages outweighed their rights and privileges as members.

N.Y. CUs Build State Legislative Support

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Click to view larger image New York State Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-115), right, visited with credit union advocates at the Credit Union Association of New York's State Governmental Affairs Conference April 16-17 in Albany.
ALBANY, N.Y. (4/23/13)--The Credit Union Association of New York's State Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) held in Albany April 16-17 placed an emphasis on legislative advocacy, CUANY said.

As a result of credit union advocacy during the GAC, two lawmakers have introduced bills that would provide credit unions with access to municipal deposits. State Sen. Joseph Robach (R-Rochester) introduced S. 4672, which would allow New York credit unions to accept and secure deposits from municipal corporations. State Assemblywoman Inez Baron (D-Metropolitan) introduced A. 6740, a bill that would permit state-chartered credit unions and thrifts to accept state and local government deposits.

Click to view larger image Credit union advocates met with New York State Sen. Hugh Farley (R-Schenectady), center, at the Credit Union Association of New York's State Governmental Affairs Conference last week. (Photos provided by the Credit Union Association of New York)
"I am always truly inspired by the articulate, compelling voice our advocates bring to credit union issues, and when that voice is brought directly to our representatives, we can make a real difference," said William Mellin, CUANY president/CEO. "Credit union leaders shared great stories about the difference they're making in their communities, as well as the challenges they and their members are facing."

More than 100 credit union leaders statewide gathered for the conference and two days of meetings with state legislators. They made nearly 100 office visits to state representatives. At those meetings, credit union advocates rallied support for legislation that will make New York's credit unions even stronger and benefit New York consumers and communities statewide, CUANY said.

Credit union leaders met with key officials, such as Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (Westchester-Rockland) and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Rochester/Central), along with legislators from districts statewide.

The group advocated for legislation addressing municipal deposits, increased robbery penalties, ATM disclosure reform and state-charter enhancements. Several legislators committed to supporting the bills as co-sponsors, CUANY said.

During their visits, credit union representatives shared the 2012 MORE report, which includes more than 1,500 examples of New York credit union outreach.

Mergers At Nearly One-a-day Pace

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MADISON, Wis. (4/23/13)--Mergers of credit unions have occurred at a pace of nearly one a day the past year, according to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) .

Buddy Gill, senior adviser to NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz, made the statement during a discussion of the "New NCUA" at a recent meeting with credit unions hosted by the Northwest Credit Union Association in Portland, Ore. (Anthem Recap April 19).

Most are the mergers are voluntary mergers, he said. He indicated that cumulative regulatory burdens may play a significant role in the decision of small credit unions to merge to achieve economies of scale to be competitive, reported NWCUA.

"Regulatory burdens are costing small financial institutions money and time that could be better spent providing benefits to the member," said John Trull, NWCUA director of regulatory advocacy. "The NCUA recognizes this, but other regulatory agencies impacting credit unions may not," Trull added.

In the past couple of weeks, nine states reported credit unions either applying to merge or getting approval to merge.  Among them:

California: Community First CU, Santa Rosa, with $150 million assets and 15,627 members, has applied to the California Department of Financial Institutions for approval to merge with Health Care Professionals of Napa FCU, Napa.

Hawaii: Two Honolulu based credit unions, TheoDavies FCU and $157 million asset Hawaii Central FCU, merged April 2. HCFCU now serves more than 14,000 members with more than $170 million in assets.

Idaho: Potelco United CU, Pocatello, will merge with an unnamed Boise area credit union on June 1 and take on the name Connections CU (Idaho State Journal  April 20).

Illinois: Carbondale-based SIU CU, with $254.5 million assets, completed its merger with $6.8 million asset Southeastern Electric Employees CU on April 1. The merger adds 1,100 members to SIU CU's 31,000 and adds one branch to total six branches.

Massachusetts: North Shore Manufacturers FCU, with $5 million assets in Beverly, Mass., will become a branch of $1 billion Hanscom FCU, Hanscom AFB, Mass.  A second merger, between Worcester-based  AllCom CU with $58 million assets and Worcester Postal CU, $9.8 million assets, is to be completed July 1 (Banker & Tradesman April 9).

Minnesota: Park Schools CU, with 8.5 million assets in St. Louis Park, Minn., merged April 1 with $132 million asset United Educators CU, Apple Valley, Minn.  Park Schools served 1,314 members; United Educators served 12,976 members.

Pennsylvania: Two Chambersburg credit unions--Community of Healthcare Employees CU with $7 million assets and Patriot FCU with $441.9 million assets--plan to merge June 1, pending member and regulatory approval (SNL Bank and Thrift Daily April 2).

