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League Of S.E. CUs Nets Seven Hermes Creative Awards

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (5/10/13)--The League of Southeastern Credit Unions and Affiliates received seven Hermes Creative Awards for concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media.

Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition, administered by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals, for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing, and design of traditional and emerging media.

The league received three top Platinum Awards, two Gold Awards and three Honorable Mentions.

The LSCU Cooperative Image Campaign "Coffee" TV ad, Signal magazine, and its John M. Floyd and Associates Direct Mail piece were awarded Platinum Awards, recognizing their quality, creativity  and resourcefulness. Only 15% of the entries received the top Platinum Award.

This is the third year in a row Signal magazine was recognized with a Platinum statue.

A Credit Union Service Centers of Alabama video and the Leadership Development

Conference Campaign received Gold Awards.

Honorable Mention acknowledgments went to the Florida Governmental Affairs Conference Direct Mail piece and the LEVERAGE website.

CU System Briefs (05/10/2013)

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  • WASHINGTON (5/10/13)--About 20 guests attended an informal luncheon for  U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)  Wednesday at the Credit Union House in Washington, D.C. , said the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (The Memo May 9). The event, hosted by the Credit Union National Association,  attracted advocates from credit unions, MasterCard, realtors and agricultural and insurance interests, including CUNA Mutual Group. Heitkamp spoke about the progress of the Farm Bill, tax reform, financial regulatory concerns and the privacy notification bill being considered by the Senate Banking Committee.  Pictured are, from left:  Heitkamp; Mechelle Johnson, president of East River FCU, Madison, S.D.; and Jeff Olson, CUAD's vice president of advocacy and awareness. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas) ...
  • JACKSON, Mich. (5/10/13)--Roger Ozier, 60, was convicted last week of the armed and bank robbery at Jackson, Mich.-based Aeroquip CU on Oct. 8 and fleeing with nearly $4,000.  A co-defendant, Darius Griffin, also charged with armed and bank robbery, pleaded guilty and testified at the trial.  A surveillance camera at a car wash down the street from the credit union allegedly showed Griffin removing a car's license plate and placing a fake license in the back window. Ozier was allegedly seen disposing of a bag that contained a draft of a faked plate. Nearly all the events leading up to, during and after the robbery were caught on tape. Jurors deliberated less than two hours. Ozier's sentencing is set for June 12 (Jackson Citizen-Patriot May 1) ...
  • ALBANY, N.Y. (5/10/13)--Covera, a provider of debit, credit and ATM solutions for credit unions, on the 2013 Communicator Award of Distinction for four projects. The Communicator Awards is an international program to recognize achievements in communications, media, advertising, creative and marketing. Sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of Visual Arts , the program received over 6,000 entries. Covera won the awards for its new website, copywriting for its corporate brochure, copywriting for its values brochure and for its "Right Hands" print advertisement.  It won the print and website categories for strong visual appeal, logos and content ...
  • ROLLA, Mo. (5/10/13)--Scott Shults has been named as president of Rolla (Mo.) FCU, succeeding Janet Honse, who retired in March.  Shults previously was vice president and branch manager of a community bank in Salem. He has 10 years of experience in the financial services industry, primarily in residential and commercial lending. Rolla has $33 million in assets (The Rolla Daily News May 8) ...
  • LULING, La. (5/10/13)--The board of directors at Luling, La.-based Barton Plant Employees FCU has promoted Lindsay Risinger to CEO of the $18 million asset credit union, according to the Louisiana Credit Union League eNews May 8). Risinger, who previously served as assistant manager, has eight years' experience in credit unions.  In addition to her new role, Risinger also is vice president of the West Orleans Chapter and is a member of Louisiana's Young Professionals Network ...

NCUA Asks Court To Reconsider Goldman Sachs Ruling Or Certify Appeal

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LOS ANGELES (5/10/13)--The National Credit Union Administration Wednesday asked a federal court hearing its residential mortgage-backed securities lawsuit against Goldman Sachs in Los Angeles to reconsider that court's dismissal of certain claims or certify the  ruling for interlocutory appeal to a higher court.

