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CUNA board elects new executive committee members

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MADISON, Wis. (7/19/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Board Friday elected its executive committee members. Members include:
* Vice Chair Mike Mercer--president/CEO of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates; * Secretary--Pat Wesenberg, president/CEO of Central City CU, Marshfield, Wis.; * Treasurer--Dennis Pierce, president/CEO of CommunityAmerica CU, Lenexa, Kan.; * At-Large--Susan Streifel, president/CEO, Woodstone CU, Federal Way, Wash.
Chair Harriet May already ascended to her position June 1 after the resignation of Kris Mecham, but the board voted unanimously to ratify her move to chairman as a demonstration of its faith and confidence. The executive committee will serve through the Annual General Meeting at the Governmental Affairs Conference in February.

CU System briefs (07/16/2010)

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* SACRAMENTO, Calif. (7/19/10)--Teresa Halleck, president/CEO of The Golden 1 CU in Sacramento, Calif., will leave the credit union Aug. 12 to begin a new opportunity with a San Diego-based credit union, The Golden 1 said in a release. Under her direction, the credit union increased its assets to more than $7 billion from $4.2 billion. It also added 19 branches through market expansion and mergers. Halleck has been with The Golden 1 for eight years. The credit union’s board will announce their plans to select Halleck’s successor in a few weeks, the credit union said (Photo provided by The Golden 1 CU) ... * DUBLIN, Ohio (7/19/10)--Nueva Esperanza Community CU, Toledo, Ohio, is nearing the final stages of completion to open its doors to members of the Hispanic community. The credit union was approved by the National Credit Union Administration for its federal share insurance application and low-income designation last month. The Department of Commerce also recently signed its official certificate of authority to commence business in Ohio, said the Ohio Credit Union League (eLumination July 14). Nueva Esperanza (New Hope) Community CU will be the first new state-chartered credit union in Ohio in more than 20 years that serves an area in which more than half of area households are low-income ...

Fraudulent checks with CUs name circulating

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BELLEVUE, Wash. (7/19/10)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) has issued an alert that counterfeit checks are circulating with a credit union’s name on them. The checks bear the name of Qualstar CU, Bellevue, Wash. The counterfeit items display routing number 325081966, which is assigned to Qualstar CU. The items are similar to authentic official checks, but authentic checks are light brown with darkened top and bottom borders, said FDIC. Information about counterfeit items, cyber-fraud incidents and other fraudulent activity can be reported to FDIC’s Cyber-Fraud and Financial Crimes Section. They can be submitted electronically at

Louisiana regulators assessing oil spill impact on CUs

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BATON ROUGE, La. (7/19/10)--Louisiana regulators are preparing to conduct a formal survey of financial conditions impacting credit unions as a result of the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill, said the state’s top financial examiner, Sidney Seymour. “So far, the biggest concern we've been hearing is the domino effect from the moratorium [on off shore oil drilling],” said Seymour in detailing the watch-and-wait stance of the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions in measuring the fallout on banks and credit unions, according to the Louisiana Credit Union league (eNews July 15). As with the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and others and now with the BP spill, the agency joined with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and the banking agencies to urge the regulated institutions to provide prudent financial assistance to customers and members impacted by the catastrophe, Seymour said. On Wednesday, NCUA joined with the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Comptroller of the Currency in a statement stressing that financial institutions “are encouraged to work with their customers and consider measures to assist creditworthy borrowers affected by the Gulf oil spill. Such measures can help customers recover financially and be better positioned to honor their obligations.” The league is asking Louisiana credit unions to contact the league and notify it if a credit union and/or members are being affected by the disaster. The league said it has resources available to help credit unions such as compliance information, strategic planning and others.

Filene Research Institute raises funds for NCUF

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WASHINGTON (7/19/10)--There is a way for credit unions to help their members, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) and the Filene Research Institute all at the same time. During July, the Filene Research Institute will make a $200 donation to NCUF’s general fund for every purchase of Filene’s Debt in Focus program. The program is an online financial assessment tool that encourages people who are intimidated by traditional financial counseling programs to get the help they need. So far, through beta testing by 200 credit unions and the addition of 150 licenses sold in June, more than 250,000 consumers have used the program to understand what they need to do to control their debt. A one-year license for the Debt in Focus is $1,199, while Filene members pay only half that amount ($599). Filene will put the funds raised from sales toward future innovative work that will benefit credit unions. For NCUF to receive a $200 donation from Filene with the purchase of each Debt in Focus license in July, the orders must come from the resource link below.