Utah: In Ogden, $61 million asset SummitOne FCU will merge with $187 million asset Wasatch Peakes FCU on July 1. SummitOne employees approved the merger earlier this month.

Wisconsin:  Price CU, Prentice, a $31 million asset credit union with 5,974 members, will merge April 30 with Heritage CU, Madison, with $225 million in assets and 22,751 members.

City Shifts Payment Processing To CU

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MONROE, Mich. (4/23/13)--Monroe County Community CU in Monroe, Mich., has received a $35,000 contract from the city to perform the city's payments processing functions.

That means people paying bills such as water bills, parking tickets, recreation program fees and other payments--whether by mail, in person or electronically--will be directed to the credit union's branch in City Hall, instead of the nearby city clerk-treasurer's office (Monroe News April 20).

The city said it could save up to $15,000 a year by having the credit union perform the function. MCCCU will process the funds, credit them through the city computer network and deposit them into the city's account at Fifth Third Bank.

The arrangement was created after a cashier moved from the treasurer/clerk's office to a vacant position in he city's building department.  Under the one year contract, the credit union receives 50 cents for each payment it processes. The city typically processes up to 70,000 payments during a year.

N.C.'s First African American CU Established 95 Years Ago

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LANDIS, N.C. (4/23/13)--The first African American credit union in North Carolina was formed by 23 farmers on April 19, 1918, more than 95 years ago, according to an article posted by the North Carolina Credit Union League on its website.

Thomas Patterson, an African American farmer in Rowan County and 22 others joined in Landis, N.C., to organize the former Piedmont CU with $126 as an experiment. "The experiment was so successful that three other [credit ] unions were organized in different parts of the county," Patterson wrote in 1920. Nine others were formed in a second county that year, and a vibrant system of community development credit unions would emerge in the state, said the North Carolina Credit Union League.

By Dec. 31, 1919, the credit union had 82 members and total resources of $1,347.93, including $205.15 on deposit,  payment on shares of $934.78, $663.25 in loans to 10 borrowers, $100 borrowed from banks, and $675.98 cash on reserve in banks.

Although the credit union no longer exists--it is not the same Piedmont CU that is now located in Statesville-- there is a clear account of the credit union written in 1920 by Patterson, and posted on the league's website.

In it, Patterson described what a credit union is, how it is conducted, its structure, savings  and loans to members to conduct the business of farming. The money borrowed was used in one of three ways: to buy supplies to carry the farmer over the cropping season; to buy fertilizers; and to help tide farmers over who were making improvements to their homes.

Patterson answered the question "why deal with a credit union rather than a bank" by citing these reasons:

"Few banks care to lend money in sums less than $100. Then the prospective borrower must produce at least two real-estate owners known to the banker to go on his note, or the records of the parties must be looked up before the loan can be made. This causes delay. In most cases a bonus of 4% is charged, which, added to the legal rate, makes the interest, to begin with, at least 14%." He noted that a credit union charges 6% interest for the actual time he has the loan.

A credit union "teaches thrift and gives its members a certain kind of importance that they never possessed before ...What is one's interest is the interest of all, the communities working harmoniously together. Nothing has contributed more to this spirit of good will than have the credit unions," Patterson wrote. To view the full article, use the link.

Maine CU-Backed Student Loan Bill Now Law

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PORTLAND, Maine (4/23/13)--The Maine Credit Union League-backed student loan bill is now law, according to the league.

The act, which authorizes insurance on student loans, and unanimously passed the Maine Senate and passed the Maine House 142-1, became law April 16. The law permits the Finance Authority of Maine to offer loan insurance on supplemental student loans and likely will allow more credit unions to provide student loans to consumers (Weekly Update April 19).

Earlier this month, the Credit Union National Association released the result of its first annual High School Student Borrowing Survey (News Now April 17). The survey has been picked up by some national media, including Bankrate.com and The Wall Street Journal.

The CUNA survey found that nearly half of high school seniors don't know how much they will need for college costs, CUNA said. 

Eighty-three percent did not know the interest rates for student loans, and 77% didn't know the duration of their existing or anticipated college loans, CUNA said.

CUNA is lobbying the federal government to allow student loans of a longer duration than the current 15-year standard because most borrowers are taking out more loans for larger amounts.

In other Maine legislative action, the state Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee voted LD 1195 "Ought Not to Pass." The bill would prohibit employers from obtaining consumer reports that contain information regarding creditworthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, debts, check-writing experience or insurability of an employee or prospective employee. The Maine League provided testimony in opposition to the bill.