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Phishing attempts made against CUs in three states

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MADISON, Wis. (5/22/08)--The latest phishing expeditions using credit unions to lure personal financial information away from members and other consumers have occurred in Missouri, Illinois and Florida. Authorities have reported phishing attempts at three credit unions. It is not known whether the phishers succeeded in obtaining account information. In the incidents:
* Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon said consumers in Kansas City, Mo., are receiving phone calls, text messages and e-mails purporting to be from Kansas City-based Mazuma CU. The contacts are actually from identity thieves, he said. * Land of Lincoln CU in Decatur, Ill., was in the process Monday of notifying credit and debit card account holders that scamsters are using its name in phone calls, text messages and other phish attempts. Several residents received computer-generated phone calls that claiming to be from the credit union and advising their account was closed for security reasons. (Herald-Review May 20). * McCoy FCU, based in Orlando, Fla., also was warning members about a text-messaging scam using its name. The scam urges the recipient to call a phone number and provide account information to fix a "problem" with the account.
The credit unions and authorities emphasized that credit unions and other financial institutions would not solicit such information.

Corporate One announces new board members officers

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (5/22/08)--Corporate One FCU announced the election of three new board members and named officers at its annual meeting held in April in Columbus, Ohio. Corporate One is a $5.1 billion asset Columbus-based wholesale financial services provider to nearly 800 U.S. credit unions. The three new board members are:
* Ronald J. Budzinski, president, First Trust CU, Michigan City, Indiana; * Gerald D. Guy, president/CEO, KEMBA Financial CU, Columbus; and * Janice L. Thomas, president, PSE CU, Parma, Ohio.
In a reorganization meeting after the annual meeting, the 2008 board officers named were:
* Chair: Jerome R. Valco, CEO, The Ohio Educational CU, Cleveland; * Vice Chair: Guy; * Treasurer: John J. Shirilla, president/CEO, Best Employees FCU, Walton Hills, Ohio; and * Secretary: Phillip R. Buell, CEO, Superior FCU, Lima, Ohio.
Corporate One’s board is composed of nine directors, each elected by member credit unions to a three-year term.

First CU in East L.A. celebrates historic opening

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MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (5/22/08)--The historic opening of the first credit union branch in East Los Angeles was celebrated Friday, May 16, by E1 Financial CU with a grand opening ceremony.
From left: Monterey Park (Calif.) Mayor and E1 Financial CU Board Member Sharon Martinez,; Benjamin Cardenas, district director for U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano; State Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero; E1 President/CEO Lynn Bowers; Assembly Member Ed Hernandez; E1 Board Chair Luchus Mack; Mukai Maravilla Property Development President Ron Mukai (property owner); E1 Community Relations Liaison Dennis Gutierrez; and E1 East L.A. Branch Manager Willie Polanco. (Photo provided by E1 Financial CU)
Community, civic and industry leaders were on hand to congratulate E1's entrance into unincorporated Los Angeles, which has not seen a financial institution open in more than 20 years. The branch opening comes at a time of increasing redevelopment and financial opportunities for the area, said the credit union in a press release. During the ceremony, State Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero officially opened her membership with E1. "I now know what E1 stands for," she said. "It stands for East L.A.'s first credit union." The branch is located underneath Romero's district office. As part of the ceremony, the California Credit Union League presented certificates of appreciation to Romero and L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina for their dedication to redevelopment in the community and their support of credit unions.

CU System briefs (05/21/2008)

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* PEWAUKEE, Wis. (5/22/08)--The Wisconsin Credit Union League Board approved the sale of the league's office building in Pewaukee. It also approved a corresponding lease for about one-third of the building for the league's continued use, said the league's newsletter (The League May 19). The number of league staff had diminished over the years and the building had grown too large for its current and future needs, the league said. It expects the sale to close this summer and the space to be occupied by the league will be available in late fall … * NEW YORK (5/22/08)--The Institute for American Values honored Rita Haynes, former chair of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and CEO of the Faith Community United CU, Cleveland, Ohio, with the institute's New Thrift Award at a conference in Washington, D.C. The federation and institute have built an alliance to promote thrift and confront the "debt culture," and an accompanying research report on the topic. The report cites the programs of several federation members, including North Side Community FCU, Chicago; Faith Community United CU, Cleveland; and ASI FCU, New Orleans. Also cited were Community Development Partner State Employees' CU, Raleigh, N.C., and Prospera CU, Appleton, Wis. (Photo provided by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions)… * LA PORTE, Texas (5/22/08)--Jack V. McAdoo has been appointed the new president/CEO of Beacon FCU, the credit union's board announced. The appointment was effective April 14. McAdoo has more than 20 years of financial services experience and previously served as president/CEO of StarTrust FCU, Houston. During his ll years there, the credit union grew from $21 million in assets to nearly $100 million. Beacon, based in La Porte, has $90 million in assets and 15,000 members (Pasadena Citizen May 20) … * NORTH HIGHLANDS, Calif. (5/22/08)--Richard Ditzel, a former finance and account manager at Sacramento-based Capital Power CU, pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling more than $400,000 from the credit union between 2001 and 2007 (Sacramento Business Journal and Sacramento Bee May 20). He admitted he diverted checks, made false entries in the credit union's general ledger, and used the proceeds to acquire collectible coins. The credit union discovered the embezzlement during its merger last summer into SAFE CU, which is based in North Highlands. Sentencing was scheduled for Aug. 5. He faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million plus restitution orders … * BAKU, Azerbaijan (5/22/08)--The Azerbaijan Credit Unions Association (ACUA) has launched a website: The site, which works in Azeri, Russian and English, will inform users about ACUA, its managers, members, partners and development strategy, and international credit cooperatives in general (Turan Information Agency May 15). Also, a two-day international conference was held May 15-16 in Baku, dedicated to the fifth anniversary of ACUA. Elchin Baghirov, ACUA chairman, addressed the conference, reported on ACUA's progress and handed out awards to those who helped the association’s development. Delegates from similar associations in Russia, Lithuania and Kyrgyzstan took part in the conference ... * FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (5/22/08)--Art Shaw, who came to the credit union movement in 1952 as a volunteer and organized numerous Texas credit unions, died. Shaw was inducted into the Texas Credit Union Hall of Fame in 2003. He was elected to the Texas Credit Union League board of directors in 1980, where he served for 14 years. He also served on the Supervisory Committee of Southwest Corporate FCU, Plano, Texas. A lifetime member of the Permian Chapter of Credit Unions, he served as chapter president for three terms. Shaw was the chapter’s CUNA Mutual policy owner’s representative for more than 20 years and was selected as the league’s policy owner representative for the state (LoneStar Leaguer May 21) ...

