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CU System Briefs (04/09/2013)

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  • WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (4/9/13)--A man allegedly used a stolen Excavator to steal an ATM  from Allegacy FCU in Winston-Salem, N.C., early Monday morning, police said. It appeared the man stole the Excavator from a construction site about 200 yards from the ATM, police said (WFMYNews April 8). The suspect drove the stolen equipment to the ATM and knocked the machine over with Excavator's claw. Then he used the Excavator to pick up ATM--which weighed more than 2,000 pounds--and placed it into a waiting vehicle. Police described the suspect as a white man driving a black Crown Victoria with tinted windows …
  • CODY, Wyo. (4/9/13)--
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    Valley FCU of Montana handed over the keys and title to a school bus it owned to the Boys and Girls Club in Cody, Wyo. The Billings, Mt.-based, $185 million asset credit union was originally going to sell the vehicle but decided instead to donate it. "We thought a better thing would be donating it to a good cause," said CEO Mike Silvers.  From left are:  credit union Executive Vice President Jean DeVerniero; Tina Bernard and Maggie Gayman of the Boys and Girls Club; Silvers; and credit union Branch Manager Jeff Parsons.  Bernard said the club didn't have a bus last year and had to share with the Boys and Girls Club in Powell. "We are deeply thankful," she added. (Photo provided by the Montana Credit Union Network) …
  • ABERDEEN, Md. (4/9/13)--
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    Aberdeen (Md.) Proving Ground FCU reached its 100,000th member milestone on April 1, when Michael Willis joined the $948 million asset credit union and open an account there.  Willis, pictured here, received a $100 Visa Gift Card as a congratulatory award.  During 2012, APGFCU's membership grew by 4.3% over 2011. The credit union is ranked No. 1, as of Feb. 28, in deposit market share among financial institutions in Harford County, it said. APGFCU attributed its success to its long-term loyal members, talented employees and dedicated volunteers.  Financial literacy education, wealth management counseling, community events, and a wide range of informative seminars are the cornerstones of the credit union's first 75 years, it said. (Photo provided by Aberdeen Proving Ground FCU) …

Gentile To MSNBC: Consumers Waking Up To Power of CUs

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MADISON, Wis. (4/9/13)--"People are really waking up to the powers of credit unions," Paul Gentile, Credit Union National Association executive vice president, strategic communications and engagement, said during an appearance Sunday on MSNBC's Your Business.

"Last year two million people opened accounts at credit unions," Gentile said. "There's a credit union for everyone."

Gentile directed viewers to aSmarterChoice.org to find a credit union they are eligible to join.

Gentile explained the structural difference between credit unions and banks. "As a credit union member, you're an owner of that institution," he said. "Unlike banks we don't have shareholders to please. We don't have to drive big profits. It's a different model; it's a cooperative model. We're not-for-profit financial cooperatives."

Through that cooperative structure, credit unions can offer lower rates on products and services than banks can, Gentile said. And they are lending. While banks tightened credit during the recent recession, credit unions increased lending, he added.

Credit unions also continued lending to their small-business members, Gentile said. "Our average business loan is about $215,000," Gentile said. "A lot of times those are loans the banks just don't want to touch," he added. "They're just not profitable enough for them. But we'll do those loans."

Among the reasons credit unions make those loans is because they know their members better than banks know their customers, Gentile said. "We will take more time with them and understand the fundamentals about what is driving the need for credit and liquidity," Gentile said. "At banks they run a risk score before even talking to you. We have lots of stories where people have been turned down by banks and they get a small $60,000 loan [from a credit union] that has turned into a big business."

CUNA and credit unions are urging Congress to pass legislation to raise credit unions' member business lending cap (MBL) to 27.5% of total assets, up from 12.25%. Doing so would generate $14.5 billion available for MBLs--and increase jobs by 158,000 in the first year without costing the taxpayer, according to statistics from CUNA.

CUNA Mutual Wins Virtual Communication Excellence Award

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SAN FRANCISCO (4/9/13)--CUNA Mutual Group's Online Discovery Conference has received a national ON24 Virtual Communication Excellence Award from The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and ON24.

CUNA Mutual's conference is one 10 national winners. Its award was for "Best User Experience"  for its innovative use of ON24 technology to move its annual Discovery credit union customer conference online.  By doing so, the Madison, Wis.-based CUNA Mutual saved $1.5 million and improved the results of the conference, with the overall attendee satisfaction rate exceeding 90%, said ON24.

"Our clients have recognized that virtual communication is a key to success in today's changing global economy," said ON24 CEO Sharat Sharan. "The award winners are organizations that push the boundaries of virtual communication and define best practices for the industry."

Winners in other categories included the Merck and Co., Rosetta Stone, AARP, Institute of Management Accountants, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SAP Store, Marketo, Xylem,  and athenahealth.  The fourth annual awards cover a range of last year's webcasts, virtual events and virtual briefing centers based on ON24's platform.

