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CU System briefs (06/08/2010)

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* RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (6/9/10)--The California and Nevada Youth Involvement Network (CNYIN), in partnership with the Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation, has named Kern High School District's Regional Occupational Center (ROC), Bakersfield, Calif., and the Delta Academy in Las Vegas, Nev., as 2010 recipients of its School of the Year Award. Each school received $500. The ROC was nominated by Casey Woodruff of Kern Schools FCU, Bakersfield, for its on-campus, student-operated credit union branch, which employs 60 students each year. The Delta Academy was nominated by Colleen Maurer of Silver State Schools CU, Las Vegas, because its economic teacher, Adrianne Young, incorporates the National Endowment for Financial Education's High School Financial Planning Program in all her classes. The award honors a California or Nevada school that excels at providing youth financial literacy to students and has specific plans to continue doing so ... * HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (6/9/10)--Jamie Baillie, president of Credit Union Atlantic in Halifax announced he is a candidate for the leadership of Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative Party. He previously served as chief of staff to former Premier John Hamm, who attended Baillie's announcement. The party will chose a new leader at a convention on Oct. 30. Baillie said he intends to keep his job with the credit union for the duration of the campaign, adding he would resign if he is named party leader. He will use evenings, weekends and vacation time to seek support for his bid (The Canadian Press June 7) ... * WASHINGTON (6/9/10)--Brian McVeigh, senior vice president of Lake Trust CU, Lansing, Mich., has been named to a two-year term on the Board of Directors of Credit Union Student Choice. Officers of the board include: Chairman, Tom Ryan, chief operating officer, Digital CU, Marlborough, Mass.; Secretary, Linda Stephens, vice president of lending, Wright-Patt CU, Fairborn, Ohio; and Treasurer, Tom Berquist, senior vice president, member strategies, BECU, Tukwila, Wash. Other board members are Peter Schmitt, president, Total Member Care, a PSCU Financial Services company; Charles "Chip" Filson, president, Callahan & Associates; and Jon Jeffreys, president, Credit Union Student Choice, a credit union service organization that provides turn-key private student lending services for credit unions ... * LANSING, Mich. (6/9/10)--Frederick L. Mills of Higgins Lake, Mich., died June 6 at the age of 85. Mills was president of Lansing Community CU for 25 years. He worked with the Board of Water and Light for more than 38 years, retiring as superintendent of fleet services. He is survived by three children and five grandchildren. A graveside service will be held Friday at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens, Lansing (Lansing State Journal June 8) ...

Hamden FCU Wepawaug Flagg FCU to merge

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HAMDEN, Conn. (6/9/10)--Two Hamden, Conn.-based credit unions have agreed to merge, with Hamden FCU joining Wepawaug Flagg FCU, pending approvals from members and regulators. The credit union will operate under the Wepawaug Flagg name. Hamden FCU Chairman and CEO Kevin Shields said the credit unions wanted to provide expanded services to members. Another key factor in the decision was the increase in regulations in the past few years, he said (Euclid Infotech June 5). The merger is expected to close on June 30, according to Michael Hinchey, president/CEO of Wepawaug Flagg FCU. There are no plans to close branches, and the credit union hopes to retain Hamden FCU employees, he said. Chartered in 1962, the nearly $7 million asset Hamden FCU has an office in Hamden and one at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven serving more than 1,800 members. Wepawaug Flagg FCU, established in 1936, serves more than 30 select employer groups, including certain municipal employees of New Haven and the Board of Education employees in Hamden and Cheshire. It has nearly $64 million in assets and serves more than 10,500 members.

