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Visa deposits 500M into litigation fund

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NEW YORK (6/3/10)--Visa Inc. deposited $500 million into an account earmarked for litigation costs, a move that acts as a repurchase of class B shares. Credit unions and banks are the sole owners of class B shares. Visa put the funds into the litigation escrow account on Friday, the company said in a press release. The deposit has the effect of a repurchase by the company's more than 6.7 million shares of Class A common stock at roughly $74.22 per share, on an as-converted basis, by reducing the as-converted Class B common stock share count to 136.3 million from nearly 143 million shares. As a result of the deposit, the conversion rate applicable to Class B common stock has decreased to nearly 0.56 cents from more than 0.58 cents. Each class B share is now convertible to 0.56 class A shares. The escrow account had been established previously under the company's retrospective responsibility plan. Visa had set aside $3 billion from its March 2008 initial public offering to cover potential liabilities in lawsuits alleging the company conspired to stifle competition and fix prices, reported Bloomberg Businessweek (June 1). The account provides coverage and potential payments for judgments or settlements in U.S. legal cases and protects its common shareholders from direct losses. Previous deposits to the account included $700 million in July 2009 and $1.1 billion in December 2008.

Mississippi CU to merge with Louisiana CU

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NEW YORK and ALEXANDRIA, Va. (6/3/10)--The merger of First Delta FCU in Marks, Miss., with Shreveport (La.) FCU will preserve vital community development credit union (CDCU) services in four low-income counties, according to the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) recently gave final approval for the merger, said the federation, which assisted the credit union for years. First Delta has been in conservatorship since Oct. 23. The conservatorship board and management worked for several months to restore First Delta to financial stability and now are confident of on-going services by the action, said the federation. First Delta worked through the years to bring homeownership initiatives, small business services, and other lifeline financial services to the Delta Region of Northern Mississippi, it said. "While we regret the loss of the First Delta FCU's independent status, we are truly delighted that services will be preserved and even expanded by Shreveport FCU, one of our outstanding CDCUs in the Southeast, led by Helen Godfrey-Smith, a nationally recognized CDCU and credit union leader," said Clifford N. Rosenthal, federation president/CEO. Godfrey-Smith, CEO of Shreveport FCU and a federation board member, noted that the merger is a great match. "The missions of both credit unions are near-perfect reflections of each other--to provide the highest level of personal financial services to underbanked and underserved communities, while encouraging and increasing the knowledge of thrift, savings, and the wise use of credit by individuals and small businesses in the targeted communities," she said. "We view this action as a business partnership with phenomenal possibilities for everyone concerned," Godfrey-Smith added. "While the decision to merge was precipitated by First Delta's very unfortunate circumstances, we believe this action to preserve credit union services to the Tri-Delta counties will be seen as one of the great decisions of this era." "From its origins as Quitman County FCU in the early 1980s, First Delta FCU has played a distinguished and important role in community development and the credit union movement in general," Rosenthal said. "People have been inspired by First Delta's tireless and innovative work to bring basic financial services to one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the U.S., and its extraordinary youth program in particular, has year after year, demonstrated the community impact of the credit union on the federation's national stage. In addition, Robert Jackson, founder and former treasurer of the credit union, has played an invaluable role as a national advocate for CDCUs." Jackson, an original organizer of First Delta who is a Mississippi state senator, said he was pleased the merger was approved because "our community will get the best of both worlds; a credit union with combined assets of $85 million, a continued alignment with our core principles of service to our members, and the added value of a broad range of cutting-edge products and services from Shreveport FCU.," he said. First Delta's sponsor organization, Quitman County Development Organization, where Jackson is CEO, remains committed to working with Shreveport FCU, the federation said. Under the merger, the credit union will be identified as the "Delta Division of Shreveport FCU." Shreveport FCU has $85 million in assets and seven branches serving more than 20,000 members.

CUAC CEO search committee named

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DENVER (6/3/10)--A search committee was appointed to select a successor to Credit Union Association of Colorado CUAC) President/CEO John Dill, who stepped down from his position last week. Pete Kirchhof, former CUAC senior vice president of government affairs, is interim president/CEO. CUAC Board Chairman Mike Williams, president/CEO of Colorado CU, Littleton, appointed the committee, which will begin developing criteria for the position and decide whether to hire a search firm. Search committee members represent Colorado credit unions of various asset sizes and locations. Members include:
* Dave Maus, president/CEO, Public Service CU, Denver, committee chairman and past CUAC chairman; * John Uchida, president/CEO, Space Age FCU, Aurora, and CUAC vice chairman; * Sundie Seefried, president/CEO, Eagle Legacy CU, Arvada, and CUAC secretary; * Gerry Agnes, president/CEO, Elevations CU, Boulder; and * Steve Pearson, president/CEO, Fellowship CU, Lamar.

