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CU System Briefs (07/31/2013)

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  • DALLAS (7/31/13)--A group of leaders at Dallas-based Neighborhood CU made a shocked David McCarty of DeSoto happy Thursday morning when they knocked on his door and presented him with $10,000, deposited in his credit union Prize Savings Account.  "I am amazed," he said. "I've won a dollar here and there through the scratch off games, but I've never won anything of this magnitude." Neighborhood CEO Chet Kimmell explained McCarty's name had been drawn from the ranks of the credit union's Prize Savings Account holders for demonstrating good saving habits.  "Even when the economy has its ups and downs, you have consistently placed a priority on saving money," Kimmell said.  McCarty, who works at a U.S. Postal Service mail processing facility, joined the credit union 16 years ago.  "I've always tried to save for a rainy day," he said. "Today the sun is shining on my family and me." When asked what he might do with the unexpected cash, McCarty said, "You know, I think I might take a vacation. Maybe to California." View the video here .  Pictured are, from left: Kimmell, McCarty, and NCU's Carolyn Jordan ...
  • HARRISBURG, Pa.(7/31/13)--John Suhan, 48, of Lemont, Pa., has been charged with structuring transactions totaling $327,321 to evade federal reporting requirements by making numerous deposits smaller than $10,000 each at two credit unions where he maintained accounts, said U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (7thspaceinteractive.com July 29).  In a plea agreement, Suhan waived indictment by a grand jury, and agreed to plead guilty and forfeit $3,180 recovered from his residence. In January 2006, Suhan and his wife received $327,321 from a family member and were told they would get into trouble with the government if deposits were above $10,000. From January 2006 to September 2011, he allegedly made more than 200 deposits with SPE CU, based in State College, Pa., and Penn State FCU, based in Belmont, Pa. He kept $3,180 in currency inside a safe at his home, said U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith ...
  • BELLEVUE, Neb. (7/31/13)--A Plattsmouth, Neb.,  woman pleaded guilty in relation to charges that she and her ex-husband had received and kept stolen money from the SAC FCU in Plattsmouth, on Dec. 7, 2012.  Brandi L. Coen, 32, pleaded guilty to one Class III felony charge. She accepted a plea to aiding and abetting theft by receiving value more than $1,500. Coen will pay $1,000 in restitution and will be sentenced on Sept. 16. Both Coen and her ex-husband, Gabriel L. Coen, could face prison terms of one to 25 years or maximum fines of $25,000. For now, Brandi Coehn remains free on bond (Fremont Tribune July 29) ...
  • NEW YORK (7/31/13)--LendKey, a cloud-based lending technology company located in New York City, announced that Patrick Ziegler has joined the company as director of school Development in the company's East Region.  LendKey is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. Ziegler has more than 17 years of experience in financial aid, student lending and college planning. His background includes managing school relationships for a federal loan guarantor, assisting families with the financial aid process and serving as the staff higher education contact for a sitting U.S. congressman ...

World Council Issues First Islamic Finance Manual

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MADISON, Wis. (7/31/13)--World Council of Credit Unions has published the Islamic Finance Manual: Operating Policies and Procedures for Credit Unions, the first known guide to establishing Shariah-compliant credit unions in the developing world.
 
Click to view larger image Helmand Islamic Investment and Finance Cooperative's (IIFC) accountant (right) receives training on end-of-month adjustments from the IIFC Group head of Helmand province in Afghanistant. World Council's nine-year program there resulted in the publication of the Islamic Finance Manual: Operating Policies and Procedures for Credit Unions, the first known guide to establishing Shariah-compliant credit unions in the developing world. (Photo provided by World Council of Credit Unions)
The Customer Owned Banking Association, World Council's member organization in Australia, developed the manual based on the council's experience establishing Islamic investment and finance cooperatives in Afghanistan (2004-2012).
 
The guide details operating policies and procedures based on international standards for financial cooperatives and adapted to comply with Islamic Law. The 305-page document addresses membership, shares and savings mobilization, Shariah-compliant financing and collection, provisions and allowances for bad debts, asset and liability management, capitalization and capital adequacy, accounting, cash operations, internal controls, human resources, procurement and information technology and security.
 
Each chapter includes a review of procedural requirements and who should be involved, including template forms and contracts.
 
"The Islamic Finance Manual produced with the initiative of the Customer Owned Banking Association of Australia is a product of years of dedication and cooperation among World Council staff and local Afghan leaders to adapt World Council's traditional credit union building model to an Islamic banking environment," said Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO. "The manual now provides a cornerstone for local credit union development in countries as diverse as Libya and Pakistan to Australia and the U.S."
 