U.S. District Court of the Central District of California--Western Division Judge George Wu on Sept. 4 had dismissed several claims that NCUA made against the bank, ruling that the statute that allows for extension of the time period for filing a suit "does not apply to "statutes of repose" because the statute uses the phrase "statute of limitations." That meant NCUA did not file the suit within the period allowed for several of the securities certificates  in question.

However, Congress provided that "'the statute of limitations with regard to any action brought by the board as conservator or liquidating agent shall be' at least three years from 'the date of the appointment of the board as conservator or liquidating agent,'" said NCUA's motion for reconsideration.

NCUA cited new contrary rulings by other federal courts hearing similar lawsuits brought by the agency against Wall Street banks and seeking recompensation for losses related to the securities sold to several corporate credit unions. The losses led to the conservatorship of those corporates. NCUA filed the suits in its role of liquidating agency for U.S. Central FCU and Western Corporate FCU.

In its motion, NCUA maintained that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently issued a contrary ruling that said, "although the statutes of limitations and statutes of repose are distinct in theory, the courts--including the Supreme Court and this court--have long used the term 'statutes of limitations' to refer to statutes of repose."

In addition, the agency noted that courts in the Second Circuit, Southern District of New York, District of Kansas and the Central District of California "have disagreed with this court's interpretation of the language," according to the document filed in court.

"NCUA respectfully submits that the reasoning of these courts is persuasive, and on that basis, seeks reconsideration of this court's prior ruling that" the law does not displace statutes of repose. "In the alternative, NCUA asks this court to certify that question for interlocutory appeal," the document said.

Facebook or LinkedIn? For Financial Pros, It Depends

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NEW YORK (5/10/13)--While Facebook remains the most popular overall social network for personal use, LinkedIn's focus on business makes it the top platform for work-related issues--especially in the world of finance, according to new research.

Social media platforms had a penetration of 90% among financial professionals, according to a first quarter survey of finance professionals by Research Now and American Century Investments  (eMarketer.com May 9).

"In the finance world, knowledge is currency," said the research report. "And financial professionals seem to understand that staying tapped into their social networks is a great way to stay on top of the latest information."

One-third of those surveyed said they used LinkedIn only for business. That compares with 2% for using Facebook for this purpose and 3% for Twitter.

The financial pros reported they most often turned to social media to read up on commentary and expert insights about the finance world (28%).  Other popular functions included researching people (prospects, contacts and current clients), at 14%, and sharing relevant news content with their clients, 13%.

Other business uses for social media included monitoring industry/market news (11%) and business promotion or brand building (10%).  Receiving fewer than 6% were: maintaining a professional blog, posting commentary, sharing best practices with peers and colleagues, customer feedback/engagement and competitive intelligence.

Roughly 40% of those surveyed said they use social media several times a week, an increase from 31% the previous year.

For social media used for personal purposes, Facebook got the lion's share--55%--followed by Twitter at 21%, YouTube at 20%, Google+ at 14% and LinkedIn at 12%.

SECU's Youth Members Saved $3.15M in One Week

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RALEIGH, N.C. (5/10/13)--Young members of State Employees' CU (SECU), Raleigh, N.C, opened 612 youth accounts and deposited $3.15 million during the credit union's Youth Saving Challenge, April 22-26.

SECU was celebrating the "Stache Your Cash" theme of National Credit Union Youth Week, sponsored by the Credit Union National Association. SECU challenged the credit union's young Fat Cat and teen Zard members to "stache" a deposit into their share account during youth week.  Participating accountholders were automatically entered into a random drawing for a Nook HD Tablet, with one FAT CAT and one Zard winner. 

Staff at $26 billion asset SECU's 248 branches promoted the campaign with displays and visited local schools to teach financial education concepts. 

"The Youth Saving Challenge event is a great way to communicate and motivate young children to learn about the importance of saving," said Kevin Watson, vice president of SECU's Dunn branch. "The branch employees and FAT CAT, our youth mascot, have fun promoting the branch event with SECU's young members and their families and enjoy sharing the knowledge of basic money concepts through local school and community presentations."

News Now will publish the nationwide results of the Credit Union Youth Saving Challenge May 20.

