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Corporate America CU CEO Bonds resigns

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IRONDALE, Ala. (7/5/12)--Corporate America CU (CACU) President/CEO Thomas Bonds has resigned, announced CACU's board of directors Tuesday.

Bonds joined the staff at the Irondale, Ala.-based corporate in 1998, and has served as president/CEO the past 11 years.  Under his leadership, CACU suffered no losses--either to their membership capital shares or paid-in-capital, said the board's announcement.

Prior to CACU, Bonds was an examiner for corporate credit unions and principal examiner for natural person credit unions with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). He is licensed as both a certified public accountant and an attorney in Alabama.

"It is clear that the corporate credit union industry is changing," said Bonds. "As such, I believe I can better use the skills I have acquired over the past 25 years to assist credit unions with brokerage services."

Dan Buckley, senior vice president of risk management at CACU, will serve as interim president/CEO, while a search begins for a successor to Bonds, said Board Chairman Steve Nix. Buckley joined CACU in 2010. Prior to that he worked 25 years as corporate field supervisor for NCUA.

CU System brief (07/03/2012)

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  • SOUTH BEND, Ind. (7/5/12)--Jeanette Kehrli Moeller, a former chairman of the board at Teachers CU, South Bend, Ind., died June 27 in South Bend. A former teacher, she was 85. Moeller was elected to the board at the $2 billion asset credit union in 1974. She served as board chairman from 1989 to 1998, and was a board member with the Indiana Credit Union League for three years. She was with TCU until 2011, by which time it had grown into the largest credit union in the state (South Bend Tribune June 29) …

Catalyst Western Bridge Corporates complete consolidation

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PLANO, Texas (7/5/12)--Catalyst Corporate FCU completed its consolidation with

Western Bridge Corporate last weekend. The conversion has been underway since early this year.

During the weekend, Catalyst Corporate's final conversion activities included transferring core items, billing, wire services and Internet connectivity.

"Each phase of this very complex conversion process has gone smoothly," said Catalyst Corporate President/CEO Kathy Garner. She said 315 Western Bridge members made the transition as capitalizing members.

Credit unions transitioned services such as automated clearinghouse (ACH), remote deposit and check processing. Catalyst Corporate's daily check processing volume jumped from 420,000 items a day in April to nearly 700,000 items daily in June, including one day with more than 1.2 million checks processed.  Catalyst also has converted 57 credit unions to its ACH origination service, 135 to its ACH receipt service, and 81 credit unions with nearly 4,000 securities onto its new safekeeping system.

Comedian named N.M. CUs spokester

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (7/5/12)--The Credit Union Association of New Mexico announced it has a new Young & Free "spokester."

Anthony Almanzar, a broadcast journalism major at the University of New Mexico and a budding comedian, was chosen from 12 candidates to become the Credit Union Association of New Mexico's second Young & Free spokester. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of New Mexico)
Anthony Almanzar, a broadcast journalism major at the University of New Mexico and a budding comedian, was chosen from a group of 12 candidates who applied for the position.

The association, which sponsors the program, surprised Almanzar with the news that he had won the competition on a local morning radio show where he was on air to tout an upcoming comedy appearance.

Almanzar will use social media, videos, blogging and personal appearances to attract 18- to 25-year-olds to become credit union members. During his one-year tenure, Almanzar will have the use of a car to help him spread the credit union message. He also will receive a Mac laptop, a video camera and iPhone.

Almanzar, the second Young & and Free spokester sponsored by the association, succeeds Michelle Peterson.

Western Pa. CUs report text scams

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (7/5/12)--Members of credit unions in western Pennsylvania have reported receiving text and cell phone messages informing them that their credit cards are being deactivated, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA).

The recipients are asked to call a number in the 724 area code and provide requested account information (Life is a Highway July 3).

Sue Jackson, CEO of Family First FCU in New Castle, Pa., reported the scam to the New Castle News.

This is an example of a smishing (texting) scam, similar to phishing, PCUA said, in which an e-mail is sent to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. Once thieves have personal account information, they can steal from the accounts, charge purchases to credit cards, and access other personal information.

"Unfortunately, we hear about incidents like this more and more," said Sheba Wallish, manager of PCUA's Card Services. "The best thing credit unions can do is to continually educate their members on what to do in this type of situation, and that they should never give out their account number to an unknown party. Also, let members know that the credit union would not call them asking for account information."

Credit unions should advise members who believe they are victims of identity theft to notify the credit union immediately, PCUA said. Victims also should report incidents to the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Ohio CU chapter cash mobs a business

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (7/5/12)--The Central Ohio Credit Union Chapter hosted its second in a series of cash mobs--an event in which people are encouraged to descend on a small business and spend money.

Hosted at The Peanut Shoppe, a long-standing small business in downtown Columbus, Ohio, a steady stream of downtown workers and credit union mob supporters helped bring dozens more customers to the shop, according to The Columbus Dispatch (June 22).

On a day with similar weather conditions, the shop had only one customer arrive between 11 a.m. and noon. On June 21, the shop served 30 customers at that time, the shop's owner told the newspaper.