CO-OP Miracle Match offering 1M to hospital fundraisers

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (6/3/10)--CO-OP Financial Services is raising funds for Children’s Miracle Network--and is looking for credit unions and associations to add to their total. CO-OP’s program awards $1 million in matching funds annually for Credit Unions for Kids events, proceeds of which go to local children’s hospitals in the Children’s Miracle Network. “The CO-OP Miracle Match program is a natural extension of the people-helping-people model of the credit union movement,” said Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services, and a member of the Children’s Miracle Network’s Board of Governors. “We are looking forward to working with industry partners to do even more in 2010 to help children.” Generations FCU raised $30,000 and received $10,000 through CO-OP Miracle Match with its Annual Credit Unions for Kids Bowl-a-Thon, held Nov. 18, 2009 (in the 2010 program year). Greater Texas FCU raised $20,000 and added $10,000 with CO-OP Miracle Match funds through its Dec. 4, 2009 World’s Finest Chocolate Candy Sales Event. The funds from both events benefit CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital in San Antonio. During the 2009 program year, by comparison, the top fundraising credit union produced $45,000 in funds, to which $10,000 in miracle match funds were added. CO-OP Miracle Match is managed by CO-OP Financial Services on behalf of its 3,000 member credit unions. The credit union industry is currently the third largest contributor to Children’s Miracle Network. For more information, use the link.

Florida CUs here for the long haul

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SARASOTA, Fla. (6/3/10)--Despite difficult times wrought by an economic downturn, credit unions in the Sarasota, Fla.-area still are thriving, with some going through mergers and name changes, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune said Monday. Sarasota Coastal CU, the area’s biggest locally based credit union, experienced financial turmoil before it merged into the $878.7 million asset, Largo, Fla.-based Achieva CU, last fall, the newspaper said. Sarasota Coastal’s five branches are being switched over to Achieva, with the conversion of systems slated for the July 4 weekend. Sarasota Coastal had roughly $211 million in assets and more than 25,000 members in three counties, the paper said. On Tuesday, Tropicana FCU, a 52-year-old Bradenton, Fla.-based credit union with $23.4 million in assets, changed its name to Manatee Community FCU to indicate its countywide expansion effort, the paper said. “We’ve been the best-kept secret, and its time to get the word out,” Cindy Barco, Tropicana president for the past 33 years, told the paper. West Coast Federal Employees CU, a $34.6 million asset, Sarasota-based credit union, lost money last year and its membership is down about 500 members who lost their jobs and moved out of the area to find work, Marie Peet, West Coast president/CEO told the paper. The credit union also implemented cost-cutting measures such as closing its offices early on Wednesdays, renegotiating vendor contracts and replacing two full-time employees with part-timers, the paper added. “We’re here for the long haul,” she said. “We didn’t anticipate this coming down the road and impacting us and our members to this degree. We were prepared and had our capital built up.” To read the article, use the link.

LSCU welcomes Redstone FCU as an affiliated CU

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla., and BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (6/3/10)--The League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU) is welcoming Redstone FCU--Alabama's largest credit union--as an affiliate. The Huntsville, Ala.-based, $2.6 billion asset credit union rejoins the league after a seven-year absence. Redstone FCU's board of directors and management agreed on May 27 to officially rejoin the LSCU and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), effective June 1. "The experience of [Redstone] CEO Joe Newberry and his staff is invaluable," said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine. "The amount of lobbying, innovative lending, and trust the Redstone name brings to the credit union movement will only enhance all of our credit unions in Alabama and Florida," he added. Newberry said Redstone is "proud to be associated with" the league. "Under the leadership of Patrick La Pine, the LSCU will be doing great things for the credit union movement over the coming years, and Redstone is excited to be a part of this." He added that Redstone is looking forward "to playing an active role within the league to help ensure the continued vibrancy and growth for the credit union movement." The reaffiliation also provides CUNA with additional resources, which will be handy with the amount of legislation being discussed in Washington, D.C., that could affect credit unions. "It is great to again have Redstone FCU as a CUNA/LSCU affiliate," said Dan Mica, president/CEO of CUNA. "Our voice in Washington will be even stronger with Redstone's involvement. We appreciate the board and management's decision and the confidence it expresses in all our abilities." Newberry noted that "With the recent financial problems within our banking system and subsequent ongoing debate in Washington over reform and re-organization of the nation's financial systems, it is crucial that the credit union voice is heard in this debate. "There is no greater impact than having credit unions speak with a unified voice. As a member of the LSCU, Redstone joins with more than 330 other member credit unions of Alabama and Florida to represent the interests of our membership," he added.