World Council's nine-year program in Afghanistan focused on establishing sustainable financial cooperatives and a national apex trade association. World Council consulted Islamic scholars and local religious leaders to modify its traditional credit union development methodology and establish the country's first fully Shariah-compliant financial institutions.
 
Today, more than 30 IIFCs and points of service in 14 provinces offer share savings and loan products that heed the Islamic prohibition on paying or receiving interest. Afghanistan's national financial cooperative association, the Islamic Investment and Finance Cooperative Group, was established in 2009 and became a World Council member in 2012. Afghan IIFCs comprise the world's youngest credit union movement and is the only one to claim full compliance with Islamic Law.
 
Islamic finance is a form of ethical financing, defined by the fair distribution of wealth, concern for the welfare of communities and economic stability. Islamic finance principles promote the protection of consumer rights and prevent investment in businesses that are considered "harmful," including gambling, armaments, alcohol and pornography.
 
The creation of economies based on physical assets is at the heart of Islamic finance--a key reason why the Islamic financial sector was largely unaffected by the recent global financial crisis. Islamic financial markets operate in 37 Muslim countries, and many non-Muslim countries in Europe offer Islamic finance options.

PCUA: Former Gov. Scranton Signed State CU Bill

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (7/31/13)--
In 1965, Pennsylvania Gov. Bill Scranton Jr. (center, seated) signed House Bill 1156 amending the state's Uniform Gifts to Minors Act to include credit unions as one of the financial institutions permitted to hold such accounts. Present were Mike Judge (standing, second from left), acting managing director of the Pennsylvania Credit Union League,  and John Edinger, (standing, far right) league director of education, and co-sponsors of the measure. (Photo provided by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association)
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Bill Scranton Jr., who died Sunday in California of a brain hemorrhage, signed key credit union legislation during his career, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.

Scranton was Pennsylvania's 38th governor, serving from 1963 to 1967. At the time, one term was the maximum a governor could serve. During his term, he signed proclamations declaring Credit Union Day in the state, and invited officials of what was then the Pennsylvania Credit Union League to witness the signing, said PCUA (Life is a Highway July 30).
 
In November 1965, he signed House Bill 1156, which amended the Pennsylvania Uniform Gifts to Minors Act to include credit unions as one of the financial institutions permitted to hold such accounts.
 
Scranton, who was 96 when he died, served four U.S. presidents on seven commissions, was a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and ran an unsuccessful campaign for president. He was elected to the 87th Congress in 1960 and served on the Banking and Currency Committee.

SECU Members Fund $2.28M Grant To Train Rural Teachers

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RALEIGH, N.C. (7/31/13)--Members of North Carolina's State Employees' CU have awarded a $2.28 million grant through the SECU Foundation to support Partnership East, East Carolina University (ECU) Foundation's rural teacher education scholarship program.
 
The Raleigh, N.C.-based credit union said Partnership East has been renamed SECU Partnership East.   The program is a joint project with ECU, North Carolina community colleges and public school systems focused on recruiting teacher assistants and public school employees in the rural northeastern part of the state to become certified teachers.
 
Students selected by ECU's College of Education will have access to high-quality degree programs close to home so they might remain in their communities to teach after they graduate, said the nearly $26 billion asset SECU. Students finish the four-year program by competing the first two years at a participating community college, then transferring to ECU, so they can take classes online.
 
Scholarship funding assists students in their senior year, when internship requirements keep them from working their regular jobs.
 
SECU Foundation's board approved the grant with an annual commitment of $456,000 for five years, beginning next month. Its funding will work to help stabilize the impact of dwindling state and federal support that has negatively affected student enrollment in the program, said SECU.
 
North Carolina will need 14,000 new teachers in 2015. More than 500 students have already graduated from the program, with 79% of the graduates now teaching in the state and 94% of those teaching in eastern North Carolina. ECU said more than 225 students are currently enrolled through the scholarship program.

Special Report: CUs Load Backpacks, Busses In Back-to-school Drives

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MADISON, Wis. (7/31/13)--

Click to view larger image Northwest FCU volunteers move carts filled with school supplies purchased with donations to its Backpack Drive, in an effort to benefit school students in the northern Virginia communities served by the Herndon, Va.-based credit union.

For credit unions, doing good in the community is a year-round job. Walk into one at any time of year, and a community project--often more than one--will be taking place. At this time of year, credit unions across the nation are gearing up to help students get off to a good start for the school year.  Many are loading backpacks and busses in back-to-school drives.
 