The Youth Week activities also make youth--and their parents--aware of the benefits of credit unions. CUNA sponsors National Credit Union Youth Week to help credit unions nationwide focus on the financial needs of young people and provide financial literacy education. It teaches the benefits of saving and goal setting, and invites youth to open savings accounts at their credit union--and make deposits throughout the year.

Raising awareness about credit unions is one of the steps in CUNA's, leagues' and credit unions' Unite for Good campaign to achieve the vision of Americans choosing credit unions as their best financial institution. As that awareness grows, potential members will turn to aSmarterChoice and Unite for Good websites to locate credit unions they can join and find out more.

Mich. CUs, Lawmakers Team Up For Financial Literacy

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LANSING, Mich.  (5/10/13)--In Michigan, 41 lawmakers signed up to participate in a Financial Literacy Legislative Challenge and joined credit unions statewide for youth financial education events in April, which was Financial Literacy Month, according to the Michigan Credit Union League.

While it is often a challenge to coordinate financial education events to fit both the schools' and the legislators' schedules, participating credit unions understand the importance of the cooperative partnership and worked to schedule and present many events this spring, MCUL said (Michigan Monitor May 6).

Mich. State Rep. Andy Schor (D-Lansing) assists students at Lansing Sexton High School during a "Reality Fair" conducted by CASE CU in Lansing.
Mich. State Rep. Peter Pettalia ( R-Presque Isle) and Missy Cordes of Alpena Alcona Area CU in Alpena talked to two senior classes at Alcona High School April 29 about student loans and using credit cards wisely.

CASE CU in Lansing teamed with state Rep. Andy Schor (D-Lansing) at J.W. Sexton High School on April 19, where students learned real-world money-management skills during a "Mad City Money" reality simulation.

Also participating was Rep. Anthony Forlini (R-Harrison Twp.), who presented at Iroquois Middle School in Macomb Township.

CEO John Buckley of Gerber FCU in Fremont, Mich., and Mich. State Rep. Jon Bumstead (R-Newaygo) discuss money management with students at Fremont High School. (Photos provided by the Michigan Credit Union League)
"Financial education is important no matter what the age and I am thankful that the MCUL supports this message," said Shannon McIntosh, consumer education specialist at Michigan Schools and Government CU in Clinton Township. "It's a wonderful opportunity to be partnered with a local lawmaker."

Forlini and the credit union spoke with three eighth grade classes on the importance of money management.

State Rep. Colleen LaMonte (D-Montague) visited the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center with Sheryl Hogle, director of financial education at HarborLight CU in Whitehall, to participate in the challenge. Financial management/accounting students at the center run their own credit union, The Currency Corner.

State Rep. Jon Switalski (D-Warren) visited a financial literacy class at Fitzgerald High School in Warren. Switalski believes in the value of financial literacy education for all youth, but especially at the high school level, MCUL said. After talking to students, he answered questions about financial literacy and state government and the impact on their lives.

Many questions from students related to college funding, cuts in education programs and the high cost of college and charter schools. Switalski encouraged them to contact the governor, their state senator and himself regarding issues important to them. He also encouraged them to register to vote and exercise that right.

Filene Reports On Immigrants' Needs In U.S., Canada

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MADISON, Wis. (5/10/13)--Serving the immigrant population is a long-term investment that begins with basic financial products, according to a new report from the Filene Research Institute and Credit Union Central of Canada.

Starting basic services may include remittances, check cashing, bill payment, short-term loans, basic checking and saving, and credit cards, said the report, "Financial Services Needs of Immigrant Communities in Canada and the U.S.."

As immigrants' time in a new country increases, their language skills and income often follow suit. The financial products that immigrants require increase in complexity as time goes on, the report said.

The 92-page report includes immigration statistics from the U.S. and Canada and financial institution best practices for reaching immigrant groups.

The report proposed several strategies for effectively serving immigrant populations. They include:

  • Target immigrant groups through segmentation. Immigrants have diverse needs based on originating country, tenure in North America, immigration, geographic area and other factors. Credit unions must use their resources wisely by selecting specific immigrant groups to focus on and communicating in a way that resonates with them.
  • Learn from successful programs. By conducting a deeper analysis of programs for immigrants and analyzing the quantitative results--such as those offered in the report--credit unions can determine winning strategies that not only build trust within the immigrant community but also yield a positive return on investment.
  • Enable immigrants to work with the credit union. With nearly 10 million Americans lacking traditional credit scores, alternative methods for determining an individual's credit risk are needed, the report said. One of the most common alternatives is collecting and analyzing data from sources such as rental and bill-payment history, insurance payments, debit card use, and public records.
To download the report, use the link.

