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Point Loma CU helps migrant children learn

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. (7/16/08)--Point Loma CU (PLCU) is assisting the San Diego County Office of Education’s Migrant Education Program, which is designed to help migrant children’s academic achievement. The Migrant Education Program helps local schools offer unified education programs, incorporating early childhood education, parenting, adult literacy and basic financial education. Participating schools can customize program elements to their area’s specific needs. “We are proud to support the migrant education program because we help members achieve financial stability by bringing families together,” said Nora Parker, PLCU's Oceanside branch manager. PLCU will inform migrant families about the financial services available to them, with a focus on alternatives to the payday lenders and check-cashing services many migrants feel are their only options. In addition, the credit union will conduct free financial education seminars, in English and Spanish, for students and their parents. PLCU also offers international money transfer services at a substantially lower cost than commercial services. “The migrant community is a vital instrument to the county’s agricultural economy, and we want to do what we can to help them improve their lives,” said Parker. “It’s part of our philosophy of ‘people helping people.’ PLCU is a $470 million asset, San Diego-based credit union with more than 59,000 members and 15 branches.

Study CUs should market to Gen X Y through e-mail

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BOSTON (7/16/08)--Credit unions looking to market to members of Generations X and Y may want to reference a recent study indicating that e-mail is one of the most effective ways to reach them. Aite Group surveyed a group of 500 consumers to see in which channels--e-mail, online, at the ATM, or on their cell phones--they would most like to receive marketing offers. While nearly six in 10 consumers said they are open to receiving offers from at least one of four common marketing channels, four in 10 said they would like to receive special offers and coupons through e-mail, Aite said. Gen X demonstrated the strongest interest--53%--in e-mail marketing, followed by Gen Y at 47%. Baby boomers are less interested, and senior citizens demonstrate the least interest in being contacted through e-mail for marketing purposes. "While a surprisingly high number of consumers are open to receiving marketing offers, financial services marketers must take certain measures to capitalize on the opportunity," said Ron Shevlin, senior analyst with Aite Group and report author. “They must develop channel preference models, integrate marketing technologies and improve consumer trust in e-mail.”

CU System briefs (07/15/2008)

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* PEWAUKEE, Wis. (7/16/08)--The Wisconsin Credit Union League has launched an informational website for StretchPay, the Credit Union Salary Advance Alternative. StretchPay is an alternative to payday loans and the special line-of-credit loan helps members obtain affordable short-term credit (The League News July 7). Wisconsin had more than 524 payday lenders that made 1.7 million loans totaling $733 million last year, an increase from 2006, which had 500 payday lenders making 1.6 million loans totaling $661 million, the league said ... * WICHITA, Kan. (7/16/08)--Jim Holt, CEO, Mid American CU, was featured in a “Good Advice” blog column of the Wichita Eagle July 10. Holt was featured along with two other local business people. He described seven ways Mid American serves members who come to the credit union with a problem. “First, we always remember that our members are our owners, so we are working for them. Second, we always offer a sincere apology. Third, we ask them how they would like us to solve the issue that is making them unhappy. Sometimes they don’t want us to do anything, they just want us to know they are unhappy. [Fourth] we attempt to fix the problem. Fifth, we do something extra by giving them a gift card for allowing us the chance to fix the problem. Sixth, we follow up to make sure the problem is solved and give them direct contact if they have a future problem. Seventh, we ask for their continued business,” he said ... * HARRISBURG, Pa. (7/16/08)--Cornerstone FCU, Carlisle, Pa., was granted a community credit union charter. The credit union previously had an employer/association-based charter. The new charter opens membership to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school or conducts business in Cumberland County and the borough of Shippensburg. Family members of those in the country and borough also can join (Life is a Highway July 10). “The growth opportunity offered by this charter change allows Cornerstone to retain our ‘down on the corner’ approach to meeting personal and small business service needs, while allowing for county-wide diversification,” said Sam Glesner, Cornerstone board president ... * CANTERBURY, N.H. (7/16/08)--The New Hampshire Credit Union League’s Eighth annual Richard D. Mahoney Credit Union Charity Golf Tournament in June raised $70,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire. The event, coupled with 11 years of fundraising by the league’s credit unions, brings the total amount of money raised to the charity to $1.053 million ...

Pa. CUs share ideas on coping with high gas prices

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HARRSIBURG, Pa. (7/16/08)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) recently solicited ideas from credit unions and employees on gas-saving policies and other transportation cost-cutting efforts. Rising energy costs can cause stress on employees, and even impact worker productivity, PCUA said. By listening to employees, providing education on managing finances, being creative and thinking non-traditionally, employers can be leaders in helping employees (Life is a Highway July 15). Some examples of what Pennsylvania credit unions are doing to ease the gas pinch:
* Employees of AT&T Employees Pittsburgh, Pa. FCU are compensated $2 for each day they work. They are reimbursed on a monthly basis. The new benefit was implemented Jan. 1 and will be ongoing. * Incol CU, Old Forge, has adjusted its monthly staff meeting schedule. Rather than asking all employees to drive to the main office for the meeting, information packets are sent out to branch employees in advance. The meetings are then conducted via conference call--which also has reduced expenses for the credit union, because food was provided for the in-person meetings. *Timberland FCU in DuBois and Clearfield purchases large quantities of fuel cards for area gas stations. The credit union gets a 5% discount. These cards, in turn, are sold to employees at the discount. The credit union also received permission to resell the cards to members as a fundraiser. A $50 gas card is being sold for $48.50, and $1 goes to charity for each card sold. * Employees at Viriva Community CU, Philadelphia, have worked to better coordinate trips between the credit union’s five branches. Teresa Hilinski, Viriva marketing manager, says staff from various departments used to make their own trips to branches. Now, items are gathered from departments and sent with the next person making a trip. The credit union is enforcing carpooling among employees when staff meetings are held at one location. * PCUA also is considering options for staff. Management appointed a six-person task force to research and provide recommendations on what could be done to help employees. The committee has submitted a report to management for consideration.

