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CU System briefs (06/03/2009)

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* BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (6/4/09)--Service One CU's Campbell Lane Green Addition will install a LiveRoof next week. Designed by growers and experts in agriculture, roofing, logistics and ergonomics, the system will decrease indoor temperatures during warm/hot weather by six to eight degrees and reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50%, says the Bowling Green-based credit union. LiveRoof will extend the roof's lifetime by an estimated 200%-300% by protecting the rooftop from ultraviolet radiation, large temperature fluctuations, drying winds and punctures. The soil in the green roof system will act as a sponge, absorbing excess rainwater and reducing storm water runoff. Its plants and soil will create a habitat for butterflies, insects and birds. The $85 million asset credit union aims to obtain a platinum level of LEED certification. The addition already boasts geo-thermal heating and cooling, a bio-retention basin, reclaimed timbers, ICF walls, earth berms, grass pavers, recycled floor coverings, glass block windows with nanogel and natural day lighting … * INDIANAPOLIS (6/4/09)--The merger of Indianapolis-based Indiana Members CU and Marsh Employees FCU, Fishers, Ind., was completed Monday, the credit unions announced (The Herald Bulletin June 2). Indiana Members CU had $1.2 billion in assets and Marsh Employees had $13 million in assets. The combined organization will have 25 branches throughout Central Indiana … * HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (6/4/09)--The New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL), in an effort to go green, has made the NJCUL Awards Program information available for download online. The forms and information are downloadable for each award … * HARAHAN, La. (6/4/09)--The Louisiana Credit Union League has awarded four scholarships to the Southeast CUNA Management School in Athens, Ga. Tami Beck, vice president of lending at Lafayette Schools FCU, received the 2009 Edgar L. Fontaine Memorial Scholarship with full tuition for the first year and 50% tuition for the second and third years. Jean Helmer of The New Orleans Firemen's FCU, Cindy Beauregard of Heart of Louisiana FCU, and Brian Leger of Lafayette Schools FCU were each awarded the 2009 SRCUS Management School Scholarship by the Southeast Regional Credit Union Schools. Those scholarships are $500 each toward tuition, said the league … * RICHMOND, Ind. (6/4/09)--Thomas A. Fitzharris, former president of NATCO CU, Richmond, Ind., died May 31 in Richmond. He was 84. Fitzharris was president of the credit union for 10 years and was active in the movement for 50 years. He retired from NATCO in 1983. Survivors include his wife, three children, eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter, one brother and two sisters. Services are today at 10 a.m. at the Stegall-Berheide-Orr Funeral Home in Richmond (Palladium-Item June 2) … * LANSING, Mich. (6/4/09)--Dwight D. Stewart, who worked for two credit unions in Michigan and the Michigan Credit Union League, died May 27, according to the league (Michigan Monitor June 1). Stewart was a collection manager for a $100 million asset credit union beginning in 1981 and joined the league staff in 1990, where he was senior information specialist. He served as a compliance consultant on the MCUL helpline, analyzed proposals, prepared comment letters and contributed articles to MCUL's publications. In 2004, he left the league to become collector for Northwood CU. "He will be missed and our sincere sympathies go out to Dwight's family and friends," said MCUL President/CEO David Adams. Funeral services were Wednesday …

Southwest Corporate restates financials for 2008

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DALLAS (6/4/09)--Southwest Corporate FCU in Dallas has announced its restated unaudited financials for 2008, which shows its net loss for the year at $624.3 million. That compares with a $7.9 million loss reported originally. Additional other-than-temporary impairment charges accounted for nearly $490 million and reduction in U.S. Central FCU capital accounted for $127.2 million in losses. Southwest Corporate has nearly $129.9 million in membership capital shares remaining at U.S. Central and is awaiting the completion of U.S. Central's audit to finalize conclusions on the impairment of capital at U.S.Central, it said in its April financial statements. The $10.4 billion asset corporate said the losses eliminate the $317 million in retained earnings it reported previously, but changes in accounting rules reflect retained earnings totaling $10.5 million as of April 31. Distressed mortgage-backed securities (MBS) contributed $479.9 million in losses and additional $9.9 million impairment on Lehman Brothers' corporate bonds, effective Dec. 31, 2008. Members' capital accounts were more than $394 million, and total capital as of April 30, was $404.5 million. The corporate credit union's capital ratio as of April 30 was 4.08% with the retained earnings ratio at 0.11%. That compares a 6.46% capital ratio and a 3% retained earnings ratio on Nov. 30, 2008. Southwest Corporate's net income for the four months ending April 30 totaled $9.8 million, a decrease of $11.12 million over the same period in 2008. Return on assets was 0.36%.

