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CUs reach out to media on interchange

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MADISON, Wis. (6/8/10)--Credit unions and leagues nationwide are ramping up their media efforts to inform lawmakers and others about the adverse affects an interchange amendment--included in pending regulatory reform legislation--would have on credit unions and consumers. They, along with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), oppose the adoption of an interchange provision in the reform bill--which would allow the government to set interchange fees--because it would be costly for credit unions and their members. CUNA and the leagues also are sponsoring a national fly-in this week, asking credit union advocates to make personal visits with their lawmakers in Washington, D.C., on the issues involved. Other actions by state credit union leagues:
* Pat Drennen, Iowa Credit Union League board chair, wrote an op-ed piece, “Consumers on losing end of debit card legislation,” that was published in the Des Moines Register Friday. Drennen wrote the piece with Roger Claypool, Iowa Bankers Association board chair. * The next Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA)-sponsored segment of Pennsylvania Newsmakers will discuss the financial reform bill. During the discussion, Rick Wargo, PCUA executive vice president and general counsel, and Mike Wishnow, senior vice president of communications and marketing, will explain what interchange fees are and how the proposed amendments would affect consumer access to debit and credit cards. The show is slated to air today, Wednesday and on Saturday on local Pennsylvania stations (Life is a Highway June 4). * The West Virginia Credit Union League jointly wrote a letter to the House of Representatives with the West Virginia Bankers Association about interchange. The Ohio Credit Union League is running advertisements about interchange in Sunday’s Columbus Dispatch and Cincinnati Plain Dealer.

NYIB announces recipients of 2010 scholarships

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MADISON, Wis. (6/8/10)--The National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) has selected eight credit union professionals for its annual scholarships, aiding the volunteer network’s objective to promote leadership development related to youth services and financial education. The awards cover conference and education fees. Five winners will go to the NYIB 2010 Annual Conference July 26-29 in St. Louis; one to The 1 Credit Union Conference, hosted by the Credit Union National Association and the World Council of Credit Unions July 11-14 in Las Vegas; and two to the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) Credit Union Development Education (CUDE) Training program. Winners will be recognized at the 2010 NYIB Annual Conference. Delegate of the Year and Volunteer of the Year also will be announced. Three credit union professionals received NYIB Regional Scholarships:
* Kim Beaulieu, community education specialist at Jeanne D’Arc CU, Lowell, Mass., East Region Scholarship; * Jennifer Remes, marketing coordinator at Arsenal CU, Arnold, Mo., Central Region Scholarship; and * Cori Frauendiener, director of education partnerships at MaPS CU, Salem, Ore., West Region Scholarship.
Colin Ryan, financial literacy coordinator at the Vermont Credit Union League, South Burlington, Vt., will attend the NYIB Annual Conference on the Robert L. Curry Scholarship and Award. Ryan’s involvement fits closely with the principles of leadership development exemplified by award namesake Robert L. Curry, former president/CEO of CUNA Mutual Group. Another NYIB Conference participant--Leticia Icmat of Shreveport FCU, Shreveport, La.--will attend with the “Serving the Underserved” Scholarship. The award recognizes individuals working with credit unions that serve low-income or underserved markets. Theresa Hilinski, training director at Virivia CU, Philadelphia, will attend The 1 Credit Union Conference, this year’s combination of the America’s Credit Union Conference and the World Credit Union Conference. Kelli Martin, business development representative at Chesterfield FCU, Midlothian, Va., and Lisa Farnen, vice president of marketing at Electro Savings CU, St. Louis, will participate in CUDE Training organized by NCUF, which hosts the next session Aug. 11-18 at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island, Wash. For more information, use the link.

Wegner Award nominations due June 18

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WASHINGTON (6/8/10)--The Herb Wegner Memorial Awards nominations are due June 18. Winners will be recognized at the 23rd Annual Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner, presented by the National Credit Union Foundation on Feb. 28, in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference. All credit union system employees and volunteers are encouraged to nominate visionary individuals and organizations they feel deserve the credit union movement’s highest national honors. The awards include:
* The Individual Achievement Award, which honors an unsung hero for innovative concepts and/or accomplishments that have made a significant impact on the national and/or international credit union movement within the past 10 years--or now have a significant potential impact. Nominations must cite a specific subject of achievement. Examples include financial literacy, service to the unserved or 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 movement. * The Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors an individual who has dedicated his/her life to promoting credit union philosophy. 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 movement.
Nominations can come from individuals and/or organizations. To make a nomination:
* Obtain the Wegner Awards brochure and nomination form (use the link): * Complete the nomination form; * Gather at least five letters of recommendation, citing examples of the nominee’s achievements relevant to the award criteria; and * Submit forms and letters electronically to: Josie Collins, Resource Development & Donor Relations Director at jcollins@ncuf.coop by June 18. Only electronic copies will be accepted. If you have questions about the nomination process contact Josie Collins at 800-356-9655, Ext. 4397.

