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Summit CUs domain expires website inaccessible Friday

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MADISON, Wis. (6/8/09)--The domain name for the website of Summit CU, Madison, Wis., expired at midnight Thursday, which meant the website was inaccessible to some members Friday. The domain name expired due to improper vendor notification. The domain, www.summitcreditunion.com, was reactivated in the early morning hours as soon as it was discovered, the credit union said in a telephone recording. Members’ Internet service providers needed to reactivate the domain, and depending on when the reactivation took place, some members may have had trouble accessing the site throughout the day Friday, Summit said. Summit assured members that their information was safe and secure. The largest credit union in the state, Summit has $1.2 billion in assets.

Wegner Award nominations due soon location set

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MADISON, Wis. (6/8/09)--Credit union supporters can nominate individuals and organizations for the 22nd Annual Wegner Awards to be presented by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF). Nominations are due June 19. The awards are:
* The Individual Achievement Award, which honors an unsung hero for innovative concepts and/or accomplishments that have significantly impacted the national and/or international credit union movements within the past 10 years--or have a significant potential impact now. Nominations must cite a specific subject of achievement. Examples include financial literacy, service to the underserved, alternatives to predatory lending, and/or new products. * The Outstanding Organization/Program Award, which honors an organization or program for innovative concepts and/or products/services that have made a significant impact with measured results on the national and/or international credit union movements. * The Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors individuals who have dedicated their life to promoting the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People.” This person must have created innovative concepts and provided leadership that has made a significant and lasting impact on the national and/or international credit union movements.
Nominations can come from individuals and/or organizations. Four steps to make a nomination:
* Print the Wegner Awards nomination form from the NCUF website (www.ncuf.coop). * Fill out the nomination form. * Gather at least five letters of recommendation citing examples of the nominee’s achievements relevant to the award criteria. * Send the nomination form and recommendation letters to NCUF by June 19.
“With all the negative news swirling around the financial industry, it is more important now than ever to showcase the positive impact credit unions make on consumers,” emphasized NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin. “We encourage credit union supporters from every state to nominate their best and brightest for the national Wegner Awards.” Winners will be honored in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association’s 2010 Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. The 22nd Annual Wegner Awards Dinner will take place on Feb. 22 at the Grand Hyatt Washington.

CUNA Mutual Group to lay off 52 staffers

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MADISON, Wis. (6/8/09)--CUNA Mutual Group Thursday notified 52 employees at its Madison, Wis., corporate headquarters that their positions will be eliminated in 30 days. The majority of the company-wide job cuts are back-office, non-customer-facing positions. The human resources and finance departments are the two areas most impacted by the cuts, Jim Buchheim, vice president of corporate communications, told News Now. CUNA Mutual has about 4,500 employees worldwide, with roughly 2,000 in Madison. To reduce expenses, the company also said it is moving to a cash-balance pension plan from a defined benefit pension plan--though employees will retain what has been accrued in their defined benefit pension. The company also is achieving expense savings through project reductions and eliminations, reductions in contracted work and company travel. However, CUNA Mutual is not using furloughs nor is it suspending the 401(k) company match, which is 5%. “The decisions that drove these savings were difficult, but necessary as we position the company to weather this economy and to take advantage of opportunities that will be available in the future,” Buchheim said. “These changes put us on track to achieve our 2009 financial plan and will help us maintain solid operating margins, strong capital and 'A'-level financial ratings. “Internally, we are emphasizing that change will continue at CUNA Mutual as we sharpen our product focus and continue to drive operational efficiencies,” he added. “For example, employees have submitted more than 1,000 expense-savings ideas--ideas that will help deliver ongoing savings and improvements.”

CU System briefs (06/05/2009)

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* MERIDEN, Conn. (6/8/09)--Representatives from 65 affiliated credit unions Wednesday attended the Credit Union League of Connecticut's RESPA Conference on updates to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act regulations. Shown addressing questions on specific regulations is key speaker Andrew B. Fay, supervisory coordinator, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of RESPA and Interstate Land Sales. Assisting Fay were Jay Friedland, president of M&M Consulting, a compliance consulting firm and a Connecticut league strategic partner, and George Meagher, compliance officer with Sikorsky Financial CU, Stratford, Conn. Friedland will provide more RESPA workshops on Aug. 27--one targeted to Connecticut Small Credit Union Support Program members, the other for medium and large credit unions. (Photo provided by the Credit Union League of Connecticut) … * MADISON, Wis. (6/8/09)--The University of Wisconsin-Madison has signed a 10-year contract giving Madison-based UW CU the exclusive right to provide students with a school identification card that is also a debit card (Associated Press Newswires June 4). In exchange, the university will receive $6.4 million in revenue from the more than $1 billion asset credit union. A committee of the university's Board of Regions approved the deal Thursday, with the full board expected to approve it Friday. The school will get the same amount of revenue no matter how many students sign up for the credit union's checking accounts …