Louisiana fin ed bill progresses

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HARAHAN, La. (5/22/08)--The Louisiana Credit Union League reports that a financial literacy education bill in the state is making progress. Senate Bill 205, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Sharon Weston Broome (D-15) and Sen. Cheryl A. Gray (D-5), would create the Louisiana Financial Literacy Education Improvement Act, which would develop and implement programs to promote financial literacy and improve the financial education of Louisiana citizens. The bill received a favorable vote on final passage in the full Senate and will soon be introduced in the House of Representatives, said the league (eNews May 21). As SB 405 moves forward, it has received a unanimous favorable nod from the Senate Education Committee, a favorable review by the Senate Finance Committee for its fiscal impact, and a review by the Legislative Bureau, said the league.

Dallas FHLB awards 1 million for affordable housing to CU

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DALLAS (5/22/08)--The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas announced it has awarded a nearly $1 million Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grants to Jackson, Miss.-based Hope Community CU to sponsor three housing projects in Louisiana. The grants are part of $9.1 million in AHP grants to 30 projects in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. The grants will help create 1,743 housing units for very low- to moderate-income families. Hope Community CU's grants totaled $977,000 out of nearly $2.4 million provided to projects in Louisiana. They include:
* $420,000 for 60 rental units sponsored by Gulf Coast Housing Partnership in Baton Rouge, La.; * $182,000 for 26 ownership units sponsored by Gulf Coast Housing Partnership in Hammond, La.; and * $375,000 for 54 rental units sponsored by Gulf Coast Housing Partnership in Westwego, La.

New York state-chartered CU roundtable held

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LATHAM, N.Y. (5/22/08)--A state-chartered credit union roundtable kicked off the New York State Credit Union’s League’s 2008 annual meeting and Governmental Affairs Conference this week in Albany, N.Y.
Mark Treichel, NCUA Region 1 director, listens to credit unions discuss third-party due diligence during the New York State Credit Union’s League’s state-chartered roundtable discussion.
The event was created to address regulatory and legislative issues that face New York’s state-chartered credit unions. Henry Meier, league associate counsel and director of compliance, moderated the roundtable discussion. National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Region I Director Mark Treichel attended, and Legislative Counsel Tom Barletta participated on behalf of the New York State Banking Department. Treichel pointed out that credit unions have done a good job avoiding most of the mortgage-related problems that have impacted other segments of the financial services industry. League participants questioned Treichel about the regulatory impact of
From left: Thomas G. Siciliano, general counsel, Municipal CU, New York; Tom Barletta of the New York State Banking Department; and Henry Meier of the New York State Credit Union League. (Photos provided by the New York State Credit Union League)
NCUA’s increased emphasis on third-party due diligence and the pending implementation of new regulations related to identity theft. Tom Barletta, legislative counsel at the New York State Banking Department, discussed the department’s goal to make the state charter more desirable to credit unions. “The meeting underscored how united our members are in advocating for a strong dual-charter system,” Meier said. “The legislature has made important strides in strengthening its credit union charter, and our state-chartered credit unions are the best advocates we have for making sure that regulators take full advantage of these changes.”

Missouri helps pass legislation for ID theft victims

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (5/22/08)--Missouri credit unions are seeing more consumers--both members and non-members--targeted by identity theft scams. To assist consumers fight identity theft, Missouri credit unions were instrumental in helping to pass legislation to assist victims. Missouri House Bill 1384 changes the laws regarding identity protection and gives identity theft victims the right to have an incident report filed by their law enforcement agency and to receive a copy of the report. Currently, not all Missouri law enforcement agencies file reports. The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) worked on the bill--which passed in the House--early in the legislative session with its sponsor, State Rep. Stanley Cox (R-118). However, H.B. 1384 stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee when the committee chairman questioned the need for the bill. Credit unions played an important role in getting the bill passed by contacting law enforcement agencies and providing proof that not all police departments were filing reports, MCUA said. Because of information provided by MCUA, the chairman passed the bill out of committee. The bill was combined with a credit freeze bill sponsored by State Senate President Pro Tem Mike Gibbons (R-15). The bill passed on the final day of the legislative session, May 16. The identity theft bill will take effect Aug. 28. “This is the most significant consumer protection legislation passed this year by the Missouri General Assembly,” Cox said. “I acknowledge the invaluable contribution of Sen. Mike Gibbons and the Missouri Credit Union Association in this effort. It will significantly reduce the injury caused by identity theft, which is a threat to all consumers.” “Since the House Consumer Protection Committee was eliminated several years ago, there has been no specific committee with a focus on consumer interests,” said Peggy Nalls, MCUA senior vice president, public and legislative affairs. "We were happy to serve as the consumer watchdog on this issue and help support passage of the bill.”