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Hanscom FCU highlights growth busy year

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HANSCOM AFB, Mass. (7/21/11)--Hanscom FCU had a number of successes during 2010, despite a stubbornly shaky economy, the credit union told members during its 57th Annual Meeting. It ended 2010 with $856 million in assets--an 11% increase--to become the sixth largest credit union in Massachusetts. The Hanscom AFB, Mass.--based credit union's members' share savings and certificates grew by $82.1 million, a 12% increase, as did total membership, to 44.326. A judicious approach to managing members' money and prudence in investments were factors in its achieving a 1% return on assets--double its peer ratio. The credit union ended the year with a net worth to asset ratio of 9.29%, above the 7% minimum required by regulators. "These results are due to thoughtful expense control that does not compromise service," said Paul Marotta, Hanscom FCU board chairman. It also noted its 15th year of providing a year-end loyalty dividend. It paid 2.5% on shares and consumer loans--more than $730,000--on Dec. 31 to members, which, Marotta noted, "isn't an easy thing to do. To make it appear routine is a testament to the people who make up Hanscom FCU and the philosophy of financial responsibility that guides them." In other highlights of the year, the credit union:
* Presented 94 workplace education seminars on topics such as identity theft, financial planning basics and wise use of credit; * Taught eight-week financial management courses to 160 high school students in the JROTC programs at two high schools; * Continued monthly seminars for students at Shriver Job Corps, helping young people prepare for their financial future; * Expanded its Bedford office and established a new full service branch in Boston; * Redesigned its website to feature a rate comparison tool, enhanced ATM and branch locators, and fewer clicks to find information; * Introduced an automatic savings plan so members can save for the down payment on their next vehicle while paying on the current vehicle loan; * Offered members the ability to transfer funds to anyone with an e-mail address or mobile phone number for free with its new online service; * Introduced an online service to help children learn and expand good savings habits; * Expanded its loan discount on hybrid vehicles to include the next generation of green vehicles, including electric and compressed natural gas options; * Offered members an identity theft monitoring service; and * Provided members with an option to skip a loan payment once per calendar year.

CU System briefs (07/20/2011)

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* MERIDEN, Conn. (7/21/11)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA)
President/CEO Bill Cheney addressed nearly 50 Connecticut credit union representatives attending the Credit Union League of Connecticut's Professional Education Series session on CUNA and related industry activities. He discussed the debit interchange legislation and rule, opportunities for credit unions to pursue the issue further, and provided updates on the credit union industry, including challenges such as the loss of revenue resources, regulatory demands of the National Credit Union Administration, National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund assessments related to last year's corporate credit union crisis, and the current positive image of credit unions in the media and with the public. Here, Cheney, left, listens to a point from Tony Emerson, president/CEO of the league. (Photo provided by the Credit Union League of Connecticut) … * CHARLESTON, W. Va. (7/21/11)--Samuel Glenn Garwood, 48, of South Carolina was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Charleston, W.Va., on two counts of robbery at two credit unions in West Virginia. He is charged with stealing $4,191 from Pioneer FCU, South Charleston, on May 26, and $3,460 from Universal FCU, Barboursville, on June 1. If convicted, he faces a prison sentence of up to 40 years and a maximum $500,000 fine (Associated Press Newswires July 20) … * ST. LOUIS (7/21/11)--U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) met with nearly 30 leaders from 18 Missouri credit unions Monday to discuss credit union issues and concerns. The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) hosted the event at its headquarters in St. Louis. At the meeting credit unions thanked McCaskill for her support of the debit interchange amendment delay and discussed member business lending (MBL). S. 509, the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, would raise the artificial cap on credit unions' MBL to 27.5% of credit union assets from 12.25%. MCUA President/CEO Mike Beall outlined the issue, and credit union leaders provided examples and shared concerns and countered banker complaints against the bill. "Your arguments are compelling, and I will give the bill further study," McCaskill told the group. The meeting also addressed supplemental capital, the nation's debt ceiling troubles and the upcoming 2012 Senate race in which McCaskill is running for re-election. "It was an excellent opportunity to thank Sen. McCaskill for her work on behalf of credit unions on the debit interchange delay issue," said Beall, noting MCUA is looking forward to working with her on MBL and supplemental capital issues … * HERNDON, Va. (7/21/11)--Northwest FCU Foundation has awarded 21 students a combined $90,000 through its two scholarship programs, the Ben DeFelice and Central Intelligence Retirees Association (CIRA) scholarships. Recipients include Student Government Association officers, an Eagle Scout, a Silver Girl Scout, outstanding swimming and gymnastics athletes who coach handicapped children, an award-winning student filmmaker, officers of service organizations that raise funds for cancer research, and founders of organizations that bring social awareness and funding for hunger, poverty and other causes. "They all have had a tremendous impact on their communities and those around them," said Gerrianne Burks, front right, chairman of the foundation and president/CEO of Northwest FCU. Pictured are the 2011 scholarship winners with Burks, Foundation Vice Chairman Juri Valdov, and board members Bill Cook and Mary DeFelice. (Photo provided by the Northwest FCU Foundation) …