NASCUS to mark 100th anniversary of state charter

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ARLINGTON, Va. (6/8/09)--The 2009 National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) State System Summit will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the state credit union charter and provide a national forum to discuss growth strategies for the future. The event, scheduled for Aug. 20-22 at the Westin Boston Waterfront, Boston, attracts decision-makers from credit unions, regulatory agencies and the nation’s credit union associations and leagues. Summit speakers will discuss the future of the corporate credit union system, mortgage lending challenges and opportunities, regulatory restructuring, mergers and consolidation, supplemental capital, due diligence and vendor management. Speakers include:
* Tom Curry, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board member and former Massachusetts regulator; * Gigi Hyland, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) board member and NASCUS/NCUA liaison; * Chip Filson, president, Callahan and Associates; * Tracy Ashfield, residential mortgage lending expert, Strategic Mortgage Solutions; * Richard Hagar, appraiser and real estate specialist; * Tom Candon, NASCUS chair-elect, Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration; and * Parker Cann, NASCUS Credit Union Advisory Council chair-elect, BECU, Tukwila, Wash.
For more information, use the link.

CU educator to share insight on Biz Kid curriculum

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (6/8/09)--Heidi Knudson, business development officer at Altana FCU, Billings, Mont., will share with peers at the National Youth Involvement Board’s (NYIB) 2009 Annual Conference her insight on the curriculum that accompanies the Emmy-nominated “Biz Kid$” financial education television program. Knudson, who has applied lessons from the Biz Kid$ companion curriculum in Montana middle school classrooms, is part of a comprehensive youth-focused agenda set for the Aug. 3-6 conferece, which meets at the Tempe, Ariz., Mission Palms. The session, “Turning Middle Schoolers into Biz Kid$,” will build on momentum for Biz Kid$, which is funded solely by credit unions and is aired on more than 97% of public television stations. Earlier this year, the Washington Credit Union Foundation announced to credit unions the availability of an online and CD-based curriculum educators can use to carry the program principles into the classroom. NYIB followed suit by adding “Biz Kid$” as a subject option within its system for collecting credit union classroom presentation data. Other NYIB Annual Conference topics include:
* Marketing to the Dot Com Generation; * Teens in Control: The Keys to a Fear-Free Student-Run Branch; * Cooperative Social Responsibility: A New Youth Marketing Tool? and * Achieving the Possible in Impossible Times.

Global Womens network inaugural forum set

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MADISON, Wis. (6/8/09)--Credit unions worldwide are stepping forward to support the Global Women's Leadership Network, launched earlier this year by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF). The network aims to enable women credit union leaders to connect, communicate and seek confidential advice from their peers around the world. WOCCU and CDF are raising funds for the network to provide women in developed and developing countries with credit union resources to lead economic growth in their communities. Leaders who join the network also will gain access to the peer advisory group online and receive periodic updates on relevant credit union issues for women. Funds raised through the network will allow women credit union CEOs from 10 developing countries to participate in the first Global Women's Leadership Forum, the network's inaugural gathering. The forum will be offered in conjunction with WOCCU's World Credit Union Conference in Barcelona, Spain, July 26-29. To date, women leaders from Afghanistan, Belarus, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Kenya, Macedonia, Mexico, the Philippines and Sri Lanka will join the forum there. Participation in the forum is by invitation only. The forum is designed to tap the leadership experience of women who are credit union CEOs and executive team members, retired credit union executives, credit union volunteers and executives of credit union partner organizations. However, any individual contributing $250 or more to support women's leadership development through credit unions in developing countries automatically becomes a network member. For a list of network members, use the link.

5.4M students learn financial skills thanks to CUs NEFE

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MADISON, Wis. (6/8/09)--In less than a decade, the credit union movement has helped nearly 5.4 million high school students receive financial literacy training through its support of the National Endowment for Financial Education's (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP). This means that about five out of six HSFPP student guides are from America’s Credit Unions. Since the agreement between the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and NEFE took effect during the 1999-2000 school year, the America’s Credit Union logo has been displayed on the program’s financial planning materials, which were distributed to 5,373,000 students nationwide. CUNA, with help from CO-OP Financial Services, has provided monetary support for the continued distribution of the free materials. Credit unions and leagues have worked with NEFE to bring the HSFPP to more than 600,000 students since the 2000-2001 academic year--the first year CUNA began tracking credit unions' participation. “The successful partnership between NEFE and credit unions would not be possible unless CO-OP Financial Services stepped up to the plate and helped provide the funding needed to get this program into the hands of more high school students,” said Mark Condon, CUNA’s senior vice president of business and consumer publishing, whose department supervises the partnership with NEFE. “One of most reliable partners has been CO-OP’s President and CEO Stan Hollen, whose belief in the importance of financial education has never wavered, particularly now when the need to improve the rate of financial literacy has never been more obvious,” Condon added. NEFE developed the program in 1984 in response to studies indicating high school students' lack of financial knowledge as they graduate and move into the “real world.” The HSFPP student guide offers basic instruction to teenagers about such topics as personal finance planning, career/work factors and earnings potential, saving and spending money, investing, using credit wisely, protecting assets and identity, and obtaining and using financial services. It also teaches students to develop and maintain a personal spending and savings plan. The seven-unit program can be integrated into many standard classroom subjects. NEFE offers the program in partnership with CUNA and America's Credit Unions; the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service and participating Land-Grant University Cooperative Extension Services.

