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CU System Briefs (07/30/2013)

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  • YORK, Va. (7/30/13)--A former  U.S. Army solider has waived his preliminary hearing connected to the robbery of Langley FCU earlier this year in April. According to the Daily Press (July 26), Dorman Shaw, 38, will face a grand jury in September after challenging a second charge on using a firearm.  During the robbery, a man passed a note demanding money to the teller, investigators said.  The suspect, later identified as Shaw, moved his jacket enough to display the handgun in his holster but never pulled it ...
  • PROVIDENCE, R.I. (7/30/13)--A man dubbed the "bearded bandit" was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison by a federal judge Friday for allegedly robbing nine Rhode Island financial institutions, including Pawtucket CU in East Providence (The Providence Journal July 27). Justin Worley, 34, was known for robbing financial institutions while costumed in wigs, make up and theatrical aids, including a fake beard, to hide his identity. U.S. District Judge William E. Smith, saying Worley terrorized financial institution service representatives across the region,  gave Worley the longest prison term within the range recommended by federal sentencing guidelines. Worley made off with $32,638 in cash during his nine robberies, according to prosecutors ...
  • FEDERAL WAY, Wash., and BEAVERTON, Ore. (7/30/13)--The Northwest Credit Union Foundation has welcomed Carlene Joseph and Jenell Saavedra as its two new board members.  Joseph, from Harborstone CU, will represent District 6. She will serve the remaining two-year-term vacancy from the retirement of Fibre FCU's Lesley Carrell this summer. Northwest Community CU Lending Support Manager Janell Saavedra will represent District 1 during her first term on the foundation board. Saavedra and Joseph officially begin service to the board on Oct. 8 (Anthem Recap July 26) ...
  • SHREVEPORT, La. (7/30/13)--Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced five appointments Friday, including that of a credit union CEO, to the board of the Caddo Levee District, responsible for maintaining the integrity of the levees and maintaining the levee drainage system within Caddo Parish.  Among those appointed was Helen Godfrey Smith, president/CEO of Shreveport (La.)  FCU  (Shreveport Times July 29) ...
  • FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (7/30/11)--Responding to questions from credit unions in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, the newly merged Cornerstone Credit Union League clarified its selection process for this year's National Awards Program.  The league stated that rather than credit unions from all three states competing against each other at the state level, the league will select a first, second and third place winner from each of the three states. The first place winners will then advance to the Credit Union National Association competition for national judging. (Leaguer July 29).  The competitions include The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award, the Louise Herring Philosophy in Action  Member Service Award, and the Desjardins Youth and Adult Financial Education Awards ...

N.C. League-supported Elderly Abuse Law Signed By Governor

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RALEIGH, N.C. (7/30/13)--North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has signed into law Senate Bill 140, a league- and credit union-backed bill that enhances efforts by the state's financial institutions to prevent the exploitation of older adults.
 
"Fraud committed against the elderly is on the rise, and North Carolina's credit unions want to do more to protect seniors," said Lauren Whaley, director of legislative and regulatory affairs at the North Carolina Credit Union League.
 
"This legislation will give credit unions more responsibility to detect and halt fraudulent transactions and at the same time, credit unions could decide what best practices for curbing elder financial abuse are most suited for their membership, Whaley said. 
 
"The league was very engaged in the legislative process to ensure the bill passed this session," she said, adding that it already is planning a training resources workshop with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, North Carolina Bankers Association and the state Attorney General's Office.
 
The call for the legislation was a cooperative effort between the league, attorney general's office, State Employees' CU and the bankers association, said the Raleigh-based SECU, the state's largest credit union with $26 billion in assets.
 
The Financial Exploitation of Older Adults law increases the recognition, reporting and prosecution of those who would defraud older or disabled adults by facilitating the collection of records needed to investigate and prosecute scammers.
 
It requires all financial institutions in the state to report to appropriate authorities cases where there is reasonable cause to believe that a disabled adult over 18 or adult 65 or older is the victim or target of financial exploitation, said SECU. The law ensures that no financial institution employee or officer acting in good faith when making a report may be held liable. It also encourages financial institutions to offer older adult members the opportunity to submit a list of trusted persons to be contacted in case of financial exploitation.
 