Northwest FCU, Herndon, Va., explained why the $2.5 billion asset credit union and its Northwest FCU Foundation, is sponsoring its Backpack Drive to collect school supplies for kids in need.
 

Click to view larger image Volunteers from Herndon,  Va.-based Northwest FCU take a break from sorting school supplies for the credit union's Backpack Drive. Donations will be distributed throughout the credit union's service areas through the Fairfax County Collect for Kids organization. (Photos provided by Northwest FCU)

"For many students, it's a tradition to mark the new school year by shopping for a backpack and school supplies, said Linda Rogus, NWFCU Foundation executive director.  "But for some families, we know that can be tough, especially given other school expenses. Our Backpack Drive helps fill this gap."

Branches in Herndon, Vienna, Chantilly, Leesburg and Gainesville are collecting donations through Aug. 23. The Fairfax County Collect for Kids will distribute the donations to students in need and to kids attending schools near branch locations in Loudown and Prince William counties. 
 
A new school year is an exciting time, and every child should start it off with the supplies and materials they need," said Chris McDonald, NWFCU president/CEO, noting that NWFCU will "double the community's generosity this year by matching all the monetary donations we receive."
 
In Indianapolis last Saturday, 17 branches of Indiana Members CU, which has $1.3 billion in assets, gave away thousands of filled backpacks in the Indy BackPack Attack program.  Last year more than 33,600 students received backpacks through the program (Indianapolis Star July 27). Backpacks are filled with crayons, pencils, alarm clocks, hygiene products, folders, notebooks and other items.  More than two dozen Indiana school districts began classes this week.
 
In Livonia, Mich., $402 million asset Co-op Services CU launched its fifth annual Backpack Drive, with partners Volunteers of America, WDVD-FM and WJBK-TV. The drive runs through Aug. 16. The credit union's eight branches throughout metro Detroit are collecting new backpacks and supplies. Volunteers of America and its Operation Backpack initiative will distribute the packs. The credit union also will participate in the annual "Stuff-A-Bus" event Thursday through Sunday. Its staff and its Rock Star mascot will be on hand to accept supply donations.
 
"By working with schools through our student credit unions and financial literacy programs, we understand how important these donations are and the number of families that need assistance," Jeremy Cybulski, youth and community development coordinator at the credit union, told Press & Guide (July 24). He noted the supplies make a positive difference in the lives of children who otherwise would not have the essentials to start the school year.
 
Other efforts:

  • Burnsville, Minn.-based US FCU, with $897 million assets, is sponsoring 107.1 FM radio station's Back to School Drive to benefit the Caring Tree, which will distribute packs loaded with school supplies.  Eight branches are collecting items, and community members who donate with supplies or money receive an exclusive offer from USFCU (Shakopee.patch.com July 26).
  • Black Hills FCU in Rapid City, S.D., is helping more than 5,000 area students in more than 60 area schools in 12 communities return to the classroom with supplies through its 17th Annual School Supply Drive.  The $967 million asset credit union is accepting donations through Aug. 19. It is also selling raffle tickets for prizes and accepting monetary donations. All proceeds will purchase school supplies (Rapid City Journal July 30).
  • Truliant FCU, Winston-Salem, N.C., noted that its Fill the Bus School Supply Drive helps not only students, but teachers as well. Teachers spend up to $700 per year of their own money on classroom supplies,  said the $1.6 billion asset credit union (The Chronicle July 25).  With the supply drive, Truliant will help teachers from several high-need schools save their money. The supplies will support students in kindergarten through 12th grade.  Collection boxes are at Truliant Member Financial Centers in three states.
  • Houston Metropolitan FCU, a $40 million asset credit union in Texas, is co-hosting the North Houston 100 lb. Challenge Back to School Supply Drive and Event with the Wade Smith Foundation to collect 100 pounds of school supplies. HMFCU's Tidwell and downtown branches  are accepting donations until Aug. 30.  On Aug. 10, Pro Bowl Offensive Lineman Wade Smith and teammates from the Houston Texans will make appearances.  Also, HMFCU is adopting one family from each participating school to receive school clothes, uniforms, socks and shoes.
  • Wichita, Kan.-based Credit Union of America, with $502 million in assets, has teamed up with KAKEland and the Salvation Army to collect supplies at CUA branches until Aug. 25 in the area's KAKEland School Supply Landslide.  Last year the landslide served more than 10,000 students.

Outreach projects like these are another way credit unions prove the value of credit unions to their community and members. Raising awareness about the value of credit unions is a key component of the Credit Union National Association's and state leagues' Unite for Good campaign toward the strategic vision where "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner."  For more information, use the links.