CUs banks team up to help unbanked in Dubuque

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (7/21/11)--A new coalition of credit unions, banks and community groups has organized to improve the financial futures of Dubuque, Iowa, residents who lack traditional checking accounts.
Click to view larger image Bank On Dubuque organizers met Monday to accept a proclamation from the Dubuque (Iowa) City Council deeming July as "Bank On Dubuque Month." From left: Kevin Shields, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.; Bob Upton, DuTrac Community CU; Tami Rechtenbach and David Klavitter, Dupaco Community CU; Eric Dregne, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque; Paula Connors, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque; and Joe Gonzalez, Health Services CU. (Photo provided by Dupaco Community CU)
The initiative, "Bank on Dubuque" or "Bank On DBQ," offers low- and moderate-income residents free or low-cost checking accounts and access to free financial education. A credit union or bank can help residents avoid costly alternative financial services and protect and build their assets. The "Bank On DBQ" accounts require no minimum balance and offer a second chance for people with previous trouble with banking. Fraud is the exception. Accounts feature:
* No or low opening deposits, monthly maintenance fees or minimum balances; * Direct deposit of paychecks or monthly benefit checks; * Free ATM/debit cards; and * Access to online banking, bill pay and money transfers.
Participants also have access to financial education, including learning how to budget, paying bills on time, or saving for a car or their first home. Eight participating financial institutions--including four credit unions--are funding the effort, with in-kind operational support from the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. The credit unions include Alliant CU, Dupaco Community CU, DuTrac Community CU and Health Services CU. Formed in 2010, the Dubuque effort is based on a national model called "Bank On Cities Campaign," sponsored by the National League of Cities. "Bank on DBQ" is the first such program in Iowa. Iowa has 4.7% unbanked and 16.8% underbanked households, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. With 22,560 households, Dubuque has about 1,000 households that would be unbanked and 4,000 underbanked. The program's 12-month goal is to open 500 new Bank On DBQ accounts, with 80% still open at the end of that period. Organizers hope at least 20% of new clients will participate in the financial education and training, facilitated by the Iowa State University Extension.

Miracle Jeans Day is Sept. 14

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SALT LAKE CITY (7/21/11)--Miracle Jeans Day, supporting Children's Miracle Network Hospitals through Credit Unions for Kids, will be Sept. 14. Individuals or groups can participate in Miracle Jeans Day with a minimum donation of $5. Credit Unions for Kids is the brand under which America’s credit unions fundraise for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The collaborative effort, which is driven by a “people helping people” philosophy, includes individual credit unions; local chapters; state leagues/associations; two national trade organizations; business partners and several trade publications. The program was introduced nationally in 1996 and since that time the credit union movement has raised more than $80 million for affiliated children’s hospitals. Both credit union employees and members can participate in Miracle Jeans Day:
* Credit union employees donate five dollars to the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and, in exchange, they are permitted to wear jeans to work on Wednesday, Sept. 14. * Credit union members donate a dollar to display their name on a special Miracle Jeans Day paper icon in their credit union’s branch.
Credit union employees can participate as groups or individuals. Group participation requires a minimum of five people with a minimum donation of $5 each to receive a Miracle Jeans Day sticker. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is a charity that raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals across North America. As of 2011, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $4.3 billion--most of which is donated a dollar or two at a time. To order icons or merchandise, or for information on participating in Miracle Jeans Day, use the link. Links for league and credit union materials are also provided.

