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Excellence In Lending Award Entries Deadline Is Aug. 30

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MADISON, Wis. (6/3/13)--Entries are being accepted for the 14th annual Excellence in Lending Awards until Aug. 30.

The Excellence in Lending Awards recognize outstanding lending results and practices by credit unions. The CUNA Lending Council and CUNA Mutual Group established the Excellence in Lending Awards in 2000.

The awards identify and share examples of lending excellence within the credit union movement by recognizing individual credit unions for their ability to serve members while sustaining sound financial performance.

"Being recognized with an Excellence in Lending Award validates all the effort a credit union puts into its lending program," said Bill Vogeney, Lending Council chair and executive vice president/chief lending officer at Ent FCU, Colorado Springs, Colo. "In addition to sharing your success with peers, it's a great endorsement of the value you bring members in the communities you serve."

Credit unions may be nominated for the 2013 award in the following categories:

  • Consumer Lending Excellence (Assets less than and more than $250 million);
  • Mortgage Lending Excellence (Assets less than and more than $250 million);
  • Low/Modest Means Excellence (Any asset level); and
  • Business Lending Excellence (Any asset level).
The Excellence in Lending Awards will be presented at the CUNA Lending Council's 19th Annual Conference, Nov. 3-6, in Phoenix, Ariz. Airfare, hotel and conference registration for one representative of each winning credit union is included with the award.

The CUNA Lending Council is a community of credit union lending professionals dedicated to being the primary source of best lending practices and educational opportunities for the credit union industry.

For more information, use the link.

CU System Briefs (06/03/2013)

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  • MERIDEN, Conn. (6/3/13)--The State & Federal Issues Government Affairs Conference of the Credit Union League of Connecticut attracted nearly 100 members Thursday in Hartford.  Speakers who addressed issues affecting credit unions and gave state updates included: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D) and Chris Murphy (D), U.S. Rep. John Larson (D), and Connecticut Department of Banking Commissioner Howard Pitkin. "This annual event is an outstanding opportunity for Connecticut credit union leaders to discuss issues of importance to the industry with leaders in government," said Kelly Fuhlbrigge, league vice president-government relations. "It is one of our goals as the credit union state trade association to provide our members with opportunities for face-to-face interactions with lawmakers and policymakers." Pictured here are Fuhlbrigge and Gov. Malloy. (Photo provided by the Credit Union League of Connecticut ) ...
  • KINGSPORT, Tenn. (6/3/13)--Kingsport, Tenn., police are investigating fraudulent purchases on 60 First Kingsport CU member accounts impacted by debit card fraud over the holiday weekend.  The Kingsport Times-News (May 31) reported fraudulent purchases on transactions made in Nevada and Florida. First Kingsport CU manager/CEO Beverly Bowling said the credit union is issuing new cards to members and reimbursing the fraudulent purchases, which range from $25 to $900. The police department is investigating how the account information was obtained ...
  • MOBILE, Ala. (6/3/13)--A man who allegedly stole $6,261 from Mobile, Ala.-based New Horizons CU was sentenced to almost six years in prison Thursday. Charles Edward Cammon Jr., 27, pleaded guilty in February after U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade refused to accept his attempt at a "best interest" plea bargain. In a best interest plea, the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict. Cammon will serve five years and 10 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release for the Dec. 5 robbery (Mobile Press-Register May 31) ...

Herrera Wins White House Award

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WASHINGTON (6/3/13)--John Herrera, founder of Latino Community CU, Durham, N.C., was awarded an Immigrant Innovator Champions of Change Award by the White House last week.

Herrera is senior vice president of Self-Help Services, a national financial institution affiliated with Self-Help CU in Durham, N.C. (NBC Latino May 30)

He also serves on the Latino Community CU's board of directors. Currently, he is the board vice chair.

An immigrant from Costa Rica, Herrera was part of a group that co-founded the first fully bilingual financial institution in North Carolina in 2000. The group identified a need to offer financial services to the growing Latino immigrant population in the community.

Many Latinos felt shut out of the traditional banking system or did not know how to gain access to services, said NBC Latino. Some were victims of robberies.  Without any experience in financial services, Herrera and his colleagues started the Latino Community CU.

Today, Latino Community CU serves more than 56,000 members through 10 branches, Herrera said. The credit union offers members an opportunity to "dream and grow," he added.

Latino Community CU will always be "his baby," Herrera said.

Washington DFI Begins Rulemaking On Compensation Issues

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (6/3/13)--The Washington Department of Financial Institutions has scheduled a stakeholder meeting for June 20 to begin the rulemaking process that gives the state credit union regulator authority to allow compensation for credit union directors, the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) said.

On April 22, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5302, which will allow credit unions to offer board compensation and other updates to the state Credit Union Act (Anthem Recap May 31). The changes will take effect July 28.

The updates were identified by the Washington Model Act Subcommittee and are designed to advance the charter and operating environment for credit unions in the state.

