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Cheney CUs can do more small biz lending

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NEW YORK (7/30/10)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney took another opportunity to advocate for increased member business lending in an article in Bloomberg Business Week Thursday. Credit unions are lending--but they can do more, Cheney emphasized. CUNA supports lifting the lending caps on credit unions’ assets, currently at 12.25%, and the group's new CEO has been featured in a variety of publications since taking the CEO position on July 5. Cheney said if the cap was raised to 25% of assets, credit unions could provide $10 billion in lending to small businesses, which could create 108,000 new jobs in the next year. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 9.5% from 9.7% in May, Bloomberg noted. Companies with fewer than 500 workers employ about half the working population and account for 60% of gross job creation, the publication added, citing Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Michigan league trains 85 new financial counselors

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LANSING, Mich. (7/30/10)--Eighty-five credit union financial educators participated in a program July 15-16 that was offered by the Michigan Credit Union League. The program aimed to help the educators work toward a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor status. The educators represented 34 credit unions. The training sessions took place at University of Michigan CU in Ann Arbor. Instruction was provided by Kathryn Greiner, director of credit at U of M CU; Beth Blanco, budget counselor at U of M CU; and REAL Solutions Field Coach Mark Lynch. A National Credit Union Foundation’s REAL Solutions program grant funded 20 of the training opportunities. The self-study program began in April and will end in October. It will be enhanced by live group support, networking and testing provided by the Michigan league. “This program will put more trained personal finance experts in the field to help Michigan’s credit union members and to strengthen our communities,” said David Adams, president/CEO of the Michigan league. Using CUNA’s Credit Union Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP), participants who complete the program and tests will be designated as Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors. FiCEP includes two parts of four learning modules each. The modules are:
* Introduction to Financial Counseling; * Financial Counseling Essentials; * Special Issues in Financial Counseling; * Using Communication Skills During Financial Counseling; * Taxes, Insurance and Investments; * Controlling Living Expenses and Understanding Consumer Credit; * Matching Values to Money; and * Retirement and Special Issues.
For more information, use the link.

CU System brief (07/29/2010)

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* NEWARK, N.J. (7/30/10)--The attorney general of New Jersey, Paula Dow, said she will not investigate the fatal police shooting of a credit union CEO from Atlanta. Defarra “Dean” Gaymon, former CEO of Credit Union of Atlanta, was shot and killed by a police officer July 16 in a Newark, N.J., park known for public sex acts (Associated Press July 29). The officer said in a statement that Gaymon had threatened him after the officer tried to arrest him for unlawful activity (News Now July 22). The New Jersey state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union had requested last week that Dow open an inquiry into Gaymon’s death. Dow stated that there is no indication of conflict with the Essex (N.J.) County prosecutor’s office, which handled the case ...

Irish league CU review an opportunity

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DUBLIN, Ireland (7/30/10)--The Irish League of Credit Unions has welcomed the appointment of independent consultants to conduct a review of the credit union sector in Ireland. Kieron Brennan, CEO of the Irish League of Credit Unions, said he sees the review as an opportunity to strengthen the credit union movement, and allow it to take a more influential position in Irish society (IrishTimes.com July 28). Brennan said that there were increasing bad debts across the credit union movement. However, he reassured members that their savings are safe. “On the whole I think we would expect the review to find that credit unions are safe, strong and secure,” he told the newspaper. “But, I have to say, the movement is a large and diverse one with 500 credit unions north and south, and we would expect that not all of those will necessarily be operating to the peak level of efficiency.” Brennan was unable to say exactly how many credit unions were in financial trouble, but said that across the whole movement, up to 13% of the 6.8 billion euros ($8.9 billion) it had lent to customers were bad debts, according to the paper. “Let’s be clear there are increasing bad debts across the credit union movement,” he told the paper. “We wouldn't argue with that. We’ve seen those figures, they are a concern.” In comparison to other financial institutions, credit unions were in good shape, Brennan added. "Credit unions have performed extremely well throughout this financial crisis,” he told the paper. “In sharp contrast to the banks, they have not had to be bailed out … and no single cent of taxpayers’ money has gone into credit unions.” The Central Bank and Financial Regulator Wednesday announced the appointment of Grant Thornton to conduct the new review, which was requested by Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan.