Rejected consumers now can access free credit scores

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (7/21/11)--Starting today more consumers will have free access to their credit scores. New rules require credit unions and banks to tell consumers their scores if their credit applications are denied. They will also have to explain other factors considered in the decision (WBIR July 18). Financial institutions will automatically send out "Risk-Based Pricing Notices” to members and customers who were denied loans. The notices will provide members with their credit scores, the agency that provided the score, how to contact the agency, and factors that may have contributed to a low score said Kimberly Bohannon of UT FCU, Knoxville, Tenn. Bohannon told WBIR that credit scores are somewhat proprietary, depending on the agency doing the scoring and the factors considered in compiling the score. Those are among the reasons they haven’t been easily accessible to consumers. The guidelines are meant to help consumers make better educated decisions about their finances, according to experts. All U.S. credit scores fall somewhere between 300 and 850, according to the credit information group Experian. The average American has a score of around 678. Most lenders consider anything below 620 to be subprime, or below standard.

N.J. CUs launch Phase 2 on muni deposits campaign

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HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (7/21/11)--The New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL) has launched the second phase of a postcard campaign to convince Gov. Chris Christie (R) to sign a bill that would allow the deposit of public funds at credit unions. The bill, drafted by the league, awaits Christie’s signature--after passing both houses of the legislature (The Daily Exchange July 19) The Department of Banking & Insurance has voiced public concern about the bill, joining ongoing opposition from the state’s banking lobby, said the league. The league has set a goal of sending 5,000 postcards to the governor’s office. It has asked the state’s credit unions to encourage employees, volunteers, and members to complete postcards with their names and addresses. The pre-addressed postcards ask Christie to “Let Credit Unions Help Lower Property Taxes.” NJCUL has led multi-faceted grassroots campaign in support of the legislation that has included municipal deposit reform-themed radio spots, two credit union days at the State House, credit union exhibits at various government-related conventions, and 5,000 postcards to legislators.

White paper CUs must replace aging memberships

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EMERYVILLE, Calif. (7/21/11)--A nationwide survey of credit union members indicates that credit unions must replace their aging members and increase loyalty among younger members. The survey results are summarized in a white paper released by myCUsurvey, which conducted the study. The white paper highlights three key areas where credit unions are at risk, and reveals where credit unions offer a unique advantage in the financial services industry. Among the key findings of the survey:
* Credit unions have to replace their aging membership. The white paper reveals that nearly 75% of all credit union members are age 50 or older. It also shows that younger members under age 35 are the least satisfied membership segment. “Clearly the growth opportunity for credit unions lies in their ability to increase satisfaction among younger members to increase membership and promote loyalty,” said myCUsurvey. * The size and location of the credit union is irrelevant. Unlike banks, where customers are concerned with convenience and service as measured by the size of the institution, credit unions have a level playing field. The survey indicates that the size of the credit union as measured by assets or number of branches had no effect on member satisfaction. “The inference is that credit union members are seeking something different from their financial experience, and are looking for a relationship with their institution, not just relationship banking,” said the company. * The in-branch experience is the key to improving member loyalty. Nearly three quarters of all respondents indicated that their last in-branch experience was “excellent,” which indicates that credit union executives have an opportunity to increase member satisfaction and recruit younger members through their branches, said the firm.
“Clearly, this member satisfaction survey reveals that credit union members are seeking something different from their credit union relationship,” said Dr. Jack Bieda, founder of myCUsurvey. “Any organization strives for 100% customer satisfaction, and for credit unions to improve their members’ satisfaction, they have to ask themselves how to engage more effectively with members, especially younger members, to give them the experience they want and keep them coming back.” While tracking demographics and measuring the experience with service and employees are indicators, other factors also drive member satisfaction, according to Bieda. He advised credit unions to assess additional performance factors such as employee knowledge and performance, loan rates, and availability of products and services. Establishing a baseline for satisfaction performance is the first step, which is the purpose of the most recent member satisfaction survey, Bieda said. The myCUsurvey Credit Union Member Satisfaction Survey polled more than 5,000 credit union members nationwide, and is designed to provide a benchmark for myCUsurvey customers to compare their own member satisfaction results. The survey was conducted using myCUsurvey’s integrated Web/interactive voice response system. The survey measured six key areas, including likelihood to recommend, branch satisfaction, service satisfaction, and employee satisfaction. Regional scores are broken into the five National Credit Union Administration geographic zones to make it easier to assess results on a regional basis.