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Charges filed against robbers who stole 250000 from CU

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MUNCIE, Ind. (7/28/09)--Formal charges were filed last week against two individuals who allegedly stole $250,000 from an Indiana credit union. John Repass and Stanley Dewayne Wills have been charged with felony armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and theft in connection with a May 27 robbery at Industrial Centre FCU. The two allegedly stole $250,355 from the Muncie, Ind., credit union (Star Press July 26). Wills is still at large. Repass recently was arrested in Midvale City, Utah. Police are working to extradite him from Utah, the newspaper said. Wills and Repass allegedly entered the credit union around 1 p.m. Wills took the female employees to the vault, while Repass took the male employees to a back room. After taking money from the vault, the robbers fled in a car driven by Wills’ girlfriend. The woman, Maranda Conley, was arrested June 16. Police seized a garbage bag full of money from her residence. Industrial Centre FCU has $39 million in assets.

Laid-off CU employees form networking group

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APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (7/28/09)--Like credit unions, former credit union employee Clara Gaston's motto is 'people helping people,' and she believes that her motto should not change just because she no longer works for High Desert FCU. Gaston and about 11 other former employees of High Desert FCU in Apple Valley, Calif., who were laid off earlier this year, have used this motto when they formed a networking group to help other laid-off individuals with job leads and resources. The group is called the Sisterhood of Support, or the S.O.S Ladies (Daily Press July 27). The S.O.S Ladies meet once a month to discuss their situations and cope with unemployment. For one group member, Maxine Callaway, a former assistant branch manager at High Desert, a loss of income is just one part of her pain. She told the Daily Press that she misses the members. Since the group’s formation, one member has found employment, which is encouraging, the group told the newspaper. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) placed High Desert FCU into conservatorship in October by the National Credit Union Administration. Last month, NCUA approved Alaska FCU’s purchase of certain assets and assumption of shares and certain liabilities of the credit union. Alaska USA FCU, Anchorage, now serves High Desert members (News Now June 19).

Fraudulent checks circulating with CUs name

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MEADVILLE, PA. (7/28/09)--Fraudulent checks bearing the Meadville (Pa.) Area FCU name and a distorted logo are being mailed to various individuals nationwide. The check is made payable to the individual in the amount of $2,950.00 with a date of July 9. The item is printed on burgundy check stock and at first glance may appear valid. However, a closer look reveals that MidAtlantic is misspelled and other items are placed in the wrong locations on the face of the check (Life is a Highway July 27). The checks are accompanied by a letter from Greenwater Mystery Shopping. The recipient is asked to complete certain tasks within 48 hours. A request to call its office is listed first. Then, the recipient is asked to go to a local Sears or Wal-Mart and send a money gram to someone in Canada. Meadville Area FCU is gathering evidence to assist the U.S. Postal Investigators in their pursuit of the perpetrators. Anyone with relevant information should contact the credit union.

IWashington PostI CUs offer better rates fees

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WASHINGTON (7/28/09)--Credit unions offer higher savings rates, lower fees and great personal service when compared with bigger banks, said the Washington Post Sunday. Although big banks also want consumers’ business, they are alienating customers by charging higher fees and employing more stringent lending standards, the newspaper said. Even as competition for business increases, the bigger banks, such as Bank of America and Wachovia, continue to raise fees, the Post added. However, credit unions are different, the paper said. It also pointed readers to the Credit Union National Association’s website and research. “Credit unions focus on their members (and almost anyone can join one),” the Post said. “According to a study by the Credit Union National Association, credit unions charge an average of $25 for overdrafts; banks charge an average of $30. “To find one, check out the Credit Union National Association’s site. You may be eligible to join one where you work or live or because a family member belongs,” the paper added.

CU System briefs (07/27/2009)

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* BUFFALO, N.Y. (7/28/09)--The Summit FCU, Rochester, N.Y., is acquiring Kenton FCU, Tonawanda, N.Y. Kenton members voted in favor of the merger Thursday. The resulting credit union will have 10 branches and more than 59,000 members. The Summit also will gain $11.8 million in assets as a result of the merger. All Kenton employees will join The Summit and will begin doing business under The Summit Oct. 1 (Buffalo News July 25). Kenton serves American Axle and O Cello Sponge Corp. employees and employees of other companies in Buffalo, N.Y. Kenton has $11.8 million in assets. The Summit has $427 million in assets ... * HONOULU (7/28/09)--Ariel Chun, University of Hawaii FCU president/CEO, is set to retire at the end of the year (Honolulu Advertiser July 24). The credit union has created a search committee for Chun’s replacement. University of Hawaii FCU has $57.5 million in assets ... * MERIDEN, Conn. (7/28/09)--The Credit Union League of Connecticut’s Small Task Force has authorized the availability of ten $500 scholarships to cover the cost of registration for the league’s 2009 leadership conference Sept. 11-13. To be eligible, credit union representatives must be from a credit union with less than $20 million in assets and be affiliated with the league. The scholarships will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. One scholarship will be given per credit union, the league said ...