N.Y. Foundation Hosts Fin Ed Training For Teachers, Volunteers

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ALBANY, N.Y. (7/31/13)--The New York Credit Union Foundation (NYCUF) recently teamed up with Cornell Cooperative Extension to train New York teachers and community volunteers to teach financial education with the National Endowment for Financial Education's (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP).
 

Click to view larger image Trainer Barbara Henza of Cornell Cooperative Extension reviews the National Endowment for Financial Education's High School Financial Planning Program curriculum with attendees at a training session hosted by the New York Credit Union Foundation and Cornell. (Photo provided by the New York Credit Union Foundation)

The organizations hosted training sessions July 18 at The Summit FCU in Rochester and July 23 at Teachers FCU in Hauppauge.
 
Nearly 30 educators and credit union professionals completed the daylong sessions, which prepared them to teach the award-winning, recently updated HSFPP curriculum to youth in their area schools and community groups.
 
Cornell Cooperative Extension Trainer Barbara Henza reviewed each of the curriculum modules, which include: planning, borrowing, earning capability, investing, financial services and insurance. She also outlined the program resources available to educators, including: student guides, teacher lesson plans and a growing collection of online resources and learning activities.
 
Attendee Jackie Wiegand noted the curriculum provided through NEFE follows state and national education standards but is "presented in a fun, logical and enjoyable way. Wiegand, marketing administrator at Oswego, N.Y.-based Compass FCU,  said, "My plan is to share the seminar's resources with an area teacher and to use NEFE materials for credit union workshops and any guest presentations in our local schools."
 
The HSFPP curriculum is used by credit unions across the state, with many providing free curriculum materials to area schools and/or teaching the financial literacy workshops themselves. The state's credit unions educated more than 35,000 youth through financial literacy programs last year, according to the Credit Union Association of New York,
 
"Our foundation's mission is 'fostering the financial independence of New Yorkers through credit unions,' and building youth financial literacy is a critical part of that," said Allison Barna, director of NYCUF/community development.
 
For the past four years, NYCUF has partnered with Cornell Cooperative Extension to provide training across the state for the past four years. The organizations plan to host another session this fall.
 
Financial education efforts are one way credit unions can meet two key pillars--raising awareness and fostering service excellence--of the Credit Union National Association's and the state leagues' Unite for Good campaign. The campaign has three pillars--the third is removing barriers--in efforts to reach the vision where "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner."

Mid-Atlantic Corporate Names Supervisory Committee

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (7/31/13)--The Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU board of directors announced its supervisory committee appointments for 2013 and voted to increase the supervisory committee from three members to five.
 
The board re-appointed Richard C. Burtnett, CPA, Harrisburg, Pa., and Abby R. Kiebach, president/CEO, Lancaster (Pa.) Red Rose CU.
 
Also, three newly appointed members joined the supervisory committee this year. They include:
  • Lisa Johnston, chief financial officer of Patriot FCU,  Chambersburg, Pa.;
  • Lois Profili, president/CEO of First Eagle FCU,  Owings Mill, Md.; and
  • Mark Volponi, chief financial officer, USX FCU, Cranberry Township, Pa.
The board will determine supervisory committee officer positions at its August meeting.

CU Gets Rare Royal Seal Of Approval

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DARLINGTON, Eng. (7/31/13)--First it was the Duchess of Cornwall touting credit unions as payday lending alternatives. Then it was the Archbishop of Canterbury, who formed a credit union last month to fight payday lenders. Now it's the queen giving the royal seal of approval to a credit union.
 
Britain-based Darlington CU was presented with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service by the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Susan Snowdon, at a ceremony Monday. The award is in recognition of members' work offering financial advice and support to people across Darlington, said the Northern Echo (July 29).
 
The award is the highest that can be given volunteer groups in the United Kingdom. "This award is not lightly given or easily gained," said Snowdon, who added it "recognizes hard work, vision and commitment to community services."
 
Credit unions are enjoying a spike in popularity with royalty and other well-known persons in England this summer.
 
Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and wife of Prince Charles, joined the London Mutual CU in Peckham, England, in May (News Now May 17). The Archbishop of Canterbury announced early this month the formation of a credit union for the clergy and members of the Church of England and Church of Scotland (News Now July 8).  And Marlene Shiels, chief executive of Capital CU Ltd. in Edinburgh, Scotland, received a Royal Warrant from England's Queen Elizabeth in June, appointing Shiels as credit union consultant to the Duchess of Cornwall (News Now June 13).