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Four CU board members running for Maine House seats

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PORTLAND, Maine (8/2/10)--Four credit union board members are running for seats in the Maine House, according to the Maine Credit Union League. The league board said it endorsed the candidacies of three recently--two incumbents and one newcomer--and a fourth before the spring primary, the league said in its newsletter (Weekly Update July 30). The candidates from credit unions are:
* Rep. Herbert Clark, a long-time legislator and vice chair of the board at Katahdin FCU, Millinocket; * Rep. Michael Lajoie, who is up for a second term and is board vice chair at Lewiston (Maine) Municipal FCU; * John Picciotti, board chair of KSW FCU, Waterville, who is running for an open seat; and * Ken Fredette, board member of Sebasticook Valley FCU, Pittsfield, and the only board member who was involved in a primary race.
"We are very fortunate to have credit union board members serve in the legislature, advocating on behalf of credit unions and our issues," said John Murphy, league president. He noted it was important to support credit union candidates early on. The league's political involvement committee will meet Aug. 11 to consider the majority of legislative candidates for endorsement, he said.

VolCorp forum focuses on innovate impact change

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (8/2/10)--Volunteer Corporate CU (VolCorp) will host its annual forum Aug. 19 in Nashville. The day will feature presentations by Kelley Parks, Matt Davis and Joe Calloway. They will speak on Innovate, Impact and Change, the forum’s theme to help members develop new ideas for their credit union. Parks, the creative catalyst of gira{ph}, was the 2008 CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council’s Marketing Professional of the Year. She has served as a member of Filene Research Institute’s i3 team. Parks will show attendees how to make the most of a marketing budget during tough economic times in "How Low Cost Guerilla Marketing Can Really Work." Parks will share the internal and external changes at her credit union after it rebranded and reached 90% of its potential membership. Davis, of the Filene Research Institute, is an adviser specializing in implementation. He will speak about "The Magic of Doing", which will look at common innovation barriers from a human-centered design perspective and make the case that inaction can be riskier than action. Participants will learn how to sell ideas, how to build effective innovation teams, and why the public is counting on the magic of “doing.” Calloway is a partner in Engage Consulting Group and the author of best-selling business books including, Becoming a Category of One and Indispensable. He will be speaking on “Minds Wide Open: Creating a Mindset of Everyday Innovation, Ideas and Improvement.” Minds Wide Open is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, while creating differentiation and a competitive advantage. VolCorp’s Annual Meeting will be held with Forum ’10. Members will hear about VolCorp’s accomplishments during the past year, its future direction and board election results.

CU System briefs (07/30/2010)

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* WASHINGTON (8/2/10)--Tom Glatt has departed Realtors FCU as CEO, as of Sunday. Glatt was named CEO of the new Internet-based credit union on Dec. 15, 2008. He is a 20-year veteran of the credit union movement, previously serving as CEO of Continental FCU, Tempe, Ariz., and in executive positions with OnPoint Community CU (formerly Portland Teachers CU), Portland, Ore.; First Financial FCU, West Covina, Calif; and 66 FCU, Bartlesville, Okla. News Now will carry a full story in Wednesday's edition ... * SACRAMENTO, Calif. (8/2/10)--The Golden 1 CU, based in Sacramento, announced Friday that Donna Bland has been named interim president/CEO, effective immediately. Bland, formerly the credit union's senior vice president and chief financial officer, has been with the credit union for 16 years and has more than 20 years experience in the financial services industry. In her previous position, she had been responsible for finance and accounting, investment management and compliance, among other duties. Golden 1 is the sixth largest credit union in the U.S., with more than $7 billion in assets and nearly 700,000 members with 84 branches ... * MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (8/2/10)--Al LaRiviere, former board chairman of the Massachusetts Credit Union League, died July 17. He was 93, said the league (e-Weekly July 28). LaRiviere began his 58-year in credit unions in 1947 as a board member of Chapman Valve CU and became its manager in 1952. In 1960 he became president of Western Mass Telephone Workers' CU (now Freedom CU), retiring as its CEO in 1995 at the age of 78. He was on the league board for 36 years and was chairman 1961-1963. He also served as chairman of the Massachusetts Credit Union Share Insurance Corp. and the Credit Union Employees Retirement Association; treasurer of the Central Credit Union Fund, and president of the Pioneer Valley chapter of the league. He also was trustee of the Credit Union Affordable Housing/Homeless Trust from 1991 to 2005 and a trustee of the Joseph Fisher Memorial Trust. He worked to advance credit union legislation including the establishment of the share insurance corporation and authorization for credit unions to issue NOW accounts in 1983 ...