SECU said it has an emergency contact service in place for members 60 years or older. Other services it offers older members include reverse mortgages, tax preparation services, estate planning essentials program, and a resource library that cover topics such as health care, Social Security, and powers of attorney.

State Regulators Issue Guidance On Indirect Home Loans, Property

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. and BEAVERTON, Ore. (7/30/13)--State regulators in Washington and Oregon last week issued guidance for state-chartered credit unions on credit union property and manufactured homes, the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) said.
 
The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) released a Permanent Administrative Rule, making permanent a temporary rule it issued in January regarding unimproved credit union property held for future expansion (NWCUA Anthem Recap July 26). The rule aligns Oregon rules with federal regulations issued by the National Credit Union Administration to give state-chartered credit unions parity. State-chartered credit unions have up to six years to partially utilize unimproved property held for future expansion.
 
The Washington Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) released a Division of Credit Unions Bulletin. B-13-11 discusses indirect manufactured home lending and the DCU's expectations for credit unions exploring any new lending program.
 
Washington state-chartered credit unions that are considering making indirect manufactured home lending loans should contact their assigned DCU caseload examiner, said the bulletin. Prior to implementing any such program, DCU representatives want to meet with credit union representatives to discuss the credit union's program and plans.
 
The DFI expects that credit unions entering the indirect manufactured home lending field demonstrate a complete understanding of its product and risk levels, the bulletin said.
 
"The credit union should develop strong policy requirements and procedural guidance to ensure it sufficiently controls the risks associated with the program and that the program is satisfactorily managed and monitored," DFI said.
 
To read the bulletin, use the link.

2,090 CUs 'Go Paperless' With CUNA Mutual Group

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MADISON, Wis. (7/30/13)--Nearly 2,100 credit unions signed up for a Go Paperless campaign CUNA Mutual Group offered to help the environment and raise money for the National Credit Union Foundation.
 
Click to view larger image Posing with a check to the National Credit Union Foundation from the "Go Paperless" campaign initiated by CUNA Mutual Group, are, from left: Jennifer Norr, director, CUNA Mutual Group customer operations; Tom Martorana, senior vice president, CUNA Mutual customer operations; Christopher Morris, foundation director of communications; and Chris Roe, foundation board member and senior vice president, CUNA Mutual's corporate and legislative affairs. (Photo provided by CUNA Mutual Group)
The initiative will save 750,000 pages of paper annually--roughly 90 trees--and it generated a $10,450 contribution from CUNA Mutual Group to the foundation.
 
The insurer agreed to donate $5 to the foundation for every credit union that signed up for paperless policy delivery from May 1 to June 30. As a "green" advocate, CUNA Mutual Group launched the campaign to reduce waste, save money and take another step toward environmental sustainability.
 
"We surpassed our goal by getting 2,090 credit unions to sign up for paperless policy delivery, which was 90 more than our target," said Jennifer Norr, director, customer operations. "Although the campaign is over, we encourage our remaining credit union customers to sign up. It's better for our environment, our customers and our company."
 
A CUNA Mutual Group policy package averages 264 pages. With 6,000 credit union policies in force, the total number of printed pages can exceed 1.5 million per year. The company began making policies available online in 2012.

Mich. League Meets With Governor's Post-Foreclosure Work Group

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LANSING, Mich. (7/30/13)--The Michigan Credit Union League participated in meetings of a governor's work group last week to discuss possible amendments to recently passed state foreclosure-reform legislation. The end goal is to pass any cleanup legislation before the package's effective date in January.
 
The Michigan State Legislature passed several foreclosure-process reform measures during its spring session. Senate Bills 380 and 383, and House Bills 4765 and 4766, backed by the Michigan Credit Union League, repeal the state's 90-day pre-foreclosure workout law upon the upcoming effective date of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's mortgage-servicing regulations. They also provide for a new right of inspection for foreclosed properties after the sheriff's sale and periodically throughout the redemption period (Michigan Monitor July 29).
 
