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Greylock FCU forms youth advisory board

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. (4/27/09)--Greylock FCU, Pittsfield, Mass., has assembled a Youth Advisory Board to help the credit union create products and services that will help youth better their savings habits. The group comprises 16 students from schools ages 13 to 18. The youth board members were selected through an application process. While the credit union hopes to gain insight from the board to help it promote financial literacy, it also seeks to educate the board members about banking (Berkshire Eagle April 21). The board’s first project will be to help Greylock communicate its financial literacy program, Fusion, which was created for young adults. The Fusion program offers college funding information, a subscription to a teen financial magazine, a financial literacy brochure, and a college savings share certificate, the newspaper said. The board’s first meeting, April 20, consisted of a discussion about credit scores with Greylock Loan Officer Darrell M. Colvin. Michael E. Fazio, senior vice president and financial adviser, also talked to the group. Greylock has been creating youth financial programs for five years, after finding that there is a “significant” lack of financial literacy among adults, John Bissell, Greylock senior vice president of marketing and administration told the paper. Greylock has $1.1 billion in assets.

Convicted thief escapes drug treatment center robs CU

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ANNISTON, Ala. (4/27/09)--A convicted armed robber escaped a drug treatment center April 20 and then robbed Fort McClellan CU Tuesday. Glasco Stephens, 34, remained at large last week after robbing the $106.2 million asset, Anniston, Ala.-based credit union (The Anniston Star April 23). A corrections officer made two poor decisions--having only one officer transport Stephens from a jail to the treatment center, and unloading inmates at the wrong door of the treatment center--that helped Stephens escape, Sheriff Larry Amerson told the newspaper. Calhoun County had 18 deputies and a K-9 [dog] unit searching the area last week for Stephens, who authorities still believe is in the area near Anniston, Amerson told the paper. Stephens was awaiting trial for a 2008 armed robbery and was previously convicted of a 2002 armed robbery. He was sentenced to three years in jail, along with 17 years on probation and undergoing a drug treatment program, the paper said.

NCUA examiners discuss key rules with Michigan league

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LANSING, Mich. (4/27/09)--Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) representatives and MCUL regulatory affairs staff met with National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) supervisory examiners April 14 at MCUL’s Lansing headquarters to discuss regulatory areas--loan losses, collection practices, investment policies, mergers and the examination process. “One of the concerns raised by the league during this meeting was the unique and often challenging economic climate of individual communities in Michigan, and how this might affect the examination process,” said MCUL Executive Vice President Patrick La Pine (Michigan Monitor April 20). “The examiners noted that NCUA is aware of local economic conditions, and if a credit union's financial strength, management and strategic plan are sound, this can result in more flexibility when that credit union is facing a tough local economy,” he added. The regulators reported an increase in loan losses since the last time the two parties met in fall of 2008, but the credit union “watch list” continues to remain short. The loan losses appeared to reflect situations in which a credit union was not adhering to its underwriting standards--more so than functions of where the credit union was doing business. For indirect auto lending--which has seen an uptick in volume at some credit unions-- losses resulted from the purchase of low-quality loans; and for member business loans, a relaxation of credit standards was typically the cause followed by inadequate monitoring of loan performance. MCUL staff meets twice a year with senior staff from NCUA and the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation to discuss trends, issues of concern and ways MCUL can use its resources to head off negative practices and otherwise assist in problem resolution.

CUNA Mutuals Jolicoeur caps 34-year career

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MADISON, Wis. (4/27/09)--Bill Jolicoeur, who spent more than half his life as a CUNA Mutual Group employee, is retiring May 1 from the business that took him around the world. For 34 years, Jolicoeur was an advocate for the credit union movement with a career that ranged from a sales representative in Easton, Mass., to vice president and product executive in Madison, Wis. “People have asked me why I stayed with one company for 34 years,” Jolicoeur said. “My answer is always the same. When your company helps its customers be better at their core business through product development and related support, that’s a win-win. CUNA Mutual is a customer-focused company with commitment and pride. I can’t think of another organization I’d have wanted to work for.” Jolicoeur, 57, joined CUNA Mutual Sept. 1, 1975, as a sales rep in Massachusetts with more than 300 credit unions in his territory. After relocating to Maine, where he “spent a good amount of time offering Collateral Products (CP) to my credit unions as a lending solution,” Jolicoeur was promoted to manager of the company’s CP program. The promotion, four years after joining the company, included relocation to the CUNA Mutual headquarters in Madison. As Jolicoeur moved up in the company, he made his mark on the credit union movement through his accomplishments at CUNA Mutual. Among the highlights:
* Establishing and leading CUNA Mutual’s Life, Health, Individual Property and Casualty brokerage operation; * Establishing and leading CUNA Mutual’s internal corporate risk management and safety/loss program, where he played a prominent role in the permanent affiliation of the Century Companies of America and CUNA Mutual Insurance Society (CUMIS); * Leading CUNA Mutual’s Bingham Farms, Mich., operation, where he oversaw the sale of CUMIS General and the CUMIS auto program to Liberty Mutual; and * Leading the growth of CUNA Mutual’s MEMBERS Auto and Home program to include more than 3,200 credit unions and nearly 40 million eligible members, where he was directly responsible for today’s strong relationship with Liberty Mutual.
“Bill developed a strong working relationship with our partner Liberty Mutual and helped build and grow a book of business that benefited all parties,” said Randy Kohout, CUNA Mutual’s vice president of organization capability. “His excellent record with the MEMBERS Auto and Home products made him the natural choice for the larger lending products role, where he again demonstrated his passion and business savvy.” Jolicoeur plans to stay busy after retirement. “There is a huge need in our country for alternative housing options for younger adults with disabilities,” he said. “My second career will focus on raising money for this cause, hopefully creating a foundation in the near future.”