CMI teaches marketers how to own their media channels. ON24 provides webcasting and virtual communications solutions.

Maine CUs Report Milestone Growth In 2012

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PORTLAND, Maine (4/9/13)--More consumers in Maine established or strengthened their relationship with a credit union, pushing Maine's credit unions to milestone growth during 2012, said the Maine Credit Union League.

"For the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, Maine's 61 credit unions experienced solid growth in all measurement categories, including members, assets, savings and loan," the league reported in its Weekly Update (April 5).

Assets increased by nearly $275 million or 4.9% to $5.88 billion, said the league. Loans outstanding increased $227 million or 6.2% over year-end 2011. Savings grew 5.4% to a record $5.04 billion.

Membership was up 1.4%, a net gain of nearly 8,500 new members and bringing total membership in the state to a record 625,500 members.  The league noted that a merger of Shaw's Employees FCU with an out-of-state credit union during 2012 impacted member growth statistics in the state. Excluding that credit union from the annual growth calculation would bring the state's membership gain to 2%.

"These figures reflect the significant changes in consumer attitudes and preferences over the past few years with consumers turning to Maine's credit unions in growing numbers," said league President John Murphy.

"Consumers with existing credit union relationships are utilizing additional products and services as well, which is solidifying the increasing number of consumers that use their credit union as their primary financial institution," Murphy said.

The Credit Union National Association is urging credit unions to "Unite For Good" in rallying toward a strategic vision for the future of credit unions, where "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner."

One of the key measures of success in achieving that vision is raising the number of members who consider their credit union to be their primary financial institution, said CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney, when he outlined the vision for credit unions during CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference in March.

That can be done through: removing barriers, raising awareness and fostering service excellence. For more information, use the links to Unite For Good.org and aSmarterChoice.org.

Santos Appointed Director Of Wis Office of CUs

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MADISON, Wis. (4/9/13)--Kim Santos has been appointed director of the Office of Credit Unions at the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, succeeding Ginger Larson, who retires in June.

Santos, a 20-year-employee at the Office of Credit Unions, most recently served as deputy director.

Larson announced last week she would retire in June after 17 years with the office, including nine as director. She has served as director since January 2011 and also held the position of director from 1996 to 2003.

"Ginger Larson was well-respected throughout the credit union movement in Wisconsin and will be missed," said Brett Thompson, president/CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League.

"Kim Santos has worked closely with Wisconsin credit unions for many years and will no doubt continue building strong relationships with credit unions to ensure continued safety and soundness of the 186 member-owned credit unions in our state," Thompson added.

Larson has been active in the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors, serving as a board member and trustee of the National Institute for State Credit Union Examination, chairman of the Accreditation Auditing Working Group Committee and member of the NASCUS Audit Committee.

"Kim will make an outstanding director of the Office of Credit Unions," said DFI Secretary Peter Bildsten, adding that DFI appreciated Larson's accomplishments and "wish her nothing but the best in retirement."

NCBA Honors Pelican State CU's Jeff Conrad

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WASHINGTON (4/9/13)--The National Cooperative Business Association recognized Jeff Conrad, president/CEO of Pelican State CU, for his efforts in helping his entire staff become certified as Community Development Certified Financial Counselors.

NCBA President/CEO Mike Beall presented Conrad with a plaque recognizing Pelican State as the first credit union nationwide to have its entire staff become CDCFC-certified.  

The CDCFC program is certified by NCBA to serve consumers of low-income.

Conrad initiated the program at $200 million asset Pelican State CU, Baton Rouge, La., because the credit scores of his membership had dropped--leaving many ineligible for loans for which they formerly qualified.

"Credit unions need the tools to help them provide a hand up--not a hand out--for their members," Beall said. "We want to make sure individuals have a fair opportunity today to help their families. Looking at Pelican State's recent accomplishments with its certification training through the leadership of Jeff Conrad, we believe they are a perfect example of how credit unions can help support their members financially--which ultimately will build wealth in their communities for better lives overall."

Beall also proposed a special toast to Helen Godfrey-Smith, president/CEO of $90 million asset Shreveport (La.) FCU. Beall cited Shreveport FCU's partnership with the League of Southern Cooperatives and the credit union's Healthy Farm Financing program, a small-business lending program to low-income land owners in the Mississippi Delta.

"I'll wake up tomorrow and know that it's another opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other people, and that's what it's all about," Godfrey-Smith said.

To view videos of the presentations, use the links.

CUNA Council Recognizes Three Marketing/BD Execs

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MADISON, Wis. (4/9/13)--Three credit union executives--Lesley Carrell, Lisa Nicholas and Andy Reed--were honored for their credit union marketing and business development achievements at the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council (CMBDC) Conference March 24-27 in Anaheim, Calif.