Nearly 120 credit union advocates attending credit union day at the Capitol supported the legislation. More than 200 advocates wrote or contacted their legislators to support the measure, NWCUA.

Among the compensation issues to be considered are the qualification requirements for board member or supervisory committee members, disclosure to members of compensation, the nomination process, election methods, the process if an election is contested and updating the bylaws, NWCUA said.

Currently, credit unions in nine states can pay at least one member of the board while 12 others allow for more comprehensive board compensation, according to the Credit Union National Association.

NWCUA intends to provide state credit unions with research and information on how other states and cooperatives handle board compensation, said John Trull, NWCUA director of regulatory affairs.

The league has aggregated data on state statutes and is examining applicable rules in other states, Trull said. NWCUA is working with National Cooperative Business Association to gather information on how other cooperatives address board compensation, and with other credit unions.

NWCUA supports a transparent process and is encouraging state-chartered credit unions to participate in the process, Trull said.

In The Media: MBLs, Public Deposits, Unbanked Latinos

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LOS ANGELES and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (6/3/13)--Two articles in an Alabama publication and a report by Los Angeles's largest National Public Radio station provide more examples of why credit unions are of value to small business owners who can't get loans from bank, why they should be an option for public deposits in Alabama, and why one credit union offers above-and-beyond services to unbanked Latinos.

BusinessAlabama.com  posted two articles in its May issue, including one interviewing small business owners about getting member business loans (MBLs)  from credit unions when their banks let them down. The article explained that credit unions, unlike banks, didn't get caught up in making risky loans. While banks pulled back lending during the recession, credit unions didn't.

The League of Southeastern Credit Unions told the publication that business loans at Alabama credit unions rose 13% during 2012 to roughly $54 million in business loans-- twice the national average. During the past four years, they added $76 million in new MBLs and now hold $480 million in outstanding MBLs. LSCU Vice President of Communications Mike Bridges noted that credit unions work more with the business on its plan and goals, "rather than looking at it as an opportunity to make money."

The article cited information from the Credit Union National Association and noted that credit unions are urging Congress to raise their MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%.

The publication's second article noted that Alabama law limits public deposits by municipal groups such as local governments, school boards, utilities and other public agencies to federally insured banks.  Credit unions are seeing an increase in requests from public entities for deposit accounts. "We hate to have to turn them away, because our mission is to serve the community," Steve Swofford, CEO of Tuscaloosa-based Alabama CU, said in the article.

Listerhill CU, Muscle Shoals, said its branch office at the University of North Alabama received  a request from the university administration about joining the credit union but the current law prevents that.  Credit unions and the League of Southeastern Credit Unions are working to amend the state law to include credit unions.  Jared Ross, vice president of government affairs at LSCU, said that 33 states allow credit unions to take public deposits and that the league is educating Alabama lawmakers on the topic.

In the third media report, CUNA and the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues helped locate a credit union for NPR affiliate KPCC to interview about serving immigrants. Communidad Latina CU in Santa Ana, which opened in 2007, has as its mission to serve the Latino population, which often doesn't use mainstream banks.

According to the segment, which aired Tuesday, that means the credit union:

  • Doesn't require a taxpayer ID number of Social Security number when the member opens a savings account--to show that everyone can have access to a credit union.
  • Expects potential members to visit the branch three times before opening an account so the members "get to know who we are, who we are as people," said CEO Terry Agius; and
  • Spends more time educating its new members about the finer points of transactions, including how to write checks and how a banking account operates.

For the full reports of these stories, use the links. 

The articles bring more awareness about credit unions and their value, which is one of the foundations of CUNA's, leagues, and credit unions' Unite For Good campaign to move toward their strategic vision where "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner."  Use the link for more information.

Louisiana League's Hurricane Prep Ad Touts Shared Branching

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HARAHAN, La. (6/3/13)--A 2013 Hurricane Preparedness ad campaign will make Louisiana consumers aware of the convenience of Credit Union Shared Branching during hurricanes and other disasters, said the Louisiana Credit Union League Friday.

The campaign reminds state residents that in case of an evacuation, members can access credit union accounts at any of the 130 shared credit union branches in Louisiana or more than 5,000 across the country.

The campaign, which has radio and online ads, will run for two weeks in June, July and August, with additional air time purchased when there is an immediate threat, the league said.

One of the lessons learned during Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, was that hundreds of credit union branches directly impacted or closed by the storm's flooding were still able to serve members, even evacuated members, through working together and sharing branches. While many banks were shut down and could not serve customers, credit unions were able to demonstrate the cooperative difference to members during the emergency. Since then, shared branches have become more popular in areas subject to natural disasters.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted an "extremely active" hurricane season this year, with the potential for three to six hurricanes with wind speeds above 100 mph, said the league, which encouraged credit unions and their members to take precaution early.

"As we prepare for this year's active storm season, we are armed with the knowledge that preparation is key, especially when it comes to access to financial resources during an evacuation," said Anne Cochran, LCUL president/CEO. "We urge our members to plan ahead and utilize our resources to find shared branch locations well in advance of a severe weather event."