MnCUN praises international partnership with Paraguay

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ASUNCION, Paraguay (6/9/10)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) issued a formal salutation to the credit unions of Paraguay at the Central de Cooperativas del Area Nacional (CENCOPAN) International Seminar on June 2-3. The salutation expressed support of Paraguayan credit unions and CENCOPAN, and admiration for the cooperatives’ successes in providing financial services. The statement was presented to conference attendees at this eighth annual event. “We greatly value the ongoing relationship between MnCUN and CENCOPAN, and look forward to continuing our regular exchanges to further benefit credit unions in both Paraguay and the state of Minnesota,” said MnCUN President/CEO Mark D. Cummins. Now entering its seventh year, Cummins characterized the partnership to be “as important as ever.” MnCUN and CENCOPAN have been linked since 2004 through the World Council of Credit Unions’ International Partnerships Program. The Partnership Program is designed to allow an exchange of knowledge, information and experiences between developed and developing credit union movements. Formed in 1994, CENCOPAN is located in Asuncion, Paraguay, and provides its member credit unions with services similar to those offered by trade associations and corporate credit unions in the U.S. Dr. Modesto Segovia Boltes, CENCOPAN president, expressed agreement with Cummins’ statement during a dialogue in 2009. He said that as a landlocked country, international partnerships are new in Paraguay but that CENCOPAN has been very successful in forging these relationships. “Credit unions have the highest profile and highest awareness within the cooperative sector [of Paraguay],” Boltes said. “Having an international partner, especially in the U.S., has certainly helped…and that projects a forward-looking image. Frankly, our organization is the envy of other co-ops.” Minnesota credit union professionals representing MnCUN have traveled to Paraguay each year to meet with their credit union counterparts, resulting in meetings both educational and enjoyable. Through these exchanges, participants have learned about the international credit union movement and used the experience of U.S. credit unions to make improvements in the legislative and regulatory environments of Paraguayan credit unions. Technology has been another main focus of exchanges, including internships coordinated in both countries. “As Minnesota and the entire U.S. face numerous challenges today, credit unions remain strong and are frequently viewed as a solution to the financial issues confronting Americans today--not the source of the problems that have arisen,” Cummins said. “We hope that all credit unions--both nationally and internationally--will continue to be regarded as safe, sound and secure financial institutions.”

NASCUS leadership regional meetings this week

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CHICAGO (6/9/10)--The Board of Directors and Credit Union Executive Council of the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) will join NASCUS management for association business meetings this week in Chicago. The board and executive council will meet Thursday and Friday to discuss NASCUS' budget for fiscal year 2010-11, as well as regulatory reform, examination issues and other organization business. The NASCUS Board and executive council meet in person three times a year and conduct periodic conference calls. Also, NASCUS Chairman Tom Candon of Vermont will host a regional regulator meeting today with state regulators from six states at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The meeting is the last of the year in an annual series that aims to provide small group settings for state regulators to discuss regional and national issues of mutual interest. Today's agenda includes proposed rules, pending legislation and examination issues. State regulators attending also can share state-specific issues. "Given the level of activity on the legislative and regulatory fronts, this in-person dialogue comes at a perfect time as we continue to shape our association response and activity with regard to current events in the credit union system

Suspects face death penalty in guards murder

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DETROIT (6/9/10)--The trial of a suspect in a 2001 robbery--in which an armored-truck guard was killed while delivering cash to the main office of Dearborn FCU (now DFCU Financial)--began Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in Detroit. Timothy Dennis O'Reilly, 36, faces the death penalty for the murder of Norman "Anthony" Stephens during the Dec. 14, 2001 holdup, which netted more than $200,000 in cash and remained unsolved for years (The Detroit News June 8). Two co-defendants, Norman Herbert Duncan and Kevin C. Watson, also will face the death penalty, prosecutors said. A fourth defendant, Earl L. Johnson, was sentenced to life in prison after a jury convicted him of conspiracy, bank robbery, and aiding and abetting a murder. The robbery at the credit union's ATM was the first of three similar armored-truck robberies. The others occurred at Comerica Bank in Detroit in June 2003 and in February 2004. In the last robbery, a guard fired back and one robber, Eddie Cromer, died. Duncan was arrested near the scene. O'Reilly and Duncan had worked for Guardian Armored Security Services, which was targeted in the 2003 and 2004 robberies. The case received a major break six months after the last robbery, when an inmate where O'Reilly was incarcerated on an unrelated charge tipped off the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that O'Reilly was bragging about the robbery and had named the other suspects. The FBI had the inmate tape a conversation in which O'Reilly again bragged about the robberies, said The Detroit News. Michigan was the first state to ban capital punishment in 1847, but the state can still impose the death penalty for federal capital crimes such as murder during a bank robbery.