Ohio CU opens new location after tornado destruction

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PERRYSBURG, Ohio (7/30/10)--Less than two months after a tornado destroyed its Millbury, Ohio-based office, Woodco FCU is up and running in its new Perrysburg location as of July 19. “The new place is very nice, much nicer than before,” Juanita Zunk, Woodco CEO, told News Now. “We miss the old place and the people there. It will take some time getting used to the new location. It’s a very positive move for the credit union. We’re more centrally located in Wood County now, so that’s a positive thing.” A June 6 tornado destroyed Lake High School in Millbury, southeast of Toledo, which housed the credit union. The credit union, led by Zunk, immediately activated its disaster recovery plan and was up and running within days in temporary space at CanDo CU, three miles away in Walbridge (eLumination Newsletter Jul 28). Back-office operations were set up in CanDo CU’s conference room, and front-line services operated out of a vacant position on the teller line and dedicated drive-thru lane. Several area credit unions and the Ohio Credit Union Foundation stepped in to offer assistance in the aftermath of the disaster. Woodco FCU has $9 million in assets.

WOCCU board unanimously approves CUDE resolution

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WASHINGTON (7/30/10)--Following the lead from the United Nations designating 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, the World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) board of directors unanimously passed a resolution--underscoring the cooperative nature of credit unions--by Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) at The 1 Conference in Las Vegas. The resolution was sponsored by Melvin Edwards, the most recent past chair of WOCCU. He participated in a 2009 Development Educator training program to become a certified CUDE. The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) is the primary sponsor of the Development Educator (DE) program. The resolution states that:
* Credit unions designate themselves more closely as financial cooperatives within a wider cooperative sector that includes production and service cooperatives; * The designation as financial cooperative focuses on credit unions’ distinct business model, ownership structure and cooperative principles in preparation for the International Year of Cooperatives and pursuance of increased member advantages and benefits; * Based on the track record of the DE movement--2,500 DEs from over 60 countries--its international structure and representation, that DEs participate as a key resource in the educational component role necessary to articulate and highlight credit unions’ role as financial cooperatives within the larger cooperative system; and * The 97 countries where credit unions thrive and serve should be urged to have their respective governments also, in 2011, declare their support and active participation in the 2012 International Year of Co-operatives.

Global womens network gives award to Hollen

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LAS VEGAS (7/30/10)--Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services, has received the first of what will be an annual award for contributions to worldwide credit union women’s leadership development from the Global Women’s Leadership Network, a program of World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).
Kimberley Hester, executive vice president of network services for CO-OP Financial Services (second from right), accepts the first Global Women’s Leadership award on behalf of network supporter Stan Hollen, CO-OP Financial Service’ president/CEO. Joining Hester are, from left, Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, president/CEO of Travis CU, Vacaville, Calif.; Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of San Francisco Fire CU; Susan Mitchell, network chair and CEO of credit union consulting firm Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates, Boulder City, Nev.; and Caroline Lane, senior vice president of business development and marketing for CO-OP Financial Services. (Photo provided by World Council of Credit Unions)
The award was accepted by Kimberley Hester, CO-OP Financial Services’ executive vice president of network services, at a reception for the 2010 Global Women’s Leadership Forum held in conjunction with The 1 Credit Union Conference, the recent joint event co-sponsored by the Credit Union National Association and WOCCU. “Stan Hollen is a key leader within the credit union industry,” said Susan Mitchell, network chair and CEO of credit union consulting firm Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates in Boulder City, Nev. “He believes in developing future leaders-- especially women leaders--throughout the credit union movement. His actions support the network’s vision to provide women with the resources to make a measurable difference in the lives of each other, of credit union members and their communities.” Hollen was recognized for his ongoing support of individual U.S. women credit union leaders, and of the Global Women’s Leadership Network, according to Mitchell. At Hollen’s direction, CO-OP Financial Services sponsored the network’s inaugural golf outing, an event that raised more than $40,000 for the network. “It is with pleasure that I accept this award from WOCCU and The Global Women’s Leadership Network,” said Hollen. “I believe in supporting the credit union industry and leadership development is of critical importance as we face future challenges. It is an honor to know that I have helped to create opportunities for women.” The Global Women’s Leadership Network is designed to foster networking and professional growth for women credit union leaders worldwide. It has seen rapidly growing participation at its annual forum, held earlier this month as part of The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas (News Now July 12).