The chapter said it hopes to see continued success each month because supporting local business is important to the mission of all credit unions, said the Ohio Credit Union League (E-Lumination Newsletter June 27).

The chapter has future cash mobs planned for a nursery, a restaurant, a chocolate shop and several other businesses.

16 polled in Georgia Owning a home no longer a goal

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DULUTH, Ga. (7/5/12)--A Georgia Credit Union Affiliates' (GCUA) survey showed that a growing number of Georgians are putting off home ownership, reflecting a nationwide trend.

More than 16% of respondents to GCUA's 2012 Mid-Year Consumer Poll said that while owning a home used to be important, it is no longer a current goal.

Respondents indicated several factors affected their attitude about home ownership:

  • 37.8% cited earning less income;
  • 47.8% cited paying down debt; and
  • 47% cited the national economy as the reason for their shift.
Consumers nationwide are taking a cautious approach to homeownership, said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae, upon the release of Fannie Mae's May 2012 National Housing Survey.

"Our May consumer data show that Americans are taking a 'wait-and-see' approach about buying or selling a home," Duncan said. "This is not surprising given their assessment that their income during the past 12 months and their personal financial expectations for the next 12 have leveled off."

Although consumers may be putting off their house purchases, another survey showed that home ownership is still a long-term goal for consumers. A recent survey by Better Homes and Gardens indicated that eight out of 10 respondents still feel owning a home is an important part of the American Dream.

Polly Bell, president of MEA FCU, Columbus, Ga., has not seen a significant shift in attitude toward owning a home. "It's still the average person's basis for building future wealth," Bell said. Suppressed home prices and historically low interest rates have combined to help make the dream of home ownership more attainable, she added.

MEA FCU, with $61 million in assets, is not financing as many home loans as before recession, but it is receiving more requests to refinance or combine home equity loans and first mortgages at current low rates, Bell said.

MCUE CU loans and savings grow in May

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MADISON, Wis. (7/5/12)--Credit union loans grew at the fastest pace in nearly three years, and loan growth should continue in the near future, a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) economist said in his analysis of CUNA's Monthly Credit Union Estimates (MCUE) for May.

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"Credit union loans grew by 0.54% in May--a 6.5% annualized rate--and the fastest monthly increase since August 2009, when the federal cash-for-clunkers program was in full swing," Mike Schenk, CUNA vice president of economics and statistics, told News Now.

"Loan growth outpaced the 0.21% growth in savings balances--2.5% annualized--in the month. As a consequence, the movement's aggregate loan-to-savings ratio increased from 67.1% in April to 67.3% at the end of May--the second straight month that reflected an increase," Schenk said.

"Seasonally strong borrowing should bring a continuation of this pattern in the coming months, which--all else equal--should have a positive influence on credit union bottom-line results as short-term, liquid investments yielding close to zero are replaced with higher-yielding assets," he added.

Credit union loans totaled $592.7 billion in May, compared with $576.3 billion in May 2011.

Used-auto loans and adjustable-rate mortgages led loan growth, each with a 0.8% increase, according to the MCUE. Fixed-rate mortgages and new-auto loans rose 0.7% each. Credit card loans were up 0.6%, unsecured personal loans grew 0.1%, and home equity loans fell 0.5%.

Asset quality--credit unions' 60-plus-day delinquency rate--deteriorated, but only marginally as dollar delinquencies inched up from 1.42% in April to 1.44% in May, Schenk said. The increase represents the first increase after four consecutive months of decline.

"Going forward, we expect continued, though slow, improvement in economic conditions, with a continuation of labor market improvement, marginal income gains and more loan growth. If that scenario plays out, credit unions should expect a re-emergence of the trend of improving asset quality," he explained. "More important, the improvements are likely to push the expected aggregate delinquency rate back down near the 1% long-run norm by 2013."

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Earnings,or return on assets (ROA), declined slightly from an annualized rate of 0.96% in April to 0.83% in May, Schenk said. Overall, credit unions collectively posted a 0.80% ROA in the first five months of 2012--0.86% in full year 2011 (0.68% with corporate stabilization expense).

The movement's overall capital-to-asset ratio increased, to 10.15% at the end of May from 10.11% in April, Schenk added. The total dollar amount of capital is $104 billion.

Credit union savings in April totaled $880.9 billion--or $51.7 billion more than the $829.2 billion in May 2011. Credit union savings balances grew 0.2% in May compared to a 0.6% decrease in April, the MCUE indicated. Money market accounts grew 0.8% and regular shares increased 0.7%. One-year certificates fell 0.1%, individual retirement accounts dropped 0.2%, and share drafts declined 1.2%.

"Total memberships passed the 95 million mark for the first time in May," Schenk said. "Membership growth continued at strong pace--though somewhat slower than that recorded in the wake of Bank Transfer Day. Overall memberships increased 0.26% in May, a 3.1% annualized rate, the second-fastest monthly change this year. Since the start of the year, memberships are up 1.2%--2.8% annualized--the third-fastest five-month increase in the past 10 years."