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Give social media a shot Texas league meeting told

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (4/9/10)--Credit unions resistant to engaging in social media should give it more thought, according to Amanda Vega of Amanda Vega Consulting, who opened the Texas Credit Union League's (TCUL) 76th Annual Meeting and Expo this week in Grapevine, Texas. Social media is a powerful tool that can help credit unions grow membership, increase awareness in the market space and influence decision-making, Vega said. "Credit unions are organically built on the premise of social media," she told the credit unions attending. Because credit unions are formed with a common bond, they have the ability to "connect faster and deeper with your members than your competition," Vega said. Vega cautioned that social media isn't about taking traditional stuff and putting it online. "It's about being a part of the conversation," she said. "Think of social media as a party. Your host invites you and then she introduces you to other people, and your connections grow." To develop a social media plan, Vega listed six steps:
* Listen; * Create content document; * Create the plan/footprint; * Assign staff to implement and oversee; * Interact: and * Track and regroup.
"The reality is, social media isn't going away. You may think it's only a kids' party, but those 'kids' are your future members," she said. Because there are inherent risks using social media, credit unions will find it's critical to have policies and procedures in place to mitigate the risks, she said.

Consumer credit--even at CUs--dips in February

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WASHINGTON (4/9/10)--Consumers took out almost 5.6% fewer loans in February than they did in January, according to the Federal Reserve's Consumer Credit statistics released Thursday. Almost all lenders--including credit unions--saw their consumer loans outstanding drop for the month. The lone exception: the federal government. Consumers still racked up more than $2.45 trillion in loans for February. That compares with January's nearly $2.46 trillion and December's nearly $2.45 trillion. Revolving credit, which is largely credit-card borrowing, declined at a 13.1% annual pace during February, accounting for $858.1 billion in loans compared with January's $867.6 billion. In January, consumers typically rein in their card payments because they've run up larger balances during the holidays, said analysts in The Wall Street Journal (April 8). They attributed part of the February decline to winter storms that prevented consumers from leaving home. Nonrevolving credit--loans for cars, boats and education--totaled $1.589 trillion, down from $1.591 trillion. At credit unions, loans outstanding for February totaled $231.6 billion, down from the $234 billion they loaned out in January. That compares with loans made during the first quarter 2009 that totaled $233.3 billion. Revolving loans at credit unions totaled $34.4 billion--a decline from $35.1 billion in January but the same as loans made in December. During first quarter 2009, credit unions made $32.2 billion in revolving loans. Nonrevolving loans from credit unions totaled $197.2 billion in February. In January, they loaned $198.9 billion out to members. In first quarter 2009, they loaned out $201.1 billion.

Sen. Cornyn sees members biz applauds CUs efforts

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SAN ANTONIO (4/9/10)--U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) visited The Bagel Factory, a small business in San Antonio made possible by a member business loan from Randolph-Brooks FCU, and applauded the credit union’s efforts in business lending. John and Suzanne Hermann said they had been turned down by several banks, but found a willing lender at the $3.75 billion asset, Universal City, Texas-based credit union (LoneStar Leaguer April 8). “So much of what we’ve heard in the recent financial crisis is that the big banks and Wall Street seem to be getting help, but what about folks at the main street level,” Cornyn told the Texas Credit Union League. “Because of regulatory concerns, rules have tightened up, perhaps, and made it harder for small businesses to get credit,” he added. “We appreciate the good work of Randolph-Brooks FCU in working with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and working with small businesses like The Bagel Factory to make [access to credit] possible.” “Business lending by credit unions is one of the better kept secrets,” said Randy Smith, CEO of Randolph-Brooks FCU. “I’m here to tell you business lending is open for business at Texas credit unions. Last year we increased our business lending by 20% and this year we hope to do even more.” The Hermanns arrived in San Antonio with experience running several coffee shops in Augusta, Ga. Originally from New York, Suzanne Hermann had a special interest in bagels and knew they would be a perfect addition to expand her coffee shops. In San Antonio, Hermann was ready to open her bagel shop but was turned away at both community and national banks there. Some institutions said they weren’t doing any business lending at all, others said they wouldn’t consider a restaurant, and Bank of America suggested the Hermanns check back when they were ready to launch their second location. “Fortunately we found help at Randolph-Brooks FCU,” said Suzanne Hermann. Randolph-Brooks helped them secure a Patriot Express Loan from the SBA in 30 days. The Bagel Factory opened on Nov. 9 and is operating well ahead of projections, thanks to access to capital from a credit union, TCUL said. “Small businesses can find it challenging during tough economic times, and sometimes these businesses don’t think of a credit union for a loan,” noted SBA District Director Pamela Sapia. “I’m proud to say that the No. 1 Patriot Express Loan lender in Texas and fourth in the nation is Randolph-Brooks FCU.”