NY to add five to CU Hall of Fame today

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/8/10)--Five individuals were added to the Credit Union Association of New York’s Hall of Fame today at the association’s annual meeting and convention in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Inductees include:
* Ralph “Art” D’Amico, who began his credit union career in 1951 as a cost accountant at Marathon Paper Company. While there, he took the initiative to form a credit union for its employees. He also became its first treasurer. When the company moved out of the area 12 years later, the credit union had to be liquidated. Because of D’Amico’s leadership, the credit union was able to pay a 19% dividend to the membership. D’Amico then was manager of Nestle Employees FCU--now Empower FCU--until his retirement in 1982. He also served in several elected positions for the Association’s Central New York Chapter Council. * Gregory DeVito, who has been part of Special Metals FCU since its inception in 1961. While working for Special Metals Corp., DeVito was the credit union’s part-time manager, then took on the manager role full-time. In 2007, he retired from the credit union, but continues to serve on its board of directors. * Geno Gizzi, who began managing of Rome FCU 40 years ago. Gizzi’s contributions include mentoring young credit union leaders, a trustee and treasurer for the association’s political action committee, and as a Utica-Rome Chapter council member for over 30 years--12 years as council president. * Paul Infantino, who began his career in 1962 as assistant treasurer for the former Rochester Telephone FCU (now The Summit FCU) and ascended to the position of general manager, which he held for 21 years. Under his leadership, the credit union grew from 2,400 members and one cashless branch with $1.4 million in assets to over $100 million in assets. Infantino also served 10 years on the credit union’s board of directors. * Robert Witty, who began his career with CFCU in 1969 as an assistant manager when the credit union had only one office, 2,000 members and $3 million in assets. When he took over as CEO 15 years later, the credit union had grown to $39 million in assets with 16,000 members. Under Witty’s leadership, the credit union grew to $600 million in assets and 60,000 members. Witty plans to retire later this year.
“Each of these individuals made credit unions their life work,” said Association President/CEO William J. Mellin. “The success and stature of their respective credit unions today can be traced back to their dedication to and involvement in all aspects of the credit union movement throughout their years of service.”

Mellin named to CU House Board

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/8/10)--William J. Mellin, president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of New York, was appointed to the board of directors for Credit Union House (CU House). Charles Elliott, president/CEO of the Mississippi Credit Union Association, assumes the chairmanship due to the departure of John Dill, former president of the Credit Union Association of Colorado. Other board directors include:
* Vice Chairman Dick Ensweiler, president/CEO of the Texas Credit Union League; * Secretary Brett Thompson, president/CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League; and * Treasurer Patrick LaPine, president/CEO of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions.
CU House is a permanent presence for credit unions on Capitol Hill. It is a welcoming embassy for credit union visitors in Washington, D.C., and a grassroots advocacy tool. “Hike the Hill” receptions and other events are held there. The house was constructed through efforts of state credit union leagues, the American Association of Credit Union Leagues and the Credit Union National Association. It is sustained by credit union and other individual contributions.

IWSJI CUs more wholesome alternative to banks

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NEW YORK (6/8/10)--Credit unions are positioning themselves as “a more wholesome alternative” to banks beset by bailouts and scandals, and as a result are seeing growth, The Wall Street Journal said Saturday. The Journal spotlighted better rates, lower fees, and attentive service at credit unions, compared with banks on many products. “With their fatter yields and lower fees, credit unions are having little trouble attracting depositors these days,” wrote Jane J. Kim in an article titled, “Credit Unions: A Better Bet Than Banks?” “Credit unions are seeing big growth in their deposits, as their share of the total U.S. household savings climbs,” Kim added. “Credit unions’ share of the total household-savings market climbed to 10% in March, from 9.5% a year earlier, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the Federal Reserve, the National Credit Union Administration and the Treasury Department.” However, credit unions haven’t gone completely unscathed by the financial crisis, Kim wrote. Many are experiencing higher loan losses, while several corporate credit unions sustained large losses in mortgage-backed securities. “We have been collateral damage just like everyone else,” Bill Hampel, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association, told the Journal. “Even the good, old-fashioned standard conventional mortgages were severely affected by the sharp declines in home prices.” At credit unions, consumers can find and get more yield on their money or reduce their interest payments in the areas of deposits, mortgages and home equity lines of credit, auto loans and credit cards, Kim wrote. The article mentions Summit CU, Madison, Wis., for its lower fees and great service, and Otero FCU, Alamogordo, N.M., for it deposit growth. Otero has seen growth of 8% to 10% in the past year. To read the article, use the link.