CUs Part Of Pa. Lawmaker's Small Biz Seminar

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (6/3/13)--Two Philadelphia area credit unions participated in a Small Business Opportunities & Resources Seminar hosted Thursday by Pennsylvania state Rep. W. Curtis Thomas (D-Philadelphia) in Philadelphia, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.

Representatives from $1.278 billion asset American Heritage FCU and $1.4 billion asset TruMark FCU participated in the event at Temple University's Fox School of Business (Life is a Highway May 31).

Thomas is minority chairman of the House Commerce Committee and an advocate for credit unions, said PCUA.

The seminar attracted 100 small business owners and those looking to start a business. It provided entrepreneurs with information on city, state, federal and private opportunities for contracting, certification, financing, tax credits, economic zones, technical assistance and special programs/initiatives.

Credit unions are looking for more opportunities to provide members with small businesses services such as member business loans (MBLs). The Credit Union National Association, state associations and credit unions are urging Congress to raise the 12.25%-of-assets cap on MBLs to 27.5%. Doing so would generate about $13 billion in new business loans and 140,000 new jobs into the economy without costing taxpayers a dime.

Entries For CUNA ELLy Awards Due July 31

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MADISON, Wis. (6/3/13)--Entries for the CUNA ELLy Awards, recognizing the ideas and achievements of credit union training professionals and programs, are due July 31, says the Credit Union National Association.

The ELLy Awards will be presented at CUNA Experience Learning Live!, Oct. 20-23 in Seattle.

"I am inspired every year by our applicants' take-charge approach to originality and effectiveness in training," said Marlo Foltz, CUNA director of blended learning. "These credit union training and learning development professionals deserve to be recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in professional development."

CUNA ELLy Awards are awards presented to trainers whose innovative and unique initiatives contribute to the forward progress of the credit union movement.

Among the awards to be presented:

  • Chi Phi Delta X II Award--Representing the best development of a credit union university, and its effect on staff learning and performance;
  • eLearning Award--Presented to participants who demonstrate how technology-based training has enhanced their credit union training initiatives;
  • Training Champion Award--Recognizing senior managers who go beyond the call of duty to support and develop their credit union's training program;
  • Training Professional of the Year Award--Honoring exceptional achievements in performance and learning by a credit union training professional or department; and
  • WOW Award--Presented to the credit union with the best overall training curriculum or training event that energizes, empowers and excites participants.

CSS Provider Intuit Small Biz Grant Goes To Salon

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (6/3/13)--Intuit has awarded its latest $5,000 grant to an eco-friendly Chicago area salon and spa Jonathan Kane Salon as part of its Love Our Local Business program's spring campaign.

Intuit Financial Services is a CUNA Strategic Services provider that provides on-demand solutions and services to help consumers and businesses manage their money. Intuit provides business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses and financial institutions, including credit unions.

The salon owner, Jonathan Kane,  said he plans to build on the salon's efforts to be a Zero Waste salon and will spend the money "to do what it takes to get closer to that goal."

At the start of its spring program, Intuit invited small business owners to submit wishes for their businesses and describe how granting the wish would have a transformational impact on business.  Fans were encouraged to vote for their favorites on the Love Our Local Business website. The site received a record 19,500 applications and more than 1.6 million fan votes.

Based on impact and feasibility of the businesses' wishes, as well as the number of fan votes, a panel of Intuit judges chose the 15 finalists and awarded them with $5,000 grants.

So far, Intuit has invested $1.2 million in the program. Among the spring winners were a cookie company, a florist, beekeepers, farms, theaters, art schools, laundromats, cafes and more.

Maine CUs' Work Vs. Data Breach Bill Cited By Lawmakers

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PORTLAND, Maine (6/3/13)--Due in part to the lobbying efforts of the Maine Credit Union League, a data breach bill that would have negatively impacted credit unions was defeated in the Maine Senate last week.

The Maine Credit Union League testified in opposition to the bill, which was ostensibly aimed at the way TD Bank handled a 2012 data breach (Weekly Update May 31). The measure, which passed the state House, was opposed 33-2 in the Senate. The Insurance and Financial Services Committee voted the bill 7-6 Ought Not to Pass.

Quincy Hentzel, the Maine league's direct or governmental affairs, spent many hours in Augusta speaking with legislators before to the vote. Legislators cited the work of the league and state credit unions as one of the key reasons why the bill was defeated in the Senate.

One lawmaker commended the league for articulating how the measure would harm small financial institutions, Hentzel said.

Among the league's primary arguments in opposition to the bill was that it would unnecessarily expand the definition of breach of the security system, by expanding the classification of a breach and would result in "over-notification" of Maine residents at a great cost to credit unions.

The league also maintained that the measure would have made Maine the only state to require notice to the appropriate regulator with 10 days after the discovery of a breach and require notice if law enforcement delayed its investigation.

The bill was well-intended, but fraught with unintended consequences, John Murphy, Maine league president said.