Corporate One restates 2008 earnings

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (6/4/09)--Corporate One FCU has restated its original net income for 2008 from $21.6 million to an $18.2 million loss, according to its unaudited financial statements. Restated 2008 reserves and individual earnings are $85.2 million. The loss resulted from $39.6 million impairment charges on U.S. Central FCU capital investments made by Corporate One FCU, and $612,000 for Corporate One’s share of the National Credit Union Shared Insurance Fund stabilization expense. After the impairment charges, Corporate one said it has $34.3 million of membership capital shares remaining with U.S. Central. “We continue to evaluate the carrying over of this investment and may further adjust this balance, depending on the results of U.S. Central’s year-end audit, as well as any other additional charges that may result from continued deterioration of U.S. Central’s security holdings,” Corporate One said in its written statements. Corporate One also said it reversed bonuses of about $456,000 that accrued during 2008 but were not paid in 2009. The reversal was recorded effective Dec. 31, 2008. Corporate One’s net income for the four months ended April 30, 2009 totaled $5.9 million--a decrease of $2.9 million for the same period in 2008. The decrease is primarily due to a decrease in income due to a decline in interest rates year over year, the corporate said. The corporate’s regulatory capital ratio was 5.93% on April 30, which is “well in excess of the minimum regulatory level of 5%.”

Wis. budget may exempt CU from dealership closure

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RACINE, Wis. (6/4/09)--A provision in the Wisconsin state budget may allow Educators CU to continue operating its used-car sale business, which it was ordered by a state regulator last year to shut down. The regulator made the order after a state dealers association complained that car sales aren’t allowed under state rules governing credit unions. Last week, the state’s Joint Finance Committee included an amendment in the budget that would allow the $1.018 billion asset Racine, Wis.-based credit union to continue operating a used-car auto lot in Racine County (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel June 2). However, auto dealers who asked the state Office of Credit Unions (OCU) last year to order Educators’ car business to cease operations said they will fight the amendment when the budget is considered by the state’s full legislature and--if it passes--by Gov. Jim Doyle, the newspaper said. In November, Educators CU said it would divest its auto dealership under an agreement with OCU (News Now Nov. 4). The credit union had established a retail automobile dealership to provide car-buying resources and used-car sales to its members and consumers in 2002. The Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealers Association had filed a complaint with the OCU, saying that the credit union charter does not allow credit unions to sell vehicles, the credit union said. Educators CU believes the complaint was filed to prevent competition--each year more than 700 individuals purchase high-quality used vehicles, the credit union told News Now in November. The OCU initially ruled that the State of Wisconsin Credit Union Statutes, Chapter 186, allows credit unions to own only car leasing services, not retail car sales. The credit union appealed the ruling, before the agreement was made. The dealers association filed a court petition to overturn the agreement the credit union had with the state regulator, which allowed 18 months for the credit union to divest its auto sales business (News Now Dec. 3, 2008). The petition was filed Nov. 12 in Dane County Circuit Court and named as defendants the OCU; the state Credit Union Review Board; Educators CU; and ECU Financial Services. Calls to officials at Educators CU and the OCU were not returned to News Now by press time.

EasCorp raises 18 million in new equity capital

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BURLINGTON, Mass. (6/4/09)--EasCorp FCU says that it raised close to $18 million in Paid-In Capital Accounts (PPIC II) (also known as Tier One capital) from 80 member credit unions as of May 15. That brought its total member-contributed Perpetual Paid-In Capital Accounts (PPIC I and PPIC II) to $37.7 million as of Monday. EasCorp said on its website that 104 member credit unions contributed. The new shares will count as capital equity under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). "In the end, the final decision was made based primarily on a relationship that has developed over the past seven years" between EasCorp and the credit union, said Bernie Winne, president/CEO of Boston Firefighters CU, told EasCorp.