CUNA Councils offer social networking through Connect

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MADISON, Wis. (7/16/08)--The CUNA Councils have launched CUNA Councils Connect, a Facebook-like tool that allows council members to find information, advice and solutions about credit unions through connections with more than 4,600 credit union professionals.
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“CUNA Councils Connect has taken off faster than any of us anticipated,” said Christopher Morris, Councils Web manager. The free site is “like a list serve, bulletin board, membership directory, guide to consultants and vendor reference all rolled up and turbocharged,” said Joe Brancucci, Council forum chair and executive vice president of BECU, Seattle. Features include:
* A directory with extensive member profile information including: contact information, asset size, number branches and employees, more than 130 areas of expertise, and 32 broad categories of industry suppliers; * A unique “people map,” which allows members to find others visually; * Online discussion forums, where members can or start their own unique group around a focused and targeted issue; * Real-time chat functionality between members; and * Blogs.
“CUNA Councils Connect allows me to reach out and identify peers with very specific characteristics--such as members in California of a certain asset range who have experience in product development and evaluation,” said Anne Legg, chair of the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council and vice president of marketing, Cabrillo CU, San Diego. “It’s extremely powerful and it’s a huge time saver. We can have an online dialogue and compare notes.” About 1% of associations use Web 2.0 tools, according to Associations Now Magazine. “Web 2.0 and social networking technology is about bringing people together and making connections,” said David Rohn, vice president of CUNA Councils. “CUNA Councils Connect allows credit union professionals to collaborate and network across a broad network, but in very focused ways. The result is a resource that offers executives assistance with day-to-day issues and provides support for long term successes.” For more information, use the link.

WOCCU keynoters Accountability transparency crucial

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HONG KONG (7/16/08)--Global economic and social uncertainty bring with them the opportunity for credit unions to prosper through
Pete Crear, World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) president/CEO, opens Monday's general session at the WOCCU World Credit Union Conference in Hong Kong. (Photos by Patrick Leung)
increased service to more members. Add to that the movement's transparency and responsibility to those members, and it's clear credit unions will continue thriving by doing the right things for the right reasons, according to World Council of Credit Union's (WOCCU) chief executive and a former U.S. legislator. Pete Crear, WOCCU's president/CEO and former U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes, co-author of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, mandating increased financial accountability from publicly held companies, opened Monday's educational sessions at WOCCU's World Credit Union Conference at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. The conference runs through today. Both shared insights and observations on why credit unions remain among the best and most ethical member-service alternatives. “History has shown us that the stability offered by credit unions in both developed and developing nations can help buoy struggling
Paul Sarbanes, former Senator and co-author of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, spoke at the World Council of Credit Unions' World Credit Union Conference in Hong Kong. "Credit unions' focus is always on its members. That's your purpose and your mission, and that's why I've been so supportive of credit unions over the years," he told attendees.
populations and set unsettled economies on a more even keel,“ Crear told more than 1,300 attendees from 48 countries gathered for the annual event. “Countries whose populations formerly were characterized only by groups of ‘have-nots' and ‘have-mores' have achieved greater economic balance through credit union development, enabling people to support their families and approaching a social equanimity that can lead to peace and relative prosperity,” he added. Credit unions worldwide have helped foster a “new age,” as global economic realignment is altering the strength and prosperity of many nations, Crear said. Developing countries especially have made great strides economically and socially, creating broader free-market access in which more people are able to participate. Credit union movements in many countries have helped stabilize economies and foster growth, he added. Citing evidence from WOCCU's newly released 2007 Statistical Report, Crear noted that credit unions have continued to grow,
Credit Union National Association President/CEO Dan Mica speaks at the World Council of Credit Unions' World Credit Union Conference in Hong Kong. In his speech, Mica noted that credit unions' transparency and accountability can serve as lessons to other financial service providers.
with more than 49,000 credit unions serving more than 177 million people worldwide last year. That's an increase from 46,000 credit unions serving 172 million members the year before, an increase that shows that the credit union ideal is working, he added. Sarbanes, who was introduced by Credit Union National Association President/CEO Dan Mica, himself a former Florida legislator, supported Crear's assessment, noting that credit unions' transparency and accountability can serve as lessons to other financial service providers. Sarbanes also had a strong response to Crear's “state of the credit union movement” address, including examples of credit unions in post-conflict environments like Afghanistan, where employees put themselves at physical risk to serve members. “I was very moved by Pete Crear's outline of what credit unions
A view of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak, where the Supporter's Reception of the World Council of Credit Unions' World Credit Union Conference was held this week.
worldwide are doing,“ Sarbanes said. “I think credit union principles are basic and fundamental and I commend you for holding to your principles when there is so much pressure to stray from the path.” The former legislator also drew a connection between the tenets of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation and credit union principles. Service to members and the accountability such service demands falls in line with the legislation's mandate, he added. “Credit unions' focus is always on its members. That's your purpose and your mission, and that's why I've been so supportive of credit unions over the years,” Sarbanes added. “That's also what makes your mission of ‘quality credit unions for everyone' so important.”