Illinois league elects officers at annual convention

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (4/27/09)--The Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) elected its table officers for the coming year, each to their second one-year terms, at its 79th Annual Convention April 16-18 in Chicago. Also, the ICUL Service Corp. elected one new director to its board. The Illinois Credit Union Foundation (ICUF), the Credit Union Political Action Council (CUPAC), and the Illinois Youth Involvement Council (IYIC) elected officers and directors to their respective boards. John Bratsakis, senior vice president of business development for Baxter CU in Vernon Hills, was re-elected as chairman for a one-year term. He also will serve in this capacity for the ICUL Service Corporation (LSC). Bratsakis has served on the league board since 2001 representing the Thomas W. Doig Chapter of Credit Unions. During this time, he also was chairman of the legislative committee, a member of the executive committee, and a member of the Credit Union Support Group (CUSG) committee. Dennis Hall, CEO of I.H. Mississippi Valley CU in East Moline, was re-elected as vice chairman. Hall started his credit union career more than 20 years ago and has been CEO for the past 11 years. He has been on the league board representing the Illinois Quad Cities Chapter of Credit Unions since 2001 and during this time was also a member of the legislative, executive, and Credit Union Support Group (CUSG) committees. Hall also will serve as LSC vice chairman. Geraldine Burek, CEO of South Division CU in Evergreen Park, was re-elected as secretary/treasurer. Burek has served as ICUL director representing the Southeast Chapter of Credit Unions since 2003. During that time, she was also chairman of the annual convention and legislative committees, and served on the executive committee and the CUPAC board for 21 years. Libby Calderone, CEO of Earthmover CU, Oswego, was elected to a three-year term as director of the ICUL Service Corp. (LSC). The LSC is a subsidiary of ICUL that provides electronic funds transfer, credit, debit, and prepaid card products, merchant, and collection services to more than 2,000 credit unions in 45 states. Also as part of the convention, the ICUF held its annual meeting and re-elected its officers and elected two new directors. Officers included:
* Ed Jacob, ICUF chairman and CEO, North Side Community FCU, Chicago; * Greg Worthen, ICUF vice chairman and director of lending, Olin Community CU, Bethalto; and * David Mooney, ICUF secretary/ treasurer and CEO, Alliant CU, Chicago.
Thomas Pierce, CEO, Canals & Trails CU, Lockport; and Michael Lee, president, Midwest region, Members United Corporate FCU, Warrenville, were each elected to a three-year term as a result of two directors retiring from the board. CUPAC elected a new chairman and board of directors at its annual meeting. Officers elected to one-year terms include:
* Karen Woods, CUPAC chairman and marketing director, Decatur Earthmover CU, Decatur; * Brenda Crane, CUPAC vice chairman and chief operating officer, Credit Union 1, Rantoul; * John Fiore, CUPAC secretary and CEO, Motorola ECU, Schaumburg; and * Tom Enos, CUPAC treasurer and business development director, First Northern CU, Chicago.
Board members re-elected to one-year terms include:
* Christine Dickover, CEO of H-F CU, Country Club Hills; * Pete Fauth, vice president/chief financial officer, Financial Plus CU, Ottawa; * Mike Frye, chairman, Shell Community FCU, East Alton; * RaeAnn Love, CEO, Commonwealth CU, Bourbonnais; * Frank Padak, CEO, Scott CU, Collinsville; and * Robert Schroeder, CEO, Illinois Community CU, Sycamore.
The IYIC re-elected its executive committee, also during the convention. The members include:
* Melissa Brown, DHCU Community CU; * Shelli Chesnutt, Aurora Policemen CU, Aurora; and * Jeri Hansen, Danville Consolidated CU, Danville.