Illinois CUs declare June as Shred Month

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (6/4/09)--Due to a successful effort in 2008, Illinois credit unions statewide joined to declare June as “Shred Month” to help consumers protect themselves from identity theft and shred unwanted documents for free, said the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL). On a credit union Shred Day, the community is invited to bring its unwanted personal documents, such as tax paperwork, old account statements, cancelled checks, credit card and ATM receipts, unwanted credit card offers to be shredded by the shredding truck in the participating credit union’s parking lot. “Every three seconds, someone becomes a victim of identity theft. Education and properly disposing of personal documents are among the best ways to deter thieves,” said Dan Plauda, IUCL president/CEO. “We invite the community to visit its local credit unions participating in Shred Days and bring their documents to protect themselves from identity theft.” Credit unions of Illinois are offering consumers guidelines about what documents to keep and for how long:
* Credit card receipts and statements--Keep receipts until a monthly statement arrives; if that’s correct, shred the receipts. Exceptions: Keep a receipt if disputing a bill or to cover a warranty or return period. Keep the statements for seven years if they contain tax-related expenses. * Pay check stubs--Make sure the information on paycheck stubs matches an annual W-2 when it is received, then shred the stubs. If an employer lists vacation/sick leave carryover on a paycheck stub, keep the last one of the year. Notify an employer if the information doesn’t match. * Credit union records--At the end of each year, go through share draft carbons or statements and keep only those related to taxes, business expenses, and housing or mortgage payments. * Tax records--The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has three years to audit a return, and consumers have three years to file an amended return to claim a refund if they make a mistake. If a mistake is made of underreporting gross income by 25% or more on a return, the IRS has six years to challenge it. If a fraudulent return is filed or if one isn’t filed at all, the IRS can catch filers on it at any time. Keep a copy of all 1040 tax forms permanently. * Miscellaneous--Keep these permanently: Updated household inventory, birth and death certificates, marriage license, divorce papers, military records, insurance claims, accident reports and claims, proof of ownership and major debt repayment, individual retirement account contribution records and legal correspondence.

Ohio foundation grants 60k to Biz Kid

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (6/4/09)--The Ohio Credit Union Foundation (OCUF) board of trustees Tuesday approved a $60,000 grant to help underwrite season three of the Emmy-nominated television program “Biz Kid$.” The foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Ohio Credit Union League. Since 2006, OCUF has contributed $120,000 to underwriting the show. Biz Kid$ airs on 12 of 13 PBS stations broadcasting in Ohio, in all 50 states, and in 97% of national markets. Biz Kid$ was nominated in May for two Daytime Emmy Awards by the National Academy of Television Arts and Science. “The Ohio Credit Union Foundation has been committed to the success of Biz Kid$ from the start, and with the recent Emmy nominations, the show is gaining momentum and people are taking notice,” said Kathy Kanipe, OCUF board chair. A recent survey of Ohio’s PBS stations revealed better time slots for the program and growing viewership. WNEO/WEAO, which includes the Akron, Canton, Youngstown, and parts of the Cleveland markets, saw Biz Kid$ viewership increase 175% in its new time slot and more than 11,000 homes tune in regularly. PBS stations in Toledo (WGTE) and Cleveland (WVIZ) recently received grants from Outreach Extensions to promote Biz Kid$ to area educators. Biz Kid$ curricula are also on the Ohio league’s financial education resource Episode-specific supplemental curricula, created by Outreach Extensions, are available on the website for seasons one and two. The materials were created using national financial literacy standards. The curricula amounts to 78 hours of instruction for students in grades four through eight. Outreach Extensions is responsible for the curricula paired with the Emmy-winning television show “Bill Nye the Science Guy.”

Kansas CUs YouTube video contest a winner (06/03/2009)

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WICHITA, Kan. (6/4/09)--The Kansas Credit Union Association (KCUA) recently awarded Matt Elwood, an aspiring film director and member of Credit Union of America, Wichita, Kan., $5,000 for creating a video that encompasses the credit union difference.
Click to view larger image Credit Union of America member Matt Elwood received $5,000 for creating the winning video, the “Bank vs. Credit Union Rap Battle,” in the Kansas Credit Union Association’s (KCUA) YouTube video contest. Attending the check presentation were, from left, Ashley Bridgeman, KCUA director of marketing and communications; Josh Ellis, film collaborator; Marla Marsh, KCUA president/CEO; Frank Shoffner, Credit Union of America executive vice president; and (seated) Elwood. (Photo provided by the Kansas Credit Union Association)
Elwood and a collaborator, Josh Ellis, created a video, the “Bank vs. Credit Union Rap Battle,” which highlights credit unions’ financial services, member ownership and nonprofit status. The contest was sponsored by Kansas credit unions and moderated by KCUA. Contestants submitted videos and promoted them to family and friends to garner the most views. KCUA originally expected the videos to receive roughly 4,000 impressions, or views, but 17 videos received more than 25,000 views. The visitors were divided evenly between males and females, and individuals aged 13-25 and 45-55, KCUA said. “We have generated an astounding number of impressions in a short amount of time for a simple message: Credit unions are a viable alternative to traditional financial institutions,” said Ashley Bridgeman, KCUA director of marketing and communications. KCUA will use the messages obtained from the videos in a marketing campaign geared toward members of Generation Y. To see the videos, use the link.