Arrowhead CEO takes job with Cal State

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (8/2/10)--The former CEO of Arrowhead Central CU, San Bernardino, Calif., has accepted a position as vice president for university advancement at Cal State, according to local media reports. Larry Sharp, who was dismissed by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) as CEO of the credit union, will be in charge of development, public affairs and alumni affairs at Cal State San Bernardino. Sharp has a master’s degree in business administration. He will replace Francois Aylmer, who moved to Portland State University (The Press-Enterprise July 29). Al Karnig, Cal State president, said the university would benefit from Sharp’s skills. “While recent developments at Arrowhead CU, which grew out of the deep recession that severely damaged the [local] economy, have been very unfortunate, the university will benefit extraordinarily by the skills and perspectives that [Sharp] has developed over his outstanding career,” he said. NCUA assumed control of Arrowhead June 25 and fired senior-level four employees, including Sharp. The $876-million-asset credit union had been placed into conservatorship due to declining financial condition. The employees were Sharp; Daniel Marciante, chief financial officer; Gene Shabinaw, senior vice president of lending; and Ray Messler, senior vice president of strategic development (Fontana Herald News July 16). Arrowhead is open for business and has continued uninterrupted service to members since June 25, John McKechnie, NCUA director of public and congressional affairs, told News Now (July 19).

CUNA Mutual fine-tuning for the future

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MADISON, Wis. (8/2/10)--CUNA Mutual Group will fine-tune its operations as it heads into the future to build on momentum from the changes it has made in recent years. “We have to continue to do the things we’re doing to make ourselves more efficient,” CUNA Mutual CEO Jeff Post, who arrived in 2005 to restructure the company, told (Wisconsin State Journal Aug. 1). “I got a lot of questions when I first got here--people almost with their eyes closed, (saying), ‘Tell me when it's over,’” Post told the newspaper. “But the world keeps changing, so to think your business doesn't have to change is a bit naive. Our business doesn't stand still.” With credit union consolidation and competition from other insurance companies, CUNA Mutual’s board directed Post to make core operations more efficient and to position the company for new growth opportunities outside the credit union sector, he told the paper. Those changes resulted in program cuts, repositioning, job losses and reorganization that is ongoing today. “I knew that change would be tough for the organization and that there would need to be a fair amount of it,” Post said. “On the credit union side, our goal was to shrink the number of products to what we did well. We also wanted to build some businesses outside the credit union space.” CUNA Mutual will continue to modify its credit union operations while keeping an eye out for opportunities to diversify its products and markets, Post told the paper. Some of the company’s major acquisitions and divestitures in keeping with those goals include:
* The June 2009 purchase of CPI Qualified Plan Consultants, a Kansas-based administrator of employee benefit plans. The move doubled CUNA Mutual’s stake in the retirement-plan business and was its first full-scale venture beyond the credit union marketplace. The company administers about 7,500 retirement plans with assets nearing $10 billion, about half for clients outside the credit union market. * The July 2009 sale of its IRA Services division to Ascensus, a retirement services firm based in Dresher, Pa. The division’s 47 employees kept their jobs in Middleton, Wis. Post said CUNA Mutual couldn’t compete effectively against a much bigger main player in the market. * The September 2009 purchase of Producers Ag Insurance Group, an Amarillo, Texas-based crop insurer that serves farmers and agricultural producers nationwide. At CUNA Mutual, Pro Ag is a stand-alone subsidiary with about 400 employees. Crop insurance is a new business for CUNA Mutual, but one that Post had experience with at his prior company, Fireman's Fund.
CUNA Mutual last month raised $85 million by selling fixed-rate, 20-year surplus notes to investors for the first-time, the paper said. A surplus note is a bond-like instrument that pays an interest rate and has a finite maturity. Company officials hope the added capital will help CUNA Mutual grow or diversify, the paper said. For the full article, use the link.

