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Spending credit card use online decreases 11

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RYE BROOK, N.Y. (7/24/09)--Overall consumer spending online for the third quarter is projected to decrease 11% to an average $277, reports a new study. That amount compares to an average $255 last quarter and $346 during third quarter last year, says the quarterly eBillme Online Spending Index conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research. The index indicates that "the recession is still impacting consumer spending and payment decisions," said Bruce Cundiff, director of payments research and consulting at Javelin. He noted that 57% of consumers plan to delay purchases because of the uncertainty in the economy. "This is almost a 20% increase from this time last year," he said. Credit unions should note another decline in credit card spending. Of those consumers surveyed, 33% expect their credit card usage to decline during the next 90 days--an increase from 25% during third quarter 2008. Half of the consumers plan to permanently reduce their use of credit cards because of changes in the economy and the new credit card legislation. "There is a visible shift in credit card usage as compared to third quarter 2008," said Marwan Forzley, president/CEO of eBillme, an online banking payment option for consumers and small businesses. "We continue to see evidence of more cash spending on our merchant sites and expect that spending and lifestyle changes will extend far beyond those economic conditions," Forzley added. Other findings:
* Consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 are twice as likely to do their back-to-school shopping online, compared with the overall consumer average of 12%. * Twenty percent of Hispanic consumers indicated they will shop online for back-to-school purchases, which was higher than the overall average.

Man found guilty in wifes death in CU lot

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (7/24/09)--A Knoxville man who was convicted of second-degree murder by running over his wife in the parking lot of a branch at ORNL FCU was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday. Carlos Radale Cornwell, 35, protested the verdict stemming from the death of Leoned Cornwell, 42, on March 5, 2008, at an ATM outside the credit union's East Knoxville branch ( July 23 and News Now March 7, 2008) … Police had said the couple were in a car at the ATM and argued. Leoned Cornwell got out of the car, which backed over her. Prosecutors said the woman was a battered wife who was trying to stash away money to escape violence

Chrysler asks CUs aid on Cash for Clunkers

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LANSING, Mich. (7/24/09)--Chrysler incentives, including the credit union member discount, have been suspended as of Thursday, while the auto maker launches its single Cash for Clunkers campaign. The new program will run through Aug. 31. Invest in America, credit unions' auto incentive program with Chrysler Corp. and General Motors Co. (GM), has a contract with Chrysler through the end of the year. “This move by Chrysler is expected to be temporary as they restructure and get ready for the new model year," David Adams, president/CEO of CUcorp and the Michigan Credit Union League, said. CUcorp, a wholly owned subsidiary of the league, is coordinating the marketing of the Invest in America campaign. "We hope that credit unions will continue to promote Chrysler Cash for Clunkers as well as the GM CU Member discount," Adams told News Now. In the Cash for Clunkers campaign, every consumer shopping for a new vehicle within the timeframe will qualify for up to $4,500 toward the purchase of an eligible, new 2009 Model Year Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicle (Life is a Highway July 23). Consumers with an eligible trade-in could qualify for double the money, or up to $9,000 for a new vehicle. Chrysler asked that credit unions support the offer under the Invest in America program during the campaign. "We will announce many ‘Invest in America’ program enhancements soon, including the expected return of CU Cash from Chrysler,” Adams said. For more details, use the link.

Hit man at CU eligible for death penalty

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (7/24/09)--A hired hit man convicted last week of the murder of a Navy officer outside a Virginia credit union is eligible for the death penalty, a federal jury decided Wednesday. The jury did not decide whether to sentence Runyon to death. A U.S. District Court jury ruled that David A. Runyon, 37, met the criteria to be considered for execution for his role in the April 2007 shooting death of Navy Communications officer Cory Allen Voss, 30, which took place outside a Langley FCU ATM in Newport News. The murder was designed to look like a random robbery that went awry, authorities said (Daily Press July 23). Actual sentencing will be determined in a separate hearing, which will begin Aug 19. The same 12-member jury will decide if Runyon should get the death sentence. Last year, Voss’ wife, Catherine Ann Voss, pleaded guilty to masterminding the plot so she could be with her boyfriend and collect roughly $500,000 in Voss’ death benefits. In November, she was sentenced to four life terms. Police say surveillance footage shows Runyon holding Voss at gunpoint. Voss went to the ATM at about 11 p.m. April 29. His wife reported him missing the next morning, and police found his body in the driver's seat of his pickup truck (News Now Dec. 18).