HFOT readies for annual gala June 13

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BOSTON (6/4/09)--Homes for Our Troops and title sponsor The Credit Union Association of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the New Hampshire will host a third annual gala on June 13 at the Copley Marriott in Boston. What separates this gala from the first two is that Homes for Our Troops, the national non-profit organization that helps injured troops, is five years old. It has given soldiers 40 specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans at no cost, and will build and complete over 30 homes in 2009. Special guests include:
* Eight severely injured veterans who live or will soon be living in their completed barrier-free home. * Two young wives who met at Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C., when their husbands became roommates after sustaining severe head and spinal cord injuries in Iraq. Their husbands are now roommates in Tampa, Fla., at the James A. Haley Veterans Administration hospital. * A mother whose son is a paralyzed veteran who has been in and out of various VA hospitals. Also, the first severely injured female veteran to receive a specially adapted home.
“We don’t need big-name celebrities to help us celebrate our fifth year as a national non-profit organization,” said John Gonsalves founder of the Taunton, Mass.-based Homes for Hour Troops. “Our stars are the veterans who returned home severely injured that we have built specially adapted homes for.” Dan Egan, president of the credit union association for the three states, noted that "Our grassroots missions mirror one another, as credit unions are known as financial institutions of people helping people in communities throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. “Credit unions are known for their community-based grassroots initiatives,” he added. “We proudly salute the men and women that serve in our military and are honored to support Homes for Our Troops as it helps rebuild the lives of our severely injured returning veterans.” Homes for Our Troops welcomed the help of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, America’s credit unions, and the National Journal Group, Washington, D.C., in building new homes for wounded veterans in Denver and Minneapolis. In the months leading up to the presidential nominations last summer at the national conventions, Homes for Our Troops and its partners constructed houses in both the Colorado and Minnesota host cities.

Filene Research Institute turns 20

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MADISON, Wis. (6/4/09)--The Filene Research Institute Sunday celebrated its 20th anniversary as an outlet for academic and forward-looking research focused on the needs of credit unions. Filene was launched May 31, 1989 with support from the Credit Union National Association, CUNA Mutual Group and state credit union leagues. David Chatfield, a former National Credit Union Administration board member, was Filene’s first executive director. Since then, Filene has published roughly 250 monographs, white papers, innovation briefs and policy documents from researchers at Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, Oxford in England and other universities. Some works include the “Taxation of Credit Unions” and “Field of Membership: An Evolving Concept,” which Filene said helped lay the groundwork for the Credit Union Membership Access Act of 1998. In 2000, Filene added credit union innovation to its portfolio. It piloted REAL Solutions, which helps credit union serve the low-wealth. In 2004, Filene launched the i3 group, which stands for Ideas, Innovation and Implementation. It also has driven CU Tomorrow--a nationwide effort to make credit unions more relevant to the next generation--since 2007. “The board wanted Filene to be a place where credit unions could test new and even far-out ideas without fear of failure,” said Mark Meyer, Filene executive director. “Twenty years ago, the institute’s founders could not have foreseen the world [that] credit unions would be facing,” Meyer said. “But that’s precisely the reason for an organization like Filene: to think and to prepare credit unions for futures we can’t yet see.” “Today’s leaders are so busy running our credit unions that it’s hard to be as forward thinking as we should be,” added Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, chairman of the Filene Research Institute and CEO of Travis CU, Vacaville, Calif. “Filene research forces us to look ahead.” For a full timeline of Filene’s history, use the link.

Tierney named CU Hero of Year by magazines readers

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MADISON, Wis. (6/4/09)--Cathie Tierney, CEO of Community First CU, Appleton, Wis., is Credit Union Magazine’s 2009 Credit Union Hero of the Year. She was selected for the award by magazine subscribers and will be honored during the opening session of America’s Credit Union Conference and Expo June 21-24 in Boston. Tierney and her board were recently thrust into the national spotlight when Community First won a court case against the federal government over the Internal Revenue Service’s policy that subjected the credit union’s insurance-related products to unrelated business income tax (UBIT). The court’s decision strengthened credit unions’ position in other UBIT-related litigation. Tierney has been with the $1.1-billion-asset Community First for 33 years. Other nominees for the award:
* Carla Hedrick, CEO, Denver Community FCU; * John Herrera, senior vice president of Latino/Hispanic affairs, Self-Help FCU, Durham, N.C.; and * Regina McIlrath, president, Table Rock FCU, Shell Knob, Mo.

Shared branching saves members weekend getaway

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (6/4/09)--A few days after a Danville, Pa.-based credit union joined a shared branching network, a member put the new service to the test. Service lst FCU joined the CU Service Center network on March 9. On Friday, March 13, a member in a panic called the credit union from Vermont, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Life is a Highway June 3). The member and his wife were on vacation. Just after arriving at their destination, he reached into his pocket and discovered he forgot to deposit his paycheck. He hoped the credit union could offer options to make the funds available for their weekend getaway. The credit union representative asked him for the ZIP Code of his location and found a CU Service Center about 10 miles from where the couple were lodged. About 30 minutes later, the member called again to say he had just visited the location and thanked the credit union for providing the service. Service lst FCU has more than $136.1 million in assets.