June CU loans credit quality membership all up

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MADISON, Wis. (8/2/10)--Credit union loan balances, credit quality and membership all improved in June, according to a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) economist's analysis of CUNA’s monthly review of credit unions. Credit union loans outstanding rose 0.3% during June 2010, compared to a 0.2% increase during May, according to the Monthly Credit Union Estimates. Credit union loans in June totaled $582 billion, compared with $585.9 billion in June 2009.
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“This year is going to be considered the ‘off year’ when it comes to credit union loan balances,” Steve Rick, CUNA senior economist, told News Now. “This refers to members paying off loan balances and credit unions charging-off and selling-off loans. CUNA is forecasting zero loan-balance growth in 2010, the first year in credit union history where loan balances did not rise.” Adjustable-rate mortgages rising 1.2%, led loan growth, followed by unsecured personal loans and used-auto loans, which went up 1% and 0.8%, respectively. Credit card loans increased 0.3%, while fixed-rate mortgages and new-auto loans decreased 0.2% and 1.4%, respectively. Credit union loan balances’ increase was the “second consecutive month of loan growth after six months of decline,” Rick said. “For the second quarter, credit union loan balances increased 0.44%, corresponding with Friday’s gross domestic product release that showed durable good spending--cars, appliances, furniture--rose 1.8% in the second quarter.
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Credit union savings balances decreased 0.3% in June, compared to a 0.1% decline during May. Regular shares rose 0.5%, followed by money market accounts (0.4%) and one-year certificates (0.2%). Individual retirement accounts and share drafts dropped 0.3% and 4.8%, respectively. Credit union savings in June totaled $796 billion--or $43.8 billion more than the $752.2 billion saved in June 2009. Credit unions’ 60-plus-day delinquencies decreased slightly to 1.7%. “Credit union loan credit quality continued to improve in June,” Rick said. “Loan delinquency rates fell to 1.71%--down from 1.77% in May and below the recent cyclical peak of 1.85% in January. The self-sustaining economic recovery and faster loan growth should reduce delinquency rates significantly in 2011.” The loan-to-savings ratio remained at 73% in June. The liquidity ratio--the ratio of surplus funds maturing in less than one year to borrowings plus other liabilities--remained at 19%. The movement’s overall capital-to-asset ratio remained at 10% in June 2010. The total dollar amount of capital for credit unions is $91 billion. “Credit union wholesale borrowings dropped 27% over the past 12 months, from $40 billion to $29 billion,” Rick said. “Weak loan demand, excess credit union liquidity and a desire to shrink balance sheets to boost capital-to-asset ratios are three factors causing the decline. This drop in wholesale funding caused 12-month credit union asset growth (4%) to be less than credit union savings growth (5.8%).” Credit union membership rose 0.32% in June--the fastest pace since August 2009--to reach 92.815 million members, Rick said. “During the past 12 months, however, memberships are up only 1.15%,” he added.

Louisiana league launches Smartphone app for convention

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HARAHAN, La. (8/2/10)--Credit union representatives attending the 2010 Louisiana Credit Union League convention and annual business meeting can get more information about the conference through a new Smartphone application. The Louisiana league has launched a Smartphone application for the meeting that provides educational program updates, maps and speaker bios. With the application, attendees can:
* Create an itinerary with session information; * Find meeting rooms and other points of interest on an interactive map; * Mark exhibitors they are interested in as favorites; * Enter and share contact information with others; and * Interact via Twitter.
The application is sponsored by CU Cooperative Branching. For more information, use the links.