CU System briefs (04/24/2009)

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* LENEXA, Kan. (4/27/09)--A man who tried to kill a witness during a robbery of Credit Union of Johnson County March 28 was indicted by a federal grand jury (Kansas City Star April 23). Nicholas Kamphaus, 26, also is charged with armed bank robbery. Kamphaus is accused of shooting a 71-year-old man several times after he robbed Credit Union of Johnson County. The man survived ... * BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (4/27/09)--The Alabama Credit Union League honored four retiring league board directors during the 76th annual membership meeting in Destin, Fla., April 14-16. The directors are: Hillard Sparks, Valley CU, Tuscumbia; James Dill, Tri-Rivers FCU, Montgomery; David Eubanks, Community CU, Gadsden; and Linda Cencula, Alabama Telco CU, Birmingham. Each was honored with a resolution that listed their accomplishments and a gift for service ... * TRENTON, N.J. (4/27/09)--The New Jersey Association of Counties last week endorsed legislation that would allow state credit unions to be depositories for municipalities (The Weekly Exchange April 20). The association is the second trade group to support the legislation. In March, the New Jersey League of Municipalities voted to include the legislation in its priorities. Lawmakers will return after the legislature’s annual budget recess ... * RALEIGH, N.C. (4/27/09)--State Employees’ CU (SECU) Foundation representatives and other community members attended a groundbreaking ceremony April 16 for the SECU Hospice House of Johnston Health in Smithfield, N.C. SECU members, through the SECU Foundation, donated a $1 million grant to the hospice house. From left are: Patti Hooper, senior vice president, SECU Smithfield branch; Mark Twisdale, senior vice president, SECU human resources and SECU Foundation executive director; Shirley Bell, SECU board chairman; and David King, SECU Foundation board chairman. (Photo provided by State Employees’ CU) ...

Texas report examines traits of payday borrowers

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (4/27/09)--A Texas report surveyed payday borrowers in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio to examine the demographics of those using payday loans in the state and the reasons why--and can provide credit unions with insights into consumers seeking loans. Low- and moderate-income families, and single women, are the primary users of payday loans, according to the survey. Texas Appleseed announced the release of the new report--Short-term Cash, Long-term Debt: The Impact of Unregulated Lending in Texas (LoneStar Leaguer April 15). Respondents said they used a payday lender because it is quick and easy. While payday and short-term auto title lenders provide immediate access to cash, it comes at a high price: often $20 or more per $100 borrowed in a two-week period. The Texas Appleseed report finds that 58% of payday loan borrowers had to roll over or extend loans at least once before paying them off. The rollover percentage is even higher (72%) in a 2007 national survey. Key findings of the study:
* The majority of survey respondents who needed short-term credit used it to pay for recurring basic expenses such as utilities, food and housing; * 13% of those surveyed use payday loans for short-term credit needs; * Nearly one in 10 payday borrowers uses payday loans monthly; * Over half of the payday borrowers roll over or extend their loans at least once before they can pay them off--and nearly one in four payday borrowers surveyed roll over loans multiple times. As a result, the cost to borrow money frequently exceeds the original loan principal; * A majority of payday borrowers are in their 20s and 30s; * 59% of borrowers are women, many of them single women and single mothers; * Although payday borrowers include all major ethnic groups, a disproportionately high percentage are African American and Hispanic; * Payday loan use declines with age, with two exceptions: Payday loan use increases for single women and for Caucasians in their 50s.
To read the full report, use the link.

Irish CUs told to keep 10 of assets in reserves

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DUBLIN, Ireland (4/27/09)--Irish credit unions have been advised by their national financial regulator to keep a reserve ratio of at least 10% of their assets by September 30, or they will face restricted operations. The Irish Examiner reported Wednesday that the rule applies to each individual credit union. The office’s decision was based on a difficult economic environment, the newspaper said. “The recent turmoil in global financial markets has highlighted the importance for all financial institutions to ensure they have sufficient reserves to support their undertakings and maintain confidence in the financial system,” said a document from the Office of the Registrar of Credit Unions. “Furthermore, the difficult economic environment that credit unions are currently experiencing places increased emphasis on the requirement for credit unions to ensure they are maintaining adequate reserves.” In some cases, credit unions may be required to hold more than 10% in assets at the request of the registrar. Credit unions that cannot meet the reserve requirement must have:
* 8% of reserves by September 30; * 9% of reserves by Sept. 30, 2010; and * 10% of reserves by Sept. 30, 2011.
The reserves must be “non-distributable and unrestricted,” the newspaper added.

CUs on the Tube PLCU announces winner of video contest

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SAN DIEGO (4/27/09)--Point Loma CU (PLCU) recently announced that Shelbi Kepler, 18, of Temecula, Calif., won its “PLCU in:30” video contest, which was open to anyone 18-23 years old. Kepler’s commercial depicted a group of friends on a road trip in California that were enjoying their free time--and easy access to the PLCU accounts. Kepler won an Apple iPhone and will appear on “San Diego Living.” Her commercial will air during one month on a San Diego television station during shows such as “Gossip Girl,” “One Tree Hill,” “90210” and “The Simpsons.” PLCU has $481 million in assets. To see Kepler’s video, use the link.