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Todays INY TimesI to feature co-op advertorial

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NEW YORK (4/6/09)--Today's edition of The New York Times features an advertorial on cooperative business in the front section of the nationwide newspaper. The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) worked last fall on a cooperative advertorial after the Times asked the NCBA for a list of national and regional credit unions to participate in a January advertorial. The advertorial will feature an in-depth view of cooperatives written by Robert McGarvey of the Times. He interviewed John Dunn, NCBA's vice president of international development, and Paul Hazen, NCBA's president/CEO, for the editorial. NCBA will receive a copy of the advertorial to place on its website on Tuesday. The advertorial includes a number of advertisers, including NCBA; Cabot Creamery, which is a co-sponsor of the Home & Family Finance Radio Show every Sunday on public radio; and New York University CU.

Syndicated columnists tax-refund advice includes CUs

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. (4/6/09)--A syndicated column about what to do with a tax refund tells taxpayers to check out high yielding money market accounts or try credit unions. "Credit unions tend to offer higher rates than banks, but limit their membership," wrote Gail Liberman and Alan Lavine, in their "Family Finances" column, which appeared in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette April 3. They tell readers to go to www.cuna.coop to find a credit union they may be eligible to join. For the full article, use the link.

Central States Mortgage receiver hearing is Tuesday

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (4/6/09)--A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court to appoint a receiver to oversee the liquidation of mortgage lender CSMC Inc., the parent of the now defunct Central States Mortgage Co. Central States provided mortgage services to more than 250 credit unions before it closed its doors on March 9. A majority of CSMC is owned by credit unions. It filed for a liquidation receivership late on March 27 (News Now March 31). Judge John DiMotto told more than a dozen lawyers in a two-hour hearing Wednesday to return to court Tuesday so he could appoint a receiver. DiMotto said he had not received financial information needed from CSMC to set the bond for the receiver (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel April 1). The Wauwatosa, Wis.-based CSMC has requested the court to appoint Philip Ostroski, managing director of MorrisAnderson and Associates, as receiver. However, attorney Stephen Kravit told the court Wednesday that the court should pick the receiver. Kravit represents former Central States founder and CEO Richard Jungen and three other executives who were ousted after the mortgage servicer discovered they were operating another company. Central States sued the former executives, alleging the business caused $15 million in losses, according to the Journal Sentinel. Kravit also argued that a receiver should be appointed as soon as possible because the company's board is split and operating illegally, the article said. CSMC attorney David Meany said the firm is properly governed by its board and he asked the court to postpone the hearing for 10 days to provide time to work out issues with the company's largest creditors. Nineteen of the 20 largest creditors are credit unions. Kravit also questioned the decision to bring in a company from Michigan to service pending loans without disclosing the financial arrangement and the hiring of a public relations firm. A receivership is a state court process similar to a federal bankruptcy court liquidation. In addition to the receivership, CSMC has sued Jungen and the former executives. Recently another court froze more than $2 million of Central States' assets at the request of a creditor.

Altura CU announces two branch closures staff cuts

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (4/6/09)--Altura CU announced Friday that it will close two branch offices, transition a third branch to an electronic branch, and cut staff to reduce expenses. The San Jacinto branch will close May 5 and the Coachella branch will close May 7. The Corona branch will transition to electronic May 6. After the changes, the credit union will have 14 branches. The credit union also will cut 35 staff positions, representing 13% of Altura’s workforce. “All affected employees were offered severance packages, outplacement services and Altura loan modification packages to assist them in this transition,” said Altura President/CEO Mark Hawkins. Sixteen branch positions and 19 positions at Altura’s headquarters were cut. About 27 open positions at the credit union also have been eliminated over the past year, representing 20% of Altura’s work force, the credit union said. “The Inland Empire has been hit especially hard [by the economy],” Hawkins said. “The area’s high unemployment and foreclosure rates have created some real challenges for all financial institutions, and we’re no exception. Our delinquencies and losses are the highest we’ve seen in nearly three decades. Our provision costs are also up sharply. “Everyone knows these are tough times,” he continued. “And we are adopting a proactive approach to address them. Altura has a 51-year history in this community and we take this responsibility very seriously. In order to assure our future is as successful as our past, we have had to take some difficult steps to reduce our expenses.” Beginning with senior management, the credit union also has reduced benefits and compensation for all employees. Altura also estimates that its support to the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund to help stabilize the corporate credit union system will cost more than $9 million. “With all these factors converging at once, reducing our expenses had to be done,” Hawkins said. Altura, Riverside, Calif., has $889 million in assets.