Maine league honors CUs community member work

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WESTBROOK, Maine (6/8/09)--Six credit unions were recognized as the 2009 first place honorees of the Dora Maxwell Awards for Social
One of the first-place winners of the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award presented by the Maine Credit Union League is Atlantic Regional FCU, Brunswick. Receiving the award for the $200 million to $500 million asset category from league board member Phil Moreau (left) is Chanel Coulombe, Atlantic Regional board member.
Among the Maine Credit Union League's Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Award first-place recipients was Down East CU, Baileyville. Here Down East CU Senior Vice President Linda Howe accepts the award from league board member Phil Moreau. The credit union's award was in the $50 million to $250 million asset category. (Photos provided by the Maine Credit Union League)
Responsibility and the Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Awards by the Maine Credit Union League. The awards were presented during the league's Annual Meeting & Convention. Six credit unions received first-place and three were awarded second-place spots. The awards are part of a national awards program coordinated by the Credit Union National Association. A Maine credit union has received a first- or second-place award in the national competition in seven of the past 10 years, a national record, said the league. Professionals from the Maine Public Relations Council and Maine Businesses for Social Responsibility judged the state-level awards, which honor credit unions for community and/or member service efforts during the past year. Dora Maxwell first-place award recipients, by asset size category, are:
* $20 million-$50 million: Great Falls FCU; * $50 million-$100 million: Central Maine FCU, Lewiston; * $100 million-$200 million--PeoplesChoice CU, Biddeford; and * $200 million-$500 million--Atlantic REgional FCU, Brunswick.
Louise Herring first-place award recipients, by asset size, are:
* Less than $50 million: Community CU, Lewiston; * $50 million-$250 million: Down East CU, Baileyville.
The state's credit unions counted among their community achievements the past year:
* Fundraising: Maine Credit Unions raised nearly $1 million for various causes including $375,296.59 for the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger, $60,000 for Maine Special Olympics, $55,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network, $50,000 for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program and more. * Voluntarism: Maine credit unions volunteered more than 21,000 hours for community organizations and activities across the state.

Vermont law protecting seniors finances signed

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (6/8/09)--Joe Bergeron, president of the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU),
Attending the signing of the Senior Protection and Financial Services Act by Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas were Joe Bergeron, president, Association of Vermont Credit Unions (third from right); Ann Cummings, chair of the Vermont Senate Finance Committee (third from left); Paulette Thabault, commissioner of the State of Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration (BISHCA) (fourth from right); and Tom Candon, BISCHA deputy commissioner (second from right). (Photo provided by the Association of Vermont Credit Unions)
attended the signing last week of the Senior Protection and Financial Services Act by Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas. AVCU said it supported the legislation. Vermont is the 21st state to enact this type of legislation, AVCU said (Newslines Express June 5). The new Vermont law, passed by the state legislature earlier this year, aims to:
* Protect senior citizens by regulating reverse mortgages; * Certify the legitimacy of persons claiming to be experts in senior citizen financial matters; and * Prevent life insurance scams that use Stranger Owned Life Insurance (STOLI).
STOLI scams occur when an investor buys a life-insurance policy on a senior in exchange for paying the senior a small payment and designating the scamster as the policy’s beneficiary.

UsNet board officers elected

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/8/09)--Universal Sharing Network (UsNet), a credit union service organization owned by New York credit unions, has elected new board officers at a meeting in Albany, N.Y.
Heading up the board are:
* Chair--Mark Pfisterer, president/CEO, AmeriCU CU, Rome; * Vice Chair--Vicki O’Neill, president/ACMG FCU, Solvay; * Treasurer--Edward Paternostro, CEO, Nassau Educators FCU, Westbury (re-elected at the meeting to a new three-year term); and * Secretary--Mark Welshoff, president/CEO, Palisades FCU, Pearl River.
The other UsNet board of directors are:
* Robert Allen, president/CEO, Teachers FCU, Farmingville (re-elected to a new three-year term); * Kevin Brauer, president, Northeast Region, Members United Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill.; * James Doig, president/CEO, Sidney (N.Y.) FCU; * Alfred Frosolone, manager/CEO, Niagara’s Choice FCU, Lockport; * Nancy Kasprzak-Whitmore, president/CEO, Niagara County’s FCU, Lockport; * William J. Mellin, president/CEO, Credit Union Association of New York; * Christine Peters, CEO, Family First of NY FCU, Rochester; and * Bruno Sementilli, president/CEO, Quorum FCU, Purchase.
UsNet is a partner of network provider, CO-OP Shared Branching, which offers participating credit unions and their members access to more than 3,700 credit union service centers nationwide.