Heacock elected to CUNA Board

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MADISON, Wis. (6/9/10)--Roger Heacock has been elected to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Board. Friday was the deadline for the special election for the District 5, Class B position. Johnson Lambert & Co. LLP has certified the results of the election. CUNA received three nominations for the seat. They included:
* Heacock, president/CEO, Black Hills FCU, Rapid City, S.D. * William Jacobs, White Sands FCU, Las Cruces, N.M.; and * Angela S. McCathran, People's Trust FCU, Houston.
District 5 includes Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. The seat was held by former CUNA Chairman Kris Mecham, who resigned effective June 1 to perform mission work in Mongolia for his church. Heacock’s term will begin immediately and will expire at the adjournment of CUNA’s 2013 Annual General Meeting.

Tornado-damaged CU in new site

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MILLBURY and WALBRIDGE, Ohio (6/9/10)--A tornado-damaged credit union in Ohio should be up and running today thanks to the generosity of a nearby credit union. Woodco FCU in Millbury, Ohio, sustained major damage Saturday when a tornado touched down destroying significant portions of the high school where the credit union was located, said the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Monday. The $8.9 million education-based credit union was closed and no one was injured inside the credit union. NCUA staff was onsite Monday assisting as needed. Millbury, Ohio, is a small town located southeast of Toledo. CanDo CU in nearby Walbridge, Ohio, an $8.8 million asset credit union, is providing a temporary location for Woodco FCU. “Hopefully they’ll be up and running today Wednesday or Thursday,” Mark Sommer, CanDo president/CEO, told News Now. “Their back office staff is set up in our conference room.” Also, new data lines have been installed, an unused teller window made available, and a second drive-through terminal designated for Woodco members. CanDo has an “open-ended arrangement” to provide space for Woodco as long as is needed, Sommer added. Nearly a dozen Ohio credit unions of all sizes--some with $500 million to $600 million in assets--offered to help Woodco, Becky Hart, vice president of communications for the Ohio Credit Union League, told News Now. “The Ohio Credit Union Foundation is offering disaster recovery assistance--even as basic as office supplies [to Woodco],” Hart added. “One credit union is sending office supplies, and others are sending a large ‘goody box.’” NCUA said it is assisting the credit union and its members affected by the tornado. As necessary, NCUA will:
* Encourage the credit union to make loans with special terms and reduced documentation to affected members; * Reschedule routine examinations if necessary; * Guarantee lines of credit for the credit union through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund; and * Make loans to meet liquidity needs through the Central Liquidity Facility.

ICNNI cites CUs as good source for cards

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NEW YORK (6/9/10)--Credit unions are an alternative for consumers who are looking for a good deal on credit cards, CNNMoney.com said Monday. CNN cited a recent op-ed piece by two Harvard University doctoral students who discussed a study they conducted about investor-owned banks versus member-owned credit unions. “They found that credit cards from credit unions were less likely to charge fees and penalties that big banks do,” CNN said. “And when fees are involved, those fees are less. “Credit union cards actually offer lower annual fees and longer grace periods than regular cards,” CNN added. The article also told readers to go to www.creditunion.coop to find a credit union in their area or to call the Credit Union National Association at 800-358-5710. To read the article, use the link.