Remittances first step in serving Hispanics says webinar

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MADISON, Wis. (8/2/10)--Understanding the Hispanic culture is the key to successfully providing financial services to the fastest-growing minority group in the U.S., according to the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). In a recent webinar, “Reaching the Hispanic Market,” three Iowa credit unions shared best practices ideas to help credit unions reach out to Hispanics. About 64 participants from credit unions across the U.S. joined the online event, which highlighted the experiences of Greater Iowa CU, Ames; Village CU, Des Moines; and The Family CU, Davenport. It chronicled their success in reaching out to their respective Hispanic communities through WOCCU’s IRnet international remittances program. The high level of member trust enjoyed by the presenting credit unions is attributable in part to the strong working relationship that had been built over the course of two years with WOCCU, Iowa Credit Union League subsidiary Coopera Consulting and members of the Hispanic communities the credit unions serve. The webinar discussed acceptable forms of identification, specifics on loan products tailored for the Hispanic community, successful marketing techniques and ways to track member outreach. The three presenting credit unions lauded the benefits gained from their outreach efforts. “This has been the best step that we had to take,” said Michael Adams, marketing vice president for Greater Iowa CU. “We are an employee implementation team, taking the foundation of what we have now and extending it beyond the marketing department so that we can emerge as a best-practices credit union. “As part of introducing these products and services, individual taxpayer identification number lending, quinceañera [coming of age ceremony] loans and other products, we’ve also introduced a financial education program. But I can’t stress enough how this all started with a remittance product and grew from there,” he added. A 32-page WOCCU report, also called “Reaching the Hispanic Market through Remittances,” details the three credit unions’ experiences and guiding principles to attract Hispanic membership through remittance programs. Areas discussed include building strong internal commitments, developing a proper business plan, tailoring marketing efforts towards Hispanic members and tracking results.

Western CMS honors dean and graduates

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ONTARIO, Calif. (8/2/10)--Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) President and Dean James D. Likens was honored for leading the school for the past 35 years at the 2010 WCMS graduation ceremony July 22 at Pomona College, Claremont, Calif.
At this year's Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) graduation ceremonies are, from left: President/Dean Jim Likens, who received a special award for leading the school for 35 years; commencement speaker Sylvia Lyon, president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of New Mexico and a 1997 WCMS graduate; Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, WCMS Board vice chairman and Travis CU CEO; and WCMS Associate Dean Michael D. Steinberger. (Photo provided by the California Credit Union League)
WCMS Board Vice Chairman and Travis CU CEO Patsy Van Ouwerkerk presented Dr. Likens with the special award, which commemorated his influence on thousands of students attending the school through the years. Seven students graduated with “High Honors” and were inducted into the Academic Hall of Fame, while an additional eight students graduated with “Honors” during the school’s 49th session, held July 11-23 at Pomona College. Of the 275 students attending this year, 87 were first-year students, 70 were second-year students, and 118 were third-year students. Students earning “High Honors” were:
* Chad M.Bollinger, Colorado CU, Littleton,Colo.; * Kristopher L. Distefano, America First CU, Ogden, Utah; * David Flood, Spokane (Wash.) Teachers CU; * Alan Jackson, Rogue FCU, Medford, Ore; * Janet Sanchez, Community CU of Southern Humboldt County, Garberville,Calif.; * Steven Craig Schmidle, Elevations CU, Boulder, Colo.; and * Kristin M. Zeller, Coast Central CU, Eureka, Calif.
“Honors” students this year were:
* Julie H. Arenz, iQ CU, Vancouver, Wash.; * James R. Belford, TwinStar CU, Lacey, Wash.; * Shelly Berryman, SchoolsFirst FCU, Santa Ana, Calif.; * Darin Daggett. Kinecta FCU, Manhattan Beach, Calif.; * Lauren Risinger Davison, Coors CU, Golden, Colo.; * Craig A. Durkey, Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif.; * Kristina M. Hooper, Cal State L.A. FCU, Los Angeles; and * Gregory Shaver, Otero FCU, Alamogordo, N.M.
Receiving the Charles M. Clark Memorial Award was Theta class President Robert York of California Bear CU, Los Angeles. The award is given to the senior student nominated by his or her class who best represents high moral character, leadership, credit union dedication, and academic achievement. RaAnn Wood, deputy commissioner of credit unions for the California Department of Financial Institutions, was named as the 20th recipient of the James D. Likens Alumni Recognition Award, founded by the Alumni Association of Western CMS. The award is given to a graduate who has made significant achievements in the credit union field since graduation. Sylvia Lyon--president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of New Mexico and a 1997 WCMS graduate--delivered the commencement address. The third-year graduating class presented $50,000 to the school to help keep tuition costs down and to underwrite scholarships for future WCMS students. The funds resulted from the Theta Class working together and hosting fundraisers during its three years at WCMS. Students of all three classes raised an additional $12,000 at the 2010 auction. The speaker at the 2010 Richard Myles Johnson Colloquium in Credit Union Philosophy was Mary Cunningham, WCMS board chairman and CEO of USA FCU, San Diego. This year’s session included students from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.