Carolina state senator praises work of CUs

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RALEIGH, N.C. (4/6/09)--State Sen. Sam Queen, a proponent of affordable housing as a means of building wealth and strengthening the middle class, praised the work of North Carolina's credit unions in this critical area and in several other areas last week. The Democrat, who represents the 47th Senate District in western North Carolina, offered glowing remarks about credit unions during the Annual State Capital Connections program April 1. The remarks were made in an on-camera interview with Dan Schline, senior vice president of association services for the North Carolina Credit Union League. The video is displayed on the league's Weekly Update website.


Queen noted credit unions' efforts in assisting struggling homeowners and said they "haven't been in subprime lending…they haven't been in these derivatives…they've just been doing good old-fashioned lending to help people build homes and build solid families." He also praised their financial literacy efforts and expressed gratitude to credit unions for how they educate and help families. Credit unions are a "very important institution," he said, adding that they are "in great shape." "Credit unions do a great job of serving the people that do business with them…that save and borrow there," he told the league.

Filene recruiting applicants for i3 program

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MADISON, Wis. (4/6/09)--The Filene Research Institute is recruiting 15 new members to join its i3 innovation program for two-year terms beginning in fall 2009. Application deadline is May 31. "Now is exactly the time to focus on tomorrow because so many institutions have to focus on today," said Denise Gabel, chief innovation officer at Filene. Filene is looking for those who thrive on creative energy, believe that challenging times bring opportunities, enjoy implementing new ideas, and aspire to take credit unions to the next level of service and success. Good candidates are innovative, insightful and passionate credit union professionals who have not yet reached the CEO level but who are in positions of substantial responsibility, said Filene. Filene i3 members reflect diversity in experience, job responsibilities, geography and credit union membership. For more information or to apply, use the resource link or call 608-231-8550, or e-mail karenh@filene.org.

Deadline for Wegner Award nominations is June 19

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MADISON, Wis. (4/6/09)--The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) is encouraging credit union supporters to nominate individuals and organizations for the 22nd Annual Wegner Awards. “With all the negative news swirling around the financial industry, it is more important now than ever to showcase the positive impact credit unions make on consumers,” said NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin. “We encourage credit union supporters from every state to nominate their best and brightest for the national Wegner Awards.” Nominations are due by June 19 for these awards:
* The Individual Achievement Award, which honors an unsung hero for innovative concepts and/or accomplishments that have made a significant impact on the national and/or international credit union movements within the past 10 years--or have a significant potential impact now. Nominations must cite a specific subject of achievement. Examples include financial literacy, service to the underserved, alternatives to predatory lending, and/or new products. * The Outstanding Organization/Program Award, which honors an organization or program for innovative concepts and/or products/services that have made a significant impact with measured results on the national and/or international credit union movements. * The Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors an individual who has dedicated his/her life to promoting the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People.” This person must have created innovative concepts and provided leadership that has made a significant and lasting impact on the national and/or international credit union movements.
Nominations can come from individuals and/or organizations. To make a nomination, take four steps:
* Print out the Wegner Awards nomination form on the NCUF website at www.ncuf.coop; * Fill out the nomination form; * Gather at least five letters of recommendation citing examples of the nominee’s achievements relevant to the award criteria: and * Send the nomination form and recommendation letters to NCUF by June 19.
Winners will be honored in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association’s 2010 Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

Free tax prep pays off for Bethpage member

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BETHPAGE, N.Y. (4/6/09)--A Bethpage FCU member recently received a hearty tax refund with the help of the Volunteer Tax Assistance Program after a commercial tax prep service told her she’d have to pay more than $200 to get a $400 refund. Danielle Clemente, a 26-year-old mother of three, received $1,018 with the help of the volunteer assistance program at Bethpage FCU’s Bay Shore branch. Clemente said she decided to use the program because she thought she would be getting more than $400 in refunds from the commercial service, according to Newsday (April 3). The Volunteer Tax Assistance Program operates out of eight Bethpage branches. Anyone with an income of less than $40,000 is eligible to participate. The program helped more than 500 people with refunds this year, the newspaper said.