Carrell, senior vice president, marketing for Fibre FCU, Longview, Wash., was named the 2013 Hall of Fame inductee. Since 1990, Carrell has served on senior management teams at four credit unions. She joined Fibre FCU to create a marketing and business development team and oversee strategic planning, market research, brand development and execution of strategies.

Carrell served on the Asset Liability Committee at all four credit unions and helped each win Dora Maxwell Awards for Social Responsibility. A founding council member, she served on its executive committee member in 1995-2000 and 2007-2010. She chaired the Diamond Awards,  was chief awards judge three years, serves on the Education Committee, and participated in the Filene Institute's i3 innovation group 2005-2007.

Nicholas, vice president of marketing for Amplify FCU, Austin Texas, received the Marketing Professional of the Year Award for her results-oriented strategies to market credit union products, services and rates consistently and effectively. In 2012, her efforts exceeded every goal in Amplify FCU's business plan, helping generate $85 million in loan growth, increase membership by 4,430 and open 4,055 new checking accounts. A speaker at league leadership and development conferences and chapter board member, Nicholas' credit union awards include the Dora Maxwell award.

Reed, manager of business development for American Airlines FCU, Fort Worth, Texas, was presented the Business Development Professional of the Year Award. He helped American Airlines FCU grow to over 239,000 members, 40 branches nationwide and more than $5.6 billion assets. Reed manages 15 business development employees and relationships with more than 1,200 established TIP accounts, including 27 strategic partners with multiple locations. He manages the Coordinator ambassador program, and served on the executive committees of the league's Marketing and Business Development Council and CMBDC since 2008.

Winners will be featured in Credit Union Magazine.

Oregon CUs Launch Public Funds Collateralization Program

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (4/9/13)--Oregon credit unions last week launched a new Credit Union Public Funds Collateralization Program that will allow qualified credit unions in the state to accept public funds deposits exceeding federal insurance limits for the first time in history, said the Northwest Credit Union Association.

NWCUA and Oregon credit unions worked to establish a collateralization pool that will protect deposits above the $250,000 insurance level provided by the National Credit Union Administration (Anthem Recap April 5).

Credit unions in the program will protect higher deposits by posting securities as collateral against any uninsured public funds balances. If there's a loss, the state can recover public funds by selling the collateral, said NWCUA.

"It makes sense for local governments to move some of their money from Wall Street to Main Street," said John Trull, NWCUA director of regulatory advocacy, in the article.

Ten credit unions established the collateralization pool. They are:

  • Unitus Community CU, Portland;
  • Pacific Crest FCU, Klamath Falls;
  • OSU FCU, Corvallis;
  • OnPoint Community CU, Portland;
  • Advantis CU, Portland;
  • MaPs CU, Salem;
  • Northwest Community CU, Eugene;
  • Old West FCU, John Day;
  • Wauna FCU, Clatskanie; and
  • Oregon Community CU, Springfield.
Some had already accepted public funds deposits up to the insurance limit, said NWCUA.

Five cities--Beaverton, Corvallis, Independence, Klamath Falls and Portland-- have signed letters pledging to deposit funds in excess of $250,000 in one or more of the credit unions.

The amount each credit union must use as collateral will depend on its uninsured public funds balance, which it must report either weekly or monthly to the State Treasury. State Treasurer Ted Wheeler's office has said the minimum collateral requirement can range from 10% to 110% of uninsured public funds deposits, depending on the credit union's capitalization level and the number of credit unions participating in the program.

BizKid$ Earns Parents' Choice Gold Award

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MADISON, Wis. (4/9/13)--Biz Kid$, the credit union-funded public television series that teaches kids about money management and entrepreneurship, has received a Parents' Choice Gold Award.

The Parents' Choice Gold Awards are presented to media judged for quality and appeal in their genre. Criteria include the highest production standards, universal human values and a unique, individual quality that pushes the product a notch above others.

Fewer than 20% of the products submitted to the Parents' Choice Awards program receive any commendation. This is the first time Biz Kid$ has won the Gold Award. Last year, Biz Kid$ received its first Parents' Choice Silver Award.

"Thanks to credit unions, Biz Kid$--the series, its corresponding curriculum and its website--empowers young consumers to build financial independence and opportunity," said Danielle Brown, National Credit Union Foundation Biz Kid$ Program coordinatior. "Winning this award validates the quality and value of the Biz Kid$ program."

The Parents' Choice Awards is the nation's oldest nonprofit program created to recognize quality children's media.

In its five seasons, Biz Kid$ has received 10 Emmy nominations--winning once in 2009--and rang the closing bell ceremonies at both the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ Exchange for three years in conjunction with National Financial Literacy Month.

In 2009, Biz Kid$ won the Environmental Media Award for Outstanding Children's Television Series. In 2010, it earned a Silver Telly Award for Outstanding Children's Financial Literacy Programming as well as the credit union industry's most prestigious honor, the Herb Wegner Award for Outstanding Program.