NYIB offering youth advocate scholarships

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MADISON, Wis. (4/9/10)--The National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) is accepting registrations for its 2010 Annual Conference and applications for several scholarships. The conference is July 26-29 in St. Louis. It will offer resources for credit unions interested in offering age-appropriate services and financial education for young consumers and members. Scholarship applications are due April 16. The deadline may be extended but prompt entry is encouraged, NYIB said. Scholarship winners and award recipients will be recognized during the conference awards program. All interested credit union professionals are eligible, NYIB said. Five of the awards help professionals attend the conference--three by region, one for “Serving the Underserved” and another named for Robert L. Curry, former president/CEO of CUNA Mutual Group. Two other scholarships are for Credit Union Development Education (CUDE) Training programs April 14-21 in Madison, Wis., and Aug. 11-18 in Bainbridge Island, Wash., and another names the NYIB designee for the World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) Program. The 2010 WYCUP Program will be held in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association’s and WOCCU’s “The 1 Credit Union Conference” in Las Vegas July 11-14. For more information, use the link.

WOCCU Haiti relief fund tops 1 million

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MADISON, Wis. (4/9/10)--A $25,000 donation from Georgia Credit Union Affiliates and its members helped push World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) Haiti Relief Fund past the $1 million mark. The fund, which provides immediate relief to victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake, will also be used to finance the rebuilding of Haiti's credit unions so they can assist members and support local relief efforts.
Click to view larger image BEFORE: Prior to the Jan. 12 earthquake, the Magloire Ambroise branch of KOTALEM CU was the busiest branch of the largest credit union in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Click to view larger image AFTER: The quake's tremors caused the building of the Magloire Ambroise branch of KOTALEM CU to collapse, killing two employees and reducing the once-busy branch to rubble. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
WOCCU's fundraising drive--launched after the earthquake devastated Haiti's capital, Port au Prince, and surrounding areas--attracted donations from individuals, credit unions and credit union groups worldwide. Some of the largest single-donor gifts came from CUNA Mutual Group, Melrose CU in Jamaica, N.Y., and the Irish League of Credit Unions and its international development foundation. The U.S. National Credit Union Foundation, The Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada and the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions each led national fundraising efforts to support the campaign that also resulted in major contributions. "The fact that so many individuals, credit unions and credit union organizations have responded to our call illustrates the compassion and unity found within our movement," said Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO. "We are honored and humbled to be able to help the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere begin its rebuilding efforts after suffering such a terrible disaster." WOCCU was seven months into its first development efforts in Haiti, which began last July, when the January earthquake struck. WOCCU staff is working with credit unions, local organizations and even the national regulator to provide short-term emergency relief in the form of food, water and tents in Port-au-Prince and in nearby Léogâne, the earthquake's epicenter. Intermediate efforts also are underway to research possibilities for establishing a credit union-to-credit union remittance network to allow Haitians living abroad to cost-effectively send money to friends and relatives in Haiti. A WOCCU team is developing a long-term plan for rebuilding damaged credit unions. The plan may also include consulting on providing credit union products and services most in need. The WOCCU Supporter regular renewal campaign will begin soon. To support global credit unions and their members through the WOCCU Priority Fund, make payments via check, or wire to:

Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions Inc.