CUs for Kids wine auction raises 175000 for hospitals

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DANA POINT, Calif. (4/6/09)--The fourth annual California and Nevada Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction raised $175,000 for 11 Children’s Miracle Network-affiliated hospitals in the two states. More than 175 attendees from 55 credit unions attended the March 27 event. The event’s special guest was Sammy Heim, 11, from Children’s Hospital Orange County. Heim was diagnosed with a soft tissue tumor and underwent 40 weeks of treatment. She is currently in remission. The event also included a cash paddle bid in memory of Ed Callahan, credit union industry leader and retired CEO of Patelco CU, died a week before the auction. In 2008, credit unions and state leagues raised more than $9.3 million for the network through the Credit Unions for Kids program. About 5,000 credit unions fundraise for the program, according to the network.

Oregon CU advocates converge for CU Day at Capitol

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (4/6/09)--More than 200 credit union supporters converged on Oregon's state capital March 16 to educate members of the House and Senate on credit unions' functions, contributions to the state's economy and service to 1.4 million members. Credit Union Day is one of the largest lobby days at the state
Click to view larger image The Little Guy was evident at the Credit Union Association of Oregon's display during Oregon's Credit Union Day at the Capitol March 16. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of Oregon)
Capitol. This year's theme was "Oregon Credit Unions Safe, Sound and Working for our communities." Credit union advocates met with nearly every legislative office to discuss the current credit union legislative agenda, said the Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO). Credit union booths drew traffic from legislators, staffers and Capitol visitors, helping spread the message that credit unions are a highly visible and active presence in their communities, and vocal advocates and active participants in the state political process. Speakers included Senate President Peter Courtney, Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli, Speaker of the House Dave Hunt, and Sen. Rick Metsger. "No one illustrates the credit union difference, and the work our credit unions are doing in their communities during this tough economy, better than credit union advocates," said Pamela Leavitt, CUAO senior vice president of governmental affairs and public relations. "Oregon legislators always appreciate the opportunity to meet with representatives from their districts." The day ended with a reception at during which legislators visited with credit union leaders in a more casual setting.

CU System briefs (04/03/2009)

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* RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (4/6/09)--For the eighth straight year, California credit union leaders and vendors are participating in the annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race. The group is seeking contributions for the Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation--the foundation for credit unions in California and Nevada. Honda FCU CEO and foundation board member Jim Updike will be crew skipper. Teammates include Todd Lane, California Center, California; Don Gensler, CUNA Mutual Group, Wisconsin; Chris Gunnare, Matt Flynn and Brian Scott, The Members Group, Iowa; and Tim Sidley, WesCorp, California. The team will cover all racing expenses, so 100% of the funds raised will go to support the foundation's financial education efforts. So far, the group has raised more than $61,000 for various causes. Last year it raised more than $7,000 for the foundation. The 62nd annual 125-mile competition will begin April 24 … * FRISCO, Texas (4/6/09)--Texas State Sen. Florence Shapiro visited the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center in Frisco, Texas, March 27. Part of the visit included a tour and discussion session at Texans CU's CTE branch, which opened in August 2008 as part of Texans' financial literacy community initiative. Texans CU is based in Richardson, Texas. Shapiro, right, a former public school teacher, talked with, from left, Texans employees Dara Stork and BreAndrea Adevereaux about their studies and duties at the student-operated branch. (Photo provided by Texans CU) … * RALEIGH, N.C. (4/6/09)--The Western, Foothills and Piedmont Chapters of the North Carolina Credit Union League shared the positive credit union message with lawmakers in Raleigh Wednesday as part of the annual State Capital Connections program (Weekly Update April 3). "Credit unions shared how they are assisting their members throughout North Carolina during the recession," said Dan Schline, league senior vice president of association services. More than a dozen credit union representatives shared details of loan workouts for members who have lost jobs, examples of financial counseling programs and other efforts to help members through tough times. They also sent a "clear strength, safety and soundness message," said Schline. Pictured from left are: Bob Cathey and Patty Idol of Mountain CU; state Sen. Tom Apodaca; Mike Whitmire of Ecusta CU; and Chris Angel of Mountain CU. (Photo provided by the North Carolina Credit Union League) … * FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (4/6/09)--Bragg Mutual FCU President/CEO Jean Stultz received the state's Order of the Long Leaf Pine, honoring her 40 years of service to the Fayetteville, N.C.-based credit union and the Cumberland County community. The recognition was presented March 31 during the credit union's 57th Annual Meeting by Rep. Margaret Dickson and Sen. Tony Rand on behalf of Gov. Beverly Perdue. Stultz also received a congratulatory letter from the North Carolina Senate. From left are Dickson, Stultz and Rand. (Photo provided by Bragg Mutual FCU) …