If purchasers find that damage has occurred or is imminent they may commence an early action for summary possession of the property to take it back and extinguish any remaining redemption period.
 
While the bills were passed, the limited time frame at the end of the spring session period did not allow for possible amendments to better define the rights of purchasers and homeowners. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder requested lawmakers, legislative staff, and interest groups involved in the passage of the original legislation to convene to discuss any necessary or desirable changes to reform laws. 

Staff At CU In Kansas Thwart Scam Vs. 85-year-old

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (7/30/13)--An 85-year-old member of Community America CU-- who wanted to withdraw funds because she was going to be awarded $7 million in prize money and a luxury car--still has her money, thanks to the persistence of a credit union employee who recognized the situation was a scam.
 
Credit union employee Mary Weiss told Fox4KC.com she looked forward to the regular visits of the member, but became suspicious when the woman arrived early to withdraw some funds and said she was about to come into a large amount of money.
 
Weiss told her the deal was a scam, but the woman left. Later she returned, explaining she had bought a card with numbers on the back and needed to give the numbers to some people on the phone.  Weiss told her again that it was a scam.  The woman left again, then returned and asked to withdraw more.
 
"Don't do this, just don't do this," she warned the woman, but the member's mind was set. When she said she was meeting people at her house to hand over the money and get her prize. The credit union employees cautioned her not to let anyone in her house and re-emphasized the danger and the fact it was a scam.
 
Although the credit union had to provide the funds she withdrew, the employees were "all scared for her." A co-worker called police, who caught up with the woman and intervened.
 
The woman's family members told local media they were grateful to Weiss and the credit union for watching out for their mom. The Overland Park, Kan., Police Chief wrote a blog about the incident to remind the public that thieves prey on the elderly.
 
See related News Now stories CU Magazine Features Staff Who Go And Beyond, and N.C. Governor Signs League-supported Elderly Abuse Law.

CU Magazine Features CU Staff Who Go Beyond Duty

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MADISON, Wis. (7/30/13)--An article in the July 2013 issue Credit Union Magazine features two credit union employees who went beyond expectations to track down large sums of cash--and demonstrate credit unions' people-helping-people philosophy.
 
Shirley Gallant, a receptionist at Oxford FCU, Mexico, Maine, found an envelope with $800 in cash inside. When she found the envelope, she was working in the credit union's vegetable garden, which is part of the University of Maine's Harvest for Hunger program.
 
Fortunately, the envelope included a summer camp contract with a name on it. Gallant recognized the name on the form as her friends' son. She contacted the family--and drove to their house to return the money.
 
In another incident, $702 million asset Vantage CU in St. Louis received a message on its Facebook page from a man visiting New York City saying he'd discovered nearly $1,000 in cash in a Vantage-branded envelope.
 
Jenn Cloud, Vantage's social media specialist, shared this message through every channel available, including the local media, in an attempt to find the person who'd lost it. The New York restaurant where the cash was found e-mailed Cloud to notify her that a woman had called in looking for it.
 
Cloud connected Jonathon Glueck, the man who'd discovered the envelope, and its rightful owner, Jennie Guenzler, a Vantage member. He returned the envelope to her with the cash intact.
 
To read the full article, use the link. Also, see News Now related story "Staff at CU in Kansas Thwart Scam vs. 85-year Old."

CU Offers Lawmakers Loans In Illinois Budget Stalemate

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RANTOUL, Ill. (7/30/13)--Credit Union 1, Rantoul, Ill., is offering to state lawmakers emergency loans until the state's budget stalemate is resolved. 
 
Gov. Pat Quinn has vetoed lawmakers' salaries until the General Assembly passes a pension overhaul plan (WNIJ July 29). That means they won't get their monthly pay check starting next week.
 
Although serving in the General Assembly is technically a part-time occupation, for some lawmakers it is their sole source of income.
 
Credit Union 1, with $729 million in assets, has membership open to any employee of the state of Illinois, including legislators.
 
Lawmakers can get a 60-day loan worth half their salary at 0% interest, the credit union said.
 
The credit union has offered similar programs for state employees during previous budget disputes.