New Md.D.C. ad campaign kicks off

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COLUMBIA, Md. (6/9/10)--The Credit Union Cooperative Advertising Campaign, coordinated by the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association (MDDCCUA), has begun with radio ads, metro bus advertising, a Facebook page and other social media. The campaign effort has a wide scope to ensure area consumers are aware of credit unions as an alternative to banks, according to MDDCCUA President Mike Beall. The regional campaign runs through July 31, with a primary audience of women 25-54 years old and Generation Y. Ninety contributors, including credit unions in Maryland, the District of Columbia and northern Virginia, the Virginia Credit Union League, MDDCCUA chapters and other business partners, are supporting for the campaign. A Hart Research poll conducted in late 2009 indicated that nonmembers lack awareness of credit unions and don’t believe they are eligible to join. The association’s campaign was developed using the poll data and other research from member credit unions, the Filene Research Institute and a Generation Y focus group. Components of the $170,000 campaign include:
* Radio ads in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas which will run on roughly 20 stations; * A website, WhatsInItForMe.org, which includes a consumer quiz, testimonials, and a credit union locator; * Social media, with a campaign on Facebook; and * CU Toolkits, with collateral materials branded to reflect the campaign. They include tent signs, Web graphics, art for brochures and individual credit union names on the WhatsInItForMe.org website.

Cheney to address The 1 CU Conference

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MADISON, Wis. (6/8/10)--Bill Cheney will speak at The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas July 12--his first official conference as CEO of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Cheney will become CUNA’s president/CEO on July 5. He will speak at 9 a.m. with World Council of Credit Unions President/CEO Pete Crear to welcome attendees. The conference will offer attendees 30 breakout sessions including:
* Youthful Products for a Younger Membership; * The Current Economy and Future Trends: An Industry Update; * 10 Tips for Increasing Technology and Operational Efficiency; * Mobile Banking: What People Have Learned From Being on the Cutting Edge; * Coping with a Growing Compliance Burden: What Credit Unions Need to Know; and * Using the Power of Social Networking to Build Your Credit Union.
Also, registrants who sign up for CUNA’s Executive Series by June 15 can win dinner with Jim Collins, best-selling author of “Good to Great.” The Executive Series is an exclusive learning and networking series for credit union CEOs and executives. Attendees will participate in educational sessions prepared with credit union leadership issues in mind. For more information, use the link.

Leagues have scholarships to WOCCUs Spanish program

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MADISON, Wis. (6/9/10)--Four state credit union foundations and leagues have created scholarships so employees from their member credit unions can participate in the World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) Spanish Immersion Program.
Click to view larger image Amy Klassen, (middle) community outreach manager at Denver Community CU and a participant in the 2009 World Council of Credit Unions Spanish Immersion Program, is pictured with her host parents in Costa Rica. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
Participants in the program are fully immersed in Spanish language lessons and Hispanic culture, while also spending time working at local credit unions and exploring their marketing strategies. The program provides participants with insight to better serve Hispanic consumers at their home credit unions. This year’s program, which begins Oct. 2, is in San José, Costa Rica, where participants will receive four hours of Spanish-language instruction at a certified language school with an emphasis on business and financial terminology. Each participant is classified according to skill level, from beginner to native Spanish-speaker. Participants can apply what they learn from language classes in a real-world setting while living with a pre-screened Costa Rican host family. The host family will provide a private room and all meals to the participant, along with the experience of being a part of a Hispanic family. Participants can choose either a one- or two-week session priced at $1,800 and $2,600, respectively. Those who register before June 30 will receive a $100 early bird discount. State credit union foundations and leagues offering program scholarships are:
* The Texas Credit Union Foundation, which is offering three scholarships for 80% of the total registration fee for the program. Contact Courtney Nickles at cnickles@tcuf.coop or 800-953-8283 for more information. * The Credit Union Association of New York, which is offering two half scholarships for the one-week program for its members. Contact Allison Barna at allison.barna@cuany.org or 800-342-9835 ext. 8134 for more. * The Arizona Credit Union Foundation, which is offering one full scholarship including airfare for the one- or two-week program. Contact Sandy Watts at swatts@azcreditunions.org or 602-264-6701 ext. 202 for information. * The League of Southeastern Credit Unions, which also offers scholarship opportunities. Contact Laura Vann at Laura.Vann@lscu.coop for details.