5710 Mineral Point Road

Madison, WI 53705

USA

Credit card donations may be made online using the links. For wire transfer information, contact Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, 608-395-2055, or via email at vbreunig@woccu.org.

Governor keynotes Illinois Legislative Day for first time

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (4/9/10)--Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn was the keynote speaker at the Illinois Credit Union League’s (ICUL) annual Legislative Day event in Springfield for the first time before 140 Illinois credit union officials.
Click to view larger image Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn (left) addresses attendees at the Illinois Credit Union League’s (ICUL) annual Legislative Day in Springfield while Dan Plauda, ICUL president/CEO looks on. (Photo provided by the Illinois Credit Union League)
Quinn highlighted his support of credit unions. The governor mentioned that he is a member of three credit unions and his father actually started a credit union. State Sen. David Koehler (D-46, Edwards), a board member at CEFCU in Peoria, introduced the governor prior to his speech, ICUL said. Also on the agenda was Robert Meza, director of the Illinois Division of Financial Institutions, and Michael Fryzel, board member of the National Credit Union Administration. Meza and Fryzel provided a general overview of the state and national credit union movement. Prior to Hill visits with state legislators to discuss issues critical to credit unions, participants were briefed by ICUL staff about key legislative initiatives and the current legislative environment in Illinois. While the credit union delegation was in Springfield, members of the Illinois General Assembly were involved in the third reading of bills and on deadline to pass bills out of their original chamber. There were nearly 10,000 bills filed for consideration during the spring session. ICUL staff identified more than 200 bills that directly impact credit unions and their business operations and have been working to defeat or amend many potentially adverse bills, the league said. Bills of interest to credit unions include:
* House Bill (H.B.) 4865--ICUL’s Credit Union Act Changes: The bill passed the House 110-0 and is assigned to the Senate Financial Institutions Committee. H.B. 4865 amends the Illinois Credit Union Act to establish a due date of 90 days after Dec. 31 for the completion and mailing of the credit union’s external audit report to the state Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). The change will provide most credit unions with an extra 30 days to submit their report to state regulators. Also, H.B. 4865 contains a provision to codify member proxy revocation bylaw provisions to make the act consistent with the DFI standard bylaws. * H.B. 6412 (formerly H.B. 5027)--Credit Card Changes: The bill passed the House 112-0. H.B. 6412 incorporates changes from the federal credit card law into state law and makes state law consistent with applicable federal credit card laws. The legislation will benefit credit unions by allowing them to avoid possible compliance conflicts between federal and state laws regarding consumer notices and other provisions, said the league. * Mortgage Foreclosure Bills: More than 25 bills designed to provide some type of “mortgage relief” have been filed to date. ICUL has worked with the financial services industry to minimize the negative impact of the bills. Negotiations are continuing over several pieces of mortgage foreclosure legislation.

Conn. league annual meeting spotlights awards service

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MERIDEN, Conn. (4/9/10)--The Credit Union League of Connecticut’s 2010 Annual Meeting Tuesday marked the second consecutive year of record attendance, with nearly 275 credit union employees, volunteers, and guests gathered in Plantsville, Conn., to present awards and discuss service.
Click to view larger image International speaker Dr. John J. Mahon, (left), poses with former student Tony Emerson, president/CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut, following Mahon’s address on service at the league’s 2010 Annual Meeting, Tuesday. (Photo provided by the Credit Union League of Connecticut)
The league’s first single-day annual meeting was free to affiliated Connecticut credit unions. At the business meeting, awards recognized the 2010 Connecticut Credit Union Professional of the Year, Andrew Klimkoski, president/CEO, Achieve Financial CU, Berlin, Conn., and the 2010 Connecticut Credit Union Volunteer of the Year, Frank Porter, secretary of the board and credit committee chairman, 360 FCU, Windsor Locks, Conn. International speaker Dr. John J. Mahon, professor of management and chair of international business policy and strategy at the Maine Business School, University of Maine, and dean of the College of Business Public Policy and Health, was the keynote speaker. Mahon focused on the importance of service and provided dozens of examples from his own and other well-known experiences. In his interactive talk, he urged credit unions to remember that service is not static, “keep your promises,” the member defines good service, and “organizations do not give good service--people do.”