CUSN honors Shared Branching excellence

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. (6/3/10)--CU Service Network (CUSN) announced honorees for its third annual annual Shared Branching Excellence Awards, presented at the CUSN 2010 Annual Meeting in Golden, Colo., May 14. CUSN recognizes participants and partners for their work to support shared branching. Recipients of CUSN Excellence Awards include:
* Neighborhood Community CU, Omaha, Neb., the greatest issuer transaction growth at 103%; * Aurora (Colo.) Schools FCU, the greatest acquirer transaction growth at 132%; and * Arapahoe CU, Centennial, Colo., the largest ratio of annual issuer transactions to total members at 7.
C. Michael Litzau, Sooper CU, Denver, also received the Vision Award. He has served as director/manager on the CU Service Network board, chairman of the Credit Union Association of Colorado, chair of the Colorado Credit Union Foundation, chair of the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors and on Credit Union National Association committees. CUSN is based in Lakewood, Colo.

Vic Thate named ICU MagazinesI Hero of the Year

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MADISON, Wis. (6/3/10)--Credit Union Magazine's 2010 Credit Union Hero of the Year is Vic Thate, executive vice president of FAA CU, Oklahoma City, the magazine announced Wednesday. Thate, known as Oklahoma's "godfather" of Credit Unions for Kids, was selected from four nominees by magazine readers voting on Credit Unions for Kids is a partner with Children's Miracle Network, which raises funds for children's hospitals nationwide. Thate had a long career as a banker/banking consultant and Children's Miracle Network advocate in Texas. When he joined FAA CU in 1998 as executive vice president, few Oklahoma credit unions were raising funds for the network. The local network's office contacted him, at about the same time the Oklahoma Credit Union League began the early stages of forming its fund-raising committee for the project. Thate chaired that committee for the first two years. The first year state credit unions raised less than $100. But largely because of efforts he spearheaded since then, Oklahoma placed 10th in the U.S. for credit union fund raising in 2008, donating more than $150,000. In 2009, Oklahoma credit unions' goal was $180,000. He also served on the Oklahoma City CMN Council and volunteered as a board member of the city's Children's Medical Research Institute. Thate is also active in the political arena at the state and national levels and is on a first-name basis with many of Oklahoma's lawmakers. Other programs he advocates include serving the underserved Hispanic population and promoting indirect lending. Although he didn't work at credit unions until he joined the staff of University FCU in Austin, Texas in the 1980s, Thate grew up on a Missouri farm and knew the benefits of cooperatives, said the magazine. Other nominees were:
* Leslie Ellis, CEO of Credit Union 1, Anchorage, Alaska; * Augustine Kang (posthumous), first CEO of the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and special project director for the World Council of Credit Unions' China project; and * Dave Maus, CEO of Public Service CU in Denver.
Thate will be honored at The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas, July 11-14 and will receive free conference registration and lodging, said the magazine. The conference is co-hosted by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and WOCCU. Credit Union Magazine is CUNA's monthly magazine for credit union staff and volunteers.