Minnesota league presidents column dispels CU myths

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (7/19/10)--Mark D. Cummins, Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) president/CEO, and regular columnist in Finance & Commerce newspaper, recently wrote off common misconceptions about credit unions. In a column titled, “Busting the ‘myths’ about credit unions,” Cummins took issue with the “inaccessible” and “inconvenient” labels that are often placed on credit unions. “For years, credit unions have been considered a ‘best kept secret’ of the financial services industry--it’s time for that to change.” Cummins said. “As credit unions emerge from the financial crisis safe and sound, we need to tout our strength and educate consumers on the credit union difference.” Cummins thwarted three myths in his July column:
* Myth No. 1: Credit unions are not convenient; * Myth No. 2: You must be part of a workers’ union to become a member; and * Myth No. 3: Credit unions are not sophisticated.
On the issue of convenience, Cummins discussed the widespread availability of Internet banking, which includes online account access, bill-pay, e-statements and other services. He also touted Shared Branching, which provides credit union members with a nationwide branch network of more than 4,000 locations. Channeling “credit union 101,” Cummins explained various types of credit union fields of membership when tackling the myth about accessibility and eligibility. “While no credit union can serve every member of the general public, I am confident that every consumer in Minnesota can find a credit union that they are eligible to join … without having to jump through hoops,” he wrote. “And no secret handshake, I promise.” Cummins also refuted the stigma that credit unions are not sophisticated by listing many of the products and services offered by today’s financial cooperatives. “Aw shucks--folks looking for a down-home, inexperienced credit union will have to keep searching,” Cummins said, noting that most credit unions are “full-service, robust financial institutions that have a broad range of product offerings--including investment services, small-business loans and retirement planning.” He concluded by encouraging consumers to consider credit unions for car loans, mortgages or high-yield savings options. To read the column, use the link. During the financial crisis, credit unions have been the subject of positive media attention from several national media outlets such as The Huffington Post, The Wall Street JournalI and The New York Times, according to the Credit Union National Association.

Four directors re-elected at NY CU association

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ALBANY, N.Y. (7/19/10)--Four directors were re-elected to positions on the Credit Union Association of New York’s board of directors at its recent annual meeting.
Click to view larger imageThe Credit Union Association of New York recently elected its board of directors. Pictured are, from left, (seated) Secretary Laurie Baker, The Summit FCU; Ann Hynes, St. Pius X Church FCU; Marie Betti, Western New York FCU; and Vicky Matteson, Jamestown Area Community FCU. Standing from left are John Prumo, GPO FCU; Michael Tobler, Albany Firemen’s FCU; John Gibardi, Entertainment Industries FCU; Chair Alfred Frosolone, Niagara’s Choice FCU; Vice-Chair Louis Jimenez, Montauk CU; Treasurer William Spearman, Mid-Hudson Valley FCU; Mark Pfisterer, AmeriCU CU. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of New York)
Re-elected to three-year terms were:
* Laurie Baker, senior vice president/chief operating officer, The Summit FCU, Rochester; * Alfred Frosolone, CEO, Niagara’s Choice FCU, Niagara Falls; * Ann Hynes, president/CEO, St. Pius X Church FCU, Rochester; and * Michael Tobler, president/CEO, Albany (N.Y.) Firemen’s FCU.
The board’s current slate of officers were re-elected for one-year terms:
* Board Chair Frosolone; * Vice-Chair Louis Jimenez, CEO, Montauk CU, New York City; * Secretary Baker; and * Treasurer Bill Spearman, president/CEO, Mid-Hudson Valley FCU, Kingston.
Other board members include:
* Marie Betti, treasurer/CEO, Western New York FCU, West Seneca; * John Gibardi, president/CEO, Entertainment Industries FCU, New York City; * Vicky Matteson, manager/CEO, Jamestown (N.Y.) Area Community FCU; * Mark Pfisterer, president/CEO, AmeriCU CU, Rome; and * John Prumo, president/CEO, GPO FCU, New Hartford.