CU System briefs (04/08/2010)

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* DETROIT (4/9/10)--Michigan credit unions' Save to Win lottery savings program will be one of two innovative savings practices discussed at the AARP Foundation Innovation Roundtable: Small Dollars, Big Change on April 20 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Detroit branch. According to the foundation, the special session is in observance of Money Smart Week, and leaders of the savings lottery will update attendees on Save to Win's first year. The program has spurred more than $8 million in savings deposits by people who have not ordinarily been savers ... * CHARLOTTE, N.C. (4/9/10)--U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced Ricardo Javier Arellano, 23, of Charlotte, to 34 years in federal prison for the armed robberies of two banks and a branch of Winston-Salem-based Truliant FCU, and for forcing a bank employee to accompany robbers to the bank heist. Arellano also was sentenced to three months' supervised release and ordered to pay a special $400 assessment, plus $49,467 in restitution. Reidinger said the case had several factors that warranted the heavier sentences: Arellano and an accomplice invaded a bank employee's home, bound the hands and feet of her children with tape, threatened harm to them if she didn't cooperate, and forced her to drive them to the bank before it opened. They also threatened a second employee with a gun. Arellano got two 25-year sentences for the bank robbery and hostage situation, to be served concurrently, in addition to two other concurrent nine-year sentences for the credit union and third bank robberies. An accomplice was sentenced earlier to 114 months (9.5 years) for his role in two of the robberies (US Fed News April 8) ... * PORTLAND, Maine (/9/10)--cPort CU employee Ginnie Konan was
Click to view larger image Click for larger view
honored at the Portland, Maine-based credit union's annual meeting for her 50 years of employment with the credit union. She began in 1960 as a teller for what was then called Government Employees CU. Her positions have included phone operator, member service representative, and vice president of operations. She currently manages the credit union's individual retirement account program. Konan said she has no plans to retire and looks forward to "continuing to serve both the credit union and the members." (Photo provided by the Maine Credit Union League) ...

Collins Roberts receive Texas league accolades

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (4/9/10)--The Texas Credit Union Movement inducted two individuals into the Texas Credit Union Hall of Fame awards during the Texas Credit Union League’s annual meeting Wednesday. Curtis Collins and Dale Roberts were honored for their work in the movement. Collins serves on the board at JSC FCU, and Roberts is the retired president/CEO of PrimeWay FCU. Both credit unions are in Houston (LoneStar Leaguer April 7). Roberts has temporarily returned to the credit union as interim CEO to provide leadership while the credit union searches for a candidate to fill his role.

Congressmen join Missouris honorary HFOT brigade

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JEFFERSON, Mo. (4/9/10)--U.S. Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) have signed on to become honorary Build Brigade Members, through the Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) program, according to the Missouri Credit Union Association.
The brigade is building a home this weekend Staff Sgt. Robert Canine through the Homes for Our Troops program. Luetkemeyer is expected to attend the Build Brigade opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. today. Bond staffer Sarah Barfield is scheduled to present a letter for support from the senator. Both lawmakers have sons who served overseas (The Missouri difference April 7). The event begins today and continues through Sunday. Volunteers are still needed to help during the event, the association said. HFOT is a nonprofit organization supported by credit unions that builds specially adapted homes for severely injured service members. The Credit Union National Association and other credit union leagues have participated in several projects.