CU System briefs (07/23/2009)

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* FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (7/24/09)--The Texas Credit Union League announced its Chapter of the Year for 2008. The honors go to the Fort Worth and Big Spring chapters (LoneStar Leaguer July 23). The awards recognize chapters that excel within their asset categories on deployment of a comprehensive project of work touching seven categories: education, credit union fundraising, public relations, chapter involvement, community activism, participation in the Credit Union System and political advocacy … * BELLEVUE, Neb. (7/24/09)--SAC FCU's indirect lending program has shattered its previous record in volume, announced the $370 million asset credit union based in Bellevue, Neb. Its Indirect Lending Department posted $19.5 million in volume in June and $11.4 million in May--a 16% growth over the two-record setting months. The previous record was $11.4 million set in August 2006. Loan quality was not sacrificed and increased to 98% A & B paper. The credit union is on pace for $114 million in new-auto loans this year … * BALTIMORE (7/24/09)--MECU of Baltimore members in June received the first half of an anticipated $4.2 million cash bonus, according to the $956 million asset credit union. The loan interest rebates and extraordinary dividends were deposited into members' accounts June 30. The credit union has paid members a cash bonus every year since 1981. In 2007, the board decided to pay half the bonus in June and the second half in December. "Many of our members are teachers," said Herman Williams Jr., board chairman. By providing part of the cash bonus at the start of the summer, "it gives our teacher members some extra cash when they most need it." MECU President/CEO Bert J. Hash Jr. noted that while some area financial institutions struggled the past year, "MECU has remained well capitalized and ready to help our members with their financial needs in 2009" … * SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (7/24/09)-- STCU CU has named William "Bill" Brothers as president/CEO. He succeeds Gary Fishlock, who retired in June after six years with the $97 million asset credit union. Brothers joined STCU in January 2004 as vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer. Before then, he had more than 32 years experience in finance at two Massachusetts community banks-including vice president positions at Monson Savings Bank and Cohasset Savings Bank. He is a board member of the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the Massachusetts Credit Union League and a trustee of The Credit Union Employees Retirement Association …

Pa. CU on underserved panel at NCSL

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (7/24/09)--A Pennsylvania-based credit union was on a panel discussing the unbanked and financially underserved during the National Conference of State Legislatures in Philadelphia Wednesday.
Discussing the underserved at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) are, from left, Matt Fellowes, PEW Charitable Trust; Mike Sunseri, chairman of NCSL’s Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee; and Randi Marmer, associate vice president of community relations, TruMark Financial CU. (Photo provided by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association)
Randi Marmer, associate vice president of community relations at TruMark Financial CU in Trevose, represented the credit union at the conference. She presented TruMark Financial’s history, membership, products and services. Marmer also highlighted the credit union’s community involvement and discussed its new branch in an underserved area of Philadelphia. The branch brought financial services to an area that had no financial institution for more than 60 years, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Life is a Highway July 23). On Tuesday, the conference backed the credit unions’ position on dual chartering and withdrew resolutions that favored merchants’ interchange fee positions. Chris Johnson, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) vice president of governmental affairs; and Lynn Coard, CUNA director of state advocacy, were both in attendance.

Connecticut governor signs CU student loan act

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MERIDEN, Conn. (7/24/09)--At a bill-signing ceremony Wednesday at Seasons FCU, Middletown, Conn., Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed the credit union-backed bill for a Student Loan Guarantee Program Reserve Fund.
Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Credit Union League of Connecticut President/CEO Tony Emerson posed after Rell signed credit unions' student loan bill into law Wednesday . (Photo provided by Credit Union League of Connecticut)
Twenty-four Connecticut credit unions participate in the program, which offers low interest rates to students who live or go to school in the state and who may not qualify for traditional loans, or who already have used their resources and are having difficulty funding tuition. Rell said that in light of credit unions taking on the risk, the Connecticut Health and Education Facilities Authority (CHEFA) would provide 20% guarantees for the loans. “Credit unions remain healthy in the current economy due to key differences in our structure,” said Tony Emerson, president/CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut. "As cooperative financial institutions, credit unions are not reliant upon the capital markets for funding, but are instead funded through member deposits. Therefore, as the credit crunch hit much of the economy, credit unions by contrast have money that they are ready to lend out to their members," Emerson said. "In addition, it is our mission to help people make credit unions an excellent choice for a program such as Governor Rell’s Student Loan Program,” he added.

Former NCUA Vice Chair Elizabeth F. Burkhart dies

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WASHINGTON (7/24/09)--Elizabeth Flores Burkhart, 74, former vice chairman and the first woman board member of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), died early Thursday morning in Winston-Salem, N.C. She suffered a severe stroke on July 16. An appointee of President Ronald Reagan, Burkhart was sworn in to the NCUA Board on July 22, 1982, to complete the unexpired term of Lawrence Connell, who resigned. She served until her retirement on Aug. 17, 1990. At that time, she was NCUA's longest serving board member. During her tenure, she promoted credit union expansion, service to low income groups through the federal community development credit union program, and student-run credit unions. She worked tirelessly with youth, high schools, colleges and universities in that effort. She also championed international credit union development. "Elizabeth Flores Burkhart was a dedicated public servant who used her many life experiences--in the military, in business and in government--to serve the credit union movement to ensure its safety, soundness and development," said Dan Mica, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association. "Our thoughts are with her family today; we appreciate all of the work she devoted to credit unions during her eight years on the board," Mica said. Before serving at NCUA, she served as associate deputy administrator for information resources management at the Veterans Administration. She arrived in Washington in 1980 as deputy treasurer of the Reagan-Bush Committee. The oldest of 13 children, Burkhart was a former U.S. Marine, teacher, and banker. She is survived by her husband, Jon, and several brothers and sisters.