FBI: Phish Attacks Target Telecommunication Customers

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WASHINGTON (5/10/13)--The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is reporting that phishing attacks are targeting telecommunication companies' customers in an attempt to get personal information for possible use in frauds and identity theft, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Credit unions can warn members that individuals are receiving automated telephone calls claiming to be from the victim's telecommunication carrier. Victims are directed to a phishing site to receive a credit, discount or prize ranging between $300 and $500.

The site duplicates the legitimate carrier's site and asks for log-in credentials and the last four digits of the victim's Social Security number.  Once they enter the information, the victims are redirected to the telecommunication carrier's actual site. The perpetrators then make changes to the customer's account.

Credit unions can urge members to be cautious of unsolicited telephone calls, e-mails and text messages that promise compensation for supplying account information.  Anyone receiving an offer should verify it with the legitimate business by using the information on the account statement.

Credit unions can also remind members that the credit union never will solicit account or financial information over the phone or via e-mails.

Caution On Twitter Account Impersonating a CU

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (5/10/13)--A Twitter account has been found to be impersonating a credit union.

As of Wednesday there was an active Twitter account that claimed to be St. Pius X Church FCU in Rochester, N.Y., Gregory Hurley, editor of Credit Union Online, said in a column Wednesday.

A visit to the account (@SPXFCU) Thursday by News Now revealed no tweets on the account.

The account displayed the $70 million asset credit union's logo, with a link to its website and phone number. When Hurley visited the credit union's website, he didn't find any links to a Twitter account so he called St. Pius X Church FCU, and verified the Twitter account was not associated with the credit union.

Hurley listed some best practices before following a credit union  on Twitter:

  • Do not use Twitter's search feature to look for a credit union.
  • Members should visit their credit union's website and look for a link to its official Twitter account.
  • If members see an account that is impersonating their credit union, they should  contact the credit union and report it.
To report impersonations on Twitter accounts, credit unions should use the link below.

The Credit Union National Association recommends that consumers use aSmarterChoice.org to find a credit union they can join. aSmarterChoice.org is a joint project of CUNA and the American Association of Credit Union Leagues. It is aimed at helping create consumer awareness of credit unions and building membership.

N.C.- S.C. League Boards Recommend Consolidation

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COLUMBIA, S.C., and RALEIGH, N.C. (5/9/13)--The boards of directors of the South Carolina Credit Union League and North Carolina Credit Union League voted Thursday to recommend  consolidating of the two leagues, continuing a trend of collaboration among state associations.

The votes, made in independent meetings, acknowledge that the resulting league would be stronger and better positioned to serve credit unions in the Carolinas for years to come, said the leagues.

If the consolidation is approved by the leagues' members, it could be the second consolidation of leagues this year.  Members of the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma are set to vote next week on a proposed merger with the Texas Credit Union League and the Arkansas Credit Union League. Texas and Arkansas credit unions already have approved that consolidation into what would be called Cornerstone Credit Union League (News Now April 4).

The Carolina leagues had announced in December that they were considering a merger (News Now Dec. 7).

The new league would draw financial strength and stability from a broader base of credit unions to serve, a solid equity position, and league service corporations with track records of success.  Consolidating staff from both organizations would allow the new league to enhance its delivery of core association services: advocacy, compliance and professional development.

"Our board sees great promise in bringing together these two leagues," said NCCUL Chairman Maurice Smith.  "Consolidation provides clear value and sets us on a path to successfully meet the changing needs of credit unions in the Carolinas."

Each league will share details with its member credit unions in May and June. Final membership votes in each state are expected by September with a proposed effective date of Jan. 1 for the new league.

"Our board has concluded that a consolidated league creates a financially strong organization that can deliver powerful and effective advocacy in Columbia, Raleigh, and Washington, D.C., for years to come," said SCCUL Chairwoman Faye Crocker.  "We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing more about our vision for the new league with credit unions in the coming weeks."