CUANY municipal deposits on senators TV show

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/3/10)--Amy Kramer, vice president of governmental affairs for the Credit Union Association of New York, taped a segment last week of State Sen. Kevin Parker’s (D-Metropolitan) “Legislative Update” show, discussing credit unions and municipal depository choice.
Click to view larger image Amy Kramer (right), vice president of governmental affairs for the Credit Union Association of New York, talks about municipal depository choice with New York State Sen. Kevin Parker on the set of his weekly “Legislative Update” show. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of New York)
Kramer and Parker’s conversation focused on the credit union difference: how credit unions operate, the advantages of credit union membership, and legislative issues affecting New York credit unions. The conversation then turned specifically to municipal depository choice. Parker is a strong proponent of municipal depository choice, said the association. He is the lead sponsor of legislation (S.1782A) that would allow local government entities such as cities, town, counties, school districts, fire districts and public libraries to deposit tax dollars in their local credit unions or savings banks. He also had a direct role in the state Senate’s inclusion of municipal depository choice legislation in its 2010-2011 budget resolution. A long-time supporter of credit unions, Parker talked about the credit and jobs crisis that prevails in his district. He said he felt strongly that the way to turn things around in his and other communities is to end the lending crisis by getting credit moving into the hands of small business and homeowners, entrepreneurs and ordinary members of the community. Credit unions, given the opportunity to become depository options for municipalities, are uniquely positioned to do just that, he added. Municipal deposit reform would help local governments save revenue, by providing local choice, expanding their investment options, and creating more competition. Such reform also would encourage more funds to stay local through community reinvestment, creating more opportunities for local residents to take out personal or small business loans, the association said.

Kinecta NuVision FCUs to merge

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MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif., and HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (6/3/10)--Kinecta FCU and NuVision FCU have announced intentions to merge. NuVision CEO Roger Ballard Monday assumed the role of CEO for the
new organization, which will retain the Kinecta name. The credit union will have 40 branches in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. The plan to merge resulted after Kinecta conducted a CEO search to replace Steve Lumm, who has served as Kinecta’s interim CEO. “The Kinecta board’s CEO search process gave us the opportunity to not only look for new leadership--but also to explore other strategic options that could best serve our members, including potential mergers,” said Mary Yasui-Yamabe, Kinecta board chairman. The board realized that Kinecta and NuVision have a shared history, culture, core sponsor and membership base, she added. NuVision has actively explored new strategies, including mergers, to benefit its members, according to Robert Geraci, NuVision board chair. “When we realized the Kinecta board was conducting a CEO search, we believed the time might be right to discuss a merger opportunity,” he said. The merger is pending completion of due diligence processes and approval by federal regulators and NuVision members. Both credit unions were founded in Southern California to serve aerospace employees. NuVision also serves employees of The Gas Company/Sempra Energy. NuVision FCU, Huntington Beach, has $1.2 billion in assets. Kinecta FCU, Manhattan Beach, has $3.5 billion in assets.

CU System briefs (06/02/2010)

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* WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (6/3/10)--Pacific Service CU has donated funds to the Silicon Valley Education Foundation for use in a Stepping Up to Algebra program. The donated funds will provide 150 low-income eighth-grade Hispanic students with pre-algebra modules, plus classroom and student materials to help them prepare for and pass the California Standards Test in Algebra I. "We were surprised to learn that almost 60% of eighth graders do not pass the standardized Algebra I test," said Steve Punch, president of the credit union. "Over the years we have supported a variety of educational efforts within the Hispanic community in Silicon Valley. When we became aware of the need to improve math education, we focused on what we could do to help the community make a positive difference in score results," he added. Pacific Service CU, based in Walnut Creek, Calif., has more than $1 billion in assets ... * ST. LOUIS (6/3/10)--Vantage CU has launched Young & Free St. Louis and a search for a spokesperson for Generation Y members (ages 18 to
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25). Young & Free is a Web-based initiative to address financial needs of Gen Y. The spokesperson selected will be the voice of Gen Y for a year, attending regional events and keeping fresh with videos, blogs, and tips to educate, entertain and engage Gen Y-ers. Online voting will determine the successful applicant. The spokesperson will be paid during the year and provided with all the gear to do the job, including a MacBook Pro notebook, an HD video camera, an iPhone with a one-year paid contract and use of a Nissan cube, pictured here. Details are on the website. Applicants should include a 60-second video uploaded from YouTube, a blog post and a completed personal information form. Deadline for applications is at noon July 5. (Photo provided by Vantage CU) ... * RALEIGH, N.C. (6/3/10)--SECU Foundation, based in Raleigh, N.C.,
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has been named Humanitarian of the Year by the Association for Home and Hospice Care (AHHC) of North Carolina. The foundation, established in July 2004 and funded solely by members of State Employees' CU, provided grants for numerous hospice initiatives in the state, including projects in Caldwell, Cleveland, Forsyth, Iredell, Johnston, Rutherford, Surry, Wake and Wayne Counties. Pictured at AHHC's awards lunch and convention are, from left: Jane Miles, AHHC president, and Shirley Bell, SECU Foundation board chair. (Photo provided by SECU Foundation) ...