CUs are superheroes says IN.Y. TimesI blogger

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NEW YORK (7/28/09)--With the current financial crisis gripping the U.S., credit unions are stepping up like superheroes to offer better financial rates to the public, which has lost trust in large financial institutions, said an economics professor Monday in a New York Times blog. “Credit unions always seemed like Dullsville to me,” wrote Nancy Folbre, economics professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. “I never bothered to check out the interest rates, much less the governance structure of credit unions I was eligible to join. “But in the wake of the financial crisis, they began to look more like Clark Kent, who turned out to be Superman,” she continued. “When the big American banks started sucking up to funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, credit unions, with many fewer subprime mortgages on their balance sheets, started looking really good.” Conservative lending practices and a nonprofit status have bolstered credit unions during the financial crisis, and have allowed them to “offer higher interest rates to savers and charge lower rates to borrower than banks do,” Folbre added. When she called a local credit union, Folbre was told she could get a 4.09% annual interest rate when she opened a checking account if she agreed to cost-saving measures such as setting up an automatic payroll deposits, regularly using a debit card and receiving only electronic statements. “This is more than 10 times better than what I was getting in my Bank of America checking or savings accounts …” Folbre wrote. “Some small banks offer similar deals, and the benefits are often capped. “Still, moving my money to the UMassFive College FCU made me feel at least briefly superhuman,” she concluded.

PCUA partners with Credit Union Student Choice

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (7/28/09)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) has partnered with Credit Union Student Choice, a credit union service organization that provides private student lending services to more than 80 credit unions nationwide. Credit Union Student Choice currently works with eight credit unions in Pennsylvania. “As students and parents look to fund the gap between government-sponsored lending and the rising cost of higher education, the demand for private student loans continues to grow,” said Jim McCormack, PCUA president/CEO. “Coupled with the fact that the federal government is making broad changes to the federal student lending program and it is apparent that the student lending opportunity for credit unions falls in private student lending.” Credit Union Student Choice, launched in May 2008, also works with six credit unions to build custom graduate private student loan programs for several business schools nationwide--including the University of Pennsylvania.

Fox Crear call for personal leadership during econ crisis

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BARCELONA, Spain (7/28/09)--New levels of leadership and responsibility from all credit union executives will be key to helping the global credit union movement overcome the global economic crisis while maintaining its member service advantage. That was the message from two Monday speakers at the World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) World Credit Union Conference in Barcelona, Spain.
Click to view larger image Credit union representatives need to find their leadership within, said Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico and credit union supporter, during Monday’s general session at the World Council of Credit Unions’ World Credit Union Conference in Barcelona, Spain. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
“We need to discover our leadership within and commit ourselves to others,” said Vicente Fox, who spoke during the keynote address at the conference. He is a former president and Mexico and a credit union supporter. Prosperity leads to democracy, and credit unions contribute significantly to increasing prosperity, especially in developing countries, Fox added. “Credit unions are defined by two words: performance and purpose,” he said. “You perform well because you are a system strengthened by purpose, which is the key ingredient of the credit union movement.”
Click to view larger image Pete Crear, World Council of Credit Unions president/CEO, told attendees of the 2009 World Credit Union Conference that credit unions’ return on investment is in members served, and not in dollars earned.
Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO, echoed Fox’s thoughts. He encouraged credit union executives and volunteers to stay true to serving members. Given the global economic situation, members have never needed their credit unions more, and there are frequent indicators that the principles driving the credit union movement also have strengthened its performance, he said. “Credit unions are about people, not profits,” Crear said. “Our return on investment is never fully measured in dollars earned, but in members served, and in many cases, lives saved as a result of those efforts.” The conference kicked off Sunday with a Young Credit Union People workshop and a gathering of 80 leaders from Africa’s savings and credit cooperative movement. An opening ceremony and welcome address by WOCCU Chair Melvin Edwards also was held. “We are in service to a higher purpose of helping people worldwide gain financial strength and stability,” Edwards said. “Let us conspire here in Barcelona to solidify and strengthen the revolution of hope among the members we serve. Our mission going forward is to secure access to cooperatively owned financial institutions for all those who need and want it.”